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parabola

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  1. There are a couple of reasons I think I prefer the idea of losing the level shift rather than adding a +5 difficulty. The main one is that losing the level shift would narrow the performance gap between the highest performing player (purpled out tier 4 incarnate) and the lowest (SO'd non incarnate). We have a game that is supposedly balanced around the latter of these and the former just stomp all over it. In of itself not a problem apart from what it does to the teaming experience where people are feeling left out. Adding higher difficulties may help the situation somewhat in the sense that it might take the top performers longer to blow everything up, leaving more time for contributions from the lower performers. However it does run the risk of leaving the lower performers further behind and those contributions may not amount to much. I feel the game is very hard to balance at the moment specifically because of how wide that power gap is and anything that narrows it would help. Removing the level shift would do this. My other argument against having the level shift is just how mechanical it is. It feels to me to be an entirely arbitrary way of saying to the player 'look how soopa you are!!1!' Alpha abilities already increase the power of the character, why is this extra layer even necessary? I'm interested in why adding what are effectively level bumps to players is 'one of the best updates' but adding them to enemies is 'disappointing'. Surely if adding interesting extra attacks, buffs debuffs etc to enemies is better than a blanket mechanical shift the same should hold true for players? I agree that overall the conning mechanism isn't the most interesting piece of game design. But it is what we have to work with. It is indeed arbitrary that an enemy conning purple is stronger than an identical one conning red. It strikes me as also arbitrary that the level shift allows you to convert those purple minions into red ones at the expense of removing the top of the existing difficulty headroom.
  2. Removing level shifts may not completely fix the issues but I can't see how it wouldn't be a step in the right direction. The removal of the alpha shift in regular content is an idea I have brought up many times. I have no idea of course of the behind the scenes complexity of such a move but in concept at least it's a straightforward and potentially powerful adjustment to high level gameplay. It's not where I would look to stop with changes but I'd certainly start there.
  3. No it shouldn't. The devs have an entirely different view of the game from where they are sitting. They see how all the little bits and pieces work (or not) behind the scenes and have to make decisions based on thier view of the games best interests. I'm sure they will always take feedback into account but they can't be entirely driven by it or the game will dissolve into an utter mess. Sigh.
  4. A good question. The simplest answer is that I would like the teaming experience from the early to mid level game to extend into the late game. Where a team is greater than the sum of its parts no matter what those parts are. Where no one or two characters can run off and solo everything and everyone else just feels like they are running to keep up. Where everyone feels they are contributing to the success of the team. Things that I am not looking for include: rigid trinity gameplay, rigid team tactics (herding being required etc.), or specific team compositions becoming necessary. I believe there is plenty of room to improve the high level teaming experience without any of these.
  5. I don't think challenge is the issue. As people are very fond of saying anyone who wants challenge can intentionally gimp thier character and have at it. The problem as I see it is the team dynamic and the difficulty of the game is simply the context that dynamic exists in. The game overall may never have been all that difficult but I do think the balance between the AT's and the general team experience was better before IO's and incarnates. There is no rolling the clock back but we can examine where we are now and see if the game is in the best shape it can be. I don't necessarily want to nerf anything (hence the SO's suggestion rather than blanket IO nerfs) but I do want to see improvements to the teaming experience at the high end, particularly for support AT's.
  6. The existance of harder content doesn't invalidate the point that standard content isn't providing enough challenge. And challenging oneself in a solo environment isn't really where power creep is a problem anyway, it doesn't matter how op or not you are solo. What matters is the team game where people are finding that teaming isn't a huge amount of fun when others on the team can solo the same content at max difficulty. I'm personally not of the opinion that harder content alone will solve all the problems anyway. If it were my game I would be seriously looking at the power gap between the lowest and highest performing characters before all else. Currently the game cannot really be balanced because the gap between SO's and purpled out IO's is so wide. Given how unpopular global nerfs to IO's would be it might be worth instead buffing SO's to narrow that gap. Then the game can be made harder across the board without leaving anyone behind.
  7. This has been happening since live. I am always kicking myself when I cancel a queued power and don't notice hasten has been removed from autofire again. Mine is bound to the period key (and was the same back on live) if that's any help.
  8. There's something magnificent about this. And a little scary... ☺️
  9. Ok, I've had a slightly leftfield idea. If the argument against increasing difficulty is that the game is still balanced around SO's and people aren't willing to contemplate reductions in the power of IO's how about: Buff SO's. Then raise the difficulty at the endgame. Raise the floor and the ceiling at the same time while leaving IO'd builds where they currently are. That way no-one gets left behind and no-one even has to be directly nerfed. We narrow the power gap between SO and IO builds and increase the difficulty headroom for the purpled out monsters. Not sure this would fix everything on it's own, I'd still want to take a hard look at incarnates and I'm not entirely convinced the 'support not needed in a world of tankmages' problem would entirely go away just by increasing difficulty. But it might be a step in the right direction and make it easier on the devs by giving a narrower power spread to have to accommodate going forward. What might buffed SO's look like? As an example give them higher raw enhancement values and then maybe give them a little of the 'certain % ignores ED' from the alpha powers. That way an SO build could outstrip an IO build in raw enhancement values, at least in one or two areas per power. IO builds would always stay ahead overall because the global bonuses would always outweigh any shortfall in the raw enhancement values. Anyway just a thought. ☺️
  10. Indeed. This is exactly why I don't think it should be up to the player to manage thier way around fundamental balance problems in the system. Casual teaming is the foundation of this game and should be supported above all else (imo). Unfortunately different people have very different ideas of what 'turning people off' looks like. For me it is an MMO that can't support the teaming dynamic into the high levels, where support AT's feel they aren't contributing and where all AT's start to homogenize in the endgame because they are all built for damage and defence and use the same handful of incarnate powers. For others it is the prospect of any kind of balance pass that might affect them in any way. But as noted above, this discussion isn't going anywhere. I'm reasonably confident the devs recognise the problems but whether they can come up with workable solutions or not is another thing entirely.
  11. So much truth in this statement. I feel your pain! The whole issue of game balance is hugely complicated, this is an intricate system with so many moving parts. Those of us expressing concerns are too often met with reductive answers or dismissal. The very fact that the topic keeps getting raised suggests that there are things worth looking into and it seems the devs agree. I'm hopeful they will be able to dial in on tweaks that will improve the game dynamics but I don't envy them the backlash from some quarters. On this specific topic: I think there have been many, many improvements to the game over the years. I couldn't imagine going back to an early version and doing without all that. But I'm in no doubt that some things have been lost or sidelined along the way and we are now at a point where some game dynamics are really suffering. I'd prefer to work on the basis of tweaking what we have to recapture a bit of what has been lost rather than rolling back wholesale though.
  12. My complaint (if that's the right word) is predominantly around the teaming experience at high levels. Certain AT's and powersets within them feeling redundant as they struggle to get in on the action. The game difficulty is part of the equation as I think the assumption is that if the enemies lasted longer people would have more of a chance to make a difference, but I don't think it is the whole of the issue. There is a big shift that happens between teaming prior to lv45 and after. It must be quite a shock for anyone experiencing it for the first time, I've been here for ages and I still find it jarring. All of a sudden any lv50's on the team get their incarnate powers and are facing enemies that con 1 lower to them than everyone else. This noticeably changes the team dynamic, and as many have noted can leave people wondering how much they are contributing. Now of course a purpled out incarnate should be more powerful than a character still levelling to 50. They have put in the work to understand the game, make the inf and earned the veteran levels. But I feel there should be the room for a discussion about how wide that power gap should be, particularly in the light of how much easier it is to achieve that power on Homecoming. As I've said before the first thing that jumps out at me is the Alpha level shift in regular content being unnecessary and in my opinion actively detrimental to game balance. I take the view that the core experience the game should be built and balanced around is the casual team game. I love soloing and highly value that this is a solo friendly MMO, but it is still an MMO and maybe one of the best for casual teaming at that. Anything that makes this core experience less fun should in my opinion be looked at closely and I'm happy to take a hit to the power level of my top solo performers if it will improve the team game overall. This is why I have particularly objected to accusations of selfishness, I am trying to take a collectivist view of the game and saying what I feel is best for the game as a whole. And before we go there (again) I'm certainly not talking about wanting rigid trinity gameplay. There is a sliding scale with 'everyone is a tankmage' at one end and 'rigid trinity' at the other and I feel the needle just needs pulling back a touch from the tankmage end. A huge strength of this game has always been the interchangeability of AT's and not needing one or another in particular to complete a team, that shouldn't need to be sacrificed in order to allow every teammate to feel good about their contribution.
  13. The male run animation. All this time and it still looks stupid. The huge run animation is better but not by much. My roster consists of 1 male, 3 huge and 45 or so females, almost entirely because of run animations!
  14. I like the look of this combo so thought I'd see what I might do with it. Build below. I've gone with a different travel power but I'm sure it could be rearranged for fly etc. I haven't played this so it's all slightly hypothetical but it looks like it should work (end heavy but with the sustain and power sink it should be ok). Hasten isn't quite perma but the ff in FoT should sort that out.
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