News & Updates

08/22/2014 - Friday Update #90


This week, we’ve done some further refinements of the skills system, to better integrate it into our powers system, so that the two of them feel more cohesive and logical when working together.
While making these changes, we’re naturally still following our main guiding principle of creating a powers system that will allow players to make character builds in ‘Heroes and Villains’ that are quite close to what they were able to create in ‘City of Heroes’, while at the same time allowing for a lot of extra concepts and playstyles that were either never added to ‘City of Heroes’, or were impossible to be implemented because of technological barriers.

We’ve also been taking a look at the problem of stat and number inflation that causes so many problems in traditional MMOs, where bigger and bigger numbers are given to player powers and abilities in an attempt to give a sense of character progression, which eventually becomes unsustainable.
As stats and numbers increase, more and more of the game content becomes trivial, an expectation is created among players that the numbers will keep on getting pumped higher, and more and more development time is focused on the outdated concept of a standard MMO “endgame”, leading to neglect in other areas of the game.
Our design goal is for all areas of the game to receive equal amounts of developer attention -which is considerably easier to do when the game is driven by stories rather than stats.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


08/16/2014 - Friday Update #89


This week, we did a bit more work on adapting the mouse cursor to display a different icon when mousing over objects, and have gotten this function to work correctly – but we’ve run into an issue with the image not resetting to the default icon when it’s moved away from the moused over object, so we’ll need a bit more investigation into that before we can properly implement the changing cursor and its related gameplay uses..

We’ve also done some more design work for ways to let players continue to progress their characters in some form once they’ve maxed out their power – which is quite challenging, as we need to avoid the problems that come with the old fashioned but currently still typical MMO concept of “endgame”, and the constant increase in power and inflation of stats that comes with it, which isn’t practical or sustainable in the long term.
The addition of more and more power also doesn’t fit with the general comic book theme of the game, or the diversity of character concepts – for example, while an inter galactic hero might be expected to have somewhat cosmic levels of power, a simple vigilante with a pair of pistols shouldn’t really be expected to have it, so a one-size-fits-all approach to giving players additional powers or abilities would be thematically unsuitable.
The system also needs to be open-ended, so that it’s capable of supporting endless additions, while also being integrated enough into the game so as to avoid creating the outdated divide between leveling and “endgame” that still holds back current MMO designs.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


08/08/2014 - Friday Update #88


This week, we’ve been doing some basic work on skills and powers, sorting them into their appropriate categories. The easiest way for us to do this is to ask the question of every power and ability “is this a superpower, or is it something that could be learned?”
If it’s a superpower, then it’ll be put in the powers category, and if it can be learned it will generally go in the skills category.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule though – for example, although all types of weapons, from pistol and rifles to swords and bows can be learned, they’re still going to be classed in the powers category because of the way our powers system is structured.

We’ve also been doing some general planning work for the overall distribution of the groups in Titan city, and which districts and neighborhoods they’ll be in. The two guidelines we’re following for this are for each group’s territory to make sense, and for there not be excessive travel between districts of the city when interacting with the various groups during each story arc.
If a group moves around mostly by foot, then logically their territory should be joined up, rather than spread out as isolated pockets – but if a group has access to flight or makes extensive use of the sewer network, then it makes sense for them to be able to appear in various separate pockets around the city.
We want players to be able to see all of Titan City as they play through the game, but we don’t want to cheapen the experience by having them needlessly crisscrossing the city in each story arc – so stories are being written with this in mind, and we’re trying to keep them focused on one or two districts or neighborhoods, unless a particular storyline absolutely requires the player to cover longer distances between missions.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


08/01/2014 - Friday Update #87


This week, we’ve done some early work on tooltips, which can be useful for both delivering out-of-story help or hints, or for in-story information, presented as if it was the character discovering it themselves.
We won’t be using tooltips in all situations, as while they can be very useful for quickly mousing over, at other times, a pop-up window can be more useful and make more sense to use instead.

We’ve also been doing some design work on how to incorporate vendors into the game, with a focus on their traditional role in other MMOs, and how best to fit the concept into a comic book setting in a way that makes in-game sense, which isn’t the easiest thing to do – although we think that players when they see it will find the solution that we’ve come up with to be interesting and suitable for the setting, as well as being convenient for their progression through the game.

Additionally, we finalized more details of how our XP gain rate will work in relation to the player’s power level and the type of enemy being faced. We will be awarding bonus XP for completing missions and for teaming, which the community will already be familiar with – but the amount will not be so big as to make soloing or street sweeping unproductive ways of gaining new powers and abilities.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


07/25/2014 - Friday Update #86


This week, we’ve done some work on the in-game map, which repents a few challenges, not only because of the fully open nature of Titan City, but also because of the large scale of the city. The zooming in function is working very well – it’s detailed enough to show small individual objects like mail boxes and benches, so marking smaller points on the map for open world missions won’t be a problem – but once the zoom range moves past medium, markers on the map start to become too small.
Making larger markers would also cause problems when zooming in, as they’d begin to overlap or even completely obscure each other – so we’re looking at ways to shrink or inflate the markers and link them to the zooming process, so that they’d increase and decrease in sync with the zoom level.

We’ve also done some more story development work, planning out the basic framework for the various themed content paths, and what parts of the backstory each one needs to cover to be able to present the key aspects, ideas characters and groups of the game world, but in a way that seems natural and logical, without them becoming like a series of history lessons rather than dynamically told stories.
We won’t be trying to fit in details for all the lore at once – sometimes, even major parts of the lore will only get a brief mention if they don’t directly affect the launch content, with more details being given in the post-launch content once those parts of the lore come into play.



Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team