I know, I know - I’m super late to watch last week’s stream, and make my usual commentary thread, but life happens - pretty consistently.
First off, I’d like to congratulate our dev team - the Monolith of Fate is what I wish Maps in Path of Exile had been going towards when they released the Atlas - I love the system you’ve created, and am behind the design philosophy 100%. But, as Lizard loves to point out, it does have some issues when your life is sacrificing your wrist health for playtime.
We’ve seen that rushing to Empowered Monoliths leads players to be unfamiliar with how much Corruption can impact play in the Monolith, and often leads to “bad taste in the mouth” type feelings. But, the experienced players will rush there, because it’s the difficulty they expect, and everything less is “too easy”. Since these are polar opposites, we need a system in place to bridge them; currently, it’s not really worth gathering any level of corruption inside normal monoliths, since Empowered Monoliths have a fixed starting value, and Normal Monoliths have a maximum Corruption value that’s half of that base.
Quick aside, here, there’s another problem that can be addressed too: corruption is gathered per-monolith; which incentivizes running the same monolith repeatedly, while the dev team has the expectation that players will rotate through them.
I can see a couple quick solutions to this - allow us to “pack up” our Corruption (or a portion), to apply to a different monolith. Something generic that lets the player choose where to apply that effort, and then where to carry it through. Even if this is an interactable within specific Echoes - looking at the Shade of Orobyss’ arena… - we provide players with a choice that “I’m moving on from this Monolith to another” instead of just setting it aside for the time being.
Alternatively, players could use a “global corruption” value - something that is specifically added to instead of to that local Monolith. Then this global value carries through to all of their Monoliths - make players choose whether to keep running the same monolith or whether their progression is pulled forward.
Either way, to solve the problem as presented, using either of these solutions should be a quest given from the End of Time - players need to interact with the Corruption system before Empowered Monoliths, and not just because of curiosity. A second quest to target a specific Corruption Level (say 10…), also teaches players that Accumulating Corruption is an action they should think about. Providing a generic tool to accumulate Corruption also benefits our veteran players, too - since they’ll spend less effort accumulating Corruption in the long run. I’m particularly a fan of the first solution, because a consumable Item could also be traded/stashed to another character - a huge boon when you may be hunting for a “build enabling” item, and finally get it.
While we’re on the topic of Monolith systems, let’s touch on the Bonus Stability Bar. We know the Dev team wants to expand that reward system so players have real reasons to explore the Echoes, and I would suggest that they start by removing Bonus Stability as the name of the bar - Enemies Defeated is plenty generic enough. Then provide each Echo a bonus for filling the bar; if Bonus Stability is the only one when the system is updated, so be it.
This way, you have separated the interaction system from the reward system - adding, removing, and updating different rewards is much easier. Speaking of adding rewards, it’s been suggested that 100% of Enemies Defeated should come with it’s own reward - and I agree; it wouldn’t matter if it was More Bonus Reward, or Bonus Items Quantity/Quality in the Reward Chest - incentivize killing all the monsters separately from just killing most of them; and yes, I’m aware that Arenas would need a quick update to make sure they weren’t always the most rewarding Echo type.
Now that Enemies Defeated has that quick update (hah, I love you devs!), we can even add Echo modifiers like “Chests Contain (more/better) Items based on Enemies Defeated” - both an incentive to kill the monsters, and run around the whole map! And if rewards similar to this scaled as we completed the Echo we’re going to need better methods of re-checking ourselves. While some players may hate backtracking, I’m all for making sure every texture that your art teams put in their blood, sweat, and tears into gets a chance to be appreciated; but, I’d like to not spend all my time on one or two Echoes, as well. Could we perhaps get a buff to movement speed, or Cooldown Resets for movement skills when we’re out-of-combat?
Lots to process, I know, but thanks for sticking with me!
Until next time, Happy Hunting Travellers!