Evolving the Superhero MMO

Evolving the Superhero MMO

Superhero MMOs can take a lesson out of the pages of comic books.

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Um...okay. Doesn't that basically mean City of Heroes is already at the pinnacle?

He hated how the Circle of Thorns only spawned at night because it was never night on the server when he could play.

...you were supremely unlucky, then. It doesn't take long for the day to cycle, and unless someone takes them out, CoT spawns stick around for the daylight.

John Scott Tynes:
So, that's the first idea. Make a reinvention part of the natural progression of a superhero MMO. Place it at level thresholds (20, 40, etc.) or gate it behind an epic mission sequence. It could be accompanied by a power respec as well, but that's not the important part for this discussion.

And there inlays your first problem. Your thinking about the leveling curve and not end game. Maybe instead of trying to bandaid fix something, a better approach is to simply follow the norm or come up with a new reward system. Do killing big bad guys mean you have to loot his pants and wear them? Then just don't have the costume part be what customizes the character. Have crystals that control your powers.

I do appreciate that Champions calls the respec feature "Retcon."

The problem with optional costume upgrades is that it makes it hard for players to spot you and your power at a distance. This is a major issue in PvP, because being able to visually identify and react to the enemy is half of the battle. In WoW, if I can't judge a player by the hat on his head or the bling on his bod, I can't plan for the fight. When I see a rogue in a terrorblade hat, I know (knew, really, I don't mind them being more accesible nowdays but it does reduce the 'indication-of-badass' factor) i'm about to tangle with a certain kind of foe.

When a high-issue can wander around appearing as a newb, it removes a factor that would be even more essential in a Heroes game, where classes are only loosely defined and the ability to identify players is going to be ever more essential. I like the levelling up of the costume, though, I think it's a fantastic idea that would make the evolution of the hero really mean something... but unless it's mandatory you'll run into problems.

I think Champions Online did fine with the equipment. They've even put little jokes in some of the equipments names/descriptions. And you could always go to the tailor if you wanna 'reinvent' your hero. And Champions online does have weapon drops called "Power Replace" items, that will unlock a new costume piece, and gives that power a new effect. Both optional too, so if you just think that weapon looks badass, but don't like the effect, you can stick with the weapon, and put something else in that offense slot. However, the only problem, well, a HUUUUGE problem is that the only weapon replace that seems availiable are for Swords, and double swords. Well, I've seen a few others for other powers, but the point is, I've NEVER seen a power replace that works with any of my powers. Thats something that Champions Online really needs to fix. Missions that give power replacements, should automatically offer you Power Replacements for powers you actually have. I don't see them offering one of everything though, with the large amount of powers that are availiable, that would make that reward window huge, and you would have to scan through all of them to find the right item. But it should automatically read what powers you have, and offer you rewards accordingly.

What's more in CO currently you unlock new costume pieces as you play and obtain specific items, as well as specific unlocks (from the perks merchants) at the milestones of killing 1000 and 5000 members of a given enemy type/faction.

NeutralDrow:
Um...okay. Doesn't that basically mean City of Heroes is already at the pinnacle?

John Scott Tynes played a superhero named Jonah Eternity in City of Heroes. He hated how the Circle of Thorns only spawned at night because it was never night on the server when he could play.

Yeah, this article confused the hell out of me. First of all there's a whole area of the Hollow where the CoT are (always) usually around those fracking damage crystals.

Secondly, you get a new costume at 30, 40 and 50. And cape at 20.

Thirdly, you get restats from the Terra Volta reactor.

The only thing CoH doesn't do is give you trophy weapons...apart from the Arena ones and why the hell would an Energy Blaster need anything against the Clockwork?

(Oooh a line of Cogs? NOVA! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...crunk!)

I'm sorry to say that this HARD PROBLEM seems to have already been solved. 6 years or so ago.

I'm honestly confused about what John's talking about.

The_root_of_all_evil:
The only thing CoH doesn't do is give you trophy weapons...apart from the Arena ones and why the hell would an Energy Blaster need anything against the Clockwork?

The Nemesis Staff, the Blackwand, The Neutralyzer (Sapper Gun), Sands of Mu, The Rikti Blaster/Drone Controller, the Shivan Meteor Shard... Hell, even the Warrior quest lines can give you stuff like Broadswords. You get them as rewards for certain quests involving the enemy faction they're tied to. They're all on a use limit before they disappear though, so players only use them when they NEED them, but they can still bring them out to show off before it's used up.

Yeah, City of Heroes already does aaaaaaaalllllllllllll of this. Apart from calling levels "issues", which is a great idea, but not exactly mandatory :)

Chipperz:

The_root_of_all_evil:
The only thing CoH doesn't do is give you trophy weapons...apart from the Arena ones and why the hell would an Energy Blaster need anything against the Clockwork?

The Nemesis Staff, the Blackwand, The Neutralyzer (Sapper Gun), Sands of Mu, The Rikti Blaster/Drone Controller, the Shivan Meteor Shard...

Sorry, I was being sarcastic on that. The original Nemesis Staff (Known as Slugger) was awesome.

I just wish they hadn't Uber-buffed Lusca. I'll never forgive them for that. That and sticking that stupid PVP into the game. Way to destroy the PvE environment guys.

klausaidon:
However, the only problem, well, a HUUUUGE problem is that the only weapon replace that seems availiable are for Swords, and double swords. Well, I've seen a few others for other powers, but the point is, I've NEVER seen a power replace that works with any of my powers. Thats something that Champions Online really needs to fix.

well it drops random ones that can be for anything. ive personally seen single and double swords, grenades, pistols, and darkness and i dont even look at items without the swords icon(since thats what i use) the best way to get power replace items is to make them urself, and it actually works really well. the only thing i wish is that if you buy a weapon from the tailor it would put it on whether or not u have a power replace, cause i like the bonus mine gives me, but i dont want to use clubs

I understand the problem, or at least why it can be a turn off, as one of my cousins complains about it. "I want to be able to look at my character at level 1 and then look at him at level 40 and be able to tell a difference."

Well, that in itself generally doesn't jive with comic book characters. Yeah, they change costumes but they rarely become more powerful. When they DO become more powerful they generally change their name, attitude, become good/evil, or die shortly after.

I can't really say that Superman has gone through many cosmetic changes, nor has he grown much stronger after he settled in. Spiderman has gone through costume and character changes but remains pretty consistent in his power sets. Same thing with the Hulk, Wolverine, Batman, etc.

So, while I understand the problem, it's not really a problem. PVP is fine without being able to glance at the outline of a character and instantly tell how powerful they are. It's better because of it, actually, as you have to actually make decisions based on how confident you are with your character instead of being confident that your character can beat the other guy based on what the other guy is wearing.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Chipperz:

The_root_of_all_evil:
The only thing CoH doesn't do is give you trophy weapons...apart from the Arena ones and why the hell would an Energy Blaster need anything against the Clockwork?

The Nemesis Staff, the Blackwand, The Neutralyzer (Sapper Gun), Sands of Mu, The Rikti Blaster/Drone Controller, the Shivan Meteor Shard...

Sorry, I was being sarcastic on that. The original Nemesis Staff (Known as Slugger) was awesome.

I just wish they hadn't Uber-buffed Lusca. I'll never forgive them for that. That and sticking that stupid PVP into the game. Way to destroy the PvE environment guys.

Ahh, it's late, I didn't get sarcasm. My bad :) Also, Siren's Call was alright, and Recluse's Victory was great fun if you got on with teh villains - you could arrange some epic battles.

Also, I'm noticing a common theme here, saying that heroes can't get any more powerful - I think the players in City of Heroes and Champions Online are meant to be closer to Superman (carrying on the thread's analogy) when he was in Smallville rather than Metropolis, still discovering the extent of their powers and what they can do, expanding their repotire of moves and/or arsenal of weapons, rather than having it all at the start.

Can I play your superhero mmo, champions is already starting to feel very much like CoH, something which didn't hold my attention very long past the initial 30 days. One would hope that cyptic or the ppl working on DCUO would look at something like this and be like "hey that issue idea is pretty badass"

The issue idea is great for a closet RP'er like me (a closet RP'er is someone who RP's in their head as a solo player) I could have endless fun with that, oooo I'm giddy with nerdy happiness at such an idea.

See this was a good article, and then you called Captain Marvel Shazam.

*Punches you in the balls* SHAZAM WAS THE WIZARD WHO GAVE HIM HIS POWERS! IT'S WHAT HE SHOUTS TO TRANSFORM INTO CAPTAIN MARVEL! HIS! NAME! IS! NOT! SHAZAM!

The problem here is that no, this issue -hasn't- been solved in City of Heroes. I played that for a good while, and I've been playing World of Warcraft recently, and each game did a TON of things right, and a couple things wrong. I wish someone would smash the two together. I realise, of course, that World of Warcraft is a different kind of game, but it's one where the Epic Lootz (tm) really shined. That, and I've not played Champions Online.

First and foremost, when you run the new instance you've never done before, in World of Warcraft, and come out with a badass new Hellreaver, you feel fantastic. You fight better, you look cooler, it's all there. City of Heroes, you finish a mission arc, and you're probably just going to get some random enhancement you didn't want and a new contact. Providing quest rewards in World of Warcraft which are actually useful went a very, very long way to me wanting to do them. The mission chains and story arcs just never felt worthwhile, in City, except for the XP you'd get. So in Warcraft, finishing a new quest chain, running a new instance, these things feel great, because not only are they inherently kinda cool, you get crazy new gear. City needed something to match, but didn't. Which is one reason I don't play it anymore.

Of course, in World of Warcraft, your equipment -defines- you. Which is a big problem. I personally have a set of armour which I think my Paladin looks cool in, and a set of armour which he actually fights in because it has better stats. I use up most of a 16-slot bag on roleplay gear, for a non-combat outfit, and the non-fighting armour. City of Heroes, on the other hand, solves this tidily. A new costume slot every 10 levels, and an extra one with the Halloween event? Absolutely fantastic. I loved it. Every new character I'd make, I went and bought Halloween salvage to get that extra slot, so I could have a super-outfit and some civvies. Noone wants to walk around as a superhero. Even my crazy anthropomorphic tiger space pirate engineer guy had civilian clothes next to his power armour. So where World of Warcraft punishes you for wanting to look decent, or look noncombat, City of Heroes encouraged you by using these things as levelling rewards. It worked well!

In World of Warcraft, as you level up, so too does your gear. It looks slightly better as you go. You can tell the difference between a level 10 guy, a level 50 guy, and a level 80 guy by sight. That's a very good thing. Unfortunately, you needed a trained eye - these were not massively stand-out visual changes. City of Heroes? You unlocked Capes at 20, and Auras at 30. Capes look badass no matter who you are, or what you do. I had a character who wore a cape with his normal outfit, because it'd keep him warm. Not having warm blood in your veins made that a little more appropriate, but he would have done it anyway. The Auras really did make you appear to be incredibly badass. Blizzards' efforts have nothing on this. That said, Blizzard did the quest rewards and epic loots, so it's a little bit of each game doing it half-decently, with noone being spot on.

But I'd really like to see a combination or intermediary - a game where you get nice rewards for levelling, and nice rewards for questing. Because persistant graphical changes to your character are extremely attractive to me. And I reckon a lot of people.

So, let's see. When you get your first contact in City of Heroes, it's dependant on your origin. So I get my Technology contact, since I chose Tech as my origin, and I run missions for him, relating to technology. Someone's stolen this, help me develop that, etc.

First thing that has to change - At the end of running missions for this guy, you (should) get reputation with the Tech faction who work for the Government, since that's who you start with, and that gives you access to some of their cosmetic or even functional gear. Just like doing rep grinding in World of Warcraft does. All of a sudden, choosing your contacts makes more impact than "whose missions will I run on -THIS- character?" So when you finish the tech chain, you get a new helmet, or some kind of belt, or something tech-y. If you do Magic, you get a hood, or a sash, or whatever. This can be applied to your character's currently equipped slot, free of charge. No need to go aaaaall the way to the tailor in Steel Canoyon, which is very hard for the newbie in Atlas Park. But it's a once-off, and then it's always in your costume selection choices.

Other things you should be rewarded for as things like earning most Achievements, or defeating one hundred Boss-level Outcasts. When you fight off the Giant Monster, or help put out the Fire a dozen times, you should get maybe a giant tooth, or a fire hat. Or something. Graphical rewards for doing all of these things, in addition to the paltry little achievements you get.

Next, throw in some small persistant bonusses for finishing missions. You'd scale up the rest of the game to match and assume that players have these, but it's very important that players should get more than XP and some random Enhancements for finishing mission arcs. I know you sometimes got "Souvenirs", but these didn't do anything. You had nowhere to show them off. Even the items that could be displayed in the Supergroup bases were only Veteran rewards for playing for so many months. In this way, finishing off one quest chain over another becomes even more than "which hat do I want", because you get something else out of it.

Finally, lock some rewards out for getting others. WoW has opposed factions, and that works great. But let's throw in some minor cosmetic rewards at Friendly, Honoured and Revered - not just Exalted. I want more than a Tabard. I want the factions' cloak, or weapon model, or whatever. To put this in City of Heroes, you'd get rewards for your starter chain with SERAPH or one of the other acronymed groups. Then you'd be able to do more work for them later, and get even cooler faction-exclusive stuff. But when you get the cooler stuff, it becomes much harder (though not impossible) to get the other groups' stuff. There, you suddenly have lots of work for people to do, which is what the devs want, and so much choice for the characters, which is what the players want.

...whoa, I wrote a lot. And spent a lot of time. That's most of what I'd like to see change regarding this issue. Note that this isn't just about City of Heroes, but other games. I'd want to see something like this implemented in most MMO's. Hell, most singleplayer RPG's! I want the exclusive set of armour in Mass Effect 2 that only the secret group of space-assassins have. Or whatever. Let's see more graphical rewards from people. If anyone reads this, have a cookie. Even better, if anyone replies to this with their opinions or constructive criticism, I'll buy you a bag of cookies.

--Fen

Heres my idea for loot. You loot MATERIALS. now, henchmen won't have much besides regular to uncommon material types (Bullet proof vests, leather jackets, etc), so this is hwere boss fights come in. Anywhere from Minor Villians, to Supreme overlords of evil. Upon defeat, you can loot materials from them, or if they escape, from their hideout or lab. These materials could be anywhere from fire retardent cloth, all the way to raw adamantium and dark matter contained within a gravity chamber. You can use these to "Research" (craft basically) new outfit types by combining materials (adamantium and dark matter could form an extremely cumbersome and heavy, but extremely defensive exosuit, while the leather and bullet proof jacket could be used to create a slight damage absorbing catsuit) after paying a researcher (The better the researcher, the higher the cost) upon creating this new suit piece or armor piece, you can then color (paint) it, and decorate it with your symbol, or patterns, or anything really. So you would start off like spiderman (A sweater with a sown on symbol and a crude mask and jeans) and as you level, you could end up looking like a Darkseid/Brainiac combination. You could also pay extra to add on stat enhancers or decorative pieces. (Particle effects, etc) all this in the end would let your hero evolve over time as he levels and actually leave you with a sense of accomplishment as you look back at your original wardrobe.

Fenixius:
When you fight off the Giant Monster, or help put out the Fire a dozen times, you should get maybe a giant tooth, or a fire hat. Or something. Graphical rewards for doing all of these things, in addition to the paltry little achievements you get.

WhiteTiger225:
Heres my idea for loot. You loot MATERIALS. now, henchmen won't have much besides regular to uncommon material types (Bullet proof vests, leather jackets, etc), so this is hwere boss fights come in. Anywhere from Minor Villians, to Supreme overlords of evil.

Already happens in CoX. Since about Issue 10.

Here's something! Some of us found it rather elegant that there was a game where you didn't have to go around collecting random items that made your character look like every other character of the same class in the zone.

Moreover, from what the write the developers of superhero games face 2 problems:
a) Allowing Superheroes to look appreciably different to each other
b) Allow heroes to have different powers from each other (because they were each bitten by a different type of toxic/radioactive/bored creature).

Most superhero games are still trying to solve the 2nd item on the list. It's a hard problem because it requires a "breakout" from the "class" mentality by allowing customizable powers and wide choice of powers too. Specific items that become "required" for certain enemy types/zones/clubs, and which then everyone "must have", also make things worsenot better.

The first problem is also best solved through a large variety of items up front. There's really no good reason to restrict "epic" item pieces from players unless the game is there to glorify the level grind ("LOOK, WORLD, *THIS* IS WHAT YOU CAN HAVE FOR 300 HOURS OF YOUR LIFE... Oh, look, this one's better - bye bye epic codpiece.") Otherwise, giving the players access to all costume pieces up front allows THEM to write their hero's stories. Maybe I want to be epic at issue 5? Ok, I can do it. Maybe I want to go mutant at issue 19? Up to me. THAT's fun. Not "Oh dear, another 5000 clockwork before the "mantle of the mantis" drops".

It ain't broke, John, and I feel that you just don't understand it. For goodness' sake, don't fix it.

Wait, he has been a member since 1969?

OT: The truth is, I got lost from what he was trying to say about half way through.

I love that idea of having Issues instead of Levels. Having a personal log of your accomplishments and game-story events by Issue would be a great way to develop an actual character in a game (putting the RPG back into MMORPG). That's part of what killed City of Heroes for me: people became more interested in the powersets and making "toons" *shudder* than characters.

On this "epic loot" subject, I just cannot see what all the fuss is about.

People claim how "badass" their character looks on WoW, but I don't see Badass. I see a fuck-ugly Ork in fuck-ugly neon pink armour.

This is the problem I have with several online games - I don't want to have to dress like the Class Retard in order to do well. I want a wide selection of items that give excellent boosts to my stats, but also look the part.

As such, someone like me is going to favour the "Hero" MMO, where your character's costume has no purpose other than to look absolutely awesome.

WoW is never going to impress me with it's utterly spastic "Epic" armour... but by god, if anyone released a game as is described in this article, I would buy it in an instant.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Fenixius:
When you fight off the Giant Monster, or help put out the Fire a dozen times, you should get maybe a giant tooth, or a fire hat. Or something. Graphical rewards for doing all of these things, in addition to the paltry little achievements you get.

Already happens in CoX. Since about Issue 10.

Never got a headpiece for it. Got a badge, though.

--Fen

The_root_of_all_evil:

Fenixius:
When you fight off the Giant Monster, or help put out the Fire a dozen times, you should get maybe a giant tooth, or a fire hat. Or something. Graphical rewards for doing all of these things, in addition to the paltry little achievements you get.

WhiteTiger225:
Heres my idea for loot. You loot MATERIALS. now, henchmen won't have much besides regular to uncommon material types (Bullet proof vests, leather jackets, etc), so this is hwere boss fights come in. Anywhere from Minor Villians, to Supreme overlords of evil.

Already happens in CoX. Since about Issue 10.

NOT really to the degree I am talking about. I am talking about combining said materials for a new outfit, armor, etc with stats based on said items, then you move on to adding symbols, patterns, and colors to the upgraded piece of equipment. Unlike CoX, where you start off already looking like your ready to star on the cover of oyur own comic, minus the cape and aura, in my way, you would start off with a red sweater with a sitched on symbol and a crude crochet mask (This would appear GRAPHICALLY as well!) and as time goes on, you will look like Thor in his full asgardian armor, which just doesn't really happen in CoX. and honestly, if you want to roleplay out starting out awesome at issue 5, then know what? Theres PLENTY of roleplay servers run by players out there, go have a blast, but we here in the actual GAME want to have fun actually working our way towards something besides a level.

Fenixius:

The_root_of_all_evil:

Fenixius:
When you fight off the Giant Monster, or help put out the Fire a dozen times, you should get maybe a giant tooth, or a fire hat. Or something. Graphical rewards for doing all of these things, in addition to the paltry little achievements you get.

Already happens in CoX. Since about Issue 10.

Never got a headpiece for it. Got a badge, though.

I thought you got a hat as well as the firehose pack? Been three years since I last played though.

Fenixius:
Theres PLENTY of roleplay servers run by players out there, go have a blast, but we here in the actual GAME want to have fun actually working our way towards something besides a level.

This is one of the big problems. The PvP crowd and the RP crowd loathed each other, as they did in most other MMO games. While I get what you're talking about now WhiteTiger, you have seen how much people have been moaning about trying to get a hat in TF2?

It would all end in tears.

Excellent discussion guys, thanks. And to be clear, I can't say that I think superhero games *should* add epic loot that are visible on your character. But it is an expectation people have from WoW and other games, and the superhero genre is kind of antithetical to it due to the costume thing, so it's an interesting dilemma to consider.

Mostly I just want to rename "levels" to "issues". Mmmm.

Onmi: NOT MY BALLS NO! I've always been confused about Captain Marvel/Shazam and it's because I watched this cartoon as a kid:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kid_Superpower_Hour_with_Shazam!

They called him Captain Marvel in the episodes but the freaking title and theme song both said "... with Shazam!" like that was his name. And it was a catchy jingle, too. I can still hear it, haunting my dreams. SHAZAM!

The_root_of_all_evil:

Fenixius:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Already happens in CoX. Since about Issue 10.

Never got a headpiece for it. Got a badge, though.

I thought you got a hat as well as the firehose pack? Been three years since I last played though.

Naaah, no headpiece. You got the Fire Pack temporary power, which was an awesome idea that I loved, and that was it. Roleplaying saving the burning building was one of the most fun ways I had of pulling in random people to roleplay with me, so don't get me wrong - I loved it. I felt very very superhero-y.

But that was just an example. Flipping to City of Villains - how about I get a cosmetic Goldbrickers' Jetpack when I kill a bunch of them, or off their boss, or something? That'd be great! It'd work just like the rocket boots, or angel wings. You wouldn't -get- to fly just by having it, but it'd always be on your character. And you can re-skin it, too! That way, you've taken their gear, painted it in your colours, and now you're ready to go show them how they should have been using it.

The_root_of_all_evil:

WhiteTiger255:
Theres PLENTY of roleplay servers run by players out there, go have a blast, but we here in the actual GAME want to have fun actually working our way towards something besides a level.

This is one of the big problems. The PvP crowd and the RP crowd loathed each other, as they did in most other MMO games. While I get what you're talking about now WhiteTiger, you have seen how much people have been moaning about trying to get a hat in TF2?

It would all end in tears.

First of all, I -really- want a hat in TF2. I play certain classes an absurd amount, so I'd love hats for them.

But that's ANOTHER thread. Now, tell you what. PvP people have tons of MMO's which support their playstyles inherently. I'm thinking Warhammer, here. Let's have a proper Roleplaying one. ...I don't want to have to think of a way to dole out XP for roleplaying right now, since I have work soon, but I'm sure that'd be a great exercise. How to make a roleplaying videogame. A proper one.

Still, again, another thread. What I'd be really overjoyed to see is just more ways of making my character my own, and marking his history on him visually. Fable and Fable 2 had an interesting way of doing this - you got scarred when you failed, or took big hits. Your appearance also changed based on your playstyle. You even got trophies in that game (although not to wear or wield)!

Having epic loot on your character really shows people that you're a successful raider/dungeoneer/whatever, and that you can fight well. This ties into the central idea of John's Hard Problem - that Superhero games didn't have a way to show that off. But I think it's something that's a problem in all MMO's. At least, all I've ever played. So, to amp it up, and put it more in the players' hands how they look, you could do stuff like have esoteric gear for finishing long side-quests, and reputation gear (MORE THAN JUST A TABARD, THANKYOU) for earning reputation with a faction. Hell, let's tie some factions together to make super-factions, and give the super-factions some equally epic gear for you to have as raiding nets you. Again, I'm not just thinking superhero games, but any MMO. How joyous I'd be if The Old Republic took some of this mentality on board.

In short: I'm sick of being Blood Elf Paladin #42681. Let me make my character my own!

John Scott Tynes:
Excellent discussion guys, thanks. And to be clear, I can't say that I think superhero games *should* add epic loot that are visible on your character. But it is an expectation people have from WoW and other games, and the superhero genre is kind of antithetical to it due to the costume thing, so it's an interesting dilemma to consider.

Mostly I just want to rename "levels" to "issues". Mmmm.

Well, you get some good discussion because you write good articles. Keep it up, and I'm sure I'll comment again. And like I said - it's not just a WoW thing. I really eat up the idea of character customisation, -especially- if the aesthetics are divided completely from the combat skill. Screw you PvP guys; I want to look awesome AND be awesome. Not just one.

--Fen

Ultrajoe:
The problem with optional costume upgrades is that it makes it hard for players to spot you and your power at a distance. This is a major issue in PvP, because being able to visually identify and react to the enemy is half of the battle. In WoW, if I can't judge a player by the hat on his head or the bling on his bod, I can't plan for the fight. When I see a rogue in a terrorblade hat, I know (knew, really, I don't mind them being more accesible nowdays but it does reduce the 'indication-of-badass' factor) i'm about to tangle with a certain kind of foe.

When a high-issue can wander around appearing as a newb, it removes a factor that would be even more essential in a Heroes game, where classes are only loosely defined and the ability to identify players is going to be ever more essential. I like the levelling up of the costume, though, I think it's a fantastic idea that would make the evolution of the hero really mean something... but unless it's mandatory you'll run into problems.

These are valid concerns. Especially in the hero-style game, where it's all about customisation. But really, PvP in a hero game is a very different beast than a fantasy game. If you ever see something like Superman, how are you going to size up his abilities at all? He's flying, okay. He's got a cape... and... that's about it for "visually distinctive". Or The Flash. Iron Man, a little easier, since his suit is his weapon, but a lot of the time, it's impossible. So it has to boil down to how confident you are in your character.

If we stick to the old style, support PvP at the expense of other gameplay elements which could potentially really elevate the game above other games, then we're letting a small subset of the players outweigh and limit the rest.

I mean, ideally, I'd love to see a game without classes, where you have points and pick skills. I think Champions might be like that, but I'm unsure. In such a system, how would you expect to tell what sort of enemy you face, when there're not class-limited items?

--Fen

I like this idea of levels being called "issues." Though it doesn't quite fit. I mean you can do servel missions over a course of a level. But still. it's a cute idea.

John Scott Tynes:

Mostly I just want to rename "levels" to "issues". Mmmm.

Unfortunately, that's the name Cryptic tends to use for it's updates.

I can't really add anything that hasn't already been said by the author of the article or my fellow commenters here. Really.

I did type out some tl;dr Thing to the effect of "Balancing an MMO in any aspect is like finding a straw of hay in a needlestack", but I summed it up in a single sentence and wished I saved myself the 10 to 20 minutes it took me to type it all out.

 

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