city of heroes

Official Site: City of Heroes
Studio: Paragon Studios/NCsoft
Launch Date: April 27, 2004
Sunset Date: November 30, 2012
Genre: Superhero Hybrid Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid F2P (Optional Sub, Cash Shop)
Platform: PC, Mac

City of Titans doesn’t have issues swapping male and female animations

Well this is a boon to the City of Titans project.

The development team behind the superhero MMORPG was fiddling about with some of its character tools and experimented with switching the model from male to female to see what would happen with animations. It turns out that both genders animated just fine, which means that it might be easier than expected to create attacks and abilities for characters without having to animate two sets of motions.

“Since the male and female models are not the same, it was not a given that animations would be able to do this. Also the female’s hair has physics. Somewhat unpolished, but it’s there,” the team said. You can view the animation examples after the break.

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Perfect Ten: MMOs obsessed with the floating islands trope

One of the fun things about this hobby is that certain tropes repeat themselves constantly. And they’re usually weirdly specific tropes, too. Poop quests, for example. So many MMOs have one quest or another that make you dealing with poop. Someone has a fixation that is probably not entirely healthy, and that someone keeps getting hired to design quests.

But sometimes you try to come up with a trope that’s so specific that it has to be unique. Or at least rare. “MMOs that feature a zone full of floating islands requiring flight to travel around.” At least one zone, and it is traveled around via flight. That cannot be common, that has to be…

Wait. How did I not only get a full list but actually have to decline some entries? How the heck did this happen? There are this many MMOs using this astonishingly specific trope? How did this happen and why?

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The PAX West City of Heroes and Ashes of Creation panels are a go

A few weeks back, we reported on the City of Heroes-themed panel coming to PAX West in Seattle at the beginning of September. With the release of the PAX schedule on Friday, we can confirm that it is indeed happening on Sunday, September 3rd, at 8 p.m. in the Cat theater, with reps from City of Titans and Ship of Heroes [update: and Valiance Online] in attendance.

“When the venerable MMORPG City of Heroes shut down in 2012, it gave rise to several projects often called spiritual successors. Each of these efforts took the same inspiration, yet have developed very different titles. Join Casey McGeever of Heroic Games, Chad Dulac of Silver Helm and Nathaniel Downes of Missing Worlds Media for a conversation a conversation about the challenges in making the game, the progress so far, and how these games will build on and stand apart from City of Heroes as something different and new while serving the great gameplay and positive gaming community that has been looking for a home.”

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMORPG for gamers who are sick of raiding?

In the middle of the conversation spawned by yesterday’s financial news that Guild Wars 2 had seen its worst revenue quarter since launch, several of our commenters sidetracked into discussion about raiding in Guild Wars 2 compared to the rest of the genre. One commenter suggested Guild Wars 2 treated non-raiders as second-class citizens (especially given that GW2 was originally sold as a game that eschewed traditional raiding). But the way I see it, pretty much every MMO with raiding treats non-raiders this way, and it’s a huge problem for that whole raid-centric segment of the genre. And Guild Wars 2 is no exception.

Some gamers suggested games without raiding (like Trove), older games with NPC aid (like classic Guild Wars), games with solo raiding (RIFT), and games with difficulty sliders (like City of Heroes). Several commenters offered up MMOs like World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online and Final Fantasy XIV because they offer plenty of raiding (or raiding-adjacent) content for casuals, which is something GW2 still strangely doesn’t do.

So today’s Daily Grind is two-fold: What’s the best MMORPG for gamers who are sick of raiding period, and which MMORPG-that-has-raiding treats non-raiders the best?

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Choose My Adventure: Get out of here, DC Universe Online

So this is an unusual situation for me: I’ve never actually played a game for Choose My Adventure that I’ve disliked this much.

Those of you who have followed my writing for a while know that I’ve played some games I didn’t much like before, but that’s different. Lord of the Rings Online and Black Desert, for example, are games that were not my cup of tea but still had obvious merits I could praise. I’ve played games that I dislike or ones that deserved more criticism than praise when I played them (Ryzom, TERA, the beta period of The Elder Scrolls Online), but still had positive sides. (And in the last case, ESO turned itself around quite well and earned plenty of kudos from me.) Heck, I played Scarlet Blade with as open a mind as I could possibly have.

But not so DC Universe Online. No, this game deserves a pretty thorough drubbing. I can understand why it has fans, but it’s still just not a good game. I can only hope it’s an outlier rather than the norm on Daybreak’s overall catalog, because… wow. This is not fun.

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The Daily Grind: Are you a fan of character-obscuring morphs and modes in MMOs?

When ArenaNet went through Guild Wars 2’s upcoming Path of Fire specs on Tuesday, I was super bummed about the Ranger, the class I’d been toying with switching to as my main this time around. During the stream, ANet made it sound as if the Ranger’s Soulbeast spec would literally be a polymorph. Fortunately, as details came out this week, it became clear that the player will retain his or her own look and weaponry while joined with a pet, so I heaved a sigh of relief.

See, being transformed into something else is one of my huge pet peeves in MMORPGs, pun intended. I don’t want to be a bear and fight as a bear with bear moves. I don’t want to be a dragon, or a turret, or a vehicle, or a glowy blur, or anything other than the character I’ve spent gazillions of hours leveling, building, and designing exactly as I want her. Trying to keep me interested? Great! Give me more customization options for my appearance and my skills’ appearance, City of Heroes-style. Do no negate all the work or time or money I put into my chosen spec, my collected gear, or — especially! — the cosmetic stuff I’ve spent my cash on.

Am I alone here? Are you a fan of character-obscuring morphs and modes in MMOs, or does it drive you as mad as it does me?

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Valiance Online makes its powers sparkle and shine

Now that Valiance Online is running its investor alpha test, more eyes are turning to this superhero MMORPG and seeing it more as an actual game than an intriguing concept. And with any alpha test comes the inevitable patch that improves and iterates on the foundation.

This week’s patch adds weapons and particle effects to most powersets, making them sparkle and shine. It also addressed a nasty bug that prevented said powers from working, added collision with solid objects, increased performance, and threw in more environmental art.

Coming soon to the build is improved powersets and the third phase of the combat system. The game is also due to get its first crafting system, Bio-Engineering: “Bio-Engineering will become the first available profession and the world will be progressively populated with harvestable or salveagable items for creating unique amplifiers (consumable items).”

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Valiance Online kicks off its investor alpha today

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the day when Valiance Online would open for testers, the day has come. The investor alpha is starting today (it was announced yesterday, albeit when things were winding up), but there’s still a reason to watch the archived footage of the game’s most recent developer stream down below. Just skip ahead 30 minutes first, because the archived footage has half an hour of “starting in a bit” as a lead time. No, we don’t know why.

Aside from the announcement at the end which we’ve already spoiled, the stream footage covers powersets (starting at around 52 minutes in) and character creation (around 1:55), so there’s plenty of interesting stuff in there if you’d like to see behind the scenes. You can check it out just below if you’d like to watch, assuming you’re willing to jump past the perhaps oversized prep time.

Or maybe you really like waiting half an hour after pressing “play” before watching the video, we won’t judge you.

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City of Titans and Ship of Heroes team up for City of Heroes successor panel at PAX West

There will be a City of Heroes panel at PAX West… after a fashion. The game may be gone, but the City of Titans development team will be there to talk about carrying on after the game’s closure and making a spiritual successor. They’ll be joined by representatives of the teams behind Valiance Online and Ship of Heroes, as well, talking about keeping a strong community going between divergent teams with similar goals.

This panel will be in the Werecat theater in the evening of Sunday, September 3rd, so it’s going to require you to stick out most of the convention if you want to see it. On the other hand, it also features three community-led movements to resurrect the spirit of a beloved game, so that may be motivation enough right there.

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One Shots: Hail to the victor!

Have you ever been able to capture a truly victorious moment in your MMORPG journeys? Rees Racer did, and he is not above showing off (fortunately for us!).

“No spoilers, so I’ll just pass along a TERA cutscene shot from a meeting with Priestess Ciebel after the defeat of a traitorous threat to the Alliance,” Rees writes. “Of course, my Gunner is issued new orders almost immediately as there are seemingly always other harbingers of doom to confront…”

You save the world once, everyone wants you to keep on doing it, over and over again. My advice? Start charging per apocalypse and put aside a portion for retirement in another dimension.

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Valiance Online works with the community to develop and show off powersets

Do you like pets, powersets, and behind-the-scenes development glances? Then you’ll enjoy the nearly four hours of Valiance Online stream footage now available just below, which features a discussion of the enhancement system, spreadsheet development, the start of a community-developed powerset (Bubble Projection, starts at around the two-hour mark), a look at one of the pet powersets available, and plenty of in-jokes and laughs among the developers. The video is long, but you can safely skip to around 24:00 and not miss any of the important moments.

If you don’t have time to watch all of that or would prefer more direct information, you can check out the game’s latest lore article about the Starborn, a gang of fashion-obsessed custom-tailored psionic troublemakers jockeying for power more due to boredom than anything else. They’re chasing the latest psionic technology and the latest fashion, and they’re willing to make an absolute mess of the world in the process. So that’s going to be fun.

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Choose My Adventure: Two approaches to whining about DC Universe Online

Dear readers, today I am going to try something different for all of you. And it’s predicated on the fact that I’m not just fond of video games; I’m also fond of comic books. This means that when I sat down for my most recent play session in DC Universe Online, I found myself of two minds about why I wasn’t super-duper happy with the content I was experiencing… and both of them could easily fill in a good chunk of words by themselves.

So this week, you get to choose the column you want to read. There are two spoiler warnings below: one covering my thoughts of playing the game from a strictly game-based perspective, the other one being my thoughts of playing the game from a comic book fan’s perspective. Read one! Read the other! Read both! Theoretically you could read neither, I suppose, but then you would have clocked out before you were done with this introduction.

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Valiance Online livestreams its development alpha test

In an epic-length livestream this past weekend, the Valiance Online team showed off its development alpha test and discussed some of the systems and features that are going into this superhero MMO.

One of these topics was superhero origins, which the team said was a daunting task to incorporate as there are tons of backstories behind all of the caped crusaders out there. So the team created three main origin categories — magic, science, and natural — for now that should cover the broader spectrum.

Even better is a lot of footage of actual gameplay, which takes place in a colorful city and shows off combat, movement, and even a day/night cycle.

Settle in for the nearly four-hour livestream with goofy and easily distracted developers after the break. The actual stream begins at the 22-minute mark; it discusses superhero origins at 1:34:00, powersets at 1:42:00, and gameplay at 2:46:00.

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