When Devs Do It Right

Over the last week, there’s been a bit of information forthcoming concerning the next Issue (number 19) in City of Heroes.  One of the little details was a rumor that it could hit as early as this month, although I’m not so sure on that one:  there’s the Halloween Event stuff that’ll be kicking off on the 21st, and that tends to be a rough time to be putting in a new publish.  I’d suspect more likely after the event in November-but we’ll see.  I’m not a dev, after all.

There’s a lot to like in the overview they posted on the official site.  For players, one of the biggest is the removal of the Fitness power pool-a set of powers that honestly everyone almost HAD to take, because of the level 20 Stamina power which meant characters weren’t as hard up on being able to fight in a lengthy fight.  No, this didn’t impact everyone:  some folks skip it, but mainly because a) they are Masterminds and don’t use too many powers aside from letting the minions do the work b) have Quick Recovery in their secondary powerset, or c) have alternative methods of getting endurance back in a hurry, again usually from secondary powersets.  Everyone who didn’t usually finds themselves in endurance trouble sooner or later.  Of course, this removal would cause howls and screams if it weren’t for the fact that instead of it being in a set you had to choose, it becomes a set of inherent powers like Sprint and Rest.  Slotting is not affected-just like Sprint and Rest-so it’s really up to the player how to deal with it:  either slot the inherents, or slot the now-freed-up-powerslot that just became available.

There’s a downside to that, of course:  everyone with Fitness will need to burn a respec to account for the new inherent.  Of course, they might be able to stick with what they have, but who’d pass up a chance to get a free power or three?  (Or four, if a character really went hog-wild with the Fitness set.)  Honestly not much of a downside here, and this is something that’s been requested by the players on the forums since forever, it seems.  This is a pretty big deal all by itself.

The added task forces I’m iffy on, but that’s probably because I generally never do them except on rare occasions.  At some point, I’d like to put some time into those, but RL still trumps MMOs.  More on the TFs below.

I think we can thanks the good folks at Cryptic and Champions Online for the “alternate animations” that are being released.  This had started up with the power customization that came a while back, showing it could be done; now we’re getting a number of them for various power/powersets.  Sounds very promising, and I’ll be interested in seeing details as we get closer to release.  Also seeing new auras for outfits-although from the sound of things, it hadn’t been their intent.  Word of the auras slipped out when some bug allowed early access to the two auras, and they got pushed onto the I19 schedule.  The problem is that there was apparently a third aura available which is back in limbo-land; there’s a suspicion among some that there’s an aura booster pack in the works, and given how well the last booster went over (the infamous emote pack), there’s a bit of…concern.

Praetoria rounds up the big part of the news, as it gets opened up to folks who start in Paragon or the Isles; in addition, they get some zone events much like the ones that show up in zones around the other two settings-such as protests, or a standoff with a criminal gang.  Praetorian assets begin to become available to the Mission Architect-such as the mapsets.  And finally, the long awaited endgame stuff begins to come in, with the ability to gain the first “Incarnate” slot (Alpha).  The new TFs?  They revolve around the Great Praetorian Invasion (because the Rikti and the Coming Storm weren’t enough…although there are hints that maybe the Coming Storm might just be here, from the screenshots), and they’re designed for characters with Incarnate slots filled.

All this, plus some quality of life stuff, like nurses with inspirations at hospitals, and a consolidation for monorails/ferries connecting the zones of Paragon and the Isles.  It’s big things and little things together that tend to show that the devs are doing it right.  Of course, the final proof of this is in the execution-but as a general rule, Paragon Studios hasn’t struck out yet.

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