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Ultimo

Being a Villain

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Before I begin, let me say I really don't expect this to happen.  It would be a ton of work.  However, I made the suggestion back in the old days, so I thought it might be worth making again, if only for the sake of discussion and amusement.

 

Agendas

 

One of the issues I've always had with playing villains in City of Heroes is that we're always stuck being little more to lackeys, doing jobs for the lackeys of the minions of the lieutenants of Lord Recluse.  Hardly in character for my character based on Dr. Doom.  We should be able to develop schemes and plans of our own.  To this end, I developed a system that might allow us to do so.  I call it the Agenda System.

This system would become available to villains at L22, by which time they are more or less coming into their own, and can get Single Origin enhancements.  They would begin by selecting an Agenda from a list.  There would be MANY possible Agendas, but some would be restricted to higher levels.  For example, a L22 villain isn't going to be trying to conquer the world.  His goal would be much more modest.

Once you have selected an Agenda, you would select a METHOD from a second list.  This would allow you to choose the precise means by which you hope to achieve your overall goal.  For example, if you want to take over the world, you might try to do it by building an army of robots, or summoning an army of demons, or by building an orbital laser cannon to ransom the world... and so on.

Once you have selected the Method, you would be given a list of goals by which you would make that method happen.  You would now do missions to achieve these goals.  Again, there would be some variety in this.  For example, if you wanted to conquer the world with an army of robots, you're going to need a base of operations, computer components, software, metals to construct them from, weapons, manufacturing equipment, and so on.  The list would be LENGTHY, potentially HUNDREDS of units of each item.  The intent is that this should take you some considerable time, as you achieve your goals.  Ideally, you would be able to recruit other players to help with these goals, assigning them as missions yourself, as if you were a contact.

As you get closer to completing your goals, the opposition will get tougher and tougher.  You would start encountering actual superheroes, not just ranking Longbow or what have you.  You might even start encountering the members of the Freedom Phalanx.

Once you have achieved all your goals, you are ready to proceed with your planned method of achieving your agenda.  You will enter your lair for one final mission.  In this mission, you will face overwhelming opposition; it is not intended that you will win.  After all, you can't actually conquer the world, it would kind of upend the whole game.  Even in defeat, you will recieve some excellent rewards (to be determined).  However, if you somehow manage to beat the no-win scenario, you will trigger several effects.

First, you will set off a worldwide event that is in keeping with your method of achieving your agenda.  For example, if you're conquering the world with robots, an army of hostile robots will swarm all over all zones, EVERYWHERE, attacking players and NPCs alike.  Eventually, the army of robots would be destroyed, and your plan would fail.  Indeed, whatever method you chose would eventually backfire and/or fail, so status quo would be maintained.
At the same time, you would recieve a personal buff, increasing your abilities to Arch Villain status, and you would be flagged for zone PvP.  This means anyone would be free to attack you, anywhere.  Of course, because you're essentially now an AV, you'll be more than a match for any single player, possibly for MANY players.  This buff would last for a specific duration, or until you're defeated.

Once it's all over, you can select a new Agenda, and start again.

This would give our villains some agency, some ability to have schemes of their own.  The Agendas might be quite modest, or they might be cosmically grand... but this would all require a lot of work to make happen.  Even so, I would love to see something like it.

Lord Dire wearies of being a lackey to a minion of a lieutenant of some other villain.


Here is an example:

Lord Dire calls up the list of Agendas, and chooses conquer the world.
He next selects the Army of Robots Method.

He is now given a list of objectives and necessary materials.  First on that list is to establish a base.  He starts with this mission, raiding and taking over a base from the Council.

His objectives now change to a list of materials needed to build his robots, including 10,000 units of steel, a high capacity generator, 100 fabrication machines, 1000 computer chips, 1000 preprogrammed AI units, 2000 sensor units, 10,000 battery units, 10,000 feet of assorted wiring, 5000 units of titanium armour.  These can be acquired in regular missions, where they will appear randomly as glowies in small amounts, or as part of Agenda missions he can do specifically to get these items, but in slightly larger amounts.  He could also assign Agenda missions to other players, letting them gather materials for him.

He goes through missions, both regular, grouped and Agenda, gathering materials here and there.  As he does so, his opponents become more and more powerful and numerous, even appearing in missions having nothing to do with his Agenda (eg. while on a Task Force, radio or other mission, a hero, up to and including a member of the Freedom Phalanx, might appear somewhere in the mission as a random encounter.)  He might also have to endure occasional ambushes in the open world.  He will also get random missions where his base is under attack (usually by the group he took it from, in this case the Council).  He would be unable to gather materials while his base is under siege.  Any defeats he suffers will cost him some of his resources.  This also happens if he sends other players on missions for him.  If they're defeated, he loses some of his gathered materials.

Eventually, he finishes gathering all the components on his list.  It might have taken months of actual gameplay, and many levels on the character.  At this point, he goes back to his base and waits for the army of robots to be constructed.  All he needs to do now is survive endless waves of powerful foes for a set amount of time (say, 20 minutes).  These foes will start strong, but get even stronger as the mission goes on.  In the last 2 minutes, the enemies will pull out all the stops, and the absolute strongest foes will attack, a whole team of AV level Freedom Phalanx heroes... Statesman, Manticore, Synapse and all the rest.  They all attack together, and Dire has to survive for those last 2 minutes.

IF HE DOES NOT, he is defeated.  His base is destroyed around him (cutscene?), and he is thought destroyed (this does not count as a defeat).  He is awarded some really good stuff (xp, recipes, salvage, etc.) for completing his Agenda.

IF HE DOES miraculously survive or defeat the final 2 minutes... He is elevated to AV status, and flagged for PvP wherever he goes.  At the same time, sirens sound all over the game, both Paragon and the Rogue Isles, in all zones.  Armies of robots will continuously spawn in all zones, attacking everything they see, both PCs and NPCs.  This assault will continue until a set number of robots are defeated (say... 10,000?). At that point, the raids end.  Dire will retain his AV buff for 1 hour of game time.  Once it's gone and the robot raids are defeated, his Agenda is finished, and he will recieve the rewards as above for completing it.

At this point, he can now choose another Agenda (or the same one, if he wishes).

 

 

What do you think?

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Yuuuuuuup!

https://forums.homecomingservers.com/topic/19655-weekly-discussion-53-how-to-increase-villain-population/page/7/?tab=comments#comment-222757

https://forums.homecomingservers.com/topic/19762-new-redside-content-ambitions/

 

Perhaps you, @TalynDerre, and I could try to organize a little workgroup here in the forums, and attempt to draft up a design document for this feature?

I certainly know it's been percolating in the back of my mind for over a decade.

 

Also, @longdayinrehab.   I just reread portions of that weekly discussion thread and saw that you would want to be included in projects of this nature, so throwing an invite out to you too!

 

Edited by CrudeVileTerror
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I think I've read this 10 years ago as well. 😕

 

I like the idea of villains being more villainous.

 

I haven't given your specific idea enough thought to have a detailed opinion.

I would like to see things be more tied into the alignment system, and for ways to have villains and heroes play in each others zones, without it being PvP.

 

Villains robbing the bank in Atlas, should be seen travelling there.

Heroes should have a mission to help Longbow in Mercy.

 

Maybe show how many bank robberies have been done and been prevented in an area in the last 24 hours? Things like that.

 

Something where your villain can have a nemesis, or vice-versa, and it means something in game, even if they are alts from the same player. Maybe a level difference gives some bonus/penalty.

Edited by RogerWilco

The adventurous Space Janitor reporting for duty. Cleaning the universe since 1992 and Paragon City, the Rogue Isles and Praetoria since 2011.

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Couple that with the alignment/tips/morality thing and you could really bend reality around yourself.  Sorry, Positron, diplomatic immunity there, can't touch me.  (I've got JUST enough on my hero alignment bar to keep you off my back but not so much that I can't actually DO my agenda.)

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3 hours ago, RogerWilco said:

I think I've read this 10 years ago as well. 😕

 

I like the idea of villains being more villainous.

 

I haven't given your specific idea enough thought to have a detailed opinion.

I would like to see things be more tied into the alignment system, and for ways to have villains and heroes play in each others zones, without it being PvP.

 

Villains robbing the bank in Atlas, should be seen travelling there.

Heroes should have a mission to help Longbow in Mercy.

 

Maybe show how many bank robberies have been done and been prevented in an area in the last 24 hours? Things like that.

 

Something where your villain can have a nemesis, or vice-versa, and it means something in game, even if they are alts from the same player. Maybe a level difference gives some bonus/penalty.

Actually, your comment gave me an idea!

 

What if, instead of the Rampage missions (where you do newspaper missions until sent to "Paragon City" to rob a bank) taking you to an instanced mission area, it instead sent you to actual PARAGON CITY, where hero players are playing!  You would be given a temporary buff power that would only be active while in Paragon, that reduces the effect of player powers on you by a substantial amount (perhaps enough to make you as tough as an AV?).  The NPC enemies would still affect you normally, but PCs would have to gather to fight you, or you would overwhelm them.

 

If not as part of the Robbery missions, then perhaps as part of some other story arc or something?  Not sure if it would even be possible...

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On 11/18/2020 at 4:40 AM, Ultimo said:

Actually, your comment gave me an idea!

 

What if, instead of the Rampage missions (where you do newspaper missions until sent to "Paragon City" to rob a bank) taking you to an instanced mission area, it instead sent you to actual PARAGON CITY, where hero players are playing!  You would be given a temporary buff power that would only be active while in Paragon, that reduces the effect of player powers on you by a substantial amount (perhaps enough to make you as tough as an AV?).  The NPC enemies would still affect you normally, but PCs would have to gather to fight you, or you would overwhelm them.

 

If not as part of the Robbery missions, then perhaps as part of some other story arc or something?  Not sure if it would even be possible...

Sounds fun, wouldn't be.  @CrudeVileTerror has a possible answer.  Over to you!

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Since I've written this in many other threads on this topic, here goes: Feeling like a 'lackey' is on the player.

 

The original conceit of the game is that "contacts hand out missions" with a modicum of "street sweeping". Red or Blue (or Gold), you have to have contacts (or later, Tips) to get missions. It's up to the player how to interpret the missions, for your point in your career.

 

By the time a villain has reached the 40s, you are getting missions that take you up against not just the finest from Paragon City, but also the patrons & powers of the Rogue Isles. You can go into the PVP zones and try to rule them with an iron fist should you desire. You can stand anywhere you want and try to recruit other players to do missions you pick.

 

Even Victor von Doom had to take a science class!

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Gorshdernnit, @Darmian!   Calling me out like that.   *shakes a fist-shaped tentacle in a crotchety manner*

 

Right.

Well.

Ok.

 

SO!

The idea has been bounced around a few times at this point, and I don't think I should be the one to take credit for it, because I think others have proposed it before me, buuuuuuut . . . 

As an asynchronous form of mock-PvP, the idea is that the dopple code is leveraged to create the option of player-created Heroes an player-created Villains to be utilized in Mayhem and Safeguard missions as the final boss.

 

Basically, the idea goes like this:

If you're a Villain and you complete a Mayhem, you get the option to elect to have your character used as an AI-controlled NPC enemy in a Hero player's Safeguard mission, assuming that Hero player also chooses the option to have player-made Villains as their enemies.

If you're a Hero and you complete a Safeguard, you get the option to elect to have your character used as an AI-controlled NPC enemy in a Villain player's Mayhem mission, assuming that Villain player also chooses the option to have player-made Heroes as their enemies.

 

There's a LOT more that we could do with this as well.  It could really open up the door for all kinds of new and interesting ways to engage passively with other players.

And to be clear:   I'm not against actual PvP Mayhems/Safeguards . . . but I know such a feature would not be terribly well-received by the majority of players.  I leave it to the dedicated PvPers to decide if they'd want such a feature added; it seems the Devs are currently attempting to cater to them right now anyway, based on the Beta thread.

 

 

 

As for being treated like a lackey being the -player's- fault . . . 

Fuck.  No.

 

The problem is with the writing.  Thoroughly and completely.

Large tracts of Redside content is written in such a way that it robs players of the agency the game promises them when getting to create their own character.

This isn't Mass Effect, where we play as Commander [insert-meaningless-name-here] Sheppard.

This is a game where there are both express and tacit indications that the character(s) we make is/are -ours.-  And then the game goes and pulls a big ol' ludonarritive dissonant blunder and takes it away.

 

And before anyone tries to say again "but there's no other way to write the stories" . . . HAND-SLAM-ON-DESK:  DENIED!

The proof is in the pudding.  The Bane Spider Ruben pudding, to be exact!

While not perfect, it demonstrates what solid writing can do to reinforce a player's sense of ownership and agency of their character.

And more than that, it demonstrates that under no conditions do we -need- to be lackeys.

 

@holymittens did a pretty stellar job with the Rogue story arc too.

Again, not perfect, but certainly taking big strides in the right direction.

 

I haven't had a chance to finish Piecemeal's stuff that's on Beta right now, but after the first three or four missions . . . not bad as far as the potential lackey complaint.  I reserve final judgement when I actually get to finish the arc, but up to the point I've reached . . . the way Piecemeal has written Doc Buzzsaw is more like an old friend looking to share some glory, rather than someone who's looking down on the player-villain.

 

And that's really what it comes down to.

The titular "City of Villains" is supposed to be addressing our player-character Villains!  

It isn't supposed to be referring to the asshole contacts who crap all over our characters . . . and yet, that's what the current writing largely points toward.

 

A total rewrite isn't in the cards right now . . . but it's lessons like the one which Bane Spider Ruben and Brother Hammond teach that will hopefully yield better Villain representation with the future Homecoming Team writers.

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Applauds!

 

And if half of the madness I propose re shifting the "political" focus of Arachnos were ever implemented, ie letting them pull back so as to actually take MORE control from the shadows, that might help too.  Linky!

 

Edited by Darmian

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Love the creativity!

 

More gameplay options would be most welcome 😃

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Well . . . before an idea is implemented, it needs to be designed.

And that's where we can work together!

 

I mean, I don't know if the Devs are even remotely receptive to this idea, or any of the others along a similar vein, and it's absolutely disheartening to work on something only to be told "we never wanted that in the first place,"

But!

We can at least put together a first draft design document to try and sweeten the pot a little.

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But funnies aside, yeah. Why not? Personally I've sketched some of my thoughts elsewhere (see link above) but those can be refined and hammered into other things. On a more granular level tying that macro effect that I'm looking at into something like @Ultimo's suggestions, or yours, @CrudeVileTerror, would take a bit but is entirely doable.  Then breaking those down into things as "simple" as factions/story arcs/individual missions, yeah.

 

So.  What's first? 

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My longer answer is this... In live, red side was still pretty popular. Now that we have the ability to change our alignment at null the gull... Villains are redheaded step children outside of standing around pocket D boasting about whatever totally inconsequential villainous act they've done. 

 

Im not sure if something like this would actually change things for the better... But I agree with damn near anything that will put a little balance in the force, and breath life into the forgotten isles. 

 

This probably deserves its own thread but I think one thing that needs to happen is... We need a new generation. A new generation of heroes and villains. City of heroes is famous (to us) for the AE. So now, I say unto you dudes... Why not clone our heroes and villains and throw them into the game as arch villains and heroes after you complete a story arc of the suggested magnitude in this thread? Scale stats to AV level, same build as you. It would give people reasons to rob and protect banks. It would cement that you have ACCOMPLISHED something. You are SOMEBODY, somebody to be feared... To be rivaled. You are a name to be remembered, and possibly feared in paragon gosh darnit! Or you are regen, and people will seek you out as an easy kill. But alas, you will be remembered! 

 

Anyway. I think we need more stuff like this in general. As it is, this game is amazing, but it has been seriously lacking in "progress" of story and character development for a long time, even during live imo...so why not do what city of heroes does best and use the players, and procedurally generated content? 

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I like this! It's an interesting payoff for a player that should they succeed at their mad scheme then they will lose control of their character BUT what a way to lose control of your character!

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