NEIL MELVILLE Web Site
City of Villains - End of Beta Event
City of Villains wrapped up official beta testing this last Wednesday night. The culmination of over 14,000 bugs logged and numerous upgrades was evident when the beta tester NDA was lifted last week, and screenshots and play reports gushed forth onto various internet forums. Among the latest special FX to go into the game were the new physics enabled particles I worked on: bouncing rocks, ricocheting lightning, napalm splashing, and hot metal sparks.
For a special End of Beta event, held Wednesday from 5-8 pm PST, the Cryptic Studios dev team logged in as various "signature" heroes and other high level masked threats to villainy. We provided live PVP challenges for the 10,000 simultaneously logged in beta testers. And they rose to the challenge. Groups of hundreds of villains ganged up on the nigh invincible heroes, and managed to bring quite a few of them down.
I played Agent Darwin, a Longbow (a hero organization) Heroine. I moved about mercy Isle, summoning a smattering of reinforcements to keep the testers occupied. Some ignored the computer AI and focused on attacking me. But my flight speed was usually more than sufficient to keep me out of harm's way. Smarter players used their powers to disable my movement abilities, and force me to stand and fight. But, after an hour of not seeing my health bar dip, I began to wonder if they could indeed defeat any one of us.
But as more and more villains rallied around the ground I was trying to hold, the sheer number of attacks started to make a dent. Slowly, my health bar began to fall. My regeneration rate was high enough, that if I could slow the pace of the attacks, I would recover. I had felt confident, toying with them a bit, not using the full extent of my power. In fact, I did not even know the full extent of my power. But as my life bar diminished even more, I began to panic.
I called for reinforcements. The villains complained. The framerate suffered. Physics enabled flames scattered fires across the side of the crowded pile of rubble in the middle of the old city. Still, my life ebbed, shifting from green, to yellow, to orange. I felt that I may not last much longer... So, I tried to run away.
I knew it seemed cowardly, but if I could fall back long enough to recover, perhaps I could last for another hour. I tried to jump out of the sea of costumed criminals, but I had been robbed of almost all my movment ability. So, I jogged. I jogged with all my will. I somehow maneuver around to break free of the main group, but I was followed, hounded. Stalkers with teleport powers made assassin strikes that dealt incredible amounts of damage. I scattered Longbow heroes in my wake. But, enough of them kept up with me that my flight only served to move the venue of our battle.
In my mad scramble to escape a humiliating defeat, I blundered into a large group of Longbow troops. I decided that this is where I would turn and meet my fate. And fate chose to smile upon me in the form of advice from a fellow employee. Watching over my shoulder, he commented, "Hey don't you have the hurricane power?"
"I don't know. Do I?" I replied.
"Yes, you do. It's the last icon over on your bottom row of powers."
"Oh. I haven't tried that one yet."
"Well, you might want to at least give it a shot before you die."
And so I did. Swirling mist erupted from me and spun around in large circles. All but the toughest combatants were flung from my presence, and gave me some much needed breathing room. I could see clearly enough to actually start picking out targets. And all I had to do to disrupt the blaster at stand off ranges was to move the maelstrom centered on me into them.
And then it happened. I began to make headway against the powerful Tankers, and recover my health. As the multitude of villains began to give way, my hope returned for survival. But, also I felt some remorse. They had fought so bravely, so tenaciously, and come so close to their goal. Ought not their efforts be rewarded? I decided to make a clean break. I shut down the hurricane. I moved out until I could take to the skies again.
I spent a little time surveying the city, dropping a few Longbow on isolated villains, just to keep things interesting. Then I chose a central spot where I would make a stand. I announced my plans to all within ear shot, and created a perimeter of Longbow guards. I went on short forays out to find villains and help them to find my new camp. It wasn't long before they came en masse to finish what they had started.
I was quicky dropped out of the sky, and beset with the hammerings of melee powers. As the debuffs started piling up (5 rows worth) my life bar began to fall again. I tried to fight more intelligently, identifying and nullifying particularly dangerous enemies. I even occasionally turned on the hurricane. But this, the Beta Testing Team, worked as a team, and dished out staggering amounts of damage. As the life bar turned red, I again panicked. I was a little disappointed that it was going to end so soon. So, I tried to run again.
After I had managed to get about one block away, I thought better of it. I was not a failure. If I was to fall, it would be a testament to the skill and fortitude of these players. I returned to the rubbish heap under the radio antena, and gave them all that I had left to give. "must... fight... back..." I muttered.
I don't know how many I took down with me. I wasn't counting. I couldn't even tell. But When the moment came for me to expire, I knew it. "NOOO!" I cried.
The red box appeared announcing my defeat. I sat back from the keyboard, and stared at the screen. It was just a little after 7 o'clock. The villains appeared stunned - They were not sure what had happened. "Wow, she's really dead." "She didn't just phase out." "BRAVO! well fought!"
After a few minutes of villains rejoicing, I phased out without returning to life. I did not want to rob them of their victory. They proved their devotion to the game by signing up to be beta testers, and I expect that most of them will purchase the game when it comes out in a few days. I feel rewarded in the privelege of bringing to them an entertaining game product.