City of Heroes Freedom Interview with Matt "Positron" Miller at SDCC 2011 - Page 2

Posted Tue, Jul 26, 2011 by Sardu

Ten Ton Hammer: Has the inclusion of additional perks for subscribers, such as the points they’ll receive each month, helped in terms of letting the veteran players know you’re trying to keep subscriptions an attractive option? In essence, they’re getting more for their subscription dollar moving forward than they had been previously.

Positron: Absolutely. We at Paragon like to innovate, and find where things can be improved upon. Our veteran rewards system wasn’t going to work with the new business model, so we needed to figure out something we were going to do with that. But at the same time we wanted to make sure that free players, or those just paying a la carte, were also getting benefits. So that’s where the Paragon Rewards Program came from.

It’s basically a reward tree kind of like a skill tree that you find in other games where, as you’re subscribed or as you’re purchasing points, you’re earning points on this tree, and you’re purchasing all of the things that used to be veteran rewards in addition to more stuff that we’ve specifically added for this tree.

What’s great about this is, if you are a former subscriber and say you’ve played for three years and stopped playing, you’ll come in and already have a bunch of points based on your former subscription level. So you don’t have to start over from scratch, so again, this is catering to our former players.

So say you were a former subscriber, paid for the game; those players were not forgotten. We remember them and here’s a bonus for your time and effort.

The Paragon Rewards Program

The Paragon Rewards Program takes the original CoH veteran rewards system in an all new direction

Ten Ton Hammer: So that transition will basically take you up to the equivalent level that you were already at in terms of the veteran rewards system?

Positron: Absolutely. You’ll have a number of points based on your veteran reward badges.

Ten Ton Hammer: We’ve talked a bit about how you’re catering Freedom to veteran players, but what other things will you be attempting in terms of bringing new players into the game? Will new servers be added at all to help account for an influx of new players, or is the current idea to get fresh blood onto the existing servers first?

Positron: We’ve vastly improved our sever capacities in order to handle the new influx of players. We have the ability to bring new servers online should we need to, but we really want new players to become part of the communities that we’ve already built. Our veteran players are anxious to get new players on their servers.

We’ve also made a brand new tutorial for the game, we’ve put voice overs into the tutorial, and we made it a lot shorter so that players can just get immediately into the game, start fighting stuff, and learn the basics. Then we took some of the nitty gritty stuff that we used to have in the tutorial and we spread that over the first 20 levels with what we call Ongoing Training Missions.

Basically there’s a supergroup that wants you to join and have you as a new member, and during those missions you’re going to learn how to use the auction house, what the badge system is all about, or how to use enhancements. So all the stuff we used to cram into the tutorial is now spread out and has a better pace.

Ten Ton Hammer: Was some of that inspired by the process of creating the new starting experience in Going Rogue in terms of learning what worked, and what didn’t work in terms of pacing?

Positron: Going Rogue was kind of our beta test for this. We didn’t quite succeed at it in Going Rogue at the level that we wanted, but with City of Heroes Freedom I think we just nailed it. We’ve got very fast, get-into-the game fighting stuff, and then just spread out over those first 20 levels you’ll be learning more of the game as you play.

Well for better or worse it looks like the game is going to reinvent itself after seven years. Not that it hasn't already done so with all the end game grinding recently added.

I've subscribed almost from the beginning. My husband from the beginning. I've tried free based games and while I enjoy them I find that you end up with a lot of teenie boppers running around "help me help me" and not able to pay. they want the people who pay to group with them and get them into the areas they cannot get to. Or help them level or any number of other things. What is NCSoft doing to prevent this from happening? I have not been able to play for a year yet have never put my sub on hold because I felt that if I wanted to keep my info, my characters, my friends, etc it was only fair. I'm dissabled and because of surgeries etc was not able to get to my computer. Now with a laptop things are a bit easier, however energy... The thing is if I'm going to play, I want my energy to go to playing, not listening to players whine for help, etc. If we can avoid that and bring in new blood, I'm all for it, thing is, the games out there now well they have a marketing stradegy, more visibility to people. My childre are all the time telling me of new MMOs and other things they are seeing advertised more regularly on TV. They both play CoH and love it, yet as with most children of this erra, seem able to hop from game to game without any issue. I am a person who sticks with 1 or 2 games. I agree with Positron it is a step up, and bringing in their forum posters was an awsome idea, The thing is the loudest voices are not always the ones who know what the masses are thinking. Remember you range in age groups and don't forget the many married couples who play this game together. My husband and I started on text driven games, I was even a god which ment I coded for the game among other things. The thing is you need to remember a lot of things with any change you do, I hope that with this one they will add for those things that are missed.

My best wishes to CoH and CoV that this is successful for them and for those of us who have been loyal from the beginning.

Most of the "help me help me" types hang out in Atlas Park and Cap au Diable and ask for AE Farms. To avoid them, all you have to do is spend time outside those zones or keep your broadcast turned off while in the zone. Nothing I've read indicates this will change except maybe a third zone will be added to the list if they start to hang out in the new zone that's being introduced. Also, the recent addition of the helper/help me titles on character creation funnels those sorts into a dedicated chat channel, appropriately enough called "help" and only people who want to help have to deal with them. So the game already has infrastructure setup for it.

Right now, they don't need help getting anywhere. Level restrictions have been pulled from all zones and even level 1 characters can go to the Shadow Shard and other end-game locations solo. I do it all the time to get the jet pack temp power as it is faster than levelling up for a travel power. So again, unlike other games, CoH already is protected against it. Really I'm more interested to see how the "gold farmers" will react. Will they start using free accounts to spam again? Will the new players be begging for money due to the massive inflation on the top items despite so many new ways to get top-end enhancements? Still there are built in limits on email and chat, and the team have been quick to ban spammers, so overall I'm not worried, I'm just watching. Plus as I recall there's limits on how much inf free characters can have and what enhancements they can use/sell.

Last, if you just want to play and not hear freebies asking for help, they did announce a VIP-only server. So you can just play without them.

All in all, I think you're covered. Not 100% sure until it ships, but at the very least, if you're paying, you can go to the VIP-only server and they can't follow.

Fascinating information! I cant believe Ive finally found the information Ive been searching for for so long. Thank you!

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