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Weekly Discussion 83: Task/Strike force revamps - in detail


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Happy Sunday everyone! Last week you voted for some new topics - Writeup is here. 

 

This week it's a discussion on Task/Strike forces - the good, the bad and the ugly and how you'd improve them given the chance.

 

Weekly discussion 83 3rd January till 9th January 2021

Let's talk about - Task/Strike Force Revamps

 

Things to think about:

  • Which ones would you like to see reworked? Why?
  • What makes a "good" TF?
  • If you had the power - what would a revamp of X Task Force look like?

 

If you have suggestions you'd like to throw into the mix for future weeks and you'd like to win an in-game title for one of your characters (if your topic is chosen in a vote), then please send me a message and I'll add it to the list.

 

Standard reminder - keep it respectful folks.  😇

Edited by GM ColdSpark
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Frankly, I think all of the TFs with extended chains of "defeat alls" at various (and sometimes the same) locations need to be trimmed pretty heavily. Citadel and Synapse, for instance, come immediately to mind. Depending on the story of the TF, I think it would be better if they at least took place primarily in the zone that the contact is located in. Having 95% of Synapse take place in Steel Canyon is strange, particularly because most of the TF is done through instancing. I get that Steel is a lower level than Skyway for random mobs and you pretty much need a travel power to get around Skyway effectively so it was originally stationed in Steel, but those days are in the past -- you get travel powers sooner if you want them, jet pack/steam jump are free, Posi gives you a free jetpack that you can keep to use when needed, etc.

 

That said, I don't think every TF needs to be split into two like Posi's was. I don't mind that Posi is split, as it was done in a way that makes some sense, but not all of them can support that design and retain the original story of the TF.

 

As an aside, it would also be nice if redside got a TF in the Posi range, even if it was just a small one. Having nothing until 15/20 makes it more abandoned in the early parts of the game than it needs to be.

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  • Which ones would you like to see reworked? Why?

Trim the Defeat Alls, especially zone a to zone b to kill mobs in each zone.

 

More importantly (at least to me) scale to lvl. Example, team of 50s start a Posi 2, then enemies scale to lvl, vs a lvl 54 Dr. Vahz is alot better then lvl 50 scaling down to lvl 20.

Or...

Give the option at least scaling down on a 50 to that lvl especially with attuned io heroes is a joke. That way if a mixed team of heroes want to play the current way then its acceptable for them.

But, definitely give the option to do these TF/SF at max level to promote more of a "end game" feel.

 

 

  • What makes a "good" TF?        

The rewards of course so I suggest this.

Risk vs Reward, increase rewards based on difficulty. 

Say you do a ITF its 26 merits, but, if you crank up the diff to a master run its still 26 merits, that seems imbalanced.

 

 

 

 

  • If you had the power - what would a revamp of X Task Force look like?

I think with the above suggestions more lvl 50+ toons would run lower lvl missions on a scaled to lvl basis with difficulties increased for the larger payoffs.

Maybe give the option also of 3 reward options,

Merits of course, or a incarnate salvage option, or a crystal titan, hami, or Hydra enhancements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First of all I'd like to switch around some of the TF contacts to better suit their backgrounds.

 

Penelope Yin should not be hosting a TF about Freakshow. Her role is obviously to host the Clockwork TF. So she should take over the Clockwork King TF, which should be revamped to not be painfully long, or possibly split into two separate TFs like Positron's. Ideally it should be about finding out more about Blue Steel's background, with the CK trying to get back at Blue Steel in various ways. Part two can be a reworked version of the TF we have now, which I to be honest can't even tell you what it's about. It's oh so very mysterious, until we find out that the Clockwork King is behind the Clockwork and their mysterious behavior. Wow. No, it needs an update, badly. Here's the deal: Penelope Yin can still be hosting the Freakshow TF from Independence Port, but a younger version of her can be the contact for the Clockwork King TF, perhaps set to start in Kings Row near Blue Steel, or in Faultline. If that sounds irksome, we could even let her father be the contact for the Clockwork King Task Force, as he might have noticed the King's interest in his daughter and want to protect her from the criminally insane psychic ghost.

 

What about Synapse then? Well, his background is all about Crey, so he should obviously take over the Crey TF and assume Manticore's role. There can be something about him not being able to go up against Crey personally because they have countermeasures to him and his powers since they created him, and he needs our help to deal with the countess and her evil schemes. He doesn't need to move from his location in Skyway - his old TF have you mostly running around Steel Canyon after all, so it shouldn't be a problem.

 

Manticore could move to Peregrine Island and host a new TF about Malta, the "Natural" enemy faction. It can expand upon the story hinted at in Dark Astoria, where Malta were going to use nano-tech stolen from Warrior Earth to boost their own forces against the incarnate threat. Maybe Manticore isn't too keen on seeing more incarnates either, and is working both sides, as he is wont to do. If Peregrine already feels too full of content, the Manticore TF could be in Kallisti Wharf, and could be made co-op since villains aren't happy about Malta getting improved either, and Manticore isn't above working with villains.

 

Numina is another TF I can't tell you what it's about, but I remember a lot of running around various zones hunting low-level enemies. As a showcase of "look how far you've come" and a tour of the city we've left behind it was probably okay back when max level was 40, but now it feels a bit disappointing. I don't really have a better idea for what to do with it but a level 40ish Task Force focused on the Circle of Thorns and their machinations in Founders Fall seems like it would be more fun than running around all over the place, for very little enjoyment. Maybe throw in some enemies from Night Ward too, to mix things up a bit.

 

One thing we talked about in Discord was the hunt missions. I felt that instead of having them pop up one at a time, they could be consolidated into a single big hunt mission to take out X number of villain groups Y, Z, Q, etc, and let us hunt them in any zone. That way they can all be finished at the same time, more or less, which would reduce a rather dull part of the TF to a minimum.

 

Wow, I have now read up on this TF and I had seriously no idea what it was about even though I've played it several times. I suggest making it a two-parter. Part one could be a shorter version of the TF we have today, and part two could be an attempt to fulfill Numina's vow, and try to provide Woodsman with a body.

 

Now, another thing I've noticed, is that Gold-side is lacking in teamwork. Why is that? Well, one reason might be a lack of team content like Task Forces.

 

Perhaps 20 levels isn't enough to have a task force, some might say, but Blue-side manages to stick in about four of them in that range, so I'm sure Gold-side could have at least one. Preferably one in each zone, including the underground. Thanks to the level ranges of gold-side enemies being 1-25ish, all of the TFs set in Praetoria could be available from level 8+, and max out at level 20. Maybe one of them could even include the transition to Primal Earth, to make that part easier for those who have levelled past all the regular content.

 

Both First Ward and Nightward could also benefit from having task forces in them, to draw more visitors to these zones and utilize the enemy factions within them to the fullest.

Edited by Take One
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The original devs clearly learned over time what the players wanted out of TFs. Several of the old Freedom Phalanx / Task Force Commander TFs really show their age these days, particularly with Positron and Sister Psyche having been revamped. Most obviously, Citadel and Synapse are rather miserable. They feel tedious, even when a team clears them quickly. Just the exact same objectives and enemy groups over and over and over, culminating with an AV who melts in seconds. I wager that if you polled the community on which TFs most desperately need a revamp, those two would come out on top.

 

The other Freedom Phalanx TFs are fine, in my opinion. I still enjoy Manticore -- it has slightly fewer missions than Citadel or Synapse, a good mix of glowies / defeat alls / defeat bosses / hunts, and a fun boss fight at the end. And it's kind of lame that most of the missions in Numina are just streetsweeping mobs that con gray to you, but I honestly enjoy the coordination required to pull one off in a reasonable amount of time.

 

There could probably be some discussion on revamping the Shadow Shard TFs, but I think that's best saved for a future conversation about the Shadow Shard as a whole. All of those maps are complete ghost towns, and it's due to a lot of more than just "all the TFs here are too long."

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Here are some of the qualities that make a task force "good" (in my opinion, of course):

  • Unique content: The best TFs offer something you can't see in the game anywhere else, be it mechanics, maps, enemies, temp powers, or what have you. They don't even have to be super fancy, like the Duray fight mechanics at the end of Admiral Sutter's TF with the air support creating zones of death, but something that sticks in your mind as "the TF that has [X]". For me, Admiral Sutter's TF isn't the Duray fight TF, but the "broken highway map" TF, with special appearances by the "all of those ships out in the middle of the ocean" and "running through the tunnel in Talos that leads down to the ferry" maps.
  • Tell the story with mission mechanics: On a team - which is either strictly required or expected of a task force - most players don't have access to the contact's dialog window. Those that do are expected to keep the team moving and don't want to hold up the other players so they can read some text that nobody else can. A lot of that text can be seen by looking at the "More info" of the mission, but nobody has time for that while beating down hordes of ne'er-do-wells. The best TFs tell their stories not through that text, which is usually missed, but through the mission structure themselves: all that unique content I mentioned in the previous bullet, along with (preferably short) cutscenes and NPC dialog.
  • Climactic AV battle: The reason we all showed up together was to take out one tough baddie, and many of the TFs that I remember fondly have an archvillain in that sweet spot of tough-but-not-too-tough.
  • Length: Brevity is the soul of wit or whatever.

Most of the best TFs in the game were released as development continued over the 8 years of the game's life cycle, and a lot of them show up at higher levels, such as the Statesman TF (Miss Liberty TF nowadays), Lady Grey TF, and Dr Kahn TF, but the one that I do more than any other and doesn't seem to get old is the Imperious Task Force. Here's how the ITF stacks up to those bullet points I listed:

  • Unique content: Nowhere else in the game do you fight Romulus Augustus, and there aren't too many other places where you fight the Cimerorans or even the Nictus anymore. I believe the shadow cysts are unique to the ITF these days too, along with the Cyclops and Minotaur Elite Bosses and 3 of the 4 mission maps.
  • Tell the story with mission mechanics: Without looking at the mission text, I know that our first mission involves saving the seers, culminating with a Sister Psyche look-alike in a cool temple on a hill. This leads us to breaking a bunch of shadow cysts that seem to spawn unbound Nictuses (Nicti?) and are protected by the Cimerorans. From there we head to a gigantic battle with Cimerorans that are hiding a very cool giant robot they clearly shouldn't have, along with the 5th Column (their return after years of hiatus in the original game). We break a computer that controls multiple waves of robot minions and fight Romulus for the first time and Requiem for the first time in a long time. Finally, we head to what looks like Romulus's fortress to find him fused with the power of a Nictus and we give him the ol' one-two for justice, saving the day.
  • Climactic AV battle: Very much so. Romulus is powerful and has unique abilities, but doesn't take a year and a half to beat him like Reichsman can with the wrong team comp.
  • Length: 4 reasonably short missions means I haven't gotten to the point of exhaustion yet.

And now let's take a look at Synapse, a frequent candidate for revamping that comes directly after the very successful revamp of Positron's TF(s) in the level order:

  • Unique content: There's quite a bit of salvageable unique content in this TF. The Clockwork King and his unique Clockwork-filled warehouse map might show up elsewhere in the game, particularly at high levels, but for most of a character's career they will only see those features here. Plus, only the Synapse TF spawns the giant monster Babbage, which is a fun community-building exercise when you shout it out on global channels and get some people from outside the team to help you out and wish you luck on the final mission.
  • Tell the story with mission mechanics: We fight some Clockwork, and then we fight some Clockwork, and then... I think someone on the team runs around a little bit? And then we go to Boomtown and fight some Clockwork, and then to Skyway where we fight some Clockwork, and then the cool Babbage fight leading into the final mission with the Clockwork Court. All that stuff at the beginning is a bit of a miss on this one.
  • Climactic AV battle: We do the Clockwork King dirty on this one. He melts so fast that most of the time I miss him, and he doesn't even spawn in a special spot on the map if I recall correctly.
  • Length: We have a lot of very similar repetitive very similar repetitive missions here at the beginning. Plus a lot of very similar repetitive missions at the beginning.

But overall I think Synapse is very salvageable. What could we improve in it to get it closer to ITF quality? I'm glad you asked! A lot of people advocate for trimming down those early missions (which, did I mention, are very similar and repetitive?) and I don't disagree. Most of the end stuff is good, especially that Babbage spawn, and I wouldn't even necessarily reduce the number of zones you have to go to (though maybe we should make sure the Boomtown mission door is always near the entrance to the zone).

I think the most important thing to look at is the Clockwork King, though. He should be the most memorable part of this TF: we see for the first time here that he's not just a robot, or a guy building robots, but a psychic brain in a jar*! That's cool as heck! Aaaand he's down. I didn't even get to see him because my team ran ahead. Let's give him more of a spotlight: at least a cutscene where he says some sinister stuff, like Dr. Vahzilok gets in the Posi 2 revamp, and I'd buff him in combat a bit as well. He needs a bit more HP so you don't miss him entirely, maybe a psychic attack or two to hammer home that part of his story, and I'd personally throw in a Clockwork minion ambush that he summons when he gets to 50% HP - nothing too serious, as this is still a level 20 TF, but a little bit of a surprise kicker. And let's give him his own room to stand in, at least!

*I don't recall if we learn he's a psychic here, but the brain-in-a-jar bit was news to me the first time I ran this TF.

 

I picked Synapse here for the breakdown because I think it has the most obvious potential, but I think every TF in this game has something of value to show after a bit of polish. With these values in mind, looking at Citadel and the Shadow Shard TFs would make them more popular and less chore-like when their turn in the Weekly Strike Target rotation comes up.

 

Edited by Fade
Clarification on Clockwork King comment.
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As far as the old TF's I agree with ForeverLaxx, cut down on the kill all's. The only other thing that comes to mind is Numi's TF and the clockwork in AP. Since the AP revamp there doesn't seem to be as many Clockwork roaming around as there use to be.

 

I would like to see some new TF's added. Something along the lines of Apex / Tinmage with more Praetorian AV's. Short and sweet TF's are more fun than the 50 missions of kill all's.

 

My favorites are Ms Lib, Recluse, Apex, Tinmage, Imperious, Kahn and Market Crash.

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4 hours ago, Take One said:

Now, another thing I've noticed, is that Gold-side is lacking in teamwork. Why is that? Well, one reason might be a lack of team content like Task Forces.

Well it depends on what shard you're on when it comes to Gold teams. We get a couple per week on Reunion. Though a TF might increase that somewhat. And add the option of an accolade.

4 hours ago, Take One said:

Perhaps 20 levels isn't enough to have a task force, some might say, but Blue-side manages to stick in about four of them in that range, so I'm sure Gold-side could have at least one. Preferably one in each zone, including the underground. Thanks to the level ranges of gold-side enemies being 1-25ish, all of the TFs set in Praetoria could be available from level 8+, and max out at level 20. Maybe one of them could even include the transition to Primal Earth, to make that part easier for those who have levelled past all the regular content.

20 levels of Blue is not analogous to 20 levels of Gold though, due to how Praetoria handles its story progression. If you include a TF anywhere before level 20 you can outlevel your contacts very quickly. So if there were to be a TF prior to the option to go to Primal Earth it should have level 20 as a minimum entry level requirement.

4 hours ago, Take One said:

Both First Ward and Nightward could also benefit from having task forces in them, to draw more visitors to these zones and utilize the enemy factions within them to the fullest.

I'd like a TF in each of these zones. With the Night Ward one occurring in the later levels, since Gold side has a serious gap between 40 and 50.

 

Of course this is all beside the point since you can't revamp what doesn't exist.

Edited by Darmian
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I'd change the reward structure on everything in terms of merits.  My understanding is that through data mining, the devs wanted to give rewards based on how long it took the speed runners to do it.  So we get rewards for Eden, a timed 4 hour mission, that are 7 merits because it is *possible* to run it really quickly.  If you do it in ten minutes or you take the full 4 hours, you get seven merits.  I don't even know how to do it in ten minutes, but it really used to be an enjoyable few hours.  But now it's pointless because the reward is seven merits.

 

I advocate making a range of times and rewards for each TF based on time taken.  If you want to solo Synapse over a week, you get the max.  If your team wants to defeat all in the Yin TF and take an hour, you get the max.  If your team speed runs, you get the min.  This partially solves the "defeat all" missions that people seem to really hate (I have no idea why) because you get more merits the longer you take, to an extent.

 

This, of course, will cheese off the speed runners.  So be it.

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Someone quoted Goldside,

 

There's one taskforce that was removed early in the game, then brought back in Ouroboros, but still removed physically. Which one I'm I referring to? I'm referring to the one and only "Calvin Scott Task Force". I honestly do believe its about time that this one gets a small facelift, along with the model used for the Primal Calvin Scott. In addition to having you familiarize yourself with Aurora Borealis and Sister Psyche's situation, there should be another familiarizing you with the Praetorian Calvin Scott, Praetorian Aurora, and Mother Mayhem. The second part of the Calvin Task Force could take place right before the Marchand arc, where the Praetorian Calvin Scott is brought over, deal with the council's plans for him.

 

The taskforce should be brought back to its original location in Independence Port where it originally was...

 

Here's what I think an updated model of the Primal Calvin Scott should look like.

 

10571519_CalvinScottPrimalRevamp.JPG.42af83b266db570cdab749c2326c2244.JPG

 

Edited by Panthonca7034
Forgot additional points
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3 hours ago, The_Warpact said:
  • Which ones would you like to see reworked? Why?

Trim the Defeat Alls, especially zone a to zone b to kill mobs in each zone.

 

More importantly (at least to me) scale to lvl. Example, team of 50s start a Posi 2, then enemies scale to lvl, vs a lvl 54 Dr. Vahz is alot better then lvl 50 scaling down to lvl 20.

Or...

Give the option at least scaling down on a 50 to that lvl especially with attuned io heroes is a joke. That way if a mixed team of heroes want to play the current way then its acceptable for them.

But, definitely give the option to do these TF/SF at max level to promote more of a "end game" feel.

 

 

  • What makes a "good" TF?        

The rewards of course so I suggest this.

Risk vs Reward, increase rewards based on difficulty. 

Say you do a ITF its 26 merits, but, if you crank up the diff to a master run its still 26 merits, that seems imbalanced.

 

 

 

 

  • If you had the power - what would a revamp of X Task Force look like?

I think with the above suggestions more lvl 50+ toons would run lower lvl missions on a scaled to lvl basis with difficulties increased for the larger payoffs.

Maybe give the option also of 3 reward options,

Merits of course, or a incarnate salvage option, or a crystal titan, hami, or Hydra enhancements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

what risks do you see in this game?

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Synapse - why oh why do we need 6+ of the exact same mission on ANY TF fighting ANY enemy group, much less one with end drain as its gimmick at too low a level to have any end-management options?  I'll happily take a reduced merit reward in exchange for cutting the length of this mess in half.

 

Citadel - kinda the same issue as Synapse to a much lesser degree.  Just one or two missions too long instead of half a dozen or so.

 

Numina - the street sweeping phase of this needs to go.  It's a pointless time sink that adds nothing of value.

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Some of the worst of the slogs could be made less so by just cutting a few missions.  Yes, the full Posi treatment would be preferable, but we all know dev resources are very limited.  I'd honestly rather have a quick and dirty fix than wait an indefinite amount of time for a total revamp.

 

Synapse: cut the three substations down to one, combine "defeat all robots in headquarters" and "defeat Bertha" into one mission (cutting the patrol in between), cut the first warehouse.

 

Citadel: Cut the second mission, the "defeat base leader and guards" after you take the parts to the guy, and two of the three defeat-alls at the end.

 

Manticore: Turn the first defeat-all into just a rescue.  There are only two defeat-alls in this TF but the maps tend to be huge.

 

Numina:  Get rid of the hunts, they are just a time sink.

 

Dr Q:  Hold an AE contest to rewrite this TF, winner gets put in the game.  You can cover the entire plot of this long, pointless slog in five missions and even with the limited tools available in AE it would still be more interesting than what is in the game.  The other Shard TFs could use some cuts but this one....they had an entire new zone to play with, a whole new chunk of lore that could have been explored in so much depth, and this, this is what they came up with.  Did the development team hold a "write the worst TF" contest?  Was it a deliberate middle finger to the playerbase?  Was someone high?  Does it really matter?  It's terrible.

 

 

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Not at my system but I’d like to put out the idea of making more use of at least EBs and AVs I’m revamped TFs.

 

The live devs, even before the invention system came out, severely underestimated the strength of even a half full team’s ability to tear apart even +2 level bosses. It’s not uncommon during runs to miss who the important person was because they jus got erased in a tide of AoE damage and their dialogue being missed entirely. The positron revamp shows even at low levels it’s possible for teams to take on at least one AV at a time multiple times throughout a single mission.

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15 hours ago, Fade said:
  • Unique content: The best TFs offer something you can't see in the game anywhere else, be it mechanics, maps, enemies, temp powers, or what have you. They don't even have to be super fancy, like the Duray fight mechanics at the end of Admiral Sutter's TF with the air support creating zones of death, but something that sticks in your mind as "the TF that has [X]". For me, Admiral Sutter's TF isn't the Duray fight TF, but the "broken highway map" TF, with special appearances by the "all of those ships out in the middle of the ocean" and "running through the tunnel in Talos that leads down to the ferry" maps.
  • Tell the story with mission mechanics: On a team - which is either strictly required or expected of a task force - most players don't have access to the contact's dialog window. Those that do are expected to keep the team moving and don't want to hold up the other players so they can read some text that nobody else can. A lot of that text can be seen by looking at the "More info" of the mission, but nobody has time for that while beating down hordes of ne'er-do-wells. The best TFs tell their stories not through that text, which is usually missed, but through the mission structure themselves: all that unique content I mentioned in the previous bullet, along with (preferably short) cutscenes and NPC dialog.
  • Climactic AV battle: The reason we all showed up together was to take out one tough baddie, and many of the TFs that I remember fondly have an archvillain in that sweet spot of tough-but-not-too-tough.
  • Length: Brevity is the soul of wit or whatever.

I have to agree with Fade here and by that metric Citadel and Synapse are certainly needing a larger rework which tells the story through action, has greater diversity in maps and a variety of different mission objectives with a clear focus. In terms of Phalanx TFs, Numina and Manticore similarly need some touch ups but are far less pressing.

 

I also want to bring the two new mission arcs from i27 into discussion - The Graveyard Shift and Freakish Lab - as these do many things well which any TF revamp should seek to emulate (and some things which absolutely do not work for a team environment). Firstly, they have a range of mission objectives and settings, interesting and unique moments with a wide range of different characters and climactic battles throughout which are all essential for any reworked TF. These are difficult missions with multiple ambushes in the middle of already challenging fights, enemies that need specific archetype counters and mechanics designed to increase difficulty, all of which I believe @Piecemeal (and please correct me if I am wrong) included to promote teaming. And it worked - these are difficult missions to solo that provide unique experiences and memorable moments but I worry their difficulty will limit their interest and use in the long run due to the classic issue story contacts have for rewarding group content.

 

After I ran them I had to wonder - why are these mission arcs rather than TFs if the goal was to encourage teaming? The server already allows for individuals to run solo TFs and designating these arcs as TFs would seem to be an easier way to clearly identify that these missions are designed for teaming and probably increase their use as all members of the team will be eligible for rewards on their conclusion. They already possess the quality people want from revamped TFs by the metrics people have discussed in this thread so it seems logical that they could be 'promoted' to TF status.

 

There are some issues which would need to be addressed to make them more appropriate for a TF experience (the investigation in Graveyard Shift while on a team) but they are definitely close to being good to go for TF content in my mind.

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This is just my personal opinion, but all the Shadow Shard task force should be nuked from orbit twice just to be sure.  Too much travel, too many kill all disguised as something else, too many missions (staring real hard at you Dr. Quaterfield) 

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For me, great TFs have always had some cool or wow factor.

 

The one in the volcano in Cap

The one with the volcano monster in Cap

Miss Lib

ITF (im soooooooo tired of it though)

Lady Grey and its hami

Market Crash fight at the end is pretty unique, and the guaranteed purp for first run is amazing

Most, if not all, of the SSA tfs (skipping spoilers)

Apex/TM can be run as a combo, has great rewards, and is (usually) really fun on a tight time budget

Penny cause you can speed or kill or whatever and you get the same level of fun

LRTF

The final DA tf (and its accompanying story arcs, all of which are nice and fun and rewarding with good difficulty and good rewards)

 

For me, I think the SSAs are a good blueprint

 

Story arcs that have badassery for me are all the GR content. #6, Marchand, the chick that runs you through Nightward mishs. Building new TFs to use those kind of ideas/content would be great. I think #6 is THE BEST story arc I have ever run.

 

Revamps

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I would gut Citadel. Puke. Everything in it is vanilla. The bosses are vanilla, the maps are extensively reused and vanilla, the dialog is vanilla. It is so vanilla, you could use this TF as pudding and nobody would notice.

 

The one with M Bison (kahn). Potential to be cool? But really, m bison is just a bag of hitpoints and very boring to fight. Maps are also vanilla vanilla vanilla.

 

Suggestions

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Any TF that has a preponderance of STANDARD MISH MAPS should be redone. Why should I do a standard council base map that I end up doing as part of radio/tip mish #91823123123445121??? Make the damn things more unique!

 

You know a cool set of maps? The last taskforce for both WWD and Pandoras box. Those are nifty and outside the box. Floating aircraft carriers and a space map? One that is unique from the farm map? Hells yes!

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, chivalry said:

I have to agree with Fade here and by that metric Citadel and Synapse are certainly needing a larger rework which tells the story through action, has greater diversity in maps and a variety of different mission objectives with a clear focus. In terms of Phalanx TFs, Numina and Manticore similarly need some touch ups but are far less pressing.

 

I also want to bring the two new mission arcs from i27 into discussion - The Graveyard Shift and Freakish Lab - as these do many things well which any TF revamp should seek to emulate (and some things which absolutely do not work for a team environment). Firstly, they have a range of mission objectives and settings, interesting and unique moments with a wide range of different characters and climactic battles throughout which are all essential for any reworked TF. These are difficult missions with multiple ambushes in the middle of already challenging fights, enemies that need specific archetype counters and mechanics designed to increase difficulty, all of which I believe @Piecemeal (and please correct me if I am wrong) included to promote teaming. And it worked - these are difficult missions to solo that provide unique experiences and memorable moments but I worry their difficulty will limit their interest and use in the long run due to the classic issue story contacts have for rewarding group content.

 

After I ran them I had to wonder - why are these mission arcs rather than TFs if the goal was to encourage teaming? The server already allows for individuals to run solo TFs and designating these arcs as TFs would seem to be an easier way to clearly identify that these missions are designed for teaming and probably increase their use as all members of the team will be eligible for rewards on their conclusion. They already possess the quality people want from revamped TFs by the metrics people have discussed in this thread so it seems logical that they could be 'promoted' to TF status.

 

There are some issues which would need to be addressed to make them more appropriate for a TF experience (the investigation in Graveyard Shift while on a team) but they are definitely close to being good to go for TF content in my mind.

I agree with everything here! Graveyard and Lab are GREAT!

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  1. As already mentioned all TFs should allow for a team to run them at whatever level the leader is so if the leader is level 25 the mobs scale accordingly just like normal missions work.  That means Posi can be run at level 50 or Manti at level 25 with properly scaled mobs.  If at all possible, allow for incarnate level mobs as well to really stretch those end game builds if the leader is 50 +1.
  2. Along with #1 get rid of the min level requirement for all TFs.  With the revamped sidekick system there is no reason a level 1 can't be dragged through a Dr. Q.
  3. Better rewards if done +1 - +4 or if say a team of 4 does it with team size of 8.
  4. Along with #3 allow for a selection of rewards as mentioned above.  Merits, threads, or enh would be nice.
  5. NO STREET SWEEPS... ok well if not NONE then maybe at least make the sweep something that the group is actually in the area and we don't have to hunt the whole zone for the 1 or 2 spawns that happen.  Make the sweep a large ambush instead.
  6. Reduce the total defeat all.  Or maybe convert the defeat all into a defeat all with a EB boss.
  7. Positron:
    1. Actually in a good place.  The split is fine.  My only real gripe is having to go back to SC after going to Atlas in Posi 1.
  8. Synapse:
    1. Why the hell is this in Skyway if the entire TF is done in Steel???
    2. Remove all but 1 defeat all
    3. Remove the street sweep
    4. Remove the patrols or at least have something happen when the patrol point is clicked like I don't know maybe a nice ambush or 6
    5. No BOOM
    6. Why is this the only AV at the end we get a special gun that turns the fight into a cake walk?
  9. Yin:
    1. Why is the final mission door NOT in Terra Volta?  I know it is the terra volta map but still would be kinda nice to have to actually go to the zone.
  10. Citadel:
    1. Stop the back and forth between Talos and IP.  I'm ok with the 2 zones but just make first half in Talos and final in IP or vice versa.
    2. Remove most of the defeat alls
    3. Revamp the maps.  How about only 1 cave base?
    4. Did I mention no street sweeps?
  11. Manticore:
    1. Stop the all over the place with the mission doors.  Really should primarily take place in Brix and Crey's folly.
    2. The rescue should be an escort even though I loath those.
  12. Numi:
    1. Did I mention no street sweeps????

And yes I know that I only went through the mains blue side.  I just don't run the red side that often to have them fresh in my mind.  Also the top points would apply to all the TFs not just the blue side main path.

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On 1/3/2021 at 2:07 PM, SentaiLavender said:

The original devs clearly learned over time what the players wanted out of TFs. Several of the old Freedom Phalanx / Task Force Commander TFs really show their age these days, particularly with Positron and Sister Psyche having been revamped. Most obviously, Citadel and Synapse are rather miserable. They feel tedious, even when a team clears them quickly. Just the exact same objectives and enemy groups over and over and over, culminating with an AV who melts in seconds. I wager that if you polled the community on which TFs most desperately need a revamp, those two would come out on top.

 

The other Freedom Phalanx TFs are fine, in my opinion. I still enjoy Manticore -- it has slightly fewer missions than Citadel or Synapse, a good mix of glowies / defeat alls / defeat bosses / hunts, and a fun boss fight at the end. And it's kind of lame that most of the missions in Numina are just streetsweeping mobs that con gray to you, but I honestly enjoy the coordination required to pull one off in a reasonable amount of time.

 

There could probably be some discussion on revamping the Shadow Shard TFs, but I think that's best saved for a future conversation about the Shadow Shard as a whole. All of those maps are complete ghost towns, and it's due to a lot of more than just "all the TFs here are too long."

 Well said.

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Well, a lot of the points I wanted to make have already been made, namely that old TFs should tell their stories in the missions than relying on contact text, have more unique mechanics/maps, etc. And as I've mentioned, maybe swap some generic bosses out with some beefed up EB or even AVs.

 

Aside from that, I think another thing that should be done to revamp older TFs, mostly Synapse, Citadel, and Crey is try to work in other enemy groups to fight in there to break up the monotony a bit. It'd be simple enough with Manticore (unexpected complication of trying to investigate a Crey lab in the middle of a Freakshow attack, mass test subject breakout/release, run in with a mysterious paramilitary group who are insanely tough [mob of bosses with an AV gunslinger] and all teleport out and leave an AV Titan to fight that self destructs on defeat) though with Synapse and Citadel it could be trickier. Relatedly, some might need some story updates that should reflect some of the changes in the world and story since launch. Like have Citadel be trying to stop the Council from using the salvaged remains of Siege and Nightstar to improve their own warworks while other paramilitary groups descend to try to hijack the robotics production for themselves. Maybe a new Synapse could reflect Clockwork King struggling to go hero or something with a 'rogue signal' driving him nuts and renewing clockwork aggression. (might also be an interesting chance to give the CWK a bit of a revamp.*)

 

*Thinking CWK could have a knightly broadsword that's charged with electricity and a shield to help 'protect his subjects', drape a cape over that huge clunker frame if compatible. Maybe give him a 'goes red' mechanic where he switches from electrical attacks to psionics.

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I have never felt the need to obtain Task Force Commander on any of my characters. (I think on live, I only had it on one, perhaps obtained through blind dumb luck, who knows) The reward is not worth the effort, obviously. Perhaps a new reward that would make us WANT to complete the TFs? No idea what that would be and not sure if I am in the minority here or not. Could a new reward system even be implemented easily?

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2 hours ago, iBot said:
  1. As already mentioned all TFs should allow for a team to run them at whatever level the leader is so if the leader is level 25 the mobs scale accordingly just like normal missions work.  That means Posi can be run at level 50 or Manti at level 25 with properly scaled mobs.  If at all possible, allow for incarnate level mobs as well to really stretch those end game builds if the leader is 50 +1.

Regular missions do NOT work like that.  Regular missions have a 5- or 10- level range, just like most TFs do,  Some of the newer ones have a 20-level range, but that's the limit and people tend to run them at the high end of that range.  Mobs do not scale accordingly for higher levels; low-level mobs have fewer attacks, lower damage, fewer status effects, fewer debuffs.  Higher level groups will mez you, two-shot you, debuff you, and hang out with Sappers.  A team running Posi often wipes if you accidentally aggro two spawns at once, whereas high-level TFs expect you to fight multiple AVs at once, and teams rarely wipe.  Making low-level TFs remotely playable at 50 would require pretty much an entire redesign, and would make it significantly harder for low-level characters to find a TF team on which they can actually play instead of jogging along while a tricked out incarnate Brute solos the whole thing.

 

 

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