The upcoming patch will bring a series of improvements to the gameplay experience. We felt like there were a few combat mechanics that are affecting the game more negatively than positively. Our main goal is to maintain a challenging aRPG experience without resorting to gimmicks, annoyances and mechanics which punish certain builds significantly more than others.
Removal of Monster Immunities
Gaming standards are not what they were 20 years ago, and for a good reason. There's nothing particularly exciting about building a character around a specific skill and encountering mobs that will receive no damage from your main attack, no matter your character strength.
Some builds struggled noticeably more than others from this feature, because they had less viable methods of dealing with it. This proved to be a big issue when trying to balance characters, especially casters vs weapon damage, and was further exacerbated by the improvement and diversification of the endgame levelling process. Since now you no longer chain farm only a single zone (cow level) without any immunities to progress.
You might argue that immunities were justified in order to promote skill-switching. This is true, but there's a much better way to accomplish this. Thus we came up with a new resistance mechanism:
- Regular monsters previously immune to an element now take reduced damage from this element instead
- Players cannot bypass this reduction through stats like enemy resistance reduction
- Reduction amount varies with difficulty: 30%/50%/75% on Normal, Nightmare & Hell
This means skill-switching is still desirable since it will lead to better clear speed, especially when under-geared. We also greatly alleviate the situations where you don't have an alternative skill that's viable for that particular fight and allow all characters to better scale their power as they progress.
One Hit KnockOuts (1HKOs)
It's important to acknowledge the fact that 1HKOs will always be over-represented. Given a weak enough character against a strong enough monster, a 1HKO will happen. If we instead assume a strong character in that same situation is still being instantly killed, this is a problem. The first issue was mostly dealt with by making endgame quests accessible after level 100 only and stopping characters from getting to places they were not meant to be in yet.
Now, inherent-1HKOs do exist, and they can be a frustrating mechanic to play against. Instakills can be justified when there's enough clue for the character to play around it. But in many situations, the clues are not enough. Either due to lag, desync or visual clues being blocked by factors such as terrain, monsters or walls.
Note that such mechanics will still exist, especially at the highest difficulty levels of content, because they test player skill rather than gear. However, the presence of such mechanics has been greatly diminished and many endgame quests relying on inherent-1HKOs have been fully reworked. Two examples are the Death Projector and the Creature of Flame.
There were a few monster debuff mechanisms that were simply obnoxious to play against:
- Curses reducing player stats, glitching character equipment
- Curses preventing character healing and using potions
- Auras that disable the use of ranged skills and spells
- Crippling-slow effects (miasma, spellbind)
They are gone.
Purify and Open Wounds
A certain set of endgame quests require defeating enemies which are immune to all forms of damage apart from a special skill called Purify. These bosses are typically some of the least fun to play against, because they are heavily biased in favour of weapon damage characters, and especially ranged ones.
While we do like the variety in endgame content introduced by this mechanic we are also aware of its shortcomings and have taken several steps to improve the experience:
- Open Wounds is no more. The main reason why casters were so much worse at this type of content. In the future we may bring this stat back as physical damage over time to diversify weapon build options
- Purify damage has been significantly increased to compensate. Purify damage per second is now slightly higher than what full Open Wounds uptime used to be
- Slow Target effect is now capped at 25% against bosses, which again makes the experience more equal between weapon damage and caster characters
- Purify bosses will receive tweaks to make the encounters more dynamic and fun rather than prolonged and repetitive