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Archive for March, 2009

City of Heroes/Villains – my mission design update

March 29, 2009 9 comments

Today I spent a fair amount of time completing my second story arc for City of Heroes/Villains, named The Missing Geneticist. I might not have so much time for this during the week and if NCSoft decides to release issue 14 I want my arcs to be as ready to publish as I can.

I am not entirely happy with the search functions and the rating/comment system in place currently – there will be room for improvement. This is probably something NCSoft will look at once the issue is released once they see people’s usage patterns a bit more.

But partly because of that I decided that I should keep some reference for my own creations here at least, so I set up a separate page with some basic info about my story arcs. Until NCSoft makes it easier to find arcs it cannot hurt with a bit of self-promotion.

Categories: City of Heroes

Leveling an architect, test round one

March 28, 2009 Comments off

Since I been thinking about selecting one character to be my main mission architect once Issue 14 goes live, I decided to have a test run and see how it worked out in practice. After all, it has been said that it would be possible to level a character from 1 to 50 with just Mission Architect missions.

The idea is to create a new character, play him from start and as much as possible only play player-created story arcs. This character would also be the one to unlock all new content and the main one to pick up any mission architect-related badges.

By also starting a new character I will also have the opportunity to try out my own missions from a low level character perspective, instead of using a number of my higher level characters only.

So I decided to have a test run on the EU test server with a new character first to see how it worked out. I picked an Arachnos Widow male (yes, a male widow, Rogue Isles are all for equal opportunity…).

Sente the "widow"

Sente the "widow"

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Categories: City of Heroes

Mission Architect getting closer to release

March 27, 2009 1 comment

It is soon time for Issue 14 Mission Architect to go live. the new update will be downloaded when you exit the live game next time, so most likely it will go live within a week.

I am considering to set up a new character which will be devoted to the mission design part and also only level him through the MA missions. It will most likely be a villain character in that case, since I played that side so much with the regular missions that I have little desire to do much of that again. But I have a few days do decide probably.

Categories: City of Heroes

Designer seeking kindred player; likes to travel, go for long walks and slay demons

March 23, 2009 4 comments

In MMOs today one generally has two types of approaches to things to do in the game. One is the slightly game/theme park oriented approach where NPCs stand ready to give you assignments throughout the world. If you have helped them enough, they may kindly point you to another NPC in need of help.

The other approach is the more sandbox-oriented, make your own stories and events, the game or world just provide the setting.

With the introduction of Mission Architect in City of Heroes/Villains those approaches are in a way brought a bit closer to each other, although still with a game/theme part perspective. Every player is now also a potential mission/event designer.

The Mission Architect systems allows literally 1000s of missions to be available at any time to any player; no more pacing through a long series of missions to get to the one that is interesting. No more getting stuck on some missions and no other missions to progress through. The power of choice is given to the player.

However, with this approach comes new challenges. With 1000s of missions available at any time, which one will the player pick? And a designer creating his/her new masterpiece, how can they make sure that players find their missions?

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Categories: City of Heroes

Mission Architect – creating an enemy group

March 21, 2009 8 comments

City of Heroes/Villains may be one of the MMOs with most enemy variation – there are loads of various mob/enemy groups in the game. Take any fantasy MMO and you have the usual boars, bears, wolves, maybe throw in some trolls, golems, dragons etc.
While most enemy groups in City of Heroes/Villains are humans, they do all have different backgrounds, motivations what drives them etc (beyond waiting to be slaughtered by a player).

However, with Mission Architect it is possible to create your own enemy groups and include in missions. And it is pretty much as easy as creating a player character – which means the sheer variation of enemies one may encounter will likely surpass anything any other MMO can muster.

To illustrate the process I will describe here my creation of an enemy group. While I did not check the time I guess the process to create the enemy group and do some tests with it perhaps was about 1 – 2 hours.

All work starts from the story editor, so to start creating an new enemy group one has to start a new story or edit an existing one. The enemy group can be re-used in other missions and arcs and are not restricted to the one it is created from. The view below is the first view for creating a custom group for a mission.

Custom group creator view

Custom group creator view

Building a new group can include mobs from existing groups in the game, from other custom mobs you have created and they can be mixed in any way you like. The view above lists some of the mobs available from the villain group 5th column (a nazi villain group) on the left side, plus some custom mobs I created for a different mission in lower right.

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Categories: City of Heroes

More Mission Architecture – First arc

March 20, 2009 1 comment

I have played around a bit more with Mission Architect in the open beta now and have created my first story arc.

It is called The Siren Supremes and is a 3 mission arc. There is certainly more work that can be done to it, but it should be at least good enough to let others try it.

It was not so long ago I started to think what missions I might want to create. A thought was to create something around some of my villain and hero characters. The first guineapig here was a character called Shadow Siren.
Before I had a look at Mission Architect I had some vague ideas of the settings I wanted to do. Those I had to scratch; the maps I had been thinking of were not available and I did not have the mob placement control that I had hoped for.

So new ideas had to be made and the story formed and changed as I played with the tools.

Rescuing some kids

Rescuing some kids

First mission has level range 5-40, the other two 35-40.

Edited: I have done a few changes back and forth with maps and difficulty settings on some mobs. Especially the final part was a bit too easy initially.

Categories: City of Heroes

Mission Architecture, first baby steps

March 19, 2009 3 comments

This evening I ptached up my City of Heroes test server installation to Issue 14 Mission Architect and jumped right in with some of my old characters that I had copied there a long time ago.

While there are other changes besides the Architect system in Issue 14 (e.g. some PvP changes) I must admit that I ignored those and jumped straight into checking out the Architect Entertainment complexes. As I logged in with an old copy of my Fortunata I got a new contact in Mercy Island, where a new Architect Entertainment facility had been built.

Architect Entertainment complex in Mercy Island

Architect Entertainment complex in Mercy Island

AE reception

AE reception

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Categories: City of Heroes

Mission Architect open beta has started

March 18, 2009 1 comment

It was a good thing that I did not see this until today, otherwise I suspect my beauty sleep might have been somewhat compromised – more than it already was by Guild Wars (but that is another story). You can find the announcement here.

Categories: City of Heroes

The irresistible spandex

March 17, 2009 3 comments

It must be the spandex. What else can there that continues to attract in a game that many complains has so repetitive mission content settings?

Somehow I keep coming back for more to this game, both in Paragon City and Rogue Isles. I must admit that it might not only be the spandex, but perhaps also the friendly atmosphere, the quick, fast-paced team play with a load of visual crescendos.

My controller Frieda is getting to the stage where she has become a big girl, getting closer and closer to that max level. My only gripe is that there are a number of story arcs that I have not been able to follow properly, while some others are those that I have already done a few times in the past.
Like in the Rikti War Zone, where we in a session ended up to beat up Hro’dothz, the Rikti Lord of War. He is a big fellow as expected from an alien Arch-Villain soldier type (villain 101 stuff). Read more…

Categories: City of Heroes

The 6th 6th one

March 8, 2009 Comments off

A few days ago Melf @ Word of Shadow passed on the torch for the blogger meme to show the 6th – of something. It seems to have mutated a bit from what I can see, although the number 6 is still in there.  I do recall at some point it was the 6th picture in the 6th folder in the pictures directory (assuming you have one), somewhere it was either mutated to or from screenshots (or both).

Before going to the pics I’ll tag a few more to do their thing with this meme if they fancy: Welsh Troll, Zoso &  Melmoth and Van Hemlock.

I do have a fair amount of pictures in the regular Windows pictures folder, although it is a a bit of a mixture and there are also pictures elsewhere. But to stick to the pictures filder in Windows (or Bilder as it is called in Swedish) I first picked the 6th folder and the 6th picture in that folder, regardless of content. 

 

Al Ain souk area

Al Ain souk area

I took this picture among a number of others during a weekend visit to Al Ain, a city in the south-eastern part of United Arab Emirates, close to the Oman border. A bit over a year ago I was in UAE working for 5-6 weeks and this picture was taken in early January as I recall. Not perhaps a quite exciting view to take a picture of some signs, but it relates to a cultural aspect that I found interesting.

The signs are for ladies clothing stores, but not the ladies fashion boutiques one might find in the West, but rather for the traditional outfits, such as the whole body dress abaya. The store windows could have mannequins just like clothing stores here, but when everything that is shown is black whole body outfits, it makes for a slight cultural surprise initially. But really clothes are clothes wherever you go, so it should not really be surprising that there are stores for whatever people may be wearing.

These were in the traditional marketplaces though; if one goes to any of the modern shopping malls the selection of stores looks just like in any Western mall, including fashion boutiques. If you want to experience something more traditional when visiting the region, the malls are the last place to go to.

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Categories: Uncategorized