First things first, this is me explaining my personal experience and the reasoning behind me quitting the game. I think LE is fantastic at it’s core, and I’m not saying this to try and convince people of anything different. My only goal here is to provide my feedback.
The tldr of this is that in my opinion ehg is making some of the most confusing and short-sighted balance decisions I’ve ever seen and many of them have had extremely negative impacts on the way I play the game. At least in my eyes, ehg has a nasty habit of prematurely ripping off bandaids and doing nothing whatsoever to address the issues created.
I’ve been playing this game for quite a while, I’m easily over two-thousand hours deep. The activity that kept me playing so long up to now has been corruption pushing. I’ve taken dozens of characters well past 1000 corruption. When you get that high the monolith system sorta falls apart. You start getting modifiers that say things like “void enemies deal 900% increased damage” which is… kinda absurd. The issues with monolith modifiers as the primary difficulty scaling mechanism at high corruption are widely talked about so I’m not going to go into everything here. Something very noteworthy though is that enemies scale their damage from modifiers far, far, far faster than they scale their defenses.
Hands down the most important thing to have on a corruption pusher is defense, however the current state of the game makes it so your overall defensive power is pretty much entirely determined by your choice of mastery. In this game we have 6 layers through which we can scale offense and every single one of those layers (except cooldown for some unfathomable reason) is a prefix. When builds are scaling damage they are weighing options between the various layers and this is overall quite healthy and feels good to do even with just exalted bases. For scaling defenses though, this simply does not occur. because we don’t have any real spare suffixes because the required stat taxes (resists and crit avoid) are all on suffixes. Getting those 2 things capped is not usually a difficult issue but in the majority of builds you have maybe 3-4 suffixes free to attempt to invest into other layers of defense whereas those same builds have nearly every single prefix free to scale damage in whatever way they want. Because of how the modpools are set up we don’t even have any way to sacrifice offense to get more defense outside of blessings and a bit of flat health from vitality prefix.
What this all ends up meaning is that we get pretty much all of our defensive layers from our mastery choice. This is a huge issue because defense is the bottleneck in high corruption, but we have no way to invest into it and instead we just need to pick masteries that offer sufficient innate defenses (paladin and bladedancer come to mind here). Luckily though, in 0.8.5 we had the bandaid to end all bandaids to deal with this issue, bastion of honour. With bastion you could pick any mastery and still be able to scale your defenses to a point where high end content is playable. This is of course no longer the case (the bastion nerf crippled the item for this use case, at a distance of 6 it was possible to react to incoming projectiles that you knew would oneshot you even through the block. At a distance of 4 it simply is not possible to react, especially with added server latency)
In essence, the bastion change means that all builds now take 66% more damage from enemies. The only builds exempt from this are ones that are capable of getting block capped in other ways (paladin, druid, and bladedancer with face of the mountain and corsair set). Remember that defenses work in layers just like offenses. Deciding to not get block capped is the same as deciding you are not going to get any penetration on your build.
The obvious answer to this is simply to drop down and run lower corruption content. However, remember that we have tons of space to invest into damage and thus it wasn’t a huge issue getting enough damage to do high corruption. At lower corruption you don’t even need to invest into damage on gear to get acceptable results which takes away that feeling of progression that is so central to the genre. So effectively, the current state of the game has become: you pick paladin/bd/druid and get to keep pushing corruption or you pick any other mastery and are not allowed to push corruption. As someone who derived all their enjoyment in the game from corruption pushing this is a pretty big problem to me.
To be totally clear, bastion was too good. It did need a nerf, however it did not to be removed from the game like this. A simple addition of “50% reduced block effectiveness” to the shield would have been sufficient without totally crippling the ability to scale defense on the majority of builds. Or, if they really were dead set on killing the item, they maybe could have considered actually solving the problem of defensive investment not existing in the game when they removed the tool allowed most masteries to even participate in corruption pushing.
To add insult to injury they then nerf movement, the tool that allows players to push that little bit further through skilled play, and make the affix to unnerf it a suffix and thus actively conflict with the little bit of room we had to get a bit of defense.
So that is the big reason for me leaving, but these same types of issues are happening all over the place. The ailment rework heavily impacted electrify builds to the point of making them very difficult to scale, and damned builds (you know, the one damned build, the one using a combination of uniques added as boss drops from the same dungeon specifically to let the ailment work) were hit harder than a lot of poison builds were.
The pattern I see is that ehg likes to make big changes, ignore any potential collateral damage or side effects, and then refuse to give any compensation buffs until they eventually decide that the item/build/mastery in question needs to be remade from the ground up and that is very frustrating to watch.
At the end of the day, this pattern leaves such a bad taste in my mouth that I just don’t want to even think about this game anymore. Even if every issue here was fixed tomorrow (and it won’t be, these are core problems with the design of the game that have been around for years) I wouldn’t want to play this game again.
It’s been fun, see you guys around I guess,