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Story Arc Concept: Incarnate Trials as connected story


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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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I think the reason people speed through them is having done them a few million times (plus Incarnate powers so often being just ridiculously over the top, especially in a group.)


I'd be for this, since I don't think it'd be any *more* difficult than creating other story arcs (not saying that's easy - I don't have the toolset and the like, and we don't have dozens of new arcs currently, but still.) It would essentially be, what, Maria Jenkins 2.0.

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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.


I tried to combine Circle and DE, but all I got were garden variety evil mages.

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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.

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