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Hazard Zones: what might revitalize these?

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I think the hazard zone that is the biggest waste is Boomtown. It's too low level to serve anyone (11-19). You mostly only go there for the occasional door mission. What I think would be cool is if:

  • Your character is below level 50, the map is unchanged.
  • At level 50, same map, but there are new mobs and a storyline in which the heroes can "save" Baumton. The villain faction is like an evil version of Ouroboros. If any players are successful, a pre-war version of Baumton is now where Boomtown used to be. No mobs, just a peaceful town.
  • Players who successfully save Baumton can return to Boomtown via ECHO:Boomtown transporters or through Ouroboros. Also, if on a team or taskforce ,the player is sent back to Boomtown.

 

In this way, it feels like your character has actually saved or tangibly changed Paragon City.

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3 minutes ago, Replacement said:

The other thing you re

minded me about is something far more near-term: some sort of "hazard zone of the week" type event to accompany our weekly S/TFs.  I don't know what that would entail. Extra spawns and badges?

 

I have no idea, just throwing stuff out.

The weekly TF is very popular (from what I can tell)  You may be on to something here.  Like, each week one zone red, one blue, one co-op, one hazard (or maybe a grab bag of the above, not too many) offering extra experience merits and other rewards that are quantifiable and desirable.  

 

This would build on the smart gaming dev trend of concentrating on line players into certain activities to build momentum and enhance the MMORPG experience.  It would utilize under utilized things like whole zone story lines that largely get left on the side roads while everyone does the highways of TF and Trials.

 

I am just spitballing here.  (as usual) but maybe for that week have the contacts re-open to anyone of the appropriate alignment, and as you accept the missions auto-exempt to contacts max level!  Then you can do full story arcs that are not available in Ouro live, inviting anyone to join you to get increased rewards in the zone.

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4 minutes ago, Snarky said:

I am just spitballing here.  (as usual) but maybe for that week have the contacts re-open to anyone of the appropriate alignment, and as you accept the missions auto-exempt to contacts max level!  Then you can do full story arcs that are not available in Ouro live, inviting anyone to join you to get increased rewards in the zone.

Oh that's an interesting notion.  We don't need to level cap the whole zone - just the people running the associated arcs.

 

Of course, many of these zones would need at least one dedicated arc for that, but it's certainly a start.

In fact... other than The Hollows (and with Faultline not really being a hazard zone "anymore"), I don't think any other hazard zones have stories in them?  Just some arcs that send you there for a mission or 2?

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2 minutes ago, Replacement said:

Of course, many of these zones would need at least one dedicated arc for that, but it's certainly a start.

In fact... other than The Hollows (and with Faultline not really being a hazard zone "anymore"), I don't think any other hazard zones have stories in them?  Just some arcs that send you there for a mission or 2?

Yeah, I think this is where the topic started lol.  The Hazards tell backstory, provide landscape to the drama, but actually...not much going on in them.

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5 hours ago, Ukase said:

I like the idea of tying things to other content. The buffs, though, I'm on the fence about the strength of them. Candidly, players that use IO sets simply won't need them. I don't know the percentage of players that use IO sets...but I'd guess more than half. Granted, just because folks use sets doesn't mean their characters are slotted well (not necessarily min-max, but with various metrics like recharge and defense in mind). 

Obviously, opinions will vary on this, but that's just mine. 

I understand not needing it when player power levels are where they are. I just hate that the Seed of Hamidon is a great-feeling open mission and it's rarely attempted on my server.


Improve Hamidon Enhancements! Add Recharge to Ribosomes. Add Recharge or endurance modification to Golgis (or both!). Interrupt reduction to Centrioles, slows to Lysosomes and Enzymes, recharge to endoplasms and endurance reductions to peroxisomes.

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10 minutes ago, Snarky said:

Yeah, I think this is where the topic started lol.  The Hazards tell backstory, provide landscape to the drama, but actually...not much going on in them.

I've seen a lot of reports that new maps is the most expensive part of video game design.

 

I gotta be honest: when I read stuff like "oh we built entire zones just for story backdrop" I think "no wonder this game and its studio went extinct."

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1 minute ago, Replacement said:

I've seen a lot of reports that new maps is the most expensive part of video game design.

 

I gotta be honest: when I read stuff like "oh we built entire zones just for story backdrop" I think "no wonder this game and its studio went extinct."

And we still love it.  Having the hazard zone Boomtown in the Synapse is a PITA.  But man doesnt it make the experience more real than crossing the street to another storefront and going in there to beat down Big Bertha?  We have an epic backdrop. Great painting are 90% stuff that hardly matters and a few key details that say it all.  But the 90% has to be there.

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17 minutes ago, Snarky said:

And we still love it.  Having the hazard zone Boomtown in the Synapse is a PITA.  But man doesnt it make the experience more real than crossing the street to another storefront and going in there to beat down Big Bertha?  We have an epic backdrop. Great painting are 90% stuff that hardly matters and a few key details that say it all.  But the 90% has to be there.

Sure but... let's not use that as a reason to do nothing with these zones. 😛

 

I think we'd settle for 80% useless instead of 90%.

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59 minutes ago, Replacement said:

Yeah, some of what you're saying here is why I like the idea of some meta objective or reward.

 

I should note, some sense of achievement is a reward, for the reason many of us save the old lady getting mugged still.

 

Street-sweeping is not, in itself, an incentive. There needs to be more. I suggest regular rewards of single merits and a bit of a story pat on the back, but really anything telling a player "you did a thing!" is a good start.

 

The other thing you reminded me about is something far more near-term: some sort of "hazard zone of the week" type event to accompany our weekly S/TFs.  I don't know what that would entail. Extra spawns and badges?

 

I have no idea, just throwing stuff out.

If we're actually discussing realistic changes that would happen sooner than later on a limited volunteer platform, this is the way to go.

 

Theory crafting about how a refresh a la faultline or astoria is great...

 

But if we want to propose a real change that would have a very measureable improvement, is achievable in a shorter amount of time, this is it.

 

Hazard raids on rotating weekly timers with alert

Ambushes and patrols

Forced GM spawns on quick timers

Increased mob spawns

a short new story arc

Merit rewards

 

No real big changes to maps, mechanics or graphics. Leverage existing assets and create a rotating event. Small investment of a single story arc or repeating missions, rewards for "street sweeping", GMs causing havoc, ambushes and patrols.

 

Basically, an overrun mayhem zone that throws everything at you.

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22 minutes ago, SwitchFade said:

If we're actually discussing realistic changes that would happen sooner than later on a limited volunteer platform, this is the way to go.

 

Theory crafting about how a refresh a la faultline or astoria is great...

 

But if we want to propose a real change that would have a very measureable improvement, is achievable in a shorter amount of time, this is it.

 

Hazard raids on rotating weekly timers with alert

Ambushes and patrols

Forced GM spawns on quick timers

Increased mob spawns

a short new story arc

Merit rewards

 

No real big changes to maps, mechanics or graphics. Leverage existing assets and create a rotating event. Small investment of a single story arc or repeating missions, rewards for "street sweeping", GMs causing havoc, ambushes and patrols.

 

Basically, an overrun mayhem zone that throws everything at you.

What if there was only one way in and an enemy force overwhelmed the door and the next zone had an open mission you to beat to get in? You could even be droned but they’d be inside the gate. Besting a final challenge unlocked the drone codes. 


Improve Hamidon Enhancements! Add Recharge to Ribosomes. Add Recharge or endurance modification to Golgis (or both!). Interrupt reduction to Centrioles, slows to Lysosomes and Enzymes, recharge to endoplasms and endurance reductions to peroxisomes.

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I got a few enemy groups I can think of to have added to Hazard Zones when you hit level 50:

 

In the Hollows: Mutated Destroyers and Super Trolls Duking it out for control, Praetorian Devouring Earth, Unified People's Army (UPA), Longbow Defense Force (those Imperial Defense Troopers loyal to Provost Marchand join forces with Longbow), Vanguard Special Forces (several D.U.S.T. troopers still loyal to Marchand augment Vanguard), Paragon Police Warden Division (made up of Former Warden Resistance Commandos, Forlorn Troopers now equipped with Primal Gear, and Several Deputized Carnival of Light members, as well as former T.E.S.T. personnel), Unified Tsoo Syndicate Forces (Several Syndicate escape from Praetoria and join up with the Tsoo), Carnival of Vengeance, Black Knights.

 

In Perez Park: Banished Pantheon with Ravagers and other dark beings, Rulu-Shin, Combination of Infested Nemesis, Paragon Police, Vahzilok, Ghouls, and Hydra, Combination of Apparitions and Ghosts (After a new vortex opens up in the sky of Perez Park), Arachnos, Family Mooks, Syndicate

 

In Boomtown: Unified People's Army, Family Mooks, Devouring Earth (both Primal and Praetorian), Talons of Vengeance, Awakened, Hamidon Infested Outcasts and Skulls...

 

I can think of more, but I'm sure you get the idea 🙂

Edited by Panthonca7034
Left out some groups

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On 2/19/2021 at 4:46 PM, Rejolt said:

What if there was only one way in and an enemy force overwhelmed the door and the next zone had an open mission you to beat to get in? You could even be droned but they’d be inside the gate. Besting a final challenge unlocked the drone codes. 

The merit rewards would really need to be worth it after you do the zone events, for most to even consider it over some of the other activities that currently can award high amounts of merits.

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On 2/18/2021 at 9:16 AM, UltraAlt said:

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

Building on this, I think it could make sense to simply also manual exemplar to any level within the range of the zone you are currently in (hazard or not). I could see hazard zones becoming a lot more fun by allowing this - and this should be quite low effort to implement. In the olden days, I seem to remember the hazard zones were popular enough that the devs wanted to discourage players from staying in there too long, and there was an XP penalty if you farmed the same mobs for maybe an hour. This probably still exists but no one ever farms this way in hazard zones anymore. Maybe allowing exemplar down would bring it back a bit. It's far too easy to just pass the level where it's might have been fun to go to Perez park, or whatever, but being able to go back when you're level 40 and see them as red or purple might actually be pretty fun.

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6 hours ago, dynafire said:

simply also manual exemplar to any level within

I think it would be easier mechanically to level down a player to the hazard zone versus leveling up an entire zone to a player.

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2 hours ago, UltraAlt said:

I think it would be easier mechanically to level down a player to the hazard zone versus leveling up an entire zone to a player.

Isn't that what I said? Sidekick brings up player level, exemp brings down player level, so how could I mean otherwise? But I think it should be optional, just like setting notoriety, except that the setting is specific to a zone and resets when changing zones.

Edited by dynafire
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Purple patch monsters (or whatever allows the Halloween like creatures to be fought across different levels).

 

Random patrols and regular routes.  

 

Hazards? Include flyers. Bigger mobs.  Faction vs faction like PVP zones had (have? Sirens Call had these, woe unto those who pulled that aggro unexpectedly).  Increase critter perception by 20% or more.  If a mob is attacked and not defeated in X time, give a 200’ radius buff to Per (or whatever helps awareness).  In the way-back era, I recall Knives of Artemis (?) seemed to have long range perception that allowed them to attack, not just shoot like the Nemesis snipers.

 

Rando. Buffs to mods by day/encounter/something.  Could be the group, individual, whatever.  Maybe remove a weakness, buff a strength, or give a new twist.

 

Not yet another individual monster.  Stop the onslaught of Group Y vs that Place for 10 minutes, or hold the line so none shall pass, etc.  

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On 2/21/2021 at 1:24 PM, dynafire said:

Isn't that what I said? Sidekick brings up player level, exemp brings down player level, so how could I mean otherwise? But I think it should be optional, just like setting notoriety, except that the setting is specific to a zone and resets when changing zones.

I used the wrong wording apparently and maybe should have thought it through a bit more as I have a more detailed take on it.

I didn't intend to imply that a level 1 that goes into a Hazard Zone should suddenly be the level of the Hazard Zone while they are in there.

 

Current rewriting::

While in a Hazard Zone, Team lead/Solo player would be ::

1) their level if below the Hazard Zone level cap

2) capped to the highest level able to get missions in the Hazard Zone

3) possibly capped to the highest level of the contact for a mission arc in a Hazard Zone if they have a related mission selected ... so they don't out level it.

 

I think if they change it that it would be "always on".

I think it would be a headache to make it a character based switch that could be turned on and off by a player - which would allow a player to suddenly make content easier by turning it off <--- which seem to me to be a foreseeable exploit.

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19 minutes ago, UltraAlt said:

I used the wrong wording apparently and maybe should have thought it through a bit more as I have a more detailed take on it.

I didn't intend to imply that a level 1 that goes into a Hazard Zone should suddenly be the level of the Hazard Zone while they are in there.

 

Current rewriting::

While in a Hazard Zone, Team lead/Solo player would be ::

1) their level if below the Hazard Zone level cap

2) capped to the highest level able to get missions in the Hazard Zone

3) possibly capped to the highest level of the contact for a mission arc in a Hazard Zone if they have a related mission selected ... so they don't out level it.

 

I think if they change it that it would be "always on".

I think it would be a headache to make it a character based switch that could be turned on and off by a player - which would allow a player to suddenly make content easier by turning it off <--- which seem to me to be a foreseeable exploit.

Thanks for expanding on your point.  However, I still think it would be preferable to make it user selectable.  A few reasons:

 

1) Someone mentioned farming low lvl hazard zones for badges.  I can imagine people still do this, and if this is an actual use for the hazard zones, the last thing we need is to take this away so that they become even more dead.  Plus it was kind of cool back in the day to occasionally see a high level player come by and help you when you were otherwise going to die a grisly death.
2) Maybe I don't want to be capped to the hazard zone level cap, because maybe I want to fight all purples along with my teammates/etc.  Missions being an easy source of purple mobs are probably the reason they are the most common xp grind method now, whereas hazards were once great for this purpose.

 

It should be easy to make it a switch, just like the ability to set notoriety.  As for the ability to exploit, it's not much different from the fact that you can exemp and sidekick simply by joining a team, and un-exemp/un-sidekick simply by quitting the team.  To make it less prone to exploit, you could just disable switching it while in combat, and maybe it's a 5s "activation period" while you change, or you can only change while using the "rest" power  You don't really see people attempting to exploit the exemp/sidekick behavior because it's so easy to get xp/rewards in a normal fashion, it's not even worth the effort to exploit, so I don't see this as a big problem either.

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I've seen several hints at another idea I also like, or maybe I'm just reading in to it.  A couple MMOs have implemented dynamic events, I'm thinking of Guild Wars 2 in particular (though I also have seen it in FFXIV and I'm sure there's many others). I think that was one of the cooler unique elements to that game.  I guess we do have a couple things a little similar in CoH, like the Rikti Invasions, and the zombies.  Maybe this system can be evolved a bit more, with a look at how some other games implement them.  As it is now, the rikti invasions and zombies feel like what they are, repeats of one time events that weren't necessarily ever intended to be a cohesive and permanent system.  But there's some potential there.

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7 minutes ago, dynafire said:

1) Someone mentioned farming low lvl hazard zones for badges.  I can imagine people still do this, and if this is an actual use for the hazard zones, the last thing we need is to take this away so that they become even more dead.  Plus it was kind of cool back in the day to occasionally see a high level player come by and help you when you were otherwise going to die a grisly death.

My method in no way impedes badge hunting.

Would it be as "safe" to farm for badges in a "hazard" zone? 

My question is :: Why should it be safe to farm for badges in a hazard zone?

 

Always cool to have someone fly down and help out. This doesn't stop anyone from doing that ... they will still have more powers than characters that aren't leveled down to the zone.

 

11 minutes ago, dynafire said:

2) Maybe I don't want to be capped to the hazard zone level cap, because maybe I want to fight all purples along with my teammates/etc.  Missions being an easy source of purple mobs are probably the reason they are the most common xp grind method now, whereas hazards were once great for this purpose.

Make the lower level character team lead and that is solved.

 

Could also make hazard zones scale to team leads notoriety like a door mission.

 

14 minutes ago, dynafire said:

You don't really see people attempting to exploit the exemp/sidekick behavior because it's so easy to get xp/rewards in a normal fashion, it's not even worth the effort to exploit, so I don't see this as a big problem either.

I haven't seen this on Homecoming, but I did see it on live.

Say a level 20-30 AV/EB mission. Level 50 on the team leaves the team, is now level 50, is still in the mission, and beats down the level 20-30 AV/EB by themselves with their level 50 powers.

I don't intend that to give anyone ideas, but it happened, it is an exploit, I'm not sure if it was fixed, and, if development can avoid it, making more situations where this kind of thing can occur should be eliminated.

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12 hours ago, dynafire said:

I've seen several hints at another idea I also like, or maybe I'm just reading in to it.  A couple MMOs have implemented dynamic events, I'm thinking of Guild Wars 2 in particular (though I also have seen it in FFXIV and I'm sure there's many others). I think that was one of the cooler unique elements to that game.  I guess we do have a couple things a little similar in CoH, like the Rikti Invasions, and the zombies.  Maybe this system can be evolved a bit more, with a look at how some other games implement them.  As it is now, the rikti invasions and zombies feel like what they are, repeats of one time events that weren't necessarily ever intended to be a cohesive and permanent system.  But there's some potential there.

How would a GW2 dynamic event play out? I have never played it and have no reference point.  Some of your description reminded me of the Fifth Column / Council war which played out in the streets for a short while, before the Council dominated.  

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10 hours ago, Techwright said:

How would a GW2 dynamic event play out? I have never played it and have no reference point.  Some of your description reminded me of the Fifth Column / Council war which played out in the streets for a short while, before the Council dominated.  

This sounds pretty similar.  I didn't play GW2 enough to really get all the dynamics, though it is documented here: https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Dynamic_event
 

The first paragraph is a great summary:
 

Quote

Dynamic events are cyclical in nature and the events are generally chained together. Events do not necessarily follow a fixed schedule, and may only trigger if certain conditions are met - for example, if a snow storm strikes an area, or if night falls on a graveyard. Many events are triggered by the presence of a player entering their immediate areas. Once an event has triggered, it will continue to progress whether or not players participate in that event. Although the repetitive nature of events means that consequences are ultimately temporary, the state of some events can persist for days, or until the next server reset or update, unless a player comes along and does something to progress the event or chain of events.[1] Each event has an NPC associated with it with whom the player can talk to learn more about the story and lore behind the event.

 


And yes, the Fifth Column/Council war you described seems like it would have some similarities.  In the GW2 system, maybe the Fifth Column would make another attempt.  Or maybe players could defeat the Council in certain neighborhoods, and the Fifth Column would take over after the players left.  And then there would be a fight again.  Or I also remember in GW2, sometimes you would clear out an enemy camp, and then some friendly NPCs would spawn after that event was concluded (say maybe some PPD show up).  They would guard the location for a while, but then some enemies would come.  And if no players were around to support, then the enemies would win.

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Thinking about what all I've read here, level capping people in zone feels like trying to get a square pegs through a round hole.  Just drop in a couple of contacts with actual arcs related to the zone for level-appropriate players, that's really all you need.  You can go bigger with TFs too, if you want to get adventurous, which is basically the same thing, just with merits at the end (think Kalisti Wharf with Market Crash).


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Quote

My method in no way impedes badge hunting.

Would it be as "safe" to farm for badges in a "hazard" zone? 

My question is :: Why should it be safe to farm for badges in a hazard zone?

Yes, you're right, I suppose fighting even con mobs for badges is actually still quite easy.  Maybe it's even more fun.  It's probably even still safe, just less fast.  Then again, badges should be earned, I suppose, so a little more effort probably would be not a big deal.

 

Quote

Make the lower level character team lead and that is solved.

This is not the solution to the problem I want to solve.  If a lower level char is the team lead, they will still rise to the level cap in a very short period of time, and hence make it time to leave the hazard zone, hence defeating the goal of revitalizing the hazard zones by making it attractive to spend more time in them.  Yes, you could maybe have the team lead disable xp, but that's still not a solution.  The goal is for everyone, team leader and the entire team, get great xp.

 

I seem to recall the principle behind the hazard zones was - greater risk, greater reward.  Well, they don't provide greater reward anymore, and they don't feel particularly risky - I'm not sure why but maybe because we level up so fast.  What I'm looking for is a way to bring them back to greater risk, greater reward.  I think being able to set it such that you see permanent +4s (or higher), and also perhaps maybe making spawns even bigger and more dense, might do the trick.

 

Quote

I haven't seen this on Homecoming, but I did see it on live.

Say a level 20-30 AV/EB mission. Level 50 on the team leaves the team, is now level 50, is still in the mission, and beats down the level 20-30 AV/EB by themselves with their level 50 powers.

I don't intend that to give anyone ideas, but it happened, it is an exploit, I'm not sure if it was fixed, and, if development can avoid it, making more situations where this kind of thing can occur should be eliminated.

This is kind of my point (HC vs live), you don't see these kinds of things on Homecoming because XP/inf/merits/incarnate stuff is basically quite easy to acquire, so it's not worth the effort to do anything that's slightly exploitative or abusive.  Live was different, without double xp, AE probably(?) not as rewarding, markets that automatically transform enhancements from any level to any level and even attune them for you, etc - you had more incentive to try to take shortcuts.  But also as I said, it's fairly easily avoided by enforcing either a 5s delay after changing, being unable to change while in combat, or only allowing change while in a rest state, or only allowing change at some NPC at the entry to the zone, or any other similar fairly easy adjustments.  It's more of a question of which is better big picture.  I still would argue for making it an opt-in, and more particularly being able to set your level below the level cap so you can see +4s (or higher).

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15 minutes ago, Clave Dark 5 said:

Thinking about what all I've read here, level capping people in zone feels like trying to get a square pegs through a round hole.  Just drop in a couple of contacts with actual arcs related to the zone for level-appropriate players, that's really all you need.  You can go bigger with TFs too, if you want to get adventurous, which is basically the same thing, just with merits at the end (think Kalisti Wharf with Market Crash).

Adding content (arcs, TFs) is a lot of effort.  Adding a level cap would be a much smaller amount of effort - and for the sake of argument; assuming it is an improvement, would improve all hazard zones with one change.  Think of how much content we've had added vs code changes, and we can guess the HC team is much more developer heavy vs content creators.

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