A Sneak Peek into Issue 20 - The Behavioral Adjustment Facility



A Sneak Peek into Issue 20 - The Behavioral Adjustment Facility

Hello everyone! My name is Chris "Baryonyx" Behrens, and I'm a Senior Designer on City of Heroes. I've been working with the team at Paragon since just prior to Issue 17. Over the past year, I've worked on the Going Rogue expansion and the subsequent Issue release, in a role that has allowed me to be involved with most of the content systems in the game. From missions to world design, from reward systems to powers, from villain creation to zone events, I've had a great deal of fun working with the team as we strive to make the game a better experience for our players. My current focus, and the focus of this letter, however, is on how we are bringing all of these systems together in the creation of compelling endgame content.

In Issue 20, Paragon Studios will bring the first part of the long awaited endgame experience to the City of Heroes community with the introduction of the Incarnate Trials. Meant for level 50 characters, Incarnate Trials are the next evolution of the new style of zone events, introduced in Issue 19. These new Trials will provide our players with very challenging content that will allow everyone, regardless of current Incarnate rank, to participate.

The new Incarnate Trials begin where one might expect: with the Primal-Praetorian War. So significant is the battle between the dimensions that it has caught the attention of a variety of external forces. The Well of the Furies watches intently as its apparent champion, Emperor Cole, endeavors to attain ever more power. Perhaps more significantly for the forces arrayed against the Emperor, however, is the return of Prometheus, the ancient Titan who gifted his Flame to the world.

Drawn to Ouroboros to assist new Incarnates in finding their path, Prometheus stands against all that the Emperor and the Well represent. He is ready and able to provide players a guiding hand throughout the challenges they will soon face in the Incarnate Trials.
Building on Issue 19's Apex and Tin Mage Task Forces, the Incarnate Trials will move forward with the retaliation against Emperor Cole. Primal and Praetorian super-powered individuals will join in an effort to stop Cole's master plans before it leads to the destruction of both worlds.

The first step on this journey will begin at the Behavioral Adjustment Facility in Imperial City. The B.A.F. is a critical target of opportunity and a harbinger of battles to come. Within the B.A.F. Siege and Nightstar, two of the most advanced Praetorian Clockwork androids ever constructed, have been using members of the Praetorian Resistance for experimentation. At the behest of Praetor Tilman (also known as Mother Mayhem) and Emperor Cole, they have perfected a powerful mind-altering technique called Mindwashing.

Though still in its early stages, Mindwashing has proven to be highly effective. The process completely alters the subject's sense of loyalty while preserving all other aspects of personality. To the outside observer, a test subject appears to be the same as they were before the procedure. However, inside, the Mindwashed have an unswerving loyalty to Emperor Cole, a loyalty that hides below the surface and causes those affected to feed his government any information they learn about those who oppose it. Additionally, the Mindwashing grants those who control the process the ability to manipulate those affected by it, using them as spies or as fighters.

Now Siege and Nightstar are planning on releasing numerous Mindwashed Resistance members into the city as part of a full-scale field test of the new technology. But, with the Primal retaliation in Praetoria now underway, the two wardens also believe that they have an opportunity to use this release as an opportunity to propagandize against the Primal and Resistance forces.

They have designed an orchestrated breakout, wherein Mindwashed Resistance forces will "escape" from the B.A.F. due to an apparent Primal Earth attack on the facility. Some of those Mindwashed will then be "switched on", sparking terror attacks across the city before being "switched off" just in time to be brought under control by the valiant forces loyal to the Emperor.

Because of the massive effect such a display would have on the opinions of the populace, the forces arrayed against the Emperor cannot allow Siege and Nightstar's plan to succeed. As Prometheus notes, though the B.A.F is unimportant as a military target, the psychological and strategic effects that a successful release of the Mindwashed would have would negate any victory that could be achieved elsewhere.

If the Incarnates are to have any hope of putting a stop to Emperor Cole's unrelenting thirst for power and domination, they must first strike at the B.A.F., or the war may be lost before it can truly begin.

The Behavioral Adjustment Facility

The Behavioral Adjustment Facility is an Incarnate Trial, which is content meant to be a challenge for those who have reached level 50 and are interested in continuing their advancement as an Incarnate. While players who have not unlocked their Alpha Slot can participate, the simple act of playing in and completing this trial will start players on their Incarnate path, even if they have not completed Mender Ramiel's arc.

This Incarnate Trial builds upon the Zone Event system introduced with the Praetorian events added in Issue 19. Unlike those events, however, this Trial will take place on a dedicated map. Meant for leagues of 12 to 24 players, the B.A.F. will provide players with an exciting challenge that introduces many of the elements that will become familiar as more Incarnate Trials are introduced. Below is a brief description of the various stages of the event and their challenges:

1.) In stage 1, the Incarnates will begin their invasion of the B.A.F. in an effort to stop the release of the Prisoners. In this stage, players must defeat some combination of 40 War Works guards or Mindwashed Resistance fighters deployed to guard the facility.

2.) Nightstar will emerge and challenge the players after they have successfully cleared the main grounds. She must be defeated. Nightstar has a few tricks up her sleeve, however:

• She will continuously be reinforced by her loyal Victoria class War Works guards.

• She will activate the facility's guard turrets, which will quickly debilitate anyone caught in the field of fire unless the turret is disabled. Turrets can be temporarily disabled by interacting with the terminal at the base of the harassing turret.

• She has the ability to sequester her target. Her current target is issued two warnings that they are about to be sequestered, before the third warning locks down the target and all who are nearby. The only way to prevent this is for someone else to draw her attention!

3.) Though Nightstar is defeated, the Incarnates are too late to prevent the Escape from beginning. In this stage, the Incarnates have no choice but to defeat the Mindwashed before they can escape the facility. If too many escape, however, it will be too late to stop Siege and Nightstar's plan. Hardened Resistance Commandos have a trick up their sleeve: they cannot be Controlled, so they must be taken down as quickly as possible.

4.) After successfully preventing the escape of too many Mindwashed, the players will be challenged by Siege. He must be defeated. Like Nightstar, Siege is well prepared:

• He will continuously be reinforced by his loyal 9CU class War Works guards. The 9CUs possess a strong adaptive weapon system which gradually improves in effectiveness the longer the 9CU is engaged in combat.

• He will activate the facility's guard turrets, which will quickly debilitate his personal target unless the turret is disabled.

• Like Nightstar, he also has the ability to sequester his target.

5.) Once Siege is defeated, their final failsafe will kick in. It turns out that the only way Siege and Nightstar can truly be defeated is if they are shutdown with near simultaneity. In this stage, players will face off against both Siege and Nightstar, with all of the individual aspects of their fight active. In addition, however, players will also need to defeat both of them within 10 seconds of each other, or the fallen Arch-villain will repower with full health.
Well, that'll do it for this introduction to Incarnate Trials and the B.A.F. We here at Paragon are really excited about this new content, and we hope that all of you will have as much fun playing it as we have had creating it! Good luck and happy hunting, everyone!