Cryptic Studios' free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Champions Online, recently incorporated the Lemurian Invasion story arc and a 300-foot tall super-sized villain called the "Harbinger of the Bleak Ones," which caused some development issues for the team.
According to a recent Champions Online blog post, not only did the sheer scale of the Harbinger cause combat hiccups during the development, but creating readable battle cues for the player had its own headaches.
"The sheer size of it meant that in an early test version the Kraken would go out of combat if you flew up to its head because you were "out of range" of its origin point (at the feet) - even though you were right next to it," wrote Tom "Lord Gar" Edwards, live producer for Champions Online.
"Another issue that we found was that we weren't doing a good job of signaling to the player what was happening," Edwards wrote. "For example, players weren't picking up on when the Kraken would start a strike, so they couldn't learn to anticipate and react to them. Without those signals, the strikes could feel arbitrary and unpreventable."
After the Giant Mech Toy Soldiers, the Harbinger was the second super-sized villain introduced within a short period of time. The team will be going back to normal-sized boss battles for the foreseeable future.
The first half of 2013 will include the release of several unique story arcs, with each arc including a lockbox, a smattering of smaller missions and a large final mission. A final mission could consist of an alert, event or a persistent mission instance.
All future arcs will involve themed rewards, items and focuses. For instance, the next arc will focus on improving players' characters and will involve gladiatorial combat.
The blog delves into the development of the Harbinger, play testing and asset creation for the Lemurian Invasion.
Champions Online was released Sept, 1, 2009, for Windows PC.