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Solo players - what parts of a mission matter to you?


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Go into AE and see everything you can fiddle with.  What parts matter when you play a mission?

 

Clues?  Text when you talk to a contact while a mission is active?  Descriptions of NPCs when you click on them and select Info?  Souvenirs?  Random NPC chatter in the missions (patrols and such)?  Boss text as you are fighting them?

 

What parts do you totally ignore?  What parts do you notice if they are there but not if they are missing?  What parts really add to your enjoyment of a mission?

 

 

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I rarely look at the clues. Partly because they don't show up in the order that they were found. It is common to scroll up and down trying to find what the last clue was about and I eventually drifted out of bothering to check despite being an important lore part.

 

I also seldomly remember to look at the bio of the characters which is a pity because when pointed out I realize many authors have added interesting blurbs.

 

 

Random NPC chatter dropping the clues and boss chatter is what I like the most since it is right there and then available. Unfortunately per my understanding some of it is currently bugged.

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@sovera in Everlasting - I love teaming up so hit me up.

 

Simple guide for newcomers. - Money making included among other things.

 

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34 minutes ago, DougGraves said:

Go into AE and see everything you can fiddle with.  What parts matter when you play a mission?

 

Clues?  Text when you talk to a contact while a mission is active?  Descriptions of NPCs when you click on them and select Info?  Souvenirs?  Random NPC chatter in the missions (patrols and such)?  Boss text as you are fighting them?

 

What parts do you totally ignore?  What parts do you notice if they are there but not if they are missing?  What parts really add to your enjoyment of a mission?

 

 

I don't play in AE.

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I also usually ignore clues.  This is because the mission generator does such a poor job of investigation/detective type play.  If it is possible to do a good detective story in AE (or if anyone knows of an existing mission that has managed to pull it off well), do let me know.  I would love to try it!

 

I always look at the description of a custom mob/npc.  Sometimes an interesting description is there.  Sometimes the author hasn't bothered.  I'm always a little disappointed when there's no description.  Even 2 or 3 sentences is adequate, if it's flavorful.

 

I notice good writing.  By this, I mean interesting dialogue, plot exposition, and humor.  Most of all, I mean correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  I also notice bad writing.  Particularly poor and/or badly editing writing sends my level of immersion into a tailspin.  I will often abandon a mission if it becomes too pervasive.  I don't expect perfection.  After all, I make plenty of mistakes in my own writing.  But it has to be readable; the written word is the means by which we're experiencing the story and the world it takes place in.

 

I don't care about souvenirs.

 

What I'm looking for are interesting characters (especially the villains), stories, and a classic "comic book feel" I got from reading solo and team books from marvel and DC, back in my youth, in the 80's.  These can be self-contained one-shots, or a series of connected missions.  I also want them to be challenging; not too easy and not teeth grindingly frustrating.

 

I'm sure accomplishing these things is easier said than done, but that's what I look for. 

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One of the big things I notice is formatting of the contact's text.  Sometimes it is just a wall of text and hard to read.  Sometimes it is nicely formatted.  And the best is when it uses some highlighting colors to call out description versus dialog.

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As a scripter, spawns and objectives. Prefer one objective, followed by the next, and so on (to give a sense of progression). Also hope to avoid the back-n-forth running, which will more often than not necessitate a different map, or some culling of objectives. As for clues, I number mine, by mish/clue # (C1-1, C1-2,  etc.).  It's often an imperfect art.  Totally onboard with @Sovera when it comes to dropping some hints in chatter (bosses or patrols).  For my own mishes, I often choose themes for the mission titles (and sometimes related arcs).

 

For the average player using AE, I assume the following preferences:

*fewer/shorter clues is preferable. 

*Every glowie should count

*Allies should be optional (where necessary--sometimes the ally is the point of the mish)

*Small or medium maps (since most players run AE solo, I assume).

*Custom critters, often with nebulous names (ex: a "Smasher" can be a variety of things--you won't know 'til you engage).

 

For myself, concerning both AE and regular solos, I would add:

*avoid outdoor maps when possible (since spawn points are tricky).

*Strong NPCs

*A twist of some kind

*Humor (even in small doses, it's nice).

 

(NOTE: As a story designer, I have made every single annoying mistake I've mentioned, above).:-)

Edited by cranebump
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Looking for SFMA content over multiple arcs? Search for the following arcs under "cranebump."

Ordinary People [3 parts]=1. Standard Operating Procedure, 2. Hope and Bullets, 3. The Last Full MeasureInvestigation of a series of thefts leads you deep into a vengeful plot that threatens all of Paragon City. Will you and Kings Row's "ordinary" heroes be able to stop it?

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Echoing @cranebump, as someone who tries to write a story, hoping against hope that it's half decent, I've honed my style, for want of a better word, to several things:

 

(1) I always use large text (dating from a player with weak eyesight complaining).

 

(2) I format to leave readable chunks rather than the blank wall of text you sometimes get.

 

(3) Color coding text so that pertinent information pops at you, plus color coding who is speaking also helps.

 

(4) If I have to use an outdoor map I will but indoor ones are preferable. Outdoor spawn points are heinous. I tested this with a tiny outdoor map that allowed 5 collectibles.  I had 5, and nope, you can't force them to appear in the order you wish, so you literally can't give a hint to a player to help them with a runaround.

 

(5) Nav bar aid.  I like to have objectives delineated where necessary as "Defuse Bomb [Third Floor]". So if you're on the first floor you know you can speed through the second floor.

 

(6) My initial work doesn't have it but later ones do (might go back and do it) but I've taken to numbering all clues and giving an X to a clue that comes from a non essential glowie.  And for clues from each mission to be assigned a different color.  So all Mission 1 clues are yellow, all Mission 2 are blue, et cetera,

 

(7) It's my aim (I don't always succeed) that each boss/clue/encounter met in a mission builds on the story.

 

(8) I like Easter Eggs!  My stuff is riddled with snippets of CO* lore, from the game/comics/novels. So if you spot them and get them, cool. If you spot them and don't, well that's how Easter eggs work TBH.

 

(9) I have yet to get the hang of writing souvenirs!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As a player I look for playability, readability, story and consistency.

 

And if I start running into things like constant fire damage mobs I will just quit. If I wanted to play a fire farm I would.  

 

Other stuff?  I think much of what I look for has already been said, save my initial test: If your contact just has the standard AE program data then you're off to a bad start!

 

Repetition. No issues with that.  Essentially all arcs are sleight of hand to hide the fact that you need to defeat a boss/click a thing, but if you write a 5 mission arc and every single one is "Rescue the person", then I'll probably not play another of yours.

 

And then there are the arcs I play where I think "I wish I'd thought of that!" Sadly those are few, because once you have a reasonable grasp on the tools you have an idea of what can or can't be done.

Edited by Darmian
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AE SFMA Arcs: Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) 

Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | 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) Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) | Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)*The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)*The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*

 

*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist.

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For me...

  • Mission intro text.  It doesn't have to be a novel, but it has to give my character a reason WHY.  And the mission should be flagged accordingly. If the mission is "Oh no, there are helpless kittens trapped on Thorn Tree Isle", then don't leave that mission flagged as "Any Morality".  Label it "Hero" and I'm cool with that.  If you want to make a Villain mission, then tell me we have a good opportunity to collect the kittens and hand them out to incoming freshmen at Paragon University, where they will rapidly mature into bloodthirsty sabertooths that should devour a third of the freshman class.  Always always always answer the "What's my motivation?" for the Morality the mission is meant to be played for.  If everything else is flubbed but the mission writer nails this part, I'm content. 
  • Labelling.  Related to the above point. If you're going for a Blazing-Saddles or Spaceballs style of satire, that's awesome. But label it with a Comedy / Humor tag. If your mission is designed to stress-test an endgame build, every Minion is running Leadership toggles, every Lieutentant is covering them in Force Fields, and every Lieut and Boss is hitting you with some of the most obnoxious debuffs possible, great!  But LABEL it in some manner, so the unsuspecting soul at lvl 32 with just SO's doesn't wander into the Blender. Same thing if your mission is full of EB's and AV's. There's lots of tags available, look them over.  
  • In-Mission-Dialogue.  There are of course, unfortunate bugs where NPC speech doesn't always fire at the correct time. But some well written NPC speech can really make-or-break the feel of a mission, taking it from "oh a room with more mobs in it, okay", to having a room where the Evil Scientist goes on a tear about how NOTHING can possibly stop him now just as you approach. Stuff like that sets the table, and change it from last room of a mission to a "very satisfying thump as they hit the floor". 
  • Defeatability.  Because you're talking specifically about Solo players.  Having a challenging endboss or final task of some kind, is great.  Lots of the most memorable missions have them. But consider, "How would you defeat this if you were playing <insert your least favorite power combo here>".  Maybe some things just won't be defeatable by everybody. But don't create something where the endboss regens so strongly that you end up with a DPS check and anyone without -Regen debuffs can just cry and go home, unless the mission giver / intro text WARNS them of this. I'm willing to make a side trip to Bloody Bay for a Shivan if I need to.  But let me know before I've cleared a giant map and finally found the endboss.
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Addendum.  I label all mine as "Neutral" for morality.  So any alignment can fit in, though a hero might find themselves being a bit greyer than usual, or a villain a bit more heroic than you'd expect.  And it's a necessity for Praetoria based AEs. And apart from one I can't add it to, if needed I've marked arcs with "Not suitable for low level characters."

 

 

 

 

Edited by Darmian

AE SFMA Arcs: Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) 

Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | 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) Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) | Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)*The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)*The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*

 

*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist.

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13 minutes ago, Darmian said:

Addendum.  I label all mine as "Neutral" for morality.  So any alignment can fit in, though a hero might find themselves being a bit greyer than usual, or a villain a bit more heroic than you'd expect.  And it's a necessity for Praetoria based AEs. And apart from one I can't add it to, if needed I've marked arcs with "Not suitable for low level characters."

Huh.  I just assumed they'd have Crusader/Warden/Responsibility/Loyalist as options for AE as well.  They don't?  That's a shame.

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Nope.  I have a connected set of Praetorian AEs (see my sig) and they're all neutral too, because unfortunately those options aren't there.  I suppose if they were then there would have to be two more AE Badges added, one for Loyalist and one for Resistance, like the Heroic et cetera badges for Primal AE efforts.

AE SFMA Arcs: Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) 

Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | 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) Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) | Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)*The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)*The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*

 

*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist.

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There's one other thing that I do to a small extent, and it stems from years of running TT RPGS, and that's to have the odd cameo here and there of "crossing groups" or "crossing individuals".  Now, that's to give the world a fuller feel. I completely 100 per cent disagree with the notion that if a thing is in the mission it must be related to what you are doing right now.  Sometimes Crey have MORE THAN ONE EXPERIMENT IN A HUGE LAB...you know?  So you HAVE to keep it to a minimum, but while solo, you're not the only person in the world!  Are you robbing a bank?  Oh, Hellions are robbing it too, but for their own reasons, nothing to do with your plot. Did you run into the PPD? How did they know it was you?  They didn't!  They've been chasing Hellions!

 

We're all reasonably intelligent here. Yes to clarity, yes to not willfully deceiving the player, but I draw the line at hand holding.

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AE SFMA Arcs: Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) 

Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | 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) Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) | Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)*The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)*The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*

 

*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist.

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Funny you just posted this. I just ran the first mission of Dark Deeds Part Three.  Kip shows up.  I liked having Kip show up but was confused as to whether he was supposed to be part of my mission or had just happened to be there.  I think the end mission briefing clarified that he just happened to be there.

 

I do like having named people show up.  It feels like more of a world.  But it also does make me wonder why, so it adds confusion.

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Well, I wanted a "science guy" who wasn't important enough to get nabbed initially, but ended up causing the villains some trouble. But he IS there for a reason too!

 

OH!  I try to add "The Story so Far..." at certain key points.  Again, whether people read them (I know you do, @DougGraves) is another thing entirely!

Edited by Darmian

AE SFMA Arcs: Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) 

Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | 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) Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) | Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)*The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)*The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*

 

*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist.

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My philosophy in writing for AE is to put everything important, the things you need to follow the story, into boss and NPC chatter.  Those are the things that show up even if the players are deep in combat.  I do add mob descriptions for custom mobs, contact NPC sendoffs, and the like, but I see that sort of thing as peripheral.  My 'stories' are mostly about surrealistic humor anyways, making mobs say and do bizarre things, so making the mobs say bizarre things is job 1.

 

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The story.

 

It's the primary reason I solo mission/ story arcs. There is still Legacy content I've not run, mostly on redside.

 

The same goes for AE missions, I want to travel through an interesting story. Mobs, especially custom mobs should be a part of the story not just an obstacle to get through.

 

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I'll admit I don't pay attention. I'm a bit of a "Can I make this work?" sort of guy, and story comes 2nd.... or even 3rd. 

However, I've been trying to really pay more attention to everything in order to garner new enjoyment. But if I was to say what I Notice the most, is in-mission dialogue. It is usually in my face enough for me to notice/see it. The dialogue boxes / menu of COH are a bit wall-o-texty for my attention span. This is a personal fault, but still.

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My biggest pet peeve...  I'm supposed to talk to an NPC before the end of the mission, they better be screaming bloody murder for me to come talk to them.  Without some very overt clues, I'm probably going to clear the mission without noticing the person standing there quietly.  Then when there's nobody to talk to in the last room,, I'll assume that the mission is broke and quit out.

Active on Excelsior:

Lode Monkey - Fire Blast / Energy Manipulation Blaster (Blapper), Flaming Doom Monkey - Shield / Martial Arts Tank, Xero-Ranger Monkey - Energy Melee / Energy Aura Stalker

 

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4 hours ago, Shred Monkey said:

My biggest pet peeve...  I'm supposed to talk to an NPC before the end of the mission, they better be screaming bloody murder for me to come talk to them.

 

I never find the body on the floor I'm supposed to talk to.  I've called a GM for help and had them point out I was standing right next to the NPC I was trying to find. 

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9 minutes ago, DougGraves said:

 

I never find the body on the floor I'm supposed to talk to.  I've called a GM for help and had them point out I was standing right next to the NPC I was trying to find. 

That's a tad embarrassing! 

AE SFMA Arcs: Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) 

Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | 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) Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) | Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)*The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)*The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*

 

*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist.

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5 hours ago, Heraclea said:

My philosophy in writing for AE is to put everything important, the things you need to follow the story, into boss and NPC chatter.  Those are the things that show up even if the players are deep in combat.  I do add mob descriptions for custom mobs, contact NPC sendoffs, and the like, but I see that sort of thing as peripheral.  My 'stories' are mostly about surrealistic humor anyways, making mobs say and do bizarre things, so making the mobs say bizarre things is job 1.

 

It's thanks to you that somewhere, some time, somewhen, I want to have Firemullet show up in an AE of mine.  Even if it's just them being all Spinal Tap and running around mindlessly!

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AE SFMA Arcs: Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) 

Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | 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) Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) | Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)*The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)*The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*

 

*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist.

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Tap pastiche!  Who killed Firemullet's drummer? (Again).

AE SFMA Arcs: Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) 

Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | 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) Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) | Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)*The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)*The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*

 

*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist.

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8 hours ago, DougGraves said:

 

I never find the body on the floor I'm supposed to talk to.  I've called a GM for help and had them point out I was standing right next to the NPC I was trying to find. 

There's a tip mission where you have to talk to Maelstrom after you fight him.  He's goes "hidden" so if you lose track of where you beat him you have to move around the room and just hope your mouse cursor hits him.  I lose him sometimes even knowing ahead of time to pay attention to him and knowing exactly where he's supposed to be at.

Active on Excelsior:

Lode Monkey - Fire Blast / Energy Manipulation Blaster (Blapper), Flaming Doom Monkey - Shield / Martial Arts Tank, Xero-Ranger Monkey - Energy Melee / Energy Aura Stalker

 

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33 minutes ago, Shred Monkey said:

There's a tip mission where you have to talk to Maelstrom after you fight him.  He's goes "hidden" so if you lose track of where you beat him you have to move around the room and just hope your mouse cursor hits him.  I lose him sometimes even knowing ahead of time to pay attention to him and knowing exactly where he's supposed to be at.

 

That's why map thumbtacks are for; although I forget to use them, too.

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