Not all that it could have been, but more than it needed to be.
This review is going to take the form of qualifying what I wrote in the abstract, so first "not all that it could have been". I'm pointing here towards the now-legendary update to 'That Game'; WoW - Cataclysm. The possibility for remaking and remodelling the lower-level zones of Paragon City and the Rogue Isles is completely missed. This paid expansion would have been the perfect opportunity to redo whole swathes of the once-shiny City of Heroes with the new Ultra-Mode graphical settings. Yes the new tutorial zone is better, yes the new Praetoria setting is strikingly beautiful and wonderfully detailed...but ultimately most of us didn't want a new playground - there's already plenty of places to play in Paragon City and the Rogue Isles but those playgrounds need revamping so those of us with 5 years or more veteran accounts don't get bored.
When I said it is more than it needed to be, I am referring to the extra Task Forces (quests, raids, dungeons, whatever you want to call them) plugged in at mid and higher levels. Like I said in the previous paragraph I am alarmed that next-to-nothing was done to the low-level zones which are a drab, dull, grind-ridden slow slog across all-too-familiar landscapes. Why spend time making such a plethora of new kit for top-level characters at the expense of the newbies? Without new blood a game eventually grows old and dies. All us veteran players, almost without exception, have said we would like to see an Issue (City's nom de plume for its regular large content updates) focussed solely on fixes. Going Rogue, as a paid expansion, is worth it. But the free content update that coincided with it was barely worth the title "Issue 18: Shades of Gray".
I've lost myself in there somewhere, so I'll try to bring it back: there are good bits to Issue 18 and Going Rogue. I think it is, on the whole, worth paying for the full whack of content if you haven't upgraded already. Those lucky enough to be shiny-eyed and brand new to the 'City of' experience should all be starting with a full Going Rogue experience anyway, and lucky them because the new tutorial zones and low-level content is perfect. The problem lies when they get 3 months in and have their first top-level characters and have achieved a modicum of success in the top tiers of gameplay. This is when newbies will want to try the low-level stuff again, maybe start in the Rogue Isles or Paragon City instead of shiny new Praetoria - and this is where they will be underwhelmed. Hopefully it won't be a deterrent which ultimately ends with them cancelling their subscription, because fresh meat along with the seasoned mutton is what keeps MMOs rolling along.
Going Rogue is a brilliant design experiment, a beautiful application of technology and a wicked update & expansion to the Lore, Backstory, History, etc. of the 'City' universe and a very clever lure for newbie players. The failing point, I think, lies in the rest of the game which now looks almost lazy in its design (in places). NCsoft NorCal have their work cut out in the next few Issues, because those new content updates are going to be crucial - it seems new content is a must these days but there has to be some Cataclysm-style reworking of the old haunts that City players know and love, or we're all going to start getting fed up with them.