[City of Heroes] I have mentioned my love of the Striga content in City of Heroes, but I had never done much with its big brother Croatoa. I was not in the right level range (or actively playing) when Issue 5 went live, and I am only now getting back to it. Croatoa isa self-contained zone with a story entirely separate from the rest of Paragon City, with its own factions that only leave the zone for holiday events.
Croatoa’s content culminates with Katie Hannon’s Task Force, which has become the most popular thing in Issue 9. How did year-old content become the best thing ever? Its unusual structure makes it the best source of rare invention recipes. Large groups of heroes are bothering Katie all night long.
This is the only front-loaded task force (TF). Most TFs have a chain of missions finishing with an archvillain (same for the villain strike forces, only one of which ends with heroes rather than an archvillain). Katie Hannon sense you against an archvillain first thing. Then that archvillain respawns with a larger group of minions. And again with more. And again with even more. You fight Mary Macomber ten times in a row until she spawns with a whole pack of bosses and probably wipes the team a time or two. After that, Katie’s TF is quick: rescue a hostage, clear a cave of evil garden gnomes, and save Katie’s captured soul. Rescuing the hostage only requires you to defeat the enemies immediately around her, and Katie’s soul flies so it is easy to lead to safety. You spend an hour or two in the first mission then about a half-hour on the actual story of the task force.
You win, you get a lump of xp and a rare recipe. The first mission used to be farmed because archvillains drop a top-level single-origin enhancement for everyone on your team. 10 AVs = inventory full of the best you can use. They nerfed that, so you only get that reward from the last one of the ten.
You can fail the first mission. If you wipe and everyone goes to the hospital, you lose. That is easy enough to avoid: leave one body in the mission until someone gets back. The key is that you fail the mission, not the task force, if everyone zones out. Wait, I can skip 75% of the work and jump to the bonus at the end? So people do, every time their three-hour timers elapse, and it provides most of the rare recipes on the hero side.
The invention system has a pool of recipes that only drop as task force rewards, and it includes most of the most valuable inventions. The enemies in Katie’s Task Force also drop magic salvage, the rarer type. And, if you are level 30-34, you get experience in addition to influence/prestige.
I had a character stalled at level 34 before Issue 9. Ding. I also had a 29, so I did all the Croatoa content and unlocked the task force. Ding ding ding ding ding. Last weekend I took my level 25 Controller out of storage, finished the Striga content, then sent him through Croatoa too. Ding ding ding, with more dings inc. Come this weekend, I will have four characters set for runs on level 40 and the late game.
I feel kind of bad about inviting people to level my characters for me, but they are lining up to do it. Only once have I announced a Speed Katie run and not gotten enough teammates, and that was because I tried 30 minutes before server maintenance. Anyone level 30+ can run the task force, but you need to have unlocked the contact to start it, so anyone who can do so is a valued resource. Even if I were AFK dead weight, a few good heroes could clear those three missions on their own.
Will Cryptic nerf Katie Hannon’s Task Force? Yes. Easily.
- Remove the ability to fail the first mission; or
- make it timed (2-3 hours) with failure based on running out of time rather than leaving the mission; or
- require heroes to escort Amy to the door in the second mission, rather than just defeating her captors; or
- take away Katie’s fly (which could be odd, since all the witches fly).
Based on previous nerfs, they will probably hit it every way at once.
I have seven heroes higher than level 30. With thirty-minute runs, I could just cycle through them and farm recipes all day long. And then my head would explode.