City of Heroes: Going Rogue Release Date; Markets Merging


The second expansion for the popular superhero/supervillain MMO has been dated and some surprises are looming on the horizon.
The upcoming expansion for the superpowered MMO City of Heroes is forthcoming and now has a release date for all you aspiring heroes and villains. MMO enthusiasts should mark August 17th on their calendars as the day to phone in that really great excuse they came up with in to work as Going Rogue hits shelves that day. So, what does the expansion get you? The expansion touts the new world of Praetoria opening up to players, wherein Primal Earth’s greatest hero, Statesman, is in fact its almighty Emperor. The theme of the expansion relates towards a new morality system that will allow heroes to fall into vigilante and, should they continue to fall, eventually villainous status. By the same tokens, villains may be redeemed into rogues, and should they continue to rise, they may eventually be exalted as heroes. In addition to new missions that will support this morality system and ultimately determine which side of the line your character walks, these alignment titles (heroes, vigilantes, rogues, and villains) determine what areas are open to the character. Prior to this point, heroes have been forced to remain in Paragon City, while villains have been isolated in the Rogue Isles. This restriction remains for pure heroes and villains, but vigilantes will be able to access the Rogue Isles and rogues will have access to Paragon City. Considering that heroic and villainous archetypes (essentially character classes) have been separated up until this point save for a couple of cooperative zones, this will allow for a more varied teaming experience throughout the game’s content.

As for the new world of Praetoria itself, it will be filled with new zones, new allies and foes to deal with, new mission tile sets, and an entirely new early-game experience lasting through the 1 – 20 levels. There will also be new “tip” missions available here, though they have yet to be explained by the development team.

While City of Heroes has been praised high and low for its amazingly customizable character creator that is among the best in gaming, period, it’s detractors have often pointed out that the lack of end-game content is horribly disappointing. After hitting the level cap of 50, there truly is very little left to do aside from a couple of raid events and mix/maxing your characters. Paragon Studios is looking to begin the process of offering something more in this area with Going Rogue that will expand going forward. The Going Rogue expansion will offer the first level of what the developers are calling the “Incarnate system.” While details are sparse, it has been said that this system will allow level 50 characters to become even more powerful without an actual raise of the level cap. The following free update (referred to as “issues” in the game) will make the following 9 Incarnate levels available to players. It is important to note, however, that the expansion will be required in order to access any of the Incarnate levels. Will this Incarnate system finally offer the end-game content players have been looking for? I’ll be sure to keep you posted. Oh, as an aside, the expansion will also include various new costume pieces and two character tokens that allow for additional character slots on any server of your choice.

In addition to all this, it has been announced that the villainous player-to-player marketplace and hero marketplace will be merged as of the release of the Going Rogue expansion. The development team has cited that this will be simpler for their servers and that many players and their own research groups believe the pros outweigh the cons. This includes both the North American and European servers, and therefore all heroes and villains across NA and EU will be free to auction without limitations. Certainly, this seems less restrictive and positive from where I’m sitting.

City of Heroes continues going strong after more than six years of being live. Just recently having received a graphical update known as “Ultra Mode” and with this new expansion hitting in less than two months, it seems that NCSoft has no plans to pull the plug on the game any time soon. Are plans in the works to expand on the City of Heroes name, however? NCSoft recently secured the trademark for City of Heroes 2. Are they merely securing their intellectual property, or could this be a sign of things to come in the distant future? Player reception to this expansion could be an interesting gauge for NCSoft if it is in fact the latter.

City of Heroes: Going Rogue can be pre-ordered directly from the NCSoft Store for $30, which gives early access to the Demon Summoning and Dual Pistol powersets, or you may pre-order a boxed copy from any number of gaming outlets for $40. The boxed pre-order perks are somewhat confusing, but it seems that at least the Gamestop version will come with several unique low-level enhancements for a character as well as a $5 gift card for the Razer store.

-Andrew Glasco


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