One thing that never sat well with me in CoX is how the feeling of playing a Hero and a Villain essentially felt the same. As a villain, you spent your time busting up snake dens and robbing banks. As a hero, you spent your time busting up gang dens and stopping bank robberies. And when it came time to PvP, it was usually a matter of going into a zone where PvP was turned on and working to fight the opposing side to control that zone. For reasons...I guess unknown?
The thing is that heroes and villains are inherently different characters, motivated by inherently different things. The preoccupation with making the experiences so similar and balanced detracts from immersion in the characters. If you're role-playing a hero, presumably you're interested in stopping criminals and villains from terrorizing your city, and generally keeping bad things from happening. If you're role-playing a villain, usually you're interested in furthering some self-centered goal, like amassing a fortune for yourself, or achieving world domination. I feel it's important to embrace these differences in the archetypes, especially in PvP, because it's mostly in the pursuit of these kinds of goals that heroes and villains should be in conflict with one another.
It's with these differences in mind that I want to suggest an idea for a two-tiered PvP system called "Taking A Stand" and "Calling 'Em Out".
TAKING A STAND (Heroes)
1) Villains would be given access to certain optional high-profile missions they could undertake, like breaking into a sealed vault, or creating a hostage situation in a ritzy penthouse. There would be significant trophies and/or rewards available for completing such missions without dying, or doing so within a strict time limit.
2) Heroes would be given access to a radio or police scanner which allows them to see a list of high-profile crimes being committed at any given time. Any hero with a scanner has the ability to claim one of these crimes and choose to "Take A Stand". In other words, they may enter into the instance and attempt to prevent the villain from accomplishing his goal. There would be significant trophies and/or rewards available for completing such missions
3) Villains would get a notification when a hero has chosen to Take A Stand against them so that they are aware another player has opted to interfere in their mission. The hero would get the opportunity to send a custom message to them, offering the villain "this ONE chance" to turn himself in.
4) From then on, the villain must continue to try his best to pull off his crime and, as a possible bonus, defeat the hero. The hero must try his best to prevent the same crime, either by defeating the villain or at least stalling him long enough to keep the crime from occurring.
5) The instance would end either with the villain accomplishing his goal and escaping, or with a final confrontation between the two for a little extra-tense PvP action.
CALLING 'EM OUT (Villains)
1) After a hero has chosen to Take A Stand against a specific villain, the two become enemies. From that point on, the villain, besides starting brand new high-profile missions, can also choose to "Call Out" one of his enemies. That is, he can start a mission with the understanding that the specific hero will be trying to intervene. The villain will be given the opportunity to send a message to the hero "Calling Him Out", taunting or goading him into stepping up in true villainous fashion. This would help facilitate rivalries between players on opposite sides, and role-playing.
2) The missions would function similarly to "Taking A Stand, although reversed, with the hero needing to accomplish an objective like rescuing a hostage or defusing a bomb, and the villain trying to stop it. There would again be a final escape or conflict at the end between the two players.
3) The more enemies a villain makes, the more heroes he can potentially Call Out into instances, rewarding consistent PvP activity with more PvP opportunities.
- NPCs would be involved in these missions on both sides, to give cannon fodder to both heroes and villains and make it a little more difficult for them just to harass each other endlessly during the mission.
- The PvP experience would be constantly building on itself for players that are interested in doing this. Heroes that are constantly Taking a Stand will find themselves getting Called Out more and more. Villains consistently running high-profile crimes will continue to make more enemies, and be able to Call Out more and more heroes.
- This experience facilitates the Heroes vs. Villains experience without the need for PvP fighting in the streets, or designated PvP zones with endless fighting in them.
- Both Taking A Stand and Calling 'Em Out can be tailored to group play easily by involving guilds. The end result would be contained battlegrounds of 4v4 or 5v5 superteams trying to accomplish a goal or prevent one from being accomplished with constant PvP mayhem.
- Punishment would exist for heroes that choose not to respond when Called Out. If a hero is Called Out and ignores it, they will be prevented from Taking A Stand for a period of time afterward. That way, they are encouraged to respond to their rivals, but only if they are actually invested in PvP. For heroes that are not interested in playing this aspect of the game as much, the punishment would not affect them in any other area of play.
- To prevent spamming and harassment, if a hero chooses not to respond to a specific villain's Call three consecutive times, they will be removed from that villain's enemies list and will no longer be able to be called out by that villain.
- Vigilantes can also opt to be involved on either side of this system, depending on their character and preferences.
And that's it! Any other thoughts or ideas? Any support for this sort of a system? I think this would help fold PvP into the game as a whole, something MMOs are not particularly amazing at, and give City of Titans a unique way of presenting PvP.