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City of Titans: A Spiritual Successor to City of Heroes

Posted Thu, Oct 10, 2013 by Dalmarus

Everything comes to an end eventually. Whether it’s a job, a movie, or a beloved family pet, there comes a point when it can no longer carry on. Everyone handles such endings differently, no matter what the subject matter. This is even true for video games and especially MMOs. Over the years, a number of titles have had their last hurrah – Auto Assault, The Matrix Online, Tabula Rasa, and City of Heroes are all dead and gone. 

Whenever this happens, the game community in question is quite obviously upset, hurt, and angered over the decision. Most of the time, those feelings come out in the form of emails, forum posts, website creations, and other outlets. Some players even toss legal concerns to the wind and work on creating emulators by mining the data of the game in question. Argue the legality of such projects all you want, but if a person or company doesn’t own the intellectual property rights, then they have no right to create an emulator, no matter how much they love a game. 

In the past, these various forms of outcries have fallen on deaf ears and the game in question eventually becomes nothing more than a footnote in the annals of MMO history. Tales of glory and adventure still get told around the campfire late at night, but in the end, they’re nothing more than memories. Believe it or not though, this tale may have a different ending.

 

Rather than accept defeat, one group of enterprising individuals have gone a different route and created their own company called Missing Worlds Media. Their intent? To create a spiritual successor to the game they all loved so much, City of Heroes. It may seem like an impossible task, but their recent fund raising efforts say otherwise. In less than a single week, the company has met its initial fundraising goal of $320,000. In fact, as of the time of this writing, they’ve even surpassed their first stretch goal and are sitting at a whopping $386,000+ with 24 days still left to go. 

With this kind of support being shown so quickly in a Kickstarter endeavor, we decided City of Titans deserved some digging into so we reached out and spoke with the game’s Project Lead, Chris Hare. Chris was there during the City of Heroes beta and stuck with the game until its untimely end. He’s seen the highs and he’s witnessed the lows first hand. It was the support of the game’s fans that initially prompted him and others to start work on City of Titans. The project hit some bumps along the road (as any volunteer-only workgroup will) and some involved members split off to pursue other projects. 

Fast forward to today and the progress the team has made is clear. As they explain in their Kickstarter video, they’ve been busy testing different systems, different engines, and more. Once it was decided what would be needed to complete the project, it was time to start requesting funding. While they’ve broken down the costs of some things such as licensing costs for the graphics engine, there are still some areas that haven’t been disclosed yet. When asked about this, Chris said an update on the companies infrastructure needs will be coming in the future.

 

City of Heroes had a history of community involvement and Chris was quick to confirm that City of Titans would involve players in a similar fashion but even more so than its predecessor. In fact, there are quite a few interesting plans in the works Chris was kind enough to make us privy to, but that we can’t share until they’re publicly announced by Missing World Media themselves.  Let’s just say that if they can be pulled off, former City of Heroes players are going to be very happy. 

One of the more interesting pieces of the conversation we had involved the vision for the game. The initial goal is to allow players to have a traditional story-guided experience, all the way to level 50 if they so choose. Chris also stated, “I consider playing multiple characters to be part of the end game of City of Heroes – experiencing things through different perspectives and different missions.” He wants this concept to continue in City of Titans, but with all the bells and whistles attached that you can imagine. There are big plans for lots of possible storylines players will be able to play through from level 1 to 50. 

 Before I let Chris go, there was one topic in particular I had to bring up because let’s face it – a world of superheroes and supervillains naturally lends itself to PvP. I told Chris that I thought City of Heroes should have allowed some superheroes to try and mess up my bank job when I’m holding it up as a supervillain. The two sides should be actively working to screw the other side over. When I brought up my issues, he laughed excitedly and would only say, “Let’s just say PvP is a hot topic”.

 

Here's why PvP is a hot topic.

I have ZERO to less than ZERO interest in PvP. I basically won't play a game that has forced PvP.

As long I can opt out and never have to hear "Lame! Fight Me! You Suck! Homo! Race Me!" then let the PvPer's do as they wish. As long as I don't have to hear them or see them act the fool.

There others who feel the same way. I am sure there are plenty who feel just the opposite. PvP should be Opt-in, not something you have to take steps to avoid.

PS. I know that there are reasonable and responsible PvPer's out there. Unfortunately, they are outnumbered and overshadowed by the other kind.

@MWRuger - I am not sure your familiarity with City of Heroes, but PVP was a hot-button-issue in that game. It was very divisive. However, by and large, the population did not want forced PVP. In the game, there were designated PVP zones and arenas, so it was up to the individual player to decide whether they wanted to engage. There were a couple of contacts that sent you into PVP zones, but the contact gave you a warning. Upon entering the zone, there was also a warning prompt and a countdown.

I would imagine since the team behind CoT came from the CoH community, they will probably keep PVP entirely optional in the same sort of vein CoH did.

I played for five years, so I am familiar with PvP there. I also worked with MWM until my real life made it unpossible to do so. I'm not sure what the current discussion is or what way they are leaning, but when I was there, they wanted to have cross faction teaming, for almost any mission. In theory, PvP could occur at any time, anywhere.

So let's say you join a team and one of the villains targets a hostage and starts wailing. As I hero, I either have to look the other way (which is pretty out of character) or engage in PvP. This doesn't even get into what possible motivation you would have for allowing someone who is likely to betray to join a mission.

There was also discussion that whoever the team leader's alignment was would determine faction. But if the team leader quits and the next leader is a villain, what happens? Is he forced to finish a heroic mission and possibly betray his comrades?

There was also talk of faction status that you could gain by fighting or aiding factions in the game. So would you lose faction status if you were on a team that foiled a villianous plot? What if you DON'T engage in PvP to stop your opposite number.

Like I said, I have no idea what the current plans are or the current thinking, that was six months ago and it was a subject of much debate. I could be completely wrong.

MWR - Glad to see you.

That PvP system as described was conceptualized on an older engine, and no longer reflects the current thinking.

Our current model is based on the principle of putting PvP into its own sandbox, independent of PvE. The reason it is a hot topic is in that where the line to put that line down is of intense debate. One of the often discussed ideas is indirect PvP, where missions effect the "other side" as it were.

At no point would anyone be forced into PvP.

That is great to know! It was still being discussed when I left and I wasn't sure how it all ended up. My vote is, as you would probably guess, to move it as far away as possible. :)

I think the question is, vocal proponent and opponents aside, how much real desire is there for PvP in the game? I wish there was some way to get some idea how many discrete individuals actually PvP in other games as a percentage of the overall game population.

I know in CoH it was pretty small. WoW probably has a huge base But how is it in other, newer MMO's like Secret World?

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