Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hate Hail Storms / update on ITF

Apparently it's the season for hail as the weather channel shows. The east coast currently has a cloudy storm-front that along with a heat wave... brought quarter sized hail punching through sections of the CSRA. Thankfully I haven't been hit directly, although I will admit that my internet service has gone bonkers as storms move through, so it's been interesting. I also just glanced at the Wii's weather channel and there's another storm moving through Athens now.. and it looks like it could hit. Oh joy.

Anyways, the other point is that I've been adding to the ITF completion guide. Been working with a friend in CoH (Red Scout) to try and cover more scenarios that offer higher completion rates to teams running the task force. Example being in the third mission of the task force there are two archvillains on basically a 4 story platform with a 5th story out of the mountain behind the archvillains. At the bottom of the structure the archvillains are on there is a group of robots that are activated by destroying a console. Destroying the console and the robots is one of the mission objections.

Red Scout likes pulling the two arch-villains to geographic platforms above and behind the archvillain's starting point, going from the 4th story to the 5th story, then finishing off the robot group last. I favor taking down the robot group first, then pulling the AV's down to the bottom of the structures for the fight.

I base my strategy on the size of the team. The cliff behind the archvillains does not consist of a large space. For teams with multiple pets, such as controllers with fire imps, illusionists, and masterminds, fighting on the cliff can make it difficult to bring all of the pets damage onto a single target. The lack of moving space also makes it difficult for some buffs to help players, example in mind is speed boost.

On the other paw, Red Scout takes the viewpoint that fighting on the ground floor results in having to pull more than just the archvillains. There are also high probabilities of ambushes as patrols wander by. This can be a difficult problem when having a team with slow damage rates. Red Scout also prefers fighting the robots last because more than likely somebody will die in the robot fight. Why not just cut the rez, reload time short? if somebody dies during the robot fight, but the mission completes, just hosp. No having to run back and forth from hospital, or dealing with potential massive lag problems.

Yeah, both strategies have their plus and minus's, and it largely comes down to the team in play. Slow damaging teams are probably better off on the cliffs. High damaging teams with speed buffs or large pet groups are probably better off taking the approach from the bottom.

A second point of contention among strategies is found on the 4th mission, against the archvillain group that I've been diagramming how to fight. The contention is actually how to get to the archvillains. One of the mission objectives is killing 300 soldiers. Some people like to go to the archvillain first, and others like to clear through the 300 soldiers first.

I make the call based on the makeup of the team. When running with straight 50's, there's no practical benefit to clearing the 300 soldiers first. When running with multiple players who are not 50, that are sidekicked up though, it's probably best to go ahead and complete the hunt objective first. Completing the hunt portion could give lower level players another level, which translates into powers or slots that can affect the final battle.

I was also shown a trick to completing the hunt, and I'm not sure who credit goes to, but in the 4th mission there are a couple of towers about halfway through the map. The very top of these towers are filled with enemy soldiers. The catch is that killing enemies on top of the tower does not create ambush's. Killing enemies on the paths to the archvillains does cause multiple ambush's. Another catch is that soldiers on the ground can be healed and revived by a surgeon enemy class. There are no surgeons atop the towers, which again lessens the complications of fighting.

I'll try to diagram these out as I can, but I'll probably need one very patient team to wait as I map the mission out.

***

Another point came up on an ITF I had to crash out of due to ISP problems. Whether or not to clear the 5th column around the archvillain group. I've already covered part of this in the new additions to the diagrams on the Completed ITF post. Most of the teams I've been on have always cleared out the courtyard completely before fighting the AV's. The simple reason is Aggravation Control. If everything goes right, all players should have to do is simply clear the soldiers on the raised platform in the middle, then take on the archvillain group. There shouldn't be a need to clear the courtyard.

So, let me pose one question: How often do things go right?

The point of clearing the courtyard in ITF, or really any task force or mission where the main target has nearby minions is to make sure that when things go wrong the team isn't put into a bad or unmanageable position. It's nice when it works, but it's tacky to say something along the lines of we never had to do that before. Just because you didn't have to do it before doesn't mean you don't have to do it now, and does not mean that it's not a good idea.

It's also rather tacky to argue with somebody that game developers themselves have linked to and referenced for help on playing their games. Trust me, if I'm wrong, I'll probably hear about it from the people who wrote the original material, either because I go out of my way to ask, exampling John Bridgham and AMD VIVO support, or because I know they read what I post (although I don't know if Critters or Cupa still read this since I stopped posting about Tabula Rasa... and I don't have the guts to email them and ask).
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