The Pixels Less Traveled

August 31st, 2018

I'd mentioned last week that I was an avid player of City of Heroes while the game was still live. I had built literally hundreds of different heroes, villains, and whatevers with which to adventure within the various terrain generated by the City's developers. Some of these characters stood above their brethren in my eyes, however, and saw major 'face time' as they gobbled up every moment not spent adulting.

Unlike a lot of City players, however, I tried to avoid the so-called Flavor of the Month characters. There were regularly combinations of power sets that one could take that were readily game-breaking, and one could usually run roughshod over anything the City could throw at you. The problem with investing your time in a character like this is that, inevitably, they're going to be nerfed into oblivion.

As is often the case in my life, I liked to march to the beat of my own drum while lurking in the City, and would act contrary to popular wisdom. Dash Apostrophe notwithstanding (since they never did figure out how to neutralize the regeneration power set), I had a tendency to build 'challenge' characters, folks with one or two power sets that were considered vastly underperforming, if not impossible to play solo.

The tanker archtype was built to be tough defensively, yet soft on the offense, the better to hold the line while other characters squished the bad guys. The worst primary power set amongst these characters was ice armor, as it was primarily built on avoiding being hit, as opposed to withstanding damage directly. And ice melee was universally believed to be the worst tanker secondary, for its output was abysmal.

So barely a year into my life in the City, I took it upon myself to build a tanker using these power sets: Crystalline! Crystalline is Becky Abrams, an inventor who developed and miniaturized a technology to instantly freeze water, doing so in a variety of useful shapes. Drawing moisture from the air, she could wrap herself in an icy suit of armor, craft ice-based weaponry, and even freeze opponents on the spot!

Though it was incredibly slow-going, since nobody wanted to team with an ice tanker, I ground on Crystalline until she hit the max level in the game - and then beyond, once the 'end game content' was released. Naturally, as other power sets were nerfed into oblivion, her utility became more apparent to the unwashed masses, and eventually she had all the adventures alongside other heroes she could stand.

Bonus nerdery: Crystalline written up for the nerd game I support on my nerd site. Complete with even more screenshot imagery!

Installments in this series:
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