Flash and Substance
Part one: Flash
One of the best features of a superpowered MMO is the ability to customize your powers, both what they are, and how they look. Unfortunately, a lot of superpowered MMOs only have limited forms of this feature. You might be able to color your energy blasts, or pick what kind of weapon you use. On rare occasions, you can choose between hand or eye beams, but few games go beyond that. We hope to change that in "City of Titans." We look to take this to the next level!
While other MMOs allow you to alter how your powers look, they are still restricted by what those powers are. While it may sound odd to call that a “restriction,” most games limit characters who can blast with fire to throwing fireballs or breathing fire. What if you could use a weapon to shoot fire? Or punch fire out like some sort of magical martial art? Or even use different effects altogether to create the fire powers you want?
This is the basis for “Aesthetic Decoupling”: detaching what your powers look like from the game mechanics of the powers themselves.
We expect this to work simply. After selecting your power(s), you'll have the basic animations and colors set by default. Fire blast, for example, will have orange flames that come out of your character’s hands, like the fiery blasts so many classic fiery characters use. But if you'd prefer something different, you can alter the colors of the fire. You can also go beyond and choose how you throw the flames, from a “set” of animations. Choosing “Martial Arts," for instance, has you attack gracefully to shoot out flames. Going a step further, you could change what the flames themselves look like: classic “Fire,” “Plasma,” “Heat Blasts,” or even a sort of Acid/Napalm that burns away at foes! Finally, you can choose where your fire comes from: your hands, your mouth, a weapon such as a gun or magic staff, or even if it magically appears on foes instead of emanating from you at all!
Each different animation will have the same overall timing, making sure that no matter the animation you choose, you will have no change in game performance. Whether you use a gun or a fist to shoot your fireball, the time you take to launch it and the game-mechanics effects will be identical.
The Phoenix Project will allow one fire blast user to shoot purple heat blasts from a sci-fi rifle, while another uses martial arts moves to channel their burning energy to their foes. But both will use the same underlying set of fire blasting powers. We look forward to bringing you this level of power customization!
Part Two: Substance One of the main features of City of Titans will be a uniquely flexible yet balanced character creation system that will enable players to combine a few simple choices to make an avatar that is truly one in a thousand. What kind of hero or villain are you? This system will allow you to answer that question with a creation that reflects your own preferences and playstyle.
Here is how the system works:
You begin with a Classification. Unlike a more regimented single-class character generation system, you’re going to be able to play a specific Classification multiple times with different themes, styles, and gameplay functionality.
Classifications are the primary focus of a character. They define your role on a team or your basic method of solo play. They also determine which suite of powers are your main tools both in and outside combat. We currently plan to launch with the Commander, Ranger, Guardian, Enforcer, and Stalwart and hope to get enough funding to launch with the Master*.
Each Classification denotes a different suite of powers.
Ranger: Ranged Damage
Enforcer: Melee Damage
Each of these choices indicates a category, and contains several different suites of powers you can select from. Each of these suites contains numerous individual powers you can choose between.
In addition, you are able to pick from a range of complementary suites of powers to specify just how you help your friends or carve out your own destiny. These are called Specifications.
At launch, we will have at least one Specification per Classification, but the more resources we have, the more suites of powers we can build and we can implement more Specifications. We have three for each Classification conceptualized already. Each one of them is balanced to a different flavor, consisting of several suites of power sets. With these few choices, you already have hundreds of different character builds available.
Commander : Control
(Executor*: Ranged Damage)
Ranger: Ranged Damage
Enforcer: Melee Damage
Bulwark: Melee Damage
(Master *: Allies/Pets)
Now that you’ve selected both your Classification and your Specification you’re primed to choose your Mastery.
Each Classification is going to have a good selection of Masteries. Each Mastery alters how your powers work, allowing you to tweak them further toward a specific playstyle.. For instance: One Mastery may allow you to get stronger the longer you fight, while another will allow you to make your energy blasts super-accurate shots that do EXTRA critical damage. Yet another might enable you to steal health from people you punch and give it to everyone around you.
Like powers, Masteries become stronger as you progress through the game. Unlike powers, you can choose to have a single particularly strong Mastery, or instead opt for diversity by choosing to have more, weaker Masteries.
In addition to all of these, you will be allowed to choose a number of Minor Powers, allowing to round your character concept out and further customize it. By this point, your character can be truly unique.
We hope this glimpse into our Classification/Specification/Mastery system has been enlightening and inspiring. We look forward to seeing your unique avatar. In a City of Titans, YOU will stand tall.
(All Classifications and Specifications marked with a * are planned as post-launch additions, unless we pass certain stretch goals. Also, all names are preliminary and are subject to change before launch)