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Castles and Cottages: Ancient History


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So this is more of a vent than anything else but I really want to air it out.

 

Over a decade has passed since Castle, former lead powers developer for Paragon Studios, left the development of City of Heroes. Now, you would think a developer like this would be known for introducing new powersets, or revitalizing the old, but Castle's legacy is something else entirely; The Cottage Rule.

 

For those who are unaware; the cottage rule was presented as a simple idea; A power should never have its core functionality changed. Understandable, for the most part, but the rule was cited multiple times, often by Castle himself, as an excuse not to make revisions to underperforming or undesirable powers, and the cottage rule was ultimately used as a tool to ensure change never happens.

 

Coming from a lead powers developer, this was something of a controversial position to take, and Castle spent much of his time on the forums debating the value of his new rule, so much so that it appears to have distracted from his work on the game itself. Most of the new powersets introduced to the game came about both before and after Castle's brief tenure as lead powers dev, which paints a damning picture about his work ethic, and completely undermines the credibility of any development choices he made considering there was very little he actually developed.

 

But, that's ancient history... or so it should be, right?

 

I've noticed that the cottage rule still seems to be used as an argument here in the forums against pretty much any changes made to powers. I don't quite understand why the development choices a developer made over a decade ago should be at all relevant today, or why the rule is treated with such high regard, especially since Castle went on to say he could overturn the rule whenever he felt it was necessary.

 

We're talking about a developer who back in his day barely made an impact on the game at all, save for impeding any potential development to older powersets. I don't quite see why we should be beholden to a rule that clearly has no merit in today's development efforts, since said rule has already been repeatedly broken moving forward.

 

There's an uncanny irony about people arguing the cottage rule must be followed these many years later, because it emulates Castle himself; stuck on the forums citing the cottage rule whenever change is prompted, and refusing to give any real rationale or reason... it's almost like /jranger in a way.

 

I'm all for respecting the original vision of the game, that's why I play here and not another server. But, development teams change, new ideas are put forward, and relics of the old way of doing things are done away with. 

 

So let's move on already, the game deserves more than to be stifled by the archaic ideas of a rather lousy dev.

 

 

Edited by Tyrannical
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Are you referencing something specific @Tyrannical?

I'm curious to know, I'm of the full belief that without evolution of any form than stagnation occurs, this can be applied to anything.

 

I think the thing that has to be remembered by everyone is that this is not Live, this is HC and as such this game can change based on what they want with input from us.

There was alot of stuff on Live that pissed me off and ultimately it is why I quit, and the reasoning was because of what those devs did.

Its nice to think of the past but not dwell in it, and if something has to change to evolve then I'm all for it.

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I'm also wondering what this is specifically about, other than a rant against Castle. What type of powerset changes/additions, etc. are you thinking of, @Tyrannical?

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

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Posted (edited)

Nothing specific, really. Just time and time again I see the same argument being made in the Suggestions and Beta forums; "uhm no cos cottage rule".

 

I just wanted to vent, honestly, and maybe provide a little context as to why we shouldn't venerate somebody like Castle, or give credibility to the cottage rule.

 

Ten or so years later we're echoing the same arguments of the past, often without a proper perspective.

 

Edited by Tyrannical
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1 minute ago, Tyrannical said:

Just time and time again I see the same argument being made in the Suggestions and Beta forums; "uhm no cos cottage rule".

To be fair, that's often the polite way of saying "I think your idea is garbage and has the forethought of a deranged squirrel" to people who feel that wholesale revision is the only way to accomplish changes (as opposed to, say, a smaller and more measured revision). The other polite way of saying the same thing is "I think the devs should spend their time elsewhere."

 

Both are fallacies (and really shouldn't be worried about) since the only people that need convincing are the HC devs, who have already completely ignored the cottage rule a couple of times. All posting about it does (here or in Suggestions/Feedback) is give those same people a place to argue.

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There is some benefit in preserving the basic functionality of a power when changes are made in terms of minimising disruption to builds and playstyles. I absolutely agree that we shouldn't be constrained by the idea though if more extensive changes are deemed necessary. As with all these sorts of discussions any reference to a previous state of the game or it's development philosophy are largely irrelevant now, what matters is the ever changing present.

 

HC have already demonstrated they are prepared to ignore the cottage rule (albeit with a non legacy power) when oil slick arrow was added to tactical arrow. So far the changes to legacy powers have largely speaking followed the existing functionality of the powers (or built on that functionality) but I can imagine that not always being the case. A set like force fields may well be better off with an entirely different power being subbed in somewhere.

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38 minutes ago, parabola said:

HC have already demonstrated they are prepared to ignore the cottage rule (albeit with a non legacy power) when oil slick arrow was added to tactical arrow. So far the changes to legacy powers have largely speaking followed the existing functionality of the powers (or built on that functionality) but I can imagine that not always being the case. A set like force fields may well be better off with an entirely different power being subbed in somewhere.

This. The new travel pools, new teleport pool, new trick arrow updates, on and on, largely toss cottage rule out the window. The teleport pool is, uh, teleporty? But you get a whole lot more with combat teleport and fold space. Trick arrow 2.oh is crazy boosted. Times on activations on a large number of things have been squashed which I am sure were made long "for balance" at some point that is no longer relevant (think dual pistols, ice melee).

 

I agree that the cottage rule is probably being used in some places because the suggestion is SO FAR out in left field it couldn't realistically be considered without dramatic, drastic, or other d word impact on the game.

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34 minutes ago, The_Warpact said:

There are powersets that do need revisions though, an update if you will. Some powersets have dust collecting on them because no one wants to take them based on other changes in the game.

I don't understand this thinking. I'm not saying it's wrong, but I don't get it. If a powerset has dust on them, that doesn't necessarily mean that the set needs to be changed. 

What has changed, at least it seems to me, is the player mindset (in general, certainly not everyone). The player wants a character that can withstand +4/8 content easily and get great XP with an easy time of things. So, they make a brute. Or a blaster. Or a scrapper. Anything with high dps. 

Sure, certain sets might benefit from some adjustment, but any set can make that claim. Just because they're not being used doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them. It could very well happen that in the future, specific content in the game may be introduced that makes certain lesser played powersets more in vogue. Why worry about it? 

I find it kind of silly, and at times a bit frustrating that HC brings back the game we love, and you all would have them take it in for alterations. It doesn't need them, not really. Sure, some things have been done that have made the game a lot more user friendly. But some things have also been done that have changed how a character plays, requiring a respec - which in my mind is absolutely heinous. 

I took sorcery pool. Now, because of the changes to it, I need to make some adjustments that unslotters won't take care of. Yes, it's a free game. No, I shouldn't complain. But I got the character to 50 the way it was. Why should it change? It's not like anyone could make the case that it was OP, as good as rune of protection was. Now I have to spend more time in Mids instead of time in game. Is this a good thing? I don't think so. 

Leave things alone. You don't like the set, don't play it. 

Look, I get that if nothing changes, then nothing changes. People will get bored. But bring in new content. Don't change powersets. Don't add powersets. Invest the time in the content. That's needed a lot more than having to mash the same key that has a different name and a different animation but with the same result. 

When there's something new for all the level ranges to do, then think about bringing in a new AT or powerset. Revamp Force Field? At what cost? That's a lot more testing and retesting and time than making new content. 

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46 minutes ago, parabola said:

HC have already demonstrated they are prepared to ignore the cottage rule (albeit with a non legacy power) when oil slick arrow was added to tactical arrow

Still can't fathom why this was done. 

 

At least I still have my one-slot Oil Slick which I can't light cos I'm Dark, but it is slotted with a LOTG. 

 

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11 minutes ago, Hew said:

Trick arrow 2.oh is crazy boosted.

But does it actually break a Cottage Rule? 

 

Acid Arrow is the closest to a "breaker" but it's still an AoE which does crappy DoT and -Def. The -Resist was stripped out / merged into Disruption & Net Arrow and some weird -Special added. EMP Still holds, but does a boat load of other things too now. 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Carnifax said:

 

At least I still have my one-slot Oil Slick which I can't light cos I'm Dark,

You can, trivially. Revoke your temp power from level 1, get taser, profit. The taser is nigh instant cast, so any impact to actual play should be negligible when factoring in oil slick damage.

 

Energy procs also work as well to light it, and in the right power, can assure that it gets lit.

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3 minutes ago, Hew said:

You can, trivially. Revoke your temp power from level 1, get taser, profit. The taser is nigh instant cast, so any impact to actual play should be negligible when factoring in oil slick damage.

 

Energy procs also work as well to light it, and in the right power, can assure that it gets lit.

Oh I know all of this. I've had a Grav/Trick Arrow for years and years. He uses procced up Acid Arrow to set it off. 

 

Just seemed utterly random when they did it

Edited by Carnifax
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I cite the cottage rule because I think it’s a really really good rule and could care less about this Castle bloke. I cite it to stand up for people that like their powers, and I don’t intend to stop standing up for those people. If you can’t understand that, I can’t help you


I am also in no way opposed to buffs and revamps. Supporting the cottage rule is in no way opposing progress, change, or buffs. If you think that, you misunderstand the rule. I think the HC devs have more or less managed to do that very well without removing any core functions from sets, and I think they are on a good path.

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1 hour ago, Ukase said:

I find it kind of silly, and at times a bit frustrating that HC brings back the game we love, and you all would have them take it in for alterations.

I think it's worth bearing in mind that the game was in constant development right up until shutdown. It is in the nature of MMO's that this is the case. Powersets and game systems were being added and adjusted on an ongoing basis. The game we loved and missed when it went dark was a game that was in a constant state of change. So, it would actually be a bigger break from the legacy game to stop developing it further than it is to take the active development approach HC are following.

 

The game is a very complicated system. Changes in one place can result in inbalances in another and the whole thing is constantly in flux. At the point of shutdown the game had many systems that weren't working ideally and many powers/powersets that were under or over performing. It was never the finished article because it never could or can be 'finished'. If the game had continued then much the same things would in all likelihood have been addressed over time. Of course we cannot say whether the vision of the HC devs perfectly matches that of the devs at shutdown but it doesn't seem to me that they are too far removed.

 

I sympathise with feeling frustrated when a character changes that one has significant investment in. I personally feel that it is worth it in terms of supporting changes for the health of the wider game ecosystem. It is also somewhat of the deal that we make playing an mmo. They change over time and by playing we are tacitly accepting that. They can also be turned off as we all know to our cost, and in effect we are accepting that too. Mmo's aren't really an environment for permanence!

 

1 hour ago, Ukase said:

It's not like anyone could make the case that it was OP, as good as rune of protection was.

But this is exacly the case that the HC team were making. They considered it to be overpowered and adjusted it as they saw fit. It's fine to disagree with the reasoning or the implementation (which went through several revisions due to such disagreement) but at the end of the day this is their ship to sail and someone has to steer it. From everything that they have said and done so far I trust them with it but of course not everyone will.

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Posted (edited)

@arcane while I dont disagree that people should be able to argue that some powers should remain as they are, I believe that if we were to abide the rule as it was written we wouldn't be where we are today.

 

The cottage rule is indiscriminatory, it argues that no power whatsoever should deviate away from it's original intended purpose. So while I agree that not all powers should be changed, we should have the freedom to change the ones that require carefully considered reworks, which is why I oppose using the cottage rule as a defense when it comes to such matters.

 

I think given your position endorsing changes and revamps we're on the same page, at least. My gripe is people who zealously believe that the rule is an absolute, and insist that others should believe so too. Castle himself said the rule could be overturned when needed, which I think is the point many people miss when they cite it.

 

 

Edited by Tyrannical
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27 minutes ago, Tyrannical said:

@arcane while I dont disagree that people should be able to argue that some powers should remain as they are, I believe that if we were to abide the rule as it was written we wouldn't be where we are today.

 

The cottage rule is indiscriminatory, it argues that no power whatsoever should deviate away from it's original intended purpose. So while I agree that not all powers should be changed, we should have the freedom to change the ones that require carefully considered reworks, which is why I oppose using the cottage rule as a defense when it comes to such matters.

 

I think given your position endorsing changes and revamps we're on the same page, at least. My gripe is people who zealously believe that the rule is an absolute, and insist that others should believe so too. Castle himself said the rule could be overturned when needed, which I think is the point many people miss when they cite it.

 

 

Fair. To clarify, I define the cottage rule as I prefer it in a fairly flexible way. For instance, I think the move of -res between powers in Trick Arrow was not actually a deviation from the rule if defined in looser terms. Because the set still maintained the ability to apply the same hefty -res. So I think you can still do all sorts of things within those parameters.

 

It’s “let’s remove this functionality completely from a set and replace it with something unrelated” that I have a problem with. The current GMs haven’t really broken that rule if defined in a flexible way.

Edited by arcane
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Just now, arcane said:

Fair. To clarify, I define the cottage rule as I prefer it in a fairly flexible way. For instance, I think the move of -res between powers in Trick Arrow was not actually a deviation from the rule if defined in looser terms. So I think you can still do all sorts of things within those parameters.

 

I think your interpretation of the rule is actually quite close to what the original devs and the HC team abide by, given posts such as this one by one of the HC devs, Number Six:

 

image.png.54f64afafa2798bb27285238527d98a5.png

 

Additionally, Captain Powerhouse has said in the past that moving the order of powers around in a set (and assumedly by extension, the shifting of functionality within a set from one power to another) is not an infraction of the Cottage Rule either:

 

 

So I think it's fair to say that the Cottage Rule is a way more flexible rule than some people think.

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Just now, Carnifax said:

It's a rule. As Nanny Ogg says "It's there so you'll think about it hard before you decide to break it". 

I had written three paragraphs, but this says it far better than I ever could. 🙂

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2 hours ago, Ukase said:

I don't understand this thinking. I'm not saying it's wrong, but I don't get it. If a powerset has dust on them, that doesn't necessarily mean that the set needs to be changed. 

What has changed, at least it seems to me, is the player mindset (in general, certainly not everyone). The player wants a character that can withstand +4/8 content easily and get great XP with an easy time of things. So, they make a brute. Or a blaster. Or a scrapper. Anything with high dps. 

Sure, certain sets might benefit from some adjustment, but any set can make that claim. Just because they're not being used doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them. It could very well happen that in the future, specific content in the game may be introduced that makes certain lesser played powersets more in vogue. Why worry about it? 

I find it kind of silly, and at times a bit frustrating that HC brings back the game we love, and you all would have them take it in for alterations. It doesn't need them, not really. Sure, some things have been done that have made the game a lot more user friendly. But some things have also been done that have changed how a character plays, requiring a respec - which in my mind is absolutely heinous. 

I took sorcery pool. Now, because of the changes to it, I need to make some adjustments that unslotters won't take care of. Yes, it's a free game. No, I shouldn't complain. But I got the character to 50 the way it was. Why should it change? It's not like anyone could make the case that it was OP, as good as rune of protection was. Now I have to spend more time in Mids instead of time in game. Is this a good thing? I don't think so. 

Leave things alone. You don't like the set, don't play it. 

Look, I get that if nothing changes, then nothing changes. People will get bored. But bring in new content. Don't change powersets. Don't add powersets. Invest the time in the content. That's needed a lot more than having to mash the same key that has a different name and a different animation but with the same result. 

When there's something new for all the level ranges to do, then think about bringing in a new AT or powerset. Revamp Force Field? At what cost? That's a lot more testing and retesting and time than making new content. 

My thought process was more along the lines the game is changing so should some of the powersets to compensate for that change.

I use my much beloved FF, on Live I was a force to be reckoned with, a much needed asset.

Now, hardly anyone uses the set especially at high lvl content because there is now no use and frankly half the powers are useless, hence the set collecting dust. Going to launch kb at Preatorian minions on a itrial...yeah waste of time.

Its not that they aren't desirable to play, they just need changed to compensate for the ever evolving game to make them relevant.

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The principle of "least surprise" that I'm sure I've seen the HC devs talk about is, to my mind anyway, a variation on the cottage rule. 

 

There will be times they need to redo things. What they've done recently with Sorcery and the Travel Pools, I think was a great job.  I know there will be RoP mourners who used to have significantly more uptime and will not agree with me on that. I've also heard people vocally unhappy with Shinobi / Travel Changes.

 

I don't expect Force Fields to ever become an offensive powerhouse. 

I don't expect Regen to become "that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven".

I don't expect to hear about Mind being a farming powerhouse.  I certainly hope it never gains a traditional summoned pet. 

 

But I do expect that the Focused Feedback threads are NOT just people whistling into the wind, either. There may be ideas they choose not to act upon. They may have some impressively long Trello board / Backlog of Doom. But I'm pretty sure they'll set aside "how it's always been" if they are convinced the need is extreme.

Edited by MTeague
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20 minutes ago, Carnifax said:

 

It's a rule. As Nanny Ogg says "It's there so you'll think about it hard before you decide to break it". 

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I think the problem with The Cottage Rule is not necessarily the rule itself (it's basically the Ship of Theseus), more that it is the proponent and followers of it ended up seeing it as an absolute, and not a guide, and there are a few people here who still do.

 

Take Energy Melee for example. The changes made to it still maintain it's vision of dealing heavy single-target damage, but now it's main drawbacks (lack of AoE, slow cast times) have been shored up, but not gotten rid of entirely. I think most people agree that it was a beneficial change that did not deviate far from the original concept, and yet there is a not-quiet group who think it went too far, and should be changed back. 

 

Such a puritan stance is not healthy for game development. There are very few games which release as the initial concept, and some change a lot over the course of their lifetime. To drive a stake in the ground and say "No! No further!" is completely against the nature of games development. The Homecoming team are developers, not caretakers. While new content is something I think everyone wants, we have to accept that the tools at hand are limited and, of course, that the team develop the game in their own time. So, they will take wins where they can take them. One of those is by going over those powersets which languished under the Paragon team, and they did languish, and as @Tyrannical says, it was only until after Castle departed did significant changes come in. Mostly for the better, I feel.

 

I get that change can be scary, that the new might not be as good as the old, but if nothing is allowed to so much as deviate from it's current form then the server is effectively comatose. 

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4 hours ago, Tyrannical said:

So this is more of a vent than anything else but I really want to air it out.

 

Over a decade has passed since Castle, former lead powers developer for Paragon Studios, left the development of City of Heroes. Now, you would think a developer like this would be known for introducing new powersets, or revitalizing the old, but Castle's legacy is something else entirely; The Cottage Rule.

 

For those who are unaware; the cottage rule was presented as a simple idea; A power should never have its core functionality changed. Understandable, for the most part, but the rule was cited multiple times, often by Castle himself, as an excuse not to make revisions to underperforming or undesirable powers, and the cottage rule was ultimately used as a tool to ensure change never happens.

 

Coming from a lead powers developer, this was something of a controversial position to take, and Castle spent much of his time on the forums debating the value of his new rule, so much so that it appears to have distracted from his work on the game itself. Most of the new powersets introduced to the game came about both before and after Castle's brief tenure as lead powers dev, which paints a damning picture about his work ethic, and completely undermines the credibility of any development choices he made considering there was very little he actually developed.

 

But, that's ancient history... or so it should be, right?

 

I've noticed that the cottage rule still seems to be used as an argument here in the forums against pretty much any changes made to powers. I don't quite understand why the development choices a developer made over a decade ago should be at all relevant today, or why the rule is treated with such high regard, especially since Castle went on to say he could overturn the rule whenever he felt it was necessary.

 

We're talking about a developer who back in his day barely made an impact on the game at all, save for impeding any potential development to older powersets. I don't quite see why we should be beholden to a rule that clearly has no merit in today's development efforts, since said rule has already been repeatedly broken moving forward.

 

There's an uncanny irony about people arguing the cottage rule must be followed these many years later, because it emulates Castle himself; stuck on the forums citing the cottage rule whenever change is prompted, and refusing to give any real rationale or reason... it's almost like /jranger in a way.

 

I'm all for respecting the original vision of the game, that's why I play here and not another server. But, development teams change, new ideas are put forward, and relics of the old way of doing things are done away with. 

 

So let's move on already, the game deserves more than to be stifled by the archaic ideas of a rather lousy dev.

 

 

 

The rule should apply more strongly now than ever. This is not a live game, trying to capture a new market or appeal to people that might like a different style of play. this game is a zombie, resurrected for those that missed it.

 

New people aren't going to come to this game in droves, regardless of what you change. That is simply never going to happen.  To go fundamentally changing things will, however, drive away those that are here because they liked and missed the game that they played in the past.

 

There may be vocal minorities of players that want X Y or Z changed, but the vast majority (if the word "vast" can even be used in conjunction with a playerbase as small as CoH has) are satisfied with the game as is and would like to see more actual content...missions, TFs, etc. rather than the continual navel-gazing nerf-buff-nerf again cycle that plagues most games.

 

It's been almost a decade since this game was live, and 17 years since it made its debut. The people that like it, like it. Those that don't won't and never will. Now if you want to make the former group join the latter, then go ahead and start making massive changes to how the games and powers play. Then have fun playing on a server by yourself. 

 

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