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MassivelyOP Article on City of Heroes 2


Apparition

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As some may know, Paragon Studios briefly worked on City of Heroes 2 back in 2008 and 2009 before NCSoft nixed it.  A writer for the MassivelyOP web site mused today on what a City of Heroes 2 would look like if developed in 2021.  You can read it here.

 

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Fortunately, it’s pretty easy with this franchise to start from scratch in at least one respect. You don’t need to explain why the game is taking place in the future or what happened since the last one; this is a superhero story. There was a big cosmic event that rewrote the fabric of reality and now everyone is dealing with a slightly different Paragon City. That’s right, someone rebooted the universe.

 So what does Paragon City look like now? Well, it’s bigger, for one thing. And it’s a city of two parts. In some areas, the city is at least ostensibly still controlled by the forces of law and order; in others, the malicious anarchy of Lord Recluse and Arachnos is the closest thing that exists to any kind of law. That’s right, we’re starting with heroes and villains playable from the word go, with both factions in the same cityscape.

 

 

Personally, I'm not a fan of the action combat idea.

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20 minutes ago, Apparition said:

As some may know, Paragon Studios briefly worked on City of Heroes 2 back in 2008 and 2009 before NCSoft nixed it.  A writer for the MassivelyOP web site mused today on what a City of Heroes 2 would look like if developed in 2021.  You can read it here.

 

Personally, I'm not a fan of the action combat idea.

Oh MassivelyOP, with their silly hypotheticals! 

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Ugh. Already don't like that setup just from the quoted bit. I don't like having Arachnos - a hostile foreign power - *building bases* in Faultline and Siren's (and part of Atlas, apparently) already. It's just ridiculously stupid.  "The villains own half the city" is just that writ large.

 

The only way a "villain" should "own a city" is something... oh, Crey could pull off, where they're a big enough corporation they "own" a large chunk of the economy, have political clout, etc. - enough to influence events and hide things. I mean, if at any point the USSR owned Brooklyn, it wouldn't be tolerated.

 

Don't even have to go into the article after that.

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19 minutes ago, Glacier Peak said:

Oh MassivelyOP, with their silly hypotheticals! 

 

Gamer sites are like movie-fan sites: "Well, y'know, dude, if I'D made this $300M movie, I'da put Dua Lipa in the lead, cuz she's just so hot!"...

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15 minutes ago, Apparition said:

Well, there is precedent for the idea in Kallisti Wharf.  The left side of the zone is the hero side, nice and clean.  While the right side of the zone is the villain side, with lower class housing and warehouses. 

 

Which promotes utterly false ideas about the nature of crime and motivation, but never mind.

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1 hour ago, Shenanigunner said:

Which promotes utterly false ideas about the nature of crime and motivation, but never mind.

Environmental criminology aims to confirm such a relation, though I have never been convinced that criminological theories can provide enough context on their own, I do enjoy the positivistic application in the field. Perhaps one day the criminal justice field will be elevated beyond its reliance on routine activities, rational choice, and other assumptive theories and become an actual science of study instead of an amalgamation that can't stand on its own.

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*applause* However, the body of work in sociology in general confirms that most crime, especially when measured in value amounts, is from greed, not need. You don't have to get into questionable niche fields to deeply undermine the idea that poverty breeds a criminal mindset, and (especially, as here) vice versa.

 

But this is a game, and games are meant to be fun.

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10 minutes ago, Shenanigunner said:

*applause* However, the body of work in sociology in general confirms that most crime, especially when measured in value amounts, is from greed, not need.

This is absolutely untrue.

 

Statistical work from criminologists has proven that poor people are far more likely to commit crimes than rich people. Part of it is from wanting money and part of it stems from the same mindset that keeps them poor in the first place.

 

The poor are statistically far more likely to commit violent crimes in addition to being more likely to steal money or resources. It's just that when the rich do commit crimes it's far more likely to make it into the news.

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Without delving too far off topic... sorry OP!

 

Criminogenic elements, cause and effect, nature versus nurture, socioeconomic status, there is no one, two, three, four, etc., cause of crime. There are many causes for many people for many reasons for many crimes - if that sounds confusing, it's because it is. There is no one solution to all crime either. And as much as everyone in society who cares about criminal justice reform, law enforcement, and social welfare, there will never be a one cause, one solution either.

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8 hours ago, Greycat said:

Ugh. Already don't like that setup just from the quoted bit. I don't like having Arachnos - a hostile foreign power - *building bases* in Faultline and Siren's (and part of Atlas, apparently) already. It's just ridiculously stupid.  "The villains own half the city" is just that writ large.

 

The only way a "villain" should "own a city" is something... oh, Crey could pull off, where they're a big enough corporation they "own" a large chunk of the economy, have political clout, etc. - enough to influence events and hide things. I mean, if at any point the USSR owned Brooklyn, it wouldn't be tolerated.

 

Don't even have to go into the article after that.

Isn't the article writer describing sort of a Recluse's Victory scenario, though?  There's no question it would be opposed.  Recluse's Victory is opposed.  What the writer would need is some scenario which allows Arachnos to retain this beachhead without being pushed back into the sea by a coalition of governments and heroes.  Like a massive domed shield or something.  Not saying I like what is proposed, just considering the possibility.

 

Incidentally, and not to get political, we actually have real world, modern scenarios where a foreign population takes over a town of a 1st world country and creates such a threat that the country removes all its population, effectively ceding control.  It's unpleasant to think it can happen, but it has.  (This is assuming, of course, that the reports I read are accurate.)

 

I do agree, however, that control of a turf by backdoor threats, manipulations, and acquisitions is far more likely until enough is acquired to step into the open. 

 

Actually, I'd find it far more interesting if the Rogue Islands took a page from the real world news and started building a series of man-made islands extending its sovereign territory closer and closer to Rhode Island, until it forced a confrontation in international courts over sovereign waters.  If it gains a court ruling that the closest island to the mainland can stay, The Rogue Islands (and lets face it, that's just a political front for Arachnos) could use that island to base Arachnos.  Still a big threat, still a thorn-in-the-side of Paragon City and the USA, but not a mainland grab.

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2 hours ago, Techwright said:

Isn't the article writer describing sort of a Recluse's Victory scenario, though?  There's no question it would be opposed.  Recluse's Victory is opposed.  What the writer would need is some scenario which allows Arachnos to retain this beachhead without being pushed back into the sea by a coalition of governments and heroes.  Like a massive domed shield or something.  Not saying I like what is proposed, just considering the possibility.

 

Incidentally, and not to get political, we actually have real world, modern scenarios where a foreign population takes over a town of a 1st world country and creates such a threat that the country removes all its population, effectively ceding control.  It's unpleasant to think it can happen, but it has.  (This is assuming, of course, that the reports I read are accurate.)

 

I do agree, however, that control of a turf by backdoor threats, manipulations, and acquisitions is far more likely until enough is acquired to step into the open. 

 

Actually, I'd find it far more interesting if the Rogue Islands took a page from the real world news and started building a series of man-made islands extending its sovereign territory closer and closer to Rhode Island, until it forced a confrontation in international courts over sovereign waters.  If it gains a court ruling that the closest island to the mainland can stay, The Rogue Islands (and lets face it, that's just a political front for Arachnos) could use that island to base Arachnos.  Still a big threat, still a thorn-in-the-side of Paragon City and the USA, but not a mainland grab.

There is a common misconception among players that the world in which we play is largely like ours, and do not tend to dwell on what the Rikti Invasion did to the rest of the world. Paragon was far from the only city attacked, and in fact likely was far less hard hit then most, as most did not have beings on par with SM and the rest of games core iconic characters. Basically i am saying that one of the reasons Recluse and his isle even exist is because it is likely in better shape then much of the world.

 

It really is not hard to imagine that in the wake of Coles death Stephan being largely unrivaled in power could take control of a vast swatch of the globe largely unchallenged.

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9 hours ago, Shenanigunner said:

*applause* However, the body of work in sociology in general confirms that most crime, especially when measured in value amounts, is from greed, not need. You don't have to get into questionable niche fields to deeply undermine the idea that poverty breeds a criminal mindset, and (especially, as here) vice versa.

 

But this is a game, and games are meant to be fun.

Most of the actual wealth that is stolen annually in the U.S. is done by white collar criminals, a classification for crime that inherently exists to treat the wealthy who break the law better then the poor.

 

Likewise Serial Killers and mass murderers often come from wealthier families, and it is well documented that Sociopaths and Psychopaths are mainly found in the fields of Corporate management, law enforcement, the medical fields, the clergy, and upper education.

 

From pyramid scheme scum fleecing thousands for their retirement funds, to a doctor overseeing and abusing scores of young women gymnasts, these actions by singular individuals outweigh entire poor communities worth of crime.

 

Anyone who denigrates and demonizes the poor would certainly not be a person who lived in Paragon that is for sure, sounds like the kind of thinking that belongs in Praetoria.

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18 hours ago, Llewellyn Blackwell said:

There is a common misconception among players that the world in which we play is largely like ours, and do not tend to dwell on what the Rikti Invasion did to the rest of the world.

Just for clarification:  did the Rikti actually hit the rest of the world?  I mean more than the North American coast and probably the Rogue Islands.  I was always of the belief that their dimensional portal technology was limited to one access point:  Paragon City, which was why Omega Team was effective, as opposed to having to shut down dozens or hundreds of access points.

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18 hours ago, Llewellyn Blackwell said:

Anyone who denigrates and demonizes the poor would certainly not be a person who lived in Paragon that is for sure, sounds like the kind of thinking that belongs in Praetoria.

I don't know if this is directed specifically at me, but I'm going to respond to it.

 

I don't "denigrate the poor." I simply read and recite the statistics. Personally, I'd like to see a situation in which there are better education and training opportunities for the poor so that they can lift themselves out of poverty and not so readily see committing crimes as a viable alternative. It's one of the reasons why I'm so critical of the public school system in America.

 

Simply speaking the truth isn't insulting or denigrating anyone. When I say "water is wet" that's simply a true statement, no matter who is offended by it.

 

And I'm not in any way saying that rich people don't commit crimes, or that they don't use their wealth and/or influence to cover up said crimes. You're reading words into my statement that I never wrote if you though that's what I was saying. Personally, I think that the rich and/or powerful should have higher mandatory minimum sentences when they do get convicted of any crime than poor people do. First, because they have far less excuse to commit crimes and, second, because it would cause them to be a little bit more concerned about the consequences than they currently are.

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I'm intrigued by the bit about Star Strider. I've been looking for inspiration for some guild-related AE missions to write, I think there's a seed there.

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On 9/17/2021 at 11:58 AM, Glacier Peak said:

Without delving too far off topic... sorry OP!

 

Criminogenic elements, cause and effect, nature versus nurture, socioeconomic status, there is no one, two, three, four, etc., cause of crime. There are many causes for many people for many reasons for many crimes - if that sounds confusing, it's because it is. There is no one solution to all crime either. And as much as everyone in society who cares about criminal justice reform, law enforcement, and social welfare, there will never be a one cause, one solution either.

Sorry as well for being off topic, but I really recommend folks interested in this topic watch The Wire.  It's a complex and well researched look at drugs, crime, police policy, education, and politics in Baltimore.    

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2 hours ago, Ignatz the Insane said:

Sorry as well for being off topic, but I really recommend folks interested in this topic watch The Wire.  It's a complex and well researched look at drugs, crime, police policy, education, and politics in Baltimore.    

I don't recommend anyone watch it for educational reasons, but you should watch the Wire because it's one of the best TV shows ever created.

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9 hours ago, Deuce Spade said:

I don't recommend anyone watch it for educational reasons, but you should watch the Wire because it's one of the best TV shows ever created.

 

Agree on both points. However, I do think anyone who watches it through and "engages" with the stories being told will come away with a better sense that crime is a very complex phenomena, not what most self-righteous tropes (and tropers) make it, and is simply not — if I may — black and white.

 

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33 minutes ago, Shenanigunner said:

Agree on both points. However, I do think anyone who watches it through and "engages" with the stories being told will come away with a better sense that crime is a very complex phenomena, not what most self-righteous tropes (and tropers) make it, and is simply not — if I may — black and white.

 

This is true, but I can't help but find a certain irony in decrying a binary interpretation of crime and criminality in the forum for a duo of games literally called City of Heroes and City of Villains.

 

It ties a bit in with a debate I'm having over in the roleplay forum, but I can't help but feel that City of Heroes is the wrong place to attempt to critically apply a multifaceted, academic approach to the intersection of poverty, race, and myriad other real-world American social factors with criminality.  By text, City of Heroes is a game about superheroes - archtypal, mythologized 'monsters for good' who are possessed of great personal power that they use to affect justice - and supervillains, who use their great personal power to do categorical evil.  A huge part of the power fantasy of existing in this space is to be able to do Righteous Harm To The Evil, and that requires concessions from a real-world understanding of morality.  It's the same logic as playing a Paladin in Dungeons & Dragons: the mere existence of the Paladin presupposes a number of fantastical departures from Earth such as the existence of objective capital-E Evil and the intrinsic righteousness of doing violence to Evil beings.  But boiling down complex morality to a simple rubric where the individual has the power to affect positive change through exciting action is part of what makes D&D, and specifically the Paladin, fun.

 

To chide the Paladin player that in the real world, violence begets violence and Evil is a social construct wielded by agents of institutional power is counterproductive and, to be frank, kind of an asshole thing to do.  The Paladin player knows that humans are complicated.  They want to simulate playing a hero who's uncomplicated, and you reintroducing moral ambiguity is unwelcome contrarianism.  Similarly I consider it kind of a dick move to chastise a superhero player for deriving enjoyment from beating on, say, the Lost, because in the real world law enforcement disproportionately targets the poor.

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Most of my writing is SG-internal, but the following are SFMA that anybody should be able to play if you want new story-based content.

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  • NPI: Brickstown Vice | 36729, 40648, 40803 - The New Praetorians aid Marauder in a drug bust that dredges up his past.  Branches into two paths.
  • NPI: Red Resistance | 43796 - The New Praetorians run afoul of vigilantes after a robbery gone wrong.  Crossover with <Hero Corps Founders Falls>.
  • NPI: Leucochloridium | 44863: - A wellness check on a Woodvale cleanup officer turns over unfinished, Praetorian business.
  • How Emperor Cole Saved Christmas | 45794 - A 100% authentic simulation of how Emperor Cole singlehandedly saved the holiday of Christmas!
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2 minutes ago, TwoDee said:

 

This is true, but I can't help but find a certain irony in decrying a binary interpretation of crime and criminality in the forum for a duo of games literally called City of Heroes and City of Villains.

 

It ties a bit in with a debate I'm having over in the roleplay forum, but I can't help but feel that City of Heroes is the wrong place to attempt to critically apply a multifaceted, academic approach to the intersection of poverty, race, and myriad other real-world American social factors with criminality.  By text, City of Heroes is a game about superheroes - archtypal, mythologized 'monsters for good' who are possessed of great personal power that they use to affect justice - and supervillains, who use their great personal power to do categorical evil.  A huge part of the power fantasy of existing in this space is to be able to do Righteous Harm To The Evil, and that requires concessions from a real-world understanding of morality.  It's the same logic as playing a Paladin in Dungeons & Dragons: the mere existence of the Paladin presupposes a number of fantastical departures from Earth such as the existence of objective capital-E Evil and the intrinsic righteousness of doing violence to Evil beings.  But boiling down complex morality to a simple rubric where the individual has the power to affect positive change through exciting action is part of what makes D&D, and specifically the Paladin, fun.

 

To chide the Paladin player that in the real world, violence begets violence and Evil is a social construct wielded by agents of institutional power is counterproductive and, to be frank, kind of an asshole thing to do.  The Paladin player knows that humans are complicated.  They want to simulate playing a hero who's uncomplicated, and you reintroducing moral ambiguity is unwelcome contrarianism.  Similarly I consider it kind of a dick move to chastise a superhero player for deriving enjoyment from beating on, say, the Lost, because in the real world law enforcement disproportionately targets the poor.

But in game, the Lost are victims themselves, thus glorifying the perception applied from the real world to carry out misguided depictions of heroics and.... oh golly I'm not getting dragged in to this one. 

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44 minutes ago, TwoDee said:

This is true, but I can't help but find a certain irony in decrying a binary interpretation of crime and criminality in the forum for a duo of games literally called City of Heroes and City of Villains.

 

Yes, it's a game. Yes, it's based on a simplistic form of literature not (traditionally) known for its deep thoughts.

 

But "decrying" is maybe too strong a word here. My observation was that a hero/villain zone should maybe be a little less... simplistic. Where are the crummy apartments of the broke heroes who spend all day fighting crime with Inf turned off? (We see those in movies and TV shoes fairly often.) Where are the villains' mansions? (Ditto.) I don't think it even serves the game/lore to make the distinction so... childish.

 

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Well, looks like we're going there . . . 

 

We don't even have to dig deep; content in City of Heroes from the earliest Legacy days up to Homecoming's own additions are multifaceted.

Yes, it's true that there are some comically oversimplified depictions of morality in the game.

There are also plenty of nuanced examples.

 

The short of it:  City of Heroes is -not- a game of strict black-and-white morality.  Some content follows some tropes, while other content flaunts them.

And that is a -good- thing!  It's one of the core strengths of City that we have such disparate representations in the lore and content.

 

If players want to choose to keep things simple, they may absolutely choose to gloss over details and read only a surface level.

But just as we talk about how important it is for players to be able to choose the way they play this game, we also need to remember how important it is to make sure that players have space to engage with the narrative aspects of the game on multiple levels.

 

Some people want their True Good versus True Evil.  Other people like the depth and intrigue of comprehensive social commentary (albeit, we could use a little more work there).  And others still don't even care, so long as they see pretty colours and bright explosions, and have crunchy visceral sound effects.

 

City's got a little bit of something for everyone.  And as long as the Homecoming Team are willing to continue that, I think we'll be in good shape.

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On 9/17/2021 at 1:37 PM, PeregrineFalcon said:

This is absolutely untrue.

 

Statistical work from criminologists has proven that poor people are far more likely to commit crimes than rich people. Part of it is from wanting money and part of it stems from the same mindset that keeps them poor in the first place.

 

The poor are statistically far more likely to commit violent crimes in addition to being more likely to steal money or resources. It's just that when the rich do commit crimes it's far more likely to make it into the news.

Saying the word statistical doesnt make it true or smart. Bet you $100mil you can’t tell me the confounding variables around that study. Bet you $500mil you can’t tell me the confidence interval, margin of error, null and alternative hypothesis, sample size, testing period, questions asked…basically I think you just read this off of Facebook. 

 

Also, maybe drop a link? Saying X study with no link is what the Facebook crowd does.

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