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Reader Comments (14)

Posted: Jul 1st 2010 4:23PM NeoWolfen said

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Pity you guys didn't make it to Freon, I would have loved to have seen your article describe that without the use of an expletive lol.

I was waiting to group with you guys, but your group fell apart before i could :( maybe next time.

Posted: Jul 1st 2010 5:54PM the Haldanian said

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Doesn't CO have controllers then? I thought it was the controllers job, using wide-ranging but *fragile* lockdown powers, to cut the number of active enemies down to a number the tanks can keep hold of.

Admittedly it means careful choreography, and keeping an eye on the team's AoE loonies, but it's why controllers exist.

It can be more amusing than healing tho. Try slapping an enemy-debuffing aura on a tank with an aggro aura, and see whose aura triggers the Alpha strike :-) Fun times!

Argh, I can feel my CoH alt-itis flaring up again!

Posted: Jul 1st 2010 7:36PM (Unverified) said

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What about including a crowd control heavy player in the mix to help keep agro off the healer? Also, Smoke Bomb is supposed to clear all threat, but if it works as well as the stealth component then it might not be worth it.

Anyway, I just started playing a few days ago. I've got a level 18 darkness character named Smoke @abbarnes. I'll see if I can get ahold of some people and join the supergroup tonight.

Posted: Jul 1st 2010 9:12PM (Unverified) said

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"Yes, it would likely help, but the question is "will it be enough, and why do we need specific classes/roles instead of just going with our friends?""

Well, maybe if you put the difficulty settings lower or just try different content you can just go with whatever friends you have. But the issue here is that for those looking for a group challenge, tanks are all you need and everything else is a liability (to an extent, based on the author's analysis). That's clearly a bad situation.

First thing is first: you need different roles (tanking, healing, dps, support) to all be viable/able to contribute. After that, you can worry about accommodating non-optimized groups.

Posted: Jul 1st 2010 10:09PM CitizenH said

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As the Invulnerability tank on this run, I'd like to give my perspective and assessment of what went down:

1. The new VIPER be bugged yo.
Or at least, suffering some severe balance problems. There's been talk that may or may not have been proven that several of their new attacks are not working as intended. Bleeds stacking too much and lasting much longer than they used to, despite the devs saying they weren't changed. This I've noticed myself. The Pulson weapons being used by multiple Soldier henchmen at once, each single shot attack taking almost a third of my health off and the rapid fire attacks doing extremely rapid ticks of 55 damage each *while blocking with invulnerability*.

2. The Serpent Lantern missions themselves on a team are harder than other CO content, including some Lairs. The Checkpoint Commanders can call what seems like the *entire* base when they're aggroed, so fighting them last after you've cleared the base seems to be the smartest option. Osprey will unexpectedly dump a lot of air based enemies who will attack from above with little warning. Fighting the Osprey is a daunting task with all the anti air guns around each base/checkpoint. Alone, things like that increase the challenge greatly. Coupled with the deadlier, and very possibly bugged, VIPER enemies, it's too much IMO.

3. Aggro mechanics in CO are extremely lacking. Patrick talked about this in depth already. As a tank, aggro feels very hard to attract and maintain. Even with Crippling Challenge and Challenging Strikes, it was a struggle to keep anything on me, or peel an enemy's attention from an ally. Hitting a VIPER Power Armor enemy with CC'ed Beatdown resulted in him continuing to run after my teammate, finishing his Chaingun attack and following it up with a Chest Beam for good measure, the entire time ignoring the super hero running alongside him, constantly smacking him over the head.

Last Sunday's partial run wasn't completely horrible. I've seen worse, much much worse. But it suggests to me that the new VIPER need some looking at by the devs, and goes to show how far teaming and aggro mechanics have to go in CO. A lot less of the beach assault in Saving Private Ryan, and a little more of Justice League Crisis on Two Earths.

Posted: Jul 1st 2010 11:05PM Patrick Mackey said

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I was going to reply to comments but there's a lot of people to reply to.

@Freon fight
I don't agree that he is as hard as most people say, but he is frustrating. The unbreakable hold thing is just silly.

@CoX vs. CO
This is totally a value judgment. I think CO needs balance tweaking -bad- in the team PvE area. However, so does CoX, and it's been the same way for years. The ideal TF (and now SF) teams are one or two tanks and every other character playing buff/debuff. The ideal teams for leveling have eight controllers, defenders or corruptors. How is this better? Stacking buffs are so retarded in CoX that most situations are "get two thermals and win game." Is this better than "pick whatever powers you want, but get a defensive passive?" I'm inclined to say no. CO is bad, but it hasn't remained stagnant for years like CoX.

@fixing aggro mechanics
The biggest fix has to come from the taunt powers. Every time a taunt power with CC/CS is fired, it needs to generate threat to everything around the tank, just like if someone used a heal. High presence on both tanks and healers can work to counterbalance the rest. The problem is that neither tank nor healer can really build to handle this. I want player skill to play a role here, but it just doesn't. No matter how well the tank plays, the healer's best choice is usually to do nothing, and the alternative is faceplanting. Worse yet, as a healer, you are basically forced into a support passive in order to maintain energy without attacking enemies. IMHO both Avenger and Sentinel need additional buffs to aggro management, but the biggest change should be to taunts. I've played both ends of this problem, and most of it would be fixed if my taunts hit everything in a 50 foot radius around me, even if the threat generated wasn't very high except on the stuff I was hitting.

@crowd control
I don't have smoke grenade, and placate is single target (it's good on bosses). All CC has a maximum target cap of five. CC is pretty good as a whole, but it's more ideal versus tough bosses. AoE holds and such have that five max target cap problem, and the only decent high magnitude AoE hold is Grasping Shadows. Ego Sleep is awful, Soul Mesmerism's advantage takes forever, and most other holds are single target. I haven't used Vengeance or Condemn's hold in PvE, but they're terrible in PvP. I have no idea there. The best sustainable CC powers are knockbacks and knockups, which are more of a tank thing anyway. I kind of like it this way. If you're comparing CO to CoX, I think CO is better off without huge AoE game-winners. Power boost + seeds of confusion = 50 second huge AoE mez? Win target battle, much?

@Citizen H, who played our fearless invul tank
He's more or less correct about everything there. The new VIPER are screwed up pretty bad in big teams. Getting hit for moderate numbers through a R3 block skill by henchmen is just retarded. Teaming is fun, but this isn't encouraging. I may have to have someone grab up Burial Caves or Telios' instead, because they are much more fun than doing SL with five people.

Posted: Jul 2nd 2010 12:02AM (Unverified) said

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re: @crowd control

you could do a lot to improve crowd control by improving the sentinel role's affect on CC. As it is now, going from avenger to sentinel merely improves Grasping Shadow's duration from 9.7 to 14 seconds. With a recharge time of 13 seconds. Maybe it should also increase the number of targets and the radius. Same for other AE cc. Single target CC should get a longer duration bonus than just the 20%.

of course this would tweak PVP, so you might need to limit the changes to PVE. I don't know if CO does this at all, but a log of games have separate rules.

Posted: Jul 2nd 2010 3:07AM (Unverified) said

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Man, everyone WHINES about their precious trinity roles not working.

Newsflash folks, the trinity of healer, dps, and tank is silly in the world of superheroes. If players in pvp target the healer first why would mobs be different? Furthermore, why would you need dedicated tanks and healers at all in CO? This isn't a medieval fantasy party, its a group of superheroes, everyone tanks, and does damage while keeping at least themselves alive. I just can't imagine a superhero glass cannon living for very long while on patrol alone, or a healing hero have much of an impact before being overwhelmed if they get caught unprotected. Even tank heroes would be worn down if they can't do noticeable damage or heal themselves. I guess these three types of heroes never go on patrol alone eh? Superhero groups are formed for their strength in numbers, not because they need a tank or a healer.

As far as Viper being too hard... its how they should be. Viper are a credible threat to worldede security, they just might take over the world someday. For this group to have any hope of achieving their goals they must be capable of chewing up and spitting out superheroes everyday. Heck, the poster superhero team The Champions, got started because their leader Defender got his tail kicked by Viper when he tried to face them alone.

As for the Pulson Guns and the base leaders calling for reinforcements.. its fantastic. I don't think most players realize this, but they're being tanked! Players naturally zero in on the big target, expecting the little guys to die from incidental aoe. But this time, the little guys are competent dps and will ruthlessly attack anyone attacking their "tank". While being perfectly logical behavior from well trained, well equipped paramilitary troops bent on world domination, it can be quite simply avoided taking out the henchmen first.

Unfortunately, just like in the comics, not all heroes are equally powerful. Be it from a lack of player experience, or simply a weaker build some heroes WILL struggle with Serpent Lantern. For those that feel less heroic because of this..... well, your hero isn't very powerful, I'm sorry. I've felt this personally, I got to lvl 40, using PFF without the right stats for it, with every controllable pet as my main powers.. again, not using the right stats. I won't even mention what my hp's were.

You don't have to limit your character just to fit a role, or a theme, there's no reason every character should not have an active defence or two, a self heal, and a fully tricked out block. You can be a support toon while being able to do damage and take a hit, you can be a tank that can dish out the hurt while keping themselves up. You can even be a dps that can keep the big bad's attention without falling to pieces. The open power system of CO gives you enough powers to be able to do it without sacrificing your character's concept.

Posted: Jul 2nd 2010 11:56AM CitizenH said

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You have a couple of valid points, but you're also expressing some ingnorance.

True healers are rare in comics, that's a fact. Buffers/debuffers are far more common, but still unusual. Glass Cannons very much exist; the Human Torch, Cyclops, Hawkeye. There are many heroes with potent ranged attacks that have no direct defenses other than Generic Comic Book Toughness (TM).

But the fact of the matter is Champions Online is a MMORPG and has to meet the expectations of the people who play it. That means allowing for Glass Cannons DPSers, Stone Wall tanks and everything in between to be valid play styles.

As for VIPER, the devs have stated they're already looking into the powers players have been commenting about. If they were working as intended, the devs wouldn't be doing so. VIPER shouldn't be harder than enemies found in Lairs that give out better rewards; that's just not logical.

"Unfortunately, just like in the comics, not all heroes are equally powerful. Be it from a lack of player experience, or simply a weaker build some heroes WILL struggle with Serpent Lantern."

It's very ignorant of you to assume that the players in the run in question were poorly built and lacked experience. When a character in Protector role with upwards of 9k HP, D/A and purple tanking gear, L3 Invulnerability, Masterful Dodge and two self heals is getting killed quickly *through* a L3 block by *Henchmen*, that's a red flag that there may be something wrong with the enemies. When that same character is getting buffed with MR and heals by a teammate and is still taking massive damage, that's the clincher.


Posted: Jul 2nd 2010 12:20PM (Unverified) said

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@Cris. Finally! Someone gets it =)

I've healed through Serpent Lantern several times now at 40, on Very Hard mode. While tanks attacks have limited targets, Shockwave is equal to none for grabbing aggro and mitigating damage (via knockdown).

Every single fight in SL has Line of Sight tricks that can be used by healers to heal tanks safely with 0 threat. You just have to be extra aware of your surroundings. Your tanks just need to not get too overzealous in their running around.

Also, attacking the base leader (at anytime, in any camp) will cause all remaining baddies in the area to aggro...
You can also wait for the Viper Air Calvary to actual patrol around to your side of the base and snag them that way. There's also a clear chat warning when AIr Calv are being dropped off. Furthermore you can kill the

Gunship that drops them all off stopping more Viper "air raids" at that camp. After the initial drop it simply flies around the camp overhead. (Sidenote: worth doing just for the shiny explosions).

Healers should consider Evasive Manuevers w/ threat wipe advantage, Sigils, Protective Circles, Unbreakable, Masterful Dodge, and quite a few other powers to mitigate the "squishy" factor. I'm not saying take all of them but they're not exactly difficult to work in. Even with character concepts in mind.

Active Defenses like Masterful Dodge and Unbreakable are instant and can be used while held. On top of that if you Superstat Int you can get them down to 1 minute cooldowns or less. (20 seconds for the nonclicked active)

Hit me up in game anytime @Vexor

Posted: Jul 2nd 2010 12:29PM (Unverified) said

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Even if we agree with most of what you say, there still seems to be a fundamental problem with the way healing agro works. Damage agro is capped by the number of enemies being damage while healing seems to affect everything. We're not saying that the healer shouldn't get some agro and be able to handle it, but getting swamped by dozens of enemies as soon as you toss a heal isn't right.

Posted: Jul 2nd 2010 4:34PM Patrick Mackey said

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I don't get it, are people saying that players shouldn't be allowed to play healer characters?

You guys really lost me at the "trinity concepts should die" when you also suggested players can "play a concept." In a MMORPG, one of the core roles available to players is that of a healer. People like this role and think it's fun, especially when you're not -only- healing (my healer is also a damage dealer and has crowd control, for instance). If a player selects healing powers, those powers should be viable. Suggesting otherwise also suggests that the devs shouldn't have implemented powers like Seraphim or Aura of Radiant Protection at all.

Posted: Jul 2nd 2010 8:15PM (Unverified) said

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@ Citizen H.

If you have problems with a 9k hp tank with all the defences you listed, i don't know what to tell ya. My 6.2K Hp, Regen 3, Energy Shield 3 with resurgence, unbreakable and bionic shielding 3 gets along just fine in Very Hard mode. Are you not doing enough damage maybe?

I will grant you that there are indeed glass cannon characters in well know comic books, but all the ones you mentioned, weren't they conceived as part of a team? I'm no comic book expert, but does cyclops or the human torch go on solo patrols fighting bad guys wherever they're found? Unfortunately I know nothing of Hawkeye, so I can't comment on him.

As far as playing archetypes if you want... you can. I think the real issue at hand is that previously, there was very little downside to making an all out offensive, defensive or healing build. In SL you're called on it. If you can't take a hit Viper will shred you to pieces; if you're super defensive, but do little damage, Viper will eventually overwhelm your defences. Its going to sound harsh, but you can't be a one trick pony and expect things to go smoothly, I feel this is a good thing.

The healing aggro issue, is a non issue to me. If my target keeps getting healed then CLEARLY the healer becomes my new target. How is this confussing to anyone? If I "armchair general / average joe" can see that, surely the mobs can too. Then why is the player aggro generation capped at 5 targets? Is it not obvious? If a room full of enemy troops can see there are FOUR more superheroes you can't expect them all to go after one guy, can you? If I see 5 of my buddies going after the brick, I may decide the angel looking chick, wearing robes instead of armor, doing some suspiciously flashy things with her arms while hanging out in the back may just make a good target, no?

Posted: Jul 3rd 2010 2:21AM (Unverified) said

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I'm sorry, but using "realistic" or PVP rationales to justify healers getting zerged in PVE does not make sense. First off, healing isn't really something that you see in comic books with perhaps rare exceptions. At least not in-combat. You do see support characters that provide crowd control (mentalists) or protect allies with shields (Green lantern, Sue Storm). Yet, healing exists in the game because it makes sense from a gameplay perspective. So if the existence of healers is due to gameplay considerations, then gameplay considerations should also trump "realism" with regards to agro-generation.

Anyway, I disagree that whatever strategies are used in PVP should be mimicked by PVE mobs. PVP is cutthroat. Players will use whatever strategy will most likely lead to the deaths of their enemies. The goal of developers in creating pve content is to provide entertainment, not to destroy player teams with the greatest efficiency. Consider this: a valid strategy in PVP is to simultaneously nuke a player, killing him before he can be healed. So why not have the developers program npc's to focus fire on a random player and 1 shot him? Well, in most cases that's just going to be frustrating to players because there's practically no way to prevent the death. However, if you program the mob's to give a warning and time to the players for them to prepare for the strikes so that the person will likely survive, then that can become a fun, rewarding encounter.

So just having all of the mobs zerg the healer and kill him/her because that's what happens in PVP does not make sense. On the other hand, having 100% of the mobs focused on the "tank" while the healer sits back and spams heals isn't really a desireable result either.

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