Home > City of Heroes > The new superhero creation

The new superhero creation

August 17, 2011

With the soon-to-be-released hybrid payment model update of City of Heroes, there is a long list of changes that has been done, both in terms of content and user interface design. The first part that players will encounter is of course the character creator, which have had a user interface revamp. An interesting feature is also that the character creator will be available before the complete game has downloaded.

Many people may spend a fair amount of time creating their character before they start to actually play, so it only makes sense to have that available while the rest of the game downloads. The same thing is also for the tutorial, this one will also be available before the complete game has downloaded.

Initial view in the new City of Heroes tutorial

I have collected a couple of screenshots from the latest beta update of the character creation, which is likely what it may look like at release. Continue after the break to see more.

The first screen after logging in is of course the character list – this one may look a bit different with the number of slots available, depending on the account status – this is a view a fresh VIP player would have with other having fewer slots available. In upper right corner there is an icon for the store, e.g. one could go buy more character slots, rename tokens, server transfers etc here if one wanted.

I am going through the steps here to create a new character named Zoriel. He will be a beam rifle/time manipulation corruptor, which is a mixed ranged damage and support archetype, with some emphasis on the damage side.

Character list/creation start

The next step when create new character has been selected is to set the origin and name of the character. The desired name of the character can be entered in the marked field at the bottom in the picture below. The name can be checked if it is available. If the name is not used already it will be reserved at this stage. This is a small but very good change from before, when the name was selected last. The name is among the most important aspects of a character and at least for me, the name will affect how I make the character sometimes. So it makes much sense to have it in the beginning.

A character can be started either as a hero or villain in Paragon City/Rogue Isles, or in Praetoria where the character will help the Loyalists and/or the Resistance and at a point later choose to become a hero or villain. If one starts as a hero/villain the choice of which of those will not be done until in the tutorial. The origin can also be chosen, which as the page describes will not have a big impact on the character.

Choose origin and name

The next screen is for selecting playstyle – this provides 6 different options – tank, melee damage, ranged damage, crowd control, support and pets. This is simply intended as a guidance to what archetypes to look at in the game. After all there are 14 different archetypes available in the game, although only some of them may have to be unlocked – 8 archetypes will be available for everyone. Some archetypes may appear in multiple playstyle categories here.

Choose playstyle

After the playstyle has been selected the actual archetype selection is done, with archetype options presented based on the playstyle chosen. In this case there are 6 archetypes presented, which pretty much boils down to archetypes that can do ranged damage and which is available to choose from. The more detailed information at the bottom is intended to provide some more guidelines about each archetype, as it may vary a bit how good they are in different areas.

Choose the archetype

Next step is to choose the powersets (primary and secondary). In this case the primary powerset is Beam Rifle, which is a purchasable powerset – you have to buy it to get access to it. There is a lock symbol (marked in picture below) on items that are not available, but also a Paragon Market symbol on the powerset, which allows you to open up the Paragon Market window directly, with the proper buy option visible directly. The same principle applies to other items that needs to be unlocked by a purchase also. For the corruptor there are 12 different primary powersets to choose from, the only one that needs to be purchased is Beam Rifle. At this stage one also gets to choose one power from this powerset (two powers are available at this level to choose from).

Purchase the Beam Rifle powerset

The secondary powerset is next, which is Time Manipulation in this case. The power choice is only one available power at this stage, but for both primary and secondary powersets it is possible to review the descriptions of all the powers in the powersets. It is also possible to get more detailed information about a power if the Information icon (marked in picture below) is clicked.

Choose secondary powerset

Next is choosing gender and general body shape. There are some simple default choices, or one can play around with the different sliders available.

Choose gender and body

The next step is perhaps what many consider the core of the character creation – creating the actual costume for the character. Same as in the old character creationt ool, you can go wild will loads of options here, use the reandomize tool or start with a template option. As we have a weapon-wielding powerset for the character, we can also choose which beam weapon to use, for which there are a couple to choose from. From this stage it is also possible to save custumes worked on as well as load already saved costumes. A nice detail here is that it is possible to change the light, so that it is possible to see how the character looks like when it is a bit dark as well as when it is bright.

Create the costume

After that it is then possible to customize the powerset colours – this is an optional step, if one is happy with the default colours thes can be kept. As one select the different powers one can see on the character how it looks like when that power is activated. In my case I decided to customize the colours; for beam rifle I choose green beams with a bit of yellow and for the time manipulation effects a kind of blue:ish colour scheme.

Customize powerset colours

After that we are at the final stage, review what we have done and go through the final step to register the character.

Register the character

When the character is done it is going directly to the tutorial (may be skipped if you have already gone through it). The tutorial itself is quite short and shows a few basic gameplay elements, plus you get to choose whether the character should be a hero or a villain. The progress in the tutorial is slightly different from that point, with emphasis on slightly. The main difference is that there are different NPCs to talk do. Due to a new feature called combat phasing, the “reality” will look a bit different depending on whether you are a villain or a hero. This is also somethign that is used in the starter zone areas (Mercy Island and Atlas Park) in that parts ot the zones will look different depending of which “phase” the player is in.

This is a pretty neat feature I think, which reduces the need to have a separate instanced area for every single choice or path taken. Thus there will be more gameplay in the actual outdoor zones also.

After doing the tutorial one will be at level 2 and can start some missions in the different starter areas – or one can also jump into the trial Death From Below, aka sewer trial. This is available for both heroes and villains, but slightly different trials for each side. As with other trials one can select to queue up for the trial and then continue playing. When the start criteria for the trial has been fulfilled it will be started and if oen still wants to join one will be teleported to the trial start location. This is a neat way to get some quick XP and also quite fun to play. The trials goes through a few stages of defeating different types of enemy groups. I did not check the time, but it felt quick and I gained 5 levels in the process. The completion reward is a buff for one of four choices of characteristic which can be buffed. The buff lasts for one week, or up to level 22 – whichever happens first. This can be quite good to have for a low level character.

Death From Below trial

The only problem here would be that one may possibly outlevel some of the low level mission content. But that is something for another post.

Anyway, that was a collection of pictures from the new character creator. Perhaps it will be of interest to someone.

Categories: City of Heroes
  1. August 19, 2011 at 11:17

    I really should download the beta client and see for myself. But since you did such an excellent job already I’ll just wait till it goes live. It does look pretty good. I think there is still quite a bit of mileage left in this great MMO. In the meantime I’ll just take over the Rogue Isles together with our electricity clockwork team in preparation of Emperor Cole’s arrival.

    • August 19, 2011 at 18:20

      My guess is that you will be able to check it out in the live environment in about 11 days.

  2. August 20, 2011 at 00:24

    I’ll definitely be sticking my head in once FtP goes live. While it’s not a game I ever seem to enjoy for more than a few weeks at a stretch, CoX is easily one of my favorite MMOs.

  3. August 22, 2011 at 16:34

    Yup, I mean I love the character creator of Champions Online, despite the game’s other flaws, but with CoH going F2P (or a variation of), I think I will have to indulge as well…

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