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

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Posted (edited)

I'm opposed to making the entire game easy mode.  A task force should be more difficult than contact missions, and when a fully kitted out incarnate can solo a task force on a team of eight, then something is clearly broken.

 

The problem arises because of two polar opposite play styles.  On live, the TFs were designed to be played on the way up to 50, with min level and min team size requirements.  Now, many players farm to 50 and exempt to do the TFs.

 

The need is to have a game mechanic that allows both play styles to enjoy the TF while on the same team.  There's nothing worse than being a low level and slogging through a Synapse only to have the exemplared fully kitted brute solo the AV before the rest of the team can even get half way through the final mission, and yes, that has happened to me.

 

What I suggest is more TFs that require unique powers to complete like TV which has the radiation shield and core coolant.  BTW, make the rad damage higher in TV so that every player needs a shield.  Some players now can stand there and laugh at the rad and it shouldn't be that easy.  Also, make the shield generator a walk through so pets can get the shield.

 

For some AVs, give every team member a unique TF power, not just one person (Synapse), and require at least half of the team members use their TF power to defeat the AV.  This way the soloers can still solo, but can't hog the final fight on a team TF.

 

Some TFs could include missions where you lose all of your own powers and get a handful of powers specific that mission, something like those solo missions where that happens.

 

Another mechanic that could be added is an AV that can only be defeated after it delivers X amount of damage.  This wouldn't be the same as end drain, and would make the fight dynamic unique to that AV.

Edited by pumpkin98
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I agree with the general sentiments about which tf's could do with work and why. Less repeating missions, less hunting and more map variety and interesting mechanics please.

 

I wanted to chip in on the scaling to 50 idea though to say I am strongly against it and that's putting it mildly. The game does need more incarnate content to give incarnates something to do other than trivializing regular content, but giving them more regular content to trivialize certainly isn't the answer. The experience of teaming as even a highish level character sidekicked up to tricked out incarnates is seriously lacking, as a genuine lowbie there is no point whatsoever other than doorsitting.

 

Also the progression through the levels with the tf's as milestones is an integral part of the game structure. This game thrives on encouraging people to roll alts and enjoy the journey, allowing people to sit at 50 and play all content at 50 would in my opinion undermine this.

 

The exemplar system is already an elegant way of allowing lv50's to do anything in the game, they just have to accept losing access to some of their powers to do so. With much better slotting and access to extra powers an exemped character is already way more powerful than a character actually native to the level.

 

In fact needing to keep half an eye on exemplar performance is a useful constraint on endgame builds. I always try to make sure my characters function reasonably well at lower levels where possible and if not there are always second builds.

 

And of course there would be the technical challenge of making all the enemy groups scale to 50 and how it could then be balanced for such a wide level range. Posi 1 would be lvs 8 to 50 ...

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I suggest a "hot fix" on the Synapse.  Very easy.  No change, except one major one, easy to implement.  During the 2-...6? kill all misssions.  Default them to small maps.  When a team gets the small maps it knocks 20-30 minutes off the length of the TF.  When the team gets endless large maps like the #1 warehouse it feels like the TF takes forever.  With an experienced team being able to bring it in under 1:30 barely and and a team of newer players (and we still get them!) looking at a 1:45-2Hour grind.

 

Lot of good suggestion in here thanks.  THis is a very easy patch that would add a lot to QoL

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4 hours ago, pumpkin98 said:

I'm opposed to making the entire game easy mode.  A task force should be more difficult than contact missions, and when a fully kitted out incarnate can solo a task force on a team of eight, then something is clearly broken.

 

The problem arises because of two polar opposite play styles.  On live, the TFs were designed to be played on the way up to 50, with min level and min team size requirements.  Now, many players farm to 50 and exempt to do the TFs.

 

The need is to have a game mechanic that allows both play styles to enjoy the TF while on the same team.  There's nothing worse than being a low level and slogging through a Synapse only to have the exemplared fully kitted brute solo the AV before the rest of the team can even get half way through the final mission, and yes, that has happened to me.

 

What I suggest is more TFs that require unique powers to complete like TV which has the radiation shield and core coolant.  BTW, make the rad damage higher in TV so that every player needs a shield.  Some players now can stand there and laugh at the rad and it shouldn't be that easy.  Also, make the shield generator a walk through so pets can get the shield.

 

For some AVs, give every team member a unique TF power, not just one person (Synapse), and require at least half of the team members use their TF power to defeat the AV.  This way the soloers can still solo, but can't hog the final fight on a team TF.

 

Some TFs could include missions where you lose all of your own powers and get a handful of powers specific that mission, something like those solo missions where that happens.

 

Another mechanic that could be added is an AV that can only be defeated after it delivers X amount of damage.  This wouldn't be the same as end drain, and would make the fight dynamic unique to that AV.

I don't think I've seen anyone propose making the TFs necessarily easier. Indeed, an issue is that older TFs right now are easy and only are 'difficult' by being long and testing the patience of a player through Defeat-Alls and having a lot of individual missions. Heck, my own proposal would even bump up difficulty by suggesting more EBs and AVs thrown in.

 

That said, making new and unique temp powers per the ATs we have for each TF for even the final AV(s) (hmm, maybe from Citadel onward the final 'AV' should instead be a GM rank in terms of strength?) for even just seven of the old TFs (Shard ones, Numina, Synapse, and Citadel) would mean needing 98 new powers be designed and programmed.

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19 hours ago, TygerDarkstorm said:

I had no idea the Clockwork King was a psychic brain in a jar thing!

I didn't think I was spoiling anything, sorry about that! But evidently the Clockwork King is weak enough that you can miss him even when you play through the TF.

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On 1/5/2021 at 10:11 PM, Zepp said:

My proposed solution:

Change most defeat-all missions into assassination missions where the target is randomly placed on the map.

Where possible, shift missions to one zone.

Replace hunts with Zone ambushes - go to waypoint to find target, when in proximity, you are met with 1-3 waves of ambushes.

Been considering this and thought about a small amendment. If this proposed solution occurs then it is likely a 10-20% reduction in merits is likely. To balance that out (and give play-style choice) I propose that Reward Merits (awarded to all team members) be added as a random drop. That means that if people choose to make every mission a kill all/kill most they will likely receive more merits to counterbalance the reduction in TF-end merits.


Archetype Concept Compilation -- Powerset Concept Compilations: Assault Melee

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The Great Archetype Concept Battle: Final Round

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Archetype Proposal Amalgamation

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On 1/3/2021 at 10:06 AM, Take One said:

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

 

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.

I always figured that Manticore's lore had him against the 5th Column, since it mentions that his parents were killed by Protean (who is depicted as working with the 5th Column.) Also, one of the missions could involve working with Swan (who's bio also mentions 5th Column.)

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1 hour ago, Fade said:

I didn't think I was spoiling anything, sorry about that! But evidently the Clockwork King is weak enough that you can miss him even when you play through the TF.

I'd also like to see the Clockwork King's model made slightly larger.  He's easy to miss even when you're right there.  Making him at least half again as large as he is now would help, I think.  And yes please give him some more hit points and more resistance so he doesn't go over like a wet sack of laundry.  Aiming for about a 1 minute to 1.5 minute fight would be good I think.

 

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, CursedSorcerer said:

I always figured that Manticore's lore had him against the 5th Column, since it mentions that his parents were killed by Protean (who is depicted as working with the 5th Column.) Also, one of the missions could involve working with Swan (who's bio also mentions 5th Column.)

I wouldn't mind putting him in charge of the Council TF, but Citadel also has history with the Council I believe, so I saw no good reason to move him. Citadel could of course take over the Freakshow TF, if Yin does the Clockwork, since he is a tech-based hero and the Freakshow ought to be of interest to him.

 

Edit: for some reason I conflated the 5th and the Council in my head. My mistake... but to be fair, Citadel's TF could be made more interesting with the addition of 5th Column.

Edited by Take One

Check out my stories in the Mission Architect. Just search for "@Take One" or "SFMA" to find all my stuff. Here are some enticing titles: The Murders In The RWZ Morgue, The Tangled Weave, Project Dragon, Fear And Loathing On Striga, The Warburg Connection, The War On Christmas, A Clockwork Romance, Is That A Club In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?, Evolve Or Die, A Taste For Evil, Et In Arcadia Ego, Faultline By Night, Arena, West Libertalia Born And Raised, The Doctor Returns. More to come...

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1 minute ago, Take One said:

if Yin does the Clockwork, since he is a tech-based hero and the Freakshow ought to be of interest to him.

I wouldn't mind seeing Yin take over the second half of that current Synapse TF, if that TF is broken into two halves.  Synapse can take the first half, which is based on him noticing that energy is being stolen around the city.  That part seems fitting.  Yin can preside over the fall of the Clockwork King, which seems fitting for her.

 

BaBs can have the current Yin TF, which involves pounding Freakshow.  That would be a good TF for him.

 

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1 hour ago, CursedSorcerer said:

I always figured that Manticore's lore had him against the 5th Column, since it mentions that his parents were killed by Protean (who is depicted as working with the 5th Column.) Also, one of the missions could involve working with Swan (who's bio also mentions 5th Column.)

Manticore's lore has him rich enough to provide you with a really good lawyer when Crey inevitably sues you for all the stuff you did on the TF.

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2 hours ago, gameboy1234 said:

I'd also like to see the Clockwork King's model made slightly larger.  He's easy to miss even when you're right there.  Making him at least half again as large as he is now would help, I think.  And yes please give him some more hit points and more resistance so he doesn't go over like a wet sack of laundry.  Aiming for about a 1 minute to 1.5 minute fight would be good I think.

 

I like this idea for any main boss. I don't know how many times I've ended a mission without realizing the boss was in that mob. If you have a main enemy to take down, make them distinct and unique.

 

I will say the Summer Blockbuster has some good villains on the coliseum side. Some of those guys stand out and make you feel like you're into it with supers. The minotaur, the mechs, God-Champion...that's all good stuff!

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Two Task Forces especially worth revamping

 

While I would like all of the old task forces revamped, some of them have a cool element that makes revamping them more worthwhile - a unique map, important storyline, etc.

 

Synapse - The final map and the clockwork king deserve a better TF

 

Ernesto Hess - the final map with the giant robot is great.  The rest of the TF could be better.

 

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Hess is ok so long as you know the missions labeled as kill all aren't actually kill all. So I guess, not so much ok 😄

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Posted (edited)

I tend to agree with many others in saying that some of the older TFs (Synapse, Citadel, Dr. Q to name a couple) could be "tightened up" a bit - less defeat-alls, reduce the zone-hopping a bit, less repeating the exact same mission 2 or 3 times in a row, etc. This would make for a few good "quick fixes". Any additional content - cutscenes, custom maps, etc. would be gravy.

Edited by OmegaOne

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There are IIRC many dropped threads in the lore and storyline of the older game concerning low level enemies.  Vague hints about relations between the Skulls and Family, between the Hellions and the Circle, that are never really picked up on.   I would create alternative TFs at the Positron and Synapse levels that involve these enemies and resolve these plotlines.   Maybe make them unlockables for runnig Shauna Stockwell and Eagle Eye, whose story line touches on the teased Skull/Family relationship but ends abruptly with no real resolution as well.  I would make these new TFs an alternative to the Positrons and Synapse, and have them represent an alternative path to the Freedom Phalanx accolade.  Give them to Back Alley Brawler, he needs love.  

 

Also....

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Heraclea said:

There are IIRC many dropped threads in the lore and storyline of the older game concerning low level enemies.  Vague hints about relations between the Skulls and Family, between the Hellions and the Circle, that are never really picked up on.   I would create alternative TFs at the Positron and Synapse levels that involve these enemies and resolve these plotlines.   Maybe make them unlockables for runnig Shauna Stockwell and Eagle Eye, whose story line touches on the teased Skull/Family relationship but ends abruptly with no real resolution as well.  I would make these new TFs an alternative to the Positrons and Synapse, and have them represent an alternative path to the Freedom Phalanx accolade.  Give them to Back Alley Brawler, he needs love.  

 

 

I think this would satisfy my desire to have the ability to run the TFs at any level.  Instead of scaling up the current TF, give us expansions to those TFs that use either upgraded versions of the mobs or show the evolution from one group to another.  I'd still like the min level req removed as well though.  Always frustrating when planning to run a quick Manti but those that are on from the SG don't have a toon high enough they want to work on.  Sure they can exempt something else, but the point is to be able to play the toon they want rather than a toon that is in range.

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I have a strong feeling the Skulls story was going to continue on in later updates but... Well, the game went under. The Eagle Eye storyarc ends with Veles escaping and Morana still at large, the New Praetorians arc has passing reference to them (plus Chernobog) all being free and as foes you can assign one of the New Praetorians to fight to deal with a mass outbreak of crime in Kings Row, implying there was something that happened in the interim.

 

As for the Hellions, could be interesting since I think the planned storyline with the CoT was that Dark Astoria both devastated their numbers (they were among the first souls Mot fed on, so meaning they could not be recovered at the end I think) and having a chance to stand up against a force of evil reminded them of their better days and cause a desire to redeem Oranbega and seek peace with the rest of the world. Either way, it'd mean Hellions would lose their main source of demonic artifacts and get a lot heroes sicced on them to retrieve what they have. There's also the fact that the Hellions are supposed to have a leader (in the Zig) but they've never made an appearance nor are even mentioned in any storyarcs surrounding the gang. Strangely though, the mission architect group description actually suggests the Hellions at least got their start through The Warriors.

 

After being given a good luck idol by Odysseus Hill, the leader of the Warriors, the fortunes of the two-bit gang known as the Hellions soared. Since then they have become obsessed with uncovering magical treasures, burning their storage sites to the ground, and selling the bulk to Hill but keeping the best and most powerful for themselves. These treasures have allowed them to hold the line and even gain some ground in the turf war for Perez Park with their rivals, the Skulls. It's likely the idol itself is the cause of their compulsion but their many raids on the Circle of Thorns have caused the mystics to suspect the work of an ancient demonic presence.

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45 minutes ago, Sakura Tenshi said:

The Eagle Eye storyarc ends with Veles escaping and Morana still at large

The new Redside Vahz arc connects to this tangentially.


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 Darker Deeds: Part Two. (Arc id 28536) Darker Deeds: Part Three. (Arc id 29252) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part One (Arc id 29891) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210)

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3 hours ago, Sakura Tenshi said:

There's also the fact that the Hellions are supposed to have a leader (in the Zig) but they've never made an appearance nor are even mentioned in any storyarcs surrounding the gang. Strangely though, the mission architect group description actually suggests the Hellions at least got their start through The Warriors.

According to the leaked Story Bible, their leader's name is Nick Pocker.

 

Though it also lists Hellions Lts and Bosses as having Dark powers, and the Skulls Lts and Bosses with psychic powers so anything in there was absolutely subject to change 😛


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On 1/6/2021 at 4:31 AM, Snarky said:

I suggest a "hot fix" on the Synapse.  Very easy.  No change, except one major one, easy to implement.

 

 

Do people think it would be good to do this in 2 phases - a quick fix for existing TFs to make them shorter, less repetitive, or otherwise better without major rework, followed by major rework?

 

If so, what proposals like Snarky's would be specific, simple changes to make the TF's dramatically better?

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I'm firmly against trying to 'scale' the TF missions to all levels. Much of the charm of low-level TFs is tackling them with level-appropriate powers. I see such requests as (stealth?) requests for more endgame content.

 

I'm not capable of determining what level of rework is "major" and what would be "less than major".

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22 hours ago, DougGraves said:

Ernesto Hess - the final map with the giant robot is great.  The rest of the TF could be better.

 

Hess doesn't need that much editing I don't think.  The trap in the first mission needs to be beefed up significantly.  Toss the scientist from the second mission into the first, and you can do away with the second entirely.  Add some objectives to the third and fourth missions to make them more dynamic instead of just "beat up this guy and click this blinky."  Beef up Burkholder to reduce the "the AV died before I even saw him" issue.

 

The part that really needs to be revamped is the radar stations.  While taking them out is a nice way to add to the idea that you're assaulting a major Council stronghold, the execution is dumb.  They send you back and forth across the map, and if you took Fly as your travel power or if you're a slow loader the mission is done before you even get in.  So here's my idea for a revamp: make them not instances.  Put the radar stations right out in the zone,  Cover them in turrets and Council.  Then, once you accept the mission "Take out the radar stations" you have to go click a blinky at each one, to shut down the radar station and collect whatever information is on there.  They're open world blinkies that can be done in any order, like getting those flowers for Marauder's girlfriend.  Long interrupt time, so you have to fight the turrets and Council at the base instead of just stealth-clicking.  Yes, it's possible that someone else in the zone will clear the base before you get there, but if the respawn time is short enough it shouldn't be much of a problem, especially since Striga isn't usually heavily populated.

 

That's just my idea for working with what's reasonably feasible;  the ideal revamp would remove all that "Burkholder's the only one who can pilot it" crap, you beat him up, take his robot, get a nice cutscene of you piloting the Mega Mech out of the volcano as it self-destructs behind you, and then, I dunno, drive it to Boomtown to fight the Council War Walker?  It would be nice to be able to drive it to Grandville to take potshots at Recluse's stupid tower (building Vigilante alignment points in the process) but I don't think it can swim.

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4 minutes ago, Eva Destruction said:

Toss the scientist from the second mission into the first, and you can do away with the second entirely.

Oh, and maybe change the scientist's powersets so she isn't the sadistic combination of high knockback energy blast and kinetics. My group's favorite is when she unexpectedly speed boosts you and then immediately loses sight of you when you zoom off.

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I agree with a lot thats been said:

 

Synapse needs to deal with CKs hatred of Blue Steel. I actually wrote up what this would look like as a TF, but i dont think i ever finished.

 

Citadel needs a few missions removed, and to make the rest more interesting. I dont even know what its supposed to be about! Don't we fight Citadel copies?

 

Hess, ITF : i wanna fight the giant robots!!!!!

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