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  1. Another random thought I had involving increased difficulty of a sort for the Council would be to expand on their temporary alliance with Calvin Scott’s post-Praetoria faction and do some pallet swaps (which can be done in AE so would be theoretically possible for a regular mob) on the rest of the non-Seer IDF troops to represent the level 50+ Council foot soldiers getting upgraded gear based on Praetorian tech, just as was done for the war walkers. At level 50+ you could swap the Mek-Men for Clockwork (and the LT/Boss bots for the War Works BDU/ADUs + war walkers), the hover-bots for Orbs, the other troops for IDF soldiers, then throw in the Galaxies + actual Nictus (dwarves and novas) and Ascendant troops on top. The result would be a force with a solid array of debuffs (-regen from Praetorian plasma attacks, -resist from Ascendant troops and -recharge from Galaxy troops) for dealing with heroes. You could also phase out the War Wolves from the Council at that point to reflect that Requiem took his forces with him back to the 5th Column and, if I recall, Vandal was one of the ones who went with him and the Mek-Men and Valkeries were his designs so them leeping those designs would further serve to distinguish the two otherwise very similar factions from each other. I’m uncertain where Nosferatu shook out in the Council/5th Column divorce, but having his Vampyri belong to only one of the two factions in level 50+ to represent the split. Personally, I’d put him with the 5th Column because their robots, plus the war wolves and vampyri combined look like they escaped from some black and white film-era B-movie. Then maybe give the 5th Column LTs/Bosses the leadership buffs I mentioned previously so they’re threatening in a different way.
  2. The main issue I see is the Standard Code Rant given it’s a rather extensive change. A slightly more scaled back option that avoids the pitfall you mentioned would be selecting your nemesis from a list of pre-generated ones (so they don’t have a particularly exploited weakness). Another option I could see that would actually make Origins matter more would be to link a pre-generated nemesis to you based on your origin and maybe AT. A third option would be to make your first radio mission assign you a random nemesis and then they periodically show up again and again. The reason I suggest this is because it’s not like Superman chose Lex Luthor to be his nemesis. It happened as part of his early adventures and circumstances clicking. Lex also points out that a nemesis doesn’t need to be physically similar or a dark mirror (I’ve seen several personal nemesis suggestions hinge on using mirrored powersets)... they just need to be your opposition.
  3. Can I swipe this to add it to my list of “let’s update the Shadow Shard” concepts? Because I’m seeing a way to create a unified concept here. The short version was someone was asking to make the Shadow Shard co-op so red-side could get there. I suggested replacing the generic troops there with Vanguard (the people tasked with actually dealing with extradimensional theats; see Rikti and Praetoria) and moving the access point for the Shard from Portal Corps to the existing portals (currently used to reach the RWZ) in the Vanguard depots. Where your idea would be a nice addition is the idea that the Rulu’shin are stealing Incarnate power to break Rularuu free (via the extra mobs popping up in enemy groups); so Incarnates need to head into the Shard to steal it back by performing various repeatable missions scaled to Incarnate power levels to add some additional things to do inside the Shadow Shard (along with some revamping of the Shadow Shard TFs akin to Posi/Yin). Throw in a Circle of Thorns level adjustment (i.e. stop making the different mages and casters level locked to certain small bands... level 54 life mages and earth casters alongside the air/fire/ice casters and ruin/death mages would make their spawns far less predictable) since they’ve got a presence in the Shard and some high end Nemesis troops (I’d like to see some models with the steam pack players can get from the P2W vendor added for flying units in the Shard) and you could have another Incarnate Zone akin to Dark Astoria.
  4. Looking at the tougher enemies in the game, they largely have ways of mitigating the typical player build advantages. Devouring Earth have their buff pets, Nemesis has their Vengeance-buffing LTs, Carnies target the Psi hole in a lot of defense sets and their mobs drain your END if defeated in melee, Malta has Sappers, Cimorarans have their -def on each attack, IDF has -regen with their plasma blasts, etc. Further, a lot of these are found tied to the LT level. The DE buff pets are spawned by their LTs, Nemesis LTs are infamous for their Vengeance, Carnie illusionists with their phasing mechanic are LTs (and the bosses are worse). So what I’d like to see is something like stackable leadership buffs added to the LT’s and Bosses (and EB/ABs naturally). These might be one or more of the classic leadership buffs; defense, damage, to-hit; or they could be more exotic depending on the opponent type (mez protection, resistance, recharge speed). One LT might mean a fairly trivial +2-5% buff while bosses might be +5-10%. That would mean it would barely be noticeable at default solondifficulty because you’d only find, at most, a single LT in a spawn and maybe 2-3 stack if you’re really unlucky with your aggro. But it starts to get more significant in larger spawns with more LTs and then bosses in them. Depending on the size of the buffs, a x8 spawn might completely obliterate the softcap defense advantages and pull down the accuracy enough that you can’t just shoot through Sky Raider force field drones like they’re not even there. If you give some variety to the leadership buffs based on the LT/Boss type then each spawn will be a bit different based on its composition to add some variety. Making the LTs and Bosses into actual leaders who make their minions fight better also makes sense thematically. More exotic buffs could be lampshaded with some mobs in open world spawns mentioning they finally got their bid at Wentworth’s filled (i.e. the villain groups also have IOs). It could also be something phased in; even with attunement, few of the IO sets with good bonuses can be slotted before level 27 and it’s not until the 30s when you start getting fewer powers and more slots that you can really fit many of the 5-6 slot bonuses (where a lot of the recharge and defense bonuses lay) into the build. So you could reasonably have this only apply starting with the level 30+ mobs and maybe not even all of them. Then at 40+ leadership buffs from LTs and Bosses become more ubiquitous and at level 50+ you start seeing more exotic buffs related to the enemy groups’ own Incarnate access. Which in terms of future high level content is something that needs to be addressed. In Homecoming are Incarnate abilities still “cosmic” powers limited only to the few (i.e. rare outside of the player heroes) or are they something that just naturally emerges at level 50+? If the latter, then it’d interesting to see some of the 53+ Boss mobs start to employ Incarnate abilities; a Council boss throwing out a Clarion or an Ionic Judgement would be a game changer (which is why I suggest 53+; if you play difficulty +0 or +1 then you’ll never see them; +2 would mean half might have Incarnate power, +3 or 4 guarantees they turn up.
  5. Standard Code Rant applies, but I second the idea of making the Shadow Shard co-op and getting it a general update. To that end, I have a few suggestions; Cosmetically the zone as a whole is fine; it’s a vast alien realm and feels that way. What could stand some updating in terms of appearance are the human NPCs throughout the zone. Back when the Shadow Shard was first implemented, Rikti still ran around naked and there was no Vanguard. But lore marches on and it’s now been established that Vanguard is THE organization tasked to deal with extradimensional threats. They are also more than willing to work with villains to keep those threats contained. So my first suggestion is this; as part of making the landing zone co-op, replace the fatigue-wearing troops with Vanguard troops and make the Firebase and other human outposts explicitly Vanguard installations. As this is an NPC model swap (and for ones that already exist) my hope is that would be easier to implement. The second related suggestion is; now that it’s an explicitly Vanguard operation, the zone access to it can be made through the existing Vanguard depots with no new art assets required; just the same sort of pop-up menu that comes up when multiple zones/instances are possible and with both the RWZ and Shadow Shard as destination (the current big portal in the Firebase being the destination for them). Beyond that, I’d like to see some actual story arcs developed for it; perhaps related to other groups trying to exploit the Shard (the Circle are there and Nemesis has a base there) and explore more of the lore of the Shard. While it would be a deviation from the original dev’s plans, but the Shadow Shard would also be an excellent way to do an alternate “Oncoming Storm” (made even more interesting given the Letter Writer’s identity) that doesn’t require as much in the way of new art assets to produce.
  6. Nerf Skyway City into a crater and buff Steel Canyon (ex. replace the uniform grey towers with the sleek modern skyscrapers pulled from the Praetoria maps).
  7. To be fair to our current devs, that’s a problem inherited from all the way back to Jack Emmert’s decision to use completely different ATs for the villain-side expansion despite the fact that requests for being able to faction swap (which comic characters do all the time) were already a thing during CoV’s beta. But Jack being Jack wanted to enforce the different feel of the Isles using the villain ATs, and making them more independent rather than team role focused, but only the MM was a truly unique concept rather than a sort of priority swap of a hero-side AT. So when side-swapping inevitably became possible the end result was that, yes, there was a whole chunk of ATs who’s mechanics weren’t that different and whose major distinctions then were power set options. Options which player demands for power set proliferation and the dev team’s need for content available to as many players as possible (particularly once Freedom hit and they decided to add power sets to the cash shop) further eroded the distinctions. Basically, hindsight is 20/20 and we’re living with decisions made 15+ years ago by people at least two leadership teams removed (Stateman/Jack > Positron > War Witch > Homecoming) from those decisions. There’s no fix that will satisfy everyone, because 15 years of inertia won’t let it. The fact is that Brutes and Tankers were never that different; which wasn’t a problem when the Red/Blue barrier stood inviolable (co-op in the RWZ not withstanding). Short of a CoH2 where you’re rebuilding the system from scratch and everyone starts in this new game from scratch, I think the best solution is just to accept that there are going to be relatively redundant ATs with only the finest nuances between them that individual players have preferences for. There are tons of legacy mechanics in CoH that are redundant, but still maintained for those who like them. I get the sentiment to try and eliminate that... for me it’d involve nuking Skyway from orbit/giving Steel Canyon an Atlas Park-style revamp... but, particularly at the toon level, you risk destroying the very reason someone currently enjoys the AT (new power sets that do things differently are another matter entirely, that’s a new option not a change to an existing one). TL;DR... blame Jack Emmert for causing this mess, not our current crew for trying to fix it.
  8. Speaking from experience; extroverts generally don’t get the introvert mindset. I’m a borderline introvert. I have a friend who is an EXTREME extravert to the point that spending even an hour by himself gives him fits and anxiety. He doesn’t care what you’re doing... he just wants to be around someone. He is literally incapable of processing that someone like me can spend an entire day interacting with no one but my own thoughts and feel recharged by it. The easiest way I’ve been able to explain it to him is in terms of energy; Extroverts expend energy on solo tasks and recharge by spending time around others. Introverts recharge by spending time on solo times and expend energy when interacting with others. Now I’m borderline. I generally prefer to solo, but I can group for tasks that require it. What I REALLY like with MMOs though is the chat channels. Reading and knowing I can chime in if it’s something I care about or have advice to give lets me participate with others at exactly the level I’m comfortable with.
  9. I don’t gamble, but in this case I’d almost be willing to bet that most of the tank players won’t even notice that bruise is missing amidst the general damage tweaks.
  10. Cool beans. In other words, even on live the big servers weren’t that much more populated than they are now (even Freedom only popped red the weekend of new content releases then dropped back to yellow). Also, for real numbers, as of 4:40 pm EST on a Thursday (1:40 pm Pacific... the very definition of “off-peak” hours) every shard except Test has 250 - 550 players (average of 381 per shard). That’s thirty full teams worth of players on the smallest populated server. That’s one full team in nearly every zone in the game during one of the deadest times you’d find in North America (i.e. work hours on a weekday). That sounds like the opposite of underpopulated to me.
  11. If I were designing this I’d put the contact(s) for it in the Vanguard base in the RWZ since it’s technically a co-op and not hero exclusive content. The thing for me is, while many people did a lot of trials; they were kinda done to death in waves as, other than BAF and Lambda they released one at a time months apart. That really robbed them of a lot of momentum and it was hard past the first few days to get anyone who took charge of organizing them to NOT want it to be a speed run (basically as soon as the most efficient tactics were figured out, anything but the fastest optimal approach was discouraged). I only got one toon on live well enough slotted to get a slot on a Magisterium trial and then only once where it was all a blur because the person in charge had already worked all the mechanics out and you were so focused on your one part in the plan you missed what was actually happening as a whole (unlike a movie where you can cut to each hero as they do their part, you’re stuck just seeing what your little part of the team is doing). And these days you get much better Incarnate rewards from just about anything else so your characters are left kinda floating around the outskirts of the Praetorian War where you get the Prelude (Anti-Matter Collision/Instant Army/Hero’s Epic), Interlude (Dark Astoria) and Aftermath (New Praetorians/Last Bastion), but not the main event. The result is it feels like you watched every Marvel movie up to Captain Marvel and then had to figure out what happened in End Game with only Spider-Man Far From Home as your reference. That’s why I think an alternative path to experiencing those events would be helpful. The other reason is that; while I’ve no idea the coding difficulty to make up missions based on the trials would be; we at least know that the maps and mobs associated with them already exist in the code so there wouldn’t be any effort needed to create new art assets for them. The biggest trick, I imagine, would be adapting the mechanics to something soloable. Constantly respawning mobs would need to be made finite; Any sort “must do X, Y and Z simultaneously” to advance would probably need to become just “must do X, Y and Z” to advance (or have the window enlarged enough that it’s possible for a single character to do both in the window with a little effort); etc. Likewise, a decision would need to be made as to whether these missions would be entirely solo or if the mechanics would work better by incorporating allied NPCs to play the role of other teammates in the real trials and/or the offscreen NPC ally’s goals that came up in the hero doppelgänger arc and in some of the First/Night Ward arcs where less fun multiplayer mission mechanics in the trials get handled by offscreen NPCs in other parts of the trial so long as you reached a trigger point for them. A mix would probably be best. Lambda would probably work as a long solo mission shutting down the guns/portals, raiding for supplies then fighting Maraurder, but the raw power of the Hamidon Avatar or Well-Empowered Tyrant might best be shown using a team of allied NPCs for the fight while having to do simultaneous elements in the BAF might be better served by offscreen NPC assistance (ex. Once you stop a wave of the escaping prisoners you get a comm saying heroes are moving into position to intercept the rest of the escapees so you can focus on Siege and Nightstar and a later one about them intercepting the adds to the final fight). Another prospect too is splitting some of the trials up into separate missions. The Underground Trial could be split into several missions using separate floors of the map with each mission pushing deeper into the Hamidon’s realm. Lambda could be broken up into the exteral raid that ends when the turrets and portals are downed, then the raid the base interior would be the next mission and finally fighting Marauder and his reinforcements would be a third mission. From a storytelling perspective, I think there’s also a lot better sense of how the situation is escalating if the trial stories are experienced in order. For example, waking up the citizenry in the TPN trial is more important when it’s coming on the heels of finding out that Cole made a bargain with Hamidon for time to prove humanity worthy of being spared and the Hamidon has now decided that time was up and that humanity failed its test. Likewise, the cascade of failures as the initial invasion efforts in Apex/Tin Mage are turned back, then the BAF, Lambda Sector and Keyes Reactor all fall. The deal with Hamidon falls apart, the people are turned against Cole when the TPN campus is seized and then the Seer Network is lost and the incarnates storm the Magisterium for the final showdown. Having these in a story form you could play through in the same time span as a long story arc really hits home that Praetoria’s fall wasn’t some years long stalemate as trials came out months apart, but an implosion that happened in a matter of days or even hours and ended with Cole nuking his own Magisterium and Anti-Matter wiping the rest clean when he blew his reactor up.
  12. Glad that worked for you. I’m not on Spectrum and still had the problem; which only developed months after I began playing and years after the router was installed. The company that provided my router (Frontier) also doesn’t include any advanced settings (and it’s password was not set to “admin” but the address and password are printed on the router label so the user can access it); you can set the network name and wifi password for the router. That’s all Frontier will let the end user control via router access. I am also in the same time zone as the VPN exit point (both are EST) I’m using so it’s not some time zone miss-match causing my problem either. So I’m glad you found a solution for your Spectrum issues, but to pretend it’s the one true universal fix when it’s not doesn’t help others who don’t have Spectrum internet (Spectrum isn’t even available in my area) but still have the problem.
  13. One reason I went with SWTOR when CoH shut down was that its tab-targeting and trays full of powers on recharge timers was the closest I could find to CoH. If you've not played it, its worth doing the free-to-play version just for the vanilla level 1-50 fully voiced stories there if you're looking for a change of pace. Beyond that though development slowed to a comparative crawl as what were once eight separate storylines consolidated down to two and then one (recently back to two again) due to EA/Bioware channeling all the profits off the game to whatever their latest attempt at a WoW-killer happens to be. Its also the last outpost of the old Expanded Universe in that its lore aligns with what is now considered non-canon by Disney; but after Rise of Skywalker is probably the canon of preference for die-hard Star Wars fans as a whole.
  14. Honestly, I have a family and a full time job. I’ve been back since October and I have ONE level 50 who’s done CoV content as a rogue through about 35 when I picked up my patron pool (and the contacts/missions started getting much darker than I’d prefer for a lovable Rogue). I’ve got a 35 Praetorian (who only did Warden missions) who won’t be going through the portal until they finish Night Ward and a 43 hero I’ve been running the issue 0 (and now issue 1) arcs on. I haven’t even scratched the surface of the old content I haven’t played in seven years, much less the newer content. I don’t see myself getting tired of the content here for a LONG time.
  15. So, one of the things I've always lamented about the Incarnate Trials is that, when you can even find one being run here (the new rewards system makes them unnecessary) those running them want to speed through them without any regard to the story. So my suggestion is this; take the assets (maps, opponents, dialogue, etc.) and create a story arc that's essentially a stripped down solo-able version of the Praetorian War. It'd really help tie a lot of the late game story content together if there was a way you run those stories and the other late-game bits (the level 50 Night Ward arc and the post-Praetorian "New Praetorians (and villain equivalent)" and "Last Bastion" arcs more or less in sequence instead of having to cobble it together. Obviously mechanics would have to be scaled back/down to account for it being solo-able, but we don't need the rewards to be as great either because we've already got veteran levels to provide the incarnate xp and materials we need. I, for one, would like to understand WHY I'm being teleported from node to node every 30 seconds in the TPN trial for example and being able to actually stop to read the attached story would help a lot. Standard Code Rant applies, but it feels like an area where existing mission writing technology could be applied in some fashion.
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