Blasphemous Questions: Could aesthetic decoupling be bad?

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Scott Jackson
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Brainbot wrote:
Brainbot wrote:

To use an example, say I want to make an armored martial arts master who is highly skilled in attacking multiple enemies at once (AoE set/Resist set) then decide I want to make a wild club swinging caveman with a tough hide (AoE set/ Resist set). Both have the same mechanical themes but they shouldn't feel the same when playing them yet I fear they will.

This example made it clearest to me what you're thinking, and also points toward the solution, when the developers have enough time to fill the gaps in the game's "powerset diversity matrix". I think you might have unintentionally merged playstyles with mechanical themes, when the two character could use the same playstyle but different mechanics.

I would share the same concern you've detailed, if the game never offers more than one actual powerset per basic - focused playstyle. All characters with primary / secondary powersets as in your example (Melee - AoE focus) / (Protection - Resist focus) would indeed feel the same, in that case. However, it should only be true at launch. Using Tannim's post #74 (https://cityoftitans.com/comment/130404#comment-130404), there are more detailed powerset creation steps beyond the first two, and thus the possibility that the martial arts AOE master and caveman could choose different powersets, each with a different combat feel.
1. Basic Playstyle
2. Focused Playstyle
3. Speed
4. Mechanical Theme
5. Damage Type

Your martial arts AoE master would probably be hoping for a powerset with a distinct Speed and Mechanical Theme (Quick, with DoT bleeds or Knockups/downs) versus the caveman's (Medial or Slow, with Stun mechanics). I just tried to guess how you wanted these characters to diverge; you can probably see what I mean about the system's potential diversity even if my own choice doesn't match what you envision for these two concepts.

This will require MWM to create such sets, which hasn't been a launch goal, but at least it looks like the powerset design system is capable of handling and even encouraging the creation of said sets, since we as players can more accurately state what our concepts require, using terms from the dev's own powerset creation system. Aethetic decoupling seems to neither significantly impede this or drive it forward, to me. Maybe it helps a bit, since decoupling could make powerset matrix gaps more obvious... If the art side devs make lots of decoupled animation options with no well-matched powerset (e.g. they offer appealing heavy-impact melee animations but there's no melee powerset or powers with burst damage, stuns and knockdowns - like Headsplitter from CoH), then the "missing" powerset / power can get recognized sooner.

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

TitansCity wrote:
http://titanscity.com/archetypes-classes-sets-pouvoirs-city-of-titans-sortie-mmo/ (use the translator on the top to read in your language ^^)
i tried to explain what tannim said. Maybe it could help to understand what tannim means with Basic Style (melee, protection, control...) and Focused style (sub-style)
See my post #74 in this thread.

oups !

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I think we shouldn't forget

I think we shouldn't forget that MWM devs are only going to give us aesthetic options that work with the mechanics.

So if there is going to be an accuracy debuff, you should expect the aesthetic would be something that looks like it would blind the target. Throwing sand into the target's face, pointing a laser to the eyes, a smoke cloud around the head, a psychic blast, a block of ice over the head, a plastic bag over the head, a swarm of moths in the face, and other such effects are what will be offered up for us as aesthetic choices for that power. Don't expect that an accuracy debuff to look like a quick kick to the groin. Although I am sure that would also impede the accuracy of the target, just sayin'.

Likewise with the other mechanical effects that are provided by the various powersets. The aesthetic choices we will be offered are going to be appropriate for the effects generated.

And by the way, let's not forget the key word: "Theme." Way back in 2013, Tannim222 stated that there will be base FX for each power and if your aesthetic theme has an option for that power, then you will also get to choose FX appropriate to your aesthetic theme. I don't know if that has changed since 2013, but it still seems like it fits what they have told us so far.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

I think we shouldn't forget that MWM devs are only going to give us aesthetic options that work with the mechanics.
So if there is going to be an accuracy debuff, you should expect the aesthetic would be something that looks like it would blind the target. Throwing sand into the target's face, pointing a laser to the eyes, a smoke cloud around the head, a psychic blast, a block of ice over the head, a plastic bag over the head, a swarm of moths in the face, and other such effects are what will be offered up for us as aesthetic choices for that power. Don't expect that an accuracy debuff to look like a quick kick to the groin. Although I am sure that would also impede the accuracy of the target, just sayin'.
Likewise with the other mechanical effects that are provided by the various powersets. The aesthetic choices we will be offered are going to be appropriate for the effects generated.
And by the way, let's not forget the key word: "Theme." Way back in 2013, Tannim222 stated that there will be base FX for each power and if your aesthetic theme has an option for that power, then you will also get to choose FX appropriate to your aesthetic theme. I don't know if that has changed since 2013, but it still seems like it fits what they have told us so far.

That was originally, since then things have changed. Aesthetics are not limited to theme any longer.


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

I think we shouldn't forget that MWM devs are only going to give us aesthetic options that work with the mechanics.
So if there is going to be an accuracy debuff, you should expect the aesthetic would be something that looks like it would blind the target. Throwing sand into the target's face, pointing a laser to the eyes, a smoke cloud around the head, a psychic blast, a block of ice over the head, a plastic bag over the head, a swarm of moths in the face, and other such effects are what will be offered up for us as aesthetic choices for that power. Don't expect that an accuracy debuff to look like a quick kick to the groin. Although I am sure that would also impede the accuracy of the target, just sayin'.
Likewise with the other mechanical effects that are provided by the various powersets. The aesthetic choices we will be offered are going to be appropriate for the effects generated.
And by the way, let's not forget the key word: "Theme." Way back in 2013, Tannim222 stated that there will be base FX for each power and if your aesthetic theme has an option for that power, then you will also get to choose FX appropriate to your aesthetic theme. I don't know if that has changed since 2013, but it still seems like it fits what they have told us so far.

That was originally, since then things have changed. Aesthetics are not limited to theme any longer.

You just summarily negated the entire post. Did you intend to, or are you just telling as the last part about themes is no longer true?


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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KnightMask wrote:
KnightMask wrote:

Brainbot I do believe that the different animations that are created will indeed make the let's say "Atrophic Blast" set feel entirely unique. The gun aminations will look and play a certain way while the armored suit animations will have a different feel to them. Im almost certain they said that they could speed up or slow down the animations depending on what prop and/or emanation point is being used. This is another way that the same exact set can look and play differently. The possibilities are endless.

As I have said a few times now, the visuals go a long way to making the old seem new but a reskin does not change how a set plays.
Also, as I have said a few times now, my concern is generic power design to allow for more aesthetic options.

I am sorry KnightMask but I am going to go off a little bit now. It is not directed at you specifically so I beg you indulgence.

I have thought about my concern from many angles. I understand that it may very well be a moot issue. I know how aesthetics can give a feeling of 'new and shiney'. I am aware that I don't have all the information (none of us do) about power set design. I admit the possibility that tertiary powers, augments and refinements can render my concern invalid. I can see that multiple sets can possibly provide enough options to accurately portray any aesthetic to my satisfaction.
I know these are all possible and I have said so before anyone else pointed them out.

What no one seems to be willing to do (other than Lothic) is admit that my concerns are valid. It is entirely possible that the devs decide to make generic sets in order to provide the largest possible aesthetic options for each set. It's possible that the devs may not be that generic in power design but still include anachronistic aesthetics because reasons. It is possible that unique powers or combination of powers like I exampled before could fall by the wayside as a result of too many or vastly different aesthetics being associated with the sets. It is a possibility that some interesting themes like radiation, kinetics, dark, spines, electricity and so forth simply do not have an accurate representation in the power sets offered.
It is possible.

The thread is 'Could aesthetic decoupling be bad' and the OP asked if anyone could think of ways it could be bad. I expressed my opinion on a way it could be based on the current information we have. We don't know the make-up of the power sets in the game. We don't know what aesthetics will be offered with those power sets. We don't know if the devs consider the aesthetics before designing a set or if they will design aesthetics based on the power set design. We don't know what tertiary powers there will be. We only have vague notions of what we can do with augments and refinements. We only have a broad understanding of masteries. We don't know how fast new power sets will be released or what those power sets might be.
We just don't know enough for people to dismiss things out of hand.

What we have is grand notions from the devs and assurances that everything will be alright. I am willing to trust the devs to do things right. But I am not blindly bowing down before the alter of dev promises. If I see a possibility for something not to my liking I am going to say it and then let the devs do what they will with that opinion. That is one of the purposes of these forums. To provide feedback to the devs.

Sorry again KnightMask. I am just tired of continually having my opinion being misrepresented, misunderstood, perverted, taken out of context or simply told I am wrong for having an opinion. As I said, this is not directed at you specifically.

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No offense taking Brainbot

No offense taking Brainbot and I was NOT disregarding your opinion or asking you to" bow down before the alter of dev promises". Your opilnion is as valid as anyone elses. I am as I suppose others are just trying to understand the underlying concerns of your opinion. That's all. We are all going to have to wait till at least an Alpha or Beta invite to truly see this system in action and discover the pros and cons of aesthetic decoupling. Once again I know that I was NOT saying you were wrong in any way instead just trying to understand your concerns better and do believe I do now. We are just excited to have some info on the systems and so it is that this and many other questions will arise.

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Tannim222 wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:
I think we shouldn't forget that MWM devs are only going to give us aesthetic options that work with the mechanics.
So if there is going to be an accuracy debuff, you should expect the aesthetic would be something that looks like it would blind the target. Throwing sand into the target's face, pointing a laser to the eyes, a smoke cloud around the head, a psychic blast, a block of ice over the head, a plastic bag over the head, a swarm of moths in the face, and other such effects are what will be offered up for us as aesthetic choices for that power. Don't expect that an accuracy debuff to look like a quick kick to the groin. Although I am sure that would also impede the accuracy of the target, just sayin'.
Likewise with the other mechanical effects that are provided by the various powersets. The aesthetic choices we will be offered are going to be appropriate for the effects generated.
And by the way, let's not forget the key word: "Theme." Way back in 2013, Tannim222 stated that there will be base FX for each power and if your aesthetic theme has an option for that power, then you will also get to choose FX appropriate to your aesthetic theme. I don't know if that has changed since 2013, but it still seems like it fits what they have told us so far.
That was originally, since then things have changed. Aesthetics are not limited to theme any longer.
You just summarily negated the entire post. Did you intend to, or are you just telling as the last part about themes is no longer true?

Basically you can make any attack look loke anything. Fightig Prowess doing physical damage can look like martial arts with a typical hit effect, a flaming sword, a wind attack using boxing animations and so on. This is a change from the original design that we explained in thenold KS update.


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Project_Hero wrote:
Project_Hero wrote:

Wouldn't tertiary powers help make almost all of those things viable though? I mean we won't know for sure till we get a list of all available powers. But I'm sure between having 2 main powersets, up to 5 tertiary sets, travel powers, and masteries there'll be a lot of ways to make your characters unique even if they have the same primary and secondary sets.

Edit: Oh! Also enhancements that can change damage types, turn things into AoEs, and who know what else.

Scott Jackson wrote:

I would share the same concern you've detailed, if the game never offers more than one actual powerset per basic - focused playstyle.

I already addressed both of these points. I was in fact the first to point out that these have the possibility to render my concern moot.

It has become a pointless series of repeated assurances/ arguments based on blind faith followed by me pointing out I had previously discussed those assurances/ arguments. Unless someone wants to discuss my actual concerns (repeated here for convenience) of 'Overly generic power set design that allows for an abundance of aesthetics resulting in uninspired game play' or 'Aesthetic themes not being represented accurately due to a focus on mechanical themes in power design'. If not then I am done.

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KnightMask wrote:
KnightMask wrote:

No offense taking Brainbot and I was NOT disregarding your opinion or asking you to" bow down before the alter of dev promises". Your opilnion is as valid as anyone elses. I am as I suppose others are just trying to understand the underlying concerns of your opinion. That's all. We are all going to have to wait till at least an Alpha or Beta invite to truly see this system in action and discover the pros and cons of aesthetic decoupling. Once again I know that I was NOT saying you were wrong in any way instead just trying to understand your concerns better and do believe I do now. We are just excited to have some info on the systems and so it is that this and many other questions will arise.

I know you weren't.
You just brought up a point I had discussed multiple times before and I reached a point where I had to address everyone who was incapable of scrolling up all at once. It wasn't about you it was about the age old forum game of 'Argue for the sake of arguing' that I got pulled into again (I need more will power).

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Can you define "Aesthetic

Can you define "Aesthetic themes not being represented accurately" accurately to what? To whom? Your definition of an "accurate fire attack" might differ from mine. If you find a set too samey for your concept bend another to your concept. Or just play the set you find most enjoyable and mold it to fit your concept.

And as for the generic powers thing the powers don't matter much, at least to me. I play d&d the base concept is roll a die and add numbers. Yet even two fighters can feel different based on a number of options not in the base class.

I played quite a few of the same/similar classes in CoX and they all felt different to me because of power choice and how I played them maybe it's because I'm more of a roleplayer than... I don't even know what to call those who didn't RP on CoX. But anyway the thing that made my character's feel different to me was because of their looks, personality, and however much character I could inject into them. For me the mechanics of the game were always secondary they weren't the point for me.

So, I guess sorry if that doesn't help you much/any but that's where I'm coming from.

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

I think we shouldn't forget that MWM devs are only going to give us aesthetic options that work with the mechanics.
So if there is going to be an accuracy debuff, you should expect the aesthetic would be something that looks like it would blind the target. Throwing sand into the target's face, pointing a laser to the eyes, a smoke cloud around the head, a psychic blast, a block of ice over the head, a plastic bag over the head, a swarm of moths in the face, and other such effects are what will be offered up for us as aesthetic choices for that power. Don't expect that an accuracy debuff to look like a quick kick to the groin. Although I am sure that would also impede the accuracy of the target, just sayin'.
Likewise with the other mechanical effects that are provided by the various powersets. The aesthetic choices we will be offered are going to be appropriate for the effects generated.
And by the way, let's not forget the key word: "Theme." Way back in 2013, Tannim222 stated that there will be base FX for each power and if your aesthetic theme has an option for that power, then you will also get to choose FX appropriate to your aesthetic theme. I don't know if that has changed since 2013, but it still seems like it fits what they have told us so far.

That was originally, since then things have changed. Aesthetics are not limited to theme any longer.

You just summarily negated the entire post. Did you intend to, or are you just telling as the last part about themes is no longer true?

Basically you can make any attack look l[i]ke anything. Fightig Prowess doing physical damage can look like martial arts with a typical hit effect, a flaming sword, a wind attack using boxing animations and so on. This is a change from the original design that we explained in thenold KS update.

Talk about answers that don't help at all.

If I interpret this latest answer, then I understand that aesthetic choices for the powers will not be related to the machanics of the powers at all. So a shield effect can look like a laser beam? How do you make AoE effects look like AoE effects of there is no association between the aesthetic and the mechanics? I could make my head glow and all of a sudden a group of enemies takes damage on the other side of the room? Seriously? There has to be some effort on the part of the Devs to associate aesthetic choices with mechanics.

"You can make any attack look like anything" has me more worried now than I was before.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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If the attack calls for a

If the attack calls for a number of targets to be hit, the fx you choose will play out hit fx on the target.

You mention a shield effect - there is no "shield" effect, I assume you mean a protction effect buff with a duration or maintained.

Obviously a persistent effect over a duration will have fx that can be customized to play over that time.

I only meant to imply that you aren't limited to the old definition of "theme" back from KS for aesthetics.


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

If the attack calls for a number of targets to be hit, the fx you choose will play out hit fx on the target.
You mention a shield effect - there is no "shield" effect, I assume you mean a protction effect buff with a duration or maintained.
Obviously a persistent effect over a duration will have fx that can be customized to play over that time.
I only meant to imply that you aren't limited to the old definition of "theme" back from KS for aesthetics.

Okay, so then let me ask this question again:

But how about an accuracy debuff?
Are the aesthetic choices for an attack that provides an accuracy debuff going to look like they impair the target's accuracy? Or will the only indication that a target has been debuffed be the status icon?

Furthermore, will aesthetics of powers change as they get augmented, refined and masterized into different mechanics? You have already stated that it might be possible to turn a single target attack into a cone AoE attack, so would we get a change in aesthetics as a result?


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
Scott Jackson
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Brainbot wrote:
Brainbot wrote:

Unless someone wants to discuss my actual concerns (repeated here for convenience)...
'Overly generic power set design that allows for an abundance of aesthetics resulting in uninspired game play'
'Aesthetic themes not being represented accurately due to a focus on mechanical themes in power design'
...

The first is perfectly valid, and the one I was trying to better understand, to see to what degree your concern matches mine, how it can be mitigated, and when/how we can fairly determine if powersets are feeling too similar. In other words, would this particular concern be entirely or at least 90% resolved once powerset variety within a given focused playstyle can be created via different speeds and mechanics, as I tried to imagine with your martial artist / caveman example? Mine would, but I'm guessing it will take years to accomplish this to the playerbase's satisfaction, just as CoH needed years to reach a point where new powersets had filled the majority of players' perceived gaps in powerset diversity. Or, would that still leave you wanting a more subtle variation in the powers themselves, to further distinguish powerset A from powerset B if both are Melee-AoE-Medial-Stun/KB-Physical?

In an aesthetically-decoupled game, subtle power variations (tier 5 cone is slightly wider while stun is a little shorter, tier 2 single target power hits harder but has no knockdown, etc) would be all that remains to separate something like CoH's Battle Axe and War Mace, now that the animations and weapons can be applied to either set. If those power details are what you seek to preserve, then I agree that the distinction will be lost, but I think the value in preserving it is much lower to players in general. I liked both powersets in CoH, but primarily because the visuals were different enough to justify playing both, and the power differences weren't my real objective. I understand that others may put more emphasis on the BA/WM powers than I did.

While I think I understand your second concern, and might agree there to some degree, I don't feel comfortable trying to discuss it without some aesthetic examples to point to. There's been a lot of talk about the engine being able to adjust the animation duration of a particular effect to match the activation period of the power it is aesthetically linked to by the player, but I have no sense of how flexible that is or how on-point the end result will be. What about the feeling of impact, and the audio? Will we experience some "uncanny valley" when pairing certain visual effects with very fast or very slow powers? For me it's all speculative at the moment. Maybe once the Twitch streams show animation development?

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Tannim222 wrote:
If the attack calls for a number of targets to be hit, the fx you choose will play out hit fx on the target.
You mention a shield effect - there is no "shield" effect, I assume you mean a protction effect buff with a duration or maintained.
Obviously a persistent effect over a duration will have fx that can be customized to play over that time.
I only meant to imply that you aren't limited to the old definition of "theme" back from KS for aesthetics.
Okay, so then let me ask this question again:
But how about an accuracy debuff?
Are the aesthetic choices for an attack that provides an accuracy debuff going to look like they impair the target's accuracy? Or will the only indication that a target has been debuffed be the status icon?
Furthermore, will aesthetics of powers change as they get augmented, refined and masterized into different mechanics? You have already stated that it might be possible to turn a single target attack into a cone AoE attack, so would we get a change in aesthetics as a result?

The aesthetics are the "costume"'of your powers.
The hit fx match the aesthetic and the function. Some of thst may be customizable. Such as a hold being made to look like a dance.

If you chose a specific fx option for your power and have ab Aug that changes the effect from single to area, the hit fx will continue match your chosen aesthetics but show it hit fx on the area.


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

The hit fx match the aesthetic and the function. Some of thst may be customizable. Such as a hold being made to look like a dance.
If you chose a specific fx option for your power and have ab Aug that changes the effect from single to area, the hit fx will continue match your chosen aesthetics but show it hit fx on the area.

Understood. That makes sense.

But if I read between the lines, that also means that a player can fully divorce the power activation effects from the hit effects. While at first I don't like that, I suppose it does open up a lot of creative space. So my katana weilder could flash his blade around all fancy-like and the target standing 20 feet away will have its accuracy reduced for a moment. I roleplay it away as saying I reflected light into its eyes. hmmm... will need some time to think about how I feel about this.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Project_Hero wrote:
Project_Hero wrote:

Can you define "Aesthetic themes not being represented accurately" accurately to what? To whom? Your definition of an "accurate fire attack" might differ from mine. If you find a set too samey for your concept bend another to your concept. Or just play the set you find most enjoyable and mold it to fit your concept.

It's an abstract concept. It's the notion that we have expectations of acceptability. We expect fire to burn, we don't expect it to shoot bullets. I am not saying that everything should be done in a way that people expect. But there are certain expectations on what is a logically accurate effect of an aesthetic that a majority share.

The promise is that with aesthetic decoupling we can make the burning set (for example) look like a variety of things. Acid, fire, laser, sand blasting, ect. Burning is a simple mechanical theme that lends itself well to a wide variety of aesthetic choices, as long as you don't expect anything uniquely associated to those aesthetics.
Look at acid aesthetics. One can easily accept the notion of it being a DoT but you can also reasonably expect a projectile liquid to splash out and be an AoE. Now compare that to a laser. Again it can be accepted that is sets something ablaze but the notion of it splashing about becomes harder (not impossible) to consider in the nature of lasers. How about a sand blasting aesthetic. Could you not see a kind of knock back effect? It's harder to imagine acid doing knock back (again not impossible).

So if you want to represent the aesthetic themes better you need a set that is mechanically designed to be AoE and Dot and another that is KB and Dot in order to represent the liquid splash element of the acid theme and the forceful push of a sand blast. But lets look at the AoE and DoT set a bit closer. I might reasonably conclude that acid would lower the resistance of a target, or have an added effect on metals, maybe some chemical reaction elements that release clouds to reduce visability or cause foes to be stunned as they choke on the fumes or any of a variety of other effects.

So what you have now is a set that is mechanically AoE and DoT, has a power that lowers resistance, another that does increased damage to inanimate obstructions or robots, another that reduces visability and possibly another that is an AoE mez. As you can see the aesthetics that can reasonably be offered with this new set are not as vast as can be done with a simple DoT mechanics set. Sure the devs can just say 'to hell with it', offer any and all aesthetics as options and let the players sort things out but that is an entirely different argument.

Where my concern lies is that this set, or something similar, might never exist because the devs come up with the mechanics of a set first. The creative process of 'lets make an acid set' isn't there so a combination of powers that accurately portray an acid set never gets made. Instead what we get is a set made by the creative process of 'lets make an AoE and DoT set' and all the cool powers that were sparked by first looking at the aesthetic theme are gone. As players we could be left with 'best fit' options or worse yet 'one size fits all' choices.

Not even going to discuss the D&D angle you brought up.

Project_Hero wrote:

I played quite a few of the same/similar classes in CoX and they all felt different to me because of power choice and how I played them maybe it's because I'm more of a roleplayer than... I don't even know what to call those who didn't RP on CoX. But anyway the thing that made my character's feel different to me was because of their looks, personality, and however much character I could inject into them. For me the mechanics of the game were always secondary they weren't the point for me.

I get what you are saying. I too found immersion through customization. But the game is an action combat game so the mechanics are fairly important to longevity and popularity.

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The aesthetic stuff is really

The aesthetic stuff is really all subjective though, what works for some doesn't for others. You might think acid should do a bunch of different things, and I'd love if we could customize powers with enhancements/augments to allow them to have additional effects, but just sticking with a flat DoT effect is fine for me. Acid burns, DoT works for that. Mission accomplished.

DoT set can work for a ton of sets, where as a proposed acid set works for just that. I'd rather a bunch of sets that can fit my concept than having one set tailor made to a concept someone else has.

In CoH with fire melee before they gave us animation choices there was fire sword, I hated that power. I thought it looked dumb and no concept of mine worked with it, it didn't fit -my- idea. But it was one of the essential powers for fire melee. So my options there were use it and dislike it, don't use it and have a much more difficult time, or don't play it. There were many powers I just avoided because I didn't like the flavor of them. I didn't like the fluff (description/visual) but I liked the crunch (mechanical aspects) to put it in tabletop terms.

So I'd much rather have kinda generic but useful for many ideas than very specific and used for a very narrow amount of ideas.

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Okay, so then let me ask this question again:
But how about an accuracy debuff?
Are the aesthetic choices for an attack that provides an accuracy debuff going to look like they impair the target's accuracy? Or will the only indication that a target has been debuffed be the status icon?

If I may interject ... City of Heroes had a very distinctive "tell" system of visual FX for various buffs and debuffs in place. Defense Buffs would put purple shields around your character that would float Up after a couple seconds and then loop. Defense Debuffs would do the same purple shields but have them float Down after a couple of seconds. +Resistance Buffs did the same thing, except in orange rather than purple. Same deal with +To Hit Buffs putting yellow crosshairs around you that floated up, and -To Hit Debuffs putting yellow crosshairs around you that floated down. +Damage Buffs would have the red symbol floating up, and -Damage Buffs would have the same symbol floating down. +Regeneration was a green sparkle spiraling up, while -Regeneration was a green spiral sparkling down. Same again for +Endurance Recovery and -Endurance Recovery.

Having Aesthetic Decoupling for how the powers themselves animate is wonderful ... but the visual FX to indicate buffs/debuffs will need to be standardized to avoid confusion.

I think what Huckleberry is asking is whether or not there will be a similar "standard of FX" applied for some of the more typical Buffs and Debuffs.

States of Mez (Sleep, Stun, Immobilize, Hold, Slow, Confuse, etc.) can be subject to customization via Aesthetic Decoupling ... so a Stun effect could be a "dizzy" swirl around the head, with or without Tweeting Birds or Stars or whatever. Those kinds of Mez Status effects can be somewhat customized to meet the aesthetics of a powerset, while the visual language used for Buffs and Debuffs should be consistent across all powersets.


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Yes, buffs/debuffs will have

Yes, buffs/debuffs will have a fixed visual independent of your character's visuals. I don't want to imagine the logistics of attaching your costume data to targets.

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Scott Jackson wrote:
Scott Jackson wrote:

Or, would that still leave you wanting a more subtle variation in the powers themselves, to further distinguish powerset A from powerset B if both are Melee-AoE-Medial-Stun/KB-Physical?

I will always want a more subtle variation in the powers. But I am not fanatical about getting it. I understand that not every aspect of an aesthetic can be represented in a single or even many power sets.
My concern lies more in the other extreme though. I am trepidatious (why is spell checker telling me I spelled that wrong? I know it's right) about the over simplification of powers. As an exaggerated example, a ranged set that just changes the damage, activation, recharge and end of the powers without adding anything that might be unique to the set just because it will allow for the most aesthetic options.
Or to further expand on the Caveman vs Martial Artist example. I would be happy if there was some distinction between trained and wild combat. Maybe something along the lines of parry effects for the Martial Artist and stuns/KB for Club wielding caveman.

Scott Jackson wrote:

While I think I understand your second concern, and might agree there to some degree, I don't feel comfortable trying to discuss it without some aesthetic examples to point to. There's been a lot of talk about the engine being able to adjust the animation duration of a particular effect to match the activation period of the power it is aesthetically linked to by the player, but I have no sense of how flexible that is or how on-point the end result will be. What about the feeling of impact, and the audio? Will we experience some "uncanny valley" when pairing certain visual effects with very fast or very slow powers? For me it's all speculative at the moment. Maybe once the Twitch streams show animation development?

I think you might get a better understanding of what I mean if I you read my breakdown of aesthetic options for a 'Burning' set in my reply to Project Hero above. If you still have questions feel free to ask.

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Mr. Drupal wrote:
Project_Hero wrote:

The aesthetic stuff is really all subjective though, what works for some doesn't for others. You might think acid should do a bunch of different things, and I'd love if we could customize powers with enhancements/augments to allow them to have additional effects, but just sticking with a flat DoT effect is fine for me. Acid burns, DoT works for that. Mission accomplished.
DoT set can work for a ton of sets, where as a proposed acid set works for just that. I'd rather a bunch of sets that can fit my concept than having one set tailor made to a concept someone else has.
In CoH with fire melee before they gave us animation choices there was fire sword, I hated that power. I thought it looked dumb and no concept of mine worked with it, it didn't fit -my- idea. But it was one of the essential powers for fire melee. So my options there were use it and dislike it, don't use it and have a much more difficult time, or don't play it. There were many powers I just avoided because I didn't like the flavor of them. I didn't like the fluff (description/visual) but I liked the crunch (mechanical aspects) to put it in tabletop terms.

So I'd much rather have kinda generic but useful for many ideas than very specific and used for a very narrow amount of ideas.

Fair enough. You can be happy with any mechanical aspect of a power as long as you can decide its aesthetic. I don't agree but I respect it.

I personally am not happy with generic powers that can be anything. To me the game would become boring just cycling through a bunch of powers that are only different in how fast they recharge or how long their animation is.

To be clear, I am not saying that CoT shouldn't have aesthetic decoupling. I am not saying that the only way to have interesting powers is to follow an aesthetic theme. I am saying that I don't want creativity to suffer just so they can make one set suitable for every aesthetic they can think of.
I know that certain compromises have to be made, I just don't want those compromises to fall to far on the side of generic design.

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Yes, buffs/debuffs will have a fixed visual independent of your character's visuals. I don't want to imagine the logistics of attaching your costume data to targets.

Wait, wait.

So if I'm pure Super Strength but take a mastery or Augment or Refinement or whatever that adds a debuff to my punches, my target might have an FX on them that I have no control over? I hope not. I hope I can at least turn it off. Otherwise pure Hulk, Thing, Colossus, or Superman characters will be at least somewhat problematic.

One of the reasons I never did Incarnate content on my pure SS brute was that when I used them he punched so hard that his enemy... glowed orange? Or caught on fire? It was unworkable for the concept.

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We'll just have to wait and

We'll just have to wait and see what kind of extra bells, whistles, and dongles we can add to our powers, characters and such like. That might add the complexity or allow you to more closely follow whatever theme you wish to.

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*squints* So...you're saying
Doctor Tyche wrote:

[something about on-target visuals not being fully customizable]

*squints* So...you're saying I can't make every swing of my warhammer apply a different color nail polish to my choice of the giant lizard monster's toes, as a way to represent the number of stun stacks I've built up on each? *sigh*

Heh.

******

Brainbot, I get the "Aesthetic themes not being represented accurately" much better now. It's about how immersed you will feel once you've designed a character with very specific aesthetics, but then feel that the mechanics don't deliver the results you would expect the visuals to cause. As in your example, acid visuals you've linked to burning powerset are causing damage and DoT but not a resistance debuff that you think would be thematic. That resistance debuff wasn't included in the power design because it was made generic enough to fit "burning cold" ice too, and the player using ice visuals is equally baffled by the lack of slow debuffs. Maybe for me, immersion is cracked when I see that the burning set offers a fear-inducing location AoE but once it's given ice-visuals, the fear effect seems out of place and I'd expect a knockdown.

I honestly don't see a good answer to that. Like Project_Hero, I was very happy to rid myself of the fire sword animation's disruption to my character concepts and immersion. I guess aesthetic decoupling may shift various immersion/concept problems away from what's traditionally been visual "why does my fire melee have to look like a weird sword?" and more into the mechanics "why doesn't my fire melee make them choke for a few seconds?". I couldn't say whether it leads to a net decrease or increase in immersion. Certainly it's a more of a good thing for those players who also liked when CoH allowed alternate animations to be selected.

That "uncanny valley of visuals/sounds mismatched with powers" that I mentioned is clearly separate, so that's another aspect of decoupling for me to test - eventually.

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

Doctor Tyche wrote:
Yes, buffs/debuffs will have a fixed visual independent of your character's visuals. I don't want to imagine the logistics of attaching your costume data to targets.
Wait, wait.
So if I'm pure Super Strength but take a mastery or Augment or Refinement or whatever that adds a debuff to my punches, my target might have an FX on them that I have no control over? I hope not. I hope I can at least turn it off. Otherwise pure Hulk, Thing, Colossus, or Superman characters will be at least somewhat problematic.
One of the reasons I never did Incarnate content on my pure SS brute was that when I used them he punched so hard that his enemy... glowed orange? Or caught on fire? It was unworkable for the concept.

Talking indicators, like the purple triangles.

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Talking indicators, like the purple triangles.

Gotcha. Of course. I should have know.

Carry on, I'm not the droid you're looking for.

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Scott Jackson wrote:
Scott Jackson wrote:

Brainbot, I get the "Aesthetic themes not being represented accurately" much better now.

It's not really 'immersion/concept'. The examples I have been using are not expectations just examples. Like I said, I am talking in the abstract to illustrate one possibility out of a million.

What I was trying to show was how a mechanical starting point for power design can hinder the creative creation of power sets. For example, one of my favorite power sets in CoH was Electric Armor. In that set you have pretty good resists, a movement/recharge buff, an end recovery AoE, an end reduction/ regen buff power, a unique limit in its mez protection (had to be near the ground) and a top tier god mode power that exploded at the end of it's duration. That unique combination of powers and effects was because there was a creative vision behind the design of the set. It wasn't the only way CoH could have done electric themed armor and I am sure if I thought about it I could come up with a few other aesthetic themes that fit that unique set. The fact is the set was unique in it's composition and it felt very different than other armor sets.

So while immersion/concept play a role in my concern it is not the focus of it. I want to be excited to get my next power or to make a new character. I want to find interesting ways to use my powers to overcome the challenges of the game. I want to have a tool box that goes beyond 'hit it until it falls down'. I want sets to be defined more than just 'fast' or 'AoE'. I want thematic powers like Rage, Drain Psyche, Shield Charge, Cloak of Fear and so on littering the sets to give me creative ways to not only design my character but how I use my powers.

It is entirely possible that CoT can have sets with as varied and unique powers/effects as Electric Armor had. I would even go so far as to say it is likely it will.
But it's also possible the devs gravitate to the middle of the road in set design to allow for more aesthetic options, especially for release.

So when I say aesthetic themes not being accurately represented I mean that I am at a loss as to how a set can be created that will both allow for a variety of aesthetics AND still be unique from other sets that allow for a similar variety of aesthetics. If the answer 'this one is faster and has more AoE', well I am not exactly thrilled with that prospect.
I would prefer to hear something like 'we included an infection type power, some self buffs and a debuff in one set while the other has parry powers, repulsion/KB effects and a hold and each only have a small amount of aesthetics to choose from (I'd even be ok with all aesthetic options being available as long as the sets themselves were distinct enough from one another)'. This way I can look at the two sets and make my mind up which better suits my desires for an aesthetic as well as play style.

Does that make sense?
EDITED TO INCLUDE BOLD

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Brainbot, the update on how

Brainbot, the update on how power sets are designed was meant to show that each set Is designed around a mechanic-theme. Some sets between different basic play styles will share a similar theme but never in the same play style.

Look at the Power Sets under guides: Vampiric Blast and Vampiric Emanation two different basic play play styles, using the same thematic mechanic, each with differing effects.

Now take a look at Tactical Combat and Fighting Prowess - these sets are actually the same basic and focused playstyle, the same speed, with very different mechanic themes. No other melee sets will play like these sets, and they are designed to be adgnostic towards appearances. What you make those look like will be up to you - they can both be done using a martial arts sword, or one could be boxing-like pinches with wind fx while another uses a mace with dark energy.


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

Look at the Power Sets under guides: Vampiric Blast and Vampiric Emanation two different basic play play styles, using the same thematic mechanic, each with differing effects.

You will have to point me to this because I don't see it. Or do you just mean the list in the update?

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Brainbot wrote:
Brainbot wrote:

Tannim222 wrote:
Look at the Power Sets under guides: Vampiric Blast and Vampiric Emanation two different basic play play styles, using the same thematic mechanic, each with differing effects.
You will have to point me to this because I don't see it. Or do you just mean the list in the update?

Go to Navigation - Guides - Character Construction - Power Sets. We gave a brief description for every launch set and 2 power examples from each set.


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https://cityoftitans.com

https://cityoftitans.com/content/power-sets

Then you should be able to click on Protection, melee, etc to view more info on powers

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

Go to Navigation - Guides - Character Construction - Power Sets. We gave a brief description for every launch set and 2 power examples from each set.

I had not seen those. I didn't even know they were there.

They seem to be exactly what I have been saying I wanted. Obviously I can't be 100% sure without seeing the entire set design, but from what I am seeing, there is more than enough to satisfy my concerns.
Thank you.

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Yay! Everyone's happy!

Yay! Everyone's happy!

... For now... Dun dun daaaaaaa!

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

Otherwise pure Hulk, Thing, Colossus, or Superman characters will be at least somewhat problematic.

Uh ... Security ...?

I'm looking at what you're postulating and wondering why copyright issues wouldn't be equally (if not more) problematic on the grounds that they could get MWM sued into bankruptcy. If you're going to COPY characters, try not to do it from defended IP sources ... which (fortunately) hardly any of us are interested in doing. We want to play OUR supers, after all, not THEIRS.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Empyrean wrote:
Otherwise pure Hulk, Thing, Colossus, or Superman characters will be at least somewhat problematic.
Uh ... Security ...?
I'm looking at what you're postulating and wondering why copyright issues wouldn't be equally (if not more) problematic on the grounds that they could get MWM sued into bankruptcy. If you're going to COPY characters, try not to do it from defended IP sources ... which (fortunately) hardly any of us are interested in doing. We want to play OUR supers, after all, not THEIRS.

When he said pure Hulk, Thing etc characters, I got the impression from his post, he didn't mean copy outright, like you seem to be saying, but rather, someone may just want to have a super strength character that causes some effect to happen.

However, I never saw purple triangles to indicate a debuff to be the same thing as "Oh hey! They're now on fire!" :p Triangles just being a game indicator not an actual part of the powers effects (which would just be lame :p)

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Brand X got it right, Red,

Brand X got it right, Red, but it's my fault. I left out one word. Type. Hulk, Thing, etc. TYPE charachters.

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I was just ribbing you

I was just ribbing you Empyrean. I knew what you meant.

/em chuckle


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REDLYNNE RIB!! (hulk-type)

REDLYNNE RIB!!

(hulk-type)

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Brainbot wrote:
Brainbot wrote:

[...]What I was trying to show was how a mechanical starting point for power design can hinder the creative creation of power sets.
[...] unique combination of powers and effects was because there was a creative vision behind the design of the set.
[...] while immersion/concept play a role in my concern it is not the focus of it.
[...]So when I say aesthetic themes not being accurately represented I mean that I am at a loss as to how a set can be created that will both allow for a variety of aesthetics AND still be unique from other sets that allow for a similar variety of aesthetics.

Yes. I suppose I (over?) emphasized immersion/concept since I believe that's where the problem would be initially noticed and most deeply felt, not only for you, but for all players affected by either a lack of creative vision or a heavy-handed vision (as is more common in fantasy MMOs with coupled aesthetics *and* costumes/races linked to playstyles/stats).

It's a balancing act, in my opinion. Any aesthetically-coupled system limits player creativity in one direction, by forcing visuals that a player may not like. An aesthetically-decoupled system decreases the forcing of visuals, in exchange for somewhat less uniqueness in the powers...or if the devs aren't careful, a lot less uniqueness. Across that whole spectrum of possible design decisions, we're trying to avoid three pitfalls... Overly unique powers can limit our creativity and stifle freedom to make concepts come alive; locked-down visuals can do the same, and - as you have shown - flavorless powersets are uninspiring and concept-limiting to some players.

Quote:

I would prefer to hear something like 'we included an infection type power, some self buffs and a debuff in one set while the other has parry powers, repulsion/KB effects and a hold and each only have a small amount of aesthetics to choose from (I'd even be ok with all aesthetic options being available as long as the sets themselves were distinct enough from one another).
[...]
[powerset guide examples] seem to be exactly what I have been saying I wanted. Obviously I can't be 100% sure without seeing the entire set design, but from what I am seeing, there is more than enough to satisfy my concerns.
Thank you.

It sounds as though the uniqueness of the powers/sets is a key part of your enjoyment of the game, where for others, the ability to mechanically and visually match lots of character concepts takes precedence; others place even less importance on the mechanics so long as their favorite visual effects are hitting everything that dares to oppose them. I'm very glad that the powerset guides helped to highlight the efforts MWM is making toward powerset uniqueness.

So far, I think they're doing the best anyone could reasonably expect in a well-balanced decoupled system, within the launch schedule. Once we get the full picture, I hope to see a few "iconic" or set-defining powers in each powerset. It's tough to predict the outcome with only two examples from each powerset, but I'm sure Tannim was trying to showcase the diverse mechanics available to the powers team, and spur discussion from the update (there's been quite a lot)!

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

I was just ribbing you Empyrean. I knew what you meant.
/em chuckle

HA! Went over our heads. Dang lack of non-verbal communication in text!

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Brainbot wrote:
Brainbot wrote:

What no one seems to be willing to do (other than Lothic) is admit that my concerns are valid.

Your concerns are valid. That's why I started the topic. Forgive me if I'm repeating or disjointed from the current conversation. There's so many posts that I can't keep up. I think most of the concerns expressed are valid and boil down to necessary trade offs to get AD. I also think we've talked through a number of mitigations. We've figured out more about how things work, and those were the goals IMO. I'd say that for the most part this has been productive although we did run Tannim a little ragged.

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Scott Jackson wrote:
Scott Jackson wrote:

It sounds as though the uniqueness of the powers/sets is a key part of your enjoyment of the game, where for others, the ability to mechanically and visually match lots of character concepts takes precedence; others place even less importance on the mechanics so long as their favorite visual effects are hitting everything that dares to oppose them. I'm very glad that the powerset guides helped to highlight the efforts MWM is making toward powerset uniqueness.

Yes, I would like each set and most powers within the sets to be more than just variations of type. If I am going to play the same content over and over as I did in CoH I want a new way to encounter it through the use of my powers.
I'm not discounting the value of a player growing attached to a character because they designed it from the ground up. That alone can extend the enjoyment of a game for many people. I love character customization as well. But for me personally, I have to enjoy the game play first and foremost.

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Hero_Zero wrote:
Hero_Zero wrote:

I'd say that for the most part this has been productive although we did run Tannim a little ragged.

We're living in a strange moment in time when we players only have a piece of the puzzle to play with. I totally understand the rest of the "puzzle" is not ready to be released so I'm not specifically saying this as a criticism of the Devs - it's just a matter of fact. Until we players get to have the entire working game in our hands it's always going to be hard to "visualize" how everything is going to fit together.

As long as the Devs can put up with us players asking semi-dumb questions for a while everything should be fine. ;)

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Hero_Zero wrote:
Hero_Zero wrote:

Your concerns are valid. That's why I started the topic. Forgive me if I'm repeating or disjointed from the current conversation. There's so many posts that I can't keep up. I think most of the concerns expressed are valid and boil down to necessary trade offs to get AD. I also think we've talked through a number of mitigations. We've figured out more about how things work, and those were the goals IMO. I'd say that for the most part this has been productive although we did run Tannim a little ragged.

Thank you.
But I was missing a crucial bit of info so all I was doing was making an ass of myself. It's really quite embarrassing.

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All's well that ends well.

All's well that ends well. Most of us aren't going to know all the information, or remember it. It's good to have a refresher or clear the proverbial cobwebs.

FWIW, I definitely wouldn't want to see only minor differences in power sets, either. But it's worth remembering why the guys at MWM are doing this. They don't want an inferior game any more than we do, and they won't compromise any more than they must. That said, I'm certain I won't love everything about CoT any more than I did about CoH.

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I think aesthetic decouple [I

I think aesthetic decouple really underscores the need for a strong, informative UI. It would be a great benefit to be able to see at a moment's notice what effects are on enemies, teammates and myself. I'm hoping you can see at a glance the health and status effects of characters on the screen, should you wish to.

As for distinctiveness of powers, this is a tricky issue. I said in the update discussion thread that I felt the control sets had a bit of a "samey" feel to them, and I still think that's the case, though perhaps not because of the powers themselves. I think it's actually more to do with the fact that the names strike me as having a more inherent aesthetic to them (gravity, psychic etc.) and that to me they all represent some kind of intersection of the mind and primal forces. It is perhaps very subjective; I don't get this sense from the other set types at all.

Of course we have the barest selection of actual powers to draw conclusions from, and even in CoH it was surprising how just a power or two could make a set very distinctive. Even still limiting the consideration to control sets, Plant control for example had Seeds of Confusion and Carrion Creepers, Fire Control had Hot Feet, Illusion had Phantom Army and so on. The control sets had a lot in common but still played very differently. If anything, I think the Focused Playstyles, mechanical theme and speed of CoT's sets will give at least as much sense of distinctiveness.

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Brainbot wrote:
Brainbot wrote:

Thank you.
But I was missing a crucial bit of info so all I was doing was making an ass of myself. It's really quite embarrassing.

You're human (or at least presumably the brain part of you is :P). I did a mini-version of the same thing when I misunderstood the buff/debuff FX earlier. Like Lothic said, we only have pieces, and since they aren't connected yet, it's hard to keep track of them.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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With that mention of not

With that mention of not applying player costume to targets, does that mean you can't theme persistent buffs? Like if I pick Barriers, I can't theme the barrier effect because it's applied to a target?

I hope I got that wrong, because even CoH did that.

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McNum he was talking about

McNum he was talking about the purple triangles or green glow or the like that indicate buffs/debuffs/heals etc. Your aesthetic choices for your actual power animations will be what you choose.

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McNum wrote:
McNum wrote:

With that mention of not applying player costume to targets, does that mean you can't theme persistent buffs? Like if I pick Barriers, I can't theme the barrier effect because it's applied to a target?
I hope I got that wrong, because even CoH did that.

Player chooseable particle effects will be applied to targets, not sure about other buff/debuff aesthetics but I think so.

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blacke4dawn wrote:
blacke4dawn wrote:

Player chooseable particle effects will be applied to targets, not sure about other buff/debuff aesthetics but I think so.

uncertainty, meet certainty.

Doctor Tyche wrote:

Yes, buffs/debuffs will have a fixed visual independent of your character's visuals. I don't want to imagine the logistics of attaching your costume data to targets.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Ok so only during the cast

Ok so only during the cast/application, not as a persistent effect.

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