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The three big problems with the AE in CoH

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DeepThought
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The three big problems with the AE in CoH

The player generated content from the architect entertainment system which was implemented in CoH did not really turn out exactly according to the dev's vision for it. There are 2 reasons why:

1) you could gain loot/xp/etc. which was valuable outside the AE.

2) people will always find a way to gimp a player-made scenario to give reward out of proportion to effort (see point 1)

3) (and I never see people bring this up) The amount of space each player had to upload a mission arc was WAY too limited. My bf made a lovely story-driven mission arc with multiple parts, interesting writing, custom NPC's, etc. And he was constantly having to tweak it to 'fit' in his 150k allotted space, every time they changed anything about the AE files. And really, he had to cut out a lot of good content in order to get the story arc to fit. This small size greatly encouraged the use of only small meaningless missions... you couldn't make a supergroup oriented mission arc for your super group with any depth to it, you were encouraged to make a quick little mission and that's all you had space for... and farming was a surprise? pffft.

If CoT implements an AE type system... please (pretty please with sugar on top), do not let it be little more than a farming machine. Give it the depth to let players make really interesting arcs, and prevent it from having XP & loot benefits on par with regular CoT content. Yes I know less people will use it if it doesn't reward well, but if it does reward well, then kiss your expansive game world and varied content goodbye, as people mindlessly flock to fast-track repetition, and then get sick of the game.

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You've likely seen this

You've likely seen this thread but it's a worthwhile reference, in any event.

I was not aware that the AE missions had such a limited size. The More You Know.

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DeepThought
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Darth Fez wrote:
Darth Fez wrote:

I was not aware that the AE missions had such a limited size. The More You Know.

Yeah, it was very hard to cram a decent creative mission arc into the AE. I started to make one myself, and quickly gave up on it due to space limitations when the first mission of my intended arc started to push my size limit by itself.

On the other hand, you could easily make a fire-farm and with a 200million influence SS/fire Brute build, level entryway-parked characters from 1-50 in an afternoon, while making pretty good money at the same time. But then who needs a city, task forces, other players, etc? Still, human nature will draw many people to the most efficient tool for advancement they can find... even if it deprives them of the game they are paying to see.

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I'll second the limited space

I'll second the limited space complaint. A friend used to make outstanding missions (towards the end his missions even came with embedded links to cutscenes) and he was often complaining about how he had to keep removing stuff to make it fit in the confines of the size limits.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

I'll second the limited space complaint. A friend used to make outstanding missions (towards the end his missions even came with embedded links to cutscenes) and he was often complaining about how he had to keep removing stuff to make it fit in the confines of the size limits.

I never messed with AE, but a good buddy of mine tried what he thought was a moderate design and hit the space limit like a brick wall. From what I saw, what he was going for wasn't that extravagant.

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Our idea is not for a danger

Our idea is not for a danger-room scenario builder, like what CoH's AE was when you boil it down, but instead a way to tell your own stories. A model we've turned to in our thought process here was the old Neverwinter Nights. A DM friend of mine used to convert his game scenarios into NWN for online play after we all went off to college or moved out of the area.

Our goal is that a mission built by players will be difficult to distinguish from one made by developers. You have a contact located somewhere in the world, you have missions in the world, you get results in the world.

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Although the space seems

Although the space seems small, when you figure that every paying customer (whether or not they used it) was allocated the same amount of space it does start to become a significant amount. It is something to think about when putting the system into use.

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I don't CARE if AE was used

I don't CARE if AE was used as a farming machine. The farmers would have found other ways to farm, anyway, and my fun wasn't ruined by their existence. I played the way I liked and didn't feel bad about myself if someone else played it as compensation for having zero real-world success and zero real-world happiness. I had fun designing stories that were even played by people I didn't know, once in a great while. I had fun going through the stories that looked interesting, funny, or otherwise, worthy playing for the sake of playing. The only way to eliminate farming is to eliminate character "advancement" or "wealth" due to any character action. If there is a way to do X to get Y, someone will farm it, unless you want some kind of Commisar sitting on top of every player at all times regulating how they play.

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I think the real flaw was

I think the real flaw was putting the AE building in Atlas and Mercy Island. That caused the AE baby problem where if it was held off till a zone later the new players would have got more experience playing outside the AE.

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RottenLuck wrote:
RottenLuck wrote:

I think the real flaw was putting the AE building in Atlas and Mercy Island. That caused the AE baby problem where if it was held off till a zone later the new players would have got more experience playing outside the AE.

I'm not so sure of that. Back when Peregrine Island was the place to go for farms, lowbies would still go there. Some learned to navigate the city and avoid purple mobs that way, but the bratty ones that refused to do anything for themselves at all would even spend an hour or more begging in Broadcast for a teleport to or from the ferry in Talos or Peregrine.

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I have been tempted more than

I have been tempted more than once to TP such a person to monster island.

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Pengy wrote:
Pengy wrote:

RottenLuck wrote:
I think the real flaw was putting the AE building in Atlas and Mercy Island. That caused the AE baby problem where if it was held off till a zone later the new players would have got more experience playing outside the AE.

I'm not so sure of that. Back when Peregrine Island was the place to go for farms, lowbies would still go there. Some learned to navigate the city and avoid purple mobs that way, but the bratty ones that refused to do anything for themselves at all would even spend an hour or more begging in Broadcast for a teleport to or from the ferry in Talos or Peregrine.

Sure, but people new to the game didn't. The thing that bugged me about having the AE in Atlas wasn't that it made it too easy for people who planned on being PLed (I actually didn't have a problem with players doing that, personally, even though it was never to my taste), but rather that it crufted up the zone experience for everyone else.

If they had put it (and a WW) in Galaxy (when they had Galaxy :) ) or even northern Skyway, people who wanted to PL (or level a character entirely through "normal" AE missions) could still easily have managed it, without meddling with the Atlas zone "ambiance".

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

I have been tempted more than once to TP such a person to monster island.

It makes me feel good to know that someone with such deliciously justified evil tendencies is behind this game.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Ditto.

Ditto.

I never saw it, personally, but I heard about folks TPing them to the "zone ceiling" so that they did actually give em a ride to Portal Corp, but they made a splat in the courtyard when they arrived.

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I like this idea, I've seen

I like this idea, I've seen the same in star trek online. I don't know how you control the internal content though in order to ensure it doesn't turn into a farming mission with expansive rewards. Does NeveWinter have such a mechanism?

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Also, wanted to add that I

Also, wanted to add that I loved creating AE arcs though the space was indeed limited forcing me to reduce allies/enemies or reduce text content. After awhile, I started writing separate arcs where each AE story was the equivalent of a chapter and instructed the user to play the next story, etc in order to maximize the use within a story of the space. This allowed me to make a diverse set of enemies and allies.. have to say I loved AE and so look forward to a similar construct here, especially with the graphics upgrade..it will look awesome

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Rigel wrote:
Rigel wrote:

Ditto.
I never saw it, personally, but I heard about folks TPing them to the "zone ceiling" so that they did actually give em a ride to Portal Corp, but they made a splat in the courtyard when they arrived.

Didn't CoX have "anti one-shot" code in it? I thought that if you were at full health and took enough damage to outright kill your toon in one hit the game would leave you with 1 hp left.

So, best case scenario someone gets TP'd to the ceiling, takes a ton of fall damage and as such is left with 1 hp, immediately agros a nearby group and gets killed once the first hit comes in.

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They did have that mechanic.

They did have that mechanic. It was only hearsay, I never saw it done.
Dropping them next to the demons that always hung around the gates of Portal Corp was probably what was intended.
I just thought it was funny.

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I fell off a building once

I fell off a building once and can verify that I did end up with 1 hp.

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The one-shot protection wasn

The one-shot protection wasn't added until... issue 7, maybe? I used to joke that it was a buff for Regen. :3

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Wanders wrote:
Wanders wrote:

The one-shot protection wasn't added until... issue 7, maybe? I used to joke that it was a buff for Regen. :3

If you're talking about preventing enemies from one-shotting a character, I think you're right (not sure which issue it was either). However, I believe (could be wrong) that the original question was regarding protection from death by falling damage, which I believe was there from the start.

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

Wanders wrote:
The one-shot protection wasn't added until... issue 7, maybe? I used to joke that it was a buff for Regen. :3

If you're talking about preventing enemies from one-shotting a character, I think you're right (not sure which issue it was either). However, I believe (could be wrong) that the original question was regarding protection from death by falling damage, which I believe was there from the start.

The fall damage dropping you to 1hp? Yeah it was in at EU launch *at least* if not before hand. I used to do it to friends (after they did it to me)....

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To the OP: I agree with all

To the OP: I agree with all of your points - especially #1. It made no sense that AE mishes (basically an in-world VR video-game/holodeck) gave out loot and Influence. Is your contact at Subgenetics going to be impressed that you just spent the last couple of days inside playing video games rather than actually out on the streets punching the Freakshow that steal his lunch money every day on the way to work? He'd probably TAKE BACK that SO you picked up the other day heh heh.

I can understand maybe a bit of XP is you consider the "Danger Room" aspect of it - and maybe there could be some other incentives as well.

In any case - we will have to see what the devs have planned for the mission builder in this game. Hopefully they will find that balance between enticing people to come try it out and discouraging people from simply plugging in and levelling to 50 via farm - and then have no idea how to actually play the game (ah yes - the AE Babies were rather easy to spot).

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I can verify first hand that

I can verify first hand that from very early on falling damage only reduced you to a single hp. Though it never helped with you fell into a mob. As for the AE, I never used it myself, but I did see the effects of the "Farming" scenarios that have been posted about. I'm hopeful that CoT Will have a similar concept, but help to avoid the farming foo pah. I want to see more indepth storytelling and interactions between characters and NPC's.

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Interdictor wrote:
Interdictor wrote:

To the OP: I agree with all of your points - especially #1. It made no sense that AE mishes (basically an in-world VR video-game/holodeck) gave out loot and Influence. Is your contact at Subgenetics going to be impressed that you just spent the last couple of days inside playing video games rather than actually out on the streets punching the Freakshow that steal his lunch money every day on the way to work? He'd probably TAKE BACK that SO you picked up the other day heh heh.
I can understand maybe a bit of XP is you consider the "Danger Room" aspect of it - and maybe there could be some other incentives as well.
In any case - we will have to see what the devs have planned for the mission builder in this game. Hopefully they will find that balance between enticing people to come try it out and discouraging people from simply plugging in and levelling to 50 via farm - and then have no idea how to actually play the game (ah yes - the AE Babies were rather easy to spot).

It was later after AE was out for a while that the devs caught on to this and started limiting the rewards and really pushed the "AE ticket" system so you could still purchase those elusive items that never seemed to drop in the "real" world - provided you ran enough AE arcs and earned enough tickets.

Also, I agree with this point where story-wise, why should a hero get rewarded for spending all day playing in the imaginary world instead of out fighting crime? HOWEVER, if all the rewards remained AE-only and are not useful at all in the "real" world... then there would be very few players on the whole who would actually go into the AE to experience the player-created arcs. The practical loot entices the average and casual player to enter AE and experience our arcs. It gives them another mechanism to get rare or hard-to-get loot and they may just actually enjoy themselves and our arcs. So there needs to be a balance with the rewards to keep the general populace interested in seeing what other players create without them taking advantage or abusing the system.

I LOVED creating story arcs. And yeah, a little more memory would be helpful. I do realize that practically we can't have a ton because that's a LOT of physical server space. However, there were several of my stories I would have been happy if I just had 50k more room to get the extra little details that would've really made them stand out.

I agree the Mission Architect system should NOT be in starter zones and should only be in mid to upper level zones. New players need to experience the real game first before making their own stories. However, if the AE system could be accessed through your supergroup's base, then veteran players who want to make low-level arcs for their new alts, can easily enjoy it.

As for farmers... they're going to farm whenever and wherever they can. It's a playstyle they obviously enjoy (I'd rather slit my wrists) and I didn't mind that they farmed in AE, especially when the devs corrected the reward system. in the end, they had to do a LOT of farming to get the really good stuff. They were also mostly contained in the AE and not out in the "real" game causing problems there.

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I've been thinking about this

I've been thinking about this some... enough to throw out a few thoughts and a half-baked idea. To me the wheat versus chaff problem with AE was the biggest issue. AE limitations are another. It takes quite a bit of talent and lots good old fashion hard work to make a stellar AE arc. To be honest, I found most just simply didn't measure up. That shouldn't be a big surprise. I may love creating story arcs and there should be a place to do that on some base level. But I've come to believe it's a pretty tricky thing to do well (the average fiction writer isn't concerned about AE limitations or gameplay issues). Those that are stellar (by some criteria that for now I leave as TBD) should be showcased.

My first thought was to actually put them in the game. But I figured that could lead to all kinds of potential lore conflicts. So, what if you had like a "Twilight Zone"? A designated area where the laws of nature (or lore) do not apply. Here's the difference between this and say a Dev's choice award: Arcs chosen for the Twilight Zone would receive perks which could include (a) more memory to develop the story, (b) editing assistance (sooo many otherwise good AE arcs could use this), (c) personal recognition like AE had, and (d) perhaps even other dev assistance as appropriate. I could enjoy something like that.

Also, to paraphrase a cliché, you are only going to get out of a mission creator what you put into one... and I mean that from both a writer's and a developer's perspective. It seemed to me that in CoH at least many a player (and many a dev) just simply walked away from AE to chase after "the next big thing". It's not the only predecessor example where this happened.

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they wanted people to run

they wanted people to run these stories. lots of people. if you eliminated rewards, only a few rp people will run them. It has been shown over and over. In the long run, it really didnt matter. I could level a toon almost as fast just doing missions and tf's.

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There were some really

There were some really terrific player-created story arcs. I also enjoyed the Guest Author series.

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If you want to prevent

If you want to prevent farming there is only one way. Take away the guarantee that a particular opponent will do a certain type of damage.
Add a laced effect. Where mobs have chance to have a proc for a random type of damage. And a random crit chance.
These variables will then throw monkey wrench into farming. It will also make all damage resistance types a bit more equal.'
Just have a npc explain in the starting zone that some opponents may have a penchant for a unusual types of attacks..

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That is evil and wonderful as

That is evil and wonderful as an idea...LOL.

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

I have been tempted more than once to TP such a person to monster island.

That's awesome, you're my new favourite dev!

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Our idea is not for a danger-room scenario builder, like what CoH's AE was when you boil it down, but instead a way to tell your own stories. A model we've turned to in our thought process here was the old Neverwinter Nights. A DM friend of mine used to convert his game scenarios into NWN for online play after we all went off to college or moved out of the area.
Our goal is that a mission built by players will be difficult to distinguish from one made by developers. You have a contact located somewhere in the world, you have missions in the world, you get results in the world.

has the team fiddled with Cryptic's Foundry for inspiration?

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My thought is that Architect

My thought is that Architect Entertainment ought to have awarded 0 XP from mob defeats and dropped no loot from mob defeats other than Inspirations. When you complete the EA mission by handing it in to the contact and end the story (arc), that's when you get awarded your Tickets for playing. That way, all you get are Tickets and Inspirations ... no INF and no drop loot. You could however turn around and "cash in" those tickets for INF or loot (of your choice) once you're done running AE missions.

As for the Fire Farm problem, there's a relatively simple solution ... if there's a lack of diversity in damage types taken (fire only, nothing else, for example) then the rewards offered for completion are penalized/reduced due to a lack of diversity in the opposition faced (ie. predictable opponents are predictable).

Another option for discouraging the "I only lived in AE" problem would be to put a cooldown timer on AE stories that increases the more stories you've done in the past 24 hours. Could be something as simple as a 1 minute wait per AE mission run in the past time frame ... so if you've run 5 AE missions already you'll need to wait 5 minutes before you're eligible for running your 6th ... and so on. Excuses for doing this? The more a character used AE on a daily basis, the longer the "reset" time before AE is ready for you to run the next one. The intention then is that this enforced downtime would encourage players to leave AE and go do something else eventually, without overly penalizing the casual players who are just running a few AE missions daily (ie. not farming the hell out of the system to bypass the rest of the game entirely over the course of an afternoon). Nothing says go do something else! like enforced idleness ... especially among gamers for whom Instant Gratification isn't fast enough.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Another option for discouraging the "I only lived in AE" problem would be to put a cooldown timer on AE stories that increases the more stories you've done in the past 24 hours. Could be something as simple as a 1 minute wait per AE mission run in the past time frame ... so if you've run 5 AE missions already you'll need to wait 5 minutes before you're eligible for running your 6th ... and so on.

It seems like that would reward doing longer stories or bigger maps over doing shorter, quicker maps/ missions, though. Would that be intentional? It would just encourage people only doing AE to do longer missions and discourage players in general from doing shorter missions, at least, if they were using AE several times a day.

Would this idea account for story arcs at all? Would it treat a 5 mission story arc as 5 separate missions? If so, I would think you'd need to allow players to continue the created mission later- which City of Heroes wasn't able to do.

I wouldn't care as a mission writer to have a mission idea ignored by most players because of the increasing time limit, so hopefully if such a solution is ever used, it'll be able to account for mission length somehow.

I am not a huge fan of either solution, but I could live with one of them.. and blocking off using a mission creation system for a few minutes is easier to like than no exp.

Longtime City of Heroes player, longtime writer. :)

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AmbiDreamer wrote:
AmbiDreamer wrote:

Would this idea account for story arcs at all? Would it treat a 5 mission story arc as 5 separate missions?

I was thinking more in terms of how many times you've received rewards for completion. If that award is given at the end of the arc, the the delay would only operate after the arc has been completed. So my basic notion is more as a delay after a completed arc, rather than as a delay on the missions within an arc, if that answers your question.

Note that the flipside of that is that I'm expecting rewards to only be awarded at the completion of an arc, rather than all along the way, thus preventing a "Dreck" sort of gaming of the system where you only play partway, give up and start over again ("for free").


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I'd find it highly a waste of

I'd find it highly a waste of time to do any sort of missions/combat, and not receive experience or influence. Time is precious, and every minute of it should amount to progress in leveling. I am also a firm believer that there should be nearly zero downtime. The only downtime there should is be adding powers/enhancements/costume/writing bio (is that really downtime if your character is developing here?), so giving mission cool downtime of any kind is a bad idea for game flow.

I've mentioned this in another post, but my solution to story farming is a decaying exp/inf factor activated by an algorithm met by player activity. Something like # of teammates by X # of repeated mission types in X # of minutes, and resulting over X exp points. If they meet the algorithm, they would be deducted X% off exp/inf at the end of the mission, and the penalty would multiply x2 each time they matched the algorithm. The algorithm will become more and more strict once they break the algorithm, so instead of meeting the bare minimum, you'd have to reduce something significantly to not be penalized; and it should tell you what to change. The penalty would be applied to the team members' account handles; that way they'll still get the penalty if they switch characters. Once they play a different mission/method/slow down (whatever the leading variable(s) would be), they won't be penalized at all on the next mission completion. The penalty will remain active for 6 hours, gradually returning to normal if they never meet the algorithm. It wouldn't be too bad to still give them back some exp/inf if they quit the farming quickly. This should never reflect on their account, making them second rate players, or have a risk of account suspension/deletion. That would suck.

I doubt teams would get penalized by simply dominating the game, and blowing through levels at a more than normal rate. There are huge variances in natural game play vs fire/kinetics controller annihilating everything while everyone door sits. I know people love to PL, but fire farms perverted AE. I still think power leveling will exist with this limitation--just not in this cheap, bastardized manner.

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In response to the original

In response to the original post, part the third (and some of the first):

I have been going back over several of the issues that have been brought forth in concern to the mission creator, and I think that a minor tweaking of some of the ideas presented may in fact offer a solution to the size limit of player created content. While I know that it will take some time for the developers to go through and OK a scenario, and a player rating system can be biased in one way or another, if a player creates a scenario that passes both the player ratings (by a certain margin to allow for trolling) and the developers criteria, that player may be allotted a progressively larger amount of space with which they may create scenarios. This is of course subject to how they decide to rate/score/validate or otherwise release player created scenarios.

I believe that this will limit the "farming" maps to a smaller size (thus somewhat limiting the amount of XP available) while still allowing them to be created. At the same time, this will allow those storyteller type of players the latitude to build larger, and grander stories within the scope of the game.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

I was thinking more in terms of how many times you've received rewards for completion. If that award is given at the end of the arc, the the delay would only operate after the arc has been completed. So my basic notion is more as a delay after a completed arc, rather than as a delay on the missions within an arc, if that answers your question.

I think so. You get rewarded on completion. Although this would make serious challenges tougher to pull off, I would think. Since you have to defeat the mission in order to get any awards, would this punish an author who wants to make a mission that maybe not everyone can beat? If so, is that a fair thing to do to such a mission?

Would people shy away from anything too challenging for fear they'll end up not beating it and thus not get any progress out of it at all?

Though to be honest, I don't recall seeing many of those so it might be a rather minor concern.

Longtime City of Heroes player, longtime writer. :)

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OMG I had forgotten all about

OMG I had forgotten all about that. That actually happened to me once. Boy did he get a surprise when I flew back up and gave him an , well I was going to say ear full but it was text so eye full?

Hip hooters Nee!

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AE was fine, but the Devs

AE was fine, but the Devs obviously forgot about how exploitive gamers can get. Some of the farms (the Mito farm and the Mastermind farms) were just too over the top in how fast you levelled. The big problem was that you'd end up with a bunch of farm missions cluttering the AE so searches would end up bogged down and the good stuff (and there was some VERY good stuff) was obscured by loads of "FireFarm123" stuff.

Mission creator (if and when it happens) should have xp rewards but there should likely be a cap on how much you can earn per day. The ticket system they had was great, it let you roll for a wide range of IOs which helped fuel the economy. The vote system was busted, especially when tied to badges. THAT was a bad idea. The Guest Author stuff was ok, but some of the Dev's Choice...stealth Elite Bosses and so on, ugh.

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Indeed I agree with much of

Indeed I agree with much of this ... don't throw the baby out with the bath water. I leveled a number of characters up into the upper teens and early 20's running AE 'content' (not farms) and greatly enjoyed finding the gems among the rubbish. While I would have run through many of the missions even without xp and other rewards for the pleasure alone I see no reason that those missions couldn't also grant rewards. Modify, change, adjust what needs but don't lose sight of the fact that AE was a tool for creative players in a 'good' way as well as for the more agriculturally creative ones and destroy the tool in the process.

And HEY! Neuronia from Silhouette.

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Neuronia wrote:
Neuronia wrote:

AE was fine, but the Devs obviously forgot about how exploitative gamers can get.

The devs remembered. They just underestimated a small group of people's obsession with absolutely blatantly exploiting anything they can, just because they can. (Although, in all fairness, that is probably a very unfair way of stating it.)

Seriously, some of them were blatant in their farming premise of "Not only will I not take two seconds to think of a story, I will flaunt my refusal to do so."

For some reason that annoyed me far more than it should have.

I am really under the impression, by the way, that 'power leveling' should rely more on playing the game good and hard- and less over picking X powerset against Y mob over and over again. But that's slightly off topic.

Longtime City of Heroes player, longtime writer. :)

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social engineering of a game

social engineering of a game like this is a horrible way to attempt to control things. AE was intended as user created CONTENT not a rp wasteland. remove/destroying xp/inf in AE missions will guarantee that only rp'ers will ever use it. That is not what it was intended for. Remove the ae in atlas, move it to steel canyon would cut down on a lot. Players in ae missions use their powers and defeat mobs, just like any other content. As to power leveling, the devs rightfully knew that stopping pl'ing would kill the game. you can make it not as easy, but killing it altogether would be a big mistake.
removing/reducing rewards would cripple AE to the point of just have 1 location in PI and let the rp'ers sit there and watch their masterpieces gather dust

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The real Problem wasn't

The real Problem wasn't rewards in AE being usable ouside AE. It was that AE wasn't real to the characters. The Idea of a virtual reality inside a virtual reality might have been novel, but ultimately it meant that superheroes were playing video games instead of protecting people. It would've been (and now Could Be) much better if players created content while outside the game then went inside to play missions that were real to thier characters. Then there would be no need for a distinct reward system.
Farming could also be stymed a bit by putting a limit on how often you could could play any mission with a particular character, even if youmade the mission yourself.

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The only real problem I had

The only real problem I had with AE was trying to find good missions in all the junk and utter garbage people were putting out. We would definitely need to have a forum thread for people to advertise the good stuff and for players to review player made content.

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david665 wrote:
david665 wrote:

The only real problem I had with AE was trying to find good missions in all the junk and utter garbage people were putting out. We would definitely need to have a forum thread for people to advertise the good stuff and for players to review player made content.

I believe there was a thread for this on the forums. For a while I ran some missions recommended for content/storylines One author was particularly good, although I can't recall the name.

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Rampage wrote:
Rampage wrote:

david665 wrote:
The only real problem I had with AE was trying to find good missions in all the junk and utter garbage people were putting out. We would definitely need to have a forum thread for people to advertise the good stuff and for players to review player made content.

I believe there was a thread for this on the forums. For a while I ran some missions recommended for content/storylines One author was particularly good, although I can't recall the name.

We also had a few people earn their props reviewing arcs. Some were better than others, some were more informative and others were more entertaining reviews, but they a big help in making created missions matter.

Longtime City of Heroes player, longtime writer. :)

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There was a thread like that

There was a thread like that on Virtue's forum. I also had a thread I started called "Your News @ 11" where I typed up news reports based on AE missions I ran with different characters. I think I got three done and posted before they shut the game down.

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AE's biggest problem was the

AE's biggest problem was the players first and foremost :p

First they made content they could get from 1 to 50 in an hour. Then they had their defenders. Not that I think it should take forever and a day to get to max level, but if you can't take getting from 1-50 in a couple of weeks (and that's being nice I think) then maybe MMO playing isn't for some people. Yes, it's usually if not always better to play at those higher levels, feel like your working towards some new goal and not just leveling, but part of the game is the leveling and gaining new abilities/skills/powers/what have you.

Now I did try some of the missions in AE, saddly a lot of bad ones seemed to have lots of friends who would rate a mission highly. Wish there was a way to know which were serious missions, which were farming and which were some terrible joke of a plot (even if they were being serious). :p

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Our idea is not for a danger-room scenario builder, like what CoH's AE was when you boil it down, but instead a way to tell your own stories. A model we've turned to in our thought process here was the old Neverwinter Nights. A DM friend of mine used to convert his game scenarios into NWN for online play after we all went off to college or moved out of the area.
Our goal is that a mission built by players will be difficult to distinguish from one made by developers. You have a contact located somewhere in the world, you have missions in the world, you get results in the world.

*faints*

Um...how many missions can I build? I am already developing a story that I can tell in five missions, but I would much rather have a fifteen mission story arc.

As part of the story arc I want players to collect an item. Ten pages in a book describing the religious tenets of the secret cult at the heart of the story. Will this be possible? In the Mission Architect the pages would simply have been post mission souvenirs that were automatically stored at the end of each mission.

I don't want to become a replacement for the stories being told by the development team. Absolutely not, but to tell the story well will take one custom enemy group and at least five complete missions.

A five mission story arc in Mission Architect was possible, but it did take careful planning and the use of smaller maps.

As you can plainly see, the freedom to create quality UGC is a big draw for me. It is something I live for, and something none of the other "spiritual successors" is even discussing.

I'm all about the narrative. First yours, then my own.

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15 missions is functionally a

15 missions is functionally a Task Force.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

15 missions is functionally a Task Force.

User-created Task Forces. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if a number of players wanted to do just that.

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This sounds super exciting.

This sounds super exciting.
It's everything I hoped for from the mission creator
but I have one question I keep asking and not getting an answer to:
will player made missions be able to include alignment effecting choices?

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TheMightyPaladin wrote:
TheMightyPaladin wrote:

but I have one question I keep asking and not getting an answer to:
will player made missions be able to include alignment effecting choices?

The intent is for the. UCG to feel as seamless to the game world as dev content as possible. So I'm inclined to say yes based off that design goal, but don't hold me to that. This is because the very nature of the alignment system requires choice and we wouldn't want. UCG to invoke trickery as some form of twisted 'pvp' as in "hah I tricked players into messing their alignment". The UCG creator will require checks to make sure every possible choice is appropriately applicable - or at least the content is clearly designated toward specific alignment actions. I'm sure our dev side tools will have a similar system in place to make sure something doesn't get pushed through that is incomplete for alignment choices.

This doesn't mean that the writing by players for each decision will be up to par or that the writer won't give blatantly silly choices to particular alignment decisions - but that could result in poor ratings being given by players. Not that it would stop people from being people and still doing stuff lime this but hopefully with a decent rating system poor writing / designed ucg will be identifiable after a while. Most importantly we don't have a firm answer because we aren't there yet in the design process. Game proper comes first.


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Thanks Tannim.

Thanks Tannim.
That's probably the best answer I could hope for.
It's good that you're aware of the potential problem and concerned about it.
The only way, to be sure something like that doesn't happen, would be to not allow players to include such choices, but I'm sure players would hate that.
Personally I don't think I'll be including such choices in the missions I make, because I don't really want to think up 4 or more possible alignment related actions and different story outcomes for each. It's a lot of work and I wouldn't enjoy the results. It's a lot more fun, for me, just to make missions for heroes, or vikings, and never the twain shall meet.
That's right I said vikings, cause that's how I roll.

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In AE I used up the entire

In AE I used up the entire allotment for one account to write a 3 mission story arc. I spent a lot of time on it and I was very proud of it. Completely custom characters including minions, etc. Meaningful dialogue. The whole she-bang. Really poured my heart into it. People rated it low because it didn't generate gobs and gobs of easy XP. Seriously, that was the only comment I ever got.

What I want to know is if there will be any way for players to differentiate between serious attempts at mission building/story-telling and the afore-mentioned farm missions when they are looking for something to do? AND could there be any kind of impartial jury to rate them besides the (usually) less than intellectual community by any criteria besides "Most Played"? Because if that's the case I guarantee that the most mindless farms will always occupy the top slots.

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WarBird wrote:
WarBird wrote:

What I want to know is if there will be any way for players to differentiate between serious attempts at mission building/story-telling and the afore-mentioned farm missions when they are looking for something to do? AND could there be any kind of impartial jury to rate them besides the (usually) less than intellectual community by any criteria besides "Most Played"? Because if that's the case I guarantee that the most mindless farms will always occupy the top slots.

The following isn't a definitive direction, only an intent of design since we haven't started cracking away at the UCG systems. One of the issues we noted with the old game's AE was the lack luster rating system. Providing a better rating system may help in the regard of finding the right kind of UCG you're interested in, as is a pre-defined listing of mission types that can be labelled.

None of these options though will prevent players from mislabelling missions, and applying incorrect ratings. The hope is that the over-all player base using UCG and actually taking the time to properly use the rating system will help players find the type of mission they are more interested in.


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

WarBird wrote:
What I want to know is if there will be any way for players to differentiate between serious attempts at mission building/story-telling and the afore-mentioned farm missions when they are looking for something to do? AND could there be any kind of impartial jury to rate them besides the (usually) less than intellectual community by any criteria besides "Most Played"? Because if that's the case I guarantee that the most mindless farms will always occupy the top slots.

The following isn't a definitive direction, only an intent of design since we haven't started cracking away at the UCG systems. One of the issues we noted with the old game's AE was the lack luster rating system. Providing a better rating system may help in the regard of finding the right kind of UCG you're interested in, as is a pre-defined listing of mission types that can be labelled.
None of these options though will prevent players from mislabelling missions, and applying incorrect ratings. The hope is that the over-all player base using UCG and actually taking the time to properly use the rating system will help players find the type of mission they are more interested in.

I couldn't reasonably ask for more. Thanks. Umm, maybe include a comment section that warns other players when they are being bamboozled?

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WarBird wrote:
WarBird wrote:

In AE I used up the entire allotment for one account to write a 3 mission story arc. I spent a lot of time on it and I was very proud of it. Completely custom characters including minions, etc. Meaningful dialogue. The whole she-bang. Really poured my heart into it. People rated it low because it didn't generate gobs and gobs of easy XP. Seriously, that was the only comment I ever got.

Same here.
I also used all the available space to make 3 missions that was part of an Arc called "Once Upon A Time" that was a villain group that came together called the SEEKS, albeit for a short time, that had an Arch Villain, who turned out to be the Mission Contacts Father, which wasnt revealed till the very end. At the End of the 3 Missions, you had to face an AV. And as you progress through the Missions, the AV's would have more and more powers. And the last AV in the Arc actually had All the powers, in this case i saw that Electric based defense was knocking back allot of squishies on team, so that was my Mega Arch Villain Powerset. ;)

Of course there were 2 Elite Bosses thrown in in Mission 2 and one in Mission 3 that were Twins... So, the second twin took it to heart how you destroyed his brother, and he was a bit more difficult to defeat with 2 or 3 more powers under his belt.

2 people did leave a comment, and gave it 4 stars. Was that good, dont know. But I loved the costumes and the names of many of the villains.

Thundera (blue'ish outfit with electricity), Proton (AV with Radiation, mostly Debuffed the team, not much in Damage Dealing, but still was SUPER Challenging for some teams), etc... i forgot the rest. :/

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There are good and bad sides

There are good and bad sides to player comments. Anything that requires too much time to do is less likely to see any time invested into it, particular if it is going to take away from game play time. Players rating and commenting on missions could be something that is less likely to happen than a quick 3 or 4 descriptive ratings. Comments would require additional moderation. And they would need to be kept anonymous to avoid potential targeting of specific commentators. Even comments can be misguiding if used incorrectly on purpose.

The positives are if it is used properly, its nice to check the comments to see if they match up with the rating. The UCG creator being able to actually read feedback (both good and bad) if they want. The good is uplifting, the bad while it can be detrimental it can also be useful to help learn what went wrong and try to fix it.

I'm sure it'll come up when we begin meetings to hash out the entirety of design.


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

The UCG creator being able to actually read feedback (both good and bad) if they want.

Bahhh.. just like YouTube video comments. :{

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

Bahhh.. just like YouTube video comments. :{

Almost no one ever comments on my videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_QyK4DArLQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-ove_48Fzc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bonHJtDJ4tk

say something so I'll feel better.

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TheMightyPaladin wrote:
TheMightyPaladin wrote:

Thanks Tannim.
That's probably the best answer I could hope for.
It's good that you're aware of the potential problem and concerned about it.
The only way, to be sure something like that doesn't happen, would be to not allow players to include such choices, but I'm sure players would hate that.
Personally I don't think I'll be including such choices in the missions I make, because I don't really want to think up 4 or more possible alignment related actions and different story outcomes for each. It's a lot of work and I wouldn't enjoy the results. It's a lot more fun, for me, just to make missions for heroes, or vikings, and never the twain shall meet.
That's right I said vikings, cause that's how I roll.

I would hope it would be possible to have a certain "tag" on missions that allow alignment modification - just to avoid and unwanted "gotcha" moments.

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as Brand X mentioned, the

as Brand X mentioned, the problem with AE missions was the player creators themselves. while there were a few out there that I found fun, many were just built as a place to farm exp. sadly, anytime you allow for this kind of freedom one can expect that there will be tons of missions that go against the 'idea' regarding why said tool was provided in the first place. as a player who enjoys seeing player made content, I just have to be patient while I wade through the masses till I stumble upon those few rare gems...

in regards to the alignment thing...I have to agree with Interdictor in regards to a "tag" being placed on the mission and this tag should be automatically added by the system itself as soon as the creator puts a possible alignment changing effect in his/her mission. I know I would be really grumpy if I suddenly got hit with an alignment shift unknowingly. at least with the "tag" I know the possibility is there. the cynic in me probably will still avoid said mission as I just know that some schmuck will create such an alignment question but make the answer opposite to what it should be on purpose...eg: I save the hostage = alignment shifts towards evil. grrr...

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Perhaps, since the devs don't

Perhaps, since the devs don't hate farms, the way COH devs did, we could simply ask people to label their farms as such.
If there's no penalty for doing it. I think most would do it voluntarily.
That would allow people who are looking for story adventures to filter out the ones labeled farm.
In fact you could even have a required check box to mark it as farm or story.

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Perhaps we could separate the

Perhaps we could separate the AE missions into certain TYPES of missions? Have a Farm category, Story category, Alignment category, etc. This way if you go in to the AE you can select a specific TYPE of AE mission you'd like to play. So one day you might be wanting to Farm, so you select the FARM tab and then proceed to choose which farm you want to run. Another day you feel like running a mission that has a really great story to it, select STORY tab and go at it. Is this something that might be possible?

I got chills! They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. Cuz the power, I'm supplyin'. Why it's ELECTRIFYIN'!!

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oOStaticOo wrote:
oOStaticOo wrote:

Perhaps we could separate the AE missions into certain TYPES of missions? Have a Farm category, Story category, Alignment category, etc. This way if you go in to the AE you can select a specific TYPE of AE mission you'd like to play. So one day you might be wanting to Farm, so you select the FARM tab and then proceed to choose which farm you want to run. Another day you feel like running a mission that has a really great story to it, select STORY tab and go at it. Is this something that might be possible?

+1

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Farm = target rich

Farm = target rich environment designed to provide mainly XP and/or Currency

Story = written primarily for the content, plot elements, drama and character developments

Alignment = intended to adjust one or more Alignment axes

Seems reasonably straightforward.
Farm = Violence
Story = Honor
Alignment = Law

Okay, not literally ... but I daresay the parallels are amusing to think about.


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Perhaps, as far as rating

Perhaps, as far as rating goes, break the rating into categories. i.e. Difficulty, Story, Aesthetics (costumes / environment) and overall with a rating of 1-5 and then give an optional comment section. Difficulty would be the largest variable as group composition would play a very large role, but it would likely balance out in the end.

It is not likely to spell out "Farm", but when you run into something with everything at 1 except overall rating, it is likely there for farming purposes.

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Difficulty, Story,

Difficulty, Story, Craftsmanship and Balance.

Ship it.


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=== re-posted from another

=== re-posted from another thread and edited somewhat ===

As a Mission Designer I'd like a form that I can fill out to let potential players know what my intentions were when designing the mission and possibly enticing them through my Eloquent Description to play it. As a player, I want to be able to search the roster for the kind of missions I want. The form below has some required fields for the designer marked by [ ]. The O boxes are radio buttons that can be filled by players after they've played it.

The idea is to let the designer show his intention, then the let the players give feedback on how well they accomplished their stated goals. As well as giving a subjective critique of the mission.

So the form the designer fills out would look something like this:

_____________________________________

"Title of Mission"

Synopsis........... (1000 characters?)

Number of Plays/Reviews: 00001

Hero [ ] Villain [ ] Neutral [ ]

Possible Alignment Effect [ ] (Some indicator of what form the potential alignment change will come in?)

Length 10 - 20 min. [ ] 20 - 30 min. [ ] 30+ min. [ ]

Story [ ] Farm [ ] Exercise [ ] (I've added Exercise as a type of mission that's kind of a "build-tester", distinct from the other two.)
Success O O O O O (how well the author achieved their stated goal)

Solo [ ] Team [ ]
Success O O O O O

Lore-based [ ] Outside Lore [ ]
Success O O O O O
________________________________________

The "review" section for the after playing would include the last three of the form above, plus some subjective rating boxes.

Story [ ] Farm [ ] Exercise [ ] (

Solo [ ] Team [ ]
Success O O O O O

Lore-based [ ] Outside Lore [ ]
Success O O O O O

Challenge O O O O O

Writing O O O O O (quality of story, dialog)

Originality O O O O O

Reward/XP O O O O O

Overall O O O O O (this could be set by reviewer as an "intangibles" indicator, or just a calculated average of all the other scores)

__________________________________________

Looking it over, I see that there would need to be some kind of system in place as part of the program to determine how much alignment would be impacted. And even though I've included it in the form, I'm not really sure if it's necessary if the player gets to choose during the mission which action to take and its potential alignment effect.

Anyways, what do y'all think?
.

Lost_in_Thought
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I very much am in favor of

I very much am in favor of allowing the mission designer to write some form of synopsis for what you are creating, there are, however a few flaws that I can see from the start.

First, and this comes from almost any game designer I have met, you are the worst judge of your own game. You come into it highly biased, and there is no way you can't be. You designed it because you thought it was going to be good, otherwise you would not have spent the time to make it. You should be able to designate what type of mission you are trying to create, but determining how "Successful" a mission is should be left to the players.

Next, as you pointed out, is alignment. Designating a Mission as Hero / Villain / Neutral is perfectly fine. Unless your mission is to go around the city handing out parking tickets (+20 Law, + 25 Evil BTW), alignment will be amazingly difficult to determine. It will be the job of the designer to provide those choices, but the player will make them.

As a general rule, Lore is also going to be a difficult one to determine. If your lore is based on the Black Rose, but the players have spent their entire career fighting off IFRIT, they are not likely to notice the lore in any meaningful way. Unless you also include a N/A or Unknown button, it may inadvertently lead to some rather misleading ratings.

Next, Reward / XP will probably not be a good idea to allow players to rate. CoX had a specific warning stating not to rate on rewards because the drop tables were random. Unless you can designate specific rewards (which would become unbalancing), rewards should not even be considered. Onto XP, if there is a mission completion rewards, i.e. finish this mission, get 2000 XP, that should be designated, but a rating system shouldn't be used. If a player is looking for a "Farm" Mission, those missions will be designated as such.

I very much like the addition of the estimated time feature, though it would only work for team mission as it is going to take a lot longer for a support hero to finish a mission than a blaster.

I would also add in an estimated level range and team size for players to enter at, though this may be a bit moot with a sidekick system, but it will at least give a minimum entrance level.

In the end, I could see a completed designer form that looks like:

"Geo Theft"
Type: Story
Synopsis: "A series of thefts . . . . determine how"
Role: Hero (I prefer Role over alignment as even an evil aligned character may attempt to redeem themselves by playing the role of the hero)
Team Size: 4 (again, this may vary if enemies auto-scale to group size / lvl combinations)
Lvl: 10-13
Time: 10-20 min

One rather interesting thing that was brought up in your form was the Exercise option. I may be misreading this, but it seems like this option should actually be Beta Test (open or closed based on the designers choice). It would be a truly amazing way to get feedback on a mission before going fully public with it.

WarBird
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Thanks for Feedback, Lost.

Thanks for Feedback, Lost.

You are right, I didn't meant to leave the "success rating" buttons on the designer form, only those that play the mission can do that. The idea was that the designer by designating a certain type with a check box says "I have designed this mission to be THIS type." and the players tell them to what extent they have accomplished that goal.

By designating something as Lore/Original I was thinking in terms of have they used themes and characters/villain sets drawn from the "official" game lore or have they created something unique and original, and does it or does it not dovetail into the canon established for the game? You're right, If a player doesn't know the lore in depth, they may not be as able to judge some of your content. Oh well, it's pretty subjective in any case. I should think, however, if you're a regular player looking for something outside the Original Content, you should have at least some familiarity with the major players in the world.

I agree with the idea of simply stipulating an XP range for completing the mission. I don't know whether such a mechanism might exist that tells the designer when they're done how much XP their design generates.

Having a "level range" isn't a bad idea per se, but it does limit the prospective audience. The CoH AE allowed the mission to scale to player and team size. I was assuming this engine could do similar. And I haven't seen any indication yet of exactly how the sidekick system will work. Minimum levels might be the way to go. "You must be at least this tall to ride this ride." :)

The "Exercise" function. When I say Build Tester, I refer to character and/or team builds. The idea being that there isn't a lot of story, but it isn't just a mindless farm, either. It's designed to be nothing more than a straight-up challenge a la Danger Room. Wanna see how your new toon stacks up under a variety of different attacks? Wanna take some of your SG mates and see how quickly you can roll through a scenario that's designed just to beat you down? Maybe track your best time and challenge another group to beat it? This is for you.

Lost_in_Thought
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You are right, "level range"

You are right, "level range" will be dependent upon how the sidekick system works. I've seen multiple variations on it, each with its own quirks. I do like the minimum level idea though. If you know that players will have 3 abilities by lvl 10, you can balance your encounters around that somewhat. I remember when the CO XP alerts allowed lvl 10 player in and they could not be completed because heroes of that level simply did not have the tools to do so.

Onto "Exercise"; Exercise should be read as "Challenge Mode" based on your initial definition. Possibly "Training Mode", though, that might be a separate category unto itself.

Let us assume that we are going with "Challenge Mode". I actually like the idea of a challenge mode, either assigning (multiple) task(s) and gaining points based on completion of that task in a given time, or a race to see if you can defeat a boss before he sets off the doomsday weapon of the week. If the Mission Creator supported an idea like this, it would require a leader board of some sort. I can see the board being reset at the end of each week, and the weekly winners gaining some sort of item / in-game currency. A few limits would have to be put in place however.

First, challenge mode would only really be viable at the level cap. This ties back into the point I was making about a minimum level for missions, but if your challenge mode is built around lvl 10 characters, a max level character will all of their abilities is not going to find it very challenging, and allowing them to place on the leader boards would be unfair.

Second, the challenges would have to be VERY carefully balanced. If a specific team can come in and steamroll the entire thing because every one of them resists fire, balance is completely tossed out of the window. The same can be said of any ability though, if a group can simply fly over everything and immediately get to the boss, that would be another balance issue. Balancing is going to be the hardest part of any challenge that isn't a simple boss beat down.

Greyhawk
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I think part of creating a

I think part of creating a story arc (I never build ONE mission!) should involve two labels with drop down menu options:

The first should be:

XP Farm for Fire
XP Farm for Ice
XP Farm for Melee
XP Farm for Ranged (etc.)
...
Lore based Story
Non-Lore based Story
Lore-based Story with Unique enemies
Non-Lore based Story with Standard enemies

The second should be:

Family friendly, serious
Family friendly, satire
Mature theme, serious
Mature theme, satire

And both items should display immediately under the story arc title in the interface players use to access the database of UGC missions

Instead of labeling the difficulty level of the mission, the mission should scale for level/difficulty depending on the preference settings of the player/team leader accessing the list of available UGC missions just as any official mission does.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My author page at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APIPZC?ref_=pe_584750_33951330

TheMightyPaladin
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Greyhawk wrote:
Greyhawk wrote:

A bunch of stuff I'm not gonna quote it, it's right up there.

Good Idea. I like it.
Especially the part about putting these labels close to the title where they're easy to see.