It was pretty easy for me to obtain, i did it in 2 new games. First don't save anyone on the ship when it goes down. Get the to the elf that is hiding with the child and get her pouch through conversation.And turn in Stingtail to Griff, it always gives me the Villian Tag. In my Recent playthrough i got the villian tag on reapers coast, it unlocked while i was draining a ghost even though i already had the Hero Tag, so i am unsure how exactly i got it.
I've done literally all of this on my current run and I still don't have the Villain tag. Curiously, what race are you playing? I'm a lizard.
I've had absolutely no luck in activating it before Act 2-3 with Source Vampirism when used excessively. All previous information on obtaining the tag seems to be out of date.
That said the most I've seen it let you do is kick puppies, so you aren't missing out on much.
Edit: After some testing, I believe the game may track good deeds against bad deeds, ala fable. If you're a murderous dickweed and specifically avoid good deeds early on, it is possible to get the Villain tag early on; however good deeds are very easy to come by.
Here's a list of everything I've done.
-Called the kids brats when speaking to Lohse
-Pickpocketed everybody that was unconscious after Windego's source attack
-Threatened the scared Magisters with mutiny and then killed them anyway
-Didn't save anybody on the ship
-Robbed the elf Atusa was helping
-Sided with Griff's thugs against Elodi
-Told the grieving mother to bugger off
-Threatened and then killed the near-dead old man on the beach
-Name-dropped Stingtail for Griff and then helped Silence kill Stingtail
Still nothing on this run, no Villain tag in sight.