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@Outrider_01 ?

 

I believe some miscommunication or misunderstanding has occurred.  I'm agreeing with you and giving a specific example,  namely of Fire Manipulation.  It would be necessary to all but ignore my secondary to play my Electric/Fire at any distance other than 'in your face' melee distance.  All but one of his 7 attacks are from the secondary.   Likewise with my Fire/Energy.  All the secondary are either melee attacks or self buff powers.

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21 hours ago, Gavric said:

Again, this is all in your head.  It was not contempt.  It was not a rebuke.  I tried to express that there is no contempt.

 

My initial post is constructive criticism.  My reply to Shadeknight was not part of that constructive criticism.  That final line was a summation of the topic, which is what was not clear to them in the first place.  You are conflating two different conversations and choosing to be upset over your own perceptions.

 

I'm not mad at anyone.  I'm not attacking anyone.  I'm sharing my perspective.  I'm trying to keep my tone rational and emotionless.

I wouldn't want to assume or attribute any particular emotion or motivation to you, with regard to your critique.  However, you may wish to consider your phrasing more thoughtfully, in the future, when making such critiques.  Certain comments that you made, while no doubt sincere and, perhaps, not meant to be insulting, could have been phrased more tactfully.  To help you understand what I'm talking about:

 

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The original developers were mad geniuses that implemented some amazing things and insanely stupid things.

Frankly, I don't necessarily disagree with your general feelings here, but I would have put it more gently.  I suppose the original Devs may not even be aware of these forums, or follow them, but the phrase "insanely stupid" is rather harsh.  Wouldn't you find it abrasive if someone critiqued you in this way?  Perhaps not, but I think most people would find it insulting.

 

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They seem to have been highly gifted and clueless.

Clueless?  Well, I don't think so.  They made some design decisions that I wouldn't have made and, clearly, you feel the same way.  You could express that a bit more tactfully, though.  Clueless implies ignorance and stupidity.  Even if the original devs were ignorant and stupid (and I don't think they were), it feels like an intentional insult at worst, and insensitive at best.

 

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However, adulation leads to complacency and hubris.  They need criticism and feedback.

Fair enough.  I don't disagree, and it's clear that the Homecoming team doesn't disagree, either.  However...

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They're just not any good at new content, and they won't get better if someone doesn't tell them.

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion.  However, I feel it is unfair and, also, probably inaccurate, even from your own point of view.  You have stated that you're relatively new to the game and never played it when the game was live.  Okay- again- fair enough.  But if you have enjoyed the game at all, since playing on Homecoming (and I assume you DO enjoy it in some capacity, since you're taking the time to offer a critique to make it better; if it's a complete flop, not worth paying a subscription for, then why bother?) then you ARE enjoying new content (issues 24, 25, and 26) that the team has implemented since bringing the new servers on line.  So clearly, they are good at making new content- even your own appreciation of the revamped teleport pool indicates that you acknowledge this, in some respect.  What I'm saying is, the first part of the above comment was unnecessary, untrue, and also lacks tact.  Tact, while not obligatory, is important if you want to the devs to respond positively to your feedback.

 

Now, as to your specific criticisms:

 

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The Graveyard Shift is terrible.

I haven't played this yet.  I just got my new teleporting scrapper to 20.  I  mean to try it solo, then wrangle a well-balanced group to run it for comparison.  Your complaints feel reasonable to me, if the content proves to perform as you've described, but I'll just have to wait and see.

 

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Your fast travel choices are a mess.

You make some good arguments here.  I haven't tried all of the fast travel methods and fully considered how they impact the game experience- particularly from the perspective of new players.   I'll have to give it some more thought, but your comments here are useful in this regard.

 

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The changes to the Teleportation Pool are good.

I agree.  Love the new TP Pool! 👍

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Your homebrew power sets are bad.

I haven't tried sonic for blasters and, honestly, I probably won't.  Sonic is a power that doesn't fit conceptually with most character ideas I come up with.  You could be right, at least regarding Blaster Sonics.  However, I don't agree that melee attacks as a secondary are an inherently bad design for blasters.  Unexpected for a primarily ranged archetype, yes.  And perhaps not the direction I would have went.  CoH players often love playing Blappers (the slang they use for running blasters like a scrapper), though, and you would alienate a large portion of the player base by trying to change the basic paradigm of the AT.  Also, as other posters commented, the team has implemented the Sentinel AT, if you want a ranged AT with defense secondary's.  You may argue that Sentinels are a poor implementation of that (many do!), but that is a separate (though admittedly relevant) topic from the issue 27 content.

 

Lastly, I would like to address the following reply you made to another posters comment:

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I disagree with your take on content design.  Certainly, there should be team aspects in an MMO.  However, not everyone has the room, social aptitude, gameplay aptitude, or desire to play in groups.  Most missions should be solo-able, with certain missions being designated as team-oriented.  The original game actually does this well, with disclaimers in some mission text.  The notoriety system provides the ability to scale difficulty for teams.  The tactical changes I recommended would make solo or team play more interesting.

You are of course, entitled to your opinion.  I have a very different opinion.  MMO stands for "Massively-Multiplayer Online".  Now, that could imply massive numbers of players, each playing by themselves on the same server, but I think this is probably  not the expectation of most people who enjoy MMO's.  I would agree that there should be soloable content because, as you rightfully point out, 

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not everyone has the room, social aptitude, gameplay aptitude, or desire to play in groups.

However, I would argue that most player expectations in an MMO are the diametric opposite of yours, and that most missions should be designed with an eye towards balance in team play.  CoX does, of course, try to balance the difference and create content that is playable both solo, and in teams of characters of broadly different levels of power (via sidekicking, etc.).  In practice, this is  very hard to do.  However, if you want content to be easier, I would point out that you do have the option of setting enemy difficulty to -1.

 

In summary, I would agree with you that negative criticism is sometimes necessary to improve any game.  However, I think some of your expectations may be unrealistic, given the nature of the platform (MMO) and I certainly think that you could benefit from trying to be more diplomatic in your comments.

 

Just one fellows opinion.  Take it, or leave it, as you think best.  

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On 11/25/2020 at 11:52 AM, Gavric said:

I recognize their hard work.  I have enjoyed playing this game.  They deserve applause and adulation.

 

However, adulation leads to complacency and hubris.  They need criticism and feedback.

Kudos. You took a couple licks putting your thoughts out there while sticking to your guns. More feedback from varying points of view is better than an echo chamber.

 

A Developer and a member of the Homecoming Team replying shows folks are reading and listening to feedback. Thanks for that @Jimmy & @Piecemeal

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"Homecoming is not perfect but it is still better than the alternative.. at least so far" - Unknown  (Wise words Unknown!)

 

Sooo.. I guess I am taking a non-voluntary break until November?!

 

Si vis pacem, para bellum

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Wow. I just finished the 20-29 arc, and it was the most enjoyable mission series Ive played in a loong time! I love the effort that went into the writing - great humor, interesting new dynamic with investigating as a hero, and fun story! It was exactly what I thought new missions should be - it made me feel more like a real superhero, which we can do now with our present-day sensibility. Tweaks to ways we interacted with NPCs and how they with us which I'd love to see proliferated across the game's mission design. Feels like a real update in mission design. I expect the villain arc will make me feel more like a villain, which is an old criticism of red mission design. 

 

What is this criticism, the balance? I found it was a little more challenging than other missions, WHICH IS GOOD! New missions should be more challenging because the rest of the game is too easy. Also, love love the new, interesting -maps-. So great to play in! Btw, I did the Masquerave with a group of 6 on +2/8 (only one I grouped for), and it was essentially non-stop intensity in an extremely fun way. Felt unlike any other mission I had played, and it was so good to feel that difference. It also introduces a new informal challenge - want to try to take on a whole lot of enemies at once, many more than usual? Well we tried, and were humbled. But the challenge is out there!

 

I'm really looking forward to the 30-39 arc now. But please, devs, know so many of us appreciate the incredible work you put into making these new mission arcs - it refreshes the game in a way nothing else can. And I LOVE how you're referencing little things in the game we've become used to ignoring. Bravo! I'd be so happy with more work like this in the future. 

 

Thank you again devs! Also - my god, thanks for the slide graphic fx. That has made my current main so much more fun to play.

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So, earlier today I completed a solo run of The Graveyard Shift.  I considered making a new topic to post my review, but finally decided it might be most useful if I placed it here, referencing Gavric's original post in this topic for easy comparison.  I do agree with some of the opinions that Gavric expressed.  I disagree, on others.  Specifics are discussed below.

 

I did run the arc with a very different character than Gavric.  I chose Frank Savage, a level 20 Street Justice/Super Reflexes scrapper.  He had the following powers, slotted as shown, throughout the entire arc: 

 

 1877888333_FrankEnhancements.thumb.PNG.8901bfdfccb86d319359aab65b989826.PNG

 

I didn't use any P2W amplifiers (although I did have 2x xp boosters and finished the story arc at lvl 21) and I don't have a base yet, so I didn't craft any empowerments.  I sometimes stopped in at a nurse station to refresh my inspirations, though- and I do have Inner Inspiration which also helped refill my inspiration slots.  Notoriety was set to +0/1, choosing not to fight elite bosses or archvillains.

 

I'll begin my critique, proper, by addressing Gavric's various points, quoting for reference:  

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The missions are wildly unbalanced.  I started The Graveyard Shift with a Radiation Blast/Energy Aura Sentinel at level 23.  The character was fully enhanced with level 20, Common IO's.  She was putting out 25 points on average, against equal level mobs, without inspirations or Build Up.  The first mission was fine.  The second got a little chewy.  I got the Defense, Offense, and Survival Amplifiers from P2W and used the Tier III Empowerment Station in my base to load up on resistances and other buffs.  The overload of mobs in Crash the Unholy Masquerave is...stupid.  It lacks any sense.  I quit the mission chain at that point.  I switched to my Veteran level 80 Invulnerability/Super Strength Tanker to test it out.  This character is fully enhanced with set IO's and 90% of those are attuned.  All of his Incarnate powers are T4 and I regularly run him through high level content.  At normal difficulty, he walked through the first two missions like a stroll in the park.  Exemplared to 29, he puts out 100+ points of damage on average (without Rage) and his KO Blow does 269 while Raging.  He didn't struggle in the Masquerave, until the final boss.  I needed inspirations and had a difficult fight there.
You've combined yellow and orange Vahzilok with Freakshow in a mid-range mission, and crowded the sewers with mobs.  To state the obvious, that's too many high level targets, they use endurance drain and toxic damage (the least resisted damage type in the game), and this mission is during the stage in character development when endurance management is a problem and resistance is low.  On top of that, both of these enemy groups revive, but you've already overpopulated the map.

     I don't think I felt quite as strongly about the arc as Gavric, but he does have some valid points.  The first mission was a breeze, agreed.  The second mission wasn't much more difficult for me, possibly because of the AT I chose and the powersets that went with it.  One thing that must be kept in mind when critiquing missions that are run solo, is that the different AT's in the game perform very differently when tackling solo material, and some are just much more suited to it than others.  It would be hideously difficult (in my opinion) to construct a single mission or chain of missions that would provide relatively the same level of challenge for every AT in the game.

 

The 3rd mission, where you crash the warehouse where the rave is being held, this is where it first gets quite challenging.  Gavric is right, the difficulty ramps up dramatically here, with a great many mobs that con orange to you spaced (in many cases) alarmingly close together.  I think this was the first point in the mission where I ate the floor, albeit largely because I got a bit impatient and careless in stepping around a blind spot once, and blundered right into a group of Champion Slashers, Reapers, and Embalmed Cadavers.

 

Despite the difficulty, this mission IS soloable- and it can be soloed without dying a single time, if one approaches it with patience and careful tactics.  Here is where the new teleport abilities really shined for me.  After my initial faceplant, I got VERY cautious and worked to leverage my powers to their greatest effect.  Teleport target allowed me to snatch targets away from groups and take them down one at a time.  Where a target was too strong for me to yoink with TT, I would Combat teleport into the middle of them, maul them with spinning strike, then combat teleport away if things got dicey, to retreat and hide, pop inspirations, rest or what have you.  I also have CT slotted with a stealth enhancement, which allowed me to sneak past certain groups of mobs to attack from a better position and scout out future ambushes without being detected.

 

I hit level 21, right before tackling the boss at the end, which boosted me sufficiently that he didn't prove as much of a challenge as he might have.  If I hadn't leveled, perhaps I would have taken a dive again.  Regardless, I thought the mission was extremely challenging and fun, though not so challenging as to be frustrating.  On the other hand, if I had been playing say... a controller or defender, I might very well have torn my hair out in frustration.  Then again, I've frequently felt that way when soloing standard missions with those AT's, as they aren't the most robust choice for that, at least until you've gotten to reasonably high level and are loaded up with good enhancement sets, procs and such.

 

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The Zoombies are senseless.  They're not fast enough to be surprising.  They don't do enough damage to be scary.  They can't be avoided.  They can't be damaged down before they arrive and explode.  There's no story or tactical value to them.  They're just, "Here.  Have some damage!"  They would be an effective addition to the Vahzilok forces if they created a tactical stake for the players.  Put them on a timer: if I can kite them long enough, they explode.  Give them a damage threshold: if I can do [insert damage amount]  in a single attack, they explode.  Do both, so players have options for dealing with them.  This is a strong example of how the Homecoming team doesn't get game design.

 

Okay, so I think I actually have to pretty much agree with Gavric on this one.  I will say, that they don't ALL hit automatically.  Watching the combat window, it seems like there's a flat 50% chance to either automatically miss and do no damage or automatically hit for a minor amount of damage, with no in between.  Either way, there doesn't seem to be anyway to kill them before they explode or to jump or teleport out of range before they do so, unlike with the embalmed cadavers, for example.  The general concept of fast, exploding zombies is cool, and I approve.  The execution of how they perform mechanically is unfortunately rather unsatisfying, because they rob players of agency by by hamstringing their methods of countering them.  I am, at least, thankful that they don't do much damage but I still think they should receive some tweaking to make them actually interesting enemies to fight.  My recommendation is to provide multiple avenues to evading or killing them and avoiding the explosions,  while ramping up the damage they inflict if you fail to do so.  They should be challenging and dangerous, but capable of being dealt with by a smart player.

 

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The text is thick, invasive, and unrewarding.  When I first read Agent Watkins' description I picked up a hint of bringing the game into the next decade.  I see acknowledgment of more modern conventions in a game made before they existed.  I can appreciate that, but...I quickly tired of reading anything Watkins said.  Not only are his interactions long-winded, they're dense and inconsistent (as if they were written by more than one person).  Where most of the other NPC's have some sort of personality, Watkins is dry and unpalatable.
Within the missions, the constant pop-up of Zoombie text is annoying.  It does not set the mood.  Just play music.  Also, Agent Watkins' pop-up text happens at inopportune times.  Most of the time that there's pop-up text in the established missions, it happens between fights.  That makes it readable.  I have no room to read your pop-ups while having my face melted off (refer to point #1).  Also, the Vahzilok talk too much *seems like every corpse is whining), detracting from actually playing the mission.  Honestly, I've come to ignore the NPC text in most missions, as it is too prolific and banal (one of the problems with the original game).

I mostly disagree with Gavric on these points, albeit with the understanding that what comprises good writing may be subjective to the reader.  Maybe the dialogue could have been a little tighter and less expository but, overall, the grammar, punctuation, etc. were very on point, and the text was informative and interesting.  Watkins isn't the most memorable npc in the game, it's true, but he's not any more boring than most of them.  I suppose that I'm neutral where the subject of Watkins is concerned.

 

I didn't get much pop-up text from the zoombies.  Where I did, I didn't find it excessive, annoying, or distracting.  In some cases, it amused me.  I also never got infodumps from Watkins while I was locked in combat.  I'm wondering if my slower, more methodical approach to tackling the missions may have made a difference here.  Regardless, my experience here was quite different from Gavric's.

 

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Way too much errand running.  If you took a poll, I think you would find most players hate zone-hopping, errand missions.  That has been my experience.  It doesn't add to the story or make something interesting.  Meaningful action does.  Having played some more of this story arc, for the sake of this critique, I can now tell you there's way too much errand running.  It's frivolous and uninteresting, and made more problematic by your recent changes to fast travel.  It's pointless, mindless filler; especially since I'm still not reading the mountains of text produced at every NPC.

 Like Gavric, I will confess that I hate chase and fetch missions.  The greatest offender of these on CoH, has to be that damn Shining Stars mission arc, where you have to run all over Atlas Park chasing down and talking to the various members of your team to get to the next mission.  I actually played that story arc twice, then never touched it again.  Although it's a great arc, that one bit is so tiresome that I have no interest in ever playing it again.

 

Now, having said that, I only had two points in Graveyard Shift that I experienced this.  One was during the investigation, when I decided to check out the call boxes.  I had to run around (skyway city?) and click on four different call boxes.  While it was much quicker and less painful to complete than that Shining Stars mission, it was still a waste of 5 or 10 minutes.  I recommend simply providing the player with a text box that explains what you find when you investigate the call boxes and get them going on the next mission, rather than making them spend that extra five minutes running from here, to here, to here, to here- which provides zero payoff for the time investment.

 

Likewise, in the very last mission of the story arc, you have to run back to the CDC to talk to a guy there.  Nothing else happens.  You just run there, click on the npc, and then read the dialogue, collect your reward merits, and the story ends.  Unless you want to put some interesting last minute encounters along the way, just provide a dialogue box that says you go to the CDC, talk to the npc, and wrap up the story.  Otherwise, it's just another pointless and boring jaunt from one part of the map to another.

 

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Just nitpicking: The teleport point for Agent Watkins is on top of the generator. Fix it.  Also, his mobile headquarters is pretty lame.  Consult with some of you more revered base builders to make a better setup.  For one, make him more physically accessible.

Well, I didn't have the teleport issue.  The HQ's was nothing to crow about, but it was serviceable.  I don't really expect to be wowed by the spectacle of a lone agent operating out of a van.  If you wanted to make it prettier, you could, sure.  Personally, I don't really  care.  I got the information I needed from Watkins, then I moved on to the rest of the mission.

 

And now, for a few of my own opinions and observations:

 

1) Some of the new maps are interesting.  I like the idea of sneaking in from the roof of the building, then dropping down and exploring from above.  A minor thing, but a refreshingly new way to explore the map.  Wouldn't mind seeing more unique approaches to map exploration/design, like this.

 

2) I got 40 merits for beating the mission.  I felt this was a very nice payoff, particularly for a lvl 20 character.  Of course, I immediately went to a Merit ATM and bought enhancement converters, then sold them on the market. 😁👍

 

3) There was one part in the arc that had a timed mission.  I'll make a confession here:  I loathe, and always have loathed, timed missions.  This is not a comment on the quality of the mission or a dig at the author.  Just an admission of a personal pet-peeve I have.  I made a token attempt to complete the mission but, true to form, once it started to wind down the clock, I tired of it and just let the timer run out, deliberately failing the mission.

 

Now, I admit this was irritating.  However, on the flip side, I was pleasantly surprised that instead of failing me and ending the mission arc, it gave me an alternate avenue to complete the arc, despite my failure.  This was quite welcome and I thought it was great that the author took the time to provide an alternative to completing the story.

 

4) There's this boss at the end, Pathogen.  He has a power that I "think" is completely new/custom.  I was totally caught off guard by this, and it's another one of times (3, in total) that I died.  When he triggered the ability, I was so boggled by the sudden assault, I panicked and made several tactical blunders that caused my death.  It took me a while to figure out how to deal with the guy (I fell back on CT and Spinning strike, again- that old combo that has proven so effective- along with patience and caution), though I finally beat him.  Now, maybe I just haven't encountered a villain with this power yet but, it was a genuine surprise to me, and a welcome one at that.  When you've played this game for a while, you get pretty familiar with the tricks the bad guys have to pull out of their bags, and it was a lot of fun to have a curveball thrown at me.

 

5) With regard to the difficulty in each mission of the arc, I would consider making adjustments that cause the difficulty to increase more gradually, as you progress.  I would make the opening two missions more challenging, but less so that the 3rd mission.  I was quite alright with the difficulty of the 3rd mission, but feel it would be more appropriately placed (challenge-wise, I  mean- not story-wise) as the climactic battle of the entire arc.  As it is, the arc seems to yo-yo up and down in terms of challenge, in a way that feels a little off to me.  This, of course, is just my opinion and others may well hold a different view.  Just throwing it out there for you to think about, if you want to tweak it a bit, or for when you decide to work on a new series of missions.

 

Overall, I very much enjoyed the arc.  On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being dismal, 3 being average, and 5 being brilliant), I would rate it a 4.  I appreciate the time and work you put into it, and I'm looking forward to getting a group together and running through it again,  with some friends.  

 

 

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On 11/25/2020 at 7:50 PM, Gavric said:

My intent was a response to the devs, not the community, so I referenced my ticket.  I acknowledge that the subject line is confrontational.  It's a quote from Yoda, so I thought it would be seen with some levity.  Honestly, I think they have failed--generally--at providing new and valuable content.

Then send them an email.

 

No MMO lets you publicly discuss game moderator / customer ticket type stuff like this.  This thread should be locked.

 

Honestly, you come off as a troll. 

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I just finished graveyard shift and it's a lot of fun. I can't stand drop-offs either but I decided after Julius came up that the drop-offs in the arc were meant as a troll to all of us complaining that /ebfp was being limited, since every mission I got was leagues away from the base/lrtp dropoffs 😄 Will try out the other new arc tomorrow. 

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I wanted to address some of the travel comments in this arc and wanted to throw my justifications in the ring. (Just this one time guys... I promise!)

 

The investigation of Pierce was an exercise in letting the player feel like a detective. Content within notwithstanding, the idea was to get a player to slow down and absorb some context of the world they play in. I took the opportunity to write in several little side stories that make you think more about the world you're playing in, which, as far as I am concerned, has some of the richest lore I've ever played through.

 

I missed the mark several times in beta with the hunts, underestimating the player hatred for them, but was sure to write in plot justifications (Watkins' go-to's in the Bureau were busy or reassigned, causing him to tactically pivot to street sweeping with their mohawks.)

 

As for the travel time with Pierce's investigation, I was happy to write in some more content that was incidental but enriching - Julius was the most wrong of the four avenues, but you have tiny little conditional dialog choices if you've arrested Atta or completed the Cavern trial. I also tried to shed some light on Watkins' involvement in helping Julius get rehabilitated from Superadine, giving more dimension to both characters. The troll hunt was a natural extension of that conversation that could be taken care of on the way back, and while it yielded no results, it pointed you to Jacob Sloan, a psychological casualty of the second Rikti War when they took over his studio and he made a break for it to save his life, like George Costanza at a kid's birthday party when a fire breaks out. Suddenly the human toll on the war becomes a little more obvious.

 

I'll admit that the end-goal of the exercise was a personal pet peeve of mine - why do those worthless callboxes even *exist* in this city? Who are they calling? What good can they really do?

 

So the callboxes were given an extra layer of practical use and thus a better justification for their existence. I wanted to answer that question of "what the heck is their point?" and wrote into the story that these callboxes are also emergency radar nodes to track anonymous movement data after major crimes are reported.

 

If you read through the clues, Pierce mentions the callboxes twice and you also get repetition on going south in the dialog, so choosing the callboxes ends up being the shortest route. As far as the distance traveled patrolling, well, I do apologize if it feels kind of long - the radar data needed to be triangulated, and those first three callboxes were actually in a triangle. I added the fourth one personally to learn how to do so, and placed it mostly in the nexus of the other three.

 

In the future, this mechanic will be refined into smaller ventures. But as I've said before and will happily say again, this was a 12-month learning experience and I was enthralled by the fact that pretty much everything I ever thought about adding was doable. (It got addicting) Truly, this is the most versatile engine in terms of making things happen, sometimes. Don't ask about the arena code. JUST DON'T.

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"Science. Science, my friend, requires radical gambles and adventures in malpractice sometimes. Take solace in the fact that I tested the majority of these things on the dead, the re-dead, and the nearly departed before I went to live trials.

 

Honestly, most of my "specimens" were several iterations past being considered a human being with their original fingerprints, teeth, or IDs. So it was rather a lot like experimenting on moaning clay putty."

 


Got time to spare? Want to see Homecoming thrive? Consider volunteering as a Game Master! For science and community!

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I didn't find the callbox bit annoying, they were close by. I guess I should've been reading to avoid the Julius trip (but I never read anything in game, when I want to read an arc I do it on the wiki for the full picture) and I think the rest of my heavy travel might've been randomized locations. In any event the travel in the hero one was in line with other blueside ouros. And the villain arc was very little travel.

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5 hours ago, Piecemeal said:

The investigation of Pierce was an exercise in letting the player feel like a detective. Content within notwithstanding, the idea was to get a player to slow down and absorb some context of the world they play in. I took the opportunity to write in several little side stories that make you think more about the world you're playing in, which, as far as I am concerned, has some of the richest lore I've ever played through.

Just want to say, I really appreciate your efforts to reference the world in this way and structure an arc with such variety. It gives me the same feeling as Roy Cooling's arc in Talos and the fallout of the Mediport system. Great variety of standard style missions, conversations and novelty. I still haven't done Buzzsaw's arc, but I'm really looking forward to it!

 

I really wish the OG devs had reused the call boxes as part of the PPD Radio system, but alas.

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Check out the Unofficial Homecoming Wiki! Contributions welcome!

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On 11/25/2020 at 2:52 PM, Gavric said:

The Homecoming team is doing something amazing...  Now the game is reverse-engineered, running legally, and the millions of fans can enjoy it again.  The Homecoming team keeps it running smoothly, even though they don't have the backing of a large corporation and the resources to staff employees to do so.

That bold part is not true. While the Homecoming Team has expressed interest in acquiring the license for the IP, as others have attempted over the years, they have not secured it, so everything they do could be shut down via a legal injunction via NCSoft. Therefore, if you enjoy CoH, you should treat each day as a gift as it could come a day when Homecoming or others could be shut down. That said it's a good idea to download the source code, so if you like CoH you can always make your own server if you need or want to.

 

Homecoming, Rebirth, Sanctuary, and even Thunderspy all go out on a limb to serve the public and at least in my opinion should be commended for bringing us back this gem of a game.

On 11/25/2020 at 2:52 PM, Gavric said:

 

 

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Graveyard Shift was an interesting arc, it would be very enjoyable if they did not have the go there to just talk, and then back, the timing could have not been worst, you send us in a tour of paragon when you essentially threw a wrench at the travel system. That alone, put the arc in a negative perspective. I play a Storm/Dark Defender, my dps is a joke, I do less damage than a tank and have none of the protections they have (where is the balance here?) and you put me on kill all after kill mission, some are disguised as in escort the guy thru everybody so if you thought you were so smart by using stealth, well surprise. The mission is in fact doable, even by a defender at -1/1 difficulty, but its mega tedious for those with laughable dps and poor in protections.

 

The freakish lab... Actually very little inter zone travel, bravo! But gees the 18 hero side souvenirs to be done prior to the arc, is simply wrong for a red side arc, you are forcing folks that chose to be red to do alignment changes and a lot of content to this mission (tarnished star). I would suggest Tarnish Star should have a red side point of view, such as you are enforcing the law of Arachnos! So you get heroes defeated and put in jail instead, after all it is a red side arc. But if you leave it as an alignment mind twister... Create a new hero arc in Oro, where anyalignment could get to it, and the arc allows the player to defeat the 18 targets needed.

 

Sue

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On 11/25/2020 at 7:52 PM, Gavric said:

Had I experienced the game while it was retail, I would have quit playing.  It's not worth a premium subscription rate.

I like to start my posts here by questioning the judgement of half the readers, too.

On 11/25/2020 at 7:52 PM, Gavric said:

They built Fort Trident; a collection of all the TF contacts in one convenient location, inaccessible by base teleporter, tucked away in the side of a lake, and likely completely unused by the player base (then or now).  There's a teleport to contact option in the LFG queue screen, so why bother going to Fort Trident?  It's a useless chunk of programming.

Fort Trident was added in issue 18; the LFG teleporter in issue 20. Hence, I suspect the "why" may be connected to the developers not being precognitive.

On 11/25/2020 at 7:52 PM, Gavric said:

Or, just remove the inefficient crap you added and let us use the enterbasefrompasscode command again.  It wasn't broken.  Why'd you try to fix it?

 

I am the only living person in my Supergroup on two servers.  I have benefit greatly from SG bases being a fully customizable free-for-all.  I don't have enough activity to afford my bases.  I say this, anyway: turn on base costs.  Make SG affiliation mean something again.  Make Supergroups pay for the privilege of fast travel.  Make SG bases the best method of fast travel.

Let me see if I've got this straight. Turn on the slash command again and make SG bases the best method of fast travel, so everyone can use it; make SG affiliation mean something again and make SGs pay for the privilege of fast travel, so members get something non-members do not, so... everyone can't use it?

On 11/25/2020 at 7:52 PM, Gavric said:

Your homebrew power sets are bad. (...) Experimentation

https://archive.paragonwiki.com/wiki/Experimentation I guess the original developers were precognitive, then, since they were looking at implementing a Homecoming homebrew power set in 2012!

On 11/25/2020 at 7:52 PM, Gavric said:

Make the Defender manage their "Electrical Affinity" bonuses, rather than just making them more powerful than Empathy and Force Field combined.

Empathy and FF, of course, being well-known overperforming powersets right now.

 

Why am I nitpicking? Because when you turn up thinking you're God's gift to game design, confident  that the mere mortals who worked on the game for actual money are idiots, and that the people who work on it now because they remember a decade of it live are equally ham-handed... you look a bit silly if it turns out you're talking through your hat. (Also, there's a certain delightful irony in complaining about too many words to read when it takes you half a screenful to say "there seem to be too many enemies in mission 3 of this arc"...)

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On 11/25/2020 at 8:43 PM, Pizzamurai said:

I feel like I've just watched someone throw a tantrum, deny they threw a tantrum, and then get mad when someone calls them out for obviously throwing a tantrum.

 

There's a fine line between ranting and constructive criticism (of which this thread has a healthy amount of both). I'd now like to share a graph of how this thread has walked that line. 

 

apecon_review.jpg

After reading through the thread, this was pretty much my thoughts as well.

 

The OP's post of the GM's response to their ticket had me thinking about a story I got from one of the Legacy devs regarding a player's in-game "bug" report. Some of you may recall the in-game bug report popup. This would create a ticket in their tracking systems and when they had migrated over to Jira the very first ticket generated by a player contained the player's verbose description of the issue as "Shit's broke. Fix it."

 

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Dislike certain sounds? Check out PK's Rosetta Stone or my Silence/Modify specific sounds. Looking for modified sounds? Check out Solerverse's thread.

"You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means."

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On 11/25/2020 at 1:52 PM, Gavric said:

They built Fort Trident; a collection of all the TF contacts in one convenient location, inaccessible by base teleporter, tucked away in the side of a lake, and likely completely unused by the player base (then or now).  There's a teleport to contact option in the LFG queue screen, so why bother going to Fort Trident?  It's a useless chunk of programming.

Originally, Hero Merits were the reward for completing Hero Morality Missions as a Hero. Fort Trident, which was only accessible by Heroes (not Vigilantes or Rogues), was the place to redeem them – this was the incentive for staying a Hero, instead of going Vigilante and being able to play redside. The Task Force contacts were an extra bonus.

 

Homecoming has changed a lot about how merits work, and that's left Fort Trident without much purpose. But it had one when it was created.

 

(Also, Task Forces weren't in the LFG queue when it was introduced. Also, back in the before times I don't think you could queue solo and teleport to the contact; there were minimum team sizes for TFs that had to be met.)

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Playing on Excelsior. Champion forever.

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7 hours ago, Placta said:

Originally, Hero Merits were the reward for completing Hero Morality Missions as a Hero. Fort Trident, which was only accessible by Heroes (not Vigilantes or Rogues), was the place to redeem them – this was the incentive for staying a Hero, instead of going Vigilante and being able to play redside. The Task Force contacts were an extra bonus.

 

Homecoming has changed a lot about how merits work, and that's left Fort Trident without much purpose. But it had one when it was created.

 

(Also, Task Forces weren't in the LFG queue when it was introduced. Also, back in the before times I don't think you could queue solo and teleport to the contact; there were minimum team sizes for TFs that had to be met.)

And that there is a hook.  There are a few places are around that can be releveraged into doing extra work, since getting more mileage out of what we already have is, I think, vital.  Either that or @Piecemeal will never sleep again.  A topic for another thread though.

Edited by Darmian

AE SFMA Arcs: Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) 

Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | Darker Deeds: Part Two. (Arc id 28536) Darker Deeds: Part Three. (Arc id 29252) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part One (Arc id 29891) |

Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210) Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) | Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)*The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)*The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*|

The Spark of the Blind (Arc id 40403)*

*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist. * Pre War Praetorian Resistance.

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On 11/25/2020 at 7:52 PM, Gavric said:

As of this writing, I have not finished it, and I won't play The Freakish Lab of Dr. Vahzilok, because it's not enjoyable.

You aren't missing anything. 

 

In the immortal words of Roger Ebert: I hated, hated, hated, hated, hated that arc.  Hated the stupid escort mission that only told you it was an escort mission when you got halfway through.  Hated the endless waves of minions that kept spawning over and over.  Hated the "Map not available" maps that had no reason to be mapless.  Hated the way all the clever dialog would hit the screen at once—usually while you were trying to fight the aforementioned hordes of minions and didn't exactly have a leisurely moment for reading.  Hated the massive walls of text.  Hated the mission where you had to keep several trigger-happy NPCs alive through a long sewer map.  But most of all, I hated how completely unbalanced it is compared to every other redside arc. 

 

Some of the writing is funny.  But it's not worth it for how painful the story arc is to play.  There's at least one mission that was completely impossible with my L30 DP/MC IO'd blaster (even at -1/x0).  Not challenging, not incredibly difficult, but "there's no fscking way I can beat this guy solo, let alone with hordes of other mobs spawning during the battle."  First time I had to autocomplete because of mission difficulty in a long, long time.   And the arc is so. damn.  long.

 

The Graveyard Shift is a frickin' masterpiece compared to The Freakish Lab of Dr. Vahzilok.

 

(Apologies to the author: I know a lot of work went into it.  But it's just not fun to play.)

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The new content is extremely challenging.  I greatly enjoyed both arcs, as I feel more challenging content is something this game badly needs.  YMMV, depending on how hard you like to push yourself in play, of course.  Surely, it's not for everyone.

 

Expectations may be the primary problem.  As the difficulty for the level departs considerably from the usual standard, it might be helpful to place a warning that the content is much more difficult than the average content in the game.  New players, particularly, will probably feel frustrated the first time they attempt these missions.

 

To those who haven't tried the missions yet, understand:  Unless you are among the truly elite players of this game, you WILL die at least once (I died between 3 and 5 times during each arc) when playing these solo, even with difficulty set at normal +0/0.

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11 hours ago, aethereal said:

Not to invalidate the other person's opinion, but I found the Freakish Lab both fun and considerably less swingy in difficulty than the Graveyard Shift.

I'm glad you enjoyed it!  Obviously, I can only speak for myself, running the arc with a particular toon. 

 

4 hours ago, Grindingsucks said:

Expectations may be the primary problem.  As the difficulty for the level departs considerably from the usual standard, it might be helpful to place a warning that the content is much more difficult than the average content in the game.  New players, particularly, will probably feel frustrated the first time they attempt these missions.

That's not a bad idea, but IMO it needs more than the usual warning.  IO sets have upped the power level so much that "<Arch-villain Name> is really tough, so you might want to bring some friends" translates to me as, "So you might want to turn the mission difficulty down from +4 on this one."  This one needs a warning like, "No, really, I mean it—if you are trying to run this solo and you're not a fully-IO'd incarnate exemping down, just give up now."  

 

Obviously, it depends on the AT and powersets.  I tried to run this with a toon (as I mentioned above, a level 30 Dual Pistol/Martial Combat blaster) who is taking the "slow path" through content.  He has IOs, but not the most expensive ones.  He's not min/maxed out, but I managed to get him to about 16% ranged defense, at least.  His key to survival is damage and keeping everyone at ranged distance (or on their asses, or flying helplessly backwards through the air) through Ki Push, Dragon's Tail, and knockback effects.  He dies quickly when overwhelmed with numbers in melee.  I also have him doing the full-circle alignment path (through morality missions!) from hero to villain and back again; currently, he's a rogue in the process of redemption to a hero.  He did The Graveyard Shift as a vigilante, and while it was challenging, none of the missions slammed him into a brick wall the way The Freakish Lab did. 

 

I'll put more specific notes about the arc in spoilers:

Spoiler

The mission that did him in was the one where you have to kill Hopkins.  I ran this at -1/x1, with AVs weakened to EBs.  As mentioned above, my DP/MC blaster lives or dies on being able to maintain range and control numbers.  I was surprised that Hopkins still conned purple even at -1 and nerfed down to EB.  The first time I tried attacking him, he rooted me with a Cryo Rifle blast, ran up into melee, and killed me with a single Foot Stomp.  I think I might have hit him for 10% of his max HP.  Maybe. The next try went about the same.  Then I tried loading up all the firepower I had: toggled the Wedding Ring, called in a Boon of the Ancient Spirits, used a Warwolf Whistle and Clockwork Connection to get some pets to distract him, swapped ammo to incendiary, chewed purples and oranges like they were purple and orange-colored popcorn, and ran all over the place trying to keep him out of melee range.  That time, I managed to get him down to about 50% before dying.  That's when I said screw it and autocompleted.

 

This toon would have trouble with Hopkins one-on-one: the immobilize power, heavy-damage melee attack, and resistance to smashing damage are a tough combination for my toon.  But I think I could have won that battle.  Bringing in waves of lieutenants to help him out, though, was too much: I couldn't fight Hopkins and control the adds, and I realized that there was no way I was ever going to be able to (short of leveling to 50 and coming back with many more IO'd slots to kick his butt through the Flashback system).

Maybe it's just that I had the absolute wrong AT and build to try to solo this arc.  But I also think that this is "Homecoming Hard," which means it was tuned to be challenging for people who powerleveled to 50, have fully-slotted powers full of IO sets, and are running the arc exemped down.  Those toons will have a much easier time of the arc than mine did—and, needless to say, a toon from pre-IO-set Live, who would have just gotten access to SOs at level 30, would be paste on the floor of these missions. 

 

That brings up a larger question, I think, of what the target of a challenge should be.  Is it the character who would have been expected in Live?  Someone more current, who has access to IOs, but maybe not the most expensive of them yet, and is still leveling?  Or is it a fully-IO'd incarnate exemped down?  It seems to me like this mission was meant to be challenging to the latter, which makes it frustratingly impossible for my squishy blaster who is still in the process of leveling up.

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Yeah, that Hopkins is one nasty hombre.  I don't recall how many times it took me to defeat him, but I had to try different strategies and also dial the difficulty level down.  Countess Crey clearly employs only the finest bodyguards!  😁

 

You would have to ask the author, but yes- I feel like the missions were both geared toward powerfully built, exemped down toons, as you theorize.  I think this is reasonable, given that the rest of the content in the game Is largely soloable by all archetypes.  Those of us interested in more challenging content deserve to be thrown a bone, now and then, do we not?

 

But again, I do think those two arcs ought to have a difficulty warning on them so players understand what they're getting into.  In that way, an unnecessary frustration may be avoided.

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31 minutes ago, Grindingsucks said:

You would have to ask the author, but yes- I feel like the missions were both geared toward powerfully built, exemped down toons, as you theorize.  I think this is reasonable, given that the rest of the content in the game Is largely soloable by all archetypes.  Those of us interested in more challenging content deserve to be thrown a bone, now and then, do we not?

Sure!  But ideally, the difficulty slider would accommodate both billion-inf IO'd exemping incarnates looking for a challenge and less powerfully built leveling toons who want to be able to complete the mission.  If +4/x8 and solo AVs aren't enough to do it at the high end, then that's something that could use some work.  But at the same time, a mission should at least be possible to complete at the "easy" end of the slider.  This one, for my particular build, isn't.  

Edited by Zhym
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