(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.