Last October City of Villains brought a sinister side to the crime-fighting fun of City of Heroes. The seventh major update for the series is not far off, and it will allow villains, currently capped at level 40, to progress to level 50 like their hero counterparts. There will also be new missions with destructible environments and a new PvP zone. We got some details from Matt Miller, Senior Designer at Cryptic Studios, about features and content being added to this MMORPG in Issue 7.
Are there any significant class or power balance adjustments planned for Issue 7?
Matt: The way Defense works is getting reworked in Issue 7, but it's almost entirely a positive change for the player base. One example is the new Mastermind Bodyguard function, where Mastermind characters can share damage with their summoned Henchmen.
It's clear that the focus of Issue 7 is to introduce level 40-50 content for villains, bringing them to same level cap as heroes. Will Grandeville be for characters level 40 or higher only, or will there be content in the zone for lower level characters as well?
Matt: The content in Grandville is for characters level 40 and higher, but the zone does not have any entry restrictions, so Lackeys can move about freely in the zone.
We've heard that Grandville is to be a very vertical zone. Won't this make it difficult for players without flying powers?
Matt: We've included many elevators in the zone to get you to the higher levels. Once you are on a level, your gameplay will be that of staying around that level, so while powers like Fly are useful, they are absolutely not required.
Villains are getting new Patron Power Pools based on the signature villain they choose. Will the choice be permanent? If so, what guidance will players have in selecting the right Patron for their character and play style?
Matt: Our current line of thinking is that this choice is permanent. Because of this, players will have a mission to visit the Patron Statues in Grandville, and read the plaques located on them. Those plaques have descriptions of the powers, including hard numbers, so players can make very informed decisions on what powers they are receiving.
Mayhem missions will have destructible environments where villains can wreak havoc on their surroundings and take evil to a new level. Can you tell us how this capability will factor into quests and objectives in these zones?
Matt: You are on a limited timer when you first enter the zone, which is not enough to actually complete the ultimate objective you will have. To earn more time, you can cause mayhem by destroying objects or running side missions within the instance. Of course, destroying objects will begin to result in the Paragon Police and Longbow forces trying to take you down in force. No one ever said being a villain was easy!
What can you tell us about new PvP zone, Recluses Victory, and the "heavy artillery" that will be available?
Matt: Recluse's Victory is a PvP zone where Heroes fight against Villains for control of the zone. The zone is controlled by taking over Pillboxes, which then enables players to control its powerful turrets. These turrets are controlled via a Mastermind-style interface, so you can direct their targeting at your will. In addition, Heavies are giant robots that are controlled by a select few players in the zone. These giant robots also have Mastermind control, and are far tougher than any other pets the game has to offer. And one of the coolest aspects of Recluse's Victory is that the zone physically changes in appearance based on whether heroes or villains are winning the battle.
As I understand it, NPC reinforcements will be added to certain PvP parts of the game. How will this work?
Matt: If one side takes over four of the seven pillboxes in Recluse's Victory, the losing side will get reinforcements in the form of the Signature Characters from the games. For example, heroes might get Manticore, Sister Psyche, or even Statesman, while the villains could have a hand lent by Black Scorpion, Scirocco, or possibly Lord Recluse himself.
Players that have reached the end-game of a MMORPG are always anxious for new content. Clearly this will be addressed, in part, by bringing the level cap for CoV up to 50. Is there anything for high-level heroes in Issue 7?
Matt: Recluse's Victory offers some new rewards and temporary powers for those Max-Level Heroes who dare take it on.
Altogether it sounds like a very ambitious update to CoH/V. How does it compare, in your view, with previous Issues that have been released for the series?
Matt: The easiest parallel would be Issue 1, which was our biggest issue ever. Adding in the content from level 40 to 50 basically means adding the same amount of content as level 1 to 40. In my opinion, Recluse's Victory is the best zone we've ever done, from look and feel, to the gameplay contained within it. It is truly a blast to play.
Thanks for your time Matt!