Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"'City of Heroes' character 'Twixt' becomes game's most hated outcast courtesy of Loyola professor"

Bullshit. I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, so be it:

Dear Professor David Myers,

Hi. You don't know me. We play on different servers. As such, I had no feelings for you one way or the other. So, I immediately take issue with this article that portrays you as some sort of infamous celebrity in the world of CoX. You're not.

Having seen a few dozen videos on YouTube of you getting killed in Siren's Call and Recluse's Victory, I take issue with the article portraying you as a good PvPer. You're not. Also, the article neglects to mention that you also posted on the forums of this game, purposely stirring up ill will. We call that trolling, dear Professor. The act of intentionally upsetting people to cause a negative reaction.

I'm sorry that you became a social outcast on the Freedom server by TPing into Drones. We both know it was more than that, but that's not the issue here. Droning people isn't particularly skillful, but at the same time, it's entirely the fault of the people being Droned. With how large the zones are, you have to be fantastically close to the enemy's base to ever risk it happening, and decent players rarely fall victim to it. So, in my opinion, anyone you ever Droned had it coming, cause they were base hugging.

I've received plenty of nasty tells from other players in my time. Most of them while PvPing. I've never Droned another player. I've killed people within their own bases. I've hidden inside their hospitals and killed them when they respawned. I've hidden atop high ledges and swooped down on them without warning, killing them in mid-air. I've hounded Heroes and Villains alike within multiple zones and inside the Arena. I've stalked players that gathered launch codes or meteor shards, and robbed them of their hard won treasures just when they were sure they would reap the rewards of their efforts.

But I've never Droned.

I've even gone so far as to lure the "robotic firing squad" away from an enemy base, with the help of my SGs sniper unit, to leave an entire Villain base undefended, so that my group could swoop in an occupy the whole base, preventing any players from entering on that side. Safely at least.

So, when I read this article, about how you are universally hated and reviled, when the worst thing you've done is Drone some players, or break up some Fight Club in SC, it makes me want to laugh. You're not grieifing anyone. You never did anything that good or bad. The real crime here was the trash talk and mockery that you lent to this conflict, that the article neglects to mention.

I guess the crux of my issue is this: There is nothing inherently wrong with Droning. The Devs, from day 1, have established that nothing save from trapping someone within the geometry of a map is griefing. So, when you TP someone into a Police Drone or Arbiter Drone, you're not breaking any rules. Once someone tells you they have a problem with that action, the dynamic changes. If you TP someone, knowing it will upset them, you are 100% responsible for their reaction. I'm not justifying how they act, most of them sound like very immature people, but you still knowing act in such a manner to cause that reaction from them.

For instance, when in Warburg, I ganked many, MANY other Heroes. It was even the subject of discussion on the Justice forum (that's my server). People talked about whether it was right or wrong for me, roleplaying a biped Police Drone, to kill other Heroes. So, at that point, I changed how I addressed other Heroes in Warburg. I would still attack and kill any player I could, regardless of faction. However, if any Hero ever asked me to leave them be, I would after the first kill. I took responsibility for the consequences of my action, regardless of whether or not what I was doing was wrong. Why? Because that's how all adults should act, online or offline.

Also, I should point out that my SG, the Paragon PD, was the subject of much hate and griefing, simply by existing. We were a top 10 SG for several years, with hundreds of players. Our mere presence spawned rival SGs (Anti-Drones, Rouge Isles PD, etc), our players were subject to constant griefing and harassment, and some (including me) were even kicked from teams for being who we were. On more than one occasion, I've had whole zones of players turn against me just for my name and uniform. Feel free to read my blog, Professor David Myers. I've fought massive battles against both Heroes and Villains simultaneously, outnumbered as bad as 4 to 1.

And not because I intentionally upset players as part of a study on small group dynamics or how the anonymity of the internet emboldens people. Just because I was me.

So, I hope you book is a success. I hope it's more honest and truthful than that article.

-Police Drone TH, lvl 50 Assault Rifle/Energy Manipulation/Munitions Mastery Blaster, Justice Server, Circa Issue 3, proud owner of the 400 Rep PvP badge, and server FFA Arena Champion for 7 Issues.

PS- Zone PvP wasn't introduced until Fall of 2005 with the release of Issue 6: "Along Came a Spider", not Spring of 2004 like the article would have people believe. Issue 6 is also when City of Villains was released. PvP didn't exist until Spring of 2005, and that was limited to the Arenas. The social environment that fostered peaceful interaction between Heroes and Villains existed for a year and a half before zone PvP was a factor, and 90% of the Villains that were created with the advent of CoV were initially Heroes. Again, something the article failed to mention. Furthermore, from Fall of 2005 till Spring of 2006, the PvP zones were the only place where Heroes and Villains could meet face to face, making the only zone where social interaction was possible between the two factions. Pocket D, Cimerora, and the Rikti War Zone didn't exist at that point.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Save vs. Awesome!

Another house rule has favored the players strongly.
Last session, we experienced our first meaningful character death: the bard entered melee with a foe that possessed a vorpal weapon. She was decapitated on the very next action of said enemy. A small outcry arose, and the party's warmage declares an attack on the bard's killer. The warmage lands a crit of his own (thanks to his choice of Improved Critical: Ranged Touch at lvl 12) on a Sudden Empowered Orb of Fire, and ends up doing 40d6+24 damage to the target. That's a damage range of 64-264 fire damage. The warmage then roles all 40d6 at once, being very dramatic, and totals a modest 153 damage. Factor in fire resistance, and the target took 148 damage, 2 hp shy of being dropped in one hit.

However, I run rules for death from massive damage. Each creature has a threshold based on size, and if you exceed that threshold in a single attack, you must make fortitude save of 10+damage over threshold. For example, a medium creature has a massive damage threshold of 50 damage, for a large creature it's 65, for huge it's 80, etc.

So, the target of this Empowered Orb of Fire was subject to a DC 108 fortitude save.

Good job Danny, you killed the bad guy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Set the pace.

Normally, the success of a group isn't measured by how many enemies they beat, or how good the XP per hour is; merely how fast the team perceives itself as moving through spawns.

Don't get me wrong. When I'm gaining multiple bars of XP per mission, leveling more than once with the same group post lvl 20, yeah, that group is badass. However, in general, the teams I remember most are the ones on which I felt like I was unstoppable.

Now, as awesome as my Blaster (Police Drone TH) is, he is made stronger by good teammates. Specifically, Tankers and Defenders.

Now, this isn't some post extolling the virtues of the "Holy Trinity" (Tank/Healer/Mage). Instead, I'm saluting the people who control how fast the team rolls. In CoH, it's the Tankers and Defenders. Tankers who eat alphas and manage agro, and Defenders who buff (not heal).

Tankers get a bad rep sometimes. They can be regarded as glory hounds, or seen as trying to do all the work just to show off. However, the real strength of a Tanker is in his ability to embolden the team, and make them strike harder and faster, having faith in the Tanker to keep the agro off them while they rain hell. This applies equally to all classes, not just "Mages". It's safer to debuff once a Tanker has moved in. It's safer for a Scrapper with a mandatory agro aura to engage the foes. Additional agro is less of an issue if the primary spawn is being adequately managed. Tankers, when performing their job properly, help set the pace at which a team does it's job. The better the Tanker, the faster the pace, without team safety being sacrificed.

Any player can tell you that they feel much stronger when an Empathy/Thermal/Pain Manip/Kinetic/etc buff is cast on them. The very nature of buffing powers in CoH lends huge strength to a team. Strong characters are bold ones, and a buffed team is more confident going into battle. While they may still be numerically inferior, they will most times still press on, putting faith in that extra +18.5% def the Defender gave them, or the extra +500% regen the whole group has. Knowing that they are backed by a vigilant Defender (no pun intended), a team is more likely to stand it's ground when people start to fall. More likely to keep fighting when they would otherwise run away. I've seen more team wipes resulting from premature retreat then from failing to run away fast enough.

When solo, I know my own limits. I can ride the razors edge, and tackle odds far greater than most other players. Most players perform better when solo, as they only have themselves to consider in any given situation. When teamed, everything changes, because up to seven other people can be impacted by what you do. When teamed, I have to exercise restraint, since more than my own fate rests in the balance (and usually, the odds are vastly stacked against me). However, when teamed with the right people, when there is the right combination of agro management and buffing, I can once again become the engine of death that I know I am. And this applies to the rest of the team as well.