We’ve gotten a good bit of information from various places on how characters are going to be created in City of Titans. Based on all that, let’s sift through what we’ve gotten from the Kickstarter updates and the forums and go over just what kind of system is planned. Some of this discussion will surely be speculative, as this is for a video game that doesn’t yet exist, but like that’s ever stopped us before. Time to get a bit crunchy.
In City of Titans characters will be defined by their choice of class. Classes designate your primary and secondary power set choices. This is familiar ground for any former City of Heroes player. Based on the latest information there are 5 classes planned for the launch of the game.
As you can see from the above, your class designates what groups of powers will be available to you when you play. Some of these labels are really poorly defined (a problem that the whole of the game suffers from so far), but for those used to more conventional MMO terms, control in the above block refers to crowd control. Support is actually a host of skills that include buffs, debuffs, and heals. Protection refers to self-protection. The rest should be pretty self explanatory.
It should be noted that floating around the forums for City of Titans is a chart with the planned classes going forward. Some of the terminology in this chart is a bit dated but was accurate up to just last Thursday (6/19).
While the naming of things is still clearly in flux, we can see how City of Titans stacks up to it’s predecessor in terms of what the classes relate back to.
Director == Controller
Striker (no longer Partisan) == Corruptor
Sentinel == Defender
Bulwark == Tanker
Gladiator == Brute/Scrapper/Stalker (Wha??? We’ll cover this one in a second)
Astute readers will note that only 4 of the 5 original classes from City of Heroes are among the launch plans. As a blaster enthusiast, it is a GREAT concern for myself and I know for others as well. One hopes that this oversight will eventually be corrected before launch arrives.
So did anyone else notice that the gladiator class will be representing Brutes, Scrappers, and Stalkers from the original game? How that works is a function of how Masteries play into the classes.
Masteries are tied into class selection and 3 choices for a mastery will be available at launch for each class. Each of the Masteries is a part of character growth independent of power selection, leveling, and any and all other character progression systems built into the game. Per the update on Masteries, they alter all of a character’s powers and provide specific and interesting benefits that can be specialized in, or mixed and matched to the players designs. The mixing and matching part interests me greatly as that will allow for some pretty interesting combinations never before seen, but back to Gladiators.
These are the Gladiator’s Masteries that are planned currently for the class. They include:
- Rage: The more you fight, the stronger you get.
- Surprise Strike: You gain bonuses for attacks against unsuspecting targets.
- Inspiration: Your allies are rallied with each foe you defeat.
- Predation: You are the single-target master, gaining bonuses the longer you fight the same enemy.
- Reinforcement: You have a winning presence for your allies.
Again, if you played City of Heroes, the Masteries you see will look a lot like the old Inherents, which were powers specific to an archetype. For example, Brutes had an inherent rage mechanic. The more they fought, the better damage they did. Stalkers were the rogues of the game, with bonuses to sneak attack abilities. And Scrappers were the single target kings, with bonus critical attacks that made them boss killers. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that the planned Gladiator Masteries will include the Rage, Surprise Strike, and Predation Masteries, thus giving the game at launch access to 3 former archetypes as opposed to just one. I suppose this says something about the design of those 3 former classes but that’s a discussion for another day. Again, what will differentiate this game from the past is no longer being forced to specify a single mastery (unless you choose to), but instead be able to mix and match Masteries and build something entirely new. All of this, on top of your powers from your primary and secondary sets mentioned above.
But what about powers?
We know that everyone will be granted a travel power at level one, thanks to the very latest Kickstarter update. Unlike City of Heroes, your travel power will not be tied to a specific set of powers that you had to choose from, but will get it’s own slot instead. This is similar to how DCUO does it. This is good as it prevents a character from feeling like they’re wasting a slot that could take a useful power for travel instead. It also opens up the possibility for travel power based power sets unto themselves. So a speedster type hero could have vibrating punches and whirlwind attacks and other things that are thematic to a speed based power set without having to stretch to find powers that could work (though I should note, a speedster power set is total speculation on my part and at no time has any dev stated one was under development).
In that same update, the devs also discussed a bit more about primary powers, secondary powers, and tertiary powers. Primary and secondary powers are the bread and butter of your character. Primary powers will define who you are and basically follow the theme for the class as defined above. If you’re defensive,then you’ll be hard to kill. If you’re control, you’ll focus on crowd control capabilities, etc. Secondary powers basically add flavor and are a major component to who you are and what you do. “I’m tough…and I’ve got a big hammer.” While they’re referred to as secondary, they’re not sublimated to primary in any way. You’re defined by your primary but your secondary set will broaden your capabilities significantly. City of Heroes players will be very familiar with this layout and approach.
Tertiary powers will provide additional flavor and will be distinctly keyed to providing useful capabilities that are not as powerful or as versatile as the primary and secondary power sets will be. These were like the old pool power sets and enabled many different options to players for doing things that may have been a bit outside the standard rules of their primary and secondary sets and were a great way to continue to customize their character.
How individual power sets or powers themselves will function has been a very tight lipped process. Aside from a few discussions had on the original forums (which no longer exist), MWM has said barely anything about them in any significant way. I lurked in those forums for quite a while though and can remember some of what was said about them. However given that I cannot link to any of those discussions, the rest of this article should be considered speculative based entirely on my memory of LIES!
We know that power sets will exist for Support, Ranged Damage, Melee Damage, Control, and Defense. The goal will be to make sets that can cross over easily between primary and secondary power sets. So the power sets available to ranged damage classes as a primary power set will be similar or the same to those classes that have ranged damage as a secondary power set. While level cap right now is set to 35 (and everything from this point on is speculation), we should see something along the lines of 4 to 5 sets of powers available per primary/secondary. Right now a selection of 8 powers has been decided for each of the power sets. 8 was chosen because, while City of Heroes originally had 9, many of the sets had powers that performed similar functions (stalkers had stealth in every power set, blasters had build up, etc). The goal is to remove those powers that were archetype defining and instead provide those tools in other options like the Masteries, but it is unknown if t\anything I just said is still the case. Given the level cap it is unlikely that a character will be able to access all powers from the set at launch.
In addition to the power sets as they are defined for primaries and secondaries, the tertiary sets will include 4 powers each. These sets will be available to any class as discussed above. While CoH pool powers included lots of utility options and specifically travel powers, tertiary powers will likely be mini version of the main powers from the primary and secondary sets. So if a fiery melee set had a series of 4 different punches, a mix of small pbaoe’s, and a debuff or two, the tertiary version of this set might have a pair of punches and an aoe and a debuff possibly. Again, this is all from memory, so it should NEVER be trusted as anything remotely correct.
And there we have it. We’ve covered everything there is to know (so far) about how classes work in City of Titans, how they will interact with Masteries, and even some possibilities for how powers will function in the game. As more is announced you can be sure, we’ll revisit this in the future again. Next time it’s a deep dive into some old Blaster research from CoH and some links to some planned forum discussions on City of Titans choices for classes at game launch. Hope to see you around.