The Early-Game Shard Economy (or Lack Thereof)

Writing this with a bit of a disclaimer that the current in-game shard economy may be the consequence of there not being weekly events in the game yet, but I believe that the issue is significant enough to warrant a thread discussing it.

The banter, both in-game, and on the forums here, is that upgrade shards of all rarities are too rare to warrant investment in any anything, outside of upgrading followers. While I do believe that there is merit in keeping rare things rare, finding the lower rarities of shards should not be as difficult as attempting to re-assemble the fragments of a crystalized tear shed by Kelthurax, which have each been scattered to different pocket dimensions in the Astral Plane for random plot reasons.

Ok, that’s a bit of an embellishment on the rarity of minor upgrade fragments, but finding these fragments should not be similar to looking for needles in haystacks that when actually found reward a very small number of them when found when dozens of these are needed to level a common set of weapons and armor to 10, and hundreds per piece are needed to reach level 20 (especially if the number of keys offered to players, even at the lowest rarity, is supposed to be small). At least, not at the newbie tutorial levels of the game.

The lack of general upgrade shards in the early game is preventing nearly everyone from getting past Chapter 2 or 3, as the enemies very quickly punish players for being unable to upgrade their gear.

As a personal obsveration, I opened to two level 17 Ruby chests from pet missions overnight this morning. One offered 4 lesser upgrade fragments, while the other yielded 2 minor upgrade fragments. Higher rarity chests should be yielding higher quantities of upgrade fragments than common/iron chests.

Can the team review the drop rates (and amounts) of various upgrade shards in chests, at least for Common and Uncommon rarities? Also, can the team check to see that higher rarity chests (Golden, Ruby, Diamonds) actually drop higher quantities of shards for the same chest level?

I am at chapter 14 and it seems higher chests do give more amounts, as well as of course higher rarity ones.

I personally haven’t upgraded any piece of equipment that isn’t rare+, so haven’t been having that much of an issue yet in regard to quantity. The game is definitely very punishing for upgrading common and uncommon equipment though.

Pretty sure consecutively playing will always leave the player behind. The battles in chapter 14 are over 1,000 my gear score. They are so high above that their bonus damage seems to cap at 100% rather than going even higher. Their abilities 1 shot, crits 1 shot, and base attack 2 shots.

All equipment is either level 1 or level 10, with everything rare being leveled to 10 and everything under being left at 1. Hoarding all further upgrading material for eventual epic+ stuff, as a full set of level 10 rares whenever they eventually drop seems to be enough to run the full storyline.

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I think the speed of leveling was also a reason of this issue… We just level too fast and every other thing cannot catch up.

My suggestion: reduce the speed of character leveling by increase the EXP needed, or reduce the EXP from skirmish.
And add key as a rare drop from chests.

As someone who’s now stuck at the ass-end of chapter 3(the dungeon; can’t even get past the miniboss(!)) I have to agree. And I even upgrade my stuff, unlike Tacet who only upgrades it when he gets rarer stuff! I’m not about to stop grinding, hell, i know what I need. It’s just that I need to get more of it. Here’s where I’m sitting at right now.

It may seem like I’m spamming but I can only upload one image at a time.

Edit: For some reason I can only post three replies in one topic. Lame.

I have found spells matter a lot more than equipment. I could be running all level 1 equipment, and it would almost be the exact same thing with how high the end of the storyline hits.

Stun locking and chip killing everything with mana accumulation seem to be the most important 2 things for progression.

Super kudos to you for perfecting this strategy. That said, it also encapsulates the entire issue quite well. The stunlock/chipkilling strategy circumvents almost every gear progression system that is present in the game. What is the point of leveling up weapons, armor, or any gear, if it the gear score requirements can be completely circumvented?

The point of raising one’s gear score is to mitigate incoming damage either through resistances or increasing one’s health/armor/resistance pools to survive those hits. Of course, when your gear is at the power level of Chapter 4, that enemies tuned to the difficulty of Chapter 14 are going to one-shot you.

On one hand, I agree with you in concept. On the other hand, these are the starter/newbie levels and it would be normal and expected to not spend a lot time there. Levels 1 through 10 can be easily obtained from just from Story Mode XP alone from the first two Chapters (The Common rarity gear tier). These chapters are a breeze to walk through with practically any gear level. The Uncommon rarity levels (Chapters 3 - 5) slows down XP gain a bit, but a player can still gain large amounts of XP from story mode. The problem is that these chapters assume that players have a full inventory of level 10+ gear by then (not possible because of both speed and lack of shard drops).

By the end of Chapter 5, the game is expecting players to have nearly a full set of level 20 gear to obtain a critical follower needed to unlock the a significant number of the game’s functions. I can tell you from personal experience, with two characters over level 20 working on advancing the same set of gear, that I am nowhere even close to those gear scores. I’m at weapon/shield 13, armor around 12, and accessories at 9. No spell has reached level 10 yet either. The upgrade components are just too rare currently with current chest drop rates when each piece of gear takes 20-30 shards for a single level up. At my current speed of progression, I might reach gear level 20 in maybe a month or perhaps two, while not advancing anywhere in the game during that time.

Slow leveling is fine for the rare and difficult to obtain gear. It is not fine, IMO, in the tutorial portions of the game when this slowness is likely to cause many players (especially casual players) to drop the game entirely in frustration.

Gear for PvP and dungeons at higher difficulties would matter a lot more. I do like that the game has a cheese method for people who want to consecutively play.

From the rates I have seen so far, unless citadel speeds it up with whatever that does, it would take around 2 weeks to get a rare equipment up to level 30. With much of these equipment being the baseline of what most f2p and early game players would be using. This would be around 2-3 weeks for baseline 30s. That isn’t too bad given the time frame they expect this game to slowly be played over time.

After under one week I am pretty much at base 10 rares. Despite the fact I will likely have the storyline completed in under a week, I am pretty sure they intend the timeframe to be 1-2 months. That would put equipment by later chapters at around base 20s.

Here’s how my spells are.