GameDAILY: What do you want to tell us about Update 2? What new features will there be?
Brian: It’s something we’ve been entrenched in for a couple of months. We expect to release it around the September/October timeframe.
Jack: We can earn their capes starting at level 20. There’s a whole storyline regarding why you can’t get it earlier. There is a new lower level zone called The Hollow. A new interdimensional zone called the Shadow Shard will introduce players to a conqueror named Rularuu the Ravager. The Terra Volta Trial will have players save the nuclear power plant from attack. If they succeed, they will be able to re-spec all their powers. You can do this trial once every ten levels, so you can choose to redo this should you have any powers you don’t like. We are also going to include mission customizations.
Our goal is to make every mission seem unique. We’re adding in new art, new A.I., and most importantly – new mission objectives. This isn’t just for high levels. This is for all levels. We’re going to have locked door technologies, wandering sentries, and new mission objectives that don’t necessarily include defeating everybody or freeing hostages.
At level 30, just capes and costumes are available at level 20, people can choose from ongoing special effects on their bodies. They can have flames around their head, crackling electricity around their body, or eyes that glow more prominently than they do currently. Then there are the quality of life issues. Teleport and resurrection confirmation will be included. We’re looking into a quick trade, where someone can give a person an inspiration quickly in the heat of battle. People will be able look for groups across zones. So, instead of being limited to one zone, they can see the entire server. There are other things too, but I don’t want to spoil you. It all depends on how hard the software guys can work and how difficult some issues are.
Brian: We go through a very rigorous process with these features of touching them up internally before getting them onto the external server. We’ll see how these things play out. If we have concerns about the overall quality or how they’re being received, we can make changes or put things off to another update. We’re very in tune with what the community is doing and how they’re playing the game. We want this to be their game. It’s Jack’s vision, and we want them to be able to share it in any way that they can. With everything that’s happening with Update 2 and all the events happening outside the game, I think we’ll see things cranked up to another level or two.
GameDAILY: How has City of Heroes impacted MMO gaming?
Brian: It’s still much too early to tell. At E3 we had people come up and thank us for introducing something new into the genre. We expect that it will have some sort of impact on future games to be released. What Jack and the Cryptic Team did very well was make sure that the game was fun right out of the box. It’s very difficult to have a game that’s fun and true to its element and I think the Cryptic guys nailed both of those.
Kevin: One of the things I really appreciated was the Sidekick. If you have a newbie player who has only been playing for a couple of weeks, the newbie can go along with his higher level buddies – and all of a sudden he’s playing in an arena that is far above his abilities as a 1st or 2nd level character and getting a better taste for how the community is designed. This is not specifically a solo adventure when you have thousands of heroes on at the same time. The partnership abilities with making your own Supergroups also work to this effect. The fact that complete strangers will come up to you in any part of the game asking for help is something that is unheard of in most games. There is no PvP right now. This game is not antagonistic. Everyone is there to help each other out.
GameDAILY: Do you feel that will change with City of Villains?
Brian: We’re still working out the details. We know for sure that the PvP in City of Villains will be consensual. You can’t argue with the fact that there are already a tremendous number of people who just like being a hero. We’ll continue to improve that experience. Players will come across player villains, but have to voluntarily select to combat them.