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Creating the Veteran Rewards Program

Guest Writer Posted:
Developer Journals 0

Lead Designer Matt Miller (Positron) discusses the creation of this system that went live today

Coming up with the Veteran Rewards was one of the coolest things I've done as Lead Designer on the "City of" games so far. It was really a challenge to come up with cool rewards that players have been asking for while at the same time making sure that nothing became the "end-all-be-all" reward that every character MUST have. In addition, I wanted to throw in some cool rewards that players hadn't asked for, but that I knew would be useful for them and make the veteran players' lives a little easier.

I first scoured the boards for suggestions for costume pieces. Trenchcoats were always something that players desired, and we had put them on NPC characters in Issue 7, so getting them into the hands of the players was inevitable. I decided to make this the initial reward, earned at three months, simply because it is probably the most requested costume piece, and it is a nice gift we can give "new" players for a simple three month time investment.

Other costume pieces like the greek chest emblems and the kilts were taken directly from the "costume piece suggestion" thread on our forums. The Samurai armor was something that had been created but had never put into the game, and I thought would make a cool reward for players. Wings were originally supposed to be part of the invention system, a new crafting system that was originally going to be in Issue 8, but got so big that it was pushed into its own issue (Issue 9). Since I had promised wings in Issue 8, we decided that two wing styles would be made "preview" pieces, available only as Veteran rewards for fifteen months.

As for the powers that were chosen, I wanted to make sure that a couple of the most popular Temporary Powers were implemented as permanent powers available to characters. A bug used to exist where players would keep these powers forever, and many players went ahead and used this bug and even built things like the Nemesis Staff into their character's background story. We fixed the bug ages ago, but I really liked the idea that players would work temp powers into their character's story, so I wanted to make sure that the Veteran Rewards allowed them to do just that. We also wanted some cool utility stuff, like the "Emergency Base Teleporter" which makes getting into your Supergroup's base a snap.

Base items, while not appealing to everyone, were chosen as cool decorative objects for the bases. The comic book covers were always nice pieces of art, and getting them shown off in the game was a logical step. I also wanted groups who wanted "trophies" from their victories over the Signature Characters to be able to purchase these trophies to show off in their base.

Finally, for our most veteran players who have been playing City of Heroes since its launch in April of 2004, we just had to offer pets. For our 36 month reward this coming April, players will be able to select from five non-combat pets; a small Demon, a renegade Clockwork, a docile Red Cap, a domesticated Rikti Monkey, and a refurbished Robot. It will be fun to see which pets are most popular with the players.

Of course I haven't mentioned several of our rewards for the first three years of reward time. All in all I am very happy with how the rewards have turned out. We've begun planning the Year 4 stuff, and some of it is amazing! I can't wait to get it into the player's hands!


Guest Writer