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Montague Castanella arc feels way too early


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I know this is very old news at this point, but I just ran the missions again, and fighting Rikti, dealing with Vanguard, and curing the Lost at level 12/13 just seems weird compared to everything else happening in the game. I feel like this arc should be level 25+.

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I suspect the original developers focused on the end of the story that is the Lost and may not have realized how it was perceived by new players moving through the material.  As such, in the original game, we'd just completed King's Row which used to be dominantly Lost, rather than heavily Skull and Circle of Thorns as it is now.  So in that perspective, Castanella is a natural next step as the OG players moved from KR to Steel Canyon. 

 

I do remember the full realization of the Lost/Ritki connection to be a bit jarring as a new player, however.  I mean, the clues were all there, but as a new player I still felt like I was "drinking from the fire hose", so to speak, and was letting details slip by as I tried to grasp the big concepts in the game.  So in that sense, a little more obvious clues or a little more time to let the connection sink in would have been fine.

 

Huh.  As I think of it, it is remarkable how much I take for granted and gloss over today, that I was wide-eyed and struggling to comprehend in 2005, especially since CoH was my first MMO.

 

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You can always delay taking the arc... I think all of the enemies in instanced missions will scale with your level.

 

Frankly: The whole arc seems like an excuse to show off different 'mission mechanics'. Generally I think it works.

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41 minutes ago, tidge said:

You can always delay taking the arc... I think all of the enemies in instanced missions will scale with your level.

 

Frankly: The whole arc seems like an excuse to show off different 'mission mechanics'. Generally I think it works.

 

Doesn't he actually scale all the way up to 50? I'm pretty sure he's introduced early, but can be done all the way up to level 50.. Maybe he should be introduced later? Or does he gives access to the midnighters club, so you need to do him sooner to get access to the O-portal and cimcity?

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15 minutes ago, Arbegla said:

 

Doesn't he actually scale all the way up to 50? I'm pretty sure he's introduced early, but can be done all the way up to level 50.. Maybe he should be introduced later? Or does he gives access to the midnighters club, so you need to do him sooner to get access to the O-portal and cimcity?

It's the Midnighter access arc, but in reality you don't need to have access before level 35. And now you can get it just for snagging an exploration badge.

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I have no issues with this set of missions at level 12, or any level after that (at difficulty 0). I stealth as much as I can. It helps to have a few yellow inspirations when fighting CoT ghosts. 

 

Taking a guess: Maybe don't set the difficulty at +4? 🤔

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3 hours ago, gamingglen said:

I have no issues with this set of missions at level 12, or any level after that (at difficulty 0). I stealth as much as I can. It helps to have a few yellow inspirations when fighting CoT ghosts.

The only mission from his arc that I handle any differently than any other is when he sends me to rescue Suicide Girl Lady Jane, where I'll use Stealth and/or Invisibility to get past the spawn guarding her and clear out all the mobs around her and on the way to the chest, so that when I defeat the two mobs guarding her, she won't immediately aggro on some random spawn of ghosts, run over, and get herself killed. Then it's just dragging her to the chest.

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Posted (edited)

Honestly I think the problem is that Montague's arc is the only lost-centric story arc heroes get, period. They show up occasionally in one or two other story arcs, but only after you get access to Montague and they're never the focus of the story, just "also there."

 

Montague's arc is basically where the player is formally introduced to the Lost, and then you immediately learn everything there is to know about them very quickly and by the end of the story they're on the way to being cured.

 

It's like they thought they had already written some kind of low-level Lost content that Montague was tying up loose ends for, but they never actually did.

 

To be fair, this was part of Issue 12, which was packed with so much stuff that basically everything feels rushed through at 80% completion. I always thought it was kind of weird how Montague's greeting text is just "Hello" with no color or punctuation, and how he just rushes you into rescuing Percy without like, explaining who Percy is or what's happening. And then the VEAT arcs were part of Issue 12 too... it's a whole deal.

Edited by VulnaviaPhibes
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2 hours ago, srmalloy said:

The only mission from his arc that I handle any differently than any other is when he sends me to rescue Suicide Girl Lady Jane, where I'll use Stealth and/or Invisibility to get past the spawn guarding her and clear out all the mobs around her and on the way to the chest, so that when I defeat the two mobs guarding her, she won't immediately aggro on some random spawn of ghosts, run over, and get herself killed. Then it's just dragging her to the chest.

 

I've rarely (just once) had issues with Lady Jane. 

You just have to know how to handle women. 🙂 

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5 hours ago, gamingglen said:

Taking a guess: Maybe don't set the difficulty at +4? 🤔

 

My issue isn't the difficulty, I mean story-wise. It would fit better around level 30 where the Lost transitions to the Rikti.

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3 hours ago, Supertanker said:

 

My issue isn't the difficulty, I mean story-wise. It would fit better around level 30 where the Lost transitions to the Rikti.

 

Oh. Never mind then.

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11 hours ago, Supertanker said:

 

My issue isn't the difficulty, I mean story-wise. It would fit better around level 30 where the Lost transitions to the Rikti.

It's hard to time right, but I had one character who'd put off progress on that arc, and did both the "Investigate Lost and Rikti" and "Rescue Argot'Bur'Wot" missions at 29, where they got a mixture of Lost and Rikti in the missions. I have to admit that -- even though I'd run those missions dozens of times, having both Lost and Rikti in them gave a better feel to them. I don't know if it's possible to scale down the Rikti specifically for those two missions (and scale up the Lost if over 30) so that both groups spawn regardless of the mission level, but I think it would fit better into the narrative about them, instead of being entirely Rikti if you run them over 30.

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On 5/10/2021 at 12:58 PM, gamingglen said:

I have no issues with this set of missions at level 12, or any level after that (at difficulty 0). I stealth as much as I can. It helps to have a few yellow inspirations when fighting CoT ghosts. 

The Lady Jane mission is one I routinely drop to -1. I also like to manage things so that I'm thaaaaaat close to leveling in the previous mission, then turn XP off before finishing. Then turn XP back on for Lady Jane. That way, I'm likely to level up on the first few mobs, and I'm effectively now running the mission at -2. Because that mission is an insane exercise in frustration at low levels, particularly when it spawns almost nothing but the ghosts.

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I remember running this during the closed beta of issue 12.  May be hard to believe but Suicide Girl once it went Live is positively calm by comparison.  I rescued her that first time and she shot off like a jack rabbit, right past the first several mobs like some deranged Tanker trying to round up all the Freaks on Dreck's map.  She died while I was still staring at the screen going "WTF".

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On 5/10/2021 at 1:52 PM, siolfir said:

It's the Midnighter access arc, but in reality you don't need to have access before level 35. And now you can get it just for snagging an exploration badge.

If you finish it before 20 you also unlock Mercedes Sheldon's arcs.

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On 5/10/2021 at 5:25 PM, VulnaviaPhibes said:

Honestly I think the problem is that Montague's arc is the only lost-centric story arc heroes get, period.

There are several contacts that hand out individual "collect samples from Lost" missions, and the "rescue the missing homeless people" mission, but beyond the implication that someone is studying the Lost, you don't get any indication regarding what threat the Lost are supposed to represent, and the only other information you get is vague foreshadowing if you are in Faultline listening to the dialog from the Lost there if you get near them.

 

The lieutenants often wield energy weapons, but there's no indication where they come from -- having a mission like the "find the source of the Freaks' weapons" where you have mobs that scale from clubs to firearms to the Rikti energy weapons as you get deeper into the mission, ending with you finding several Rikti around a crate glowie that's full of Rikti weapons would start the linkages between them, with other missions to recover some of these energy weapons (with appropriate contact dialog indicating that they're Rikti in origin) setting up Castaneda's missions.

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On 5/10/2021 at 6:17 PM, gamingglen said:

 

I've rarely (just once) had issues with Lady Jane. 

You just have to know how to handle women. 🙂 

Ditto.  I had no idea people found this mission so onerous. I've played many (many) alts through this arc, and I think she's only died once on me, and fairly recently.  I know because it was a bit of a surprise to me when it happened; normally she gets through along with me just fine.

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8 minutes ago, Blackbird71 said:

Ditto.  I had no idea people found this mission so onerous. I've played many (many) alts through this arc, and I think she's only died once on me, and fairly recently.  I know because it was a bit of a surprise to me when it happened; normally she gets through along with me just fine.

She used to be a lot worse than she is (most notably, she had a self +Perception buff that meant she'd aggro enemy NPCs from extremely far away, even while you were fighting something else).  The original devs fixed her up, but for many, the memory is ingrained...

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6 hours ago, Lazarillo said:

If you finish it before 20 you also unlock Mercedes Sheldon's arcs.

There is actually a bit of a bug (which I reported in the Bug Reports forum some time ago) at the end of the arc, after you talk to the Latin Student and gain entry to the Midnighter Club. For some reason, the yellow marker points you to Mercedes Sheldon as soon as you enter the room, when what you actually need to do is talk to the guy behind the desk, and then talk to Montague to actually finish the arc. Talking to Mercedes before level 20 doesn't get you anything.

 

6 hours ago, srmalloy said:

There are several contacts that hand out individual "collect samples from Lost" missions, and the "rescue the missing homeless people" mission, but beyond the implication that someone is studying the Lost, you don't get any indication regarding what threat the Lost are supposed to represent, and the only other information you get is vague foreshadowing if you are in Faultline listening to the dialog from the Lost there if you get near them.

There is one random, non-arc mission that I have only encountered once or twice (across 100 alts, most of which are above level 20), where you fight through a cave full of Lost (and maybe some Rikti), and in the caves you find a pile of books that read like religious texts. They're apparently written by the Rikti, and the Lost are treating them as religious prophecy telling of a future paradise/utopia. It seems the Rikti are using these texts to recruit volunteers for "the change". This future paradise/utopia is strongly alluded to by the random Lost comments in Faultline, but if you haven't seen the mission where you find those books, the chatter doesn't make a whole lot of sense - you're left wondering, "What are these guys on about?" I think it would be very helpful if that particular mission was pushed more strongly. Having it just show up among the random missions that appear after you've completed a contact's story arc makes it very easy to miss. I, at least, rarely continue with a contact after I've completed whatever arc they offer. Unfortunately, I don't recall the name of the mission, or who offers it.

 

3 hours ago, Blackbird71 said:

Ditto.  I had no idea people found this mission so onerous. I've played many (many) alts through this arc, and I think she's only died once on me, and fairly recently.  I know because it was a bit of a surprise to me when it happened; normally she gets through along with me just fine.

I've done it on almost every character, and I think she's only died on me once or twice. The only times I've seen her actually run away from me have been when the mob she's currently targeting happens to flee, and she chases after it.

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12 minutes ago, RikOz said:

Talking to Mercedes before level 20 doesn't get you anything.

It has less to do with who you have to talk to and more that if you don't do Montague in advance, you outlevel Mercedes as she has a very narrow window to start her arcs,

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8 minutes ago, Lazarillo said:

It has less to do with who you have to talk to and more that if you don't do Montague in advance, you outlevel Mercedes as she has a very narrow window to start her arcs,

Right, but I'm just talking about the ending of the arc. The yellow arrow points you to her, incorrectly.

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16 hours ago, Lazarillo said:

It has less to do with who you have to talk to and more that if you don't do Montague in advance, you outlevel Mercedes as she has a very narrow window to start her arcs,

She has three arcs blueside, actually, but while her missions are issued up to level 29, I'm pretty sure that you outlevel the start of the second and third arcs at level 25 -- I've only received 'The Magic Man' arc a few times (even back to live), and I don't think I've ever done 'Crown of Glory'. Something I'll have to rectify in Flashback.

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When I decide to do this arc I generally wait till I'm roughly 20 or 22.  22 seems to be best since level 25 IOs make the missions much better in terms of hits and damage potential.  Also, that last mission curing the Lost isn't such a pain because all the mobs in Skyway are now below me and I don't have to worry about getting defeated while I try to cure a large spawn.  Just a preference.  I do agree that I'd think the arc should be moved to later teens or early twenties but I have no issues with it being available at 12 as is.  Or even beef it up a bit and make it more about the midnight club unlock then anything else which is most useful post 35 for ITF.

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