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Archive for March 27, 2010

Ronin’s MMO Report – Re-Inventing A Super-Heroic MMO

Ronin’s MMO Report

City of Heroes – Re-Inventing A Super-Heroic MMO


I have no content prepared so here’s an in depth look at some PAX coverage. Wait, that isn’t how this works, no content means random picture illustrating super heroic shenanigans or slightly relevant hot women. Meh. What with Reverend busy at the Comicpalooza and nothing to show for it (Don’t listen to him, he totally has nothing to show for it) I figure I’d make a little post over the things I’ve learned today about my favorite MMORPG, City of Heroes. What’s that you say? Why are you talking about a game with a few hundred thousand subscribers, none of which have probably even heard of this blog? Well, because I have nothing better to do.

So there was this little ol’ convention known as the Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX. For those of you unaware, I was being sarcastic, or facetious, I mix those two up. The development team behind the Super Hero MMORPG “City of Heroes” held a panel called “Re-Inventing A Super-Heroic MMO.” The panelists included Melissa Bianco: Lead Designer, Matt Miller: Lead Systems Designer, David Nakayama: Lead Artist, Eric Johnson: Art Producer, and EM Stock: Studio Community Lead. The whole affair presents plenty of information while keeping the tone lighthearted and adding doses of humor that the community has come to expect from the developers, such as dialogue about a new powerset featuring clowns.

There was plenty of info presented regarding the future of the game, and provided more info on the expansion “Going Rogue” the is set to release in the future.  Things began with a few details regarding the developers “then and now”. They begun with the origins under Cryptic studios, the current team or Paragon Studios, and the future of the franchise. When the team switched names, every single developer was offered a spot on the new team, and everyone accepted. Since then, the producer NC Soft has been completely supporting of the team and the game, providing ample amount of funding. They switched topics to the near future, Issue 17.

Issue 17: Dark Mirror, the next massive free update to the game, is set to release relatively soon. With it it bring not only new contents for both Heroes and Villains, but it goes and revamps old content that the players and developers were not satisfied with. The Positron Task Force, a low-level, long series of missions that locked heroes into a team until they finish was constantly scrutinized by players. With this new issue it is being divided, and updated, much to the joy of players. And there is a new enemy group of Doppelgangers. Yup, an enemy that is your own reflection (with the ability to choose for them to look like you normally, or with an inverted color scheme). And this isn’t including all of the small “quality of life” improvements sprinkled throughout the Issue, or the grand graphics update found in the game’s soon to be released “Ultra-Mode”.

The Going Rogue expansion brings with a cohesive storyline set in an alternate universe comprised of brand new zones, and it provides four new powersets for both Heroes and Villains. Dual Pistols: a simple concept taken to majestic levels for any vigilante who wants a more natural feel for their character. Demon Summoning: giving the mastermind archetype  power over not only the elements, but a horde of demons who embody those elements. Not to mention a hellfire whip. Kinetics Melee: what’s better than swirling your hands about and then knocking around foes with blasts of energy? Just ask anyone who’s ever wanted to Hadoken something… that, or be an Airbender. Electric Control: 1.21 gigawatts? 1.21 gigawatts? Great Scott! Providing a new powerset for every melee, ranged, control, and summoning archetype, the expansion surely won’t disappoint in that regard.

But the developers know that not everyone wants to hear about the totally awesome expansion pack that you have to buy, so they let loose a few details regarding the free updates, otherwise known as “Issues”. The game is currently resting at Issue 16 with 17 getting ready to enter open beta soon. But these folks are confident in their work enough to talk about Issue 19, an issue to be released after Going Rogue. This later issue, dubbed for now as Issue 19: Incarnates, brings something that player have been asking for since they first hit the level cap. While not raising the level cap, it does put in place a system where heroes and villains can gain more “levels” and powers after they have reached level 50, and is set to provide a challenge for anyone seeking one.

From all of the information Paragon studios has been releasing over the past few months (and all the yet unreleased information yet to come) it is clear that there has never been a better time to play City of Heroes. So I ask any reader with an interest in online gaming and superheroes, check it out. There is a free trial to be found on their website. Anyone who has played this game before but has left, take another look, for there is much more enjoyment to be found now. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be hitting the streets with my psycho-kinetic technomancer.

This Was My Weekend


This weekend I was working a booth at the 3rd Annual COMICPALOOZA event down here in Houston. Our store was sharing a booth with the guys from ANGEL COMICS and I was on the ground floor wheeling and dealing. Luckily I had some time to sneak away and enjoy the convention a little bit, getting some face time with Humberto Ramos, Ben Templesmith, and J.H. Williams III.

I’m not going to bore you with anecdotes from the con, but I will say that everyone there went out of their way to be friendly and receptive. Templesmith, who I admittedly isn’t one of my favorite artists, as his style doesn’t really grab me, showed off some commission pieces that blew me away and straight up made me a fan. I was almost salivating over J.H. Williams’ original art pages for Detective Comics, and watching Ramos draw Impulse from memory is something to behold.

The long and short of this post is basically just to say that it’s nice to have a successful comic convention in my home town. A place that REALLY needs one with the number of fans we have in the area. I can only imagine what next year will be like.

(And yes, I did have Liefeld sign my Deadpool comics, but I gave him the evil eye. *_* )