For the last month, I’ve made it a personal quest to attempt to the play the game in manner different from the current popular meta of stun-locking opponents consistently to complete the game’s story mode and see how far I could get and to attempt to engage with as many game systems as I could to better understand them and offer feedback.
Assisting me in providing me feedback was the elusive Lyranica, who plays GoW with a casual playstyle. She was more than happy to finally be able to help me with “one of my beta tests”.
So, for now, were either of us able to reach the end of the story playing the story without stunlocking? Short answer: no. She made it to Chapter 10 (which surprised me), and I threw in the towel acknowledging that by Chapter 11, enemies cannot be straight-up tanked even at green Normal difficulty. More on this in the Gear Score portion of the post.
Next up, one at a time, my thoughts on the various systems in the game that have not already been discussed to death on these forums where possible (and of which the answer to all of these would be “it’s being re-balanced in the future” anyways).
These have condensed down into sections for readability.
I want to call out this system first, because this one is the system that caused the most conflict between Lyranica and myself.
Everyone sees the standard daily loot screen a ton of times each day. But, for the average casual player, they misread the screen frequently (as Lyranica did and still does).
They read the Daily VIP offer to be strictly the same as the big blue callout with Scorch on it. Two extra wood keys, one iron key, and one ruby key. While the ruby key is nice, players like Lyranica scoffed at only receiving four extra keys per day for the $10 USD subscription fee. This is because these players stop right there and do not tap on the VIP button to see the full list of VIP daily offerings.
If a player taps on the VIP pass button, there is an entire second set of keys offered in addition to the four keys listed on the top-level screen.
Players receive all of the rewards on the left side of the screen every day for free in addition to the four keys that everyone sees in the general advertisement.
As such, many players are perceiving the value of the VIP pass to be much less than the actual value of the pass are are potentially passing on VIP pass purchases because of misreading the value proposition being offered to them before making a decision about whether to purchase a VIP pass.
Space limitations are surely an issue here, but a stronger callout to show the full wealth of VIP offerings to players need to be made on the top-level screen, as many will never drill drown to see that second-level VIP offering screen.
Quality v. Quantity of Chest Loot
The chest system is interesting because it serves as an alternate proxy for keys, an intentionally scarce resource. A concept that I have seen talked about a lot is the need to constantly be sending pets on a missions for Ruby and Diamond chests. While this tactic does grant the player the highest quality loot, it does not necessarily give the greatest quantity of loot (especially when considering ore and food). Sending pets off on missions for low-rarity chests to more quickly farm food and ore is a good a trade off mechanic at the expense of higher quality gear, spell, and evolution components. I personally like this trade-off system.
This is a wonderful system, IMO. Even as we are halfway across the country from each other currently, Lyranica and I get to play with each other for multiple hours each night. This mode will surely be big for driving social engagement, especially if when Events are implemented, that Kingdom-mates can Co-Op together with each other to complete these Events. If this occurs, that would drive much stronger social bonds than what is currently capable with Guilds in GoW.
I really hope this happens in the full launch PQ3.
So… as I mentioned in the opening paragraphs, I focused purely on raising my gear score as high as possible to see how that would carry me through the story mode.
At the end of the 30th day of this account, I finally reached the 1000 Gear Score milestone.
By the time the enemy is in the 30’s, the scaling of damage far outscales the advancement of gear score to mitigate it. Yes, the gear score could have scaled to the 1200ish range at 30s across the board, but it really would not have made much of a difference at all. My +200 bonus armor effect from my epic breastplate does not even cover a single auto-attack’s worth of damage.
This problem is compounded with elemental weakness bonuses. If, in an encounter, the opponent is the color of the player’s elemental weakness, that match is almost a guaranteed loss for the player outside of either a fortunate starting board or some lucky skyfalls.
Because, otherwise, this happens (Chapter 10 screenshot).
And yes, there’s an obvious Mutiny Vance one-liner that could caption that screenshot.
Farther in, even more silly damage numbers were appearing in Chapter 11.
That’s not a boss fight, that’s a skirmish encounter at Normal gear score difficulty.
And with bosses generally hitting for 2x normal damage on auto-attacks, boss encounters are pretty much “win in two rounds (at best) or die” (assuming the boss doesn’t crit on that first round…)
Yeah, this will be balanced out, but that’s the current state of the game where I am at.
On one hand, 50 levels of advancement to invest in gear can lead to becoming engaged with a specific set of gear. On the other hand, 50 increments of advancement can lead to some extremely minuscule power-up increments that are not satisfying at all to obtain.
The big problem is that the spread between Common level 1 and Legendary/Mythic level 50 is too small. As such, I agree with many of the forum posters here that currently, it is not worth the effort to level up spells for the most part. The rarity bonus of a spell is far more potent than the level component of a spell’s effectiveness currently.
The problem could be addressed with more of an curve-style advancement system than a linear one. While this obviously would not work with percentage based spell effects, for damage effects leveling up at levels 30+ should a stronger benefit than levels 1-9 for players. Gaining 1 point of damage for farming and spending 30+ spell shards sucks bigtime.
Armor and Resistance scores on gear fall into the exact same issue as spells.
I am looking forward to seeing how the game continues to grow and develop.