This is Ultra Mode
Remember how way back when I said that I was kind of reserving judgment on Ultra Mode? Remember how I said we'd need to see it in action before we could really place any sort of value on it?
This is Ultra Mode in action. And I've got to say, yeah, I'm impressed. It doesn't totally fix the fact that the game's graphical engine is clearly getting older, but it does one heck of a patch job, and helps keep the game visually appealing. Having seen all of this, I can only dream of what it's going to be like marching through Praetoria.
"Remember, we get one free practice stab!"
In addition to the Mission Architect change, the last mini-patch contained the small caveat that you couldn't target an enemy in the process of resurrecting. On the one hand, this makes sense, since the purpose of a resurrecting enemy is that they don't go all the way down, and being able to pound them while they're coming back to life often means they shuffle right back into the realm of the dead. On the other hand... well, gameplay mechanics like this are only fun when they're interesting, and the first poster contends right away that it's not more fun, just slower.
Of course, a lot of the defenses fly out the window when it becomes clear that AoEs, pets, et cetera can still target and hurt the enemies. Players just can't target them. Which means that those of us without many AoE skills get to further enjoy standing and doing nothing while the Blasters rain flaming death on everything. Really, self-resurrections have always been an iffy mechanic, and I'd rather see them just get a one-shot ability to fill their health back up from 1 HP or something. It's functionally identical and only results in a little actual gameplay change.
No need for the resurrection
There are just about enough power slots in the game for players to take all of the stuff they need. Generally, there are choices that come down to personal preference... and oddly for players of many, many other games, one of those powers is the ability to resurrect others as a vaguely-healing class. It's certainly useful, but hardly mandatory, to the point where I can only think of one in every dozen Defenders, Controllers, or Corruptors who didn't just pass me an inspiration.
The general point made in the thread echoes that: while it's certainly not a bad idea to take a resurrection power, it's not the sort of thing that most players are really going to grumble about. It's one of the oddities that imports to the game can get tripped up on, just because it's something so unique to our beautiful city.
Fitness and the death grip on power pools
I talked about this briefly when speaking with Melissa Bianco, but everyone knows it anyway: Fitness is not an optional power pool. Even the powersets that have some form of Stamina inherent to them (Regeneration, Willpower, et cetera) are still strongly encouraged to take Stamina to be even more perpetual with their blue bar. So the question has to be floated about how to fix this problem. And it is a problem, to be sure. Even though the community has more than gotten used to how things are when it comes to Stamina, if one of your choices is made for every character before they even finish character creation, it's a problem.
The real stinker in this particular problem -- as this thread highlights -- is that there's not a solution to it that doesn't fail some crucial criteria. Making it baseline removes too much of the resource management in the game, and while you can argue that the game really is more about managing cooldowns and situational awareness, Endurance does factor into it. And that's the best possible alternate solution. It does make character builds at least a touch easier to develop, which is good.
Demon Summoning 101
So you want to summon a demon. Well, first, get all of your old roleplaying books... oh, wait, you just wanted a Demon Summoning Mastermind. That's still not quite possible on the live servers, but as ever, the training room has compiled helpful information for all aspiring demonologists. It's on the "functional" side of the fun versus function scale, but not every topic we highlight here necessarily has to be a cavalcade of laughs. And hey, you wanted to know more about whipping your minions anyway.
It's okay, we did too.
Those are the community highlights for this column. Perhaps it wasn't quite as glorious as we'd initially pronounced it, but them's the breaks. As always, threads, questions, comments, and assorted Soviet propaganda can be sent along to Eliot at Massively dot com. Next week, we'll see when we get there, but it may involve screenshots. And... allegations.