Home > City of Heroes > Mission Architect – creating an enemy group

Mission Architect – creating an enemy group

March 21, 2009

City of Heroes/Villains may be one of the MMOs with most enemy variation – there are loads of various mob/enemy groups in the game. Take any fantasy MMO and you have the usual boars, bears, wolves, maybe throw in some trolls, golems, dragons etc.
While most enemy groups in City of Heroes/Villains are humans, they do all have different backgrounds, motivations what drives them etc (beyond waiting to be slaughtered by a player).

However, with Mission Architect it is possible to create your own enemy groups and include in missions. And it is pretty much as easy as creating a player character – which means the sheer variation of enemies one may encounter will likely surpass anything any other MMO can muster.

To illustrate the process I will describe here my creation of an enemy group. While I did not check the time I guess the process to create the enemy group and do some tests with it perhaps was about 1 – 2 hours.

All work starts from the story editor, so to start creating an new enemy group one has to start a new story or edit an existing one. The enemy group can be re-used in other missions and arcs and are not restricted to the one it is created from. The view below is the first view for creating a custom group for a mission.

Custom group creator view

Custom group creator view

Building a new group can include mobs from existing groups in the game, from other custom mobs you have created and they can be mixed in any way you like. The view above lists some of the mobs available from the villain group 5th column (a nazi villain group) on the left side, plus some custom mobs I created for a different mission in lower right.

For this exercise I wanted to create an entirely new enemy group. My choice here is one that I know many have wanted as a mastermind pet option in the past – clowns. For this purpose we have to jump into the character editor, i.e. CREATE CHARACTER  in the picture above. 

Choose rank, difficulty, fighting preference and flight power

Choose rank, difficulty, fighting preference and flight power

In the editor it is then possible to choose the rank for the character – for an enemy that can be everything from minion to arch-villain. The difficulty setting will affect how many powers the mob will use from the powersets that are selected later. Choosing standard means 2 powers are used from each powerset, while hard will use a bit more than half of the powers available and extreme will make use of all powers in the powerset. There may be other differences as well, but the power selection is the only one I directly noticed though.

Next is to choose the primary and secondary powersets for the character. This part is quite powerful; every powerset is available to choose as primary and secondary, in almost any combination possible. Want a mob which uses a battle axe of a brute and combine that with storm summoning of a defender? That is quite possible.

Select powerset, see what will be used and see details for every power at different levels

Select powerset, see what will be used and see details for every power at different levels

In the case above Super Reflexes have been chosen as secondary powerset for a minion, with hard difficulty setting set before  (6 powers available for use) and the slider in the upper right can be changed to see what the powers will do at different levels.

Next step is one that all who have played City of Heroes/Villains is familiar with – the character editor. In this case I started with one of the preset costume sets (Jester) and started to modify that one. The first clown was thus created quite easily with a few changes to the head, gloves and some colour changes.

Edit the character appearance

Edit the character appearance

Any character created in the character editor (here or for player characters) can be saved to a file locally and reloaded later. So I saved the first clown and used it later to reload and start from when creating the other clowns. After the character editor step there is one more step when the enemy group affiliation and optionally a character description is added. 

Register the enemy group and provide a character description

Register the enemy group and provide a character description

That is the first character! The it is just to repeat those steps for other characters in the enemy group. The result from my work here was five characters; 2 minions, 2 lieutenants and one boss.

Shovu, Fiero, Darko, Vego and Devilo - educated guesses can be made about their powers

Shovu, Fiero, Darko, Vego and Devilo - educated guesses can be made about their powers

With the enemy group created next step is of course to take them out for a test spin! First a created a simple “defeat all enemies” mission on a city map and jumped in with a few fights. 

Test mission 1

Test mission 1

I realised quickly though that I had selected a too large map to do a “defeat all” in a timely manner, plus that the clowns were actually not easy to fight. On top of that, with just a “defeat all” objective and my difficulty set to “rugged” I might not necessarily see so much of the boss.  So I changed to a smaller map (casino) and added a defeat boss objective with a clown Devilo. Casino maps are very small and I got attacked by some Shovu directly when I jumped in and Devilo were just around the corner. 

Test fight 2

Test fight 2

The clowns did very successfully kick my behind in this fight. Devilo, being a mastermind necro+ claws scrapper combo pulled out many of his pets which did cause quite some trouble. Overall I found it a good exercise and I will probably extend and use The Clowns in future missions.

Categories: City of Heroes
  1. March 22, 2009 at 01:35

    This is so awesome. I cannot wait for it to go live.

  2. March 22, 2009 at 21:33

    Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat me.
    Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat me.
    Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat me.
    Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat me.
    Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat me.
    Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat me.

    Jason (resident drunken idiot of Channel Massive who likes to sign his comments because it makes them 10x more valid)

  3. March 22, 2009 at 22:40

    Spot on, Jason :)

    Clowns are evil, almost as evil as elves.

  4. sarah
    April 12, 2009 at 07:31

    how many can you have of each? for instance can I have 3 minions, 3 LTs and 3 bosses and have them show properly? I’m having problems understanding the combinations just how many will show up

  5. April 12, 2009 at 10:07

    The limit is basically the max size of the arc file. You should be able to fit in 12-15 custom enemies in an arc, but if you are at upper limit you will not be able to put much mission information in the arc.

    But the custom enemies you put in there can be combined in any way you want. You could have only 12 archvillains, only 12 minions or 3 minions, 3 LTs, 3 bosses, 2 elite bosses and 1 arch-villain for example.

    You can also mix enemies you have made yourself with existing enemies in a new group, or mix enemies from various existing groups into a new group.

  6. sarah
    April 13, 2009 at 02:58

    hey thanks for the reply. I need more help though – let me explain it a bit better. I made a 2 minions, 3 Lts and 2 bosses in for mission today. When i start the map it puts out 4 minions (2 of each of the custom) and throughout the entire map basically (was the hospital map.) At the end I saw 1 LT but not the other 2 or the 2 bosses and it was set to Ruthless (Level50) Any idea what’s going on? I’m confused a bit. Also I put a custom battle in but by the time I get to it everyone is almost dead, even set to front. Any tips or tricks for this?

  7. April 13, 2009 at 08:37

    I have seen some other comments from people that have tested and I think they only got the bosses to appear for certain in the enemy groups if they were 6+ players in the team.

    If you want to be certain to get a boss otherwise you would have to place him/her explicitly, or make a group with just bosses.

    I have had a group with 3 LTs and all of them appeared on a map, it was a fairly large map and there were also 4 different minions in the group. But that did not happen all the time either.

    As for the battles, it seems to be a general problem that they end too soon. Come to think of it I have only seen one or two arcs where they were actually fighting by the time I got there.

  1. March 23, 2009 at 23:29
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