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Deeper Architect NPC customization - with (hopefully) minimal changes to the AE system itself


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TL;DR: New power sets for custom NPCs in AE, one primary and one secondary. Primary contains every power currently available to them, including toggles and autos. Secondary contains mix-and-match auto powers for partial customization of passive bonuses without worrying about unwanted FX or secondary benefits.

 


 

I've been playing around with the Architect Entertainment system a lot over the past few months, and though I love the degree of customizability it offers, I can't help but feel frustrated at the areas in which it lacks. Personally, I would love to be able to have a finer degree of control over custom NPCs' powers - and I don't mean recoloring them (though that would be nice too).

 

Let's look at Baron Zoria: if Paragon Wiki is accurate, he uses powers from no fewer than five different sets (Dark Blast, Dark Miasma [or Darkness Affinity], Psychic Blast, Mind Control, and Stone Control). I don't know about you, but to me, it feels unfair that players can't create their own custom enemies that do the same thing.

 

So with that said, here's my idea: add two new power sets exclusively for custom NPCs in AE, one primary and one secondary. No new tabs needed, though the secondary set would likely involve the creation of dozens of new, but simple powers. I'll get to that in a bit; first, I'd like to discuss the primary.

 

The primary set would be a "master list" of all the powers already available to custom NPCs, including toggles, autos, and maybe variants of the same power from different sets (for custom NPCs, Dark Blast's Life Drain does less damage and takes longer to recharge than Dark Assault's Life Drain, for example). I know it would be a pain to scroll through dozens, if not hundreds, of powers just to find the few you're looking for; to that end, I suggest that the powers be organized within the set, first by theme (Fire, Ice, Dark, ...) and second by category (Melee, Ranged, Armor, Support, ...). However, I acknowledge that this could allow players to give enemies conflicting power sets, such as Dual Blades and Shield Defense, or Staff Fighting and Titan Weapons (the latter two of which I believe use the same costume slot). Because of this, some powers may need to be excluded entirely, or relegated to their own separate versions of the "master list" set, e.g. "Master List+Shield Defense", "Master List+Titan Weapons", "Master List+Staff Fighting", et cetera. I don't know if the latter option would be as simple as copy/pasting the code for the "master list" and swapping out a few powers, or if it would be more involved than that.

 

Regardless, let's move on to the secondary set, which I'll call the "passive bonuses" set. As previously stated, it would almost certainly require the creation of many, many new powers. However, every power in the set would be an auto power, have no FX attached, and would only apply a static (de)buff to a single attribute like damage, max HP, recovery, Energy damage resistance, recharge debuff resistance, and so on. Ideally, each attribute would be represented by ten auto powers total - five buff, five debuff - in standardized increments, such as 5%, 10%, 20%, 40%, and 80%. Like any other power set, players could choose several of these powers that affect the same attribute, effectively allowing for semi-custom strengths and weaknesses. Let's say a player wants to create a fire elemental: they could give it the +10% and +40% Fire resistance powers for a total of +50% Fire resistance. Next, they make it vulnerable to Cold by giving it the -5%, -10%, and -20% Cold resistance powers, for a total of -35% Cold resistance (or they could pick -40% and +5% to achieve the same effect!). Perhaps you could make a "pseudo-sniper" with bonuses to range and perception radius, or an Arch-Villain with high resistances and regeneration that would almost certainly require a team to overcome. Maybe you could create an ambush of weak but Untouchable enemies that would follow and pester you throughout a mission, or you could make an entire enemy group meant to challenge well-built Incarnates by giving them moderate-to-high buffs across the board.

 

"But what about status protection?" you might ask. "That doesn't come in percentages!" And you'd be right. For those, the increments would need to be different, and would have no "debuff" equivalents. Here's what I picture:

  • 2 (enough to protect against a single application of weaker control powers, as well as certain IO procs)
  • 3 (enough to protect against most control powers)
  • 4 (enough for two applications of weaker controls, or one application from a Controller that procced Overpower)
  • 8 (enough for two Overpower procs)
  • 100, or some other ridiculously huge number (for effective immunity to that particular status effect)

Then you could combine 2 and 4 to protect the NPC against a single application from a Dominator boosted by Domination, or 4 and 8 to protect against two such applications.

 

Now, what about farms? Yes, enemies could be given massive debuffs to make AE farms even more efficient than they already are. To counterbalance this, I suggest making the debuffs decrease enemy rewards if possible. As it is, custom enemy rewards (or at least the XP they give) are calculated based on certain "point" values of each power; why not give certain powers negative point values? I admit, though, that I don't have a thorough understanding of how said point values work despite the explanations provided in-game. Negative values might affect the calculations in unexpected ways, or might not even be possible; I never claimed to be a programmer!

 

If it's possible to implement these in the way I've described, I believe they would go a long way in improving the customizability of NPCs in AE, despite the possible tedium of creating these sets. What do you all think? Does this idea hold water, or is it doomed to sink? Would it be more difficult to implement than I believe?

Edited by Bilious Slick
Improve clarity of ideas, overall wording
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