The City of Heroes takes a villainous turn
After hours of struggling and fighting our foes, we were lucky enough to track down and corner the War Witch herself, Melissa Bianco, Lead Designer for City of Heroes. After some strong-arm negotiations, she agreed to answer a few of our questions about the much anticipated CoH expansion, Going Rogue, going live this spring.
Q: Everyone is talking about this “mirror world” of Praetoria. Tell us about this world and why the players will want to explore it.
Praetoria is Emperor Cole’s (aka “Tyrant”) world. Now, you’d think that because he’s, well, a tyrant, that it would be this horrid place where evil crawls the streets and everything is doom and gloom. Surprisingly, however, it’s not. Cole’s made a few deals in his time and with that comes an uneasy peace, sort of. So Praetoria is not what you’d expect. It’s clean and beautiful, very pleasing to Cole from his tower
Players are going to want to explore it because, visually, it’s several steps beyond what we’ve ever done before with Paragon City or the Rogue Isles. The majority of the landscape that you see is brand new. With the Ultra Mode technology, it’s something to see.
Aside from the visuals, it’s an avenue for players to find out how the “mirror half” lives. Signature character characters that you have come to know in CoH/CoV, you’ll get to meet again for the first time in Praetoria. There are a lot of “details” that went into Praetoria that I think players will find interesting. And yes, I’m keeping it vague because it’ll be up to them to figure out what they are.
Q: So far, you’ve introduced us to the amazing characters of Desdemona (a practitioner of sorcery and mystical powers), Maelstrom (a cybernetic solider who questions his loyalties), and Tyrant (A powerful and ruthless social leader). Can you give us more insight in the pivotal roles they will play in Going Rogue?
Because he’s so powerful, you won’t be running into Tyrant until later on in your career. He is part of the endgame plan that Matt “Positron” Miller has in the works and it all ties into Praetoria. As you know, Desdemona has chosen a different path, so depending on what side you choose; she may become your ally. Maelstrom is a real piece of work, so even if you see him early, don’t think he’s gone for good; you can’t get rid of him that easily.
Q: With the new Going Rogue expansion, many people are wondering if it will require a new computer hardware upgrade to handle the entire new enhancements you have in store. What will be the minimum/recommended system requirements?
We’re not changing the minimum requirements to play the game. Players can play with their older hardware; they just won’t see many of the benefits that Ultra Mode brings. However, as hardware gets better and better, players will be able to turn on more and more features of Ultra Mode.
I would suggest players look at the Nvidia 260 or the ATI Radeon 5770 ranges of video cards if they want the best “bang for your buck” performance and features for Ultra Mode. There are several threads on the City of Heroes forums discussing performance results with many players’ video cards, so it’s always a good idea to check there as well.
Q: Players are excited over their characters’ ability to change their alignments in Going Rogue. Can you give us more detail on how this will work, and how it will change the face of CoH?
Essentially, “going rogue” is a process; it’s not a flip-a-switch decision. You make choices (via missions) that redirect your heroic (or villainous) path. But we didn’t want to make it too onerous or tedious, so we tried to keep things relatively simple. Having said that, if you just pick up and walk away from everything you’ve accomplished as a hero, there are consequences to your decisions. If you’ve made a name for yourself in the higher echelons of Paragon City, what makes you think you have any street cred in the Rogue Isles? You’ll have to establish yourself on the other side. As if that wasn’t enough, even fallen heroes can be redeemed, and reformed villains can slip back into their old ways…it’s all a matter of choices.
Q: Can we expect to see new character costumes and powers in Going Rogue?
Absolutely. You already know about Demon Summoning and Dual Pistols, which are available before the expansion hits for those who pre-purchase it, but we’ve got some other tricks up our sleeves, and I think players will be pleased with the new power sets. As for costumes, you may already know about the Clockwork costume pieces, but there are others coming, too, not all necessarily Praetorian in theme.
Q: City of Heroes/Villains has a strong fan base, but with challenges from Champions Online and DC Universe Online, can you explain how the game plans to stay the leader in superhero MMOs?
You make a good point. We are still the leader in super-powered hero MMOs, and the way we continue to do that is by listening and responding to our player base. We’ve introduced new and innovative systems. such as the Mission Architect, which gives players the ability to create their own content. We’ve also made strides to make sure our community knows how much we appreciate and enjoy them, with in-game events, ongoing contests, and regular interaction. With Issue 17 and Going Rogue, we’ve upgraded our look and the way we build zones (most evident in Praetoria). Lastly, we’ve got some great stories and unique endgame content coming the players’ way. Essentially, we have all of the tools in place to put out more content (from costumes to emotes to missions to zones), and we will continue to work very hard to do that.
Q: Is there any secret information about Going Rogue that you can not tell the players about right now? You can tell us we can keep a secret (wink, wink).
Oh sure. I have this huge laundry list of things I can’t tell the players about right now, but hey, let me get that list for you. Have you got a pen? It’s a long one…
Thank you, Melissa, for answering (nearly) all our questions about Going Rogue. With all the excitement attached to this new expansion, veteran players, new players, and returning players will have a lot to do and explore for a very long time.
Keep tuned to the Massive Online Gamer magazine and web site for all of your CoH news and updates!