Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Have Seen The Future, Part II

My main character in City of Heroes is called Futureman. Why? Well, because he is from the future. His catch phrase is "I'm from the future, and you're history!" It's a silly story, but the way it goes is: Futureman travelled back in time to stop the evil Dr. Radon who developed a form of Clean Nuclear Power. It provided a limitless form of cheap energy with no radiation or side effects. People loved it, it revolutionized the world. The problem is, the radiation was actually funneled through a wormhole into the year 999,999,999, which is where Futureman was from.

His world was devastated. So he travels back in time to stop Dr. Radon. However, when he gets there, he discovers that Dr. Radon is his great-great-great-great-great-great-...-well, you get the point-great-grandfather, and just as he is about to defeat the evil Dr. Radon, a blast comes out of nowhere, disarming our hero. He turns to see who would thwart his plans, and it is none other than himself: a future Futureman, who came back in time to stop himself.

The temporal paradox was overwhelming; just thinking about it confused him so much he passed out and damaged his time transport thingy whatsit. That's why he is stuck in the past.

Well, I've never really had a chance to embellish the story. After all, most of the time I'm fighting Vahzilok, the Lost, the Council, Rikti, and other assorted ne'er-do-wells that have nothing to do with me.

But now, as of Issue 14, I finally can. One of the lovely aspects of the new Mission Architect system is that I can finally flesh out storylines for my own characters and share them with the world.

Of course, there are limits to the Mission Architect system. The amount of triggers you can use are limited. I can't script things so a portal appears nearby and enemies pour out, for example. You can script ambushes that trigger during a fight, but they just appear at some random part of the map and run up, sometimes, unless they get lost, as they sometimes do. You can't cause a bad guy to become invincible and transform, JRPG style, into a bigger, bad guy (with wings, and on freaking fire.) Which is too bad, because that's the sole reason why JRPGs are cool. And of course, the Mission Architect system limits a lot of text to 300 characters or less. Which may be for the best, since I don't think anyone wants to read the Great American Novel in City of Heroes form. But sometimes it would be nice to squeeze in an extra word or two in. And all the maps, just like the regular City of Heroes maps, feel like mazes.

But it's still a wonderful system I'm having a blast exploring.

Today, I published arc #74776, "It's About Time," which finally allows me to play through the Futureman story, as silly as it is, and I can even do it with online friends.

Now if only Sony would copy this feature for EverQuest II (my main MMO at the moment). I would be in heaven!

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