I have not done nearly enough testing of Issue 14 on the test server since open beta started. Real life has been…intruding a lot. I did avoid a couple of large problems by missing one of the new builds, so that was good, and I did find a few things that I bugged when I was on.
The interface and general bugginess of the Mission Architect have both improved a great deal, although not always smoothly. Anyone that has done any software testing can certainly understand that. And if you have not experienced it yourself, just understand that it is very much of the “2 steps forward, 1 step back” type of progress. Except for when it is 3 steps back. The law of unintended consequences is rampant in software testing.
The last I looked there have been 0ver 18,000 arcs published so far on the Test server. That does not mean there are that many available. If an arc is unpublished for any reason, then re-published, the number of the arc changes. (Not when a published arc is edited without being unpublished. That does not change ratings, ID number, or anything else about the arc except what the writer edits.) So the 18,000+ is how many times arcs have been published. Still a huge number, especially since most of them are still around.
I have really enjoyed the arcs I have created, including the test arc that had Duper-Man, FastMan, and NiteVVing invading from New Earth. That was created only for testing the mission reporting feature, so it is long gone now. But it was fun to create. And I got some nice feedback from one guy that loved getting one-shotted by Duper-Man.
Creating custom critters and groups is fun. Figuring out their looks and powers, and how all of the ranks will fit together, is an excuse to play with the character creator for hours. As someone with a bad case of altitis, this is almost Nirvana. Then comes of the fun of figuring out the story and fitting them into a mission or arc.
I have had the most fun combining things so far. Taking a standard group from the game, then creating a few extra custom mobs to add to them, and using them to tell a story. This can get tricky, since custom critters are all level 1-54, but the regular mobs in the game are level limited. If you create a custom group of say, Hellions 2, and add in all the Hellions plus your custom critters (You can’t add a custom critter to a regular ingame group.) then the mission will be available for all levels rather than automatically lowering the level of the players to the right one to fight Hellions.
So a level 30 scrapper runs in, and the only spawns in the mission will be the custom critters, because the regular mobs will not spawn out of their level range. The way I have worked around it, until they get around to letting use set the level for an arc (Note: They have not said this will happen. This is just wishful thinking on my part, along with a lot of others.) is to add in a patrol for the mission from the regular ingame group. This forces the mission to cover the correct level range and players are raised or lowered in level to fit.
If you are really interested in the Mission Architect, and how to get started using it to create your Hall of Fame/Developer’s Choice arcs, Memphis_Bill has been working on a series of tutorials on the forums. They can be hard to find there, because of the very fast pace of new topics in the testing forum right now. But ParagonWiki has been collecting them and doing a good job keeping the information up to date. The tutorials do a very good job walking you through the options and getting you up to speed. I would recommend reading through them at the very least if you want to create your own stories.
I have really enjoyed the Mission Architect. I have seen people complain about the lack of new content in this Issue, including one that said he was canceling his subscription. This was pretty stupid in my opinion. Once the MA hits the live servers, the amount of content available, for all levels, for all playing styles, will skyrocket. Some of it will suck, no doubt about it. But there are already arcs on the Test server that are better than most of the stuff already in the game. And that collection of material will just continue to grow as the MA gets improved and the players get better at using it.