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City of Heroes Going Rogue Q&A with NCsoft's Matt Miller

Updated Fri, Sep 18, 2009 by Ethec

Going Rogue, the upcoming expansion for City of Heroes and City of Villains, will allow players to transition from hero to villain and villain to hero for the first time.  We spoke with Matt "Positron" Miller, Senior Lead Producer of City of Heroes, about what the change will entail. “This process is not immediate, it’s not a switch, it’s not a $30 charge. It’s a story that you go through. For heroes, it’s a fall from grace, for villains it’s a redemptive arc. A hero will be a hero for a while and he’ll do enough content that he’ll become a vigilante... do enough of that vigilante stuff and you’ll get kicked out of Paragon City and you’ll end up in the Rogue Isles as a villain.”

No timetable has been set for City of Heroes "Going Rogue" expansion, but Matt Miller shares new details about characters' fall from grace (or rise to glory).


“Villains don’t become vigilantes, they become rogues. They become the redemptive sort-of guys that think, ‘Maybe I’m fighting on the wrong side. Maybe I’m not doing everything for the right reasons. Maybe there’s a better way for me to use my powers.’ They’ll get what I term internally as the “Han Solo missions,” the heart-of-gold but wears a grey hat type stuff. Eventually if they do enough of that stuff, they’ll be invited over to Paragon City to become a full fledged hero. ”

Even if you meet the content requirements to change allegiances, there’s no danger of accidentally changing sides. “You’ll have to purposefully do the content, and purposefully make that transition. So you can kind of ride that middle line I talked about - you can really stay a gray hat, and there will be some advantages to doing so. You can go from one zone to another more freely, but you’ll lose some opportunities as well.”

But characters that switch sides will still retain much of their identity. “You’ll keep your archetype, it’s not like a brute’s going to become a tanker or a blaster’s going to become a mastermind. You’ll become a heroic mastermind, you’ll be a villainous blaster. Keeping it simple is what the players want.” The one thing that may change are the badges (CoH’s version of achievements). “We’ve always been careful to have a villain version of all the hero badges and vice-versa,” Matt explained. “So it makes sense that the descriptions of all your badges might change, but what you’ve earned will stay with you. We imagine that some of the really hardcore badge hunters will do the content just for those really hard to get badge rewards.”

We asked whether the tremendously successful “Mission Architect” system will allow players to create content which will shift allegiances. According to Matt, that’s still a topic under discussion, .

Two exclusive costume sets from 2009 events. Left: PAX 2009 - the Ring Mistress. Right: Hero-Con - Praetorian Clockwork (story).

Going Rogue will also have new entry-level content in Praetoria, for those starting new characters in that zone. “We acknowledge that our tutorial is about four or five years old. We’ve added stuff to it piecemeal as we’ve added systems on, but for the starting zone in Going Rogue, we are rewriting and modernizing the new player experience.”

But level-capped players will also get theirs, and Matt explained that the team isn’t just extending the purple enhancements grind. “We’re going to have a whole new system that will allow max-level players to take their max-level characters and make them even more powerful.” For the moment, that’s all we were able to find out on that topic.

No timetable has been set for the Going Rogue expansion as of yet, but to keep players from leaving City of Heroes while checking out the MMO flavors of the day, NCsoft recently announced a loyalty program for players who stay subscribed from August through November. “They will get priority access to the Going Rogue beta when we get there,” Matt added. Additionally, the second annual Hero-Con is scheduled for October 24th and 25th, and Ten Ton Hammer just learned of this year’s exclusive costume set for Hero Con attendees. We look forward to learning more about Going Rogue at the event in San Jose and in the coming months.

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