So this week, you get to choose the column you want to read. There are two spoiler warnings below: one covering my thoughts of playing the game from a strictly game-based perspective, the other one being my thoughts of playing the game from a comic book fan’s perspective. Read one! Read the other! Read both! Theoretically you could read neither, I suppose, but then you would have clocked out before you were done with this introduction.
plan z studios
The studio behind City of Heroes-inspired Heroes and Villains.
Look there! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… Mysecretid!
Who among us hasn’t played a video game at some point and decided to create his or her favorite fictional character? At least Mysecretid is being honest about it: “DCUO sets up this idea that the players can be proteges of existing DC heroes and villains. Although many players ignore this possibility, I decided to make my character a clear Superman fan — as I am.
“I realize that Superman is often terribly written, but when someone ‘gets’ the character, he’s golden. I re-created my main from the PC on my PS4. I’ve been having a lot of fun, despite the game’s flaws.”
Aquaman might still be dealing with the shameful vestiges of his poor Superfriends cartoon showing in the 1970s, but the underwater superhero is getting a chance to show off his stuff in DC Universe Online. In fact, the prince of Atlantis is one of the main characters of an Tides of War event that is raging across the game as we speak.
The event concerns an Atlantean civil war that’s getting mixed up in the waters off Metropolis. Heroes and villains level 10 and up are invited to participate to achieve new feats and earn rewards (gotta get that sandcastle for your lair!). The event will conclude on July 26th.
Curious about DC Universe Online? Our own Eliot is diving into it all this month in his Choose My Adventure series, so keep an eye out for the next installment on Thursday!
Ever since the tone-deaf SOE proclamation that nobody wanted to play Uncle Owen in an MMORPG, contrary me has consciously fought that very stupid idea. A whole lot of people wanted to play Uncle Owen, then and now, there and elsewhere. Star Wars Galaxies was a game half full of Uncle Owens. I spent a lot of time literally becoming a moisture farmer as my own form of rebellion. And yet, as I realized while debating with my husband a few weeks ago, the person I really wanted to be was freakin’ Lando. And most MMORPGs don’t allow that either — it’s Luke or GTFO.
Such is the argument made by a recent PC Gamer article, which in its own precious mainstream way argues that “MMOs need to let you be an average Joe” to get out of the clear “creative slump” they’re in.
“With their scale and permanence, MMOs give us the chance to be citizens in a make-believe world we create with the help of our fellow players. When it’s left up to us what kind of role we want to fill in that world, everybody’s immersion benefits from being surrounded by all types of characters with vastly different stories.”
For this week’s Overthinking, I asked the staff to chime in on the concept of Uncle Owen in MMORPGs. Do you play this way? Do you wish you could? And is it the way forward?
Heroes and Villains was one chunk of the original trifecta of superhero MMORPGs that sprang from the grave of City of Heroes, but it’s probably the one least known to the MMORPG community after City of Titans and Valiance Online, never mind the relatively new Ship of Heroes, which brings the count to four. The hook for H&V is that it’s a “casual, community-focused” MMO, developed by volunteers, but it doesn’t have the same level of videos and demo work out yet.
However, Plan Z Studios released a new dev post this week on the specifics of the game’s zones. “We’ve been doing some more design work on how non-continuous zone transitions are handled,” the team writes. While 2004’s City of Heroes made use of loading screens that masked transitions between zones, in Heroes and Villains, “all adjoining zones can be crossed back and forth seamlessly, and the same underlying tech can be used to allow instant transitions between non-continuous zones.”
Back in October, Valiance Online announced that it was superjumping onward from pre-alpha to alpha and revealed that it’ll use a free-to-play model, or rather, continue its free-to-play model into the live game, as it’s free-to-test right now. This week, it clarified some of those plans.
“SilverHelm Studios has announced the impending launch of the public Alpha test of Valiance Online,” declares the press release — we’ll imagine it’s in a booming comicbook voice. “Prior to the actual launch of the Alpha on Steam, a private test will be run for people who have invested in the game as well as random participants chosen from registered users on the website and forums. The game will also be available to download on the website for non-Steam players. Windows, Mac and Linux will all be supported in the Alpha test.”
Silverhelm is also touting its recent improvements and plans for the game, including the combat upgrade, third version of the character generator, UI buffs, and in-dev pet classes.
MMORPG gamers will recall that Valiance is one of several superhero-themed MMORPGs founded in the wake of the closure of fan-favorite City of Heroes. Most recently, we’ve covered some of the new heroes and villains the devs have posted to social media.
Even though superhero MMOs offer us the ability to create our own characters and live vicariously through their adventures, it’s good to hear about some of the developer-created NPCs to give us an idea of what’s possible and what this world is like.
Cyren is an anomaly of a character, which has to say something in a city full of strange and weird people, places, and things. She is an innocent teen girl with enough firepower to wreak havoc on half the city. Her brain is split between artificial development and biological growth, being fearless and highly capable in combat and paradoxically unaware of her own strength and functions. If put into a life threatening situation, her subconscious mind will access computer systems she didn’t know existed. She often is surprised by what she can do and is far more powerful than she lets on only because she is blissfully unaware of it herself.
Despite her less than savory origins, she fights on the side of justice alongside her best friend Borealis, constantly saving the day with her unique brand of positive enthusiasm even in the direst of situations.
We’ve got two more characters for you to meet after the jump!
I was a tiny bit flabbergasted last weekend when I saw that there was yet another City of Heroes spiritual successor project in the making. I get that City of Heroes was deeply beloved by fans — heck, by me too — and that its loss still reverberates throughout the MMORPG community. But is this getting silly with four projects or is this a touching sign of a game’s legacy?
Now we have four MMOs in the making that are attempting to don City of Heroes’ cape: Valiance Online, Heroes and Villains, City of Titans, and now Ship of Heroes. I look at all of that scattered effort and wonder if it might be better if all of these parties pooled resources behind a single title. Then again, perhaps with a pool of four games, we might actually get one that launches and is halfway decent.
Are you rooting for one of these City of Heroes spiritual successors? If so, which one and why?
Today, SWTOR opened the doors to Knights of the Eternal Throne for its early access players. The expansion thrusts long-suffering heroes and villains into a nine-chapter campaign that visits two new planets and raises the level cap to 70.
There are a lot of changes that Update 5.0 brings to the game, including the galactic command endgame system, the option to fight for server-wide light or dark side points, the new uprising instances, the choice of advanced class at character creation, and the start of ranked warzone arena season 8. You’re probably going to want to pore over all of the patch notes to make sure you’re not missing out on something essential, so get to it!
“The Witching Hour, DCUO’s Fall Seasonal Event, has returned once again! It’s up to you, heroes and villains, to head to the streets of Gotham City and inside the Midnight Masquerade Nightclub and see if you can get a handle on the horrors that are haunting it. Heroes, you’ll look for the Phantom Stranger inside the East End Safehouse; villains, find Tala inside The Tap Room in Burnley. They will have further instructions for you! Each day of the event, look for The Witching Hour in your Mission Journal; complete the mission and earn Spooky Bites, which can be used in Skeets’ Boo-tique for the latest in scare-wear, tricks, treats, and creepy items for your Base or League Hall.”
Don’t actually feel like playing the game to collect the new in-game currency known as Spooky Bites? You can buy them straight from the cash shop because of course you can. They’re on sale at a rate of 50 Bites for 600 cash shop currency, which works out to about $6.
I continue to be impressed and occasionally bewildered by how Marvel Heroes keeps releasing new classes into the game, sometimes as frequently as every month. Right now we’re up to an amazing 58 playable heroes and villains, with no end to the rollout in sight.
It’s made me think about the viability of constantly churning out new classes for MMOs. It’s not the norm, of course, as most games will only rarely enhance their rosters with a new class, but some titles seem to thrive on it. I can see how it’s beneficial for games that are designed with replayable content and shallower class structures. It’s also a potential goldmine for titles that sell classes or want to keep a population hooked.
Would you want to see your MMO churn out new classes on a regular basis? Should it?
If you are not a subscriber to DC Universe Online, you’re still sitting back on the sidelines anticipating the release of Halls of Power Part II next week. We all know trying to be patient isn’t the funnest thing when you are looking forward to diving into your favorite game’s new content, so we talked with Senior Creative Director Jens Andersen and Design Director Jesse Benjamin during a DLC preview to glean some interesting tidbits to share with you while you’re wait.
Of course, we also have some information that those members who are busy playing through the DLC right now might want to stop and take note of. Andersen shared some words on plans going forward, probably the most notable being DCUO’s planned shift away from DLC.
DCUO’s 14th episode, Halls of Power Part II, will take players to New Genesis for a slew of solo and group content. Apparently the nasty Darkseid is trying to gather up ancient artifacts while Granny Goodness is abducting both heroes and villains upon which to experiment. The update will contain daily solo bounty missions, new duos, the Fatal Exams four-player operation, the New Genesis Now eight-player operation, and an eight-player raid called Happiness Home.
Halls of Power Part II is slated to come out sometime “this spring.”[Source: Daybreak press release]