Thursday, February 12, 2009

Positron Equivelent for City of Villains

This is an extension of an idea I posted here :

Premise: Low Level Repeatable Task Force for Villains

The problem posed is this: City of Villains lacks storyline content when compared to City of Heroes. There are simply no answers on Villain side to some of the Task Forces Heroes can get. One of the most obvious missing items is an answer to the Positron Task Force, a Strike Force for avatars between the levels of 10 and 15, with no Arch-Villain, a really obnoxious storyline, with a high merit reward.

So, I proposed a story arc that would fit such a situation, taking components of the Positron Task Force and re-arranging them relative to the Villain side.

For starters, Positron Task Force pits 3 Villain groups against each other. Players face the Vhazilok with heavy toxic damage, the Clockwork with endurance drain, and Circle Of Thorns with multiple status effects.

Now there are some caveats to designing a task force for low levels. Heroes have the luxury of a strong low level buff / debuff archtype, which is the Defender. Villains however have no low-level answer to the Defender, as both the MasterMind and the Corrupter's buff / debuff sets are secondary powers. So for the same 10-15 level range I have to throw out some of the more obnoxious mez effects that Hero players can run into since most of the anti-mez powers can only be gotten after level 16.

The Enemies

So, for the villains I picked the groups of Infected, Legacy Chain, and Snakes.

The Infected are similar to the Vhazilok in that they are mostly made up of walking zombies. But while Vhazilok terrify young heroes with their Toxic Blasts, Infected are mostly limited to smashing and lethal attacks that can be easily healed. Their biggest problem is the defense reducing Boss Set, not that a team backed with a Cold Dom or Bubbly would notice.

Legacy Chain are similar to the Circle Of Thorns. However, if no Tellus of Earth show up, a Corrupter or Mastermind Storm user can overcome the disorient effects of a boss with O2 Boost.

Snakes are also similar to the Vhazilok in that they do Toxic Damage. That being said, villain avatars have been fighting snakes since they got out of the zig, or came over from Spider University, so dealing with these guys is pretty much business as usual.

The Story

The basic plotline is that the Legacy Chain are interested in the magical cure that was used on the Lost. Perhaps magic can serve as a solution for other beings resistant to normal medical procedures. One of their Librarians is researching the Snakes on Mercy Island, who seem to be resistant to the Infected Mutation. The Librarians research indicates that the Snakes, who have been around the Rouge Isles since, well, the Children of Enos, are resistant to the cause of the Infection for possibly mysterious reasons. The Librarian believes that deep below Mercy Island the key to solving the spreading infection will be found... where the ocean water meets the cave of moonlight, deep beneath the watching Tower.

The Snakes of course aren't about to sit still and simply let the Legacy Chain invade their home, so they go the offensive, rampaging about Mercy Island fighting the Legacy Chain at every corner.

The Infected aren't having any of the cure either. Against all reason they are being moved to fight both the Legacy Chain who are trying to cure them, and the Snakes who stand in the way of destroying the possible cure...

The Mongoose Strike Force

The players part in the story comes from meeting with Mongoose at level 10. His normal story arc ends at level 9, and thus the Strike Force is treated as unlockable, in the same manner of the Hess Task Force or Caverns Trial over on the HeroSide. This insures that somebody can't try to start a Mongoose Task Force without actually having done his story arc. All Mongoose knows at the start is that he has a problem that's going to require a minimum threat level of 10 with at least a 3 player squad.

Mission One: Snake Issues

Mongoose has information that the Snakes are tearing apart some old abandoned buildings and sends the players to go ...settle... the snakes down. Once the mission begins the players find that while the buildings are old, they most certainly are not abandoned. It's a Legacy Chain outpost, and both the Snakes and the Legacy Chain are out for blood.

Mission Placement: The mission takes place in one of the abandoned building's around the burnt pit in South Darwin's landing, preferably one of the buildings that has the door partially blocked by Slag, or is at the edge of the slag pit.

Map Design: While the Legacy Chain are somewhat associated with office buildings in the CapSF, here we want to have a look at their research centers. While I personally feel the Crey hallways do a lousy job of indicating a research enviroment, they might be a good placement for an underground zone shielded from prying Arachnos eyes.

Mission Two: Legacy Chain in Mercy Island?

The player finds a clue that directs them to another possible outpost, only it's abandoned with dead legacy chain and snakes laying around like players find Vanguard and Rikti in LGTF, until the player logs into a computer, mimicking the Faultline Nocturne Ambush. Players leave to find themselves faced with Snakes who have arrived with re-informcements.

Mission Placement: This can really go anywhere. Personally the north west coast doesn't get much use, so placing this around the north west coast incurs some travel time.

Mission Three: Infected Research

After players leave they follow-up the clues from the computer in the Legacy Chain outpost and track down a medical laboratory where the Legacy Chain are experimenting on the Infected. The Villains... rescue... the Infected known as BioPulse, who tells them of the Legacy Chains research.

Map Suggestion: Reskin the map used at the end of the Crey Revenant story arc with Legacy Chain markings. This is why the Crey type hallways are sort of suggested. It really doesn't fit the scene, but art and geomatry assets already in place can be re-used. Personally, I'd like to combine the hospital decore used in the Mother Madness Praetorian arc with the end room from the Crey Revenant arc, but that might require some work on the back end.

Story Progression - Design: Put BioPulse behind a barrier such as the ones used in the Eden Trial. Hang his Pod from the ceiling so that he can only be released by ranged attacks or by jumping and attacking. After BioPulse is freed he shouts "don't fire, I can help you" : the intent is so that while BioPulse is rescued, as far as the players are concerned they weren't trying to rescue him, and the rescue just happened to be circumstantial.

Story Progression - Plot: BioPulse doesn't tell everything. He does know that the Legacy Chain think they are onto a mystical cure for the Infected, something he's not too terribly interested in. He can help the Infected strike back at the Legacy Chain, might even help the Arachnos ferret out more of these installations, if only you let him go.

Mission Placement: Port Oakes - we want to have some zone transitions, if for no other reason than to keep the story plausible. There can only be so many snake holes, research centers, and underground caverns under Mercy Island. I personally favor using one of the existing doors in the Port Oakes Oil Spill zone. With an average enemy level of 9, there is no real danger to our TF participants... yet.

Mission Four: Kalinda the not so Kind

Upon taking this information back to Mongoose players are directed to Kalinda who sets up a meeting with Ghost Widow.

Mission Design: This is when players get Mongoose's number for the Task Force. Up to this point the missions have been auto start, but now players have to make the long trek back to Mercy. The mission then leads straight to Kalinda who sets up a meeting with Ghost Widow in the Fort Cerberus Tower.

Mission 5: Ghostly War

This... cure... for the infected could be just the right leverage Arachnos needs to get the Freedom Phalanx to back off... after all, what would Statesman do if he was offered the chance to rid Paragon City of the Infected?

Upon leaving Ghost Widow's tower, players find that her fortress is under assault by both the Snakes and the Infected. Cue large outdoor battle as players must wipe out all Snakes and Infected.

One of the Snakes, upon being aggressively questioned, reveals the location of another Legacy Chain outpost. The players now are hot on the trail of the Legacy Chain.

Map Suggestion: During the Seer Marino Arc players enter the Ghostly Widow's Tower, so they have an idea what it could look like. This time though, players get a chance to see her tower in a more official capacity. One of my biggest... um... pet peeves though is plausibility. So as I see it there are two ways to handle Ghost Widows tower. The first is that her... apartment resides in the level above where players enter. So you have a small room room at the top of the tower, there's not much room to place the camera. More likely then Ghost Widow's ... meeting room, would be placed in the lower tier. Players would take an elevator down to her. The image I have in mind is a small room similar to the Patron's room in Grandville, meeting table in the middle, some monitors, and Ghost Widow standing in front of one monitor at the head of the table. Opposite Ghost Widow, where you are, is a wall with a picture of Lord Recluse, and on the side walls there are two Arachnos doors facing each other. The players enter from one side of the room, but cannot leave, yet. Talking to ghost widow unlocks the second door. Upon exiting by the newly unlocked door, players are back at the top of the tower and face a horde of snakes and infected.

Mission Design: The intent is to have an open field battle. While players will visit Fort Cerberus in pursuing the Seer Marino Arc, they might not be appreciate the detail that went into the designing the fort. Having to clear out out the fort stage by stage should help players appreciate the detail that went into the Fort's construction.

Story Progression:
The information from the Snakes reveals that the Legacy Chain have been infiltrating their underground tunnels looking for something buried deep. The snakes that attacked Ghost Widows Tower don't know what the Legacy Chain are searching for. All they know is that their Queen, Stheno, identified you as the perpetrators behind the slaughter back in Mission 2, and ordered you executed... or else. While the Snake didn't know much more than that, it did know the location of a Legacy Chain outpost that was a rally point for raids into tunnels. However, there is no explanation for why the Infected were at the fort... did BioPulse turn Hero and send the Infected after you?

At the same time, this event is used to set up Mongoose as the contact for the rest of the Strike Force. Since Ghost Widow and Kalinda have their own tasks and duties to accomplish, Mongoose is placed in charge to make sure Ghost Widow's orders are carried out... not that Ghost Widow doesn't trust you.. yet.

Cut Scene Wish List: While I realize that implementing a cut-scene goes above and beyond the idea of a quick to implement, something for I14.5 release, I do love the idea of Ghost Widow helping torture information out of the snakes. What I have in mind is that at the lower helipad (where Seer Marino is), after players clear the map, a cut-scene kicks in, and two snakes race out of the side door pursued by Ghost Widow. One of the snakes shouts "I'll never talk!" and slithers off the edge of the platform. The second snake turns and shouts "I'll Talk, I'll Talk!" : Clue found, mish ends.

Mission Six: The Legacy Hunt

With the location of the Legacy Chain Outpost in hand, it's time to find out what they know. The snakes information sends you back to Darwin's Landing, to a small shanty just north of Ghost Widow's tower... Under the shanty, however, is a well stocked, and well defended Legacy Chain outpost. The boss of the outpost doesn't know much, in fact he knows almost nothing. Orders from above have him carrying out raids into Snake Tunnels looking for an underground stream connected to the ocean. An email on one of the Legacy's Chain's computers is a bit more telling... on it is a copy of a parchment, and translation notes:
Where the ocean water meets the cave of moonlight, deep beneath the watching Tower.

That isn't much to go on, but Mongoose has a lead to report. Ghost Widow has gotten a bit more information out of the Snakes that raided her home. The Snakes know where the outpost you just raided get their supplies from, mostly because the Snakes had orders to take it out after they took you out. Ghost Widow wants you to track down the Legacy Chain Outpost... and destroy it.

Mission Placement: As mentioned, the idea is to place this outpost right under the nose of Ghost Widow herself, just within sight of her tower.

Mission 7: The Legacy of Supplies

Ghost Widow isn't happy, and when Ghost Widow isn't happy, everybody suffers. She wants to know how the Legacy Chain got away with making an outpost right under her nose, and she wants the supply chain to be done away with.

Surprisingly, the supply Sargent has a better idea what's going on as he has been responsible for providing the equipment and supplies for the Legacy Chain tunnel raiders. He's been informed that his underlings are hunting deep underground... anywhere underground, over on Mercy, and that they are looking for Ancient Ruins. He doesn't know much more than that, but if your team lets him go, he might forget he mentioned Children of Enos.

Mongoose finds the report hard to believe. Ancient Ruins under Mercy? With all of the Arachnos construction? Impossible... but Kalinda has his ear with a message from Ghost Widow. Ghost Widow has managed to coax some information out of an Infected that took part in the Fortress Assault, which is impossible, all of the infected were slaughtered. Not that you really want to think into that. According to her the Infected are massing to attack Villa Montrose, so you might want to hurry over and fetch Ghost Widow some more Infected.

Mission Placement: The theme going here with the Legacy Chain outposts is that they are built right under the nose of Arachnos locations. Putting the mish in the North West corner of the DockSide zone puts it right in full view of the Arachnos Installation at Fort Hades. Yes. This is back in Port Oakes.

Mission 8: The Infected Force

As soon as you kick in the door at Villa Montrose, things are already going wrong. There are Infected everywhere, and the Legacy Chain are having trouble fending them off. You aren't there to play nice, you want answers, and you are going to get them.

As you explore the depths of Villa Montrose you find an elevator going down, and inside some dusty catacombs... and secret library. You... rescue... a Legacy Chain librarian from the clutches of the Infected, who is willing to spill his guts for a free passage out... into the waiting cells at Casa'de'Ghost Widow.

Map Design: The idea in mind is a top floor similar to the missions one will encounter when fighting Legacy Chain in the CapSF, the triple pronged floor. However, instead of a just single elevator on the right prong from the door, there's a second elevator hidden behind closed doors in the middle prong. The idea comes from the Villain Side Ourobous task force to depose the Rogue Isles President back in the 1960's, in which players have to click on a closed door to go from inside the building to outside. The second doors are triggered by clearing the upper floors. Then players go down into a Sewer Zone that's been dried up.

This might call for some custom artwork to put elevator doors on a sewer block. While I'd like to have an elevator design that looks really old, I might just have to settle for the implausibility of modern elevators having a sewer exit.

In the sewer zone players find a short tunnel, then a clean break in the wall. In most missions where players have a transition from a sewer into a cave, there is a messy "break through" transition. What I'd like is a clean transition. Somebody designed this tunnel, and designed the cave. Inside the cave is a Legacy Chain being threatened by Infected. Kill the infected and get the story. Escort the Legacy Chain out, and presumably into the waiting hands of Arachnos Agents.

Story Progression: The idea here is that the story is put into place. Players at this point know that the Infected are fighting against the Legacy Chain because the Legacy Chain are seeking a cure. Players know that the Legacy Chain believes the secret to this cure is somewhere below Mercy Island, presumably either reached by the Snake tunnels, or is kept in the Snake tunnels. Players now learn that there used to be an old Watch Tower created by the Children of Enos long ago. The Legacy Chain are convinced that the tower has since been destroyed, but this underground library might have contained clues to find the old Watch Tower. The elder Librarian is in possession of parchments recoverd from unnamed sources, which when peiced togther, could form a map of Mercy Island with the Watch Tower clearly marked. While the junior librarian you have captured doesn't have these parchments, he remembers enough of the markings to tell you what to look for. If you can find the location of the Watch Tower before the rest of the Legacy Chain can, you might be able to beat them to the mystic cure.

Mission 9: Tower Unveiled

After a strenuous patrol of Mercy Island, the players think they know where the watch tower was. Now that they know where it was... how do they get under it.
Mongoose has picked up a lead on Stheno's location, and a little unfriendly persuasion might teach the Queen that talking is good, sending snakes to attack Arachnos is bad. Stheno isn't at home when the Villains kick in the... um... manhole. Fortunantly, a couple of her bosses are ready to write a tell all book about the tunnels under Mercy and reveal how to reach the underside of the old Watch Tower. In fact, they'll even mention that foundation of the tower still exists underground and which tunnels lead to that foundation. Too bad Mongoose needed a new pair of boots.

Mission Design:
Okay. At several points during the Freedom Phalanx Task Forces players have to go on a patrol. In CoH the patrols are often accomplished by players calling in from a nearby phone booth. In order for this patrol to work under the existing system, the proposal is to place similar telephone booths randomly around Mercy Island. While... an ugly solution... it's one that should be quick to implement.

Mission 10: Away with the Ghost

The villains return to Mongoose with the news, and another talk with Kalinda is setup. Ghost Widow is talking things over with Lord Recluse, so she's unavailable... guess it's up to the Players to go underground instead of the more experienced arch-villain.

Story Progression: One of the many complaints about the Freedom Phalanx task forces, and the source of many jokes, is that the epic heroes don't participate in the fight. A good case in point is missions which have an entrance in the molehill right next to Synapse. Some Task Forces handle removing the epic hero better than others, such as Statesman's Task Force gives a logical reason as to why States and Company can't hit Grandville, but the Longbow and Players can. So the objective is to remove Ghost Widow and establish a sense of urgency. Ghost Widow has gone to Grandville, either to talk about the current events with Lord Recluse... or for other matters. Why is not clarified. What is known is that she's not around, and isn't expected to be back anytime soon. From the information the player got from the Librarian in Port Oakes, the Legacy Chain might have already found and entered the old Watch Tower. The players have to act now to stop the Legacy Chain and get the Cure first.

Mission 11: Down the Snake Hole... Again.

The players enter the snake tunnels with an idea of where they are going. These aren't any normal tunnels though, there are some near bottomless pits... and the players are not the first to arrive. The Snakes, Infected, and Legacy Chain are duking it out, and the players must cut through all 3... till at the end, they find the Watching Tower.

Map suggestion: reskin the entrance to the final mish on the Hess Task Force. The triple falling effect will help give the idea that players are taking ancient tunnels underground.

Design suggestion: The tower construction is taken from the tower and surrounding water at the Primeva marker in Nerva Archipelago. The doors set into the tower have the same Star pattern as found in the Primeva ruins.
Ancient Runes are inscribed on the side that... for some reason, still glow. The tower is surrounded by a pit of water, such as the Robot in Hess TF is surrounded by Lava. As players look up the sides of the walls they can see stained glass darkened over and shuttered windows. The top of the room is covered with what appears to be gold. The tower inside the tower has two doors, which are opened by clicking.


Map suggestion: map change. Once players find the Ancient Foundations, either map change to next map, or load a city-zone style map to lead to the next mission map.

Map suggestion: Map Design. In the CoT maps there is a common room where players have to leap across 3 or 4 stone platforms that span a deep chasm. On the upper sides of the maps are two pyramids set into the earth, and the chasm below has some water at the bottom. For the purposes of this map though the map is flooded up to the stone platforms. At one end of the map is a room with a set of stairs leading up, and at the other end two huge wooden doors. On one side of the upper levels is a portal stone that appears to be deactivated... but one click and players find themelves loading into a cave under Mercy Island.

Map suggestion: Map Intent. The intent of the exchange map is to give a hospital option to players, rather than having to walk through two whole maps again. Players rez in Mercy Island, and then head back to the cave for a quick load to underground cave. The idea is based on Midnight Club and Shadow Shard. The act of completing the Snake tunnels unlocks the ancient teleporter, just as completing the Midnight Club arcs unlocks the doors to the Midnight Club. The idea also comes from the Molehill Warp Point in the Shadow Shard, in which players can only access the warp-gate after visiting one side.

Mission 12: The Empty Grave

If players thought they had come far... they hadn't. Upon entering the Moon Tower they find stairs leading downwards... Players descend the stairs for 2 or 3 levels, then find a passage leading to two huge wooden doors with the Eye Symbol from Primeva...

Once past the wooden doors players find a tunnel filled with the dead bodies of Legacy Chain, snakes, and infected. Players come to find a shaft leading downwards, that was at one point sealed with two stone doors imprinted with mystic symbols... two huge doors that have been ripped off and now rest on the side walls.

As players descend the shaft they encounter Infected, Legacy Chain, and Snakes, including the Elder Legacy Chain Librarian... whose dying words are "it's taken... it's...all... been... taken..."

The infected are no better... not that they were intelligent before, but now they seem to be muttering... something... that sounds like .. "by the will"

At the bottom of the pit players encounter a wondrous... and yet horrific sight. The walls are covered with images of a Crescent Moon, all glowing with an ethereal light. The players have found the Cave of Moonlight, below the Watching Tower. Through the center of the pit runs a blue river... a stream from the ocean. There are 4 side-pockets to this room. Engaged in battle in one pocket is the Infected Known as BioPulse... and in another, the Snake Queen
Stheno... Elite-Bosses both of them. In each of the pockets is an Alter... each a glowing mission objective. Each alter generates a clue that simply says "There is nothing to be found." Your previous source of information, BioPulse, is in a crazed fury and as Villains you must take him out, not that such is a bad thing. Stheno... well... like that Snake is going to talk to a group of Villains intruding on her caves.

Map suggestion: Reskin the map used for the Sewer Trial. It's relatively deep, and would fit the image of an old shaft buried deep into the ground.

Story Progression: Upon the defeats of Stheno and BioPulse players return to the surface, the Task Force Complete. Many questions linger... what was in, or on, the Alter's to begin with? What in the world was driving the Infected? Were the Snakes protecting something? Why has Arachnos never found these ruins? What exactly is the story on these Children of Enos? Why don't the snakes suffer from the Infection? What blew those stone doors apart?

Mongoose opinions that the Children of Enos perhaps performed some ceremony or ritual years ago that forever protected the Snakes, and that the alters were all that were left from that event. Kalinda reports that the wholesale slaughter of Legacy Chain has their leadership convinced their fallen Librarian was a lunatic, and they have no connection with the actions that were taken. Officially, no magical cure for the Infected Exists, or at least not one that will come from the bowels of Mercy Island. Ghost Widow, while disappointed that she lost a potential bargaining chip, is pleased that you have damaged both the Legacy Chain operations, and taken out the pesky BioPulse, and awards you a badge to show off your loyalty.

Of course, Ghost Widow isn't very clear on whether that was a bargaining chip for Arachnos... or for herself...


Background Information

Introduction to Strike Forces

One of the reasons why the Positron Task Force is despised by Hero players is that it's an impossibly long and difficult task force, and for many was their introduction to the Task Force aspect of City of Heroes. One of the factors completely ignored by many a high level, multiple avatar, vet-badge toting players is that the average player tries to run Positron at level 10 with training origin enhancements, or no enhancements. While higher level players exempting themselves down are knocking out sub 2 hour times, the reality is that Positron is a 3 hour event for most people, and for the most part, will be hitting 4 or 5 hours on the average team.

The problem then is to introduce strike forces to new players on the villain side without discouraging them from continuing to play the game. The enemy choices reflect the idea. Virtually any team can take on the challenges described,
and if the players really need it, they can get a jetpack from Grandville for the 3rd missions flight / ranged attack ending scenario.

The goal is to generate a Task Force that will take the average team around 3 hours to complete, but at the same time, will have lasting legs against speedsters. I suspect that short of making every mission a kill-all, somebody will be able to turn in a sub 1.5 hour time on the missions described.

Reuse of Resources

One of the noticeable features of the Mongoose Strike Force is that I propose re-using a lot of existing maps, art resources, and existing scenarios in order to create the new Strike Force. One of the ideas behind this is a quick turn-around time on development. Using existing geometry builds and map sources should enable the missions to be put together rather quickly.

In the original draft(s), very few maps would actually have to be reworked or reskinned. By my original count, only the BioPulse rescue, the Fight through the snake tunnels, the exchange map after the snake tunnels, and the dive to the ocean floor require significant artwork changes or item changes. However, in the updated draft, I called for one more special artwork location, as the final hunt at Villa Montrose requests some special art and geomatry, but that isn't required. Most of the missions could be done on existing maps... such as the final mission could possibly be done in the CoT map with Crystals at the bottom... I think it's the one against Lilitu.


Other intents of the task force are to get people to explore Mercy Island and Port Oakes. One of the real pains in the rump for the Positron Task Force is the travel demands with players hitting Steel Canyon, Skyway City, Kings Row, Perez Park, and Atlas Park in quick succession. Since the current City of Villains only has 2 low level zones, Mercy Island and Port Oakes, there isn't much travel back and forth between zones. Where City of Heroes has 12 different starting mission paths, with 5 per Origin in Atlas, 5 per Origin in Galaxy City, and two for the Kheldians, City of Villains only has two starting mission paths. As a result, City of Villains is extremely repetitive at the lower levels. For many it's quicker to grab a team, burn through to level 6, 7, or 8, then head for Port Oakes without having really done much in the way of Mercy content. It's not surprising that many players can have a great number of dark spots on their Mercy Maps. The intent of a strike force centered on Mercy Island is to have people go to sections where they normally wouldn't go, which could require the additional placement of doors for the new missions.


Considering the architecture of Upper Mercy Island, it seems that Arachnos has built their fortress on top of a naturally existing plateau or large hill. It seems very plausible that the Children of Enos could have left some ruins or structures under Mercy Island that Arachnos hasn't gotten to. Early in the story the Arachnos construction seems to explain what happened to the old Watch Tower, as a Watch Tower would presumably exist atop the highest point on Mercy... which is now indeterminable after the Arachnos Construction. Players have to discover where the Watch Tower could have been, and in a surprise twist, the Watching Tower isn't missing. It's buried in a Cathedral deep underground... Which is why no map placement is given. It might even be possible to implement the Task Force without revealing where the Watching Tower is in relation to the topside of Mercy. What is on top of the Cathedral is left to the player's imagination, and the story also leaves open the possibility that the Legacy Chain misinterpreted the ancient texts. There could indeed by an item of mystical power beneath Mercy, but now there isn't.

The Strike Force also raises questions over the infected. The infection is presumed to be caused by contaminated water, but the Snakes seem to be immune. When pressed though, the Infected seem to act as one, implying that the contamination may indeed have mystical or preternatural origins.

The idea, at this level, is that the story should leave new players wanting to find out what's going on.

Background Information - Visual Impact

One of the key-points early on in the idea was creating a task force that could be put together quickly and with little work on the part of actual developers. As the idea blossomed from a quick shot reaction 241 words long into a fully fledged workable task force, the importance of the event set in. If the developers go for this concept, this is what will sell new players on staying with the game. It's important then for the missions to be visually striking, and it's an opportunity for the developers to show off special content that they can create that the Mission Architect can't, and keeping CoV players interested during the, lets face it, downright boring sub 30 levels.

The visual impact really starts with the Villa Montrose fight where players are introduced to the concept of hidden elevators, and the ability of the engine to merge two distinct types of maps into one loading system. The impact of going deep underground is strengthened by the reskinned Map from the Hess TF. Imagine getting all the way down, and finding a Pyramid Type Structure surrounded by a pit of water... then going FURTHER down. Players are impressed with the potential size of structures that could be below the Rouge Isles.


One of the faults of Task Forces is that players aren't giving a feeling of having drastically changed the city or zone in a specific way. The proposed Mongoose TF gives a way to help aid the sense of accomplishment, such as opening up a Midnight Club type zone under Mercy Island. The "new" zone can then be developed upon later with an Arachnos research team behind one of the pyramid doors, which can only be unlocked by completing the Task Force, thus offering potential further story options or task forces to explore the underside of Mercy... perhaps even an Ouro Crystal back into the days of the Children of Enos... far away from the prying eyes of the Freedom Phalanx.


original forum text follows

If you need an idea on what to use for plot, simply pit the Snakes versus the Infected (Vhaz) versus Legacy Chain (CoT). Not a big deal to put together. And if you can't figure out a plot from there, here's one. The Legacy Chain have stumbled across ancient texts that describe a magical process that could heal the infected. The components needed to implement this spell are lost to time, but perhaps they lie beneath Mercy Island, deep in the Caverns of the Snakes. At the same time a mysterious force behind the Infected has caught on that the Legacy Chain intends to heal the Infected, and sends the Infected Against the Legacy Chain to stop them. Arachnos of course wants the Snakes gone, and anything you can do to interfere with the Legacy Chain is considered a good thing, and this mysterious force behind the Infected could be quite a powerful ally. You go in, wipe out the Legacy Chain, Snakes, and Infected, fight your way deep into a cavern at which the bottom is the Snakes eggs (re-map the Sewer Trial mish)... only to find after you've eliminated the Infected known as BioPulse, destroyed the Snake guard, and taken down the Legacy Chain librarian... that the components aren't there. somebody's removed them.... There we go. Instant engaging plot that makes sense within the story, and leaves enough threads dangling for the inevitable "Nemesis did it" reasoning behind plotholes.


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