Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Onerous AEGIS

Ah, life. I meant to mine my screencaps for pictures for this post last night, but between running errands and spending time with my daughters, I never even turned on my laptop.
Sypster, yet again, has posted a post I wish I had written. In it, he calls out Funcom on the dreadful secondary combat systems they've tried to implement since the launch of The Secret World. As you may well know, Dear Reader, AEGIS basically broke the game for me. I was a huge cheerleader because I loved TSW. I still do. The Ability Wheel, with its multiple synergies, provided a classless system that left the Unholy Trinity intact. I truly felt the idea of "bring the player, not the class" was well served in TSW.

Auxiliaries were cool, though I agree with Syp that they would have been more interesting as full weapons instead of a single active/passive. Augments were always obviously optional and never seemed worth the grind, at the very least they were lower priority AP expense. But AEGIS, both being mandatory, and yet adding nothing to the game, was the ten-ton dumbbell that broke this camel’s enthusiasm.

At best, AEGIS increases the length of an already long combat cycle. At worst, it makes the game impossible to play, as the player may not be able to do any damage to a random encountered mob without the proper equipment.

I dipped a toe in again a couple weeks ago but never got around to writing about it. I re-did the Tower Defense and obtained the AEGIS controllers I was missing. Though my friends from Beyond the Veil were trying to do me a favor those many months ago, it might have been better if I had done the mission solo. I learned much more about what was going on with the individual towers and their proper distribution the other night. As is often the case when one is carried through group content, getting "help" from the BtV crew didn't really help me in the long run. In point of fact, that night was the last time I logged in for over a year, because I wandered down the wrong alley and encountered a mob I didn't have the controllers to combat.

Which leads back to the added unnecessary complexity and length of fight. Commenting on Syp's post, Sylow maintains that AEGIS isn't that big a deal once you get used to it—and use the AegisHud addon (which I do), and have some capacitors in your full set of controllers—a point echoed on Twitter by my old mate, Galactrix. Sylow goes further to lay the blame for both Augments and AEGIS at the feet of the playerbase, hundreds—or thousands—of whom insisted on power increases or they threatened to not spend any money on additional Issues or updates to the game. Funcom was over a barrel. I wonder, though, how many players Funcom lost because the system was both unnecessary and poorly implemented at first. I myself had just begun subscribing again a month prior to entering Tokyo. They got maybe 30 bucks out of me before I quit cold turkey, not even playing or being tempted to play for well over a year.

Syp is not the only one who dislikes AEGIS despite having powered through the Tokyo Issues. Tententacles, for example, despises the system despite having taken three alts through to the end. Apparently, Lead Designer Romain Amiel has said AEGIS will be relegated to end-game content (dungeons/raids?) after Tokyo.

I noticed (and Sylow pointed out) that the Tower Defense mission now gives a full set of controllers. I want to dip in again now that I have a full set and maybe see how things go because the stories are still fascinating. I feel a bit removed from what is going on though. It may be better to return to my lower level Dragon to get back into the swing of things, or even create a character to start anew. We’ll see.
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  1. I'm somehwat in the same boat as you. AEGIS broke my enjoyment of the game, so I think I'm still somewhere in Issue 11 and haven't even bothered to log in to buy and run 12 and 13.

    and yet oddly enough, I'm also in Sylow's boat where AEGIS is irrelevant to me also, since I've played enough that my controllers are levels up and I've got decent QL Capacitors installed, so for the most part my 1st hit drops any mob's AEGIS and then it's all regular damage after that, so other than making sure I have the right controller active before I start a fight... no biggie.

    But still, it was enough of a bother than I drifted out of the game and haven't really been back in a year-ish myself either.

    1. I'll admit, my exit was a nerd-rage. Even now, if I poke in, I hope no one "sees" me. Not sure why.

  2. "Sylow goes further to lay the blame for both Augments and AEGIS at the feet of the playerbase, hundreds or thousands of whom insisted on power increases or they threatened to not spend any money on additional Issues or updates to the game."

    Hehe... those numbers are a bit over the top. I guess it were just a few hundred players running rampant in the forums, but that's still enough to give a wall of complaints and postings. [No, i did not count how many people were active there... it might also have been just like 30 people posting day and night. ] Note that usually only a small percentage of the playerbase enters the forums but their vocal expression is what the company sees most often and most easily.

    But yes, significant and very vocal part of the playerbase cried both the Augmentations and Aegis into the game. Also, as the wave of complaints about Aegis was much smaller (and very short-lived) in the forums i have to conclude that either:

    1. Most players did not mind Aegis that much and/or got used to it within a few days.
    2. Those players who did not like Aegis were unable to express their point of view in the Forums, but prefered to sulk in a corner.

    I very much hope that the first part is true, and since some cabal mates very much enjoyed leveling their Aegis gear (for me it felt too grindy, the interface to clunky end everything too inconvenient, but tastes differ), i have to conclude that a part of the playerbase has welcome and embraced it.

    Next, thanks to Magson for also confirming my point of view that Aegis after a few gear upgrades is no issue any more as one or two attacks break most enemies shields, unless you're facing a boss. Now also note that Kaidan mobs are "balanced" around having shields. For exampble mobs in the Shadowy Forest usually have more health than those in Kaidan. Effectively fights feel faster for me in Kaidan than in Transylvania.

    Mind you, i think i also made it clear at the Bio Break posting, i do not enjoy Aegis either but merely live with it, although by writing this i realize that Aegis indeed did have one very positive effect on the game, but more on that later. The very first Tokyo was unlocked i immediately went there and also felt slapped and beaten up, and several Cabal mates experienced the same effect.

    The first evening we were in Kaidan only for a short time, then decided to "ignore this crap" and do a dungeon run together. The second evening we first spent some time in cabal chat and did basically nothing but complaining about how bad things have become. Lucky us, somebody impersonated the Yorkshiremen ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1a1wHxTyo ) till somebody else realized that we were not actually grumpy old people (not just men) complaining that youngsters have it so easy these days. Instead we had to realize that we were more like kids crying to get their candy.

    Understanding that, i formed the established dungeon group and we went for Kaidan together in full force. We still didn't know about capacitors (their drop rate was very low), so we had minimal damage conversion. We compensated for that by numbers and focusing fire. Aegis switching took insanely long and the switching skills did not exist yet. ( The switch time was reduced a week later and the skills came a little after that. ) We overcame that by using setups with two builders, one for each weapon, so we were able to have two different kinds of aegis damage available when fighting dual-shield bosses.

    So yes, we had to adapt, we had to do some jumping around to get things done when Aegis came out. Wouldn't i have had people to fall back upon, i'd also have been at risk of rage-quitting. Only the good community and the great cabal kept me in game for the first few days, till we learned how to handle Aegis.

    [4096 character limit...]

    1. No worries I appreciate your feedback. I changed the post to clarify that "or" was not a typo, at least.


  3. In the end it boils down to what several people, not just me, already said: There's not much actually good to be said about it except that some people seem to enjoy farming Kaidan mobs and leveling their Aegis gear, but unless you want to beat the Kaidan nightmare dungeons, you don't need that. At the same time after a few improvement of your Aegis gear, it becomes insignifiant for anything outside of the dungeons and a few special bosses and can mostly be disregarded.

    That's far from a good system, but it's also not the catastrophy it felt like in the first week. Also, remembering this, i now recall the one really positive effect Aegis had on the game for me:
    before Aegis was implemented, the games deck building was stalled. People were petrified, locking themselves in to a handfull of "best" setups, according to the metagame. Aegis very much killed that "set in stone" metagame, when it came out, a huge diversity of setups and synergies was tried. Of course, they all went through a kind of "natural selection", many of them did not survive the test of time, but while people by now again flock to "best" designs, there still is a number of different deck building philosophies and ways of building decks out there, which are all considered to be viable. It's not like some things which previously were not viable were upgraded with Aegis, but before Aegis the metagame was all about leeching frenzy, where you wanted maximum damage for maximum survivability, outshining every other setup concept by far. With Aegis, this one "miles ahead of everything else" mechanic suddenly was broken, allowing all the other actually viable concepts to claim their spot.

    And a last thing @Magson: you lost interest inside Issue 11? Really? Now, that is beyond me to comprehend.

    Would you have said that Issue 12 is of no interest, for it offers very little content outside of the dungeons, i would fully understand that. Mind you, the dungeons are well done and fun to play in group, they are the first new dungeons since launch and were very much needed, but they require some Aegis upgrade to be able to handle and of course are of no interest for people not going for dungeons.

    Would you have said that Issue 13 doesn't hold your interest, i could understand. While the pack consists of only missions to carry on the storyline, the end of Issue 11 basically ended the first season of the story. Issue 13 just wraps up some loose ends and lets the player make some decissions to determine his characters future again.

    At the end of Issue 11 you will find that some decissions you made in the game up to now do affect your character permanently. Any more would be spoilering, but the way Issue 13 is made, i get the impression that those choices might have a much bigger influence on the future of your character than the choices you made up to now. {As i try to also keep spoilers low, i won't go into detail of what the game asks you at the end of Issue 13. But one thing the game wants to know is, if your characters parents are still alive. I can just wonder which consequences this and some others of my answers will have in the future game. }

    So go ahead, finish Issue 11. The last fight there indeed is not easy, but it can be done in group. (The only thing not to be done in group is one dream sequence, and while it has fights, they are not about firepower but about movement. ) So if something seems too hard, bring friends.

    I'm curious how your feedback will be after you experienced the end of TSWs first season. I personally felt that this ending, while in the usual TSW manner leaving you with at least as many questions as answers, was worth the effort to get there.

    [Less than another 4096 characters. :D ]

    1. I need to get through the Issue I'm on (9?) before I move on to the others.

  4. I don't get why MMOs have the tendency to throw about their whole combat system after some years and replace it with something totally different. LOTRO did the same thing and it was a disaster; many players left. Somehow developers seem to think they should follow in the footsteps of other, newer MMOs, but they forget their own unique system is what attracts their current players to said game.

    1. This is interesting, if slightly different issue. What AEGIS did in TSW was to overlay another system onto the original combat, wherein you have to worry about which of three different "schools of magic" (Demonic, Psy, and Cyber, I think). So a creature will have a shield that is only vulnerable to Demonic magic, for instance, and you have to use "controllers" to make sure your weapons (forming the original combat system) are actually doing damage. Meanwhile, the creature is doing damage to you.

      I think later updates included shields for the players, but I'm not sure if that ever came to fruition.

    2. Shields are there, you get them in the Issues 10 area. In the open world people tend to disregard them, not understanding their mechanic. The "problem" is that the shields the players have do not prevent 100% of the damage. Instead they absorb 10% of the damage, the rest hits your health pool.

      When handled properly, these shields regenerate quickly and constantly, though, effectively reducing incoming damage by 10%. When handled wrongly, they do nothing for you. The difference is not clearly visible for somebody not aware of the mechanic, and of no big difference for somebody with some spare regenerative powers in his setup. So, shields are useful but Funcom once again failed to properly communicate that, giving the impression that they matter little.

      Once you get into the dungeons from issue 12, things change a lot, there the shields are absolutely necessary. Every dungeon player is very much aware on how useful they are.