We've been speaking with NCsoft West off the record this week, agitating for publicly printable answers on the Master X Master decision to implement City of Heroes characters (to the loud outrage of disgruntled City of Heroes players). But apparently we won't have to, as some of the answers have been published today.
Lorehound quotes NCsoft MXM Brand Manager Sean Orlikowski as saying that adding Statesman to the MOBA was his personal "passion project for the last two years."
"I saw it as a way to incorporate a character from a beloved title into our universe. Myself and the producer for MXM were both big fans of City of Heroes (I was more on the CoV side, myself) and we worked together to make sure we got his skills, look, and even his VO right since he’d only ever been voiced for a single sentence of a single trailer in the past. The bottom line for me was that nearly all of NCSOFT’s properties were being represented in the game; Aion, Blade & Soul, Lineage II, WildStar, Guild Wars 2, even Death Knight from the original Lineage MMO are in the game. I wanted the West to have proper representation, so we started brainstorming ideas for Western characters to add to Rytlock and Mondo Zax who were already in development. I made the argument for Statesman because the MXM universe offered a way he could be prominent again, and the rest is history."
Thanks to some website spring cleaning, City of Titans made a previously hidden article visible to the masses. This particular page outlines the upcoming superhero MMO's six archetypes, their mottos, and the general playstyle that each will offer.
City of Heroes veterans may be familiar with some of the archetypes here, although some offer slightly different twists. There is the Stalwart, a tank that can take large amounts of damage; the Enforcer, a melee DPS type; the Guardian, a tough paladin-like role; the Ranger, which deals out damage from a long way off; the Commander, which fiddles with crowd control and enemy manipulation; and the Operator, a pet-controlling mastermind.
Each archetype then branches out into three subtypes, such as the Centurion, the Warden, or the Ringleader. Simple math tells us that City of Titans is aiming for at least 18 different classes in its final product.
On Tuesday, NCsoft announced that it plans to introduce Statesman, from the long-sunsetted City of Heroes, as a playable character in its MOBA, Master x Master.
Complications ensued, as anyone familiar with the history of MMORPGs can probably imagine.
For this week's Overthinking, I asked our team of writers -- both those who loved CoH and those who never much played it -- what they think about the whole ordeal. Are gamers right to be angry? What exactly is NCsoft thinking? Have we seen the end of any hope of the game being resurrected or sold, or should we infer just the opposite?
My initial foray into MMORPGs was, to put it nicely, quite ungraceful. I wasn't even aware that they were a thing until about the year 2000, when I started to notice EverQuest and Asheron's Call boxes on the shelves. But stories about addiction from friends and the seeming obtuse nature of these games kept me from trying... until fall 2001, that was.
That's when I saw a sci-fi title lumped together in this unknown category, and I had liked Funcom's The Longest Journey so much that I thought I'd take a chance on this odd online game. My subsequent experiences in Anarchy Online were fragmented, ignominious, and confusing as all get out. It was so weird, in fact, that I needed a "redo" of City of Heroes several years later to properly get onto the MMO bandwagon (and I haven't fallen off since!).
So what was it like being a total Anarchy Online -- and MMO -- noob back in the day, feeling out this game from a position of complete ignorance? Glad you asked, friend, because I'm going to tell you all about it.
Since our community has City of Heroes on the brain of late, let's recall that there are no less than five games inspired by the late superhero MMORPG on the way, each in a different state of development. One of the newest entries on that list is Ship of Heroes, possibly the most similar to the classic game, except for that whole "oh yeah and the city's on a spaceship" twist.
This morning, Ship of Heroes' Heroic Games posted a press release talking up its Unreal Engine 4 progress.
"Epic Games is excited that Ship of Heroes is being built using Unreal Engine 4," an Epic rep is quoted as saying. "Ship of Heroes is developing quickly and we look forward to having another MMO in the market based on our technology, and the community of artists and coders that utilize it."
Yesterday, NCsoft took the lid off a secret it's clearly been working on for a while: The company means to introduce a notorious and well-known City of Heroes NPC as one of the characters in its upcoming MOBA, Master x Master.
Here's the thing. Master x Master is actually pretty well-liked around here. The writers we've sent to test it out the past few years came away thinking it was an excellent hybrid PvE MOBA with a lot of MMO elements, a genuinely good entry to the market and something we're happy to cover. So I don't think anyone wishes it, specifically, harm.
But NCsoft? I don't know who told you this was a good idea. It's really not a good idea.
Today's good news for Master x Master fans is that the game has a closed beta coming up. The next test will be between April 6th and April 27th, ahead of the game's full launch in the summer. All of that is good news, but it kind of gets overshadowed by the game's other simultaneous announcement of a new hero in the game's lineup... Statesman.
Yes, from City of Heroes. Someone decided to add one of the most loathed characters from a dearly departed game that many fans are still upset about losing. It's one of those rare situations where you're not even sure what to be upset about first.
The bright side is probably that Statesman at least seems to play true to form, so he's got all sorts of melee abilities, moves around quickly, and can activate Heroism as his ultimate ability. And he's from a game that NCsoft shut down, we cannot stress that point enough. Just... check out some screenshots and a trailer down below; no one here is sure how to feel at the moment.
Ship of Heroes has a new video out today that is ostensibly a network demo showing off half a dozen remote developers spread across the country testing out 16 characters in the game. But what it's really signaling is a tribute to City of Heroes, the long-sunsetted inspiration MMO, as one by one the characters raise torches plainly in symbolic honor of those who protested in Atlas Park 33 back in 2012.
"We remember," reads the video caption.
"Each [dev] individually activated a power called 'Torch' which we coded for this test," says Heroic Games. "No server, login, connection or client problems occurred during the test. As far as we know, no other pre-Kickstarter MMORPG has published a network test of this kind before."
Indie superhero MMO Ship of Heroes has just announced the details of its planned Kickstarter campaign, which was previously noted to begin on April 4th: The crowdfunding event will run five weeks and hopes to raise $400,000. Alpha is expected to begin late in 2017.
"The key point to realize is that if you want to play in the Beta, you need to back us in the Kickstarter," Heroic Games CEO Casey McGeever writes. "If you want to start even earlier and be part of the Alphas starting this year, then your chances go up depending upon how much you donate."
McGeever argues that his team has shown off more of the game at its one-year mark than most comparable games do and that Ship of Heroes is angling to become a "family-friendly gaming community" and "a destination game that one plays for years, rather than content that gets played once and is then abandoned."
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we have stories and videos from Heroes and Generals, Faeria, City of Heroes, Lineage M, Armored Warfare, Wakfu, Ark Park, Dauntless, Dark Age of Camelot, Overwatch, Blade and Soul: Table Arena, League of Legends, Strikers Edge, and Final Fantasy XI, all waiting for you after the break!
What would a superhero MMO look like if it took place in a small town where the tallest building was only three stories? We'll probably never find out because it's almost mandatory to have them skyscrapers for visuals and dramatic perches.
City of Titans spilled some info about its own downtown skyscraper district yesterday, calling it the "beating heart of the city." Following a massive fire in 1908, the downtown rebuilt to include modern marvels of architecture from several different decades and styles. When the game comes out, players will be able to visit the area to see the tallest building in the game (Liberty Tower), a superhero hangout, and plenty of skywalks.
"Downtown is home to a huge, wildly eclectic range of superbeings and superpowered groups," the team posted. "Some of the more frequently glimpsed groups include enforcers of the Black Rose, the Aether Pirates, and the ePunk Radicals. Prominent supers often seen in the area include Captain Orbit (at the Orbit Room), the speedster Celerity, and a host of others."
The other day I was recalling the whole City of Heroes experience (sad sigh), and an odd memory jumped out. It was the most mundane thing, but I remembered with utmost clarity how I would have to spend about five minutes or so with each new alt setting up the interface and keybindings to my specific liking. It got old, but doing it so many times cemented in my mind the process. I could probably still do it without thinking.
I notice that in each of my MMOs, I have a whole checklist of changes that I make right from the start of a new character, from making sure that chat windows aren't opaque to switching the key for backwards motion from S to X (I'm a WAXD player for life, yo).
Today, let's talk about how you set up your MMO when you first start out or make a new character. What settings do you change from the get-go? Do you make big changes to the keybindings? Do you need to mod out your game before your character takes a single step in that world?
It’s taken this long, but the Battle Bards have gone completely and irreversibly insane in the membrane! Today the team cracks open the door of the MMO music funhouse to see what off-kilter, crazy, and manic tunes may be found. WARNING: Once you’ve entered the asylum, you might find yourself a resident… for life!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 93: It's a Madhouse! (or download it) now: