The Crystalline Catastrophe is a Catastrophe
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Join Date: Dec 2007
The Crystalline Catastrophe is a Catastrophe
02-24-2012, 04:30 PM
I’ve read all the guides; I know how to fight it. I’ve attempted multiple times, and have come to one conclusion:
The event as structured is virtually unbeatable.
This is not about the nature of the Entity itself, this is about how the entire event around it is structured. Specifically, that it is an event at all.
This is, roughly, the breakdown of people in a typical Crystalline Entity event pickup group:
2/3rds have never done it before. Why so many? The majority who do it once will never do it again. They don’t know the strategies and tactics that are supposed to work, so they make mistakes, are yelled at, get frustrated and leave, never to return.
Of the remaining third, half THINK they know how to do it, and will yell and scream at anyone and EVERYONE who deviates from their supposed plan. I swear I have put more of these people on ignore than I have from either STO or Champions Online since I started playing. And I participate in CO costume contests, where trolls are a common occurrence.
The rest either tries to educate through the noise produced by the others, are there for giggles, or will join for a bit only to leave and join a private group with the hope of actually winning. Even then, some of those private matches last for far, FAR longer than is reasonable. I saw one nearing 2 DAYS. Hopefully they were just farming fragments for XP. I pray they were.
Regardless, about 10 – 15 minutes into the event, half will leave the event entirely, most never to return. After 30 minutes, another half will go. The reasons are the same: either the yelling and screaming will drive people away or the Entity will heal up from 30% health to 60% in a shockingly short amount of time and with no chance of progress, they will simply give up.
This is unacceptable. I’m fine with challenges, there are some good ones in this game, but this is an exercise in frustration. Much of the reason that it is a random, short lived event, one that comes up so rarely that most players will likely NOT see it during a normal day. This means that most players don’t get a chance to learn the best method to beating the Entity, and after one run through they typically aren’t going to come back and try again. If it were, say, a standard fleet action, or a true daily event, odds are good more people would learn the fight and be ready for it when it came up.
The rest of the problem is the lack of milestones. The only “milestone” in the game is the health level, usually 33% health, when the Entity starts spawning large crystal fragments. Calling it a milestone is a misnomer as that 33% just means that things get harder, and likely will fall backwards again. Lack of progress annoys players, especially those new to the event, and lack of any VISIBLE progress is even worse.
I have two examples of how similar events work better than the Crystalline Entity event. First is the Mirror Universe event. It is short, to start with, easy enough to do 3 or 4 of them in the single hour it’s up, and with a good team it’s possible to do it 7, 8 or even more times. It’s fairly frequent, twice a day at least, pretty much every day. It’s easy enough to learn, and with its frequency and short life span, if a player makes a mistake, they can easily correct it in the next match. It also has milestones, ones that can be easily tracked. The optional objectives are not necessary, but also are tracked in a tangible way. This gives a sense of progress and, in the end, this event is one of the funniest I’ve played.
My other example is actually from Champions Online, and is a comparable to the Entity in difficulty. His name is Clarence, the CO Holiday Event centerpiece. Clarence is HARD. 10 million HP is 2 million more than the next most difficult “cosmic” level boss in the game. There’s also a time limit to beat him, I forget exactly, but I think it was 20 minutes. Now this is an open mission n CO, meaning an entire instance can drop down on him (100 people max), but it’s still very difficult to get enough people in time to take on the bear. There was some frustration at Clarence’s difficulty early on, but his spawning was very frequent (once per hour per instant) and the holiday event itself was almost a month long, giving players plenty of time to learn how to beat him. At the same time, players could track his health verses the time limit to know how well they were fairing against the bear, and could call in more help as necessary to win. More than once was a Clarence fight brought back from near failure to a close win, and often he was defeated in as little as 8 minutes of his spawning. There were still losses, of course, some the fault of people jumping the gun by either not knowing, or not caring, how it worked. Other times, it just didn’t work out. Either way, it was fun, and I miss fighting him.
There is one thing both of these events have in common: they are fun. The Crystalline Entity event is not fun. It’s frustrating. It’s anger inducing. It’s not worth the time or effort to attempt to beat. I’d fight the Mirror Event every hour, not for the prize, but for the fun of it. I HAVE fought Clarence for hours on end, not because there was a worthwhile prize (there wasn’t one, the only great failing of the fight) but because it was fun.
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least offer a suggestion for a fix. Of primary concern is to make the event easier to learn, quicker to complete, and have actual milestones for the players to meet during a run. It would also help to actually take advantage of the lore around the original Crystalline Entity, specifically how it was killed.
So to start, we change nothing about the Entity proper. Around its spawn, some distance away, are 3 satellites. As each is activated by the players, each produces a “pulse” that damages the Entity in a significant way. I’m thinking rather than out right damaging it, it weakens it. First by dropping the number of spawning fragments, then by dropping the number (or eliminating) the Large Crystal Fragments that spawn when the Entity hits 33% and the final one removes its natural heal. These can be changed, of course, in order or what exactly, but they create a tangible goal for the players to make.
There is a risk in this path. Activating the satellites can only be done one at a time. At least one player ship must stay within a certain distance of the satellite to “power it up,” and only when fully charged and active can players move on to the next. In the mean time, however, “powering up” the satellite attracts the attention of the Entity and ALL its fragments. The challenge is to stay near the satellite until it’s done powering up. Fail and the only option is to move on to the next one and try again. How it’s staged (whether you can fail all 3 or not, for example) is best left to play balancing, though I wouldn’t penalize for failure, just let the players try again.
I know many have beaten the Entity as presented, and that’s fine. Most likely did it through a private action rather than publicly. Claiming to do it with a public group means the person either got very lucky with who was involved, or they may be lying. Can’t say for sure, I don’t know.
What I do know is that unless a major change is made to the Crystalline Entity event, I will never play it again. That is the surest sign of the failure of an event, when people don’t want to play it, and I think such a fault should be resolved as soon as possible. Thank you and have a good.