Between mining mindlessly in Eve online, funding our new Super base in City of Villains, and most importantly, testing out the open Beta for issue 14 Architect in City of Villains... I've been quite busy.
Architect is quite a bit more robust then I first thought it would be... for those not in fully up to day on City of X issues... Architect allows players to go to a content studio in game, and create full fledged missions. You can then publish them and other heroes/villains can try them out and get Experience and "Tickets" (like skeet ball tickets) to turn in for digital goodies.
It uses the natural mission randomizer already in the game, which uses your character level, Difficulty level, and number of teammates you have in your party to dictate what level the mobs/bosses are and how many pop up. You can direct the difficulty somewhat, but changing the difficulty to be easy at first and ramp up as you move along, keep it even through out, or start off with the hard baddies and have them get less difficult as you progress. But all that in consideration, you have a surprising amount of freedom in creating missions...
You can set as many objectives as you like, being grabbing objects, killing everyone, killing a boss, or escorting someone around. But with a little pre-emptive thinking, you can chain a series of objectives together to make a compelling scenario. There are a number of advanced objectives like adding an ambush or a surprise ally who turns evil... even a mob who's a friend to no one (he/she will rip apart NPC mobs as much as you)
I also enjoy the freedom in creature creation. You can use any of the several NPC mobs groups as bad guys, or create your own complete group from scratch.
Personally I'm borrowing a chapter from the old Werewolf the Apocalypse LARP, and creating the Monkey King Pack and Elder Black Spiral Dancer (the latter who gave a legitimate challenge to my character). The creator allows you to create various levels of bad guy, from regular boss to epic, to arch villain... much like how they are situated now in game. You can choose how experienced they are (which dictates how many powers they know in a specific powerset). And of course a primary and secondary power set. You can mix and match to your heart's content... combine the gun totting power of assault rifle (from the blasters/corrupter)... with the invincibility of Invincibility (from the tankers/brutes). Or give a full fledged self healing power to your high DPS brute... and of course, flight is an option for everyone. Not all combinations are equal, but you have a wide variety to play with and easily edit later.
The map list is pretty extensive, and once this version is live, the next step in creation is to make fully custom maps. But the range of map size is and variety is good enough for most missions.
The last aspect I really like is the nitpicking, customizing almost every aspect of the encounter and the text revolving around the mission. Down to the text that it gives you when you are interrupted in collecting a quest item and what the NPC boss says when he/she flees at 25% health.
Hopefully any bugs found are quickly ironed out and the system is found to be stable on the servers... so we can get this gem of a feature out on live servers asap.