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Weekly Discussion 80: More Hard Mode or New Zones & Missions?


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4 hours ago, Black Zot said:

there's a good chunk of the game that ONLY hardcore players can do?

You can continue throwing around your strawmen, but just pointing out that this is not something that most people are requesting. In fact, I think it's quite hilarious that you think there is a sizeable population that wants to make CoH into City of Dark Souls, when in fact what people are after are optional settings to provide some gameplay decisions where the answer isn't always more damage in order to make gameplay more interesting.

 

Of course, choosing the optional difficulty of having to make more gameplay decisions is, by definition, harder than having to make less of them, but none of this would force anyone to anything, no matter how much you want to pretend they would. 

 

4 hours ago, Black Zot said:

option that's mechanically impossible

Is this based on facts or just a part of your gish gallop?

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I think I'll be repeating others if I give my view, but for what it's worth I think more content is what I'd like to see, the new arcs are great, and it's stuff like that that keep me playing, and I don't think I'm alone, 

 

A harder mode that's optional is fine, but doesn't affect me as my fun doesn't really come from picking or designing an optimal build, I like to push my characters when I solo but on teams I like to run at the difficulty level where we all can enjoy ourselves, 

 

But it's content and story that make enjoy the game, just my two inf

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Lot of good suggestions, though I only had a brief skim.

 

I'll repeat what I've said in the past; expand the Ouroborous/Task Force challenges to regular missions. You could even throw in a warning for team members that challenges have been enabled, maybe even requiring a unanimous vote for them to be enabled if people are worried about joining a challenge run without knowing.

 

I think, as well, tying increased rewards and new badges to these would be cool.

 

While I'd love new zones I think that is a distant dream. New missions are also welcome too. I think an expansion of the challenge system would go a long way in providing content for the not-insignificant amount of people who want to do something more challenging than the base content.

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Oh? You like City of Heroes?

Name every player character.

I'll be waiting in my PMs.

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52 minutes ago, AerialAssault said:

I think, as well, tying increased rewards and new badges to these would be cool.

I agree, but more so, think they're essential for this to be useful. The vast majority of players seek out content with the best reward/effort ratio, even if the reward they're seeking is simply a badge. 

 

And springing challenge settings on Task Force invitees without telling them in advance rarely ends well. I was on a Tinpex that turned out to be on enemies buffed / player debuffed, and there were complaints in the first of the two TFs, and half the team dropped in the second when the leader didn't listen and kept them on. Afterwards, he got salty in LFG over people dropping on account of his choices and refusal to change them.  A pop-up vote when the task force started for all the team members to accept or decline each challenge setting would have solved this. Even so, his TF would have broken up, most people don't enter pick-up-groups for deliberately overly-hard content with no reward up-side. But add more drops, bonus xp or merits at the end, or a special badge, and people might!

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9 hours ago, Galaxy Brain said:

This sums it up niceley!

 

@Black Zot, my goal here isn't to just make the game harder for the sake of it. My goal is to introduce new facets that while may be hard for some, are easy for others to encourage more diverse tactics. That is objectively harder than we have now as it throws more decisions at the players, but at the same time our current meta means certain builds and styles are straight up eclipsed by others that "solve" the current puzzle better. 

 

That you're trying to make the game harder AT ALL is what I'm arguing against.  Your excuse for doing so is irrelevant.  Stop trying to break the game I enjoy!

Edited by Black Zot
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I have two favorite hard-mode ideas.

 

1) Modify the purple patch to-hits so that running at +1 to +4 mission difficulty gives the enemies a bit more to-hit:

 

Level Diff     To-Hit Bonus (Current)  (Proposed)

+0                            0%          0%

+1                            0%          0%

+2                            0%          +1%

+3                            0%          +2%

+4                            0%          +4%

+5                            0%          +5%

+6                            +5%         +10%

+7                            +10%        +15%

+8                            +15%        +20%

+9                            +20%        +25%

+10                           +40%        +40%

 

This would make the defense softcap a little higher in +1 to +4 content. 

 

In the past, original (tetris-style) Side-kicking meant one often had a mix of levels of people below the party leader, but with Super-side-kicking, it made everyone at least party leader-1, and I think this entered into the game as an implicit difficulty nerf. I believe my suggestion would repair quite a lot of that, and it's entirely optional in that we can always choose a lower difficulty to suit the team. 

 

2) This one's a little more complicated., but I think even more worth-while.

 

I would give an AoE buff to Lieutenants that would buff any minions close by to them very slightly, say +1 defense and +1 to-hit.

 

Then I would give bosses an AoE buff to Bosses that would buff both Lieutenants and minions nearby them too, say +5 defense, +5 to-hit, and +1 mezz protection.

 

And then so on through EB's. 

 

These would all accumulate and stack. 

 

A large x8 spawn full of Lts and Bosses would present a challenge, and demand some tactical choices to separate them (Knockback saves the team! ) or at least target the bosses and Lts first.

 

If the developers were ambitious, different leader-type mobs in each enemy group (council vs say arachnos) might provide a different mix of close buffs. A war Wolf boss might also provide a damage resistance buff to nearby Lts and Mobs, but an Archon might grant higher mezz resistance. A night widow might grant +perception and extra +to-hit, but a fortunata mistress might offer much higher mezz protection. 

 

Finally.) Higher difficulty settings would be more challenging, both with higher levels and larger spawns, with these suggestions. I'd buff end of mission rewards a little. Even grant a random chance reward table at the end of any mission, even radios or newspapers, for completing it, with increased chances for better rewards from higher difficulties and group sizes.

 

 

 

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Much has been said already.. Just adding my vote for hard mode, with the caveat that is has to be done right.   The goal should be to create an increased challenge for level 50 incarnates to work together as an 8 man team who all have important roles and responsibilities.  But I don't want just bigger numbers like most of the current AVs.  And I don't want effective debuffs like making things +7 so all the numbers go wonky.  I want new Bosses and Elite Bosses's introduced into the game for each enemy group that have unique and interesting mechanics to raise the challenge level (and not just give them a T9 defense power like the Minos and Cyclopi).  

 

Also note, you may have to do another pass of balancing when this is done.   Consider, if you make an enemy that has greatly increased +tohit and damage that gives them 1-hit damage capability vs squishies, suddenly you've made tanks and healers more important which is great.  But you also might have just made defense and regen based tanks fail, which is bad.

 

That said, I am very impressed with the the new arcs that have been added since Homecoming was released.  Very well done, and I would love to see more!

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41 minutes ago, Black Zot said:

 

That you're trying to make the game harder AT ALL is what I'm arguing against.  Your excuse for doing so is irrelevant.  Stop trying to break the game I enjoy!

Im afraid we're at an impass then Zot if any change makes it "broken". In my view, of the game is a bit tougher for one strategy, but becomes much easier for another, that sort of evens out.

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I'm not interested in new content specifically for "Hard Mode".

I don't feel the need to have more Incarnate levels.

I don't object to adding settings to disable (mission/arc-wide) Incarnate powers (& level shifts) to make current content 'harder'.

 

If there is to be an investment of priorities, I would deprioritize all of the above. If I had to pick a priority, I would prefer to see mission arcs/content that focus either on:

  1. "Hazard Zones" (Boomtown, Terra Volta, Eden, Crey's Folly, Monster Island) at appropriate levels
  2. Instanced missions (like Summer Blockbuster, Halloween, Winter)
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Had a few thoughts on how to add "new" and "hard-mode" content to the game. I feel like Incarnates need a bit more recurring content outside of Incarnate trials, not to mention a way to challenge the power creep. Hazard zones currently don't have a whole lot of content to bring players back or incentivize lower level teams to visit them over doing radio missions. These are all quick ideas, btw.

 

Incarnate "Sortie" Trials

The well of furies is surging, and empowering certain enemy types to massive power levels to rise up and challenge the incarnates. Luckily, these power surges can be sensed and it's up to a team of incarnates to stop them.

 

Basic concept: Weekly 3 mission trials with incarnate level powered enemies. All enemies are level shifted to level 54. Players will need to seek out and destroy "monoliths" (similar to pylons) created by the Well of the Furies that are empowering these enemies. Must have Lore unlocked. Each mission has a twist for an extra challenge, enemies will be powered with 2 random conditions:

  • 300% extra armor (absorb)
  • Enemies deal x3 damage
  • Enemies deal (random selection) of extra fire, ice, energy, negative, toxic, psionic, lethal, or smashing damage.
  • Enemies heal damage over time.
  • Endurance of players if halved
  • Hitpoints of players are halved
  • Cannot use travel powers
  • Extreme cold: Slowed, -recharge +fog
  • Extreme heat: -defense + small damage over time
  • Radioactive area:  -resistance, - health & -end recovery rate

Random archvillain enemy at the end (respective to their enemy group). The final mission has damaging patches of surging incarnate energy that players must avoid (similar to Battle Maiden's orbital strikes).

Finishing this trial will reward with bonus 1 empyrean merit, 1 random rarity incarnate salvage, and +bonus XP. Limit 1 run per week, per character for bonus rewards.

 

Hazard Zone Bounties

New zone event in Hazard zones: Bounties!

Specific enemy types will be targeted in the Nav window (Hellion Damned, Freak Tanks, Nemesis Jaegers, Hamidon Devoured, ect).

Players must defeat 100 of these bounties. ALL defeated bounties (including elite bosses and GM) reward bonus patrol XP and a bounty reward token. Tokens can be spent at the Recon Officer for temporary powers, SO enhancements (maybe?), and badges for bounty defeats.

During this time, elite boss enemy types will spawn and will ambush players doing bounties. These enemies are worth 10 bounty points and scale to your level. When they spawn, he will be marked on the map.

Once the bounty is completed, it unlocks a Giant monster rampage! Giant monster spawns in a random area of the map with a huge group of allies. (Think Ghost of Scrapyard.) They will rampage through a predetermined path in the zone and must be defeated within the time limit. If not defeated, then they leave the zone and the bounty resets. If defeated, they drop a bonus random rare recipe and 20 bounty tokens -plus the normal giant monster xp and drops. 

The idea is to add more team content for Hazard zones while making them potentially more dangerous. 

 

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9 hours ago, Stygus said:

I think I'll be repeating others if I give my view, but for what it's worth I think more content is what I'd like to see, the new arcs are great, and it's stuff like that that keep me playing, and I don't think I'm alone, 

 

A harder mode that's optional is fine, but doesn't affect me as my fun doesn't really come from picking or designing an optimal build, I like to push my characters when I solo but on teams I like to run at the difficulty level where we all can enjoy ourselves, 

 

But it's content and story that make enjoy the game, just my two inf

This, basically. I have no objection to an optional setting to increase difficulty, but I would prefer to see development time spent on developing new content. There are old hazard zones that are crying out for it, not to mention Kallisti Wharf.

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This is a pretty good topic with lots of responses and ideas. I think a lot of people are saying add more (hard? iMissions/trials?) content but that simply isn't really in the cards. The HC Dev team has put out two new missions IIRC (i27 and then one in Oct-ish 2019). I don't think it's reasonable to expect more content to play at a satisfying pace. This isn't an indictment on the Dev team - just the reality. I appreciate the Devs and the entire HC team.

 

Is adding a 'harder' switch the way to go? I think it might be a nice feature for end-game content or any missions where you can apply/use incarnate powers. This might be an easy add for the Dev team? I don't know. Will it sustain us? Probably won't make a huge different but if it isn't a labour intensive add then why not. 

 

I think the big ask here is for more things to do and those things be added at a quicker pace. Again, not realistic but it seems players are getting a tad bored. Maybe it's just be but I feel the total number of players logging in lately has decreased. I thought the new issue would keep players around for a bit longer but maybe not. I'll admit I haven't been recording and tracking numbers on servers - just glancing at them once in a while. 

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Earlier in the thread I suggested using the AE and then having player created content added to the game and canon. As I noted before, it would involve creating new contacts outside of the AE that are actually just extensions of AE. However, they would appear as regular contacts and the missions would be presented as regular missions (remove AE numbers and gloabals of creators etc). Only the Dev team could access and add missions to these contacts. I fleshed it our a bit more as a couple of people requested. I didn't want to go to any great detail at this point because I don't even know if this something that the HC team is interested in - I haven't heard back on this. However, I think this plan has the potential to add a ton of good content. To continue with my previous idea:

 

Place a contact in Kings Row, Port Oakes and Neutropolis - this can be for  the lower level arcs, the street level enemies and those types of missions. Missions will be provided exclusively by that contact so they are not replicated at higher levels and so on (maybe via Ouros). 

 

You can have the next tier of mission contacts in higher up, not as often used zones as well. Depending on the level of submissions, of course. I also feel there should be contacts in co-op zones where factions can team up if they like - maybe a good way to make more use out of Kallisti Wharf too! 

 

So, just off the top of my head, contacts could go into Cimerora, Rikti Warzone, Dark Astoria, Kallisti Wharf, First and Night Ward, Kings Row, Port Oakes, Grandville, Peregrine Island, St. Martial and Founder's Falls (or Brickstown). So, players can submit stories based on the level they want the mission to be played at and then also which zone is the most appropriate. That's approximately 12 new contacts to start and each contact can have their inventory of missions increased on a regular basis via the player submissions. 

 

If players have written and put together an epic arc then maybe a separate contact could be made just for that and put in the appropriate zone.

 

I think this plan would not cause a ton of extra work for the Dev team and allow for a lot of playable missions etc. Each submission will have to be reviewed and there could be a cap put on submissions per month - this may allow for community reps/volunteers to review the material and determine if it meets all criteria and is suitable for being added to the game. 

 

Maybe a new galactic threat is upon us...then have that mish/arc in the RWZ contact list. Maybe some ancient foes have arisen or time travelers are about...Cimerora could be the go to.  Perhaps a new gang of street thugs are in town...put that mish in King Row. A new superhero team is coming to town....villains to the ready! Drop that mish in Grandville (or lower level areas depending on the hero team level and type). 

 

The key is variety, more unique content, more content and the missions do NOT get shared between contacts. 

Edited by BurtHutt
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For myself, hard mode holds no interest. It's great for those who love it.

 

More mission/storyline content is always welcome. Having a wide variety of mission/story paths for different characters ups the fun factor for me. I'd like to see underutilized zones get more content.

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I read the first page of replies and agreed with most of the ideas.  I'm against more hard mode but more options sounds good. Frankly, I wish that it was necessary for everyone on a team to agree to difficulty settings. Instead, too often an incarnate is leader and their settings make everything unhittable for un-minmaxed lowbies or they find everything trivial. Its been suggested to add a reward for disabling incarnate status on task forces, and I agree. This would encourage more teams closer in ability.

 

A universal server/zone/LFG teleporter function that incarnates from every shard can go to for Super Mega Hard Way itrials (and maybe PVP) sounds ideal. It answers the problems of a small player base that desperately wants that content.

 

I would like the Ouroboros flashback system opened up so that teaming was easier.  Also, so that, if you wanted, you could do Alternate Universe Versions where you retain your level.  I work hard to get to incarnate, some powersets mature late, and I'd like to play with full power. This would raise the level of the flashbacked enemies so that this Alternate Timeline mission takes place at a point when you were your current level, et cetera. People joining the mission should receive a warning and need to agree.

 

Allowing AE missions with underwater or outer space maps where people automatically float would be the closest thing to new zones.  Back on Live, we were limited in AE missions we could create. If that limitation is still there, expand it. Or create a new form of AE story builder that isn't such a burden on the servers. And has easier searchability. I know thats a tall order, but AE offers eternal creativity, much like the tailor, and one of the draws of this antique game. Pie in the sky, I'd like a PVP/AE mission creator, where we create the missions and order the opposition to fight while chatting.

 

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There's a bunch of things to respond to in this thread, but I'll be brief.

 

I would much prefer if Development time were spent on adding new content to what already exists.  For example, there have been mentions elsewhere of opening up the Shadow Shard as a co-op zone.  I'd be totally down for that; I'd also be up for it being opened up to villains with intersecting/competing storylines.  Although I realize this is a tall order for development, I think new content - like the newest arcs - added to old content helps keep the in-game world feel alive, and when added to forgotten/dead zone, helps revitalize otherwise underused parts of the game.

 

Moreover, I'm firmly against adding in "hard modes" for two reasons:

 

1.  I think it would be wasted development on content that players in general would avoid.  I don't really see players seeking out already existing hard mode groups.  Malta is historically and generally reviled.  And the Praetorian or new Incarnate-level DA mobs seem to be avoided for the most part.  Yes there are the occasional "DA teams" that pop up in LFG, but mostly it seems like people gravitate to missions against Council or maybe Circle of Thorns in PI radios at +4/x8.

 

2.  Although "optional" in theory, too many players would have teams try to run at the highest difficulty, thereby making it mandatory.  Teams seem to arbitrarily set the difficulty as high as possible regardless of team make up or ability just for the sake of maximizing XP and drops (or as a point of pride).  For example, I was on a +4/x8 Market Crash where everyone except the leader was low 40s opposed to their 50, and we just could not beat the Prototype and had to disband after a long slog of a trial that left me with a bad impression of the trial for a while.  And in fact, I remember being on a team where the leader had the difficulty maxed out, lowered it for a mission because we kept dying, bumped it back up to max the next mission, and finally rage-quit because the team really couldn't handle it.

 

Although anecdotal, my experiences make me wary of a "hard mode" for fear that it would make the game I enjoy playing into a brutal experience except for a specific/limited number of people.

 

To me, I think players asking for a "hard mode" intersects with players asking for a limit on incarnate powers.  They both seem to be reactions to the fact that the base game lets a person make a godling character but gives very little to do with that character besides trivializing legacy content.  I find that fun at times, but I recognize that for some, playing the game can become a boring series of pressing "I Win" buttons.  However, I think new content addresses that problem better than just allowing teams to run at brutally higher levels or having enemy groups become impossible except for optimized players/teams.

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My vote goes for the following ideas that have been presented in this thread that focus on Kallisti Wharf:

 

1) Add AE contacts in Kallisti Wharf  that allow access to specific arcs that are dev approved. I see this as the biggest payout for Dev effort, as once implemented there will be more incentive for player created content that has a dedicated zone for it.

 

2) Add Zone Events and GM events code to Kallisti Wharf mobs, so that it becomes a level-less zone. Anyone can be in the zone at any level and participate as the enemy mobs that show up are level-less with minions as white, LTs are yellow, and bosses are red. 

 

3) Make all enemy mobs in Kallisti Wharf use the praetorian code and show up yellow until attacked. This way the lower level characters can run around the whole zone without fear, like a normal citizen would.

 

4)  Going along with number 1, expand on the allow AE missions to incorporate temp powers and alignment changes as part of the story-telling process. The AE rewards might need to be reduced on arcs that incorporate temp powers to avoid abuse, but once chosen for Kallisti Wharf implementation they would get full normal rewards.

 

This creates a new zone with growing content from hopefully a reasonable amount of dev work, and is a zone that allows all levels to participate.  If this zone becomes popular, then other neglected zones can get similar attention.

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  • Lead Game Master

Thanks for a great week of discussion folks - will get to work writing up a synopsis from here and the Discord.

 

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Ways to Contact Me: Here is the link to the Homecoming Discord  and I am GM ColdSpark

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