I know this isn't a direct suggestion, but alot of these individual ideas could be considered suggestions of their own. I'd like everyone to come up with the things that made COH fun for you that you'd like to see again, either in general or specific.
I'll start out:
1. Core combat/enemy philosophy
It's core combat philosophy could be broken down into more enemies of more classes. Fighting a battle against horses of opponents of varying strengths went a long way towards making the game feel more epic. It allowed you to have ranks of bad guys affected by control differently, capable of dealing different kinds of damage, had differing amounts of health and defenses etc. In fact unlike other games enemies who were merely bags of hit points were the minority of enemies instead of the general team fodder. You were not facing "trash mobs" you were facing swarms of enemies and enjoyed thoroughly vaporizing them after a hard fight.
Furthermore on top of this these ranks of enemies got subdivided into different types at each rank. For example everyone knows the difference between the normal minion of a certain group, and the sapper. This adds variety and prioritization to targets within the throng which helps keep the combat not only epic but interesting.
Alot of people called the combat slow, and by some standards it is, but it always managed to feel epic and satisfying. Regardless of the speed that is the important part. One only needs to travel as far as DC Universe online to see what happens if the powers are unique and the combat is good, but lacks that satisfying and epic feel to it. Like getting beat down by a couple flunkies you should be able to handle in your sleep.
2. Flexible team makeup. ("Bring the player, not the class")
One of the biggest strengths of COX was because of it's enemy design philosophy (many foes instead of few), variable difficulty missions, and careful design on making each role valuable without overlapping too much you could make a team out of darn near anything and have fun playing with other people even on pick up teams.
3. Support not healers
Another of it's biggest strengths is that they designed a much wider variety of support than basically any other MMORPG I know of. You could make it through difficult missions with buffs or debuffs alone because buffs and debuffs were actually powerful. Late in the games life span when they made the buffs team wide this even made buffing a roll that was not tedious and allowed someone to be a support character and actively play as a variety of roles.
You could buff everyone, debuff everything, control things, and have various levels of healing thrown in. But even in Empathy the buffs were incredibly important and the game was never heal dominant. Just look at the diversity of support power sets that this enabled in defenders, corrupter, controllers, and dominators. This even extended to tanks, blasters, scrappers, etc that had minor amounts of support as part of their power sets.
These little gems really helped you just play the game. If you ran into an unforseen difficulty spike you had a better recourse than trying and dying till you got it or getting help. If the scrapper *shakes fist* aggrod another group you could adjust on the fly. It was far from invulnerability but it allowed you to take on epic odds for short amounts of time, lending a more epic feel to the game and a smoother and more fun play experience.
It also encouraged team work. We've all traded inspirations, carried wakies, or gave just the right color inspiration to someone so they could combine and rez. Just the mere presence of an inspiration that let you self rez in severely helpless format assisted the games flow alot both solo and in teams and created many fun moments.
WOAH!!! Controversy, but hear me out.
Cooldowns serve one incredibly valuable purpose. They prevent a single power of even a small group of powers from completely dominating your play. Wanna know what i mean? Go play Champions Online and roll a munitions hero. You are faced with overlapping choices all over the place and you end up using perhaps a few powers regularly. Granted I LOVED the feel of assault rifle in that game, liked it better than assault rifle in COH to be honest. But the rest of munitions was full of sad choices. Get sub-machine gun and shotgun both? Lose effectiveness or only end up using one because it's better most of the time. With cooldowns you could have both be viable parts of your lineup.
That's not to say that EVERYTHING should be a cooldown or even restricted. For example, using that same example I mentioned I LOVED Assault Rifle in Champions Online, however I had to use a pistol to get power back which broke the magic.
You want to keep a set flow in combat. You should have options that keep things from taking over but keep the desired feel of the set intact. For example in Champions Online the assault rifle should have been the mainstay without any real reason to stop using it, yet be balanced for that. While in City of Heros your basic lineup of attacks serves that same purpose of general flow, fell, and effective maintained dps.
Where Champions online makes you choose between submachine guns, rocket launchers, grenades, gatling guns, and strafing runs to serve the purpose of AOE damage, City of Hero's would have allowed you to use ALL OF THOSE as part of your lineup instead of forcing you to give up on the fun of having all those powers and using only 1-2.
THAT is what cooldowns do. Cooldowns are not needed on everything and they are not even needed to be severely long, but they allow you to utilize strings of epic powers in situations which would be dominated by a single power or two, making the experience feel vastly more satisfying and varied.
Betcha never thought cooldowns were anything but a frustration eh?
6. Travel in Super Style.
City of Hero's was the only game that nailed travel powers. Champions online did a pretty good job but they felt much slower and more importantly less epic. It's teleporation power was much more usable, but didn't feel like teleportation as well. That being said there are things to learn from CO. They did grapple travel right even if it made no sense, having options like hover disks, jetpacks, wings, flying earth and ice. These things were very nice additions. Tunneling would have also been great, if you didn't get stuck everywhere.
Heck I was even one of those nutters who ran around in COH with no travel powers pre-inherent fitness days. just sprint and swiftness. It was slower yes, but still entirely possible one you learned the lay of the land and helped keep your character feeling more "natural". If there was a really tough zone to travese in, you had your extremely limited fuel jet packs of the day or a friendly teleport!!
7. Costume creator (from what I know COT is looking to nail this!!)
City of Heroes really brought the variety. You could make mostof the things your mind desired and this kept on expanding. Major additions like the beast packs, added costume sets, and then later power customization allowed you to run with untold thousands of different concepts and have it look "RIGHT". You could color your darkness powers and make them poison, you could color your energy beams to be plasma, laser, fire, etc. It was so open that your mind was the canvas that painted the picture of your hero or villain.
Champions Online did some of this better, but ultimately after much trying I was never able to get the same flexibility and satisfaction of design out of their creator that I was out of the COH creator. That might just be me. But CO deifnitely has some costume things to learn from too!!
8. Class Variety (from what I know COT is looking to nail this!!)
Unlike a traditional MMORPG where you may have 16, 12, or even 6 classes that may or may not have multiple USEFUL ways they could be built, City of Hero's had 14 in the end. Of those there were as many as 9 primary power sets and as many as 7 secondary power sets for each that could be mixed and matched. Not everything was considered "the best" but it was rare, if even possible, to find any combination that could not pull their weight on a team. That, is, phenomenal and combined with the costume creator is the reason that game lasted for so long.
9. User Generated missions.
Developers will never, ever be able to compete with the community on creating large amount of good content. Even the CEO of Valve entertainment admitted that when it came to that they would compete with anyone out there, be they EA or blizzard or what, but they would lose every time to the player base.
Architect Entertainment was an important step forwards for MMORPG's. It created experiences people liked and desired. Some very quality experiences like Night comes for the Weaver (or something very close, great mission, good story!), and fufills designs the devs themselves won't put their stamp on that people also desire. (fire farm, invulnerability farm, etc. These are still happy people!!)
If this was further expanded upon to be not just missions but costume pieces as well the community could very well sustain the game and take a great burden off of the developers. Though for missions there really needs to be better sorting and categories if it's implemented. Not just ratings, ids, and searches :).
It's important to note that this should include being able to deign the geography and props inside the mission (from the available pool of game resources) as well as enemies, spawn sizes, patrols, friendlies, allies, etc. Essentially it needs to have all of the functional freedom that Architect entertainment provided.
This also provides for all the builder framework needed for either player housing or guild/group bases. That way this additional system could be added at a later time with minimal effort.
10. LFG system.
For it's time the lfg system in COX was phenomenal. I could find the role, level, even archetype and zone of recruits I wanted or teams that might need me in record time. It still had a few bumps and flaws, but it's amazing how many MMORPG's can't live up to the usefulness of the COH lfg system.
11A. How it handled loot
I don't mean in specifics, I mean in the way that loot was kind of there, but it wasn't critical. Originally you got to the level of SO's and you could be competitive in the game. No need for super rares and etc just to participate in things.
11B. The invention sytem
This gets a new wrinkle in the invention system, which was amazing. The invention system peformed two big services. It handled inflation and it let you customize your character, within limitations.
From the economic standpoint I could have come into the game new in the last issue and got drops I could sell on the market that would fund a set of basic IO's for everything very quickly. Just like that at level 20 you could be set for "gear" of an effective level for the rest of your characters life.
From the character loot standpoint it allowed you to even more thoroughly build the character you wanted and it single handedly made soloing possible on a few builds and even good :). Allowed people to further play their way and gave them shinies to pursue in a relatively balanced fashion.
Even more appealing was that loot was not class restrictive and all of it could be traded. No more of the rolling for loot or the getting the item that only a tank could use but you were a defender. If it increased defense and you had defense increasing powers you could use it. Less limited and more universal loot not fought over by rolls is a definite plus.
On a down note, if an invention like system comes along again the buying, selling, and crafting process could use some streamlining :P.
12. Pool powers (including Patron and Ancillary powers)
Pool powers as an option mind you. Travel powers in any modern MMO should never cost you points you would spend on combat UNLESS it is an enhancement of a travel power specifically meant for combat.
But pool powers themselves give you the option to further customize your character slightly outside of your specific super powers. This enables you to give them a last personal touch, a bit more flavor, and can be used to help mitigate some weaknesses or strengthen some of your strong points. While never being quite as effective as equivalent power from other sets of course.
13. Story telling
Early and mid life COH had some decent stories, a bunch of excuses to pound things, and a handful of really good stories. The closer you got to the end of the games life however the more the story quality improved. By the time First Ward and Dark Astoria came out the story telling had become a strong point of the game. This is worth having and mentioning.
Edit: 1/25/2014 added some more as well as some bolding organization
No other game has come up with a pet class as...masterful :P, as mastermind. Unique, original, fun, effective, and good at both teams and solo play.
15. The dev team was passionate and gamers!! (so is the City of Titans dev team!!)
They were passionate and it showed. They cared about the game. They played it themselves and they wanted it to be even more cool. They wanted every little nifty touch. They wanted all the things we wanted. They were real people who behaved like real people. and worked hard towards the same type of enjoyment we wanted because it was the enjoyment they wanted. Ultimately this is alot of why the game ended up so great for it's playerbase.
There were even some LOL moments as we caught the devs out of sorts being real people. *wipes on new content on test server, teleports people to one single place for rez, casts oil slick arrow in the middle of them, uses Howling Twilight on oil slick arrow target to rez everyone at once* "WTF, Oil Slick Arrow!!??" - Back Alley Brawler
16. Costume Contests
Really this is just the natural result of the rather great costume creator and power customization system but nonetheless costume contests became a core community even and you could always oooo and ahhhh at the cool and neat stuff other people did. Which made you want to go and do them yourself.
CO has costume contests from time to time, but it never really felt the same and not near as frequently.
17. The ability to rise and fall between hero and villain.
Not only did being able to go back and forth (or style middling) in the hero/villain scale add immensely to your character feel but it also allowed you to choose the little touches you wanted but play with the people you wanted and in the morality you wanted.
Even if only for a thematic touch this HAS to be in any serious super hero game.
18. Cone Attacks.
City of Heros had a large amount of cone attacks and these helped with both AOE and to keep you involved in combat. For example:
Melee: You couldn't just LAWL and PBAOE + single target smash away. You had to jockey your position to get the most out of your cone attacks by hitting the most targets. With a few in specific like Crowd Control you also needed to aim the knockback. This all kept you more involved and mobile than you may have otherwise been.
Ranged: Not only did ranged need to adjust for the angle to fit the most enemies in possible but they also had to adjust the range because you could get more in at close to max range. In either case the cone was alot of time shorter than your actual single targets or even AOE attacks. This forced a ranged character using cone attacks to be very fluid in their positioning to get the most out of their cone attacks as well as made them play some risk/reward on how close they were to the enemies.
19. High damage closed ranged attacks for ranged archetypes.
This is straight risk vs reward. With a blaster or dominator you could do much more damage up close but you could not take damage very well. This led to some interesting gameplay choices during fights. It also meant that when enemies closed in on you if nothing else you had a last ditch effort burst of damage to kill them.
Compare this system to other games where your ranged DPS always does damage from range and if an enemy closes in they root/stun, run like a girl, and then DPS from range again. It's significantly more interesting to have that risk vs reward involved and opens up unique team based opportunities, like holding a boss so the blaster/dominator can safely close in and max DPS them, dropping bombs on the enemy like they are Annie from League of Legends. (Have you seen my bear Tibbers?)
Or maybe you just feel a little awesome when a tough foes closes in on you at low health and you slum dunk his face into the dumpster. Even if you know he would have torn you to pieces if your melee burst didn't kill him quickly you still feel kind of awesome.
Edit: 02/28/2014 added #18. cone attacks and #19 high damage close range attacks for ranged archetypes.
Well that was quite a bit, I've gathered this in my head through alot of thought over a long time. I've likely forgotten a few things, which you might remind me. You may disagree with some things, feel free to share. You might have things of your own to add. Fire away.
But this is just my contribution of some of the design, mechanics, gameplay, variety, execution, and capabilities that made COH the game that inspired so many and was dear to them. Still to this day held as the best super hero MMORPG. (debatable of course, some prefer Champions Online).
Forums Suggestions: Things missed that others pointed out:
1. Effective Mentoring and Sidekicking system. (Mentioned by Shadowsmith)
I can play with my friends anytime I want and while not be full power sidekicked up I can be useful and not just die. MMORPG's live and die on their community and allowing everyone to play together without division is key to the experience and one of the prime areas City of Villains failed at. Dual purpose content, allow people to play all content, do not separate out and exclude from content or the ability to play together whenever possible.
2. Community (Various Mentions)
Many people mention the community. But the community IMO was because of good game design that enabled people to play together with many comps and level ranged involved. It's because the game was designed to be inclusive and fun with few restrictions that such a close knit community happened. This must happen again if such a passionate community is wished for.
Still this community included alot of selfless acts. Instead of walking by you went out of your way to buff people, save them, debuff their mobs, clear the group and rez them, etc. People trained other people patiently on the game. People actually camped out permanently in the hollows just to offer speed boosts and teleports to help people get around.
This type of friendly community is exactly what you get when you design your game to be inclusive and friendly rather than competitive and exclusive. It's what you get when you add various abilities that let us help each other in all sorts of ways. It's what you get when you encourage us to mingle of our own free will rather than try and force it.
Friendly design is wonderful :D. It should be noted that the team exp mechanics were a good part of this too.
3. Enemies that didn't just wander around. They were doing things (simple emote setups), making it feel more like a world and less like EXP pinatas. (mentioned by Kriegson)
4. No need to compete with other to complete your own quests. (Mentioned by Cinnder)
Because alot of the game was instanced you didn't have to worry about alot of the pitfalls of open world questing and you could tailor slightly more personalized experiences. This also meant that you had alot less respawn issues :D.
5. Ability to solo. (Mentioned by Cinnder)
Most Archetypes could solo pretty well, initially. When inventions came out ALL archetypes were able to solo well. So when you didn't feel like teaming you could just go play around and have fun. This means alot especially for night players with more limited populations or people without alot of time to spend in one go.
6. Tongue in cheek humor (mentioned by Cinnder)
Humor was delivered throughout the game and numerous references were made. But the developers seemed to asume that you would just pick up on the jokes and references. They didn't make it too overt and *wink wink nudge nudge* at you. So instead of feeling like they were trying to hard they just felt like little cool things added for flavor. Also, Kill more skullz.
7. A sense of power through normal play which increased with your level. (mentioned by Cinnder)
This was touched on lightly during the combat point but it deserves to be re-iterated. Taking on multitudes of bad guys, the stories, the way your powers executed and felt, your overall character designs, your travel powers. All of these things made you actually FEEL super. Not invincible, but super.
Just as importantly, this sense of power started out satisfying but much smaller and grew as the game went on so that you actually felt like you had progressed. That you were more powerful. You started out facing street gangs and ended up facing powerful world threatening syndicates with massive technology and equally dire threats. You started out trashing those street gangs with a feeling of outmatching them, even if you power was nothing of what it would be. End game you felt like you could do and take on so much even against vastly more powerful opponents.
Too many games make the start and the finish both feel very similar in terms of fighting enemies. You get some new skills and better gear but it feels very samish. This is very much not true in the COH universe because starting, mid-game, and end game heros or villains could feel and even play drastically differently. This really helped make it feel much more satisfying.
Guild Wars 2 shows that it is effective in other games too, but though that game is generally friendly due to it's exp sharing mechanics and lack of competing with other people it still doesn't offer near the abiltity to really help out and include each other as COH did.
Though, City of Titans could learn form Guild Wars 2 and some of their loot, collectable, and exp mechanics. These are friendly mechanics I think would fit right in to a tight community. Being able to deposit things in a bank without going back to it, being able to get exp and loot from the same mobs an ungrouped player got exp and loot from. Little changes like these change it from "don't touch my exp/loot" to "thanks for the help bud, appreciate it" "no problem". If there is a resource node type system in City of Titans again look to Guild Wars 2 and client specific harvesting meaning no competing for nodes.
These allowed you to continue having fun without competing with other players, even when hitting the same open world content and mobs. Even as far as questing goes :D.
8. Null the Gull (Mentioned by Jaq40)
Have aspects of your game that affect your enjoyment of the game, seem relatively baked into the game? Still allows you to turn them off for your enjoyment. Win sauce?
9. Cool powers that had personality and immersive effects that brought them to life. (various mentions)
COH had alot of cool powers no other game seems to execute right. Whether it be ice patches that really make enemies slip and fall hilariously, gun drones, proximity mines that are effective at what they do, oil slicks that can be lit on fire, stomps that launch enemies, an uppercut that hilariously launches weaker foes.
General if you expected a power to have cool effect such as launches, burning, highly damaging explosions, electrical palayzation, etc then it tended to have those things in style and in spades. The power execution just gave them the proper feel you would expect from hitting someone with fire, mines, ice, or a giant rock sledgehammer.
Too many MMORPG's out there have you deliver colossal blows to even the weakest enemies and they don't even react. Too many MMORPG's let you hit an enemy with fire, ice, lightning, smoke, etc and it doesn't have ANY effect except damage. When is the last time in that Fantasy or Sci Fi MMORPG you hit something with an explosion and it didn't even flinch? In COH enemies would be set on fire, some would be knocked down/back, stunned, power drained, or chilled from the same explosion. Not just lifeless damage, but immerse effects.
COH was not one of those, each power had personality. Whether it be handclap or gust for knockbacks, fire for burning, ice for chill, electricity for power drain and paralyzation, earth for defense lowering, etc. Everything had personality, flavor, and impact. Quicksand > Stalactite > Quartz Crystals yo.
10. Ability to feel like you accomplished something with just a short play session. (mentioned by JefA)
It was highly possible to log on, play a single mission, and log off all within 30 minutes. Allowing you to get your super fix in a very short amount of time. But the game was still fun for hours upon hours on end. This flexibility allowed people from all varieties of time constraints to enjoy the game, many times together.
11. Enemy and player biographies (mentioned by various players)
This really is an immerse part of the COH game world. Enemy biographies were informative, provided flavor, and were many times humorous or clever. Sometimes dark. Player biographies in combination with their costumes were sometimes just draw dropping. This really added a nice and subtle, but powerful, immersive undertone to the game.
But they need to allow longer bios next time. Lets say twice as long :D. Player bios were so easy to overrun the space given because, well, we as a player base really came up with alot of bios. Deep ones with alot of backstory and personal information.
12. Newspaper and Radio missions (various mentions)
Feel like just messing around, want a quickie mission for the area you are in with a loose, vague objective and some touch of humor? Look no further. Waiting for someone to return to the team and need quick time killer mission to keep people entertained? It's there. Want to just run around a zone rampaging but want a more structured format either solo or teamed? Eureaka!!
Newspaper and Radio missions were a great boon to both casual and "hardcore" solo and team based gameplay. It allowed light and continuous on demand action NOW without worrying about alot of the other stuff, just the joy of playing.
13. The game was just fun to play without massive goals, crazy grinding, or ERMAGHERD loot. (Various mentions)
People rolled a million alts and played the game forever because the combat and the experience was where the fun was at. You go to other games and people will grind instances forever for gold, items, to get to the next raid, etc. That is almost 100% of their game time.
You went to COH and the majority of people just enjoyed playing. The combat system, creating their own personalized and unique heros, trying out new builds, making their own missions, experiencing great stories, and tweaking that deeply personal hero of theirs to have the capabilities they want via inventions kept people coming back to the same gameplay because it was still fun.
It was amazing. Very much like Dynasty Warriors in the sense that you could play the game for so long with so many characters and even after years it was somehow still fun, every time.
14. Temporary powers!! (Mentioned by Consultant)
City of Heros had an enormous amount of temporary powers which varied considerably in effectiveness and longevity. These little touches allowed the game to do alot of things without losing balance, add immersion, and give your hero the ability to have that plan B sometimes when things just were not going well. Kind of like how just because I have the ability to blow up things doesn't mean that a flashbang grenade might not save my butt if I get in over my head.
This also added alot of flavor to the game and allowed some missions to reward you in a meaningful way without it just being "loot".
15. Zone wide events such as Zombies and the Rikti Invasion! (Mentioned by Consultant)
These things were awesome and if you had no idea what was going on they prompted you to ask and through the power of tangential learning it hooked you into the story. There was nothing quite like hearing alarms and knowing that **** was about to go down. These were also balanced in such a way that lower level characters were weaker, but not just totally hosed. You could still help, team up with people, and assist the groups and have fun with the big boys.
16. Prefixs and Suffixs in names (mentioned by Pleonast)
While a small touch this adds subtly to that "super" feel to the game. It also makes the character feel slightly more personal. I'm not Stupendous Man, I'm The Amazing Stupendous Man!! Yes, I delivered that out loud in my house in full corny super hero delivery. THAT is the power of that tiny addition.
17. Adjustable mission difficulty. (Various mentions)
Want harder but more rewarding content? You got it. Want Easier content thats less rewarding? You got it. Want less enemies or more enemies? You got it.
You could play your missions your way and face the challenges you wanted to face. This went a long way to making your gameplay much more fun :D. No longer were preset mission difficulties hosing X or Y class, you could customize the enemy group sizes and strength to your hero and be rewarded appropriately :D.
So people good at single target damage could take on less numerous and tougher foes while people good at AOE's could take on more numerous and weaker foes.
18. 8 Player Teams (Mentioned by Mendicant)
This is something big I can't believe I didn't mention!! Large team sizes allowed more chaos and more fun. COH exceled at fun chaos and 8 memebers also gave you a larger chance at a mix of classes. It also lessened the impact of any one bad player while still letting good players carry the team.
It was friendly, fun, chaotic, and only helped boost the community. It just feels alot more fun than the 4 or 5 man teams in other games. More likely to fit alot of your friends in it too!!
19. Badges (Various mentions)
Badge hunting was a really nifty way to reward exploration. It wasn't just "oh you saw X zone" which feels very souless. You found unique locations, plaques, and rewards with their own back story that just added to the story and impressiveness of the world.
Plus, it prevent negative possibility space by rewarding people for doing things. For example, how many of us were soooooo excited to get a badge just by setting foot on top of the Atlas Globe for the first time? Rather than you getting up there and being just like "this is pretty cool to be up here" it was the games way of saying "hey, I noticed you are a pretty cool dude who found this hidden spot, here, have a shiny!!". And that, felt, AWESOME.
19. The world acknowledging you and your accomplishments in tiny unimportant ways (mentioned by Redlynne)
This is just one of those nice little touches that gives the illusion that the world knows about the things you have done without changing anything. It's so small, it doesn't change anything at all, but it makes us feel that much better about what we have just done. It was just a guy walking down the street who said a few lines mentioning a my hero and a mission I just completed. But it made me grin and feel good.
Sometimes it doesn't take big things to make us feel awesome and epic. Sometimes it just takes a little nod, a tiny acknowledgement, that the world we are in realizes that we did X or Y thing. This includes people you saved running back up to you, thanking you, and giving you a tiny bit of influence or inspiration. To make you feel as if you just accomplished something. That some tiny tiny part of this world cares about and acknowledges what you just did, and is impressed and thankful.
20. Unique zones with personality (various mentions)
Unique zones were not limited to "oh ice, oh desert, oh mountains, oh volcanoes, oh grasslands, oh beaches". Each city zone and area had it's own design, it's own feel, it's own enemy groups with personalities, and it's own atmosphere.
Croatia felt completely different than Perez Park despite both being grassland, forests, and some buildings. Steel Canyon felt massively different from Kings Row though both were just city areas. Each zone had personality. You won't see that much in even modern MMORPGs where each zone is just a generic biome containing generic mobs.
It got even better later and really hit it's stride at the end where the First Ward and Dark Astoria Zones really showcased this. The atmosphere, area design, enemy design, NPC's, and stories came together in a seriously epic fashion that showed everything that is missing in other MMORPGs when it comes to making a zone.
21. The level up ding and full restore/buffs (various mentions)
A small touch but leveling up felt alot more epic with the combination of sound effects, full heal, power restore, and a sudden surge of power. It really made the simple act of hitting the next level that much more enjoyable. Instead of being a "yay" moment it was suddenly a "WOHOO, yeah ***** come get some. Don't worry, I got this guys....oh crap..buffs running out....HALP!!". It made for many epic, unique, and humorous twists in combat :D.
22. Streakbreaker code (various mentions)
Such a small touch but it allows % based combat without letting negative streaks completely hose you. Really reeled in the frustration that bad luck streaks could have. More games that use % based effects could use this.
23. The incarnate system (various mentions)
The incarnate systems was a pretty brilliant alternative end game progression system. It still allowed you to get more powerful. It allowed for big team challenges. But it also allowed you to solo your way there as well. For an end game system THAT is something that doesn't happen enough.
It did all of this without being carrot on a stick loot centric and still being focused on fun. Allowing you to play normal end game content with friends for fun and still progress :D.
24. Mayhem Missions (mentioned by grouchyguy)
I've not played the equivalent of these wonderfully fun missions on any other MMORPG to date. You got to go on a rampage and smash the city and destory the local defense/police force and heros. Mega fun as a villain.
25. Giant Monsters (mentioned by Falconstriker)
The game providing gigantic monsters for entire zones to team up and pile upon made for some epic fights. From lusca to adamastor to Babbage it provided alot of personality and a unique experience for its time. Even better the giant monsters were the earliest known example (to me) of code that let one single monster scale to the the individual level of every player in an MMORPG open world zone. This impressed me quite a bit.
26. The ability to choose your origin (mentioned by Radiac)
In COH the ability to choose your origin was just one more small personalization touch. It really didn't do much and I feel they should have taken more advantage of it by having an epic story arc based on each origin and some nods to your origin throughout the game, but it was still a nice small personalization touch.
Hopefully City of Titans will build origins into their framework so that they can give you small acknowledgements and perhaps some custom content to your origin. Enough to make it feel like the world and the game knew that you were a mutant, or magic based hero/villain, but little enough to not put too much development pressure on them.
27. Shared hero/villain content. (mentioned by Radiac)
Radiac put cooperative hero/villain content meaning places that both could team together and play together and I agree with this completely. This is what enables you to have two sides and still a close knit community. It also plays on that common comic book trope of "bigger threat than each other, heros and villains stand together".
But I think City of Titans, if they can think their way around it, should go further. I think they should endeavor to have the exact same zone for both sides if at all possible, with the possible exception of the beginner area in each side. This would give more returns from any new content and lower development costs and if done right will stay in the comic book mythos. When have you seen the arch nemisis of the various major comic book heros hide out multiple towns away? Like Crey Lex Luthor was always legally protected. Joker and others always broke out of Arkham, etc.
If City of Titans can pull it off right, it'll allow people to experience the same content in a meaningful way without completely separating them. Sure there will be people who say "but he's right there!!!" but that's present in numerous comics as well. In fact if City of Titans can come up with a clever system this would be an interesting choice system for vigilantes, possible putting villains in jail, possible villains breaking out of jail (or paying for lawyers) missions for villains, etc. But it would have to be done right.
*Personal thoughts on shared zones and PVP*
My gut is telling me, instanced content. If you want to cause havoc you create an instance that has only you as the villain and 2-3 heros can join to stop you if you do not escape in time. If you want to pull massive chaos and bring multiple villains I'd say allow the villains a full team, but allow the heros multiple full teams. Yes, I'm biasing this against the villains. I want them to be able to cause a commotion in the middle of the heroic area, but it'll be risky if you do not bail fast enough. Defeated villains would be forced into a jailbreak mission or to pay an amount that scales on your level to be freed via lawyers.
Now, the exact opposite would apply in an areas of the map that had a dominant villain influence. Heros would be putting a stop to things, but risk being swarmed by more villains than they can handle. You do what good you can before being forced back. Hero's would be captured and held if defeated and could either bust out on their own (escape missions vs jailbreak mission) or be forced to spend money to call in some sort of outside assistance to get them out of there. After all villains are notorious for being a little egotistical and not finishing off their heros fast enough.
Neutral Terf? Oh yeah, battle royale. Even sides of both teams, objectives both sides. Ability to capture for both sides.
I figure with such a system you could allow PVP content that isn't necessarily based 100% around PVP. If your design doesn't work well for straight PVP you can focus on objective competition, if you are in enemy territory even if you are in a superior build you will be outnumbered. If you are in friendly territory woe to the foes who oppose you. If you are in neutral territory then it becomes a capture or objective race.
I'd say doing enough objectives should be an alternative victory condition to capturing, just to keep PVP from completely dying if the game mechanics are not suited for it. Something a bit more thematic and heroic or villainish depending on which side has the objectives :P.
But again all of this should be optional instanced content. We don't want villains and heros blowing up all over the world unless we get enough interest to have a PVP server, and that is going to be a long way down the line.
28. The ability to write individual macros and use them as normal buttons. IE the use of a program like LUA to make this easier and more effective. (Mentioned by Lutan, LUA mentioned by Redlynne)
This allowed anything from RPing easier, to looking for groups and inviting easier, to being able to tie powers together somewhat, to being able to order around all the mastermind minions for gameplay and RP purposes.
The goal is not so much to make your play more effective with macros, but to allow people to do alot of non-gameplay things and add playability in the case of Masterminds.
29. A useful, stylish, and extremely flexible/functional chat system. (Mentioned by Olivia Dennings)
Through these of filters and tabs you could get the information you wanted to be displayed, where you wanted it to be displayed. It looked great, it was easy to mess with and tweak, linking worked well and it it was directly comaptible with the macro buttons you could make. Every mastermind remembers making their pets talk/dance/etc. Emotes were also easy to get to and categorized so that you could find the appropriate emote easily.
30. A slick UI that was scalable, adjustable, stylish, and clear. (Inspired by Olivia Dennings)
Their UI quite simply was clean, functional, looked good and you could adjust it as you wished. Colors, bars, buttons, sizes/scale. These were things you could easily tweak. Even small touches like red interface default for villains and a cool blue for heroes was appreciated.
I just want to be clear that these are merely ideas. Things we liked that mad COH the fun game that it was. City of Titans will be it's own game and while I hope it does alot of these things I understand it is not going to be COH 2, nor should it be. I'm just providing some small amount of building blocks to work with.