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Game Design Observation

This thread is about overall game (and end-game) design in most ARPGs, but I will limit it to LE, of course.

Systems which currently exist: Campaign, Monoliths, Arena, Dungeon

In three of these systems - Campaign, Monos & the Dungeon - There is a fundamental game design in play, which I will describe.

  • The system gives you an objective
  • There are obstacles in the way of the objective
  • Players often have the desire to complete the objective quickly and/or efficiently

Let’s take one of those to discuss: Monoliths

The Objective is a Gate, Spires, stationary mini boss, wandering hardened Rare targets or a mini-arena (will discuss this later), plus specials like Orobyss, Beacon or Vessels of Memory & Chaos. The obstacles are any monsters which aren’t the Objective. The Objective grants a large reward - completion - which grants loot, Stability and progress towards the Echoes.

It is very natural for players to therefore desire to complete the Objective as fast and efficiently as possible. It’s not that the Obstacles aren’t rewarding at all. It’s that they aren’t nearly as rewarding as the Objective is. So often, players try to avoid the Obstacles by killing them fast, or ignoring/bypassing them if able.

This leads the players to design (and favor) builds which are good at that method of gameplay. Builds which are not good at that, regardless of how fun, interesting, or unique they are, don’t find that level of favor and aren’t played as much.

So, as you can see, the very design of the game subsystem has a pretty direct effect on the builds players make, and which skills, gear, etc. are “best” and which are “worst”.

Now, I said I’d address Arena (real and mini-mono Arena). Mini-mono Arena’s objective is quite different, as there isn’t anything to rush past, no efficient path to traverse, and no object to kill or interact with to trigger a completion. Real Arena is that on steroids. There are players who have built characters for real Arena, and often times (if not virtually all the time), the skillset of those builds does pretty radically differ from builds for running Monolith.

So, again, the very design of the game subsystem has a pretty direct effect on the builds players make, and which skills, gear, etc. are “best” and which are “worst”.

I would therefore suggest to EHG, that perhaps when designing future “end-game systems”, you really stretch your brains, and try to think of something pretty fundamentally different from both Arena and Monos/Dungeons (which are very similar to Monos, imho, in the spirit of game play/style). I haven’t come up with any ideas yet, because if you boil down Arena vs Mono, its really Sustain vs Speed. I’m not sure I know of a 3rd attribute to focus on. Perhaps we might just need a 2nd “Sustain” mode to enjoy, to help diversify builds. Something different than Arena, but with the same core design in that there are no concrete “objectives” to “rush to”, and where the rewards are baked into it rather than gated behind those objectives.

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The fundamental difference (issue really) that Diablo/Grim Dawn/Last Epoch all have content which costs nothing to access and can be repeated over and over

PoE strays and has more weight because you need consumable maps to play the game at higher content, its basically needing to find a Dungeon key every zone or few to keep playing

You can juice up your maps to make more drops, you also need to clear the map to get as much back as you can

I prefer PoE’s way, you get regular hard ons from map drops plus repeated currency drops, if you dont roll your maps with enough packsize/quantity you wont drop as much maps/stuff making it harder to sustain actually making you think about what you are doing, trying to squeeze every last drop out of your maps

LE/D3/GD are all meaningless in that regard, you have infinite zones, the only thing close is those games ALL drop ‘keys’ which force you to grind the infinite zones for keys to play ‘better’ content

Or just find a reason for players to clear a monolith

if the objective becomes “kill all monsters” this type of thinking still applies, whichever has the fastest clear speed and movespeed to get to all the monsters is still king.

Why would a VK autobomber suddenly become worse then a swipe build if the objective was to kill all monsters?

Basically regardless of the paradigm between fullclear and objective rush, the good builds are still the good builds imo, because going faster is always the best play. Objectives completed per hour is always your metric regardless of what that objective is. And if you dont care about efficiency then it wouldnt matter anyways cause you can play at your own pace and clear monsters.

I clear most of the things on the way to the mono objective, they are there It takes me 2 seconds to kill them, I might as well. I see 0 appeal to making me loop back across an echo to clear the other half of the monsters, that seems pointless and boring, if I wanted to spend an extra 5 minutes getting 20 extra mobs id just go play path of exile

Yeah, higher DPS builds will always do stuff faster if said stuff is to kill mobs.

The reason Arena builds differ is because there is never a Orobyss, Lagon, Rahyeh, etc. that they need to handle. No bosses = no need for good single target in the build. It’s just harder and harder waves of what is otherwise trash, to the point that the “trash” becomes the challenge/boss.

My point wasn’t to change Arena or Monoliths (although both could use some improvement). It was for EHG to add a wholly new type of end-game system which is different from both - neither an infinite-wave mechanic, nor a boss-rush mechanic. Again, I am not sure what that might be, but am open to suggestions.