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The original City of Heroes

August 1, 2007

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
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