Occult Defense improvements & suggestions

Perhaps this is something best suited for the suggestions and feedback thread but I would like to hear others opinions on the subject and let’s be honest it’s probably just as likely to get seen here as it is there.

For starters OD is one of the best things I have seen come out of the relaunch. It’s not for everyone but I find it offers a great challenge, it supports solo and group play and is short enough that anyone can jump in for a wave or two with little time investment.

There are a few things I’d like to see changed or improved though:

1.) Flicker Bug - No I don’t expect Funcom can fix this but as a solution I suggest that saved waves go beyond 29 perhaps to 39 or at the very least 35 for achievement purposes. I understand this undermines the difficulty of the achievement but with the flicker bug a common issue I think it’s a fair solution. It will also save the hours invested in high wave pushes only to fail to a flicker bug.

2.) Rewards - In general rewards are good, it is sometimes frustrating that they cap at 21 leaving no incentive to play higher waves. I understand this effects a relatively small portion of the community but with the release of E17 I think it’s fair that wave rewards are scaled at least to wave 29 or 33 which should be the E17 equivilent provided every 2 waves represents one elite level.

3.) Solo highest wave achievement/ leaderboard - This is more of a personal request then anything since it’s significantly harder to run higher waves solo then it is as a 2-3 player group. So purely personal bragging rights and I know a few other players who probably would like the opportunity to do the same. Being that OD is fairly reliant on a particular weapon combination at high levels though I could see some backlash on this suggestion.

4.) Bring back 2man group finder que! No don’t get rid of group since that’s a blast but since it’s hard to get 5 players signed up in group finder it would be nice to see the duo option there again.

Anything else feel free to suggest. Hopefully @AndyB can keep tabs on the topic to see if any of the ideas are easy to implement. Cheers!

3 Likes
  1. make it brighter with more contrast. Right now the colour scheme is very similar to “black on pitch black” in some parts
  2. remove the unclear announcements like “Prepare for statistical anomalies”. If I have to start looking for a black shape against a black background (commander), I’d very much like to know that immediately.
  3. spawn patterns. getting three or four simultaneous spawn points evenly placed across the perimeter as a solo melee isn’t a challenge, it’s just unfair and frustrating. Sure, it’s just swarms but there’s little chance to collect them all before some reach the center area.
  4. mob AI. some mobs, especially vampires, wisps and ghosts like to disperse in every imaginable direction after being engaged to cast some buff or attack. Not a big problem for ranged weapons, but bordering on unfairness for melee.
  5. mob pathing. the west / north west spawn points produce some strange paths. also, there’s at least one stone mobs can just run through instead of around it.
  6. melee vs ranged and the “risk vs reward” thing. In the past, I used to be dead set against nerfs and favoured buffs for balance, but here I’d say slash AR damage by 40% and call it a good start.
1 Like

The multi-spawn points and having two or more of them spawn mobs at the same time in Solo is rather difficult to deal with. Its reasonable to deal with on lower waves but becomes very challenging at higher waves and that’s my opinion as an AR player. You can times that by 10 for melee. In fact OD and the original competition that was released during its launch is the single reason I swapped from Blade main to AR main. At max IP it was just too much of a disadvantage with melee and on that note I would suspect Blood has a significant disadvantage in there.

These sort of changes are valid but require a lot more work as it deals with weapon balancing. A melee speed buff would be interesting in there. I don’t think damage nerfs or buff are likely to happen though.

Another thing that is just a bandaid but helped me with some of the other points is changing my setting for OD. I think contrast and lighting. Also I have Mobmarkers mod installed which displays name tags for any enemies on the map. Pretty handy for spotting commanders. Not a solution of course but if mods don’t mess with your game too much it’s an option.

Agree with your point #2, rewards for OD are very underwhelming and go against the idea of the newly implemented up to E17 difficulties.
OD should reward more and more distillates, both for single wave 29 spamming for instance, as well as the number of distillates granted for consecutive waves if the said waves are high (for instance, if you do wave 21 and 22, as of now, you’d get an extra 4k distillate if i’m not mistaken - if you do 21-23, give out extra 2 distillates + an extra 1k distillate or something like that, just like the new difficulties for faction missions scale above E10 now).
Same deal for Nemain signets - grant us a bigger percentage of loot chance per consecutive wave if the said wave is high.

For your point #3, i don’t see solo leaderboards getting backlash at all. If so, why would one care? The leaderboards for highest waves, as it stands now, are all about minmaxing the most meta setup possible anyway already.

2 Likes

The Occult Defence simulation is not designed to give you a fair chance to stop all forces from attacking the Hagstone. Your goal is to save the Hagstone from destruction until the oncoming wave of enemies is defeated. The saboteurs, the commanders, the swarms, the enemies that spawn far apart from each other, the indeterminate nature of the announcements are there to break your defenses and stress your ability to handle the pressure of mounting defeat under uncertain, unpredictable conditions. That enemies will get past you is inevitable, more so as you ascend through the higher level waves. The challenge is to mitigate the damage the Hagstone will receive to a minimum.

The problem is that long-range weapons–especially the Assault Rifle–have an innate advantage in hitting enemies before they can reach the center, as well as a way to hit enemies that are at the center attacking the Hagstone without the danger of damaging the Hagstone further by traversing through the zone with other enemies following you, thereby damaging the Hagstone even more. It’s not enough that the Assault Rifle is more efficient at tagging enemies and destroying them: it has greater capability to deal damage and prevent damage to the player and the Hagstone. Players with melee weapons need to work harder to deal less damage, compelling them to increase their defensive capabilities to mitigate the much greater damage they will necessarily take by being at close range for enemies to attack them–just to stand a chance at surviving the onslaught. The inefficiency of a melee weapon leaves fewer options to defend the Hagstone that a long-range weapon has by its own inherent virtues.

Occult Defence will always favor a ranged approach, but the Assault Rifle is an outlier not because of its long range but because of its extreme, efficient damage output. It’s out of balance in ways the other ranged weapons are not. Changes don’t need to be made to Occult Defence for the sake of melee weapons when it’s the Assault Rifle that is performing beyond its bounds, raising the bar to a higher level than any weapon should have ever reached. It’s mostly from its higher vantage point do we believe melee weapons are under-performing to their spec.

3 Likes

1 - 5 make OD too easy. The way it is now is supposed to be a challenge. I like challenge.

Healing Adds. What is everyone’s take on those? The only reason I mention is because I was running a couple 3 player 29+ waves last night and our 34/35 wave had 8 healing adds spawn in each wave (4 sets of 2) for anyone unaware these things heal anything in the green circle to full almost instantly and yes that means that 3 million+ hp mob you almost had dead. I get the idea of challenge and wouldn’t be doing higher levels of OD if I didn’t enjoy it but it seems like the effect of these adds is a little extreme. I would respect a HoT effect that was much less but still detrimental but when your dealing with enrage at higher waves Its a little much as is. Yes I understand the tactic to deal with this situation being that someone solos them (which I would have had I not been tanking) but I still feel its a little over the top and can too easily make or break a wave.

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I hate those…things get extra tricky when you have two of them. Suddendly you would have a undefeatable combo that needs to be plucked apart. I feel SWL has a problem with selective pulling groups apart. It is way easier to group stuff than to seperate it again. Pulling one heal mob out of 20 is a draconic challenge on it’s own.

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Mobs running far away to cast a five second buff on themselves that is all but expired by the time they run back into combat range is quite clearly a bug and should be fixed, along with any weird pathing issues (like being able to run through the stones). As for it being too dark: it is absolutely too dark - giving players eye strain is not “challenge” and something should be done about it.

“Challenge” is not synonymous with “putting up with unfair nonsense”. It’s perfectly possible for something to be both challenging and fair and anyone who complains that “making OD playable for people with poor eyesight/low contrast monitors” is “removing challenge” is 100% terrible at games because their only “skill” is “enduring unfun frustration” :v:

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Who are you quoting? You put words into mouths. Who mentioned poor eyesight and said that making it easier to see for them is removing challenge?

Svella’s first suggestion was to make OD brighter with more contrast and you said that would make it too easy, which is a straight up lie given that it scales forever :v:

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The challenge really is largely covered by the fact it scales forever. Meaning that eventually regardless of what changes are made you will be challenged at some point. Most of the concerns being made are either quality of life related or simply aspects of OD that are more frustrating then they are challenging. The only issue where I can see some valid concerns regarding changes is how it might effect the difficulty of obtaining the wave 35 achievement which is notably one of the harder achievements to get even for endgame players. For example saving waves beyond 29 up to 35 for example would then turn the achievement into a game of luck since arcane singularities can help pass a wave with very little skill required if they are timed correctly. Removal of arcane spawns past a certain wave would probably fix this but might make some of the higher waves achieved on the leaderboards less legitimate.

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Late to the party.

There is quite literally NO incentive to run these things past 21. The risk/frustration lvl outmatches the rewards past 21. After grinding hours to help others (and myself) get all the Nemains we needed, I’m good with 3 waves of 21 and calling it a day.

However, if the rewards scaled up/more of them for consecutive-run waves, I could be interested.

Speaking as a blade/melee player, yes; OD does kinda suck. But, I found a way to have fun with it. Since I next to never run this solo, I have a hammer/chaos build I run just for OD. I tell ppl to dps with what they want, and I’ll tank/yank things out of the center. Mass Evulsion is a blast in OD.

It’s funny, the general concept of “wave defense” is a genre I enjoy, so I looked forward to OD when they announced it. But they managed to make it something I stopped playing as soon as I’d reached the highest wave I was capable of. It’s got the same time pressure as regular scenarios without any of the predictability that lets you specialize a build to suit the challenge.

I’m not gonna make a point list cause I don’t think it’s possible to make it into something I’d play regularly without ruining it for the people who do run it, but I will add my voice to “the darkness is a reason I don’t play it”. It doesn’t need to be difficult because you can’t find the enemies; there are enough other things going on. Black on black with brightly lit player attacks just has no visual appeal.