It’s sacrilege to say it, I’m sure, but I never loved lightning powers in City of Heroes – lightning wasn’t much of a damage element, instead being focused around sapping power from enemies, meaning you had to work so much harder on a lightning toon than on most other damage dealers. That isn’t the case in City of Heroes spiritual successor Ship of Heroes, however, as a new video and set of screenshots demonstrates today.
The lightning powerset, the third of eight planned for reveal in 2017, does get some self-buffs and debuff components, but otherwise, it’s a nasty damage dealing set that serves as as a primary powerset for the Devastator class and a secondary powerset for Support toons (the demo character in the video, if you’re wondering, is Support).
Heroic Games notes that the animations and effects in the video are work-in-progress and will be altered and improved in the future as the team has specifically expanded to “add professional FX and animation personnel so that [it] can upgrade [its] powers.” The studio also points out that this video marks the first demo showing off night effects as well as the first showing targets reacting to being smacked in the face with damage powers.
Quietly zipping along this fall is City of Heroes spiritual successor Ship of Heroes, which has been running a small external alpha test with backers focused on its character creator tool, the first such alpha wave for the game. Heroic Games now says that test has drawn to a close as a “resounding success.”
“Ship of Heroes has three current character models – a female, a male and a really big male. Each can be outfitted with civilian clothing or with hero costumes, and the items can be mixed and matched. Each article of clothing has primary and secondary colors that can be set using RGB values, giving enormous freedom to each player to design a unique character. In addition, over 300 morphs can currently be applied to each character, allowing even greater levels of customization. Every character in the game can be distinct and unique from other characters.”
Notably, the team says its feedback revolved around wanting more hero costumes, a wider variety of costumes, more skin tones and colors, and body morphs including height, all of which is still in progress.
A few years ago, we counted basically three City of Heroes successor games, all made by indie studios. In 2017, we still have three core titles on the way — it’s just a slightly different three. In light of that, MOP reader Pepperzine proposed today’s Leaderboard: Which of the five City of Heroes spiritual successors are you looking forward to the most?
- City of Titans – CoT was the first out of the gate, with a successful $678,189 Kickstarter back in 2013. It’s expecting to release a playable pre-alpha for backers by the end of this year.
- Valiance Online – Valiance ran its Kickstarter in 2014 but raised only a fifth of its $150,000 goal. Since then, it’s solicited backers through its website. Its founder alpha began in July of this year.
- Ship of Heroes – SoH startled everyone when it was announced less than a year ago. Though it canceled its Kickstarter bid in April and trimmed back its launch scope, it has continued on with serious development, most recently charming would-be players at PAX. Limited combat alpha testing begins in December with raid beta expected in June of 2018.
- Heroes and Villains – H&V was the third successor to be announced, but it’s had a much quieter run. Plan Z Studios does still frequently update its website with development notes, the most recent being on supergroups, but it has yet to open crowdfunding.
- Redside – Redside popped up earlier this year with a really barebones Kickstarter aimed at bringing back the villain elements of City of Heroes, but that Kickstarter failed to fund (by a lot) and studio Brass Lampworks’ website is no longer active.
To the pollmobile!
Even though we are quite a ways out from playing Ship of Heroes for real, it is not too early to start becoming familiar with the different enemy groups that a superhero character might encounter on these giant space ships.
One of these groups is the Yekus merc clan, which sound like cannon fodder in the making: “The Yekus Mercenary Clan is a multi-species group from the lower end of the price range. Their specialties, insofar as they have any beyond cheap manpower, are scouting and skirmishing […] However, like many of the mercenary groups in human space, they make a habit of trying to find and recruit humans with superpowers to join their clan.
The Ship of Heroes team showed some of the concept art for the Yekus, including the gang’s brown-and-olive outfits and headgear. The mercs will be crafted using the same character creator as the one players will use — and indeed the same character creator that we should be getting to tinker with later this year.
Supporters for Ship of Heroes are going to be able to test out the alpha version of the game’s character creator this year. That is awesome. But what will it look like? Take a look in the video just below; it’s right there in the game’s 14th released demo video, clear as day. The developers take the opportunity to recreate the game’s “signature” hero while looking at the plethora of powers, costume options, and body options already available even in the early development state.
“This is the first time the improved ‘big guy’ character model has been shown in the character creator. The standard version of this character is 6’7″ tall, and heavily muscled,” Heroic Games says. “A number of technical improvements have been added to the CCT, including an eye zoom camera, a hide helmet buttom, and additional morphs to precisely control the character’s facial features.”
Obviously, the video doesn’t go through every single part line-by-line; this is a superhero game, so that would take forever. But you’ll get a good sense of the fine control over body parts and the diverse options you’ll have available to you in the game. Check out the video just below, and if you’re a supporter, get ready to try it all out for yourself sometime this year.
This past summer, ARK: Survival Evolved finally officially launched, ending its stint as an early access game just three days before PAX West, then promptly announced its second expansion on the first day of the convention. There wasn’t even a week between launch and the second expansion’s unveiling, and there will be fewer than two months between the two launches; Aberration is scheduled to launch in October.
While at PAX, I sat down with Studio Wildcard Senior Producer Navin Supphapholsiri, who thanked fans for supporting the game: “We really appreciate the support for the past two years. Just to see how far we’ve come along, it’s all thanks to the community.” Then we talked about the launch, about Aberration, and about the team’s focus going forward.
While the full Hi-Rez portfolio wasn’t in attendance at PAX West, Hand of the Gods was on-hand with a fan tournament as well as machines to introduce folks to the game. Devs were also available to discuss this tactical SMITE spinoff. I sat down with Lead designer Scott Lussier and Executive Producer and VP of Design Scott Zier to talk about the game’s name, its progress, the reception at the convention, and plans going forward.
In fact, one of the tidbits Lussier shared is that the Japanese pantheon is next on the list after Hindu is released later this month.
You don’t have to be a massive MMO studio to have a big showing at PAX West – Intrepid Studios proved that. The indie studio developing Ashes of Creation had a large booth with a giant TV broadcasting videos, hands-on demos for players to see what the game is about, a merchandise counter (which appeared to be doing good business), plenty of devs on hand to answer questions, and a full panel to discuss the game’s progress and plans to a large audience. And Founder and Creative Director Steven Sharif was on hand the whole time to talk about his game with everyone who came by. As he told me, “That’s our job here today, to expose more people to [AoC’s] potential.” He wants players to know that it isn’t about promises without delivery
Between a demo and a couple of interviews, I had the opportunity to chat with Sharif about the game a few different times. We talked about classes, crowdfunding, and character customization. I also got to team up with a group and run through a short PvE adventure narrated by a dev, testing out skills and exploring a few features. Then I delved into a PvP match. And yes, we also discussed the red hat controversy.
PAX West 2017 has come and gone, and though MJ is still feverishly working on her last few articles, we wanted to pause a moment to reflect on everything we’ve seen and read and recapped so far. So for today’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our writers to tackle three topics from an MMO player’s perspective: the biggest surprise of the show, the most disappointing bit, and the games that grabbed them and won’t let go.
Sometimes MMORPG players might get the feeling that game companies will let just about anything slide in order to keep the most revenue streaming in, but that’s not the case with one particular hopeful City of Heroes successor: Ship of Heroes. Studio Heroic Games is predicating the game on a positive atmosphere, which starts from the ground up.
At this year’s PAX West, I sat down with CEO Casey McGeever to talk about the game: where it’s coming from, where it is now, and where it’s going. We discussed funding, rivalries, community, and the wild backstory about the massive ship that heroes will be living on. After that, I attended the CoH successor panel to hear about the three largest superhero MMORPG games currently in development. Let’s suit up and dig in.
During the superhero MMO panel last night, Ship of Heroes’ CEO, Casey McGeever, demoed the game in a new trailer that heralded several announcements for the game: It’s planning a character creator alpha for September, an “escorted combat” alpha for December, and beta testing of raids for June of 2018.
The video jumps around a bit, including a flythrough of the second and heavily updated version of Apotheosis City, a look at combat, and a tour of the character customization with its “three base character models and countless morphs.”
“Ship of Heroes breaks with the clichés of games these days – their city is neither post-apocalyptic, nor set in a dystopian future,” Heroic Games says. “Instead it is a beautiful yet dangerous place, safeguarded by superheroes.”
We’ll have more on Ship of Heroes from PAX after our chat at the con later today; in the meantime, the game’s PAX trailer is below.
Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie is at PAX West (formerly known as PAX Prime, a much catchier name if you ask me!) for us this weekend as it kicks off today, accompanied by a huge roster of stuff to see, from Ashes of Creation and Ship of Heroes to Chronicles of Elyria and Dual Universe — and a dozen more. She might get to eat lunch, but she will definitely not get to sit down!
The good news is that the con is gearing up for a much better showing for MMORPGs than we’ve had in the past two or three years, something that ought to fill you with cheer. On the other hand, what I’d like above all else is to be getting major MMORPG announcements — new AAAs, new expansions — in addition to these solid in-progress games that actually have the PR prowess and cash to show up (which is good too!). It’s a changing landscape out there, folks!
What PAX West announcement would blow you away? What would you most want to see? And of the games in attendance, what do you most want us to see and ask about for you?
Ship of Heroes is gearing up for PAX with drop-ins with community vloggers, including The Positive Gamer, who has a flythrough video of Apotheosis City in the game accompanied by an interview with Heroic Games CEO Casey Mcgeever, Environmental Artist Eric Gooch and PR lead Justin Roberti. Mcgeever shows off some of the newer corners of the city, including some of its more unusual, organic architecture and tactically designed bits (glass ceilings that provide cover, for example). The group also demonstrates how players will move between levels of the ship — remember, the “city” part is only one level of the spaceship the whole shebang is flying on. There are even massive “windows” out of the cityscape that look out into the starry void and betray the white clouds and blue sky in the level.
Heroic says it’s focused on creating a positive community, and crafters and market monkeys, take note: All that is still planned for the game, including an auction hall, though that last may not make it for launch.
“We were originally planning to build a bigger game, as you know,” Mcgeever says. “If you’re BioWare or EA, you can do anything you want. […] But we’re a small indie team, so we need to make a game that’s going to be really fun to play and has excellence in everything it has, even if it has only one city, only one ship level to begin with — it’s going to be a cool ship level.”