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#feedback

9/23/2014 8:49:18 PM
1

Strike Missions: Bland but with potential!

So, I've run every Xbox strike mission on normal difficulty and run most again as part of the Strike playlist and I have to say that I am not quite impressed yet. The Strike Missions have promise, but they need a bit more before they'll be really exciting. On the whole, the Strike missions have a formulaic layout with a bullet sponge boss. Defeating them is usually just a matter of survival rather than any particular tactics. In every boss fight, there comes a point where the boss's tactics are unlikely to wipe the players but the boss still has half his health left. At this point, the outcome is almost a forgone conclusion and the boss's hp is only delaying the inevitable and wasting player's time. All is not lost, however! There's plenty of room to make most of these missions more interesting by tweaking enemy behavior! First, a general point: Boss loot sucks right now. The boss doesn't pay out much glimmer (even though glimmer is currently worth very little) and usually drops a minor item, like a black wax idol or a house banner. If we're going to do the 20 minute slog to kill this boss, guarantee that the boss will drop an engram. As long as there's at least a green waiting at the end of the fight, victory will feel more rewarding. So, here's a breakdown of reasonably simple changes that I think would breathe some life into Strikes: [u][b]The Devil's Lair[/b][/u] This is the first strike mission, so you can get away with it being very basic, but it still needs a little spice. This strike's three-wave battle does a good job of putting the players in a defensive position near the computer, but it's fairly easy to sit and snipe enemies off from cover. To keep players from just bunkering down and taking pot shots, the Fallen should periodically attempt to disrupt the ghost hacking the computer. If the players fail to stop the Fallen from taking out the Ghost, they fail. The Fallen Walker is simplistic in the tactics needed to fight it. The exposed engine is a nice touch to hurry things along, but that just makes the boss less of a bullet sponge. The boss is not terribly accurate at close range with its cannons, but its electric pulse and grenade spam aren't telegraphed well enough and cover too large an area to make a close in fight feasible. This, along with the adds from the side, forces players to adopt a long-range strategy that is once again "sit in cover, take pot shots". To spice this fight up, some of the adds need to be equipped with Fallen Wire Rifles to threaten long-range snipers while the boss needs to lose either the grenades or the electric pulse and telegraph the other a bit more to allow players to get in close and attack/turn the boss and expose his back legs. As a possible addition, weaker armor on the back legs would make such close attacks more desirable. Septiks Prime has only one large flaw - the presence of a safe hallway along the left side of the room. Septiks can't shoot into this room, but can usually be shot from just outside it. The adds in the fight usually avoid the room, so it is a fairly safe haven. Changing the adds so that they pour into or through that small hall as they come up would increase the danger of the fight. A smaller improvement would be to give Septiks an aura like other servitors, bolstering those minions that happen to be close to him. This would increase the importance of removing the adds and make the fight more dynamic. [u][b]The Summoning Pits[/b][/u] The three-wave battle in front of the triptych door has a major problem in that the entry hallway provides a relatively safe refuge from attack. Simply seal the entry door once the full strike group is inside and don't start the event until the door locks. This will allow Hive melee units to present an actual threat to the player. Phogoth the Untamed himself is kind of pathetic. There are large portions of the room where Phogoth can not ever threaten a Guardian. The minions don't spawn thick enough to pose a threat to Guardians until later in the fight and by then the boss is almost dead. Minion spawns need to increase if Guardians are to experience real pressure. If Phogoth were to try to melee-kill anyone inside his open arena instead of mind-blasting whatever had his attention, Guardians would have an incentive to leave cover and kite the ogre around so allies could have clear shots at his heart. If the boss's melee took out Hive, players could use him to clear minions out. If possible, Phogoth should get some form of attack, perhaps some area-of-effect psychic blast, that he could use to threaten any Guardians who stick to the same piece of cover. [u][b]The Nexus[/b][/u] The "Hunt the Servitors" section of this Strike seems out of place. The Fallen are trying to kill the Vex just as much as you are, so why are they getting in the way? Give us a better story reason besides them being there. The Nexus Mind itself has some good elements, but these elements break down in practice. The Nexus is basically just a soued-up Nex Hydra, but the large amount of health and the layout of the room almost bring some sophistication to the fight. Due to the width of many of the pillars, the boss is unable to threaten all areas of his room and the minions that periodically spawn become the real threat to long-term player survival. If the boss were able to drift out of the center of the room, to positions where he could fire up either of the high-ground ramps, that would increase his threat level. Alternatively, locking the boss's fire arc so that he can only fire in a direction that his rotating shield is facing could lead to some interesting gameplay, where Guardians must try to keep ahead of the boss's shield and headshots only occur from the side. Such an implementation would likely be accompanied by an increase in boss's fire rate, damage, and the area-of-effect from the boss's mortar shots, making being in front of the boss an almost-always-fatal experience. The vex minions spawning in would complicate things, forcing Guardians to deal with them while trying to stay ahead of a tide of mortar fire. [u][b]Winter's Run[/b][/u] For a mission that is couched as an attempt to get to the Archon Priest before he can be restored, this mission lacks urgency. I recomend that each segment be under some sort of time constraint - from the mission start to the sealed door, the three waves of Vex, and from the opening of the door to the opening of the Priest's cell should all be timed - plenty to spare if you are doing well, but not too much wiggle room that failure on time is impossible. Failure to complete a section in time leads to failure for the first two sections, while failing the third section on time leads to the boss coming out early and with some sort of buff, such as a recharging shield. The boss himself, Aksor, is bland. He's an almost complete re-use of the first story mission's boss. While the boss's freedom of movement and the minions which spawn in do give a nice amount of motion to the fight and prevent any particular place from being too safe, the boss himself needs to bring some action to the table beyond a melee, teleporting, and a big gun. Halfway through the fight, give him a new tactical option. Let him throw a wall of fire down, periodically gain a shield, or teleport more dramatically - something that changes how the Guardians need to respond to him. If you did time the run, perhaps even tie his power-up point to the duration of the fight. [u][b]Cerberus Vae III[/b][/u] I've got no complaints about the three-wave fight on this Strike, as it lets you play around with Interceptors if you want and doesn't have any overwhelmingly safe locations. The tank fight feels a lot like fighting the Fallen Walker all over again, only this time you don't have the red laser to tell you when you are about to be cannoned to death and the boss is a little more mobile. Interceptors don't feel useful as an option against this tank, yet this is the only boss fight where vehicles could be a tactic. This should be exploited. Minions should spawn in such a way that taking cover behind the large rock pillar shouldn't be an effective option like it currently is, while replacement Interceptors should be available somehow, even if they come in driven by enemy Psions. Valus Ta-aurc is boring. This is a fight about shooting an over-healthed Cabal Collossus while dealing with periodic spawns of normal Cabal troops, only easier because the Colossus will only stand on one side of the room or the other and never goes to cover. To spice this one up, have Valus march his way up and down the various ramps and stairs so that he can periodically shoot behind any given piece of cover. Never have him stop shooting his chaingun except when he's launching rockets. After about half his health is gone, buff his speed so that he covers the same amount of ground in half the time. In summery, turning a bullet sponge into a challenge is more about what changes the boss's behavior forces upon the player's tactics than on the environment the fight takes place in. Safety should be a transient thing, teamwork should be important, and awareness of the situation should be rewarded. [b]TL; DR:[/b] Strike missions should not be won consistently by "stay in cover, shoot boss".

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  • I like most of your ideas. I'll add my thoughts and a few things I've noticed from playing. Sepiks strike: I wish the enemies would always try to disrupt the ghost (even on just regular missions). But instead of failure, make it so you have to run from cover and replace the ghost back into scanning/activating/etc. The tank needs to be way more mobile. It's just a giant sponge. Like you said. Sepiks is easy, but i think a different approach to the aura. Sepiks actual siphons life from his followers (as seen when you first walk in). How about a big special attack or it heals him if he does that. Phogoth: Again, ghost should be stoppable, having to restart it. And the door idea would be a nice touch. The battle however is fairly hard on the high difficulties with high ranking enemies constantly spawning. I'm ok with it currently. Nexus: An interesting touch about the shield. Not sure what to say about that. I like and don't like it. It's up in the air. Archon Priest: The timer was what I wanted most. A sense of urgency. Agreed. And some better behavior would be nice. Talus: The tank is fairly easy with the interceptors. My team of 3 had 3 interceptors and we just kept moving around him. Made us hard to pin down. Took him out quickly, even on level 24 tiger strike. Was fun though. But the tank can feel a little spongy at times. As far as Talus, I've actually seen him walk up on the ramps. Wiped my team because we didn't expect it! Some better behavior would be nice though. Those are my thoughts on the strikes. I did like your ideas though!

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