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  1. This is indeed an issue. You can see it in the AE mob groups where many of what look the same are actually different mobs with distinct level bands because at higher levels they need more powers to stand a chance against players. One of the reasons that Praetoria is so hard is that their mobs are all basically given the powers appropriate to a level 20 mob even when you’re fighting them at level 2 (the ones that turn up again in First and Night Ward content from 20-35 are significantly easier to handle because you now have appropriate tools to handle them).
  2. A hero is someone who is admired for their abilities; one of which might be courage. In the case of the mugger, I’d say that Superman and Batman are equally heroic in that they stopped an attack on an innocent person. At best you could argue that Batman was more courageous in that he could actually be hurt in the attempt, but then again, we’ve seen various villains use common crimes and cries for help to draw Superman into a trap that might involve kryptonite or magic or similar things he’s vulnerable to and each call he answers could be one... yet he goes anyway.
  3. I’m of the opinion that HC should consider it’s version of Incarnate powers is complete. There is already a huge disparity in power between a fresh 50 and one with all six incarnate slots with tier-4s. Even outside of incarnate specific content they’ve got; - a level shift - a +22-30% boost to several enhancement categories that ignores ED (and another 11-15% that does but might still add to things that aren’t slotted for that). - a target-cap breaking crashless nuke on a 90 second timer. - a 75% proc and 25% proc on all your attacks. - summoning two pets for two minutes on a five minute timer. - a large AOE buff on a 90 second timer. - a passive and toggle buff (two minutes on a five minute timer). - In incarnate content add another two level shifts. It’s already hard enough to balance the difficulty with incarnates in the level 50 mix. Dropping four more levels of it on top will just make it worse. If the incarnate system needs anything it’s more content where it can be used (if you can figure out a way to balance it between the “just got the alpha slot” and “I’ve got everything slotted with t4’s” incarnates); but that is in competition in terms of development time with more general mission content that can be experienced by more players more often so I don’t expect much of it any time soon.
  4. We DO have numbers. Let's look at them. My source is the "Homecoming Statistics: March 2020" thread in General Discussion; Players have created 1,207,409 characters on Homecoming and there are 115,559 level 50 characters (of which 40,399 are fire aura brutes) if you total up the numbers from the table for number of 50s by AT. That's just 9.6% of all characters created including the farming brutes that are level 50. If you exclude the likely fire-farming brutes the number drops to just 6.2% of all created characters. The number of those 50's with more than the alpha slot (vs. parked shortly after 50 because the Alt-itis is STRONG) is nowhere near 100%. Asking the people who have access to the statistics might be interesting. Reasonably, the number of non-farm judgement+ incarnate characters is less than 5% of the total... right in line with the PvP community numbers back on live. The number with all six slotted with all t4s is probably less than 1%.
  5. I think you're taking pie-in-the-sky dreams and assuming they're the most likely result in the real world. There's a truism in terms of projects; You can only have two of; fast, cheap and high-quality. Meaning, if you want high quality fast, it will not be cheap. If you want to be cheap you either have to accept lower quality or longer delays. Homecoming has already chosen "Cheap" (everyone involved is a volunteer and they've indicated that will not change even if legitimized by NCSoft) and "High Quality" (the reason why they don't have all the flashy content of some of the other servers, but do have the only 64-bit client out there). You presume massive numbers of people will just donate their time to write, design art assets, code and review and test for bugs down the line... and accept oversight over their creative endeavors by the HC team; i.e. the majority of said volunteers won't just quit when the team says their particular ideas aren't as good as they think they are and need to be redone. If you're a paid employee, you suck up the criticism and make the changes because its your job... when its your hobby? The percentage will be MUCH much smaller due to basic human nature. That means new content will not arrive quickly nor in large amounts. Even if you get a slew of writers for content who won't quit at the first non-grammatical edit, that content can't just be uploaded the next day. Its got to be coded, reviewed, tested for bugs and all the other things we've seen throughout HCs various betas of their released updates. There's a lot of coordination that will be needed to produce a finished project when people have different interests. For example, you need an artist willing to use their free time to model art assets for a story arc that might not actually interest or inspire them.
  6. When you have a small volunteer staff capable of only limited new content, you want that content to be as useful to as broad a segment of the players as possible. The problem with “just make more incarnate content” is that every bit of incarnate exclusive content is content that’s of no use to non-incarnates and non-incarnates are, depending how you count the statistics, well over 90+% of the active characters. Arcs that can be accessed starting in the level 20-30 range can be enjoyed by the entire player base. An incarnate-balanced arc can only be enjoyed by the tiny percentage of incarnate toons.* In essence, while it gets a lot of talk on the forums among the same couple dozen who regularly post on the matter, the incarnate population is really only on par with the PVP community in terms of numbers and needs to be regarded as such in terms of priorities in creating new content and balancing its effects on other content. I remember the days back on live when powers were constantly being changed around because of their effects on PVP (which was 5% or less of the player base at the time) and how it created problems for the PVE players as a result. Ultimately, the live Devs split the mechanics up so they behaved differently in PVP than PVE and allow PVP to be what it needed to be while not continuing to wreak havoc on the rest of the game. This proposal is presented in a similar vein. Incarnate powers were originally created to enable an endgame grind requiring a paid subscription where those with incarnate powers would need to spend the majority of their time grinding out incarnate content to get the next tier of “gear” or to unlock the newest “gear” slot. Due to its low population, SCoRE altered how incarnate powers could be earned, but, also likely due to its low population, didn’t fully account for the effects that gaining incarnate powers through normal content would have on the 45-50 play environment... just as the live devs rarely considered the impact of how their changes for PVP affected the PVE environment. Ultimately, the only viable fix for the issues the tiny chunk that was PVP was inflicting on PVE was to silo it off so that game used an entirely different set of numbers for PVP than PVE. The suggestion here is that a similar siloing for a similarly small percentage of the content (that is unlikely to get significant attention because the return on time invested is so low relative to a new level 20-30 arc) would be healthier for the game. * Side-bar: Dark Astoria also proves there is an additional layer of difficulty in terms of incarnate balancing... what level of incarnate do you balance it for? Alpha slot only? Full level shifted, but not t4’d? Full t4 slotting in all incarnate powers? There’s a MASSIVE difference in performance between an alpha-only with a t1-2 slotted and having all six incarnate powers slotted with t4s. - The Starting Alpha is still level 50 in Dark Astoria and has 33% buff to one enhancement category where 27.55% of that is still subject to ED (i.e. a scrapper slotting the t1 musculature will only increase their damage by 3% or so). - The fully unlocked with all t4s Incarnate is instead level 50+3 in Dark Astoria, has a +20-30% enhancement buff to multiple categories that ignores ED. They also have an extra nuke, summoned pets, a massive aoe buff, an extra proc effect on virtually every hit, and the hybrid toggle and passive buffs. So where will this new incarnate content be balanced? Of the population of incarnates, I guarantee there are more closer to the alpha only end of the spectrum than the fully t4’d variety. That means the further up the scale you get, the smaller the number of players who can actually use the content to the point we’re probably at fractions of 1% at the top end. This is why devising reasonable siloing of incarnate powers for non-incarnate content coupled with story arcs designed for a wide spread of levels instead of the usual 5 (ex. a post-Praetorian War Council arc could be set to be accessible from level 15-50) is probably the most viable path for future content.
  7. Rule 101 of any development work is "don't keep throwing good time and money after bad." At the end of the day, Incarnate powers were always a bad idea. Knowing what we know now of the situation c. 2011-2012, its clear they were added for the express purpose of adding a grind-focused endgame to City of Heroes, most likely at the specific behest of NCSoft who wanted to monetize that grind. They weren't as concerned about how this would unbalance the earlier parts of the game because those were ultimately just the free teaser to induce as many players as possible to buy a sub and start grinding for incarnate powers. Ultimately, Incarnate power was never designed to be sustainable or healthy for the overall game. It was designed to make the game as profitable as possible to keep the lights on for another day. Hell, even Positron said by the time they'd hit the Omega slot they'd probably have to start over with a City of Heroes 2. Just like we've not had a new PVP zone added since I6(?), Incarnates are a thing that breaks more than it fixes because it was never designed to fix a gameplay issue... it was designed to fix a real world cash flow issue. What the Incarnate system really needs is a hard look at how to balance it out with the rest of the game so that as much of the already completed work as possible can be employed without disrupting the core 1-50 part of the game that makes up 99% of the content. Since those powers are generally needed for the actual eight existing incarnate trials (which had the good fortune to have an obvious conclusion in the Magisterium Trial) I'd NOT want to see them nerfed for that content. That's why I feel a "Alpha + pick one" type check-off option for non-incarnate content would be the least disruptive. - It limits each character to, at-most, one incarnate click power so you're not having full teams cycling through 8 Judgements AND 8 Lores AND 8 Destinies. - Because you can check different incarnate slots between missions, it is still worth pursuing those powers for the added flexibility it gives. - It keeps the full suite of powers available for the Incarnate trials content where it is actually needed.
  8. One thing that bears considering in terms of future development for Homecoming is just what sort of content we're expecting to see. A small volunteer team can't release nearly as much as a full-time paid development team. At the same time, because this is not a for profit venture they also don't have to be beholden to the toxic grind aspects that were working their way into CoH near the end of its life (the ever increasing power of the Incarnate system that took massive amounts of grinding to complete being the primary example). They don't need to keep scaling the power and could easily just declare than on Homecoming Earth incarnate power tops out with Hybrid. Frankly, the best use of their resources for content would be things that are as broadly accessible as possible. Content using enemy groups that span many levels. For example, other than a specific design decision to set the missions mostly in Brickstown, there's no reason the New Praetorians arcs had to be limited to 35-50 (I believe the top end was less than 50 back when it was on the test server in 2012). It could have just as easily been 15-50 since the Council stretches the whole band and Council war walkers go all the way down to level 15 in their use in Boomtown. The point is... writing new content that can be experienced at virtually any time will see more use than content that's gated behind incarnate access. The effort of building a new Incarnate trial could probably also produce a Steel Canyon (10-50) or Talos Island (20-50) story arc or two. They could do their own version of the Coming Storm where the Battalion are just another alien invader and the break point in the original timeline was that half a dozen other threats (each of a scale that the HC team could produce) also broke out at once. Keeping in the usual 1-54 band for content difficulty is where HC will get the most return on its time investment. New incarnate content would be decidedly niche. Also worth noting at this point is that, because of the way the Incarnate grind on live was designed, it was NOT intended that incarnate powered characters would be running roughshod over non-incarnate content as much as they do on Homecoming. Because the only way to improve your incarnate powers was to grind the incarnate content and because the original plan on live was to keep adding new Incarnate slots every six-months so you'd have to keep grinding Incarnate content to earn those... and because you had to pay to access the incarnate content... live incarnates weren't expected to be doing much of the non-incarnate at all. If you wanted the next incarnate tier for your current slot or the new one that had been released you were going to need to grind the next iteration of Incarnate XP, get the next type of Incarnate salvage, etc. and you could only get those grinding the Incarnate content, not running 45-50 radio missions against the Council in PI. As such, I don't think its unreasonable to look at the effect Incarnate powers have on the normal 45-50 content and take steps to reign it in a bit. Perhaps with Emperor Cole's defeat, the power of the Well pulls back a bit to conserve its power for true threats to itself; limiting how much can be drawn from it at once. Because of all of the above, I am surprisingly okay with the idea of more limited access to Incarnate Slots. You still get to be over and above the typical level 50 potency, but in a more signature way; which is I think the main thing that the universal nature of the Incarnate slots took away from characters. None of the existing incarnates (or incarnate adjacent) in the game seem to have more than one signature trick (ex. Statesman calling down the lightning or Ms. Liberty using the Liberty Belt) in normal content. Perhaps though, as with Incarnate shifts (vs. alpha's level shift) this could be a limitation that applies ONLY in non-incarnate areas. Say you add a mutually exclusive checkbox to every incarnate power slot on that tab. You check off one and when not in incarnate content, only the Alpha and the chosen ability would be active. If you gave it the same five minute cool down that slotting an Incarnate ability has; you could still have the flexibility of the multiple slots, just not all at once (soloing an AV on a squishier class? Check the Destiny box for your Barrier before entering the mission. Going up against hordes of weaker foes? Check Judgement before entering the mission. Need semi-independent damage dealers to keep runners in check? Check the Lore box. Just running general missions? Check Interface or Hybrid. Or stay with one because it fits a particular concept. For example, my all-natural archer would probably use Interface (-resistance) all the time as their whole natural shtick is that they're not an incarnate, but they've lined their body armor with incarnate threads and use arrows tipped with pieces of incarnate shards to penetrate tougher incarnate targets). I had to really stretch to say they hooked into a Vanguard Orbital Ion Cannon to explain them even HAVING Judgement. By contrast, the great-granddaughter of Statesman from Elysian Earth (because Rularru, the Rikti and Praetorians never reached their Earth) managed to forge her own Incarnate connection to the power of Zeus and so would always keep Ionic Judgement slotted just because that fits her theme (along with the Mu Mastery powers I snagged playing her "evil twin"). TL;DR Development time for new mission content from the HC team would be most effectively employed in the general population rather than incarnate exclusive content, so limiting the potency of incarnate power in non-incarnate content where it was never intended to be widely employed is something that should at least be considered.
  9. It occurs to me that, just as Martial Combat’s Reaction Time Aura indicates how far it’s debuff aura extends, it might be possible to create a toggle (or set of toggles) that lays down a set of range circles (or, if the aura can be directional, an actual arc indicator). The only issue is that, ideally, it should be visible only to the player and I’m not sure the system can do that. Presuming that can be overcome though, dropping those in as a free utility powers on the P2W vendor, would be a way to provide players with range indicators without needing to completely overhaul the system.
  10. My default re-scaling is to take female legs and hips to minimum, bust down at least 50% and, depending on the outfit, increase the waist up to 25%. This is still a superhero game so I aim for more timeless comic proportions rather than the 90’s Dork Age/Image comics proportions of default or trying to go with entirely realistic proportions.
  11. Back when CoV first went live, I rolled a bots/traps mastermind. Due to the AI’s nature I quickly dropped my plans to give them clinical engineering style names and instead renamed my first drone “Glitchy.” When I got the second drone I named it “Crashy” so it became “The Glitchy & Crashy Show.” When I got my second tier of bots, the Glitchy name moved to that bot and the second bot became Smashy (on account of his continually trying to run into melee). The third small bot became Bashy. When the Assault Bot finally arrived, Glitchy got his final upgrade. The two Protector Bots got renamed to Junk Heap and Scrap Heap. Thus, the final array was; Glitchy, Junkheap, Scrapheap, Bashy, Crashy and Smashy.
  12. If you’re quitting, can I have your stuff? 😎 The answer is there’s not a way to change it, because the restriction didn’t actually come from HC. It’s been all but stated without actually stating it that it’s a condition of the negotiations with NCSoft. Frankly, the fact that the code was leaked at all was probably a loss of face for someone. Touting that with livestreams using the leaked code only adds to the loss. By moving to restrict it as they as are, HC is showing respect to those they are trying to get a favorable result from and that they can ne trusted to not cause any further loss of face. Presumably, if an amicable arrangement can be found and HC becomes legitimate, the restriction on live-streaming could be lifted. The notice of the change itself did include such temporary indicators (I believe the ban was “for now.”).
  13. You know what’s going to be “funny”? When people with your attitude end up getting the C&D hammer dropped on everyone because you have to keep pushing some agenda. The reasons we prefer HC and its requirements are; A) the 64-bit client is the only long term path forward (the current apple OS no longer supports 32-bit and the same is almost assured for the next iteration of Windows). It also massively improves performance, the same system that couldn’t run ultra mode in 2012 using the old 32-bit client was able to run the game at max settings smooth as butter using the 64-bit client. B) A dedication to quality. I don’t know if you saw Positive Gamers recent stream where he decided to try out Rebirth, but in making a character, a glitched option for shields put a full sized green training dummy that duplicated his animations on his arm. That bit right there made that whole outfit (as in the Rebirth servers in addition to the costume) look like amateur-hour. HC would never allow half-assed coding like that to go live. Their improvements aren’t as “flashy” as some of the other servers, but the 64-bit client and massive backend clean-up they’ve been doing will pay dividends for years while the other servers eventually fail as hosting server OS’s start to drop 32-bit support alongside the mainstream desk/laptop OS’s. C) They’re at least trying to make this endeavor legitimate so we need not fear some new management at NCSoft deciding to make their mark by C&Ding all the illegal servers. At this point, having it taken away again would almost be worse than losing it the first time. HC is trying to remove that possibility. The odds are high that policing the streaming is another stage in the NCSoft negotiations and that those negotiations are the reason no ban-hammers have been coming down on any illegal servers so far. Put short, HC is run in a fashion that I can expect in a year or two from now with a new Win11 laptop that I’ll still be able to log in and play my characters. None of the others have any assurance they won’t disappear like a popped soap bubble in the next 24 hours, much less the next 24 months.
  14. One of my favorite things while I away and playing SWTOR as a pale substitute was the “gap closers” that each of the melee classes had. Most had options that would allow it be up as soon as you’d finished the previous fight; some cases instantly resetting as soon as you exited combat. The point is, making Confront into that sort of ability and making exclusive to Scrappers could be as build defining an element for them as assassin’s strike/hide is for stalkers and the level 20 “sustains” are in the blaster secondaries. I’d respec all my scrappers to pick up Confront if that change were made. If you wanted to make it interesting you could give each set a variation on it. Say electric melee version gets a super-fast recharge (but no secondary effects) so they can chain jump from target to target. Energy melee might also knock the target down. Fire melee could do a bit of AoE fire damage (as if you became a living fireball for a moment). Dark could give you a few seconds of +defense because you’re still shrouded in shadow for a moment. Street Justice might set your combo level to 3 as you charge in. Et cetera. * * * * If I were to suggest a change to the scrapper inherent, I’d say leave the critical hits alone, but if it needs it, a stacking buff to regeneration, resist and/or defense (perhaps secondary set related?) to make it almost the inverse of Brutes (i.e. brutes attack to build damage, scrappers attack to build resilience). Another change that might be needed is upping their resistance caps to maybe 80%; particularly if a change like the above were made. * * * * In terms of specific sets, my biggest gripe would be with Kinetic Melee; particularly when compared to say, Claws. I compare the two because both get a 40’ ranged single target and cone attack and a gimmick version of build-up; and all three are better on the claws set. Focus vs. Focused Burst: Focus is gained earlier (18 vs. 26), has better cast time (1.17s vs. 2s), better recharge (6.4s vs. 8s), better endurance cost (6.82 vs. 8.53) and even has better damage per cast time (81.76 vs. 56.45). The only place Focused Burst excels is raw damage (95.66 vs. 112.9). Follow-Up vs. Power Siphon: Follow-Up is an actual attack with damage and cast time comparable to claws t1 attack (55.05 damage w. 0.83s cast time). With minimal slotting you can not only maintain a 100% uptime on it’s buff (10s duration, base 12s recharge), you can perma-double-stack it (total of +20% to-hit, +75% damage). Power Siphon, by contrast, isn’t an attack yet has more than double the cast time (1.93s) and its buff window lasts for 20s with a base 120s recharge. It also takes at least 3 hits in that window to match the performance of Follow-Up until those buffs wear off. Shockwave vs. Repulsing Torrent: Torrent at least has the advantage of much earlier access (32 vs. 8 ) and better range (30 vs 40), but loses on cast time (1s vs. 2s) and arc (90 vs. 45 degrees). Torrent also has much higher knockback (6.23 vs. 1.45) which is actually a downside in the current meta. End cost, recharge and damage are otherwise comparable. In short, Kinetic Melee plays like a slower and weaker version of Claws. Since Claws already has the quick activation/recharge niche filled, Kinetic Melee would benefit a LOT from buffing it’s damage per cast time to make it the freight train to Claws’ jackhammer.
  15. The ultimate in villain fashion... a QRCode emblem for a TVTropes page. TWO HOURS!!! That was two hours of my life lost going down that rabbit hole of links, you fiend!!! 😁
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