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Focused Feedback: Advanced Difficulty Options and Challenge Mode


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I knew this was always going to be a hard sell, but I sincerely hope the Devs don't back down on this.

 

I think a cooldown for Inspirations would help however. Perhaps 60 seconds for regular inspirations and 120 seconds for Dual/Team/Super inspirations. 

 

 

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That's something also being brought up in the tester Discord - on applying it differently to different insps.

 

1 minute ago, AerialAssault said:

I knew this was always going to be a hard sell, but I sincerely hope the Devs don't back down on this.

From conversations with the devs, not even a forum riot would make them scrap this.

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30 minutes ago, Shadeknight said:

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.

I can forsee self rez powers that grant buffs on rez like Rise of the Phoenix, Resurgence, and Revive/Second Wind from the regen sets and the like being a commodity for those trying to solo Relentless ASF. Niche buff/situational at best type powers are going to help a lot with the new mechanics.

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51 minutes ago, Shadeknight said:

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.

...

 

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.

You've responded to concerns by essentially waiving them away, while also not addressing the proposed solution. 

 

Why not give players a more granular level of control over difficulty levels? That is, in fact, the current situation. As an example, the group with whom I game the most often runs level 44 ITFs at max notoriety, no insps or temps, with limited lives and a time limit. Often teams are lopsided by design, such as all scrapper / stalker, or all blaster, or all controller / dominator, etc. Often enemies have been buffed for such runs, especially when it's all tanks. But, enemies aren't always buffed because for some team makeups that's just a death march which usually ends in mission 2. The key is that players currently get to choose which array of challenges makes sense for their particular team. 

 

The new approach seems to be for the devs to take a significantly higher degree of control over the process by packaging together some things that used to be handled in a more granular way. For example, you can in a granular way pick one power limit  (but not more than one, for some reason). You can choose between different limited life totals and different time limits. But, as soon as you pick relentless you get a big package of things that are collectively likely to make many team leaders significantly more picky about who gets onto their teams and who doesn't. 

 

On that note, right now when a team leader tries to interview potential teammates in most cases, with rare exceptions for really difficult challenges, that seems to be a sign that they're not a very good player or that they may be a control freak. If relentless difficulty goes live as it currently stands there's a good chance that needing to PM a prospective team leader with an explanation of how you fit well into the team becomes a significantly more frequent occurrence. 

 

There is a potential downside to forcing team play based on roles, in case that's presently being set aside as a concern. 

Edited by EnjoyTheJourney
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41 minutes ago, KeepDistance said:

I think you misunderstood the original question:

Ah, yes I did!

I didn't realize they had wrapped up the Master of Challenge changes into this feedback post, thought it was solely the new ASF difficulty options. That's fair then, we could swap out the reward for a non-incarnate reward, maybe we could give empyrean merits equal to the system buying price of that incarnate salvage.

Good feedback, I'll bring it up for discussion.

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3 minutes ago, EnjoyTheJourney said:

There is a potential downside to forcing team play based on roles, in case that's presently being set aside as a concern. 

Even at Relentless, the difficulty is not so extreme that you MUST have any role, only that it was balanced so that having each will make a noticeable and appreciable difference.

-If you don't have a tank, expect to do more ranged pulls around corners to mitigate enemy alphas.

-If you don't have damage, expect things to take longer to die, and thus being exposed to dangerous enemies longer.

-If you don't have any control, expect aggro management to be much more critical and to avoid overpulling.

-If you don't have any support, expect everything to require a higher degree of coordination and less leeway on mistakes.

I've done many many runs of the Aeon Strike Force with many very different team compositions, none of which I vetted with any kind of 'you must bring X or Y' and they all completed Relentless, but every role felt valuable, and the runs where we were missing types of ATs had noticeable differences.

The goal wasn't to require any role, but to ensure every role felt like they properly contributed to the success of the team.

 

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9 minutes ago, EnjoyTheJourney said:

Why not give players a more granular level of control over difficulty levels? That is, in fact, the current situation. As an example, the group with whom I game the most often runs level 44 ITFs at max notoriety, no insps or temps, with limited lives and a time limit. Often teams are lopsided by design, such as all scrapper / stalker, or all blaster, or all controller / dominator, etc. Often enemies have been buffed for such runs, especially when it's all tanks. But, enemies aren't always buffed because for some team makeups that's just a death march which usually ends in mission 2. The key is that players currently get to choose which array of challenges makes sense for their particular team. 

 

The new approach seems to be for the devs to take a significantly higher degree of control over the process by packaging together some things that used to be handled in a more granular way. For example, you can in a granular way pick one power limit  (but not more than one, for some reason). You can choose between different limited life totals and different time limits. But, as soon as you pick relentless you get a big package of things that are collectively likely to make many team leaders significantly more picky about who gets onto their teams and who doesn't. 

 

On that note, right now when a team leader tries to interview potential teammates in most cases, with rare exceptions for really difficult challenges, that seems to be a sign that they're not a very good player or that they may be a control freak. If relentless difficulty goes live as it currently stands there's a good chance that needing to PM a prospective team leader with an explanation of how you fit well into the team becomes a significantly more frequent occurrence. 

 

There is a potential downside to forcing team play based on roles, in case that's presently being set aside as a concern. 

Because more granular does not attack the current "easy" nature of the game.

The big packages - i.e Relentless' settings - are needed to take an axe to the current meta of things and paving the way for the future. They can't do meaningful new content if they were to tackle it the way you're suggesting here. The way everything has power creeped and homogenized has made even Master of badges trivial. This is but a start to making that not so. There's only so much coding can do as well, and bogging down the challenge mode selection screen with even *MORE* options across every selection piece is a UI nightmare that would not look good.

Team leaders won't really interview people for Relentless. Relentless can be done with many team comps, and if speed is the deal then Relentless isn't for you. Certain team comps will excel, and it's about time that support got to step up again. There's no real downsides to an optional challenge mode that requires more strategy versus blind murder tornadoes. This isn't content that can't be completed by an all blaster team, but they will have a rough time as designed. That's not bad design - thats intentional as a start to make sure what comes next falls into the same trap of stuff outside of the ASF.

Having teams focus on roles is a good thing. It means things are balanced. An all blaster team is not balance. An all tanker team is not balance. AT stacking to a full team of 1 AT is not balance. That's not what the game is about, and has never been about. I think it's a load of manure that this will cause "Well, this is why I should be on the team!" - that's a very big leap for a mode that you do not have to partake in.

EDIT; Or as Cobalt said - it's not required, but you will have to strategize around Team Composition - which is SORELY needed in a game meta full of pop barrier and go.

Edited by Shadeknight
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I'm too busy with life to do any substantial testing right now, but I just want to say thank you for this. As much as I love this game, the lack of any challenge in most group content, especially x8/+4 mission teams, has left me jaded. I'll leave a team if I'm just watching the fully incarnate'd Blaster rotate between nukes each mob. This will breathe so much life into the support classes that have been left behind by the usual damage steamroll. I can't wait to see what it actually plays like... Are bubble defenders finally going to have their late-game niche? Are non-damage based controllers going to be a welcome addition to team comps? Are tanks still going to be easily replaceable? Are blasters still going to suck the fun out of fights with their FAT orange numbers? So many exciting questions...

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The best thing about these changes is that they're localized and optional, but I'd really like to know if the dev team will be collecting any Use data regarding them, if such a thing is even possible. For some reason, I'd like to know how many people are completing content at these difficulties so I can really see how much of the "I want harder content" crowd is putting their money where their mouth is.

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19 minutes ago, EnjoyTheJourney said:

On that note, right now when a team leader tries to interview potential teammates in most cases, with rare exceptions for really difficult challenges, that seems to be a sign that they're not a very good player or that they may be a control freak. If relentless difficulty goes live as it currently stands there's a good chance that needing to PM a prospective team leader with an explanation of how you fit well into the team becomes a significantly more frequent occurrence. 

 

There is a potential downside to forcing team play based on roles, in case that's presently being set aside as a concern. 

This new approach was literally encouraged because of players "interviewing" and being nitpicky about what at's they let join their runs and why, if you want to min max your team and leave out others that are playing to have fun, it is of course your choice and you will find plenty focused players, but if that becomes the norm we then end up with teams with 7 blasters and support players sit on the bench, the hard modes, which again, are entirely optional, can be done with most any team configuration as long as there is variety of at's, you need the support, you need the control, you need the aggro management, you need the dps, it conveys pretty well that no man is an island, and that you can actually have fun while going at apparently insurmountable ods and dying 20 times on a good day, plus reteach us how to be team players.

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8 minutes ago, ForeverLaxx said:

The best thing about these changes is that they're localized and optional, but I'd really like to know if the dev team will be collecting any Use data regarding them, if such a thing is even possible. For some reason, I'd like to know how many people are completing content at these difficulties so I can really see how much of the "I want harder content" crowd is putting their money where their mouth is.

Not official in any way, but I have been seeing people going in and out the ASF all day long (and last night) which was nice because usually most people dont participate that much on Brainstorm.

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Oh, I also wanted to weigh in and say that I'd like non-incarnate rewards for this non-incarnate content as well. I'm not sure if/how these difficulties affect influence gain, but as someone who has never amassed the influence to do a full "build" before (I'm kept back by my chronic altoloholism), it'd be nice if this makes it a more reasonable goal for those of us that don't do fire farms for hours on end to max out every character as soon as their concieved. This might have unintended consequences on the game's economy, I'm not sure. Just an idea...

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3 hours ago, Peacemoon said:

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.

Sid Meier once said, and I can't recall the exact quote, that fun gameplay was produced by meaningful decisions. I think having the play have to decide in advance which inspirations to bring to a mission where they won't drop, and then when and which to use is more of a meaningful decision than which of the random inspirations which already dropped one might use.

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2 hours ago, ForeverLaxx said:

For some reason, I'd like to know how many people are completing content at these difficulties so I can really see how much of the "I want harder content" crowd is putting their money where their mouth is.

I am an ultra casual player, and for me, I doubt I will ever do less than a base hardmode for this. It gives all of my chars to shine in a way that just sitting at some random point in a team maybe or maybe not being productive doesnt. I don't view this as a soloist thing at all; it is an insurance policy that I get to be useful for the intended purpose of what I wanted to do. A debuffer that never has time to apply debuffs before the team moves on to the next the next the next fight is frustrating. Having things not die instantly and lets my debuffs work is a wondrous feeling.

 

This is just one example, and I know there are a significant number of people who will do the content not for "hard" factor, but the direct impact that it has in their role being viable on a team and not left in the dust.

 

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2 hours ago, Cobalt Arachne said:

Ah, yes I did!

I didn't realize they had wrapped up the Master of Challenge changes into this feedback post, thought it was solely the new ASF difficulty options. That's fair then, we could swap out the reward for a non-incarnate reward, maybe we could give empyrean merits equal to the system buying price of that incarnate salvage.

Good feedback, I'll bring it up for discussion.

Cool, glad to hear.

 

Some other random thoughts I had about reward options: extra reward merits (which has the benefit of being adjustible); SHO drop that's already 53 (if just an SHO is regarded as too little reward).

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2 hours ago, Andreah said:

Sid Meier once said, and I can't recall the exact quote, that fun gameplay was produced by meaningful decisions. I think having the play have to decide in advance which inspirations to bring to a mission where they won't drop, and then when and which to use is more of a meaningful decision than which of the random inspirations which already dropped one might use.

At least on the highest difficulty level, this decision is already made for you as you can only use wakies. Not really much of a meaningful decision in "better bring 20 T4 wakies."

 

4 hours ago, Peacemoon said:

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. 

[Emphasis mine] This is already the case in the baseline game, not much is really changing here. The sets that are overshadowed in regular content will continue to be overshadowed in challenge mode content.

 

4 hours ago, ForeverLaxx said:

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.

I haven't seen this phenomenon in the game at all. Players are only going to continuously run harder content if the rewards make it worthwhile and I'm still not entirely convinced they do.

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3 hours ago, ForeverLaxx said:

The best thing about these changes is that they're localized and optional, but I'd really like to know if the dev team will be collecting any Use data regarding them, if such a thing is even possible. For some reason, I'd like to know how many people are completing content at these difficulties so I can really see how much of the "I want harder content" crowd is putting their money where their mouth is.

 

Completely agree.  I am betting that the vast majority of players will continue to run base content.  I could be wrong, but the crowd wanting hard mode content had options to do hard mode before these changes and would not do it, so I am skeptical that they will do hard mode here.  I would be happy to be wrong.

 

I'll probably do the advanced mode a few times, but I would guess I mainly stick to baseline.

 

It is awesome to have options though, so thanks HC team!

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2 minutes ago, Lockpick said:

I could be wrong, but the crowd wanting hard mode content had options to do hard mode before these changes and would not do it, so I am skeptical that they will do hard mode here.  I would be happy to be wrong.

Not really. The existing TF/flashback difficulty options mostly centered around making your character weaker, not making the enemies harder, and offered no incentive for completion aside from a few badges. Both of those core issues are being addressed with these new difficulty options. I'm sure the majority of players will not utilize them but at least now the option is there for the players who do want to use them.

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Relentless is relentless.

3 hours, 158 deaths.

You really have to be smart about the fights you pick, and that's with a rounded out team.
Oh and don't goof off >.>

 

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(Two Empaths, 2 Radiation, and 1 Dark for support I'm almost certain)

The challenge mode/hard mode stuff is fine.

Edited by Shadeknight
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Referring to the below linked post and this sentence in specific... "Hard mode enemies will have higher baselines stats, but nothing unfair and no absolutes. Nothing like big special damage types or auto-hits."

 

Having just run the new Aeon SF at Vicious level difficulty, this statement is not at all accurate.  There were plenty of special auto-hit un-resistable damage 1 shot kill you powers being used.  Are these part of the new difficulty or just native to the new SF at normal difficulty?

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by ShardWarrior
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Villainous is the base TF difficulty, Vicious is rank 2 of 5 for hard mode.

 

As far as I can tell, the hard mode enemies don't have auto-hit powers, but what they have is stacking +To-Hit, +Acc and +Dam powers as auras, and the base damage of their powers is increased. So they can, and will, hit very hard. Coupled with the heaps of debuff they get, anyone who isn't an active tank will probably be destroyed in a single salvo. That's why you need support to bring in debuffs & buffs to make sure your team doesn't immediately get stopped. 

 

I think Controllers are going to excel in this regard, and with the changes to Sleep powers, powers like Mass Hypnosis suddenly become very powerful, since you can shut down a group of enemies without having to deal with their enhanced defences.

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6 hours ago, Peacemoon said:

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. 

I can reassure you, I just got through HM3 on My emp. It's VERY USEFUL. You WILL be appreciated as an emp. their is NO set that can't be decently useful with skilled play in this SF. However, a lot of folks will have to learn how to actually PLAY the sets they have, as in, taking the rez, using the buffs and being somewhat observant of the team. It makes for what I assume will be a rough time for a good chunk of HC players today. Gotta learn to be "We" instead of "Me" again.
 

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41 minutes ago, Shadeknight said:

Relentless is relentless.

3 hours, 158 deaths.

You really have to be smart about the fights you pick, and that's with a rounded out team.
Oh and don't goof off >.>

 

unknown.png
(Two Empaths, 2 Radiation, and 1 Dark for support I'm almost certain)

The challenge mode/hard mode stuff is fine.

Oh boi I'm in a forum post :D. But yeah, the challenge mode felt like I had a reason to IO out that emp (Grandpriest Horrus). I totally anticipated this SF being the reason for him existing when I made him way back a year or so ago. >.> <.<

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9 hours ago, Hew said:

 

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. 🙂

 

 

 


A yup!!!

And once again this is all optional. No one HAS to play on these NEW optional difficulty modes.

 

seriously the devs are giving both sides of the age old forum argument what they’ve asked for. Including more rewards for doing the harder stuff, which many folks thought the harder difficulty wouldn’t !!!

 

I have a couple of team focused characters that I’m dusting off and finally IO’ing up just because of this.

 

At the same time I know that if I just want to play the base mode easy mode COH, that will still be there.

 

this is one of the best system updates to this game in years 😊😊😊

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