[City of Villains] I have been running a lot of newspaper missions lately. I realized that it is impossible to get a mission to fight heroes; they are all villain vs. villain. There are plenty of chances to fight heroes through story arcs in the late game, but again the majority of the missions are against other villains. Even when we fight the signature Heroes, the missions are often full of villains. If not villains, we fight Longbow, Longbow, and the Paragon Police Department (on mayhem missions, which also have Longbow).
There are two other hero factions at lower levels, Wyvern and the Legacy Chain, but that is about it. WISDOM and the Civic Squad just have their bosses/Heroes, not actual missions worth of things to fight. The big story arc that completes your villainous tale puts you against two (or more) of the signature Archvillains. We have five strike forces on the villains side: #1 mixes heroes and villains as we fight a demon (villain), #2 is mostly Sky Raiders (villain), #3 is a mix of Longbow and villains, #4 is almost entirely Circle of Thorns (villain), and #5 is the famous Lord Recluse Strike Force (only 1 mission against villains, all the signature Heroes). Our respec trial is Circle of Thorns again.
Can we leave the heroes some work? And get more heroes to work over?
Update: upon reflection, I have been unfair, because there are more non-villain factions in the lower levels. The Prison Guards (tutorial only), Rogue Island Police (up to level 10), and Security Guards are all police variants, and some of them are accessible in newspaper missions via bank heists (which seem to be a rare offering). Is it heroic to be private or public security in the employ of villains? There is a Sharkhead quasi-hero faction, the Scrapyarders, which I absolutely should have included. The Dockworkers are their not-heroic half-clones in St. Martial, who feud with the Family the way that Scrapyarders feud with the Cage Consortium; I don’t think of them as non-villains, so much as employees of villains who are on strike over workplace benefits, which is a role that the Scrapyarders also sometimes fill (so the Scrapyarders are good guys because they have Heroes championing their workplace rights? They are explicitly described as “former criminals and other troublemakers”). The Luddites are a less evil rogue villain group in Cap Au Diable. I am also told that the Russian military shows up in a mission chain, although I do not know if they are used as heroes or just competing villains.
So before you get to Grandville (the 40+ game), you have many chances to fight less- or non-villainous groups, although many of them are feuding employees of villains. They don’t crusade for the destruction of evil groups, so much as a more equitable distribution of their profits. Still, the time from level 40-50 is comparable to level 1-40, so it is a long bout of villainous in-fighting, sprinkled with Longbow and the occasional signature Hero.
Re-Update: I ran a heist newspaper mission at level 50 today. The enemies are Arachnos, not guards. So strike one hero fight.