Currently playing: Final Fantasy 4 remake, Metroid Prime, and City of Heroes (a lot).
The renewed interest in City is due to the Mission Architect, a system that allows players to make their own missions in the game. An observation I’ve had from watching how people interact with the Architect: City of Heroes has no real “endgame,” but boy, people are certainly in a hurry to get there. Since the Devs have handed over all of their mission creation kits to players, it’s perfectly possible to make missions that give larger than average experience point rewards and level up faster.
I originally logged Revenant Ember, my Corruptor, on to mess with a new costume, but, since I got invited to a “farming” team I thought I’d check it out and see what this new trend was about. The mission was made up of a bunch of Rikti, but only the Communications Officers since they give larger than average XP rewards per kill. They’re all centered around pods because I guess this makes it easier to group them.
I got a level out of the farm, but it’s kind of a boring way to get a level. It’s probably faster than many other methods but probably also less fun. Normally my method for getting levels on Ember is to tag along while higher level friends take on difficult challenges, and just hang back and buff them, so this isn’t really different from my pattern with the character who hasn’t been experiencing the game content in any particular order. Just hanging out with my friends, even though they’re higher level on the villain side than I am, is still a totally valid playstyle after all.
When I logged in Puma Man later on Freedom (ha ha, it’s still funny, even if I never use the dude) I logged in to an argument on the broadcast channel about why people were farming. “There’s no endgame,” someone said. “The game doesn’t end, we can keep playing it as much as we want,” said someone else, being honest, but also missing the point entirely.
You pretty much have to assume that, if you give something to players that can potentially be exploited for rewards and achievement, a certain population of them will do that. This is true even if there is no reason to exploit it. The content at all levels in the City games is fairly interesting, with just a few dry spots, and the Devs of the game don’t typically only fill in content at the upper end. In World of Warcraft, all the new content is upper-level, but this isn’t really true in City, where new content is typically accessible at level 35 if not sooner. The MA content in particular can be played at any level.
On the other hand, it’s just so nice to be powerful and to get those XP bubbles and the ‘pop’ that if you really just like being high level, you might want the fastest way to get there. It doesn’t really bother me somehow that people want to exploit the MA for XP, except that they’re missing out on missions that might be interesting and fun to do, and, think that CoX is a really shallow game as a result, when they reach level 50 and then discover they missed everything along the way.
On the other hand, it DOES sort of bother me that people who are farming the MA by creating exploitable missions also get more playtime on their missions than mission authors who have written interesting stories and worked hard.