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A Mild-Mannered Reporter: Question and answers go retro

Eliot Lefebvre
It's time to head back in time, back through the many views and opinion of the past month, and see where we've gone with questions from far and wide. And as long as we're going back in time, why can't City of Heroes go back with us? Seriously, where's the time-travel arc where everyone has to team up with their Silver Age counterpart in bell-bottoms and bad hair? We've long been missing that from the game, and now that I have the time to think clearly it's a problem which should be immediately addressed.

Of course, we do have that new Doppleganger system coming up. It could happen. Also, questions should probably be answered before I deviate too far.

Zsazsa piped up with an obvious question about the PAX information:
"Was anything said about new maps located in space for level 50 characters?"

Possibly? When talking with the inimitable Miss Bianco, she mentioned that there were new maps we haven't yet seen... emphasis on those of us in the playerbase. It's very possible that there are, in fact, maps set in space which will be used for the Incarnate system (which requires level 50 and Going Rogue to be playable, so there you go). But as it's implied here that they already exist, wouldn't we have seen them by now?

More than likely, the development team wasn't totally happy with a few elements of the maps, or didn't have a story arc or task force that specifically needed them, so they mothballed the assets until they needed them. If there's one thing that I learned from talking with the team -- and there were many things -- it's that a lot of stuff gets through part of the development process before they decide to hold on to it for a little while. These people do not like to release things until they are fully satisfied with them.

Gran Mal asked:
"What's so great about Kinetic Melee? It sounds kind of lackluster."

Admittedly, knocking enemies around is one of the more commonly used tricks to differentiate powers. (Every one has their own little tricks hither and yon -- knockbacks, slows, defense debuffs, always missing on the second attack in a combo if you went with Dual Blades.) There are a lot of little touches that don't necessarily get conveyed via text, however, and the video they showed gave hints at a few things to make it a bit more exciting.

For starters, there looked to be a bit more range than normal on the powers. Not a huge amount, mind you, but enough so that the age-old problem of Scrappers, Tankers, and Brutes being totally unable to hit things at range might be a tad mitigated. There were also hints that you might be able to knock enemies up as well as back or down. Talk after the panel included some speculation that the powerset might allow players to draw enemies toward them, immobilize them, or even provide movement and attack speed buffs a la the usual Kinetics powerset.

While we don't know much for certain yet, the possibility of all these tricks is pretty intoxicating for melee players.

Electrical Control, which wasn't asked about but is kind of under the same header... well, I don't know if there's all that much fuss about it yet. It fills an obvious hole in the powersets and lets you make a Clockwork, I guess. It'll probably drain Endurance, which is nice. I don't really play Controllers or Dominators, so it's mostly idle speculation.

Lemmo asked:

Okay, context would be helpful. Here's my original quote from my interview:
"You can certainly stay in the Praetoria zones, but things will stop giving you experience just like any zone you outlevel."

What I neglected to acknowledge was the fact that technically speaking, you could keep just teaming up with low-level players and running their content endlessly to reach max level if you truly never wanted to leave Preatoria. Lemmo called me on it, and it was a fair cop. That isn't changing -- it's just a kind of silly way to level unless you really adore fascist alternate Earth beyond all reason.

Newgo asked:
"Are the Incarnate levels going to add stats a la Security/Threat Level?"

We don't know, but probably not. Matt Miller was pretty clear on the idea that Incarnate levels were more tied to events and accomplishments than simply grinding up experience -- that right there implies that anything they add will likely be in a different category altogether.

The obvious reason to be concerned about this, of course, is the effect that another ten levels could have on PvP. I'd like to say that the lack of stat increases, assuming they aren't there, will answer that problem... but I don't think it will. With the added abilities and other miscellaneous rewards, whatever they may be, PvP's current balance will be thrown out the window at least in part. Without knowing more details about the abilities we can only speculate as to how far things will get disrupted.

James asked:
"Epic Archetypes can't start in Praetoria... can they still switch sides?"

Definitely. While they've got a strict set of introductory principles, they still qualify as heroes or villains and can change allegiances just fine.

Bromun asked:
"Why don't we get any new Defender powers with the expansion?"

We do. Dual Pistols.

Defenders do sort of get the shaft, as they're one of only two archetypes that doesn't get a new primary powerset (the other being Tankers), and the only one who gets a set that doesn't specifically help them do their job in parties. Hitting things as a Tanker makes it easier and possible to, well, tank. Shooting things as a Defender mostly just kills time until someone else is brought to the brink of death.

There are also those who would complain about the implementation of the powerset itself, but that's a discussion for another time.

Long story short, it just tied in best to have four new powersets spread across the archetypes. Defenders kind of got the short end of the stick. Perhaps the next time they spread some sets around Defenders will get more of a benefit.

That's all of this week's highly important questions and vaguely snarky answers, and that means it's time for us to return to the present once again. Or perhaps the future? We'll find out in another seven days, and if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions in the interim, mail them along to Eliot at Massively dot com.