Share this project


Share this project

We present City of Titans, a spiritual successor for the superhero MMORPG City of Heroes, being developed by Missing Worlds Media.
5,003 backers pledged $678,189 to help bring this project to life.

Highway To The Danger Room (Game Tech)

Posted by Missing Worlds Media (Creator)

This is Warcabbit coming at you, straight out of Game Tech. It’s one of the hats I wear at City of Titans, and it’s one of the ones I’m proudest to wear. 

I’m lucky. I have two guys who are smarter than I am working with me. One’s got a PhD in Physics (Complex Systems) and the other’s got a PhD in Physics (Education).

And, every so often, I manage to contribute an idea that they haven’t thought of yet.

It makes me feel METAL!
It makes me feel METAL!

Now, when you get down to it, there’s not much _to_ Game Tech when it’s done. If I were to say, “Roll a D20, add some numbers, compare to a target.” you’d know it’s Dungeons and Dragons, and the fact that there’s not _that_ much more to it is what makes it work. Getting there is a lot more hassle. We have the Function and the Lens, and both of those are critically important to what makes the game work. And we’ll tell you about them both… a lot closer to Alpha. (Whoever winds up making the next generation of Mids is going to need to know all about it. We’ll help, if we don’t do it ourselves.)

Right now, I’m going to tell you about some of that ‘add some numbers’ business. Take everything I say here as something less than the final truth. We’ve been working on this a while, and we know the system as a whole will work, but we need to do some play testing on the exact numbers. Any specific item may change a bit before we’re done.

Now, I’m a gamer, and I’ve been gaming long enough that I thought pong machines were a really neat idea. (I still think digital wrist-watches are a really neat idea.) I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons and Marvel Super Heroes and DC Heroes by Mayfair and Champions and Superworld and Villains and Vigilantes and Gurps Supers and Mutants and Masterminds. And a thousand other games, other genres, and other styles. (Superhero League of Hoboken, anyone?)

When it comes down to superheroes, I've learned a few things. Number one: It feels best, to me, when the hero is the character you develop, the powers you assign, and the style you choose. Giving a “+6 To Punching Glove” is just wrong. But if you happen to have a Punch attack, giving it 4D6, and NND for a Chi Punch? That feels right.

I have limits on what I can do, on how good I am at balancing, and at how much experience I have, so I can’t promise you custom powers - yet - but there are things I can do to make the game feel more like what you want. One of them is learning lessons from the past. Final Fantasy VII was interesting. It was a step towards a gearless game. It mattered as much what you put into your gear as what your gear was, and you could choose. You could choose thunder, or fire, or water…

So let’s go with that. Your power exists, but how much of what it does, is decided by the things you put in it, like something from SW:TOR.

So! Your power is defined. For now, let’s say it’s an Energy Blast! Single target, decent range, good amount of power to it. It…. oh, let’s say it’s an Electrical Blast, which leaves you weakened and slowed. Seriously, I’ve been tazed and it just left me flopping on the ground not really wanting to move for a bit. (And if you touch Superman when he gets shocked, you get super powers! It’s true! Happened like three-four times.)

Well. You’ve gone up a level, and you want to power it up.

You notice you just got something from leveling up. It’s an Augment Socket. Place the Augment Socket in your power. There you go, one socket, ready to take an Augment. Better find an Augment to put in it. Here’s one. Damage. I like damage.

Hey, what’s this? You put it in the socket, and now there’s another socket below it. That’s a Refinement Socket. Some Augments have no Refinements. Some have one. A very few ones have two or three.

Now, this is interesting. I’ve got a Refinement in my inventory too. It’s Accuracy. I can’t put an Augment in my Refinement Slot, and I can’t put a Refinement in my Augment slot, so I can’t do the equivalent of full-slotting just for damage, can I? Not until mixed sets exist. (Mixed sets won’t exist at launch. We need a lot of data mining before we can say what’s useful.)

Let’s level up a few more times. Two, three, and that’s four. Four Augments per power. Right now, a base Augment is a 25% boost, so that’s 100% damage if you slot for nothing but damage. This may change as we test things, and certainly, we expect to have more powerful Augments later. Don’t worry, we’ve balanced for it all. (The numbers are not, strictly speaking, exact, due to various formulas involved - that 25% boost is to something called Output you’ll hear more about one day, and not Damage directly.)

But what’s this? There’s something right on my power set. I can put an Augment there. But it won’t take just any Augment. It’ll take a Power Set Augment. What do these do? Well, we’ve talked about how you can customize your attack’s color - red lightning, blue lightning - and its animation - pulse-sharp shocks, a constant stream, a jacob’s ladder - and how you can even use weapons with it or not, if you choose - a magic wand, a ray gun… but what if you want more than we give you?

What if you take this two-blades set and you want it to symbolize the focused totality of your psychic energies? Well, we can’t predict everything, but we can give you a punch dagger. And you can paint it translucent pink. Good start. But it won’t be the same unless it does psychic damage. So… let’s find a Psychic Power Set Augment and put it in. Hey, look. Now your knife does Psychic Damage instead, and your enemies all get headaches when you stab them. Flaming Fists? Freezing Bullets? It’s all possible. No Refinements there, though. This works for primary and secondary and even tertiary power sets.

But sometimes there’s weird things, like a static bonus to regen, or a travel speed boost for all power sets. Those kind of power set augments get to live in your tertiary sets. But you only get one or two per character.

Now, these are just the default types. And they’ve got a limited number of things they can do. Extra damage, extra accuracy, less energy spent, extra secondary power boost, extra primary power boost, extra protection of various types. If you get 49 levels above the place you got it at, it’ll decay to half power, but it won’t fail entirely.

Crafted items? Well… those are another story. And I’ll give you two little teasers. First, you’re not going to be carrying around fifty pairs of fairy pants. The things you make come from what you see and do and think of, not from looting the fallen. Second, remember what I said about mixed sets? Those may not exist, but simple sets will. Slot three of the right kind of augment, and you might just get a little bonus. And they don’t decay at all.

Catch you later, heroes. And villains. Augment yourselves! Read a book!

As always, to discuss this update, catch us over at the City of Titans forum.


Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Missing avatar

      Joel Aelwyn on

      @WLT II: Suffice to say that the original inspiration was my annoyance at having to use a particular visual with a power I picked on a certain other game. Recoloring can get you a good ways, but it still only goes so far...

    2. William Lewis Taylor II on

      Oh my... Does this mean I can FINALLY have my rimefire character? Blue flames that actually do cold damage? You are my saviors!

    3. Johnny Johnson on

      Sounds great. More straightforward (Which is nice) and more customizable (Which is HELLA nice) than in CoH, if I'm looking at this right.

      The ability to choose your damage type -- regardless of your powerset -- is a super duper big deal! That was my biggest frustration with CoH's powers. And I feel that it will lead to a more balanced set of enemies in the game, as well.

    4. Missing avatar

      TBoaz on

      "The things you make come from what you see and do and think of, not from looting the fallen"

      Bless you. My noble hero pausing to loot corpses has been a pet peeve of mine in nearly every MMO I've ever tried.

    5. Joe Viola on

      i liked city of heroes cause it was simple. this seems complicated errrr.

    6. Missing avatar

      Joel Aelwyn on

      For those wanting frankenslotting: this has a lot more in common with that than it might seem at first glance. That said, there is a whole world of room for change to be made as we start to collect and crunch through both data and feedback when we let folks loose in the system. Quotes about battle plans and contact with the enemy come to mind. The wise plan to need to adjust their plans.

      Or sometimes for their plans to plan against them, but we don't talk about that...

    7. Missing avatar

      Joel Aelwyn on

      @Sean R Emmert: I would say 'yes' except that these aren't for "cosmetics" because those won't take up game-affecting slots. Instead, they're part of your costume, just like color selection, various effects like auras, and so on (... and on, and on, and *on* -- it is a lot more extensive than probably 98% of you care to ever think about).

      Although a psychic-damage-converter *might* change the look of a weapon affected by the power (by default), you'll still be able to override that as well, or make other weapons look like that even if they aren't doing psychic damage.

    8. Al Lucard on

      I am *SO* loving all of this! I cannot wait for more details!! KEEP IT COMING!

    9. Missing avatar

      Gracie Daniel on

      Thanks for the update! Great stuff! :)

    10. Missing avatar

      Caslomyr - Phoenix Rising World Wanderer on

      After reading the "Chi Punch" reference, I am now optimistic that CoT has a very good chance of exceeding it's inspiration. Go MWM!

    11. Missing avatar

      Sean R Emmert on

      On another note: I do like the ability to change damage types that would really do well with psionic characters that use weapons to channel psionic power rather than the use ammo.

      I'm wondering if you can also expand this to power sounds? Like in CoX when I unlocked my Tommy Gun for my assault rifle character the power still sounded like an assault rifle.

    12. Missing avatar


      Frankenslotting was nice, but it led to ED. I was there the weekend it went down, man. CoV beta, and we were all NDA'd. Bad time.

    13. Missing avatar

      Sean R Emmert on

      Personally I would of preferred a simple frankenslotting style we had in city of heroes and then eventually the sets. But as to not be a negative nancy, I'll just have to wait and see how it is in Alpha...

      You are inviting me to alpha aren't you ? ;)