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Kallisti Wharf Level Range: Everyone


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What it says on the tin.

 

Set all the NPCs in the zone to scale based on player level, so whether you're 50, or 1, you can enjoy the very cool zone.

 

Similarly, make the Missions in the zone scale to the widest possible margin. I'm not gonna ask you to make level 1 Warriors, obviously. But let's not lock it all up as 50 content or anything.

 

This could actually encourage players to level in and enjoy the zone as something new to do at any level range!

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I was under the impression that there weren't any mobs in Kallisti, or any missions other than the Market Crash trial.

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Posted (edited)

There’s a massive surplus of places to level, to the point where most people rarely experience 1/3 of it. Having an entire 1-50 zone seems like a good way to ensure they check out even less of the other content. What we do have a shortage of is challenging high level content. 
 

*high end doesn’t necessarily mean level 50

Edited by Jitsurei
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45 minutes ago, Jitsurei said:

There’s a massive surplus of places to level, to the point where most people rarely experience 1/3 of it. Having an entire 1-50 zone seems like a good way to ensure they check out even less of the other content. What we do have a shortage of is challenging high level content. 
 

*high end doesn’t necessarily mean level 50

 

 

Exactly.  If an entire zone is level one to 50, that gives people no incentive to ever do anything else, when already the vast majority of the game's content is rarely (if ever), touched.  Not to mention that there's already been four mid-level story arcs added to the game since Homecoming went live, while the high end has gotten exactly... nothing.

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On 5/5/2021 at 2:35 PM, Steampunkette said:

Set all the NPCs in the zone to scale based on player level, so whether you're 50, or 1, you can enjoy the very cool zone.

 

How exactly would that work when you have players level 1 - 50 in the zone? When player 1 starts fighting the mob it's level 1, but when a level 50 player gets nearby the mob suddenly turns level 50?  Or if I'm level 10 fighting a mob and a level 1 player joins in it suddenly becomes level 1 and I obliterate it in one hit?

 

WoW is doing open world scaling now, and it sucks. Pigs that you killed at level 5 are somehow just as difficult to kill when you're level 50. It makes no sense, removes any sense of progression from the game and is terrible. Having missions that lock to the level you are when you take them is one thing...you can still level up if they're too hard, but if they scaled...that purple EB would always be a purple EB. This is one of the reasons there are difficulty sliders and AVs were changed to EBs in solo missions. 

 

Honestly, there aren't many things I can think of that would be worse than adding in open world scaling to this game.

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2 minutes ago, Judasace said:

 

How exactly would that work when you have players level 1 - 50 in the zone? When player 1 starts fighting the mob it's level 1, but when a level 50 player gets nearby the mob suddenly turns level 50?  Or if I'm level 10 fighting a mob and a level 1 player joins in it suddenly becomes level 1 and I obliterate it in one hit?

 

"Level-neutral" mobs that scale to match individual characters already exist in-game... That's how the RIkti and Zombies and Ghost Pirates and such that pop up during invasions are done. 

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20 minutes ago, Coyotedancer said:

"Level-neutral" mobs that scale to match individual characters already exist in-game... That's how the RIkti and Zombies and Ghost Pirates and such that pop up during invasions are done. 

 

How do those mobs function if  say an ungrouped level 1 and level 50 are standing next to each other when they spawn, and then both characters start attacking the mob? does it take damage as if the level 1 were level 50? Or as if the level 50 were level 1?

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I'm not a dev, so I can't detail how it works on the back-end for you... But from the player side, each character interacts with that goon as if it was their level. When the lvl1 hits it, it's just like they're attacking any other mob that's level one. When the thing turns around and takes a slap at them, it does damage as if it's their level as well. If it switches targets and hits the lvl 50 tank next? It hits that character as if it was lvl 50. There may be some sort of internal scaling involved... I'm not sure about that... But the gist is that it doesn't matter what level anyone is. 

 

If you want to see how it works out in practice, I'd recommend jumping into one of the frequent Rikti invasions that are going on at the moment. It's an interesting way to make those events both accessible to everyone and independent of the level range of whatever zone they spawn in. 

 

 

 

Edited by Coyotedancer

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Posted (edited)

I can agree with the OP idea, though I've also thought that to preserve the feel of Kallisti as now (namely a pretty cozy place), all mobs spawns should be something triggered as zone events or something like that? Basically, if you want to find trouble in Kallisti, you need to look a bit harder for it (this might also deter people from clocking into Kallisti and never checking anything else out), everything else is found through contacts and mission content. Though this could be insanely complicated as zone events have always been kind of sparse in City, so I'm guessing they might not have been something easy to code. Some rough ideas for some zone events could include:

 

  1. A 'tug of war' between red and blueside events where when one side does something, it affects the otherside and visaversa, a sort of 'soft PVP' with villain actions inspiring crime on the heroside and heroic work freeing up law enforcement to crack down on the villain side.
  2. Villainside getting an 'open zone bank heist'. All the fun of a mayhem mission now with even more chaos.
  3. A "containment breach" at the Crey building has led to an out pouring of escaped experiments. Heroes must save civilians, contain the experiments, and investigate the cause!
  4. A Council/UPA Zone event for both sides to team up against a common foe seeking to cement a headquarters in Kallisti! And while this next part might not be possible with our current team, a cool idea would be that this coop event gives special objectives based on your alignment, like Vigilantes hunt down some politicians/crooked cops who allowed this to happen, rogues steal tech and weapons for personal use or late sale, and so on.
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42 minutes ago, Judasace said:

 

How do those mobs function if  say an ungrouped level 1 and level 50 are standing next to each other when they spawn, and then both characters start attacking the mob? does it take damage as if the level 1 were level 50? Or as if the level 50 were level 1?

All functions of city of heroes are based on magnitudes. A magnitude one attack deals a specific amount of damage to a character based on the level of the character using it. When the game determines damage taken it takes in the purple patch to determine how much damage that magnitude one attack does.

 

When an NPC has no level it deals damage based entirely on the target's level. My magnitude one attack at level one deals 8.3 points of damage. So I will hit the level one character for 8.3 points of damage. If he then turns around and swings at the level 50 character that character will instead take 53 points of damage from the exact same attack.

 

It is really an ingenious system.

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I understand the thinking here, and I see the appeal of a 'I can do anything I want at any time and get rewarded; play my way' style of game but I would argue that outside of AE, the concept is best kept limited to zone events and giant monsters as it is now. I have two reasons for thinking this way:

The first: The thrill and engagement of the new player growth experience. This is often underestimated in importance, but is an element that contributes to the long-term future and health of the game and its player base.

While less important to somebody leveling their hundredth character, the growth and flow of a brand new player starting out as small-time hero/villain and working their way up in the world is part of the joy that helps them grow to love the game. Advancing from beating up lowly street thugs, to thwarting local crime syndicates, to saving the world from super villain legions is part of what makes a player fall in love with City of Heroes and makes curious first-timers into long-term players.

Which plays into the second: Logistics and frame of reference.

It would be difficult to explain in a satisfying way how that Level 1 is going toe-to-toe with the same enemy and having the same relative fight as the Level 50+3 super incarnate. It would also prevent crafting and moving the overall narrative forward as we continue the story. Requiring a villain group to somehow simultaneously (literally here, occupying the same space and time) be small-time and also the next huge threat warranting the response of world's strongest would be troublesome for writing.

Long-time players are eagerly awaiting the next chapter of the City of Heroes world's story, and new endgame is naturally, going to be a part of that; Not to say that the early game isn't important too, but each has it's own purpose, design, and execution; Overlapping them would mean the loss of the granularity that makes them excel at their intended purpose.

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While I understand your position, @Cobalt Arachne I find I fundamentally disagree with it.

 

John Stewart, the Green Lantern, was not a street-gang fighting Superhero when he first started out. He was the Green Lantern, with all the weight of responsibility that it carries.

 

The Question, similarly, will never be strong enough to stand toe to toe with Darkseid and fight him.

 

I think the fundamental idea of giving all superheroes a leveling progression reflected through narrative scale was flawed from Day 1. Some characters just -are- Cosmic Scale Heroes. Some characters just -are- Street Heroes who fight gangs. And I sincerely feel like those stories are horribly underserved by a game which presumes every player must make the progression from Street Tough to Cosmic Badass.

 

I'll also point to Sidekicking as a major hole in the "How can we do narrative with level 1 and 50 heroes beside each other?" the answer is: Who really ultimately cares when they can put together a team of eight people ranging in level from 1 to 50 with two characters over 40 and still have a grand old time, together? Doesn't matter if Superman is there, The Question will still get lasered to death by Darkseid.

 

Further: We have the leveling content that already exists if someone wants to enjoy the "Leveling from 1-50" path to superherodom (Rather than just getting PLed to 50 or whatever).

 

And finally: That first time player starts in Atlas Park, with contacts in Atlas Park. And a boatload of other characters milling around in Atlas Park. That player will know nothing of Kallisti Wharf or any other level-scaled options around the game and will just play the game normally. Preserving the "Thrill and Engagement" of the new player growth experience.

 

I'm not saying "Write all new content as if all characters are level 1, level 50, or somehow both simultaneously!" because that would be obnoxious. I'm not even saying "Write all the content in this specific zone to be level 1-50"

 

I'm suggesting that the zone -itself- contain level scaled NPC Mobs, rather than 49-54 mobs. And that the missions be scaled as widely as possible, For some of the content that might be 45-50+. For other content maybe it would reach as low as the 30s or 20s. But probably no level 1 missions fighting Warriors.

Edited by Steampunkette
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38 minutes ago, Steampunkette said:

John Stewart, the Green Lantern, was not a street-gang fighting Superhero when he first started out. He was the Green Lantern, with all the weight of responsibility that it carries.

I understand where you're coming from, and you're not wrong in that regard. This game was designed to flexibly accommodate as wide a variety of player concepts as possible, and is one of the reason that it is beloved so. Generally, any concept you can think of, with some elbow grease and flexibility can be realized in-game as a playable character. (Obviously there are limits, but imagination tends to cover the difference when it has to.)

However, that being said, the player canon, will always be, the player's own canon. While it can be built off the game's canon, the reverse is not so readily presumable, nor should it be necessarily. The context of the City of Heroes narrative always has what we'll term the nebulous 'Players Identity' that it takes into account where the writing is concerned in terms of the player's role and current relation to the universe they're playing in.

In City of Heroes, at the upper-end of the current writing, the 'Players Identity' is that they are Primal Earth's strongest defenders who, after the war with Praetoria, have siphoned power from the Well to become incarnates and are being meticulously primed by various efforts to face the Coming Storm.

If you're existing strictly through the game's framework (which you don't have to, there is no wrong way to play the game in terms of personal writing!), that is how the game defines a player's character right now in relation to the narrative. Because the game's world operates by the rules the writing has established, it has to define the 'Players Identity' to some degree otherwise it makes it difficult to make consequences matter, and the whole thing gets muddy.

While it's possible for players to create a character with the concept that they, at Level 1, could destroy the Praetorian Hamidon in a single punch (like a certain anime?😄). It's not hard to see why it'd be problematic for the narrative to attempt to officially accommodate that concept, and still have any meaning and weight.

Essentially, the way I see it is this: If the player opts to discard the game's canon, rules, and definition for the 'Players Identity' for their own instead (which is totes cool! Again, City of Heroes thrives on being a medium to fulfill a player's personal creative vision in any way they see fit) then, by the same extension, the game's writing no longer strictly applies to them any longer, so it catering to them isn't viable.

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1 hour ago, Cobalt Arachne said:

I understand where you're coming from, and you're not wrong in that regard. This game was designed to flexibly accommodate as wide a variety of player concepts as possible, and is one of the reason that it is beloved so. Generally, any concept you can think of, with some elbow grease and flexibility can be realized in-game as a playable character. (Obviously there are limits, but imagination tends to cover the difference when it has to.)

However, that being said, the player canon, will always be, the player's own canon. While it can be built off the game's canon, the reverse is not so readily presumable, nor should it be necessarily. The context of the City of Heroes narrative always has what we'll term the nebulous 'Players Identity' that it takes into account where the writing is concerned in terms of the player's role and current relation to the universe they're playing in.

In City of Heroes, at the upper-end of the current writing, the 'Players Identity' is that they are Primal Earth's strongest defenders who, after the war with Praetoria, have siphoned power from the Well to become incarnates and are being meticulously primed by various efforts to face the Coming Storm.

If you're existing strictly through the game's framework (which you don't have to, there is no wrong way to play the game in terms of personal writing!), that is how the game defines a player's character right now in relation to the narrative. Because the game's world operates by the rules the writing has established, it has to define the 'Players Identity' to some degree otherwise it makes it difficult to make consequences matter, and the whole thing gets muddy.

While it's possible for players to create a character with the concept that they, at Level 1, could destroy the Praetorian Hamidon in a single punch (like a certain anime?😄). It's not hard to see why it'd be problematic for the narrative to attempt to officially accommodate that concept, and still have any meaning and weight.

Essentially, the way I see it is this: If the player opts to discard the game's canon, rules, and definition for the 'Players Identity' for their own instead (which is totes cool! Again, City of Heroes thrives on being a medium to fulfill a player's personal creative vision in any way they see fit) then, by the same extension, the game's writing no longer strictly applies to them any longer, so it catering to them isn't viable.

So Kallisti Wharf's entire population of NPC Villains, Cops, drones, Etc, are -all- going to be Incarnate Level threats at all times?

 

1) That makes no sense in relation to the way the game hands out "Incarnate Power" to only a handful of characters (Of which the player character is one)

2) How is Kallisti Wharf even -standing- if everyone is god-tier superpowered as even street-level mobs? How can cars traverse the streets without some Incarnate-Jacked Warrior (Or Hellion, or Freakshow, or Knives of Vengeance, or whatever) yoinking their car up and yeeting it at whomever happens to be nearby?

 

Like, I get it. You want the narrative to be big and cool and powerful. But that doesn't mean the random street mobs in a clear city-zone where perfectly normal people make it to and from their office jobs, hospital shifts, and gardening of the immaculate parks have to be god-tier powerful.

 

Again, I'm not talking about the Missions, here, though I'd love for them to be written as broadly as possible for characters of a range of levels rather than only Incarnated out 50+ characters with at least 20 vet levels.

 

I'm talking about the Street Trash. The generic thugs who mug hapless civilians in the streets. For them to be level 54 incarnates across the entire zone would break any kind of logic regarding the power levels involved, wouldn't it?

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I don't like it. It's a big no.

 

I like being able to go to a low level zone and be at ease, explore and just hang out without being at risk of getting attacked by any random Hellion. It's super annoying in Guild Wars 2 how every zone scales to you, you can't explore, you can't go anywhere, you can't find a hangout spot for roleplay without random mobs walking in and attacking everyone. It would create a zone that sucks to be in and sucks to explore, more like a hazard zone than any hazard zone existing. Even RWZ is more peaceful than something like this would be because enemies scale in level throughout it.

 

But hey, you can always load up a large AE map and fill it with mobs, I guess. Or sit in a PvP zone for the same effect.

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12 minutes ago, Steampunkette said:

I'm talking about the Street Trash. The generic thugs who mug hapless civilians in the streets. For them to be level 54 incarnates across the entire zone would break any kind of logic regarding the power levels involved, wouldn't it?

It's not an Incarnate Trial Zone like Dark Astoria, so incarnate-level threats won't be out in the streets. Kallisti Wharf is planned to be a 40-50 zone, as it says on the tram destination in-game.

 

Without explicitly detailing what; I can assure you, they're not generic thugs, and that the new threats vying for control of that zone are not ones that a brand new hero or villain (as the game defines them as players) could expect to handle.


If you get too granular in either direction in regards to gameplay vs. narrative, the whole scope becomes weaker, it's about finding the right balance for any particular element within a given context.

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Well I can certainly understand the need for granularity in order to avoid it becoming too watered down in one direction or another, I still feel like it's the wrong decision.

 

However the decision has been made and the suggestion is thus no longer relevant. Sorry to have wasted people's time.

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City zones were always intended to work as chapters in a character's career, making Kallisti a 1-50 zone means that a character could spend his whole career fighting the same fight and never really make an impact.

 

There's a reason why theres a narrative element to security/threat level, and we used to see a lot of dialogue referencing it, but removing the concept of level-restricted access to one zone would invalidate the need for it in all other zones, and ultimately diminish the rationale behind security/threat level to begin with.

 

With that in mind, I think it's completely the right call keeping Kallisti a 40-50 zone.

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3 hours ago, Steampunkette said:

Sorry to have wasted people's time.

Please don't take it that way!

 

No suggestion with thought and purpose put into it is ever a waste of time; Provoking new ways of thinking and always striving to make this game the best it can be is something I always want to support.

Creating a more fluid definition of levels as you suggested is something other games have done, has worked in various capacities, and has it's own set of pro's and con's, as anything does. Strictly speaking, it's not an objectively bad or wrong idea.

In City of Heroes' case, it's tricky given the game's many systems and overall gameplay structure that has already been established over the years; It's tough to introduce large high-level design changes like this without it being a consideration from the initial concept drafting, and Kallisti Wharf's planning is too far along at this stage.

That being said, your suggestion was not a concept I had ever considered before. Obviously, I can't speak for what the unseen far future holds, maybe someday there'll be a "oh heck this new zone we're planning is PERFECT for a system like that!", in which case your having suggested this idea here would've been where that seed was initially planted. But it would definitely be something that would have to be baked into every facet of that zone's planning, from concepting to realization, and constructed with such a goal in mind.
 

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My only hypothetical problem with this kind of feature is if the mobs were made easier to accommodate level 1’s because that would make the level 50’s experience way too easy. As long as content that scales with level does not cater to the lower levels, it seems fine here and there. In other words, a level 1 fighting carnies is fine but not advisable. A level 50 fighting hellions is a problem.

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Posted (edited)

There are actual mechanical issues with "levelless" mobs in CoH.

 

The "level neutral" critters in the game have an actual level, usually level 30 for non-GMs, along with jiggery-pokery in the code that attempts to transform attacks from both level 1s and level 50s into something appropriate to a level 30, and vice-versa for its outgoing attacks back. Why level 30? Because combat effectiveness in CoH is complicated and very non-linear, and you can only scale it so perfectly in a performant way. The further apart the real and apparent levels involved, the worse the scaling matches expectations. As a result, level 30 "levelless" mobs are actually pretty easy for level 50s to take out (especially since level 50s tend to laugh at +0 mobs even at level 50) and level 1s have a horrible time fighting them.

 

If you've noticed, invasions no longer happen in Atlas or Mercy. They used to, but were removed. The above is a major part of why.

 

This doesn't even touch on some of the things others have mentioned. What powers characters have have, and how many different powers they can synergize, is a huge part of what makes high-level player characters (and critters) more dangerous. Even with perfect scaling of damage and other effects, a level 50 critter is likely to have combinations of powers (offensive and defensive) that you would never want to throw at someone level 10 or under. Critters of different levels have pretty hard-coded lists of abilities, and scaling their challenge by level is achieved by providing different critters at different levels. If you design a critter for level 50 content and present it with a level 10 player, it's going to unload on them with everything it has. Having the AI scale its offensive patterns based on the level of the target is not something the game currently supports. (And I say "currently" only with the context that anything is possible with time and effort spent writing code - I am aware of no plans that would change this.)

 

So there are some real technical hurdles to making a zone that legitimately works right in terms of challenge across levels 1-50.

 

Edited by UberGuy
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11 hours ago, Cobalt Arachne said:

Please don't take it that way!

 

No suggestion with thought and purpose put into it is ever a waste of time; Provoking new ways of thinking and always striving to make this game the best it can be is something I always want to support.

Creating a more fluid definition of levels as you suggested is something other games have done, has worked in various capacities, and has it's own set of pro's and con's, as anything does. Strictly speaking, it's not an objectively bad or wrong idea.

In City of Heroes' case, it's tricky given the game's many systems and overall gameplay structure that has already been established over the years; It's tough to introduce large high-level design changes like this without it being a consideration from the initial concept drafting, and Kallisti Wharf's planning is too far along at this stage.

That being said, your suggestion was not a concept I had ever considered before. Obviously, I can't speak for what the unseen far future holds, maybe someday there'll be a "oh heck this new zone we're planning is PERFECT for a system like that!", in which case your having suggested this idea here would've been where that seed was initially planted. But it would definitely be something that would have to be baked into every facet of that zone's planning, from concepting to realization, and constructed with such a goal in mind.
 

It's awfully hard not to take it that way. Yeah, not my post, but it's something I believe at least as passionately as the OP would be the best (maybe 2nd best) overall change that could be made to the game. But, until a dev decides they want to do it, it's just a bad idea that nobody wants because it isn't what they've always done.

In every MMO I've played, the switch to level-neutral enemies has been a tremendous improvement to the game experience. Sadly, it's usually a last ditch effort to get the last remaining players not to leave and see the game die... (CoH is a bit more unique in that it has already died). Tatooine isn't a useless venue for a level 50 smuggler who can casually wipe a whole tribe of Tuskens with their Brawl equivalent (even a high level Jedi can't do it in time to save Mom). What it does is open up options. Why shouldn't a new hero be able to Go to Independence Port, and fight organized crime? Why must an ancient Roman Gladiator begin their training outside modern City Hall, fighting through the parks and suburbs (or PLing in virtual reality) before they do anything significant in their "home zone"?

As for the argument that it preserves the existing narrative, I got bad news for ya, that narrative is broken the first time you "arrest" a street thug by incinerating them, only to see them respawn shortly, stealing the same purse, from the same indestructible NPC. We don't make progress cleaning up a zone, be give up on it and move on to someplace more novel, only to do the same there. Any "suspension of disbelief" is already warped by bad decisions made in early game development because nobody thought they could do something better than replicate Gygax's original pattern of "Begin nearly helpless and get better at everything by killing stuff" even though some of the best old school MMOs allowed you do largely ignore that paradigm... even though the game that predominantly inspired City of Heroes worked nothing like that.

Neutral Level enemies don't impair game progression, story progression, or character progression. What they impair is a thoroughly unrealistic and unreasonable game structure that we don't need and are better off without. What they impair is Level 10 heroes getting annihilated by level 50 Nazis that spawn as an ambush next to the level 12 Nazis in Steel Canyon because a level 50 just finished a mission there. What they impair is the "You must play the way we believe you should want to play" mindset.

Kallisti Wharf shouldn't be developed with neutral level enemies, the entire game should be converted to them.

Now, Sorry for wasting everyone's time.

PS: Taking Rikti Invasions out of Atlas and Mercy has doesn't make much difference for what level the most of the characters in the zone are. A level 50 will always be more powerful than a level 1, because the 50 has more powers to choose from, that are modded with superior enhancements... but a bunch of level 1s can still hold up quite well. What the real problem is, is that there may be 20-30 newbies in the zone (because that's where they get shunted after character creation, because there isn't content they can really take part in most other places without a high level benefactor) and they're dealing with the administrative side of getting their characters up and running, but that many of them still draws a huge crowd of spawns... Dog forbid there's a costume contest running when it happens. At least that's why it's actually important for Atlas. Mercy has to follow suit just to be fair, even though there's rarely more than a handful of players there.

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