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Posted: Jan 21st 2010 6:28PM J Brad Hicks said

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Fascinating. I'm a hands-down, flat-out, squeeing fanboi of hers. Not everything she's done for the City of Heroes team has been perfect, but from the Faultline makeover to the scripting of the Hellion's Girlfriends in gang-infested neighborhoods to the flying Goldbrickers ("The next guy to say 'I can see my house from here' loses jetpack privileges for a week") to classic story arcs like "Oh Wretched Man" and others, most of the perfect parts of City of Heroes have her fingerprints on them.

The one caveat to all of this, though, is that she is not a game designer, nor does she pretend to be one. So what this suggests to me is that once they add the semi-mythical "end-game content" (that I /thought/ was supposed to be part of City of Heroes: Going Rogue?), actual /development/ of City of Heroes is done for now, and what remains is writing, rewriting, editing, and polishing to get the most out of the game mechanics and game systems that are either in place, or will be in place in a couple of months when Going Rogue ships. So if there's some major game systems change or game mechanics change you're counting on or hoping for to rekindle your love for City of Heroes? The elevation of Melissa Bianco to lead designer suggests to me that it's time to look elsewhere. But if you love the game itself and just wish they'd get more actual writing done for it, more villain groups and more conspiracies by the existing villain groups and more zone events and updated zones? This is a big, big reason to cheer.

Congratulations, War Witch!

Posted: Jan 22nd 2010 4:15PM Valdamar said

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Yeah I'm a big fan of War Witch's work as well, but she is a world/zone designer so she "is" a game designer (she has a team around her that are very experienced to cover any gaps in her own knowledge), so I think it's a bit hasty to predict the end of design/systems development on City of Heroes - especially seeing as NCSoft have invested so heavily in the game recently and the Going Rogue expansion is coming.

From Melissa's interview on MMORPG.com it looks like things are changing already, with her promising a big focus on new mission content, which is what the game really needs now. Under Positron's tenure we were rather starved of new mission content as the Devs were adding so many new systems (Inventions, Ouroboros, mission architect, power colour/animation customisation, super-sidekicking, more customisable difficulty settings, etc.). Besides, there's not many new systems the game really needs now - some of the existing systems do need expanding/improving, though (supergroup bases spring to mind).

The new endgame system, which is due in Going Rogue, and which Positron is now overseeing, may be the last new system we see for a while, but I would expect development to continue with new zones, missions, powersets, badges, costume pieces, inventions, and the like being added at a greater rate than we've seen in the last few years.

Remember, after CoV's launch Cryptic moved most Devs to the Marvel MMO (which morphed into Champions Online after Cryptic sold CoH to NCSoft and their partnership broke up with Microsoft & Marvel) - from Issue 7 to Issue 12ish CoH had only 15 developers, yet they still turned out more new free content over time than most MMOs do (certainly more than WoW did when I played it post-BC). Since NCSoft's big reinvestment and all the new staff hires Paragon Studios now have around 60 Devs, many of whom are likely working on Going Rogue (as we haven't seen much free mission content since GR was announced). Once Going Rogue is launched just imagine how much content a 60-strong Dev team will be able to add to the game! That's assuming they're not moved to working on another expansion... or a sequel!

It's a good time to be a player City of Heroes, whether you're already a subscriber, or you just fancy giving it a try.
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