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A note on Rune of Protection changes


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33 minutes ago, Luminara said:


Cryptic and Paragon freely ignored fundamental concepts of their own design whenever they felt like it, but never, and we have the patch notes proving this, thought far enough ahead to fully appreciate the ramifications of every change they made.

 

They gave status effects to multiple critters, to lowly minions, with the intent that everyone would have to pay something, in some way, to deal with it.  Tankers and scrappers would have to use their status protection toggles instead of their Defense/Resistance toggles, blasters would have to obliterate the mezzers as quickly as possible, controllers and defenders would have to lock down the mezzers immediately.  And then... they just abandoned that plan.  They changed part of their design, and disregarded the impact on the unchanged parts.  Animation times, to make an example, weren't a balance factor at that time, so the fact that defenders, controllers and corruptors (i'd include masterminds here, but henches can be viewed as extreme damage toggles that don't drop when the character is mezzed, for this discussion) had to pay an animation time tax to deal with status effects wasn't even something they'd considered.  Even when it occurred to them that animation times were relevant and had an impact on the game, they still did nothing to address the discrepancy.  They compounded one oversight with another oversight.

 

The status effect systems in place were created for a completely different model of the game, one that hasn't existed since Issue 1, and only squishies are still expected to adhere to that aspect of that model, while every other archetype runs around in a vastly different model.  You liken this to Jenga, where pulling out one piece puts the whole thing at risk of collapsing, but here we are, almost two decades later, and it still hasn't collapsed, despite everything that's been done.

 

They ignored the fundamental concepts of their own design, and created this problem in doing so.  Not us, the players, and not us, the people pointing out their mistake, them.  Cryptic and Paragon.  Blame the people responsible, not the people responding.

 

While I understand your perspective, because I encounter it daily at work, it's pretty par for course in regards to how people react to their individual interaction with a system. By that, I mean it's valid for only perceiving one section as a user. This is by no means derogatory, it's very normal.

 

The short version is, how you're seeing it, while I disagree because I know there are significantly more factors at work in the examples you gave, is valid because you're an end user. The issue that really persisted before was, the original team was negotiating the build of a new system, doing completely new things, unused to interfacing with users in their language and there was internal division over the vision.

 

That said, the system evolution was not one of "they ignored their own design," as I could give numerous examples of why status effects were left exactly as they are and why it is actually well balanced. It may seem that there was no long term system design or forethought, but I can assure you that there was, or the system would not have sirvived, it would have actually cratered. Daily, I am forced to not explain why I make system design choices to users, as the explanation would require not only inordinate amounts of time, it would require that they had the capability to do what I do. I'm not saying this applies to you, I'm saying this is most likely why most of the information about how and why they designed the way they did went unshared.

 

Probably best to digress so we can leave the thread for RoP feedback from others besides you, me and others who have already had our say. I'm happy to discuss via pm though, as your perspective is well respected by me 😄

 

 

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9 hours ago, BRADICAL said:

For as long as it remains possible to push high end builds and solo +4/x8 content, there will be people who do it, and playing at any difficulty level less than that isn't part of the equation because it would be conceding that the build is non-viable.

 

I have no problems whatsoever with you or anyone being able to design and play characters that can solo +4/x8 content, but I do have a problem identifying any character who can't as "non-viable" because I also have no problems whatsoever with people street sweeping from level 1 to 50 with TOs/DOs/SOs only.   Everyone should be able to play as they wish within the confines of the game without a judgment on whether their play-style is worthy.

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1 hour ago, Bionic_Flea said:

 

I have no problems whatsoever with you or anyone being able to design and play characters that can solo +4/x8 content, but I do have a problem identifying any character who can't as "non-viable" because I also have no problems whatsoever with people street sweeping from level 1 to 50 with TOs/DOs/SOs only.   Everyone should be able to play as they wish within the confines of the game without a judgment on whether their play-style is worthy.

 

It isn't a judgement on the worthiness of anyone's playstyle as inferior; I see builds as numbers and sometimes silly ideas until they're put to the test and judged on the merits of their performance.

 

I realize that the whole "non-viable" thing is rubbing people the wrong way and I apologize if that comes across as callous or elitist! My opinion in this case is very heavily skewed towards the far end of difficulty when making builds, where certain archetypes and powerset combinations are either very difficult or impossible to run comfortably when approaching that content in a solo setting. When I say non-viable, I mean that it isn't capable of approaching unstoppable murder machine territory, not that it's inherently flawed as a character concept or personal preference. Heck, Gravity is one of my favorite sets but its abysmal lack of AoE damage makes it non-viable to me in the context of soloing +4/x8. I still play it, but if I were to try and take it into a mission and pretend to be a scrapper, I'd be disappointed, because even though it's doable it feels like a chore.

 

All that said, I actually prefer the way the game plays on SOs myself, mostly because I love the support sets in general and enjoy it when they're actually useful. That's why I go looking to build defenders and controllers in the first place, which already tend to underperform in any +4/x8 situation whether solo or in a team of similarly built characters who steamroll through everything before the activation time for your -res power even finishes. And nerfing RoP just makes those builds, which already have kind of a hard time and will suffer even more disproportionately whenever procs are the next thing on the chopping block, a little less viable to me.

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Brad, I think you’re arguing that not only should all characters with a good build be equally able to solo +4x8, but they should all be equally able to jump into melee when doing so against mez-heavy enemies. Correct me if I’m wrong?

 

If I stated that correctly though, unfortunately, I am comfortable guessing that there’s a 99% chance that position is inconsistent with the design philosophy of any of the past or current devs.

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I think the point is that most people play this game to feel SUPER, and we can't be that way if we can't destroy the hardest content possible as efficiently as others can, if at all.

 

I don't think that's a good baseline for viable, but, i do admit it's disheartening to know that my favorite characters will never get a sub-4 minute pylon time or clear out a +4/x8 moon farm in less than 15 minutes when other builds do these things in half the time.

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10 minutes ago, EmperorSteele said:

I think the point is that most people play this game to feel SUPER, and we can't be that way if we can't destroy the hardest content possible as efficiently as others can, if at all.

 

I don't think that's a good baseline for viable, but, i do admit it's disheartening to know that my favorite characters will never get a sub-4 minute pylon time or clear out a +4/x8 moon farm in less than 15 minutes when other builds do these things in half the time.

 

 

There's been a baked-in trade off in City of Heroes since the game first launched.  Melee characters can solo well, but they are not very useful on teams.  Others cannot solo well, but they are exponentially more powerful and useful on teams than melee characters.  I would take one "squishy" character on a team over three melee characters any day.

Edited by Apparition
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I think the thing about mezz and squishies that is the worst is that it leaves the most vulnerable helpless and unable to really do anything. And that's the opposite of heroic, as heroic is having agency and the ability to change things and do things that are normally impossible.

 

And it feels the worst to be helpess and then die.

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1 minute ago, arthurh35353 said:

I think the thing about mezz and squishies that is the worst is that it leaves the most vulnerable helpless and unable to really do anything. And that's the opposite of heroic, as heroic is having agency and the ability to change things and do things that are normally impossible.

 

And it feels the worst to be helpess and then die.

 

 

Even Superman has been trapped in a Kryptonite lair or two.

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Just now, Apparition said:

 

 

Even Superman has been trapped in a Kryptonite lair or two.

Those are very one off situations, not an ever-present danger that can strike you down if you don't play perfectly.

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25 minutes ago, arcane said:

Brad, I think you’re arguing that not only should all characters with a good build be equally able to solo +4x8, but they should all be equally able to jump into melee when doing so against mez-heavy enemies. Correct me if I’m wrong?

 

If I stated that correctly though, unfortunately, I am comfortable guessing that there’s a 99% chance that position is inconsistent with the design philosophy of any of the past or current devs.


For the most part, the existing structure and incarnate powers already make that entirely possible. I agree that the design philosophy of the archetypes themselves goes against that idea, but the global philosophy of the game being essentially a sandbox of building tools and incarnate powers at least allows for this sort of thing to happen. My only real argument here is that the nerf to RoP is affecting that minority of builds attempting to do exactly that, by using the tools available to them to build in ways that deviate from what the game expects of you. In my opinion, that's what makes CoH so unique. If RoP has to be nerfed specifically to rein in the builds that are deviating, I can understand that on a design level, but I've already stated how I feel about the discrepancies surrounding the system as a whole when these deviating builds were never overperforming in the first place.

 

8 minutes ago, Apparition said:

There's been a baked-in trade off in City of Heroes since the game first launched.  Melee characters can solo well, but they are not very useful on teams.  Others cannot solo well, but they are exponentially more powerful and useful on teams than melee characters.  I would take one "squishy" character on a team over three melee characters any day.


A team of 8 anything can reliably steamroll through most content if only by virtue of the outgoing damage being far in excess of what enemies are equipped to handle. A team of well-built blasters, for example, is basically just one nuke after the other, and that's just as functional as a team of scrappers tearing through everything, or tankers blasting through 16 targets very consistently with their high damage AoEs. As far as squishies go, I can't vouch for controllers on most teams like these, and support powersets rarely make any actual difference. With IOs and incarnate powers in mind, things are kind of a mess.

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8 minutes ago, EmperorSteele said:

I think the point is that most people play this game to feel SUPER, and we can't be that way if we can't destroy the hardest content possible as efficiently as others can, if at all.

I respect this point of view and you are far from alone in it - in fact it seems to be the majority opinion. I don't share it however. I feel that it is a failing in the system that any character can solo anything at the highest difficulty levels. That's any character no matter how op the build and any content no matter how easy. Those hardest difficulty settings should be the exclusive preserve of teams in my opinion.

 

The fact that some AT's/builds can solo just about anything on the hardest difficulty settings has (I think) created the perception that in order to feel heroic that is what you need to be able to do. Therefore the AT's that aren't really cut out for this sort of thing feel lacking vs those that do. This brings us onto the main subject of this thread - mez effects and mez protection. Those AT's that aren't cut out for max difficulty soloing also tend to be those that don't have the 'I can ignore the entire mez mechanic 99% of the time' toggle. Therefore lack of mez protection also has the feel of being 'unheroic'.

 

But being mezzed isn't inherently unheroic. In comic books heroes are mezzed in various ways all the time. In fact it is the norm that enemies have to resort to dirty tricks like mez because they aren't able to take the hero on in a fair fight. The problem isn't mez itself but the experience of being mezzed in coh. It does annoying things like dropping toggles, it can last far too long and it takes all your agency as a player away (which is pretty much item 1 on the 'things not to do in game design' list).

 

So if I had the power to do so (and the ability!) I would do two things. One would be to rework the mez mechanics so they are more fun and more fair. I would remove all toggle drop, and introduce a way for the player to actively engage in breaking out of mez so at no point do they simply have to stop playing. I would also rework mez protection so everyone is affected by it to some degree, making it much less a case of the haves and have nots.

 

The second thing (which I know is far more controversial) would be to rework difficulty in some way so it is no longer possible for any character to solo content on the highest settings. I believe that peoples perceptions of heroism would adjust. Wading through a sea of enemies on +0x8 vs doing so on +4x8 is only really different in the colour that the enemies con after all. There is nothing inherently more heroic about purple than red, orange, white or any other colour for that matter. We see it as being the goal because that is what we are used to and it's what we see other AT's/builds being able to do. I have absolutely no desire to remove soloing or the fun of soloing large numbers of enemies but I feel we have to make a choice at some stage; we either have a game where teaming takes a back seat so that we can solo at maximum difficulty or we improve the teaming dynamic by in some way or another adjusting difficulty.

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2 minutes ago, parabola said:

I feel that it is a failing in the system that any character can solo anything at the highest difficulty levels.


I actually completely agree with this! The game works, for the most part, very comfortably on SOs where every archetype plays like it's supposed to and everyone has their own inherent value. As you start adding in set bonuses and incarnate powers, that value is disrupted, in some cases dramatically.

But I make builds meant to handle +4/x8, and I play that content, because it's the way the game is currently designed. That doesn't mean I don't dabble in self-limiting or play builds that only shine in teams, but the high end has already been well established, and to me it's just part of what the game is.

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1 hour ago, EmperorSteele said:

 

I don't think that's a good baseline for viable, but, i do admit it's disheartening to know that my favorite characters will never get a sub-4 minute pylon time or clear out a +4/x8 moon farm in less than 15 minutes when other builds do these things in half the time.

It’s nice to dream about but yeah I just don’t think this is appropriate as a real design philosophy. I am not ok with stripping that many more challenges from this game which already exists on the far (easy) end of the difficulty bell curve.

 

Also note that we’re already closer to this than ever. With a fire mastery build with winter sets you can already make any character survive a maxed out meteor farm map, with only the completion time issue left to conquer. Pylon times may not quite be there either but the PPM system has low damage AT’s already doing way more damage than ever before.

Edited by arcane
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1 hour ago, parabola said:

I respect this point of view and you are far from alone in it - in fact it seems to be the majority opinion. I don't share it however. I feel that it is a failing in the system that any character can solo anything at the highest difficulty levels. That's any character no matter how op the build and any content no matter how easy. Those hardest difficulty settings should be the exclusive preserve of teams in my opinion.

 

I don't think  it's fair to say that every character should be able to perform at this level, as that implies that builds, power picks, enhancements, etc., all don't matter.  However I think it's at least reasonable to say that every archetype should have the possibility of making builds that can keep up at the upper tiers of gameplay, and perform comparably well as each other.  Nerfing a power often used to shore up the disparity between ATs seems counterproductive.

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On 3/31/2021 at 12:36 PM, Coyotedancer said:

......................you don't have a team to trade bad puns and Princess Bride quotes with,..............................

 

Whoooo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. Well it just so happens

that your Mastermind Amtes was only "MOSTLY" mezzed.

Now, mostly mezzed is slightly clear minded. rs4wmRnk_o.gif

   

Edited by Christopher Robin
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Ultimately the sum total of this context/explanation is "we think it's too strong", which is essentially just the opinion of a very small and specific group of people (devs). It's also a direction that makes me shudder to think of what else they personally think is overpowered and are planning on changing. Is hasten on the chopping block?

 

I personally have a very strong aversion to changing the effectiveness or functionality of a power so drastically in a patch that I feel compelled to completely respec a character I picked it on because now it doesn't do anything for their build. That's the kinda crap you have to do in World of Warcraft; it shouldn't be a thing in COH.

 

I'm also a little confused why, if squishy mez protection is a "system issue," that system issue isn't being discussed and addressed before or in conjunction with how we're .. erm, "addressing" powers that help solve the problem of making these ATs playable in solo or small-group situations.

Edited by Cheli
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9 minutes ago, Cheli said:

Ultimately the sum total of this context/explanation is "we think it's too strong", which is essentially just the opinion of a very small and specific group of people (devs). It's also a direction that makes me shudder to think of what else they personally think is overpowered and are planning on changing. Is hasten on the chopping block?


That's the problem I have with this too, and the larger discussion that it's opened up, because in CoH the "overpowered" ship sailed a long time ago and so any changes made to powers now that don't address the imbalanced nature of the game, on equal terms, might appear to be done arbitrarily. RoP is an example of a power that is statistically niche and yet it serves a very popular function within that niche.

The Titan Weapons changes, by comparison, were healthy for the game and for the powerset in the long run: statistically, the set was an outlier, and in quite a few ways broken both in terms of effective damage output and how frustrating it was to make the set play optimally. Nerfing RoP on the other hand won't do anything at all to adjust any real imbalance in the game, because the imbalance lies with the archetypes that RoP is most commonly taken to emulate, and nerfing the equalizer only deepens that rift.

The bigger issue here is that it isn't easy to bring the more powerful archetypes in line, because everyone is subject to the same rules when it comes to set bonuses and incarnate powers. The system just allows them to push their already strong foundation into orbit, while other archetypes are required to create a foundation out of the same bonuses. And in the end all that does is allows tankers to exist with near-capped everything, doing enormous amounts of damage with procs and hitting blaster levels of targets with shorter cooldowns, wider arcs and mez protection all at once. I'm not saying it's a horrible bad thing—tankers were always my favorite archetype, even before the buffs—but there's no denying that with the way the system works currently, tankers are at the very top of what is a totem pole dominated by every melee archetype thereafter. And to me it seems hard to justify nerfing anything that would disproportionately affect the small number of squishy archetypes that gain any real benefit from this power without addressing what the other archetypes have been capable of doing all along.

And when things like procs are eventually on the chopping block next, defenders are again going to suffer disproportionately because without them, they feel absolutely abysmal to play no matter what content you're doing or whether you're in a team or solo. If would be disappointing to see the performance of procced-out tankers as the justification for that nerf, because even though I think it would be totally justified in that context, it would leave a lot of other archetypes hamstrung in the process.

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2 hours ago, Cheli said:

Ultimately the sum total of this context/explanation is "we think it's too strong", which is essentially just the opinion of a very small and specific group of people (devs).

This is materially inaccurate.

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6 hours ago, Christopher Robin said:
6 hours ago, Christopher Robin said:

......................you don't have a team to trade bad puns and Princess Bride quotes with,..............................

Whoooo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. Well it just so happens

that your Mastermind Amtes was only "MOSTLY" mezzed.

Now, mostly mezzed is slightly clear minded. rs4wmRnk_o.gif

   

 

You don't need a team just add CR . he can go for hours on either of those. @Oubliette_Red knows what i'm sayin. :p

Edited by DJ1
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You say that like it's a bad thing. rs4wmRnk_o.gif

 

Ducking out before I derail the very serious discussion in this

thread but from the depths of the art forums I heard

the summons to demon-strate bad puns and

Princess Bride quotes so I answered.

 

To shirt the issue otherwise would be incon-sleeve-able!

 

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7 hours ago, BRADICAL said:


That's the problem I have with this too, and the larger discussion that it's opened up, because in CoH the "overpowered" ship sailed a long time ago and so any changes made to powers now that don't address the imbalanced nature of the game, on equal terms, might appear to be done arbitrarily. RoP is an example of a power that is statistically niche and yet it serves a very popular function within that niche.

The Titan Weapons changes, by comparison, were healthy for the game and for the powerset in the long run: statistically, the set was an outlier, and in quite a few ways broken both in terms of effective damage output and how frustrating it was to make the set play optimally. Nerfing RoP on the other hand won't do anything at all to adjust any real imbalance in the game, because the imbalance lies with the archetypes that RoP is most commonly taken to emulate, and nerfing the equalizer only deepens that rift.

The bigger issue here is that it isn't easy to bring the more powerful archetypes in line, because everyone is subject to the same rules when it comes to set bonuses and incarnate powers. The system just allows them to push their already strong foundation into orbit, while other archetypes are required to create a foundation out of the same bonuses. And in the end all that does is allows tankers to exist with near-capped everything, doing enormous amounts of damage with procs and hitting blaster levels of targets with shorter cooldowns, wider arcs and mez protection all at once. I'm not saying it's a horrible bad thing—tankers were always my favorite archetype, even before the buffs—but there's no denying that with the way the system works currently, tankers are at the very top of what is a totem pole dominated by every melee archetype thereafter. And to me it seems hard to justify nerfing anything that would disproportionately affect the small number of squishy archetypes that gain any real benefit from this power without addressing what the other archetypes have been capable of doing all along.

And when things like procs are eventually on the chopping block next, defenders are again going to suffer disproportionately because without them, they feel absolutely abysmal to play no matter what content you're doing or whether you're in a team or solo. If would be disappointing to see the performance of procced-out tankers as the justification for that nerf, because even though I think it would be totally justified in that context, it would leave a lot of other archetypes hamstrung in the process.

 

It will be an interesting tight rope for the HC devs to walk indeed.

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21 hours ago, SwitchFade said:

This is materially inaccurate.

And yet it's right there in the first post in this thread, which was the explanation and provided the context.

 

Let me help you. I even highlighted relevant portions since you seemed to miss them:

On 3/30/2021 at 3:34 PM, Captain Powerhouse said:

Internally, the team has agreed Rune of Protection has been an over-performing power for as long as it's been around.

On 3/30/2021 at 3:34 PM, Captain Powerhouse said:

All new Origin Pool T5s have been designed around 60s durations is entirely because of how strong RoP was

On 3/30/2021 at 3:34 PM, Captain Powerhouse said:

I know many of you will not agree, but RoP was an incredibly strong power,

 

 

Edited by siolfir
snippage of irrelevant bits
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On 3/30/2021 at 9:34 PM, Captain Powerhouse said:

to the point where RoP it was often taken by players who disliked the Sorcery theme and didn’t even use the other powers in the set.

On that point specifically...

 

Is anyone under the belief most people take Hasten because they have "speedster" as a theme?

Combat Jumping because they're roleplaying an acrobat?

 

Tough/Weave because they're a brawler?


Maneuvers/Assault/Tactics because their character is a natural born leader?

If a specific distinction is to be made between origin pools and generic power pools, where origin pools must be picked only for theme and generic power pools for any reason, then invariably origin pools will be second class citizens. The moment an origin pool is at least as good as the 4th best generic power pool, it's going to be an alternative pick regardless of theme; and by corollary if only thematic reasons must lead to origin pools, then the best origin pool will always be below the 4th best generic power pool...

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On 3/31/2021 at 10:51 PM, Faultline said:

Realize that less than 5% of all characters have Rune at level 50; with Corruptors being the AT that takes it the most at 11%, and Brutes taking it the least at 1.7%. Compare to something like Afterburner, which was also modified this patch: 11% of all characters have it by level 50, with Blasters leading at 22% and Brutes in the back at 4% (Peacebringers are at 0.6% but we're ignoring them since they get inherent versions of it). So part of the reason why the Rune feedback was largely not acknowledged is that it was seen as a sidegrade (remember that it comes with a buff when used reactively) that affected a minority.

Thank you for the hard numbers. It does support the thesis many of us intuitively had, without access to data: RoP usage is minimal.

But... it doesn't help the dev thesis we're hearing, that of RoP being overpowered.

You'd expect the playerbase to gravitate towards overpowered picks, as they do in every other part of the game. RoP being "new" cannot explain away lack of popularity. People took but a few months, if not weeks, to start playing Titan Weapons and Rad/Fire brutes massively.

It's very hard to see and trust the logic, without having at least an idea of the numbers that led to this conclusion the power is overpowered.

Edited by nihilii
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