Make Your Own Quests With City Of Heroes' Mission Architect

Posted by Brad (3334 posts) -
Roll your own!
Remember City of Heroes? That's NCSoft's superhero MMO, the one that seemed like the best thing going in the genre before World of Warcraft came in and rewrote the rules. It's been five years, but City of Heroes is still going stronger than you might think, with around 100,000 paying subscribers still vanquishing (or causing) trouble in Paragon City.

After five years of writing new missions, City of Heroes' developers have finally put the power in the hands of the people with today's release of Issue 14: Architect, which contains the new Mission Architect quest editor. You can put together multi-mission story arcs, create event triggers and control enemy placement, and so on. It seems like a robust system, and one that players have taken to quickly. Last time I spoke to NCSoft reps about the update, players had uploaded over 400 quests in the first week of the add-on's closed beta.

I got a chance to check out the Mission Architect system prior to release and found it to be quite easy to use. I managed to throw together a dumb but functional mission--about saving Paragon City's daily doughnut shipment from a band of rogue policemen--in about 20 minutes. All player-made quests launch from the same NPC inside a building called the Architect Entertainment Center, so you can't write a mission series and then integrate it into the greater world at large. User quests are all instanced and happen in a vacuum.

What makes the Mission Architect more than a throwaway novelty is the fact you can earn experience and gear just like you can when questing for real. Well, not just like that, but close. Experience gains are based entirely on how tough the mission is, which is a function of the number and strength of enemies, and things like that. You don't find specific gear dropping from enemies, but you do earn a special kind of tickets that you can collect and then cash in at the Mission Architect store for what NCSoft described as pretty valuable gear. You could level and gear up all the way to level 50 using only user-made missions, if you were crazy enough.

User-made content is of course all the rage these days, and I'm glad NCSoft has taken the steps to merge the concept with the MMO genre, which has traditionally had such a static, hands-off sort of feel to it.


#1 Posted by Brad (3334 posts) -
Roll your own!
Remember City of Heroes? That's NCSoft's superhero MMO, the one that seemed like the best thing going in the genre before World of Warcraft came in and rewrote the rules. It's been five years, but City of Heroes is still going stronger than you might think, with around 100,000 paying subscribers still vanquishing (or causing) trouble in Paragon City.

After five years of writing new missions, City of Heroes' developers have finally put the power in the hands of the people with today's release of Issue 14: Architect, which contains the new Mission Architect quest editor. You can put together multi-mission story arcs, create event triggers and control enemy placement, and so on. It seems like a robust system, and one that players have taken to quickly. Last time I spoke to NCSoft reps about the update, players had uploaded over 400 quests in the first week of the add-on's closed beta.

I got a chance to check out the Mission Architect system prior to release and found it to be quite easy to use. I managed to throw together a dumb but functional mission--about saving Paragon City's daily doughnut shipment from a band of rogue policemen--in about 20 minutes. All player-made quests launch from the same NPC inside a building called the Architect Entertainment Center, so you can't write a mission series and then integrate it into the greater world at large. User quests are all instanced and happen in a vacuum.

What makes the Mission Architect more than a throwaway novelty is the fact you can earn experience and gear just like you can when questing for real. Well, not just like that, but close. Experience gains are based entirely on how tough the mission is, which is a function of the number and strength of enemies, and things like that. You don't find specific gear dropping from enemies, but you do earn a special kind of tickets that you can collect and then cash in at the Mission Architect store for what NCSoft described as pretty valuable gear. You could level and gear up all the way to level 50 using only user-made missions, if you were crazy enough.

User-made content is of course all the rage these days, and I'm glad NCSoft has taken the steps to merge the concept with the MMO genre, which has traditionally had such a static, hands-off sort of feel to it.


#2 Posted by brocool (701 posts) -

AOWWWWWW

#3 Posted by LordAndrew (14430 posts) -

Oh yeah. I forgot that game still existed. It's nice to see that it's still being supported.

#4 Posted by Sephiroth9997 (265 posts) -

Isn't champions online coming out in a few months?  Seems like a strange move. 

#5 Posted by Raydanger (76 posts) -

Damn, gonna definetly start playing this again when the monthly price to $1.00!

#6 Edited by MeatSim (10939 posts) -

Cool, but I played beta for this and it was really boring and in no way addictive like WOW.

#7 Edited by Death_Burnout (3800 posts) -

it's kinda funny, i only started City of Heroes the other week and, Oh...this comes out in the middle of the week.

It does kinda seem like them saying "alright! this game's old, you do the rest now"

It is cool though.

#8 Posted by mubress (1517 posts) -

Used to play CoH all the time back in the day..... well, 2 or 3 years ago anyway.
I guess this is a good idea, but it won't get anyone else coming back to play I wouldn't of thought. Perhaps it's just an exercise to see if users liked it, and maybe they'll implement it in Champions if it's popular enough.

#9 Posted by Pseudo_Sidious (30 posts) -

This actually really makes me want to play this game. I have never got into MMOs because I figured that once you finished the missions, all you could really do is run around killing things and collecting loot, which would get really boring unless you have a purpose. The purpose of leveling-up would not be enough for me. With this ability for users to create missions, there would always be new missions for me to try out. That would be sweet. Man that is tempting... now the only thing holding me back is that I am not sure I want to pay the subscription fee... plus, I don't have that much free time anyway... This is awesome, though. I hope the KOTOR MMO inputs something like this at some point.

#10 Posted by ColumnBreaker (1164 posts) -

Really glad to see this game is still going strong.

#11 Posted by Xymox (2115 posts) -

How many of those 400 "quests" are farm missions tho? Like the first thing that comes to mind, something I would no doubt do right away, is to set up super-easy missions filled with hundreds upon hundreds of one type of mob to speedfarm some badges. Gotta love them badges. 

#12 Posted by JoelTGM (5596 posts) -

cool idea.

#13 Posted by Media_Master (3283 posts) -

good for them.

#14 Edited by Etaber (160 posts) -
FYI
Cryptic (the original developers of CoH and current developers of Champions Online) sold CoH to NCSoft a year or so ago. As far as I know they have nothing to do with it anymore and all development since that point(including the Mission Architect)  has been done by a team within NCSoft. So there's no direct code or feature sharing between Champions Online and CoH - matter of fact, they are now direct competitors. A weird situation for sure.

#15 Posted by Fnord (32 posts) -

Xymox, there's actually very little in the way of farming missions.  Most people who're playing other people's missions aren't wanting to play it just to level up, but to be entertained.

And the creatures you kill in the MA missions don't count towards badges.  Well, don't count towards any badges other than the MA badges, and general XP, Damage, etc. badges.

#16 Posted by Cerza (1653 posts) -

That's a great new feature. I remember playing another MMO briefly (I think it was Holic) that had something like this. More games should have this sort of user created content.

#17 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

That's actually pretty cool.  I wonder if there's some way to abuse this, though, and make missions where all the badguys are trapped and you can hit them without them hitting you...  Maybe not. 

Interesting. 

I still want to try out this game.  There are a couple of other mmooomopaagags with superheroes coming out, I guess?  One based on the HERO system, the other in the DC universe.  They creep me out a bit because they sound a bit similar to this game.  I wonder what they're going to try to do to actually differentiate themselves.

#18 Edited by Gregomasta (1541 posts) -

I got to level 50 the last month in coh, and now I never ever want to play again.  Funny thing is I bought the game 2 days before the servers went up, and never got a char to the max level until last month.

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