Superhero indie MMOs City of Titans, Valiance Online, and Ship of Heroes say they’re not in a race

Whenever we write about the current crop of City of Heroes-inspired indie superhero MMORPGs, some of our commenters nearly always ponder whether it would be better for everyone if the three bigger studios pooled their resources, talent, and playerbases into one big game. Surely it would be better if they weren’t all competing with each other – or so the thought goes.

But following a pair of our articles earlier this week – one an exclusive from Ship of Heroes, the other a preview of Valiance Online’s map – key developers from those two games as well as City of Titans chimed in on Twitter to attempt to dispel the idea that they’re in any sort of competition to begin with.

“I wouldn’t call what we’re doing a race or battle personally,” Valiance Online tweeted out.

“We’re against the whole race/there can only be one mentality as well,” the City of Titans account agreed. “We really wish news sites would stop fueling that fire.” (That part appears to have been directed partly to the twitter account of the fledgling Marvel MMO, which we also covered last week.)

City of Titans Project Lead @warcabbit expanded the discussion to a straight up monologue (his word!) that’s worth a read for his perspective on NCsoft, City of Heroes, and the other superhero titles:

The Phoenix Project as a whole, have agreed to refute that, and to act in the spirit of our founding – we are all part of something greater. We all have our differences – I’m not going to get into what they are – but we have distinctions, and we hope each of our distinctions appeal to a playbase – we want MORE superheroes. Heck, we’ve even discussed crossovers with Valiance. I think we settled on ‘we’re each other’s cinematic universe’ but hey, things can happen.

We got one opponent. It’s not NCSoft, it’s apathy. We believe, here. We’re making something the world needs, we’re looking at inspiring people to be the best they can be. We are willing to go hard, and fail, and get back up, and keep fighting.

As long as one of us is here? It’s not over.

It’s not about CoH. It’s about the spirit of CoH. About a positive community in a MMO. About the first MMO to encourage LGBT players, not ban them. About the first MMO to let you look how you wanted, play how you wanted, and with who you wanted.

I see people talking about how Storm or Wonder Woman or Spidey inspired them because they could see themselves in them, because there wasn’t someone out there besides that hero. How finding that hero was lighting for them. How it gave them hope, how it made them believe that they could be more than the obvious. Doctors. Teachers. Scientists. Businessmen. Anything. We want people to keep being inspired. And we want to fight for it.

We’re not gonna do that by tearing each other down.

All of you reading this, remember when you found comics, or video games. Remember how those pages felt the first time you opened them. Remember when you believed a person could be a hero, and you could do it too. It’s just paper. It’s just ink and art and staples. But it’s not. It’s a dream, of truth, and justice, and doing the right thing – and being more than yourself, more than what others see when they look at you. Hold that flame in your heart. Pass it on. That’s who we are.

So it may not be a race, but I doubt I’m alone in wishing they could move faster all the same!

Source: Twitter
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34 Comments on "Superhero indie MMOs City of Titans, Valiance Online, and Ship of Heroes say they’re not in a race"

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Duane Does not check email

I don’t think of 3 titles in development as bad, but a couple of backups if the effort of one fails. 5-10 years from now…. we will see how many get to market or whatnot unfolds.

I love all three for trying and feel a lot of gratitude anyone bothers to remember old coh players.

Reader
Crowe

I think one of the best things about CoH was the sense of community. I had my first character nearing level cap when I first encountered a forum-aware guild. Eventually, I ended up joining and reading the official forums. Oh sure, I had occasionally popped in for FotM or powerset guidance but now I was reading server-level forums and actually recognizing some character names from people I had played with. It really opened my eyes and made the game a whole lot bigger and more important for me.

From my readings and research on City of Titans, Valiance Online, and Ship of Heroes I get the same feeling. These guys *get* that. I think that’s a big part of what’s driving them to make a game. (note: no offense to H&V but I just haven’t seen enough for me to get much of an impression) If I could find a game that allowed deep customization in playstyles that also allowed me to invest myself in the server forums of the game (or whatever would approximate my “local world”), then I’d be all over that. It wouldn’t even need to be a superhero game. Rift was the closest I came to finding the depth of playstyle but Trion seems to be actively managing that game to hell.

So for CoT, VO, and SoH I have donated. I don’t feel that I’ve “cheated” on anyone as much as done my due diligence to give folks with a skillset I lack the opportunity to possibly fill a niche in my gaming life. If even one of those three is successful (for what I’m looking for) then I will consider all three a solid investment. I’ve never felt this was a race and I’m in my middle years so I am (hopefully) mature enough to wait for quality of delivery over speed. No race. If all three deliver, I feel like I’ll be an even bigger winner.

Reader
Magnus Itland

Yes, technically there are three spiritual successors to CoH (or four if you count Heroes & Villains), but they are not equal. One of them had a highly successful Kickstarter, the other two are subsisting on love and pocket change.

I’ve actively supported both of the two junior partners, but it seems only a very small fraction of the thousands of former CoH players are willing to vote with their wallets for a more diverse super future. That’s a bit disappointing. With Valiance Online you can actually get to test the alpha build of the game for a few dollars. You’d think if people were that excited, they’d vote with their wallet.

Reader
Crowe

Wat, no Redside?
(jk)

Reader

They better be, because there is not enough demand in the market for all three of them to survive. DCUO hobbles along with console players propping it up and honestly, I don’t know how Champions Online keeps the doors open. The superior comic MMO was lost to NCcrap and now here we have three at once trying to make it. Not gonna happen.

Reader
IronSalamander8 .

I did give City of Titans some KS money but I’ll give any of these a try once we have a solid and stable release. CO was a major letdown after CoX with its weird graphic style and the lackluster animations/combat and DCUO had such odd power choices and lack of customization despite its excellent look that I cancelled my pre-order of that title.

Of the 3 Ship of Heroes looks like the best overall, Valiance the ‘shiniest’ and Titans still looks like its either still very early in development or going for a much older look than one would expect from a new MMO.

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

I will admit curiosity at how CoT has an older look. That is a label I had not heard before.

Reader
Duane Does not check email

No one knows vo was in development but cot was “first, loudest and longest at this spiritual successor” quest.

Cot will always get way more scrutiny and soh is the bright new flashy.

I cannot say I agree with all these screenshots, alphas and openness. I miss when development was more private and less communication. Controlling expectatations was easier, but it’s not 2004 anymore.

Reader
Chosenxeno .

Pfft. It’s a race…A race that SoH will win…EHEHEHEHEHHEHHEH!

Reader
Hirku

When the chips are down, these “civilized” developers…they’ll eat each other.

nomnom.jpg
Reader
Witches

Yes, yes…but who is leading?

Reader
TheDonDude

I bet the Flash and Superman say the same thing before each charity match.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

Rather than a “peace treaty” between these 3 studios, i would have rather had instead, a combined effort for 1 overall game.

Reader
Sorenthaz

Everyone has their own visions and ways they think that they could do CoX but better.

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Kickstarter Donor
Legend Of Vinny T

That’s the tricky part of being a “spiritual successor”. The spirit moved everybody in different ways. Just look at the settings: Contemporary New England city, future California city, and interstellar generation spacecraft.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

Of course, all of those new and different directions, might have simply been intentional for the sake of keeping the games out of legal hot water. :P

boredinBC
Reader
boredinBC

I think the games will find success based on their merits. I can’t say whether there is a market large enough to sustain all 3, but provided the developers can bring the games to market with a sustainable business model, more options will be better for players overall.

None of the MMOs that I currently play were first to market, or unique within their genre, but they have found a playerbase to keep them afloat.

To an economist, or a certain type of philosopher, all things are in competition with one and other, for our dollars, time and even our thoughts. I think it’s smart that they are not specifically targeting eachother as direct competitors, especially in a genre that’s so reliant on community development. Why start gatekeeping so early in the process? This is a nebulous time where potential customers should feel free to window shop, get interested and then eventually invest in one or more of the games. It also sets the stage for talent and asset acquisition if one of the developers loses (or fails to get) funding.

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

From all the money I saved on not buying lockboxes, I got enough for three subs.

I wish them luck with reviving the great community. Yes there were a lot of great players and personalities in COH but there were some real bastards. While it can be argued that will always be the case, it seems in the last few years there has been an increase in the number who just want to watch the world burn. Either they didn’t get hugged enough as a child, or they are mad because Suzie or Brad at the corner market won’t look at them, I don’t know, but they seem to just want to destroy, for destruction’s sake.

I hope I’m wrong but in any case, I wish all three good luck and success.

Reader
Crowe

“From all the money I saved on not buying lockboxes, I got enough for three subs.”
Amen!

pepperzine
Reader
pepperzine

I can appreciate their positive attitude and friendliness with each other, though a race is occurring. Even though the contestants don’t view it that way, the audience and their target market does.

All three projects aim for the same subset of players, the first one through the gate gets an untapped market to try out their game, the second will get less to try their game out as some people will already be committed to their characters and progress in the first, and the third even less. Since this subset is niche within the genre to begin with, it is not a good position to be in. Not only that, all of the flaws of the different games will be magnified and directly compared to one another. Also, unfortunately, the majority of people do not have the time to commit to three mmorpgs simultaneously as they require a large time investment.

I’ve said it more times than I can count that the three titles should merge (or even just two of them would be wonderful) in order to secure their mutual success. Not only would be good for their development to have more funds and hands on deck, but also the best thing for the audience, as the quality would improved with combined efforts. It’s an unfortunate truth though that some of their gameplay ideas differ and they are locked into those development plans as they solicited donations with those pretenses.

Reader
Theodrax

I’m glad they’re not feeling like this is a cutthroat thing. That said, whether they acknowledge it or not, there is a bit of a race. It may be a friendlier race then most, but it’s there.

There are only so many players who are interested in a Superhero MMO. The first company to have a viable game out is going to have an advantage in gaining that player base. Apathy and existing content is a big advantage, look at WoW. I personally want all three games to succeed, but my limited time and resources dictate that I’ll have to choose one and go with it. I doubt I’ll have time to play all three.

I hope I’m wrong, but I’m guessing at least one of those three companies is going to die. There’s just not enough players to sustain all of them.

Nathaniel Downes
Reader
Nathaniel Downes

I think you are underestimating the demand for such a title. On Steam alone, the two existing MMO’s show a healthy interest in such a title.

Reader
Raimo Kangasniemi

Personally I think that these games are in competition with each other of players, just like three fantasy or sci-fi MMOs would be. But…

There are good things in 3 instead of 1 Superhero MMO: Three games are likely not to share same faults, so issues that could doom a single game are more easily avoided – and devs will, whether its their intention or not, learn from public problems and player feedback in the other games, which can help them to avoid those in their own one.

That said, I think it will be a ‘Battle Royale’ with one game standing in the end.

Nathaniel Downes
Reader
Nathaniel Downes

/e holdtorch

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