City of Heroes: Power Spectrum and Going Rogue Interview from Comic-Con '09

Updated Thu, Jul 30, 2009 by Cody Bye

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, City of Heroes: Going Rogue.

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

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.  

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.  

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