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Paragon Studios
MMORPG | Setting:Super-Hero | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 04/27/04)  | Pub:NCSoft
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Guide: Mission Architect Guide

By Pamela Blalock on May 04, 2009

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With the latest update to City of Heroes/Villains, the much talked about Mission Architect feature was added, allowing players to create custom missions. Those missions are published for the community, giving all players access to play, rate, and comment on them.

This is a quick guide on how to make a mission using CoH's Mission Architect. With the right amount of time invested in mission making, you can really make something great. It's important to know that this feature does not allow you to make a custom map, but rather lets you choose from several pre-made maps.

To begin, you need to head to your local Architect Entertainment Building. If this is your first time logging on since Issue 14 released, you will be directed to either Atlas Park or Mercy Island to run through the tutorial if you wish. You can find AE Buildings in these locations: Atlas Park, Galaxy City, King's Row, Steel Canyon, Skyway City, Faultline, Talos Island, Independence Port, Founder's Fall, Brickstown, Peregrine Island, the Rikti War Zone, Mercy Island, Port Oakes, Cap Au Diable, Sharkhead Isle, Nerva Archipelago, and St. Martial.

Once you're in one these buildings you'll need use the elevator and find one of the blue, glowing tables. This is your workstation and where you can create, edit, and search for missions. When you open the workstation, you'll see the search filled with Developer's Choice titles at the top and then they're organized by rating. Simply click the "Create a New Story" button at the top right of the menu to start making your own mission(s). Additionally, you can view all of your custom made material here including missions, characters, and groups. That is found under the "My Creations" tab. All of your characters can create, edit, publish, and delete your missions, groups, and custom characters. Your global handle is the name other players will see when they play your mission.

Story Settings

After clicking "Create a New Story," the first thing you'll see is the "story settings" menu. This section is noted by a pen in the top left hand corner of the UI. You pick a story name, description, contact, parameters, and a souvenir clue in this section.

Note: You can do these sections in any order, but for guiding purposes I'm just going down the list.
Note: There is a check mark that saves your work. There is a check mark inside a box to "save as..." Save often.

Story Settings - give your mission a title and a description, there are important words because they will help players search for your mission by keyword

Story Contact - the contact is who will appear in front of the architect portal behind the blue workstations. You can make a custom character for this or use one of countless available from the mission architect

Story Parameters - this allows you to change alignment. The alignments are hero, villain, and neutral

Souvenir Clue - the souvenir clue which is a text based trinket players receive in their clue log for completing your mission.

Mission 1, Page 1

After you've completed the "story settings" section, you're ready to move on to the mission itself, "Mission 1." To move on simply click page one of the little open book at the top of the interface (it's to the right of the little pen icon). Here you select the mission's enemies, the map, parameters, clues, and text.

Choose Mission Settings - you can choose from a standard, included enemy group or you can choose to make your own. You also choose a map here and to the right you can view the restrictions of the map (for example, five allowed wall collection items)

Note: Making custom enemies (custom critters) increases file size by a considerable amount. The file size limit is 100KB.

Mission Parameters - mission pacing and a time limit are found here. Pacing is the level of the mobs on the map, changing this allows for all the enemies to be the same across the map, sporadic, or staggered. Time to complete is a time limit feature.

Mission Complete Clue - this is a clue a player will get after completing the mission, it automatically goes into their clue log.

Write Text - this is primarily what the contact says, but it also includes what the compass will say while your mission is active.

Additional Text - this text will appear when speaking to the contact and mission popups (text that pops up and requires a player to hit "ok" when entering and exiting a mission).

Note: Almost every option in mission architect has a blue question mark box to help you understand what that option does. It is VERY useful.

Mission 1, Page 2

Clicking page two of the little book at the top of the interface brings up more options for "Mission 1." This area lets you create both basic and advanced goals for the mission. The map you chose during "Choose Mission Settings" section dictates how many of each goal you can place in the mission. These details can be found to the right of the map selection under "Mission 1 Setting Summary" as mentioned above.

Note: If you wish to add more missions and make a story arc out of it click the "Add Mission" button to the right of the open book.

Basic Mission Goals - these include boss fights, object collection, defeating all enemies, or freeing a captive.

Advanced Mission Goals - these include allies, ambushes, escorts, patrols, battles, destructible objects, and defendable objects

This is where you can get into some trouble. If your map is small, it's not going to hold very many objectives. Each map is different and you should consult the "Mission 1 Setting Summary" on Mission 1, Page 1. This area tells you exactly what the map can have in reference to goals.

Note: If something isn't working or if something is missing, the orange explanation point will light up with "Show Errors" next to it. When everything is ready to go this icon is grey. If something is wrong, you can click the explanation point and it will tell you what you need to remedy to make the mission work.

Also be aware that in Mission 1, Page 2 after you add a goal you can take it away. After clicking, for example, "Add a Boss" a new bar entitled "Boss" will show up. Now you can customize your boss fight by naming him/her, changing settings, assigning text, and even adding a clue. You can use a custom critter here, but pay attention to your file size when doing this. If you want to remove the boss, just hover over the Boss bar and click the red "X" to remove the goal.

Always test your mission before you publish it. Some things just don't complement each other well and need to be adjusted. You earn badges for testing missions as well, but you don't get experience or prestige while testing.

If you're happy with your story you can publish it for others to play and rate. Players can send you comments concerning your mission once they've completed it. This can be disabled by going to Menu/Options/General/Miscellaneous/Block Architect Comment Emails. You publish by opening up the blue workstation and clicking on the "My Creations" tab at the top. From there you click the "My Local Stories" tab on the left of the menu. This is where your stories are saved. Choose which story you'd like to publish and click it. This is where you can continue editing a story, testing it, publish it, or delete it.

You can remove a mission you've published but you can't make any changes to it once it's published. If you remove a mission, clearly you'll lose any rating that mission has received. When people rate your story you'll get five tickets per star that you can claim at the Ticket Vendors on the top level of the AE buildings. You won't lose these tickets, but be sure to claim them on the character you want to have them. The tickets you claim on a character go only to that character. Since all of your architect content is shared by your global handle, you can buy things to improve your architect abilities like more maps, customization options, and enemies. Or you can buy something for that character only, like enhancements, salvage, and recipes.

It's all pretty self-explanatory once you get in the game. This guide is to show those that haven't tried it yet just how easy it can be. Of course, if you don't fancy yourself an architect you can always play the custom missions made by others. That's pretty exciting as well. Not to mention, there are many badges to earn while playing architect missions.

Pamela Blalock / I write about MMOs at [link=www.examiner.com/mmo-in-national/pamela-blalock] Examiner.com[/link]. games, writing, cats equals happiness.

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