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Thoughts on Spires and game design

I’d like to start this post by saying that I think spires have a lot of interesting potential. I don’t want to come off as hating them as a whole, but I do think that their current implementation is one of the weaker game design elements in the end-game.

To explain why, I’m going to have to go into some more abstract game design concepts so fair warning I guess. For this I’m focusing on 3 main elements of game design - Efficiency, Resistance, and Fun.

Any game could allow the player to attain a maximal level of efficiency, but that would be very boring. An ARPG, for example, could let the player make their character at max level with perfect gear but that game would be terrible. The game designers need to add resistance to prevent that efficient path (in this example locking levels and gear behind killing monsters) and then make that resistance fun to overcome. Not all resistance in a game is added by the designer though, sometimes players will add their own resistance by playing in a sub-optimal way that they find more fun. Challenge runs of games are a good example.

I talk about all of this because Spires add 2 types of resistance to the game, one good and one bad. The good resistance is when they are attacking in conjunction with other enemies. This changes the type of threat that the encounter presents, which then gives the player the fun that comes from adapting to that challenge. This is where Spire’s shine, and there’s a lot of potential to make them even better in this regard.

Then there’s the bad resistance. This is the bombardment when the player isn’t interacting with an enemy. The reason I call this bad resistance is because it’s irrelevant to players who are playing efficiently, so it doesn’t provide any resistance in that regard. It only matters to players doing things like checking items or leveling mid-Echo. Those types of actions are sub-optimal, so they’re already an example of the player adding their own resistance for fun. In this case the additional resistance from the Spire isn’t resisting efficiency, it’s resisting fun.

It’s the classic case of the game design telling the player “you’re playing the game wrong”, which players never react well to. An optimal player will hardly even notice that spires attack when enemies aren’t around, but to a player who does want to stop and do non-combat stuff mid-echo it will be a source of frustration that will push those players away from the game.

My feedback is to suggest that you enhance the good resistance aspect of Spires, and mitigate the bad resistance. Personally I’d do this with 2 changes, although there are certainly plenty of other ways to accomplish the same thing.

  1. Add a ‘spotter’ requirement to Spire attacks. Basically, if the player is a certain distance from the Spire it will only attack when another enemy has aggro. These attacks can go on for a few seconds after the last enemy is killed to maintain their threat even when on-shotting packs, but should trail off after that. This basically wouldn’t change the efficient player’s experience because they’ll move from pack to pack fast enough that the Spire attacks will never stop, but less efficient players wouldn’t feel like the game was actively preventing their fun.

  2. Modify Spires to interact more with the enemies directly. As a designer, if you know the Spires are specifically firing when enemies are around you can design Spires to take advantage of that. Spires could give enemies additional damage of their damage type, give them ward shields, boost their stats, spawn adds, teleport nearby enemies to the target location, ect. This can significantly increase the feeling that fighting enemies supported by a Spire feels different from a normal encounter, and can be made even better if the type of Spire determines the change making each Spire feel unique.

13 Likes

Yea, try a series of 3 inferno towers, with a set of 5 siege golems, talk about visual pollution of effects. That is exhibit A.

1 Like

I like your idea a lot. Voted.

I think it’s a good idea, either way, the current spire is a little tiring and I think it’s too frequent.
It’s a shame that the number of battles with bosses has decreased.

I’m not good at English so I’m sorry if I’m rude

Fighting bosses gets boring after a while, too.

I like the Spires as they bring something similar to the objectives. But not being able to loot is annoying.

The OP suggestion with the “spotter” sounds like a nice solution.

In general I’d like to see more different objectives.

There are a lot of similar mechanics. Gates, Beacons, Arena work all the same. At point x there spawn waves of enemies you have to kill.

The variety is lacking. What about:

  • Defending a wagon that goes on a certain route across the map
  • Different shrines all over the map, that need to charge up. During the process you need to defend them from being destroyed. Enemies drop energy at a certain rate that you can pick up and turn in to get small energy boost
  • Spawn 5 special enemies at random positions all over the first half of the map. The second half is blocked by a barrier. The 5 special enemies drop quest items you have to collect and bring to the barrier to open it. After the barrier theres a gate that spawns endless waves of enemies and you have to close it, by destroying its energy sources nearby
  • tbc…
2 Likes

Big no from me for this one. Escort missions and AI defense missions are some of the most painful ones because of general AI incompetence.

3 Likes

Yes, that’s something I already proposed. I still think it can be a nice objective. A wagon, or people or anything to bring from point A to point B.

1 Like

I’m gonna have to agree with @ Vidya on this one. Escort missions suck imho

No problem, we all have our opinion :wink: