City of Heroes Meta’s Verse: Mission Architect
Its been a slow week in City of Heroes: They’ve extended the winter event until the end of January which is very exciting news. One of the communities favourite moderators is leaving us and everyone is still recovering from the holidays, getting life back to normal. Things are as expected a bit slow. Not that this is a bad thing at all. Everyone needs a break and a chance to catch up on things they missed because they were busy with things in the “real world”.
I’ve been taking this time to get a mission arc written for a Super Group I’m involved with. It is far from easy work, very time consuming even for the most straight forward story arc. Through the years some amazing arcs have been created but there have been a lot of abuses too. So I found myself asking what exactly are the benefits and the downsides of having user created missions.
The biggest benefit to having user created content in City of heroes is the chance to do new things. People can create new enemies, new stories or just explore different aspects of a story. The arc I’m currently writing takes a small part of something that was mentioned in one of the new task forces about the group Malta getting their hands on Praetorian technology. Granted, maybe later it will be explored in greater detail but for the time being I saw it as something to expand from. So far the arc doesn’t include any new spectacular bad guys but I do have plans for making them for a later mission.
An important part of being a hero, and something I’m always asked about is how did you get your powers? What’s my origin? The Mission Architect lets me answer that question. Instead of just explaining how it happened you can go and live out exactly what happened as if you were really there. It is also a helpful tool for super groups who want to make special introduction arcs or use them to test and train their members. The possibilities here are endless!
Of course with any creative outlet there is the chance for things to go wrong. Since it was created, the mission architect system has gone through edit after edit when players find a way to abuse the system and use it for farming. Sometimes the official response to the exploit has been a bit slow and on some occasions the response has been immediate with missions being suddenly ended and a voice from above asking for everyone to leave the mission. In the end though all the exploits are removed and since the last round of changes a new farm hasn’t cropped up. So maybe we’ve seen the end of it? We can only hope.
During the height of the mission architect farming it seemed like finding a normal team was impossible. People had to start being less picky about who they invite to teams. Which I suppose is a bit of a plus. But it certainly doesn’t outweigh the abuse the game has taken because of people using the system. It also has bred an entire group of people who have no idea how to get around the city, people who speed to level 50 then find when they try to enter the rest of the game that they only know how to play their character in farms. These are the people who are most often heard complaining that the game is too hard. Which leads me to another problem with the user created content, something that can be expanded to much of the game and in fact any game. There is never enough. Someone will always want something more than has already been given. This of course isn’t the fault of the people who designed it. Its just a fact of life, you can’t please everyone.
Now don’t think just because I wrote a little bit more about the cons of the mission architect that I hate it. I quite enjoy the system. Its complicated enough that not everyone tries their hand at making an arc. But at the same time it makes the whole game, what took ages for the developers to create simple enough that any user can make an arc of their own. It gives people who have a story to tell a place to tell that story and share it with anyone who comes along. I’ve made several of my own arcs in the almost year that its been since the system went live with Issue 14. If you get the chance to explore the complexities that are the mission architect creation I highly suggest you do. It is time consuming but the end result is well worth the effort.
Finally I would like to add a message to The Ocho who recently announced he is leaving the City of Heroes crew. You may not have been with us long but you quickly won the hearts of fans all over community. Your presence will be greatly missed and we wish you the best of luck in the future.
Meta’s Verse is written by Meticulous Meta who lives in Atlas Park with her dog Snuflé