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Brian Clayton and Matt Miller on Power and Responsibility in City of Heroes

Adrian Bott

Right now the news is breaking about a major change to the City of Heroes issue release schedule. The Mission Architect feature is being moved to Issue 14, because overwhelming player response convinced the developers not to release the feature until it contained a key element the players wanted: the ability to include customized allies and opponents. Issue 13, now titled Power and Responsibility, will include a whole lot more cool content and reach the player base that much sooner.

City of Heroes executive producer Brian Clayton and lead designer Matt Miller were extremely generous with their time yesterday and gave us a lengthy interview, in which they covered a whole host of details about the improvements coming in Issue 13, the changes to the studio, and the future of the City of Heroes franchise.

Matt Miller: So the title for Issue 13, Power and Responsibility, that has a lot of meanings. We picked it very specifically to make sure that not only were we conveying the fact that we're adding more powersets and giving players more power in what they're able to choose for rewards and things like that, but then the responsibility nature takes on the day jobs, that offline character advancement system, the responsibilities your character has when you're not playing.

Matt Miller: Then beyond that we've got the responsibility as a studio, to get our players the quality stuff that we've been working so hard on, as quickly as possible. And by having the two updates now, we're able to do that. We're able to get Issue 13, with all the cool stuff we've been working on, sooner to the players. So I liked that definition as well. And of course there's Stan Lee's great quote of 'with great power comes great responsibility', which was just a classic superhero line that I really like.

Schedule Changes

Massively: Can you just talk a little bit generally about the process of the decision to move Architect out to the beginning of next year as opposed to where it was scheduled to be this year?

Brian Clayton: That decision was really driven by the feedback we received from the community. We've also done some extensive research around that particular feature. The Mission Architect feature was really a system that I think pushes the MMO genre forward.

"... one thing that became very clear was that users wanted to be able to leverage the character creation system with the new Mission Architect system."

We certainly want to release that in the most robust manner possible, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive on the feature as a whole, but one thing that became very clear was that users wanted to be able to leverage the character creation system with the new Mission Architect system. And so we've put some renewed emphasis on accelerating the plan to implement that portion of the Mission Architect, which is now all being released in Issue 14.

The Merit System

Massively: The Merit System rewards were previously announced for Issue 13, and you're still going to be pushing forward with that. We wanted to ask you about the Hamidon, and whether that's been given a large merit reward? Also, whether players will be getting merits for doing Ouroboros flashback arc missions?

Matt Miller: Players will be getting merits for doing Ouroboros flashback stuff, as well as for story arcs – any story arc in the game that they complete. As for the Hamidon, yes, they have a choice between getting a Hamidon enhancement or getting the Merit reward. I don't know how many Merits that is, but I will say that all the Merit reward values are based on the datamines we did on basically how quickly players typically did these things. So it really became a 'time versus reward' mechanism. So the really fast stuff gets a small amount of rewards, whereas the really long stuff gets a larger amount of rewards.

Massively: What kind of things are players going to be able to spend their Merits on?

Matt Miller: Basically, the cool stuff that they're striving to attain by repeating these missions over and over again, like Invention recipes, the harder-to-get Enhancements, things like that.

Day Jobs and Costumes

For Day Jobs, what kind of costumes are we going to be seeing when that system goes into the game with Issue 13?

Matt Miller: So we've had Jay working on a lot of civilian clothing for this feature. He's done a myriad of different suits, from single-breasted, double-breasted, two, three and four-button, bolo ties, normal ties, bow ties, pinstripe – you know, striped suits, like many different varieties of that... sweaters, sweater vests, and then the police uniforms. We've got a ton of different police uniforms. We're even including a really cool police belt, with all the accoutrements on that. I can see a lot of players just grabbing that and putting it on their tech characters and gadget characters, just because it looks so cool.

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