I've asked some people around how they'd 'Re-Do' Champions of City of Heroes/Villains or even DC Universe if they'd had the chance. I got some interesting viewpoints (And some stupid ones), but I realized it was a pretty cool way to see what other people liked and wanted.
I had an idea for a sort of Science Fiction MMORPG, and after discussing it with a friend of mine I realized how perfect it would be for a Superhero MMORPG (Actually, in fact I found that it would be BETTER for a Superhero game than a Sci-Fi game... despite the MMO Market hurting for Sci-Fi that isn't based off crappy TV shows, crappy movies, or college business management and economics combined with Naval warfare. But, hey- if in another time my idea got snagged up by someone who wanted to make a superhero game... I'd not complain. So, here we go. My idea...Bottom Line Up Front:
A Superhero/Supervillain game that allows immersive storytelling and massive options for character creation, structured powers that create balanced options for nearly any concept, and combat skills you design from the ground up.Setting:
A world very much like our own, with various differences that one could obviously expect from superheroes coming about in the last decade or so. It is a more serious tone, with just a few comic relief and light-hearted elements present through the game (just like comics).
Most technology is still contemporary at a production level, with select individuals and organizations using more advanced technology. For example, laser pistols should be considered cutting-edge. Anti-gravity technology, faster-than-light travel, teleportation machines, and other devices of this nature are still theoretical to humans (though aliens and super-geniuses would have the means to have/create them).
First thing's first, you will need to create a character. It goes without saying that the Character Creation should be on par with Champions Online. It should cater to all tastes in western-style superheroes (though it should have plenty of options for various ethnic and cultural costumes and appearances). Let me be clear and say this is a Western Superhero Comic Book them
e, not anime or furcadia. If those tastes can be accomdated to a small degree later on, then perhaps that is the case- but those should never be a primary focus of any costume set or content. Technological, Supernatural, Science Fiction, Classic Hero tights, Vigilantes, various historical cultures, and various ages of comic book history should be equally represented as possible (because you can only have so many spandex costumes, let's face it).Powers:
The worst thing about CO and the best thing about CO is the freeform system. That is not going to happen in this game. There will be no cobbled-together mess of random powers to create a divide in the players of 'Uber-Elite Powerbuild Nonsense with no recognizable theme' and 'Everyone else'. Despite what you say, that is what CO consists of. Now, powers will have a theme, thanks to the Genome System.
The 'fluff' states, in a nutshell, that the persons who study superhumans have narrowed them down into several 'Genomes'. These are your powers. These are the trees in which you derive your innate abilities- heals, buffs, passives, support powers, and extra attacks. Genomes all have themes; and below are some of the genomes with examples of the type of individuals that would have those genomes.
- Paragon- Super-physique, martial arts master, super-soldier.
- Machine- Cyborgs, Androids, Power armor, and advanced gadgeteers.
- Supernatural- Sorcerers, undead, Atlanteans, avatar of a god/demon.
- Inhuman- Mutant, alien, genetic experiment, evolutionary leap.
- Primal- Monster, animal-themed hero/villain, were-thing, ancient species.
- Psionic- Telpath, telekinetic, Psychic manifestation, various X'paths.
Now, this is the part where you're going to huff and say what you like isn't in that list and it isn't 'diverse' enough to accommodate what you want. Hold your horses. Read again- the genomes are the trees in which you derive your innate abilities- heals, buffs, passives, support powers, and extra attacks.
Your combat skills are completely different.
Why? I kind of always wondered why a telepath couldn't use a staff to fight, or a sorcerer couldn't use an assault rifle. And yes, you 'can' in CO. But that is not what is being done here.
For attacks, it would be simple- you choose what kind of damage you want to deal: Piercing, Energy, Elemental, Crushing, Mystical, Slashing, etc.
Then you balance the other stats- range, rate of fire, damage. They each affect one another so they won't be able to max out completely in all categories.
Next comes the emanation point and animation. This is where you choose how this attack and your other attacks manifest themselves. A burst-shot piecing attack could be an automatic rifle, or an arm blaster, or a series of thrown darts. You won't be forced to choose anything, provided the emanation point and animation fits with the type of damage and method of attack (so, something like bullets from the mouth probably wouldn't work).
As you progress you gain access to different types of attacks- AOE, blast, sustained damage, etc- so you could keep the same animations and emanation points or change them up.
Oh, it also really sucks making people choose ranged attacks over melee attacks- so you get both.
Separate, with their own skill trees, etc.. So it is entirely possible to make a character who uses both magic blasts and swords, or martial arts and guns.
Where things get complex is when you ensure your genome and your combat skills work together to make you more effective.Choosing Sides:
First and foremost, I think it's perfectly fine to have heroes/villains in a game. Whenever someone says 'we're supposed to be super HEROES' to someone in CO- I don't disagree with them, but I like to point out that we HAVE to be Super HEROES. There is not option to play a storyline that caters to a character that is motivated by personal vendettas or wants to change things in the world for the better in his own (unorthodox and unethical) way. To be a villain does not mean that your character would be able to walk around and mindlessly slaughter droves of whatever crossed their path for no reason. Villains would be assumed to have a structure, goals, and laws just as CoX. If you dislike the idea of people playing villains, then you have far more motivation to be a better hero and kick the snot out of them.
Here's the kicker- I don't think it's fair to throw 'noobs' into the fray. Most people shirk from the dual-sides in MMORPG's simply because WoW is plagued with corpse-camping max-level PvP griefers that spend hours doing nothing but 'ganking' level 10 noobs with one shot. So, you will not choose to be a hero or villain when you begin. The option comes later in the game, and I will explain how later on.Your tutorial.
For the sake of all argument, you've just acquired your abilities. All players would go through a tutorial story instance, where they would essentially learn how best to implement their abilities. It's sort of a mainstay in games, and a good way to introduce you to the world.Story.
One of the main things most MMORPG's lack. In Champions Online, it's hard to find immersion when your awesome vigilante avenger, super-soldier, or alien warrior gets the cheeseball/slapstick missions. So, for specific levels, you would have stories that would function as a sort of 'quest chain' to carry you through several levels. In these first stories, you still aren't determined to be a hero or villain yet. However, you will make decisions through these that will determine your most likely alignment (However committing awful, un-redeemable acts of evil won't be an option. You're a villain with goals and ambitions opposite of what society finds acceptable, not a mass-murdering death-junkie).
The stories are designed to present themselves to what you want to be involved in. You like Silver Age capers and stories? There would be a story for you. Want over-the-top military action? Fight off scourges of the underworld? Prevent deadly supertech from falling into the wrong corporate hands? Choose a side in a mutant superiority or human extremist conflict? Stop a violent criminal empire from taking over your city? There's something there for you, and the option is yours. Morality choices appear frequently and yield different turns in the story as well as rewards.
Stories are not instances or 'adventure packs', though some instances will occur in your story. Your stories will take you through various zones in the open world and allow you to cross paths with other characters and assist them as well, not to mention the random encounters from greater threats.
After your first couple of stories, perhaps around level 10 or 15ish, you'd be prompted to choose a side- villain or hero. However, even if your path has been tarnished with poor decisions, you would be given the chance for redemption- just as if you are wasting your power to call yourself a hero, you will be given one last chance to reach your true potential. However, this choice would not come after the mission- you'd have to make the choice before the conclusion of the mission.
Perhaps you've been on the wrong path, and regret your choices and wish to redeem yourself and do something right for once. Or you're sick and tired of wasting your potential and you want to make a real difference in the world, even if it means being considered 'evil' by the common man. This can be done, but it won't be as simple as changing alignment on WoW or Retcon. No, you will have to take on missions and tilt the scales of your morality- and once that is done, you may be approached by someone of the opposite faction to offer you a chance to switch sides.Nemesis:
The last part of my last statement is crucial. Perhaps you deny that NPC of the opposite faction. Or, as before in your story- you refused your last chance before you chose sides. You have earned their ire and now they will stop at nothing to stop you. Several of your personal stories will involve your nemesis-
And things go a step further. Perhaps you're tired of their antics. End them. Destroy them... and get an entirely new adversary. Or...
Of course, at a certain point-if you like, your nemesis would have to be either killed off permanently or imprisoned for life and removed from the game.
Spare them. Perhaps what you've done could sway them to change their ways- or drive them to further ambitions and vengeance.
The system would allow for complete control of what type of Nemesis you are fighting- down to their abilities and motivations (restricted to story theme, of course).Good Guys vs. Bad Guys
I like the idea of conflict- but I also like the idea of 'neutral ground'. Various places would be restricted to heroes, others to villains- but most of the open world would be open ground. Some parts are specifically designed as neutral ground, and some stories will even allow cooperation of heroes and villains. Not to mention, some specific social instances would be considered neutral and heroes and villains would be allowed to socialize freely in these areas.
Ganking heroes of lower level not only yields nothing of rewarding value, it also creates infamy- which is bad. At a certain point, a villain or hero would be considered infamous- and a 'bounty' would be placed on his head. NPC's of the opposing faction would target them on site- with response teams of the appropriate level. Essentially, if you were to kill enough low-level toons (the lower the level, the higher the infamy), and were spotted near the opposite faction's NPC's- zone-appropriate response units would close in and attack.
I could think of more later, but my brain's melting. Let me know what you think.