Home > City of Heroes > City of Heroes/Villains – my mission design update

City of Heroes/Villains – my mission design update

March 29, 2009

Today I spent a fair amount of time completing my second story arc for City of Heroes/Villains, named The Missing Geneticist. I might not have so much time for this during the week and if NCSoft decides to release issue 14 I want my arcs to be as ready to publish as I can.

I am not entirely happy with the search functions and the rating/comment system in place currently – there will be room for improvement. This is probably something NCSoft will look at once the issue is released once they see people’s usage patterns a bit more.

But partly because of that I decided that I should keep some reference for my own creations here at least, so I set up a separate page with some basic info about my story arcs. Until NCSoft makes it easier to find arcs it cannot hurt with a bit of self-promotion.

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Categories: City of Heroes
  1. March 30, 2009 at 14:26

    I’ll have to try to find it and play it! I started one of my own the other day, but crashed after testing my first mission in the arc (never a good sign :P) and haven’t had a chance to go back since.

    And yes, the search needs to be *much* further refined. When I initially read the possible criteria I thought they would be fine, but after seeing how much harder the MA stuff tends to be, I for one would be looking for some kind of difficulty indicator so I could plan my sessions a little more easily.

    I’d also say the allowed comment length is a little small, but that’s probably only because I’m a wordy byatch and as a writer, I like to give constructive feedback because I know I like to receive it.

  2. March 30, 2009 at 18:52

    I had frequent CTDs up until the update they did on the test servers on the 25th. After that I have not had any crashes in the mission editor at least.

    But there are still bugs and issues, so it might be a bit premature to release it this week – if they do that.

    The search functionality definitely needs improvement, but I do not expect that to happen before release. I think they will wait for a while and analyse what people do and ask for after release and then try to decide what to do.

    I think the main problem with the difficult MA missions are the custom enemy groups and the difficulty settings you can set on the powersets. All characters in a custom group covers the whole level range 1-54.

    One difficulty setting may be suitable for a certain level range, but may be too difficult for lower levels or perhaps too easy for higher levels. There should really be some subdivision within the enemy groups to have different difficuly settings for different levels.

    One can create multiple copies of a character and assign different difficulty settings, but then one will run out of space very soon for the story arc.

    So unless the author explicitly tells what level range the arc is intended for there is no way of knowing if a story arc with custom enemies are suitable.

    One approach I used however is to introduce a standard enemy from a predefined group with a level range that fits where I am aiming. This will cause the level range of the custom enemy mission to be reduced to that level range of the standard enemy.

    I did that with the second arc I created. Still contemplating whether I should try to make the custom enemies a little bit easier.

  3. March 31, 2009 at 15:18

    I played the Missing Geneticist yesterday, and very good it was too! Here are what few comments I noted as I went:

    Mish 1 text should be “flexible morals” and not “morale” — sorry, the English student in me noticed that. πŸ˜‰

    Also Mish 1 — is there some indication in the mission text that there’s a time limit? I couldn’t remember.

    My level 4 fire/fire blaster got her backside handed to her *immediately* in that first mission, mostly because the layout of the Uni basement isn’t great for what she does (bad lines of sight), and also because the random placement thingy put about 4 yellows right around the corner at the bottom of the stairs. I got caught up on *everything* (walls, bad guys, banister) trying to scramble back up. It was actually pretty funny. πŸ˜€

    My 15 dark/regen scrapper, on the other hand, have a GREAT time on all the missions. A couple of quite challenging fights, none of the fights were stupidly easy (though the last mish got easier when she levelled halfway through it).

    Mish 3 — the layout confused me, but that’s most likely because I’ve been away from CoX a long time and haven’t played villains much, so I wasn’t familiar with the setting… and missed the door leading to the tunnels for about 15 minutes. D’oh me!

    The storyline was GREAT! The (no spoilers!)… bad guys you made were great!

    As far as I can, tell, you don’t need to make those custom enemies easier. I understand your concern, because the MA missions seem almost ridiculously hard on the whole, but your guys seemed well-balanced. I’ll try to run a few other char types through it if you like, if I remember to copy them across. Note than I’ve only got lowbies around 10 or so, so I can’t judge how it all scales.

    Makes my single effort so far feel rather paltry in comparison. I am very impressed!

  4. March 31, 2009 at 16:53

    Thanks for the comments and the kind words!

    The Uni map layout can be a bit troublesome and I cannot control exactly where things spawn – a general problem with the maps.
    It sometimes flows quite well and the mobs are distributed well, but sometimes you can get the tricky corner and a patrol on top of that. I did get caught myself in some test runs there πŸ™‚ The NPC dialogs will help to figure out who is where, but probably not something one will consider the first time.

    There is a time limit indication in the contact dialog before he sends you off. Could have a look at changing that part so it is more clear – the limit is just there to support the contact dialog, but I could perhaps just rephrase that and remove it entirely.

    For mish 3 I did want to use a map appropriate for the enemy group there and some of these maps can sometimes be a bit tricky, at least if you are not used to the layout.

    I am glad that the custom enemy difficulty seemed ok, I was hoping that it would be suitable for the teen levels.

  5. March 31, 2009 at 20:47

    Re: difficulty levels — I tend to prefer slightly less challenge rather than more, because I enjoy kicking the crap out of stuff rather than having it kicked out of me. In other words, I like to end fights wounded, but not almost dead (or dead). πŸ˜‰ This may not be the case for everyone, but given my preference, I thought the missions were almost perfect.

    One thing I forgot to mention was that the devil-named bad guy in the last mish (sorry, I’m awful with names) was actually tougher than the Boss (you-know-who). If this is random there’s not much you can do about it, and Boss wasn’t exactly a pushover either. Makes me wish we could control spawn sizes/locs a little more — the Boss could do with 2-3 surrounding allies to make a solo fight a bigger challenge.

    Oh oh and I forgot another thing. *MY* allies (nice touch btw) went a little wonky on me. I lost one entirely and I’m not at all sure where he went — it’s possible he wandered into a group I hadn’t noticed and got killed. The other one, however, got all hung up on fighting the Meteor that was there (decoration?) and wouldn’t move away from it no matter what, hah! So I did 80% of the fights without my helpers; if they’d been there, it would probably have been on the slightly easy side even for me.

    As for the Mish 1 time limit, my bad memory then. I actually LIKE that time limit, though it took me a while to figure out why it was there. The dialogue worked well, but if there’s a bunch placed at the bottom of the stairs there’s nothing for it but to go charging in, placement or no, heheh. It worked ok. (Bear in mind that my blaster was actually too low for your level recommendations, too, which probably didn’t help.)

  6. March 31, 2009 at 21:06

    The devil boss was actually spawned as a boss, even on heroic/villainous, while the other were LTs. I guess that could be a bug, his difficulty setting is not different from the others.
    I wanted to include more assistance to the final boss, but exceeded the limit for the map if I added more.

    The allies are not to be trusted πŸ˜‰ They do tend to get distracted or confused unfortunately. The meteor is something you have to destroy to get them away from it. I would have preferred a different map to avoid that one, but had trouble finding one with a reasonably good layout and which allowed the different mission details I wanted to include.

    I might play around there to see if I find a better map choice.

  7. March 31, 2009 at 22:02

    I wouldn’t worry too much about it. I didn’t have any trouble without the allies anyway, and it was kinda funny seeing this mobster determined to kill the rock. πŸ˜‰ Since I am really only used to heroes, it was neat to see a heroic location all grungy and damaged.

  8. April 1, 2009 at 12:41

    That meteor is something I will deal with though, eventually. I have other maps which does not have bombardments from outside, but in those ally placements gets so unpredictable and wrong…
    The meteor map at least seem to get it right sometimes πŸ˜‰

  1. March 30, 2009 at 20:35
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