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City of Heroes Issue 13: Architect - PREVIEW (Paid Expansion, Day Jobs, Powersets, part 2 of 5)

by: Michael Hartman ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

This is part 2 of a 5 part preview of a paid expansion and game update for City of Heroes / City of Villains titled Issue 13: Architect. To read the review from the beginning, select the link at the bottom to part 1.

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    Free Expansion? Hardly

    $15 a month is not free.
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    Paid Expansion

    Some of you may have noticed that I called this a paid expansion. I did this because NCSoft continues the insipid canard of calling these issues "free expansions." This is a gross and insulting act of PR doublespeak. The game costs $15 a month. For the most part, the only content additions come through these "Issues", which are released at a rate of about 2 per year (3 tops, if the months fall just right). This means you are paying as much as $90 in subscription fees between issues. That is not free by any stretch of the imagination. Part of the subscription fee for any MMO is the promise of continual content additions. Issue 13 may not carry an additional cost beyond the subscription fee, but it certainly not free. Pretending otherwise is dishonest and insulting towards one's customers. NCSoft really should cease this sneaky tactic.

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    Day Jobs

    This is one of the worst ideas I have read about for an MMO in a long, long time. The summary:

    A character’s day job is determined by the actual in-game location from which he or she logs out. If players log out from a University their day job is considered to be a Scholar. If they log out from City Hall they're a City Official. The benefits are thematically appropriate to the location. For example, a City Official earns extra Influence, a Scholar is granted Salvage, a Caregiver is granted Health Regeneration Buffs, etc.

    Once characters have accumulated the required amount of time for each Day Job, they are rewarded with the appropriate Day Job Badge and Title, increasing their “earnings” for that job. Multiple Badges can be combined to unlock Accolades and the ability to accumulate additional new rewards.

    Seriously? Do they really want to send the message that their game is so boring players should just logoff and collect rewards? This sounds like Progress Quest, not an actual game. A real game rewards and entertains you while you are actually PLAYING it. Giving rewards while offline implies that I should get my joy from my character's "points" (be it money, loot, salvage, whatever) increasing, not from actual gameplay. That is a terrible message to send.

    CoX is already the game so casual friendly that you don't even have to play to keep up. Now they are taking this a step forward and encouraging you to be offline. This is a terrible idea, and a really poor game design concept in general.

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    New Powersets: Shield and Pain Domination

    From what I have read, very few people are excited about these particular powersets. The powersets people were excited about, and voted for, appear to be continually ignored. But more importantly, class and powerset variety is not a problem for CoX. They already have a lot of choices there. This is a solution looking for a problem. The significant design resources going into new powersets should go into creating new forms of gameplay. CoX suffers from a lack of things to do, not a lack of characters to do it with.

    Shields are the powerset that the devs are in love with but players rarely talk about or express any interest in. Pain Domination is a slightly modified villain version of Empathy. Neither powerset has excited the user base so far.

    This assumes people are interested in making their 20th alt to level up to 50. Most people are fed up with that. As a friend of mine often says, "If the design premise of the game is to constantly make new characters, eventually someone will come out with a new game and I'll just make a new character there instead. If I have to make new characters all the time anyway, I might as well also get a new game world at the same time."

    Pushing your customers to constantly make alts is a sure way to send them packing to a new game the instant one is available. With Champions Online and DC Universe coming, this design idea is getting less wise by the week.

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    This is part 2 of a 5 part preview. For the rest of the preview:

    Part 1: City of Heroes Issue 13: Architect - PREVIEW (Mission Architect, part 1 of 5)

    Part 2: You are here.

    Part 3: City of Heroes Issue 13: Architect - PREVIEW (Cimerora, Merits, Other Features, part 3 of 5)

    Part 4: City of Heroes Issue 13: Architect - PREVIEW (The Management of Expectations, part 4 of 5)

    Part 5: City of Heroes Issue 13: Architect - PREVIEW (Business Model Confusion, Conclusions, part 5 of 5)

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    Michael Hartman maintains a hub for articles about City of Heroes and City of Villains. If you would like to read more of his articles about this game, visit:

    City of Heroes / City of Villains Article Hub