Perfect Ten: 10 things I’d love to see added to City of Heroes in the rogue server era

    
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It doesn't stop.

When will the staff here stop talking about City of Heroes? Now that there’s actually something to talk about regarding it, probably never. Look, you all know that there was a big stretch of time when my reputation was literally built on being “the CoH guy,” including a time when my column about the game was actually far better-known than the one I wrote about some complete trainwreck of an MMO that Square-Enix had forced out.

Mr. Dylan was right, the times are indeed a-changing.

Of course, this new era of the game involves rogue servers and a far more democratic nature; in theory anyone can host one of these servers, and all you need is an extensive background in programming and the patience to wade through arcane server nonsense. But as we wait for things to assemble into a straighter line and as the community rallies around fixed points, I can already think of at least ten things I’d love to see in the game in the era of roguish servers.

Also, more robots.

1. More powersets

Look, let’s be real, CoH players loved our powersets. Absolutely loved them. You could rope us in with new sets almost every time, and it’s telling that not only did we have a huge number of sets in the game by the time it closed, there are still a huge number of further sets I can think of. Where’s a proper telekinetic attack set? What about more telepathic sets? How about a rifle set, or melee-oriented force fields? Can we get some shrinking or growing powers in here? While we’re at it, we have lots of energy sets that could go into melee, and…

You get the idea. Powersets are the sort of things that you can almost never run out of inspiration for from comic books, and when that starts running dry, you can start drawing from other settings and even the existing game. It’s amazingly diverse, and I will always be happy to have more of them.

2. More zones

The Rogue Isles and Paragon City itself are fascinating from a design perspective because they all take place within a fairly narrow city or set of islands, yet they still manage to have a huge number of zones with a diverse feel. Give us more of that. Yes, even just within the city itself, there are the sorts of regions we haven’t yet seen, regions based more thoroughly on specific real-world cities. Or just send us to totally new regions.

Like, hey, the moon is there. Let’s go to the moon. Let’s do domed cities on the moon because who cares about realism? The world is on fire and we deserve joy; let’s explore the moon.

3. More set options and changes

Also, as I believe has been mentioned, more robots.The rogue server builds have already started to play around with new archetypes (like the Sentinel), since at the fundamental level that’s more about having power set type A with power set type B and call it a day. But why stop with that? Why not give us the option to mix and match our powersets more than we already can? Why not let us, say, have half of one set and half of another, or access to two separate primary or secondary sets as we pick our powers? Give us cosmic events to change our primary sets! It’d be fun!

Yes, it would almost certainly be unbalanced, but that’s one of the fun ideas behind being rogue. No rules! No masters! It’s CoH; unbalanced can be balanced later as long as it’s fun now.

4. More LFG tools

The greatest thing about CoH was the ad hoc and fun nature of its grouping content. The game didn’t care whom you teamed up with or why; it was built to work with a whole lot of different options. So let’s get more of that. Let’s have an even more enhanced queue system so that you can get thrown in with randos to take on more than just a handful of missions because the game lets you handle radio missions with a full team of control characters or defenders or tanks or whatever. Let’s make it easier to find supergroups and parties. In fact, on that note…

5. Cross-server visits

I really like Final Fantasy XIV’s world visit system and think it would be absolutely great in CoH. Period end. Heck, more server identity would be good even for that; give us tags for things like RP servers or PvP servers, let us visit our friends elsewhere, maybe even use a Cryptic-style tagging system to address name issues.

6. Dungeon-esque experiences

Instanced dungeons are fun. Radio missions kind of approach a notch of that, but I think it’d be fun to have more structured sort of run-and-gun events that feel like true dungeons melded with the ad hoc chaos of CoH. And as long as I’m already wishing for more LFG tools, this would fit right in.

Note that this one also does involve a fair number of changes to the game as it is currently structured and may require lots of tweaking to make it work within the game without damaging fun stuff like, well, radio missions. More than anything else, this sounds like it would be a fun addition only so long as it didn’t take away from what makes the existing game so darn fun.

Now, this is important to state: I would also like more robots.

7. Actual new story arcs

This is something that honestly can wait for a bit. It shouldn’t wait forever, obviously, but it’s not something that needs to happen right away while the rogue teams get these servers running and stable and hope for confirmation that NCsoft isn’t going to suddenly torpedo their hard work. But once that’s done? Oh, I want new story arcs. I want new NPCs. I want more of the superhero milieu that this game had long established.

Mission Architect is great, don’t get me wrong, but it’d be nice to also have some “official” forward motion. And I’m willing to bet you could find at least a couple of well-known writers with a background in the game willing to write for a pittance, if anything, just to contribute to the universe. Hint, hint.

(Obviously I’m hinting about Mercedes Lackey. Whom did you think I meant?)

8. More archetypes

We’re already getting some of this (again, like the Sentinel). More of it would be good. So actually this one is less of a “I want to see this” and more of a “keep it up, guys,” but hey. Let’s get more epic archetypes, even if they’re just mirrors of what we have now. Longbow Agents!

Also, let's just put this out there, how about more robots?

9. More housing

Superbases were rather limited in their implementation. We all know that. But more of it is good, more housing is good, and in many ways CoH is like the idea game for housing because so much of it is based on personal player expression. Expanding housing options and locations (and separating it from guild ownership) will do nothing but endear this to people.

Seriously, as wrong-headed as it is to ever assume people don’t want to play The Sims in an MMO, it’s really baffling how hard CoH slept on this before it died. Of course I want true housing here. I want two or three bases for half of my characters along with an optional mobile base. It’s not difficult.

10. More progression

The Incarnate System didn’t exactly work. But that wasn’t the fault of the system so much as the content built around it, which was the “everything CoH wasn’t” that I wouldn’t want dungeons to introduce. Tone that content down and give us more of this style of progression, alternative advancement, new things to chase and to customize your characters.

Because let’s be honest, half of what makes people – including me – eager to get back to this game is that choice. It’s making things weird and unusual, building characters to take on legions of foes, and giving little to no care to the inherent weirdness or respective balance. So double down on that, and don’t stop.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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xpsync
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xpsync

Sounds like 1 thing not 10, under “full development” again wish list :)

Many changes like that goes against what i’m loving about EMU’s.

Here is the game, it ain’t going to radically depart from what it is and you have all the time you want to fully flesh out every drop as it isn’t going to go through (usually) game altering idiocy changes.

You either love it or hate it, love it; dig in, hate it; go home, pretty much that simple no debate, play or don’t play.

Why i like emu’s is ever since i got into mmorpg’s i’ve never had the time it seems other people have, and by the time i get around to something the mmorpg is entirely changed for the worst lol.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

I would love to see some sort of modding framework, something that allows people to more easily share their content with other servers. Admittedly, I have absolutely no idea how this would work.

Additionally, I’m all about the archetypes and powersets, and I’ve got a list (spreadsheet, actually) with a variety of additions I’d like to get added into the game. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I have all of what’s needed to make this happen. Everything is currently focused on the server itself and not on content creation, so I’m hoping we’ll start to see some discussions about this that I can jump into.

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Andrew Collas

More costumes parts for me. More traditional costumes too, like new patterns, and gloves, and shoulder pieces, but with a focus on Golden, Silver, and Bronze Age characters. Build a larger base before we get into the weird Anime-Matrix-Fetish Convention stuff. Naturally, YMMV.

Demon of Razgriz
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Demon of Razgriz

Haven’t really invested too much time into reading about the nuances of the rogue servers and all the hoopla. But, if I’m reading this article correctly, then there is/are ways to add in new content and features to the game? Is this possible without raising the legal red flag of NCSoft? Also, that means a change to the whole mythos of CoH. Who’s going to oversee that? I’m now more confused and concerned as ever.

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Eamil

Consider it “modding.” Each individual server can run its own version of the data, the same way SWGL is adding new content other Star Wars Galaxies private servers won’t have.

MagmaFist
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MagmaFist

Unless the playerbase grows substantially I’d rather keep the zones the same and try to make them more interesting(if possible), such as low level zones where they can implement the phasing tech (think Atlas in your first mission against Hellions) but obviously gear it to activate toward higher level players. This way the zones don’t become as dead. Places like Independence Port, Founders Fall, First Ward, Night Ward, Brickstown, Crey’s Folly, Faultline, etc are empty most of the time when you compare what you see in Atlas Park, Steel Canyon and Talos Island. It is even worse on the villain side. CoH had the same problem even when it was live.

Looking at Praetoria, they had also implemented ‘glowies’ outside of the missions so more of that needs to be done as well.

I know the dev argument when the game was live was trying to redo a zone was not worth the effort and they got ‘more bang for their buck’ in creating a new zone but that just sounds like a band-aid to a problem everyone ignores and that is not what I’m advocating but see if it is possible to add some extra systems to a zone. If it takes a complete re-vamp because there is no alternative then yes, create new zones instead.

Maybe implementing LFG would make it not matter or not matter as much but there is no helping that even on a red capacity Torchbearer there are still empty zones and you are surprised when you see someone after rounding a corner.

One area that has helped this is the weekly Strike Force targets as that incentivizes players to redo old content and hopefully they take a new player or two with them. Like monsters and zone events, those are the type of things I’m thinking to keep a zone as populated as possible. As of right now, since you can easily switch to either side(via a contact in Pocket D) instead of doing a mission arc, between Praetoria, Rogue Isles and Paragon City, CoH already has a ton of zones.

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Skor

If I remember correctly, when this game was in development they were initially not even going to have powersets. It was going to be a complete mix and match of powers. For balance purposes I think they went with the powersets/archetypes combo.

I’d love to see more powersets and mix up of those powersets among the archetypes.

That being said, COH homecoming is the only MMO I’ve played in a long time. It’s a return to the golden age of MMOs I prefer it to all the junk they have out now.

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Eamil

If I remember correctly, when this game was in development they were initially not even going to have powersets. It was going to be a complete mix and match of powers. For balance purposes I think they went with the powersets/archetypes combo.

Cryptic later implemented complete mix and match in Champions Online, with the end result that in order to not imbalance things too badly, many, many powers felt the same. =\\

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Does not check email

it failed in 200X and then they restarted and ended up with the present powerset collections.

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Does not check email

Clickbait: Ten things that COH developers will want to do… you won’t believe #8 is legal!

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Eamil

I’m lurking in the Ouroboros discord and I’ve been actively tracking their work almost since they started. As I read this list, every single item on it made me think “yep, THAT’S not happening anytime soon.” Today I watched as several people, for the better part of an hour, tried to find a power granted by a never-released vanity pet so they could add one line of text to set it to be ineffective in PvP.

The words “it’s not difficult” were incredibly depressing for me to read. I’ve never sympathized with actual developers this hard.

quark1020
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quark1020

I say let the game be.

Remember, these are “rogue” servers. Its existence is already precarious, and any extra work would be wasted if the game gets C&D into oblivion.

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BigAngry

Just because one server gets C&D’d wouldn’t mean that the work is wasted. It’d be out there, just like the code for the game, for anyone that wants it. “Can’t stop the signal”, and all.

There just needs to be a tool made like Sentinel+ that exports your character data so you can import it on the next big server that pops up, and we’re golden.

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Eamil

This is especially true for Ouroboros since their work is open source.

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Wakkander

I’ve heard the source code is out there, but do we know if any of the tools escaped into the wild?

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BigAngry

I know that the Ouroboros team just cracked how to edit/create animations, so that’s a HUGE step forward.

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Eamil

The dumps that exist include a fair number of internally used tools. Mostly it’s stuff for packing and unpacking stuff into their archive format, but it’s undocumented stuff so most of the work is trying to figure out which tools do what.

There’s also a proprietary 3DSMax plugin they used to export models, I think.