Going Rogue with City of Heroes - A Q&A with Melissa Bianco
Ton Hammer has been very interested in the upcoming Going Rogue
expansion for style="font-style: italic;">City of Heroes/City of
Villains. While not only
adding new zones for players to adventure in and heightened graphics,
players will have the ability to go from hero to rogue or vice-versa.
Needing to know more, we employed our super-secret Kidnap Ray (patent
pending), which netted us the person of Melissa Bianco, Paragon
Studios’ lead designer of style="font-style: italic;">COH/COV.
Questioning her under our Truth Ray (patent pending), she revealed many
interesting nuggets of information.
style="font-weight: bold;">Ten Ton Hammer:
Pre-purchases for Going Rogue offers Dual Pistols and Demon Summoning
power sets. Can you tell us about these new power sets?
Bianco: Both of these sets
are visually amazing. Dual Pistols, which is available to
Blasters and Corrupters as a primary power set and Defenders as a
secondary power set, is unique: you can not only choose what
kind of gun you want (and customize it), but you can swap out your ammo
as you go. It’s also the power set of choice for
Going Rogue’s Maelstrom. Demon Summoning is a
Mastermind-only power set that allows the character to summon elemental
demons. However, the trademark feature of this power set is
the ability to attack enemies with a hellfire whip that deals fire and
toxic damage. It’s also the power set of choice for
Desdemona, the villain-gone-good signature character.
Ton Hammer: What was some of the most challenging aspects of developing
“Going Rogue” and how did you overcome them?
Well as you may know, I only recently stepped in as Lead Designer. My
immediate challenge was to transition out of my World position, while
still being accountable to the World team I’ve led up to this
point, and at the same time familiarizing myself with the my role as
Lead Designer and all the responsibility that comes with that. I did a
lot of reading, talking, and asking questions. Mostly, I just
had to jump in with both guns blazing and deal with every situation as
it comes. I am glad that I’ve been working on style="font-style: italic;">City of Heroes/Villains
since 2002 because I have had to tap into that legacy knowledge several
The biggest functional challenge was with respect to
Praetoria. I needed to implement a distinct universe that was
familiar yet unique enough to interest our players. When you
create a new landscape (like the Rogue Isles or Praetoria), there are a
lot of things to consider. I had to ask the
question, “What does it mean to be
Praetorian?” It sounds simple enough, but there are
a lot of details: What kind of currency do they
use? What kind of culture exists? What is the
“tone” of the landscape? How do I
parallel functional systems in a unique way? There
is a LOT involved in something like this and it was my job to figure
out how all of the pieces fit. So I referred back to
everything I’d learned and experienced as we created style="font-style: italic;">City of Villains
and used it as my general starting-off point for Praetoria.
From there, it’s just been a matter of identifying issues and
solving them, one by one.
Ton Hammer: What’s the process of becoming a Vigilante or
Well, if you should decide
that being a hero and rescuing citizens from purse snatchings is no
longer your cup of tea, there are ways of moving towards a less
pristine image. Those ways involve taking on missions that
let you choose to take a morally questionable approach to handling the
situation. If you continue choosing the morally ambiguous way
of ‘saving the day’, you essentially move the
pointer away from Hero and closer to Vigilante.. Eventually
there will come a point when you’re clearly a
Vigilante. Although technically you’re still a
Hero, you can now walk the razor’s edge between light and
dark by taking missions on the other side to see if the villainous life
is truly what calls to you. If you find the life of a
nefarious villain is up your alley, you can ultimately choose to take
the plunge! Now, having said that, there’s no law that says
once you’re a Villain you’ll never have the
opportunity to do right by society. And for that shiny new
Fallen Hero, well, old habits tend to die hard…
Ton Hammer: With more competition on the super hero genre, what sort of
things will Going Rogue offer players that they may not get in other
The title of the expansion says it all: you can go
rogue. Not only that, but you can access a new universe that
we’ve alluded to in previous style="font-style: italic;">City of Heroes missions
and the Top Cow comics, and you have access to some pretty cool costume
and new power sets. And though it’s not part of
Going Rogue, we have several years worth of content and systems to draw
upon from Mission Architect to Ouroboros to Super Sidekicking and
Ton Hammer: What other content does the expansion offer to players who
may not opt to “Go Rogue?”
You can still do many of the missions associated with the Going Rogue
system, and just not take the plunge and change your alignment when
presented with that choice. You will also have access to the new power
sets, costumes, and of course all the Praetorian content as
well. There’s plenty of content there, even for
players who don’t want to change alignments.
Ton Hammer: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our
readers about Going Rogue?
Praetoria was built with the graphical upgrade, Ultra Mode, in mind.
This means these visual improvements were the key focus of how we built
the majority of Praetoria’s environments, and it will be
quite a change from what players are used to. As I am working
with the zones of Praetoria I sometimes forget that this is style="font-style: italic;">City of Heroes.
I think the new villains, missions, environments, badges, powers,
mission sets, and costumes will make for a very fun
expansion. I also think that since we’re looking at
Praetorian versions of some very familiar faces, it will be exciting
for the player to figure out who they are and how they may have
changed. For those players steeped in the lore behind style="font-style: italic;">City of Heroes,
there are a few surprises in there, for sure.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our City of Villains Game Page.