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The beautiful Aeon Strike Force and it's tragic failure


Snarky

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This is my opinion.  

 

The Aeon Strike Force is beautiful.  If graded as a school computing project or artwork it would get an A and probably extra credit.  I cannot comment on the writing, per se.  I still have not run it in a fashion where I can understand the full story.

 

Again, this is beautiful.  Why?  The cutscenes are great.  The mechanics are detailed and intricate.  So many cool maps.  New badges!  New rewards!  Geek out.

 

So why do I say it is a tragic failure?  Well, let us contrast with the ITF: 

 

1) The ITF is popular among speed runners for reward and quick mad fun.  I have participated in regular 10-15 min runs.  I have known people who parsed it down to a few minutes.  I do not remember the exact number.  The record may have been broken.  It is very short.  

 

2) Kill most +4 ITF:  This is a very popular run.  I myself use it to open incarnate slots past Alpha.  I also LOVE to test new 50 projects on it.  This is the gold standard of mass destruction. Rewards of all types drop in this lovely grind. Everyone enjoys.

 

3) starred ITF:  I have only joined a couple.  I do it for the badges mostly.  If I am going to do starred content ITF is by far my choice to run.  I understand it, I know it, and I can handle it.  Favorite memory: was on a 2 star on my Dark Dark Brute.  We had a Tank.  Things were going pretty good until we got to Rom.  The Tank folded.  A few times.  I was asked to step up.  I was able to (propped up by a Corr, thank you!) and we got it done.  I did not understand what I was doing, because it was my first two star.  But I just kited Rom as the team leader asked.

 

Compare with Aeon

 

1 Speed)  joined a speed yesterday on my Blaster.  I did not die (has phase shift, vampire!) and I mostly know the maps.  I was so little help I felt like a carry.  I might as well have been trying to keep up with the Cosmic Counciul speedrunners.  i exit mission, open AH to restock insp, travel with slow mystic flight to next door, get there team is at end room.  I trudge there and maybe get one shot in. Other maps I was useless.

 

2) Starred.  Just impossible for me.  I am a carry.  I will prob pay a good team for the badges on a toon if I ever want them.

 

3) Hey, the best rewards (Prismatic Aethers) are gated behind being able to run Aeon.  Suck it Newbish player base!

 

 

 

 

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Running it with just a couple people at non-star is a good way to get most of the story down.

 

And if you really want to take the time, running it on Beta using the buffs really helps.  I solo'd a 4 star since it's pretty much god mode in most cases so that I could take the time to read and interact with everything.

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Some comments…

 

ITF was released 15 years ago on live. Almost everyone has run it dozens of times, if not hundreds. It is a totally solved TF. ASF was released 1-2 years ago on HC, and so is not as well known by the player base. I don’t think it’s fair to compare the two straight across.  Especially at the extremes (speed runs).

 

Also, unless you’re the mission holder actually reading all the dialogue, you get almost none of what’s actually going on in the missions, or why. I got to hold the star for the last ASF I was on and read the dialogue. For the first couple missions. Until folks got impatient and I was forced to click through it all. Guess I’ll have to solo it if I want a comprehensible experience. 

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12 minutes ago, lemming said:

Running it with just a couple people at non-star is a good way to get most of the story down.

 

And if you really want to take the time, running it on Beta using the buffs really helps.  I solo'd a 4 star since it's pretty much god mode in most cases so that I could take the time to read and interact with everything.

I never run on Beta.  Because if I started that is where I would always be, as I experiment.

 

I would get NO rewards to accumulate on Beta.  So, i experiment on Live.  In the chaos of "reality"

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It really is a beautiful tf.  It’s just too long considering all the special mechanics and interactions it contains.  
 

Synapse is long, but Synapse is simple.   New players can join and meaningfully contribute.   On Aeon it’s hard to even know what to do, there is so much going on for so long.   Parts of it you are even told to just sit and wait.  People can’t learn if they’re not really involved.  I would liken it to a 2 hour Summer Blockbuster.  
 

I think it has used some concepts from the ITF that makes it so great it just uses them for too long.  It really should be split into two parts.  It’s a shame it sits there largely unplayed.  If it were two parts I would wager both parts would be played more than the current iteration is.  

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51 minutes ago, ZekeStenzland said:

Some comments…

 

ITF was released 15 years ago on live. Almost everyone has run it dozens of times, if not hundreds. It is a totally solved TF. ASF was released 1-2 years ago on HC, and so is not as well known by the player base. I don’t think it’s fair to compare the two straight across.  Especially at the extremes (speed runs).

 

Also, unless you’re the mission holder actually reading all the dialogue, you get almost none of what’s actually going on in the missions, or why. I got to hold the star for the last ASF I was on and read the dialogue. For the first couple missions. Until folks got impatient and I was forced to click through it all. Guess I’ll have to solo it if I want a comprehensible experience. 

According to my admittedly shoddy memory ITF was popular in both speed and kill most right from the beginning.

 

If I were to make another comparison Aeon is closer to Barracuda SF.  Overly complicated and not enjoyed except by a select group.

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One other thing to mention. Speed runners optimize for speed first. It sounds like — and no judgment here — you optimize for other things (*cough* RP *cough*). 
 

If you want to up your speedrunning game, maybe talk to them on what they’re doing that you aren’t. Storing insps in email rather than AH? SS instead of Mystic Flight? More skilled at map navigation?

 

I couldn’t say. I’ve only completed ASF 1*. And I’m not a speedrunner. 
 

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9 minutes ago, ZekeStenzland said:

One other thing to mention. Speed runners optimize for speed first. It sounds like — and no judgment here — you optimize for other things (*cough* RP *cough*). 
 

If you want to up your speedrunning game, maybe talk to them on what they’re doing that you aren’t. Storing insps in email rather than AH? SS instead of Mystic Flight? More skilled at map navigation?

 

I couldn’t say. I’ve only completed ASF 1*. And I’m not a speedrunner. 
 

Heh, my builds are odd but I do maximize for in game benefits.  As mentioned my Dark Dark BRUTE stepped in to Tank Rom on a two star, and can (and has) Tanked Recluse on a Master Ms Liberty.  (I build different, but effective)  But while I am not pokey I am not a speed player.  I cannot do sub ten minute ITFs.  I cannot finish each Aeon mission in under 3-4 minutes.  It takes me 30 seconds to refill my inspirations and with my slow travel powers (often mystic flight) another minute to get to the door.  

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3 hours ago, Snarky said:

2) Starred.  Just impossible for me.  I am a carry.  I will prob pay a good team for the badges on a toon if I ever want them.

 

3) Hey, the best rewards (Prismatic Aethers) are gated behind being able to run Aeon.  Suck it Newbish player base!

 

You only need to run at the 1-star level for the badges.  One star really isn't much of a step up in difficulty.

 

And I see people running the Aeon SF a lot since you can get many more Aether at the 4-star level by running the optional Vanguard battle.  I've been on a few of these with two of my corrs.

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Link to the story of Toggle Man, since I keep having to track down my original post.

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I only have one issue with the Aeon SF and that is I have no idea how to solo Ripplesurge in 1star+ content.  I'm most definitely not a speedster, and I'd hate to recruit for and wrangle a team that *gasp* played at slower than record breaking speeds.  

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Who run Bartertown?

 

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I can't even solo dual-box against that big blue bastard. He's too stronk =(

 

I do agree that WAY too much lore was crammed into content that most people are just going to want to rush through. Like, easter eggs are great, but when you're in a timed mission with teammates who're already aching to just get their shinies and be done with it, having NPCs with multiple pages of dialogue is... well, let's be charitable and call it a bold strategy, Cotton.

 

Sadly, I'm at the point where I only wanna run it at 3 or 4 star for the PAPs, but teams that can do so aren't always easy to find.

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Actually, story is a big reason for the difference between the two, to the point there's a reason I really like the ITF, and think the ASF is some of the poorer content the game has to offer.  The ITF is made to be a TF in terms of story.  Almost all the critical storytelling is in quick blurbs that fit into ambush lines, mission objectives, or even better yet, shows a mastery of visual storytelling (coming round the corner and seeing...those robots in mission 3).  The ASF, by contrast, is something that in terms of story really wants more to be an SSA, basically impossible to follow if you're not the leader and getting the big, long info dumps and talking to all the NPCs.  And then in terms of mechanics, it wants to be a raid, having complex mechanics (often which are not as well-explained as they would be in typical Incarnate trials).  It honestly feels like a crash course in how not to do a Task Force, while the ITF in its classic form, is more or less the perfect distillation of putting one together, from the development side.

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10 hours ago, Yomo Kimyata said:

I only have one issue with the Aeon SF and that is I have no idea how to solo Ripplesurge in 1star+ content.

 

What is your specific problem in this fight?

I haven't had too much trouble in 1* (I have no character that could hope to solo 2* or above). I focus the Shimmering Infusions as soon as they appear, so they never heal him.

 

Having MM macros for Lore pets is helpful there. To focus their targeting instantly as well.

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the ITF is popular as it has an enemy group with mostly non-mez, simple damage types. all mobs are close together and there’s a lot of them to plough through

 

a lot of the TF is in spacious, open world maps too. the objectives are also simple and easy to understand

 

Aeon as a TF is best experienced on medium difficulty in my view

 

regarding your point on being left behind during speedruns - that’s a failure of the team, not of you. i have incan on my speed run alts and always bring everyone to the main objective. on iTrial speed runs, i’ll work with the team leads to ensure there’s always 1 person with incan ready to use, so we can move the league around where needed

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19 hours ago, ZekeStenzland said:

Also, unless you’re the mission holder actually reading all the dialogue, you get almost none of what’s actually going on in the missions, or why. I got to hold the star for the last ASF I was on and read the dialogue. For the first couple missions. Until folks got impatient and I was forced to click through it all. Guess I’ll have to solo it if I want a comprehensible experience. 

 

Assuming you're not on a speed run...

 

Look up at your nav bar when you're in a mission, AE or TF. See that "i" in the little explody-thing to the left? Click that and you can see the contact dialog.

 

image.png.a3b3ba0d46a970434e2a8a910ef405aa.png

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21 hours ago, ZekeStenzland said:

Guess I’ll have to solo it if I want a comprehensible experience. 

Forget it. You won't be able to read on a TF - unless the leader makes a point of reading the text being "a thing". You have to go on ParagonWiki and read the text afterwards if you like stories.

Personally, I want TTS in the game (and I've said so too many times), so we can listen to the story whilst going to/doing the mission.

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..It only takes one Beanbag fan saying that they JRANGER it for the devs to revert it.

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I've had to observe a solid NO AEON rule as it seems like every time I get on one (I think 3 times now, tops; maybe only twice)I was playing with Old Hands at it who felt the need to waste precious speeding time berating newbies who had the unmitigated gall to die because this was our first time or something.  One dispensed his SMH wisdom about thirty seconds after I said I couldn't see anything and got super-killed.  Genius.

 

I also do tend to go for concept over squeezing half a point more Def out of a whimpering Tough, so I'm already at a disadvantage on these things.  I have done nearly a pity "good job!" on a starred ITF, a couple of times.  Just one star though.

 

Y'all can have those runs, enjoy!

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7 hours ago, nihilii said:

 

What is your specific problem in this fight?

I haven't had too much trouble in 1* (I have no character that could hope to solo 2* or above). I focus the Shimmering Infusions as soon as they appear, so they never heal him.

 

Having MM macros for Lore pets is helpful there. To focus their targeting instantly as well.

 

My problem has been that I'm not able to get the sparks out of the way before they get absorbed and kill me indirectly, but now that I've actually looked it up (all hail Uberguy) I understand better:

 

image.thumb.png.1edaecbc424b9d8fa2569c31d52477e1.png

 

My scrappers are generally pretty heavy on the AoE and that's not doing me a lick of good on getting rid of the sparks.  Unfortunately, that's going to include "fake" AoEs like Headsplitter and Cleave, so I may have to make a purely solo target build as well.

 

Great point on the  MM macros!  I hadn't thought of that and it would certainly help.  I seem to recall that Ripplesurge summons more sparks the more pets you have, so my plans of summoning Lore pets and Shivan and other summonables really bit me on the butt before.

 

I've give it another shot one of these days, thank you!

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Who run Bartertown?

 

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Aeon is amazing, and startlingly high-quality for a player made TF (compare the relatively plain Market Crash, for example).

 

There is just one problem with it: it is too long unless speedrun at 50. I don't know why anyone still thinks a TF/SF has the right to be 7 missions long - was this even tested with lv35 toons? It would be fine if it were split into 2 separate TF's.

 

FYI a casual lobby in 2023 is 30-40 minutes tops, and anything hour+ lies solidly in the realm of hardcore challenge content. And players shouldn't need to speedrun to get content within that time range.

 

10 hours ago, MoonSheep said:

regarding your point on being left behind during speedruns - that’s a failure of the team, not of you.

 

Nah, it's 100% a failure of the player, not the team.

  1. Failure to join or make a team with an objective suitable for one's own skill level and playstyle (even then, I would advise considerable flexibility in being willing to go faster or slower than you are personally used to, since people vary in their expectations)
  2. Failure to develop necessary situational awareness to accomplish simple tasks, like reading mission objectives, following another player around, or avoiding mobs. I can understand being annoyed at speedruns if the speedrunning method relies on OOB nonsense or obscure non-intuitive mechanics, Kahn being one of the more egregious examples. Anything else? That's on you.
  3. Failure to acknowledge responsibility for one's own success or failure

The problem is that players in this game are unaccustomed to failure, and human beings in general are unaccustomed to responsibility, leading to various misconceptions. I have nothing for or against speedrunning, ideologically speaking; kill or skip what you please, the choice is yours. But if you can't speed, please don't start finger pointing in frustration and finding excuses such as your builds being concept-oriented. That's pathetic.

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34 minutes ago, Zect said:

Aeon is amazing, and startlingly high-quality for a player made TF (compare the relatively plain Market Crash, for example).

 

There is just one problem with it: it is too long unless speedrun at 50. I don't know why anyone still thinks a TF/SF has the right to be 7 missions long - was this even tested with lv35 toons? It would be fine if it were split into 2 separate TF's.

 

FYI a casual lobby in 2023 is 30-40 minutes tops, and anything hour+ lies solidly in the realm of hardcore challenge content. And players shouldn't need to speedrun to get content within that time range.

 

 

Nah, it's 100% a failure of the player, not the team.

  1. Failure to join or make a team with an objective suitable for one's own skill level and playstyle (even then, I would advise considerable flexibility in being willing to go faster or slower than you are personally used to, since people vary in their expectations)
  2. Failure to develop necessary situational awareness to accomplish simple tasks, like reading mission objectives, following another player around, or avoiding mobs. I can understand being annoyed at speedruns if the speedrunning method relies on OOB nonsense or obscure non-intuitive mechanics, Kahn being one of the more egregious examples. Anything else? That's on you.
  3. Failure to acknowledge responsibility for one's own success or failure

The problem is that players in this game are unaccustomed to failure, and human beings in general are unaccustomed to responsibility, leading to various misconceptions. I have nothing for or against speedrunning, ideologically speaking; kill or skip what you please, the choice is yours. But if you can't speed, please don't start finger pointing in frustration and finding excuses such as your builds being concept-oriented. That's pathetic.

 

people definitely need to be on their A Game, however if team members are at a different location on the map as they’re working on those objectives, e.g freeing sybils, it’s sensible for someone in the team to be going ahead to incan everyone to the next objectives. people need to work together to get the best speed run times

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Well, I tend to agree with the OP. I've made similar comments. I stopped playing this SF just because it's so disjointed and non-sensical. I really don't enjoy it. If you have to go read a separate document or slow down the SF to get all the info, maybe it's just not great game design. Anyway, I guess the HC Devs don't see it that way as they've followed the same template with their arcs etc.

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Hey shout out to Cobalt Arachne who actually dug into the redside lore and wrote an incredible TF that not only respects what was written but builds on it and its characters (PsiCurse, Becky, King Midas, and love or hate her: Zoe).

 

Sorry to see a bunch of people say it was written poorly. Sucks that apparently nobody paid attention to the perfectly designed cut scenes, the NPC Dialog that is dropped in local when team leads speaks to NPCs, or even look at the souvenir afterward if there's any confusion. 

 

Not universal opinions by any means.

 

 

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I would encourage you to form your own team, and take it slow, and learn the mechanics and story. Set the expectation with the team and I'm sure you can find likeminded people. 

 

I think it's a fantastic SF and certainly not a hyperbolic tragic failure. 

 

Obligatory git gud or something. 

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The story's alright, the content itself is...I mean it's like they tried to copy a WoW mega dungeon. I get it but overall I prefer the ITF HM, if I was forced to run HM again, to the Aeon. It's just better overall imo.

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The only thing I find being an issue is with the PAP rewards being at the moment limited to just skin overlays or auras.  The D-sync is a great reward as are the merits and if there were much more to do with the PAPs (I'm looking at you Seer robes) then the reward structure would be the best bang for your buck, even more so than Apex.  

 

As for keeping up with speed runners I'll care to know my way around and build myself a sturdy toon that can traverse areas should for some reason I don't get Incan'd to the objective.  I have no want for taking the teleport pool nor setting up binds for it so I can get to the finish line slower than others more well practiced that'll likely tp us all anyways.  If I make a team for this I'm always reserving someone I know that knows their way around with the Incan destiny.  

 

For the TF itself the devs did a phenomenal job crafting this new high quality content by giving us higher difficulties with congruent rewards while also leaving a base difficulty for those that would rather take their time to learn the ins and outs of this one.  It's not ever going to be as simple as an ITF but once people play it more often it becomes easier to understand.  Incidentally I think the higher star ITFs are quite a deal harder (excluding the Vanguard fight) at much less reward than Aeon.  

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