2020 Holidays Mission Video

Dec 28, 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We’ve had a great year at Heroic Games, filled with additions, improvements, and community events. Here are the highlights of a busy year.

Among other achievements, we conducted a very large community event in March and April to keep people entertained during the pandemic. Our second major event of the year in September was focused on big battles, and we determined exactly what we needed to do to get 100+ customized characters in close-quarters combat. We also applied FX and animations to all of the powers in our initial 20 powersets, more than doubled the number of costume pieces in the character creator, and greatly improved our methods for creating missions, task forces, and similar content.

“My buffs are stronger, and I can make snow trails! Best Christmas ever!”

We’ve made huge strides on the coding side as well, with updates to the Ship of Heroes combat system, the AI. The current build uses replication graphs to improve FPS in instanced missions, as well as destructible objects! All of our basic features work, so now we’re doing a massive bug hunt, combined with a steady stream of mission-focused feature expansions and improvements. The first mayhem mission is already in the early stages of creation – we’ll have more to say about that in the future.

If the big guy punches you, you’ll go flying.

In this Christmas video, you can see a team of devs making a run through a new holiday event which will be accessible from a portal in the Beta Club. The event is set on a world where technology and magic have fused in a strange way, overwhelming a small energy-research colony. Mechanically, we are showing a straightforward run to the presents to get goodies. Monsters are killable all along the way, with an elite boss waiting at the end. Visitors will be able to gain large, unique winter infusions as rewards, along with some special salvage that will tie into the story back on the ship. We plan to expand this event map, giving it additional missions and content later on, but you’ll be able to explore the current version in an event that is currently scheduled for early 2021.

“Let’s stick to the roads, guys. I’ve got snow in my boots…”

We’ve been focusing on mission creation, including events, for several months now; this holiday event was created entirely by our technical art team in the space of about one month. We used monsters, objects, props, and of course mission-creation tools that were first set up and shown in prior years to help create this event. Some of these monsters were around in early forms in 2018, for example. It takes years to make an MMO, and each new thing we do now needs to fit with everything we’ve already done, both technically and from a story perspective.

Multiple heroes battled this snow monster boss in Apotheosis City last year.

The next newsletter will be an update to the “Schedule to Release” portion of our SoH website covering our plans for the first half of 2021. We will definitely be doing some kind of major mission-testing public event during that time – we don’t want to launch SoH without getting more comments from the community on our existing missions. The timing for launch will depend on what you have to say.

To the victors go the spoils!

On that positive note, we want to wish everyone a positive and wonderful holiday season. 2020 was not the best year ever for many people; we all want to be able to look forward to a better 2021, and part of that is going to be the launch of Ship of Heroes.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone!

Technical Notes


1. The monsters shown in this video were created specifically for Ship of Heroes by noted 3D artist Robert Brown. We’ve added them to the growing pool of assets we can use to create future content.

2. This event has several purposes. One is to celebrate the 2020 year-end holidays with our community. Another is to begin building a small collection of holiday-themed content that we can use as a basis for future, post-launch events. 

3. This event map is on the list of possible locations to be tested by multiple volunteer teams to optimize the performance of our replication graph code and capabilities for instanced missions.

4. This is an instanced event map called Snow Lair, even though it is an outdoor event. The map is specific to the event and not a part of Apotheosis City. It may look like an open world, but access is specifically limited through the gateway in the Beta Club. If too many teams simultaneously enter the event map, then Snow Lair 2 will appear once the limit on teams in a single instance is reached.

5. In the combat, both buffs for players and debuffs for monsters are working. Difficulty has been balanced to give a quick, fun video in this case. We change some aspect or other almost every week as we test things.

6. This world has interesting new technical features, like the tracks in the snow when a player runs, crunching sounds for tramping through snow drifts, and some subtle additions to the combat system. For example, snow monsters are innately more vulnerable to fire damage than they are to any other type of damage. Cold attacks won’t be as effective, just as you’d expect.

We’re testing code to celebrate the MVP in events. Great job, Northern Light!