City of Villains

Hot off the buzz from E3, the good folks at Cryptic Studios and NC Soft have taken time out of their very hectic schedule to answer a few questions about City of Villains. The game is the follow up to their Smash MMOPG Game City of Heroes. I want to thank both Cryptic and NC Soft for fitting this in amidst their deadlines for the game.
1. What is the background and setting of the game and how does it fit with events that have been established in current COH timelines and events.

David “Zeb” Cook, Senior Designer for CoV: For City of Villains, we’ve created a whole new setting, the Rogue Isles, for villain players. Located in the Atlantic and beyond the jurisdiction of the heroes of Paragon City, the Rogue Isles are ruled by Lord Recluse, head of Arachnos, a world-wide evil organization bent on – well, the same things all evil supergroups want. This gives us a place where players can be villains without having to worry about being overrun by the thousands of hero characters already out there. The Rogue Isles fit with the existing CoH timelines hand-in-glove and you will see crossover between the two – story elements, famous characters, and, of course, player interaction in the PvP zones.

2. What changes will there be in how players gain influence in the game and what are some of the things players can spend influence on.

Zeb: There are not significant system changes for how you gain influence (or infamy as it is known in CoV), but more a matter of what you do to gain it. You’re a villain. If you want infamy you need to do notorious things like rob banks, knock over casinos, take part in gang wars, smuggle goods, commit sabotage, kidnap scientists, and do all sorts of dirty deeds for people willing to pay you. As for what you can do with your infamy, we have plans but they’re still shaping up.

3. How are missions assigned in the game and what sort of missions will players face. What enemies will players encounter aside from other heroes?

Zeb: One of the things we’ve set out to do in CoV is change the feel of how players get missions. All along we’ve known that villains needed to feel like they were causing trouble, not stopping it. We’ve revamped contacts to make them more individual with particular stories to tell. Players will learn that this contact is all about Arachnos or the Goldbrickers. That gives them more ability to choose their targets. We’re also introducing a brand new contact type, brokers. These are the guys who know what’s happening. Players can ask them what they’ve heard about Circle of Thorns, Consortium or other groups and maybe get a job that involves that group.

The great thing about villains is they pretty much hate equally. They hate heroes, they hate other villain groups; they can even hate their own group, with factions plotting against each other. In addition to new members of the groups they’ve already seen, players will face hero organizations such as Longbow and the Legacy Chain, take on costumed vigilantes from Paragon City, and battle other villains such as the Goldbrickers, Snakes, and Arachnos.

4. What are some of the character classes and the strengths and weaknesses of them and how does this differ from the current COH structure?

Zeb: CoV replaces the existing archetypes with five brand new ones customized for villainous play. These are the Brute, a melee guy who gets tougher and meaner the longer he is in combat; the Stalker, who uses defense and stealth to make quick strikes; the Destroyer, who combines ranged attacks with buffs/debuffs; the Dominator, a master of control and attacks; and the wholly new Mastermind, who can summon minions and support them while they do his fighting.

5. How is player vs. player going to be handled and can villains fight other villains?

Zeb: One of the big goals of PvP is to make it part of the gameplay, not just an “I pwnz you!” thing. Another major goal is to make it optional. PvP play occurs only in special PvP zones. Each of these zones is constructed to have special gameplay to give you an objective. You can achieve these objectives without having to PvP, but you can also do it (and sometimes faster) through PvP play. Success in these zones will allow you to gain temporary powers or buy from special stores, for example. Who you get to fight depends on the zone you’re in. In some, it’s every man for himself, while others are purely heroes vs. villains in true comic book fashion.

6. How does base building work and what sort of defenses will players have access to?

Zeb: Bases are a new feature available to supergroups. They will be able to build and customize their own secret bases with the same kind of flexibility the costume creator gives their characters. Supergroups will be able choose the look of their base interiors, change lighting, raise and lower ceilings and floors, and place a wide array of objects, including defenses. There are turrets of various types, traps, force fields, and a wide variety of functional objects to make life easier for SG members.

7. As a follow up, how will base assaults and base defenses be handled between attack and defense groups and what is the limit to the numbers on both sides?

Zeb: With bases comes the possibility of base raids. It is not automatic – you can build a base that will not be raided – but it is an option players will want to explore. To make base raiding fun and not just a cheap shot, raids are scheduled so both sides can muster their teams and take part. Some may complain this is “unrealistic” but we want these to be events players look forward to and can plan and strategize for. As for numbers, we’re still testing to see where the final limits will be.

8. How did you decide to do COV as a stand alone rather than and add on and what features does owning COH allow players to use in COV?

Zeb: It just seemed natural to do CoV standalone. There are people who are very interested in playing and villain and by making the game this way, we have made it easier for them to get into the game. The content in CoV is available to everyone who buys the game. If you also have CoH, you’ll obviously be able to play a hero in Paragon City, too. For CoH players, owning CoV opens up not only the ability to play a villain, but also base building, PvP play, and other minor additions.

9. Will players be able to take their current heroes from COH and make them a villain in COV without losing their present level?

Zeb: We love that idea. Other than saying that, I can’t comment at this point.

10. Will players be able to have henchman in the game and how will a player rise from a common thug to a super powered bad guy?

Zeb: While we thought about starting you as a common thug and earning your superpowers, we realized that players really like ability to jump in and play an uber villian right from the start. So you will start with just a few powers and earn more as your threat level grows. As for henchmen, you can always team up with a lower-level player and use the sidekick system. Thank you, Gareth

Thank you,