If there’s ever a place to talk about super hero themed MMOs,
the San Diego Comic-Con would be it. The biggest and brightest of all
the “comic book” shows, Comic-Con mixes the geek
with the strange with the celebrity, blends it together, and shoots out
pure awesome. It was at this star-studded event that Ten Ton Hammer sat
down with City of Heroes
developers Matt Miller and Joe Morrissey to talk about Issue 16: Power
Spectrum and their upcoming expansion, style="font-style: italic;">City of Heroes: Going Rogue.

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Ten Ton Hammer: What can
you tell our readers about Issue 16: Power Spectrum?

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Matt Miller:
I’ll give you a little bit of the history of this Issue. When
NCsoft acquired us, we all went into a back room and asked ourselves,
“What do we want to do now that we have all this time and
money and people on our hands?”

I knew that we’d always want to do powers customization, but
we didn’t do it because we never had enough man power.
There’s no real technical limitation, we just need to redo
everything that we’ve done already because the colors were
always attached to the powers that we used.

This was over a year ago. At that point, we took a couple members of
the team aside and said, “You’re working on powers
customization. Do what you need to do to make it work.”

So they went off into their own little box, and a couple months ago
they came out of that box. They'd gotten it working, and they were
ready to show off powers customization.  

Y'know, we took a look at everything - and it was all great - but the
original way we did the editor didn't quite work with customizing
powers, going back to the custom, switching to different parts, etc. We
needed a less linear way to do it, so we built this functionality at
the top of the editor where you can jump around to any place in the
customization process.  

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Customizing the powers is pretty simple. You can select from two
different primary colors, and on top of that you can select a variety
of different options for the theme of power you want to see. For each
power you can choose from three different styles to choose from: the
default, bright, and dark. The way the powers are set up is through
additive or subtractive color palletes. So if you select bright, all of
your color options are going to be bright and if you select dark,
they'll all be dark.  

At level one, you'll be able to see every single power in your
particular power set and can customize those powers at level one during
character creation. This way you get a bit of a preview of what your
higher end powers are going to look like. For example, you might get
Power Push at level 25, and think, "Wow...that doesn't look very good."
So once you get to that level you could either not take the power or
you could pick a different power set to play with. Now you can do that
without having to level up to 25 and finding out that you don't really
like the latest power.  

Ten Ton Hammer: How many
power sets have you added since launch? I'm sure there's a ton, but I
was just curious...

Matt: Honestly,
I can't really remember. With City of Villains, we added a bunch, and
we've added a couple here and there ever since. A couple issues ago we
also did power set proliferations, where we basically took a bunch of
power sets that belonged to different archetypes and made versions to
work on alternate archetypes.  

In Issue 16, we're doing another round of that. So there's going to be
another ten power sets that players didn't have access to before in
different archetypes.  

Ton Hammer: What
about animations?

Matt: That's
something else that we did in this Issue... we've customized the
animations for certain power sets, most specifically martial arts. The
players that used martial arts felt that most of the power set just
involved kicking and there wasn't enough punching. So now we've changed
it so that the different powers in the set can use a secondary
animation instead of their primary version.

Ten Ton Hammer: Are you
leading the players into the power customizer in some way? Something
besides just a big news blast?

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Matt: We
expect that there'll be a pop-up in game saying that players should
visit the tailor if they want to go customize their powers. You can
have different colors for your character per costume slot, so that way
your energy blast will match your costume no matter which costume
you're wearing.  

Ten Ton Hammer: How'd you
come up with the name of Issue 16: Power Spectrum?  

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Matt: I
really wanted to do Issue 16: When Pigments Fly, because it played off
the saying "When pigs fly." But it was a little too campy for even us.

The other one we bounced around was Issue 16: Going Rouge, which of
course plays off the misspelling of our upcoming expansion. It was just
a little too confusing for people-

Ten Ton Hammer: That
spell rogue incorrectly.


Ten Ton Hammer: Is there
any new content going into Issue 16?

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Matt: Not
really. There are some things going into the Mission Architect system
to enhance some of the elements we've created for that system.

Joe Morrissey: We
wanted to give some more functionality to the authors and the people
looking for particular types of content. One of the things we've done
is add in more dialogue options for your allies. So for your bosses,
there are dialogue options when their health drops down to a certain
level, and now we've attached that to your allies as well. So now when
they get beat up, they can say things as well.  

We've also added more of what we call "betrayal" options as well. At
launch we had this system where you could rescue a guy, bring him back
to the mission "door" and he'd turn evil on you. We've put in a bunch
more of those, where you can have allies that are with you and then we
they enter a particular location, they switch sides.  

We're continually putting in a bunch of stuff, small things that move
the whole system along.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is the
Mission Architect still popular among the players?

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Joe: I think
so. Right now there are over 50,000 arcs up on our server. It has
definitely leveled off since the beginning, because at some point
everyone has made their quota of arcs, since there are only three slots
per account. Everyone's pretty much filled up their slots.

We've also opened up the microtransaction portion of this as well,
since players can now go in and purchase up to five slots in the
architect system for a total of eight.

Ten Ton Hammer: What else
are you adjusting in Issue 16?

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Matt: One
of the other things we're changing is the way the difficulty slider
works. Right now you go to a contact and you ask them to increase the
difficulty of the mission, but they use all of these weird terms like
"being invincible" and our players really didn't know what to make of

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A lot of our players were playing on the max level difficulty and still
blowing stuff out of the water. So we decided to just redesign the
whole thing. Now going to that same content will bring up more of a
mechanical dialogue box. The contact will ask you what sort of team
size you want to be treated as and making that 1-8 selection will
adjust the mission accordingly. So now instead of "padding" a group
with players to simply raise the difficulty level of your encounter,
you can adjust it through a difficulty mechanic.

On top of that, you can also choose the level of the monsters you want
to face, from 0 to +4. So if you want to fight a bunch of guys that are
four levels higher than you are, you certainly can do that. You can
also choose whether you want to fight archvillains or not. I mean, you
could run through a mission as a single player treated as an
eight-person group with enemies four levels higher than you and have to
fight archvillains as well.

A lot of players are very excited about that feature. And it's not just
because of those players, but also to cut down on the spam of seeing
people trying to pad their groups.  

Joe: It also
scales down as well.

Ten Ton Hammer: Are you
talking about Going Rogue at all?

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Matt: When
it's done, it's done. There's going to be a pre-order and a closed beta
for the game. We're treating it as a full on release. If you pre-order
the game, you'll get into the beta guaranteed.

There will also be a ton of new low level content coming into the game
for people that are making new low level characters. We're also working
on the "Going Rogue" system, so you can switch sides, and there's going
to be brand new level 50 content that is the *hardest* stuff we've ever
put into the game.  

Ten Ton Hammer: Will the
graphics be revamped?

Matt: I
can't officially say anything... but I'm not saying no. 

Ten Ton Hammer: Thanks
for taking the time to talk to the City of Heroes fans and Ten Ton
Hammer readers!

Matt: Our

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016