By Phil "Synapse" Zeleski
Street Justice is a new primary power set for Brutes, Scrappers and Stalkers and a new secondary power set for Tankers. This power set delivers bone-crushing melee attacks that allow the user to build up combo levels, which are used to strengthen finisher powers.
Each Street Justice attack power is either a combo builder or a finisher. Combo builder powers grant the user combo levels (up to a maximum of three), and finisher powers consume all accumulated combo levels. Finisher powers can be used without combo levels, but they become more powerful as combo levels are added. Combo level 1 provides a 5% damage bonus to finisher powers, combo level 2 provides a 12% bonus, and combo level 3 provides a 25% bonus. In addition, using combo level 3 with a finisher power can cause additional secondary effects. Here are some specific examples:
- Sweeping Cross: This conical melee attack power has a 20% chance to stun each target hit when the character has no combo levels. However, at combo level 3, the stun chance is increased to 30% and the power gains a 40% chance to knock down foes.
- Spinning Strike: This melee targeted area of effect (AOE) power has a 50% chance to knock down each target hit when the character has no combo levels. But, if this power hits at combo level 3, this chance is increased to 75%. Additionally, the power gains a 30% chance to terrorize nearby foes. Terrorized foes remain trembling in place and only attack if attacked.
- Crushing Uppercut: This devastating melee attack stuns a target it hits for 7.5 seconds when the character has no combo levels. At combo level 3, it holds a target it hits for 9.75 seconds, instead.
When characters earn combo levels, there are three visual indicators:
- The character's current combo level is shown as an auto power in the buff tray.
- The character's current combo level is shown in red indicator text below the buff tray.
- All finisher powers in the power tray get an orange highlight when the character reaches combo level 3.
The key difference between the Street Justice power set and Dual Blades is that this system is much more flexible. Dual Blades lets you choose several powerful and interesting secondary effects, but you have to use specific powers in a given order. With Street Justice, any combo builder power builds combo levels, and any finisher power consumes them. You decide how you want to build and spend combo levels. This control and variety makes Street Justice a new and fun power set choice for melee characters.
For the animation style of the Street Justice set, I imagined brutal street fighting and incredibly hard-hitting blows. I wanted to convey the idea that these attacks could be accomplished by a regular (albeit skilled) human being. Nelson "The Sensei" Tam developed the animations for the set. Nelson drew his inspiration from a mixture of Muay Thai street fighting and boxing. Keetsie "Tunnel Rat" Braz Da Cunha created this set's visual FX. Her work captures a natural feel where power is visualized with hard impact bursts and dust or wind to emphasize the movement of the character. Finally, sound engineer Adam Kay created sound effects that conveyed the bone-crushing nature of these attacks.
The design goals for this set were to deliver a power set that could thematically exist between the Martial Arts and Super Strength sets, to introduce some fun mechanics that are both familiar and new, and to provide a power set that would fit a lot of character themes.
Street Justice has an interesting back story. It wasn't a scheduled power set. It wasn't sitting in the queue of power sets that we wanted to make waiting for the right time, but players have requested a "Street Fighting" sort of power set for a long while. When I was working out which power sets we'd be bringing on line with City of Heroes Freedom, Nate "Second Measure" Birkholz came to me and noted that there was room for a power set that existed between Martial Arts and Super Strength thematically. He gently suggested that I explore this. Jokingly the power set is called by some of the devs as "Nate's Abuse of Power Set", however the reality is that Nate inspired me to make the set. There was no gun to my head. At first, I was hesitant. I believed that this niche could be and was partially filled by alternate animations for Super Strength and Martial Arts. This is one of those situations where I will happily admit I was wrong.
Street Justice is primarily a single target power set that focuses on dealing sustained damage through quick recharging, single target attacks. It also includes two powerful finisher attacks with area of effect damage.
Sweeping Cross is a narrow cone punch that deals considerable damage and can stun foes and even knock them down if the user has three combo levels. Spinning Strike is a melee targeted area of effect power that also deals damage to foes immediately around the target. This devastating attack can knock foes down and can also inflict terrorize when the user has three combo levels. Other powers in this set allow the user to quickly deal damage, weaken foes, and build up combo levels quickly.
The Build Up equivalent for the Street Justice power set is called Combat Readiness. This power boosts the user's damage and accuracy, as well as immediately granting the user three combo levels. It's important to note that Stalkers, as always, get Build Up instead of Combat Readiness, but the Street Justice version of Assassin's Strike builds up two combo levels when it hits, instead of just one.