Jumping Ship

Since NCSoft closed the City of franchise, a number of projects have risen from the ashes with the hope to allow those ex-players to find a new home

These are the projects that are in flight that are considered spiritual successors to City of Heroes\Villains:

  • City of Titans
  • Valiance Online
  • Heroes and Villains
  • Ship of Heroes

I have been keeping an eye on these titles, watching videos as the are released and screenshots when possible, I’ve been on the fence for the most part as these games look nice but nothing was grabbing me in the same way as City of did.

Last week I had the pleasure watching a stream from Massively OP that was talking with the folks from Ship Of Heroes, there was a lot of information and development ideas given. I have to say I was very impressed, there was a Q & A taking place in the chat and nearly all the answers were how I would want a Superhero game to work.

One of the ideas that I hadn’t really understood was the idea of the space-ark (ship) and that the game looks to move away completely from a planetary bound MMO. This leads to multiple levels of the ship to explore and each having unique elements to it.

I’d like to see how SoH progresses between now and when they launch a client for folks to test with, I have to admit that so far it’s piqued my interest more than any other spiritual successor has.

You can watch the video of the stream here

Levels

The latest couchpodtatoes episode covers this topic while agree with much of what was said, I wanted to write up a response to the topic that was discussed on the show, mostly as it’s a topic that I feel can break a game.

I have wax lyrically about games that avoid levels before now.
First up is how The City of Heroes/Villains game looked to reduce the dependance on levels through it’s Mentor system, I’ll not cover the same information other than to say, the system was one of the main reason that players would persist with a character even when reaching level 50. The ability to sidekick lower characters up to your level or malefactor down to theirs made playing with your friends so easy.

The introduction of level-less enemies in bigger events such as Rikti invasions. The damage a character did was relative to the power of the attack they used for a level 5 and a level 50 character could effectively do the same amount of damage if they used the same attack against an enemy.

The final use of the game system was allowing you to run Task/Strike Forces and timetravel missions that were restricted to a certain level. This allowed you to complete achievements and play through earlier game content without re-rolling.

Progress

The second part of the conversation was about horizontal progression, the only one that I could think that had a very low diagonal progression was the original Planetside game. Ok so it had levels, but the levels only really granted you certificates. The more you got the more you would be able to learn, however your loadout was limited to a number of slots and you couldn’t take everything you had learnt with you. You could unlearn a certificate every 24 hours, allowing you to change your play style.

It’s at this point that a player at level 1 could take out an enemy player who was level 20 as the levels didn’t give you any advantage to your power/damage/targeting etc. There are many that will argue that the veteran player will have more experience and thus will be better in a fight, this is true however the flexibility of the game was to allow you to progress without only getting kills as support activities were rewarded.

#Progression #CityOfVillains #Planetside

Two year reprieve

Two years and one day exactly after the closure announcement of City of Heroes/Villains, new hope comes from the most unlikely direction.
This post over at the Titan Network explains it in more detail and covers alot of text, but if the deal is successful there could be a Maintenance version of the i23 content available (no characters at this point),  I know it not set in stone yet but I have to say the thought of diving into the game and a 1.5 version sounds amazing.

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Mobs you respect

Dusty over at Of Course I’ll Play It posted a great top ten of MMOs mobs that have earnt his respect.
There are some simple rules: no bosses, elites or named mobs, so without further ado here is my list.

10. All of the Birds (Lord of the Rings Online)
I really disliked all of the birds enemies in LotRO, I would always miss them when scouting ahead and end up with 3 or 4 attacking me, a pain when you were just starting out and could be overwhelming for less hardy characters.
Easy to under-estimate as you’d often end up aggroing another group in the process.

9. Sappers (City of Heroes/Villains)
I have to agree with Dusty on sappers, when they teamed up with Malta Gun Slingers you were usually in for a rough time.
As all powers in the game required endurance to activate, having an enemy that could drain it could lead to devastating results for a group when the healer was targeted. The gunslingers would follow up while an attack that slowed your regen and attack speed. Nasty duo.

Caretaker8. Caretaker (Tabula Rasa)
The healer is usually the first to die, but the caretakers often blended into the background and were only noticed when the Thrax you were trying to kill didn’t seem to be loosing health. For this 8th slot it was a choice between the Caretaker and the Thrax technician.

7. Blade Dancers (Fallen Earth)
The enemy group had so many different suffixes (Butcher, Scalpel, Dagger, ripper) it maybe wrong to add a whole group but they really were annoyingly tricky. It maybe more down to the lack of player Vs mobs balance that made them tough to take down but of all of my deaths in Fallen Earth I’d say more than half had to be at the hands of this group. With there high respawn rate and odd placement, I’d be very unlucky and end up aggroing 2 mobs.

Illusionist6 .Carnival Illusionists (City of Heroes/Villains)
I much as the fun colours and theme of the carnies made them look a push over they really weren’t. The trickiest of these was the illusionists, with a arsenal of psychic abilities the presence of these in a group meant it was going to be a fight to remember. The tricky part was when the phase shifted and couldn’t be hit for some time, you’d have to refocus your attacks then once more when they returned.

5. Iron Fortress Defender (Rift)
There are probably more mobs of this type in Rift but this one stood out the most for me in my original play-through. Questing around the Iron Fortress was generally tough at the right level but these were hard little beasts and if you pulled more than one could easily end badly for you.

Centurion14. Centurion (City of Heroes/Villains)
The Cimeroran mobs required a rethink of our whole attack strategy, the shield defence was no laughing matter when used by multiple enemies in a group. However the toughest of all was the Centurion whose alpha strike could take huge chunks of a players health in one go, a tough job for the tank and more so for the healer.

3. Ak’ab (The Secret World)
Despite their telegraphed charge Ak’abs are a nasty pain the ass, they are the personification of mobstacle. I used to believe it was just that I was soloing and if I was part of a team things would be better, but they weren’t and encountering Ak’abs still causes a commotion.

209px-Mursaat_caster2. Mursaat (Guild Wars)
Ah the Mursaat’s ability “Spectral Agony” was an utterly horrid debuff that effected skill speed and applied a DoT along with a health regeneration debuff.
Of course there was a defense against it, namely Infusion, but it was a pain if one member of the team didn’t have it.

1. PPD SWAT Equalizer (City of Heroes/Villains)
Playing as a villain mean you got to experience fights against the Paragon Police Department, who between level 1 and 50 continued to gain in strength and abilities.
The PPD Equalizer was one of the most irritating mob members, with a powerset that focused on debuffing and crowd control you ignored these at your own risk.

#Blaugust #CityOfVillains

Like a boss fight

I’m going with one of Belghast suggested topics about Boss fights, the raid that I remember the most is from the Rikti War zone in City of Heroes/Villains.
The Lady Grey Task Force was one of the first Task Force in the City of games that allowed both Heroes and Villains to team up co-operatively. Initiated in the Rikti War Zone the task force was for 8 persons and tasked the players with repelling an alien invasion.

Four riders

Once started the raid consisted of 5 stages there are two fights that I found challenging and enjoyable. The first is a fight against 4 of the Rikti greatest warriors who has been given names designed to invoke fear into the heart of humans.They are referred to as the riders and take the names War, Famine, Pestilence & Death.

Hero 1
Hero 1

Fighting them starts off easy as you only face one, but the fight changes as the number increases with each encounter, so that in the last battle you end up fighting all four bosses at once.

Omega

The central part of the story is focused on the last Rikti Invasion attempt and how the Omega Team (a group of 50 heroes) led by Hero 1, travelled through a portal to the Rikti home-world and destroyed it on the other-side.

However the sacrifice of the original team came at a cost and those thought lost were either killed or captured by the Rikti, corrupted and transformed.

The final fight

Rikti_HonoreeThe raid ends bit taking the fight right to door step of the Raiding Rikti force who are trying to open a new portal to the Rikti homeworld which could bring through their most powerful warrior.
The project is being overseen by Lord of War: Hro’Dtohz who is the lord of the Rikti military caste, him and his plan must be stopped before the Honoree travels to Earth.

You arrive too late and while you are defeating Hro’Dtohz the portal is activated and The Honoree is brought through. As the name and visuals suggest this warrior isn’t Rikti in nature and is in-fact the thought lost Hero 1.

As you are fighting it becomes clear that despite the Rikti influence there is still some of the Hero left, as the battle progresses the internal struggle becomes apparent. Sadly the mind-controlling is too strong and you have to take the Honoree down.

I leave you with a snippet of the Task Force debriefing:

Let us not mourn for his fall, for even with all the alien science bent to break his will, he fought to retain some of his humanity. Perhaps one day, he can be restored. If that day comes, it will be because of your bravery and valour.
Though tinged with sorrow, this is indeed a moment of triumph, your moment of triumph. For you have fought against all odds and saved all of us, and may now stand with your heads held high amongst your peers.

#CityOfHeroes #Games #Blaugust