Archive for May 28, 2009

Initial peek at Issue 15 for City of Heroes/Villains

May 28, 2009 Comments off

Tonight the beta version of Issue 15 for City of Heroes was loaded to the test servers, so I took a quick peek on the European test server. Issue 15 is named Anniversary (the 5 year anniversary for the game) and contains a few general areas where updates have been made:

  • A Hero Task Force
  • A Villain Strike Force
  • New costume pieces, faces and costume change emotes
  • Improvements to Mission Architect

Being in the game for just a short period I did not attempt to have a go at any of the Task/Strike Forces – that is somethign I woukld rather save to the release also. There is a developer diary post on the game web site regarding these task/strike forces also, take a look there for a little bit of info.

I did see find a couple of new custome pieces I think and I do think the face list was longer than before, but without a side-by-side comparision I could not tell for sure what was new and old. 

My main interest here though was what kind of updates that had been made to Mission Architect though, since this is one of my favourite parts of the game. First of all, the search/browse tool has changed a bit.  By default there is now four options to filter with, plus the free text search:

  • Rating
  • Length
  • If I have voted or not
  • If the level range fits with my level

There is also a button which allows to expand for more options, which gives the search view in the picture below.

Issue 15 Mission Architect Search

Issue 15 Mission Architect Search

 The level search is new and so is the completed/not completed option and the keyword options. The same keyword options are available to set on the story arc when you create the arc. Another new feature here is the arc status, which can have one of three values:

  • Work in progress
  • Looking for feedback
  • Final

 I15_search2The status is also something that can be set in the parameters for the story arc. Thus it is now possible to publish a story arc which you may still be working on or intend to change based on feedback and have that as a searchable criteria. This is a definite improvement I think to the current situation. The default value is Work in Progress, so one need to actively change the status if the arc shall be published with any other status setting.

Another small by significant change is the page selection in the search results. There are now options to go to the last and first pages of the search results, as well as jumping a number of pages forward. This is a welcome improvement.


What also was noticeable in the details of a mission was that it automatically warns if an arc contains elite bosses or arch-villains. It also warns if there are custom enemies which may have a custom powerset selection. This leads in to the next piece, the powersets.

Automatic warning for possibly tricky stuff

Automatic warning for possibly tricky stuff

In the current release when a custom enemy is created, the powers that the enemy can use is determined from three predefined settings for each powerset

  • Standard
  • Hard
  • Extreme

With Issue 15 a new option called Custom has now been added also. This means that almost any combination of the powers in a powerset can be chosen. There seem to be a default choice of powers which cannot be deselected though, so it will not be possible to create an enemy without any powers at all. In the example picture below the green power entries are those that are always there, while the yellow ones can be selected or deselected in any combination chosen.

Custom enemy powerset customisation

Custom enemy powerset customisation

When you run a story arc in test mode a few new options are presented now also, if one clicks on the Architect Options button. 

  • Invisibility
    Your character will be invisible to the enemies in the mission. The character itself will still be visible from your point of view. This is a toggle which can be changed at any time inside a mission.
  • Invincibile
    If this is enabled your character’s health is not decreased.  This is a toggle which can be changed at any time inside a mission.
  • Complete Mission
    Complete the mission, of course…
  • Go to next objective
    Your character is immediately transported to the next objective on the map.
  •  Kill Target
    The targeted enemy is instantly killed
  • Go to next enemy
    If standing near enemies, this will just change the target. If further away it will immediately transport your character to appear next to an enemy. 

I15_MA_testToolsAnother thing which I noticed and which I do not think have been there before, is that in test mode the regular mission map has received a number of additional details. It is now possible to see the spawn points of the different types of objectives that can be placed on  a map and thus get an idea of where things might end up. This is a big help I think and will save a lot of testing time – I have been running countless tests with different maps to get some idea of where things might end up. Note that these indications only seem to be in place for indoor maps. For outdoor maps there are no indicators as far as I have seen.


Improved map in test mode

Improved map in test mode


Test Map legend

Test Map legend

Overall I think the changes made to the Mission Architect part looks pretty nice and is certainly a step in the right direction. I am looking forward to see this go live, hopefully within a few weeks.

Categories: City of Heroes