city of heroes

Official Site: City of Heroes
Studio: Paragon Studios/NCsoft
Launch Date: April 27, 2004
Sunset Date: November 30, 2012
Genre: Superhero Hybrid Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid F2P (Optional Sub, Cash Shop)
Platform: PC, Mac

Perfect Ten: Endless dungeons in MMOs

Most MMO dungeons are normal songs. You start out and you have a pretty clear picture of the beginning, middle, and end; they don’t really change up much. But the endless dungeon is like improvisational jazz. Sure, there’s a beginning and often a fairly reliable end, but the space in the middle can be filled with all sorts of things. You don’t even know what’s going to be there until you’re already in the thick of it. It could be filled with creme! (Probably not, but hey, life is weird sometimes.)

Our reader Arsin asked us a while back about MMOs with endless dungeon modes of some sort, and well, we do our best to find these things out. The goal here is to have an online-only game with randomly generated content between the start and end. Arguably some of these might not fit your personal criteria, but that’s all right; there’s plenty of variety here!

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City of Titans offers up a Fourth of July teaser

“Heroes may fall. Heroism never dies.”

With a not-so-covert nod to the late City of Heroes, City of Titans’ latest 4th of July video attempts to bridge a connection between the fall of one superhero MMO and the coming of another.

The short video shows a statue (which some have called a Statesman homage) on Lockharde Island with the inspirational words listed above. A new shield-bearing hero stands vigilant as the fireworks go off behind him. What’s really notable about this clip is that the studio claims that all assets in it were filmed in the game world, so if that’s the case, then City of Titans is looking pretty darn good from what little we’ve seen of it.

Check it out below!

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Ship of Heroes’ teeny-weeny robot nanites ensure smooth sailing for the superhero starship

Ship of Heroes has a fresh dev blog up today on stuff you can’t even see. I’m talking, of course, about nanites, ridiculously tiny robots that work in unison to make big stuff happen across the literal spaceship your superheroes are flying around on in the game. Of course, what the different nanites do depends how they’re programmed. Some of them are effectively magic clean-up crew, fixing busted infrastructure and scrubbing away graffiti. Others serve players in combat.

“Nanites are also useful for combat, though not as much as one might think. They are completely ineffective for offensive purposes, because everyone carries standardized counter-nanites for personal defense in their bodies. Counter-nanites have been around and standardized for more than a century, and the common models are rugged, reliable, and simple enough to be unhackable. The Justice requires immigrants to get counter-nanites as part of the citizenship process if they don’t already have them, and children get them from their parents. The ship itself also has counter-nanites in case of any attempt to attack its systems.”

Check out the whole piece on the official site (and the new screenies below!).

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The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG has the most complex character development?

Over the weekend, I was reading a makeup subreddit (don’t judge me – I swear there is a gaming point to this) and the lads and ladies were discussing what they would do if they had to start over with $200 and an empty makeup bag. As I’m flipping through the suggestions for how to maximize your budget with palettes and multi-use products, what floated up unbidden in my mind was that it looked exactly like the way City of Heroes players used to give build advice. Oh sure, every game with talents or whatnot has this, but City of Heroes was extremely complicated at its most extreme end and there was an absolutely epic program called MIDS to help you plan your character down to the tiniest mathematical equation. Put simply, whether you wanted to just have a vague clue which level to take which skill or you wanted to mix-max your every IO set, you needed MIDS, and so people would go on the forums and get into long discussions/arguments about those builds.

Path of Exile has always seemed to me another extreme example of detailed, maybe too-detailed-for-most-people, character development. I wish we had more games like this!

Which MMORPG has the most complex character development? And, as a bonus question, which MMORPG has the niftiest character development tool?

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Ship of Heroes shows off its female soldier armor

It would be unfair to say that superhero MMOs are based entirely on the strength of their costume creation, but that costume creation is pretty darn important just the same. So it’s good to see Ship of Heroes demonstrate what the opposite-gender costumes will look like by showing off the female soldier armor, based off of the armor for one of the game’s signature superheroes. More than just that, though; the developers are showing it off in multiple poses and with a variety of different color tints just below.

The costume consists of nine separate pieces and can be mixed and matched with other pieces, as well as having two color channels on each piece. It should be familiar stuff for people who have played a similarly freeform costume-building game, so if you’re looking forward to making your very own hero you would do well to take a look at the gallery and start thinking about how to use those pieces.

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City of Titans is bringing the control lifestyle back, baby

Raise someone else’s hand up if you have fond memories of playing a Controller in City of Heroes. The concept of a crowd control class has sadly gone by the wayside in most MMORPGs, but it looks like it may come roaring back for City of Titans.

Not only will the City of Heroes spiritual successor have a full class — the Operator — devoted to mezzing, but the dev team promises that several other classes will contain similar elements in their secondary power sets. One thing that players will discover is that City of Titans’ crowd control powers, such as charm, sleep, or fear, will be “more persistent” and of a “noteworthy duration.”

“Since controls are going to be such a significant part of the game, our staff had to design them with great rigor to achieve a desirable game play experience. We also had to balance the mechanics for both PvE and PvP. Our goal for this and all of our mechanics is to make using them between the two types of play as seamless as possible,” the developers promised.

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Perfect Ten: The best MMO debuts by year, 1997-2006

By now, many of you probably know that I’m the curator of the MMO Timeline on my personal blog. On this page, I’ve attempted to catalog the launches, expansions, business model shifts, reboots, platform transitions, and sunsets of MMOs by year. It certainly helps me to get a high-level overview of certain eras of online gaming history as well as to trace the development of certain titles.

For fun, because that’s a lot of what Perfect Ten is about, I wanted to start with the year that MMORPGs really took off and select one title per year over the next two decades that I felt had the best debut and was the most exciting title to launch that year. Some years it’s going to be really easy to pick, while others… man, I am setting myself up for some hate mail, aren’t I?

Let’s turn our time machine back to 1997 and get this show on the road!

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One Shots: Fashion patrol coming your way!

Well that is certainly one way to fill up the comments section with tons of screenshots: asking all of you to show of your best and boldest fashion! We had a virtual fashion show last week in the One Shots comments, and here are my personal favorites of the bunch (although most all were tremendous).

First up is UpayaBlossom, who brings some springtime cheer into the dour setting of Secret World Legends. “Oooh… fashion show? I was born ready for this!” she wrote.

Here’s a weird thought. What if all of the enemies in video games were adorable people and we played as the hideous monsters? What kind of fashion would we sport then?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO’s music brings back all the feels?

One of the reasons that I love and listen to MMO music so much — other than it rocks, obviously — is that it has this incredible power to trigger nostalgia and latent memories of time spent in-game.

It’s amazing: I might have been away from a game for years or haven’t even thought about it since it went offline ages ago, but the second I hear the main theme or an iconic track, it is like I never left. Occasionally I marinate in City of Heroes’ score or the vanilla World of Warcraft soundtrack just to be transported back to around 2004.

Which MMO soundtrack brings back all the feels for you? Is there a particular theme that makes you close your eyes and gives you goosebumps as you are transported back in time?

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Ship of Heroes discusses the difference between Alpha and Beta

What makes an alpha? If your answer is “marketing jargon,” you’re not entirely wrong. But the team behind Ship of Heroes is going for a slightly more formalized definition, and it’s explained on the official site right now. In short, an alpha is when you have people who aren’t part of the development team running around in the game, because that’s when you can find the bits that are broken without developers who just know to avoid that stuff.

The team is also preparing for its next major alpha milestones, starting with a 50-player login test with everyone logging into a spot and running around. Assuming that goes well, it’s time to move on to the same thing with a full-fledged invasion, adding combat into the mix. If you’re curious about the exact divisions between alphas, betas, and closed vs. open status, check out the whole piece on the official site.

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E3 2018: ‘Fallout 76 is entirely online’

You’ve seen the teaser. You’ve heard the rumors. You’ve watched the E3 trailer. And now it’s time to find out, exactly, what Fallout 76 is.

On Sunday night, Bethesda took the stage at E3 to finally talk about what Vault Boy and his comrades are up to with this prequel game. Let’s start with the bombshell (so to speak): “Fallout 76 is entirely online.”

That’s right: Bethesda is bringing the Fallout series online with this game, with the option to play solo. It’s what the studio is calling “softcore survival” — death doesn’t mean the loss of progression or your character. Players will be able to hop over to wherever their friends are and play on servers populated by dozens, but not hundreds, of people. Choices are key here as players will decide on the heroes and villains.

There is PvP here and co-op adventures as well. Scavenge, gather, and crafting is a major component. Players, solo and grouped, can build bases anywhere they want and move those buildings to desired locations with mobile platforms. Oh, and there will be nuclear sites that players can use to nuke the world if so desired.

B.E.T.A. (Break-it Early Test Application) testing begins soon, and Fallout 76 will launch later this year on November 14th.

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City of Heroes emulator SEGS announces new update with NPCs, database support, and a GUI

If you’ve been following SEGS’ twitter over the last week, you know the team there has been teasing something big. And now we know what it is: the next version of the game.

SEGS, of course, stands for Super Entity Game Server; we’ve been covering its team’s efforts to create a full-fledged free-to-play open-source City of Heroes emulator codebase since April.

“The SEGS Group is proud to announce the release the the next version of the Super Entity Game Server version 0.5.0, nicknamed by the group, The UnSilencer,” the developers say. “This version features numerous updates, fixes and additions to the code that will allow you to run a server that is compatible with the Issue 0/1 client of City of Heroes, Comic book/Superhero MMORPG. Some of the new features of this version, are the ability of the server to now spawn NPCs or Non Player Characters, on the map in their predetermined spawn points. Also added is support for MySQL and PostgresSQL in the dbtool, used to create new databases for the server.”

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Ship of Heroes video demonstrates how far the game’s come in a year

If you wanted some clear visuals on how far Ship of Heroes has come over the last year, the video Heroic Games published over the weekend is ponying up. It stands in clear contrast to a similar mission map video the team put out just about a year ago, as the new one shows off how that same map has been upgraded and adapted for the new engine version, with more props, textures, materials, doors, viewscreens, and lighting and reflectivity tweaks.

According to Heroic, this particular map is expected to take around 30 minutes to beat, although the PR notes that the devs are “pretty flexible about player strategies” such that “if a team figures out how to complete the mission in 5 minutes, more power to them!” As for what’s coming up in the future:

“We’re working on several tasks in parallel right now. Our next video may show off the new Healing Nanites powerset, but it’s not set in stone yet. We have some additional lore related to Nanites in the queue as well, and we’re hoping to get that published before we go to the next Alpha event. The next alpha event is a login test which will help the dev team prepare for a raid test later this year; we’re hoping to get a couple dozen or more members of the community to volunteer to participate.”

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