I found where the enemy damage boosting screws everyone over

I made it to Chapter XV, Part 8/10 and the enemies are level 47/48 and I’m around the same level. I’m using the Shaman. Their battle rating is ~1700 whereas mine is 1270. However, the enemies are undead-type so they’re weak to green magic, which balances things out somewhat. However, at this point the Skeleton you fight first in this specific battle can, at this point, two-shot my armor, or even one-shot my armor with a critical hit. I only managed to get past it twice.

And then the next enemy is a Doomknight.

Doomknights take half damage if their armor is more than 100.

They also have more than double my Power (~880 against my ~370). If the skelly doesn’t kill me, the Doomknight will as you functionally cannot kill a Doomknight in one hit, even with your ult and four spells ready. No casual player will ever be able to make it to the ending of the story with the way enemies have been scaled.

This is why they teach you in Game Design 101 that injecting a shitload of steroids into the enemies doesn’t count as balancing, because there will come a point late-game where the player simply cannot progress without serious grinding for either levels, crafting components for armor(they also teach you not to make rare resources impossible to obtain without buying them or grinding an absurd amount) or gold to buy every non-gem Daily Deal that exists.

At no point in the endgame should the player be forced to grind more than they ever have to even make it to the final dungeon, let alone be able to beat the boss in it. The only series that gets away with this is Disgaea, but in that series the grind is half the point of the game. You could argue my PQ1 “naked run” had this happen late, but the game was simply not designed to be played without everything that could make you comprable in power to endgame forces, so the gold grind was necessary to get stat points via the Temple. Even then, I was still allowed to have that caveat because otherwise the challenge couldn’t be done.

A self-imposed challenge where you play the game in a way that the designers didn’t originally intend and so you have to find your own way to dig yourself out of the hole with the same shovel you used to dig said hole is one thing. A developer-created intended experience where you will literally never make progress out of the hole they dug for you unless you dig even deeper in the hopes of buried treasure that will maybe, someday, help you get out of the hole they dug, while your shovel got replaced by a plastic one that little kids on the beach use to make crude sandcastles, and having the buried treasure turn out to be plastic worthless play money that doesn’t help you in any situation at this point(read: common drops from anything above an iron chest) and also at any point high tide might come in and drown you…is quite another!

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To be fair, endgame here is not one hero at chapter 15. I think endgame is more like citadel over 100.

BUT! I think everyone should be able to complete the story with minimal fuss. So this is a problem.

I’m not counting PvP as endgame because it’s leaderboard-based and the meta is getting Turn 0 for 25,000 points. Most people can’t do that. A realistic endgame would indeed be your main at 50 and post-story since orignally you DID need to beat the story for the Citadel.

You are looking at the situation wrong.

You are positing that because your level equals that of the encounter, that the fight should be an even match. The game does not use this metric in determining the difficulty of an encounter.

Level in PQ3 means almost nothing. From Level 1-50, leveling up grants a small amount of stats to the player for each level. Post level 50, level only determines the number of points that can be allocated in the Citadel.

In this game, “level” is effectively determined by Gear Score. Enemy encounters are balanced on the power curve for expected gear levels at a given point in the game.

If I remember correctly (it has been awhile since I first cleared the story), Chapter XV was balanced against a full set of Epic 35 gear. You mentioned an enemy score of 1700ish. I messed around on my account to see what the Gear Score was for a full set of Epic 35 spells and gear… it’s 1738. Sounds about right to me.

My memory is fuzzy on the power increment for each rarity tier, but I think I remember calculating a multiplier of ~2.2. 880 / 370 = ~2.38. Are you in full Rare 25 gear? If so, no wonder you are having a hard time. You are significantly under-geared for Chapter XV. The leap in power between Rare 25 and Epic 35 gear is massive.

Going to agree with Tresk here, you aren’t at endgame in Chapter XV. If this was a JRPG, you aren’t at the point where you would have access to the airship yet in Chapter XV.

Are you using Eveline to craft Epic relics? She is extremely efficient in creating and converting Epic relics. She can shift them 1-for-1 for the low cost of 250 ore. She can also convert 2 Rare relics to a random Epic relic for 400 Gems if you have some Gems to spare.

Also, if you have some Gold Marks laying around from Events you can buy an Epic relic from the Mark shop on Saturdays.

Raising Gear to Epic 35 to clear Chapter XV is not that big of a deal. A bit time consuming, yes, because of the large number of relics needed. But definitely not anywhere near insurmountable.

Raising Gear past that point (Legendary +) is a whole different migraine in its own right. But that could currently be considered to be endgame content and not needed to clear Story mode at all.

The other portion of the problem is the fact that the developers thought balancing simply meant making enemies deal a lot more damage. Can we al least agree that that’s the wrong way to go about it?

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While I generally agree with Lyrian’s assessment, some classes are incapable of staying alive long enough to survive near lvl 50 mobs, even with a full set of Epic (L35) gear. With a full complimentary set of blue and purple gear, my Necro can’t finish Story Mode, and that’s with 24% of extra Ice mastery compliments of Citadel leveling from my OP’d Pally. Some better damage mitigation would help, perhaps boosting Ice Armor to provide a complete damage shield and a thorns effect, rather than the piddling armor boost it provides today.