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

Cryptic layoffs alone totaled 18 people

Massively OP has been contacted by a Cryptic employee — who wishes to remain anonymous and whose identity we have confirmed — about the Perfect World/Cryptic layoffs yesterday that one former PWE staffer called a “slaughter.”

Our source tells us that 18 people were let go from Cryptic itself, approximately 14% of the studio. Half of those were Neverwinter staff, evening out the Neverwinter and Star Trek Online teams (we do know some STO staff, including former City of Heroes lead designer Matt Miller and the game’s community manager, were among those let go). The source believes the PWE Redwood Shores offices were hit significantly harder; our source reluctantly agreed that “yes, PWE is mostly to blame” for the debacle.

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Researcher studies City of Heroes memorymaking

City of Heroes players, did you ever think your beloved old world would be the subject of academic research? Olle Sköld from Uppsala University in Sweden recently examined the extant City of Heroes community in an “interpretative case study” in order to “explore how virtual world communities employ new media as a repository to record information about their past.” For seven months beginning with the shutdown announcement date on August 31st, 2012, Sköld analyzed everything written on the City of Heroes Reddit to see just how people in a digital space keep the spirit alive, document their adventures, and promulgate memorykeeping. Reddit, guys. For science. He kinda deserves an award just for that.

The principal finding of the study is that the CoH community, with varying levels of intentionality, documented a range of pasts on /r/cityofheroes, relating to CoH as a game world, a site of personal experience, a product, a nexus of narratives, and a game. The analysis also lays bare the community’s memory-making processes, in which the documented conceptions of CoH’s past were put to work in the present, informing community action and viewpoints.

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Valiance Online seeks developers

Want a job? Silver Helm Studios has posted a notice today declaring that it’s looking for remote developers on its City of Heroes-influenced indie superhero MMORPG Valiance Online. It’s a bit unorthodox, since the pay isn’t salaried but rather comes in the form of future profit-sharing. Here’s the posting:

Superheroes Wanted! Valiance Online is an in-development sci-fi/superhero MMORPG which was recently Greenlit on Steam. We’re looking for developers for our “virtual studio” (all positions are remote). Please note, these are independent contractor, profit-share positions (there is no upfront salary). The positions we are currently looking to fill are listed below.
– 3D Character Artists
– 3D Environment Artists
– Gameplay Programmers

The full list of positions can be found on Valiance Online’s forums. The game picked up a former City of Heroes animator last December.

[Source: Silver Helm Studios press release]

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City of Titans shows old test environment before scrapping it

New games don’t spring into being overnight; they take lots of work and incremental steps to a finished product. That goes double for a small indie team, which is why it’s perfectly OK to get excited over seeing City of Titans’ test environment, even in a primitive state.

City of Titans’ art team posted a new dev diary last week, showing off the old test environment before it got shut down to make way for the new one. The team is particularly excited to display details from trash on the ground to the reflections in puddles and on shiny surfaces.

“Everything we, and hopefully you, make, can be color changeable, even the materials and textures, so be prepared for a brave new world of customization options,” the devs teased. The post stresses that these pictures aren’t the game proper but a “tribute” to what will come.

[Source: Official site. Thanks to Byron for the tip!]

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Massively Overthinking: The best MMOs for duoing

A Massively Overpowered reader by the name of DaBruuzer posed a great question to the team, one I thought we’d have a better time answering as a group since many of us play with spouses, significant others, or dear friends in duos.

“I would love to see some coverage about MMOs that are couple-friendly. My wife and I have been playing MMOs as a couple for many years now, always trying out new games that make duoing fun. Since the sunset of City of Heroes/Villains, we just haven’t found a new home. I have seen lots of stuff about soloing and grouping, hence my ‘couples’ angle. I don’t necessarily mean about a game’s marriage features — more like MMOs that complement a two-person group set-up.”

For this first installment of the reincarnation of our old Think Tank, I asked the MOP crew about the very best MMOs for duoing.

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Run, Valiance Online, run!

There’s always a world of difference between viewing MMO screenshots and videos. Sometimes you just have to see a game in action to get a good feel for it, which is why it might please you to watch a test model run, jump, and fly around a town in Valiance Online.

Valiance, one of three spiritual successors to City of Heroes, has finished its transition to the new Mecanim animation solution. The team said that this is just part of the effort to get the title launched on Steam: “We’ve also decided to add the new testing environment in preparation for our venture to Steam. This huge patch has been delayed for quite sometime, but we’re certain that everyone will be most happy with the improvements once it’s released.”

You can watch the test environment video as well as see a pre-alpha screenshot after the break!

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Perfect Ten: My favorite MMO pet classes

Most folks have certain class traits that appeal to them. Some love being that long-range archer sniper, while others get juiced on the feeling of being an invincible tank. There are those who prefer healing, those who love hybrid set-ups, those who like to conjure fire… and then there are those who love pets.

On our first Massively OP Podcast we fielded a question about MMO pet AI, which set me off on a long speech about just how much I love pets in games. Man, do I love ’em. I love how they make me feel as though I have constant companionship, I love how I feel “overpowered” when I’m fielding one, and I love how combat feels when I’m attacking a foe with one or more allies at my side.

Chances are, if your game has a pet class, that’ll be the one I’m playing. Here are my top 10 favorite pet classes in MMOs that I played for a serious length of time.

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