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[Hero][20-29] Astoria in D Minor #60

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This is a repost of my old Dev's Choice story arc, spelling errors and all.


The description in-game: A mother with a lost daughter. An alien investigating fascists. A disturbed hero trying to save people any way he can. Dark Astoria makes you question what you're willing to do to survive. Note: In mission 4, that's not a bug. You'll know what I mean.


It is a horror arc mainly intended for a solo player.

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I never played this while it was live, so here I am giving it a shot. What I've found is an arc that definitely deserved to be a Dev's Choice. Played on my level 29 MA/SR scrapper.


I feel like doing a horror arc in CoH is quite hard, because the game is so much about empowerment and being strong. So an arc that wants to be horrific is going to have to do that without making the player feel threatened or vulnerable, and this arc does that rather well with a few neat tricks. It also manages it without being excessive or gratuitous in its content - I can say that the item that most spooked me and gave me pause was an entirely mundane object in the wrong place.


I think I would say that the first three missions - while definitely good - didn't exactly blow me away, but it did take off from the fourth and felt very effective. I'd also like to pick out the souvenir for special praise, I enjoyed the writing there.


Thumbs up, I liked it!


This board doesn't seem to have a spoiler tag! So I'm going to make the text small and blue, and you can copy it into notepad if you want to read it or something


Stream of consciousness:

Contact: Interesting to have your contact be panicked radio communications. You're going for horror, which means the writing is going to have to do most of the work since CoH isn't really equipped for horror, but this writing is up to it.

Mission 1: Good opening. Maybe would have gone with a creepier looking office map. Small zombies are weird, but fun. I like Event Horizon's design a lot - it's a bit cliche, but I don't associate Warshades with that cliche at all, so that's Interesting. I walked past the security computer three times without noticing it, but that's hardly your fault.

Mission 2: Now this is a creepier map! Schism: well, that's certainly a costume. Good one though, well executed. Feels like this mission could have used more surprises. It's somewhat rote. Interesting twist that Haley ran off with the wrong mother. No sign of small zombies.

Mission 3: Ah, the good old graveyard map. Found Haley very quickly, grisly. Didn't think you'd kill the kid, at least not this quickly. So the BP are digging for something. And Schism is quite proactive about zombie killing. Still no small zombies. Irine not sounding good.

Mission 4: This is looking more like it! Strong first impression with the entrance text and objectives. Not your fault but this map looks weird with the cel shading on. Great Clown confusing, Great Herald ominous, both nicely designed. Though I don't feel like this is my fault at all. Just the mere presence of a phone down here probably the most unsettling and interesting thing, since it's so out of place. Good bio for it, wish I'd remembered to check more bios. And yes, this is clearly Mot.

Mission 5: Now Event Horizon is losing it. "You've crossed Event Horizon" - nice. He does prompt an interesting question, why AM I beating up what appear to be civilians? OK I think I see what's going on, and Event Horizon's final line is rather good and clinches it - "We try to save people... but all we know how to do is hurt people." Reads like a meta-commentary on how violence is really the only real verb we have in these games. Or maybe this isn't the moral you were going for, since the contact's text and the souvenir doesn't really support it.

The souvenir is wonderful, a very well written thought on how a place can die and be mourned.

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I don't have anyone in that range yet (level 16!), but I kinda remember playing it in the old days and enjoying it immensely. It's the kind of story the Mission Architect was made for!


I look forward to playing it again, and look forward to up-voting it!


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  • 2 weeks later

I just played this one... I wanted the badges for the dev and hall of fame, and it looked interesting.


its a rather high bar for storytelling with the mission system. the part i hated, however, was the caves with zero visibility. i was using the map to find my way. not being able to see which way your going is rather tricky in those caves. it fits the story, but makes it difficult to play.


I had created and tested my own earlier, and that really made me see how difficult it is to make good missions.

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Played this today.


I loved the use of maps and objectives. The missions never felt stale or repetitive. The tone was right. I actually loved the cavern map because the light effects on the Banished Pantheon villains helped draw you through the path. I particularly loved how the typical big chamber dead-end looked because you could just make out the chest lights of all the banished pantheon zombies, and that was wonderfully creepy. (Though the danger was diminished a bit by playing a beast mastermind, and my animals were able to easily manage it for me).


Two slight issues (one obviously not your fault).


Every time I entered a mission all my pets died. They didn't despawn--a bug that happens occasionally whenever I enter a door mission in the "regular game." They literally died and I walked in over a pile of dead wolves and lions that I had to resummon. This does not happen with the story arc I made, so I'm not entirely sure why this is happening in yours.


On the hospital map, there's a spot on the first floor that kind of contained by hospital room screens you have to jump over. Schism got trapped in here somehow and refused to jump over any of the screens and I had to just leave him behind. I didn't need him to beat the map, but I don't know if you've gotten any complaints about it.


One of the odd things about this story arc is how it feels almost out of time now that Dark Astoria has been changed to an end game zone. It's been a very, very long time since I've played COH, of course, but I vaguely remember doing the Banished Pantheon arcs when the game was young (I did every single leveling story arc on the hero side). But now I think some of that story has been pushed back to end game, and I really don't know what the Banished Pantheon are like now, and that makes the mission a little mysterious and confusing. It would probably be more impactful if we were playing around in Dark Astoria still in the original incarnation of it.

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  • 2 weeks later

reposted from another thread:


I've spent no time playing actual AE arcs since the "homecoming", but when I saw it was back, I made a note that "Astoria in D Minor" would be one of the first things I would get around to playing.  I remember it felt like the first time I really saw a strong sense of MOOD to an AE arc, and really made me think that the Architect has even more potential for storytelling that most realized.  Although my preferences for horror lean more towards "Lovecraft Lite", with heroes fighting back against the darkness (I play the Eldritch Horror board game with friends almost weekly), I was really glad that someone wrote about Astoria as real genre horror, in a psychological sense.



Hopefully, I'll get a play in this weekend, if I'm logged in when none of my SG are around, and I can solo it.

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