Developer Cryptic Studios and publisher NCSoft have taken some unusual chances with their two MMORPGs City of Heroes and City of Villains. Having massively multiplayer games set in a super hero/villain powered universe is a risk in itself and so is releasing City of Villains 18 months after City of Heroes as a stand alone game, rather than an expansion. However, the formula seems to have worked and in a few weeks Cyptic and NCSoft will soon release "Issue 7", the latest free expansion pack that will be released for both games. During the Game Developers Conference last week, FiringSquad got a demo of the expansion as well as some hints about where both games will go next.
As is the case with the previous free expansions for the games, Issue 7 adds so much new content that most publishers might charge for it. The fact that subscribers get both City of Heroes and City of Villiains for the same monthly price of $14.95 and get at least two massive free expansions a year is a huge value for the game's players (the fact that both games are fun to play is a bonus too). The upcoming next expansion is called Destiny Manifest and as the Cryptic and NCSoft team members told us during our GDC demo, this expansion will lean towards mostly upgrading the City of Villains title, although City of Heroes players will get new stuff to play with as well (future free expansions will have more or less equal content for the two games from now on).
City of Villains players get a new zone called Granville and as our GDC demo showed it's a pretty massive place. Basicially its the headquarters of Lord Recluse, the main arachnid-like bad guy in the center of Cryptic's super hero universe, and yes, players will get a chance in the zone to meet the spider man himself (Marvel, please don't sue us; it's just a comparison). City of Villains players will get over 300 new missions for levels 40 to 50 (by comparison, Cryptic told us that there were 300 missions for levels 0-40 in the original City of Villains game. One of the more interesting add-ons in this expansion is the use of Patron Powers. Basicially your low level super villain character gets to choose which high level super villain he or she would like to "worship". In our demo we got to see massive statues of the several different types of high powered villains you get to pick from. Once you select one you get some extra powers and abilities courtesy of your elected choice. But be careful. As is always the case with dealing with super villains, the high level ones don't get along with each other, so choosing one villain may put you at odds with others.