Chaos Wastes- Too much randomness

Been loving the chaos wastes, even with occasional bug and glitch (invisible barricades in count mordrak’s fortress in the latest patch, for example. Though I can’t find the patch notes for some reaosn). However one thing that’s been a bit… under implemented I’d say, is the boons and weapon switches. Specifically, I feel that it’s too random and simple, with not alot of thought on the players part to decide whether or not spending their hard-earned pilgrim coins is worth it. (also mild problem with boons taking up the entire screen for a few seconds when gained, but that’s another issue).

For example: I am not a lucky person. So generally I’ll just immediately avoid any random boon, especially on legend and higher where pilgrim coins become slightly rarer. If I don’t, 9 times out of 10 I’ll get a boon that has minimal impact, or a boon that is completely irrelevant to my build (say using the magic bow and getting one related to ammo pickup) I’ll also avoid weapon switches unless I’ve got a white or green weapon and the choice is exotic or unique.

Another thing; the monster chests are really fun and challenging, but the boon reward is often lackluster (again, super unlucky person here). I’ll often scrape by the edge of my teeth on a higher difficulty with a hoard and specials spawning while I’m taking down a monster, than be rewarded by a random choice of sub-par rares- some of which aren’t even applicable to my build.

Shrines are somewhat better- as I can make informed decisions before showing up (at least on the team boons), and know what to expect. Of course, the random boons on the side tend to give me the same issues with the chests…

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What I’d suggest is the following:

• Random Boons (found in level for 200 coins) should give the options between two boons of low rarity (say rare, with the occasional exotic and no uniques). This would give more incentive to pop them, as at least if you got two horrible boons, you’d have to be SUPER unlucky to get two boons that can’t even affect you. (though, knowing my luck…)

• Trial Chests contain a minimum rarity of exotic. This would give even more incentive to do the trial chests, and make them more worth the risk. A monster is often dangerous enough on its own if you get bad positioning (looking at that one stupid cliff in the lava place), and considering the fact you may get a horde, a load of specials, or even another monster during it, I’d say they need to be buffed just a tad. And if the above suggestion is also followed- they’d become a source of uniques that are generally really powerful.

• Shrines (map section) should contain character-based boons/talents (for the randoms, not the team-based ones), which would then not appear on the main map (leaving the main map to be where you get chaos-waste specific boons). This would increase the importance of shrines, while also increasing their use as they’d have a specific purpose. It’d also be nice to stop getting certain character based boons (talents) (the ones with both a merit and demerit) in the random boons so you don’t accidentally cripple your build. (Say the mercenaries’ or zealots’ talent that removes random crits to give guaranteed every five strikes- which is utterly crippling in some cases). It’d also divide the boon pool, and give a bit more control to the players as they’d have a higher likely hood of getting the boon they want in certain areas, increasing the choices the player can make. (I think I may have botched that explanation).

• Random weapon switches should be split into two- one to reroll the weapon type, and one to reroll the properties and traits of your current weapon. Some weapons are just not as fun to use, or not as relevant to certain builds on some characters as others (say sienna’s base class running dot-focus with a normal weapon compared to one of her blazing ones capable of igniting). In the same vein, some properties and traits just aren’t as useful in some builds as well. If we could get a mini-shrine (I really don’t know what to call the boon and weapon switch things in game. Caches?) for properties (with no effect on weapon rarity) it would be fantastic.

• Continuing off the above- it would be nice if the weapon switches offered you a choice between two weapons (similar to the mini-shrine suggestion i mentioned first) . As stated above, some weapons just aren’t as fun to use for certain players, or as useful in certain builds. (I for one am a massive fan of polearms of all types, and will always go for one when available regardless of gameplay value for the simple joy of using said polearm.)

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That’s about all of what I can think of for the moment. Not quite sure how to end this as I don’t often post on forums (Though now that I’ve posted here I’m very tempted to make a few others… )

Tell me what you think~♪

2 Likes

Alot of those reviews look like noone played a Rouge like before. The thrill is the rng. To be OP as Sigmar and to cruise through the wastes, or the end up with nothing and struggling all the way, with gleaming envy in your eyes towards the WHC who rolled Chain Lightning.

Even if you didn’t buy any Boons from altars, and just upgraded your weapons, your group is still more than strong enough to take the citadel, thanks to the modifiers you get via node completion.

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I’d have to disagree with that- RNG is most definitely a part, but player decision, cost and risk management is even larger. Take Hades for example. Sure, the gods and such you get are random, but each pickup gives you a choice. Or take dead cells with its shops and elite rooms- sure the items are random, but you know what you’re getting before you spend or take a risk. The same continues with games like the binding of isaac- who even makes it a point to have a curse that removes your ability to know (curse of the blind), but in such a way that you can easily balance the risk and reward, with so many items that the chance of getting truly bad ones is minimal. Most roguelights are like this, RNG with player choice.

One of the best examples I can think of for a rogue light is a little underrated game called ‘In Celebration of Violence’. The game has pretty high levels of RNG- with gods to “pray” to (spend points), and weapons to gather, choose, and upgrade. There’s also enchantments- which start out very weak but get stronger as you stack them- but are just as dangerous to you as the enemy (you’re wielding a burning sword, and you expect to not set yourself on fire?) The risks in the game are very apparent, and many of the item pools are split, with certain items appearing in certain pools. There’s also a heavy dose of min-maxing, but that’s not relevant here. Sure, the world is random, but you’ve got control and choice. The ability to make decisions and plan ahead, rather than ‘boon here, I have money, yes or no.’

Heck even in One Step From Eden you’ve got alot of control. Though, it’s mostly in the form of preferences for your run, and keeping/removing cards in shops and/or the end of battle. The items in that game can get pretty wacky too, and it’s still incredibly random. But you have agency.

In chaos wastes, the only choices you have are whether or not you want to spend, and you don’t really have any information about what you’re going to get. (I mean, you know the possibilities, but the pool is either small in the weapons case, with many you may not like using, or simply too large of a risk to break your build or be useless in the boon case.) Of course, due to the heavy skill based elements, the game mode is still vastly entertaining, but it is lacking that player agency- something I’ve always felt lacking in the main game (though grimoires and tomes are a good start).

While occasional, complete random games can be entertaining, they often are enjoyed in small doses. With just a bit more control, or heck even certainty/info on what your reward will be, and if the risk or cost is worth it, I think the mode would be alot more fun to play.

2 Likes

Both Isaac and Hades are hard to beat without upgrades.
Chaos Wastes isnt. If they would change the way the boons are acquired (aka allow cherry picking), every last node would need to be so ridiculously hard so that you cant dream of beating it without strong boons.
That would have needed to be a design choice from the very beginning. FS rather went with the “Rouge light” version. Being OP is an option, not a requirement.

Iam not against less rng. Iam just against less rng, if the difficulty stays the same. And since I dont see FS reworking the whole thing, I rather dont have rng be diminished like that.

Fair enough on the difficulty curve, I suppose. Though I don’t think the mode is that easy all on its own. My friend (whose not particularly good, mind you, but far luckier than me) generally plays on champion, and he does not have a consistent win rate by any means. I like to try and go for legend (nowhere near good enough for cata atm), but my win rate is atrocious- maybe one out of every eight to fifteen runs if I get somewhat lucky.

If less RNG would lower the difficulty, a simple solution would be to decrease the power of the starting items. Right now they start at POW 500, and go up to 750 with unique + strife buff. Not sure how that calculates with the player level and no trinkets in the wastes, but considering the power jump of rarity is very noticeable on legend and champ, a lowering should increase the difficulty.

A rearrange of the boon rarity could also be implemented. Some boons should obvs stay where they are- chain lightning doesn’t need a lower rarity in the slightest, and if there was a rarity above unique I’d even reccomend it. The boon is busted.- but say a regen boon like natural bond, or bark skin could be buffed to exotic. (though barkskin is far less useful on legend and when you’ve got higher skill. Good for self-damaging/sacrifice boons I suppose).

(one thing to note here- I generally only run with friends I know, or go solo. This may be completely different in rando runs. Bots are pretty commonplace with one or two a run generally, so I can only really rely on myself.= and a couple others.)

This is kind of fundamental to the genre though, the need to use upgrades to make a build is a huge draw of it, and where a lot of the player skill comes in. Learning the systems so you can create builds on the fly is a huge draw of roguelikes, the randomness of it all is just something used to facilitate that.

There’s not really a lot of that in CW atm, you just kind of get your normal builds and hope you get a lucky boon. Being able to roll nothing but garbage or roll things that just make your entire build go from okay to trash tier is not good roguelike design, nobody is playing those games for the thrill of the bad runs lol

If we’re not supposed to be relying so much on boons and upgrades to beat runs, and they’re instead just meant to allow us to be OP in the rare run where stuff rolls super luckily, we shouldn’t be missing power, properties and traits to start with. Missing that stuff does make us reliant on boons, and it’s not really much fun to get things that just feel terrible or are useless on your weapon.

I completed about a dozen runs so far most of them on the fourth expedition. Most times I ended up with nothing but crap and it still worked out. Not because teammates rolled better stuff, just because how strong potions are and how strong the semi guaranteed buffs from completed nodes are. Then there is also the heal item from the harmony shrine, which makes your whole team borderline invincible for two whole minutes and the last stand buff, which is also from the harmony shrine.

In the end its still just cata enemies. You fight them with full exotic, or even red gear, got all your talents from the start and gain BCR, stamina and/or Stamina recovery from the journey. You are beefed up by potions that increase damage by 50%, or allow to chain toss bombs. Boons are just an extra ontop of those guaranteed powers. (Yeah, yeah. You are not guaranteed to get any stamina related buff, but it is very likely you can choose atleast one, which will end the terror regime of running attacks.)

Would it be more fun if FS went full Rouge mode and robed everyone everything from the start and implemented a more sophisticated upgrade and boon system, which needs to be used correctly to have a chance on the last node? Maybe. We will never know.

Iam going to say it again. Iam not happy with how the rng is setup in the wastes. Weapon Properties might aswell be removed, and on most careers, I wouldnt randomly change weapons even if I would get coins from that action. I just dont see how changing that without also bolstering the difficulty will do any good. It will just make the wastes even more of a cakewalk, since you will turn out to be more powerful more often. Iam also not sure if anykind of difficutly would be meaningful with the ability to even get only one boon of your choosing guranteed. Some of them are just that busted.

I would want difficulty increased too, too much of the expeditions is boring currently. If I’m queuing cata it’s pretty silly the game can give less spawns than you’d get in a normal champ match for the first few maps. It should scale up to at least onslaught level, considering how much stronger than base you can end up. Where good players can still finish with just your reliable weapon upgrades, but mediocre or bad ones (relative to other cata people) can still get super lucky and just roll a great build and stomp it sometimes.

If a particular boon is absolutely busted and showing up too much, they should rebalance that. Basically all the big roguelikes out there currently have had a heap of balance passes. Same if one is just universally useless, or completely ruins any build you’re trying to run on that character. Those should be either removed, massively reworked, or should spawn in a more sensible manner so you can’t get them on careers they would contribute nothing to.

For an example, I think the explosions on ranged crit should have an internal cooldown, so you can’t completely stunlock enemies as pyro or engi with leading shots. I think that nat bond should be reworked in general, and you shouldn’t be able to roll regen talents on zealot. I think the barrel boon should be replaced entirely, as it’s always going to be a meme. We need more boons in general so that you can have a choice what you’re getting and a bit more input into how your build goes, without it being nearly a guarantee you’d get broken stuff every single run on certain careers.

I don’t think anyone is expecting any single change to fix some of the issues with the mode, but FS have said elsewhere that they’re planning on doing further iterations on the wastes stuff, so my hope is that some of this feedback might get incorporated.

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