The Warehouse District

Here are some notes about the latest Ship of Heroes newsletter released. This one covers the Warehouse District.
  1. Welcome to the Warehouse District, a zone in the southeastern corner of Apotheosis City, the capital city of the generational ship-state the FHS Justice.  In 2017, the devs at Ship of Heroes have created 18 videos that showed off Heroic Plaza, the downtown area, the Science Park, and even the Justice Corp HQ's rooftop Power Testing Facility.  Now it is time for a look at the Warehouse District.
  2. The custom-designed Warehouse District will be another setting for missions, as well as a great place for patrolling and street-sweeping. In fact, SOH has already built a mission map appropriate for this area.
  3. Beyond being a staple of many superhero adventures, a Warehouse District makes sense in the FHS Justice’s because Apotheosis City is the main trade area of the ship; the district holds imports for transfer to the engines below and the rest of the ship above, and exports waiting for smaller cargo ships to take them.
  4. The Warehouse District will include interiors for some buildings, like warehouse administrative offices and possible hidden areas. Some of the large buildings are semi-enclosed and can be explored now, though enemies will be added later.  Distinct features of the district include large open spaces, industrial machinery, and the elevated Light Rail Transit which will serve almost all parts of Apotheosis City.
  5. All environments in Ship of Heroes are custom designed to create a new, unique world for super-powered adventures.  The Warehouse District is designed with horizontal and vertical movement and combat in mind for flying and non-flying characters, so it is dotted with stairs, ramps, and walkways.

Ship of Heroes launches into Beta by end of the year, but it is boarding now! Visit the forums on to support our game and keep up with the latest news in the development of this new, positive community and flexible, customizable, and fun-to-play sci-fi superhero MMORPG.

Coinciding with this release was a video interview with The Positive Gamer, posted on Youtube. I've indexed the video's key points...

00:30New small offices, signs for realism, area expanded into water
01:35Elevated rails for trains, etc. running around the area
02:15Stairs adding a 3D nature to the area
02:40Foliage improvements underway
03:10One of the first mission maps will be a warehouse in this district
04:00Impressive looking pipework on the roofs and water tower
06:5012 powers on a bar, a numer of bars will be available
07:30Elevator crane, possibly to take players to other levels for missions, etc.
09:00Talking about the way the dev team is showing things as they do them (transparency)
10:00About the multitude of mission options given by the ship travelling through space visiting different worlds, etc.
11:40More detail about alpha/beta timings and suchlike and how to qualify for the limited alpha scheduled for Feb 2018, etc.
13:30Beta scheduled for end of 2018, early access for anyone who donates $25+
15:45Wider test of character creator planned some time in 2018 (maybe)
19:10Flying towards the arch
19:50Further discussions around transparency and the community
24:50Talking about the open letter and the state of MMO's
26:50The space needle
28:00hazard zone, currently empty but will be a hard area for harvesting for low level players
30:00Graphics for power sets have been updated
31:30Not an item based game, no special weapons, etc.
32:30Possibility to temporarily augment a character to give it a short term boost
35:00Lots of optimisation done recently with the upcoming alpha test in mind
36:15Emotes are definately planned, lots of fun things for role players, etc.
38:30combat alpha will show current enemies, launch planned for possibly 6 enemy groups

SoH Youtube Video Index with

Another really interesting video, this time a live stream by MJ Guthrie of about Ship of Heroes which (I thought) was long enough to deserve/require an index. Since this was a live Q&A session with subscribers to the channel, the questions flitted back and forth a bit so there are no headings in the index.

03:50Zooming out from the city to the outside of the ship (20 miles long, 20 city levels) and talking about the ship itself
09:45Instanced mission map with the signature hero "Ambasaddor", the map alse shows the base of the arch which explains the mission types expected (dust!)
12:20Discussing instances and a positive community
14:45Not looking for a huge player base at start, hoping to grow the game as it progresses with a subscription model
15:45an interesting multi-level circular room
18:30Everything in the game so far is made inhouse, beta planned for end 2018
19:00Talking about recommendations/requests etc. from the community
20:25Talking about player created missions (maps, npc's, npc powers, etc.)
22:00Confirmation of solo content as well as group content ingame
23:40Showing a staging area of a new map, testing surfaces, etc., always looking for feedback
27:30Confirmation that players will be able to change difficulty levels in a mission
30:30Talking about the coding capabilities for players to use when setting up missions
31:10More about about the game lore, etc
35:00Talking about the UI and available options, etc.
36:50Multi-level map with varying ceiling heights
38:50Anti-stealth powers confirmed ingame
40:30Player housing/bases confirmed ingame but probably not at launch
41:40Weather effects not at launch but may come later
44:55Power customisation still being discussed
46:40About destructible environments, definately not at launch, under consideration
49:30Current animations are not placeholders but there's still lots to do
53:10Rooms are basic and empty looking but ingame will have lots more 'props' and enemies
53:40Confirmation that players can sit in chairs!
56:25'Organic' maps exist with trees, grass, flowers, etc. to add variety
57:40Caves are difficult in UE4 and are still being looked into
59:30More about travel powers
01:03:40Character progression at 'endgame', SoH will start with 20 levels with plans to get to 50 levels pretty quickly.
01:08:00Sidekicking/scaling to allow players to team up with others at different levels will be ingame
01:09:10About power sets, classes, etc.
01:14:00About the ingame economy (currency: dust) and about trading, crafting etc.
01:18:55Powers and items do not change character appearance
01:22:50Donors will be able to create characters before release
01:24:40Character creater confirmed to have no timeout
01:25:30Custom keybinds will be ingame
01:26:30Talking about the community
01:26:50More about customisation and the characters 'personal' story
01:27:50Future expansion a big thing
01:31:00Ingame voting system something to add to game in the future
01:36:40Back out to Apotheosis City
01:38:50The Arch
01:39:00The Space Needle
01:40:00All player characters are heroes but there are a LOT of npc's on board without such powers
01:46:00most levels will have their own cities with discrete cultures, etc.
01:55:25Closing statement by Casey McGeever

List of SoH Youtube Videos I have indexed

Community Priorities and Outlook for January 2018

The outlook here is copied verbatim from the official website because I'm still suffering from the mother all all flu's and will very likely make a big mess if I try to rewrite it.

1. We are going to be working to set up and perfect the combat Alpha this month. We'll be updating the community as we work.
2. I've got a short opinion-piece about what I think happened in the MMORPG market recently, and how our plans for SoH respond to these trends.
3. We want to do one or more interviews with some of the bloggers who cover us, and show off some new stuff.
4. In a separate thread, I'm going to solicit the views of the community about what everyone wants to see and hear from us during 2018, that they are not getting now. What's most important?
In general, we're going to use January to set up the alpha, solicit more feedback from the community, and then finalize our plans for the rest of 2018.

Consultant also posted a question on the SoH forum detailing the phenomenal progress made in 2017 and what Heroic Games learned from the community. He ended the posting with a question...

What would you, as a community member, most like to see in 2018? This is a forum post, not a poll, so that you can speak eloquently about multiple subjects. Tell us your priorities about what we should be doing to keep you engaged, and to get others engaged.

Ship of Heroes Christmas Video 2017

Heroic Games have released a Christmas video showing their accomplishments during 2017, at the same time indicating to fans of the game that it is likely to have regular holiday events. Players of City of Heroes will remember running around the cities collecting presents and it seems that future players of Ship of Heroes will be able to do the same. The presents are expected to give the player special items that can be used (probably as one-shot powers) and, if the video is anything to go by, some dust. Dust, of course, being the ingame currency.

The plan is to start with events for Halloween, Christmas, and Ship Launch Day (July 4th). We'll have to wait and see what else they come up with.

'Meltdown' flying around Apotheosis City Xmas 2017

Their 18th video of the year shows one of the SoH signature heroes, Meltdown, flying around Apotheosis City opening presents. As each present is opened, he gets a reward and a short video clip plays showing one of the teams accomplishments for the year. To quote directly from Heroic Games:
"The SoH dev team has made enormous progress, moving from just a website with concept art and a strong story, to a working prototype of the game and their second small-scale alpha test in about twelve months."
The video was shot ingame using assets created by the team on a client-server network showing that SoH is in a playable (though early) state. The video shows the game the way the players would experience it if they were (able) to log in right now.

The video also contains a 'soft appeal' for donations to help the self-funded developers of the game reach their scheduled target for a Beta in December of next year (2018). If you like the sound of a superhero game with a sci-fi theme (I certainly do!) and would like to help the team realise their dream, you can donate to the cause via the Ship of Heroes website.
All donors are eligible for benefits, depending upon the amount of the donation, including a free download of the game, early access during Beta, a free month of play, and even the ability to participate with the dev team in an Alpha test while giving their feedback and requests directly to the devs.

Xmas 2017 in Apotheosis City

Ship of Heroes conducted a successful Alpha test of their character creator in September, and plans to do their first combat Alpha test at the end of December, 2017, with a Beta launch at the end of 2018.

December Outlook Revealed!

Heroic Games have revealed their plans for December. They have a set of challenging milestones, especially bearing in mind the holidays, etc.

Here's a brief list. The full version is available on the Ship of Heroes website.

  • They plan to show off the Twin Swords powerset, that's the set that their best known NPC to date (best known as in most of their videos!), Sword Blossom, uses. [1]
  • They are intending to carry out small-scale combat alpha tests in order to gather information and live feedback. They plan to form teams and run through the Science Park area to fight mobs. A video will be recorded and published.
  • Information on new devs who have joined the team is still to be published on the website.
  • The Warehouse Area has been expanded and improved and they plan to show off those changes.
  • They have a 'surprise' planned for some time during the month - we'll have to wait and see :)
  • And they're going to open a thread on the forum asking for feedback about what they did during the year and what the community would like to see during 2018.

[1] Every time I see a new power set revealed I end up adding plans for another new character. I'm going to need dozens of slots at this rate!

Night of the Clones

Enhancing their already impressive reputation for transparency, Heroic Games are highlighting the results of their latest network stress test. The highly significant video shows an early, large-scale raid test for their pre-Alpha game, Ship of Heroes. The intention was to create 80 clones and have them all onscreen walking around at once while maintaining a minimum 30 fps. They exceeded that by a huge margin. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, in the video.

Why is this Significant?

One of the questions that comes up when talking to MMO veterans about Unreal Engine 4 is about its ability to handle large numbers of players in an MMO environment. MMO's, by their nature, have many players all in the same place at the same time, they're wearing different clothes/armour and  have different expressions, faces and hair, they're engaged in different animations, facing different directions, etc. and the players expect to be able to see each other clearly. MMO players typically spend a lot of time creating a character and want others to be able to see the results.

The Ship of Heroes character creator allows for an astonishing range of modifications right down to some great hair and totally amazing eyes - you really have to see what they're done with those! You can take a look at the progress on the eyes from a youtube video posted back in March 2017.
And, yes, the hair moves realistically :)

The Network Test

The test, which Heroic Games recorded and released in a video on their youtube channel, shows 200 highly customised clones onscreen on a single map with the framerate still above their 30fps target. The clones were designed with SoH's character creator using their own assets.They pushed it to 300 clones and still achieved over 20fps. These results are from a normal PC running at 1920x1080 with shadows on. The clones were logged in as normal players would be from 100 separate accounts created for the purpose. A number of desktops and laptops were used for this and four developers from the US and EU were logged in to record their stats (fps, etc.)

The video ends with 100 clones onscreen spread out all simultaneously attacking an unfortunate NPC.

100 clones attacking an NPC

Unreal Engine 4

Ship of Heroes is the first MMO to show the possibilities of such large numbers of players onscreen simultaneously with Unreal Engine 4. The engine allows for the usual customisations by the players to improve performance on their own machine - none of those customisations were used for this video.

It doesn't take a huge leap of faith to realise the possibilities those sorts of numbers open up for the game. The intention is to have raids involving up to at least 50 players from level 1, this is in stark contrast to the majority of MMO's which feature raids as endgame content.

And, of course, if the engine can handle that many players, then it can easily cope with many NPC's which typically require less bandwidth. Ship of Heroes is gearing up for some epic battles!

Ship of Heroes conducted a successful Alpha test of their character creator in September, and plans to do their first combat Alpha test next month, with a Beta launch at the end of 2018.

SoH Youtube Video Index (from 31st March 2017)

Chris from mmoreporternetwork interviewed Casey McGeever, the CEO of Heroic Games on 31st March 2017. It was a long video, over an hour, and packed full of really interesting information. I've created a basic index into that video. Please note that this video was pre-kickstarter and a lot of the information is liable to change.

Apotheosis City
01:30Heroic Plaza, two huge symbolic statues representing the last two heroes who had to have secret identities
02:45Apotheosis City is about 1.25 sq miles, in a circle, arch is at the centre, ship is a nation in space
03:45Looking out of the ship, through a porthole
04:30A city built with superhero flight in mind with ramps and landing points all over the place
05:45Probably won't be able to run up vertical surfaces, more than one travel power possible
06:40About the heroships and human exploration out on the rim
07:50About the arch, unobtanium and dust
08:5020 levels on the ship, plus engineering at back and command & control at the front. Each level has above and below ground sections.
09:50characters progression through the ship as they level
10:30Hazard area and water front
12:00Making the game (in discrete pieces)
13:30Development and selected game engine (UE4)
14:40About eyes
15:50A 'choose your own adventure' or 'linear progression' discussion
20:25Casey talking about playing CoH
Character Creator
25:00Showing off the Character Creator
26:00A little about about power sets, not necessary to be a glass cannon (minor self buffs, etc.)
27:40Creating a female character (49 basic face shapes to start from with over 300 morphs available)
29:50Stunningly beautiful eye variations
32:40Confirmed no connection between appearance and character's stats or abilities
33:25Confirmed costumes/appearance can be changed after creation
34:05Confirmed power respecs will be possible
35:45Discussion about the reasoning behind the amount of work going into the character creator
37:23Capes confirmed
38:30Character creator was the first thing Heroic Games started working on
General Chat
39:0011 costume slots per character
40:00The game is packed into a 'release version' every week for testing purposes, combat videos shown are actual combat not made up
40:15Showing an early combat scene
41:05Casey's take on what makes a 'playable alpha' and how useful players input is at this stage
43:20Type of progression/mission types with instanced missions as well as street sweeping
44:08About raids, incoming from enemies plus us raiding them in return
46:00A game for both casual and hard core players
47:30Ability to increase/decrease mission difficulty
49:00PvP (arena, co-op, adjustable rules for matches)
50:00Invasions by aliens (potentially triggered by player actions)
52:00Plan is to build the minimum to make a really good game at release then use the income from subscriptions, etc. to make it into a great one
52:20View switches back to the ship in space
53:40About the subscription model
56:00A game for the community
1:00:10Chris, from mmoreporternetwork says a few words about Ship of Heroes

List of SoH Youtube Videos I have indexed

Crowd Control and Status Effects

Heroic Games have just released a newsletter detailing their thoughts on crowd control and status effects for their upcoming MMO Ship of Heroes. If you'd like to have your say on the crowd control abilities and help shape a brand new MMO, head on over to their forum, sign up and get posting :)
The thread created to have your say on these powers is located  at

Here's a shortened version to give you some idea of what's planned. I really recommend reading the full listing on the official newsletter though - it's well worth a read.

Power Effects Type Threat
Slow Run speed, health/energy reduction, flight suppression Targeted AoE Yes
Immobilise Prevents enemy movement, flight suppression Targeted AoE Yes
Hold Prevents enemy movement and attacks, flight suppression Targeted AoE Yes
Sleep Enemy immobilised and senses cancelled, enemy has no awareness of the effect Targeted AoE No
Confuse Target's perception of allies and enemies is temporarily reversed Targeted AoE No
Intangible Targets can neither receive nor deliver damage or debuffs Targeted AoE Yes
Terrify Targets are forced to run away but returns after a while Targeted AoE Yes
Interrupt Target is prevented from completing an attack or other action Single Target AoE Unknown

Entries in dark green are not expected to be in the game at release, they will be added later.

New Images for the Gallery and Heroships Pages

I've updated the gallery and the heroships pages with some new images including some exciting concept art kindly provided by Heroic Games.

I also made the site more mobile friendly - apologies for that oversight.

SoH Youtube Video Index (from 10th March 2017)

I was looking through some of the older video interviews for information that I could use on my blog (and the SoH wiki) and started indexing some of the more interesting points. Then I thought that someone might find the index useful - so here it is...

From a Youtube Video posted by 'Dirtylittlesecrets' on 10th March 2017 - bear in mind this was pre-kickstarter and a lot of information may have changed - I found it a really interesting video and, in fact, a lot of information not previously publicly shared was revealed in that video.

Apotheosis City
04:35Possibility of multiple travel powers per character confirmed
05:00Respec confirmed
08:25The Arch
11:30NPC's, numbers expected, etc.
12:10The Hazard Zone
14:30Complex goes down a thousand feet below the city level
15:30Casey not keen on level caps, prefers to continuously expand the game
16:00Hostile aliens, heroes and the storyline
18:00About Unobtanium and foes
20:00No player villians planned at launch
22:30About the ship, its ramming nose and a possible use for it in the future
24:00No pet classes planned at launch
27:00Auction House building (auction, crafting, harvest under one roof)
29:00Confirmation that characters of various 'widths' will be possible
Character Creation
30:00The Character Creation Tool
31:45Creating a female character
44:20Confirmation of eleven costume slots
45:20About capes
45:50Almost all parts available from the start, no need to have to earn costume pieces
General information
46:00A few words about developers playing their own game
48:00Moderation - a family friendly game
49:00About masterminds and pets
52:50Preventing content getting old and stale by moving from one planet to another
54:00Possibility of (costume) animal tails, ears, etc. in the future
57:00Character bio, up to 1023 letters, visible to other players
57:50Initial alpha/beta dates, etc.
1:00:00Talking about the importance of support characters
1:01:30Why the game is being made
1:04:20About supergroups, maybe under a different name

List of SoH Youtube Videos I have indexed

SoH Community Wiki Needs Your Help!

The Ship of Heroes Community Wiki, set up by Broxen, needs more people willing to assist with creating/updating pages and uploading material of interest to the SoH community. If you can help, please head on over to the site, create an account if necessary, and join in.