Coded blue.

Monday 19 July 2004

Screenshot CoH

Pic of the day: The Eternal Newbie and The Lunch Box Girl.

CoH buffbot

After taking my force field defender to level 14, I returned to playing my tanker for a while. Tanker is the most relaxing archetype for me, it feels natural for me somehow. Of course, having played a paladin in DAoC for such a long time probably has something to do with it.

But in my last season with DAoC I played not only one, but two characters at the same time. Mostly two paladins, but sometimes a paladin and a cabalist. I have mentioned this before, and that I liked it. But not as much as I like City of Heroes. But what if I could play two characters at the same time in CoH? I already bought the box with the second account, so all I had to do was activate it. Of course, if I keep playing more than one month that's another $15 of monthly expense, but that's not exactly a lot by Norwegian standards. Besides, I just discontinued my two European DAoC accounts, so I'm still left with less expenses than before.

So I installed CoH to a second folder. The installation is a snap, by the way, user friendly and with nice music, pictures and informative text about the game shown during the process. Very well thought out. Anyway, the system had no qualms with having two different versions of the same game installed on the same machine. (In marked contrast to The Sims from the disgusting Electronic Arts, who evidently think they own your hard disk and can do what they will with it, including refusing to install the program again if it failed the first time. To avoid corporate censorship filters I will refrain from giving my advice on what to do about Electronic Arts.)

However, while the game did nothing to stop the installation, or even the start of two different sessions, it did not work out well. Evidently the game locks some key resource, so when one of the session is in the background, it loses connection to the mapserver. A character can survive this for half a minute or so, but eventually times out, and in the meantime does not move. So unless you switch between the characters every few seconds, playing two sessions at the same machine is not possible. Of course, no one promised it would be, either.


I am not easily discouraged, except in human relationships. I already have two computers connected to the Internet (well, one of them only part time). So I created two characters: A scrapper to run on the living room machine, and a defender to run on the bedroom machine. As is good and proper when you create people in your image, I created them man and woman. The female was of course relegated to the bedroom (I don't have a computer in the kitchen ... actually I hardly even have a kitchen). That was a joke, girls. Except the part about not having a real kitchen.

She is a force field defender with radiation as her second power set. Radiation starts with the fastest ranged attack, not very damaging but able to bypass most armor and lowering the target's defense against further attacks for a few seconds. This means when she assists my scrapper, he does more damage than he would have done alone: Not only does she do additional damage, but so does he! Dark attacks are also good, as they lower the target's accuracy, but these attacks are slower and do more damage. You don't want her to draw the target to attack her. Besides, my scrapper has dark attacks himself: Smite and Maul, the two main dark attacks, doing massive damage (Maul can even hit two or three opponents if they stand too close) and reducing their accuracy if they have time to fight back.

After playing both characters separately full time up to level 3, I let my scrapper invite the defender to team, brought them together, put her on autofollow, made her cast a protective force field on him and set her to auto-assist with her fast little attack. Then I returned to the living room and started apprehending villains.


There are a couple things you have to think about if you have an assisting bot. The most obvious is that you can't jump over fences and similar difficult terrain, because the bot will get stuck. Follow does not include jumping. The other thing I had to learn fast was to not target villains to consider them. With a ranged auto-assist, she would start firing if they were within range, no matter their color. You really don't want to do that with a bunch of reds or even oranges, as they will come rushing and start pounding on her. So I either consider them while they are out of range, or I use mouse-over to see their color before I select them.

When I follow these limitations, it works quite well. I wander up to a bunch of criminals until they notice me and draw their weapons. At this point, I select one of them, and my virtual friend immediately fires a small radiation blast in their face, doing some small damage and partly blinding them. I then unleash my black hands of negative energy on their visage until they crumble. Then, the same with the next villain. They will try to attack me, of course, but I have a moderate resistance to damage (called "invulnerability", somewhat of an exaggeration especially at early levels). But in addition, the force field absorbs some of the impact. So overall I can take on larger groups of harder enemies than I could alone. Of course, I only get half as much XP and influence for each, but that's OK if I can take twice as many or twice as hard.

Patrolling the streets this way is OK, and it also works most of the time with indoors missions. There are a few situations where it doesn't work, though. For instance if you have to take an elevator, autofollow does not have the artificial intelligence to click on the elevator. So then I have to get up, go into the bedroom, and manually click the elevator. Same if you have to jump over an obstacle, but that is rare. You can usually go around, and autofollow handles stairs quite well. Anyway, I have to go back from time to time to re-cast the force field. Unlike DAoC, this game has no buffs that last until you turn them off.

Joining a group, or taking in another player, is not recommended. If you cannot set your own pace and decide where to go, the bot will get lost a lot more. Also you will need to play the bot more actively, to keep the team shielded. It would be so much easier if I had the two machines side by side...

Luckily, I just happen to have this portable machine lying around that I almost never use. It was good enough to play DAoC, albeit with some lag, back when the previous machine was away for repair. Time to see if I can get it on the home network, and install City of Heroes...

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: Self sabotage?
Two years ago: I want my acid
Three years ago: More e-books! More, more!
Four years ago: Alcoholic beverages
Five years ago: Stupid ISP and the pursuit of happiness

Visit the Diary Farm for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.

I welcome e-mail:
Back to my home page.