Archive for August 1, 2007

The original City of Heroes

August 1, 2007 Comments off

I came across a video on YouTube that showed part of a presentation of City of Heroes before release and beta. I found this quite interesting, there are a number of game elements that are different or non-existant in the current game.

  • Attacking certain body parts. In this version of the game certain body parts could be attacked, a feature which I believe other games will be introducing later. In the context of City of Heroes/Villains gameplay, I can guess why this was removed – with the fast-paced action and the many baddies one typically runs into, hitting specific body parts becomes unnecessary complex. That would be more suited for combat where there are fewer baddies to fight at a time, but each baddie will be more powerful. Tactical maneuvers that relates to specific body parts would make more sense in that context, but perhaps less in the day-to-day fights for a superhero or supervillain.
  • Fame – each character gained fame when being successful in completing missions etc and could loose fame if missions failed or if the character was not played for long. With enough fame a hero could appear in newspapers, get a statue (Chronicles of Spellborn is using this idea, it seems), unlock better items and new zones. Good ideas for its usage, but perhaps it was considered to promote grinding and thus removed?
  • Customizable powers – when gaining experience points this could be used to improve character stats or be put into powers in order to customize them. Certainly a very flexible system, if the amount of powers used today were also included. However, it would also be a bit of a heritage from older games, where you might modify stats for a character without knowing what would be suitable an result in a screwed up character. The simplified approach that is used today is better for gameplay I think, although there could be some improvements there also. My guess is that the reason for skipping this feature set was to simplify matters for players.
  • Over 40 zones covering 36 square miles. I think the number of zones today is around that number of slightly less, but that includes the villain zones also. Are there zones that never made it into the game or zones that were merged?
  • Money. You could apprently earn money. The current game has influence/infamy as “currency”, which I guess could be considered a combination of fame and actual money. From a heroes perspective it makes sense not to get money for everything you do (including looting the ‘arrested’ baddies), so the change makes sense. Villains could however defintely have obtained money, although infamy is more in line with influence.
  • Death. When you died it cost some money for medical bills, you lost some fame and you lost experience. The current system with experience debt works better I think, although it is a bit on the light side.
  • Bases and hero groups. Although bases were only introduced with City of Villains, it seems that had been considered from the beginning.
  • Mob behaviour adapted to past player experience. Now this I think would be a neat feature to have, if you have ‘arrested’ many baddies of a certain type, they would adapt their behaviour towards you. Interesting to know if it was not included as such due to it not working out well, or too difficult and little time to realize it.
  • Hero groups providing missions. It was stated that hero groups could earn enough fame to start giving out missions. Would this mean mission terminals like in Star Wars Galaxies and the player cities, or was it actually player-made missions? Probably the former, but the latter would have been interesting to see.

It would be interesting to see other games and similar early presentations and compare with how they ended up after release and a few years of play.

Categories: City of Heroes, MMO Games

Inspirations for story content

August 1, 2007 Comments off

There is an article posted at City of Heroes site where Cryptic Designer Matt Miller talks about some inspirations for the invation in Issue 10 and the Lady Grey Task Force. It is a short one and does not go into as much detail that I would have liked to see about the thought process behind creating the game content, but it is an ok read.

I should warn however, do not click on the link and read the text if you do not know or want to know about the origin of the Rikti race and what to encounter in the Lady Grey Task Force.

Dev Diary – Turning Literature into Content

Categories: City of Heroes

Fighting the invasion – first week

August 1, 2007 Comments off

There has now been a week since the Issue 10 content update for City of Heroes/Villains was released. It has literally been a blast!

The Rikti War Zone (RWZ) is where the bulk of the new content is. In the past week I have almost exclusively played three characters

  • Sarek, my plant/thorns dominator
  • Baron Nuit, my broadsword/dark armor scrapper
  • Frieda, my illusion/radiation controller

Of those actually only Sarek has high enough level to get into the RWZ, so my experience in that zone after release has been pretty much limited to that one. The other two have mostly experienced the Rikti bomb raids when they have been out saving Paragon City’s citizens from harm. The bomb raids to a pretty good job on setting the mood when the raids start – the sky darkens and after a while one can hear the sirens warning about the bomb attacks. Then you will likely see the Rikti bombers at some parts of the zone.

During some bomb raids not much was happening, not many players were engaging. But sometimes it clicked better and big groups gathered to destroy the bombs that had not exploded and fight back the Rikti warriors beaming down. Really fun at times!

I have actually much more on the hero side than I usually have done in the past, I think I have two heroes here that I like and will continue playing. Most of my previous hero attempts stopped are not too many levels and the highest ones have been in low 20s, while I have several villains that are 30+. Since I have not played that much on hero side there will be a lot of story arc and zones that will be new to me, which is a good thing. While I like the story arcs on the villains side in general, there is not enough to have variation for several characters going through the levels, especially when you get to the 30s. The RWZ does address that to some extent.

My villain Sarek is currently not so far in the story arcs as far as mission goes, but has participated in a number of the other story arc missions. The stories feels pretty solid from what I have seen and it has been great fun.

The RWZ seems most of the time be running in either 2 or 3 instances, it is quite understandable since it is the first non-PvP zone for both villains and heroes – more people to play and team with. Teaming has not been a problem and most of the time I have been playing in full or nearly full teams.

This last Sunday we had a run of the new Task Force with Issue 10, the Lady Grey Task Force. We started you with 6 guildies (3 villains and 3 heroes), but since it requires 8 persons to start the task force, we had to PUG for the remaining two. It was a quite nice and fun task force, with 5 different missions. I did not time it, but I think we spent around 4-5 hours in total. It might go a bit faster if one would not try to clear each area and exit each mission when it is finished. Most of it was good fun, although the first mission failed for us.

I am not writing any details about the content of the task force here, partly because I forgot to capture all of it for pictures and we will do another run of the task force next Sunday. I will probably write something more detailed then, assuming I remember to capture the missions (long live /demo_record command).

For those that want some info on the Task Force, look rather at the Paragon Wiki entry for Lady Grey Task Force. If you do not want any spoilers, skip that entry and skip my blog entry when I write about it in a week or so. The wiki entry above will tell you mission objectives and enemy and ally NPCs/mobs to be encountered.

In summary, the past week has been a lot of fun in the game, both in and outside the Rikti War Zone.

Categories: City of Heroes