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Increase Merit Rewards for Arcs Impacted by Crey Buffs


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A large number of mid to late game arcs were made more difficult by i27's sweeping buffs to the Crey enemy group, but there has been no proportionate adjustment to the rewards those arcs offer. Those rewards should be buffed to reflect the increased difficulty of completing them.

Task forces

  • Following Countess Crey - Manticore - 32 merits.
    • Manticore is a signature task force and will always spawn the buffed level 35 enemies.
  • Explorers and Exploiters - Dr Quaterfield - 122 merits.
    • Crey feature in at least 14 of 24 missions, which makes it the longest Crey-based task force in the game.

 

Mission arcs

Blueside: 

  • Revenant Hero Project - Gordon Stacy - 27 merits.
  • Missing Melvin and the Mysterious Malta Group - Indigo - 58 merits.
    • Crey only appear in two missions in this rather long arc.
  • The Evil Countess Crey - Janet Kellum - 52 merits.

 

Redside:

  • Vindication - Abyss - 8 merits.
  • Armour Wars - Black Scorpion - 13 merits.
  • Iron Fist - Captain Mako - 13 merits. 
  • Mystic Mayhem - Ghost Widow - 13 merits. 
  • Countess Coup - Regent Korol - 4 merits.
  • Code Merlin - Tavish Bell - 10 merits. 
  • Vigilante Justice - Tavish Bell - 7 merits.
  • Building a Better Vermin - Terrence Dobbs - 8 merits.
  • The Conference of Evil - Viridian - 13 merits. 
  • Bane of the Heart - Westin Phipps - 17 merits. 

 

 

This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of arcs impacted. I deliberately omitted long arcs that feature only one Crey mission, and likely have missed more besides.

 

Edit: I’ve been told not many people know difficulty in this game often goes hand in hand with increased time to completion. These arcs, most of which are sub level 45, are likely to take longer with the Crey buffs. 

Edited by Katharos
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26 minutes ago, Katharos said:
29 minutes ago, Captain Powerhouse said:
On 3/16/2021 at 4:10 PM, Katharos said:

why isn't sentinel bioarmour's athletic regulation getting a look?

Oversight, it will be addressed in the next build.

Oh no. Oh god. What have I done? 

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  • Katharos changed the title to Increase Merit Rewards for Arcs Impacted by Crey Buffs

Maybe they'll get around to this when they adjust all the merit rewards for content in a post-incarnate world. Don't be surprised if most arc rewards will be heavily slashed.

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There is definitely a merit adjustment coming Soon™; the devs said as much last month regarding the Ouroboros five merit minimum for badge change. I would guess there's a new benchmark because everything's so much faster now and completely gutting merit rewards is in nobody's best interest, but we'll see.

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Others have said this already, but I'll echo it. The amount of merits rewarded is typically based on the amount of time it takes to complete a TF. All TFs completion times are recorded and used for determining the merit reward amount. This will likely result in many merit rewards being reduced as a post-incarnate world has made speeding through TFs rather easy. However, in the case you presented, harder targets will help drive the average completion time upwards. I suppose the question is, will that average completion time reach a merit reward value that is greater than what it's already offering?

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6 minutes ago, Bopper said:

All TFs completion times are recorded and used for determining the merit reward amount.

 

There u go guys.  If you want more rewards,  we all need to do 'clear all' TFs and not 'speed' or 'speedy' or 'messy speedy' ones.

 

I think originally it was just the fastest speed run that determined the reward.  And thats why places like cavern of transcendence had such a small reward.  A normal team takes 30+ minutes but a speedrun team was under 2 minutes. 

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Just now, TheZag said:

 

There u go guys.  If you want more rewards,  we all need to do 'clear all' TFs and not 'speed' or 'speedy' or 'messy speedy' ones.

 

I think originally it was just the fastest speed run that determined the reward.  And thats why places like cavern of transcendence had such a small reward.  A normal team takes 30+ minutes but a speedrun team was under 2 minutes. 

Don't get too excited, I think median is used when determining "average completion time". So if anyone was getting the idea to sit in a TF for a week, you won't be moving the needle much.

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1 minute ago, TheZag said:

I think originally it was just the fastest speed run that determined the reward.  And thats why places like cavern of transcendence had such a small reward.  A normal team takes 30+ minutes but a speedrun team was under 2 minutes. 

 

It's median (i.e. average, more or less) completion time. In the Cavern of Transcendence example, stealth or speed runs far outnumbered "normal" runs, helped by the fact that attempting to run the trial the "intended" way was virtually guaranteed to fail.

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1 minute ago, Bopper said:

Don't get too excited, I think median is used when determining "average completion time". So if anyone was getting the idea to sit in a TF for a week, you won't be moving the needle much.

 

I would hope that times that are grossly inflated from the average werent included at all for the very reason u mention.

 

It would be nice if the fastest runs werent included either if there were some significant amount of resources required to accomplish that time.  Who cares if they can finish DiB in 2 minutes if it takes 2 ultimates and 3 huge reds per person per run.  They arent farming anything,  it cost them more then they got for the run.  I dont know if there is a way to track that though.

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That's the beauty of using median. It represents half of all runs took less time and half of all runs took more time. For the most part it removes outliers from consideration. Something that could be looked at is possibly rewarding more merits (or rewards in general) for completing tasks that are skipped. Those tasks take longer amd could be rewarded as such. I think the Dr. Aeon Strike Force does something like this.


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I have no idea why there’s all of this talk of incarnates driving merits down. Few of these arcs are in the 45-50 range incarnates are allowed. And for cases like Dr Q where the problem is the sheer quantity of missions, most of which are defeat alls, spread out across over several dozen zones, the biggest factor for completion time is TT, not incarnates. Balancing merits around how many people have TT seems insane. 

 

Incarnates are almost entirely irrelevant to my original post. 

Edited by Katharos
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26 minutes ago, Katharos said:
29 minutes ago, Captain Powerhouse said:
On 3/16/2021 at 4:10 PM, Katharos said:

why isn't sentinel bioarmour's athletic regulation getting a look?

Oversight, it will be addressed in the next build.

Oh no. Oh god. What have I done? 

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I have no problem with merit rewards being adjusted up if the introduction of new stuff makes the content take longer on average. 

 

But don't be surprised if other content has reward merits reduced because the average time to complete has gone down considerably.

 

This is the way. 

 

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53 minutes ago, Katharos said:

Balancing merits around how many people have TT seems insane. 

The single biggest factor to merit rewards is median completion time, so as more people use powers like TT to complete content faster, the median time - and therefore the merit payout - goes down.

 

As for why the thread has gone off on the incarnate discussion, that's pretty simple too. Your argument is "the enemies are now more difficult so the merit payout should be harder" but the merit payout is based on completion time so until there's evidence of the buffed enemies causing completion times to go up merit rewards won't go up.

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1 hour ago, Katharos said:

I have no idea why there’s all of this talk of incarnates driving merits down. Few of these arcs are in the 45-50 range incarnates are allowed. And for cases like Dr Q where the problem is the sheer quantity of missions, most of which are defeat alls, spread out across over several dozen zones, the biggest factor for completion time is TT, not incarnates. Balancing merits around how many people have TT seems insane. 

 

Incarnates are almost entirely irrelevant to my original post. 

Don’t think you read the parts about what determines merit counts. If median completion time is what determines merit counts, then TT, Incarnates, and everything else capable of swaying completion times are relevant.

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So wouldn't the lack of Incarnates also be relevant? Should characters get four times the merits for running content before they hit 50, then get their rewards nerfed when they unlock their Alpha slot? Or should people without incarnate powers be punished because people who do have them exist? 

The problem with basing merit rewards on completion time is one of relativity. An hour of good content is so much better than an hour of annoying content. If the rewards, however, are based on the hour rather than the content...

Well, if you were to get paid the same amount each time you touched a cool stove or a burning stove for a full minute, how many times would you touch the burning stove? 

None, obviously, you aren't a moron. 

But touching a cool stove gets boring as hell. So eventually, you give up. Do you give up and go touch the burning stove? No. Of course not. You'd get the same benefit from touching the cool one, and annoying isn't the same as interesting. You give up and go do something else. You stop playing the game. 

Whereas if the reward for touching the burning stove is sufficiently greater than the reward for touching the cool stove for the same time, then you have provided incentive to multiple demographics to engage with it, instead of only the ones who would engage with any content, and therefor don't matter at all when considering the longevity of the game. 

The Crey changes turned up the temperature of the stove. The correct response is to increase the payout - regardless of the fact that people can eventually touch enough cold stoves to afford gloves. (Especially when those gloves only apply to the hottest stoves anyway and you are forbidden from using them on any others.)

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10 minutes ago, Earnest Victory said:

The problem with basing merit rewards on completion time is one of relativity. An hour of good content is so much better than an hour of annoying content. If the rewards, however, are based on the hour rather than the content...

To be fair and clear, the "Merit rewards reflect completion time" is a policy set by the Paragon Studios devs, and reflected a time when the game was built around far more grindy advancement systems, as well.  As of yet, we really haven't seen what/how the HC team thinks of meting out rewards.  The only thing they've really messed with, as far as I recall, are Mothership Raids, which generally net you about 40 Merits for 30 minutes of action.  If that is the gold standard, then hooboy, there be nerfs a-comin' (imagine Hamidon only being worth 20 merits, for example).

 

Though this is partly why I imagine HC has been fairly hesitant to mess with such rewards, especially given how non-grindy the current system is anyway.  People who want the "rewarding" content can run that, people who want variety can run many things, and we have systems like the Weekly Strike Targets in place to give a little bit of intersect.  With that in mind, I don't really think I'd be for the initial topic suggestion, either (though I do think/wish similar enemy buffs should be better evaluated...to me, annoyance factor is not difficulty factor, per se, and "they're more annoying now" is more what happened with Crey).

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2 minutes ago, Lazarillo said:

People who want the "rewarding" content can run that, people who want variety can run many things


This is exactly what I am warning about. If we accept this attitude instead of enticing all players to engage with a variety of content, then the game is going to bleed out. The people always doing the optimal time-for-merits content will do so regardless, but every time a piece of content becomes unappealing to everyone else, the game loses longevity. 

 

5 minutes ago, Lazarillo said:

to me, annoyance factor is not difficulty factor, per se, and "they're more annoying now" is more what happened with Crey


Just so. The content is worse, but you get the same reward as before for doing it. Obviously that situation is wrong, and one of those two things needs to improve. Personally I think not having annoying enemies is the better solution, but I'm weird like that, so I'd accept the tradeoff of increasing merit rewards. 

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1 hour ago, Earnest Victory said:

So wouldn't the lack of Incarnates also be relevant? Should characters get four times the merits for running content before they hit 50, then get their rewards nerfed when they unlock their Alpha slot? Or should people without incarnate powers be punished because people who do have them exist? 

The problem with basing merit rewards on completion time is one of relativity. An hour of good content is so much better than an hour of annoying content. If the rewards, however, are based on the hour rather than the content...

[stove rant cut out for brevity] 

The Crey changes turned up the temperature of the stove. The correct response is to increase the payout - regardless of the fact that people can eventually touch enough cold stoves to afford gloves. (Especially when those gloves only apply to the hottest stoves anyway and you are forbidden from using them on any others.)

  1. Incarnates only matter in the sense of comparing median completion times of level 50 content before incarnate powers existed to the same content after the introduction of incarnate powers. Merit reward payouts were rebalanced several times during the four years between I13 and the game's shutdown. Incarnates are a non-factor in pre-level 50 content because, well... they don't exist. You don't magically get reduced rewards when you unlock incarnate powers - you're simply more powerful and as such will probably move through a given piece of content faster, which results in a smaller payout because you're spending less time on that content. If you're arguing "not having incarnate powers as a level 50 nerfs my rewards because other level 50s with them finish content faster" then... well, that sucks for you, but it is incredibly easy to unlock and slot all six incarnate abilities, and odds are pretty good any team you're on is going to have players with incarnates to help out anyways.
  2. What is "good content?" What is "annoying content?" While there may be some general agreement among the playerbase about which task forces suck to run, the entire goal of the reward merit system was to provide roughly equal reward for any content regardless of length. Those of us who played before Issue 13 remember running speed KHTF trains nonstop because a task force gave you one random recipe roll no matter how long it took so there was little to no incentive to run longer content. Why would I spend 3 hours on a Dr. Q only to end up with a Trap of the Hunter proc when I could run almost 20 KHTFs (and therefore get 20 recipe rolls) in the same amount of time?
  3. The actual determination for how many merits a given piece of content earns follows the formula: 
    (MedianTime / MPM) * TaskModifier * TimesRunModifier * TimeModifier + ArtificialModifiers

    TimeModifier and ArtificialModifiers are important because TimeModifier essentially acts as a bonus which goes up as the length of content increases as an extra incentive, and ArtificialModifiers can be used to manually change reward amounts, usually to do things like make a TF which would otherwise only award 18 merits award 20 (enough for a recipe at a merit vendor). There's no need to use ArtificialModifiers to account for "difficulty" of the content because harder content will take longer to complete and will therefore be reflected in a higher MedianTime.

TL;DR: If the new enemies present that much of a greater challenge, completion times for the arcs featuring them will go up, which will cause the rewards to go up.

Edited by macskull
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1 hour ago, macskull said:

Incarnates are a non-factor in pre-level 50 content because, well... they don't exist.


Exactly my point. And I made it because people are suggesting that despite that, rewards in pre-50 content will somehow go down, and citing those nonexistent factors as the reason. 
 

 

1 hour ago, macskull said:

Those of us who played before Issue 13 remember running speed KHTF trains nonstop


Yes. That is exactly why rewards need to be adjusted in contrast to other negatives. Because pinning them to time alone only works if all content is roughly equivalent to engage with, instead of some content being fun and some literally causing people to stop playing the game for months because it was so terrible. Because otherwise there will always be the one correct thing to be doing, and the only reason to do any other content is boredom with the optimal content, and requiring either boredom or suboptimal play to engage in the majority of your game's content is insane. 

 

1 hour ago, macskull said:

TL;DR: If the new enemies present that much of a greater challenge, completion times for the arcs featuring them will go up, which will cause the rewards to go up.


As they should. But it shouldn't be the only thing that does. 

It's not like this is a brand new issue people are unaware of. It was directly addressed when we looked at why basically nobody ran the Barracuda SF. It gave nothing like the reward it needed for people to bother dealing with it's problems.

They chose to remove some of those problems, instead of upping the reward, which I also think would be a valid solution in this case. But, if we assume the devs don't want to undo the annoying changes they made, then an increased reward for dealing with said changes is also viable to solve the issue. 

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28 minutes ago, Earnest Victory said:

Exactly my point. And I made it because people are suggesting that despite that, rewards in pre-50 content will somehow go down, and citing those nonexistent factors as the reason. 

 

Incarnates aren’t available in sub-45 content, but they aren’t the reason that  that content is being completed faster. The wide proliferation of IOs on Homecoming are responsible for that. Content is being completed faster than ever, with or without Incarnates.

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12 minutes ago, Earnest Victory said:

Exactly my point. And I made it because people are suggesting that despite that, rewards in pre-50 content will somehow go down, and citing those nonexistent factors as the reason.

I can't speak to story arcs because those are less-commonly run, but I fully expect task force/trial rewards to go down almost across the board even for pre-level 50 stuff. Everything's easier to get on Homecoming so the average player is running around with a better build than back in the live days (incarnate powers notwithstanding, this just adds another layer of it at level 50).

13 minutes ago, Earnest Victory said:

Yes. That is exactly why rewards need to be adjusted in contrast to other negatives. Because pinning them to time alone only works if all content is roughly equivalent to engage with, instead of some content being fun and some literally causing people to stop playing the game for months because it was so terrible. Because otherwise there will always be the one correct thing to be doing, and the only reason to do any other content is boredom with the optimal content, and requiring either boredom or suboptimal play to engage in the majority of your game's content is insane. 

I can't think of any content that's so terrible it causes players to stop playing for months, but if task force A is only run 10% as often as task force B despite offering identical rewards for the time spent that tells me there's something going on with task force A, not with the reward system as a whole. The weekly strike target system does a good job of incentivizing players to "spread out" content even more than they already do by offering bonus rewards. But you do have somewhat of a point - Dr. Q might be worth 244 merits when it's the WST but even at a relatively fast run of 90 minutes it's a drag. I don't really buy the "one correct thing" argument these days. There might be a handful of task forces which are run more often than the others but it's not like LFG is full of "speed katie lfm" or "speed eden lfm" like you would've seen pre-I13.

13 minutes ago, Earnest Victory said:

As they should. But it shouldn't be the only thing that does. 

It's not like this is a brand new issue people are unaware of. It was directly addressed when we looked at why basically nobody ran the Barracuda SF. It gave nothing like the reward it needed for people to bother dealing with it's problems.

They chose to remove some of those problems, instead of upping the reward, which I also think would be a valid solution in this case. But, if we assume the devs don't want to undo the annoying changes they made, then an increased reward for dealing with said changes is also viable to solve the issue. 

I haven't run the Barracuda SF since probably 2010 but I'd imagine one of the biggest issues was how it practically required certain ATs to complete and you wouldn't know 100% whether you were screwed or not until the final boss fight. That's not something that can be solved by increased merit payout. If there's one thing I've noticed with any consistency since Homecoming showed up nearly three years ago, it's that the powers that be put a lot of stock in design formulas and how things "should work" which tells me issues like this are more likely to be fixed by adjusting the content rather than the rewards for the content. Other examples of this include the I27P3 changes to the CoT and Eden trials and the RSF. In the case of the latter two you could teleport past/through certain objectives to complete the content much more quickly than was intended so rather than adjust merit rewards downward the ability to bypass those objectives was removed.

 

That being said, the devs have explicitly said merit rewards are going to be looked at at some point in the near future, and I'd expect with three years of Homecoming-specific data to look at it would mean an overall reduction in rewards.

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4 minutes ago, Vanden said:

Content is being completed faster than ever, with or without Incarnates.


For those that can afford to outfit their characters with IOs. But if we let them (us) skew the rewards of content, we further alienate the new players who barely have a million inf to rub together. The game should, and I hope this isn't a controversial opinion, be playable and fair from when you start playing it. 

 

1 minute ago, macskull said:

but I fully expect task force/trial rewards to go down almost across the board even for pre-level 50 stuff


Meaning people will need to run even more content even faster and the game becomes more and more restrictive to anybody not playing that way, including every potential new player, and plenty of old ones to boot. 

 

6 minutes ago, macskull said:

I can't think of any content that's so terrible it causes players to stop playing for months


You need more judgemental friends. 

 

6 minutes ago, macskull said:

but if task force A is only run 10% as often as task force B despite offering identical rewards for the time spent that tells me there's something going on with task force A, not with the reward system as a whole


Well of course the reward system isn't the problem there, it's just one way to help alleviate the problem. It is one of the few systems available to entice people to play Task Force A without completely retooling it. 
 

 

7 minutes ago, macskull said:

But you do have somewhat of a point - Dr. Q might be worth 244 merits when it's the WST but even at a relatively fast run of 90 minutes it's a drag


It's definitely the most striking example. Only crazy people run Dr. Q when it's not the weekly. But they do run it when it's the weekly. Because the rewards cross the threshold into being acceptable. 


For arcs, a weekly arc target system would be a whole thing, and a lot of work, but it could probably have a similar effect. 

 

9 minutes ago, macskull said:

There might be a handful of task forces which are run more often than the others but it's not like LFG is full of "speed katie lfm" or "speed eden lfm" like you would've seen pre-I13.


But there are plenty you almost never see. 'It's better than it was fourteen years ago' is no reason to give up on improvement. 

 

14 minutes ago, macskull said:

I haven't run the Barracuda SF since probably 2010

 

Of course not. 

 

11 minutes ago, macskull said:

If there's one thing I've noticed with any consistency since Homecoming showed up nearly three years ago, it's that the powers that be put a lot of stock in design formulas and how things "should work" which tells me issues like this are more likely to be fixed by adjusting the content rather than the rewards for the content.


Sure, but they are the ones that changed things for the worse in this case, and rolling back their own changes seems less likely, to me, than adjusting rewards. 
 

 

17 minutes ago, macskull said:

I'd expect with three years of Homecoming-specific data to look at it would mean an overall reduction in rewards.


And I'd expect the result to be an overall reduction in players. 
 

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38 minutes ago, Earnest Victory said:

For those that can afford to outfit their characters with IOs. But if we let them (us) skew the rewards of content, we further alienate the new players who barely have a million inf to rub together. The game should, and I hope this isn't a controversial opinion, be playable and fair from when you start playing it. 


Meaning people will need to run even more content even faster and the game becomes more and more restrictive to anybody not playing that way, including every potential new player, and plenty of old ones to boot.

I'm not going to respond to the rest of the post because I'm getting some pretty strong "I don't know what I'm talking about" vibes but...

 

To your first point: the resources for even a brand new player to be rolling in inf are easily accessible to anyone who is curious. Are they going to be able to quickly afford a top-of-the-line build? No, but they have the tools to get there in a reasonable amount of time. If your response to this is "but you have to use the market to do that," see this post from Faultline. I'd argue it's even easier for a new player to get to that point than it would have been for the veteran players to do it 12 or 14 years ago. The game's already plenty playable and fair from the very beginning.

 

To your second point: that's not how that works at all. There are two pretty distinct groups I see running task forces - the first just wants the merits and any xp/inf/drops are just a nice bonus, and the second wants the xp/inf/drops and the merits are just a nice bonus. Considering the popularity of things like +4x8 steamroll task forces I'm pretty sure we're not running the risk of alienating people if merit rewards drop a bit.

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11 minutes ago, macskull said:

I'm not going to respond to the rest of the post because I'm getting some pretty strong "I don't know what I'm talking about" vibes but...


Oh, didn't realise that was an option. I'll only respond when you say something worth listening to from now on. 

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