I’ve got to level 14 before, with another character, and since he was agility-oriented and I like to be different, I went for Super Jumping. It now turns out that’s widely considered the best all-round transport power – fast, obstacles are no obstacle, and great for escaping tricky situations. Screw those guys. I chose Super Jump because I thought it’d be cool, and it really, really was. But Flying is cooler.
I’ve no regrets – the transport power you pick is a hugely important decision, and it has to make sense for your character. Jump was perfect for The Defenestrator, the man who could dodge anything. For a while Brain Storm was going to have Teleport – she’d already gone for Recall Friend as a pre-requisite to it. But the only connection between storms and teleportation is that Teleport and Phasing come under the Lightning skill tree in Diablo 2, so I realised I wasn’t bound to that. And that I might never get to level 14 again, and Flying is kind of an essential experience for a superhero. Besides which, what could be more storm-related than hanging out in the clouds?
It’s unbelievable. I was standing with Ms Liberty when I got it, as I am when I get any skill, so the backdrop to my revelation was the extraordinary Atlas Plaza – dominated by a statue so huge it defines the sky of the place. I spied a blimp soaring as high as the skyscrapers, and instinctively took off.
There’s a reason we humans keep dreaming about this – it feels amazing. Flying is not a means to the end of feeling like a superhero – being a superhero is a means to the end of flying. That’s the real fantasy. Screw saving people, having power, making a difference or facing odds. Taking off is what it’s all about. That wonderful ambiguity of the action – is she being lifted by some invisible force? Does it pull on all her body equally? It doesn’t look as though there is a gravity-strength force acting on her, she looks serene. Is she simply lighter than air? How then would she be controlling it? Is it like swimming? She’s hardly moving, she just zooms. That she flies where she intends to is immediately apparent in her movements, but how the thought becomes action is utterly occluded. No bird can match this, there’s no mistaking Brain Storm for a plane. That is a person who is freaking flying.
I soared to the blimp. I soared past the blimp. I landed on a skyscraper – switching off my fliability just as I approached its surface, knowing without ever having done or seen it before that my upward momentum would continue to carry me those last thirty centimetres to land elegantly, at a gentle trot, on its tarmac surface. I looked down at the blimp – which ought to be branded ‘Cloud Nine’ by the way – then threw myself at it. I slipped, of course, on its rubbery dome, and plummeted unspeakably towards the city below. Again, the activation didn’t seem to involve a keypress – I wished to slow my fall, and it just happened. My downward velocity arced beautifully into a swoop, came up into a steady rise, which became a magnificent soar.
I still haven’t played City Of Villains – the beta is on, but I’m not in yet. It hardly seems relevant at this point. I guess I shouldn’t recommend CoH with the new game around the corner (which will include Flying too), but the new one’s an unknown and this one is definitely great. You can reach 14 in two weeks without trying too hard – sooner if you get lost in it over a weekend as I’m prone to do. I maintain that the game would have 50% more players if you got your transport power at 10. So many people stop short of fourteen, and none of them would stop if they could fly.