A View from Atlas Park: Inventors Anonymous

Following my last column, I took my Hero main off the substitution bench (which they had been warming ever since it was announced how Invention drops would work) and set to work experiencing things for myself. First stop was Wentworths, to see how that operated. Overall that seemed pretty simple and probably the best place to go to buy inspirations and non-IO enhancements. For all the complaining about how silent auctions would ruin the new economy and how people would hate them, they seemed to be working pretty well (but more on that later). I put a couple of Single Origin (SO) enhancements up for sale as a test case.

Then it was into the University in Steel Canyon for the Inventions Tutorial mission. The tutorial didn’t take that long and while it provided the right information, I didn’t really come out understanding how Inventions worked. The tutorial was too basic and left me with lots of questions about IO sets and exactly how they worked (such as: For the IO set to work, do all the IOs from that set have to be in the same power?

The answer to that is “yes”, by the way.)

By now, I had some idea of Inventions and was looking to start collecting all that phat lewtz that… sorry, did I say “phat lewtz”? I meant to say “incredibly rare and random salvage and recipes” … that would allow me to expand my character in ways I hadn’t considered before. I got a /tell and an invite to join a team, the result of which was 1) a fun time relearning what my Hero could do since I’d gotten a bit rusty and 2) some Inventions Salvage and a Recipe – a common one, sadly – to play around with.

Back to Wentworths I go. I put up some Inspirations for sale and buy some of the ones on offer – I figure that doing so will help get other people their badge(s) and also give me a bit more experience with the Consignment House system. The SOs I’d put up for sale earlier had been bought, so I got the thrill of my first sales. But then – and here is where the less rambling part of this story kicks in – I see an IO set that I could use. Called Air-Burst, it slots into Ranged AoE powers and is a set of 4. My Assault Rifle / Devices Blaster has 5 slots in M30 Grenade (an AoE Ranged attack power), so it seems like a natural-ish fit. Also, I like the fact that Air-Burst gives my Hero a small health boost, among other benefits. I buy the first required recipe and happen to already have the salvage for it. A quick superleap over to the uni, a couple of seconds at the workbench and I’m slotting my first IO.

Alright, I think, this is pretty good. Back to Wentworths and I buy the other three recipes. Impatiently if my initial bid isn’t successful, I revise it pretty much every 5 seconds until I get what I want. With the rest of Air-Burst recipes purchased, I switch to bidding on the required salvage. Again, in order to get the required salvage, I revise my bids rapidly, which leads to some mistakes (such as paying 100 000 inf for a common piece of salvage instead of 10 000). But I’m getting what I need to complete the set.

But then it comes to one piece of salvage I needed to finish the last recipe for the set. Pangean Soil. It’s rare and there are only 3 up for sale.

Apparently 1 000 000 inf is not enought to get Pangean Soil.

Apparently 2 000 000 inf is not enought to get Pangean Soil.

Apparently 5 000 000 inf is not enought to get Pangean Soil.

It’s at this point that I actually check how much I’ve spent on getting this IO set. A quick calculation indicates that in order to get to the three out of four IOs required for this set, I’ve spent about 4 million influence, which is a significant proportion of my character’s influence. I can’t afford to get the final component required for my set!

It was about this point I realised how addictive this system can be. The compulsion to go to Wentworths to check if you can buy the salvage you need to finish off a recipe (or to see if you can buy a recipe that will use the salvage you have on hand) is huge. You want to do it before you start a mission, after a mission and during any downtime your team may have. Prices for things are insane right now for some items, but I’m sure that will settle down for most things.

Once you have what you need, inventing is quick and easy and the effects of success are immediately realised (I do like my almost-complete Air-Burst IO set, which seems to be have M30 Grenade working just as well as it has been previously). The desire to have more recipes, more salvage available for you to work with is very strong. Even if you aren’t going to use the IO you create, it’s still helping you towards a badge and gives something that you can sell on consignment (which also helps you reach a badge).

In my opinion, this is an auspicious start for inventions. Apart from the whole “I can’t afford to buy what I need to invent!” or “I can’t find what I need!” issues, Inventions has started off as a fun and addictive addition to the CoH/V world.

I wrote the above three days after I9 landed, having played CoH/V as much as possible with my hero main during that time. Apart from realising that I may have erred in paying so much for Air-Burst IOs (two slotting Positron’s Blast IOs across multiple Ranged AoE sets might be a better way to go), I’m still pretty happy with Inventions at this point. Wentworths is still a key destination and I’m using my SG base more than ever now that they’ve got a workbench and personal salvage locker side-by-side.

Prices have started to come down. Uncommon salvage that used to cost 50 000 inf or more (especially arcane salvage) has dropped dramatically and can often be purchased for less than a few thousand inf. Some of the IO sets that are less in demand can be picked up for a song. Costume drops are still very expensive, but the prices on them aren’t nearly as ridiculous as occurred during the first weak. Whether it is that people are more circumspect about buying from the consignment houses, have already got what they wanted, have already spent all their inf and are now broke or a mixture of the above, things have started to settle down for the most part. Excess demand has started to wash off while supply has increased.

Yet to really take off is common IO slotting (at least that I’ve seen) – people still seem infatuated with the named sets. Perhaps it is because the common IO enhancements look like training enhancements, which people have long learned to ignore once they hit the teen security / threat levels, but the fact that they outperform TOs, DOs and SOs at equivalent levels and that they never degrade means that people should really be valuing them more highly. Another factor at play is that there will always be a supply of them as long as people want the crafting badges and have to churn them out. I suspect that before long stores will get awfully lonely as players choose to do all of their enhancement shopping at Wentworths or the Black Market.

It certainly seems that I9 has been successful in bringing players back, at least for this month. I’ve noticed higher numbers of players when I play, which means a lot when you spend most of your time in off-peak periods. It has been very easy to find a good PUG or to pull together a short-run TF.

I9 has seen a lot of work put into CoH/V, most of it occuring below the surface. It is a lot more gratifying to see the number of overall drops increase, as it feels you are doing more to see the multiple “found!” messages flash across your screen regularly (and converse, it feels odd when you go for a stretch without that happening). I can see why the devs were excited about I9 back before I8 was released – it really has given players something else to do within the “City Of …” franchise.

– UnSub [@UnknownSubject] unsub {at} warcry {dot} com[/a] 17 May 2007


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