Smoother Combat

Dec 14, 2023

One key goal is to deliver smoother, more enjoyable combat. Many of the combat and power changes described here have not been previously revealed.

Our latest successful Steam Next Fest Beta event is behind us, but we’re already looking forward to the next public event. In the last few weeks, we’ve been making a series of upgrades that our community requested during the last event, and also working on some other new features that we want to perfect before Ship of Heroes launches.

Let it snow burn, let it burn, let is burn!

Recently we’ve shown and discussed upgrades to the SoH camera system and controls, especially focused on changing the default setting to zero camera lag, and altering how our targeting system works; we made some subtle changes to enhance targeting enemies behind your character, and added a targeting reticule to make it clearer which enemy you have targeted. You can read more about it in Targeting Upgrades in Ship of Heroes. We also adjusted some detection distances – heroes now detect enemies before they are themselves detected. The camera changes in particular help with situational awareness in combat.

You don’t see me, but I see you. Target acquired!

In the video, you’ll see another change: all new level one characters begin the game with two quick-firing powers, plus the universal pistol power. The cast and recharge times on the early powers are such that you should always have at least one attack ready to go. This means every new superhero starts with an attack chain of three powers, plus a couple of mez, buff, heal, or debuff powers. Every new character can now hit harder, move faster, and also do something cool other than pure damage in their very first fights. In a word, every character is super.

An attack chain of quick cast and recharge powers for every powerset at level 1

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Participants in our Steam Beta also requested a bigger difference between the effectiveness of primary and secondary powers. Done and done: your primary powers now do more damage, stronger heals, buffs or debuffs, increased taunt duration, etc, while secondary powers are unchanged. Heroes hit harder, and there’s more difference between the five current superhero archetypes, so it’s easier for players to take on specialized roles in teams. Overall, combat has gotten deeper, more complex, and more strategic.

Fireball as Primary Power

Fireball as Secondary Power

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As a reminder to everyone, SoH does not have traditional gear which changes the appearance of your character. Instead, players buy and install augments into their superpowers. If you play without augments, combat will be vastly more difficult. But augments allow you to keep your character’s appearance – you don’t have to sacrifice style to improve your stats.

Augment Vendors are easy to spot in their new uniform!

To help players remember to level up and to add augments, the vendors that perform these functions have indicators when you’re in need of their services. Often, they’ll wave at you when you get close if you could train or upgrade your powers.

“Subtle in every way, I see:” hero being hailed by Power Trainer in new uniform.

Of course, we’re also eager to share these improvements with you! We are looking at dates for our next public event with new content in the immediate future. And we want to show off as many of the changes in this newsletter as we can at that event. So, stay tuned, because there’s a lot more coming!

And as always, please Wishlist and Follow us on Steam. That helps us prepare for the launch of a great new MMORPG.

Technical Notes


1. We have already changed the superspeed power to allow it to be used during combat. We always allowed flight to work in combat, so why not superspeed? We’ve also increased the visibility of the superspeed trails, including at night. High visibility will likely be convenient in the next public event.

2. We have an ongoing program of evaluating and upgrading our animations, especially combat animations. Some players have requested particular animations similar to their favorites from modern single player games. This is often not possible in any MMO, because of how heavy they would be on the server. But we always look at each request to see what we can do.

3. We’ve fixed a small bug where a few powersets/weapons would occasionally fluctuate between combat and non-combat poses, which was confusing.

4. We’ve expanded our volunteer testing team quite a bit since the Steam event and are continuing to recruit. If you are interested, please sign up on our homepage. We’re working towards the goal of having a fun new test event this month.

5. If you participated in any Steam Beta, your characters from that Beta should be available for the next event. Or you can create a new character. Either way works.

6. Upgrades to primary powers can take different forms: more damage, stronger heals, increased duration of a power, such as with taunt, etc.

7. Some players may be thinking that they may not want to have two quick-firing early attack powers in the late-game. That’s true, so you will be able to re-pick your powers when you reach high levels and make alternate selections to fit your late-game playstyle. You can’t change to a different archetype or powerset, though.

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