I want to start out by expressing how much I am currently enjoying the game. I recently finished the story of the game and I am currently working my way towards level cap. I have watched several pre -launch videos and read several posts outlining the plans for the game and am very encouraged by what I see. The bones of something great are in place, but its time to flesh things out.
So, after finishing the story, what is there for a player to do? Well, since the story ends before you hit level cap, the main goal should be to... hit level cap. How does a player go about this?
There are several options:
- Continue to explore the sector and do several different mission types for gear, credits, exp, fate, etc.
- Participate in PvP, which, admittedly, I have yet to touch as I am personally not interested in.
- Hunt rebels in the current event for fate, rep, or rewards from completely the community event.
- Work on unlocking the remainder of your tech tree which requires both credits and fate(more on this later.)
- Group with friends or cabal members to do much of the above.
- Flex your Inquisitorial skills and participate in Investigations for a chance at loot, glory, and story.
- Tarots. The big one. Tarot missions offer a repeatable and variable experience with, at least in my experience, the best loot and experience.
- Roll a new character for a new build or new class for different experience.
Wow! That sounds like a lot to do! Except its not actually a lot to do and I will address all of these with the exception of PvP because as stated, I am not a PvP'er.
After finishing the story there's basically one thing an ARPG player is interested in doing. Completing your build and jumping on the endless loot treadmill for the sweet, sweet dopamine drip that has kept us all hooked for years. While some players might be interested only in starting the story over again with a new character, in my experience, this is a rare case. The large audience of your ARPG wants something to do with this baddass, heretic slaying, filth cleansing Inquisitorial monster they have lovingly crafted throughout the story. No one wants to work their way through a game, become an unstoppable killing machine only to, well, stop.
Lets start with exploring the Calagari sector further. Whats my incentive? New maps? Nope, seen them all(side note, adding snow or green gas to a map actually made it feel new and different.) Fate? Yes please, 8 fate? 12? Uh... Well what about gear? Piles of blues and whites, 2-3 greens and a purple every other mission! Pretty lackluster incentives to continue exploring considering the mission system offers no new story elements.
Okay, how about an Investigation? Give me some story and loot and the ability to interact with the game in an interesting and different way. I've tried several of these now and I have NO CLUE what the hell these are actually supposed to be. As far as I can tell, sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don't, sometimes you're just selecting options because they're there even tho they don't seem to be helping. Sometimes you try one option, doesn't work, try a different, still doesn't work, try a third, more of the same. I can't tell what the hell I'm actually supposed to be doing in these in order to make them successful. Root out heretics, sent in dudes, they found nothing. Talked to townsfolk, they told me to gtfo. Sent in the military, someone got trigger happy and killed half the hive. Excuse me? So at what point do any of these options help me succeed, let alone feel encouraged to try another investigation?
I'll briefly touch on events since this is the first. Slaying 5000 rebels isn't fun. I'm okay with killing, but an average run for me has about 100 kills, thats roughly 50 missions to unlock some underwhelming rewards. If I were to receive, oh, I don't know, quadrouple fate or an increased chance at relics or additonal credits for finishing these missions along the way then I would MAYBE be interested in killing 5000 dudes. As it is, 5000 is a pretty tall ask and feels like a random number someone thought was a good idea.
The Tech Tree. Interesting concept, truely. I enjoy being able to progress through a tech tree, unlock extra perks and be able to further customize the stuff I am crafting. The problem with the tech tree? Theres a fate cost, a rather large one associated with unlocking each node. Why? What does this add? I am legitimately confused about the purpose of this. Fate is a precious resource. 1275 fate to finish out the tree, roughly 1,050,000 credits to unlock everything. While once its done it will feel good to have completed... Not being able to craft relics ultimately makes the crafting system useless at endgame.
So, whats next? Grouping? I havn't tried it since my first experience was a giant lag fest filled with rubberbanding. I know 1.0.3 and the current event delay was because of a fix getting pushed through, so hopefully thats sorted because I have a feeling the next topic is intended to be done in multiplayer given its current numbers.
Alright, its time to talk about Tarot missions, what I consider the best and most flawed system in the entire game. Where do you have the best chance to get Relic quality gear in the game? Tarots. Where do you get the most experience to finish leveling your character? Tarots. Where do you get the most repeatable, fresh, interesting content? Tarots. Where can you target specific gear slots you need an upgrade for? Tarots. Notice a trend? Everything that an ARPG player is looking for at endgame exists in this game in the form of Tarot missions. Great! I'm going to go hop into one right now! Except they require Fate to craft. Well, okay, thats fine, the cost can't be that bad right? 120 per mission. Holy. Shit. Given the current state of the game, thats a ton of fate per mission. Given that your average mission rewards 10-12, thats 12-15 missions you don't want to do because of low incentives all in order to do ONE mission you do want to do. Lets break that down a little further: If you speed through assassination missions at roughly 4 minutes each, thats 60 minutes of pointless grinding to get to do 4-5 minutes of what you actually want to do. That means players have to spend 92.5% of their time doing something they don't want to do in order to spend 7.5% of their time doing something they do want to do. Thats bad game design.
Furthermore, Major Arcana deciding the type of mission is not a great system. While I appreciate being able to target specific gear types, I am very tired of doing ONLY nurgle pustiule type missions and want some variety to this. I'd love to see maybe 5 or so Major Arcana cards as well as 10 or so more Minor Arcana to further customize this experience. This system shines when you can play it.
How do we fix this? The obvious way is to decrease the cost of Tarot missions by roughly 75%. 25 Fate per mission is reasonable. This means I can go and do several normal or event missions to collect a pile of fate and chain run Tarots for a couple hours until I run out. What I'd personally like to see is the cost removed all together and fate as a resource moved to another system in the game. Something like a vendor which allows you to purchase relics or the various buff items that rarely appear on the vendor(looking at you extreme treasure and meme virus.) This would allow fate to remain as a scarce resource as is clearly intended, but allow it to feel rewarding instead of making it feel like theres nothing for players to do inbetween sporadic bursts of endgame.
Another simple option is to allow the player to exchange credits for Fate at a decent rate. Currently, there comes a time where credits will be largely useless. This would allow credits to remain an interesting part of the game and have a purpose beyond sporadic crafting and unlocking the tech tree.
TLDR; Tarots are great, lets see more of them. Other endgame systems don't work or are too unrewarding. Fate as a game system needs to be reworked massively and made more interesting.
This is a long post and I'll be throwing it up on reddit as well. Hopefully this is the kind of feedback Neocore is looking for because I truely enjoy the moment to moment gameplay in Martyr and I want to see the game succeed. Thanks for reading.