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The Business of Paragon City

Zonk posted about 10 years ago | from the i-hate-circle-of-thorns dept.

Role Playing (Games) 31

Forbes Magazine is running an interesting article discussing the business side of the MMOG City of Heroes. It has some interesting background on the backer and some surprisingly detailed technical info about the game. "In the 18 months before the Heroes debut, Cryptic's staff of 35 made the art and story come alive in 480,000 lines of code. The code is separated into 740 computer instruction files that handle everything from dressing up a character in an almost infinite selection of outfits (a total 10 to the 27th power, in fact) to flying through the city, as well as 25,000 graphics files. At peak hours 30,000 automated villains roam each of ten versions of the city. "

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30,000? (4, Funny)

chris_mahan (256577) | about 10 years ago | (#10461883)

>At peak hours 30,000 automated villains roam each of ten versions of the city

That's nuthin.

At peak hours 500,000 slashdotters roam the only version of the slashdot city.

Re:30,000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10464218)

At peak hours 500,000 slashdotters roam the only version of the slashdot city.

And that is why I, The Masked Moderator, travel these forums. Disguised as a mild mannered Anonymous Coward, I keep a sharp lookout for ranters and trolls. When I spot one I leap into action! REDUNDANT! OVERRATED! STOOOOPID! Then, w00t! I'm gone again, like the wind.

30000 Villans!? (5, Funny)

glowimperial (705397) | about 10 years ago | (#10461959)

No wonder Paragon City needs so many heroes. Property values there must be terrible, with crime levels like that. I bet the homeowner's organisations are pissed as hell and not taking it anymore.

Re:30000 Villans!? (3, Funny)

Winterblink (575267) | about 10 years ago | (#10462724)

Just don't walk around with any valuables near the main training areas. A little look near Paragon City Hall and you'll see old ladies getting mugged -- and a whole lot of high level heroes not doing anything about it. :)

Execellent!!! (0, Redundant)

Romeozulu (248240) | about 10 years ago | (#10461985)

Cryptic's staff of 35 made the art and story come alive in 480,000 lines of code. The code is separated into 740 computer instruction files that handle everything from dressing up a character in an almost infinite selection of outfits (a total 10 to the 27th power, in fact) to flying through the city, as well as 25,000 graphics files.

If I ever need meaningless techno-babble for my next sci-fi novel, I can use this!

Plain old MMO (2, Insightful)

l1nuxpunk (738263) | about 10 years ago | (#10462137)

City of Heroes is really fun, but it's nothing special. It's just an MMO.

I played it for a while, a few months back; and once the initial thrill of being a superhero (ie- I get to use fire beams!) wears off (ie- Why am I in tights?), it's just a boring MMO. If you can prove that treadmilling is some how better when you're a superhero, feel free to enlighten me.

Re:Plain old MMO (4, Informative)

NiceGeek (126629) | about 10 years ago | (#10462192)

If you've got a good team of people to play with it really changes things. Last night I had the best time ever in the game with a group of folks I'd never met before. Had so much fun we're going to form a Supergroup.

Head Games (4, Funny)

jfisherwa (323744) | about 10 years ago | (#10462814)

We formed the 70's Supergroup Foreigner.

(We smoke as we shoot the bird.)

Re:Head Games (2, Funny)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | about 10 years ago | (#10464382)

Cool did you get the Foreigner belt?

Re:Head Games (1)

NonSequor (230139) | about 10 years ago | (#10467270)

I wonder if they need any instructions.

Re:Plain old MMO (1)

n0wak (631202) | about 10 years ago | (#10469822)

The problem with that argument is that it applies to every crappy game. I remember a friend renting the awful South Park game for the N64 back in high-school. It was absolutely horrid, yet we had fun just criticizing and cussing at the game the whole time.

At that point, you're not enjoying the game, you're enjoying the company. And if you need that company there to enjoy the game, then the game isn't good to begin with.

Re:Plain old MMO (1)

tntguy (516721) | about 10 years ago | (#10474243)

At that point, you're not enjoying the game, you're enjoying the company. And if you need that company there to enjoy the game, then the game isn't good to begin with.

Unless, of course, a major part of the game is the social aspect. Which is kind of the point of multiplayer online games...

Re:Plain old MMO (0, Troll)

Slim Cognito (790924) | about 10 years ago | (#10462435)

It must certainly be better to 'treadmill' while being a superhero than to play an MMO that's even more pointless where you are just a Joe Schmoe [] .
Slim Cognito

Get your own FREE iPod [] and help me get mine at the same time.

If you're concerned about the legitimacy of the free iPod offer [] , check out this Wired magazine article [] .

Re:Plain old MMO (5, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about 10 years ago | (#10462810)


I actually stoppled playing after 2 months. It was just "arrest bad guys, lvl up, buy enhancements, arrest bad guys, lvl up, etc." It grew tiring quickly, plus my character sucked. It looked like adult Trunks from Dragon Ball GT and had poor powers.

But then release 2 came out, so I figured I'd try one more month. After all, what's $15 USD. Anyway, I started a new character, and before long I had a cape (ooooh, cape).

However, I'm currently going to continue my subscription, not so much because of the level grind, but because I've hooked up with a friendly super group. It's kind of like a "clan" in FPS game. You're part of the group, and you guys go off and do missions together when you're online (if you feel like it).

Now, while it might sound lame, consider this. My biggest pet-peeve about online games is the sheer number of jerks out there: be it FPS games, MMORPG games, or RTS games. Normally you have inconsiderate b@stards or complete idiots ruining your day. But now, I I'm pretty much gauranteed to be able to play with a set of people that:
a) are not jerks
b) are decent players
c) are willing to lend a hand if I'm in a tight spot or give advice.
d) did I mention they're not jerks

This alone makes the game a lot more fun and bearable.

I'll probably stop playing again in a few weeks; but for now I'm having some fun.

Re:Plain old MMO (2, Insightful)

Rhys (96510) | about 10 years ago | (#10462895)

You're playing to level. No kidding it's going to be boring, that's likely playing FFT to get all your crew to level 99. (Or worse as friend's I've known, use degenerator traps to level up as a high gain class, level down as a low gain, lather, rinse, repeat.)

Go out to do missions. Go to get badges. Go do task forces. Read the clues you get in story arcs. Find a roleplaying supergroup and actually role-play rather than blast the enemy to smithereens. Teach newbies the ropes.

One of the other great things about paragon city is even if you've quit and are now returning 6 months later, your equipment hasn't been outdated by the new stuff most other games use to keep people on the treadmill. There was a level cap boost providing a small additional treadmill, but if you're doing missions and such I doubt you'll notice the levels going by -- heck, last mission set I had I intentionally got a whole level of debt to retard my progress -- I was levelling TOO FAST to see the content (20-25 range).

That can be annoying itself, but hey at least I di dn't have to street sweep!

Re:Plain old MMO (1)

Xlipse (669697) | about 10 years ago | (#10463673)

I agree.. Plain old MMO, just a different setting.

I played the game for .. about 3 months when it first came out.. was in a SG with my friends, did nothing BUT Missions to level up (except the times when I RAN OUT of missions and had to "gring" to level and get more missions).

It is a good game, but it's definately NOT worth $15/mo. If it had City of Villians already built in (as it should have), then I could see paying $15/Mo. Like Star Wars Galaxies without STARS = NOT WORTH $15/Mo. CoH had a shortage of cotent, repeative missions, severe lack of outdoor map distinctions (City, Industrial, Slum) with very little variance between them. The indoor maps were worse, basically 5 or 6 different types of maps, that was it. I was leveling at a decent rate, but not fast - I made it into the 30's with my main hero.

The mission STORY arcs were AWESOME though, at least the ones that WORKED. Many (especially above level 20) were BROKEN and uncompletable. I'm sure that's fixed now, but it was a serious issue for many people a few months into the game. Missions past level 20 also really dried up very quickly (IE, lack of content complaint).

Was it a fun game? Yes, until you basically saw everything and ended up doing the same repetative tasks and missions day in and day out. Especially without PvP, combined with all the other issues at the time, the game just wasn't worth $15/mo. The only thing that kept me playing for the three months were the interesting stories. It really felt like a shell of a game, sorta like when AC1 first came out (but AC1 still had more content than CoH did!)

Re:Plain old MMO (2, Interesting)

slaker (53818) | about 10 years ago | (#10467341)

I can't prove it, all opinion being subjective, after all, but I've wanted to have a decent super-hero game for a long, long time. I bought "Freedom Force" and "Superhero League of Hoboken" to support the genre, and that's originally why I bought CoH.

I wouldn't say I an MMO person. I never felt even a moment's interest in Everquest or DAoC. But I played CoH for my introductory month and I found it on the whole to be a lot of fun. The settings might be repetitive but I've had great fun pursuing the various story arcs and discovering the hows and whys of Paragon City.

Now I have a high-level character (I'll ding 45 this weekend), and to be honest I haven't really noticed the "grinding" aspect. I've mostly had a very good time with the people I play with (very small asshole factor) and I'm finally to the point of learning the "big picture" of the game; interdimensional wars among incarnations of the Prussian Prince of Automatons (by the way, I LOVE the conception of Nemesis... he has a great classic villain feel), Rikti suborning peaceful Hydra-men for war against Earth, the origins of the Freakshow and Devouring Earth, all these things have unfolded from reading the mission notes and paying attention to villain comments while I adventured.

In City of Heroes I really feel like I'm unique. I've met other people with roughly my combination of powers, but in playing I really DO feel powerful and heroic. It's a small thing that someone comes up to thank you when you defeat a villain on the streets of Peregrine Island, but I have to say it's a damn sight more than I remember getting in all those Fantasy games I played growing up. Because everything is instanced, I really am the person who gets to end the menace of Dr. Vahzilok... no two-day-long camps for the ultra rare Dr. Vahz spawn! And when my missions and contacts send me out of zones populated by Vahzilok's minions, I come away with the sense that, yes, I really DID stop the zombies from destroying the city. Even now, months after I did it, if I happen to click on a citizen wandering through town, she might remind me: "I heard that Angry-Frenchman gave Dr. Vahzilok the thrashing of a lifetime!".

I know it's all artificial, but it's a lot closer than I might ever have hoped to a fully-realized super hero world. I'm more than happy to take part in it.

almost infinite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10462184)

"almost infinite" makes absolutely no sense. "virtually infinite" would make more sense. (1)

redog (574983) | about 10 years ago | (#10462683)

Slightly short of; not quite;

Almost but not quite; (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10463197)

I don't think those definitions are complete. The difference between the two words is usually the emphasis.

We use 'almost' when we want to emphasize the differences, but we use 'virtually' when we want to emphasize the similarities.


"I almost made my deadline this time."

You wouldn'd use 'virtually' in that sentence unless you were implying that the amount you were short of the deadline is unimportant. The use of 'almost' implies that it is important.

That's not to say that you can't use 'almost' when you want to emphasize the similarities. But usually you have to make that emphasis clear with your tone or context. If you use the word 'virtually' instead then your intended emphasis is more clear. The difference is more relevant in written text when tone isn't present.

I think the other AC (whom I am not) had a valid, though obviously minor point.

Couldn't resist (3, Funny)

redog (574983) | about 10 years ago | (#10462734)

Almost is almost the same word as virtually.
Virtually is almost the same word as almost.
Almost is virtually the same word as virtually.
Virtually is virtually the same word as almost.

10o000o00o0000o000o000 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10462625)

That many combination of clothes, and my wife will still have nothing to wear :)

Darn lameness filter.

Re:10o000o00o0000o000o000 (1)

MacroRex (548024) | about 10 years ago | (#10467783)

A common lament. In fact, judging from the female heroes' outfits it seems that the cloth company ran out of material after delivering the male hero clothing.

Seriously, there are tons of female heroes who have designed their costumes to reveal as much as possible. Forum threads on the topic suggests most of those are played by guys, though.

Re:10o000o00o0000o000o000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10468011)

That's why you can play a clothed female and stand out from the crowd! I even have a bandanna on my character, it's like least amount of skin revealed possible.

Re:10o000o00o0000o000o000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10468819)

Go for a burka. With the power of explosion. You could name her Captain Kaboom.

World's biggest supercomputer... (1)

jea6 (117959) | about 10 years ago | (#10464433)

Four teraflops? I thought the Earth Simulator was capable of 35-45 Gigaflops. []

Re:World's biggest supercomputer... (1)

lxnt (98232) | about 10 years ago | (#10467934)

35860 Gflops is 35.86 Tflops.

nothing to see here (1)

rts008 (812749) | about 10 years ago | (#10465811)

No thanks... I have a life already. Now if you could be one of the 30,000 villians, that might change it.

Just you wait (2, Informative)

MacroRex (548024) | about 10 years ago | (#10467756)

So you want something like this [] ? It's been announced etc. already, just no ETA yet.

Should take care of the n+1 punks whining at the lack of PvP. Also, should make the PvE side cleaner, as I've noticed that many of the inconsiderate and immature people I've met in the game seem to be waiting for CoV. It doesn't interest me much as my playstyle is very casual, but it'll be nice to get rid of the most obnoxious individuals who only make the game worse for the others.

Re:Just you wait (1)

Eklypz (731361) | about 10 years ago | (#10475411)

Maybe will add some depth to it too.
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