I love City of Heroes. It’s definitely my newest addiction so when I found out NCSoft and the City of Heroes Dev Team were going to be at GenCon, I was in heaven. I scheduled an appointment, thinking it would be relatively normal, until I realized that I would be talking to Jack “Statesman” Emmert. Yes, that’s right, the brains behind Paragon City! It didn’t really hit me until after I had gotten a lot of great information from the man, himself. Now that I have had a chance to calm down – I bring those goods to you.

The first thing we discussed was the new badge system which is expected in one of the future expansions. The badge system is going to be as big as the combat element in the game but will stress more exploration of Paragon City itself. When the player meets certain objectives, they can earn an assortment of badges, that build on each other. A player can even earn “uber badges” that grant abilities that can’t be found anywhere else in the game. A good example of this is that a certain combination or recipe of badges will give you more total endurance. Yes, this means you can increase your endurance beyond 100, but this is the only way to do so.

Asides from the badges, City of Heroes is bringing some non-combat activity to the table. Honestly, what kind of non-combat activity can a super hero have… Well, all that we got out of the Statesman is that it has to do with a heroes’ mind. One thing he did say is that non-combat activity is going to be just as fun as actual combat…it won’t be boring.

The developers know there is a lot of concern regarding balance, but we have been reassured that they are considering many different possibilities. For example, after level 25, a blaster’s main weakness is his hit points, but that is pretty much negated because they can kill anything faster than an enemy to get to them. Statesman had considered upping minion HP and lowering hero skills to adjust balance, but nothing of the sort has happened yet and might not. Statesman wants to thoroughly test any balance scenarios before they go public. So all you Assault Rifle/Devices blasters can breathe easy.

Super groups are an important thing in City of Heroes and within the next couple of expansions they are going to get even more important. Super Groups, in the future, will be able to build bases and have specific super group combat. The chat system is also undergoing some revamping and the new chat system will allow players to create chat channels across servers (and it doesn’t matter if there is someone with the same character name as you, they took that into account too!)

Special Note: After the second expansion comes out, make sure you are paying attention because lots of funny events and exciting things are going to be happening in the world of Paragon City!

Mission Customization is another new feature fans can expect. Missions in the future will have unique functionality and are more in line with their objectives. For example in the rave/club missions there is actually a DJ and people dancing who get scared when all the combat starts. The missions follow along to the objectives a lot more closely. They are even creating a new zone for levels 5-15 called “The Hollows” to help with the variety and mission customization.

Now for the big guns…We managed to get a bit more information regarding the prestige archetypes. We all strive for level 50, but what really happens when you hit to level 50. Well, the answer lies in the fact that we have to have goals. Things to meet, something to reach for, it’s a place for players to aim. Well, Statesman tells us that the goal for level 50s will definitely be the prestige archetype. Prestige archetypes are expected in Expansion III, and they are special archetypes with some very cool additional features for the fans to play around with. We’ll keep trying to get more detail on this hot topic for our fans, but as of right now, Statesman still remaining stoic about the details!

With a new expansion every 2-3 months, a lot of great things are continuing to happen. The game keeps getting better and better. New content, new missions, new maps, it never ends. All I can say is this hero is hooked.

-Teleios
8/20/2004

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