A View from Atlas Park: A Q&A With Positron

Matt Miller, who is 1) known as Positron during business hours and 2) a Senior Designer at Cryptic Studios (the two kind of go together) kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions from CoH Warcry.

Q) Let’s start off big: what’s next for CoH/V? What next big thing is going to grab the attention of the player base?

Well, the level 40 to 50 content for City of Villains is the next big thing on the plate. That’s the cornerstone of issue 7. That includes our two new high level zones, Grandville (PvE) and Recluse’s Victory (PvP), mayhem missions, new power sets, Patron Powers, and a bunch of other features and upgrades. I am also really excited about our plans for content that will follow issue 7.

Q) Any comment on the rumours for the next CoH/V expansion? There’s some forum comment that it will be called either City of Legends or City of Shadows…

We’re still in the process of nailing down specifics, and the CoL and CoS ideas were on the radar at one point. One thing is certain, our priority is to create compelling content for both CoV and CoH players.

Q) The next twelve months sees the planned launch of a number of well-known and anticipated MMOGs (eg Dungeons and Dragons Online, Star Trek Online) and the first World of Warcraft expansion. Obviously there will be some player conversion from CoH/V to these shiney new things, but what is Cryptic planning to do to minimise the number of players who jump ship?

We want to add things to both CoH and CoV that keep players around and having fun. One of the best features we have for retention is the incredible amount of alternate-characters a player can make that play completely differently from one another. Our upcoming issues concentrate on this fact, offering more options and things to do for characters while leveling up.

Q) Are there any plans to ‘upgrade’ some of the older CoH zones to include things that can be seen in some of the newer CoH zones and CoV, like mob patrols or mobs damaging each other? If so, which zones are going to see the facelifts first?

Yeah, we are starting with the lower end zones first. Atlas Park, Galaxy City, and Kings Row are getting the old “wave and walk” cops removed from them, and we are adding in patrolling Paragon Police officers.

War Witch has also gone in and created a lot of environmental dialog to liven up those zones. In addition the textures and graphics in the CoH zones will be brought up to the quality seen in CoV over the next couple issues.

Q) The CoH Asia video got a lot of praise and attention, with players oogling the powers that were on display from the new Signature Heroes.
Are these powersets something that will become available to players?

Every Signature Hero has powers that are unavailable to the general population. Some of these Asian characters from the video will be in the game with issue 7 (using their signature powers), but players will not have access to those actual powers.

Q) Another big talking point are trenchcoats. What are the current state of trenchcoats in CoH/V? When can players expect to see them implemented?

NPCs are getting them in issue 7. The Thugs in the Thug Mastermind powerset will have them, as will some of the new Paragon Police. Players will get them this year, but they will be a “prestige” piece that you have to earn in some way.

Q) There are some differences between the powersets available to heroes and villains in the CoH/V world. What are the plans to allow this difference in available powersets to be reduced? Are there any powersets that are seen to be hero- or villain-exclusive? Will Plant Control remain a villains-only power because plants are naturally evil?

I wouldn’t say that plants are naturally evil, but weeds on the other hand… What’s the difference between a plant and a weed? A plant dies when you try to keep it alive, and a weed lives when you try to kill it.

That being said, Geko and I discussed just the other day how we are going to get some of the CoV powersets over to the CoH Archetypes. Stay tuned.

Q) Paragon City has a rich backstory, with lots of dangling threads concerning villain groups and city events that have not yet been fully explained. What are the plans for advancing some of these stories and perhaps even providing resolutions for them (eg why the Rikti invaded Earth, what happened to the heroes who ended up on the Rikti’s planet, what happened to Grendel, etc)?

It’s nice to have that huge backstory because it gives us many options with what to concentrate on for any given issue. CoH will have a long shelf-life and I expect us to be able to answer all the questions without asking too many more in the future.

Q) CoH/V has shown an ability to run season-linked events (eg the Winter
2005 event, Halloween 2004 event, etc) but so far these games haven’t seen large-scale events that players can influence the ending of as have been seen in some other MMOGs. Are there any plans for such player-influenced events to be seen in CoH/V in the future?

Currently there are no plans. It’s a big undertaking, especially if it happens on a server by server basis. That isn’t to say that if something is cool enough we wouldn’t do it. It just needs to make sense to the players is all.

Q) When is the CoH RPG due out? A lot of players are interested in having a look at it…

I believe it will be out within a month or two. We are all looking forward to it as well.

UnSub: According to recent posts from Eden Studios on their forums, the launch will probably be in March.

Q) On a personal note, I just have to ask: is a Dual Pistols powerset anywhere in terms of new powers that will be introduced to CoH/V or is it something that doesn’t even appear on the dev whiteboard?

I own the Criterion Collection versions of both The Killer and Hard Boiled… you can safely assume it’s on MY whiteboard.

A big thanks to Matt Miller for taking the time to answer these questions.

– UnSub [email protected] 23 February 2006

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