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Weekly Discussion 53: How to Increase Villain Population

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2 minutes ago, BurtHutt said:

Disagree. I really don't like my toons pigeon-holed at all. They can change and adapt and so on as I please - if I was designing things. So, adding more of this is a bad idea but that is just my opinion. Instead, add more missions with some more epic motivations and goals - but there is no need to be robbing a bank at high levels...

What do you mean by pigeon holed? Because you know we’re talking about hypothetical ideas. You can run resistance arcs as a loyalist, I sort of imagined in my head you could do anarchy themed villain story arcs/activities and switch to doing other types at any point if you so decided.

 

I like the going rogue options for like this. The only negative is it does tend to push you into wanting to solo your own personal story more, rather than team up with others. Not helped by the strict level restrictions. If this was ever done for villains it would have to be much looser, so you can switch it up as you like and invite others to join in your plot.


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Add additional unique zone events. 

 

Make the casino in St. Martial a chill meeting place with unique npcs hanging around. Make it also the place where you get a day job for bonus reward merits when you log out. Something like "Gambler"

 

Add a Siren's Call-esque Bounty System in Grandville (opt-in). Might give the feel of a villain being number 1 and always having challengers (afro samurai!).

 

I would be happy with Grandville getting graphical optimized too. 

 

Add sharks to the surrounding isle's water. Something Captain Mako related, plus backstory/lore.

 

Villain Epic Pool Powers get a fifth power,  Summon their actual patron. 

 

Add/finish moon base / rocket pad. Make it in to pvp zone where shivans & battalion and players fight to control entire alignment buffs/debuffs a la other pvp zones. Heroes win, every hero in every zone gets a temp increase in something power, same for villains, rogues, vigilantes, maybe praetorians? Add a setting which allows players to turn off that buff/ reject if they're RPing or something. Perhaps add a negative version to opposite or losing faction if that is fair. 

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1 minute ago, Peacemoon said:

What do you mean by pigeon holed? Because you know we’re talking about hypothetical ideas. You can run resistance arcs as a loyalist, I sort of imagined in my head you could do anarchy themed villain story arcs/activities and switch to doing other types at any point if you so decided.

 

I like the going rogue options for like this. The only negative is it does tend to push you into wanting to solo your own personal story more, rather than team up with others. Not helped by the strict level restrictions. If this was ever done for villains it would have to be much looser, so you can switch it up as you like and invite others to join in your plot.

I don't think we need one specific path or motivation. People are very dynamic and versatile. Things change. When we create our toon, there is no need to have any alliance or be a lackey. That's what I prefer. Then have missions with a variety of options/motivations/enticements. So, let them start as a blank slate that doesn't need to go one way or the other. One day I may want to help Recluse...the next day I may want to blow him up...one day I want to take over corporations...or destroy a city.... that should be the lure of being a villain - I do what I want and don't need to back it up or be motivated or have a reason other than I feel like it and I want to create some chaos.

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One of the biggest stumbling blocks to increasing redside population is going to be...  Null the Gull.  He's going to be a particular problem if you add more rewards, people will just swap, grab the reward, and come back.  (Morality/Alignment missions aren't in the same weight class because they have a cost in time and effort to accomplish the switch.)

If you want to increase redside population, you have to rig the game so that people go there and stay there for a significant amount of time.  It's not enough to attract them, you also have to keep them. 

With HC's "any barrier higher than a sheet of typing paper is unacceptable" culture, that's going to be difficult to accomplish.

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I think the suggestions to change the story arcs, writing and character motivations show veterans’ frustrations with Redside but even with changes aren’t necessarily going to do anything to increase redside population or draw new players to it.
 

I think a “scheme” system (unique daily missions) with good rewards and further rewards for maintaining a villain or rogue alignment would do more. Possibly even with a leaderboard or “Most Wanted list” tied-in to see who’s the baddest villain. Then throw in some sort of multiplier for the rewards and leaderboard points for teaming. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/31/2020 at 9:17 AM, GM Miss said:

Lets talk about how to increase villain population!

Well, well, well.. look at the turn redside into blueside comments. We'll get to that in a bit.

 

If the question is "How to increase villain population?"

  • Turn the villain ATs off for heroes.
  • Add a some of additional content (strike forces or mini arcs).
  • Delete Atlas Park.
  • A rotating bump in the rewards department for red, yellow and blue. (low levels)

Does the villain population need to increase or did villains already take over?

Spoiler

image.png

 

image.png

 

If you are playing a brute, mastermind, corruptor, stalker, etc.. it could be you're playing COV not COH.

 

Edited by Troo
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Posted (edited)

oops hit submit before expanding on my list:

 

Turn the villain ATs off for heroes

  • While this will be a hated idea, it would have the desired result. Side effect could be more scrappers are created on heroes.
  • Maybe just until level 30 or 40, then they can switch.

Add a some of additional content (strike forces or mini arcs)

  • Villain side does not have as many city maps (a good thing), trial zones, or hazard zones.
  • Same with strike forces and story lines.
  • Can we give villains direct access to more hazard zones?

Delete Atlas Park.

  • It coddles new characters. It is better optimized for new character creation than new Mercy. It's not close to apples to apples.
  • How many enemy groups between Ms Liberty and the train? Mercy is different.
  • Does a player take an elevator to the train? Mercy is different.
  • Where does the train go? Mercy is different.
  • Atlas has access to Vanguard and Recluses victory. Mercy is different.

A rotating bump in the rewards department for red, yellow and blue. (low levels)

  • Maybe the easiest to impliment
  • I used to regularly broadcast "start up capital for new villains".

 

Maybe move or add the the Paragon City Tunnel to more relevant locations.

Edited by Troo
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6 minutes ago, Troo said:

 

  • A rotating bump in the rewards department for red, yellow and blue. (low levels)
  Reveal hidden contents

image.png

 

image.png

 

If you are playing a brute, mastermind, corruptor, stalker, etc.. it could be you're playing COV not COH.

 


This is a good idea and the sort of thing the HC devs might be able to do relatively easy compared to other suggestions. It works pretty well by with weekly TFs; encouraging people to do different TFs they wouldn’t usually do.

 

Maybe a 2 week bonus that rotates. Although blue side doesn’t really need it, and I’m not sure what the bonus reward would be.

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I prefer redside.

I like the story better. can the stories be improved? yes, but that's a can of worms. it can be in the same way blue side can be as well. Maybe keep it the way it is and ADD new story lines. Or just maybe have contacts be easier to... erm... contact. One thing I find myself doing more when I'm redside is having "no missions" and "no contacts" until I do a bit of street sweeping or join a TF/SF.

I like the mayhem missions the way they are. the time limit and the entire dynamic of it is refreshing. I just saw another thread that petitioned for more rewards (be it merits or otherwise) to be added to each mayhem mission. I think that's a good idea.

I also like the atmosphere better. The dark hospitals are AWESOME--stuff of nightmares and horror flicks. The dark maps of arachnos bases (which remain mostly dark even after popping a reveal) adds to the thrill of the chase for me. I've been playing redside for the past few months that when I play blueside, everything is too bright.

So... I don't think there's anything anyone can do to increase redside population. I think it ultimately boils down to human nature. everyone just wants to be a "hero". and more importantly, not everyone is simply cut out to be a villain. 😃 

PS.
Ever notice that most "hero" missions is kill this guy, or kill all; meanwhile when you're a villain, all you're asked to do is mostly steal stuff. who's the real bad guy in the story now?

 

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36 minutes ago, Six Six said:

Ever notice that most "hero" missions is kill this guy, or kill all; meanwhile when you're a villain, all you're asked to do is mostly steal stuff. who's the real bad guy in the story now?

 

They are called "Defeat All". No killing required.

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Easy way to increase red population...

 

Un-nerf some stuff but only for players who spend X hours in that zone. 
 

Start with re-enabling exemplar 2X influence when exemp’ed and playing red side.

 

Perhaps offer 2X influence only when teamed with >4 others.  
 

I solo red side all the time and will often go hours or even days of play and never encounter another soul (Excelsior) or if I do it’s in Grandville as someone blue side is there to run the PPP arc.  But if you can do something to get players active in numbers over there it will snowball.

 

Until then.....it’s just wasted server space.

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Many great arguments have been made re: agency and content. Keeping in mind those would take so much work it's unlikely to happen, I'm going to advocate for higher rewards.

 

I don't agree with the previously expressed sentiment people would switch back to hero instantly. If redside has a permanent XP/inf/merit boost on story arcs etc., you'd spend your time consistently switching.

Rather than fiat, I'd rather see a system where rewards would be boosted by X%, then every week, month, whatever interval of time we'd see how the hero/villain population balance has evolved. Crank it up further if the ratio isn't moving towards villains. Leave it be once parity is found (and of course, if villains start to outnumber heroes, dial it back down).

 

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I've only read half of the first page and I can already see the general consensus that really will sort of fly in the face of players that already like villain side plenty and doesn't really assist in helping make villain side "fun".

 

The prospect of player agency and not wanting to be a lackey...while I can understand the underlying desire to make your villain a villain in your own way, I feel it really is ignoring the limitations of the game itself.  If you want player agency, what better means of creating your own plans is there than creating your own missions in AE and then executing those missions?  Maybe make it so you can "target" your AE missions which basically allows you to pick locations on the map to start the mission so it feels like you're planning out the crime and then literally going to the place to commit that crime...but overall, the story really doesn't have the framework to do what you want for *all* the content.  It just cannot be done.

 

The positive aspect of Villain side content is that most of your contacts and the story shared has flavor.  Compared to hero side, most of the contacts, missions and arcs lack flavor but that is very different when you go red and look more into who your contacts are, when they show up again in other arcs, their goals, etc.  Basically saying, what probably could be focused on is making sure you keep making flavorful contacts, dialog and stories.  Trying to chase the specter of agency will likely just be a bar too high to reach.  There's nothing wrong with being a lackey.  There's nothing wrong with being double crossed.  The main thing that matters is if you come out on top and that's usually what happens.  Rather than being curtailed into specific story threads attempting to make you the "big bad", give me something to explore more of the spectrum of "evil".  Put me under the boot of someone so I can revel in stabbing them in the back.  Give me a sadistic master/mistress that wants to test the depth of my depravity.  Let me be lost in my insane psychopathic bloodlust and a benefactor acting to direct me to do the most harm (or the least damage to themselves).

 

The "drab" argument against villain side is typical.  I won't argue opinion.  I will say I think they should likely make night night-ier as on both sides (red and blue), night just looks like a washed out day time.  If night looked like night, maybe we can keep the different sides distinct.  Being run down, I also am indifferent to.  Many of the zones in Paragon are also run down which contrast with the more brighter zones.  I don't think red side needs a "pristine" or clean zone.  It could use better representation of a "rich" zone which is somewhat reflected in St. Marshal but the rich portion is kind of tiny.  If you're adding anything to the zones, add more to the busy city portion of St. Marshal and nothing more.  Make it a beacon of gambling and debauchery in the (*ACTUAL*) darkness of night.  I'm usually against adding more useless zones but if you devs want to flex with some zone/map building and you don't want to upset people that want St. Marshal the way it is, making a new zone for the "rich" zone wouldn't be horrible.  Again, I just think all that's needed is that night should look like night and light up St. Marshal with them neon lights.

 

Lastly, I think the main issue with villain side that most tend to agree on is Arachnos in missions.   But also Longbow.  There are other agencies like Wyvern but many of these "hero funded" vanilla factions not only end up having boring powers but also boring aesthetics.  Adding more variety in missions would be a huge plus but also maybe some rouge/vigilante factions with some variety in their ranks.  

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-Let the sun come out every once in a while.  A lot of people complain that villain zones are too grungy; a lot of that is the constant cloud cover.

-More black helicopters to make it easier to get around.  Move the Nerva North line further north, add one to the other end of Mercy, and the other end of St Martial.  Villain zones are bigger than hero zones, and harder to navigate, especially with Super Speed.

-More Task Forces.

-More story arcs, none of which include Longbow or Arachnos.

-Story zones, like the Hollows and Croatoa.  Heroes have four of them.  Villains have none.  Give 'em Boomtown, or Crey's Folly, nobody goes there anyway.

-Revamp villain accolades.  There should be no requirement to enter a PvP zone for an accolade.  That includes the Man in Black badge; yes, shivans can be farmed through Ouroboros but no hero accolades require farming either.  And remove the damage taken and debt badge requirements from their respective accolades.

 

Ultimately though, people are going to take the path of least resistance.  More people want to be the hero, so blueside will always have more players, which will attract everyone who doesn't care about alignment and just wants to be where the people are, leading to a vicious spiral where no one wants to play redside because nobody is playing redside.  "Nobody wants to play redside" is a lament almost as old as redside itself.  More rewards is just going to attract players who want to play the most rewarding content over and over.  Just like there are more people playing Brutes than any other AT but they're mostly AE farming, there would be more villain players but they'd mostly be running speed Doc Buzzsaws or whatever, leaving villain players who don't want to do that in the same position they started.

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4 hours ago, Doc_Scorpion said:

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to increasing redside population is going to be...  Null the Gull.  He's going to be a particular problem if you add more rewards, people will just swap, grab the reward, and come back.  (Morality/Alignment missions aren't in the same weight class because they have a cost in time and effort to accomplish the switch.)

If you want to increase redside population, you have to rig the game so that people go there and stay there for a significant amount of time.  It's not enough to attract them, you also have to keep them. 

With HC's "any barrier higher than a sheet of typing paper is unacceptable" culture, that's going to be difficult to accomplish.

I suppose I'm just of the opinion that this really doesn't matter.  I don't really see a need to "keep" players on one side or the other especially because of Null the Gull.  Even if players come for the rewards and then swap back, it's not like they are gone for good.  They're going to greedily come again to get more rewards.

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3 hours ago, Six Six said:

PS.
Ever notice that most "hero" missions is kill this guy, or kill all; meanwhile when you're a villain, all you're asked to do is mostly steal stuff. who's the real bad guy in the story now?

 

You're too woke!

 

If you want to think further, how many people do you see getting robbed in Rouge Isles vs Paragon City?  As a civilian, which is safer place to live?

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Posted (edited)

Ha! 😃

And to that, I say that there are less villains because we are more efficient in what we do, hence there is need for less of us to get the job done.

I do wish there was some sort of Megalomaniac path or arc. Most villains in the comics and real life "believe that they are doing the right thing." A handful, like the Joker just want to watch the world burn... agents of chaos... rebelling against institution in all of its forms... which is still a respectable motive. The rest that are just driven by greed will not amount to anything but lackeys. Again, not everyone is cut out to have the world bow before them. 

Had a brain fart just now...
blue side, I really liked the Sunstorm and the Nictus chick's (her name escapes me atm) extended story line... the one that starts at level 1 and is connected and progresses with your level until 50. As much as I wanted my PB and WS to visit the bird, I couldn't leave the story unfinished, I was hooked bait, line, sinker (and pole). Maybe something like that for the Megalomaniac arc. that would keep villains (and rogues) redside and prevent frequent alignment switches. those two stories were quite well done IMHO.

Edited by Six Six

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7 hours ago, Peacemoon said:

I just think if you could create a villain and start in Kings Row, they would be much more popular. Even if the only ‘villain content’ was paper missions and mayhem missions. 

 

In my mind, Kings Row is the Gotham just as Atlas Park is the Metropolis. KR has the potential for low-level evil to grow.

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5 hours ago, Doc_Scorpion said:

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to increasing redside population is going to be...  Null the Gull.  He's going to be a particular problem if you add more rewards, people will just swap, grab the reward, and come back.  (Morality/Alignment missions aren't in the same weight class because they have a cost in time and effort to accomplish the switch.)

If you want to increase redside population, you have to rig the game so that people go there and stay there for a significant amount of time.  It's not enough to attract them, you also have to keep them. 

With HC's "any barrier higher than a sheet of typing paper is unacceptable" culture, that's going to be difficult to accomplish.

 

Can we play with (Merit) rewards? Is it possible to give higher/better rewards to the side with the least population/losing side?

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6 minutes ago, Oginth said:

 

Can we play with (Merit) rewards? Is it possible to give higher/better rewards to the side with the least population/losing side?

I always thought, if they have some means of tracking how often certain contact missions/SF/TF are completed, granting some sort of bonus to contacts that aren't completed as often.

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8 hours ago, Darkneblade said:

It will be cool if we can overthrow Recluse and rule Rogue Islands.

Pandora Box Signature Arc for example, on that arc you created organization to go against arachnos maybe you can go from there?

 

How about if we give the Malefactor/Lackey game mechanic a more prominent role. Let players be their own Malefactor masters, allow Lackeys to overthrow their own Malefactor (since Recluse is probably not possible).

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3 hours ago, Glacier Peak said:

They are called "Defeat All". No killing required.

I have always read it as "maim, cripple or burn them all".

 

😉

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1 hour ago, Naraka said:

I suppose I'm just of the opinion that this really doesn't matter.  I don't really see a need to "keep" players on one side or the other especially because of Null the Gull.  Even if players come for the rewards and then swap back, it's not like they are gone for good.  They're going to greedily come again to get more rewards.

 

Certainly, increased rewards will generate increased activity...  but the topic of discussion is increasing population.  The two are not the same.

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7 minutes ago, Doc_Scorpion said:

 

Certainly, increased rewards will generate increased activity...  but the topic of discussion is increasing population.  The two are not the same.

Okay.  I see that prospect of increasing population as more of a semantics thing though.  As a player that plays both sides, what does that say about such players?  Are they not apart of the "population"?  Or what if you just aren't playing a character that is villainous?

 

If that is the basis for the discussion then I suppose the answer of just letting heroes do missions in red-side zones is the solution.

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