Archive for June, 2011

City of Heroes Going Free-To-Play

Yes, you read that right!

After 7 strong years on the market, NCSoft announced that, alongside the Issue 21 update for City of Heroes being released later this year, we will also be getting City of Heroes: Freedom, a free-to-play version of the superhero-themed MMO.

Free-to-play members will receive 2 character slots to use, as well as 45 game zones, 8 character types, and 105 power sets. Members who continue to subscribe, now known as VIP Members, will accrue Paragon Points, which they can use to purchase more content from the game’s store. Free-to-play members will be able to buy any content that isn’t included in the free-to-play version with cold, hard cash, or by using Paragon Points. There will also be special rewards only available through Paragon Points, and some of these rewards will be VIP Member exclusives. Basically, Paragon Points is a better version of the Veteran Rewards system, which has been a part of the game for years. Another restriction is that free-to-play members will only be able to reach level 50 with their heroes and villains.

NCSoft is even taking care of former players that wish to return. Any former subscribers that return to City of Heroes using the free-to-play version will have access to “nearly everything” that they earned during their subscription including character slots, boosters, and game expansions, as well as their Vetern Rewards points, which can be used in the Paragon Points store.

This is something that I have been waiting for! I played diligantly through the free 7-day trial of this game and went through some hardcore withdrawal when it was over. I swore to myself that I would drop the money to buy the game if it ever went free-to-play, and I intend to start saving up now to keep that promise! I think it’s incredible to finally see this happening, and seeing how other free-to-play MMO games, including the fellow superhero-themed Champions Online, respond to this should be interesting as well.

There’s no word on when Issue 21 will be released, but I will certainly update this post as more news develops.

Are you going to start playing City of Heroes now? Did you play previously and are you open to considering coming back via the free-to-play mode? Are you subscribed and excited for the new bonuses coming to subscribers? Are you going to drop your subscription to use the free-to-play model? Do you not give a crap? Leave a comment either way!

As a last point, if you’re interested in picking up City of Heroes now or when Issue 21 is released, you can purchase City of Heroes Going Rogue Complete Collection here (using this link will help support Chu★Blog at no extra cost to you!), or you can purchase it via Steam here.

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Nintendo Is Growing Up: What Does It Mean?

There were plenty of surprises from Nintendo this year at E3, the biggest one of all being the unveiling of Project Café, now named the Wii U. What shocked me even more than this new system, however, was the library of games for it. 

Of course, it was peppered with the usual Nintendo fair; Zelda, Mario, and all of our favorite first-party franchises were there and looking better than ever. However, titles such as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Online and Ninja Gaiden 3 were also announced for the Wii U. While some of the previous entries in the Wii’s library weren’t totally family-friendly, this marks the first time that we’ve ever seen really hardcore, adult-themed games on a modern Nintendo console, and both the media and gamers alike have taken notice.

This got me thinking. Why would Nintendo make this decision, and what does it say about the company and the direction it’s headed in? The short answer: They’re finally moving forward.

A big complaint that gamers have been voicing in the past few years is that Nintendo seems to be gearing itself more towards young children and casual gamers than anything else. This left a lot of hardcore gamers in the dust, feeling as if Nintendo had just about forgotten them. Many also argued that alienating adult gamers was a sure-fire way to tank the company, especially in these fragile economic times. However, Nintendo used E3 this year to prove that they haven’t forgotten us, and that both they and their systems are growing up.

The obvious benefit to this move for Nintendo is that they can open themselves to a larger audience, who are both older and most likely have more money to spend. The downside, of course, is that they could possibly garner criticism from parents and the media about putting adult content on a line of systems that has largely been known as something that is safe for the whole family. Nintendo will, of course, follow all laws and regulations to make it obvious which of their titles have mature content, but that won’t stop people from complaining (it never does). Regardless, any cries of negativity will probably be deadened by the piles of money Nintendo will be swimming in thanks to the Wii U.

This also poses another question: How did this family friendly system attract mature titles? That answer seems apparent to me: it’s the technology. There are a ton of new gaming possibilities that the Wii U and its touch-screen sporting controller present, and it is to be expected that any gaming company would want to explore what they could do with it. If Nintendo is willing to allow a little blood and violence on their console, why not use it to reach more consumers? Nintendo seems finally open to exploring new ways to reach gamers, and in my opinion, it’s going to pay off, big time.

Now, don’t misunderstand me when I say ‘finally ready to explore’. Nintendo has changed gaming with their technology more than once, and has more than proven that they are always experimenting with how to step up their products. However, I always found their game libraries to be a bit stagnant and repetitive. In contrast to that, it looks like the Wii U will be a breath of fresh air in this regard, and I for one am excited to see where it leads.

So yes, my personal opinion on all of this is that Nintendo is growing, as is their fanbase. The direction their heading in is an exciting one, and only time will tell how successful it is.

What do you guys think of the Wii U and the direction Nintendo is taking with their game library? Blog about it yourself and share, or leave a comment!

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