Mission Architect – creating an enemy group
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.