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.
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.
"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.
"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.
"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.