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See: City of Titans

The Daily Grind: What made City of Heroes work so well?

Although City of Heroes is not coming back (I think we all need to come to terms with that), many successors are waiting in the wings with their own vision of how a superhero MMO should be. Valiance Online, City of Titans, and Ship of Heroes all have claimed inspiration from City of Heroes and claim that they will be replicating some elements of what made that title work so well.

But what did work well about City of Heroes? Why did it succeed when Champions Online, a title modeled after it and created by the same studio, failed? Why is City of Heroes so beloved, even years after its demise?

Let’s hash it out today in the comments. Break down City of Heroes for us and see if you can’t put your finger on what made this particular MMO fly high.

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City of Titans restructures its development approach thanks to Unreal’s plugins

Due to the scattered locations of City of Titans’ team members, the devs have long since attempted a modular approach to building the superhero MMORPG. However, this format started to “break down,” and the team stepped back to look for a different approach.

This came in the form of Unreal Engine 4.18, which finally allowed its users to attach plugins to other plugins. After that version came out, the City of Titans team had a path forward and spent a few months restructuring the project to function within this new framework. Thanks to the change, the team said that the pace of development should be much better.

“Now that plugins can work with other plugins, all of the various game components can be plugins,” the devs said. “This means that interdependency and modularity are no longer mutually exclusive — they can be both at once […] Because everything is in the same place, everything — to the extent anything this complicated ever does mind you — just works.”

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City of Titans’ avatar builder is on display – and it’s pretty awesome

It has been five years since comic book and City of Heroes fans threw $678,000 at Missing Worlds Media in the hopes of seeing a superhero MMO successor. Since then, City of Titans has been taking shape at a glacial pace, testing patience, and finding itself in a spandex race of sorts with Valiance Online and Ship of Heroes.

But could it have made a breakthrough? MWM announced this week that it has finally reached the point where it is proud to show off City of Titans’ character creator (or “avatar builder,” as the studio is calling it). The preview is still just pre-alpha, but it represents a huge step toward the MMO’s hopeful launch. Backers should be able to get their hands on the beta version of the character builder later this year.

“It’s taken us years to get here, but it will take a lot less than that to finish,” MWM said. “The ‘thousand program breaking bugs’ period is past for the chargen, and now visible progress will be more rapid. The biggest missing piece, currently, is female. Don’t think we’ve forgotten about the heroic women. Overcoming the final hurdles to bringing her in is the next big push. Perhaps she’ll be ready in time for next month.”

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City of Titans introduces its costume designer while teasing character creation

We haven’t seen the character creation for City of Titans just yet, but you know that’s going to be an important part of the game. You can’t have a proper superhero title without proper superhero costumes, after all. The latest piece on the official site is interviewing one of the development team’s costume designers and talking about the development behind the scenes, but both it and the video accompanying it promise that the actual creation preview is coming very soon.

Kayla “Z06” Bianchi talks mostly about her own gaming history and preferences in the little interview, but you can also see some of her work for both the concept art and interior level design. If all you’re interested in is the prospect of seeing how you can make your character, check out the video just below. (It’s a teaser, not a full trailer, so be fairly warned.)

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City of Titans’ paths will throw players into their own ‘personal comic book series’

Ever feel like MMO quests are impersonal and disconnected from how you see your own character interacting with the game world? City of Titans hopes to change that with its central paths storylines.

The team attempted to explain this week how paths are so much more than just your average, ordinary quest chain.  “Paths are the game’s premier saga-level content. These multi-part stories are designed to let you define your PC’s character while interacting with enemies, allies, locations, and plots from throughout the game’s lore […] Your character’s path is designed as ‘your character’s personal comic book series.'”

Players can choose to pursue four different paths that explore the north or south areas of the city from a hero or villain perspective. Paths give players a lot more dialogue options, remember choices, and allow characters to build relationships with NPCs. These multi-episode stories will also take players all over the city, delve deep into lore, and present more challenging and tactical encounters. Sounds pretty neat to us!

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City of Titans drafts volunteer to build metro landmarks

Considering that it’s City of Titans and not Prairies of Titans or Lonely Country Road of Titans, it’s safe to assume that this indie MMO has quite a few buildings to construct for superheroes to visit or (more likely) fly by in a flash. While most of the metro area will utilize standard and reusable models, the team did draft a volunteer to create unique landmarks that will help give the city an identity.

“Enter our current Mogul and Landmark Titan, Nathan Purkiss, a 3-D modeler with a passion for architecture,” the team posted on Kickstarter. “We were thrilled to see his application and immediately made buildings his sole priority and domain. That was some months ago, and he’s been making excellent progress.”

Some of Purkiss’ work was shown as game models, including the Central Library, the Pharos Fire Station, the Vander Vere Museum of Technology, the Holt House, and the Thunderbolt Dive Bar. Each of these structures isn’t just a pretty facade but contains lore and history, such as a repurposed abandoned theater that is now used for private parties and shady dealings.

Source: Kickstarter

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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.

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Perfect Ten: 20 upcoming MMOs to watch in 2018

It has become a long-standing tradition as Massively OP and our former site that we like to end the year by creating a list of titles that we anticipate for the coming one. It has always been a devilish list to create, full of loose dates and fast guesswork about which titles will and won’t be releasing during a 12-month window (just read last year’s list to see how spot-on I was).

This year we’re changing things up a bit by tossing out the qualifying factor of “will see a hard launch in 2018.” Instead, I drafted up a list of 20 MMOs that have the potential to do or be really interesting next year, whether that be a launch, a long-anticipated beta test, or some other significant development. Plus, hey, you get 20 for the price of 10, so no complaining now!

As an aside, this list isn’t going to cover some other exciting-looking multiplayer games that are arriving in 2018, like AnthemSea of ThievesThe Crew 2Monster Hunter WorldDayZRed Dead Redemption 2Stardew Valley, Conan Exiles, and State of Decay 2. And you old school fans won’t want to forget that Ultima Online has a new free-to-play option coming this spring.

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City of Titans shares details on creating its mission lines

There’s already a lot of lore floating around for City of Heroes-inspired indie MMORPG City of Titans, but all of the lore in the world doesn’t mean much if you never get to see any of it in the game. So the latest development update is about the process of making even the game’s simplest missions take shape. There are three different sorts of missions outlined (self-contained Tips, game-spanning Sagas, and area-related District Stories), but this particular development entry is just about bringing a self-contained tip from concept to completion.

Tips are the shortest and simplest mission type, meant to make up quick half-hour play sessions, starting with a tweet-length summary of the major plot points. While the goal here is to make these missions fairly lore-agnostic, care is taken to ensure that there’s still a sense of the overall lore and an interesting situation for players who really do enjoy the game’s storylines. Check out the full dispatch for a more thorough breakdown of all the work going into even the littlest elements.

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Australia turns up the heat on lockboxes

The controversy over lockboxes and their legal status continues to draw more attention from governments, with Australia now weighing in on the issue. Not the whole country, mind you, but the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), which wrote a letter stating that lockboxes were considered gambling under the country’s laws.

While the VCGLR doesn’t typically oversee video games, its opinion does carry weight in the government and could prompt action on the proliferation of lockboxes in online games. The problem? The government body says that it’s very hard to regulate and that “there are a lot of variables at play.”

“What occurs with ‘loot boxes’ does constitute gambling by the definition of the Victorian Legislation,” wrote VCGLR Strategic Analyst Jarrod Wolfe. “Unfortunately where the complexity arises is in jurisdiction and our powers to investigate. Legislation has not moved as quick as the technology; at both State and Federal level we are not necessarily equipped to determine the legality of these practices in lieu of the fact the entities responsible are overseas.”

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City of Titans vows ‘no lockboxes’ for its business model

You might have missed the riots in the streets over lockboxes these past few months, but we assure you, the controversy is very real. One game where this won’t be a problem? City of Titans.

The team opened up about its business model this week, explaining how it will make money as an indie superhero MMORPG. Despite needing revenue as badly as any other small game, City of Titans promised not to include lockboxes as part of its business plan. For the record, the game is adopting a buy-to-play model with a cash shop and optional subscription.

“We’ve put a great deal of thought into how to finance profitably but ethically,” the team said.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO would you recommend to Marvel Heroes refugees?

So Marvel Heroes has about six weeks to live thanks to the impending shutdown of the game following Disney’s decision to drop Gazillion as a business partner. That’s going to leave some superhero MMO players once again without a home, and though the game’s current Steam numbers can’t hold a candle to the number of players affected by the City of Heroes closure five years ago, we’re left with the same situation – and a similar roster of games vying for refugees.

The big superhero MMORPGs are still DC Universe Online and Champions Online, the former of which is certainly better supported with content, the latter of which may have more of that Marvel feel. There’s also three strong crowdfunding superhero MMOs still trying to fill the CoH vacuum: Ship of Heroes, City of Titans, and Valiance Online. Which MMO would you recommend to Marvel Heroes refugees? Would it be another superhero MMO, another superhero game or ARPG altogether, or something else? If you’re a former MH player, where are you getting your fix?

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