The time is coming nigh for yet another update to the City of Heroes MMO, this issue promises to be something pretty revolutionary (in my eyes) for modern MMO’s [I, of course, have to use the term ‘modern’ in a different context, as the game itself is a few years old].
City of Heroes Issue 13, named (appropriately) Architect, was announced yesterday around 12pm. The most breakthrough feature of this issue is sort of why it is named “Architect”, in Issue 13 players will be able to design Custom Missions that they will be able to offer up for the entire player base to adventure through. Custom missions will be designed using an interface similar to the much vaunted (and not yet surpassed in my opinion) Character Generator where players can create a costume with literally millions of possibilities. Positron (lead developer on the NCSoft City of Heroes team) said the following in regards to the mission creator:
With virtually no information to go on, some people very much underestimated what would be possible with the Mission Architect. Some got it spot on, and some people wanted features that were simply impossible to get into the system at launch. Even so, we are very proud of the system as it stands. Players can make their own story arcs using a customized version of the tool used by our mission writers, in some cases rivaling our own internal tools in ease-of-use. I am really looking forward to playing the stories you all create with this amazing tool!
Source: City of Heroes Forums – Positron’s Letter to the Players (Bold emphasis mine)
Players will have a great depth of control over the missions they create, from custom dialogue to environment control and mission rewards. Creators of these missions will also gain acclaim and reputation, plus some rewards that will be a direct result of player feedback – meaning the more popular missions can earn their creators special items or titles! (Note: This is a guess going by the history of rewards in the game, don’t take it for fact until it happens 🙂 )
Among other rewards, authors and architects who create the most extraordinary content will garner acclaim and reputation. Community feedback will be paramount and some missions will elevate in status unlocking new rewards and benefits for their creators.
Custom missions aren’t the only new feature in the upcoming content update, NCSoft is also adding a feature called “Day Jobs” – Day Jobs are a system of offline character advancement. Sounds cool right? Well, the implementation talked about sounds even cooler! Wherever you log your character out will determine what sort of ‘job’ they have during their incognito lifetime; For example: if you log off in a hospital you will be considered to work in the Medical Field, if you log off in the University you will be considered a student, etc. While you are logged off your character will gain rewards/benefits/buffs related to the job they are working at; whether it be influence (City Hall), Extra Salvage (Scholar), health regeneration buffs (Healthcare).. you will always receive some sort of benefit from your day job. As an added side benefit (or, another twitch towards OCD Badge Collectors, you will earn badges & titles once you fulfill the time requirements for a particular job).
Scholar? Caregiver? City Official? Now when players log out of City of Heroes / Villains they’re just getting started! A character’s day job is determined by the actual in-game location from which he or she logs out. If players log out from a University their day job is considered to be a Scholar. If they log out from City Hall they’re a City Official. The benefits are thematically appropriate to the location. For example, a City Official earns extra Influence, a Scholar is granted Salvage, a Caregiver is granted Health Regeneration Buffs, etc.
Once characters have accumulated the required amount of time for each Day Job, they are rewarded with the appropriate Day Job Badge and Title, increasing their “earnings” for that job. Multiple Badges can be combined to unlock Accolades and the ability to accumulate additional new rewards. Almost every location within Paragon City and the Rogue Isles has an associated Day Job, resulting in a wide selection of jobs and rewards!
According to Positron, players who don’t want a particular day job will be able to have a day job of “On Patrol” or “Committing Crimes” and earn appropriate bonuses there as well.
What else is in this issue you might ask, well – how about 2 new powersets? Yep, and one of them has been debated and argued over for a very very long time. Those of you that have played the game before might know which I am talking about, it was said that the technology wasn’t available nor feasible to put this particular powerset in for a long time… it has to do with a little fella called Captain America. Still stumped? Well, its the Shields powerset, yep we can finally have a shield based class folks. The latest news we heard on it (not too long ago actually) was that it would be too hard and too expensive to implement it in the game because of the animation time required for the different moves. Time will tell if NCSoft managed to get it all worked out properly to make the Shields powerset something to be desired. The other new powerset is something that the Red Side (Villains) have been asking to get implemented for quite a while, it is a Villain version of Empathy called Pain Domination. There were quite a few good arguments as to why this shouldn’t be implemented, and we will have to wait and see if NCSoft will be able to assuage these fears while making the Villains happy with their characters.
- Shields – Heft a Shield for Heroic or Villainous Ends! This new powerset brings a classic power to City of Heroes: Shields! Now, you can arm Tankers, Scrappers and Brutes with a powerful shield to protect themselves and their allies.
- Pain Domination – Villains can now bend the power of pain to serve their own ends! Those playing a Corruptor or Mastermind have access to this new powerset. The antithesis of the Hero healing powerset “Empathy,” Pain Domination brings parity between Heroes and Villains with a distinctively evil flair.
In addition to the goodies above, NCSoft is adding some more missions to the Roman themed Cimerora area (Issue 12: Midnight Hour), New Invention Origin Sets, New costume sets, a Patron Power Respec (much begged for on villain side as up to now only Heroes could respec out of their chosen ‘epic’ power pools).
The last big addition to the game is called the Merit Rewards System: What this does is add an alternative reward system to Task Forces, Trials, Strike Forces, Raids, etc. At the end of the mission arc you will be able to choose either the set rewards for the arc or a Merit Reward, choosing a Merit Reward will give you a certain number of merit points that can be used to buy Enhancements, recipes, or other items you might want. The harder the mission arc, the more points you receive. This will allow people to save up for the reward they want, buy something random for a smaller output, or go with the normal choices. It could, however, take longer for someone to get the exact item they are looking for – Positron says this should work out in the end and keep everything balanced so as not to overflow the market.
Heres Positron’s word on the subject of Merits:
Upon completing tasks in the game (Task Forces, Trials, etc.) you get an option of receiving Reward Merits instead of a normal reward. The number of merits is based on the difficulty of the mission, how long it takes to complete on average, etc. Thus things like the Katie Hannon TF have minimal merits associated with them, and things like the Shadow Shard Task Forces get bunches.
You can then trade those merits in for specific rewards, like recipes and the like, or trade in a smaller amount for random recipes if you feel lucky.
This should allow players who want to work towards a specific reward to be able to do so, but it will most likely take longer than the random rewarding of that item generated. This should keep the “value” of highly desired items in the Auction House (but most will likely see a fall in price). People still want instant gratification, and that is what the AH brings to those with the Inf. to spend.
NCSoft also announced the upcoming release of 2 booster packs that will be available in a month or so. The first one, costing $4.99, will be the 30 day jet pack that is being made available for new customers who buy the City of Heroes Game Card – I honestly don’t see the point of paying $5 for an item that just goes away in 30 days, but who knows how popular it will be. The other booster pack will be the Super Booster I: Cyborg Power pack, costing $9.99, which will feature way current subscribers don’t feel ‘gyped’ by not having access to something that can be picked up by level 5 anyway. There will also be a 9.99 Super Booster I: Cyborg Pack with a set of costume pieces, emotes, auras, and a power (that sounds like a doozy of a good deal to me – I can almost hear another character calling my name from the void.. damned alt-itis!)
All in all Issue 13 is adding up to be not only a great content package, but a huge leap forward in the game for not only NCSoft but for the community as well. I certainly am looking forward to playing it when I can – Keep up the good work NCSoft!
Any opinions out there?
Announcement/Feature List: http://www.cityofheroes.com/game_update13.html
Posi’s letter/discussino: http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showflat.php?Cat=0&Board=Dev&Number=11778121
Discussion Thread: http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=11779181&page=0&vc=#Post11779181
City of Heroes Website: http://www.cityofheroes.com/
NCSoft Website: http://www.plaync.com/