Scripty of Heroes

By Alec Meer on April 29th, 2008 at 4:06 pm.

Strongest one there is

(Sorry for the hideous pun – I’m still badly jetlagged).

News reaches us, via Eurogamer, that RPS’ favourite MMO (Jim’s Eve obsession being obscured by a shallow veil of democracy), City of Heroes, is due for an intruiging new update. Always a game that’s struggled to offer long-term appeal for its less devout players, it’s had a few goes at adding a bit more meat to its big bones – but somehow crafting, auctioneering, veterans’ rewards and even PvP haven’t quite mustered the variety it badly needs. Perhaps, though, its newly-announced upcoming feature will.

NCSoft’s Matt ‘Positron’ Miller spills the details:

“Similar in concept to our character creator, it allows you, the players, to create missions and story arcs for your characters and others to participate in. You’ll be able to pick the map, villain group, and objectives, as well as write the dialogue and any clues needed for the missions.

“When you are satisfied with it, you can upload it and have other players across all servers play it and rate it. Fame will come to the players whose stories rate the best overall. It is features like these that we never dreamed of including when we first shipped, but are excited to be able to offer players very soon.”

Good cop, bad cop? Yeah, why not. Pro – It’s a welcome return of sorts to what roleplaying was originally about – a dungeon master directing the course of the game rather than players sticking rigidly to official tracts. It’s slightly remarkable, in hindsight, that no other MMO I can think of (though Neverwinter Nights did) has tried it, unless you count Eve’s unbound PvP as abstractly achieving something similar. COH is already pretty good at making missions feel personalised – NPCs will namecheck you, compliment your muscles and suchlike – and this should be even better in terms of making you feel like the game is specifically about you.

Con – unless it offers a vaster array of environments and enemies than the game currently provides (much as I love COH, I can barely stand the thought of trudging through another office or warehouse), I can’t see it making that much of a long-term difference. Still, it’s enough to renew talks about RPS getting the band back together. We could be heroes. Just for one day. Or one month, or however long the minimum subscription time is.

, .

11 Comments »

  1. Okami says:

    Didn’t Saga of Ryzom allow players to use it’s mission editor and upload user built content?

  2. Jonathan says:

    But when you talk about user generated content aren’t you forgetting about absolutely everything in second life?

    Reply to Noc: I’ve never played Second Life but I have heard of a whole D&D themed area where they essentialy make campaigns and reconstructions of WoW instanced dungeons. Quite frankly the scripting they mention sounds pretty limited compared to building an entirely new game within a game.

  3. Noc says:

    I don’t know if Second Life counts – gaming elements there are the exception rather than the rule. It’s a sandbox, yes, but it’s not about creating game content for people to play though.

  4. Stew says:

    I’m sold.

    Yes, it’ll be the existing villain groups and environments (for now, given comments about increasing the scope later). On the other hand, players can put in all the description. Fool that I am, that *matters* to me because I love reading the mission briefs. They’ve got a delicious feel that really carries over the right feel of late-Silver-Age comics, and the chance to get in on that–and share it with other players–is a beautiful thing.

    If you do reconvene, tip the nod over here. Wonder if we could get an RPS supergroup going on one of the Euroside servers…

  5. Evan says:

    I played CoV/CoH for two months. Too much grinding.

    The instances were awesome, but they were also pretty rare. I hear that that has changed, and I have been looking for a good reason to jump back in.

    This sounds cool, but I’m going to toss out an idea that I hope the developers read: Let users create missions for the opposite side where their character is the main boss.

    In other words, as a villain, I could create a mission where heroes have to stop me from stealing X, Y and Z. These would be instanced of course, and my character would be played by AI … but still.

    That could create a nice little back and forth.

  6. Moorkh says:

    Great feature – but indeed they jut copied that from another failed MMO, Ryzom (as Okami correctly stated). Never found out how that worked out, though.
    With a sound peer review system and a seamless integration into the rest of the game, this just could be the way forward for this genre. Copy away! :)

  7. MaW says:

    I intend to use it to create a series of missions to spread the fame of my primary villain and his hat.

  8. Kieron Gillen says:

    Thing with Ryzom is that it was a neat feature in a game no-one wanted to play. I don’t want to make a Ryzom level. I do want to make a CoH level.

    KG

  9. Arathain says:

    Sounds great, although I know the salvage farmers in the game will turn this to their advantage, so it may have an economic impact. I’m more than willing to put up with that in return for some of the excellent stuff I know the community will write.

  10. MaW says:

    @Arathain: Actually I doubt that will be seriously possible. From what I’ve gathered reading posts from the game designers over the years, they design levels by filling them with spawn points of various types, which are pre-programmed to adapt to team size and difficulty settings. I very much doubt that the level designers typically have the ability to say ‘this grants the player a particular piece of salvage’ although of course they could if they want to as the programmers are just down the hall (or maybe across the room).

    They most certainly won’t be giving that ability to players making their own maps.

  11. Derek K. says:

    Which will be first:

    “Statesman has revealed his burning love for you. You must find his current wife, and explain to her he no longer loves her. Then return to me, and I’ll pass on his super-kiss.”

    or

    “Go. Hunt. Kil. Skuls.”

    ?