Dogbiter, the official site has tons of links to fansites. And a lot of those fansites have tons of links too...although I don't recall any of the URLs and am too lazy to track them down. Just scan for link and you'll find them.
Novac, among those links should be one or two sites that provide skinning tutorials, so you might find those helpful.
I too found myself using the same pool of five to six characters (pared down for a four person team) over and over again. I had a preference for fliers and speedsters over the heavy hitters. Same goes for the original characters I built. Nothing beats a flier for crossing some of the massive city boards, because even speedsters have to negotiate around buildings and obstacles. As I recall, there is at least one mission where speed is fairly essential. Also, fliers were great when fighting massive enemies whose very footsteps do damage to ground-pounders who get too close.
I'm wondering if I encountered a glitch in the system. I discovered, when Bullet became available (and I could afford him) that he was damned near unstoppable in melee. I found that, if you built a speedster with a knockback element to a melee power, no matter how tough the enemy, the speedster could set up a near endless, irresistible string of attacks. When you suffer knockback, and here I mean just a small amount of knockback, there is a space of time, however brief in which you cannot attack or defend. And the Speedster could just wade in before you recovered and hit you again. And again. And again. I used this tactic unwittingly to have Bullet whup Pan single-handedly over and over. IIRC, even SuperCollider fell to this tactic.
My experience was that this was horribly imbalanced since even the super-tough guys seemed vulnerable to it. I think there was a density based power that could resist knockback, but IIRC, it was dreadfully expensive. And given that the strongsters were usually powerful but slow as hell, it simply didn't pay to rely on them for the heavy-hitting business. I tried to rationalize it in terms of what we see in superhero comics with speedsters like Flash. But, to me, it seemed to discourage any sort of functional variety in character building. My reasoning was, essentially, "it's cool to build a guy with strengths and weaknesses, but it's functional to just build a flier with a ranged attack or a speedster with a knockback melee.
Did anyone else encounter this same thing?
The game did glitch my system with some of the load-ups between missions. That was troublesome, but I rather more blamed my system than the game. Of course, at the time, I didn't have access to other folks' difficulties with the game. Oh! Another glitch I encountered: during the final mission, with all the floating boards, I found it problematic if I knocked an enemy off the board into the temporal void. I found the game would not let me progress to the next stage when I did this. As such, I encountered a drawback to the speedster/knockback combo. Half the time, Bullet's effectiveness actually kept me from going further. Save at every stage (goes without saying, but still). Of course, again, it could have been unique to my system's faults.
But it was, for the most part one of the most enjoyable games I've ever played. With some attention to the bugs, I think the sequel could be damn near perfect. However, I fear the sequel won't be coming out anytime soon. I think City of Heroes will be released before they even begin beta testing on FF2.
City of heroes will be the next big thing, I think. But it may be a disappointment for folks interested in a single player campaign. It seems geared more to the online environment, but I could be wrong. I hope, at the very least, they take a page from Neverwinter Nights and make some sort of effort for the single-player fans. However, like NWN and its mods, CoH hasn't solved the jigglytech problem of flexible capes, so no heroes in CoH will be able to wear capes. Of course, as with NWN, there will probably be some industrious consumers who might provide patches to allow for non flexible capes. It ain't the same, but it's a damned nice gesture.
I hope that provides a decent enough review of the game's(FF) strengths and weaknesses, guys.
"It was just that he was all alone, always by himself; never anyone to share the game. A man who lived in dreams. That's who he was."
Are you living in the real world?