Summoners, due to a technical issue, this week's series of Alliance Quests will be cancelled at 4pm PT. There will not be any Rewards for this series. The next series of Alliance Quests will start on April 18 at 12pm PT. We will be assessing the impact on Alliances and compensating accordingly, as well as returning Alliance Tickets.

Variant Difficulty - My Thoughts

So I just recently finished the Variant Difficulty and I wanted to share some of the thoughts I had while playing through it.

  • This level of difficulty definitely requires a deep roster and an analytical mind. It forces you to fully weigh out your options and choose champions based on the paths you're taking, which can force you to play with champions you haven't used before/in a long time. This was a great way to dust off some champions and to highlight some of the abilities that others have.
  • The class separation was a nice touch on adding difficulty because in a lot of ways it prevented some of the most common synergies from coming into play - I.E. Danger Sense on Villains and a stronger Danger Sense overall with the Blade/Ghost Rider/Stark-Enhanced Spider-Man synergies, the synergies between Void, Killmonger and Sabretooth, or the synergies between Ant-Man, Wasp, and Ghost, as well as some others that are probably fairly common. Again this forced you into really thinking about your roster and looking at what certain champions can do in order to run these maps as efficiently as possible.
  • While the class separation was a fun challenge, I do not think that it was overall fair to keep ramping up the difficulty and strength of Chapters 2 and 3. I feel like this can really strain a lot of players who maybe don't have the right champions as 5* variants in Chapter 3 where you're facing enemies at 40k+ PI and much higher health and attack than in Chapter 1.
  • For example: The first Vision you come across in Chapter 3.3 on the right side has a PI of 40,070, 169,945 Health and 12,465 Attack. The first fight in Chapter 1.3 is a Carnage with a PI of 31,069, 107,190 Health and 7,740 Attack.This may not seem like an extreme difference but that additional attack rating means you're taking more block damage, and if you happen to have a stacked roster of Skill/Mutant champions but are lacking in Science/Cosmic champions, you're going to have a bad time simply because of those differences.
  • The Gassed node in Chapter 2.3 is, in my opinion, completely ridiculous and overpowered. Last I checked, Fatigue debuffs are entirely unavoidable and there are very few champions who can remove debuffs on themselves (Agent Venom, Ægon, Killmonger with the Void synergy, and Ghost come to mind, have I missed any?) and even in the case of having a single champion that qualifies for 2.3, Fatigue buffs that are applied mid-combo (or special, if I remember correctly) will inflict massive damage on the attacker should another hit land on the defender.
  • While we're talking about nodes that feel a little unfair, I feel as though the final Ultron boss in Chapter 3.3 falls under that category. With no single Science or Cosmic champion falling into the "Shock Immune" category, only one champion really fits the unique parameters of this fight: Gladiator Hulk (or as you guys label him, Hulk (Ragnarok)), and this is simply because his Face Me! mechanic works against the passive shocks applied when this Ultron throws his specials after you trigger buffs.
  • To elaborate just a little more on the 3.3 Ultron thing, I tried fighting him without triggering dexterity or any other buffs, and I found that the block damage from specials and attacks (especially when you run out of parries due to Limber) is too great and quickly results in a K.O.

Lastly, I wanted to address some of the things I found...slightly hypocritical from the Dev Diary post about the added difficulty. A direct quote from the post:
MCOC Team wrote:
An opponent with +1000% Attack is a lot scarier and harder than one with +50% Attack, but isn’t more interesting. It’s not fun to walk into a fight and immediately lose your entire roster to a challenge with no counters.

Now while we know there weren't any champions with +1000% Attack, but I still feel like parts of this difficulty could cause a player to "walk into a fight and immediately lose their entire roster." I had some instances of the Science Ultron Drones evading an attack an immediately punishing me for it, often to the point of an instant K.O. because of their overall strength. Those evades reminded me of a time we were plagued with this same bug when facing Classic Spider-Man and Ultron in some of the very first iterations of Alliance War, and definitely did not make the game fun and enjoyable. Some of the most frustrating moments while playing through this difficulty came from champions evading attacks and immediately punishing me into the ground.

Side Note: Why is it that I can face someone like Classic Daredevil and hit him with a mixed Special attack (part physical, part projectile in that order) and have every single hit land (i.e. Blade's Special 2), but when I face an opponent like Spider-Man or Miles Morales and hit them with the same Special 2 (Or a Special 2 from Stark-Enhanced Spider-Man) they have the capability to evade the projectile portion of the attack? I noticed this a few times as well.


Anyways, I really enjoyed playing through this new content, I thought it was a good challenge and a good way to test my skills as a player, but overall there are some things that I think fell short of making this a truly great experience. I know I'm just one guy but hopefully this reaches the right people.
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Comments

  • GamerGamer Posts: 7,390 ★★★★★
    Im only have champer 3 to do and im find it okay and fells the same ways as u do
  • I will agree that the boss fight on the 2.3 is absolutely riddiculous, specially for low end devices and some other android's out there. The fact that the battle is built in a way that you'll only want to parry and use heavy attacks isnot a fun concept at all when the enemy just teleports right in to you, without giving you a chance to block or anything. On other phones and iOs, this is slow enough and it's avoidable
  • WorknprogressWorknprogress Posts: 5,877 ★★★★★
    Corvus is shock immune with glaive charges
  • Bpn88855Bpn88855 Posts: 402 ★★
    Corvus is shock immune with glaive charges

    Ultron 3.3 shock is passive, so no, Corvus not immune. Just finished first run. That boss was hard as I did mistake, my Corvus was not dupped, so he died very quickly from shock

  • Panchulon21Panchulon21 Posts: 1,942 ★★★★
    edited December 2018
    I like your elaborated explaination, felt like a pretty accurate set of examples too.

    I feel like some of the nodes are actually pretty well placed some were very challenging and really tested my skills as a player.

    I am not 100% done yet but have 100% chapter 1 and 2 and made 1 run of chapter 3.

    The evading ultron boss was stupid. That did not test any skill at all. It tested how well you were able to parry and how good your heavy stack was.

    Some of the paths are complete money grabs. Any path that features degen, starburst, korg or electro is trash. Especially when there are only a few counters to each champ. The guys who say they one shot them are liars.

    Electro and korg on flare? Trash. Lol.

    I’m slowly working on it, the rewards are worth it, the effort helps my skills increase and to think about synergies I’ve never used before. But kabam really needs to think about where they place korgs and electros.

    I do 100% agree the final ultron is a little trash too, I don’t complain about it because I have a 6 star gladiator hulk and 5 star. If you don’t have that or Medusa you’re kind of screwed lol.
  • WorknprogressWorknprogress Posts: 5,877 ★★★★★
    Bpn88855 wrote: »
    Corvus is shock immune with glaive charges

    Ultron 3.3 shock is passive, so no, Corvus not immune. Just finished first run. That boss was hard as I did mistake, my Corvus was not dupped, so he died very quickly from shock

    Gotcha. Was just mentioning it since he said there were no "shock immune" cosmic or Sci champs
  • Kenny292Kenny292 Posts: 546 ★★
    Captain America is a pretty good alternative to the final Ultron boss with his block proficiency, Cap IW being the preferable option with his damage output, but OG and WWII could work as well if you don't have any better options. He even survives fairly well baiting out heavies for openings once you run out of parries due to limber. Note for Cap IW: sp3 is the way to go for damage in this matchup since his sp2 is considered energy damage and triggers Ultron's sig ability.
  • TheManMythLegendTheManMythLegend Posts: 3,966 ★★★★★
    Nebula wrecks 2.3 boss tho
  • SiliyoSiliyo Posts: 683 ★★★
    Chapter 2.1 Mystic Ultron Boss punishes you for using dexterity. This takes no skill at all. I think it's a scumbag move from Kabam Devs. Thanks @Kabam Miike @Kabam Lyra @Kabam Zibiit @Kabam Vydious @Kabam Wolf
  • kconrad37kconrad37 Posts: 125
    @Panchulon21 you bring up a few good points. I feel like the straight degen paths were more of a money-suck than the other paths, though again you strengthen my argument about some things being champion-specific. The best counter to the Starburst paths was definitely Gladiator Hulk. To my knowledge (and maybe I'm forgetting someone) he is the only champion who can handle that path consistently without a need to revive AND heal up before the next fight.

    And even Medusa isn't the best counter to 3.3 Ultron because she still gains buffs and that Force Of Will buff on Ultron prevents the ability accuracy modifications that would shut it all down.

    @Kenny292 Thanks for the tips on using a version of Captain America. I'm sure anyone with a 6* WWII will be happy to know his block proficiency can help prolong the fight.

    And lastly @OneManArmy I didn't even think of Nebula, good catch! I stuck with using Stark-Enhanced Spider-Man since his heavy is only one hit (because I learned the hard way a two-hit heavy can get you) and I knew the method worked.
  • TheManMythLegendTheManMythLegend Posts: 3,966 ★★★★★
    kconrad37 wrote: »
    @Panchulon21 you bring up a few good points. I feel like the straight degen paths were more of a money-suck than the other paths, though again you strengthen my argument about some things being champion-specific. The best counter to the Starburst paths was definitely Gladiator Hulk. To my knowledge (and maybe I'm forgetting someone) he is the only champion who can handle that path consistently without a need to revive AND heal up before the next fight.

    And even Medusa isn't the best counter to 3.3 Ultron because she still gains buffs and that Force Of Will buff on Ultron prevents the ability accuracy modifications that would shut it all down.

    @Kenny292 Thanks for the tips on using a version of Captain America. I'm sure anyone with a 6* WWII will be happy to know his block proficiency can help prolong the fight.

    And lastly @OneManArmy I didn't even think of Nebula, good catch! I stuck with using Stark-Enhanced Spider-Man since his heavy is only one hit (because I learned the hard way a two-hit heavy can get you) and I knew the method worked.

    Yeah i made that mistake first time around, used a 4* max sparky and while he worked much better then my other champs with his dmg and heavy it wasnt a cheap or short fight
  • JmoneysteckJmoneysteck Posts: 196
    science and cosmic are far and away my worst two classes, I have to use two 4/40 champs because I am that unlucky with those two classes, super unfortunate for me that they got paired together. I have the last two quests left and they are going to be super tough.
  • Solrac_2Solrac_2 Posts: 497 ★★
    Excellent synopsis, OP! I very strongly agree with your conclusions. I have 100% chapter 1 and have done one run through chapters 2, but waiting on a 5/65 cosmic champ and Hulk Rag to do one run through chapters 3. The event is definitely fun and challenging but slightly too dependent on having a specific champ for a couple of fights.
  • DrchucklesDrchuckles Posts: 27
    Great write up, OP!

    I’m curious whether anyone has completed chapter 3 100% without Hulk Ragnarok. Anyone have any ideas for other possible counters? If it turns out that Gulk is the only counter to the Starburst paths, this is bad game design IMO. As it is, since I don’t have a 4*, I’ll be waiting to finish until the RNG shows me its favor.
  • Kushstar420Kushstar420 Posts: 192
    the variant event is certainly a challenge but is it no way worth the trouble for those rewards. might as well fully explore act 5 or something which has way better rewards
  • V1PER1987V1PER1987 Posts: 3,474 ★★★★★
    Bpn88855 wrote: »
    Corvus is shock immune with glaive charges

    Ultron 3.3 shock is passive, so no, Corvus not immune. Just finished first run. That boss was hard as I did mistake, my Corvus was not dupped, so he died very quickly from shock

    I feel like this isn’t the correct explanation. There are two ways I feel this is incorrect.

    1. If you’re immune to something, you’re immune regardless the circumstance. It doesn’t matter if it’s active or passive. I.e. Colossus doesn’t bleed because of a passive bleed.

    2. There are a few champs with situational immunities, like IMIW, Emma, and of course Corvus. Even if you were to argue maybe because he’s only situationally immune and not inherently immune he could get shocked. This doesn’t make sense either unless the criteria was not met (no glaive charges for Corvus or no armor for IMIW). IMIW can still do bleed paths and not bleed.

    This seems like it’s more likely a bug or if you did get shocked it’s because Corvus’ immunity is disabled. Either way I think it’s something that should be addressed by the mods because Corvus should indeed be immune to shock, even if it’s passive, provided he is awakened and his immunity is active.
  • ThatweirdguyThatweirdguy Posts: 670 ★★★
    Kenny292 wrote: »
    Captain America is a pretty good alternative to the final Ultron boss with his block proficiency, Cap IW being the preferable option with his damage output, but OG and WWII could work as well if you don't have any better options. He even survives fairly well baiting out heavies for openings once you run out of parries due to limber. Note for Cap IW: sp3 is the way to go for damage in this matchup since his sp2 is considered energy damage and triggers Ultron's sig ability.

    This is correct. OG Cap is an all star here. Maybe you get lucky and get a science 2015 3-4 gem on your way to the end.
  • RogerRabsRogerRabs Posts: 547 ★★★★
    Agreed with a lot of your points.

    Would have also liked to see some of the Magik's tuned down a bit. Chapter 3.1 has a Magik that deals around 1k Limbo damage per tick. Even with Face Me, my 3/45 Gulk can't survive many Limbo triggers, so it's really up to RNG. I feel like I'm being forced to rank him up just for this even though I probably wouldn't use him for much elsewhere.
  • Monk1Monk1 Posts: 430 ★★★
    Drchuckles wrote: »
    Great write up, OP!

    I’m curious whether anyone has completed chapter 3 100% without Hulk Ragnarok. Anyone have any ideas for other possible counters? If it turns out that Gulk is the only counter to the Starburst paths, this is bad game design IMO. As it is, since I don’t have a 4*, I’ll be waiting to finish until the RNG shows me its favor.

    I am 100% without him. Did most of chapter 3 with r4 Red hulk (with 10 charges he kills everything fast) using hela Angela and hemidall synergy to keep costs lower. 3.3 boss average about 6-8 revives, not hard just do your damage and accept death, revive and repeat.

    Also 2.3 boss is a cake walk with Nebula, just get 5 charges and then fight as stun immune. My r3 took around 240-260 hit combo to beat him
  • ShrimkinsShrimkins Posts: 1,480 ★★★★
    At times I am a little peeved about the hypocrisy they put into this quest. They specifically said this in the dev diary:
    This is how we’ve been approaching providing more challenge. By using mechanics that encourage skilled play or encouraging a deeper understanding of the RPG elements of the game, and not just cranking up the numbers.

    Opponents with obscene Attack values become boring, because every fight they’re involved in is binary. Either you play perfectly and win, or you make a single mistake and you lose. We want to give you more variety and a much more interesting fight than that!

    Now this is simply not reality. Almost every fight in variant is 1 mistake = loss. There are plenty of fights where no mistakes = loss.

    Let's take a fight like CG in 3.1 on oscillate path. Because of masochism global node you can't reliably parry him to reduce your block damage. A single dash attack while he has fury does more than 15k damage through your block.
    This is completely absurd.

    That kind of fight does not employ new or interesting mechanics that encourage skilled play. Yes I realize if you fight perfectly with all intercepts blah blah blah. My point is that when did blocking a single attack become a fatal mistake? How is this any different than simply giving them a +1000% attack node?
  • crystaldsmithcrystaldsmith Posts: 474 ★★
    I can't even start the event. I didn't have the minimum requirements on my roster so I haven't even been able to start it
  • AmonthirAmonthir Posts: 756 ★★★
    RogerRabs wrote: »
    Agreed with a lot of your points.

    Would have also liked to see some of the Magik's tuned down a bit. Chapter 3.1 has a Magik that deals around 1k Limbo damage per tick. Even with Face Me, my 3/45 Gulk can't survive many Limbo triggers, so it's really up to RNG. I feel like I'm being forced to rank him up just for this even though I probably wouldn't use him for much elsewhere.

    If you have CAIW and OG Hulk, they have a synergy where Science champs place a passive Weakness on the opponent that will lower the Limbo Damage by half. CAIW can also use an L1 with Kinetic Charges to push her past power thresholds without triggering Limbo or Masochism.

    I wish I had Gulk for Variant, but did my Exploration without him, and without Heimdall. Used the Angela synergy, but it is a pale shadow of what Heimdall does. Most of the Starburst fights were solos, although that champ was severely hurting by the end.
  • Kenny292Kenny292 Posts: 546 ★★
    I can't even start the event. I didn't have the minimum requirements on my roster so I haven't even been able to start it

    There's no minimum required rating to enter. The "minimum requirements" are class requirements. For the first chapter, you can only use skill and mutant champs. Mystic and tech for chapter 2. Science and cosmic champs for chapter 3. The champs available on the right side of the screen are filtered for the classes of that chapter, but if you try to go in without changing your team from a previous quest, it won't let you if you have anyone from the other 4 classes on your team.
  • crystaldsmithcrystaldsmith Posts: 474 ★★
    @Kenny292 ah, I see where I was messing up, thank you! I'm significantly under the recommended champ rating but because it was in red I thought I wasn't able to proceed. The second time I forgot to change to the right classes so that was my oversight. Thank you!!!!
  • DrchucklesDrchuckles Posts: 27
    Monk1, thanks for the reply. After I made that post, I’ve been practicing on the starburst nodes and getting some ideas. Depending on the path, I’ll probably end up using some combination of Hyperion, OG Hulk and Corvus to chop through it.

    You’re right, Nebula is an mvp for chapter 2. For the 2.3 boss, I found Stark Spidey worked well. Parry, heavy. Then use the fatigue debuff to heal (with willpower) and build poise.
  • moonmebabymoonmebaby Posts: 41

    Nebula wrecks 2.3 boss tho

    I used nebula and got 5 charges but the ultron still got fatigue. Bug I assume?
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