News & Updates

08/12/2017 - Friday Update #245


This week, we’ve been continuing with our design work on the presentation of the game world and how players fit into it, as making a game – especially an MMO - that’s based on the traditional type of comic book setting has some huge advantages over other genres and settings when it comes to the basic structure of narratives and protagonist interactions.

As an example, the classic fantasy genre that provides so much inspiration for so many games takes its basic world and narrative structure from two main sources – Robert E. Howard’s ‘Conan the Barbarian’ stories, with a lone hero wandering wherever fortune takes him, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’, with its group based quest to save the world.
In both cases, the protagonists are shown to be exceptional in some way, and to stand out from the world, which is filled with a cast of background supporting characters.
This translates very well into single player games, but it’s stretched beyond breaking point in MMOs where the concept of the exceptional nature of the protagonists collapses into absurdity through the sheer number of exceptional protagonists all running around the world together.

However, in a traditional comic book setting, the basic world and narrative structure is based entirely around the concept of a huge cast of exceptional protagonists existing together in the same world and their paths crossing from time to time, so even if they mostly appear in their own solo series, or work as a duo, trio, quartet or more, the stories are still written and presented as part of a vast universe filled with a gigantic cast of other exceptional protagonists, making the traditional comic books arguably the best possible genre to create an MMO from in terms of world and narrative structure.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


08/05/2017 - Friday Update #244


This week, we’ve been doing more design work on the list of comic book powers that we want to include in the game, but which are risky in terms of game balance, in spite of them being reasonably common elements that would be expected in a game that as aiming to give players a truly empowering superhero or supervillain fantasy.

Not all of these types of powers are just combat focused either - for example, two non-combat powers – the ability power to become invisible, rather than just simply hiding, and the ability to mind control, can turn challenging situations into cakewalks, especially against normal non-powered human enemies with basic technology, rather than the more technologically advanced enemy types, or those with superpowers of their own.

Enemy groups with superpowers or advanced enough tech can have invisibility and mind control countermeasures written into their background, so that there’s a logical and plausible reason why they can reduce or completely cancel out players using those two powers.
But for less sophisticated groups, such as common street gangs, that isn’t really an option – and they can’t simply be not included in the lore either, as they’re one of the classic enemy types found in the traditional comic book setting that’s at the core of ‘Heroes and Villains’.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


07/28/2017 - Friday Update #243


This week, we’ve been continuing with the design work on concepts for some of the more extreme comic book powers that we’d like to put into the game, which needs quite a lot of thought, as the fact that they’re extreme could easily lead to them being ridiculously overpowered.

One solution would be to design the lore of the game world to fit the mechanics – for example, the rather clunky magic system in classic Dungeons & Dragons had the concept of having to prepare and memorize spells, as well as having to have a good night’s sleep before as a part of the lore to explain the mechanics that were used to keep magic users from becoming overpowered in relation to non-magic users around the same level.

But while a similar solution of creating lore reason why players couldn't use certain powers in certain situations - or could only use a set number of them during a specified time-frame - would be quite possible in a comic book game, it would be creating a very specific kind of game world, which while it was interesting, it wouldn’t really be faithful to the traditional comic book worlds that define the genre that have inspired both ‘City of Heroes’ and ‘Heroes and Villains’.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


07/21/2017 - Friday Update #242


This week, we’ve been doing some more design work on our powers system, giving some more attention to one of the major issues for any genuine comic book game, which is how to translate the concept of seemingly overpowered characters in comics into the framework of a game.

For example, comic book writers tend to treat the defining physical ability of Superman – or of Kryptonians in general – as incredible strength, so combat scenes featuring Kryptonians are usually based around it, while another one of their abilities – super speed – is frequently ignored, in spite of how devastating it could be in battle, and is instead used more for last minute rescues or as a quick way of moving a character around the Earth or the wider cosmos, because combining it with their strength would be too overpowered in a lot of cases, and wouldn’t make for as good a fight scene or story.

But while comic book readers are usually prepared to let that slide, you can’t really transfer that over into a comic book game, as if in the same situation where a player had a character with super strength and super speed, but were told that they couldn't use their speed in most combat encounters, they’d be totally justified in asking “why not?” – which is why one of our biggest design considerations right from the start has been when - or how far – empowering the comic book fantasy should outweigh the traditional strict requirements of balance.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


07/15/2017 - Friday Update #241


This week, we’ve been continuing with the adjustments to the design of the character creation system from last week, refining the origin choice area of it.

As we’re making a comic book game, all of our design decisions are naturally based on what would be the best mechanics to realize that goal, so not making our origin system be based on the design of the origin system in ‘City of Heroes’ was one of the first decisions that we made early on in our development, as it was both too restrictive and almost entirely cosmetic.

Even when you leave aside CoH’s Archetype system, the fact that one of the most popular character concepts in comics – the hand-to-hand fighter who uses an array of gadgets, most famously represented by Batman – couldn't actually be supported under CoH’s single origin system, as players would have to choose either a Natural or a Technology origin, but weren't able to pick both, makes our decision to offer players the option to pick multiple origins a no-brainer, as it’s the mechanic that best helps us realize that particular aspect of comic books.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team