City of Heroes Going Rogue Interview

Games On Net chatted up City of Heroes lead desinger Melissa Bianco and senior producer Jesse Caceres this week about the ambitious "Going Rogue" update they recently launched for the superhero/supervillain MMORPG. A bit of what to expect: If you had to name the single biggest change in Going Rogue to bring old players back into the game, what do you think it would be?

Melissa: The world of Praetoria. The level of intricacy, lore, story, and focus on these zones is above and beyond what we have ever done before. One of the challenges of a realistic-looking game is that it can look '˜dated' within just a few years as technology and new graphics cards evolve. A more high-fantasy game, however, can last much longer because nothing is truly centered in reality. So I think for those players who say our game is (dated), will be shocked by what we have done. I said it myself, (This feels like a new game.) We've upped the ante on mission-telling, too. Players who haven't seen City of Heroes in a while will be introduced to dialogue trees, tip drops, cutscenes, subversion and spying, and a whole host of other little tricks that have come a long way since the (defeat all in end room) cut-and-dry mission writing that we did years ago.

Jesse: In my opinion, the single biggest change in the Going Rogue expansion to bring old players back to the game is the Going Rogue Alignment System. When City of Heroes originally launched in 2004, players wanted to create villains. In 2005, we answered by releasing the standalone expansion (City of Villains). At that time however, the City of Villains experience required that a (new) character be created to experience that content. Since many customers spent hundreds of hours on their (hero) character(s), there was some reluctance to create a villain character from level 1. The City of Heroes Going Rogue expansion solves this type of issue by bridging City of Heroes and City of Villains. It makes the City of Heroes franchise (complete). With the launch of the Going Rogue expansion, old players can now make a circular moral journey through Paragon City and the Rogue Isles with the same character. One of the results of the Alignment system is that we've removed many (alignment) barriers by combining the Hero-side and Villain-side auction houses so now our Auction system is not only cross-server, but it is also alignment agnostic. Villains can purchase items sold by Heroes and vice versa. Additionally, characters can now globally email items and influence/infamy to any hero or villain character on any server. This is certainly one of the best times for old players to come back in the game to check these major changes out!