Ship of Heroes – Smells Like Easter Eggs

It seems somewhat appropriate that I should discuss this on developer appreciation week. It certainly seems like it was a labor of love. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but it seems like a good game that delivers a very City of Heroes type of experience while also being not exactly that. At the very least, I like the style of their easter eggs.

I found the character creator to be very similar to CoH. They only that the three body types, female, male, and hulk, but with quite a lot of sliders that make the specific facial and body traits quite adjustable. In fact, it was a bit overwhelming at first. So many sliders. My main complaint was that it’s hard to tell what a given slider actually does until I grab it and drag it around. Not a huge problem, though.

I actually had a brief moment of panic toward the end. Based on the final look and costume I decided to go back and look through the archetypes and powers some more to find something that seemed a little more suited to my appearance.

Going back and changing those early selections actually causes the latter customization tabs to “grey out,” worrying me that those changes had been cleared. This wasn’t the case, though. Once I hit next everything was back and just the way I left it. That was quite nice. I ended up making a Spear/Fire brawler, which is a bit out of the norm for me, but felt appropriate in the moment.

Magic Takes Work

Visually the game is very strange. Some of the textures seem very rough, sometimes looking like something from a game made two decades ago. Not everything looks as rough as this “poster” does, but it’s not uncommon either. I don’t know how much of this is intended and how much of it is still a work in progress. It didn’t necessarily detract from the experience though, as I regularly play things that “look old.”

Movement wasn’t too bad once I decreased my mouse sensitivity. Not having to rebind strafe and turn was a nice touch, as this is something I must do in most modern MMOs.

Most of my struggles were related to targeting and enemy nameplates. The size and coloring of nameplates made it extremely difficult to judge distance and grouping in large rooms. At the same time, it can be hard to tell which enemy is targeted unless you’re up close and able to see the ground. Not a huge problem, really, and I did eventually adjust. Most of the missions I’ve done didn’t involve large rooms and it really didn’t seem to be much of an issue in the missions that had a more “rooms and corridors” layout.

When I did eventually stop, it was mostly due to this specific bug. After leaving a mission it would respawn me at the “default location” as a sort of “blank character.” The main problem being that this character has no movement powers. I was able to reload properly by walking to one of the loading zones, but that gets old at normal speed. I also found it possible to load by exiting and restarting the game, but didn’t feel like doing it after every mission and called it a night.

There was one thing I found especially interesting, the runic barriers visible in the Red Sigil missions. While not something I do a lot of, learning how to read and write English using the nordic Elder Futhark turns out to be a piece of knowledge not easily lost once obtained. Every time I see something using these runes, I feel compelled to “translate” them. First to see if the person using them knew what they were doing, and second to see what message said person wished to communicate. Quite honestly it’s usually either nonsense or something relatively mundane and uninteresting.

Obscured characters were pulled from other screen shots. Text only includes what should be on-screen at this exact moment.

Imagine my surprise when this instance turned out to be part of Tolkien’s Ring Verse. An extraordinarily appropriate choice, given Tolkien’s fondness of such things. It’s a really nice little easter egg and I appreciate the effort someone put into making it. It was extremely easy to follow and read, which means somebody over at Heroic Games has a good working knowledge of the runic alphabet or the sense to find someone who does. Not that my opinion counts for much, but I’m impressed.

Hopefully I’ll have more to add at some point. This is just about the only gaming I did in my single day off this week, so it will have to do for now.

Y’all take care. What out for that one ring, I read somewhere that it’s nasty business.

Hey, it’s Blaugust time! The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

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