They didn't know it when they woke up this morning, but City of Heroes fans are about to have a really great day. That headline might make you think that there are going to be some disappointed folks today. Not so. Not at all. You see, while the Mission Architect is moving out to Issue 14 in early winter of 2009, that's just leaving a ton of room in this year's Issue 13 (now called "Power and Responsibility") for an epic amount of awesome stuff. Even the reason for the delay is great: the City of Heroes developers have listened to the players. They realized their system just didn't have everything it needed to be truly special, and they're giving it the extra time to get it right.

So what is replacing Architect? How about an all new level syncing system that will ensure you can always keep up with your buddies? The "Day Jobs" system, with brand-new civilian costumes and a brand-new game mechanic? Rebalancing of powers for PvP? A new merit reward system? How about a new element where you can have multiple power specs kitting out for one character, and can be switched between almost at will? All this and more are in Issue 13, and you can read all the sordid details below the cut in the official release.

But wait! There's more! Stick around to read our in-depth interview with City of Heroes executive producer Brian Clayton and lead designer Matt Miller! They describe all the new game tweaks, and the future of NCsoft Norcal in our discussion. Plus! Check out specific details on the deep changes to CoX PvP, and the bright future for microtransaction content in the game! All right here at Massively.com

Issue 13: So big it can't be contained in a single update!

Good morning! When we announced Issue 13: Architect a couple weeks back, we were overwhelmed by the positive response. Much of the feedback was centered around the Mission Architect system which allows players to create their own missions and story arcs. We have been actively following forum threads and private messages about the feature, and have even discussed it with players in person at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle.

It became apparent that you guys really want this feature, but in order to fully realize your dreams of writing your own missions you need creative control in one more key area: The ability to create "customized" characters to fight with or against in your missions. Adding custom characters has always been on our Mission Architect feature list, but we had considered it a "stretch goal." That is, we could launch the system without this feature because our confidence was high that the rest of the system was incredibly robust.

But after listening to you guys, we realize that this feature simply must be in at launch. You have convinced us that it is an integral part of the Mission Architect, and we have reworked schedules and timelines to accomplish this. Rather than push the launch of Issue 13 out completely for one (albeit really cool and very complex) feature, the Mission Architect is going to see a slight delay. What is not going to be delayed is the rest of Issue 13. To that end, the previously announced feature set for Issue 13, together with new features that we are announcing today, will become Issue 13 and Issue 14.

Issue 14 will take on the name "Architect" and contain the Mission Architect feature along with other features we'll announce at a later date. We are planning Issue 14: Architect to be released Winter of 2009. Issue 13 is now called "Issue 13: Power and Responsibility" and be launched in the Fall of 2008.

Issue 13: Power and Responsibility
Issue 13: Power and Responsibility will contain the bulk of features we've announced previously, including:

• Shield and Pain Domination powersets
• Merit Reward system
• Day Jobs (that include a suite of new costume pieces)
• Additional Cimerora and Midnight Squad mission arcs

In addition, we have some other new exciting features to reveal that will be included in Issue 13: Power and Responsibility. These include:

• Leveling Pact
• Multi-Builds
PvE & PvP Powers rebalancing
• Villain Patron Power Respec
• Supergroup Base Repricing

Over the coming weeks we'll be providing more details about the above points, but let me give you an overview of some of them now.

The Leveling Pact:
A new innovation to MMOs, this groundbreaking system allows you and a buddy to create new characters and have your XP be permanently in sync, whether both characters are online or not. You will always be the same level, even if your buddy plays ten times more often than you do! It's sort of like "Extreme Sidekicking."

Multi-Builds:
Another innovation to City of Heroes, we are delivering the ability to have two different build-outs of each character, including which powers are selected and which Enhancements are slotted. This will now be possible for characters who want to take advantage of it. By visiting any Trainer you can switch the entire build of your character to an alternate one. You can use this separate build for whatever you like. If you wish to use different power selections for soloing and groups, you can do that. This even makes it possible to have different IO sets slotted for PVP and PVE. It's up to you.

PvE and PvP Powers Rebalancing: Floyd "Castle" Grubb and the powers designers have been hard at work in finding ways to strike a better balance between the many powers in the game. The scope of what they are doing is too broad to go into details here, but we're very excited and we'll share more information soon. Suffice it to say that we know that you don't want your PvE powers adjusted because of how they play in PvP, so we're taking a new tact in power balancing with Issue 13.

Summary

Issue 13 was so big we had to turn it into two releases, Issue 13: Power and Responsibility and Issue 14: Architect. Issue 13 will be going into beta soon and launching this Fall. It will include most of the previously announced features of Issue 13, and then some. Issue 14: Architect will include the full-featured Mission Architect and is scheduled to launch to the live servers in Q1, 2009. I am really looking forward to getting Issue 13 into your hands as soon as possible, and starting off a kick-ass 2009 with the release of Mission Architect.

This article was originally published on Massively.