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Reader Comments (10)

Posted: May 24th 2009 10:26AM J Brad Hicks said

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What this really marks for the game is a major change in direction that has less to do with Mission Architect than it does with overall design philosophy. See, here's the thing: there are badges for things that no player could ever conceivably do, practically speaking, without farming the right mission over and over again, and many of those badges go all the way back to when badges were first introduced, four years ago. For example, there's a badge for defeating the illusionary enemies that are summoned by Carnival of Shadows Master Illusionists. The badge requires that you defeat 1,000 of them. Any given Master Illusionist summons, typically, three of them. And a single instanced mission might spawn two to four Master Illusionists. So, basically, to get that badge, you find a large instanced mission that spawns Carnival of Shadows in the right level range, and then you farm that one mission over and over again /until your eyeballs bleed./ What you get as a reward is a badge to put under your name, if you want, and a "gladiator" NPC for a type of arena duel that nobody ever does. Still, there are people who do it, just because they're completists; if the game offers a reward, they have to have it.

When Mission Architect came out, it added about another 130 badges that can be earned, and easily 60 or more of those were things that you could only conceivably get by farming the same missions over and over again, too; some of them would require dozens and dozens of run-throughs to get.

Yes, City of Heroes is in the middle of a big PR push now to convince existing customers, reviewers, and potential customers that there's more to Mission Architect than farming, so the small but persistent and loud swarms of farmers in every Mission Architect lobby are a PR black eye, and that's what's behind this announcement. But if you look at Synapse's full announcement, you see that what's also going on here is a change in design philosophy: not only are they taking out of the game the MA badges that had to be farmed for to get them, they're saying that they'll never design a feature in the game, ever again, that you have to farm to get; the target threshold is, maybe you'll have to do something twice to get all the benefits out of it, then you go on and do other stuff. It's a bold bet that, with Mission Architect (not to mention their own now-improved internal content creation tools) there will be so much to do that they don't NEED to incent you to keep doing the same things over and over again to keep collecting your monthly subscription fee; even if you only do everything in the game twice per character, you'll never run out. They're declaring war on grind.

That's rather more interesting to me than any remaining fuss about Mission Architect's exploitability or attractiveness to farmers.

Posted: May 24th 2009 11:31AM CheesecakeBandit said

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I hope you're right. This would be a big boon for the game, especially since I quit before hitting level cap because of how tedious the grind was.
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Posted: May 24th 2009 2:31PM (Unverified) said

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i agree the grind is out dated but my only problems is that lets say you collect those badges without farming just enjoying the content now they are gone.

so to me it not the fact that they badges left it the fact that they seem to of put them in as a after thought. maybe they are going to redesign them to be non grind badges
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Posted: May 24th 2009 9:56PM UnSub said

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A good post there InfamousBrad.

It is a big shift in their badge reward philosophy and although I agree with it, it is also the wrong thing to do - they've launched with the badges, they've put them out there and now they are taking them away. To my mind it has all the signs of a dev team panicking about the introduction of a close competitor and not making good decisions as a result.
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Posted: May 25th 2009 9:53AM (Unverified) said

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Well said!
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Posted: May 24th 2009 4:04PM (Unverified) said

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Too little, too late.

Just the latest example of the neverending cycle in which this team has always operated. Hatch a hare-brained idea to try to attract players with as little actual work as possible ... Be warned by wiser players about all the different ways the plan will negatively impact the game ... Ignore the facts when testers confirm aforementioned negative interactions ... Release the patch ... Blame the players when it all blows up in their faces ... Release a quick fix and a halfhearted apology ... Announce the next big Issie and repeat.

I'm not saying farmers are innocent. But when your game has been plagued by a certain type of "aberrant behavior" since the day it was released 5 years ago, you have to be a special kind of idiot not to plan for that behavior in your ongoing design decisions.

I can't believe they think they an expansion will keep them afloat. Not only are there several more modern superhero MMOs in the works, but the NCSoft team itself has just proven -- yet again -- that it is simply not capable of running an MMO with any degree of competence.

Posted: May 25th 2009 6:13PM (Unverified) said

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"but the NCSoft team itself has just proven -- yet again -- that it is simply not capable of running an MMO with any degree of competence."

Um, Meanwhile, the City of Heroes game just celebrated their 5th anniversary. While more well-known, much better funded games like Star Wars and Tabula Rasa have fallen away, CoH continues along. An MMO with a 5 year shelf life is an extremely successful MMO.

So please, while I'm sure you are annoyed at the fact that Paragon Studios takes a rather hardline approach to farmers, don't confuse your personal opinions with FACTS. When an MMO last 5 years, it proves, beyond any reasonable doubt, that it is a capable and well-managed MMO.
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Posted: May 24th 2009 4:38PM Sam not Spam said

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Nice catch, InfamousBrad.

@Meanwhile
Yes, things were *so* much better when Jack Emmert was leading the show. He *always* listened to the players, and never clung to some "vision" of what the game should be like. (/sarcasm)

I still don't like the fact there are rating-based awards left as, as Synapse put it, "earning them was completely out of a player’s hands and in the hands of other players" My own little arc has already received "feedback" promising additional votes if I went to their arc and gave it a 5-star rating. One buddy of mine got hammered with two 1-star ratings because he didn't give a guy a 5-star plus "OMGHOWAWESOME!" (the jerk and his second account). They get rid of that, go all the way, and I'll be quite happy. No more reason for 5-star cartels, no reason to go and punish someone.

Posted: May 24th 2009 5:32PM (Unverified) said

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Mission Architect was part of issue 14, not issue 15

Posted: May 24th 2009 5:36PM (Unverified) said

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Right you are. My bad.
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