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What would be the best way to keep players retention?


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Player retention is /harder/ when the player has seen it all, done it all.

 

Seen it all:

 

-- More map types.

-- More textured variants (bring the Winter Ice caves into main game for example).

-- Custom maps for custom villain groups.

 

Done it all:

 

-- Influence events.  Make certain mobs worth more Influence on a regular basis.

-- IO events.  Create new IO sets which are specific to drop from specific villains or AV's.

-- Origin events.  Create events tailored to test and reward specific origins.

 

Creating a busy calendar for players to enjoy that leap away from the generic nature of the game systems (and showcase creativity) would go a long way to keeping players involved.

 

 

Edited by Tath99
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24 minutes ago, golstat2003 said:

DA content is meant to be incarnate content. It would make no sense limiting them there. You should just build higher level content with Incarnate shifts in mind.

It would; it would eliminate the way the notoriety slider effectively goes from -4 to +1 difficulty in DA, just at the point where characters are strongest and players are crying out for more challenge.

 

But hang on, you say, that just leaves iTrials. They don't really do much there - fighting 53s at 53 is much the same as fighting 50s at 50 - except stuff the occasional player who's not got the full +3 yet. So yeah, remove them altogether, adjusting enemy levels down if need be in content where they were raised above 50 because everyone was expected to have a level shift. They're bad. They're _worse_ in non-incarnate content, but there's literally nowhere they do anything but make the numbers slightly bigger.

 

(ETA: let's assume I have already read the "well, just don't slot..." reply?)

Edited by thunderforce
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A Dark Astoria-themed short TF like Apex and Tin Mage that has the same reward table would be nice. Two or three missions that an incarnate team could do in 12-25 minutes.

 

We need another one of these to add to level 50 rotations.

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6 minutes ago, thunderforce said:

It would; it would eliminate the way the notoriety slider effectively goes from -4 to +1 difficulty in DA, just at the point where characters are strongest and players are crying out for more challenge.

 

But hang on, you say, that just leaves iTrials. They don't really do much there - fighting 53s at 53 is much the same as fighting 50s at 50 - except stuff the occasional player who's not got the full +3 yet. So yeah, remove them altogether, adjusting enemy levels down if need be in content where they were raised above 50 because everyone was expected to have a level shift. They're bad. They're _worse_ in non-incarnate content, but there's literally nowhere they do anything but make the numbers slightly bigger.

 

(ETA: let's assume I have already read the "well, just don't slot..." reply?)

That's seems overly complicated. I would just leave them as is and build higher level incarnate content. /shrug

 

And yes you can unslot them. Better than kludgy changes.

 

If the idea is on retention then new content areas would be better than taking things away. DA is meant to be incarnate content. As folks level up they need new content for that new level of power. That's just the way games with progression work.

Edited by golstat2003
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Just now, golstat2003 said:

That's seems overly complicated.

It seems extremely simple. Turn off level shifts; adjust enemy levels on some TFs and iTrials. Far simpler than "build higher level incarnate content".

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4 minutes ago, thunderforce said:

It seems extremely simple. Turn off level shifts; adjust enemy levels on some TFs and iTrials. Far simpler than "build higher level incarnate content".

DA is mean to be incarnate content. Level shifts should work in all places that have incarnate content.

 

New content is the way you increase retention, not simply doing window dressing on things folks have done thousands of times.

 

We'll have to agree to disagree.

Edited by golstat2003
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16 minutes ago, golstat2003 said:

DA is mean to be incarnate content. Level shifts should work in all places that have incarnate content.

Not if they don't exist, which they shouldn't, and while the short-term upset would be considerable, would improve the game and hence retention in the long run.

 

There's a false dichotomy here. The miniscule amount of work to implement the change I propose would not be _instead of_ new content.

 

ETA: rather than spin out this discussion, which isn't really germane to the topic - most people instinctively hate this idea, but, what's a +3 level shift in DA get you?

  1. The difficulty slider caps out at +1, not +4.
  2. The numbers are slightly bigger.
  3. Er
  4. That's it?
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2 minutes ago, thunderforce said:

Not if they don't exist, which they shouldn't, and while the short-term upset would be considerable, would improve the game and hence retention in the long run.

 

There's a false dichotomy here. The miniscule amount of work to implement the change I propose would not be _instead of_ new content.

I think that's a terrible way of looking at it. But again we can agree to disagree.

 

I disagree it would improve the game.

 

The level shifts exist and I think it was a great way to increase the level power players had who invested in the system. We can't pretend they don't. Folks know about them, have seen them in action, etc. And were a key point of the incarnate system at launch years back till now.

 

I would prefer if the devs spend the time on more incarnate content.

Edited by golstat2003
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So, how about rather than removing level shifts, every +1 shift you unlock also allows you to set your difficulty +1 higher? That way you have bigger numbers and the level spread dozens crave. Can even be extended so when you exemp down in ouro you can fight 37s at level 30 to prove your power.

 

1 hour ago, Tath99 said:

Player retention is /harder/ when the player has seen it all, done it all.

 

Seen it all:

 

-- More map types.

-- More textured variants (bring the Winter Ice caves into main game for example).

-- Custom maps for custom villain groups.

 

Done it all:

 

-- Influence events.  Make certain mobs worth more Influence on a regular basis.

-- IO events.  Create new IO sets which are specific to drop from specific villains or AV's.

-- Origin events.  Create events tailored to test and reward specific origins.

 

Creating a busy calendar for players to enjoy that leap away from the generic nature of the game systems (and showcase creativity) would go a long way to keeping players involved.

 

 

 

Those sound like some cool ideas, though not sure how many times could roll out new IO sets for faction specific groups before start copy/pasting everything but name, and having a set drop for a short time never to be seen again would be rather annoying.

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13 hours ago, thunderforce said:

I agree; but I think this is another case where doing something for the long-term good of the game might have such drastic short-term consequences as to be a Pyrrhic victory. (That said, I think level shifts are _so bad_ (in DA content, too) it would be worth trying it.)

 

 

I don't think so. I'd attack this in two steps:

  • Flag the Alpha level shift as incarnate-only and shift level 53 rewards slightly upward.  This is so you fix difficulty scaling but retain similar earning potential, with even more earning potential for pushing to +4. 

 

  • Outside of iTrials, make Destiny affect caster and his/her pets only. I buy that many players have made their Destiny choice a core aspect of their build and changing it would force a recalibration. What I do not buy is there are players whose build would be ruined by losing the ability buff other players with Destiny. Destiny actually does play an important role in iTrials and the AoE buff capability is balanced there by patches of death to force moveent. There is no similar balancing mechanic in the main game. 
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7 hours ago, oedipus_tex said:

Outside of iTrials, make Destiny affect caster and his/her pets only.

Absolutely not.  Might as well delete incan.  I was with you on the level shift changes but there shouldn't be any direct nerfs to incarnate powers to suit your personal preferences.  You already have the option to NOT use them.  If you nerf them then people will no longer have the option to use them as they are.

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14 minutes ago, josh1622 said:

Absolutely not.  Might as well delete incan.  I was with you on the level shift changes but there shouldn't be any direct nerfs to incarnate powers to suit your personal preferences.  You already have the option to NOT use them.  If you nerf them then people will no longer have the option to use them as they are.

 

 

Well then my next option is give us enemies with stats that can punch through Destiny and obviate the older content so that it is no longer ideal to run. I'd rather just fix what is broken though.

Edited by oedipus_tex
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7 hours ago, oedipus_tex said:

Flag the Alpha level shift as incarnate-only and shift level 53 rewards slightly upward.  This is so you fix difficulty scaling but retain similar earning potential, with even more earning potential for pushing to +4.

That would improve matters in non-incarnate content, at least (better yet, remove the -1 level penalty while sidekicking. Right now a non-50 on any late-game TF faces the triple whammy where they're level 49, other people are level 51, _and_ those other people have ludicrously overpowered incarnate powers. Returning briefly to the topic of player retention, well, not reducing people who haven't hit 50 yet to spear-carriers would be a good start.)

 

It still leaves the notoriety settings broken in DA, but that doesn't have much to do with player retention, I guess.

56 minutes ago, josh1622 said:

Absolutely not.  Might as well delete incan.  I was with you on the level shift changes but there shouldn't be any direct nerfs to incarnate powers to suit your personal preferences.  You already have the option to NOT use them.  If you nerf them then people will no longer have the option to use them as they are.

That's true whenever an excessively effective power is nerfed, but that doesn't mean it isn't desirable. Sometimes mistakes are made in development and something's added to the game which is excessively strong. Such mistakes should be rectified. You also don't have the option to pack an entire outdoor map of enemies into a dumpster at once and Burn them to death, and this is a good thing.

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1 hour ago, oedipus_tex said:

 

 

Well then my next option is give us enemies with stats that can punch through Destiny and obviate the older content so that it is no longer ideal to run. I'd rather just fix what is broken though.

It's not broken.  The game works fine.  It's up to you whether you want to use incarnates.  It's like getting mad that you are using the best gear in another MMO and are too powerful as a result.  Limit yourself instead of imposing constraints on other players to suit your preferences.

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On 12/5/2020 at 4:00 PM, Grouchybeast said:

Support classes in CoX are godly.  Control is powerful.  Buff and debuff are ludicrously powerful,  How much of that are you willing to give up for a few measly points of status protection?  Personally, the very last thing I want is buffs to support class DPS and protection, because that would be crazy without drastically neutering their actual support powers, which are the best reason to play them in the first place,

 

If I want to solo, then I'll play a solo-focused AT.  (Or a support toon, because they can solo perfectly well, as long as you don't require that a support character solos just as well as a non-support AT.)

This is the frame of mind, I been talking about, a frame where solo is essentially for melee while support is the whatever, look how easily is to over state the effectiveness of a controller and justify the denial of protection in any way form or manner. If the game is going to evolve, the frame of mind that only some classes can have it all, is simply wrong. The challenge is that all classes should be able to both solo and group effectively.

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On 12/5/2020 at 5:20 PM, Doomguide2005 said:

This a thousand times.

 

I've zero interest in gaining buffs to my solo protection and dps in exchange for weaker buffs and debuffs.  And not weakening support sets in the exchange is a dangerous path to follow.  Support sets are just that ATs designed to support other characters in their efforts and who also happen in many cases to be very capable solo.

 

But this is tangential to the subject of the thread so enough said.

I don't recall saying weaker buffs, but good way to deflect leveling the playing field... And back to the selfish way of thinking...

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On 12/6/2020 at 11:16 AM, CrudeVileTerror said:

We kind of touched on this in a recent massively-huge thread, but retention is kind of a dirty word.

Players are people.  People are allowed to come and go with their leisure-time activities.

While this MMO is a social game, and you require other players to engage in several social activities within the game, "retention" isn't really the crux of the issue as far as I'm concerned.

Bringing in fresh faces is.

People who -haven't- done it all a million times, and are endlessly grinding in circles as a holding pattern while they hope that something new emerges to capture their attention for a weekend.

 

But if you really want to maintain a grip on existing players, then I hold the firm stance that it's time to think outside the box.  Continually attempting to pursue the methods of a for-profit development studio with paid employees is NOT conducive to maintaining this game in the long term with a volunteer development team and a -heavily- aged playerbase. 

It's time for new innovations and radical departures from assumed norms.

Of course, I'm not advocating for getting -rid- of anything.  I'm saying we need to offer NEW options.

 

And it's okay to make mistakes and fail while exploring new developments, even if some players give "constructive criticism" a bad name.

You got it! People fall in love with a character concept, they enjoy playing, why limit the class to an either or? Level the playing across all arch types, let them all solo and group effectively.

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1 hour ago, MsSmart said:

I don't recall saying weaker buffs, but good way to deflect leveling the playing field... And back to the selfish way of thinking...

No you didn't say weaker, quite true.  But if you introduce buffs such as mez protection and don't give up something I think that's some fairly potent power creep.  Unless you intend said buffs only work when solo.  My scrappers need to move up close to a spawn, some into it to engage/defeat them.  My support can much more readily engage from a distance, pulling when needing.  Some like my Earth controllers don't even need to move out from behind cover.  I can incapacitate an entire mob from beyond their perception range.  The melee folks by and large are much more exposed and can't incapacitate an entire mob.

 

And I've no clue how not wishing to be undeniably more powerful translates into 'selfish' thinking.

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1 hour ago, MsSmart said:

This is the frame of mind, I been talking about, a frame where solo is essentially for melee while support is the whatever, look how easily is to over state the effectiveness of a controller and justify the denial of protection in any way form or manner. If the game is going to evolve, the frame of mind that only some classes can have it all, is simply wrong. The challenge is that all classes should be able to both solo and group effectively.

All characters in CoX can solo.  They just can't all do it at the same difficulty.

 

If you want to solo, choose a solo-capable AT.  There are plenty of them.

 

If you want to provide support, choose a support character.  The clue is right there in the name.  If you want to solo your support character, then you have to accept that you're playing against your character's strengths, so things will be a little more challenging.

 

The fact that different classes have different strengths and weaknesses is a good thing, not a flaw.  And I say again, support characters in CoX are very, VERY powerful in groups.  I can't see the devs buffing their survival without compensating by reducing their buff, debuff and control.  Look at Sentinels v, Blasters for an example of survival tradeoffs.

Reunion player, ex-Defiant.

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Honestly, while I like being able to solo and wouldn't complain much about my squishies just being handed mez protection it would be power creep, and I disagree that everything should be able to solo as effectively. I mean, anything can solo -1/1 at a slow pace unless you go out of your way to make the build as bad as possible, but trying to make it so anything can do +2/5 or better seems too far and too likely to remove uniqueness between ATs and powersets.

And to add to that, making scrappers/tanks/brutes/stalkers/blasters as useful to a team as another support class would take an overhaul as well. Currently since they act as for multipliers the more supports the stronger they get, a team of 4 support classes will almost always be stronger than a team of 5 with no support.

 

 

To get back on topic, maybe in addition to task force targets, can have rotating enemy groups that provide an extra 10-15% chance of uncommon and rare recipies that get changed around monthly as well as a few more events through the year. I understand dev time is limited so it'd take a while to come up with them, but I think ideally down the road there would always be at least 2 limited time events going on at once.

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I feel that would be easier to appreciate the differences between powersets and archetypes if the incarnate powers didn't dominate so much of the space. The old end game felt good. The powers you'd picked for your character were coming into focus at top levels and battles were fought differently depending on the show of powersets. It mattered quite a bit what support character ended up on your team. The game was never hard, but it was driven by your actual powers.

 

Then comes Destiny, Judgment etc which to me feel as connected to my character as a temp power from the P2W vendor. These days many of my characters are outdamaged by someone's Lore pet and quite frankly in many Task Forces I wonder if I even need to be there.

 

Invasions like the Rikti ship were never thrilling to me and were pretty easy but now I won't even bother to show up for the free XP. It wasn't like these were ever hard, but Destiny is turned them into such a dull, same-y affair I want to stay away.

 

I really love what the Homecoming folks have done with CoX. I feel like they've made a lot of wise decisions. I really hope they can diversify the end game.  

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On 12/7/2020 at 11:36 AM, Tath99 said:

Player retention is /harder/ when the player has seen it all, done it all.

 

Seen it all:

 

-- More map types.

-- More textured variants (bring the Winter Ice caves into main game for example).

-- Custom maps for custom villain groups.

 

Done it all:

 

-- Influence events.  Make certain mobs worth more Influence on a regular basis.

-- IO events.  Create new IO sets which are specific to drop from specific villains or AV's.

-- Origin events.  Create events tailored to test and reward specific origins.

 

Creating a busy calendar for players to enjoy that leap away from the generic nature of the game systems (and showcase creativity) would go a long way to keeping players involved.

 

 

 

Some great ideas here. With the Winter Forest and changes to Atlas for seasonal stuff, the devs have shown that they can build custom maps and implement them. I'd love to see some new mission maps (perhaps with unique textures/models if they are able to be added?) to jazz up the experience of running missions. Just imagine a cyber-space type map that could be used on a mission arc to dive into the AE server system on a search and rescue for a few heroes who somehow didn't come out of it after completing an arc and are trapped in the network, possibly under attack by sentient computer viruses that were implanted by a nefarious villain (or perhaps intentionally by Doc Aeon to see what would happen?), and even toss in a few meta jokes like finding a team of fire farmers who got wiped out when something with psi damage popped up, or a lvl 50 Peacebringer who asks you how to get back to Steel Canyon. Just the first thought off the top of my head. There are infinite ideas for new mission maps that could feasibly be built and implemented to make new missions to go in radio/paper rotation, new mission arcs/TFs or otherwise.

 

Likewise, while I know Kallisti Wharf would need to be the next project on this particular table, I'd like to see new zones added. First they'd have to flesh out Kallisti with more contacts, enemy spawns, perhaps the continuing story as originally intended, and that's going to be a LOT of work for them, but once that's done (or perhaps before as a side project and maybe some practice?) I'd like to see a new zone or two added to the game with new areas to explore, more explore badges, maybe a new enemy group or two unique to the area and it's stories, etc. A new red-side zone would be a very welcome thing, and open up the options for storytelling and enemy groups quite a bit. Beyond that, I think a new Incarnate zone would be a great addition to give the game some more playability, especially to endgame players who are tiring of the same things over and over. A whole big zone with newly amped up enemy groups and story arcs telling an incarnate-level story on par with DA and it's huge implications. Hell, I can't remember if it was on live or after HC popped up but I remember detailing the potential for a sort of "plague zone" ruled by Dr. Vahzilok where he managed to tap into some incarnate power and turned himself in a giant, fleshy monstrosity that spews plague and has started assimilating a city zone as a humongous, pulsating symbiont of sorts. You could have gross-nasty interior missions with slimy, pulsating walls that are stitched together, Vahzilok monstrosities roaming the zone, and a story involving you and/or several big-name heroes being infected and racing against the clock to find a cure for the incarnate plague, possibly involving a few fights against signature characters that have been infected and devolved a bit too far. Monstrous versions of Positron and perhaps Black Scorpion would be really cool. It would be a great way to bring in Ghost Widow as part of the story too since she's dead and Wretch is already mutated such that he might be immune to the plauge, meaning the world might end up owing their safety to Ghost Widow of all people.

 

There are plenty of options available to the devs, but it's definitely a matter of "not a professional studio team" so they can't just crank this stuff out as frequently or as quickly as Paragon used to. We've had a honeymoon period where we were just happy to have the game back, they were doing small patches/adjustments here and there and slowly learning how the coding works, and the results are the latest page with power rebalancing, a new power set and two brand new story arcs with new enemy groups and unique badges. That's a lot of big stuff, and now they can apply that to other things to deliver new content. Honestly that's going to be the crux of it in the end. We can play the same game over and over and enjoy it, but eventually you're going to run out of things to do, and in ways that you enjoy doing them. I've currently got my main completely kitted out with all his expensive IO sets, ATOs, etc. and I'm working on badging with him. Defeat badges are already starting to wear thin, before I move on to other things, but there's only so much one can do in pursuit of badges as well, and once I have all the badges... well what then? I can't possibly make my character anymore powerful, and I've run out of awards to earn for him, and there's no new content. New Content is the answer in any estimation. It's what kept us excited to play on live, to see where the story was going and play the new missions and see what happened, all while enjoying new power sets and new areas. Even if it's not top-level content, it can still be fantastic, as evidenced by the new missions. They just need to be something that's different, that we haven't seen or experienced before.

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On 12/2/2020 at 2:30 PM, Haijinx said:

Yeah.  But I'd say the majority of players do not even see the problem. 

 

Bet the Dodos never saw it coming either.  

 

  

 

I totally disagree.

 

 

I've been playing on the cake server lately, and it has  what I think is the opposite approach we see here:  They have embraced letting people become overpowered.  And Im finding Im having an absolute blast and feeling excited to play in a way I haven't in a while here.  Things like new archetype, powersets, sidekick pets, customizable mastermind pets, and even free form power choices all make things feel fresh.  It's fun and fresh and exciting, but yes, it can be very overpowered. The truth is, while I'll never leave this server overall, I REALLY wish what we'd see is a meeting in the middle between the two mindsets. 

 

 In my opinion, the idea that this game needs to be "balanced" to still provide a challenge still is absurd.  We've all done the content a million ways. And honestly, balancing things to make them more of a challenge in this game DOES. NOT. WORK. for very long.  See: new Hamidon raid.  And honestly, on Cake, with as ridiculously overpowered as you can become, some content STILL ends up with you dying once or twice on a mission, or requires a team to really do.  That will always be the case.  
 
This game has always had, as its greatest strength, a massively diverse amount of powersets and archetypes and costume pieces players can use to create massive amounts of alts.  Most other MMOs I've played, you make one or two alts and that's it.  This game, the content (of which there's a lot) doesn't keep people around so much as the experience of playing through that content with new powers and combos.  

 

Other servers are introducing those in spades, including entirely new archetypes, which make the same old content feel fresh, and that keeps you logging in.  They are prioritizing that over trying to make sure each new power introduced is balanced in exactly the way it would have been at the peak of the game in 2010.  They have, in my opinion, gone too far in that direction, but they're right that it's NOT 2010, and this game will NEVER be a game modern players log in to for difficult challenges and cut throat PVP or mind blowing campaign modes.  Those exist elsewhere.  

 

This server is focusing on keeping balance and putting out new story content, both of which I understand, but I feel they offer diminishing returns.  Like it or not, finding out my dark melee toons, which I've run to 50 many times, now are a little more AoE friendly won't really get me as excited to log in as an entirely new powerset to try.  And adding new story content, which I'm very grateful for, is a long and difficult and slow process which we just can't rely on to be what keeps things "fresh".  The Devs spent MANY MANY weeks and hours giving us those new arcs, and as someone who helped test them, I can tell you, they did an awesome job.  But those arcs will only need to be run about 3-4 times before each player sort of feels like "Ok...now what?"  

 

You really need, in this game at this point in its life cycle, to embrace what it is and why most of us are back: We want to be heroes and make our own toons and be together.  That isn't so much about meticulously worrying about balancing and nerfing over performing sets or archetypes. If anything, loosen the reigns a little bit and let us be MORE creative, even if it means we're a little over powered.  I think you'll find that suddenly a lot of that content  that people dont do because it's too slow or hard solo will suddenly get done more, so you're actually killing two birds with one stone. 

I love our devs, and I understand where they are coming from, but I think it's a mistake in philosophy and understanding of the game as it is and how times and players have changed, perhaps precisely because they've worked so hard and been so committed to keeping it alive and around during the dark days.  

 

Just my opinion.  

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On 12/7/2020 at 11:53 AM, thunderforce said:

It seems extremely simple. Turn off level shifts; adjust enemy levels on some TFs and iTrials. Far simpler than "build higher level incarnate content".

And it's, in my opinion, and absolutely stupid response.   You will NOT increase retention by suddenly taking away power and reward that players have worked for in the past just so things are harder.

 

That will literally just drive people away.  

 

I worked hard for my incarnate shifts.  Taking them away is not going to make the game more enjoyable for me. It will make it far less...suddenly making it harder and taking more time to do the same old boring content I've done a million times before.  

 

 

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7 hours ago, Grouchybeast said:

All characters in CoX can solo.  They just can't all do it at the same difficulty.

 

If you want to solo, choose a solo-capable AT.  There are plenty of them.

 

If you want to provide support, choose a support character.  The clue is right there in the name.  If you want to solo your support character, then you have to accept that you're playing against your character's strengths, so things will be a little more challenging.

 

The fact that different classes have different strengths and weaknesses is a good thing, not a flaw.  And I say again, support characters in CoX are very, VERY powerful in groups.  I can't see the devs buffing their survival without compensating by reducing their buff, debuff and control.  Look at Sentinels v, Blasters for an example of survival tradeoffs.

Disagree. There is literally no reason to expect that a brute should be able to solo at +4x8 and a defender shouldn't be able to handle +2x5, except that that's because YOU think they should. 

 

Superman doesn't need the Justice League to have his own solo stories, but neither does Green Lantern or Zatanna or Plastic Man.

 

Either the game should require teaming for all archetypes to really do anything, or they all should be able to solo.  It's stupid that if I want to play a fire blasting kinetic amplifying hero I have to be bound to always team, but if I want to play an electric fisted dude who surrounds himself in energy for protection I can go solo against the hardest stuff in game and be fine.  Either the melee toons should require others to take down all of the enemies, or the ranged and buffing toons should NOT require others to do so. 

 

I should not be restricted to playing the types of toons you want me to just because I want to solo sometimes. 

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