Five years is a large stretch of time for the average human. Even for a
centenarian, half a decade is a twentieth of their life, so to watch a
fledgling MMO studio create the world’s first super hero MMO
and release it to resounding success has been a privilege. This week, City
celebrates its five year anniversary,
and the Ten Ton Hammer staff sat down with Lead Designer Matt Miller to
have a very honest discussion about the best and worst moments in the
franchise, the future of the brand, and how the Paragon Studios team
plans to remain competitive against the two newest contender to their
super hero throne.
Ten Ton Hammer:
It’s been five years since the original release of City of Heroes.
Obviously a lot has changed in that amount of time, but what do you
think were the most important moments of the City of Heroes
franchise? What defined this game?
I think the decision to let the players have full customization of
character’s look, before they even start playing the game,
was the best decision we could have ever made. That, and the sheer
number of possible powerset combinations and builds within those
combinations meant that almost every player was playing a game they
could find appealing nearly immediately. And the receipt of our recent
Mission Architect game system from our players has been nothing short
of mind-blowing. We knew we were onto something special when we came up
with the idea, but only when you see how something is received is when
it really hits you that this is ‘real’.
Ten Ton Hammer: Looking
back, were there any horrible “Oh s&*#!”
moments during the initial development and/or after launch? If so, how
did the team handle the situation and what kind of resolution was there
to the issue?
an Influence (money) dupe bug that was reported within 48 hours of the
game going live. The player who reported it didn’t tell
anyone else about it, and wasn’t looking for anything in
return. It was because of his noble efforts that we created the Bug
Hunter badge in order to have something to hand out to upstanding
players who know when something is severely broken and let us know
without abusing it themselves.
Another moment would be the Winter Lords that went out with the first
winter event that we did. We had just created new reward splitting code
for Giant Monster-class entities which looked good on paper…
in practice however it was possible to get a character from level 1 to
20 in under an hour fighting these things. I remember making a frantic
call to our Producer at the time begging him to shut off the event
early, but I was just a lowly designer back then, and the
long-story-short is that event ended when it was scheduled to.
Ten Ton Hammer: A large
number of gamers still remember the end of beta events that the CoH
devs held just before the game went live. What sort of special events
are planned for the anniversary? Are we going to see any crazy alien
invasions popping up or maybe absurd rifts in time?
logging in on the 28th will definitely see their fair share of special
events going on. We’ll even have the winter Ski Chalet open
if players want to earn the race badges. I know a few of the Devs will
be hanging out in Pocket D on the Training Room that evening, so if you
are so inclined, stop on by and say “hi”.