Heroes and villains under one flag – City of Superpowered beings
Well, almost under one flag. NCSoft announced a few days ago that City of Heroes and City of Villains now officially are one game universe – everyone who bought either game will now have access to the other side.
This is hardly a surprise; for a long time the new releases of the game packages have been the combined “Good vs Evil” edition with both games in it. When NCSoft bought the Cryptic part of the game they also celebrated with giving all current players access to “the other side” if they did not have that already.
Most new content update of the game for over a year has been for the benefit of both sides, except the villain epic archetypes in Issue 12, plus some revamps of old heroes zones.
In their announement NCSoft also talks about this merge being in line with the way they are going to take the intellectual property of City of Heroes/Villains. From a business perspective it makes sense; do things that benefit both sides since this will cover most of the players. While most players probably play both heroes and villains, one side is likely to be the preference. And sometimes friends’ preferences could be different.
With an MMORPG that is more socially oriented than achievement oriented, a divide like that is likely a big concern for the designers. Just look at Cryptic’s next superbeing MMORPG, Champions Online. They are not going the same path again when it comes to heroes vs villains.
Small details in the game makes it evident that a merger of some kind it taking place, with the hero side terminology slowly seem to be replacing the villain side terminology in a number of places in the game.
So where will NCSoft go with the game? My guess is that they are going to allow all archetypes to be playable on either side and that content updates will continue to focus on storylines that involves heroes and villains working together against external threats. Rikti Invasion was the first major step, the Ouroboros and the time travel to Cimerora were the next ones.
Which means we might see more non-city environments or perhaps “alien” environments (Rikti home world perhaps).
If this happens, it is a definite change to the environment and setting, which is probably welcome by many. On the other hand some people, including myself, are concerned that the lack of single side content updates will stop the exploration of villainous content in particular. For a number of us the villain side is simply so much better – better story arcs in general, more friendly to travel and contents and missions better organised, better colour schemes, more varied city environments. And mayhem missions are more fun than the safeguard missions.
So I have some mixed feelings about where this might be going. But only time will tell what will really happen.