City of Heroes lead designer announces player-generated content system

In an announcement coinciding with the game's fourth anniversary, City of Heroes Lead Designer Matt Miller has announced a bold new feature. Coming in a future update, players will be able to craft their own missions, objectives, and story arcs. The system, which sounds very similar to Nevrax's experimental Ryzom Ring project, will give players the tools they need to make their own City of Heroes adventures. Once they're completed, players can upload the scenarios to NCsoft's service, where they can be played by other players. Afterwards, participants will be able to rate their experiences with the content.

Miller gave no timeframe on the addition, but his letter to the players seems incredibly enthusiastic about the future of the title. Reminiscing about the last four years of content and feature updates, Positron (as he's known on the forums) noted all the features that have been added to game since the CoX franchise went live. Basic components of the modern game, such as Badges, epic archetypes, and even levels 41-50, were only added after the title went live. We're pretty much consistently impressed by the quality level of CoX's new content, and we'll make sure to keep you posted as more details on this system become available.

For Miller's full letter, click on through below the break.

Matt Miller's Letter to the City of Heroes Community:

Four Years.

I will say that again in case you misread it. Four years.

I am pleased beyond all belief that this game continues to prosper four years into its life. Our community is stronger than ever, the game as a whole is stronger than it ever has been, and the future of the game as well as the franchise is extremely bright.

When I look back upon the game we shipped in 2004, I can't help but look at all the things that were missing from it. Things we added immediately, and things we added recently. Badgers were not in the initial launch. Heck, level 41 to 50 were not shipped with City of Heroes! As the game has progressed, I think we have added more free features with our updates than any other MMO on the planet. Multiple zones, missions, features, and systems have been added to the base game over the past four years, making the game better and better with every update.

Every time I visit the Tailor in the game, I say to myself "Heh, I couldn't even change my costume when City of Heroes launch." Every time I Exemplar down to play content with my lower level friends, I note that this too was not a feature in the game four years ago. Now I actively seek out Inventions and recipes both in missions and on the Black Market. The Invention System worked out very well for both City of Heroes and City of Villains, and was not part of the plan when we were finishing up CoH in the first quarter of 2004. Just over this last six months we've also added our Ouroboros Flashback System, Weapon Customization, and more quality of life features than the game had ever seen (until Issue 12).

That's not to say we haven't been without our missteps. We've implemented a couple of things imperfectly (Epic Archetypes and Enhancement Diversification come to mind), which caused a lot of headaches for us down the road. I can't promise that we will never make mistakes, but I will say we will do our best to ensure that we don't repeat them.

I can't tell you how excited I am for our game's future, and although we have some major announcements yet to be made, one of the things I can talk about is a feature that we are planning. Similar in concept to our character creator, it allows you, the players, to create missions and story arcs for your characters and others to participate in. You'll be able to pick the map, villain group, and objectives, as well as write the dialog and any clues needed for the missions. When you are satisfied with it, you can upload it and have other players across all servers play it and rate it. Fame will come to the players whose stories rate the best overall. It is features like these that we never dreamed of including when we first shipped, but are excited to be able to offer players very soon.

In the end I just want to send out a thanks to all of the players of City of Heroes and City of Villains. Everyone, from the veterans who have been with this game since it launched (and even earlier for some beta testers) to the users who just subscribed last week, have made this the most fun game to work on in my seventeen years in the industry. I look forward to reviewing our accomplishments this time next year when we celebrate our 5th anniversary!

- Lead Designer, Matt Miller (Positron)
This article was originally published on Massively.