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Taskforce, Strikeforce and Trial Changes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mighty   
Friday, 22 February 2008

The City Of Heroes and Villains development team have published an additional patch note to the February 12th live update of City Of Heroes and City Of Villains Issue 11, in reference to adjustments made to Taskforces, Strikeforces and Trials:


Spawns in Task Forces, Strike Forces and Trials will now spawn enemies for at least the minimum size required to start the Task Force, Strike Force or Trial.

For example, if a Task Force requires 4 players to start and a team of 8 start the Taskforce, the spawns will spawn for a team size of 8. If 4 players drop out of this Task Force leaving only 4 players left in the team, the spawns will adjust to a team size of 4. If 2 more players leave the Task Force leaving only 2 players, the spawns will remain at a team size of 4, since that is the minimum size required to start the Task Force."

Lighthouse has posted addition commentary to the change:

"Such missions have always been intended to be group activities, hence the reason for the minimum group size requirement to start them. We feel that the group size requirements are certainly not onerous and that the need for grouping is a good dynamic in a social environment like City of Heroes. We want to continue to offer good rewards based on a group accomplishment through such missions and maintaining that requirement is the reason for this change.

We know that finding out about this change after the patch is already live is not the ideal way to go about it. It was never our intent to “hide” or “stealth” this change out, it was simply lost in the volume of other changes spanning many months.

One of the many aims of this most recent update was to address exploitive behavior that could be used for influence/infamy farming. This is especially relevant when considering recent problems with unwanted real money trade (RMT) solicitations in game. Also included in the most recent update is the change to make it harder for RMT spammers to use the in game mail system for such advertisements. We will continue to make other changes as necessary to address the issue.

Thanks in advance for your understanding and for your continued support."

Positron offers further information to the explanation for the the changes:

"Ok, I have been watching the boards and a lot of people are confused as to why we changed the spawn behavior in Task/Strike Forces to work for a minimum team size.

CoH was never designed to have a "Raid" in the original game. However, we saw a desire for a group of friends to get together and do some hard, lengthy content for good rewards. This is how Task Forces were born. They are the "casual" raid, something you can plan with your buddies that you are going to do on a certain day and for a certain amount of time, but you didn't need 30 or 60 people to pull it off.

That said, TF's (and SF's) have grown into their own. They are no longer the casual raid, but are run by pick up groups and nearly every character wants to get them done during their career. Personally I have no problem with the difference between how they were designed and how they are actually being played.

Where the problem comes in is where players are using our spawning system to reduce the challenge to trivial levels. When you load a map it places spawns on the map appropriate to your team size. If you have a team of 8, you will get huge spawns, if you have a team of 1, you will get a couple minions and the occassional lieutenant. Some of the "back end" spawns may not be spawned as soon as the map is loaded, it's a proximity thing. As you move through the map more and more spawns are loaded. If you ever wondered what the "trigger" for a cut-scene was it was simply "that is when that spawn was created."

Now TFs and SFs were made for the casual group of friends. This means that the group could persist over several game sessions. To do this we made it so that when you logged off, or lost connection, you didn't drop out of the group. Coming back into the game you would find that your character was still on the TF. This way you could run a TF "every Friday night from 8 to 9" and if all the participants agreed, you could progress the TF a little bit every week.

Now when you combine the spawn size system with the "you don't drop from team on logout" system, you have a system that is ripe for abuse. Players can start a TF with a team of 8 (or whatever the minimum number is for that TF), and right before entering every map, have all but one player log off. This single player can then stealth through the map (or simply run through it as a superspeed or high damage mitigating AT), and, when all the spawns have triggered for a team size of 1, tell everyone else they can log in now.

Suddenly the team of (x) is blowing through the map and its tiny spawns, getting the badge and Task Force reward at the end! Is this fair to those players who play the TF without using this trick? Those that have paid in time and debt fighting through the larger size spawns? I didn't think so either.

So we went back to the drawing board. We didn't want to change how TFs worked intrinsicly, but we did want to have a challenge remain. So we looked at minimum team size to start. Since you needed that many players to "commit" to starting the TF in the first place this was an excellent point at which to set the Minimum Spawn Size in the TF maps. So if you ran a TF with a minimum team size of 5 and you had 8 players, you would find that, when all 8 players were on line, you would get 8 person spawns. When one dropped out, it would fall to 7, another would go to 6, but if the team size dropped below 5, it would still spawn as if 5 people were on the map.

Now that said there are probably some "8 person" TFs that do not need to be spawning for 8 people all the time. The Shadow Shard comes to mind, and those will get looked at in a reduction of how many players it takes to start (and therefore how small the spawns will be at a minimum).

I hope this better explains why the change was made. "


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