Monday, May 26, 2008

Completed ITF

just leaving a small note. Finally completed the Imperious Task Force on CoH Issue 12. Couple of notes for the Task Force. For the final boss the team really needs to have tanks or brutes with their native taunt. Reason why is that the final boss the team faces 4 arch-villains at once, who cannot be separated. One of the arch-villains emits a near constant AOE heal for 262+ points of damage. Combined with the native high regeneration of an arch-villain, this makes the targets nigh impossible to kill.

A tank or brute with taunt, however, can pull the healing Arch-villain away from the rest of the group far enough for the AOE heal to be out of range.

A second tank or brute is required to taunt and hold the other 3 archvillains in place.

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Scrappers aren't really desired for this because of ambushes that will occur during the fight against the four arch-villains. It's possible for the taunter of the healing Arch-villain to find themselves up against 5 or 6 boss level characters that cannot be killed due to the rapid AOE heal.

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Other notes on the TF: The second mission features Nictus Crystals. Unlike the Nictus Crystals in the rest of the game, all of the enemies for the Crystal are already spawned. Destroying each Nictus Crystal in the Imperious Task Force causes an ambush headed by an elite boss. The recommended method to deal with the ambushes is to clear off all of the spawned Nictus enemies first, then destroy the Nictus Crystal, then deal with the mob.

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Okay, update / edit. Finally completed the TF with only one Tank to taunt. The Healing Nictus can be taunted a short distance away from the rest of the rest of the arch-villains, providing everybody else on the team is attacking the main AV.

The problems with the single tank method is that the main Arch-Villain will run around a lot unless holds or immobilizes are put into place. As mentioned, the 4 Arch-villain group cannot be separated too far. If either the main AV runs around, or the taunting tanks draw their target to far away, the group of arch-villains will reform.

I did find out it is possible for a Blasters Tanks Epic Pyre Fire Ring power to immobilize the main AV, so a good holding / immobilizing controller should have a breeze keeping the main Arch-Villain for the fight locked into one place.
Sorry about the mis-type. Both my fire-manip blaster and fire armor tank have the Fire Ring attack. I forgot which one it was classed as an Epic Power, although I've immobilized the main arch-villain with both Avatars.
On a single tank team two healers with strong AOE heals are really needed to provide cover over each other. We managed to pull off taking the Main AV down with a defender radiation, a controller empath, and a corruptor thermal radiation. However, it should be noted that successfully completing the fight required pullout various bonus pets, such as the HVAS from Rikti War Zone, a couple of Shivans from the PvP zone (That really needs to go away and be made co-op), and a couple of Amy buffs from Croatoa. In comparison, a two tank team with a -rad, -kin defender, and a -dark mastermind, required pulling no pets out... and another two tank team with only a -rad and a -storm required no pulling of pets.

What can be taken from this? Make sure there are two tanks with taunt. The fight will be a lot easier.

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One of the strategies I've heard mentioned is using various -confuse powers in order to confuse the arch-villains to fight each other. Right off hand the strategy sounds like a good one... but it's not.

The first problem with the confuse strategy is that the Imperious Task Force is bugged. It has multiple known issues ranging from holes in the map, to the arch-villains not responding to ranged attacks. The part in bold is rather important to the task force. Right now ranged attacks are not functioning properly. What's going to happen when ranged attacks are fixed? Will confuse still work on a lvl 51 arch-villain? I'm not taking bets, but I've never seen any other lvl 51 arch-villain confused before.

The second problem is that most archetypes with confuse powers avoid them like a plague. For illusionist controllers the confuse powers are largely considered a dump stat power. There's a reason why the ultra-rare purple confuse io sets sell for less than 10,000 influence, where most purple recipes start at 10,000,000 influence.

That reason consists of the way confuse powers work. I stopped counting how many task forces I've been on where the team wiped because a confused opponent ran off and started attacking another entire mob. The same goes for just regular teams.

Going beyond Aggro, there is also the loss of experience and influence. Enemies killed by a confused opponent don't count towards the teams kill count or exp. yet another reason confuse powers are largely ignored.

So, either way it goes, finding somebody who actually took the confuse power, and presuming that the upcoming fix to the Arch-Villains behavior doesn't completely ruin the strategy, the strategy just ain't worth it.


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Thought a bit about this, then decided the fight might be easier to describe with a picture... a couple moments in Xara Xtreme, and we have the following pictures. The first is a top down view as the player enters the combat zone, with the player entering from the bottom.


1: Main Arch-Villain : the primary target

2: Healing Nictus : This nictus heals on with a couple of weird algorithms. It appears to heal for 200+ on it's on, but when surrounded by enemies, was popping off heals of 400+. It's possible this nictus has properties similar to Ghost Widow and can PBAOE heal itself off enemies.

3: Summon Nictus : This nictus constantly spawns greater and lesser nictus which attack players. Tanks with strong AOE taunts should have no problem keeping the nictus spawns under control.

4: Buff Nictus :
This nictus seems to buff the main-archvillain and the other nictus. Without the healing nictus around though, the buffs are easy to overcome.

A: Left platform
B: Right platform

I'm not sure if I have 3 and 4 labeled right. However, the left Nictus, #2, has always been the healing nictus.

Sections A and B are platforms that extend out in front of the arch-villains with stairs in between.

This is the rough idea of the primary plan of attack.

One tank runs in and taunts #1 while the other tank taunts #2.

#1, the main arch-villain, is taunted right, towards Platform B.

#2
, the healing nictus, is taunted left, towards Platform A.

The length of the main platform is about the length that the arch-villains can be separated. Any further and they will regroup.

***

On one of the ITF's a couple other major bugs were observed.

When the main arch-villain in the group dies, one of the nictus is supposed to de-spawn and revive the main archvillain. The order of the respawn has been witnessed as buff nictus, followed by spawn nictus, and lastly the healing nictus.

There appears to be an algorithm or coded behavior that requires line-of-sight from the main arch-villain to the nictus in order for the revive to occur. Witnessed on one task force we had a setup similar to below.


Using the already established numbers, #1 being the main arch-villain, and #2 being the healing nictus.

#1 was killed up atop the platform, out of line of sight with the healing nictus being held by one of the tanks. However, after #1 was killed, the avatar despawned and the third revive did not occur. Rather the healing nictus remained. All attacks on the healing nictus failed, it seemed to take no damage at all.

After multiple fruitless attacks on the healing nictus the group feel back and awaited a petition to be answered for the bugged arch-villain. Eventually the healing nictus reset itself on the platform, where it would normally be, and for some odd reason, finally took damage.

What we believe happened is that after the main arch-villain dropped, the remaining nictus are super-buffed during the respawn time to basically insert a pause into the fight as players wait for the respawn animations to complete. Since the respawn failed to complete no signal was generated to drop the buffs on the healing nictus. The buffs only dropped when the natural clock for the buffs ran out as though it was a player character.

So, general rule of thumb, make sure that all kills of the main arch-villain are in line-of-sight of the various nictus.


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Okay, yet another update. Finally completed an ITF as the single tank on a single tank team. So that means more bad Xara diagrams. Lets start with an overview of the final fight area.



Not exactly to scale... but a rough idea of the layout.

5th : These are the 5th Column groups.

C: This platform is filled with plenty of Cimeroran traitors

EB: There are 3 elite bosses sitting around the archvillian group

AV: The Archvillains

AD: Ambush Door

The standard procedure for most of the fights is to clear the courtyard of the existing 5th column soldiers. It's also possible, and useful, to go ahead and taunt or snipe the Elite Bosses to the right and left of the Archvillain group and fight them at the same time the 5th Column groups to the left and right of the archvillain are fought.


With the courtyard clear, it's a good idea to herd groups of the Cimeroran traitors to either side of the raised platform.


T of course being the Tank.

There is a possible bug to be found in this method with the enemy AI. The Cimeroran Traitors seem to get hung up on leaving the platform, and instead of following the taunting tank en masse, simply congregate on the stairs and the ledges of the platform of either side. In other words, be prepared for mobs that are not concentrated on a single target. To finish off, simply rinse and repeat.







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