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Focused Feedback: Advanced Difficulty Options and Challenge Mode


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This has the potential to completely revolutionise the game, and in a really great way!

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Often posting from my phone; please excuse any typos!

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7 hours ago, EnjoyTheJourney said:

As an initial reaction, the 30% global defense buff for relentless and the 30% to hit buff will probably require extensive adaptation to builds. 

 

It would seem that with 45% defense being the current softcap for most content, on relentless 75% defense is needed to reach the softcap. Perhaps a smaller to hit buff could be selected, but with a buff to accuracy added in as well. 

 

A global 30% defense buff for relentless means substantially more effort will need to be expended on raising to hit values.  Builds that rely on first hitting mobs to raise to hit values and to heal / buff could be at a relative disadvantage if whiffing becomes a lot more common. Power sets such as earth control, storm, cold domination, and other sets that have one or more powers which automatically debuff defense in a wide area will surge ahead of their peers for how well they help teams tackle relentless difficulty content. 

 

A key question that ends up arising is whether these particular global buffs for relentless will promote the importance of different roles, while also raising the value of particular powersets well above their peers in the same AT, at least on relentless. Not sure how this will play out. 

 

It plays out by not being a soloist, and instead a team player. Diverse teams doing what their AT does best do better than wild packs of soloist, doing some that they are good at, and making power concessions to be fully solo-capable at X artificial power boundary. This is clearly evinced in the content people run. A diverse team can defeat any challenge, with anything, in a reasonable time. A team of soloists are only going to be as strong as their weaker link, since power picks were not driving altruistically, but simply for the Me principal. 

 

The top ASF challenge modes arent scary at all if you have a team full of teammates, instead of a team full of soloists. In which case, soloist builds are useless, as you are implicitly stating in your first 3 paragraphs. 🙂

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Peacemoon said:

It sounds really good!! 
 

My thoughts would be not to confuse dangerous and challenging with slow and time consuming (and I’m not saying this is, but something to be mindful of).

By this I mean, the higher difficulty levels should be dangerous and there should be a risk of being defeated and wiping if you don’t play your cards right. What you don’t want is just mobs that take an age to kill but still don’t provide a lot of danger. That wouldn’t be fun. 
 

I’m okay with inspirations not being allowed. I would actually not allow wakes either and encourage more rezz powers to be taken and used. I think it would make death feel that much more powerful and make a lot of underloved powers suddenly very interesting.  

 

 

So, this is a valid question, and is answered by approaching challenge mode less as a brute force operation, and more as a proper surgery with a full team of people from Slick Hands Rick, and On The Bag Bob, backed up with Elanore Dont Fall A Sleeeeeeeeee doing anesthesia.

 

Two people with rez are probably ideal on ASF max diff, with at least one person having teletarget to do corpse retrieval. Operate as a proper team. Also, powers like Power Boost allow amazing things to happen with +special. This is not limited to just cors or fenders, but anyone that can get it.  It really  maximizes "odd" powers and functions in a set to leverage maximum power against ASF hard targets in novel ways, allowing your team to dismantle them.

 

I would recommend looking at all the powers in your common play sets, looking at special and non-(primary) functions to see what can be boosted, why, and how, and use THAT as a basis.

 

Even in this page, there are some astounding power combos that do massive synergy to wipe out pretty much everything in ASF max challenge, _as part of a team_. I have a collection of useful stunts like this that have a high chance of getting me killed solo, but totally ensures a smooth team slay on a team. 

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13 hours ago, Cobalt Arachne said:

We're looking to find a solution in the future that lets you use Inspirations but on a limited basis in these difficulty modes (something like using Inspiration causes you to go on a 30 second cooldown before you can use another). That won't be on Page 3 though, expect it go live where it currently is.

It would not hurt the game to introduce an inspiration cooldown (for non rezzies) everywhere. 30s might be a bit too long for say, level 2, but say a 5s cooldown up to level 10, 10 s for level 11-25, 20s for levels 26-40, and 30s for levels 41+ in regular content would definitely put some limits on it.

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1 minute ago, Andreah said:

Another different limit on inspirations would be to have a setting such that inspirations don't drop in this mission. Bring one tray and good luck, hope you picked the right ones.

I think I would rather it was the opposite. You can’t bring inspirations into a TF or buy them, and can only use the ones that drop.

Inspirations are a core part of the game. The only issue with them is you can buy and trade them so easily.

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Often posting from my phone; please excuse any typos!

Fallout Engineer Rad/AR Defender || Peacemoon Empathy/Psi Defender || Svarteir Dark/Dark Controller

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1 minute ago, Peacemoon said:

Inspirations are a core part of the game

This is a good way to explain why I don't like completely disabling them. And I'd say the same for temp powers. I'd much rather have intrinsic limits that might be more strict , or new, interesting risks for using them in the most difficult content than just turning them off.

 

For example, maybe using an inspiration or enabling/equiping a temp power ought to interrupt your current action, and put you into a one second long animation where your defense is -50?

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There's a limit to what can be done in the now versus ideas to be explored later. Inspirations and temp powers - such as Warburg nukes or Shivans - might not create the feeling the intended for these new challenge modes. That's as the game is right now - that inspiration spam would just help trivialize the goal and intent. Most content is trivialized now by inspirations, IOs, temp powers (looking at you, stat booster shenanigans), and Incarnates - to the point where +4/x8 is a standard and is breezed through on a general basis.

There's a lot more to be done to complete the puzzle. The limitations as they stand don't really hamper anyone's gameplay. They're meant to be taken with a team that's hopefully rounded out by more than 1 AT / type. Where you won't miss inspirations but also need to rely, as is the intent, on the team to not take a dirt nap. Especially on the highest one - where the extra stats and powers on boss mobs can really spell doom if you're treating it like Council radio farms.

Hopefully I don't sound too defensive. I'm a big fan of this and I would prefer things of it to remain as is - until the picture is complete.

A cooldown for inspirations doesn't sound heinous.

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10 minutes ago, Shadeknight said:

team that's hopefully rounded out by more than 1 AT / type

Well this is the most core of the core features of the game. Once you have a mixed team working well together, it doesn't matter much if the enemy's to-hit is buffed to high heaven -- we're all running at 100+ defense. And so on. 

 

When I am on such teams, I rarely use inspirations at all. It's when the content splits us up and our mutual support starts tofail that I've seen the worst mission fails. Or there's a dps check we just can't get past.

 

The new difficulty settings here for which we're offering focused feedback seem on the whole to be good changes. The inspiration and temp power limits in them seem, to me, to mainly be inelegant, brute-force solutions to problems that ought to be addressed at some point.

 

For example, if there were universal, consistent cooldowns on inspirations, then making those longer in some content is an extension of an existing and consistent system, not just turning something players consider a core feature off with a switch; and so on. 

 

Perhaps a separate discussion to discuss and brainstorm ideas for how we might tune up the inspiration/temp-power systems globally would be appropriate.

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11 minutes ago, Shadeknight said:

A cooldown for inspirations doesn't sound heinous.

This does sound good to me, but the impact of this would be far ranging and significant; e.g., some "I-Soloed-TaskForce-X" strategies involve rapidly spamming a bunch of reds would be hit hard and those who use it would want to be heard.

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6 minutes ago, Andreah said:

Well this is the most core of the core features of the game. Once you have a mixed team working well together, it doesn't matter much if the enemy's to-hit is buffed to high heaven -- we're all running at 100+ defense. And so on. 

Well, in stuff outside the ASF this will remain the same (for now, I believe) - but in the ASF with these difficulty modes in that starts to change.

 

 

6 minutes ago, Andreah said:

The new difficulty settings here for which we're offering focused feedback seem on the whole to be good changes. The inspiration and temp power limits in them seem, to me, to mainly be inelegant, brute-force solutions to problems that ought to be addressed at some point.

 

For example, if there were universal, consistent cooldowns on inspirations, then making those longer in some content is an extension of an existing and consistent system, not just turning something players consider a core feature off with a switch; and so on. 

Some "core" features of the game have helped in the part of trivializing +4/x8. This is a turn to form where you have to, IF you engage with it, think before you do something. Turning off features is a core part of optional content; See the Master of Badges of old. Those turned off things too. Sure, you still had insps back then. However, this takes away what I would consider crutches at this time.

EDIT; Personal opinion of mine is that "Well you should have done this instead/should do this instead." detracts from the beta testing of the ADOs.

Edited by Shadeknight
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5 minutes ago, Shadeknight said:

EDIT; Personal opinion of mine is that "Well you should have done this instead/should do this instead." detracts from the beta testing of the ADOs.

Well, if this system is going to propagate widely to other content, then the discussion here cannot be limited only to this beta testing.

 

6 minutes ago, Shadeknight said:

See the Master of Badges of old. Those turned off things too

Yes, they did, but those runs were only about getting a one-time badge, and that apart from bragging rights, was the only enhanced reward one received for it. If these new difficulty settings propagate widely, with the proposed reward structure in place, they will become the new standard settings for the best organized and structured teams to run at. And that's why I hate to see core features of the game disabled in them. 

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4 minutes ago, Andreah said:

Yes, they did, but those runs were only about getting a one-time badge, and that apart from bragging rights, was the only enhanced reward one received for it. If these new difficulty settings propagate widely, with the proposed reward structure in place, they will become the new standard settings for the best organized and structured teams to run at. And that's why I hate to see core features of the game disabled in them. 

Well, proliferating it to other things would probably make it go to other TFs first. Which, using the current design, wouldn't really need to be changed that much if at all. Inspirations are not that needed if you want to run this - unless you REALLY want to try an all blaster run for some reason. These do have badges tied to them, but the badges can be done on the lower difficulties - shown by the ASF challenge badges.

There's also a limited amount of rewards one can give out. They can't exactly, currently, apply these to - for example - random missions (radio/newspaper) because what would they boost? EXP/Influence? That's pretty eh, imo. The only things that really reward you are TFs - which the style of rewards that you get from the challenge ASF is pretty great. Plus the temp powers from the natural ASF + the D-Syncs.

I don't see this being a new standard for teams, but more so an option for those looking to take on a challenge - which taking things on with a proper team and not blindly pull-murdering is a challenge these days.

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9 hours ago, macskull said:

The intention with the challenge mode buffs is absolutely to promote teamwork. Sure, there will probably be some builds that are able to handle portions of it solo but it's 100% balanced around having teammates to provide you with things like that extra tohit (or defense, or -def/-tohit on the enemies, etc, etc.).

 

There's no doubt that these changes promote more and better teamwork. And that could be a very good outcome. 

 

But, the main concern is that there could be a fairly narrow selection of powersets within particular ATs that end up being fairly heavily favored for relentless difficulty teams. As just one of a multitude of possible examples, grant cover could lead to shield being significantly favored over super reflexes, perhaps, if 75% defense totals end up being the softcap for "relentless" difficulty content. Also, one of the features of CoH to date has been the flexibility of how to build and play different characters. Relentless difficulty, as currently conceived, could lead to more of a "Know your role and stay in your lane" approach to putting together teams and playing them.

 

The currently-on-beta large buffs to mobs' global defense and their to hit seem like keys to driving relentless difficulty in that direction. On a connected point, I'd rather that players had more granular control over difficulty level choices. I'd be happy to play +4x8, no insps, no temps, etc. But, hopefully we'll still be able to decide whether we'd really like to have +30% global defense bonuses to enemies for our characters with soul drain, follow up, dark regeneration, drain psyche, twilight grasp, etc. I'd also like to be able to play higher difficulties with a SR character that didn't need to push positional defenses into the mid 70s as a starting point. 

 

3 hours ago, Peacemoon said:

It sounds really good!! 
 

My thoughts would be not to confuse dangerous and challenging with slow and time consuming (and I’m not saying this is, but something to be mindful of).

By this I mean, the higher difficulty levels should be dangerous and there should be a risk of being defeated and wiping if you don’t play your cards right. What you don’t want is just mobs that take an age to kill but still don’t provide a lot of danger. That wouldn’t be fun. 
 

I’m okay with inspirations not being allowed. I would actually not allow wakes either and encourage more rezz powers to be taken and used. I think it would make death feel that much more powerful and make a lot of underloved powers suddenly very interesting.  

 

One of the risks of a big global defense buff for mobs on relentless difficulty is that progression through TFs may noticeably slow down, without changing the final result. 

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4 minutes ago, EnjoyTheJourney said:

One of the risks of a big global defense buff for mobs on relentless difficulty is that progression through TFs may noticeably slow down, without changing the final result. 

 

Aye that is exactly what I am alluding to. That would make for quite a frustrating experience rather than a challenge. 

 

As for powerset imbalances, for sure there will alwyas be that. There is a fine path to tread between being too hard so you HAVE to be *preferred ATs* and too easy where its just a longer slog version than on normal mode. 

Edited by Peacemoon

Often posting from my phone; please excuse any typos!

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Enemy buffs to hit seem not that big a deal to me?  Every time I'm on an 8-person team at level 50, my defense scores end up being like 80-100 from stacked maneuvers and other stuff.  It seems unlikely that people will really get super exercised about the difference between Shield and SR given that.

 

What I think the static enemy bonuses do do is put yet more emphasis on Leadership pool.

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4 minutes ago, EnjoyTheJourney said:

But, the main concern is that there could be a fairly narrow selection of powersets within particular ATs that end up being fairly heavily favored for relentless difficulty teams. As just one of a multitude of possible examples, grant cover could lead to shield being significantly favored over super reflexes, perhaps, if 75% defense totals end up being the softcap for "relentless" difficulty content. Also, one of the features of CoH to date has been the flexibility of how to build and play different characters. Relentless difficulty, as currently conceived, could lead to more of a "Know your role and stay in your lane" approach to putting together teams and playing them.

 

The currently-on-beta large buffs to mobs' global defense and their to hit seem like keys to driving relentless difficulty in that direction. On a connected point, I'd rather that players had more granular control over difficulty level choices. I'd be happy to play +4x8, no insps, no temps, etc. But, hopefully we'll still be able to decide whether we'd really like to have +30% global defense bonuses to enemies for our characters with soul drain, follow up, dark regeneration, drain psyche, twilight grasp, etc. I'd also like to be able to play higher difficulties with a SR character that didn't need to push positional defenses into the mid 70s as a starting point. 

A team of 4 Defenders / 2 Controllers / 1 Scrapper / 1 Tanker managed to do the Relentless ASF. We were slow, we goofed off. We still had fun.

Relentless has many ways to approach it, and it can be done with any set up. Many set ups will be rocky. Others will breeze through it. Given this is but part 1 of larger plans, I imagine it'll remain as such for a while. Yes, people who want effective and efficient runs will be picky. This is not a bad thing - its meant to make you be careful on Relentless. Some powersets are super strong, but balance of that is a long term plan - we have to make do with what things are at right now.

Defenses are a thing that are on the dartboard to tackle eventually, but for now the large buffs to mobs in Relentless is the answer to how the game's meta currently is. It's meant to put a little challenge back in it, and meant to make you consider some form of strategy in going against parts of the SF if not all of it. It's not the perfect answer, but its better than letting things remain stale and akin to Council Radios.

 

 

8 minutes ago, EnjoyTheJourney said:

One of the risks of a big global defense buff for mobs on relentless difficulty is that progression through TFs may noticeably slow down, without changing the final result. 

The thing about this is unless you're goofing around, you shouldn't break the 2hr mark. My team had 3 hours because of goof-offs, taking our time, and deaths. It didn't feel slow considering the team make up - 4 defenders/2 controllers / 1 tanker & 1 scrapper. It wasn't as fast as a more rounded team, but it didn't feel supremely sloggish. If you want speed, there are lower settings too.

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2 minutes ago, Shadeknight said:

If you want speed, there are lower settings too.

Exactly, but as is often the case, when a new "harder" setting is introduced, many players only seem interested in how that specific setting performs and treat it as the new baseline for character performance.

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4 minutes ago, aethereal said:

Enemy buffs to hit seem not that big a deal to me?  Every time I'm on an 8-person team at level 50, my defense scores end up being like 80-100 from stacked maneuvers and other stuff.  It seems unlikely that people will really get super exercised about the difference between Shield and SR given that.

 

What I think the static enemy bonuses do do is put yet more emphasis on Leadership pool.

and more emphasis on sets that do strong debuffs. People mention Empathy and Force Fields, but buffing peoples Defence rating can be done in many ways by many sets (and wouldn't stop people from getting one shot). Whereas strong debuffs are much more difficult to source and will speed up the TF much more effectively. I am looking at my various characters at thinking my Rad defender would be much more useful than my Empaths. Will be interesting to test. 

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Often posting from my phone; please excuse any typos!

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15 hours ago, Cobalt Arachne said:

The higher difficulties were balanced around level 50s using Incarnate powers and IO enhancements. It's not 'Incarnate' content in that there are Incarnate Shifts or it has to do with the Well, but it's absolutely endgame content, warranting an endgame tier reward.

It's also not without precedent, several of the max level TFs give Incarnate Salvage Components even though they don't deal strictly with Incarnates. It just seemed like the lesser option to make a brand new Alpha Slot Component for the ASF for parity when those were already superseded by the Incarnate Thread components.

 

No recursive quote? 😞

 

I think you misunderstood the original question:

Quote

 

Doesn't it strike you as...I don't ...wrong.. to give an Incarnate Component as reward for completing a task without Incarnates.

 

The objection isn't to rewarding non-incarnate content with incarnate rewards. The objection is to rewarding content where incarnate powers can't be used, with incarnate rewards. The vanilla-difficulty max-level TFs don't qualify for objection because incarnate powers can be used while running them. Similarly, the new challenge modes for the Aeon SF don't qualify. This objection has to do with the max-level challenge mode for existing TFs, like the "Master Of" challenge for LRSF. You can't use incarnate powers, but the reward is a path to boosting your incarnate powers.

 

It feels wrong to me too. If I'm bettering my incarnate powers, I want to be able to use them. I don't mind challenges where incarnate powers can't be used, but then it seems like the reward should be something that's valuable outside of incarnate powers, like an extra synthetic hami-O.

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1 minute ago, Shadeknight said:

Relentless shouldn't be the baseline for character performance considering what it throws at you, TBH.

I don't disagree, but I'm speaking with regard to an average "power gamer's" mentality. I usually am one, so I feel I can comment on that, at any rate. For these players, the toughest difficulty just means they either feel required to build a character to handle it, or they curate their team in order to handle it and screen out everyone else. I would see this at times regarding Incarnate content with "higher" Defense softcap that went far above the more standard 45 into the 56/59 territory to offset enemy buffs/debuffs.

 

Now obviously, the amount of buffs the AI has at this new difficulty will make building to "trivialize" them solo wholly impractical if not downright impossible, but the psychological effect remains: "if this AT/Powerset can't handle Relentless, then it sucks." I just don't think that mentality should be encouraged.

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That's fair.

I will say that my dark/shield - which is not exactly a minmaxed build meant to just shit on content (because Dark is single target and not too AOE-y for one) - worked just fine. Builds, in general, will be fine so long as its not some super gimped build for...whatever reason. I could go on, but you get the idea and I understand what you're saying.

Soloing relentless is a challenge I want to see someone try - if only to see their reaction to getting splattered. Because the devs won't really listen to the whole idea that "if x can't solo relentless, then it sucks." - nor should anyone else.

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