Not Much of a Nerf

[City of Heroes] Remind me, do players complain at great length about every nerf?

City of Heroes has almost no end-game content. You can go through the late-40s content, especially the harder stuff now that experience debt does not matter, but the only Big Thing at the end is the Hamidon. The Hamidon is City of Heroes’ one and only raid encounter, and by now players have it figured out (even after a few changes to it). The zone only instances if there are 200 people in it, so anyone level 45+ with a decent computer can go. When Hamidon drops, everyone involved gets rewarded. The reward is a Hami-O.

For those not part of City of Heroes, you do not get equipment as such. Instead, you get slots in your powers into which you can put enhancements, and each enhancement increases it along some axis (damage, range, accuracy, endurance cost, etc.). Aside from Hami-Os and trial rewards, the best of these are single-origin enhancement (SOs), which boost a power by 33% or 20% in one way. Hami-Os instead boost two or three parts by 50% or 30%. Effectively, this lets you eighteen-slot a power, when the limit is six enhancement slots. Characters with many Hami-Os are rather effective. For example, my Blaster’s Trip Mine has six Damage/Accuracy Hami-Os, and it one-shots groups of level+2 minions.

Since there is no other end-game content, people have been raiding Hamidon more or less constantly. Some characters have a Hami-O in every power that can use one. This makes the design of new end-game content difficult: how do you make an encounter good for a new level 50 that is not trivial for someone with 30 Hami-Os? You do not want to make Hamidon raids a required ‘entry fee’ for the rest of the end-game. Also, it has interesting effects on PvP when one character is that much more effective.

The current solution on the test server: a Hami-O will be worth two SOs, instead of 2*1.5. It will boost two aspects by 33% or 20%. Thus, you can still 12-slot a power, but there is no way to cap damage purely off enhancements. If you were using a Hami-O for just one aspect (say, 50% end reduction in Phase Shift), it is no longer useful for that purpose (and an SO will be more effective in that slot, since you can push a SO to level+3, which the CoH players understand and I will not bother to explain for the rest). Free respecs will be given.

To me, this is a sane and mild nerf. Yes, it sucks 1/3 of the effectiveness of something away, which is a large change, put they are still about twice as good as anything out there. I will miss having damage-capped powers, especially since I have several that cannot be buffed by anything other than enhancements, but I will adapt more-or-less instantly. Respec, pull out the ones that are no longer really useful, trade them off to alts who can use them, and we win. I will have some spares kicking around that are completely useless to me, but maybe a future character will need debuffs or maybe I can trade them.

Wow, that is a lot of context for a small observation. As I write this, the official message board thread on the topic has 2,109 replies. We have the usual shouts of doom, whining, whining about whining, mocking of complaints, threats to cancel, etc. Randomly jumping to page 83 of the thread, I see lots of comments about PvP, a parody song, some off-topic banter amongst regulars, some discussion of how this makes characters/the game ‘unplayable,’ and arguments about whether the devs are really great or really suck. The “I’m quitting!” post on that page is not as amusing as some, but it is the first post from someone who registered two days before. We also have two posts on different, milder ways to nerf the powers.

First, as the post title implies, I do not consider it that significant. My level-capped characters have a limit on how obscenely powerful they can be. Wah. It would be nice if this was accompanied by letting us pick which two SOs each Hami-O was equivalent to, instead of random from a specific subset, but I will deal. Actually, for most of my purposes, one nerfed but custom-made Hami-O would be at least as useful as a pre-nerf Hami-O, especially since I have a character who has virtually no use for them.

Second, is it always this bad? I have avoided threads about the latest nerf, but (checking again) 2,115 posts on the thread, and that’s just the official forums. Is there anything new to add to the discussion? Is this just because it is the only change in the pipeline, so the only nerf up for discussion? When the round of Scrapper nerfs went through, there was a lot of discussion, but some of it was actually productive. It involved testing and comparisons and finding what was wrong with the testing environment. There is not so much to discuss here: one category of enhancement is losing some strength. Fin.

Also, anyone care to count whether we have more complaints or mockery of complaints out there? I think complaints used to win, but we get to the point where people complain about people complaining about people mocking those who complain… Wait, no, we passed that point a while back, so now we complain about whining about…

: Zubon

4 thoughts on “Not Much of a Nerf”

  1. Sometimes nerfs can not be overcome:

    CoH lost my love (and a deep love it was) when the Smoke Grenade nerf happened. I never really recovered from that one. I tried. I picked myself up, rerolled to a scrapper, and was doing well. But then they went and nerfed the 5th column. Not a physical nerf, mind you. A storyline nerf. As CoH was about to be released to Europe (and Germany specificly) they removed any and all references to the 5th’s Nazi heritage. Nothing was more fun that rolling into an area, and kicking the living hell out of nazis. Now they are just another gang of costumed stooges.

    The fact they laid down and spread their legs for political reasons makes me no longer love Cryptic. Nay, not just un-love, but I loathe them for that. The original storyline fit SO WELL… but they took the cheap way out in the hopes of drawing more people in. May they rot for that one. (Considering Cryptic was supposed to be ‘about the game, and not the business’…. guess that was just one more line…)

    City of Heroes: The best game I ever threw away.

  2. hhhmmm have to completely disagree with you there Inhibit, smoke grenade was completely broken before the “nerf” 100% acc debuff on foes? Come on, surely everyone can see thats broken. Where it is now makes much more sense (10% acc debuff). My blaster used to mow through ANYTHING he could hit when smoke grenade was broken, simply because nothing could hit me. Boring.

    I used to think the same about the 5th Column, but now that I am playing through the Kheldian story arcs I can see that this wasn’t some pussy change to remove nazi references, rather it is a detailed change that was part of the plan for Kheldians from way back. Cryptic have also put a lot of effort and backstory (as they always do) into the change, its just a pity no one but Kheldians gets to find any of it out…

    As for the HO change, I’m all for it. Before they completely threw out the power balance, now they just make a power better rounded.

  3. Inhibit: It’s _illegal_ to have Nazi symbols such as swaztikas in your game in Germany. This isn’t a matter of not offending delicate German sensibilities; it’s a matter of staying out of court. So while putting a coat of paint on the 5th Column and the 5th Column missions kind of sucks, I can understand why they did it.

  4. **It’s _illegal_ to have Nazi symbols such as swaztikas in your game in Germany**

    I just wanted to point something out: the 5th Column never had swaztikas. They never even had pseudo-swaztikas. There’s nothing about their symbols that was expressily illegal in Germany.

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