What does the MCOC Story Arc difficulty curve look like?

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  • Pancake_FacePancake_Face Posts: 744 ★★★
    Lunae said:

    AlphA101 said:

    Does it make a difference to kabam ? Will they adjust or balanced act 6 ?

    When did this become about act 6? Did I miss a seatin video or something? This is exactly the problem. Maybe seatin wants act 6 reworked, I don’t know, maybe he cares or he’s doesn’t since he’s already done it along with the rest of the youtubers and whales, but the whole thing that started this was his video, a response to book 2 beta. Again if the community and that’s everyone including YouTuber can’t unite or whatever to help ilac stop bots and merc, will they suddenly push to rework something they’ve already moved passed. What did lagacys video about mercs amount to? Sorry that’s just the truth.
    ya he wants act 6 to be reworked even tough he's down it. Watch ilacskills video. He says that Seatin puts himself in the shoes of someone new to the game or the average person. That's why he started 2 ftp accounts. He cares about the community and the game. So when he saw Act 6's bs and the Act 7 he was done. He had to say something. Act 6 is where many people stop. They get Cavalier and then they're done. For instance on my mini once i get Cav i might retire that account because it just gets stale
  • Gregdagr8Gregdagr8 Posts: 331 ★★★
    Amazing post. That's why soooo many players just do 6.1 and stop. The whales will just unit their way through it or hire a merc. But the 90% of the player base that doesn't cheat or whale, act 6 is just too much. I really hope kabam tones it down so the majority of their player base will try it. If they keep it the way it is, more and more of the large player base will quit.
  • saorpssaorps Posts: 56
    DNA3000 said:

    Lunae said:

    Kabam tried gates, gates based on rarity, on class, to not only stop champions from stream rolling, but to stop players from using synergys as well. They tried crazy node combinations, champion specific locked fights. They tried boosting the ais stats.

    The question is: to do what? To slow down the highest tier and strongest players? That makes perfect sense in the Abyss. But normally the core story arc content in a game like this is supposed to be for everyone: it is called progressional content because it is tied to the general progress of the average player. The average player, progressing in an average fashion, should eventually be able to do Act 3, then Act 4, then Act 5, then Act 6. There's no rule that they should be able to do it immediately, but eventually. We presume that if the average player can't do Act 4, they simply need to slow down and build up their roster until it is strong enough for their skill to be enough. Same for Act 5, same for Act 6. But it is unclear if that is true.

    Of course, given enough time everyone's roster will continue to get stronger, and presumably eventually make the content an even fight. That happened with Realm of Legends, for example. But it is unclear if any reasonable amount of time is enough for Act 5, and it is unclear if any practical amount of time compared to the lifetime of the entire game is enough for Act 6. It doesn't seem obvious because we're often directly comparing the experiences of the top tier players actually doing the content and very low players struggling with things much lower. There's no "normal" comparison. This tries to make that kind of normalized comparison.

    If it is *never* going to be appropriate for average players, it is questionable if it should really be part of the core progressional story arc content. And that was at the core of a lot of beta tester complaints. Some people thought it was too difficult, some people thought it wasn't too difficult, but I think most agreed that even if *they* could do it, it was hard to see if any normal player would ever be able to do it. But as I said in the beta, and as I repeated in the general feedback thread, I think the problem with Book 2 really traces back to Act 6. Book 2 was conceived to be harder than Act 6, because of course it was. Shouldn't it be, because Act 6 is way harder than Act 5, which is way harder than Act 4. Shouldn't Book 2 continue the trend?

    Well what if the trend is wrong, and that trend started with Act 5 and went completely off the rails with Act 6. How do you fix Book 2 if everyone gets stuck behind Act 6? Make Book 2 not require Act 6? Jump straight from the Collector to Book 2? People say Kabam wouldn't revise Act 6, and it is true there's a lot of hurdles to doing that. They will be extremely reluctant to do that. But what developers hate even more than going back and revising older content is straight up orphaning content. Creating a shortcut from 5.2 to Book 2 basically orphans all of Act 6. Not creating a shortcut around Act 6 means almost no one will ever get to Book 2. Content intended to be *core content* is never going to get done by the vast majority of players. Game developers generally hate to see that happen. It might be one of the few reasons that justifies going back and revisiting released content difficulty.

    And they don't even need to touch Act 6 at all. I presented a solution to rebalance Act 6 for normal players in the general feedback thread that doesn't involve changing any of the actual Act 6 content directly.
    I could not agree more. I am one the mid players that you refer in your argument. I became cavalier and now when I look at 6.2 It looks way way too difficult. it does not look "fun" anymore. I know I have to complete it some day, because of new content such as 6.3 , 6.4 and later book 2. but i have to assume that I started considering other games and just leave this part in the limbo.
  • MagrailothosMagrailothos Posts: 2,973 ★★★★★
    This is a fascinating read, @DNA3000.

    Thanks. I'm definitely an average-ish player; luckily I'm philosophical enough to play the game for the enjoyment it brings, rather than feeling the need to 'finish' it.

    I like the idea of keeping current Act 6 as an Epic version of itself; with a more achievable version created with less of a difficulty leap. I'm sure there would be some complaints; but far fewer than if they nerfed the whole thing.

    Out of curiosity, it'd be fascinating to see whereabouts the Special quests (ROL, LOL,AOL, Variants) plotted on that graph of yours. Not that I'm setting you homework, or anything 😏.

    Great stuff, man.
  • AleorAleor Posts: 2,083 ★★★★
    I wouldn't say attack and health define the fights' difficulty. For me personally it's more about nodes, especially bs nodes with unavoidable damage. And thanks to gates you just can't use some 4* champ for synergies or utility. R4 5* champs were fine for me in act 6. I even used r3 champs for 6.1-2, and og hulk for 6.3-4 bosses when I didn't have suitable counter. Sure, I used revives, but mostly for those fights like havok, where you just.
    Look at rol. Champs there have huge hp, but without sp3 active they are super easy to deal with
  • WorknprogressWorknprogress Posts: 4,871 ★★★★★
    edited May 18
    I've seen a few people like the ideas that some like DNA and Brian have proposed of having a variant/challenge difficulty to story content (which actually I think is quite a good idea personally). One thing I am curious about is what sort of reward tier those of you that are pro this sort of idea would expect?

    Obviously the current iteration would be considered the "variant" so that would be the higher reward tier, so what sort of things would players actually expect with quest difficulty significantly reduced? I myself couldn't see more than about what the current variant quests offer being offered. I'm just not sure that would actually be enough to appease the player base.

    Wouldn't we just see more about "the rich getting richer" and the sort, as we already get that sort of thing pertaining to the variant quests when people haven't developed enough to complete them. The player may not be roadblocked in the story progression but I'd still assume, based on how reactions tend to go here, we'd just see constant posts about not being able to expand 6* rosters or get R3 6*s while those completing the higher difficulty were. Would a random 4 to 5 gem, a small amount of 6* shards, and some 5* crystals really be enough for most that are roadblocked by the current version of Act 6?
  • UltimatheoryUltimatheory Posts: 435 ★★★

    I've seen a few people like the ideas that some like DNA and Brian have proposed of having a variant/challenge difficulty to story content (which actually I think is quite a good idea personally). One thing I am curious about is what sort of reward tier those of you that are pro this sort of idea would expect?

    Obviously the current iteration would be considered the "variant" so that would be the higher reward tier, so what sort of things would players actually expect with quest difficulty significantly reduced? I myself couldn't see more than about what the current variant quests offer being offered. I'm just not sure that would actually be enough to appease the player base.

    Wouldn't we just see more about "the rich getting richer" and the sort, as we already get that sort of thing pertaining to the variant quests when people haven't developed enough to complete them. The player may not be roadblocked in the story progression but I'd still assume, based on how reactions tend to go here, we'd just see constant posts about not being able to expand 6* rosters or get R3 6*s while those completing the higher difficulty were. Would a random 4 to 5 gem, a small amount of 6* shards, and some 5* crystals really be enough for most that are roadblocked by the current version of Act 6?

    I like the ideas but I definitely could see how people would complain about them even more. There's already so much of "this game if P2W" in the general state of the game thread already that complaints would just escalate to higher levels if end game players receive even more rewards. There's almost no way to make everyone happy in every area of the game right now.
  • Hera1d_of_Ga1actusHera1d_of_Ga1actus Posts: 378 ★★★

    I've seen a few people like the ideas that some like DNA and Brian have proposed of having a variant/challenge difficulty to story content (which actually I think is quite a good idea personally). One thing I am curious about is what sort of reward tier those of you that are pro this sort of idea would expect?

    Obviously the current iteration would be considered the "variant" so that would be the higher reward tier, so what sort of things would players actually expect with quest difficulty significantly reduced? I myself couldn't see more than about what the current variant quests offer being offered. I'm just not sure that would actually be enough to appease the player base.

    Wouldn't we just see more about "the rich getting richer" and the sort, as we already get that sort of thing pertaining to the variant quests when people haven't developed enough to complete them. The player may not be roadblocked in the story progression but I'd still assume, based on how reactions tend to go here, we'd just see constant posts about not being able to expand 6* rosters or get R3 6*s while those completing the higher difficulty were. Would a random 4 to 5 gem, a small amount of 6* shards, and some 5* crystals really be enough for most that are roadblocked by the current version of Act 6?

    @Worknprogress, I’d guess that Kabam would just keep the rewards that are already there for the regular difficulty as there are some basic progression gates that can be unlocked with stuff from Act 6. I feel like this challenge mode would reward different possible rewards than what are given today. (In my “challenge mode” I’d want the content to be shorter than the regular content but maybe have 2, 3, or 4 paths or something like that.) Rewards could be more Mastery Points, a special boost which gives your 6* double healing during adrenaline, Cav Crystals, titles, pfps, possible legend badges (maybe like “super legendary” badges idk), or just something that has never really been seen in the game. Usually the content being completed by roster, unit, and skill heavy people within the community. Adding this extra bonus stuff on top could just rewards them fro completing the challenge. (I feel like Kabam tried to do something like this during the Maze but it was just too short of an event for anyone to gradually work on overtime and figure out how to counter.)
  • WorknprogressWorknprogress Posts: 4,871 ★★★★★

    I've seen a few people like the ideas that some like DNA and Brian have proposed of having a variant/challenge difficulty to story content (which actually I think is quite a good idea personally). One thing I am curious about is what sort of reward tier those of you that are pro this sort of idea would expect?

    Obviously the current iteration would be considered the "variant" so that would be the higher reward tier, so what sort of things would players actually expect with quest difficulty significantly reduced? I myself couldn't see more than about what the current variant quests offer being offered. I'm just not sure that would actually be enough to appease the player base.

    Wouldn't we just see more about "the rich getting richer" and the sort, as we already get that sort of thing pertaining to the variant quests when people haven't developed enough to complete them. The player may not be roadblocked in the story progression but I'd still assume, based on how reactions tend to go here, we'd just see constant posts about not being able to expand 6* rosters or get R3 6*s while those completing the higher difficulty were. Would a random 4 to 5 gem, a small amount of 6* shards, and some 5* crystals really be enough for most that are roadblocked by the current version of Act 6?

    @Worknprogress, I’d guess that Kabam would just keep the rewards that are already there for the regular difficulty as there are some basic progression gates that can be unlocked with stuff from Act 6. I feel like this challenge mode would reward different possible rewards than what are given today. (In my “challenge mode” I’d want the content to be shorter than the regular content but maybe have 2, 3, or 4 paths or something like that.) Rewards could be more Mastery Points, a special boost which gives your 6* double healing during adrenaline, Cav Crystals, titles, pfps, possible legend badges (maybe like “super legendary” badges idk), or just something that has never really been seen in the game. Usually the content being completed by roster, unit, and skill heavy people within the community. Adding this extra bonus stuff on top could just rewards them fro completing the challenge. (I feel like Kabam tried to do something like this during the Maze but it was just too short of an event for anyone to gradually work on overtime and figure out how to counter.)
    I could be completely wrong, which is odd to type as this is all theoretical anyway, but I'd be shocked to see an additional higher tier of reward as opposed to the current ones being left for the "variant" and a lower tier being offered for the "normal" version.
  • Hera1d_of_Ga1actusHera1d_of_Ga1actus Posts: 378 ★★★

    I've seen a few people like the ideas that some like DNA and Brian have proposed of having a variant/challenge difficulty to story content (which actually I think is quite a good idea personally). One thing I am curious about is what sort of reward tier those of you that are pro this sort of idea would expect?

    Obviously the current iteration would be considered the "variant" so that would be the higher reward tier, so what sort of things would players actually expect with quest difficulty significantly reduced? I myself couldn't see more than about what the current variant quests offer being offered. I'm just not sure that would actually be enough to appease the player base.

    Wouldn't we just see more about "the rich getting richer" and the sort, as we already get that sort of thing pertaining to the variant quests when people haven't developed enough to complete them. The player may not be roadblocked in the story progression but I'd still assume, based on how reactions tend to go here, we'd just see constant posts about not being able to expand 6* rosters or get R3 6*s while those completing the higher difficulty were. Would a random 4 to 5 gem, a small amount of 6* shards, and some 5* crystals really be enough for most that are roadblocked by the current version of Act 6?

    @Worknprogress, I’d guess that Kabam would just keep the rewards that are already there for the regular difficulty as there are some basic progression gates that can be unlocked with stuff from Act 6. I feel like this challenge mode would reward different possible rewards than what are given today. (In my “challenge mode” I’d want the content to be shorter than the regular content but maybe have 2, 3, or 4 paths or something like that.) Rewards could be more Mastery Points, a special boost which gives your 6* double healing during adrenaline, Cav Crystals, titles, pfps, possible legend badges (maybe like “super legendary” badges idk), or just something that has never really been seen in the game. Usually the content being completed by roster, unit, and skill heavy people within the community. Adding this extra bonus stuff on top could just rewards them fro completing the challenge. (I feel like Kabam tried to do something like this during the Maze but it was just too short of an event for anyone to gradually work on overtime and figure out how to counter.)
    I could be completely wrong, which is odd to type as this is all theoretical anyway, but I'd be shocked to see an additional higher tier of reward as opposed to the current ones being left for the "variant" and a lower tier being offered for the "normal" version.
    What I’m saying is have different rewards. Those which no one has seen. Stuff like 3-4 Nexus 6*s should not be handed out period. That’s why I’m saying that the content should provide new stuff. (I got another example. Maybe if there is like a damage reduction in the next Variant you get a boost which removes that damage reduction.) Something that can be beneficial to the top tier players but not be completely game breaking.
  • WorknprogressWorknprogress Posts: 4,871 ★★★★★

    I've seen a few people like the ideas that some like DNA and Brian have proposed of having a variant/challenge difficulty to story content (which actually I think is quite a good idea personally). One thing I am curious about is what sort of reward tier those of you that are pro this sort of idea would expect?

    Obviously the current iteration would be considered the "variant" so that would be the higher reward tier, so what sort of things would players actually expect with quest difficulty significantly reduced? I myself couldn't see more than about what the current variant quests offer being offered. I'm just not sure that would actually be enough to appease the player base.

    Wouldn't we just see more about "the rich getting richer" and the sort, as we already get that sort of thing pertaining to the variant quests when people haven't developed enough to complete them. The player may not be roadblocked in the story progression but I'd still assume, based on how reactions tend to go here, we'd just see constant posts about not being able to expand 6* rosters or get R3 6*s while those completing the higher difficulty were. Would a random 4 to 5 gem, a small amount of 6* shards, and some 5* crystals really be enough for most that are roadblocked by the current version of Act 6?

    @Worknprogress, I’d guess that Kabam would just keep the rewards that are already there for the regular difficulty as there are some basic progression gates that can be unlocked with stuff from Act 6. I feel like this challenge mode would reward different possible rewards than what are given today. (In my “challenge mode” I’d want the content to be shorter than the regular content but maybe have 2, 3, or 4 paths or something like that.) Rewards could be more Mastery Points, a special boost which gives your 6* double healing during adrenaline, Cav Crystals, titles, pfps, possible legend badges (maybe like “super legendary” badges idk), or just something that has never really been seen in the game. Usually the content being completed by roster, unit, and skill heavy people within the community. Adding this extra bonus stuff on top could just rewards them fro completing the challenge. (I feel like Kabam tried to do something like this during the Maze but it was just too short of an event for anyone to gradually work on overtime and figure out how to counter.)
    I could be completely wrong, which is odd to type as this is all theoretical anyway, but I'd be shocked to see an additional higher tier of reward as opposed to the current ones being left for the "variant" and a lower tier being offered for the "normal" version.
    What I’m saying is have different rewards. Those which no one has seen. Stuff like 3-4 Nexus 6*s should not be handed out period. That’s why I’m saying that the content should provide new stuff. (I got another example. Maybe if there is like a damage reduction in the next Variant you get a boost which removes that damage reduction.) Something that can be beneficial to the top tier players but not be completely game breaking.
    I get that but I don't think there's really much you could offer that would actually entice that group of players to push through it. Additional mastery points could also absolutely be considered game breaking as well in some instances. There's definitely a reason we haven't received any for years.

    So I think the only option is have the current rewards be for the higher difficulty and a lower set offered for the new one. All that does is create even more of a rift between the top and the rest in my opinion.

    It's interesting to think about it and I'm curious if they could actually pull it off without just creating a different problem. I just don't see it happening with the difficulty getting slashed but the current set of rewards still being there. I know I wouldn't be particularly thrilled if they issued a reduced difficulty act 6 for the same rewards and then I got a title, a badge, or some cavs retrospectively.
  • PCottonPCotton Posts: 4
    I mean, I'm trying to work through 6.4 right now and it just feels like a chore. I love hard nodes and trying a path multiple times to find a good way past a challenging opponent. The issue for me is the ridiculous health and attack inflation. One error and you die (or play 'perfect' and die in three fights from chip damage). I thought I remember a post about Kabam not just inflating stats on opponents? The creative node/champ combos are great. Boosted champs are tedium.
  • TheTalentsTheTalents Posts: 1,459 ★★★★★
    naikavon said:

    DNA sums up my own thoughts regarding this matter perfectly so I'm not going to rehash any of that. The only thing I'd add is the cheesing content discussion that was also brought up in beta. ( by DNA)

    If players, even end game players cheese content, isn't it fair to ask if the players actually tackled the content? So often, the response to countering node combinations is Ghost it or Quake it. Both of these champs have mechanics that allow them to circumvent many node combinations and thereby drastically reduce the difficulty. That doesn't make those players wrong for doing it... but it does tie into this dramatic spike in difficulty. Did the player tackle the content in the intended way it was designed? Only the devs can really answer that

    I should point out, I love both Quake and Ghost. They just make everything far easier than the intended difficulty and are in some form cheese to content.

    Excellent question, I generally would love to know the answer. In my opinion with the difficulty of act 7 beta I would say that to ghost and quake is not the intended design because act 7 Beta had nodes in place to cancel ghost especially from my experience.

    Also, Quakes ability accuracy reduction (along with Arch Angel) is what makes her so useful and I don't think she is the natural counter for any content outside of Thing map 7 mini boss.
  • TheTalentsTheTalents Posts: 1,459 ★★★★★
    Lunae said:

    naikavon said:

    Lunae said:

    naikavon said:

    DNA sums up my own thoughts regarding this matter perfectly so I'm not going to rehash any of that. The only thing I'd add is the cheesing content discussion that was also brought up in beta. ( by DNA)

    If players, even end game players cheese content, isn't it fair to ask if the players actually tackled the content? So often, the response to countering node combinations is Ghost it or Quake it. Both of these champs have mechanics that allow them to circumvent many node combinations and thereby drastically reduce the difficulty. That doesn't make those players wrong for doing it... but it does tie into this dramatic spike in difficulty. Did the player tackle the content in the intended way it was designed? Only the devs can really answer that

    I should point out, I love both Quake and Ghost. They just make everything far easier than the intended difficulty and are in some form cheese to content.

    I think that’s fun tho. I remember using havok in 6.4.4 and thought that was fun. There are some paths you can cheese with specific champs and I like to think that was on purpose like a reward for figuring out a puzzle or a riddle. Another example is using quake/electro with heimdall on a aggression fury node like in 6.4.6 or modok/cap iw on an aggression regen node. Don’t have any of those except quake and she isn’t awakened, but would love to try it.

    I also obviously don’t have a problem with quake. You can only cheese if you’ve mastered her and you can only beat end game content by mastering your skills as a fighter. Both take a level of mastery whether it’s using quake and shake or regular fighting and even then you cant always use quake for everything.

    I have ghost, but I don’t have wasp so even than I couldn’t use her as much as I wanted to, but I’ll admit having hood helped a lot. Being able to tank sp3 and having immunity’s is great, but iceman and thing, even colossus are capable of that. I also sort of cheesed the nick fury boss in act 6 with sunspot. It was a long fight, but a relatively easy one shot.

    Kabam just needs to release more champions that can substitute for others and tone down the difficulty I guess. Granting buffs as suggested by DNA is good idea.
    Oh absolutely agree. I'm not saying figuring out a puzzle holds no merit. And some cheese is ok. Entire acts though? A little too much. Just my thoughts. I'm more speaking to the overwhelming prevalence of the pair and growth as a player. It's nice to overcome the intent of the node rather than simply bypassing it all the time.

    And there is an argument to be made about mastery of the pair's kit. I do agree with Quake but absolutely disagree with Ghost. She's just not hard to master imo. A different playstyle to be sure but it's not hard. Just different. Quake oth is on another level. Again, just my opinion.
    I agree I don’t think ghost is very hard to master at all, she’s a lot simpler then people make her out to be, but not having wasp does make a difference, atleast that’s what I’ve heard from people who say they don’t like using ghost without wasp, or even saying they won’t do act 6 without wasp. I’ve tried to master her without wasp since I’ve started working with quake, but I agree she isn’t the easiest or funnest champ to use in act 6 all the time without wasp due to the complexity of the nodes, the pressure and required set up to make her work.

    They’re really only 3 ways to play without wasp.

    1 way is to parry, heavy then phase when they dash at you or I guess you can bait out a heavy by blocking then heavy, phase into special 2, but the block damage sucks.

    2 you dash back and stall until your critical rating buff refreshes so you can phase again, then wait until the opponet dashes into you without trigger phase too soon and losing it, launch sp2.

    And then finally you do your combo, stand still or immediately block and phase immediately as the ai moves to attack, but in my opinion this is the hardest and most inconsistent because the ai has to attack and not dash back or throw their specials. It also relies on instinct or extremely fast reflexes. If you relying on instinct you’ll dash back because you’ll know the ais timing, but that timing works in 2 ways, the ai will either go forward or backwards. They dash back, you launch your special and miss, the ai will punish you by ko. You can also do combo, block then dash back and phase into special 2, but again block damage.

    Another element to her gameplay is managing her power if she’s awakened. With the set up required it’s easy to mismanage and get pushed into a sp3 which is incredibly annoying. A lot of players also use suicides with her, which sucks because I often used Hyperion and he lost a lot of utility in act 6 being forced to only use heavys and sp3s to the point that I actually saved more items and units finally taking suicides off.

    It’s also a pain bringing in wasp and hood into quest, taking 3 spots and that’s if you leave antman behind only leaving 1 spot open for the entire lane and boss which entails its own set of problems.
    Wasp makes all the difference. I have rank 5 hood and rank 5 ghost as 5 stars. I only have wasp as a 4 star and cannot bring her into act 6. The main difference is vs stun immune nodes where ghost will shine the most and I can't throw her special 2 in fear of getting comboed in oblivion. So I had to use alternate methods outside of Ghost which was really annoying.
  • WorknprogressWorknprogress Posts: 4,871 ★★★★★

    Lunae said:

    naikavon said:

    Lunae said:

    naikavon said:

    DNA sums up my own thoughts regarding this matter perfectly so I'm not going to rehash any of that. The only thing I'd add is the cheesing content discussion that was also brought up in beta. ( by DNA)

    If players, even end game players cheese content, isn't it fair to ask if the players actually tackled the content? So often, the response to countering node combinations is Ghost it or Quake it. Both of these champs have mechanics that allow them to circumvent many node combinations and thereby drastically reduce the difficulty. That doesn't make those players wrong for doing it... but it does tie into this dramatic spike in difficulty. Did the player tackle the content in the intended way it was designed? Only the devs can really answer that

    I should point out, I love both Quake and Ghost. They just make everything far easier than the intended difficulty and are in some form cheese to content.

    I think that’s fun tho. I remember using havok in 6.4.4 and thought that was fun. There are some paths you can cheese with specific champs and I like to think that was on purpose like a reward for figuring out a puzzle or a riddle. Another example is using quake/electro with heimdall on a aggression fury node like in 6.4.6 or modok/cap iw on an aggression regen node. Don’t have any of those except quake and she isn’t awakened, but would love to try it.

    I also obviously don’t have a problem with quake. You can only cheese if you’ve mastered her and you can only beat end game content by mastering your skills as a fighter. Both take a level of mastery whether it’s using quake and shake or regular fighting and even then you cant always use quake for everything.

    I have ghost, but I don’t have wasp so even than I couldn’t use her as much as I wanted to, but I’ll admit having hood helped a lot. Being able to tank sp3 and having immunity’s is great, but iceman and thing, even colossus are capable of that. I also sort of cheesed the nick fury boss in act 6 with sunspot. It was a long fight, but a relatively easy one shot.

    Kabam just needs to release more champions that can substitute for others and tone down the difficulty I guess. Granting buffs as suggested by DNA is good idea.
    Oh absolutely agree. I'm not saying figuring out a puzzle holds no merit. And some cheese is ok. Entire acts though? A little too much. Just my thoughts. I'm more speaking to the overwhelming prevalence of the pair and growth as a player. It's nice to overcome the intent of the node rather than simply bypassing it all the time.

    And there is an argument to be made about mastery of the pair's kit. I do agree with Quake but absolutely disagree with Ghost. She's just not hard to master imo. A different playstyle to be sure but it's not hard. Just different. Quake oth is on another level. Again, just my opinion.
    I agree I don’t think ghost is very hard to master at all, she’s a lot simpler then people make her out to be, but not having wasp does make a difference, atleast that’s what I’ve heard from people who say they don’t like using ghost without wasp, or even saying they won’t do act 6 without wasp. I’ve tried to master her without wasp since I’ve started working with quake, but I agree she isn’t the easiest or funnest champ to use in act 6 all the time without wasp due to the complexity of the nodes, the pressure and required set up to make her work.

    They’re really only 3 ways to play without wasp.

    1 way is to parry, heavy then phase when they dash at you or I guess you can bait out a heavy by blocking then heavy, phase into special 2, but the block damage sucks.

    2 you dash back and stall until your critical rating buff refreshes so you can phase again, then wait until the opponet dashes into you without trigger phase too soon and losing it, launch sp2.

    And then finally you do your combo, stand still or immediately block and phase immediately as the ai moves to attack, but in my opinion this is the hardest and most inconsistent because the ai has to attack and not dash back or throw their specials. It also relies on instinct or extremely fast reflexes. If you relying on instinct you’ll dash back because you’ll know the ais timing, but that timing works in 2 ways, the ai will either go forward or backwards. They dash back, you launch your special and miss, the ai will punish you by ko. You can also do combo, block then dash back and phase into special 2, but again block damage.

    Another element to her gameplay is managing her power if she’s awakened. With the set up required it’s easy to mismanage and get pushed into a sp3 which is incredibly annoying. A lot of players also use suicides with her, which sucks because I often used Hyperion and he lost a lot of utility in act 6 being forced to only use heavys and sp3s to the point that I actually saved more items and units finally taking suicides off.

    It’s also a pain bringing in wasp and hood into quest, taking 3 spots and that’s if you leave antman behind only leaving 1 spot open for the entire lane and boss which entails its own set of problems.
    Wasp makes all the difference. I have rank 5 hood and rank 5 ghost as 5 stars. I only have wasp as a 4 star and cannot bring her into act 6. The main difference is vs stun immune nodes where ghost will shine the most and I can't throw her special 2 in fear of getting comboed in oblivion. So I had to use alternate methods outside of Ghost which was really annoying.
    Hood is far more important than Wasp really. It takes some getting used to but you can use Ghost without wasp for at least 90% of fights most people would bring wasp along for.
  • Horror_punkHorror_punk Posts: 812 ★★★
    DNA3000 said:

    With the recent discussions talking about the "difficulty curve" in MCOC, I thought I would take a closer quantitative look at the numbers lurking within the Story Arc content. Now, the true difficulty curve involves many qualitative and subjective things we can't easily put numbers to. How much does difficulty jump when SP3 is turned on? How hard is No Retreat? But I thought it would be useful to quantify what was actually quantifiable, and see where that takes things. At least we could discuss the subjective things within the context of how difficulty unambiguously rises with higher numbers.

    I decided to look at the difficulty of the normal minions in the story arc maps, because bosses are hand crafted and particularly difficult to quantify. Also, sometimes their difficulty isn't part of the normal difficulty curve at all, like the Collector or the Champion. They are special cases. I wanted to see how the "normal" difficulty scaled. I also just noted the very first fight on the map, except where it was obviously not representative (for example, those pesky easy fights on 6.1.2).

    I looked at rarity (star rating), rank, and level. I converted rarity and rank into CR, and then I used some linear interpolation to guestimate a "fractional" CR for comparison purposes. In other words, a 4* 3/1 and a 4* 3/30 have the same CR (80) but I projected 3/30 to be 89 (just under CR 90). The math is a little different than that, but you get the idea. This allows me to say that a 3/30 is stronger than a 3/1.

    And then I had to deal with the global buffs. What do you do with +100% champion boost (+100% attack, +100% health). Well, as a very rough estimate one increase in rank increases health and attack by about 35%. Not exactly, but this is a reasonably close average. I converted all global attack and health buffs logarithmically into an effective rank increase. So a 5* rank 2 with a +35% champion boost is "effectively" a rank 3. This increases CR by 10. I then charted my calculated "effective CR" vs story arc map. It is a bit crude and there's some guestimates built into the math, but I think it is close enough for discussion purposes. Here it is:



    There's a lot to unpack. You can see Acts 1 through 6 labeled. The red line is the approximate effective CR of the minions on the map, factoring in rarity, rank, level, and global buffs. The blue line that diverges from the red graphs the effective CR if you look at attack rating, whereas the red line is effective CR if you look at health. They are identical until you get to Act 5 and especially Act 6 where the global buffs for attack and health wildly diverge.

    I've also marked CR120 where a 5* 5/65 would be. The 6* line needs extra explanation. 6* champs do not scale at the same rate as 5* champs past rank 2. They are going up by only half the ratio for rank 3, and presumably higher ranks. Thus, ten points of additional "Real CR" won't equal the same increase in power as it does for 5* champs. I've estimated where a 6* 5/65 is going to be, regardless of its CR, and labeled that (it is lower than what a 6* rank 5's listed CR will be).

    Now, normally a good player can defeat opponents significantly stronger than their team. If you bring 10k PI champs into a map you'd expect a good player to defeat an entire map of 10k opponents. In fact, I'm guessing that a good but not spectacular player might be able to clear a map of 30k PI champs, roughly; if the entire map was full of minions with three times higher PI than their team, that would still be doable (I'm not counting other exotic buffs here). So I've labeled where that 3x opponent would be on the chart. Notice that for the average player with good skills who brings an entire team of 5/65 champs into the map, Act 5 would be doable, Act 6 would be problematic.

    Amazingly, for this hypothetical player, even if they were to simply wait and let their roster grow before they tackled Act 6, that would still be problematic. The chart suggests that such a player would be able to get throuigh the first two chapters, then get stuck in the last two (when it comes to the opponent's attack rating, which is probably a bigger problem than the opponent's health rating). I'm not even counting the Champion boss here, just the minions on the paths.

    None of this counts the difficulty contributions of things like No Retreat or Acid Wash or all of the other tricky nodes. This just looks at the way health and attack scale up in the story arc content. Now, of course I'm not saying Act 6 is impossible. People do it. But the interesting question is who's doing it, and are a lot of players simply never going to be able to do it. The numbers suggest that the average player might never get through Act 6 unless they somehow become far above average players, capable of taking on fights way more than three times higher than their team. They are going to have to increase their skill to the point of taking on minions six times higher, or more.

    One more thing. CR is actually an exponential difficulty rating. Since champions are increasing their health and attack by multiples of a ratio (about 1.35) a difficulty curve like the one above that kind of looks vaguely linear is actually massively exponential. Here's that same curve but with CR projected into linear attack and health growth:



    When players notice the sudden jump in difficulty heading into Act 5, that's what they are seeing. Not only are attack and health rising extremely fast, on top of that SP3 gets globally unlocked and you get the Act 5 global nodes and eventually Act 6 nodes. In other words, the real difficulty curve is steeper than this appears. Our rosters are also increasing of course, but not as fast. From Act 1 to Act 4, our rosters are probably outpacing the early part of the exponential curve. I think it barely keeps up with Act 5 if not falls slightly behind. And no one's roster can keep up with Act 6.

    Again, people do Act 6. I had no problem doing Act 6.1 pretty much the moment it released. But i have a far larger than average roster and while I'm not a top tier player, my skills are sufficiently above average that I could adjust. But that curve doesn't just make life difficult for average players, it rapidly leaves even significantly above average players behind.

    Those marks showing where our rosters are likely to be in the foreseeable future is the important thing, though. Up to Act 5 you could tell a player that if they couldn't do the content they could just wait until their roster caught up. After all, the stronger the roster the less skill you need, and vice versa. I even say that all the time. But when you compare to the difficulty of earlier Acts, even Act 5, Act 6 is already tuned for 8* champs. That's not a typo. Eight star champs are what it would take for the average player to "level into" Act 6. And that's problematic.

    And before beta testers started complaining about it, Book 2's attack rating would have been somewhere in the vicinity of 350 on the lower chart. When difficulty is going up exponentially, no human being can keep up forever. It is just a question of how far ahead of the curve they were to start, and how long it takes for the game to overtake them.

    Of course, life is more complicated than the simplified calculations I've done. Certainly, the power creep of new champions is a factor, the skill improvements of players is a factor, the knowledge meta of the community is a factor. But none of those things can beat an exponential curve forever, and that's what the numbers suggest to me. Act 6 very likely has exceeded what a very large fraction of players will ever be able to do, even when handed rosters from the future. If Book 2 continues that difficulty curve, regardless of how it does it, even if it does so by means I can't easily quantify any more, it will probably still leave a lot of players behind.

    What an awesome post bro
    That’s a lot of research work by you.

    Frankly speaking i just explored 6.3 and believe me except 1-2 paths no paths were fun.
    Attack ratings were way too high and on the top of that some disastrous nodes with disastrous champs place on them with the sole objective of pushing to use revives. This led to consume my most of time watching videos so that i use accurate champs and don’t waste units as I’m F2P player

    I might not be that skilled but yes I have explore all variants and LOL and did Abyss 1 round.

    In terms of difficulty i find V1 and act6 on par
    The opponents won’t give you second chance if you get clipped. Even i found abyss better in terms of attack ratings and even if you don’t have Ægon you can go through the fights (i used ægon only for 3-4 fights including collector)

    The rewards too aren’t great because Act rewards are permanent rewards and they must offer some guaranteed returns in the exchange of time and resources spent but 1 month of AQ & AW overshadow them in totality if you playing on higher tiers.


    Lets see in which direction they pushing the game...??!!!
  • AldacAldac Posts: 214 ★★
    Listened to @DNA3000 on the Contest Realm podcast earlier today, was super impressed. Thank you for all the work you put into this.

    Been playing the game for two and a half years and have enjoyed the progression up to 6.1- it felt challenging and rewarding. 6.2 onwards is another story altogether. It feels overtuned, expensive and unenjoyable, and your analysis has made me feel a lot better about being roadblocked by it.

    Kabam should seriously consider hiring you as a consultant!
  • DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 10,962 Guardian
    Aleor said:

    I wouldn't say attack and health define the fights' difficulty.

    I wouldn't say that either. I mentioned in the OP that the numbers aren't a true representation of the difficulty, they were the easy to quantify part of difficulty. But since there's general agreement that the nodes generally get harder as you progress deeper in the story content, then while we can't say with precision how much harder they make the content in general, what they pretty obviously do is make the difficulty curve even steeper than shown. So the real curve is worse (steeper) than what it appears to be, when we ignore tactical nodes and only look at the numbers.

    Also, the numbers don't just add to the tactical nodes, they kind of synergize in a way that amplifies both. In general, high attack reduces the margin for error in the fight, because it reduces the number of mistakes you can make in the fight, and many nodes punish you for making even tiny mistakes in the fight. So it is even harder to quantify, but for my purposes it was enough to know that the non-attack/health nodes generally make things harder, in an increasingly difficult way. Those nodes do not, in general, reverse the steepness of the difficulty curve.
  • DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 10,962 Guardian

    I've seen a few people like the ideas that some like DNA and Brian have proposed of having a variant/challenge difficulty to story content (which actually I think is quite a good idea personally). One thing I am curious about is what sort of reward tier those of you that are pro this sort of idea would expect?

    Obviously the current iteration would be considered the "variant" so that would be the higher reward tier, so what sort of things would players actually expect with quest difficulty significantly reduced? I myself couldn't see more than about what the current variant quests offer being offered. I'm just not sure that would actually be enough to appease the player base.

    Wouldn't we just see more about "the rich getting richer" and the sort, as we already get that sort of thing pertaining to the variant quests when people haven't developed enough to complete them. The player may not be roadblocked in the story progression but I'd still assume, based on how reactions tend to go here, we'd just see constant posts about not being able to expand 6* rosters or get R3 6*s while those completing the higher difficulty were. Would a random 4 to 5 gem, a small amount of 6* shards, and some 5* crystals really be enough for most that are roadblocked by the current version of Act 6?

    This is always a potential problem but I would argue that if players get roadblocked in Act 6, or Book 2, then the problem becomes moot because it doesn't matter how much richer the rich get, if the poor stop progressing completely.

    But I acknowledge this is a separate, and important problem to work on. Whenever you change or evolve difficulty, you have to consider how the reward balance should work. If we decide to treat difficulty of the core story content differently than we do now, we should also consider reevalulating how we apportion rewards to that difficulty as well. I don't claim to have an answer to that problem, in part because solving that problem depends on how we try to solve the difficulty problem first.
  • DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 10,962 Guardian
    Aldac said:

    Listened to @DNA3000 on the Contest Realm podcast earlier today, was super impressed. Thank you for all the work you put into this.

    Thank Dan and Rich who wanted me on to discuss this post and related topics, and who graciously shifted their schedule around to make it easier for me to do the podcast. That podcast had to stretch across eleven time zones. Even then I was concerned I would be a mumbling idiot that early in the morning. You can kind of hear me sometimes trail off at the end of sentences: that's not an audio problem, that's me sometimes drop my voice while my brain is slowly assembling the next thought.

    I actually enjoyed doing the podcast, sleepy and all: they asked very good prompting questions, and now when people TL;DR the post I can point them to the audio book version.

    My evil mind did, for a brief moment, consider answering all their questions with one word answers.
  • WorknprogressWorknprogress Posts: 4,871 ★★★★★
    DNA3000 said:

    I've seen a few people like the ideas that some like DNA and Brian have proposed of having a variant/challenge difficulty to story content (which actually I think is quite a good idea personally). One thing I am curious about is what sort of reward tier those of you that are pro this sort of idea would expect?

    Obviously the current iteration would be considered the "variant" so that would be the higher reward tier, so what sort of things would players actually expect with quest difficulty significantly reduced? I myself couldn't see more than about what the current variant quests offer being offered. I'm just not sure that would actually be enough to appease the player base.

    Wouldn't we just see more about "the rich getting richer" and the sort, as we already get that sort of thing pertaining to the variant quests when people haven't developed enough to complete them. The player may not be roadblocked in the story progression but I'd still assume, based on how reactions tend to go here, we'd just see constant posts about not being able to expand 6* rosters or get R3 6*s while those completing the higher difficulty were. Would a random 4 to 5 gem, a small amount of 6* shards, and some 5* crystals really be enough for most that are roadblocked by the current version of Act 6?

    This is always a potential problem but I would argue that if players get roadblocked in Act 6, or Book 2, then the problem becomes moot because it doesn't matter how much richer the rich get, if the poor stop progressing completely.

    But I acknowledge this is a separate, and important problem to work on. Whenever you change or evolve difficulty, you have to consider how the reward balance should work. If we decide to treat difficulty of the core story content differently than we do now, we should also consider reevalulating how we apportion rewards to that difficulty as well. I don't claim to have an answer to that problem, in part because solving that problem depends on how we try to solve the difficulty problem first.
    Oh definitely. I definitely don't have the answer either but was just curious what people felt about it currently. Between keeping up with a few threads and then listening to your spot on Rich's podcast, I've just been doing a lot of thinking about what changes to the game would actually be feasible and beneficial for all player levels to at least some extent.
  • Gregdagr8Gregdagr8 Posts: 331 ★★★
    DNA, I listened to the podcast last night. It was very good. Very informative. Couple of things I want to add. On the podcast you said something like act 6 is like "variant" and we need an easier chapter for the normal player. One thing I thought of was what if they released Act 6, Book 2, future story modes twice? So the first three to six months, release the hard version. Then release the "real" version after 3-6 months? The "real" version would have normal attack values and health. I think that would be amazing. For high end, top tier players, they can get the prestige bumps and shards asap. Then the casual players just wait three to six months and do the real version. Because you are right, waiting to do act 6 until you get 8* champs is just not fun nor realistic. I think this would be a good compromise to keep high end players AND the vast majority of players happy.

    Second thing I wanted to add is the story mode/variants are what keep people playing this game. I know a couple of people that like AQ and AW but for the vast majority of players, they don't care about those modes. I have a main account and an alt account. My main is in a top 60 AQ ally, some pretty big spenders and my alt is just with buddies who play casually. In BOTH allies, everyone complains about story mode starting with act 6. I think act 6 really needs to be toned down. And Book 2 needs to be toned down as well. 6.1 isn't that bad but once people get to 6.2, there's nothing to keep the player playing. EQ, incursions, AQ, AW? Nah, none of those keep the player engaged in this game. So if they don't tone it down, people have nothing to do to progress their accounts and just quit.
  • AldacAldac Posts: 214 ★★
    I wish we could see the data for the whole player base regarding Act 6 progression. I’d wager a large number of people just stop at 6.2 or thereabouts. While that may only impact ‘endgame’ players at the moment, everyone will get there in the end.
    We all love the game and want it to continue with as many players as possible for as long as possible, and I really hope people in Kabam management and game development listen to @DNA3000 ‘s analysis.
  • DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 10,962 Guardian
    Gregdagr8 said:

    DNA, I listened to the podcast last night. It was very good. Very informative. Couple of things I want to add. On the podcast you said something like act 6 is like "variant" and we need an easier chapter for the normal player. One thing I thought of was what if they released Act 6, Book 2, future story modes twice? So the first three to six months, release the hard version. Then release the "real" version after 3-6 months? The "real" version would have normal attack values and health. I think that would be amazing. For high end, top tier players, they can get the prestige bumps and shards asap. Then the casual players just wait three to six months and do the real version. Because you are right, waiting to do act 6 until you get 8* champs is just not fun nor realistic. I think this would be a good compromise to keep high end players AND the vast majority of players happy.

    I think you would get some justified push back that the difficulty was being dramatically lowered while the rewards remained the same, in effect penalizing the players who did it early.

    In the Book 2 beta I offered a couple of other possibilities, which I'm going to combine into a single idea here. Let's hypothetical around Act 6, even though Act 6 is obviously already out. Let's say the devs released 6.1 as it is now, but they also added 6.3-like buffs that would make it much easier to run, at least for one or a couple paths. Anyone could use the buffs to lower the difficulty at least for completion (and maybe for exploration as well) and get a certain level of rewards. But if they don't use those buffs, the rewards are higher. Forgoing the buffs would be a kind of "challenge mode" version of the content, which anyone could eventually attempt, if they were strong enough, which would give out higher rewards. Let's call this the Variant difficulty of 6.1. Then you tie the Legends title into this system. Instead of giving the Legends title to the player that completes 6.1 the fastest, you instead give it to the first players to complete the Variant difficulty mode (aka, no helper buffs) under an even higher challenge condition. I suggested Itemless (inspired a bit by Brain Grant doing his best Don Quixote impersonation) but it could be something more moderate.

    When 6.1 pops out, you'll have average players trying it in easy mode with helper buffs. You'll have the stronger end game players trying it without easy mode buffs. And you'll have the very top tier players attempting Legends runs where they can't just blitz the content out in a day. They will have to think, play carefully, strategize, maybe even restart multiple times to complete the content without violating any of the challenge requirements. It is conceivable that the top tier end game players could finish it *after* the lower tier players, while they chase those legends titles.

    All of this while the content itself is the same content offering the same rewards for the same effort. Tier 1 rewards if you do it easy mode. Tier 2 rewards if you do it hard mode. Legends rewards if you do it in legend challenge mode.
  • Air98Air98 Posts: 73 ★★
    Act 6 needs a huge revamp, why are they making story content that only 5% of the players are gonna be able to explore? What other game have you ever played where the story content is balanced for only 5% of the players to do.
  • DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 10,962 Guardian
    Aldac said:

    I wish we could see the data for the whole player base regarding Act 6 progression. I’d wager a large number of people just stop at 6.2 or thereabouts. While that may only impact ‘endgame’ players at the moment, everyone will get there in the end.
    We all love the game and want it to continue with as many players as possible for as long as possible, and I really hope people in Kabam management and game development listen to @DNA3000 ‘s analysis.

    I seem to recall that Kabam actually admitted their data showed something like that, when they talked about the design goals for 6.3. Something was telling them players were either being turned away from the content, or just doing single completion and then never coming back to even attempt exploration.

    By the way, I've always thought the completion/exploration thing was a potential landmine of a problem. Exploration rewards are usually something on the order of twice as good as completion rewards, more or less. But they can take many times more effort to get. And it is worse than just more paths, because of course people tend to do the path they find easiest first. So full exploration could easily be ten times harder, or twenty times harder than first completion when you factor in both the number of paths and the relative difficulty of them, relative to that specific player. If the content is worth doing, those exploration rewards can look juicy. I think a lot of people see Variant that way. But the full exploration rewards for Acts 6.x, and the whole banana for Act 6, can seem a lot less worth it when you're potentially plowing dozens of times more effort into Act 6 full exploration than single completion.
  • TheTalentsTheTalents Posts: 1,459 ★★★★★

    This is a fascinating read, @DNA3000.

    Thanks. I'm definitely an average-ish player; luckily I'm philosophical enough to play the game for the enjoyment it brings, rather than feeling the need to 'finish' it.

    I like the idea of keeping current Act 6 as an Epic version of itself; with a more achievable version created with less of a difficulty leap. I'm sure there would be some complaints; but far fewer than if they nerfed the whole thing.

    Out of curiosity, it'd be fascinating to see whereabouts the Special quests (ROL, LOL,AOL, Variants) plotted on that graph of yours. Not that I'm setting you homework, or anything 😏.

    Great stuff, man.

    I'm okay with having a Master version of act 6 with all the gates removed and the Champion having just 1 indestructible charge instead of 5. I will have no complaints. I don't like the Champion fight so much that I would honestly be okay with a straight nerf to him and no compensation. I know certain people will be mad but unless you give me 6 star sig stones or a t5cc fragments it won't push my account either way unless I get a lucky pull with 6 star shards.

    Now if they refunded me the thousands of units I used to actually take out the champion that would actually make a difference lol. But we all know that won't happen either.
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