Background context: I’m normally a modded realm only player where I can normally skip grind. I live for duos, modded difficulties, etc. I’ve done my leveling twice on two different platforms, so have a distinct dislike for grind. However, with the institution of cata and weaves, the modded realm population might be somewhat thinned for a bit, so hence I write this post.
With the release of Winds of Magic, Fatshark has instituted more grind. Where is this good and where is this bad? I’d like to shed some light on this subject and offer my thoughts, not necessarily to remove grind entirely, but to at least reach a middle ground.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT GRIND?
For opening up Beastmen on maps, Dark Omens allows you to get used to and understand how beastmen work (in a particularly harsh environment).
For weaves, it gives you an introduction to how this game mode operates, and understanding the different mutators and objectives.
Grind in general gives you a goal to work towards past skill progression–a tangible reward, if you will. It also, in a somewhat superficial way, extends game longevity and achievement goals.
SO…WHAT’S BAD ABOUT GRIND?
Tedium. Let’s take the unlocking of Cata as an example. Perhaps this would be less painful had it retroactively opened my achievements, but killing the lords on legend all over again is boring, mindless, and not the way I want to spend my time in game. I want to try the hard stuff now, and this is what I bought the expansion for. I don’t care about legend if I’ve already done all of it. I just want to do Cata and only Cata. The frustration of doing these achievements again creates a distinct unenjoyment of the game that may otherwise draw players away. This does not include the amount of times I run these maps on legend again with my friends to unlock Cata for them. If you’ve got a sizable friends list, it’s not just 4 maps. It’s 4 maps over and over and over.
Locking hard content away from those who are ready for it because the game believes they aren’t. There are a BUNCH of people who can either steamroll legend, steamroll pretty much all the weaves and just want to get to Cata 1—Cata 3. It’s a time sink they could otherwise be using to develop or achieve their own personal goals in game.
Locking content (like weave weapons) squelches the “fun” factor. Weaves themselves are already a grind, but having to take a single weapon you might not want to use is painful and inductive of starting afresh. If weaves already have you at level one and making you unlock talents and power over, some freedom should be lended to allow the player to play with whatever they have in their blacksmith inventory on base game. Seeing just Salty’s rapier when I open up Weaves instead of that billhook I just earned and want to muck around with is disheartening.
SO WHERE’S THE MIDDLE GROUND?
Good question! Grind should meet somewhere that helps alleviate the above while still creating motivational incentive. So mix and match your goals, grind is not bad, but in some way needs to be minimized. Locking everything behind achievement grind is not the answer.
Helps situate new players to the main game-play loop without requiring theory-crafting and robust customization.
At one point, high-level players were required to play lower difficulties (assuming this was originally to generate mentor relationships) to attain crafting material (no longer applicable with dust conversions).
Customizing your play-style (min-maxing). **This could also be considered a negative if there isn’t enough variety to make the min-maxing feel worth the time investment (I.E. ARPGs like Diablo and Grim Dawn are drowning in variety).
It also allows getting used to the new Talents, Careers and weapons one-by-one without getting overwhelmed and to more naturally find the ones that suit you well. (Yzneftamz)
It somewhat encourages trying out the other characters and new setups, as you get new stuff and eventually max out your first character, even more so if you want to make your bots better too. (Yzneftamz)
There’s advantage to having a progression system, but I think VT1 did it better in many aspects. You start with some basic gear, and get better gear from doing content. (BizarreSalp)
Takes (sometimes significant) time away from the main attraction.
Time invested may not feel worth the reward (I have counted upwards of ~2 minutes to re-roll a single trait before, using modded crafting menu with instant re-rolls).
RNG can and will inflate the amount of time investment required for no positive trade-off to player enjoyment. What are players getting in return for this? It’s completely one-sided like casino house rules to screw players over using statistical mathematics. I suppose an argument can be made for cosmetics, but… why?
Grind is required if you want to play at your maximum potential. You obviously don’t have to do this, but I always feel like I’m screwing my teammates over if I don’t- you never know if that +20% health may have saved a clutch or not. Break-points are also potent variables in this.
New players are required to level up at least one character to 30 to play with high level friends. If they want to try a new character they must do the same. Legend players privately inviting low levels is the exception, not the rule. Difficulty choices have historically always worked fine for FPS games.
Meta will always cause specific setups to be considered optimal. An alternative for this in a game that isn’t drowning in variety is to make some properties/traits baseline to the character classes and generate unique traits for weapons so it’s more difficult to ascertain the objective benefit or liability of any particular weapon as they can behave drastically different depending on the context.
It is just stupid, like I craft weapon after 2k hours in the game and I get some 297 crap, than 299 crap than 298 crap item… before I finally get 300… than I have to go and scrap those 3, which takes some more time so I don’t have mess in inventory… it’s just irritating and should not be there at all. (flisker)
A lot of truth to what you say and it’s a great post about the current state of affairs in relation to grinding. Grinding is a good way to slowly introduce new players to the game. It has its place. After a player gets to the max of everything though, making us grind again is so unenjoyable it’s to the point of being painful. I have absolutely no incentive to play weaves because of that. You don’t even get to choose your starting equipment.
We even get a talent we had already unlocked and it’s bumped to lvl 35 and locked again. Taking away something that we earned and forcing us to earn it again is a terrible practice.
I didn’t exactly have a blast starting from lvl 1 on five different characters to begin with. To do all of that again for weaves is just agonizing. I’m not touching it. Grinding has a place, but for the players that have already dumped hundreds of hours into the game, they stick around to earn cool new stuff(portraits, cosmetics, etc. by doing weaves) and the gameplay. My desire to get the portraits stuck behind weaves is outweighed by my distaste of the grind. Most of the reward is also just commendation chests, which does nothing for veteran players. I have hundreds of chests I’ll likely never open because opening them is so tedious. That isn’t to say all new content should only cater to veteran players, of course.
You have incredible looking gear and an incredible crafting/mod system but it’s attached to the weaves. It’s such a tease. It’s what people have wanted but it’s locked behind this repulsive game mode. If the weaves and general grind were as enjoyable/rewarding as the primary game mode, then perhaps it’d be a different story.
I just want to echo my hate for grind and say that I also was disheartened to open up weaves to find I can only play with 1 melee weapon and 1 ranged weapon from start, why not allow me to pick he ones I want to start with?
Not to mention they want you to do 40 runs per career per season = 600 runs to get all the commendation chests from weaves.
Weaves being stuck to 1 weapon until i pay 1k to unlock the others was absolute shocker to me and it kinda ruined my first few runs since there is really specific setups that i aim to play with.
This really needs to be changed at least back to how it was in the beta where you can choose your starting weapon.
Cata being stuck behind boss maps yes i echo this being one of the worst decisions ever and its even more convoluted that the whole party has to have cataclysym achivment unlocked otherwise you cannot que to it. Like what ? This makes absolutely 0 sense to me considering i already paid for the “priveledge” to play a harder mode but i still need to earn some sort of “right” to play it ?
The only thing that has me really salty this update is locking the ULT talents behind lvl 35. They should be lvl 30 or lower. Drop THP talents to 0 and drop the other rows down as well. So you get ULT talents at lvl 25. Certain classes like WS/HM feel absolutely terrible without lvl 35 talents. WS has zero ammo regen with the lvl 35 talent, which I still think should be a passive. And HM literally has a dash, that is it, a dash that does nothing else until lvl 35.
These are pretty much my thoughts on this too. I didn’t find originally raising the characters too grindy, as I did it by changing characters and Careers every couple of levels. This time around, it does feel genuinely like a grind, and that’s pretty much because of needing to get to the highest level to regain parts of the characters that I’d previously had. It doesn’t help that there aren’t that many new things to get used to, or that the last levels come relatively slowly. Luckily, I’m not hugely interested in the Weaves to begin with and after doing the first ones I can pretty much skip their grind by playing Adventure maps normally, so that isn’t such a problem to me - but it may be (and seems to be) for many others.
So I agree with the others here; the worst part of this was relocking the last Talent tier from us.
I am pretty salty that I’ve earned an extra 200 levels on these characters but i have to grind another 5 to max them out; especially with the ULT talents being pushed to 35. I’ve done my time just give me the levels.
I remember reaching 30 on every character and being to happy that i was done grinding…why would you take that away from me.
It’s not like the leveling is a small grind either. So far it has taken about ~3 legend maps per level, so ~15 per character, ~75 total games. Even with 3 clears an hour at 100% win rate that’s 25 hours to get back to the point players already were.
That’s even without getting into the blandness of the new talent row. If it instead enabled new builds or playstyles I could tolerate it, but instead it’s just a flat power increase masquerading as a choice. Oh wait, one of them is actually just a flat power increase, nevermind then.
There are the commendation hats people still don’t have, and there’s still no way to speed up the rate at which you get commendation chests (another unaddressed design issue), so it’s not nothing, but it’s not great either. And it doesn’t address the issues you mention with opening them.
Interestingly, the season rewards themselves look to be nothing but commendation chests, and I’ll just assume there are 30 of them (didn’t count). At a 2% hat drop rate per chest, the chance you get zero hats is 54.5%. So a season model that typically rewards nothing, super exciting. Although to be fair it’s more a problem with the base game’s reward system than seasons themselves.
Yep, it seems we need a couple of double-exp weekends (or a week) now. I think I said something similar in the earlier grind thread, too, but with the 2.0 changes, its added leveling, and the frustration that goes with it, it’s more needed than ever - and soon.
Yes, I know that isn’t a long-term solution. But I think it would (especially if the weekends appeared more often in general) ease things for many players, especially with the surprise addition in this update.
That could help, although arguably double XP could just be permanent at this point. The grind for new players is really bad, now it’s just obscene. Catch-up mechanics are effectively non-existent, and the combat itself is constantly changing until you hit max power.
The most confusing part is why the extra levels were even added. They made all of these combat changes, then forced you to grind for 5+ hours minimum per character to be able to start evaluating the update fairly.
And ultimately you could drop the stagger talents, keep the ult talents at 25, and drop the 5 extra levels, then just scale everyone’s base power by 115% to accomplish the same goal without requiring the pointless additional grind.
The “notes from the team” don’t mention this last minute change, and there doesn’t seem to be any major upside, so I’m genuinely curious how this made it past even the faintest of design reviews.
It certainly is some of that, but sometimes I wonder how much of it is a management issue. My old post from reddit covers sort of what I mean.
At some point, someone not only had to be OK’ing these changes for live but prioritizing them over other work. It’s not like you accidentally fall into a system with three different ways of providing you items (chests, challenges, weaves) where none cross over. But it’s all speculative, so I don’t know.