Ah but if only it were IronClaw it were catching up with instead of Dungeons and Dragons. *Cough.*
Anyway, I can't help but agree with that and what Kayde said about setting up the first character, I can't deny this at all. There's a hell of a lot of micromanagement involved as every last detail can be decided. Even down to the battlecry. I recently created a character whom I call Ancient Gorsch, it was a hard time deciding whether I wanted him to be a tanker or a scrapper and getting his look down in a character-appearance editor that's even more complicated than the Sims was hell.
Even then one has to write up a description for that character (but I had that readily prepared) and a battlecry. In fact, I love his description (minor digression here) as he's basically an only android guard from some ancient civilization that was dug up. Some coder reprogrammed it and tried to make it marketable as a home-owned personal God, the hero for the masses. However, his attempts at business went balls-up, said robot got away and made its place in the World whilst admittedly being a confused as hell. It talks in the third person, frequently has OS prompts and deals with any questions it can't answer with canned current-day hero quotes.
I love the fact that his battlecry is [call $battlecry].
I think the reason this never seemed like work to me though is because City of Heroes is good at dressing things up as fun instead of swamping people down in anal details. It does a lot of stuff in the background and it makes the stuff that the player has to manage as much fun and entertaining as possible. Basically it makes the micromanagement a mini-game in itself rather than something that feels like work, work, work.
This reminds me of other recent pen & paper games over D&D and I think that's why I like it. I think that's what I prefer of a game when they keep as much micromanagement in the game as possible and then make the rest of it a mini-game or at least fun and entertaining. From this I can only surmise that what each person considers to be fun is down to them. As I said, some find the macromanagement/micromanagement of Masters of Orion a good time. I don't personally but some do.
I don't think micro/macromanagement is so bad, actually. I just think it's all down to how it's introduced. They need to make it fun for the gamers and open for the developers. They really need to think it out before they do it. Now if Blizzard had as fun a player-end management-system as City of Heroes does and they actually bothered to think about the rules for their developers rather than taking parts of the API away in a crying sulk whenever they felt like it then World of Warcraft would be one hell of a game, instead of just work, work, work as we clean up Blizzard's mess.
I'm not sure I agree with you there, Kayde. There're no weapons and armour so the system is entirely dumbed down, all one has to worry about are the abilities they power up (which doesn't take influence, you get so many abilities per level) and the enhancements or items they buy, which do. Enhancements can be wasted but from what I've seen, one gets really good enhancements by battling mobs that are even to them anyway. So I can buy 15 enhancements right now but I'm getting 12s and 13s off mobs anyway. Basically, the ones one buys are only marginally better than the pickups, just toys for people with lots of influence. That means that there's lots of room to play around and really, the thinking on abilities is less than one would find in even most single-player CRPGs.
About influence, I'm not sure how it was when you were playing but on my server (Triumph), there's a help channel and there are these high levels that are ludicrously generous. There are people that randomly fly around and give people free influence (no catch22, either). One of my characters (level 12) has over 100,000 influence because people will not stop giving him free influence! I don't know whether he's just that cool or what the reason is but if this keeps up, I'll never be short of influence.
I have more than I know what to do with.
Another point about it (which removes bragging points, something I love) is that the strategy can also be taken from a simple standpoint. A tank is a tank, different tanks have different toys to be sure but all one really needs is a tank and having read Sharkey's piece on City of Heroes, I see this holds up well for high-levels, too. There's a little bit of planning but there's no real need to pick out people with specific abilities. I've seen kiddy RTS games that require more strategy than City of Heroes does.
Mostly, I just go in there and have fun with it. It seems a lot more light-hearted than most games and I'm always rich! I suppose this is why I keep playing City of Heroes and I don't play other games anymore. I admit, I actually gave up on World of Warcraft early, I never got a character to level 40 (what's the point?) and I only stuck around for the coding. City of Heroes is another story entirely. I was playing it before World of Warcraft got stale and annoying and now I'm playing it again.
I just don't think that the micromagerial nature of most games exists in City of Heroes, at least not to a really discernable level that interrupts the fun. Mostly it's just roleplaying. Even for low levels it's just roleplaying. I love that. You get to the Hollows really early on and lots of groups have to be formed and there can be quite a bit of roleplaying if one finds a good group and due to the lack of PKing, there're always good groups. One finds stupid people more easily in PvP/PK games than not, I won't cast aspersions upon or as to why this is.
Heh, I suppose I should try a different server or something, perhaps being rich all the time would make a difference. ;p
I suppose this is why I like City of Heroes so much and why I've gotten back into it lately. It is mostly just about the fun, there aren't even any wars over weapons/armour because there is no weapons or armour! It's more about fun than Warcraft is. I think the problem with Warcraft is that it was posed to us as much of a variant as 'The Sims' as it was an MMO. We ended up having to micromanage every aspect of our entertainment. This would've been nasty if it had been via an interface but for a time they let us freely create our own micromanagement, this in its own way echoed the freedoms of our own lives. This is why I frequently rebelled against Blizzard's cutting back when I was playing but I digress. The management of gaming is little more than filling out tax returns before going out for a night on the town. However, sometimes the tax returns become so important that the night on the town is brushed aside, that's a bad thing.
As the Greeks might tell us, everything in moderation.
I think it was fun to us as builders though to be able to build our own sense of freedom and that's where the entertainment came from, a sense of unparalleled freedom, at least at first. I did it because I enjoyed making my game, my game. Now I code primarily because I like to code and I wouldn't leave gamers out in the cold. I don't micromanage in City of Heroes, I don't need to. I just get in there and play.
I think primarily the real reason that managing our entertainment became so interesting and possibly even fun was that because for the first time (without being game developers), we actually saw our code having an effect on a changing World and groups of other people within that World, either through us or through them using our works too. There was an unending sense of growth and contribution there and everything that was changed helped make the game a little different for each player.
There are some entities that like to be individual.
That's all I can say really. Though I find this question echoes an older, more prominent question in my mind; Why was Barbie Fashion Designer so popular?
The answers to both would probably be very similar.