September 16th, 2005

(no subject)

Just wondering: Apart from Angus MacQueen (ex-Lost), Indigo (ex-Knives of Artemis), and Karsis (subdued CoT), are there any other contacts in Paragon City who are former (or subverted) members of villain groups?

Really Good Ask Positron

Thanks to Positron for taking time to answer a few questions from everyone!

WhatÂ’s going on with the Skill System?

The skill system went through about 8 different designs. We had designs from super-complex, CCG-style skills where you “collected” your skill-sets, and could alter them for the mission you were on, to super-simple “you have this skill. It enables you to interact with this object to get this thing to happen,” and everything between.

Problem was, the designs either broke one of our cardinal rules of design, or they just were not any fun. With bases coming in CoV, we will have a chance to revisit the skills system in an upcoming Issue (probably Issue 8).

Can you tell us anything about the hinted Archenemy system?

I designed (meaning wrote up and worked out) an Archenemy system for City of Heroes where you collected “tips” about a super-powered Villain, and then when you got enough tips, turned them in and in essence crafted your Archenemy. This Archenemy would show up on your normal missions until you worked out with your Contact that you wanted to “take him down”. That would spark a short story-arc ending with your Archenemy thrown in the Zig. Tips would then start dropping again, so you could craft a new Archenemy to plague you. Eventually, your rogues’ gallery would break out of the Zig and hunt you down collectively, and you’d have to defeat them all and stick them back in jail.

Sound cool? Yeah, I think so to. Problem is, it’s a HUGE system to implement, involving multiple teams to get everything working just right. I’m being a stickler about it too, I don’t want it “half-implemented” or a simplified version of it done. Stuff keeps coming up that needs one or more of the teams that could be working on Archenemies, so it just has never had a chance to happen... yet. I keep pushing for this, and hope that someday it will be a reality for the users to play with.

What is up with the Flashback system?

The Flashback system was a system I designed that enabled you to go back to Contacts you missed and do their Story Arcs and Missions in a “flashback mode” where you Auto-exemplared to the mission’s level.

This is an example of something that got half-implemented. The Exemplar system was born of this, and because we put in Exemplars, we needed to make them work with Task Forces. And because we needed them to work with Task Forces, we couldn’t make them exploitable, thus the “auto-boot” when you lost your Aspirant.

What happened there? A lot of disgruntled players. Since Flashback kept getting back-burnered due to other, higher priority items, we put in the Auto-exemplar feature for Task Forces. It was the least we could do since we put badges on them and took away the souvenirs.

So this system has been slowly implemented. Perhaps someday the rest will come to pass too. (Fingers crossed).

Are you planning any more Holiday Events?

Holiday Events were great, but end up being a lot of work for a week or three of actual user participation. While future holiday events will most likely happen, we are concentrating on giving “event” style content to individual zones. The giant octopus, Hellion arson, ghost ship, etc. are all examples of Zone Events that have replaced the efforts we would have put into Holiday Events.

Plus, being international now, we have to make sure that the Holiday Events make sense to ALL our users, not just Americans.

I am level 50 and there is very little to do. Any plans for a better Endgame?

Statesman has definitely heard you guys about the lack of an Endgame for CoH, and has personally designed a system that will allow your characters to grow in power. He pitched it to the senior designers and we all love it. You definitely WILL be dusting off those retired 50Â’s when this hits.

Are Defenders getting an Inherent Power?

You sure are! Vigilance: As teammates within 300Â’ of you are damaged, you get a discount on Endurance usage for your powers. This is based on the overall % of Hit Points they have remaining. (So the more damaged they are, the cheaper the Endurance cost on your powers).

Have you considered allowing a "full team sidekick" option, to help solve level difference issues, and allow for less people to be excluded?

I have pitched this idea to Poz several times in the past. ItÂ’s not super-simple to do, and in the end it sort of trivializes leveling as a whole. If everyone gets to play as a sidekick of the highest level character, then there is no need to work towards higher levels yourself.

If you really listen to your users, how come Force Field Defenders are ignored?

I hear your cries, and am working with users to get the set closer to what they want, while still staying within the realm of what we want out of the set. We like the set as a whole, so we are looking at improving some of the individual powers.

Who is more in charge of Power creation and balancing you or Geko?

Geko makes all the calls on power creation and balance, but I can bring up compelling arguments for this change or that change, which Geko either has no problem with, or tells me I am insane and to get out of his office.

Has there ever been occasions where an issue didn't prove true in datamining, yet you still felt merited attention due to player comments?

Yup, happens all the time. Debt is just one example. From reading the boards youÂ’d think everyone was in perma-debt (always repaying debt from defeats), when the actual number is a very low percentage. We reduced the debt you got when you were defeated on an Instanced mission due to player comments, not datamining.

If you could add one thing to enhance the 'pride' we feel of the characters, what would it be?

The before mentioned Archenemy system. Yes, I am still pushing for that.

Can you give us some “interesting stats” on servers/characters?

Sure, how about the % of characters of what Origin?

Science: 15.47%

Mutation: 27.1%

Magic: 23.55%

Technology: 14.93%

Natural: 18.94%

Now these numbers can actually yield some interesting design tidbits. First off, creating Origin-specific content at this stage would be unbalanced. Since it’s not a flat 20% across the board (nearly twice as many Mutant Heroes as Tech ones), then we risk having disproportionate content in the game. Whereas EVERYONE who is level 25 to 35 can visit Croatoa, if we had Magic-Origin only content there, then only 23% of the level 25 to 35 players could access it. To reach nearly 50% of our users, we could just do Mutant and Magic content, but then what happens to the other 50%? Do we devote the same amount of effort into making Technology content as Mutant content? Why, since half as many players are going to see the Tech content as the Mutant content. I could go on and on. Point is, Origin didn’t have specific content after level 5 or so, so we risk more uninformed decisions on the users’ part (you can hear it now: “If I had known that Item X was only available to Mutants, then that’s what I would have been.”)

Thanks Positron!!!
Puck (silly)

Ten times the insanity?

So for the first mission of the Croatoa TF, the team has to defeat a very tough AV ten times in a row, with nary a pause between waves. And that's just the first mission.

Makes me wonder what the rest of the TF entails, because the group my tanker was with tonight only managed to defeat her seven times before the six-person team we started with lost a scrapper and a blaster. At which point we learned that a tanker, two defenders, and a single scrapper just can't sustain a high enough output of orange numbers to overcome that witch's healing rate.

If only I'd had a bucket of water handy.