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.
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.”
Filling out that superhero spandex isn’t just a job for the guys, although so far in Valiance Online, it’s certainly seemed that way. It won’t be for long, however, as the team is making significant progress toward getting female characters up and running on the test servers.
“The female character has been reskinned to the new character base rig that the male character uses,” the team reported. “We now have a singular character setup structure for all characters. We also now have new locomotion animations specific to the female character.”
Now where is our tiny, furry, anthropomorphic heroes with leadership experience? Mole Manager to the rescue!
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.
Hunting down bugs in a video game is not the same as hunting down enemies. That’s true even if the bug is a severe one, like the one that Valiance Online is currently trying to fix up wherein sometimes the client crashes when projectiles strike an enemy. This is a rather significant bug in a game where you expect lots of characters to fight with eye beams, hand beams, and other forms of beam as necessary; the developers are hard at work tracking it down.
But herein lies the problem: Since it isn’t like tracking down enemies, the developers cannot use the previewed in-game map to go to the zone where all of the bugs are located and killed them. Game development does not work that way. You, however, can check out the map and get a gander at the street layouts, which will help you significantly if you’re in the current alpha test or just look forward to signing on later. Although perhaps you should just stick with good old-fashioned super strength if you do.
Polls are a quantitative sort of magic that we don’t often get from our other articles – at least when they aren’t being brigaded – which is why I love our Leaderboard column.
Let’s take a look back at our best MMO polls of the year! And if you want a few more, you can look back at our polls from 2016 and 2015 too.
Welcome to a special edition of Make My MMO, Massively OP’s regular recap of what’s going on in crowdfunded MMOs, which we do specifically for those of you who are convinced Kickstarter is the absolute worst (it’s not) and that no crowdfunded MMOs ever launch (they do). Plus, somebody’s got to keep an eye on what your money’s up to! Tonight’s edition isn’t going to be our usual recap of the last couple of weeks, however; we’re going to look at the most important MMO crowdfunding news of the entire year. Lock up your wallets and let’s get to it.
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 Anthem, Sea of Thieves, The Crew 2, Monster Hunter World, DayZ, Red Dead Redemption 2, Stardew 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.
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?
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!
SMITE and Paladins studio Hi-Rez is thanking players today for their efforts in raising funds for the victims of the 2017 hurricane season.
“Earlier this month SMITE and Paladins players around the world contributed to the efforts to support those that have been affected by the devastation left in wake of Hurricane Harvey. Hi-Rez Studios hosted special promotions for its online games SMITE and Paladins where players could purchase in-game cosmetic items with a portion of the proceeds going to hurricane relief. Together the online communities for these two games raised $76,000 which Hi-Rez has donated to the Red Cross for hurricane relief efforts.”
The money raised is a sliver of the $1,401,749 Hi-Rez and its players have earmarked for charity since 2012. “The Atlanta based studio is grateful to its players for contributing to
charitable efforts that help others in need,” the PR says.
When real-life tragedy occurs, it’s perfectly OK to give priority to assistance over interest in video games. But what if you could do both?
Valiance Online has joined the growing club of MMOs and communities looking to do something to ease the suffering and assist in the recovery for those affected by the recent hurricanes in North America. For the duration of this Wednesday, September 13th, the superhero title will shunt all donations made on its website to hurricane relief instead of game development.
This puts Valiance in good company. Final Fantasy XIV’s community recently ran a blood and charity drive for victims of the hurricanes, Destiny 2’s Bungie organized charity events, and even Ultima Online chipped in by disabling housing decay while hurricane victims get back on their feet.