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.
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.
A few weeks back, we reported on the City of Heroes-themed panel coming to PAX West in Seattle at the beginning of September. With the release of the PAX schedule on Friday, we can confirm that it is indeed happening on Sunday, September 3rd, at 8 p.m. in the Cat theater, with reps from City of Titans and Ship of Heroes [update: and Valiance Online] in attendance.
“When the venerable MMORPG City of Heroes shut down in 2012, it gave rise to several projects often called spiritual successors. Each of these efforts took the same inspiration, yet have developed very different titles. Join Casey McGeever of Heroic Games, Chad Dulac of Silver Helm and Nathaniel Downes of Missing Worlds Media for a conversation a conversation about the challenges in making the game, the progress so far, and how these games will build on and stand apart from City of Heroes as something different and new while serving the great gameplay and positive gaming community that has been looking for a home.”
Now that Valiance Online is running its investor alpha test, more eyes are turning to this superhero MMORPG and seeing it more as an actual game than an intriguing concept. And with any alpha test comes the inevitable patch that improves and iterates on the foundation.
This week’s patch adds weapons and particle effects to most powersets, making them sparkle and shine. It also addressed a nasty bug that prevented said powers from working, added collision with solid objects, increased performance, and threw in more environmental art.
Coming soon to the build is improved powersets and the third phase of the combat system. The game is also due to get its first crafting system, Bio-Engineering: “Bio-Engineering will become the first available profession and the world will be progressively populated with harvestable or salveagable items for creating unique amplifiers (consumable items).”
If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the day when Valiance Online would open for testers, the day has come. The investor alpha is starting today (it was announced yesterday, albeit when things were winding up), but there’s still a reason to watch the archived footage of the game’s most recent developer stream down below. Just skip ahead 30 minutes first, because the archived footage has half an hour of “starting in a bit” as a lead time. No, we don’t know why.
Aside from the announcement at the end which we’ve already spoiled, the stream footage covers powersets (starting at around 52 minutes in) and character creation (around 1:55), so there’s plenty of interesting stuff in there if you’d like to see behind the scenes. You can check it out just below if you’d like to watch, assuming you’re willing to jump past the perhaps oversized prep time.
Or maybe you really like waiting half an hour after pressing “play” before watching the video, we won’t judge you.
There will be a City of Heroes panel at PAX West… after a fashion. The game may be gone, but the City of Titans development team will be there to talk about carrying on after the game’s closure and making a spiritual successor. They’ll be joined by representatives of the team
s behind Valiance Online and Ship of Heroes, as well, talking about keeping a strong community going between divergent teams with similar goals.
This panel will be in the Werecat theater in the evening of Sunday, September 3rd, so it’s going to require you to stick out most of the convention if you want to see it. On the other hand, it also features three community-led movements to resurrect the spirit of a beloved game, so that may be motivation enough right there.
Do you like pets, powersets, and behind-the-scenes development glances? Then you’ll enjoy the nearly four hours of Valiance Online stream footage now available just below, which features a discussion of the enhancement system, spreadsheet development, the start of a community-developed powerset (Bubble Projection, starts at around the two-hour mark), a look at one of the pet powersets available, and plenty of in-jokes and laughs among the developers. The video is long, but you can safely skip to around 24:00 and not miss any of the important moments.
If you don’t have time to watch all of that or would prefer more direct information, you can check out the game’s latest lore article about the Starborn, a gang of fashion-obsessed custom-tailored psionic troublemakers jockeying for power more due to boredom than anything else. They’re chasing the latest psionic technology and the latest fashion, and they’re willing to make an absolute mess of the world in the process. So that’s going to be fun.
In an epic-length livestream this past weekend, the Valiance Online team showed off its development alpha test and discussed some of the systems and features that are going into this superhero MMO.
One of these topics was superhero origins, which the team said was a daunting task to incorporate as there are tons of backstories behind all of the caped crusaders out there. So the team created three main origin categories — magic, science, and natural — for now that should cover the broader spectrum.
Even better is a lot of footage of actual gameplay, which takes place in a colorful city and shows off combat, movement, and even a day/night cycle.
Settle in for the nearly four-hour livestream with goofy and easily distracted developers after the break. The actual stream begins at the 22-minute mark; it discusses superhero origins at 1:34:00, powersets at 1:42:00, and gameplay at 2:46:00.