'Master X Master' Hands-On With Statesmen From 'City Of Heroes': A Tribute To Paragon City's Oldest Protector


Master X Master is a new MOBA being developed by NCSoft and I had a meeting to see the new “Master,” or playable hero at PAX East. It’s the patriotic, super-strong hero on the cover of City Of Heroes, Statesman. NCSoft has finally decided to acknowledge the MMO that ran for nearly a decade with an homage to Paragon City’s fervent protector.

City Of Heroes was the MMO that changed my life. I spent my formative years flying around Paragon City and the Rogue Isles, zapping the Fifth Column and saving the day. Every time I meet with NCSoft, my first question is always “when is City Of Heroes coming back?” They usually humor me or say they aren’t working on it, but at this year’s PAX East, things were different.

Master X Master can get a bit hectic Photo: NCSoft

I sat down with NCSoft to see the new playable hero coming to Master X Master and sarcastically said “if isn’t Statesman, I don’t care.” The room went silent as the producer pressed play on the prepared video. First I saw the red glove, then the white emblem and then I knew exactly who it was. Statesman, the flagship hero of City Of Heroes who has been long forgotten by the company who made him, is finally coming back.

I usually try to play it cool when I see game news, but I just couldn’t after seeing Statesmen rendered in HD. I squealed like a kid playing Pokémon for the first time, thanking the developers for the first reference to the City Of series by NCSoft since 2012. I said: “the alternate skin is Tyrant, right?” and I was. Before the producers of the MOBA could reveal anything to me, I had already done it myself.

Statesmen's ultimate, Heroism Photo: NCSoft

Statesman in Master X Master is a tank who can deal out some massive damage, more of a Scrapper than a Tanker in City Of Heroes terms. All of his abilities were taken from actual skills in the COH games: Foot Stomp, Dull Pain and Flying Haymaker to name a few. MXM ’s “Masters” aim their basic attacks with the mouse, there’s no automatic aiming like in League Of Legends . Statesman’s auto attack cleaves everyone in front of him and can be charged up to launch the hero at his foes.

In the COH story, Statesman has the power of Zeus and they decided to incorporate that into his kit. His ultimate, Heroism, launches him into flight and turns his basic attacks into Zeus bolts. At first, it was alarming to see Statesman with electricity powers, but as I played more, it started to make sense. The MXM developers are taking some creative license with Statesmen, which I think is totally fine. COH fans have been waiting half a decade for any news on their favorite MMO, we will take whatever we can get.

Statesman barely spoke in City Of Heroes , he just stood in Independence Port, arms crossed and vigilant. MXM requires a full VO for all of the “masters” and he never had much dialogue, only saying a single line in the City Of Heroes: Going Rogue trailer. The producers of MXM gave him a voice worthy of a champion, deep and commanding. He talks about standing up for the little guy and fighting for the side of good, everything a Superman homage should.

Statesmen signal, Batman has one so why shouldn't he? Photo: NCSoft

Master X Master’s producers told me a few things COH fans might find of interest:

  • NCSoft has no plans to do anything with the City of properties beyond this brief cameo, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get more homages in Master x Master .

  • The developers chose between two different characters from COH for this spot. They refused to tell me who the other option was, but I’d bet a Rikti airship that it was Lord Recluse.

  • Zones based on other NCSoft titles are already in Master x Master . The developers aren’t working on a Paragon City zone, but it isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility.

  • Master x Master’s developers wanted to stay as true to the source material as possible and even tried to contact past Paragon Studios employees, but were unable to work something out since they all work at different studios.

  • Statesman isn’t actually who you think he is, he’s actually Tyrant, the evil Praetorian version of Paragon City’s protector. Statesman died in the City Of Heroes lore and instead of scrapping all of the canon, they decided to build on it.

You can sign up for Master X Master’s closed beta that’s coming soon, here.

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