Sunday, December 15, 2013

Redside: An Overlord's Thoughts on Player Villains

When NCsoft shut down City of Heroes last year, I started thinking about my time and experiences in the game over the eight or so years that I played.  With the recent success of City of Titans (its spiritual successor) on Kickstarter, the game once again returned to mind.  One aspect I always found intriguing is that after the release of City of Villains (the stand-alone expansion for City of Heroes), many players still preferred to play a hero rather than a villain. I'd like to share a few thoughts on various aspects to this in a new series of articles called "Redside".

For those who might not understand the reference, City of Heroes' UI was colored blue, while City of Villains' was colored red.  As a result, "blueside" and "redside" became shorthand for playing as a hero or a villain, since the two sides had very little crossover (except for PvP zones).

Personally, I've always been drawn to the "bad guys" in any setting.  Even as a kid, I liked Cobra more than G.I. Joe; the Decepticons more than the Autobots; Skeletor more than He-Man; and so on.  The bad guys always seem to look cooler, and they don't play by the rules (or if they do, it was by their rules).  So naturally, when City of Villains came out, I was excited!  There are very few games which allow you to play as the "bad guy" (the most obvious one that comes to mind is both the Overlord series and the Dungeon Keeper series), and City of Heroes' gameplay was fun.  My goal is to draw upon my experience with various villains and combine it with my observations in City of Villains to provide some thoughts on what worked and what didn't, and what I hope to see done in City of Titans should things come full circle and villains are once again playable.

In closing, I will leave you with a quote from Ghost Widow, one of the lieutenants of the villainous faction called Arachnos in City of Villains: 

But such is the nature of villainy... to do the unthinkable, to challenge the impossible, to conquer all before you and make destiny your own.