City of Heroes: Going Rogue - First Impressions

Updated Mon, Aug 23, 2010 by Martuk

Publisher NCSoft has touted its recently launched City of Heroes/Villains expansion, City of Heroes: Going Rogue, as something of a reinvention of the superhero-based MMOG. It certainly added new zones, power sets, costumes and features, but is it really a whole new take on the superhero genre?

First Day on the Job

Praetoria offers a new starting area for players to explore.

Well, yes and no. The entire game hasn’t been reinvented, but the newbie experience has. Praetoria provides a new entry point for starting characters who have grown tired of the Paragon City and Rogue Isles grind. In that respect, Going Rogue offers some interesting features and new content. But perhaps the most interesting feature the expansion has to offer is the Morality system.

Starting Out
One of the new things with City of Heroes: Going Rogue is that during the character creation process you can now choose between one of three areas for your character to begin: Hero, which sends you to the traditional Paragon City starting area, Villain, which will send you to the Rogue Isles, and finally you can choose Praetorian, which will send you to the new city of Praetoria.

Praetoria consists of four city sections: Nova Praetoria, the area that you first start at and the lower level section and seat of government for Praetoria, Imperial City, a slightly higher level section that also serves as the business district of Praetoria, Neutropolis, the final tier section and science district of Praetoria, and finally the Underground, a set of sewer tunnels that run under Praetoria filled with Ghouls and the Resistance. These four areas contain enough content and storyline missions to easily get you to level 20, at which point you can choose to leave Praetoria and enter Paragon City as a hero or the Rogue Isles as a villain.

I chose to explore the latest and greatest content, for obvious reasons, and thus our journey into Nova Praetoria begins. If you’re a veteran player of City of Heroes you can choose to skip basic training or you can run through the detailed training process to get yourself familiar with how the game works and with each new contact you make you’ll have optional dialogue choices that can sometimes provide more backstory to the goings on in Praetoria.

Morpheus Lookalike Winner

There's something very Matrixy about Interrogator Hoffman.

After speaking to Officer Flint, the first NPC to appear in the tutorial, you’ll be informed that you are now part of Praetor White’s Powers Division, a team of superhero enforcers, and then you will be introduced to the first of your new contacts and resident Morpheus from The Matrix lookalike, Interrogator Hoffman. From this point you simply run the standard tutorial training system of beating up broken robots, learning about Enhancements, Inspirations, and the other basics that make City of Heroes work.

After a couple of tutorial training tests, you’ll learn a bit about the underground Resistance in Praetoria and be sent to meet with a Resistance recruiter, who believes that you are unhappy about being inducted (drafted?) into the Powers Division, but hijinks ensue since the intention is to capture the poor fool. But upon arriving at the meeting place you find a rather annoying clockwork robot, which is stuttering a recording informing you to head deeper into the Underground to meet with your contact. (Get used to the Underground areas folks; you’ll be spending a lot of time there.)

Once your conversation with the clockwork concludes you’ll get to make your first choice in the game with one of two options, you can lie and tell the poor sappy robot that it’s clear up top, condemning him to the mercy of the PPD (Praetorian Police Department) and certain deconstruction, or you can leave him where he is until things blow over.

Their Kickstarter campaign reached its goal in under a week so we sat down with Project Lead, Chris Hare, to learn more about their story.
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