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.
As a spiritual successor to City of Heroes, there’s an obvious line through City of Titans when it comes to powers. That does not, however, mean that the game is just copying the CoH design process and calling it a day. No, CoT is designing its powers based on layers, starting with the set’s basic playstyle, then its focused style, mechanical identity, and speed.
The trick, of course, is that doing so allows quick pipelines for new sets and expansion; if the numbers are all tweaked, it’s fairly quick to go from a slow ranged area combo set to a slow ranged area damage-over-time set. Furthermore, by allowing every archetype access to a tertiary power set, you get access to another set of abilities to play off of your existing abilities. The full post outlines the 25 sets planned for the initial launch by name (if not in details), so check it out if you want a breakdown of the creative process and how the game will be implementing its superhuman abilities.
Just because City of Heroes is gone doesn’t mean that you can’t have Halloween events for the game. It sort of does remove most of the usual options, yes, but the folks behind Paragon Chat aren’t about to let that stop them. A big in-game Halloween party is planned for October 21st, and it’s going to have everything you could possibly want from a superheroic event, starting with a variety of new costume contests. Themed contests, group contests, and the new costume race event, in which players are given a theme and 30 minutes to make the best costume based on that theme possible.
If that’s not enough, the party will also play host to a special player mission along with live music from The Cape radio hosts. It promises to be quite a bash, so if you want to duck into the old haunts of Paragon City and enjoy everything you can for the holiday, clear your evening schedule on October 21st.
Last week, MOP’s Justin (friend to man and beast alike) posted his list of MMOs he would recommend people play. It was a pretty good list! It wasn’t the list I would have written, but that’s why we’re separate people and not a single fused mass pulling ourselves along on withered, inhuman appendages. That would cause lots of problems in our respective marriages, for one thing. Also, it’d probably render us ineligible to collect multiple paychecks.
One thing I did not ask, however, was why he didn’t include World of Warcraft as a game he would recommend, even though some of our readers wondered it aloud. I would think that the reason for that would be pretty obvious, given that it was a list of Justin’s recommendations. But because I do love being contrary, there’s a good list of reasons why no one, ever, should recommend World of Warcraft as a game to be tried. Under any circumstances. Let’s even make it a nice round dozen reasons… but then subtract two, for no good reason.
So, MMO players. Are you tired of hearing about lockboxes and gambleboxes? It feels like we’ve been complaining about them for like six or seven years now, probably because we have. It wasn’t cute back when City of Heroes was trying it, nope. Heck, it wasn’t cute back when Star Wars Galaxies was trying it with card packs. Now it’s every damn game, and it’s gone way beyond MMOs. I’m not sick of hearing about it myself. I’m just sick of dealing with it like a pestilence making me hate the games and developers who exploit them.
Maybe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: As more AAA online gaming studios figure out that lockbox gambling garbage is a fast ticket to easy money, more mainstream gamers are catching wind of the scam and raising objections, so it’s not just MMO players all by our lonesomes anymore. Indeed, this week multiple game critics, YouTubers, and review services have come out against lockboxes, from Boogie to TotalBiscuit, the latter of whom has called for ESRB intervention. Reviews aggregator OpenCritic has further said it’s “going to take a stand against loot boxes” by taking crappy business practices into account. The ESRB doesn’t care, by the way, and as blogger Isarii has pointed, the self-regulatory body has conveniently twisted the meaning of gambling to avoid dealing with the problem, thereby failing to protect us from it, but that’s just making people angrier.
So hey, you know what, studios? Keep screwing up with lootboxes. Keep attracting mainstream anger, keep disrespecting us, until it all boils over, one way or another, and you can’t exploit us anymore. And in the meantime, people? Stop. Buying. Lockboxes.
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.
Ever played Epic Tavern? Massively OP reader Uli though it would make an interesting point of comparison for MMO content. “Epic Tavern is a single player game where you run a fantasy tavern frequented by heroes for a drink, food, bed for the night, and you can try to persuade those NPC heroes to go on a quest for you, sharing the spoils,” he explains.
“A comment I read suggested that would be great for MMO taverns: player running a tavern being able to give quests in the game to players frequenting the tavern. I know there are options for player run quests, but this would be different: pre-existing or otherwise player-made and engine-supported quests that are bestowed on player to match their group or skill level. And of course it would mean that visiting a tavern and meeting other players would finally have a point beyond mere chatting/RP. Ensuring people spent time in taverns to interact with would really help the socializing/third-space-in-virtual-rooms issue. But could it work in a MMO? Would that be abused for loot/rewards, biased quest assignment/withholding based on favors? Or what other problems could that cause?”
A lot of our writers and readers have experience with player-generated content, so I thought it would be fun to build on the ideas of Epic Tavern for Uli in this week’s Overthinking. Which MMOs have (or desperately need) great PGC, and when have you seen it go wrong? Could a formal, mechanical system for quest-giving like Epic Tavern’s work in an MMO, or is it something best left to the roleplayers?
One of City of Heroes’ best features is going to be making a reappearance in its spiritual successor. Valiance Online confirmed to Massively OP that a sidekicking system is in the works for the superhero MMO.
“We have sidekicking coded already,” the team tweeted. “Working on the UI. We’re adding the ability to right-click on someone and get a radial menu with options.”
Over on the visual side of the project, a recent Unity3d magic effects video by Kripto289 has both the development team and fans salivating over the idea of bringing this creator on board for good. It could happen in the future, says one of the game’s developers.
“He’s already provided us with these, and most are integrated into the game along with a few others he did to replace our lower level to mid-level power sets,” Developer IronSight writes. “The guy is quite amazing in regards to his visual effects talents. I always consider being able to pay him full-time with absolute exclusivity, and knowing that one day that will be possible truly excites me.”
Are you looking forward to Valiance or one of the other CoH spiritual successors? Make sure you vote in our poll!
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!
It has been a couple of weeks since the previous Master X Master
update, and while yesterday’s patch
doesn’t deliver much in terms of new content, it’s still vital to process due to all of the changes levied against the game’s heroes.
It’s a mixed bag, to be honest. Demenos, Innowin, Dr. Raoul, Rytlock, Merope all are contending with some slight tweaks to attacks and heals to keep things tight in this competitive game. It’s a little amusing to see that City of Heroes’ Statesman came out of this patch with a buff, while Ghost Widow saw two of her skills nerfed.
The team also informed players that the Natium defense line has added weekly and monthly missions, so there’s a new wheel to spin!
Yeah, we’re shipping MMOs today, giving new meaning to the Daily Grind! MOP reader Leiloni recently pointed us to an old but still relevant thread over on the MMORPG subreddit about unholy MMORPG unions. Specifically, the thread asks players to mix two MMOs to make the perfect game.
Leiloni proposes TERA plus Guild Wars 2, which seems like it would make a pretty solid themepark. Me, I would use Guild Wars 2… but I’d mix it with City of Heroes. Both have the level-flattening conceits that I like, so they’d mesh well. I’d love to see City of Heroes with GW2-style graphics and a more elaborate crafting system, and I’d love to see Guild Wars 2 with CoH’s attention to cosmetics, power customization, and player-generated content.
Which two MMOs would you mix?
I would like to say that when I was a kid playing my first MMORPGs, I was impervious to the grind, that I embraced taking many months to level a skill or hit a level cap. But that would be a lie. I stuck a rock on my keyboard to AFK macro overnight in Ultima Online, and a friend of mine would log into my EverQuest account sometimes while I slept to catch me up in levels. I hated it. I have always hated it. Oh, I’d spend hours per day in those early games, but I wanted to chill with friends, make stuff, run dungeons with people without worrying about level discrepancies and gear and all the obnoxious mechanics designed so transparently to slow me down and make me pay to grind. And I’ve felt this way for 20 years.
This is why a recent tweet of Raph Koster’s, quoting Elder Scrolls Online’s Matt Firor, resonated with me:
“Removing levels as a gameplay factor was the best decision for retention ever made in Elder Scrolls Online.” -Matt Firor
It’s affirmation that I’m not alone: A huge portion of the MMORPG playerbase will pay for content that pushes us together by invalidating level grinds rather than keeps us apart. Is it not time? Can we just be done with the old canard that people “need” leveling make-work to feel achievement or investment in a game, when metrics prove otherwise? Should MMOs get rid of levels?
Lore! Huh! What is it good for? Understanding why you’re standing in the middle of a pack of angry people with fangs in MMOs, of course. It’s the thin line dividing your actions from being reckless, indiscriminate mayhem and discriminating, careful mayhem. Lore is how you know what the world is like beyond your front door, and it’s the difference between understanding that you face Ragnaros, lord of flame or just knowing that there’s a dude here made out of fire, so you should probably use water spells on him.
All lore, however, is not created equal. There’s lore that creates a detailed, vibrant world full of people with their own hopes and dreams, and there’s lore that creates a game where you know what you’re supposed to be doing but have no idea what people do for fun afterwards aside from waiting to die. So today, we explore the tiers of lore, arranged in a numbered list because that’s the entire premise of the column. It’s not Perfect Vague Assortment of Concepts. That’s not even a column.