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Incarnate Based Lore / End Game is Dissatisfying


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One moment that shattered some of my treasured childhood memories was learning about Midichlorians in The Phantom Menace.

image.png.998f9955acd4ab5954f9e60fb50d0a50.png

 

Before then, the Force was a mysterious power bestowed to a very few, and was something mystical in the space opera setting of Star Wars. Explaining it as a mass of microorganisms took all the mystique out of it. I think in some ways, the reason why vampire and werewolf mythology works so well is that they represent a hidden world in our current belief of how the world works. I think you reduce it as some sort of virus infection or genetic affliction, it become less interesting. In sum, over-explaining some things makes it less interesting, not more.

 

I find that progressing as an Incarnate to be rather lacking from a lore standpoint. Your progress is not only not original - as Incarnates have existed before you - but dependent on a magical McGuffin. It's rather immersion breaking to have my tech-origin Bots/Trap MM have to chase vestiges of the Well to grow more powerful. It's also clear there are individuals and organizations that have power scaling equal to or beyond the Well (Ouroboros, Dream Doctor, The Battalion, etc.) Most of my post level 50 characters feel shoe-horned into a lore that doesn't really fit.

 

Now, I'm not complaining about the mechanics to enforce a uniform way to increasing power to post-level 50. I just wish the story/lore was more mysterious and open to more interpretation. It feels like taking away creative agency. Instead of finding enlightenment, discovering the anti-life equation, ascending to the Heavenly Realm, etc., you are Incarnate number 10,243. It's boring and I wish wasn't so.

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I've definitely wanted multiple incarnate "origin arcs" for a while. Mender Ramiel's current one works fine for magic types, but there should also be alternatives for science, tech, natural, and mutants.

 

Naturals might go into some remote mountains somewhere and train under Tsoo monks. Techies could visit Rikti earth and "borrow" some of their toys. Science could be something to do with Crey's various projects and/or the Devouring Earth (the DE virus was made in a lab after all so it's definitely very science-y). IDK what to do for mutants. Just spitballing here. 

Edited by FupDup
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Ya know, Massively OP published an article on this very topic just a couple of days ago:

 

https://massivelyop.com/2024/02/08/into-the-super-verse-whats-wrong-with-city-of-heroes-incarnate-system/

 

WWWCOHIS.jpg

Edited by PeregrineFalcon
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2 hours ago, FFFF said:

One moment that shattered some of my treasured childhood memories was learning about Midichlorians in The Phantom Menace.

image.png.998f9955acd4ab5954f9e60fb50d0a50.png

 

Before then, the Force was a mysterious power bestowed to a very few, and was something mystical in the space opera setting of Star Wars. Explaining it as a mass of microorganisms took all the mystique out of it. I think in some ways, the reason why vampire and werewolf mythology works so well is that they represent a hidden world in our current belief of how the world works. I think you reduce it as some sort of virus infection or genetic affliction, it become less interesting. In sum, over-explaining some things makes it less interesting, not more.

 

I find that progressing as an Incarnate to be rather lacking from a lore standpoint. Your progress is not only not original - as Incarnates have existed before you - but dependent on a magical McGuffin. It's rather immersion breaking to have my tech-origin Bots/Trap MM have to chase vestiges of the Well to grow more powerful. It's also clear there are individuals and organizations that have power scaling equal to or beyond the Well (Ouroboros, Dream Doctor, The Battalion, etc.) Most of my post level 50 characters feel shoe-horned into a lore that doesn't really fit.

 

Now, I'm not complaining about the mechanics to enforce a uniform way to increasing power to post-level 50. I just wish the story/lore was more mysterious and open to more interpretation. It feels like taking away creative agency. Instead of finding enlightenment, discovering the anti-life equation, ascending to the Heavenly Realm, etc., you are Incarnate number 10,243. It's boring and I wish wasn't so.

I do NOT see it that way,  Take Lord Recluse.  Tech, gadgets.  Yes, the Well granted him great power.  That he infused into more gadgets.

 

Get Robotic Drones for Lore Pets.  My new Ice/Dark Corr will take Polar Lights.  Yes, the Incarnate Nuke is harder to explain.  But we have 50 levels of odd temp powers we have been throwing around.  They really should offer weapon fired solutions for a few of those, all of those however.

 

Basically, in a nutshell, I saying you got no imagination.  IMO

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1 hour ago, Snarky said:

I do NOT see it that way,  Take Lord Recluse.  Tech, gadgets.  Yes, the Well granted him great power.  That he infused into more gadgets.

 

Get Robotic Drones for Lore Pets.  My new Ice/Dark Corr will take Polar Lights.  Yes, the Incarnate Nuke is harder to explain.  But we have 50 levels of odd temp powers we have been throwing around.  They really should offer weapon fired solutions for a few of those, all of those however.

 

Basically, in a nutshell, I saying you got no imagination.  IMO

 

We're just going to agree to disagree. I think the lore is what lacks imagination. The Well of the Furies could have been something more euphemistic instead it's literally a Well, and it's mystical. It's the literalness of the lore which I find confining. Sure, you can hand wave a lot of this away, but at the end of day, you're a McGuffin-empowered Incarnate.

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2 minutes ago, FFFF said:

 

We're just going to agree to disagree. I think the lore is what lacks imagination. The Well of the Furies could have been something more euphemistic instead it's literally a Well, and it's mystical. It's the literalness of the lore which I find confining. Sure, you can hand wave a lot of this away, but at the end of day, you're a McGuffin-empowered Incarnate.

name me one fictional or mythological uber powered being that is not (in essence boiled down) McGuffin powered.  If you manage to name one, consider how applicable that is to ten thousand 50s becoming more powerful, 100,000, er 1mill...

Edited by Snarky
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Quote

name me one fictional or mythological uber powered being that is not (in essence boiled down) McGuffin powered.

  • Superman - empowered by Kryptonian physiology + yellow sun; early version was strong only as a basis of his Kryptonian physiology
  • Hulk - created by accident via gamma radiation
  • Dr. Manhattan - accident gives godlike powers
  • Thor - god
  • Professor X - mutant
  • Magneto - mutant
  • Scarlet Witch - mutant
  • Thanos - probably a god
  • Galactus - cosmic being

 

Edited by FFFF
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51 minutes ago, FFFF said:
  • Superman - empowered by Kryptonian physiology + yellow sun; early version was strong only as a basis of his Kryptonian physiology
  • Hulk - created by accident via gamma radiation
  • Dr. Manhattan - accident gives godlike powers
  • Thor - god
  • Professor X - mutant
  • Magneto - mutant
  • Scarlet Witch - mutant
  • Thanos - probably a god
  • Galactus - cosmic being

 

so power from the Well is a McGuffin, because it is an Eternal self aware font of power with undiscernible motives, but it is a thing?

 

weird body+yello sun is NOT a McGuffin

Being a God or Cosmic being is NOT a McGuffin

Being a mutant is NOT a McGuffin

 

You have given me something to think about....

 

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We are going to have to work on the definition of McGuffin:

 

 

Quote

Definition: A MacGuffin (or McGuffin) is an object, device, or event necessary to the plot and the motivation of the characters, but typically unimportant or irrelevant in itself

 

 

For the duration of the quest we are on to unlock Incarnate powers the Well is a motivation, but it is relevant to an end state we are told we desire. This is unlike the breifcase in Pulp Fiction, whose contents are immaterial to the plot, its just important because it is.

 

"Plot device" is probably a more apt term for the Well--it is a reason in setting for a setting change--your ability to move up to the supposed ranks of power of Stateman and Recluse. It is no more or less compelling than Superman having powers simply because he is an aliena nd so can be defined to have power. Power Girl (originally Supergirl from Earth 2) was at one point, when they pared the DC universe down to limited numbers of Kryptonians, was redefined to have been not Kryptonian and instead empowered by ancient Atlantean magic--so the reasons for super strength and the entire package of powers is ultimately, "simply because" regardless of what is presented, not just for Power Girl but Hulk, Dr Manhattan, etc. They are all contrived because people do not get super powers from any of the things stated to give ordinary humans powers and we have no examples of aliens (neverminding aliens who not only look completely human but are able to reproduce with humans).

 

Would it have been cool to have some sort of implementation of "being taken over by the Well" built into the game? I can already hear the howls about losing character control. In any event, it is no more or less inspired than the otherwise meaningless "origins" we all carry  around....well, actually it is a bit more inspired since at least there is a story arc involved, but only a thin, hair's width of a bit.

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5 hours ago, FFFF said:

you are Incarnate number 10,243. It's boring and I wish wasn't so.

 

hey how's that free game going for you?

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Si vis pacem, para bellum

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6 minutes ago, Troo said:

 

hey how's that free game going for you?

 

It's fine actually. Fun enough that I donate. Just because I find one part lacking doesn't mean there isn't much to love. I think TFs are fun, as is pre-level 50 teaming.

 

I also realize that the current Homecoming folks had nothing to do with current state, and due to dev priorities, we're likely stuck with drinking the dregs from a literal well to grow more powerful.

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Arguably even most "supernatural" entites could be considered natural due to their powers just being a part of their nature. See the supernatural wizard entry from "A Dictionary of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures" by Katharine Mary Briggs:

 

Quote

Supernatural wizards. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish the true supernatural wizard from the wizard who has acquired his skill, however unusual, from practical experience and training and some inborn aptitude. The wizards of the sidh, such, for instance, as Bresil, the druid who laid the spell of diminishment on Etain, may be counted as minor supernatural wizards, and so may the giant wizards who have their lives hidden away in a separable soul, such as the wizard giant in ‘The Battle of the Birds’; but the true supernatural wizard is he who started as a god. Gwydion (Gwydion fab Dôn) is an example of this; so is Bran the Blessed.

 

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I pretty much agree with you OP. I've said it in a past thread on the subject and I'm sure it's a very boring and unimaginative idea, but I wish it was just "veterancy" or something. And the gatekept incarnate content was just that they had to make sure you're a bad enough dude to rescue the president. This is of course no different than levels in general concept but at least it doesn't interfere with peoples' backstory. 

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(I'll take this chance to mention that Star Wars started falling apart for me be the time Empire came along.  Back when Star Wars wasn't A New Hope, just "Star Wars," the Force was like Yoga, something anyone could do if they wanted to and applied themselves, although some might be more naturally attuned to it in a sort of mystic way.  Like Zen mindfulness combined with martial arts or something???  Then it was turned into magical powers like telekinesis, wildly impossible ninja jumps... lighting bolts later... bah, it was much more fun and true to its samurai movie roots as the former.  Now we see Obi-won and Darth meet up again and what do we get?  Giant CGI rock fight, how boring is that?)

 

Seconding the Incarnate dullness.  I have a lot of 50s I've hardly done any Incarnate stuff on, and when I have, I often don't bother to use them.

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I'm happy with being able to earn Incarnate XP anywhere. Most of the time my characters skip the arc. My Naturals become Incarnate because they fight such powerful foes they go beyond their limits, my Techs discover radically new inventions, and so on.

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I don't agree with OP, i see incarnacy as the Power Cosmic/Color Spectrum Rings/Chaos Emeralds you can be Magic, Mutant, Science, Etc & get a boost to your inherent traits, prexisting powers & gain new abilities & i don't see why that would be an undesirable path to power regardless of inherent origins

Edited by Chance Jackson
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The question is not what's wrong with the Incarnate system, but rather what's right with it?

 

There was a dire need for some quality end game and some of it that we have now is ok.... but by and large there is so much bad writing there and the entire concept of the "Well of the Furies" still grates and rankles as an abysmal effort of storytelling. But we have what we have and I doubt we'll ever get it retconned because it's too embedded in the game.

 

Maybe CoH2...?

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Always has been.

 

OK, read the massively editoral, and it feels like a complaint that comes from a mode of thinking "race to 50". I look forward to the author's realization that the answer to the question:

 

Quote

...addressing a real issue: What do you do in CoH once you’re 50?

 

is either "Base Building" or "Costume Design."

Edited by tidge
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What I like about the incarnate system(or story) is that you can decide to partake in it or not. You still unlock Alpha slots after 50. You still gain vet levels. Your tech gadgets still benefit from your increased powers. You can write your own believable (to you) story on how you keep getting stronger. You do not have to go fall into the well if you don't want to, and still end up with some robotic drones that you built to help you eliminate tough EBs.

Edited by KC4800
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