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Techwright

Hazard Zones: what might revitalize these?

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Power creep, players with improved skills, faster outleveling of opponents...stuff happens, and over time I've noticed that many of the hazard zones are more that in name than in function.  Seemingly, players enter the zones only to deal with Giant Monsters and Arch opponents, or to fulfill some condition of a task force, or to fulfill some condition for a badge.

 

What ideas might you have for revitalizing these zones?  All reasonable ideas entertained, even if ultimately not feasible.  This isn't really a suggestions list, or I'd put this in that category.  This is pure brainstorming.  If somewhere down the road any discussion inspires the devs, that's fine, but not asking for formal suggestions.

 

One idea that crossed my mind was to change the level ranking of the hazard zone characters.  No longer would they be something like levels 7 to 12.  Instead, take a page from the Ritki invasion events and make the hazard zone residence always within range of the player.  So the lowest NPC would be green, while purples might exist as well.  This might make the hazard zones interesting to upper level players, and might create some interest for those entering the zone to accomplish other goals.  Taking on the Kraken in Perez Park, for example, would now mean to watch your back lest you get too close to a mob of Skulls or Vahz.  This might generate a bit more interest in the "go there, kill x of that" missions in the Numina task force, though it would likely be uneven with similar "go there, kill x of that" missions in none hazard zones where NPCs remain grayed out.

 

Your ideas?

Edited by Techwright
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I think Hazard zones should be max level, with a GM, and new arcs.

Just like they did with Dark Astoria, more end game content.

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Goal: "strategic" content (more strategic-seeming than actually having much grand strategy to it)

  • Small zone populations; you can bring your friends but not much in the way of wandering help.
  • No traditional enemy respawns.  Instead there would be a mechanism for neighborhoods to fall.
  • Level is capped at the maximum level of the zone.
  • Each neighborhood has something you can do to unlock enemies on the map in that neighborhood, to help you track them down (defeat X number of enemies in the area, click on a plaque, etc).
  • Each neighborhood you clear gives you completion bonuses (XP, Inf, merits). Whenever you return to the zone, whatever neighborhoods you cleared previously are still empty, unless they've been retaken by the enemy.

Many specifics are up in the air, and that means they can be determined on a per-zone basis.  For example, Kicking the Hellions out of a sector of Perez Park may set it up for a rise in Skull power in the region, and they take over the sector with increased numbers.  If left to stand for a while, the reinforcements will be recalled and a standard Skulls presence will be left... 

Another example: Devouring Earth have several "Breaches" used to enter Crey's Folly.  Locating them and clearing those regions helps cut off the rest of the zone from DE reinforcements.  Target those sectors first if you would like lasting peace.  

 

This could help provide an interesting and different way to level a lot of characters, like those you would envision as either fully-existing on the front lines or having spent time there, without depriving them of the "modern" expectations of getting levels and cash (courtesy of minor passive merit gain).

 

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48 minutes ago, Techwright said:

Power creep, players with improved skills, faster outleveling of opponents...stuff happens, and over time I've noticed that many of the hazard zones are more that in name than in function.  Seemingly, players enter the zones only to deal with Giant Monsters and Arch opponents, or to fulfill some condition of a task force, or to fulfill some condition for a badge.

 


That Hazard Zones were ghost towns was true on Live long before the Snap.

And folks busily redesigning need to remember - there's tons of mission doors in all of them.

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1 hour ago, Doc_Scorpion said:


And folks busily redesigning need to remember - there's tons of mission doors in all of them.

Which is why I'm saying this is brainstorming.  Feasibility (whether an idea would work with mission doors around) would come later.  Sometimes getting a brainstorming idea out there, will be the start of an idea that does work in a feasible way, but would never be considered if it wasn't out there first. 

 

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I still think part of the future of the game has to be wholesale use of the best AE story Arcs incorporated into new content (with merits, etc...)  Rather than re-inventing the wheel why not promote a AE contest for designing content for these zones?

 

Granted.  I still have not run every Blueside Arc and very few of the Ward arcs.  So adding content to Hazard Zones might not affect my life (or most players...) all that much.  By and large we seem to be content to (at least as a bio-mass) run the same content constantly.  The weekly TF rewards were brilliant.  Gets people out of the front yard so to speak.

 

Maybe if there were good rewards for running content your character has not run recently....  "Run a story arc you have not run in a month, get double merits" "Run a story arc you have not run in 3 months ...triple merits...." Then having more content in more zones would start to be valuable.  But you can build a super highway through Death Valley.  Not necessarily going to increase the traffic.

 

 

 

 

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I love hazard zones and haven't found a need to change them one bit. Great places to street sweep and appreciate the level of effort the OG devs put in to making them. 

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7 hours ago, Glacier Peak said:

I love hazard zones and haven't found a need to change them one bit. Great places to street sweep and appreciate the level of effort the OG devs put in to making them. 

Crey's Folly is one of the most interesting zones in terms of its layout - the grimy, industrial feel mixed with the shanty town was quite unique. 

 

Apart from beating up Jurassik, there's just not much reason to go there. 

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As maps, the Hazard Zones are great.

The Faultline story arc is also great, and a good reason to visit there. Striga and Croatoa also have good enough arcs to take a character or team through them.

 

But the other hazard zones other than RWZ are missing good story arcs to attract play. They are also, pretty much all of them, missing a reason to go there when you're not the right level for the story arcs (again, outside of RWZ). A stronger support presence is needed in most of them to make it more comfortable to be in the zone for a longer time, and then more door missions located in them.

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My entire concern with using AE story arcs is the entire TF requirement of them. IF the Devs can figure out how to not require you to need a team for an entire 5 mission arc, but just allow you to invite teammates to finish that one mission with the EB or AV level mob in it. Most of the Dev choice arcs are perfectly soloable until you get to the AV at the end.

 

If you could take that one mission to a mission door in a hazard zone and allow team invites to help that would be sweet, and make ae arcs a refreshing change.

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7 minutes ago, KC4800 said:

My entire concern with using AE story arcs is the entire TF requirement of them. IF the Devs can figure out how to not require you to need a team for an entire 5 mission arc, but just allow you to invite teammates to finish that one mission with the EB or AV level mob in it. Most of the Dev choice arcs are perfectly soloable until you get to the AV at the end.

 

If you could take that one mission to a mission door in a hazard zone and allow team invites to help that would be sweet, and make ae arcs a refreshing change.

This was my thinking.  Morph the AE TF into story arcs with a contact.  Slap the contacts in the underutilized Hazard Zones, the doors sprinkled around the zone.  Then people could solo the content, or take a team and all get same mission for merits.  Or if you solo and get stuck on the AV, ask in LFG for some one mission muscle.

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I know probably beyond scope with the current state of development but personally I'd like to see hazard zones all get the incarnate treatment.  Not removing the current levels or missions, however, adding incarnate contacts and incarnate level mobs would be a nice addition.  Granted I wouldn't want incarnate level mobs roaming the streets in say Perez Park but on the other hand it certainly would make the zones "hazardous" again.  Dark Astoria is OK but I would like more places and missions to do once I've got that character nice and T4.  Also, if they ever actually expand the incarnate powers these hazards zones could be a method for unlock.

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18 hours ago, Glacier Peak said:

I love hazard zones and haven't found a need to change them one bit. Great places to street sweep and appreciate the level of effort the OG devs put in to making them. 

Do you continue to street sweep after all NPCs turn gray?  I actually do that in Perez to get the Skulls badges, but I find it terribly boring without a threat.  

11 hours ago, Gulbasaur said:

Crey's Folly is one of the most interesting zones in terms of its layout - the grimy, industrial feel mixed with the shanty town was quite unique. 

 

Apart from beating up Jurassik, there's just not much reason to go there. 

I keep looking at Crey's Folly and the Freaks town there, and keep thinking it needs the "Hogger" treatment (referencing a popular WoW opponent).  That is, a high-level, high-value street target with better drops that you have to fight your way through hordes to get to.  Freaks work because they have flyers and endurance drainers, effectively neutralizing using an airborne "I win" button.

Edited by Techwright
added line "with better drops"
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The best Hazard Zones and Trial Zones have story arcs, TFs, or Trials, in addition to the usual large spawns and interesting environments. The lesser ones (Perez, Boomtown, Crey's Folly) only have a giant monster or two.

 

I'd like to see Perez, Boom, and Crey's stay at their current level ranges and get zone-specific TFs/arcs in the style of the Hess and Yin TFs (not too many missions, all in the same zone) or the Hollows/Faultline/Striga arcs. That's a very achievable goal: it doesn't require changes to existing zones beyond adding some new NPCs.

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10 minutes ago, Techwright said:

Do you continue to street sweep after all NPCs turn gray?  I actually do that in Perez to get the Skulls badges, but I find it terribly boring without a threat.  

I keep looking at Crey's Folly and the Freaks town there, and keep thinking it needs the "Hogger" treatment (referencing a popular WoW opponent).  That is, a high-level, high-value street target that you have to fight your way through hordes to get to.  Freaks work because they have flyers and endurance drainers, effectively neutralizing using an airborne "I win" button.

Yeah mostly for badges, however, I am in the process of creating a dedicated street sweeper to use for leveling other characters.

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15 hours ago, The_Warpact said:

I think Hazard zones should be max level, with a GM, and new arcs.

Just like they did with Dark Astoria, more end game content.

Specifically make more of the zones like DA in that you can street sweep at 50+3 and I would absolutely use them.

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Just now, arcaneholocaust said:

Specifically make more of the zones like DA in that you can street sweep at 50+3 and I would absolutely use them.

Agreed, one of the most appealing things of being a hero is the eradication of villains on a community level.

 

It's great saving the world, getting the parades, recognition from other heroes, medals from the President, etc but, there's something really satisfying about saving the little old lady from getting mugged by Hellions, or a young woman about to be sacrificed in some back alley by CoT.

 

Sometimes a heartfelt thank you is more than enough to push you to do better.

At least that's how I view street sweeping.

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My first suggestion would be to remove the double debt penalty for street sweeping deaths.  

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For me, I have fond memories of taking my first fire/fire tank at level 36-37 into Crey's Folly and burning freaks up to level 39, when I noticed the xp wasn't rolling in as fast because I'd outleveled them. 

It was fast. I was solo, just burning them up, and I didn't have to spend time checking in with a contact, traveling to a mission, etc. ITF didn't exist back then. lol, a lot of the game didn't exist back then. 

When HC opened up, I set about to revisit this, and I discover the Super Stunner. This is an npc that I believe was implemented before shut down to combat the very thing I was doing. Leveling efficiently without help from others. The darn thing would drain my end a bit, and place that patch on my burn patch..and instead of things being easy, it was something I had to pay attention to. So..I found something else to do. 

Players are like water for the most part. Mostly going in the path of least resistance. This is why hazard zones are largely ignored, imo. 
(yes, there are players that seek out challenges and difficult content, but I think these players are fairly rare)

So...the only way I can think of making hazard zones more populated would be to increase the rewards for the mobs within them. 

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15 hours ago, Replacement said:

Level is capped at the maximum level of the zone.

This is a good one. Kind of like the hazard zones sidekicking you.

I can't remember the contact range for sure, but this would probably assure that higher level characters could go to the zone and run the arcs .... and those with z2xp not outleveling them even if they would due to the x2XP

 

To some extent, this  can be achieved by lower level characters running hazard zone content recruiting to fill teams.

 

It is a shame that some instances that you need to lock your XP progression not to outlevel a zone.

This kind of mechanic would resolve that situation as well.

 

6 minutes ago, Heraclea said:

My first suggestion would be to remove the double debt penalty for street sweeping deaths.  

Didn't know it was double-debt for street deaths!?

 

15 hours ago, Replacement said:

Each neighborhood you clear gives you completion bonuses (XP, Inf, merits). Whenever you return to the zone, whatever neighborhoods you cleared previously are still empty, unless they've been retaken by the enemy.

? So they are gone for you, but everyone else sees them?

What happens if you are on a team?

This one doesn't seem really do-able or complicated to program for sure.

 

---

Most of the missions can run through the Ouroboros, but I would rather run the missions in the zones versus "travel back in time" to experience hazard zone content.

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Create Open  Missions with rewards or mobs that drop salvage you need to create a buff that helps on harder content. Rather than seeing an NPC who gives you flavor text, you go to the Brickstown prison break and get a Tear Gas Grenade Launcher with a Special anti-CoT Tree Vines formula that kills them on contact. You make an open mission with Jurassik in Crey's that gives a buff that makes you mostly immune to toxic damage for 90 minutes of real time that you can do once a day before you do a hamidon raid or a Numina TF.

 

Give players a reason to do open missions in hazard zones. Improve the Seed of Hamidon's rewards and make it so the Buoyancy team flight buff makes you immune to the terrorizes and stuns for hamidon raids.

 

Gives a reason to do things that tie to other content! 

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7 minutes ago, UltraAlt said:

Didn't know it was double-debt for street deaths!?

Well...mathematically, it's true, but it's defeats within a mission map are half debt. 

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What I did just yesterday:

 

Took my lvl 50 Incarnate Fire tank, went to Ouro and chose the Freakolympics arc. That automatically reduced my lvl to 29. Then I went into Echo:Dark Astoria to the trenches around the temple where Adamastor spawns. There is an exploration badge down there, and I got to melt some lvl 29 BP spawns. Where there's a will, there's a way.

 

You don't get purple recipes to drop, but you do get a lot of incarnate stuff.  Ran around a zone section I don't typically see, and autoexemping made the spawns relevant.

 

After that I only managed to do the first mission of Freakolympics, but that was still beaucoup Freaks.

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25 minutes ago, UltraAlt said:

So they are gone for you, but everyone else sees them?

What happens if you are on a team?

This one doesn't seem really do-able or complicated to program for sure.

As always, a team experiences the leader's world.

 

I was essentially thinking it would be a hidden badge on your character that says "you cleared x neighborhood in the past 24 hours" which determines which version of the map you load into (hence the low population caps).

 

But to add to this, it would be superficial since there's supposed to always be a chance something else will trigger and see you return to an already-fallen neighborhood. At this point, your hidden badge is revoked and you can clear that region again.

 

The overall goal, however implemented, is to provide a sense of persistence, but balance that with the MMO need to see things roll over and reset.

 

My ideal private server (like truly private) would be to play the entire game level locked to each zone with all respawns disabled, and get to work cleaning up the streets. That's not really an option, but I'm shooting for something that provides some of the same sensation.

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