April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day although not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, enemies and neighbors, or sending them on fools' errands, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible. Traditionally, in some countries, the jokes only last until noon. If you play a trick on someone after this time you are the April Fool. Elsewhere, for example in France, the jokes may last all day.
The City of Developers often put in inventive Easter eggs for April Fool's Day. Here are the jokes that we have thus far been the butt of.
Temp Power Vomit. This power description was added into the game to fool players into believing we would have access to the power. The power is not accessible by any means, which drove some players bonkers trying to figure out how to get it.
2006Positron revealed the joke by saying:
April's Fool never being gettable IS the joke. It was put into the files as a joke badge that was never going to be given out. There is no honest way to get this badge, and there was never anything planned, either. The only way to get the badge is to be a dev and use a special command, and even then, it doesn't last upon zoning.
Temp Power Toy Bat. This power description was added into the game to fool players again into believing there was a new Temporary Power they could get. The power does not exist in the game at all (unlike Vomit, which is used by NPC Vahzilok zombies) and players were once again fooled.
Note: comment about the article, the fever, and later on that a "We hope you enjoyed this April 1st News Item!" was added to the thread and page itself (at 8:54 pm EST on the same day)
Article: City Of Heroes Announces Visual Sounds!
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
NCsoft NorCal is proud to announce a new feature for the City of Heroes® and City of Villains® games; that of Visual Sounds. Visual Sounds are based on the comic book staple of onomatopoeia, or the use of a word to replace a sound. Classic comic book examples are “Pow” and “Ka-Boom!” in colorful bubbles while heroes and villains are slugging it out. City of Heroes takes a huge stride forward by replacing simple sounds with the exciting new visual medium of Visual Sounds.
“I know it sounds crazy,” said Brian Clayton, the Executive Producer and head of the NC NorCal office, “but our research shows that a lot of people are building their own computers nowadays, and sometimes you forget to purchase speakers or headphones. Our market is those gamers who want a full gaming experience without having to listen to the game.” Visual Sounds will be included in the upcoming Issue 12, which is being re-christened “Issue 12: Pow, Biff, Boom, Bam!” in honor of this new system.
“I have always been an advocate of using the theater of the mind,” said Matt “Positron” Miller, Lead Designer on the titles. “When you read a book, you give the characters their own voices, and when you watch a movie based on that book you can’t help but be disappointed when what your mind came up with was better. That’s the way this system works. Whatever sounds we put into the game can’t compare to what you can imagine with your own mind, so why even try?”
Ken Morse, the Lead Artist on the title was excited. “It’s going to be a lot more work for our department, but I think the end results are totally worth it.” He said. Players can optionally disable the Visual Sounds in the options menu, but are encouraged to keep them on, as all the sounds in the game are being removed to make room on the players’ hard drives for the new Visual Sound graphics.
Joke article published to the Cityofheroes.com new section early morning April 1st. A transcription of the images can be found here
Article: NCNorCal Announces City of Heroes: Golden Age
Paragon City's original hey-day was in the 1980's, when hundreds upon thousands of costumed heroes took to the streets to fight nefarious thugs and super-powered criminals.
Now you get to experience what it was like to be in Paragon City before the Rikti invasions. An innovative interface brings a new level of detail to the sights and sounds of City of Heroes, as your character blasts, punches, and superspeeds his or her way through the game. "It's a brand new way to play the game, that many of our users will be instantly familiar with," said Matt "Positron" Miller, the Senior Lead Designer for the franchise. Lead Artist Ken Morse had this to add, "I think City of Heroes: Golden Age brings with it a level of detail that simply can not be accomplished with even the latest advancements in graphics technology."
The game's innovative play-style isn't the only thing interesting about the project. "CoH: Golden Age is about Paragon City in the 1980's. Who were the big heroes? Who were the big bad guys? Where do you fit in? These are all great questions that we can finally answer with this brand new product," said Ross Borden, the Marketing Director at NCNorCal. All this and the system requirements are almost too good to be true:
- DOS 3.1 or later
- 386 Processor or higher
- 640k of RAM
- 1200 baud Hayes-compatible modem
"We feel that with system requirements like these, the sky is the limit on the amount of users we can reach," said Development Director Art Min. Mr. Min was quick to add that, "the game will also support sound through the AdLib soundcard."
Take the fight to the streets! Fight super-powered foes! Interact with other players! Become more powerful than ever in City of Heroes: Golden Age!
Article: Paragon Studios Announces City of Sidekicks
With the continued success of City of Heroes and City of Villains, Paragon Studios has unveiled its plans for the future of the franchise with City of Sidekicks. No longer are you relegated to the role of "Saving the Day" as a super-powered hero, as a sidekick you get to participate in exciting, new ways to play the game.
"City of Sidekicks brings a whole new way to experience Paragon City," said Lead Designer Melissa Bianco. "Instead of taking down the criminals, you get to be captured by them!" A key element of many sidekick storylines is your ineptitude interfering with the actions of the real heroes, and nearly doing the villain's job for them.
"Your character levels up by screwing up," Bianco added. The goal as a sidekick is to mess things up just to the point of utter failure for the task at hand, but having the hero pull out a win in the end. The closer you get to failing, the better the end reward.
Gameplay for City of Sidekicks will involve a new dodge mechanic as you scramble to get out of the way of attacks that might wound or kill your character. "It was quite a challenge for us to implement," said Lead Programmer Matt Stults. "It took us a long time to find the fun in running around and not getting hit." There are bonus points for quipping during dodging, so if your character can blurt out things like "Not the face!" at the right time, you get a bonus to your dodge for a split second. Timing is everything.
Failure to dodge enemy attacks carries some pretty hefty consequences. "At the low levels it's simply cosmetic changes to the character, like a bandage on your head or your arm in a sling," said Lead Artist David Nakayama. "But as you face tougher foes, your injuries become more grievous, like a broken leg that has you hobbling on crutches. Eventually you're dodging attacks that can vaporize your character in one hit."
That's right; there is the possibility of permanent death for characters in City of Sidekicks. "It's not something we're doing lightly," said Producer Jesse Caceres. "We're taking a cue from the world of comic books. If a sidekick finds himself in a situation where they might be killed in a villain's Deathtrap, we will poll all the online players asking if said character should live or die."
"Since we have most of the assets already, we are looking at a short development cycle for City of Sidekicks," said Art Min, the studio's Development Director. "Our schedule has us releasing in exactly one year, on April 1st, 2011, with the expandalone title City of Henchmen coming six months after that."
City of Sidekicks will be available for the PC and Mac.
Article: City of Heroes Is Running Out of XP!
In an interview given earlier today, Paragon Studios Senior Designer Matt "Positron" Miller was asked "Why can't we level our characters past level 50?" In a surprise admission, Miller replied "We'd love to but we simply can't allow it. We're running low on Experience Points to hand out and want to make sure that we have enough to cater to lower level Heroes and Villains."
Running out of XP?! Has this ever happened before? Our investigations led us to several examples of companies running out of seemingly unlimited virtual goods, but never anything on the scale of an MMO running out of the basic requirements needed to level up your character. "Everything seemed to be on pace in the early days of City of Heroes", said Brian Clayton, studio manager for Paragon Studios. "We were looking good to last several comic book life-death-resurrection cycles, but along came Going Rogue and threw our projections out of whack."
When asked to comment, Lead Designer Melissa "War Witch" Bianco mentioned other things that have impacted the supply of XP. "All those Task Forces, Trials, Strike Forces, Mayhem and Safeguard missions;. It adds up. We tried alternative forms of rewards, but players still want XP, and our stockpiles have continued to dwindle."
"We even implemented a feature that allowed a player to turn off XP as an austerity measure," said Senior Designer Tim "Black Scorpion" Sweeney. "Unfortunately the major marketing push to raise awareness of the issue was tangled up and shelved, and the whole 'Conserve XP' movement never really took hold. Patrol XP was a possible substitute, but it just whetted the appetite for the real thing. Proposals to raise revenue through increased XP debt penalties were never on the table to begin with."
Nate "Second Measure" Birkholz, Producer for City of Heroes, had this to add: "We've tried to increase supply, but it's difficult. Every point is handcrafted from the finest gems of insight, pearls of wisdom and seasoned with the harsh sweat of overcoming your setbacks. That's a time consuming process, not one you can rush."
When we asked experts outside of Paragon Studios, we got some surprising rebuttals. "Their accounting methods budget a full 50 levels of XP for everyone who steps into the city. How do they know if that character is ever going to actually reach level 50? They could be a simple entrant to a costume contest, or just there to keep tabs on a fellow Super Group, or even try out a new Power Set. Level 50 is an aspiration, not a requirement. We are far from the days of 'Peak XP'."
"Based on current usage and our projections," Destin Bales, Development Director for Paragon Studios said, "we predict we will run out of Experience Points exactly one year from today, April 1st, 2012. And I would like to point out that Influence isn't looking too hot either."
Sean "Dr. Aeon" McCann, one of the masterminds behind the player generated content system Mission Architect was only able to give the following statement: "No Comment."
Article: Featured Items at the Paragon Market - 4/1/12
New featured items in the Paragon Market™!
Coming in April to the Paragon Market is a whole slew of new items for your characters to further customize and differentiate themselves with, as well as some unique items like we have never offered before!
Short Description: Companion Pet (Non-Combat)
Liger Pet: Bred for their skills in magic, the liger pet is the perfect thing to show off your favorite animal (pretty much). This half-tiger, half-lion vanity pet is an unwavering companion for your tater-tot eating hero. Why buy a time-machine online when you can buy a liger for a fraction of the cost?
Price: 400 Paragon Points
Short Description: Companion Pet (Non-Combat)
Vanity Pet: This four legged companion pet will act as a true reflection of your character. Its fine wood exterior can withstand even the toughest super powered attacks. Assembly required, allen wrench included, but other tools will be needed.
Price: 400 Paragon Points
Custom Power Set
Short Description: Work with Paragon Studios to create your own power set.
Custom Power Set: Purchasing this item will get you a phone call from the designers at Paragon Studios who will walk you through the process of creating your very own customized power set of unimaginable power. You decide the Archetypes it works with, what attacks and buffs it has, and what the animations and effects are supposed to look like. Please allow up to 8 months for the power set to appear in the game.
Price: 750,000 Paragon Points
There is Always One Identifier
Short Description: Temporary Power that allows you to identify who hasn't clicked "Enter Event".
There is Always One Identifier: This will give you 5 charges of the "Who Hasn't Clicked The Button?" power. Executing this power while you are one person away from entering an event or Incarnate Trial will highlight name of the character you are still waiting on. In addition, a giant arrow indicator will appear over their head, the game will sent them a tell, email them, send an SMS to their phone, call their home telephone and dispatch a local security firm to their house to get them to click the "Enter" button.
Price: 160 Paragon Points for 5 charges. Less when bought in bulk.
Short Description: Real life babysitting service while you play City of Heroes (8 hour duration)
Babysitter: Want to get in that Shadow Shard Task Force without worry? Need someone to watch Junior while you blaze through the newest content update? Purchasing this will allow you to schedule a four or eight hour babysitting session where one of several Paragon Studios employees will come to your home and watch your little one(s) while you play City of Heroes. (Maximum four children and eight hours at a time).
Price: 250,000 Paragon Points for 4 hours, 450,000 PP for 8 hours.
Clown Summoning Power Set
Short Description: Grants you access to the Clown Summoning Mastermind Set.
Clown Summoning: With the Clown Summoning Power Set for Masterminds, you will be able to command and control your own circus of clowns. The minion pets are three traditional happy clowns, with squirting flower ranged attacks and balloon-sword melee attacks. The lieutenant pets are of the sad clown variety, and finally the boss clown is a vicious mime with a very powerful self-containment attack that puts himself inside of an invisible, shrinking box. Clowns arrive on the battlefield via a single tiny car that they all pile out of.
Price: 800 Paragon Points.
Rularuu Costume Change
Short Description: Change your avatar into the Rularuu model.
Rularuu Costume Change: Changes your character's model to that of Rularuu, the 50 foot tall insane god-like, dimension eating, being that is trapped in the Shadow Shard. Please use outdoors only, as your character may not fit on many indoor maps.
Price: 400 Paragon Points
Bee Bark Upgrade
Short Description: Upgrade to canine companion pets and mastermind pets.
Bee Bark Upgrade: City of Heroes has dogs. City of Heroes has bees. Now City of Heroes has dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you. This upgrade power will work on the wolf companion pet, the black wolf companion pet, the umbra beast, and the minion and boss summoned wolves from the Beast Mastery power set. It will give those creatures the ability to shoot bees out of their mouths as a ranged attack. "Simpsons did it."
Price: 400 Paragon Points