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  1. Likewise, I just don't think I can get behind the idea that Joker's handgun wielding minions are somehow "equal" to Darkseid's armies at level 45 just "because the author willed it so". It just creates a logical dissonance to me that makes level seem very empty and meaningless. Yes, it's all just spreadsheets and arbitrary in the end, but at some point, if level doesn't at least somewhat consistently imply "X > Y", then what is it communicating to the player? "Narrative intent" doesn't feel like a very satisfying answer to that question. So I suppose, do you need enemy levels? Seriously, would your ideas work in a game without standard levels? If story-wise you've reached the Joker and the Joker scales to be strong enough to give you a challenge (that you can tweak to taste) the numbers next to the name just don't matter much anyway, so do we need set levels? We were most of the way there with super-sidekicking anyway in CoH. There would still have to be advancement to keep the game engaging, but if level numbers are the hang-up, perhaps there are alternatives to pursue. Just tossing ideas around.
  2. Let me give it a try and see if we can find a little common ground amidst the shouting: To keep it in COH terms, I could see a leveling tree with a main path growing ever bigger, faster, stronger like we have today, but branches off every ten levels or so. It won't perfectly cover what everyone wants (nothing ever will), but at least it creates some degree of tiers. You spend most of your first levels getting your feet under you and doing local work leading up to about level 20 and your first big victories. At that point, you're given an option. You can keep going on to level 21 if you want to start increasing your scope to city-level threats, but if you want to spend your time being a neighborhood hero/villain like Spider-Man, at level 20 you're joining the neighborhood track. Your powers are thematically going to stay about where they are, which is appropriate to the enemies you're fighting. You still make regular gains (new technique, better fitness or new gadget) that fit with a neighborhood hero, becoming level 20+1, 20+2 and so on, but you're never going to reach cosmic power levels fighting street punks in your hometown, nor should you ever need to. Now the developers can design a reasonable neighborhood level villain encounter like the Vulture to fight say, level 20+7 heroes who have spent plenty of time on the streets. That same hero can choose to switch tracks and keep leveling higher on the main track gaining national or planetary level fame and power, but when they go back to their old haunts, they naturally dial it down to prevent incidental damage. The high-powered suit you earned at level 45 stays in the closet for these missions. Meanwhile, the hero that blitzed to 50 but never spent any time on the mean streets after they had the option to move on is still just level 20+0 on this track and isn't ready for the above encounter because he just isn't savvy enough to deal with 20+7 Vulture's tricks when he can't break out the big guns and start leveling entire buildings. Same thing happens at 30 for city level heroes (Batman and Daredevil class villains would usually be waiting here) and at level 40 for national champions (Red Skull and Ultron come to mind here), each with their own side track letting them play on at that thematic level and making steady yet appropriate gains for that track. Global and cosmic level characters go on to 50 and beyond. They can step over to other smaller-scope tracks whenever they want, but in story terms, they're holding back on their powers for the safety of the locals and without practice, they may not be too skillful when doing that. To be clear, a level 30+20 hero is still basically a very strong level 30, not level 50. No matter how good Daredevil is at fighting corporate toughs, he loses in a straight-up fight with Thanos every single time, as common sense tells us he should. If he wants to seriously fight at that level, he's going to have to go beyond the concept of a city-level hero. If the player doesn't want that for their character, they can keep working toward 30+21 and the next city-level encounter that does suit their favored style of story. There are parts of the content they've chosen not to use, but that doesn't mean that they've completely given up having a way to make progress. This all still carries a real world consequence in that creating separate tracks splits your content and powers development teams' focus so everyone is going to be getting less game at their preferred level. Though really that's already the case when devs implement new content at various levels. It does create multiple progression tracks to go with it, though, adding complexity to managing game balance. There would be a main trunk to naturally blend the world together and work off of, with the option to hop about and play on all the tracks once you reach them if you so choose, be it a local hero briefly tasting the larger limelight or a grand champion getting back to basics and revisiting the old stomping grounds, so nothing should really feel like you're visiting someone else's version of game. Level both has objective meaning, but at the same time isn't everything. You can be more or less powerful in general, but at the same time more experience as a less-powered hero has its own irreplaceable value. What do you think? Hey, if nothing else, you can both tear apart my ideas for a bit instead of each other... 😉
  3. *grumble*grumble* it's always Scrappers that get enough damage enough to require scientific notation... *grumble*grumble* 😉
  4. After all the discussion, I think the original suggestion seems reasonable. As a quick way to get there, what about this? We have filters for inspirations and other drops in the P2W shop. Would it be possible to filter out threads and shards as well?
  5. I think the issue I see is that you're basically trying to get around the limits to the world's writing by throwing more writers at it and assuming one of them will give you what you want. That answer doesn't scale very well compared to the expanse of our imagination in creating characters. We could list off power levels and specific heroic idioms all day and never have to touch the villain side doing it. All these paths sound great, but the raw man-hours it'd take to design, implement and test all this content for quality, interweaving it all into a coherent world in the process are going to be extraordinary. CoH tried to address this problem with AE, basically open-sourcing writing of story arcs (with really remarkable amounts of flexibility for the time), though the results of that are open to interpretation. Again, I hope I'm not coming across as disrespectful. I'm very interested in talking about how we can address the content gap.
  6. I always thought CoH was actually pretty good about keeping things open to character concepts up to a point. Crey's corporate skulduggery, Malta's conspiracies and the Carnies' chaotic mischief are all still in the wheelhouse of a street level hero. Better organized and stronger than Sky Raiders or the Family, sure, but that's what you'd expect. You're past the flunkies and working your way up the food chain to the core threats to your city. CoV isn't so good about it, kinda ramming Arachnos and Project Destiny down your throat, but I've got issues with the early City of Minions writing there. Incarnate content does leave street heroes and their villainous counterparts behind though, both in terms of power and story. Both in game through Prometheus and in the AMAs, the pathway toward "City of Demigods" was being laid out for us. I agree, the farther down the road that goes, the less there's really a place for Spiderman or Daredevil in the story (without some gratuitous plot device usage). So I guess my question is, what does "street level end-game" look like? What would keep you feeling like you're moving forward past 50 without getting too far away from your character concepts? Or is one needed? Are these characters, like Megajoule originally suggested, fine just stopping at 50 and ignoring the Incarnate content altogether? As long as there's new content regularly coming out across the level spectrum that is aimed at the non-Incarnate populace and they don't feel pushed into becoming something they're not just to participate, do we need a separate "City of Mortals" track beyond 50? Honestly, I'm not arguing yes or no as the answer to any of these questions. I'm genuinely curious how people feel about it and what they want going forward.
  7. Wow, the former devs must have pretty much planned on never using KB again if even THIS set didn't have any. A little knock-up and knockdown is all. I get that KB creates controversy and we're all tired of that particular argument, but I'm not sure a Wind Control set that CAN'T blow things across the room feels quite right to me. That said, I'd probably use it anyway.
  8. It's an interesting idea and kinda fun to think about but I don't think it would port very well to CoH. There are buffs, debuffs, control, etc and unless you're completely rewriting the way powers work, a lot of them just aren't a good idea if we're no longer differentiating friend from foe. For example: This really breaks down when you start looking at debuff toggles and melee. Under this system, the only way I can affect an enemy with my Rad or Dark debuffs is to also wreck any melee getting close enough to fight it. I'm doing as much harm as good and there's no real strategy to fix that short of just not using my key powers whenever one of several ATs joins the team. It logically makes sense that standing next to someone triggering a nuke should hurt, but I don't see how you could get there without creating an environment that makes anyone who heavily relies on any sort of AoE feel unwelcome.
  9. Quoted for truth. I used to feel this way on iTrials with melee a lot. Everything just melted so fast I felt like I rarely actually got an attack off before the AV came out to play.
  10. Here's the basic argument: "TOs are stale content. We don't buy them. They barely seem to do anything, so half the time, we barely even bother to slot them and when we try, it feels like every time we open our enhancements screen, half of them are burned out. DOs are a little better, but not much." A lot of this discussion had revolved around the bigger question of problems with the low-level game, but I'm going to take it in a slightly different direction. I'll take things a step further by adding this claim: "ALL the random enhancement drops are stale and need to be revisited. SOs are also largely stale content. By the time they start showing up as random drops (not AV or trial related), many characters are already leaving them behind for IOs. Unless an SO is usable by someone under level 20, it's pretty much vendor trash." By the time I'm in my mid-20s, every SO drop I get is sold at the store. There's literally nothing in that reward pool that I would ever want or need after I have my level 25 IOs. The minor boost from an on-level or over-leveled SO isn't worth the trouble of keeping track of it to replace later. Now, I freely admit that I'm generalizing my own experience and I don't know what EVERY player does, but based on what I'm reading, I don't think that I'm part of a small minority here. I wonder if data-mining could show how many level 30+ SOs are actually slotted compared to IOs? If we're revisiting TO and DO enhancements, should we also try to make SO enhancements at least somewhat enticing for enhancing powers, if not at 50, then at least through the 30s and low 40s? Right now, outside of those who are looking for a challenge or who just really don't like IOs and crafting, I don't think many people have a use for them.
  11. To paraphrase Edison, we have not failed, we have simply discovered one method that does not work. 😉
  12. Simply put, CoH is a casual MMO, not just in population but in fundamental design. The carefully tuned balance needed to power the sort of cutting edge challenges you're asking about just isn't there. There is no Extreme or Savage version of content to push people to their limits, in large part because CoH is so bad at limits in general. It's really, really hard to generate content that is finely tuned to be very challenging when character and group power levels are all over the place the way they are here. An encounter that will push a generic team to the very edge is going to get stomped into the ground by 8 interlocking characters with builds designed to work well together (who will then promptly resume complaining that the game is too easy). Design something to really test that group and you've started excluding players not running specific ATs or powersets (who will complain that they can never get the shiny for doing the Extreme content). Short of reworking just about everything about CoH or designing gimmick "challenges" that ignore character builds completely, there's no real fix for that. In the end, the Live Devs decided that it was a no-win proposition that wasn't worth pursuing. The closest they really came was the "Master of ..." challenge badges.
  13. I suddenly understand! It all makes purrfect sense now.
  14. I've seen it suggested here and there and I'm curious how they run that it's not considered useful. That is my bread and butter, every single mob power once I've got the recharge for it. It's both major to-hit debuff plus fear to break up the return fire. The cone is quite large too so it's not like you've got to do much to hit a whole group with it. In small groups with no meat shield, I lead the charge with this to absorb the alpha. Dark is a good enough set that I guess you could run without it, but if I had to pick between giving up Twilight Grasp and Fearsome Stare on my Dark/Dark, you can have the heal,.. though I'd miss the extra -regen. 😉
  15. Getting away from the "NCSoft is the devil" mindset, there's a group of people on their end trying to figure out what to do about all this and probably feeling like they're in a no-win situation. Whether it's lost intellectual property or a public relations hit, most of the potential outcomes of this scenario aren't actually positive for NCSoft. They're trying to find a solution that doesn't hurt their company somehow or at least minimizes the damage, but that's really hard to define in this scenario. I think what's probably going on over on the other side of the fence is a lot of trying to assign value to things that don't have a clear price tag and looking for the best outcome of an undesirable situation. Since we're all speculating, here's what I think they're trying to figure out on the NCSoft side: How much real value is left in the property in question? What are they really fighting over here? Ancient code sitting on a shelf somewhere and character images they were never going to use again anyway? Or something with tangible value that could cause losses if they didn't try to regain control of it? How much harm will the negative publicity of bringing down the hammer on HC do to existing NCSoft publicity efforts in the US? The Homecoming release news reached a lot of MMO gamers. It's safe to assume that news reading "NCSoft is a big corporate bully who still hates players and killed their server" would reach an equally large audience. On the other hand, news of a deal with HC might incline those same readers to think that NCSoft is being kinda cool about this. If there has been meaningful turnover at the company, there may be a desire to shed the reputation as a company that frequently abandons games and their communities and repaint themselves as more pro-players. That might entice them to hand over the keys to an otherwise worthless IP. Is there a way to leverage a deal into future revenue? Homecoming has proved that there's still demand for this game (albeit at a zero price point). In business, demand generally equates to potential opportunity, so understanding it is very valuable. Can they gather information here that could be used to better craft future games to succeed in the US market? Does NCSoft want to legitimize this effort and possibly encourage future acts of piracy? Let's be honest, someone stole code from NCSoft and these people have been knowingly using that to power their efforts. Does NCSoft risk creating copycats if they treat HC like a respectable partner? What potential legal liability is there in partnering with the HC group? What if this group of hobbyists and volunteers makes a major mistake? Would NCSoft somehow be on the hook for that? As has been noted, from NCSoft's perspective, there's got to be a strong self-defensive impulse to just slap a C&D letter on this whole thing and be done with it (and, like it or not, they already have the absolute right to do this), so there's SOMETHING altering the math in their heads to the point where they're at least talking about a deal. Personally, I'm cautiously optimistic.
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