The Mission Architect, fictionally presented as a training exercise for Heroes and Villains, allows players to build their own missions and Story Arcs and share them with others in the game. Using a point-and-click interface and filling in all the text of a mission, players can create story arcs of up to five separate missions by selecting options like size and type of the map, mission objectives, encounter types, and difficulty level of each encounter, as well as choosing the powers and costumes of some of the foes.
- I think player created content can be GREAT...if it's handled correctly.
- ... We've always talked about ways to get player material into the game...imagine using the base creator tools to make your own missions! Or a your own training room? Maybe some day we can figure a way to put this stuff into the game. The imagination just on these forums alone is so amazing; I can only hope we find a way an outlet for it.
And Issue 14 finally realized the dream.
Architect Entertainment is a company created by Dr. Thaddeus Aeon AQSA, with Crey Industries funding. For a description of the Mission Architect from the mad doctor himself, see: From the personal memoirs of Dr. Thaddeus Aeon AQSA
Create, Test, Publish, and Play
Players can have a maximum of eight arcs (three free and up to five purchased arc slots) per account. A published arc can contain up to five missions. All Architect missions are instanced, accessible through the Data Stream in the center of each building. While players are on an Architect mission, it is similar to being on a Task Force/Strike Force; other contacts are unavailable. However, unlike Task Forces, players may still be invited after the arc is started.
Missions can be level restricted, meaning players can be forced to sidekick or exemplar for the duration of a mission. The level restriction of each mission is separate; one mission might sidekick, the next could exemplar.
Missions are saved locally. There is an 'autosave' option, which overwrites itself every couple minutes with the arc's current data. If the player gives their arc a unique file name, the autosave option overwrites this file instead. WARNING: not giving an arc a unique file name and autosaving to the generic autosave file can cause loss of data if updating more than one arc. The newest save is always the current arc being worked on, so use unique file names. Due to being saved locally, story arcs can be edited offline as text files. The file structure takes a little getting used to, but it is fairly simple.
The Mission Architect allows players to create their own named bosses and foes, customizing their costumes, powers, and where and how they appear in the mission. Additionally, mission maps can be selected specifically (specifying the Freaklympics map) or by a randomized choice of a certain type of map (random choice from all abandoned warehouse maps). There are close to a thousand maps to choose from and more are being made available.
Those who play MA arcs get Ticket Rewards in place of drops (unless they are playing a Developer's Choice arc with normal rewards turned on), as well as influence and badges. Tickets can be used to buy a variety of items, such as enhancements and recipes, or unlockable content for mission creators, like signature villains or unique maps.
Mission Architect Guides
- Mission Architect Tutorial
- Mission Architect Files
- Mission Architect Custom Units
- Mission Architect Unique Maps
- Mission Architect Tags
All players can rate published missions from 1 to 5 stars, and leave a comment. As missions are played and more people positively rate them, the creator gains rewards such as Tickets and badges and possibly having their arcs designated Hall of Fame or Developer's Choice.
Also while rating, players can also report arcs as inappropriate and give reasons why. Arcs with many reports will automatically be hidden from the search function until reviewed by a GM. Arcs that are banned take up a story arc slot until re-evaluated by a GM, which reduces the number of arc slots that player can use.
- Main Article: Ticket
Full experience (XP) and influence rewards will be granted for defeating enemies in player-made content.
However, in place of drops and end-of-mission XP bonuses, players earn Tickets. Players can take these Tickets to an Architect Ticket Vendor and redeem them for various in-game rewards, such as enhancements, recipes and salvage. Players will be able to purchase unlockable content with their tickets. They’ll be able to get maps, costume pieces and different characters.
Story Arcs promoted to Dev's Choice can offer standard rewards or ticket drops at the players discretion. Choosing standard rewards will treat the mission like developer content, dropping enhancements, recipes and salvage. Choosing Architect rewards will treat the mission like a regular Mission Architect story, and will only drop Architect Tickets. However, the end-of-mission XP bonus is still omitted, even if the player chooses standard rewards.
Restricted Rewards in MA
Only Architect Entertainment Badges can be obtained in Architect Entertainment missions. This means no critter defeats count for Defeat Badges, Achievement Badges do not increment, etc. Even if a Story Arc gets promoted to Dev's Choice or Hall of Fame, these badges are still unavailable through the Mission Architect missions.
The way the custom foes were designed and the limitation on arcs (like the inability to place foes exactly where one would like) are designed to prevent the Mission Architect from becoming a Power Leveling tool. Changes have been made several times to curb the use of exploits and bugs to gain extra rewards, including altering enemies to give different rewards within Architect versus without, changing or removing maps, and other ways.
Dev's Choice and Hall of Fame
There are two ways around the story arc limitation. Those ways are the Dev's Choice and Hall of Fame. These actually copy arcs onto the game servers and delete them from their published slot, freeing them.
Dev's choice simply means a dev liked it enough to save it. It's not canon, but they liked it!
Arcs enter the Hall of Fame when a large number of players rate an arc favorably.
Both of these are search options in the Architect menu.
- Official Pre-Release FAQ from Ex Libris
- Forum thread collecting Pre-Release information about the Mission Architect
- Massively.com Mission Architect Article - Feb 16th 2009
- City of Heroes Architect Edition: Hands-On Preview | Ten Ton Hammer
- CoH Issue 14: Video Q&A with NCsoft's Joe Morrissey | Ten Ton Hammer