Flagships: discussion of what makes a flagship

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Automatisch
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Flagships: discussion of what makes a flagship

So, in every great super-hero franchise you have your "Flagships". The ones that started it all: the mentor's and old favorites on both sides of morality.

Captain America and Doctor Doom are the undisputed masters of the Marvel multiverse.



Lex Luthor and Superman are paragons of their respective moral alignment in DC.

Statesman and Lord Recluse were without a doubt the forerunners of the now defunct City of Heroes (RIP)

Even Champions Online has its flagships in the form of Defender and Doctor Destroyer.

But that brings me to the question: who are our flagships? The devs have taken the time to state that nothing is set in stone yet and that lore is being developed, but it is always good to think ahead on these matters. After-all: the flagship for each alignment will be pivotal in the tone of the whole game, and I think we all want to avoid the somewhat cartoonish vibes brought by Defender and Doctor Destruction (no offence to Cryptic). I am posting this in Backstory because I would like to see what we can come up with. At the very least, we can help inspire the devs and give them an idea of what we want. To keep this orderly, the actual discussion will take place here but any art will be submitted on this thread:http://cityoftitans.com/forum/flagships-art. Remember: the goal on this forum is to design a persona, not art. What we want is a hero and/or a villain, who the devs will have the option of drawing inspiration from for the design of the game's flagships. What qualities define these two Titans? Remember, your submissions have no guarantee of being used by the devs, this is just to drum up inspiration for them: so have fun!

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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Anthem seems like the

Anthem seems like the flagship hero, so far....

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Yeah one of the central NPCs

Yeah one of the central NPCs is Anthem. A Lead Woman character she be a shining light like Wonder Woman! However one of the goals of the CoT is to make sure your Character the central to your stories. So Unlike Champions and even City of Heroes where you fight along side the Flagship heroes and help fight Their foes. It be the reverse they be coming to help stop your arch villain. Or coming to stop you for those who play the villain side.

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Automatisch
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RottenLuck wrote:
RottenLuck wrote:

Yeah one of the central NPCs is Anthem. A Lead Woman character she be a shining light like Wonder Woman! However one of the goals of the CoT is to make sure your Character the central to your stories. So Unlike Champions and even City of Heroes where you fight along side the Flagship heroes and help fight Their foes. It be the reverse they be coming to help stop your arch villain. Or coming to stop you for those who play the villain side.

I've seen Anthem, the tone delivered is right, but I don't know. Something is missing. Just my opinion but she seems way too much like wonder woman, especially the sword, the armor, the color pattern, the general tone. The devs seem worried about getting sued and she seems like a good point of attack for DC.

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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I would vote for Anthem as

I would vote for Anthem as well or The Weiler (what I've taken to calling "Rottweiler") as an alternative for heroside. For villains Dr. Tyche is the one I'm most interested in thusfar though he might make a better Nemesis-type (behind the scenes genius and master manipulator).

Automatisch wrote:

I've seen Anthem, the tone delivered is right, but I don't know. Something is missing. Just my opinion but she seems way too much like wonder woman, especially the sword, the armor, the color pattern, the general tone. The devs seem worried about getting sued and she seems like a good point of attack for DC.

Sword, skirt, patriotic colors... is she that much different concept wise from say Ms. Liberty?

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Would we want a sword

Would we want a sword wielding hero as the flagship hero? If this was more a manga style MMO, might not be to bad, but superhero? Even if we just say heroes...I don't know...think I'd want something a bit more than what I'm hearing about for this Anthem. :/

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honestly.... we don't want a

honestly.... we don't want a flagship hero, imo.

we do want a flagship villain or three (id have argued that magneto is more well known and iconic of marvel than doom...but the truth is there are three or four 'flagship' villains in a comic universe, usually fitting into each origin branch the universe supports)

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Excerpt from an interview:

Excerpt from an interview:

Meta: Are there any iconic NPCs created yet? Do they have a story?

Sara Quinn: Yes, and very much yes. We are looking forward to introducing them. We see them as benchmark characters, providing anchors for certain plot points, and giving a basis for comparison so you can see how far you have come from a humble beginning.

Hare: There are, and we’re planning on introducing them to you in the updates to come. But you’re going to remain the most important person in the game.

Nate Downes: Our main focus for the iconics is as role-models to aspire to and surpass, not as the end-all-be-all they are in almost every other game. That has shaped their stories as a result.

- - - - -
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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Would we want a sword wielding hero as the flagship hero?

Swords? Boring.

Whips and Chains though ... could make for some amusing fan fiction.

What?


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Ah the 50 Shades of CoT

Ah the 50 Shades of CoT

Swords are fine, as long as they are part of the swiss army gun.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SwissArmyGun

Or are Cool
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CoolSword

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Brand X wrote:
Would we want a sword wielding hero as the flagship hero?
Swords? Boring.
Whips and Chains though ... could make for some amusing fan fiction.
What?

Seeing as how I'm one of those one's really hoping for a Chained Kunai set, I am all for this! :)

As for Ghost Hack's comment, I think Flagship NPCs help sell/advertise the game.

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oh, no doubt, x..... but at

oh, no doubt, x..... but at the same time, i think it would be better for the feel of the project to have good team v. bad team....
without a 'champion of the lore!' leading each team.

for example.... cyclops is the x-men's leader, but he's not the 'most iconic' member of the team(wolverine, arguably), nor does he represent the absolute ideals of his genre (proff x and magneto, respectively)... he's 'just' the leader.

thats sort of what the game's copy needs.... appealing characters that represent the possibilities of the universe, that are appealing and classic of the genre, but do not individually stand as THE signature hero of the universe....

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Flagships?! We don't need no

Flagships?! We don't need no steenkin' flagships.

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GhostHack wrote:
GhostHack wrote:

oh, no doubt, x..... but at the same time, i think it would be better for the feel of the project to have good team v. bad team....
without a 'champion of the lore!' leading each team.
for example.... cyclops is the x-men's leader, but he's not the 'most iconic' member of the team(wolverine, arguably), nor does he represent the absolute ideals of his genre (proff x and magneto, respectively)... he's 'just' the leader.
thats sort of what the game's copy needs.... appealing characters that represent the possibilities of the universe, that are appealing and classic of the genre, but do not individually stand as THE signature hero of the universe....

Oh, well yeah, I don't think they need to be the most powerful in terms of raw power (well, the villains probably should be if not really high up there).

Captain America was given as the Flagship hero for Marvel, and I'd say he's far from the most powerful super in the Marvel Universe.

Really don't think "Wonder Woman with a sword" is a awe inspiring iconic character though. :/

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Zombie Man wrote:
Zombie Man wrote:

Flagships?! We don't need no steenkin' flagships.

What about turning this whole idea on its head?

The "flagship" character(s) of City of Titans are MADE BY THE PLAYERS.

However, there are a number of "signature" NPCs that Players can "recruit" to help fill out their Teams for Team Oriented Content ... such as Task Forces. So you'd still have a minimum number of Team Members requirement for Task Forces, but not all of those Team Members would have to be Player Characters because you'd be able to "recruit" some of the friendly NPCs in the city to help you "fill up" your Team Roster when playing City of Titans.

So to put this into a City of Heroes context, you'd be able to recruit Faultline and Fusionette to help you run the Positron Task Force (minimum Team Members 3), rather than requiring you to find 2 additional Players to join your Team in order to be able to run the Task Force.

Set up City of Titans with dozens of recruitable NPCs to join you on Team Oriented Content so that there would be a wide array of "mix and match" of NPC abilities to choose from and ... {significant pause for effect}


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"So to put this into a City

"So to put this into a City of Heroes context, you'd be able to recruit Faultline and Fusionette t"

Recruiting Fusionette to your task force would go a little something like this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkCNJRfSZBU

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

So to put this into a City of Heroes context, you'd be able to recruit Faultline and Fusionette ...

OHGODMYEYES!

Kidding aside (reflexive mock of the Fusionette AI) I like this idea, but there would still need to have "Mentors" maybe like Watchmen had the retired parent generation or something less ... character-mainstay as Clark Kent or Steve Rogers. The Flash mantle has been passed on before, same with Robin. (I can't think of any occurrences with Marvel) Meanwhile Sirocco was a mantle that alternated hero/villain with each passing. Still, choosing the flagship mantles for hero and villain is going to happen just from some trending popularity contest that each hero and villain must endure upon introduction.

A team really would be ideal... ala X-men v Brotherhood or something. Because then leaders can switch out, come and go, die, take maternity leave, rise up through the ranks, fail miserably...

I do like the idea of an extra NPC TF slot like "choose which Titan companion for your team to use" bringing signature powers and unique dialogue that the player can complete without but it's fun to experience with...

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Zombie Man wrote:
Zombie Man wrote:

Flagships?! We don't need no steenkin' flagships.

I'm inclined to agree, Zee...

I honestly felt like Statesman and Defender were problematic in their respective games.
In some respects, I tie this situation to Young Adult Literature (bare with me)...

When you have characters in a story who are more empowered and qualified to deal with a situation (in YA, we'd be talking about Adult and Authority Figures) then FIRST rule, is to remove them from the situation....
In YA literature, Adults are either inaccessible (characters are left alone), what must be overcome (authority figures in dystopian fiction), or are ignorant/arrogant of the threat (ignoring the character's concerns, and forcing the characters to act without help)

In COX and Champs, we had a similar situation, but no ready solution. the answer was always(nearly always) the same "we're too busy doing something more important...so hop to it...."
Instead of feeling empowered as the only ones able/capable/willing to do the job.... the player ended up feeling like a errand boy/girl for much more important people.

Personally, I'd much rather feel like any NPC heroes we encounter are akin to Spiderman, rather than Superman or Cap A.
someone competent, visible, but "just one man/woman" doing their part. someone who's not just thankful for your help, but could justifiably be in awe of your prowess at some point (as your skill and power improve)

basically, anyone who's a noteworthy NPC should be expressed in the game as a PEER to our characters, not their betters.

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I'd say that's more because

I'd say that's more because of bad writing than anything else.

Superman for instance, can't be everywhere at once. Neither can Flash. Also, let's not have signature heroes just standing around in the open.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Also, let's not have signature heroes just standing around in the open.

Villain: But I *LIKE IT* when Statesman has his feet nailed to the deck of that barge! It makes the targeting algorithms for my ...

... hit their intended target so much more reliably!


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I'm glad everyone has decided

I'm glad everyone has decided to weigh in on this topic, the information thus far has been very helpful. I've seen several questions on here asking why we need flagships and why we cannot be peers with said flagships right from the get go.

I will attempt to explain the first: I am inclined to believe that we need flagships as a fixed point on the scale of morality and leadership experience. I singled out Captain America for Marvel due to the fact that he is the proverbial boy-scout. He leads "earth's mightiest heroes" against threats great and small. Superman fills this same role in the Justice League. As did Statesman for CoH and Defender for CO. Love them or hate them, they are loyal, stead-fast, and keep a cool head under pressure. They are the pure of heart types that act as the group's moral compass even when others begin to wonder what is right and what is wrong. They are paragon's of their moral alignment. We need such a fixed point for ourselves to keep things in perspective. Do not misunderstand: Iron Man, the Green Lantern, Spider-Man, Batman, they are all awesome, but they can venture into morally grey territory. The ones I listed as flagships for morality, at the time of their conception, were meant to be the boy-scouts, the poster-boys.

For the villainous flagships, I listed them under the same criteria. I chose Doctor Doom for Marvel because he is the archetypical mastermind villain. He has dealt with all forms of heroes and villains, killing and controlling big names on both sides, and has plotted to steal innumerable sources of power: political, mystical, scientific, and cosmic. Lex Luthor plays a similar role in DC. As did Lord Recluse in CoH and Doctor Destroyer in CO. No matter what you think of their design: they are the inhuman monsters that would beat the world into submission if given the chance. They are the evil that stands in direct opposition to everything that heroes stand for. In short: they are master's of their alignment. We need one such villain to show the heroes who owns this city (and soon the world). Magnito, Sinestro, the Green Goblin, the Joker, are all top-rated villains but they are either too limited in the scope of their goals or too chaotic to be a fixed point. They basically have too few dimension to function as a true king of evil.

These flagships will be a symbol for the battle between good and evil. They will help to streamline the storytelling, give the devs something specific to work towards as end content, and offer any new players easy to recognise mentors.

This brings me to the second question: why are we not peers from the get go? The reason this likely will not work goes hand in hand with storyline: heroes, villians, and super groups have been around for decades if not longer. It is reasonable that a handful of meta-humans have climbed the social and media ladder durring that time. They are your superiors because they have outlasted every threat that has come their way: it is now your turn to don the mantle of a super and prove that you can not only outlast the same threats, but surpass the greats as well. Besides, when you're a new hero talking about the fate of the world are you really going to argue with the meta-human who has fought this same alien menace 100 times before? Or if you're a villian fresh on the street: do you really think it's wise to tell the local mutant kingpin and his small army of cybernetic supers, to take a hike? A least, before you know who you are dealing with (bwahahah). Defer to experience, man, defer!

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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Back to the subject of the

Back to the subject of the flagship candidates: Rottweiler looks super cool, I like the idea a lot, but he looks very dark and grim like Batman. I don't think he fits the "boy-scout" routine. As for Anthem, the blade in her hand suggests lethal violence, so she is really more "amazon" than a "goody-two-shoes", and despite her bright colors, she wears a mask that obscures direct eye contact, suggesting that she has something to hide (Defender in CO did the same). I believe the flagship for heroes should look open, honest, powerful, and dedicated. I am not saying "get rid of Anthem". I am just saying her design and persona might need revamping if she is the flagship.

On the same token, the flagship villain should look as detached from humanity as possible. The players should not be able to relate to him too much or that generates sympathy for "the king of evil" and we all know we don't want that. Full masks help that effect, as do exaggerated, obscured, or disfigured faces. (Vader voice never hurt either :P) Lex Luthor kind of broke that rule, but then, he rarely engaged in combat with Superman. Lex was usually the guy behind the scenes. His rage and bitterness often showed through his face most of the time, so that helped a bit.

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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Uh... your qualifications for

Uh... your qualifications for flagships don't jell with your own examples...

cap wears a mask, lex is a business tycoon who's face is well known...

superman laser beam eyes....

how the world (and audience) views characters is how they become flagships. We talk about cap being the hero with a shield, but he started out with a gun!

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GhostHack wrote:
GhostHack wrote:

Uh... your qualifications for flagships don't jell with your own examples...
cap wears a mask, lex is a business tycoon who's face is well known...
superman laser beam eyes....
how the world (and audience) views characters is how they become flagships. We talk about cap being the hero with a shield, but he started out with a gun!

Yup, but you can make *eye contact* with Cap and easily read his expressions.,
I said Lex was a *rule breaker* .
Superman uses those eyes as a utility, a sword is more finite in its uses.
And Captain America's was in a war, he *owned* the shield from the start and picked up random firearms *as needed* for a life or death situation. By the time of he was brought back for the Avengers, and made a superhero instead of a war hero, the gun use pretty much ended.

Always happy to discuss comics, but this forum is more about what it takes to be a flagship. All opinions are welcome: after all, I bet you have some great suggestions to contribute to this forum. So lets get those ideas out of our noggins and put them on this forum!:D

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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A few points I wish to make:

A few points I wish to make:

1) I'm not going to cast any opinions as to who should be flagship characters for CoT yet because those sorts of things can be easily changed. I think discussing what sorts of ideals and such we would like to see in flagship characters is fine but I'd avoid trying to nail down the titles just yet.

2) Flagship are needed for advertising if nothing else. It will likely be their faces on the material after all so they must be well-represented in the game.

3) As to why we can't be peers to flagship characters...why not? Hear me out on this one: CoX had a long list of characters from both sides. Many of the contacts were supers or well-trained enough to stand with supers. But not all of them had earth-shattering powers or else there would have been nothing left for the rest of us to do. Let's say that our initial heroic contact is similar to the ones we saw in the City Hall basement in CoX. They have powers and abilities for sure...but they're standing around in the City Hall for a reason. WE were the ones out doing the missions...not them. So why does the Lore have to paint them all as powerful? Why can't they just be Agent X...one of 26 mid-level agents assigned to do terribly boring stuff?

Not every NPC needs to be able to fight Galactus. Why not let the PCs come into contact with NPCs that are more peers than superiors? Then, if and when we outlevel the contact, we can consider ourselves more powerful than them. This way there will be a whole gamut of heroes and villains to come into contact with. Some less powerful, some considered peers and some more powerful.

I remember when Star Wars was cool...a long, long time ago...

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Comicsluvr wrote:
Comicsluvr wrote:

But not all of them had earth-shattering powers

* cough *

Darrin Wade

* wheeze alarmingly *

Although, to be fair, Darrin Wade's world shattering superpower was ... Script Immunity. Fortunately, the only person who could have stopped him before he started stuffing women (plural!) into refrigerators was ... (bat)Manticore ... the Man Without A Plan ... or a backup option in case anything (and I do mean *ANYTHING*!) goes horribly, catastrophically, incredibly, "what kind of an idiot are you?" wrong and ruins your life (not to mention, your marriage to the best woman you'll ever know in your life).

Yeah, I still haven't forgiven Dr. Aeon for some of the }FNORD!{ he pulled with the Who Will Die? signature story arc. I get the feeling he would have "killed" Numina too, if she weren't already "dead" ...


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I recall our characters

I recall our characters coming into contact with many NPCs who couldn't fight Galactus. With the powerful NPCs being the ones who were usually reserved for TFs.

Unless we're mentioning villain side, who seemed to have more "HA! I'm more powerful than you!" contacts.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

I recall our characters coming into contact with many NPCs who couldn't fight Galactus.

Azuria vs Galactus ... ROUND 1.

FIGHT!

Azuria: "I left the Wheel of Destruction in my driveway and-"

Galactus: > CHOMP !! <


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Comicsluvr wrote:
But not all of them had earth-shattering powers
* cough *
Darrin Wade
* wheeze alarmingly *
Although, to be fair, Darrin Wade's world shattering superpower was ... Script Immunity. Fortunately, the only person who could have stopped him before he started stuffing women (plural!) into refrigerators was ... (bat)Manticore ... the Man Without A Plan ... or a backup option in case anything (and I do mean *ANYTHING*!) goes horribly, catastrophically, incredibly, "what kind of an idiot are you?" wrong and ruins your life (not to mention, your marriage to the best woman you'll ever know in your life).
Yeah, I still haven't forgiven Dr. Aeon for some of the }FNORD!{ he pulled with the Who Will Die? signature story arc. I get the feeling he would have "killed" Numina too, if she weren't already "dead" ...

Darrin Wade became a god because you foolishly got him all those snips of hair.

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Fools. There are no Flagships

Fools. There are no Flagships. There is only NIGHTMARE!

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So... if we break it back to

So... if we break it back to basics, Sans any examples.... what are the elements that make a Flagship.

For myself, I think the reticence I feel, comes from the fact that most qualities I would tie to a "flagship" are the same qualities that usually define the Protagonist of a story.... and in an MMO, I don't like feeling like the Development team's NPCs are the "main characters"
Indeed, that's the core of my problem with MOST flagship characters in MMOs....
It's that same feeling (for those who can relate) when you join a SG, or Forum RP and after about a week, you come to realize that the only reason that group or thread exists, is for the originator to brow-beat you with how awesome their character is.....

In single player games, in books, and in comics I never feel this way about the signature heroes because it IS their story. in MMO's it's supposed to be MY story, and YOUR story, and OUR story....
...the main character of an MMO, really, is the World itself.

So... knowing that about me.... here are the things I think "make" flagship characters (whether good or evil):

1. Embody a social or moral ideal of the world they exist in.
2. Have a simple core design/aesthetic.
3. Have humanizing elements (at least one, generally more for heroes than villains)
4. Social excellence (through Charisma or Leadership or Competence or Friendship, etc)
5. Visible Power (this is probably the most broad, but Visually the character must seem capable of tasks beyond the normal person... this can be something as simple as having an imposing physique.... or as subtle as tearing away a business suit to expose the superhero tights underneath)

oh... and they need to have Blue eyes.

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given the list above..... i

given the list above..... i think that some of the reasons I felt "brow beat" by States/Defender/Recluse/Destroyer....

is because they don't fulfill all the requirements.
Particularly that first one...
they are "Good and Bad" but they don't embody any sort of social or moral ideal.
they just exist. they're the tops of their respective "sides", because the developers say so. because "look at how awesome our NPC is..."

They all got the look ok, for the most part (not my favorite choices, per say, but fitting of a "flagship") [edit: I am rather harsh on their designs in later posts, but these looks WOULD have worked, if attention had been paid to other elements of the character]

They never felt "human", you never got any sense that they have human motivations or troubles.

We don't get the sense of social excellence (I could NEVER figure out why Recluse's cronies stuck around him... other than to be exemplars of the archetypes and counterpoints to the heroes)

5..... yes, they all have a visual sense of power.....

So, they look appropriate, and they look strong...
....but they don't FEEL Iconic....
they feel flat, generic........ and imposed

it's easy to chock that up to the MMO environment, but truly, I think the problem runs deeper.
In Comics, we Follow the stories of Cap A or Superman... we know their thoughts, we know their struggles... so when other characters go "Wow, The Captain's coming?" WE can identify with that. we can understand the awe and importance others place on them, in the lore...

...in an MMO, we only ever see them from the outside, the game is "tooting their horn" but it's not the same experience as in a comic book.

NOW, given the timeframe we have, the team COULD try and make the effort to get some comic issues out, to tell the adventures of their flagship characters... to bring an "in scene" level of lore to these characters (as opposed to a historical summary of their accomplishments).... which would actually go a long way towards validating ANY design choices the team makes (as well as allowing players and the media to get a taste for the aesthetic/lore/setting/etc. and maintain a level of media buzz for the project)

But other than that, IN GAME the player needs to experience these heroic and villainous characters. See their competence as something MORE than just "having more HP and DPS".... having social value as an ally, friend, leader, Nemesis etc.

we need to see their Ideals and Goals in action.... not simply doing good/evil ... but being motivated by something tangibly greater.
we need to be able to describe their basic look easily and accurately
we need to recognize their multi-facetedness and identify on some level with their universally human quality
we need to experience why anyone in the setting would look to them, look up to them, out of all the thousands of alternatives.
we need to know that they have the power to live up to their impossible ideals, to accomplish their ambitions.... even if they might stumble along the path

......and they need to have blue eyes.

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Very insightful, GhostHack.

Very insightful, GhostHack.

As a writer, I find your goals/expectations to be challenging and desirable. Its particularly difficult to capture the "feel" of what you are describing in just a physical presence: not impossible, but hard.

I wonder what my first impression of Superman would have been just seeing him on the cover of a comic. My first experience was in the original back-and-white TV show. There was the image, but the introduction video with narrator provided the total backdrop for an iconic character. Even that little bit had me wanting to know more and feeling that just maybe He was the ideal of Justice and Right.

Yes indeed, very challenging.

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Maybe with an awesome opening

Maybe with an awesome opening cinematic for CoT!

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Maybe with an awesome opening cinematic for CoT!

Unreal is SO good when doing a mini-movie sequence!

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Terlin wrote:
Terlin wrote:

Very insightful, GhostHack.
As a writer, I find your goals/expectations to be challenging and desirable. Its particularly difficult to capture the "feel" of what you are describing in just a physical presence: not impossible, but hard.
I wonder what my first impression of Superman would have been just seeing him on the cover of a comic. My first experience was in the original back-and-white TV show. There was the image, but the introduction video with narrator provided the total backdrop for an iconic character. Even that little bit had me wanting to know more and feeling that just maybe He was the ideal of Justice and Right.
Yes indeed, very challenging.

That is why THIS SPEECH by Lord Recluse did almost more than anything else for me in the way of defining his character, and how I thought about him. Text windows just don't convey The POWER of the DARK SIDE like that voice does.


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I agree with you Ghost. In my

I agree with you Ghost. In my view, Defender and Destoyer were jokes, I mentioned them only to set a premise. Statesman and Recluse had the right look, but lacked any real substance whenever you met them in the game. You knew very little about either and their entire struggle can be summed up in "childhood friends turned enemies after achieving god-like powers". The player base knew so little about Statesman that he always felt distant as a result. In the few places that you would see them clash, it always felt that there was something you were not being told. As for Recluse, he looked powerful and menacing, but as a villain you could go to his throne room and talk to him whenever you wanted. He was a fixture. Although his persona was oppressive, he didn't reverberate as strongly as he could have. ( Always thought it was nice of him to let any villian work his way up the ranks)

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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Sounds like what they need to

Sounds like what they need to do instead, is make the awesome NPCs and not just the standard named EBs or what have you, stand out more! PCs can still be A listers, even with NPC A listers.

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Terlin wrote:
Terlin wrote:

Very insightful, GhostHack.
As a writer, I find your goals/expectations to be challenging and desirable. Its particularly difficult to capture the "feel" of what you are describing in just a physical presence: not impossible, but hard.

as a writer, I'm inclined to agree. The most important thing, I think, is to realize that these Flagships characters have BECOME who they are, in their respective universes, and remained so, because the zeitgeist remembers their stories, their adventures.... not as a cliffnotes/wiki entry... but from the nostalgic hearts of children. Superman is the flagship of DC, not because he wears red and blue and is the strongest hero in the DC Universe (not certain that he even IS anymore)....
but because we've experienced his struggles, we know his pain and his desire. We know how easily someone with his power could have been a tyrant.... and so does he.

Quote:

I wonder what my first impression of Superman would have been just seeing him on the cover of a comic. My first experience was in the original back-and-white TV show. There was the image, but the introduction video with narrator provided the total backdrop for an iconic character. Even that little bit had me wanting to know more and feeling that just maybe He was the ideal of Justice and Right.

keep in mind, as you move forward.... that Superman was the Main character of that show.
he isn't the main character of DCUO, though.... and he only works AS a flagship in that MMO, because we've been with him for nearly a century.

which is why I say that a flagship is nearly impossible, in a setting where he/she is not the main character.... and how making a character a flagship character inevitably places them in the role of the protagonist...

Quote:

Yes indeed, very challenging.
-
Terlin

Indeed.

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Automatisch wrote:
Automatisch wrote:

I agree with you Ghost. In my view, Defender and Destoyer were jokes, I mentioned them only to set a premise.

actually, they had more history and standing than their COH predecessors coming in... and should have been much better off... but in adapting the Champions setting to their own ends, I feel Cryptic undermined their own IP. they made the two characters more than they had been in the lore, and set them up as mimics of Stateman and Recluse.
Their mistake was of a adaptive nature, more than a design one.

Quote:

Statesman and Recluse had the right look...

I would actually argue against this.
Statesman made no sense, looking neither greek (befitting his origin story) nor particularly "American" (which seemed to be his design theme)
His costume lacked definition and character, it was jumbled and bland. I couldn't tell what his deal was, just by looking at him... he was "a" hero... but he never looked like a hero others would look up to.... if he wasn't 9ft tall.

Recluse, similarly, was too overbourne. he had the arms (too many arms, imo), but WHY he had them, made no sense with his origin, then he had full body armor, a shredder helmet, a massive furry collar and a cape.

He was a highly (spider) themed character wrapped in tech/asian....ish armor. He was recognizable, but he was FAR from iconic. (Doom he was not..... more like Doc Oc did the deed with shredder and sabertooth.)

As a pair, you have an odd american spartan (much cooler name, actually :P) guy and a Spider guy who both got powers from classical Greek MAGIC.

Quote:

but lacked any real substance whenever you met them in the game. You knew very little about either and their entire struggle can be summed up in "childhood friends turned enemies after achieving god-like powers". The player base knew so little about Statesman that he always felt distant as a result. In the few places that you would see them clash, it always felt that there was something you were not being told.

It runs deeper than that, see my first item.
What "Ideal" of the world did statesman embody?
if we quote his bio:
"...saving his beloved Paragon City from itself. The would-be hero took on the name Statesman, an identity that personified all the values and ideals that Paragon City currently lacked."

His identity personifies something that DOESN'T exist in the place he is. he is antithetical to the true flagship character.
I mean, if you think about it, from HIS perspective... States believed that there were no "heroes" before he showed up. His ideals were UNIQUE.... no cop ever sought justice, no firefighter ever saved a child from a burning building...

I know most people never read his bio, but consider that everything about him was founded on this blurb that someone at Cryptic wrote, while they were fleshing him out as a "flagship" character.

He wasn't upholding the ideals of his city, he was holding his city to his own ideals.
....that's villain talk, at best....
Who could ever identify with him, really, when, at his core... he's the only person that matters?

Quote:

As for Recluse, he looked powerful and menacing, but as a villain you could go to his throne room and talk to him whenever you wanted. He was a fixture. Although his persona was oppressive, he didn't reverberate as strongly as he could have. ( Always thought it was nice of him to let any villian work his way up the ranks)

I have no problem with the master villain having a throne room that you could go visit him in.... my problem was that the only thing that MADE him evil, was that he was possessed by a dark god of chaos and thus wanted to burn the world of law to the ground.....
.....and yet ruled as a tyrant.

Anarchism doesnt work in a totalitarian state.... particularly when YOU are that totalitarian state.

his entire motivation made no sense:
his backstory and his speechwriter had him defined as a liberator of those oppressed by the rule of societies laws...
but his ACTIONS defined him as something between Dr. Doom and COBRA Commander.... but with spiders.

What IDEAL does he embody?
he's not an anarchist, his actions are tyrannical
he's not a tyrant, his motivation is the greek god of chaos (supposedly, though Tartarus is really more like "hell" than "chaos" but meh.)

We're left wondering who he is, WHY he is.... and the answer is "he's a villain, because he's evil, and he's evil because he's possessed by an evil alien entity, and likes it."

which is NOT flagship material......

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I'm going to play devil's

I'm going to play devil's advocate here and go against my own bias of what should fill the role of the flagship in this game. I'd love to hear your *full* ideas on what a flagship *team* would look like, how they should function, how they would work in marketing, and how they would educate new meta humans without being viewed as your superior (even if that superiority would have lasted only until you max out in levels). We all want this forum to be productive, best way to do that is see every idea to its end.

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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I hope the game sells

I hope the game sells character recognition throughout the game. Players WANT to be in-game famous. Pay for Fame = Pay to Win? I dunno… if you're rich and being famous in a virtual world means that much to you I think I'll "Shut up and Take Your Money"

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Flagship teams (Avengers and

Flagship teams (Avengers and Justice League, respectively) just reframe characters who already adhere to the flagship rules as components of a team (Tropes calls them "leader," "Lancer," "Smart Guy,"Big Guy," and "the Chick", generally)
as you might imagine, if i view One Flagship character as problematic for an MMO space... a team of them would only serve to magnify the problems inherent in the singular.

Arguably, my ultimate solution would be to use "Pre-Atlas" characters as Marketing material. have the American Star and his Paragons be the marketing material (with Anthem as his plucky Sidekick)
As for how they would educate the young... I have two suggestions:
1.) By example. The heroes that were left have stepped up to fill the void left by the fallen, and hope that the young will follow in their footsteps.
and,
2.) I would make an NPC who was a member of Star's Paragons. I would Make this NPC's only true "super power" that s/he is "impervious to harm."
In a fight against normal super villains, this NPC would have a valuable role in the team, but in a situation like Hurricane Atlas, they were better served helping out with evacuation and rescues. As a result of these two features, s/he is the only (other, counting Anthem) member of the original team to survive.
After the cleanup, this NPC retired from hero work, supporting Anthem and her new team of heroes. This NPC would be visible in and around Phoenix plaza... meditating or doing Tai Chi, or just reading a book on a park bench.
Beyond this basic set up, this NPC would act as a source of second hand information in the game. S/he has been in the city for a while, and knows quite a bit about how things were and who various characters are. S/he would be able to provide his/her insight into the history of Titan City and its various groups, denizens, and current events.
An early mission would introduce him/her to the player (likely set up as a bit of a history lesson about the Atlas 33) and from then on, you could talk to this NPC about anything you came across... New characters, locations, hero/villain groups, story arcs, etc.... and s/he would give you his/her personal take on those characters or places or whatever.

A similar character could exist for "Villain side", depending on how separate the two groups will be in Titans.... or even just give you the "villain's POV" on the same topics the Hero NPC talks about

So, the game shows all these heroes in the media who, when you play the game, have already died heroically protecting the city..... all except a few. Anthem... who is a young Exemplar of the ideals of her former Mentor..... and this NPC.... whose friends have all died, is tired of all the fighting, and willing to impart what s/he knows to those willing to listen.

...Basically, My Suggestion would be: "Superman is Dead... we all hope to live up to his sacrifice"

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

I hope the game sells character recognition throughout the game. Players WANT to be in-game famous. Pay for Fame = Pay to Win? I dunno… if you're rich and being famous in a virtual world means that much to you I think I'll "Shut up and Take Your Money"

honestly, recognition is always earned. No amount of massive shoulderpads will ever make you "famous" in an MMO. That's just a lie to get you to buy the newest biggest shoulder pads.

Recognition for actions and acomplishments, though.... if it's public enough.... will breed a level of fame.
If the Titan's team made an effort to recognize players (reguardless of the reason for the recognition) those players and characters would gain recognition within the community by proxy (Devs are important.... people Devs talk about must also be important, on some level...)

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Hrm. From the OPs list I

Hrm. From the OPs list I realized that in pretty much all setups it's the benevolent bruiser vs the evil brain. A bit like in fantasy it tends to be the brawny brute vs the scheming sorcerer. When did people decide that in muscle vs brains it's the brains that's evil? Science or magic is the root of all evil while the hero uses their heart (and fist) to win the day.

What if any potential flagship was not the (imo boring) flying powerhouse but elderly exemplar? My issue with characters like superman is that they end up being *too* good while at the heart they are still a glorified jock who uses fists to solve issues. They start as the flying powerhouse but since they are the hero they can suddenly transform to an expert in any field for just long enough to solve the issue only to forget all that in next scene. They are in fact so over the top that creators have to invent a stupid artificial weakness that their nemesis constantly uses against them. Combine this with morals that end up getting millions killed and at least I would like to see a character that uses brains and experience to prevent disasters before they happen as opposed to actually making situation worse in a form of massive collateral damage.

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try to keep some perspective,

try to keep some perspective, North... be reminded that the examples given came from a particular time in history.

Superman vs Lex isn't "Jock vs. Nerd"..... it's "Farmer Vs. Industry"
All superman has is his bare hands, against the progress of technology, of science unbounded by morality, of the ambition of power in a world where industrial advancement is king.

The fact that his "two hands" were as strong or stronger than the cunning, amoral brain of the ambitious Lex Luthor is a moral statement....

Compare that to spiderman, for example.
Spiderman's powers and abilities are based in scientific advancement, and all his enemies are scientifically motivated or created.
his story is "Sorcerer vs. Sorcerer"....
...and what is HIS motto? "With great power comes great responsibility"
I.e. If you have that Clever mind, you must use MORAL judgement, you must be ruled by your heart.... lest you become evil.

the Superhero story is one of a human analogue overcoming physical manifestations of human fears. It converts these emotions into tangible entities that can be tackled, defeated, physically in a way that can never actually happen in real life.

While telling a story about a person with super-human powers who could prevent disasters might be an interesting project... it undermines that value that super hero stories have to most readers.

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Statesman and Lord Recluse

Statesman and Lord Recluse were actually ... kinda boring ... until the Incarnate System came along. Before the Mender Ramiel arc to gain your Alpha Slot, and needing to talk to either Statesman or Lord Recluse, you never really knew who the Puppetmaster behind them was:

Well of the Furies wrote:

No, not Statesman. You may know me as the Well of the Furies. I am speaking to you now through Statesman. You wish to earn my power, do you? To go beyond the limits of what your current peers are capable of? Statesman would see that no others achieve this, but I will not let his petty concerns come between you and your goals.

Well of the Furies wrote:

Recluse is not here at the moment. You are speaking to what many call the Well of the Furies. Recluse would never tell you what he secretly knows, what he secretly dreads. He is a... disappointment, really. He craves power, but seeks to gain it in every other method save for ones connected to myself. I can see in you this desire for power, however. You will never be able to gain it through Recluse.

Lady Grey wrote:

What I am about to tell you must come with no questions regarding how or why I have this knowledge.

The Well's control is very specific, Character, for there are two paths towards the path of becoming a fully powered Incarnate. The first is the fast path, one where the user is granted unimaginable power in a large amount. This is what happened to Statesman, Recluse, and Hero 1. Those who travel down this path develop a very close link to the Well very quickly. This is why the Well is able to control them.

The fate of those who travel down this path is one of constant servitude. Of the three, only Recluse and Statesman were truly aware of this. There is always the risk that the Well will seek to control them; this risk is increased when they try to increase their own power. In a sense, their freedom is confined. If they do not seek more power than what they've been given, they have a chance of fighting the Well's control. To seek more power from the Well itself... it would risk them seeing an end to their own selves.

This is why Statesman has always been fearful of trying to seek out more power, both for himself and others. Recluse, in all of his bids for power, has been trying to seek a way to destroy this link and still maintain his power. While Statesman remains in his place with the Well, Recluse seeks to defy it, to destroy it and earn his freedom.

The interesting thing here, for me, was that Statesman "enjoyed" his power, granted by the Well of the Furies ... but he was loathe to share it, and thus didn't want anyone else to get it. Lord Recluse however "resisted" the Well of the Furies and wanted to sever his connection without losing the power he had gained from it, making Lord Recluse (ironically) the true "Freedom Fighter" of the two of them, and the only one who sought to exercise his Free Will first and foremost (albeit in service of Villany).

In a lot of ways, the "character development" for Statesman and Lord Recluse was functionally outsourced to the City of Heroes comic books ... which is all fine and dandy if you have access to those comic books ... but if you don't ...


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I honestly think flagships

I honestly think flagships set a tone.

If the flagship was a vampire and a werewolf you'd expect a lot of people calling this game "Twilight"

Like "people in tights" because it represents what we want in this game.. Keep it generic (wrap it in the flag) is not a bad thing because if I see someone in high tech robot suits I get the feeling that's what the games about. If its too golden age.. same thing.

Keep it bland. Put one in some version of patriotism representing the good guy and the other one make look mean and in a different kind of super getup… Then in the background have a even BIGGER more ambiguous figure representing the player.. because WE built this city.

Oh .. and then sell me the ability to plaster posters of my character on "Wanted" signs all over the game.. so I can spam you with my fame (or so you can sell the space to Tide Ultraclean and make some ad revenue.

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If I recall CoH lore

If I recall CoH lore correctly, all heroes obtained their abilities through the well of furies. Let's not go down that road. Or the well DCUO uses where all PCs get their powers from same place.

I love to RP, but if people ignore the lore, it becomes a jumbled mess. The same as if there was no lore, might as well just be nameless enemy 1 2 and 3.

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Well, it was a weird

Well, it was a weird combination of things, but, functionally, it was "because of what Cole did... super powers and magic and stuff was possible again"

DCUO was much, much worse, imo....

But how other game's failed isn't really relevant, apart from recognizing what pitfalls to avoid in Titans.

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Okay, still acting as devil's

Okay, still acting as devil's advocate, I have some follow up questions.

GhostHack wrote:

Flagship teams (Avengers and Justice League, respectively) just reframe characters who already adhere to the flagship rules as components of a team (Tropes calls them "leader," "Lancer," "Smart Guy,"Big Guy," and "the Chick", generally)
as you might imagine, if i view One Flagship character as problematic for an MMO space... a team of them would only serve to magnify the problems inherent in the singular.

Why is the fact that we would require an in depth knowledge of said team a "problem"? Why is said "problem" not simplified by assigning one dimensional roles to the team members, and in that manner actually distributing the weight of a "flagship"?

Quote:

Arguably, my ultimate solution would be to use "Pre-Atlas" characters as Marketing material. have the American Star and his Paragons be the marketing material (with Anthem as his plucky Sidekick)

You are assuming that those characters will track better, correct? If we use the same argument you have been putting forward thus far, it may be no different than if we just used Anthem and her Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players. The audience we are pitching the game towards still has no idea who these interchangeable characters are and when they are introduced in the game they will all be dead or retired. Not much to learn about them from that point on. Further more: wouldn't pitching dynamic characters who are all dead or retired (ergo: not so dynamic) be a "bait-and-switch"? If not, then please elaborate.

Quote:

As for how they would educate the young... I have two suggestions:
1.) By example. The heroes that were left have stepped up to fill the void left by the fallen, and hope that the young will follow in their footsteps.
and,

Are we assuming *all* A-listers are pretty much out of the game?

Quote:

2.) I would make an NPC who was a member of Star's Paragons. I would Make this NPC's only true "super power" that s/he is "impervious to harm."
In a fight against normal super villains, this NPC would have a valuable role in the team, but in a situation like Hurricane Atlas, they were better served helping out with evacuation and rescues. As a result of these two features, s/he is the only (other, counting Anthem) member of the original team to survive.
After the cleanup, this NPC retired from hero work, supporting Anthem and her new team of heroes. This NPC would be visible in and around Phoenix plaza... meditating or doing Tai Chi, or just reading a book on a park bench.
Beyond this basic set up, this NPC would act as a source of second hand information in the game. S/he has been in the city for a while, and knows quite a bit about how things were and who various characters are. S/he would be able to provide his/her insight into the history of Titan City and its various groups, denizens, and current events.
An early mission would introduce him/her to the player (likely set up as a bit of a history lesson about the Atlas 33) and from then on, you could talk to this NPC about anything you came across... New characters, locations, hero/villain groups, story arcs, etc.... and s/he would give you his/her personal take on those characters or places or whatever.

I actually like the idea of this NPC. It's a solid way to handle the situation without having a random *active* hero leading you by the hand.

Quote:

A similar character could exist for "Villain side", depending on how separate the two groups will be in Titans.... or even just give you the "villain's POV" on the same topics the Hero NPC talks about
So, the game shows all these heroes in the media who, when you play the game, have already died heroically protecting the city..... all except a few. Anthem... who is a young Exemplar of the ideals of her former Mentor..... and this NPC.... whose friends have all died, is tired of all the fighting, and willing to impart what s/he knows to those willing to listen.

Okay, so what of the villain side though? Are we assuming that most villains survived Atlas? That would make sense, given that Villains are not known to be self sacrificing. Would that also mean that the villains not only grossly outnumber the heroes, but would also be better entrenched in the city, and have a much wider range of experience? A-lister villains and a new surge of villains vs retired heroes and newbies? Then there is the question of Anthem, assuming that she is even used two years from now, how would she not be an A-lister by this point? And in being the only A-lister, how would she not be the flagship?

Quote:

...Basically, My Suggestion would be: "Superman is Dead... we all hope to live up to his sacrifice"

What would you say to those who want to fight alongside superman, not replace him?

These questions are all geared to determine if we want a game without flagships.

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Now, a question of my own: am

Now, a question of my own: am I really the only one who thought Defender's design was horrible? It offered no contrast at all. It didn't pop. Then we have his alter ego: not at all an every-man, but instead a billionaire playboy. I refuse to dignify that character with a detailed point by point criticism of the design, it was that bad. I am surprised anyone could find anything positive to say about it.

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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GhostHack wrote:
GhostHack wrote:

...Basically, My Suggestion would be: "Superman is Dead... we all hope to live up to his sacrifice"

Dunno how I missed this but I love it too!

Crowd Control Enthusiast

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Automatisch wrote:
Automatisch wrote:

Okay, still acting as devil's advocate, I have some follow up questions.
GhostHack wrote:
Flagship teams (Avengers and Justice League, respectively) just reframe characters who already adhere to the flagship rules as components of a team (Tropes calls them "leader," "Lancer," "Smart Guy,"Big Guy," and "the Chick", generally)
as you might imagine, if i view One Flagship character as problematic for an MMO space... a team of them would only serve to magnify the problems inherent in the singular.

Why is the fact that we would require an in depth knowledge of said team a "problem"? Why is said "problem" not simplified by assigning one dimensional roles to the team members, and in that manner actually distributing the weight of a "flagship"?

The implication of a Flagship (as I've argued previously) is that they are, arguably, the Main Character of the setting.
By making a "team" you don't change that, you simply make MORE people who, in their own right, could be the Main Character into an Ensemble cast (thus further distancing the Player's character from a status of value in the universe.)

The only possible "success" in this formula would be something similar to (if you've seen it) Justice League Unlimited, wherein the criminality of the world is just too much for one super team to handle, so that Super Super Group decides to open its doors to "a bunch of second tier heroes, to help out"

and that's the BEST case scenario.... that our characters are just happy to be invited to the table, because the world is too big for the greatest heroes in the universe....

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Arguably, my ultimate solution would be to use "Pre-Atlas" characters as Marketing material. have the American Star and his Paragons be the marketing material (with Anthem as his plucky Sidekick)
You are assuming that those characters will track better, correct? If we use the same argument you have been putting forward thus far, it may be no different than if we just used Anthem and her Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players.

What I am assuming is that the Dynamic of dead heroes is different than that of Live ones.
It makes no difference if it's Anthem and her team that died, or some past group.... what is important, is that the People who DEFINED the world, are now gone.... and it is their MEMORY that we strive towards.
It is a Dramatic shift in focus:
Rather than being told "Well done, Son. you remind me of myself, back when I was young and inexperienced" by AMERICAN STAR, HERO OF AMERICA!....
instead, you're being told "I haven't seen heroism like that, since American Star stopped the Hurricane Atlas. You honor his sacrifice" by Mayor Conners.

Do you see how the focus shifts? When it's American Star talking... the real story, is how you live up to his standards. how much you are like him, TO him.
in the second case... it is how you Embody HEROISM, "just like" previous heroes.

And, from a world building perspective....What if all those statues ACTUALLY meant something, in COX and Champs... that they weren't just a city's odd way of decorating (Champs) or honoring people who never got a moment of face time in the rest of the game's media (COX)
What if, instead... everything you've ever seen about the game, happened yesterday... and today is a new day, and today is YOUR time, to make YOUR mark...

Quote:

The audience we are pitching the game towards still has no idea who these interchangeable characters are and when they are introduced in the game they will all be dead or retired. Not much to learn about them from that point on. Further more: wouldn't pitching dynamic characters who are all dead or retired (ergo: not so dynamic) be a "bait-and-switch"? If not, then please elaborate.

See, that's the thing. The audience we're pitching the game towards doesn't actually CARE who the people in the marketing are. We aren't selling "Be Wolverine!"... we're selling "Be Who YOU want to be."
So, the people in the marketing really only exist TO market the game.... whether they exist in the game or not is almost irrelevant (I say "almost" because people like continuity of vision... They want the fantasy they've constructed in their imagination to unfold in the game, so marketing must be at least marginally representative of the finished product)

We aren't Pitching Dynamic characters in the Media... we're pitching a setting, using visual communication. The only "dynamic" characters that matter, are the PLAYER characters... every other thing in the game (NPC or Enemy) exists simply as a medium to provide our characters with dynamism.

Depending on the final outcome of the questing system, there may be very little need for "contacts" like COX and Champs had (most MMO's really) and so the necessity of "Allied NPCs" rapidly diminishes, and can literally be captured by "normal people" (your Jim Gordons and Moira MacTaggerts)
Indeed, the whole NOTION of having "Hero" or "Villain" NPCs.... outside of marketing is totally flawed. Their only true value comes in as being Enemy types for PCs.... and you can do that without EVER having them be encountered as "ally NPCs"

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As for how they would educate the young... I have two suggestions:
1.) By example. The heroes that were left have stepped up to fill the void left by the fallen, and hope that the young will follow in their footsteps.
and,
Are we assuming *all* A-listers are pretty much out of the game?

Actually, my assumption... is that PLAYERS are the "A-listers" in this universe.
Someone like Anthem and her team are "some A-listers", but they are some among many, they have their corner of the city that they deal with... while other heroes deal with other parts. (and villains likewise have their own neighborhood haunts)

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2.) I would make an NPC who was a member of Star's Paragons. I would Make this NPC's only true "super power" that s/he is "impervious to harm."
In a fight against normal super villains, this NPC would have a valuable role in the team, but in a situation like Hurricane Atlas, they were better served helping out with evacuation and rescues. As a result of these two features, s/he is the only (other, counting Anthem) member of the original team to survive.
After the cleanup, this NPC retired from hero work, supporting Anthem and her new team of heroes. This NPC would be visible in and around Phoenix plaza... meditating or doing Tai Chi, or just reading a book on a park bench.
Beyond this basic set up, this NPC would act as a source of second hand information in the game. S/he has been in the city for a while, and knows quite a bit about how things were and who various characters are. S/he would be able to provide his/her insight into the history of Titan City and its various groups, denizens, and current events.
An early mission would introduce him/her to the player (likely set up as a bit of a history lesson about the Atlas 33) and from then on, you could talk to this NPC about anything you came across... New characters, locations, hero/villain groups, story arcs, etc.... and s/he would give you his/her personal take on those characters or places or whatever.

I actually like the idea of this NPC. It's a solid way to handle the situation without having a random *active* hero leading you by the hand.

It also allows the development team to have "mentors" who are not "better" than the player.... Wiser, more experienced, more knowledgable... but not necessarily as powerful.
It also allows a sort of filtering...
one horrid aspect of most MMO's is the NPC bio box. It either exists as "Ask me about myself" or "tell me about this miscellaneous NPC, game lore writer...."

By having an In-game second party, the development staff has the ability to talk ABOUT characters we meet, without having to have the character in question give us info-dump exposition. It provides color comentary, too... as, over time, you begin to understand how Mr/Lady Titan thinks about different types of heroism/villany... and see how it colors her storytelling....
It ALSO allows characters to remain mysterious, simply by having the NPC not know much about them... without having to c@ckblock the player in the biography tab by saying "Mr. Dark Is super Mysterious... so you don't get to know about him"
Further, and lastly..... it frees up NPCs to simply "be"... to "act like themselves"... rather than having to explain themselves. A character can be a massive dick, or act like a complete clown... without having to put in his BIO "but really, he's got a heart of gold"... because this NPC can TELL you what s/he knows.. "yeah, he's prickly, but when push comes to shove, he always does the right thing"

We are far more likely to accept and trust the opinions of someone else, then what the character tells us about themselves (and this system even lets the content people play with that, as the character can say one thing, and the "sage" say another.)

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A similar character could exist for "Villain side", depending on how separate the two groups will be in Titans.... or even just give you the "villain's POV" on the same topics the Hero NPC talks about
So, the game shows all these heroes in the media who, when you play the game, have already died heroically protecting the city..... all except a few. Anthem... who is a young Exemplar of the ideals of her former Mentor..... and this NPC.... whose friends have all died, is tired of all the fighting, and willing to impart what s/he knows to those willing to listen.

Okay, so what of the villain side though? Are we assuming that most villains survived Atlas? That would make sense, given that Villains are not known to be self sacrificing. Would that also mean that the villains not only grossly outnumber the heroes, but would also be better entrenched in the city, and have a much wider range of experience? A-lister villains and a new surge of villains vs retired heroes and newbies? Then there is the question of Anthem, assuming that she is even used two years from now, how would she not be an A-lister by this point? And in being the only A-lister, how would she not be the flagship?

Basically, my quoted bit here was more supposition. I believe that the end goal of the development team is something like an open world version of Going Rogue... but with more finesse and greater player control.
With that being said, I believe that the City will be initially broken up into a "Hero Home Base" (Phoenix Plaza) and a "Villain Home Base" (Garvison Square)... from these two starting points, the city opens up and you're free to progress (a hero falling, a villain rising, or anything in between)

with that basic premise in mind... while I don't think it's going to be as mirrored/split as the Rogue Isles and Paragon City were....
I think that it would make sense that a suggested resource like our Ex-Paragon NPC would/should have a counterpart on the "villain side of things" (i.e. a villain's perspective on the world, a second POV for all the characters, organizations, history and locations).... if for no other reason than to have competing views of the world expressed outside of choosing the red side or the blue side. (also, it could lead to potential lore-hunter badges or clue-based mysteries that require both perspective's story to figure out the truth)

As for Villain NPCs:
I really feel like there should be a "Top Dog" for every major theme in the game (Horror/Fantasy, Magic, Space, Science, Mutation, extra-dimensional, etc et al)
then there should be at least two (but more is fine) "independent" villains (non-group affiliated) villains of each major theme in the game
Finally, there should be a leader and at least one "major lieutenant" for each villain group in the game, separate from the top dogs or independents.

The logic here, is that a Doom style character might "Hire" Hydra to complete a mission... but he's not really the BOSS of Hydra... meanwhile hydra might send Viper to contract Abomination to destroy Cap-A's wedding.... and Viper is never going to be Abomination's "ally" and Abomination will never be part of Hydra...

as for Lore, my general feeling is that Rex acted alone, and most villains either stayed out of his way (let him destroy it, see if I care) or helped heroes trying to stop it (If anyone's going to destroy Titan City, it's gonna be ME!.... or "Nobody attacks MY home and gets away with it!")

As for Anthem..... The simplest answer.... is that she'll never be an A-lister... she's not "good enough"....
Daredevil's a great example here. It's not that he's not popular, Iconic, or in any way doubted as a hero... but he will NEVER be Captain America or Thor. He might be the Scourage of Hells Kitchen, but he's not A-list.

As I said, It would be my ideal, if the player's characters were considered the A-listers (or, even better, if that was a "path" you could adopt and follow)
I've said, many times, that I have high hopes for the paths system as a means of self designation. If you want to be Daredevil (or old school batman/Nightwing) and be master of your corner of the world... DO that... if you want to be a A-list hero who's called upon the save the world, or the UNIVERSE.... then go and do/be that.

its all in how you spin it. If Anthem and her Young Paragons/New Paragons/Paragons v2.0
Aren't treated as A-listers... then they aren't.

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...Basically, My Suggestion would be: "Superman is Dead... we all hope to live up to his sacrifice"

What would you say to those who want to fight alongside superman, not replace him?
These questions are all geared to determine if we want a game without flagships.

well, then you find someone in game who IS Superman, and fight along side him/her.

As I said, I have high hopes for the Paths system... and it would be neat to have elements in the game the promoted the goals of various paths (like a system-wide call for help to a particular level-maxed hero, who's logged in, because the world needs saving.... Or having Boss NPCs surrendering to a hometown hero, because they "know what he/she does to mugs that resist")

___________________________________
....Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars...

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Automatisch wrote:
Automatisch wrote:

Now, a question of my own: am I really the only one who thought Defender's design was horrible? It offered no contrast at all. It didn't pop. Then we have his alter ego: not at all an every-man, but instead a billionaire playboy. I refuse to dignify that character with a detailed point by point criticism of the design, it was that bad. I am surprised anyone could find anything positive to say about it.

Other than the Helmet, I didn't think it was too bad. it was bland, but I liked the choice of a white-dominant costume. It's unusual.
Most of his problem, though... stems from the fact that he's a PnP NPC... and, in my experience, ALL PnP NPCS were originally developer's personal characters.
They were, by and large, created by our fellow geeks and nerds to fulfill the same role-playing fantasies that we have.
They were NOT designed to be well rounded, fleshed out, multidimensional characters.... The are suits that someone used to wear, not realistic people.

Defender is just an amalgum of Superman and Ironman (Ironman in all but personality, basically) because someone once wanted to play as Ironman, but not be such a dick about it.

I truly hope our development team doesn't fall into the same trap of just copy/pasting their own characters into leading roles in this game....
...and instead craft fully realized comic book heroes and villains to populate the world we all hope to play in.

___________________________________
....Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars...

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Oh, and Auto... I think in my

Oh, and Auto... I think in my haste, I misinterpreted your question about a "flagship team" as being a collection of flagship characters..... rather than like an "X-men" where the individuals are not flagships, but as a team they are.

if that's the case, I can respond differently.

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....Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars...

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Yes, you did actually. I

Yes, you did actually. I would like to see what you've got on the subject.

Sidenote: let's hear some others chime in too! We have a lot of ground to cover on this subject and only 2 years before the game's release!

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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GhostHack wrote:
GhostHack wrote:

Automatisch wrote:
Now, a question of my own: am I really the only one who thought Defender's design was horrible? It offered no contrast at all. It didn't pop. Then we have his alter ego: not at all an every-man, but instead a billionaire playboy. I refuse to dignify that character with a detailed point by point criticism of the design, it was that bad. I am surprised anyone could find anything positive to say about it.

Other than the Helmet, I didn't think it was too bad. it was bland, but I liked the choice of a white-dominant costume. It's unusual.
Most of his problem, though... stems from the fact that he's a PnP NPC... and, in my experience, ALL PnP NPCS were originally developer's personal characters.
They were, by and large, created by our fellow geeks and nerds to fulfill the same role-playing fantasies that we have.
They were NOT designed to be well rounded, fleshed out, multidimensional characters.... The are suits that someone used to wear, not realistic people.
Defender is just an amalgum of Superman and Ironman (Ironman in all but personality, basically) because someone once wanted to play as Ironman, but not be such a dick about it.
I truly hope our development team doesn't fall into the same trap of just copy/pasting their own characters into leading roles in this game....
...and instead craft fully realized comic book heroes and villains to populate the world we all hope to play in.

Unfortunately, I fear that may be exactly what has happened thus far. I know that Anthem and some of her troupe were designed shortly after the CoX shutdown was announced and the talks of plan Z began in earnest back on the old Titan Network forums. I can understand the dev's want and drive to have an idea *they* love featured in the game and taking center stage: but is that what is best for the game? As an artist and an aspiring novelist, I can understand the bitter sting of being asked to rethink an idea. I only hope they are familiar with it as well and are willing to inflict it upon themselves if need be.

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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Verbogeny is one of many pleasurettes afforded a creatific thinkerizer.
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Back again as devil's

Back again as devil's advocate.

GhostHack wrote:

What I am assuming is that the Dynamic of dead heroes is different than that of Live ones.It makes no difference if it's Anthem and her team that died, or some past group.... what is important, is that the People who DEFINED the world, are now gone.... and it is their MEMORY that we strive towards.
It is a Dramatic shift in focus:
Rather than being told "Well done, Son. you remind me of myself, back when I was young and inexperienced" by AMERICAN STAR, HERO OF AMERICA!....
instead, you're being told "I haven't seen heroism like that, since American Star stopped the Hurricane Atlas. You honor his sacrifice" by Mayor Conners.
Do you see how the focus shifts? When it's American Star talking... the real story, is how you live up to his standards. how much you are like him, TO him.
in the second case... it is how you Embody HEROISM, "just like" previous heroes.

What you seem to be suggesting is that the player is the flagship. But how would that differ on the fine line between "City of Titans" and "City of You"? Many who played CoX wanted the sense that they were part of a *City of Heroes*. That despite their great power, they were only one small part of the whole. Only one hero among many. Wouldn't a fantastic hero or team acting as flagship help with that perspective?

Quote:

See, that's the thing. The audience we're pitching the game towards doesn't actually CARE who the people in the marketing are. We aren't selling "Be Wolverine!"... we're selling "Be Who YOU want to be."
So, the people in the marketing really only exist TO market the game.... whether they exist in the game or not is almost irrelevant (I say "almost" because people like continuity of vision... They want the fantasy they've constructed in their imagination to unfold in the game, so marketing must be at least marginally representative of the finished product)
We aren't Pitching Dynamic characters in the Media... we're pitching a setting, using visual communication. The only "dynamic" characters that matter, are the PLAYER characters... every other thing in the game (NPC or Enemy) exists simply as a medium to provide our characters with dynamism.

If we feature a character in the game trailer we will be advertising "Fly along side this hero!" Just by showing that character we will be making a promise (sad but true). Unless we choose a method of advertising that doesn't show any character more than once and only for brief periods among dozens of other supers . But seeing as there are NPC's in the game and there is a story, wouldn't it be logical to place amazing characters central to the story in the marketing material?

Quote:

Depending on the final outcome of the questing system, there may be very little need for "contacts" like COX and Champs had (most MMO's really) and so the necessity of "Allied NPCs" rapidly diminishes, and can literally be captured by "normal people" (your Jim Gordons and Moira MacTaggerts)
Indeed, the whole NOTION of having "Hero" or "Villain" NPCs.... outside of marketing is totally flawed. Their only true value comes in as being Enemy types for PCs.... and you can do that without EVER having them be encountered as "ally NPCs"

Remember: we are talking about player characters for heroes, villains and all points between. Its really a "my enemy's enemy is my friend" sort of deal: an enemy NPC for a villain may be a friendly NPC for a hero. So bumping into a super powered NPC ally would seem inevitable, wouldn't it? Won't we need iconic characters (supers, non-supers, villains, and heroes) to keep the story moving and in freeform?

Quote:

As for Anthem..... The simplest answer.... is that she'll never be an A-lister... she's not "good enough"....
Daredevil's a great example here. It's not that he's not popular, Iconic, or in any way doubted as a hero... but he will NEVER be Captain America or Thor. He might be the Scourage of Hells Kitchen, but he's not A-list.
As I said, It would be my ideal, if the player's characters were considered the A-listers (or, even better, if that was a "path" you could adopt and follow)
I've said, many times, that I have high hopes for the paths system as a means of self designation. If you want to be Daredevil (or old school batman/Nightwing) and be master of your corner of the world... DO that... if you want to be a A-list hero who's called upon the save the world, or the UNIVERSE.... then go and do/be that.
its all in how you spin it. If Anthem and her Young Paragons/New Paragons/Paragons v2.0
Aren't treated as A-listers... then they aren't.

Well, at least we agree about Anthem. But what is the issue with sharing the spotlight with a flagship? I always felt that around the incarnate system we had surpassed Statesman. Mind you, I wanted to punch Prometheus and the menders in the face though. My point: if we are detailed in our backstory, pace additional information about the flagships through the story, and can be viewed as their equal by the time of the end game, where does the trouble lie?

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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Automatisch wrote:
Automatisch wrote:

Back again as devil's advocate.
GhostHack wrote:
What I am assuming is that the Dynamic of dead heroes is different than that of Live ones.It makes no difference if it's Anthem and her team that died, or some past group.... what is important, is that the People who DEFINED the world, are now gone.... and it is their MEMORY that we strive towards.
It is a Dramatic shift in focus:
Rather than being told "Well done, Son. you remind me of myself, back when I was young and inexperienced" by AMERICAN STAR, HERO OF AMERICA!....
instead, you're being told "I haven't seen heroism like that, since American Star stopped the Hurricane Atlas. You honor his sacrifice" by Mayor Conners.
Do you see how the focus shifts? When it's American Star talking... the real story, is how you live up to his standards. how much you are like him, TO him.
in the second case... it is how you Embody HEROISM, "just like" previous heroes.

What you seem to be suggesting is that the player is the flagship. But how would that differ on the fine line between "City of Titans" and "City of You"? Many who played CoX wanted the sense that they were part of a *City of Heroes*. That despite their great power, they were only one small part of the whole. Only one hero among many. Wouldn't a fantastic hero or team acting as flagship help with that perspective?

From my perspective.... this is an MMO, you're going to be surrounded by heroes (and/or villains) from the moment you enter the game.. NPCs won't change the fact that you are part of a massive throng of others..... only server capacity and product viability in the market will determine that.
A fantastic team that you're not a part of, that does the important things while you're punching out purse snatchers because they told you to does NOT make anyone feel like "a hero among many"

To me, an Awesome NPC group is ultimately only a negative.
Now, this isn't to say NPC groups in general can't have value... but a High Value (in terms of lore, marketing material, game/content real estate) team of asskickers just ends up promoting the player's sense of second-class citizenship.

Quote:

Quote:
See, that's the thing. The audience we're pitching the game towards doesn't actually CARE who the people in the marketing are. We aren't selling "Be Wolverine!"... we're selling "Be Who YOU want to be."
So, the people in the marketing really only exist TO market the game.... whether they exist in the game or not is almost irrelevant (I say "almost" because people like continuity of vision... They want the fantasy they've constructed in their imagination to unfold in the game, so marketing must be at least marginally representative of the finished product)
We aren't Pitching Dynamic characters in the Media... we're pitching a setting, using visual communication. The only "dynamic" characters that matter, are the PLAYER characters... every other thing in the game (NPC or Enemy) exists simply as a medium to provide our characters with dynamism.

If we feature a character in the game trailer we will be advertising "Fly along side this hero!" Just by showing that character we will be making a promise (sad but true). Unless we choose a method of advertising that doesn't show any character more than once and only for brief periods among dozens of other supers . But seeing as there are NPC's in the game and there is a story, wouldn't it be logical to place amazing characters central to the story in the marketing material?

Only if that's the story you tell in your promotional material...
Let me paint a different story for you, though.

Storm Clouds boil on the horizon, and in his lair, a villain concocts his wild machinations. At first, it's just the real life heroes, police and firefighters and national guardsmen evacuating civilians as we see this is no ordinary storm...
...Then A superhero streaks across the slate grey skies... then another, and another...then a speedster races by, carrying a little girl and her stuffed animal.
Above, in the skies to the East, a dozen men and women, some in flashy tights, others in wizard like robes or technological armor form a floating ring, each using their respective abilities to try and contain the boiling storm.
Back in the lair of the Villain, something is happening, his machine is working, and he straps himself to it, and turns it on! evil energy courses through him, as we see a great blast of light erupt from his lair and into the coming storm (which suddenly pulses with an unnatural glow)
As the light erupts and the storm pulses, we see a small collection of heroes standing on a nearby rooftop... In a flash of weird(tm) lightning we see that it's the Paragons and other Allies, lead by American Star and his Sidekick Anthem. Anthem points at the Villain's light as is begins to fade back into the lair only to lash back into the sky like a cobra striking.
In the skies above, the now pulsing storm responds to the light and arcs of deadly, superpowered lightning begin striking those heroes hoping to contain it.

We see American star and his allies moving deftly over rooftops and down to the Villains lair even as superheroes fall from the skies around them.

With a mighty Smash, the heavy hitter of the Paragons shatters a hole in the wall of the villains lair, and catch dozens of minions unaware.
Anthem and American Star lead the charge, with other heroes swarming around them to fight through to the inner sanctum.
Outside, the storm is breaking its leash, boats in the bay are being capsized and people are still in harms way.

Back Inside the Lair, a massive energy blast shatters a whole portion of the wall, to reveal a handful of powerful villains and the Master Villain, still strapped to his machine. The Villain smiles, even as the whole building rattles around them, corrugated steel shingles being torn up by the coming hurricane. The hireling villains look around, nervously as what remains of American Star's paragons file in around him, ready for one last fight.
the Master villain tears himself from his seat, the machine's wires and tubes hissing away from his body as they snap free.
Outside, few heroes remain to hold back the storm, and those that do begin to drop from exhaustion.
The Paragons and this collection of villains charge each other just as, with on last pulse, the storm breaks free of its supernatural bonds and explodes into the city. Buildings are destroyed cars and people thrown about.
Just as the Hurricane tears into the Villain's lair, the two groups collide and everything goes black. And silent.

From a gods-eye view, we see the massive, pulsing storm move quietly across Alexandria, uprooting the Plaza, before passing the city, and fizzling out over land into a rainstorm.

Drops of rain plink off Anthem's unconscious face, waking her. She pushes debris away and sees that she's the only one awake.... the only one alive.
In a frenzy, she digs American Star from the Rubble, and cradles his head in her lap.

Outside, the real life heroes are back, organizing triage tents and rescue missions. the speedster picks up a stuffed animal that's half soaked in a puddle, gripping it fiercely as sunlight breaks through the weakening cloud cover.
Inside the ruined lair, light streams through the broken ceiling in narrow bands. Anthem is strapping bronze armor onto her right arm and, as she turns to leave the ruin, sheaths a sword. Behind her, American Star's cape is laid over his body.
As the camera pans in, the scene changes to a cape draped over a casket.

The Mayor is speaking in front of the ruined City Hall, with the coffin in front of him. either his speech, or a voice over from Anthem tells us what American Star fought for, what he died for... what it means to be a hero.
and, as the camera pans back, we see Anthem to one side of the stage, being supported by a friend, and we see the speedster, holding the hand of the little girl (she, in turn, holding her stuffed animal) and as we pan further back, we see 32 more coffins with various emblems and capes and colors encircling the stage...and we see more heroes who have come to pay their respects. costumes of every variety mixed in with civilians. As the camera keeps pulling back, and we can see that it's not one or a dozen but hundreds of heroes, hundreds of Titans come to pay their respects to the Atlas 33, the voice finishes by saying that though the Heroes of this City may fall, new Titans will always rise, Like the Phoenix, to carry on.

Quote:

Quote:
Depending on the final outcome of the questing system, there may be very little need for "contacts" like COX and Champs had (most MMO's really) and so the necessity of "Allied NPCs" rapidly diminishes, and can literally be captured by "normal people" (your Jim Gordons and Moira MacTaggerts)
Indeed, the whole NOTION of having "Hero" or "Villain" NPCs.... outside of marketing is totally flawed. Their only true value comes in as being Enemy types for PCs.... and you can do that without EVER having them be encountered as "ally NPCs"

Remember: we are talking about player characters for heroes, villains and all points between. Its really a "my enemy's enemy is my friend" sort of deal: an enemy NPC for a villain may be a friendly NPC for a hero. So bumping into a super powered NPC ally would seem inevitable, wouldn't it? Won't we need iconic characters (supers, non-supers, villains, and heroes) to keep the story moving and in freeform?

NEED? no.
but we'd like to have them. The important issue isn't so much that we have or don't have "Iconic" (by which we mean "memorable and enjoyable", really).... but whether that Iconography places any one of them as the Protagonist of the Titanverse.

Quote:

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As for Anthem..... The simplest answer.... is that she'll never be an A-lister... she's not "good enough"....
Daredevil's a great example here. It's not that he's not popular, Iconic, or in any way doubted as a hero... but he will NEVER be Captain America or Thor. He might be the Scourage of Hells Kitchen, but he's not A-list.
As I said, It would be my ideal, if the player's characters were considered the A-listers (or, even better, if that was a "path" you could adopt and follow)
I've said, many times, that I have high hopes for the paths system as a means of self designation. If you want to be Daredevil (or old school batman/Nightwing) and be master of your corner of the world... DO that... if you want to be a A-list hero who's called upon the save the world, or the UNIVERSE.... then go and do/be that.
its all in how you spin it. If Anthem and her Young Paragons/New Paragons/Paragons v2.0
Aren't treated as A-listers... then they aren't.

Well, at least we agree about Anthem. But what is the issue with sharing the spotlight with a flagship? I always felt that around the incarnate system we had surpassed Statesman. Mind you, I wanted to punch Prometheus and the menders in the face though. My point: if we are detailed in our backstory, pace additional information about the flagships through the story, and can be viewed as their equal by the time of the end game, where does the trouble lie?

Be reminded, the incarnate system is rather a new development, and only came as a means of prolonging end game.
It wasn't part of the core design of the lore or the game... it was tacked on to fulfill a QoL need.

And the problem with the spotlight on Flagships is the same problem there has always been.... by their nature, as seen in the past, they marginalize the value of the player's character... The story becomes "Statesman and his 20000 friends"
that will ALWAYS be problematic.
this is functionally a separate issue from "iconic" NPCs.... as what we're really talking about is a "flagship" NPC... someone who embodies the soul of the universe... an Omni character.
it doesn't matter if their the strongest or not... because they are the most important.

And in an MMO, to me personally, the most important person in the world shouldn't be an NPC. it shouldn't really be any particular character...
the most important character in an MMO is the world itself.... and from that context, again imo, PC and NPC are of identical value.
PC's should feel as Important in the world as any NPC in the world. as vital to its success or failure.
Now, anyone would agree that it isn't really feasable to make every PC as important as a traditional flagship character... and wouldn't really add to the gaming experience....
so the logical solution is to marginalize the importance of NPCs in the game world and its lore.

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I think that major NPCs are

I think that major NPCs are essential for the writers, to write canon. Basically, you do not only need to have canonical historical characters for the background, but also canonic contemporary characters so you can develop the metaplot. Basically, there will be new events where the dramatis personae need to be etablished, where "some hero" or "the player" do not suffice.

I further suggest for more real interaction with these major characters.

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I think Xnarl has a good

I think Xnarl has a good point re providing some sort of foundation for the metaplot. Writers need some sort of anchor that is not completely impersonal; some sort of reliable focus for character development elements that may or may not apply to our characters. This is good stuff, as long as that is the foundation and not the pinnacle of the story. It's a good way to get us started, but don't tie us to it if we want to take our own paths, and don't make it so the sig characters eternally outshine our own.

Instead, use the flagship/signature NPCs to provide a reference for the progress of our characters, changing the way they react to you based on how much you have accomplished. They can act like mentors when you are at lower levels, but become more like equal companions (or even competitors) when you have reached higher levels. And your "B-list" signature characters (such as Faultline and Fusionette) could even transition to more of a sidekick role (with appropriate reinforcing dialogue) when you are up near max level, indicating that you have surpassed them. This would show that the world recognises your growing power outside of merely assigning a security level number.

Of course, more villainous characters would have a variation on this theme, perhaps with more challenges than assistance -- though we shouldn't assume that villains never cooperate. In fact, if signature characters are assigned a certain "fame level" I could see a matrix that determines their reactions to you based on difference between your level and their fame level cross referenced with the difference between your alignments. (Note that this "fame level" would not necessarily be tied to their actual fighting level were they to team with you or fight against you.)

CoX touched on this idea, but with very spotty results:

  • Having the opportunity to rescue States (later Posi) in the old Praetorian arc kind of gave a nod to the idea by allowing you to directly assist a sig char.

  • The worst example was at the lower end in the Shooting Stars arc, where Manti led you on a wild goose chase instead of allowing you to fight actual baddies. If they are going to mentor us when we are lowbies, it should be something heroic and affirming, not deceitful and belittling.

  • I think the best example was in the second SSA, where the Freedom Phalanx asked for your help and treated you like a valued equal. You had to be at least lvl 30 to participate, which meant you had to have earned that respect, and it felt good to be recognised. (Another advantage to not having voice acting: they can include your name in character dialogue without having to program a separate AI just to figure out pronunciation.)

Spurn all ye kindle.

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CoH had flagships, as a

CoH had flagships, as a spiritual successor, wouldn't people who want a spiritual successor want what CoH had?

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

CoH had flagships, as a spiritual successor, wouldn't people who want a spiritual successor want what CoH had?

CoH also had War Walls, a divided player base (until they merged both sides), graphics that locked up during high-density events like Rikti Invasions and heroes taking a train to get to other zones. Not all that has come before was good...

I remember when Star Wars was cool...a long, long time ago...

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City of Heroes Log In screen

City of Heroes Log In screen

Remove Statesman and Sister Psyche from that image and ... who are those heroes? Do we even really need to "know" who they were in order for them to "work" as an advertisement for the game? The brilliance of this iconic original image (which we all saw for so long whenever we logged into the game) was that it DIDN'T require the presence of any Flagship characters in it in order for it to "function" as an advertising draw (even though Statesman and Sister Psyche are prominently displayed front and center). Indeed, the image still "works" as a good wallpaper advertisement even if Statesman and Sister Psyche were merely minor heroes instead of Statesman being the Flagship of the franchise. That's because this one image captures within a single frame the fact that there is no *ONE* hero that is the be all and end all of everything.

Contrast the above image with this promotional one of Emperor Cole ...

This image is totally oriented on the Flagship character, sending a message that One Man Stands Alone ... whereas the group shot above sends a message of One Among MANY.

I would argue that the "Flagship" argument represents a sort of trap, if it is used to advertise City of Titans in a sort of One Man Stands Alone sort of way, because it puts an NPC onto a pedestal that by definition cannot be shared with the Players, which in and of itself is something of a mistake. However, orienting the advertising around a thematic of One Among Many ... in a City of Titans (note the plural) ... seems to me to do a better job of striking the right tone for the message the game ought to be sending to its community.

We're looking for a home to SHARE ... not for The One Ring To Rule Them All here.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

We're looking for a home to SHARE ... not for The One Ring To Rule Them All here.

Agreed. Hence my suggestion, which allows sig chars to act as a tool for the devs without excluding player chars from rising to greatness.

BTW, I always wanted to know who the heck those other characters on the load screen were!

Spurn all ye kindle.

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I still like the idea of

I still like the idea of flagship characters. Flagship characters in CoH where the AVs you wanted to go fight! I don't think taking on Silver Mantis solo would've been as much fun if she was just "Super Villain Boss 7"

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X, try not to confuse

X, try not to confuse "Flagship" with "Iconic"

Silver Mantis was not a flagship villian in COX
Recluse and Tyrant were the flagship villains (you could argue that Maelstrom was one too... but I'm hard pressed to do that.)

Silver Mantis was Iconic though, in the sense that she was given a unique costume, name, backstory and decent real estate in the content to be remembered.

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GhostHack wrote:
GhostHack wrote:

X, try not to confuse "Flagship" with "Iconic"
Silver Mantis was not a flagship villian in COX
Recluse and Tyrant were the flagship villains (you could argue that Maelstrom was one too... but I'm hard pressed to do that.)
Silver Mantis was Iconic though, in the sense that she was given a unique costume, name, backstory and decent real estate in the content to be remembered.

Ahhh...still think having flagship characters is good for branding. Not a bunch of heroes/villains who look like a random button.

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again, nothing says that hero

again, nothing says that hero/villain NPCs will look like generics or "random button"
but there's a difference between seeing manticore, madame mayhem, faultline, and ghost widow in events...... and a Statesman or Tyrant.

and THAT is the distinction, between a character who is a "Flagship" character, and other "Iconic" characters....

*I'm* suggesting getting rid of the later... not having a States/tyrant/recluse type character....... NOT eliminating all "noteworthy" heroes and villains.....

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I think it's entirely

I think it's entirely possible to remove the "flagship" and still garner all of the moral inspiration toward hero or villain in a known list of iconic NPCs. However, having a flagship NPC shouldn't mean they will or must be the main protagonist/antagonist.

Taking an example from the character Hannibal Lecter, everyone knows him as the villain, everyone knows he is twisted, manipulative, etc. but in the role made famous by Anthony Hopkins, he isn't the story's main antagonist.

In Tron Legacy, the good side sees this example in Kevin Flynn. Far from the main protagonist, he still has that "zomg!" moment when he shows up. He pulls his weight, but hardly does all of the work while Sam and Cora do plenty if not far more.

Could/should the flagships be treated as such, where it's not so much "these tasks con gray to me." As it is "I can't or shouldn't get involved; I'm too damaged/traumatized/exhausted" or even, "ok you've proven yourself, I respect you as a peer now?"

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I would say....

I would say....

Hannibal might not be the primary antagonist of the plot of Silence of the Lambs.... but he IS the primary antagonist of the world he inhabits.

In Legacy, Flynn is "retired" hero... he was the savior of the world, in tron..... and the world we inhabit is LITERALLY his creation. He is, essentially, the God of his setting (Transcendence of hero to divine.)

And I think that is sort of the problem, at its core, with Flagships.... they are the main character of the setting. the stories told around them inevitably 'must' relate back to them.
the Buffalo Bill story is, functionally, irrelevant without Jodi Foster matching wits with Anthony Hopkins. It's the medium used to tell Hannibal's story.... not the other way around.
In many respects, the same is true in Legacy.... the plot of the movie is a medium to tell "the rest" of Flynn's story ("what happened/why did he leave" etc)

compare that (for a superhero example) of the role that Nick Fury has in the movies he appears in. He's iconic, he's important... but he isn't the "main character" of the story or the setting.
Lucius Fox... same deal.

Personally, I don't see a difference between "I'm too broken to be the hero/villain I once was" and "we should live up to the ideals of this dead hero/villain"
if all we're considering is their "past accomplishments" (i.e. they are not STILL being "superman").... why bother implying a greater importance in the world (by making them THE FLAGSHIP) if they're basically just lore devices anyway?

Wouldn't it simply be better to put them firmly in the lore, build up their value in marketing material, and establish that we are living now on the foundations they built (both in the player, through the media build up to release... and in the setting, as those who came before)?

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I accept that CoT will likely

I accept that CoT will likely have its own pantheon of "iconic" characters and that a few of those will likely serve as "flagship" characters for the entire game. Organizing the game along those lines does give the Devs an established cast of important NPCs with which to hang much of the game's lore and plot upon. And for what it's worth there are plenty of players who seem to like to figure out ways to relate their characters to the game's important NPCs to help them flesh out their own backstories. Nothing wrong with that.

As for me I pretty much ignored CoH's cast of NPCs for my own roleplay purposes. My characters were standalone creations that had their own origins and motivations. I accepted that NPCs like Statesman and Lord Recluse were out there in the world, but I never let their storylines dictate what I wanted to do with my own characters.

So for me the iconic NPCs of CoT will be essential window-dressing that'll help populate the game world but are only as necessary for each player's enjoyment of the game as you want them to be. Basically my motto is that I'll take them or leave them as I desire.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Personally, I think it would

Personally, I think it would be really cool, different, and interesting if the game launched with flagship heroes but PC heroes could "surpass" them in the "end game" content. As much as I enjoyed CoX, one of the things that always irked me (and I think this goes to GhostHack's point) was that no matter how DIRE the crisis, Statesman & Co. had this aura of "been there (yawn) done that (stretch), how about you kids go handle it this time?" What if, instead, there were threats (ala Rikti, Hami, etc.) that the "Good ole boys (and girls)" COULDN'T handle on their own, and NEEDED the PCs help. Nothing would have made my day like watching a cut scene at the beginning of a Hami or Rikti Raid of the Freedom Phalanx getting their butts handed to them and having to drag their sorry, sad-sack, superhero selves over and crumple in a heap at the feet of the raid team and ask, albeit grudgingly, for their help. Then have another cut scene at the end of the raid. If your team succeeds, you help carry the "Icons" off the field of battle having earned their respect. If you fail, the scene shows your team crawling over to lie with the other wounded team as another group (presumably the next raid team) approaches in the distance.

Another approach to this concept would be to actually allow player-created heroes to "ascend" to the ranks of flagship/iconic characters. Presumably, there will be several "issues" of the game forthcoming after the initial release. Why not give players the chance, with each new issue, to vote on one player-created hero and villain that will "ascend". Obviously, the players would be giving up control of their toons to the devs at this point so it would have to be optional, but for some players (myself included) it would be an AMAZING way to be rewarded for achieving at the highest level within the game. Think about what it would do for the lore of the game as well. When new players came in, and people could tell them they ACTUALLY fought with/against (insert ascended hero/villain here) "before they were a big shot". How much more depth does THAT add to the game?

One more thought. If we are going to have flagship characters, let's try to be a little more creative than "good white guy" vs "evil white guy", shall we? Don't get me wrong, I know that this is the classic (see also: tired, trite, boring, generic) formula, and that there are many reasons why this was done in the past, but I think we have reached the point where we can, and SHOULD mix it up a little bit. What if our main protagonist/antagonist characters were brother/sister, sister/brother, wife/husband, husband/wife, black/white, or any combination of the above, or some other combination not listed. My point is let's do something a little less cliche than we've seen in the past.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

City of Heroes Log In screen

Remove Statesman and Sister Psyche from that image and ... who are those heroes? Do we even really need to "know" who they were in order for them to "work" as an advertisement for the game? The brilliance of this iconic original image (which we all saw for so long whenever we logged into the game) was that it DIDN'T require the presence of any Flagship characters in it in order for it to "function" as an advertising draw (even though Statesman and Sister Psyche are prominently displayed front and center). Indeed, the image still "works" as a good wallpaper advertisement even if Statesman and Sister Psyche were merely minor heroes instead of Statesman being the Flagship of the franchise. That's because this one image captures within a single frame the fact that there is no *ONE* hero that is the be all and end all of everything.
Contrast the above image with this promotional one of Emperor Cole ...

This image is totally oriented on the Flagship character, sending a message that One Man Stands Alone ... whereas the group shot above sends a message of One Among MANY.
I would argue that the "Flagship" argument represents a sort of trap, if it is used to advertise City of Titans in a sort of One Man Stands Alone sort of way, because it puts an NPC onto a pedestal that by definition cannot be shared with the Players, which in and of itself is something of a mistake. However, orienting the advertising around a thematic of One Among Many ... in a City of Titans (note the plural) ... seems to me to do a better job of striking the right tone for the message the game ought to be sending to its community.
We're looking for a home to SHARE ... not for The One Ring To Rule Them All here.

Maybe we are saying the same thing, just in different ways. The loading screen image you showed did pitch a "one among many" vibe, but please bear in mind the breakdown of that image. Statesman is front and center, Sister Psyche and a differently designed Ms. Liberty are on either side of him (presumably for sex-appeal), *then* the rest of the group follows behind to show the diversity and sheer number of heroes in this game. Working together, they create a well balanced and compelling image.

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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I honestly doubt that the

I honestly doubt that the intent was (straight up) sex appeal so much as it was sending a message of Gender Balance ... as in Heroes aren't just BOYS. Women can be Heroes too!

Of course, then you run headlong into the "fact" that in heroic comics, if a female character's most prominent power ISN'T sex appeal then she "fails" at being heroic ... but that's more a flaw of the genre, and is something that stretches back DECADES. It's kind of like assuming that the male heroes aren't supposed to be walking advertisements for Beefcake.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

I honestly doubt that the intent was (straight up) sex appeal so much as it was sending a message of Gender Balance ... as in Heroes aren't just BOYS. Women can be Heroes too!
Of course, then you run headlong into the "fact" that in heroic comics, if a female character's most prominent power ISN'T sex appeal then she "fails" at being heroic ... but that's more a flaw of the genre, and is something that stretches back DECADES. It's kind of like assuming that the male heroes aren't supposed to be walking advertisements for Beefcake.

The loading screen was a piece of art, I was simply breaking it down into chunks to illustrate the co-operative nature of the elements presented and their function in said art. I never stated any "facts" only a view point. However, I do apologize if what i said could be misinterpreted as female impotence as a heroes. But I think you can agree that the group was centered on the idea of a city of heroes with an iconic hero heading up the ranks.

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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On a more relevant topic: I

On a more relevant topic: I have heard a lot of individuals clamoring for villain flagships, but not hero flagships. Let's flip this: if you are a villain, then who is the big dog you get to take down? American Star! oh wait, he's dead....

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Would we want a sword wielding hero as the flagship hero? If this was more a manga style MMO, might not be to bad, but superhero? Even if we just say heroes...I don't know...think I'd want something a bit more than what I'm hearing about for this Anthem. :/

What is wrong with a sword wielding hero?

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Automatisch wrote:
Automatisch wrote:

On a more relevant topic: I have heard a lot of individuals clamoring for villain flagships, but not hero flagships. Let's flip this: if you are a villain, then who is the big dog you get to take down? American Star! oh wait, he's dead....

Well, maybe not DEAD dead ... but certainly no longer in power ...

That does make for a somewhat interesting scenario, in which there isn't ONE villainous flagship for the city, but rather a "rogue's gallery" of them, and in true King of the Hill fashion, the villain at the top of the heap keeps changing. This week it's Danny N. Vitro ... next week it's Psistar Silenta ... the week after it's Shark Mandible ... and the week after ... you get the idea. These wouldn't be scheduled rotations, but rather the results of competitions (pick your datamining metric to determine who "wins") that determine who is the Top Dog NPC Villain in town for a while.

Of course, none of that would preclude villainous Players from "bumping them off their throne" ... for a little while ... until the revolution comes and the Player(s) get knocked off their perch too, just like the NPCs do.


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notears wrote:
notears wrote:

Brand X wrote:
Would we want a sword wielding hero as the flagship hero? If this was more a manga style MMO, might not be to bad, but superhero? Even if we just say heroes...I don't know...think I'd want something a bit more than what I'm hearing about for this Anthem. :/

What is wrong with a sword wielding hero?

I don't recall saying anything was wrong with a sword wielding hero. I said for a flagship hero, would we want that.

Sword using hero implies "OH HEY! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!" do we want the character that seems to be the front and center hero of CoT to be all "I slice and dice the baddies!"

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Guns would be just as bad

Guns would be just as bad eventhough there are Patriotic characters that use them. I think something along the line of tonfas would make a good weapon for her..

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Automatisch wrote:
Automatisch wrote:

On a more relevant topic: I have heard a lot of individuals clamoring for villain flagships, but not hero flagships. Let's flip this: if you are a villain, then who is the big dog you get to take down? American Star! oh wait, he's dead....

first, if you've already forgotten, re-read red's post about a rolling gallery of 'master villains', because that idea is awesome.

secondly.... villains, as a group, very very rarely go looking to up end a signature hero. the only real exception is either the nemesis complex (lex and supes, joker and batman)... or as a challenge to the main character (bunch of villains teaming up to make flash's life miserable)

in general, villains are the inciting action, and hero's must stop them... act/react.

in that sense, i think the idea of villains 'overcoming the flagship hero' is a flawed, un-thematic, and boring dynamic. instead, it should be the goal to acomplish feats of evil. developers can make 'building a death ray' FAR more challenging, and rewarding, then just taking down Captain Amazing and his team of Not Quite so Amazing Heroes..

then, once a death ray is up an running, villains must maintain it, until the world caves to their demands. which, horde'like, requires an almost impossible feat of endurance against more and more powerful heroes....

the goal of heroes is to stop evil, it makes sense for them to have an 'ultimate threat' to twart.
the goal of villains is NOT to stop good, it makes NO sense for them to have an 'ultimate hero' to twart.

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notears
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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

notears wrote:
Brand X wrote:
Would we want a sword wielding hero as the flagship hero? If this was more a manga style MMO, might not be to bad, but superhero? Even if we just say heroes...I don't know...think I'd want something a bit more than what I'm hearing about for this Anthem. :/

What is wrong with a sword wielding hero?

I don't recall saying anything was wrong with a sword wielding hero. I said for a flagship hero, would we want that.
Sword using hero implies "OH HEY! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!" do we want the character that seems to be the front and center hero of CoT to be all "I slice and dice the baddies!"

okay I see what your saying.

Automatisch
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You really need to read more

You really need to read more comics, friend. I cannot begin to list the number of villains that relished the idea killing Captain America and Superman just because they were Captain America and Superman. However, if you need me to I will.

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

GhostHack
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would you say that the normal

would you say that the normal drive of a given villain is to kill the flagship of their universe?
Or, would it be more accurate to say that, over the years, Flagships have acquired many Nemeses who would gladly see their enemy dead?

I stand by what I've said. the general villain of DC does not consider "defeating superman" as their ultimate goal. If he makes himself an obstacle, then he will be dealt with... but that is a means to an end, not the goal.

on the other hand, heroes often have the GOAL of putting Dr. Doom in jail for all his various transgressions in the past. their ultimate goal is to defeat a villain.

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Automatisch
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GhostHack wrote:
GhostHack wrote:

would you say that the normal drive of a given villain is to kill the flagship of their universe?
Or, would it be more accurate to say that, over the years, Flagships have acquired many Nemeses who would gladly see their enemy dead?
I stand by what I've said. the general villain of DC does not consider "defeating superman" as their ultimate goal. If he makes himself an obstacle, then he will be dealt with... but that is a means to an end, not the goal.
on the other hand, heroes often have the GOAL of putting Dr. Doom in jail for all his various transgressions in the past. their ultimate goal is to defeat a villain.

You are correct, defeating a top tier hero is rarely the "end all be all" of your average villain. However, you are mistaken in the assumption that it is uncommon for villains to pick fights with flagships. In many cases, they view "killing the world's greatest hero" as quite a feather in their cowl (pardon the pun), and is sometimes used to establish why they should rule the criminal underworld, globe, or universe (depends on the size of said villain's ego). Let's take Mister Mxyzptlk

He came to our dimension for the sole purpose of knocking Superman around as a game.

Then we have Atlas

He wanted to replace Superman and use the respect he got from that achievement to "rule the world"

We also have Flag-Smasher

He wanted to destroy nationalism, as such, he went after the biggest name in the USA: Captain America.

And my final example: Super-Patriot

He wanted to change the standards and ideals of the USA, he felt that if he could defeat Captain America it would go a long way to achieving that goal.

As you can see, each of these guys have goals that do not directly require fighting the flagship. However, they pick fight after fight when they could have avoided confrontation and set about their goals in different manners.

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

GhostHack
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you misunderstood my point.

you misunderstood my point.

A flagship villain is necessary, because defeating a flagship villain is a primary focus of many heroes.

A Flagship hero, however, is not (as?) necessary because defeating a flagship hero is rarely, if ever, the primary focus of a villain.

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Automatisch
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No sir, you misunderstand me:

No sir, you misunderstand me: I understand your point perfectly, I simply disagree.

Defeating a flagship villain is not the goal of most heroes, keeping the peace is. Defeating a flagship hero is not the goal of most villains, furthering your own agendas is. My point is that many of our players (heroes, villains, and all points in between) will want the satisfaction that comes with besting the "best" and the option to do so.

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

GhostHack
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that, again... puts the

that, again... puts the flagships up as the "Best" in the universe... Paragons whom we could never equal or supersede...
which circles the whole discussion around to the beginning.

And i Still very much like Red's concept of a cycling or randomized "top dog" villain that seems to rise to power, plateau, and eventually being defeated or marginalized by heroes or other villains rising up.... Rather than any one Lord Recluse sitting on his golden throne.

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