Home > City of Heroes > The fantasy of superheroes

The fantasy of superheroes

April 10, 2009

Since Issue 14 of City of Heroes/Villains was released on late Wednesday I have played mainly with my dedicated architect, as well as one of my dominators. A number of the patterns seen in open beta repeat themselves here, but as time goes by I think there will be changes.

Last check there were almost 9000 story arcs published – probably a large amount of the ones that were created in open beta, but also a lot of new story arcs as well. With a number of new people trying out the mission editor there is bound to be many arcs which are of the “this is my test arc” type. Some of them say that explicitly, others don’t. In the latter case they usually do not have an elaborate description of the arc.

There are also a number that are published multiple times due to that the user interface is really not particularly obvious what you should do when you want to update a published arc. I think it is likely that most people will fall into this trap and they should consider clarifying that in the user interface.

One thing I have noticed both now and in open beta was that there are a number of arcs which tries to recreate an entirely different setting from the “city with superbeings” environment of the game . Various fantasy settings are not uncommon it seems, but since the game do have a magical/mystical aspect it plays with as well it is not that surprising.

I am not really a fan of fantasy litterature in general, so a number of these stories I have seen may be references to existing stories and environments – I am just not familiar with them. Or they may be original stories; I really have no clue. A number of them do seem a bit quick on moving the plot forward, introducing new names and references. In these cases they lose me entirely why I should care or follow the story. But it may be that it requires some previous knowledge that I lack.

I said "Shoot the knight in front", not the nightingale, Robin!

I said "Shoot the knight in front", not the nightingale, Robin!

One of the stories where I did get the context of in the fantasy realm was Robin Wuss and the Nutty Sheriff (arc ID 10730). It is a humourous arc connecting the city realm here with Robin Hood and his merry men. It is quite easy to play though, the emphasis seem to be more on a bit of fun with Robin rather than some challenging encounters (as long as you have Robin with you). 

Some other arcs tend to go more into the SciFi realm which more of my home turf. One arc here which I liked was Adventures of the Space Marines (arc ID 2133).

Fighting the space troopers

Fighting the space troopers

This is  also a bit funny and I think very good use of the the resources the game has to try to convey a more space troopers/shoot things environment. There is a bit of sameness to many of the encounters, but given the limitations set up in Mission Architect for custom characters I think it was quite good use of the resources. I played it though with my low level widow solo, but will probably play out even better for the space trooper mayhem with more people and higher levels.

When you have created a story arc and people play and rate it, you get architect tickets as an award.  The rating is 1-5 stars and for every star you get 5 tickets, if it is at least 3 stars. So a rating of 2 stars will get you no tickets, while a rating of 5 stars will get you 25 tickets.

A character cannot vote for the same arc multiple times, at least not until after a cooldown period. 

I have pretty much avoided setting any rating on an arc where I would have set 1 or 2 stars, but perhaps send a comment what I did not like. But I have also avoided to play those arcs that clearly are “test arcs”, or intended for badge farming, or big teams (when playing solo) etc.

The mission architect story arcs works in many ways as strike/task forces and one cannot do other missions while in the middle of an MA arc. This puts some more focused requirements on teaming, since they whole team need to be set to do MA arcs and not regular missions, or do too much mixing. It would probably be good if they were adding another team flag för the team search for “mission architect missions”, so a person that is mainly interested in such missions can flag for that. For now one has to use the text field.

Paragon Wiki has a good page describing the architect ticket system and the rewards you get though it.  I had not looked at it until yesterday and it clarified a few fuzzy parts for me.

Even though I regularly run into missions that are a bit too tough for my squishy and/or low level characters and the base mechanics are the same as before, I must say that I do the variation in enemies and plot that is provided though Mission Architect.

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Categories: City of Heroes
  1. April 10, 2009 at 12:41 | #1

    I encountered my first badge farming arc the other day and I *did* give it a low rating. I was close to reporting it, but I guess technically it’s not wrong; I just think it’s really unethical, especially when there is little to no challenge involved. :(

  2. April 10, 2009 at 13:33 | #2

    I am not keen on farming activities; it is something that some people have as their primary motivation though. For the most part I just try to avoid it.

    It is only possible to farm the MA badges though, other badges (such as killing a certain type of mob X times) do not count in MA missions.

    They have limits on how much one can gain and how much can be gained in a single mission, but that is for tickets and not badges.

    They also removed snake eggs as items to have in player created missions, since these were possible to exploit for ticket gain.

  3. April 10, 2009 at 16:41 | #3

    Well, I think I just had my /ragequit moment for the mission architect. The missions are great fun; however, dying 6 times per mission because the mobs are ridiculously hard – is not.

    Yes, I may be gimped. Yes, it may be because I’m solo. Yes, it might be because my char needs to be a different class.

    But in my opinion, having to conform to that kind of stringent class/number/build requirement in order to be able to enjoy the player-built missions is a fail in and of itself.

    We’ll see when I cool down, but dying in 2 blows to orange mobs is not my definition of fun. Until they tone that down (and I gather it won’t be, I seem to recall it being touted as “working as intended”), I’m going to continue not playing — or desiging — architect missions.

    There. /ragequit ;)

  4. April 10, 2009 at 19:34 | #4

    I agree, that is not really fun. I generally play squishies and many custom encounters can be quite painful.

    In many cases I think the creators have been playing brutes/tankers/scrappers and probably not low level ones either.

    What I would really like to see is that you can have different settings for the different enemies in the custom groups based on level ranges. E.g. one setting for levels 1-11, a different one for 12-21 – preferably intervals the creators can set themselves.

    But there are many arcs with a mix of regular mobs and custom enemies, those tend to be more balanced. And those with no custom mobs of course.

    Some of the ones with custom mobs arem pretty decent also, but currently there is a fair amount of the missions which are just too hard when they involve custom enemies.

    I think it is ok to have the ability to create such enemies, but they really need better search mechanics to be able to filter out much of that.

  5. April 11, 2009 at 02:59 | #5

    @ Sente — from what I can tell, the base difficulty is already quite a bit higher than the “normal” mobs, meaning that if you’re a new architect thinking “oo I know, I’ll make this lieutenant a little tougher than normal (hit Medium) and make this boss quite a lot tougher than normal (hit Hard),” then end up being like trying to fight Arnie in Terminator.

    I’d like to see the whole thing toned down somewhat, or more balance testing done, because right now the medium/hard (or whatever they’re called) settings are almost impossible to use, which is a shame, since it deprives us of options.

    Unless, of course, the difficulty settings are intended to mean something like easy=solo, medium=2-4, hard=4+ players — that could be. Again though, it would be nice to have that confirmed somewhere. It’s possible it was on the boards, but I have a hard time finding much of anything on the forums and as usual that shouldn’t be a requirement.

    Oh well. The day is almost over and I’m hopeful that tomorrow I won’t have taken such a large Pissy Pill. We’ll see. :D

  6. April 11, 2009 at 08:23 | #6

    Yes, the damage scaling factor used for all custom enemy powers is the same for all powers instead of differentiated and it is one of the higher ones as I understand it.

    I am not sure if the damage scale increases with higher difficulty setting, or if that is the same. But since the difficulty setting adds more powers it will also mean more buffs and debuffs in many cases, which could increase their damage output & protection and lower your defenses or resistances.
    And since that is an important factor in CoX combat that would be a significant difference. Especially when they allow people to pick any powerset combination.

    But it could probably be useful to have a difficulty setting for the base damage scale as well.

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