Monday, January 14, 2008

CoH: Travel

In City of Heroes I have a short list of items that I refer to as my idiot list. The idiot list contains certain items or actions that let me know that I'm playing with a complete moron. There are some qualifications before making it onto the list such the number of vet badges. If you don't have any vet badges, or maybe one or two, it's fine to make disastrous choices when building a character. Most of us playing have made some truly brain dead power choices at one point or another.

Tops on my list of people I'd rather not play with because they are idiots are those who choose multiple travel powers. In City of Heroes players have 4 different travel powers that can be obtained at lvl 14. Players can fly like Superman, jump like the Hulk, speed around like The Flash, or teleport around like Nightcrawler. Each of the travel powers is made up of 4 different powers, with the travel power itself being the third in the line-up. In order to get a travel power players must take at least minor power first.

The Fly classification for example has the powers of hover is a much slower version of fly; air superiority, which is an attack; fly, which as the name indicates allows the player to fly around; and Group Fly, which allows the entire team to fly around.

Thus, in order to obtain Fly players must already have a preceding power, either hover or air superiority. The same goes for the super jump class, super speed, and teleport. In order to two different travel powers then players must invest at least 2 extra powers in addition to the travel powers themselves. So somebody with both Super Jump and Super Speed must have at least combat jumping or jump kick, and haste or flurry.

Now, the big question is why would you not want two travel powers? Well, the first aspect is that power space is limited. A quick /respec on my kin/elec defender shows that in order to get every single power in my primary and secondary sets requires me to take two pool powers along the way, and at lvl 38 when I can get my last electrical power, I have 4 slots left over. In order to take 2 travel powers, I would only have 2 slots left over to spend on my epic power sets or other useful pool powers.

Not everybody is going to take all of the primary and secondary powers, and in some cases it is possible for some character classes to get away without many of the secondary powers, or get away with dropping some of the powers in the primary slot. Example, my Kin/Elec defender. Since a defender is primary support for the team, I used 3 available power slots to take the medic pool powers instead of attacks. On a Ill/Storm controller I have I didn't take two of the first four Illusionist powers because one of them was duplicated later in the secondary power set, and the other was a junk power. On my scrappers I generally avoid taking the taunt attack, since a scrapper isn't supposed to tank.

The second aspect of why multiple travel powers are a bad idea is that they don't stack. Trust me, I've spent a lot of time on the test server mucking about with various builds. Stacking Super Jump and Super Speed together does not net you any boost in performance. When you are in the air Super Jump speed applies, and when you are on the ground super speed limits apply. A quick experiment players can duplicate on the test server is to take a character with Super Speed and a character with Super Jump to Boomtown on the hero side or Cap Au Diable on the villain side. In Boomtown make your way to the top of the big roadways just north of the door from Steel Canyon. In Cap Au Diable, head up into the center of the city and find one of the walls up above the moat. Now... Jump off.

Okay, both seem to jump off at about the same speed going forwards. Now, go back and do it again but try to turn to the left or to the right. Note that the Super Jump power remains the same speed as you go left or right, but once your move using Super Speed? All of that speed is suddenly lost.

What Super Jump does is it gives the player air control. Super Jump removes the weight and physics restrictions when the player is in the air. If you want to jump, and then suddenly turn back another way, Super Jump lets you do that. Super Speed increases your ground speed. As long as you are touching the ground Super Speed increases your running rate. Once you lose contact with the ground though, Super Speed no longer applies.

The same is held true in the Kinetic powers of Speed Boost and Inertial Reduction. During the Winter Event many players kept calling for Speed Boost to get down the ski slope, but where unable to post good times because they had absolutely zero control over their movements once they were bumped off the ground by the slope. Players with Super Jump, and those hit with Inertial Reduction which gives a temporary super jump like affect to all players hit, were able to easily post times under 18 seconds. I myself posted a time just above 16.1 seconds.

When players combine Super Jump and Super Speed, what they are actually getting is a trade-off. A similar velocity is achieved whether or not the player is on the ground or in the air. However, veteran users of Super Jump are quite easily able to place themselves so that they continue jumping on and on, and never drop speed. Veteran users of Super Speed are easily able to track their paths forward so that if they do have to take a jump, they'll be able to take it in a straight line and keep their speed.

Overall then, combining Super Jump and Super Speed is a bad idea. Instead of making the character stronger with their own powers, or by taking more useful powers in the pool sets, like leadership, players weaken their characters trying to be cute about in-game travel.

One of the excuses I saw directly given for combining Super Speed with any other travel power is that Super Speed boosts stealth. Technically, this is true. Players with Super Speed do have a small stealth bonus. Players will also need to pick up Haste or Flurry, and Haste is one of the better pool powers in the game as it can rapidly speed up attacks and reduce countdown timers on long recharge powers like the revive powers. The excuse follows that players pick up Haste too boost their attack rate, then combine Super Speed with their other travel power for a Stealth bonus.

That excuse is promptly ruined by one of the pool power sets: concealment. Which for the first available power has Stealth. Stealth not only uses less endurance than Super Speed, it also grants a decent defense bonus while traveling, and a much higher bonus to hide from enemy mobs. Seriously, be honest. If you picked up fly for a power, you probably don't intend to be on the ground that much to begin with.

The excuse is made even worse when Tanks pick up a stealth power. A class that is designed explicitly to draw enemy aggro and take the aggro... trying to hide. Yeah, not really along the lines of what one would consider brilliant.

Combining travel powers isn't the only aspect of the travel power choices that have bugged me in the past. It's when classes chose a pool power that really isn't suited for their classs. Example, fire armors without Super Jump and it's level 20 power, Acrobatics. Fire Armor shares a common weakness with the Dark Armor sets, there is no native resistance to certain types of status effects. Fire and Dark armor sets have no native powers to protect against knockback or hold. So, the level 20 pool power of
Acrobatics found in the Super Jump power set is a class requirement. However, I've seen several Fire and Dark armors that don't pick Acrobatics up and go with other travel powers like fly or super speed. Then I promptly witness them getting their collective rear ends handed to them on silver platters by enemies 10 levels below. I remember one Fire Armor who was exceedingly happy my Kin/Elec had Increase Density. I flat out told him no I wasn't going to boost him during battle because he was an idiot.

Don't get me wrong on this, I'm not trying to discourage experimenting with different powers and how to set up and combine those powers. What I am trying to get across is to consider all aspects of what the power sets do, and how they'll play out.

And when a 15month vet badge defender starts telling a 27month badge scrapper how they should slot defense powers? Well, that just about tops the list of idiotic things that can be done in the game.
Post a Comment