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City of Heroes

Valiance Online is coming soon to Steam early access

Betas, Super-hero, City of Heroes, Miscellaneous

valiance online
Great news for Valiance Online, as the fledgling superhero title announced recently that it has been voted onto the Steam Greenlight program by the community.

This means that Valiance Online will "soon" be available to play through the digital platform via early access. The team said that it still discussing its release and pricing plan, although fans can currently access it in the open pre-alpha test going on right now.

Valiance Online is making good progress as a City of Heroes spiritual successor and even picked up a former artist from the sunsetted superhero game in December.

The Daily Grind: What's an underrated MMO feature that needs love?

City of Heroes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Crafting

Lost now to the ages (at least until player teams finish rebuilding the game) is the crafting system of Glitch, a wee and sunsetted indie MMORPG dismissed out of hand by those who cluelessly believe browser-MMOs without ultrarealistic gore are for grandmas. But Glitch's crafting system was way ahead of its time, with hyperlinking inside every crafting panel so that you never, ever needed to fumble and backtrack or switch tools or count mats to make anything. Hardcore crafters might not have been entirely impressed with the economy, but the crafting process itself was damn smooth.

I can think of lots of underrated features in some other MMOs. City of Heroes' sidekicking has trickled into a handful of games, for example, but its group-and-instance difficulty scaling feature has seldom been seen since. Yet it ensured that groups of all sizes and class-makeups and skill-levels could always tackle content. It was a brilliant way to capture a varied playerbase ranging from casuals to powergamers, and yet no one else is even bothering to try it.

What other underrated MMO features really deserve some love and copypastaing in the genre?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

One Shots: The last superhero

Screenshots, City of Heroes, Culture, One Shots, Miscellaneous

I've been holding onto this screenshot for the better part of the year for a time when the world entire would need a jolt of City of Heroes to get it through the next day. I think that today is that day. Behold! A superhero!

Reader Michelle said that she was still traumatized by the game shutting down: "This particular screenie was of my last 50. He was a Fire Armor/Electric Melee tank named Demolition Companion. He was a clockwork that the Resistance attempted to reprogram but didn't complete, so he was broken (hence why he was on fire all the time) and very, very dangerous. In this shot he's standing in the sewers ready to wipe out some Resistance scum. (He was one of my only Loyalists.) I wish I'd gotten to RP him more."

Want to be featured in a future edition of One Shots? Send your favorite MMO screenshots to oneshots@massively.com, and don't forget to include your name, the name of the game, and a description of the scene. Large, colorful, UI-free shots that tell a story and really show off the game make for the best images. Look ma, we brought back One Shots!

Valiance Online cancels Kickstarter, seeks stress test applicants

Betas, Super-hero, City of Heroes, Business Models, Game Mechanics, News Items, Crowdfunding

Valiance Online
Silverhelm Studios has announced that Valiance Online will be accepting sign-ups for its inbound stress test starting today. Valiance Online is one of at least three fan-led superhero MMORPGs attempting to fill the City of Heroes niche, though Valiance has no intention of licensing the CoH IP if fan efforts to purchase it from NCsoft are ultimately successful. It promises semi-freeform character builds, power customization, an open world environment, 25 zones, character alignment, and a player-run economy.

The Kickstarter for the game, begun less than a month ago, was apparently canceled ahead of schedule last night with $34,680 raised of its $150,000 goal. A dev posts suggests the loss of the team's marketing manager during the campaign was a setback. Developers have assured backers that they will not be charged and that the game will continue development. "We're still running funding campaigns on our website for anyone interested and are discussing other options as well," says the studio in the Kickstarter comments.

Stress test signups will open on the official site later today.

[Source: Silverhelm press release]

One Shots: Jolly pumpkins

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, City of Heroes, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, The Secret World, Humor, Miscellaneous

Halloween may be over, but its spirit remains alive in MMOs! Alive, that is, as long as there are spooky locales to explore and a population that's more than willing to dress up in costume and face down the terrors that slip between the shadows.

Our friend David here may be taking Halloween at face value in World of Warcraft, but can you really blame him? He and his demonic minion look to be having a heck of a time. Plus, there's a whole-hearted embrace of a pumpkin motif that will be all but extict come December. Enjoy it while it lasts!

The rest of this week's player-submitted screenshots may not be creepy in the least, but they do all share the same jolly attitude that exists in this moment. In a world that brought back One Shots, really anything is possible!

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The Daily Grind: What's the best loot system in an MMO?

City of Heroes, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

Massively commenters recently reminded me that one of the things that bug me about retro themeparks is the loot that drops in dungeons and raids -- or to be more specific, the lack thereof. You want me to pile how many people into a multi-hour raid and reward only one or two of them with a boss drop? Why we're so happy to bash lockboxes that abuse our money but not RNG lotteries that abuse our time stymies me.

I'd love to see more games like City of Heroes that reward everyone with his or her own drops for making it through to the end of a mission -- no roll window required, no DKP necessary, no ninja-looters possible. You do a thing and you get a thing, not just a dim chance at a thing.

What do you guys think is the best loot-drop system in an MMO, past or present?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

NCsoft might allow players to resurrect the City of Heroes IP

Super-hero, City of Heroes, MMO Industry, News Items

There's good news for City of Heroes fans to celebrate now, even if it's not a finished thing yet. Nate Downes, President of Missing Worlds Media, has posted about a project wholly unrelated to City of Titans and yet entirely tied to it: the quest to resurrect the City of Heroes IP. He explains a story that began in September of last year, starting with a few contacts within NCsoft who led to the ultimate goal of resurrecting the last version of the game as well as licensing out the IP to its spiritual successors.

The proposal currently on the table before NCsoft would allow the game's spiritual successors to drop the "spiritual" portion of their title, enable a restoration of the game's servers for the last update (albeit with no saved character data), and create the potential for a "transition" server between the original game and its successors. While it's far from a done deal, it's the best news that the former residents of Paragon City have heard since the lights went dark -- there may be brightness on the horizon.

Players allegedly negotiating with NCsoft to buy City of Heroes

Super-hero, City of Heroes, Culture, MMO Industry

city of heroes
Instead of spending gobs of volunteer development time and money on City of Heroes knock-offs, wouldn't it be better to simply acquire the real deal? That's the thought behind a fan effort to purchase the rights to the superhero MMO from NCsoft, while proving to the publisher that the team has the talent and capability to handle the property.

According to a poster named Ironwolf on the Titan Network message boards, progress is being made on this front. Ironwolf wrote the following on August 13th: "I did contact the team yesterday and got this reply back: Things are moving along. We should have things worth showing fairly soon, made a great leap forward yesterday."

The efforts to purchase City of Heroes started in early March, according to a timeline on the same thread. On March 12th, Ironwolf noted, "Got letter back from [former NCsoft executive] Chris Chung -- it showed that is WAS possible to buy the game." On April 5th, he wrote that the general range of the price is "very doable."

[Thanks to Duane for the tip!]

Perfect Ten: The MMOs that influenced me greatly

World of Warcraft, Anarchy Online, City of Heroes, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Fallen Earth, Guild Wars, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

Every one of us has an "MMO resume": a list of titles that we've played, whether briefly or extensively. Some of those are just games, casual flings that meant nothing. But others can take a more meaningful role in our lives, influencing how we experience and view MMOs.

I would scarcely say that my resume is one of the most robust you'll ever see; I'm sure plenty of you have played more than I. However, I like to think that I've had a journey over the course of a decade or so that's shaped who I am as a gamer. Since it's my birthday today, I'm going to share 10 of those influential MMOs with you and what they've done for me. You're going to get me cake.

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Perfect Ten: Great MMO time travel adventures

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, RuneScape, The Secret World, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

Writers and geeks alike can't seem to get enough of time travel, although the ratio of horribly crafted time travel tales to fun and smart ones is pretty lopsided. I've come to realize that MMOs are positively littered with ways that players are invited to jump around the internal timeline of the game, and I wanted to share a few of them in this week's countdown.

When you think about it, the proliferation of time travel quests makes a lot of sense from a developer viewpoint. There is a ton of lore that goes into each one of these virtual worlds, but for the most part the players are affixed to a very specific (and unmoving) point in time. Hopping about in time is a great way to experience other eras and actually see history instead of just reading it in a quest box. Plus, if done right, these quests can be quite memorable.

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One Shots: Fried calamari

Screenshots, City of Heroes, Culture, One Shots, Miscellaneous

Good games require memorable villains, I've always said. And while suave, well-dressed British masterminds are good in a pinch, nothing can top 150 tons of ticked-off gigantopus. So rest in peace, City of Heroes, and be content that you will be remembered for haunting the darkest dreams of superheroes for all time.

"Here is my squid (a Kheldian Peacebringer in Nova form) as part of a team vs. a larger squid. This is the giant octopus Lusca, frequently seen in Independence Port," reader Ben sent in.

Seriously, that thing is like an elder god taking a steam bath. It's going to react to your puny eye beams and frost blasts by warping all of reality with a sneeze. Speaking of warped reality, get a load of our other player-submitted screenshots after the break!

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The Daily Grind: Is there an MMO you're too wary to play?

Super-hero, City of Heroes, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Champions Online, Miscellaneous

Champs Online
Ever since City of Heroes was abruptly and unjustly sunsetted, I've toyed with the idea of giving Champions Online another spin. It can never be everything City of Heroes was to me, but it has a lot of the same ideas behind it, and it's closer in spirit and gameplay to my beloved CoH than the admittedly few other superhero options on the table.

But Champions Online has been so spottily supported by its developers over the last few years that I have a nagging suspicion I'd just be wasting my time, that the game is locked into a cycle of decay that will only frustrate me in the long run if I invest too much time, money, or emotion into it. And that's enough to keep me away.

How about you -- is there an MMO you'd like to play but that just makes you too wary to actually jump back in? What specifically is holding you back?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

City of Titans updates trailer for City of Heroes' 10th birthday

Betas, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, City of Heroes, Anniversaries

City of Titans
Today would have been City of Heroes' 10th anniversary, believe it or not. And while fond memories and colorful screenshots are all that remain of the former superhero MMO, the spiritual successor City of Titans is being built to fill in the void that was left behind.

Missing Worlds Media, the team behind City of Titans, released a new version of the teaser trailer for the Kickstarter project on this solemn occasion. It mostly consists of concept art and unpainted models being plunked down to make a city, but if you're looking to the future for your superhero fix, it might be an early glimpse at your future home. Give it a watch after the break.

[Update: Not to be outdone, Heroes and Villains also released new work-in-progress screenshots of its own spiritual successor to CoH in honor of the original's anniversary.]

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Working As Intended: Change for change's sake in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, Business Models, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Miscellaneous, MMORPG, Working As Intended

Photo taken by Man vyi
MMORPGs struggle to meet two contradictory goals: They want to provide stability, permanence, a world you feel you can always come home to, and they want to provide dynamism, change, a world that always has something fresh and new. Lean too hard to one side -- change too much or too little -- and the backlash from fans and former fans and future fans can be overwhelming.

That's something Blizzard has never learned. With World of Warcraft, Blizzard is constantly chasing different demographics to maximize its playerbase, and those different demographics typically want different things out of the game, be they veterans or returnees or hardcores or casuals. Most of the game's expansions have retooled combat and classes and specs in some way, but in Cataclysm, and now again in Warlords of Draenor, the class revamps have been so far-reaching that they actually manage to turn off both veterans and returnees. Gamers, it seems, are willing to tolerate only so much dramatic change to their precious characters before rebelling.

This is a lesson City of Heroes could have taught World of Warcraft had Blizzard been listening.

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The Game Archaeologist: The danger of expecting lightning to strike twice

City of Heroes, Opinion, Champions Online, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous, Camelot Unchained, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

It's no secret that many of the more successful Kickstarter projects over the past few years have heavily capitalized on player nostalgia, brand names, and former dev gods who are back for another round. The formula for drawing in the big bucks seems to be the following: Take something players hugely loved back in the day, dangle the concept of a sequel (spiritual or otherwise), and promise some measure of iterative improvement.

I once wrote about how we really can't go back again to recreate a particular game experience because it was usually a confluence of several factors that were related to where the industry was then and where you were then. I'm not saying that there isn't value to retro gaming, playing classic MMOs, or involving the past in future development! But there is a danger in how we as gamers become so beholden to our nostalgia that we dare lightning to strike twice -- and we're paying big bucks to see that happen.

But can we? Will it?

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