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"Legendary" pursuits

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Halae
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"Legendary" pursuits

This is a topic I've been giving some consideration to for the last little while. in a lot of MMOs (and even some other games) there are special objectives you can achieve at endgame for a bragging rights reward - the Mind's Eye piercings in Monster Hunter, Legendary/Relic weapons in a number of MMOs, Special armor you can only craft after going through hell and back, and other such things. The important thing with all of these is that they're always long-term grinds that are intended to take the better part of a year. These are all extremely interesting because whenever they're patched in, they become something the top-end players of the game start pursuing, and even among casual players, getting them is something of a fun trip that gives them a reason to log in day after day to get that little bit of extra progress done.

I'm of the opinion that adding something like this to City of Titans (perhaps not at launch, but eventually) would be very helpful for the longevity of the game. Certainly, we're all interested in the mechanics of the game itself, but having something to work for is a big part of what keeps people invested in MMOs, which in turn gets them coming back and spending time in the game, which turns it into recurring spending. It's not vicious if they're actually getting something out of it, and a bragging-rights reward is exactly the sort of thing that adds to a game without causing undue problems for specific players.

With City of Titans not being gear based, it's at once both more and less restricted; there's no predefined thing we can slot it into (such as a weapon, or armor, or something like that) which makes the decision on what it can be more difficult. With the costume creator being such a huge deal, though, I could easily see it being something to do with that - maybe a cape that flows with a starry pattern to it? Some kind of extremely impressive aura, or a trail in their travel power? It'd certainly fit the style of some superheroes. More directly, part of the benefit of this is that it has no stats. No direct value that gives players an edge over people who haven't completed this "legendary" goal. This is important for balance reasons and the rule of fun - a style reward should JUST be style, in my opinion.

Anyways, this is as much intended to start a discussion on the topic as it is a suggestion for the devs. I'm curious to hear what kind of ideas people would have for this kind of reward; what would you spend months working towards?

An infinite number of tries doesn't mean that any one of those tries will succeed. I could flip an infinite number of pennies an infinite number of times and, barring genuine randomness, they will never come up "Waffles".

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We do have sockets in your

We do have sockets in your powers in which you place Augments. There will be better Augments with higher rarity. More rare Augments will carry sockets themselves for Refinements. The plan is for any non-basic Augment to be crafted as well as needing to craft Refinements

There are also Reserve sockets where you place Reserve containers. Here again, we have left open the possibility of obtaining or crafting more rare Reserves.

Then we can also include crafting temporary powers - I have a few ideas for making some interesting temporary powers for players to craft.

There will also be base crafting where you make items for your base.


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DesViper
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Personally, I'm not huge on

Personally, I'm not huge on "grind for 6 months" rewards, BUT, maybe something account-based, not character-based could be a better approach. Like veteran rewards but....better :p


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Halae
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DesViper wrote:
DesViper wrote:

Personally, I'm not huge on "grind for 6 months" rewards, BUT, maybe something account-based, not character-based could be a better approach. Like veteran rewards but....better :p

Which is why I prefer it as a reward that doesn't, you know, give any mechanical benefit. Some people are willing to spend time on that while others aren't; those that do should have something to show for the time invested, but don't necessarily need to end up better off than other players. That way, everyone wins.

Tannim222 wrote:

We do have sockets in your powers in which you place Augments. There will be better Augments with higher rarity. More rare Augments will carry sockets themselves for Refinements. The plan is for any non-basic Augment to be crafted as well as needing to craft Refinements

There are also Reserve sockets where you place Reserve containers. Here again, we have left open the possibility of obtaining or crafting more rare Reserves.

Then we can also include crafting temporary powers - I have a few ideas for making some interesting temporary powers for players to craft.

There will also be base crafting where you make items for your base.

I was more referring to single, large, visually stunning alterations to a given character, such as a really impressive aura unlock or something like that - an example being, perhaps, Synapse's speed lines in CoH, which no other character could get, but a lot of people wanted. These bits of information are all very welcome too, though!

An infinite number of tries doesn't mean that any one of those tries will succeed. I could flip an infinite number of pennies an infinite number of times and, barring genuine randomness, they will never come up "Waffles".

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There will be costume unlocks

There will be costume unlocks earned in the game that come with a badge. The cash shop versions won’t have the badge.


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Cobalt Azurean
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Halae wrote:
Halae wrote:

This is a topic I've been giving some consideration to for the last little while. in a lot of MMOs (and even some other games) there are special objectives you can achieve at endgame for a bragging rights reward - the Mind's Eye piercings in Monster Hunter, Legendary/Relic weapons in a number of MMOs, Special armor you can only craft after going through hell and back, and other such things. The important thing with all of these is that they're always long-term grinds that are intended to take the better part of a year. These are all extremely interesting because whenever they're patched in, they become something the top-end players of the game start pursuing, and even among casual players, getting them is something of a fun trip that gives them a reason to log in day after day to get that little bit of extra progress done.

I'm of the opinion that adding something like this to City of Titans (perhaps not at launch, but eventually) would be very helpful for the longevity of the game. Certainly, we're all interested in the mechanics of the game itself, but having something to work for is a big part of what keeps people invested in MMOs, which in turn gets them coming back and spending time in the game, which turns it into recurring spending. It's not vicious if they're actually getting something out of it, and a bragging-rights reward is exactly the sort of thing that adds to a game without causing undue problems for specific players.

With City of Titans not being gear based, it's at once both more and less restricted; there's no predefined thing we can slot it into (such as a weapon, or armor, or something like that) which makes the decision on what it can be more difficult. With the costume creator being such a huge deal, though, I could easily see it being something to do with that - maybe a cape that flows with a starry pattern to it? Some kind of extremely impressive aura, or a trail in their travel power? It'd certainly fit the style of some superheroes. More directly, part of the benefit of this is that it has no stats. No direct value that gives players an edge over people who haven't completed this "legendary" goal. This is important for balance reasons and the rule of fun - a style reward should JUST be style, in my opinion.

Anyways, this is as much intended to start a discussion on the topic as it is a suggestion for the devs. I'm curious to hear what kind of ideas people would have for this kind of reward; what would you spend months working towards?

I like long-term goals, as long as there are options for them legendary lewtz for solo players, even if it does take longer. Risk vs. reward and all that.
I suppose my only suggestion would be to have an increasing chance for a drop if its something farmable. I can't say I take any pleasure in clearing the same map over and over again ad nauseam when the drop rate is something like 0.06% (looking at you, Warframe). As motivated as I may be, that sh!t gets old after a while.

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Halae wrote:
Halae wrote:

Synapse's speed lines in CoH, which no other character could get, but a lot of people wanted.

Guilty. Even the blur from the Winged Boots costume piece and/or the Streak Path Aura didn't quite capture it the same.

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COH did not emphasize endgame

COH did not emphasize endgame. It emphasized variety of play. IE when you max a character you go back and play again as a new character. Or the same character but played in a different way. As you go through the forum you'll find many people who speak about having very few level 50s but many many different characters. Myself I think I had 8 or 9 level 50s of the 30 or so characters I rolled. In COH you could spend as much time in the character creator generating a new character as you would actually playing the character.

Like has already be stated there will be some high level achievements and long term goals but it's not going to be the emphasis.

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City of Heroes can be

City of Heroes can be improved, which is their purpose.

Improving City of heroes is "easy" in my opinion because it has very evident flaws (no funny endgame, too instanced and world divided in zones, slightly outdated combat and graphics nowadays), and strengths (innovation and depth in all systems, customization in all systems and visuals, supported role-play and immersion, easy and rewarding teaming up).
As you can see some of the flaws directly affect the strengths negatively, for example:
1) the lack of a really funny endgame hurts the lifespan of the character you were so immersed with (thanks to all the customization and supported roleplay). So the game actually forces you to love your character and at the same time forces you to abandon it and build another.
2) the excessively instanced world and loading screens create a digital-feeling which goes in contrast with the immersion, the speed of the travel powers (which would make you love an open-world) and forces you to close yourself too often in a 8-peoples-world where you don't see the rest of the community passing by, community that's still supported by the "easy and rewarding teaming up".

Games that are less straightforward in their strengths and flaws are imho more difficult to "repair", which is the case with the majority of the recent mmorpgs which desperately try to seem perfect by having all possible systems in place and yet lose depth or community support or immersion support here and there, in their details. Good for trailers, not for playing for long.

Here instead we got a game that makes you see where it's broken and you "just" need time and effort to repair it, that's City of Heroes with City of Titans. You copy the good parts (naming those differently) and substitute the bads.
Suggesting to CoT devs to "import" the exact same flaws (like "City of Heroes didn't have an endgame so we don't need one") it's not wise.
Yes, they can (and should imho) release the game without an endgame, but a funny endgame will be needed in a few years after that so that our preferred characters (those few we'll get to "50") have a chance to live and be played indefinitely.

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The term "funny endgame"

The term "funny endgame" makes it sound like the endgame is supposed to be somehow humorous or whimsical. Can you explain what you mean by "funny", and if you do mean "humorous/whimsical" can you explain why that's a requirement for you? The term "funny endgame" is a new/foreign concept to me.

Personally, I am an oddball in that I don't grind hard to try to get my toon all geared up only to abandon the game a week or so after that toon is "complete". On original live CoH, I used to use mostly rare, and in some places uncommon sets and frankenslotted set comboes on my toons, and in the back of my mind was the ever-present "some day I'll have Radiac totally purpled out, some day..." but I never really got there.

On Homecoming, its WAY easier to get loot and so forth so I have like 3 toons "done" now, for the most part. The limiting factor in not Inf or Merits, but just the time it takes to actually figure out the optimal build. I tend to just feel my way around the toon in terms of endo, damage, and recharge rate and sort of wing it as I go. Even in that play style, I have no reason to play my tanker anymore. He's done, and I dont really love playing melee toons, so I just ignore him mostly. I use my "done" Mastermind to get Inf (tip missions solo at +0x8 no bosses, plus some marketeering).

That beign the case, the rarity of purples, HamiOs, and PVP IOs in live CoH kept me playing far longer than Homecoming will. IN live CoH, the higher up the gear mountain you climbed, the steeper the slope was to go any higher. People who play PvP want to max their build asap and then start dominating in PvP right away, and I get that, but I don't play that way and I will get more hours of fun out of a game if there's a brighter light at the end of a longer tunnel, as far as character enhancement items go.

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"Slightly outdated graphics"

"Slightly outdated graphics" have you tried to shape a face in ParagonChat? It's worse than some older games. But overall the graphics hold up great for a game that launched before WoW.


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@Radiac

@Radiac
I specified "funny" because we shouldn't include badge hunting in it or other similar activities that can be easily mistaken as "work". I understand some peoples may find funny to work or study, I do sometimes, but I wanted to make sure you all understood I'm referring to activities specifically created to be fun: games.
The endgame must be a "mini-game" (a game that's part of a bigger game, which is City of Titans itself), not an activity that a few may find fun and the majority may feel forced to participate for a reason or another (like "there is nothing else to do, so I hunt badges").

About that I'd like to repeat: the endgame can be delayed for post-release, even for years imho, but still we shouldn't suggest to CoT devs to avoid thinking about it entirely just because City of Heroes lacked one. That's one of City of Heroes easy-to-spot negative points, not a positive one.

@DesViper
About the "slightly outdated", if you think about an outdated tool, it means that's not efficient/sufficient anymore for today's standards.
City of Heroes graphics can be improved slightly or greatly by CoT, yes, but it doesn't need to be improved greatly to get playable, while a "slight" improvement may be enough already to be acceptable (even if still below standards).
In fact I personally think that it just went into the "unplayable" side of the spectrum (City of Heroes graphic is not sufficient anymore to create fun by it self and MUST be upgraded, we're just resisting watching it because other parts of the game are still fun enough to balance things out). One of the top reasons to follow City of Titans is the fact that City of Heroes just went into "outdated mode" about the graphics and combat and open-world size: imho these features only recently went below "6" (sufficiency/passing grade) in a 0-10 scale let's say, and became "unacceptable" (in CoH).

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ThunderCAP wrote:
ThunderCAP wrote:

2) the excessively instanced world and loading screens create a digital-feeling which goes in contrast with the immersion, the speed of the travel powers (which would make you love an open-world) and forces you to close yourself too often in a 8-peoples-world where you don't see the rest of the community passing by, community that's still supported by the "easy and rewarding teaming up".

I never found that the instances break any immersion for me other than possibly the times when you're given an instanced version of a city map for a mission. It'd be more immersion breaking if missions happened in the open world. That or someone else would do it for you.

Using travel powers to get to and from your instanced destination was pretty fun... Until you had to go like, 2.x miles in a zone... Then it was kinda boring and then I think most people were just glad to get in the mission and get back to the action.

The trouble with a lot of open world events or missions is that those break immersion. As they're either super repeatable or leave no visable impact from your actions. Or annoying for those that don't want to participate.

That said I wouldn't mind if CoT ends up with something like FF14's FATE system. Possibly to have them be super repeatable in the lore they could be like, odd time pockets that have to be completed to stabilize the time stream. Or just have a ton of the events that are like, the same thing but different enemies are involved. Just to shake things up.

"Let the past die. Kill it if you have to."

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ThunderCAP wrote:
ThunderCAP wrote:

@Radiac
I specified "funny" because we shouldn't include badge hunting in it or other similar activities that can be easily mistaken as "work". I understand some peoples may find funny to work or study, I do sometimes, but I wanted to make sure you all understood I'm referring to activities specifically created to be fun: games.
The endgame must be a "mini-game" (a game that's part of a bigger game, which is City of Titans itself), not an activity that a few may find fun and the majority may feel forced to participate for a reason or another (like "there is nothing else to do, so I hunt badges").

Personally I would rather use enjoyable than funny to describe this since it gives a clearer "picture" imo. To me, and I guess to certain degree Radiac, "being funny" implies that we should laugh from/with it while "to have fun" is not the same thing and can be many different activities.

You also don't want any end-game activities that can be mistaken for "work" so please give a few examples since I can't think of any. In all MMO's that I have tried end-game has always devolved into a grind, or "work" in a way.

Quote:

About that I'd like to repeat: the endgame can be delayed for post-release, even for years imho, but still we shouldn't suggest to CoT devs to avoid thinking about it entirely just because City of Heroes lacked one. That's one of City of Heroes easy-to-spot negative points, not a positive one.

Last info on this is that end-game will be a post-launch thing since they only plan to launch with content for the first 30 (out of 50) levels.

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At first glance such a long

At first glance such a long-term goal doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me. Before we think of what the reward should be I think we should come up with the mechanics, i.e. how would it be implemented so that it wouldn't just be a grind of repeating the same arc over and over? Also, I agree with Cobalt Azurean that it would have to have a solo option.

I think Grimfox's point about endgame being 'roll another character' (which is pretty much exactly what the devs have said) brings more longevity than any single-character goal. But of course YMMV. One of the brilliant things about the old game was/is that there were/are so many ways to play, and so many preferences. For example, I'd say that, far from being flaws, the instancing and lack of endgame grind were/are huge strengths. So the key is to cater to a wide variety of players, which clearly isn't always easy. Hence, I agree with Halae that if such a long-term goal were to be implemented, the reward should be something that does not directly affect play so that players don't see it as mandatory.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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The problem is theme park mmo

The problem is theme park mmo design (which we happen to fall within for CoT), is that there is no way a studio can keep pace with how quickly the player base devours content.

Whether it is raising levels, adding new gear, both, players will chew through it faster than a studio can release it. Which also lends into another issue of power creep.

The only way that it can possibly be done to keep pace - and players would hate this, is to make all possible rewards - and the content related to earning such rewards - time gated. It the gating would have to be designed around your standard release cycle to keep players perhaps within a window of time where they have gone through and earned what they need / want and aren’t waiting for ever.

The other option is that you have a sand box design where the “end game” is designed around player created content. That is most involve obtaining. expanding, and maintaining “thing(s) of value” in the game’s space. Eve Online is an excellent example of a well done sand box.

In this case ya, the devs set up the systems, which are all dependent on players to engage and manage these systems. The devs only come in to mess with the balance of systems - whether this is through nerfs, changes, or additions.

What does this mean for this current conversation? Well, before you look at reward, before you look at how to design content which covers both solo, group, and multi-group play (no small feat to accomplish there!), you have to look at, and understand what kind of game system you will be designing and if it will meat all the requirements if player involvement.


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I think it would be cool to

I think it would be cool to see PGC incorporated into the Live Game. By that, I mean getting the players involved in creating their own 'Endgame'. If the Devs open part of the 'toolset' and part of the 'gamespace' to the players, or even just solicit 'scripts', then player creativity has a chance to develop content and the Devs only have to watch it, vet it, and Balance it.

Yes, a lot of AE content was junky, other bits were Farms, or built with deliberate flaws, but some of it was Brilliant!

Actually, there could easily be a 'Plot-Building' thread on the forums, for us to contribute ideas to. If the Devs were willing to drop a couple of 'seeds' into such a space, so the creatives could get a feel for what's most useful (To The Devs) then who knows what 'Endgame' might look like? There might even be sub-threads about "Develop (insert Faction) Plots" or "What could we do without destroying half the city?" and, of course, "What if we destroyed half the city? Where? How? Who? Why?"

Such threads probably wouldn't develop much, until more of the creatives became conversant with City Lore. That might put more pressure on the MWM Loremasters, but could also be a great space for developing segments of that Lore, through volunteer contributions.

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To be clear - we do plan on

To be clear - we do plan on providing a toolset for player created content in the future. This is
NOT sand box design however - it is quasi-sand box but it’s very nature excludes the possibility of it being part of the game world there the content allows players to obtain, expand, and manage “stuff in the game space”.

The content being instanced and will need be subject to diminishing returns won’t work when it comes to reward earning and defied the game space portion provided in the sand box experience.


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Hmmm...possible Two Birds

Hmmm...possible Two Birds With One Stone idea here. Haven't thought it through so there may be obvious flaws, but I have to go to work so here it is in raw form:

What if this long-term achievement were to be gained by playing through the regular content that you didn't get to the first time round (or even replaying what you did)? Essentially, in old-game terms, what if it were an Ouro achievement? It would prevent the devs from having to create a new system just for this one goal, and it would mean that any content of any level would be useful for both new characters and maxed ones, which in turn encourages the devs to keep developing new content at all levels.

EDIT: it would also mean that the long-term process would have as much variety as the game itself instead of being a long repeat of just a short bit of content.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Another option for longevity

Another option for longevity could be essentially a New Game Plus. Once hitting max level being able to go back down to level 1 and start all over again with additional bonuses or something (which thinking about it is sort of similar to Alting as you now have resources from the first file).

No idea what the additional bonuses could be. A lot of things could/would unbalance things over time even if the bonuses were very slight. Not sure how many people would re level to max if the only reward was like, a badge or something.

"Let the past die. Kill it if you have to."

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

Hmmm...possible Two Birds With One Stone idea here. Haven't thought it through so there may be obvious flaws, but I have to go to work so here it is in raw form:

What if this long-term achievement were to be gained by playing through the regular content that you didn't get to the first time round (or even replaying what you did)? Essentially, in old-game terms, what if it were an Ouro achievement? It would prevent the devs from having to create a new system just for this one goal, and it would mean that any content of any level would be useful for both new characters and maxed ones, which in turn encourages the devs to keep developing new content at all levels.

EDIT: it would also mean that the long-term process would have as much variety as the game itself instead of being a long repeat of just a short bit of content.

Building on this, I do recall on one of the CoH servers currently running, Homecoming, that there's an arc that has additional content and a new badge (which I won't spoil for those who play on that server) that can only be accessed when play the Ouroboros version of the arc. It adds an optional glowie to one mission that, if clicked, opens up a sort of side-mission involving changing the events of the arc in a way that diverges from the normal non-Ouro version.

That would be a really cool way of both encouraging people to go back and play earlier-level content, as well as being a neat way to produce "additional" content with a lesser load on the dev team.

Maybe have a sort of "temporal cold war" meta-arc that involves going back to older arcs and changing what happens to rearrange the timeline in your side's favor.