Heroes and Villains

Following the closure of the MMO "City of Heroes", I'll be using this page to record my experiences with the "Heroes and Villains" project - an attempt to create a community-focused fan-made superhero MMO - www.heroes-and-villains.com

Some concept art from the “Heroes and Villains” MMO project, featuring Mystic Master, one of the leading heroes of Titan City and a member of The Legion, the world’s oldest and largest super-team. He’s designed to be a very traditional comic book magic user, and his costume reflects his Golden Age origins with its bright colors, strong contrasts and large areas of uncluttered cloth, along with his high collared cape that adds a touch of theatricality in the style of a stage magician. His fully-covered face helps to give him a sense of mystery, while his bare hands show that he is still - apparently - a human.
This is his current mini-biography:

————————————————————————————————————
MYSTIC MASTER
The mysterious Mystic Master has been active in Titan City since 1934, although before then it’s known that he spent many years journeying through Africa, visiting forgotten ruins and studying primeval secrets to enhance his own spell-craft and uncover the dark mysteries of magic from another age of the world.

As one of the founding members of the Legion, and a skillful traveler through the fantastical realms that lie beyond normal reality, he’s taken part in more adventures than just about any other hero alive, and remains the Legion’s foremost expert on all things magical, and one of the most powerful sorcerers in the world - although to this day, no one is thought to have ever seen his face or heard his true name.
————————————————————————————————————

Some concept art from the “Heroes and Villains” MMO project, featuring Mystic Master, one of the leading heroes of Titan City and a member of The Legion, the world’s oldest and largest super-team. He’s designed to be a very traditional comic book magic user, and his costume reflects his Golden Age origins with its bright colors, strong contrasts and large areas of uncluttered cloth, along with his high collared cape that adds a touch of theatricality in the style of a stage magician. His fully-covered face helps to give him a sense of mystery, while his bare hands show that he is still - apparently - a human.

This is his current mini-biography:

————————————————————————————————————

MYSTIC MASTER

The mysterious Mystic Master has been active in Titan City since 1934, although before then it’s known that he spent many years journeying through Africa, visiting forgotten ruins and studying primeval secrets to enhance his own spell-craft and uncover the dark mysteries of magic from another age of the world.

As one of the founding members of the Legion, and a skillful traveler through the fantastical realms that lie beyond normal reality, he’s taken part in more adventures than just about any other hero alive, and remains the Legion’s foremost expert on all things magical, and one of the most powerful sorcerers in the world - although to this day, no one is thought to have ever seen his face or heard his true name.

————————————————————————————————————

(Source: goldengirlcoh.deviantart.com)

Some concept art from the “Heroes and Villains” MMO project, featuring Kongoro, the leader of the world’s super-apes. As one of the background villains, he doesn’t play a major role in the initial storylines of the game. He’s designed to reflect the unusually high number of gorilla characters that appeared in Golden and Silver Age comic books, a trend which seems to have been partially inspired by the huge success of the movie “king Kong” in t he 1930s, and faded around the same time as the “Planet of the Apes” movie franchise ran out of steam in the 1970s.

This is his current mini-biography:

————————————————————————————————————

KONGORO

The super-apes first came into existence in the 1960s, following an environmental disaster at the Red Valley diamond mine in the East African nation of Kuwanda when the reckless use of an untested experimental chemical known as Simulum 12 by the American-owned Westpath Mining Corporation saw huge quantities of the chemical discharged into the Eden River, killing most of the wildlife in the area.

The effect of Simulum 12 on the local gorilla population was not lethal, however, and instead resulted in them undergoing a rapid and dramatic mental advancement that led to them attaining human levels of intelligence. They swiftly united under the leadership of Kongoro, the largest, strongest and most cunning of their kind, who shared his vision with them – a vision of the world returned to the hands of its natural primate masters, who had only been robbed of their inheritance by an evolutionary quirk of fate that saw the lesser primates now known as Homo Sapiens gain an undeserved position of power, from where they had despoiled and exploited the planet. But now that same greed and arrogance had gifted the world’s true masters, the gorillas, with the intelligence they needed to overthrow the human usurpers and restore the natural order once more. 

Kongoro’s first move was to lead a successful attack to occupy the entire Red Valley area, defeating the military force sent against them by the Kuwandan government. Since then, the gorillas have worked to fortify the valley and surrounding jungle, including excavating a vast underground nest, from where they’ve launched dozens of attacks on regional and global targets in their quest to obtain more and more human technology to adapt to their own purposes.

In addition to this, the gorillas have also established black market trade routes to exchange diamonds for increasingly sophisticated equipment and technology from unscrupulous dealers, using and modifying it with the help of kidnapped human scientists.
This blending of natural power with advanced weapons and devices has made the super-apes one of the most dangerous groups on the planet, while Kongoro’s already massive strength, further increased by Simulum 12, and since enhanced even more by his Kinetic Recovery Armor combined with his genius level human intellect has made him one of the world’s deadliest supervillains.

Some concept art from the “Heroes and Villains” MMO project, featuring Kongoro, the leader of the world’s super-apes. As one of the background villains, he doesn’t play a major role in the initial storylines of the game. He’s designed to reflect the unusually high number of gorilla characters that appeared in Golden and Silver Age comic books, a trend which seems to have been partially inspired by the huge success of the movie “king Kong” in t he 1930s, and faded around the same time as the “Planet of the Apes” movie franchise ran out of steam in the 1970s.

This is his current mini-biography:

————————————————————————————————————

KONGORO

The super-apes first came into existence in the 1960s, following an environmental disaster at the Red Valley diamond mine in the East African nation of Kuwanda when the reckless use of an untested experimental chemical known as Simulum 12 by the American-owned Westpath Mining Corporation saw huge quantities of the chemical discharged into the Eden River, killing most of the wildlife in the area.

The effect of Simulum 12 on the local gorilla population was not lethal, however, and instead resulted in them undergoing a rapid and dramatic mental advancement that led to them attaining human levels of intelligence. They swiftly united under the leadership of Kongoro, the largest, strongest and most cunning of their kind, who shared his vision with them – a vision of the world returned to the hands of its natural primate masters, who had only been robbed of their inheritance by an evolutionary quirk of fate that saw the lesser primates now known as Homo Sapiens gain an undeserved position of power, from where they had despoiled and exploited the planet. But now that same greed and arrogance had gifted the world’s true masters, the gorillas, with the intelligence they needed to overthrow the human usurpers and restore the natural order once more.

Kongoro’s first move was to lead a successful attack to occupy the entire Red Valley area, defeating the military force sent against them by the Kuwandan government. Since then, the gorillas have worked to fortify the valley and surrounding jungle, including excavating a vast underground nest, from where they’ve launched dozens of attacks on regional and global targets in their quest to obtain more and more human technology to adapt to their own purposes.

In addition to this, the gorillas have also established black market trade routes to exchange diamonds for increasingly sophisticated equipment and technology from unscrupulous dealers, using and modifying it with the help of kidnapped human scientists.

This blending of natural power with advanced weapons and devices has made the super-apes one of the most dangerous groups on the planet, while Kongoro’s already massive strength, further increased by Simulum 12, and since enhanced even more by his Kinetic Recovery Armor combined with his genius level human intellect has made him one of the world’s deadliest supervillains.

Happy New Year Everyone!

briarhenge:

goldengirlcoh:

Here’s a work in progress one for part of the character creator - although it’s still missing a final texture pass for specular, normal and glow map additions and tweaks, plus shader and lighting adjustments, and the GUI isn’t fully completed yet, it’s coming together enough to give you a rough idea of what’s going on - especially if you compare it to the concept art I posted a little earlier.
Here’s a brief outline of what the top row of buttons are for: 
————————————————————————————————————
ALIGNMENT – Choose from one of three alignments – Hero, Villain or Freelancer. This choice determines the kind of stories and content game will send your way, as well as how the game world will react to you. Your actions can also change your alignment over time.
ORIGIN – Choose the origin of your powers as the first stage of a 3 part origin selection, with the other 2 stages refining your origin further. All these choices affect the kind of stories and content that the game will suggest to you, as well as how the game world reacts to you.
ARCHETYPE – Choose from one of 6 Archetypes that offer different types of gameplay experiences. Every Archetype is divided into 2 Classes which offer you further choices in how you want to play the game.
POWER – Choose from a wide variety of Power Themes to apply to your Primary and Secondary Power Forms, as well as supplementing your choices from the list of Auxiliary Powers.
SKILL – Choose from a number of predominantly non-combat skills that will offer you several different ways of approaching and playing through the stories and content.
TRAIT – Choose a number of Traits to further refine your character concept – each positive Trait must be balanced with a negative Trait. Because Traits can have a significant effect on how you engage with various enemies and challenges in the game, the system is entirely optional.
BODY – Choose your gender, then use the body sliders to morph your shape into the one that best suits your character concept.
COSTUME – Choose your costume and customize its colors, textures and patterns.
CUSTOM – Choose more customization options, including the coloring of your powers and the types of animations they use.
SECRET ID – Choose to keep your superpowered identity a secret, and create a civilian disguise that will affect how the game world reacts to you. Because Secret IDs can have a significant effect on how you engage with various enemies and challenges in the game, the system is entirely optional.
REGISTER – Choose your name, and enter Titan City to begin your story.
————————————————————————————————————

An origin that actually means something? Yes, please! The non-combat skills for stories and content is intriguing me. I’m curious to know just what those are and what they mean. Same with the traits. If they really do have some weight to your gameplay and aren’t just cosmetic choices that get ignored, then that could be awesome. I’m hoping that this means playing characters as characters, instead of powersets. Some people might be fine with just a powerset and costume, but I tend to look at dialogue or situations and wonder if the character I’m playing would really say or do what’s on the screen.I also like how the Secret ID is optional. I can think of a couple characters who would use it and a few that wouldn’t.I miss playing a game where each character had a different story. I mean start to finish different story, as opposed to only a different tutorial section and starting area. I also miss playing a game where the story really is your story, instead of your character being just a henchman to the developer’s darlings.

An example of a skill would be Persuasion - in certain situations, if your Persuasion skill was high enough, you’d get additional text options which could change how a mission plays out.
Traits are tied to your resistance to different damage types, and are intended to simulate the “one true weakness” theme that a number of comic book characters have - for example, if you choose heat damage as one of your positive Traits, then your resistance to heat damage is increased - but you then have to balance it by choosing a negative Trait that will weaken your resistance to another damage type. If you prefer a more “vanilla” experience, then you can simply skip taking any Traits.

briarhenge:

goldengirlcoh:

Here’s a work in progress one for part of the character creator - although it’s still missing a final texture pass for specular, normal and glow map additions and tweaks, plus shader and lighting adjustments, and the GUI isn’t fully completed yet, it’s coming together enough to give you a rough idea of what’s going on - especially if you compare it to the concept art I posted a little earlier.

Here’s a brief outline of what the top row of buttons are for: 

————————————————————————————————————

ALIGNMENT – Choose from one of three alignments – Hero, Villain or Freelancer. This choice determines the kind of stories and content game will send your way, as well as how the game world will react to you. Your actions can also change your alignment over time.

ORIGIN – Choose the origin of your powers as the first stage of a 3 part origin selection, with the other 2 stages refining your origin further. All these choices affect the kind of stories and content that the game will suggest to you, as well as how the game world reacts to you.

ARCHETYPE – Choose from one of 6 Archetypes that offer different types of gameplay experiences. Every Archetype is divided into 2 Classes which offer you further choices in how you want to play the game.

POWER – Choose from a wide variety of Power Themes to apply to your Primary and Secondary Power Forms, as well as supplementing your choices from the list of Auxiliary Powers.

SKILL – Choose from a number of predominantly non-combat skills that will offer you several different ways of approaching and playing through the stories and content.

TRAIT – Choose a number of Traits to further refine your character concept – each positive Trait must be balanced with a negative Trait. Because Traits can have a significant effect on how you engage with various enemies and challenges in the game, the system is entirely optional.

BODY – Choose your gender, then use the body sliders to morph your shape into the one that best suits your character concept.

COSTUME – Choose your costume and customize its colors, textures and patterns.

CUSTOM – Choose more customization options, including the coloring of your powers and the types of animations they use.

SECRET ID – Choose to keep your superpowered identity a secret, and create a civilian disguise that will affect how the game world reacts to you. Because Secret IDs can have a significant effect on how you engage with various enemies and challenges in the game, the system is entirely optional.

REGISTER – Choose your name, and enter Titan City to begin your story.

————————————————————————————————————


An origin that actually means something? Yes, please!

The non-combat skills for stories and content is intriguing me. I’m curious to know just what those are and what they mean. Same with the traits. If they really do have some weight to your gameplay and aren’t just cosmetic choices that get ignored, then that could be awesome. I’m hoping that this means playing characters as characters, instead of powersets. Some people might be fine with just a powerset and costume, but I tend to look at dialogue or situations and wonder if the character I’m playing would really say or do what’s on the screen.

I also like how the Secret ID is optional. I can think of a couple characters who would use it and a few that wouldn’t.

I miss playing a game where each character had a different story. I mean start to finish different story, as opposed to only a different tutorial section and starting area. I also miss playing a game where the story really is your story, instead of your character being just a henchman to the developer’s darlings.

An example of a skill would be Persuasion - in certain situations, if your Persuasion skill was high enough, you’d get additional text options which could change how a mission plays out.

Traits are tied to your resistance to different damage types, and are intended to simulate the “one true weakness” theme that a number of comic book characters have - for example, if you choose heat damage as one of your positive Traits, then your resistance to heat damage is increased - but you then have to balance it by choosing a negative Trait that will weaken your resistance to another damage type. If you prefer a more “vanilla” experience, then you can simply skip taking any Traits.

briarhenge:

goldengirlcoh:

Some more concept art, this time showing part of the costume creation area.
Both the background room and the GUI react and change based on the player’s alignment and origin choices - in this case, it’s the Hero, Villain and Freelancer alignments in the technology themed room.
While the basic mesh of the room stays the same, some subtle changes still appear - the Hero version has smoother lines and curves, while the Freelancer one is very straight, and the Villain one has a sharper and more aggressive look.

This is one of those little above and beyond things that makes me really excited about this project. This is more ambitious and a lot more work than just putting out some generic, static space and calling it a day. Linking it to origin and alignment gives those choices some weight before you ever enter the game’s world.

We want to get players used to the idea that their choices can change the world ;-)


Here’s a work in progress one for part of the character creator - although it’s still missing a final texture pass for specular, normal and glow map additions and tweaks, plus shader and lighting adjustments, and the GUI isn’t fully completed yet, it’s coming together enough to give you a rough idea of what’s going on - especially if you compare it to the concept art I posted a little earlier.
Here’s a brief outline of what the top row of buttons are for: 
————————————————————————————————————
ALIGNMENT – Choose from one of three alignments – Hero, Villain or Freelancer. This choice determines the kind of stories and content game will send your way, as well as how the game world will react to you. Your actions can also change your alignment over time.
ORIGIN – Choose the origin of your powers as the first stage of a 3 part origin selection, with the other 2 stages refining your origin further. All these choices affect the kind of stories and content that the game will suggest to you, as well as how the game world reacts to you.
ARCHETYPE – Choose from one of 6 Archetypes that offer different types of gameplay experiences. Every Archetype is divided into 2 Classes which offer you further choices in how you want to play the game.
POWER – Choose from a wide variety of Power Themes to apply to your Primary and Secondary Power Forms, as well as supplementing your choices from the list of Auxiliary Powers.
SKILL – Choose from a number of predominantly non-combat skills that will offer you several different ways of approaching and playing through the stories and content.
TRAIT – Choose a number of Traits to further refine your character concept – each positive Trait must be balanced with a negative Trait. Because Traits can have a significant effect on how you engage with various enemies and challenges in the game, the system is entirely optional.
BODY – Choose your gender, then use the body sliders to morph your shape into the one that best suits your character concept.
COSTUME – Choose your costume and customize its colors, textures and patterns.
CUSTOM – Choose more customization options, including the coloring of your powers and the types of animations they use.
SECRET ID – Choose to keep your superpowered identity a secret, and create a civilian disguise that will affect how the game world reacts to you. Because Secret IDs can have a significant effect on how you engage with various enemies and challenges in the game, the system is entirely optional.

REGISTER – Choose your name, and enter Titan City to begin your story.
————————————————————————————————————

Here’s a work in progress one for part of the character creator - although it’s still missing a final texture pass for specular, normal and glow map additions and tweaks, plus shader and lighting adjustments, and the GUI isn’t fully completed yet, it’s coming together enough to give you a rough idea of what’s going on - especially if you compare it to the concept art I posted a little earlier.

Here’s a brief outline of what the top row of buttons are for: 

————————————————————————————————————

ALIGNMENT – Choose from one of three alignments – Hero, Villain or Freelancer. This choice determines the kind of stories and content game will send your way, as well as how the game world will react to you. Your actions can also change your alignment over time.

ORIGIN – Choose the origin of your powers as the first stage of a 3 part origin selection, with the other 2 stages refining your origin further. All these choices affect the kind of stories and content that the game will suggest to you, as well as how the game world reacts to you.

ARCHETYPE – Choose from one of 6 Archetypes that offer different types of gameplay experiences. Every Archetype is divided into 2 Classes which offer you further choices in how you want to play the game.

POWER – Choose from a wide variety of Power Themes to apply to your Primary and Secondary Power Forms, as well as supplementing your choices from the list of Auxiliary Powers.

SKILL – Choose from a number of predominantly non-combat skills that will offer you several different ways of approaching and playing through the stories and content.

TRAIT – Choose a number of Traits to further refine your character concept – each positive Trait must be balanced with a negative Trait. Because Traits can have a significant effect on how you engage with various enemies and challenges in the game, the system is entirely optional.

BODY – Choose your gender, then use the body sliders to morph your shape into the one that best suits your character concept.

COSTUME – Choose your costume and customize its colors, textures and patterns.

CUSTOM – Choose more customization options, including the coloring of your powers and the types of animations they use.

SECRET ID – Choose to keep your superpowered identity a secret, and create a civilian disguise that will affect how the game world reacts to you. Because Secret IDs can have a significant effect on how you engage with various enemies and challenges in the game, the system is entirely optional.

REGISTER – Choose your name, and enter Titan City to begin your story.

————————————————————————————————————

This time, it’s HaV environmental concept art - Heartland Park, Titan City at night, and a villainous space station.

Some more concept art, this time showing part of the costume creation area.
Both the background room and the GUI react and change based on the player’s alignment and origin choices - in this case, it’s the Hero, Villain and Freelancer alignments in the technology themed room.
While the basic mesh of the room stays the same, some subtle changes still appear - the Hero version has smoother lines and curves, while the Freelancer one is very straight, and the Villain one has a sharper and more aggressive look.

Some more concept art for “Heroes and Villains”, by Shadow, the lead concept artist for Plan Z Virtual Studio

Some concept art for “Heroes and Villains”, by Shadow, the lead concept artist for Plan Z Virtual Studio

One Year Ago Today - Part Five

One year ago today, the City of Heroes community came together for the final time - this was also the date that the “Heroes and Villains” spiritual successor project was first publicly announced after a couple of months of intensive behinds the scenes work to set everything up for the reveal.

The very last picture in my screenshot folder

The very last picture in my screenshot folder

Some concept art from the “Heroes and Villains” MMORPG project, featuring Jack Willo, one of the villains of Titan City. Unlike the scientific weirdness of the clockwork soldiers and steampunk airships of the Brass King and his interdimensional floating city, Jack Willo is designed as an example of supernatural weirdness, with his dirty tattered suit over scarecrow-like straw clothing, emaciated flesh and hideously deformed pumpkin head helping to reinforce the horror theme.
This is his current mini-biography:
————————————————————————————————————
While the supervillain known as Jack Willo has been terrorizing Titan city since 1941, the name itself is much older – records from the 17th century connect it with a spirit that local legend credited with guarding Blackwater Swamp, and even after half the area was drained during the construction of the town of Salem, the name Jack Willo was still used by parents to frighten disobedient children, especially in the district of Dante’s Reach, which bordered what remained of the swamp.
The sinister reputation of the swamp as an area that no one with any sense would want to pry into was also exploited by gangsters during the Prohibition era, with the Volpone crime family and former workers from the Pinnacle Brewery setting up an illegal distillery on Marsh Island in the middle of the swamp. It remained a hideout and refuge for mobsters on the run until 1939, when rumors began to circulate in the Titan City underworld that it was no longer safe – people setting foot in the swamp were disappearing, and even the routes through it to the island had vanished.
Soon, even the most desperate criminal fleeing from a costumed hero or the Titan City Police Department would rather surrender than risk entering it if a wrong turn during their escape brought them to the edge of Blackwater Swamp.
In fact, the only criminal known to have dared the swamp after was the small-time career thief Nate Rigby, who, when fleeing from the TCPD on October 31st 1941, disappeared without trace into the mist-shrouded reeds and dark pools and was never seen again.
It was 3 days after this date that the supervillain calling himself Jack Willo first appeared in Titan City. The exact connection – if any - between these two events remains unknown.

Some concept art from the “Heroes and Villains” MMORPG project, featuring Jack Willo, one of the villains of Titan City. Unlike the scientific weirdness of the clockwork soldiers and steampunk airships of the Brass King and his interdimensional floating city, Jack Willo is designed as an example of supernatural weirdness, with his dirty tattered suit over scarecrow-like straw clothing, emaciated flesh and hideously deformed pumpkin head helping to reinforce the horror theme.

This is his current mini-biography:

————————————————————————————————————

While the supervillain known as Jack Willo has been terrorizing Titan city since 1941, the name itself is much older – records from the 17th century connect it with a spirit that local legend credited with guarding Blackwater Swamp, and even after half the area was drained during the construction of the town of Salem, the name Jack Willo was still used by parents to frighten disobedient children, especially in the district of Dante’s Reach, which bordered what remained of the swamp.

The sinister reputation of the swamp as an area that no one with any sense would want to pry into was also exploited by gangsters during the Prohibition era, with the Volpone crime family and former workers from the Pinnacle Brewery setting up an illegal distillery on Marsh Island in the middle of the swamp. It remained a hideout and refuge for mobsters on the run until 1939, when rumors began to circulate in the Titan City underworld that it was no longer safe – people setting foot in the swamp were disappearing, and even the routes through it to the island had vanished.

Soon, even the most desperate criminal fleeing from a costumed hero or the Titan City Police Department would rather surrender than risk entering it if a wrong turn during their escape brought them to the edge of Blackwater Swamp.

In fact, the only criminal known to have dared the swamp after was the small-time career thief Nate Rigby, who, when fleeing from the TCPD on October 31st 1941, disappeared without trace into the mist-shrouded reeds and dark pools and was never seen again.

It was 3 days after this date that the supervillain calling himself Jack Willo first appeared in Titan City. The exact connection – if any - between these two events remains unknown.

(Source: goldengirlcoh.deviantart.com)

darenix asked: Yep. TV was my main for about the first year I played.

And he had a cameo in one of my old CoH comics :-p