For the longest time in the early 2000s, MMORPGs scared me off. They looked too obtuse, too grindy, too ugly, and too unapproachable for my tastes. It took a special title to really draw me in with its more casual friendly structure and colorful graphics. In early 2004, I found myself entranced with this superhero MMO that let me be whatever type of caped (or non-caped) crusader I wanted to be. From then on, there was no going back with my interest in these types of games.
I assume that many MMO gamers owe a great debt to City of Heroes for the way that it introduced, encouraged, and excited them about MMOs. It was a new type of online game, one that boasted an unbelievably flexible character creator and invested in the fantasy of playing as a superhero fighting villains all across Paragon City.
Today we’re going to kick off a Game Archaeologist series looking back at City of Heroes. And as with any remarkable superhero, we have to begin with its origin story. Where did it come from? How was it made? Let’s find out!
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.
DC Universe Online
has its summer all mapped out, and it’s a doozy. Daybreak
is leaping into the Teen Titans lore this July for a new episode called Judas Contract
– just like the 1984 and 2016 comic.
“In JUDAS CONTRACT, the Teen Titans are evolving as a team and making upgrades to their home base: Titan’s Tower! Cyborg has joined the Justice League, so the Titans are looking for new recruits, and that means you, heroes. Villains will look to infiltrate the Titans at the request of the Fearsome Five, and both heroes and villains will have to do well enough in training to show the Titans they have the right stuff. Once on the island, things start to go wrong. But who is behind these events, and where are the Titans disappearing off to?”
DCUO Creative Director SJ Mueller does note that the story revolves around Terra but with a “modern DC roster” and “a few newer Titans characters” – Nightwing, Raven, Damian Wayne, Red Robin, and Jericho are mentioned. Expect a “large-scale” event with level-agnostic, singleplayer, and multiplayer adventures. Oh yeah, and plenty of loot.
Magic in space? Ship of Heroes is determined to make it work.
The superhero MMORPG announced today that it will be including a magical subset of heroes and villains into its lore and gameplay. All superpowered humans with magical ability are part of the Attuned, a general-purpose group with this kind of affinity. But tucked inside the Attuned is the sinister Red Sigil, a cult that believes that mages should be used as the “first line of defense” and be put in charge of the giant ship.
“While superhero mages tend to fall into a few general categories, there are countless types of magic in the galaxy, including some odd outliers that are difficult to classify,” the team wrote. “The mages of the Attuned hate the Prometheans above all others, and this antagonism is reciprocated. The Attuned fundamentally like the ship as it is. Even the Red Sigil only want to seize control of the ship’s political system and revenues; they would be happy to have super-powered subordinates if they could effect a coup.”
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!
You know that thing that some inspirational or informative videos do where they throw giant words up on the screen to subtitle every. Single. Thing. That’s. Being. Said? Yeah, well, hope you don’t find that annoying, because it’s the marketing tactic behind a slew of Destiny 2
character profiles that were released in 30-second spots.
Here for your consideration is the wildcard Cayde-6, the sharpshooter Hawthorne, the heroic leader Zavala, the fearless Ikora, and the big bad guy Ghaul. Gee, hope that villain gets some colorful sidekicks so that he’s got someone to riff off of during the downtime. Otherwise he’s on the losing side of the cast factions here.
See ’em after the jump!
Dear readers, today I am going to try something different for all of you. And it’s predicated on the fact that I’m not just
fond of video games; I’m also
fond of comic books. This means that when I sat down for my most recent play session in DC Universe Online
, I found myself of two minds about why I wasn’t super-duper happy with the content I was experiencing… and both of them could easily fill in a good chunk of words by themselves.
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.
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.
This month, Valiance Online has been introducing a roster of its main characters, starting with Cyren, a super-charged teen split in twain:
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!