Guys, a fair warning: This is a long thread. I'm trying to showcase Epic how they can improve their missions. I know walls of text are annoying to go through, but if you feel dissatisfaction with missions. You feel like they can be improved, then have a read. At worst you'll lose 10 minutes of your life that you'd most likely do nothing interesting with anyways 😛
Also thread might have some typos. Tried to proof read it twice, but 4:47AM… And what the hell am I doing with my life..
Super short summary of what missions we currently have, divided into 3 levels with commentary:
Level 1 – badly designed, boring, unteractive missions:
Atlas – feed 1 bluglo and defend a thing for 6~minutes
2 Atlas – feed 2 bluglo and defend 2 things for 6~minutes
3 Atlas – feed 3 bluglo and defend 3 things for 6~minutes
4 Atlas – feed 4 bluglo and defend 4 things for 6~minutes
Ride the lightning – feed bluglo, defend misshapen atlas for 3 minutes, then feed 2 bluglo and defend misshapen atlas for 3 minutes
Evacuate the survivors – kill some husks early, wait, defend the huge mishapen atlas for 7ish minutes
Retrieve the data – wait, shoot a bolloon, defend for 6ish minutes
Rocket – same as with RTL or atlas, but has 4 stages
Defend servers – defend at least 1 atlas-shaped server for 6ish minutes
Defend bluglo-siphon – defend multi-staged mishsapen atlas as side-activity
Defend satelite – defend atlas-shaped atlas that falls randomly on the map for couple of minutes
SW/PT/CV SSD1-7 – defend your home base here, there and there. Few times. Each time slightly harder.
STW – build-defend 1 thing-build-defend 2 things-build-defend 3 things and so on
All other event "defend reskinned atlas" missions
See anything that those missions have definitely TOO MUCH in common? All you do is stand in 1 spot and act like a turret. All of them can be called "I am different version of atlas mission" There's nothing even remotely interesting about them. They lack any interactivity between mission and player beyond "point your weapon there and shoot". Storms that change directions or different waves of husks are not the interactive part. At all. A mission consisting of few stages isn't interactive either. At least not in a way that is entertaining even at the lowest level.
Level 2 – missions that are "different":
Radar Grid – you build a radar. 5 times.
Encampments – now husks defend.. kinda
Survivors – you look for a survivor, defend him and look for another. 15 times
Build a rabbit – same as with building radars, but instead you build 1 huge ugly rabbit and then explode it
The missions aren't about strictly defending and are alot more open for players to do whatever they want. Because of their "carefree" nature, they are slightly less engaging. Also they are quite easy, require least of skill or concentration or materials used. They aren't bad, but there's whole lot of places they can improve.
Level 3 – Somewhat interesting missions:
Deliver the Bomb – create a track, deliver the payload, defend cannon for 4ish minutes
Repair the Shelter – Find 8 things, then defend the shelter for 6ish minutes
Steel icarus – you find 6~things, then follow the same steps as with RTL
SSD8-10 + all TP SSD – You defend your homebase few times from waves of husks
Those missions (DTB/RTS) are the ones I hated the most when I started playing, but then, with time, grew to like them alot.
They have what other missions lack: Interactivity. They want players to do something else than mindless, boring, stupid defending (although they unfortunately also have this part of the gameplay mechanic).
Finding those parts or creating a track makes them different and interesting. Also the fact that DTB has increased mob spawnrates, fixed to 1 location, densly packed makes it an amazing missions for those who love to use traps, creating all the contraptions.
You might wonder about SSDs. Why SSD1-7 are boring/unteractive, while SSD8-10 are fine/okay? Well here's how I see it. The very first SSD missions that you have to do to progress (1-7) are extremaly boring. They hardly have any husks to fight and whole SSD can easily be done by few traps and a dragonscorch ninja. The difference comes once you play SSDs when those are as sidequests. Number of husks increases exponentially. Although it's still simple "stand there act like a good turret", the sheer amount of husks you have to deal with makes those missions extremaly satisfying.
The only mission that kinda doesn't deserve to be on level 3 is steel icarus (the one from current event). I only added it here because of 1 reason: Devs actually try to make it less boring. My guess is: at some point all RTL missions will consist of additional step of "look for 6 parts" before you can start the mission. Sadly, that is Bad direction and as I said before, I do not shy to repeat myself: Whoever is in charge of making fun and interactive missions does piss-poor job. It's just not your field of expertise. Sorry.
Here is a list of things that could IMO improve what we have right now along with new mission-suggestions:
Let players decisions have actual meaning in the game. Let them interact with the mission on level higher than acting as a turret. Example:
New mission. On the very middle of the map on a hill is huge black crystal. It has LOTS of health. Players spawn in and have to destroy it. But destroying it causes mobs to spawn around. The number of mobs depends on speed of crstals HP dropping. Because we are in "we all know it will never happen" example-mode, lets say defenders can be spawned even with 4 players in and they also participate and can be equipped with pickaxes, although their speed is slower. Each time husks touch the crystal its HP slightly regenerates (not by much)
Now here's what's interesting about this:
All players can focus on destroying crystal, if they all are outlanders they can break it within 2 minutes, but if they try and fail, wave of husks will wash over them and crystal, restoring its health almost'ish completely'ish.
2 players focus on defense, while others break crystal – now it takes 4 minutes to complete but there's alot less husks to deal with
No players focus on crystal. Instead they equip 4 defenders to do it. – Now players have to defend for 6-7 minutes but mission is in easy mode.
Suddenly players can do the mission in various ways. They can strategize to some extend and their decisions matter.
Next way to add some interaction on 'steel icarus RTL' as an example.
Lets say Lars van has 10k HP, but it starts with only 1k. Players can look for missing parts to repair the shelt… van or start with a van having less health. It's still not enough interactivity. Instead of RTL having 2 phases, make 1 but slightly bit longer. In some intervals spawn parts that you can carry to lars to speed up the process of him lifting from the ground. Once again, you could set this task to your defenders, cause why not. Lil bit of heavy lifting on a smasher-filled battlefield won't kill them… Most likely.
or even the fact the van has less HP could speed up the process of lifting it into air. High risk, high/faster reward
Also get rid of circle-mob spawn that players can't defend properly other than shooting in every direction. I know it sound fun/engaging… But it isn't. It's just me standing still and spinning with my finger on a trigger of a gun.
Players now have a choice to how they want to play the mission.
Missions like "defend at least 1 out of X things" can be rather easily upgraded. Each server/telescope/whatnot can speed up the process of finishing the mission. Gives players incentive to try and protect all of them.
You can demand players to teamwork further than just defend the same thing for x minutes. You can for example let them split up to do something faster like for example SEE-BOT in repair the shelter. You can make a whole mission out of this mechanic, although you'd have to add something to that. For example:
new mission – open the bunker
bunker doors have 100k HP (or just enough that force-breaking them would take at least 10-15 minutes). To open them faster, 1 generator has to be working and defended. To further speed up the process you can engage 2 more generators. Then doors slowly open up in which 1 player has to enter to do something. Ofc those 1-3 generators smell awfully similar to atlas mission but.. Well, nothing is perfect in this world.
Evacuate a shelter can also be pimped to be less of a "defend bloated atlas". Let survivors actually escape the shelter and not only you have to defend the main thing, you have to escort survivors aswell. Those survivors then will be the reward (like "rescue the survivors mission).
Remember the first example, about the crystal? Remember funny bunny-building event mission? How about "build something while mobs are trying to destroy it". Again players can decide to all build, or split their workforces. mybe there could be side-mission with bait that would keep husks busy so they won't interfere with building the thing you… build..
Or how about a mission dedicated stricte to building a track through the map like in Deliver the Bomb? You already have the mechanics done there. Make longer paths, maybe some stops where players can either stop the bomb or whatever and defend from bigger waves of husks or keep on pushing and finishing faster. Or maybe even split-tracks with ew bombs that would split mob spawns?
I am well full of ideas. And here's another. Imagine a mission where the thing you have to defend is… Your own life. Rewards you get depend on how long you survive on the map. Once ou die, tehre's no respawn. Players can pick you up, but they dont have to. After some time you simply return to the lobby with your rewards and soothing message that 11s is nothing to be ashamed of. Maps could have higher quantity of rare resources, but to actually get them players would have to send them via some teleporter of some sorts (Me-thinks of Division – dark sector.. Without pvp). Some classes would be stronger than others, but that could be fixed in some ways.. Or to some extends. This would belong to level 2 mission types of just being different. Not bad, but different.
At the end of the day, if all of above seems pointless to you, Epic, here is my final suggestion for how to improve your missions. Create new set of missions called "husk-wave" or.. well you can go with "incredibly alot of husks this mission has" but that sounds less badass. Anyways, that's the thing I expected this game to have when i bough it. You have no idea how sad I was when I learned it isn't the case. Anyways. Do those things:
set mob spawns fixed (storm won't change direction)
create a very easy path between spawn – target, where players can (keyword:) easily predict, trap and defend from husks. Preferrably long, straight road/canyon
ramp up spawn rates to extremes and beyond. Where i nhardest setting there'd be 20 husks/minute, make it 150/minute. Make husks FLOOD the players. Let traps be usefull. Make traps durability actually be an important stat.
set winning condition to #number of husks killed. This can be later even be set as time-records where players can compete with each other.
I swear, if we'd have more SSD8-10 missions as regular ones, I'd be playing them so often.
Ok here it is, that is all. Hope it was interesting to read. If it wasn't or you disagree with me then… Well, Join in the discussion. Give you idea of what you'd improve or how. Or maybe say why wouldn't you touch anything.
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