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Loot should feel rewarding

This is a two folded issue. On the one side there is the loot itself. On the other side there are the challenges that the items are meant to help you overcome.

I’ll start with the latter: Before you reach empowered monoliths you just breeze through everything except for the bosses. It doesn’t really matter what kind of gear you have as long as you have enough resistances to not get randomly one shot. You could argue that is a good thing because you get to reach late game faster, right? Well it also means that nothing is a challenge until you have reached late game after a grind of 30-40 hours. And these first 30-40 hours (which is more than the game time of many other games) you just run through the campaign and the timelines, hit two buttons and evaporate everything. An easy fix for this would be difficulty settings that allow you to get on a higher difficulty in exchange for higher rewards in xp and loot. That also makes items more important because better gear allows you to run a higher difficulty thereby gaining higher rewards and so on. That means you care more about your gear because the difference in your gear actually makes a difference in your gameplay. And you could be even faster on your way to late game.

The main issue are the loot tables themselves. There are no real game changers, no items that feel meaningful and get you motivated to grind for them. There are certain affixes that you want. But what kind of helmet or chest they are on doesn’t really matter. For example I play a Bladedancer that relies on a combo of Synchronized Strikes and Shadow Cascade. I look for increased melee or physical damage, increased damage when wielding sword/dagger and increased damage for skills used by shadows. There is plenty of loot to sift through for these affixes and I can set up my loot filters to highlight them. But there is not a single peace of gear that feels like it is meant for me. There is no “Blade of Shadow Dancing” that increases the efficiency of Shadow Cascade in a way normal affixes can’t. Yes there are a couple of unique and set items that do this here and there for a few select skills (but neither for Shadow Cascade nor for Synchronized Strike) and even then they don’t feel that impactful. You might argue that’s a good thing because builds don’t have to rely on items to work and stay more open that way so that people can be more creative. But it also means that loot is ultimately uninteresting because it is just a pile of random affixes and does not feel very rewarding. I never got the feeling “oh wow, look at that, that is such a sweet item for my build!” it was always just a slight increase over the item I wore before in the same slot, a slow but steady improvement of a few % here and there. It never felt really rewarding to me. An easy way to solve this would be to create items that specifically strengthen the skills. There are 5 characters with 22 skills each, so 110 items. Seems doable to me. If you feel like this would tighten up builds too much in a certain direction you could launch multiple items for all skills or even better: implement items for select specializations. For example my bladedancer would happily go hunt down every last Void Spawn in Eterra for a dagger that augmented Dark Allies so that Synchronized Strike would spawn not 2 but 4 additional allies or an amulet that prevented Dark Allies to increase Mana Cost. People could still be just as creative and create their own sets of gear that complemented their skill specializations.

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Hey… Welcome to the forum…

I am assuming that you havent seen LizardIRLs youtube video about potentially one of the biggest issues with LE right now that “gear is irrelevant”. He did 500 corruption with examples where he removed all his gear (except belt & boot) and still killed everything without much effort… At the moment, your ability to progress is heavily weighted in skills/passives rather than loot and you can max out skills before you have even finished the campaign.

Considering that ARGP games are all about loot, this is a big problem and I agree with LizardIRL - especially from my own messing around and experience playing where you chop and change gear only to realise that its made very little difference… Choping and changing skills is HUGE, but gear is relatively disappointing unless you have min.max levels.

Loot found in the campaign is usually an upgrade, but its effectiveness is limited because, imho, the campaign difficulty scaling is too easy and doesnt ramp up smoothly - boss fights are more of a “step” than a gradual increase in difficulty but beyond that, its all very easy when you understand the bare minimum of things like resistances…

Lacklustre loot is difficult as this is a factor of the state of the game… every patch, the devs add & rework new base items and even add/adjust affixes… Personally, I feel that there is definitely not enough loot variety in the game now - everything from low level loot that no-one uses and has no purpose beyond the first few minutes of play to “Meh Uniques :tm:” to missing affixes for skills and even crazy creative possibilities that I believe the game should have like allowing Mages to be Void based … However, I am hoping that this is simply an issue of time and content…

So yip… Gear drops dont really bring the flood of endorphins that they should… especially after playing for a while and realising that you almost dont need any anyway…

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Hey Vapourfire. Thank you for your answer and the reference to LizardIRLs youtube video. I played only for 30 hours and am around lvl 75 right now. Game chat shut my concerns down with comments like “you haven’t even reached endgame yet”, so I only focused on the part I know. I kept on going in the hope things would get better in late game. Seeing LizardIRLs demonstration actually makes me want to stop playing immediately because: why even bother? What is the point of it? Early Access has been released 3 years ago. A major issue like this should have already been fixed. I praise you for hoping that it is an issue of time and content but honestly: I highly doubt that. I could see past a poorly narrated campaign, weak sound design and performance/optimisation issues but this is a deal breaker.

I assume that was with a minion build rather than a melee build?

Nope. Melee. Just watch it. Drives the point home better than I could ever have.

Nope… Devouring Orb… There are a few “buts” and “because” involved in the video explaination and its obviously not something that can be replicated on all and every build…

The main reason I agree with LizardIRL is that while gear is obviously still useful… its not as important as skills/passive choices… and that is incongruent with how ARPGs have always been… and honestly why I like to play - for those glorious drops…

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Was it Devouring Orb or melee? @PinkDroid 'Cause DO is a bit of a special case on the account of it getting flat damage from vitality, even with the reduced amount of Vit he’d be able to get with only belt and boots (which needless to say can be applied to boots).

I’m not saying that I disagree with his basic premise that gear isn’t as impactful as we would like it to be, I’m just saying that only quite specific non-minion builds would be able to do that.

It was DO, and yes he was taking advantage of VIT scaling. Plus he wasn’t completely naked. I remember him still having idols and a few other things. I think he made a very good broad point but there are definitely builds out there that benefit much more from gear than that one.

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Your question was already answered by McFluffin. My initial point did not revolve around LizardIRLs video. It still stands regardless of how many builds are able to do what he did. Gear feels meaningless because (a) difficulty is not scalable enough and (b) there are no high impact items. I felt it right after the initial high of finally having found a new ARPG that seemed promising and it only got worse the longer I played.

Yeah… after I saw the vid I sold all my gear of all my alts to the vendor. Since then I’m playing completely naked on all of my chars.

I have to say that my builds must be really shitty. My gameplay looks a bit different from that shown in the video. The current naked meta doesn’t really click with me, unfortunately.

I think I will stick to using gear instead, even if it makes me a noob. :grin:

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“The sarcasm is strong with this one. We will watch your career with great interest.”

:stuck_out_tongue:

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Difficulty scales infinitely in both Monolith of Fate and Arena. This is actually part of the problem, since there is always a point where defense becomes more or less irrelevant. Another part of the problem is just how much power is coming from skill trees. In some cases, there’s so much offense/defense from trees that the power improvement from gear is relatively small, so even though Lizard still benefits from gear, he doesn’t need it for very high levels with that particular build, which is what he was showing in the vid.

There are high impact items, but they tend to be more in the realm of uniques than crafted items right now and often build specific. Crafted items are still valuable, but the power progression just isn’t as noticeable right now. The devs have talked about this and the likely solution is just moving some of the power from trees to gear.

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Yeah, I’m not a fan of this story, to be honest. Everything Lizard talks about in his vid is technically correct and valid. But I don’t think that this issue in reality is as big as it is made.

I see a lot of comments on the forum / reddit that point to this video and tell people “Gear is not important in LE, just watch that vid!” Most of the players might not really have had any bad feelings about itemisation in LE, I’d guess. So it is not the great big secret revealed that puzzled the LE cummunity for years and now we know what is wrong with itemisation. It’s an observation of one of the most dedicated and famous players. But it’s not gamebreaking or the biggest issue of LE in it’s current state, imho.

I’m all for balancing the skills and items. It’s a good thing to shift power from skilltrees to gear to make gear more meaningfull and have a more noticable impact.

But I don’t like the story of “Gear is not important in LE”. Because it is. I want every player that tells this story to run his monos naked and tell us about his experience. It will in 95% of cases NOT look like in the video.

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I think it’d be a lot more than 95%, not only would you need the right build but you’d also need a very skilled player. So while I agree that for some builds Lizard is correct and you can play through the hardest content almost nekkid, that’s going to be a tiny subset of decent/reasonable builds and an even smaller subset of players.

Do you perhaps mean that difficulty doesn’t scale fast enough? I know I generally get bored with a build before I get to empowered monos.

But what is the scale of the problem? How many skill trees provide enough damage that gear is of low impact? Very few melee skills have flat damage in the tree and that’s one of the things that is needed to not hit like a wet noodle. A skill tree could have all the % more modifiers in the world but if you’re not getting flat damage from somewhere (usually gear) then you’re not going to be doing much damage.

I also think there’s a very fine line between “impactful” gear and overpowered. I’m also not sure whether people mean affixes or uniques, though I’d like to see more of both. Especially the class/skill-specific affixes, there’s definitely some skills that feel left out or hard done by.

@Llama8 @McFluffin What I mean (as I stated in my opening post) is that there is no way to change difficulty at all before you reach empowered monoliths. That is 30 - 40 hours of really boring gametime.
@McFluffin I don’t like the solution of moving power from the trees to gear if that means that they take nodes from the skill trees and stick them onto items. The skill system is the one thing that this game really excels at. Skill and specialization choices feel impactful in exactly the way gear should feel too. I would prefer that they make gear more powerful in its own right by creating own nodes for gear (see my suggestions in the original post) and nerf the relative powerlevel of skills by adjusting the powerlevel aka difficulty of the content, so that you need the power from skills and gear combined.
Or to put it differently: the power that you get from gear should in the long run excel the power that you get from skills themselves. The power that you get from gear should also scale infinitely so you can have content that scales infinitely. Hardcaps on resistances are a problem in their own right because they set a limit to what your defensive scaling can accomplish (but that is a whole different topic). Gear should in general be more important and impactful than skills because that is how you keep the grind interesting. You don’t need to mutilate the existing skill trees for that. You can improve gear and adjust the content. It is more work, but it will get you a better product.

This is not what he meant. Simply spoken it would be something like reducing the “more damage” sources of certain skills. To compensate the loss of damage the devs could increase the damage effectiveness of the skills. Damage effectiveness is a skill specific modifier that determines how the flat damage (that mainly comes from weapons) scales the damage of a skill. Slow heavy hitting skills usually have a higher damage effectiveness than fast hitting skills.

This way the flat damage from weapons would become more important.

Maybe the devs could even switch the “more damage” notes into “adds X% damage effectiveness”. DOTs might need a special treatment then.

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Agreed… He has gone for the sensationalist headline grabbing route with his vid and that will tend to overemphasise the the point he is trying to make and that we all agree with. The thing for me is that I didnt need his vid to realise the issue… I had already realised that gear just wasnt as important as I thought it should be. Imho, its one of the reasons why so many uniques just seem like they arent as good as they should be or dont have enough impact if you equip them - the power is in the skills… I just hadnt put it to the test to Lizards level… I dont consider myself a skilled player. I just have a fair amount of experience and my gut was telling me something isnt right.

There are plenty of ways to address the power spread between passives, skills & gear… but I dont think any are simple or without repercussions tho…

One thing I hope is that the devs dont ignore this…

Yeah like @RawSuicide pointed out, I don’t think this is the approach they’ll take. It would be more along the lines of reducing the amount of ‘more’ damage we get from skills, and maybe improving the value of ‘increased’ damage on skills. Added effectivenss, as Raw also pointed out, would be a good place as well. Also lots of ways they could move some of the power out of the more proprietary defenses (i.e. aspect of the boar) and into more universal defenses like armor that actually benefit from gear.

Let me present my point of view.
The current gear is not important in LE.

English is not my native language, but I will try to accurately describe the essence of the problem I am facing.
There are conditionally two ways of character build. To make it so that you could not be killed, or to make it so that you killed everyone before you were killed. One of these conditions is mandatory, because the game has conditions for passing the Echo/ dungeon without dying.
The game is designed so that there are a lot of mobs in the game that have homing attacks, attacks with a large AOE, attacks are made from behind the edge of the screen. In addition, the character himself has very few tools to avoid an attack due to the actions of the player. My character has one skill, quite controversial in application and with a cooldown of 3 seconds.
It becomes almost impossible to pass the Echo/Dungeons without getting a single hit. And we have to rely on defensive mechanics.

The mechanics of the dodge does not give a 100% guarantee of triggering. And taking into account the above, at the Echo distance, there is a high probability of dying.

Therefore, I decided to focus on the mechanics of reducing incoming damage and increasing HP (I play as a bladedancer, and the ward mechanics for this class are currently rather poorly represented).
Therefore, the priority in choosing a gear. Resistance, damage reduction, more HP.

Let’s look at the body armor option for my purposes.
I have an armor like this.

It gives me a 28% more HP. I haven’t found any unique or set body armor that would give me more defensive mechanics.
At the same time, the body armor itself is quite mediocre. He has only one affix T6.
What could be better than this? More of the same affixes but T6-T7. Or the legendary body armor with the preservation of the 3 affixes I need.

You can get the best quality body armor only by random drop. There is no way to craft T6-T7 in the game.
You can get the Legendary armor only using a unique body armor with LP4. Otherwise, we risk getting this.

As a result, even a mediocre body armor is practically no alternative. From the moment of its receipt, we are only interested in a random drop of body armor T7 affixes. Or a random drop of a unique LP4 armor.

I have this kind of body armor. What do you think, with such a forge potential, will I try to make the one I need out of it?

And another question, if I get a unique armor LP4, taking into account the probability of getting it, will I make a legend out of it using mediocre armor?
Will I make a legend out of armor with the T7 affixes I need, without having a unique LP4 armor?

No, no, and no.