Friday, May 18, 2012

Lost Levels: NCSoft Collector's Editions - Part One

As I've made clear in the past, I'm not much of a PC gamer. My roots were always firmly planted in console gaming; pre-Nintendo I was rocking the Odyssey in my parents' basement. I barely touched a computer for gaming until early high school after witnessing the marvels of Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight at a friend's house. Not realizing my PC was capable of manipulating the Force I promptly began to invest in some other worthy titles: Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Civilization II , X-Wing: Rogue Squadron. Nothing really crazy, just the usual big-league titles that made the rounds in high school. It wasn't until college that I eventually dabbled in some MMORPGs like City of Heroes. While the appeal of playing in a progressive world kept me interested, the monthly fee draining my already low finances put a halt to the new endeavor. Eventually I met PC gaming halfway with Guild Wars, the only (good) subscription-free online RPG. By essentially flipping a massive multiplayer middle-finger to World of Warcraft, ArenaNet and NCSoft established itself as a respectable source of virtual worlds. Regardless of their level of success I've been a big fan of the games, and their respective universes. Here's a brief look at a few of NCSoft's other collector's editions, from the very successful to the quickly forgotten.

Developed internally by NCSoft, Aion had the potential to follow the success of a popular subscription-free MMORPG. Instead we got a grind-heavy Guild Wars with wings. Luckily that didn't stop marketing from putting together a simple collector's edition. Opening the box lid and removing the dvd case reveals the logo cut out of the cardboard tray.

The standard ads and DLC come inside the game case, along with a CD soundtrack. It's a shame that it doesn't come in a separate jewel case, though it's better than just getting a code to download.

I kept the mini-statue Asmodian Daeva Aiva sealed for now, since I really don't feel the need to display her. There's a fair amount of detail and color to this 6.5" inch piece, but nothing really spectacular or unique about the pose. Sweet axe though.

Aion adds to my ever growing collection of paper maps by including two separate guides to the home regions in the game. The flipside of each is a different poster. I kind of wished the posters were printed separately from the maps for the sake of keeping everything organized.

City of Villains became the inevitable expansion to City of Heroes and naturally produced a sweet collector's edition. I'm a big fan of the raised cover art, and NCSoft's trend of the landscape/widescreen oversided boxes.

Beyond the game itself City of Villains included a demo deck for the CoH collectible card game and a bonus promo card. I never tried the card game, although I'm sure it never really did that well commercially. The real meat of the bonuses is the double-sided artbook, highlighted both hero and villain design for both games. Appropriately, it's about the size of a large-format comic or graphic novel.

And in case that wasn't enough, CoV also includes a total of seven Heroclix figures based on villains from the game. These bad boys are compatible with the rest of the Heroclix system, giving customers three different games to play in one box. Not a bad deal at all.

Of course, paper maps strike again. At little more detail in this one, but with a lamer poster on the back (not really worth a pic).

Check out part 2, which wraps up the collector's editions with Tabula Rasa!


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