Ship of Heroes is an upcoming Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game based on comic-book style superheroes. As the name suggests, it's aiming to be a Spiritual Successor to City of Heroes, except IN SPACE!. While there will, therefore, be elements of Superheroes in Space, the Science Fiction elements are not immediately obvious.
It is set on a 20-mile long generation ship, the F.H.S. Justice, divided into 20 sections. Each section, approximately 1.25 miles in diameter, will be a playable area in the game, though some have been taken over by invasive alien species making them only suitable for higher-level players. The starting area is modelled as a small earth-based city, called Apotheosis City, featuring roads, buildings, parks and a fake sky to keep the inhabitants from feeling too home sick. This is where starting players will spend much of their time, and it's not until they brave the sub-deck areas that the machinery and technology surrounding them becomes obvious. Or until they look out one of the massive windows set in the ship's outer hull...
It had its first alpha March 2018, with further stress tests until the end of the year. The beta is planned for 2019.
The archetypes planned for launch are:
- Devestator: High-damage ranged and high-damage melee attacks, but few defenses
- Defender: Primarily powers aiding (buff) allies or weakening (debuff) foes, backed up by medium-damage ranged attacks which will generally hit harder than expected because of the aforementioned buffs and debuffs.
- Brawler: Medium-defense, high-damage melee
- Tanker: High-defense, low-damage ranged and melee and great "aggro management" capabilities to protect allies
The archetypes planned for later are:
This game provides examples of:
- After the End: Strongly averted. The developers want to create a pleasant, family friendly community, and part of that is avoiding the usual apocolyptic tropes.
- An Adventurer Is You
- And the Adventure Continues: The developers aren't currently sure if they'll even have a level cap, though it's not clear how that would work in practice.
- Alien Invasion: Frequently. The human Generation Ships are prime targets for raiding by aggressive alien species, though interestingly players will be able to do the same right back at them.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: The strength of customisation possible in CityOfHeroes is a huge inspiration, so you can bet this will feature heavily.
- Animate Inanimate Object: The Unobtanium (actual name) that powers the ship can have odd effects on biology and technology, so expect at least a few instances of defeating rogue ship equipment.
- Backstory: Well-developed even at this early stage, with the existence of superpowers tied into the technology of the setting.
- Badass Normal: Largely averted. The Unobtanium which powers the ship is actively designed to generate superpowers in its population, so there's very few heroes who will be simply well-trained baseline humans.
- Beneath the Earth: Not so much the earth, but each ship section will have a maintenance sub-level, which is where many of the instanced missions will take place.
- Blown Across the Room: Knock-back and knock-up are confirmed as secondary effects on some powers.
- Body Horror: Depending on the isotope ratio, Unobtanium has different effects on different species. While the mix used on the F.H.S. Justice is designed to be beneficial to humans, that means its effect on other alien species is a little unpredictable. And obviously, if a human spent a long time on an alien ship...
- Character Customization: One of the primary goals of the developers is to exceed the customisation available to players in City of Heroes, which is not an easy task.
- City of Adventure: The starting area, Apotheosis City, and likely many of the other ship levels.
- Combo Platter Powers: Your primary, secondary, and auxiliary power sets have no requirements to be related in any way. Shotgun with Darkness powers? Sure!
- Copy-and-Paste Environments: Instanced missions will be built up from smaller, repeated components, though the artists are working hard to make them feel as varied as possible.
- Cyber Punk: The Prometheans, who have mixed it with Dark Magic. This did not do their sanity any favours. Player characters will be able to have cybernetics as part of the character design process too.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Combining cybernetics with dark magic is never a good idea.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: The developers originally intended to have no death penalty, but fan insistence led to them planning to use an experience penalty system for players who die past level 10.
- Deflector Shields: Each generation ship is equipped with incredibly powerful protective fields. They're so strong that the best any attacker can hope for is to focus overwhelming firepower onto a small area and teleport a small raiding party through the breach before it recovers. Such random events will be excellent occasions for player characters to step up and show what they can do. And earn some experience and other rewards too, of course. Smaller, portable versions will likely make an appearance in a defensive powerset at some point too.
- Emote Animation
- Evil vs. Evil: The Prometheans hate the Red Sigil, and the Nedgelians hate everyone, with everyone returning the disfavor.
- Experience Penalty: See above.
- Flying Firepower: Flight will be one of base travel powers available to any hero, so anyone can be this if they want.
- Generation Ships: The F.H.S. Justice is one of several such ships launched from earth over the last few centuries. They're designed for many millenia of service, and to be extensible. It launched with only eight segments, and is now up to twenty. Millions of people live on each ship at any one time. The technology and resources they carry are prime targets for hostile aliens.
- Heroes "R" Us
- Humans Are Special: While aliens had unlocked the secret of Unobtanium long before us, or can be more powerful than baseline humans, our access to super-powered individuals allowed us to fight off one attempted invasion, and allowed to hold our own on the galactic scene. Other races could have super-powered individuals, however, though some have removed any potential in the name of genetic purity.
- Humongous Mecha: The Prometheans often use combat mecha in their assault groups, so expect large versions of these as boss encounters later on.
- Item Crafting: The other main inspiration for Ship of Heroes is Star Wars: Galaxies, and particularly the robust crafting implementation. The developers want this to be a valid secondary gameplay option to beating up bad guys.
- Item Farming: At least one of the ship's sections is completely taken over by invasive species, which, while making it very dangerous, makes it also an incredibly lucrative location for all sorts of rare stuff useful for crafting.
- Level Scaling: Players will be auto-scaled to each other (precise details to be confirmed) to ensure you can always team with your friends, regardless of the character or mission.
- Magic Versus Science: Both exist in this setting, though certain combinations can interact rather badly.
- Mecha-Mooks: The Prometheans' love of all things cybernetic means these often accompany them on raids.
- People Jars: On the other hand, given what we know of the Prometheans, their mechs could well be these.
- Pick-Up Group: Up to a maximum of ten players, with no particular powers or setups required to do well.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: Neither the body type, not any of the body shape sliders, affect any of your character's abilities.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Nagdelians basically consider anything other than themselves as undeserving of existence.
- Secret Identity: Metahumans have been around for a long time and their existence is well known. Since they're generally involved in defending humans from hostile aliens than fighting crime, there's very little need to have a secret identity anymore.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Definitely on the Idealism side of things. While there are bad people doing bad things, generally the F.H.S. Justice is a wonderful place to live. As is Earth apparently.
- Status Buff: Mentioned as an important part of the gameplay, buffs and debuffs will be strong and effective, with entire powersets designed around them.
- Stock Superhero Day Jobs: Characters will be encouraged to pick a "day-job" for their hero. While on board ship there's no requirement to have a secret identity, heroes are common enough that you will have to earn your keep, like any other inhabitant. These will take the form of a series of linked missions that will take you from start to end of the levelling process, and introduce more behind-the-scenes style storylines that explain the history and inner workings of the ship.
- Stripperiffic: Nothing's stopping you from using your undies as your hero costume, on either gender.
- Unobtanium: Explicitly used as the name of the substance that powers the F.H.S. Justice and allows faster-than-light travel.
- Up, Up and Away!: The current flight poses are a shout-out to old-school style flying heroes.
- The Wall Around The City: The edge of Apotheosis City is the actual hull of the ship.