Archive for February 12, 2008

No marvel there will be no Marvel

February 12, 2008 1 comment

In this blog entry there is an interview with Microsoft’s Shane Kim where he confirms that the Marvel Universe Online MMOG has been cancelled. With the rumors that have been circulating about the cancellation it is not really any surprising news.

It is interesting to read Kim’s comments regarding the cancellation though:

  • Kim never mentions Cryptic Studios. He talks about Microsoft and Marvel and that “both parties” came to an agreement. So where does Cryptic Studios fit in all of this? Have they just been hired by one of the two M’s as consultants? In the MUO trailer on Cryptic Studios web page Marvel, Microsoft and Cryptic seemed to be included as partners all three. So what happened here?
  • According to Kim there is only one successful subscription-based MMOG, based on Microsoft’s definition of success. That would be pretty certain that he is thinking of World of Warcraft and that success means a game that pulls in loads of money and/or is a game that many people will know about. He also indicates that a different business model than subscriptions would have been preferable.

I am certain that Microsoft’s main platform for the game would have been XBox 360. With the XBox Live service which in itself is a subscription-based service, would the game have been good enough to lure a significant amount of XBox players with another subscription fee? Perhaps not; certainly not at the numbers Microsoft would have liked for the game (millions no doubt).

I would not be surprised if M&M have looked at material available for The Agency and throught “we should have taken a similar approach”. Will Microsoft try again at some point? Traditionally Microsoft buys companies that make stuff that is better than what they do themselves and that fits in their portfolio. So will they buy an MMOG game studio at some point, or just stay out of the traditional MMOG market?

I think they might focus on more casual multiplayer games than the MMOGs typically offer. That could potentially attract many more players than the traditional MMOGs. If there are some good candidate game companies in this area that are XBox friendly I think they could become candidates for being bought by Microsoft.

Smooth City life

February 12, 2008 Comments off

Today the “Issue 11.5” update went live for City of Heroes/Villains, which provided a good amount of updates to the game.

One of the changes that will affect most players are the smoothening of the leveling curve. XP gained for fighting enemies have been increased in general, but to a more significant extent in two level ranges – 13-20 and 36-50. I had a go with one of my dominators at level 46 to see if the increase was noticeable.

It certainly was noticeable. My guess is that the increase for the missions I did was in the ballpark of 25-40% increase. I did not record exact numbers before the update with the same level and difficulty setting, so it is entirely subjective.

On top of that they have also decreased the amount of debt received at death.

While I am not entirely surprised at the level ranges they have increased XP for I would have guessed that the high 20s/low 30s would have some love also. At least that is the level range where my characters kept getting “stuck”. But that could also be related to the missions to some extent.

I think it is positive now that even at the higher levels a character will not be able to play through all of the contacts and content; this will provide some needed variation when playing alts.

Another noticeable change is the combat attribute display. This provides some real numbers on how much various powers and enhancements affect your character. The list of values available is quite large. By right-clicking an attribute it can be added to a monitor window (see upper left in picture for an example), allowing a player to show selected attributes while playing.

Combat Attributes

It was a bit revealing to see exactly how much some powers affected certain attributes, but I am not so sure I will have much of it displayed permanently. It does not show timers for powers and buffs, which I think would be useful to see. Today I use HeroStats for that. But it is a nice addition.

Many other changes are also included in the update,but these were the ones that pretty much everyone would be affected by, so that was what I looked at first. And so far it seems like a quite nice update.

Categories: City of Heroes