The Let's Play Archive

City of Heroes

by Cleretic

Part 6: Atlas Park - Fearless_Decoy

(Oh god I hope this works)

Hi everyone! I'm Timmy, but I'm better known as the greatest sidekick in the city, Kid Diversion! Today I'm here to show off Atlas Park and all the neat stuff that up and coming heroes have available to them as they start their crime fighting careers.

And here in italics is where I'll put any notes I've got to add some out of character information.

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Atlas Park is the central neighborhood of Paragon City and home to numerous statues, parks, high rise office towers and historical apartment complexes. It also looks really, really pretty at sunset; everything looks like it's made of gold!

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The most famous of all the statues in the whole city is the massive one dedicated to the legendary hero Atlas, who gave his life way back in late 1941 to stop a Nazi sneak attack on American soil. His bravery and sacrifice inspired the mostly neutral American heroes to get off their butts and head over to Europe to whip Hitler's rear and save the day.

It's sort of an unspoken test for new heroes to try and climb up or fly or whatever up to the top, to show they're learning how to handle their powers properly. The view up there is amazing, trust me.

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The other really impressive thing you've probably noticed are the War Walls, the huge glowing blue barriers that surround the neighborhood. After the first Rikti war the really smart scientist heroes like Positron figured out a way to disrupt the teleporter things the Rikti use, and started putting up the walls. Now the system is so advanced that not only does it keep the Rikti out, it can be used to keep really nasty things locked in, like what they're doing over in Galaxy City, the Rikti War Zone, or Astoria.

It's a logical way to break up zones as any, considering the technology when this game was first developed. Newer areas actually have different zone borders, allowing for more natural transitions.

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But they're not completely impassable, the walls between low security neighborhoods all have highways and tunnels between them and even the gates to the bad parts of the city can be used if you've got clearance.

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Like this one here, that connects Atlas Park with the Eastgate neighborhood. Er, what used to be Eastgate, I mean. A few years ago there was a massive sink hole that opened up due to a gang of drug addled monsters called the Trolls trying to make a name for themselves. Now everyone calls Eastgate 'The Hollows', but recently there's been a lot more heroes and organizations moving in to try and reclaim the area.

The Hollows is one of the first 'Hazard' zones, designed to be more difficult than the usual neighborhood zone. It's recently had a bit of a facelift so it isn't as brutal as it was in the past, though once you get past the Frostfire arc it goes down hill fast.

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Over on the other side of Atlas Park is the other gate; this one leads to Perez Park. Take it from me, I've patrolled that park dozens of times and there's nothing worth going there for. Lots of weird mystics and sewer monsters surrounded by two street gangs that hate each other. I think all the citizens moved out so most heroes just let them do whatever they want to each other. *shrug*

Perez Park, on the other hand, hasn't been really looked at since launch and it shows. No contacts, no shops, no real interesting architecture to look at, just trees and things that hate you. The only thing less interesting is the Sewer Network, which is literally miles of generic tunnels.

But you don't have to worry about anything storming the gates, not only are there numerous heroes and police SWAT teams guarding them, they've also got these awesome little drone things stationed at the gates. They may not look intimidating, but they're tapped into a super huge teleporter system; anything that isn't supposed to be near the gate gets zapped and sent off to holding cells at the nearby Zigursky Prison. There the police decide if they can handle the bad guy or if it needs to be teleported out to sea or something. Wicked, right? Too bad these drones need to be plugged into the city's power grid and have to stay put. They probably also cost a whole lot to keep going, I dunno.

The PPD Drones keep the zone transition areas and other important places clear of mobs, so people can zone in and out without any risk. Villain areas have their own drones, and places that aren't suitable for drones have other super-strong things to keep safe areas secure.

Anyway, back to the tour. The first place a brand new arrival should go is here at Paragon City Hall so they can register and become a recognized hero. It's also the home to the five main new hero support teams, so no matter if you're magical or a cyborg or just plain awesome like me, there's a group there to help you get on your feet.

I'm not sure what this protest is about, I think they're some of those End of the World guys, like the Mayan Calendar believers.

The first real contact heroes get depends on their origin; Magic, Mutant, Science, Technology, or Natural. This is probably the only time origin matters, and even then the contacts give similar missions.

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Here's where the registrar is, they handle the IDs and also keep track of all the various super groups that have popped up over the years. That little ID card they give you does all sorts of things, everything from allowing free monorail rides to keeping track of how popular you get. Build up a good enough reputation and you can buy things like new costumes or games or stuff.

City of Heroes uses Influence as its currency, rather than coins or gold. It's a little different using an abstract concept as money, but in a comic book game it's logical. There's very little 'loot' to grind for in the traditional sense, influence is claimed automatically.

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Over on the other side of the street here is Wentworth's, which is a super cool auction house kind of place where people buy and sell all kinds or really keen stuff. I haven't been in there that often since they don't handle XBox games but most heroes find something there they can use.

All Wentworth's (and the villain side Black Markets) are tied to the same auction system; a hero could buy something sold by a villain on a completely different server. The system isn't all that complicated but I'm not going to get into detail here.

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Oh yeah, speaking about video games this place is really cool! It's called Architect Entertainment and it's a full blown holographic simulation center like they had on those Star Voyage shows! You can play all kinds of sweet games and win game tickets, and with a hero registration it's all completely free! Isn't that awesome?

Ah, AE is one of the neatest things City of Heroes has to offer, it's a pretty
robust mission designer system. Pick a map, choose things to populate it, add your favorite anime rip-off plot and off you go. Of course, this leads to two kinds of AE missions; self insertion crap written by mongoloids and money farms. Still, it's worth spending time to see just what kind of stuff you can create, I recommend The Footsteps Initiative myself.

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Over on the south side of town is the Vanguard HQ, the base of operations for all the non-combat stuff they do. Vanguard was set up by the UN to be a worldwide anti-Rikti force, and they're the ones that are really trying to finish up the war that's still kinda going on over where that big Rikti mothership crashed. They're kinda like super military guys with magical weapons, super keen armor, and some really awesome giant robots with lasers. I'm not sure purple is really a heroic color, though... If nothing else Vanguard deserves thanks for getting the Rikti to put pants on.

Most of what Vanguard and the Rikti are all about is getting covered by Cleretic, but I like how they're willing to take heroes and villains into their ranks to save the world. Co-op stuff is awesome.

You know, I've passed that billboard hundreds of times but I've never seen it flash.

And here's an example of some of the client modifications you can set up. The Goonbox was made years ago and replaces some of the signs, icons, and sound effects with various funny things.

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Paragon City's got a really neat public transportation system in place, and the
monorail system connects nearly all the neighborhoods to make getting around as simple as a tram ride.

City of Heroes really makes getting around simple. Between the monorail, the ferry system, dimensional portals, and various temporary teleportation powers you're never more than two zones away from anywhere worth going. Add in the movement boosting powers that you get early on and you'll never have to afk while traveling.

Of course, you can't have a great city like this without great people keeping it safe. Even with all the super powered beings running around you still need brave men and women without powers to handle the everyday stuff. The Paragon Police department goes to great lengths to keep the peace at the street level while the heroes handle the bigger threats.

The vast majority of the PPD exists to get their faces punched by villains, but there's a few contacts that give out missions and they offer Police Scanner missions, which are no hassle one-shot tasks available at any time. They do get stronger as the character gains levels, so the beat cops get replaced by Swat officers, then cops in power armor, powerful psychics, and even stronger stuff.

Whatever the cops can't handle, Longbow can. These guys are the real super powered cops that keep not only Paragon City safe but the Rogue Isles as well. These guys won't rest until Arachnos and all the other evil organizations are finally put to rest. A lot of heroes join Longbow rather than try to fly solo, and there'll always be a job for someone with powers in their ranks.

Longbow : Villains :: Arachnos : Heroes. They've got flyers, stealth operatives, a wide variety of Wardens (boss class supers) and can be a serious threat if underestimated. They're the back-up group of choice for almost all the signature NPC heroes that Villains get to fight.

The woman who first started Longbow and Statesman's granddaughter, Ms Liberty is really strong and can seriously kick butt. She's in Atlas Park as a trainer, helping new heroes develop new powers and guiding them to new heights. Not only does she lead
Longbow, she leads the Vindicators, who are a group of sidekicks to the really big
name heroes in town. She's kinda cute, too, but I'm too young to be thinking about that kinda stuff.

And why is it that all these new heroes have to run around half naked? It's indecent, and it's a good way to catch a cold! This is Rhode Island, you know...

She's a big plot actor late in the game, so she's more than just a sidekick these days. Plus apparently she's got Excalibur at home, though she doesn't use it in game. Trainers are the NPCs you go to when you level up to unlock new powers or enhancement slots, and a recent patch lets players use Trainers as Tailors to play dress up.

Another kinda big group in town is Hero Corps, but they're a privately owned and run business that sells their services rather than doing it for free. Yeah, the idea stinks but they've got a really good PR team so they're fairly respected.

In game Hero Corps exists only for lore and to act as the difficulty adjustment service. You can talk to one of their representatives to make missions spawn larger groups, groups at higher (or lower) levels, or neuter Arch-Villains down to Elite Bosses. EBs are the same thing just with lower HP and regeneration.

Also, a point of clarification. Freedom Corps, created by Statesman and Mrs. Liberty, was made to counter Hero Corps' for profit system. Longbow is the military arm of Freedom Corps.

And I can't really ignore Sunstorm and the impact that the Kheldians have made. I'm not really sure about the details, but a Peace Bringer is a hero that's carrying a Kheldian spirit being in their body. So they get all those neat flying glowing space alien powers and get to wear those trendy sashes, while the spirit gets a longer lifespan. It's all weird to me, but I do know that there's evil Kheldians called Nictus that are running around, and Void Hunter guys who seem to have a mad on for Kheldians.

The original Epic Archtype, Peacebringers and Warshades are the hard mode you unlock when you reach level 20. They have access to all the normal content but also Kheldian specific stuff, including having to deal with Kheldian specific bad guys that can do massive damage to Kheldians. Someone else can get into the details, I've never tried them.

But I gotta warn you folks, there are some stupid people who think that being a bad guy in the heart of Hero central is a suitable career path. Atlas Park does have a few groups who you gotta watch out for.

The most common in Atlas are the Hellions, a group of thugs who think they're cool for worshipping demons but they're just thugs. They like arson, fire, burning things, and low-grade thievery and intimidation. I think the only reason they're still a threat is that they're pretty much beneath the attention of most heroes...

But not me!!

Seen here is Crane Kick, a strong Martial Arts attack that does knockback. Normally you don't get this kind of distance with one kick, but Kid Diversion is 48 levels higher than this Hellion.

Knockback is a double edged sword as a status effect. On one hand, knockback often causes NPCs to rag-doll and that usually buys a good 5-10 seconds of free hits on the target. The problem is you have to run after the guy you just punted, and in groups making the melee folks chase after what they're beating up can get you yelled at.

Take that, evil guy's neck!

Rider Kick!! For complete overkill, this is Eagle's Claw, the strongest Martial Arts power. Taking screenshots of powers in action is harder than I thought it was, I have to give LP superstars more credit.

And I'm not kidding when I say that the only reason Hellions are around is that no one really street-sweeps these days; it's easier getting exp at low levels with the new Death From Below trial. If you want you can watch the same Hellion having a tug-of-war with a civilian over a purse for hours.

Hey, mister! Where are you going with that body bag... and that... cleaver...

Oh, you're one of Vahzilok's goons! The flies should have tipped me off. While the Hellions generally just want your wallet or purse, these guys are serious bad news, they want your body parts. Especially if you've got super powers. Dr. Vahzilok actually stitches parts together and wires them up with electricity to make walking meat puppets, he's completely sick.

If you've ever seen the good Doctor V in game, you know just how sick he gets. He wears custom made power armor... made from super powered body parts.

Ms Liberty taught me this one, she said with my size it'd be a really effective attack.

A quirk with the game's engine is that the same animations are used for all sizes of characters, so while Kid Diversion's Cobra Strike hits a very vital area, the same attack used by a very tall character might whack someone in the head. There's no in game difference, it's just cosmetic.

Also, there are alternate animations for most strikes if you're not a fan of ninja kicking people. Martial Arts (and Super Strength) get the most alternates since they don't have weapons or elemental effects to color.

Have you seen these little robot dudes walking around? They're called the Clockwork, and in all honesty they're not all that evil. Most of the time they're looking for scrap metal, so they're handy around demolition sites and in certain emergencies.

Of course they don't mind helping themselves to metal that's already in use, like these three Sprockets trying to arc weld off a bit of duct work. Excuse me, I gotta stop this.

Whoops, I'm going to have to pry him out of that panel now...

Clockwork minions, being small and fairly light, have a negative resistance to
knockback. The move used here, Dragon's Tail, is a simple leg sweep that hits anyone standing next to the player in 360 degrees and has a chance to knock down. Knock Down, when buffed or up against bad resistances, becomes Knock Back. Which is why a sweep kick sent this Clockwork flying.

The Clockwork King, the faction's leader, is probably closer to being a Rogue than a true Villain in my opinion. He doesn't really set out to hurt people, he's just a bit insane and overprotective of his beloved princess, who I'll talk about later. In fact the Clockwork King shows up a few times in the end game, showing his true potential.

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Gosh this town is pretty at sunset...

So, that pretty much wraps up my tour of Atlas Park. Even with all the gang weirdoes running around it's a really nice place to live and worth coming to visit on vacation some time. Hopefully the Fearless Decoy comes back from his own vacation soon; I'm starting to get worried...

Welp, I'm lost. Got any beer?

If there's interest, my next idea was an overview of Croatoa as seen by Bowhuntin' Hick, shall I go for it?
Edit: Trying to make this more readable, fixed some info, etc. Croatoa on the way.