Blood Moon flawed event design?
Having played a bit more in the Blood Moon event I am left to wonder what happened during the design of the fallen hero/Takofanes part of the event.
- Defeating fallen heroes commanding hordes of zombies and then save their souls? Check, good piece
- Have a bit more special apperance of a representative of the Big Bad Guy, Takofanes? Yeah, can work
- Have the fallen heroes appear all over Millenium City? Probably a good choice, it is a zone pretty much anyone can get to, there are vendors and many other facilities here
- Have the fallen hero enemies spread out from level 14 to 27? A logical choice to make them be at about the same level as the surrounding area. This was later changed so that the instances scaled with the level of the character. That was a band-aid change, not necessarily a good choice in its context.
- Have a timed open mission as first part and then an instance? Yeah, that in itself works well I think
- Have a 2 hour reset timer on the Open Mission? Far too long. Many of my game sessions are probably less than 2 hours. Jumping instances to try to find a shorter timer is not fun gameplay. Later this was changed to 30 minutes. Again I think this was a band-aid solution. Better than the original timer, but still flawed given some other design choices.
- Have a crypt-like instance, mostly beating up zombies popping up? So-and-so, too long with not enough variation
- Have 13 almost identical crypt instances? Not a particularly good choice. The big flaw here though was to tie some rewards to it (perks and unlock of celestial powerset). If there were no incentives to actually get people to do all 13 of them it would be ok – people could sample one, get some reward and then get on with their game. With 13 available there would be a better chance of finding one that might be activated soon.
- A 6 hour timer for Mr Taco representative to show up and tie a rare loot drop to his defeat as well as the major event perk? Big flaw. In practive even encountering this villain has been ruled out for casual players – more obsessive and achievement-hunting players will have him killed in no time after he appears.
I would have liked to see less of the fallen heroes – 5 or 6 at most. Defeating and saving the souls of 2-3 of them would have been enough for any perk. Doing that should also trigger the opportunity to encounter the Taco guy also. Of course, then the PvE part of the Blood Moon event would have been completed much sooner and people would have complained that there were not enough content.
I do not see why there was an unlock mechanic for celestial powerset at all. If they had to have one I think saving the souls as described above would suffice, possibly also defeating Taco with the changed suggestions above, or as an alternative participating in a few of the different event activities. I.e. one can focus on PvP activities and get it or do the PvE stuff and get it or do a mix of it and get it.
Cryptic has obviosuly done some good missions and arcs in the game. I think content creation probably was a bit rushed and they did not have time to do a good job with lots of content. Since there was a fixed deadline for the event they likely had to make a number of compromises.
Hindsight is of course the best way to find flaws and I am sure they have very good and competent people in place for mission design which do a great job and much better than I could ever hope to do – other parts of the game has proven that. Reality tend to screw up good design intentions in various ways though.
I just hope that Cryptic will continue and put enough effort into new content to let it have a high quality without too much interference from reality and commercial conditions.
I also want to point out that I think the PvP elements of the event are quite good and fun and much of the setting in general is quite nice. It is just the fallen hero part that does not make me shout out in joy.