More On Mythos

Ok, so I really do feel pretty bad about how harsh I was in my review of Mythos that I posted earlier. In that frame of mind, I’m going to offer up a few suggestions that I think would help improve the situation in several ways. Whether they are the perfect solution to their issues or not, it’s more of an excercise in problem-solving and MMO design for myself than anything else, so I’m going to get started. This post might rival the length of Van Hemlock’s posts so be prepared!

Combat: I realize that this is how combat in action-rpg’s is always going to be based primarily around 1-3 skills and never really get much more in-depth than that simply because it is so fast-paced. You are either kiting enemies around spamming a skill or one or two shotting them, so there really aren’t the long, face-to-face fights that last 30-45 seconds like a typical MMO. That said, there are a lot of skills within the game that simply aren’t effective enough to be considered in the vast majority of builds. For instance, there are three skill sets for each class, and in the gadgeteers case those three are marksman, grenadier, and tinker. I’ll look at each of the three individually so it’s easier to distinguish.

Marksman:
The marksman panel almost without question is going to be where the majority of your skill points are going to go because it has the two most popular skills (piercing barrage/napalm) and almost all of your passive skills (increase crit, weapon range/speed, etc..) This is by far the best-executed tree of the three, even though there are still skills such as rapid refire and seeking shot that, while decent, can’t come close to the power of piercing barrage and napalm, and therefore won’t be used much if at all.

Tinker:
Tinker is where you can get skills for widgets that you summon to stun/damage/slow your enemies. Typically one or two of these are used with a build, though there are also skills that allow you to drop turrets. In my opinion turrets really don’t have a place in this game, and a new skill should be considered to replace them because this isn’t the type of game where you sit around and let a turret destroy your enemies. Players are powerful enough without them that they are unnecessary and would rather put those skill points into a skill that is more useful or a passive skill that they can use with their primary skill rather than balancing another skill to use. How about a widget that reduces enemy attack speed or reduces elemental resistances instead? These would be far more useful than an immobile turret.

Another skill that seems to be rather worthless is the servant widget which turns an enemy in your favor for 15 seconds. This can’t be used on champion mobs (elites if you will) which means that the benefit of this skill would be truly minimal. As stated before, with the ability to one or two shot enemies in a matter of one or two seconds, what benefit could an average mob possibly have? The only time this could potentially be worthwhile is if the mobs had a silencing/poisoning/stunning skill, but what are the odds that the widget will actually work on that mob instead of an average one? If this skill were to be kept, it would have to work on say up to 5 enemies. You can create multiple widgets, but if you are using a build that already utilizes one or two widgets (which you summon multiple versions of) you aren’t going to have time to summon 15 widgets and then start firing at them, it just isn’t efficient.

Grenadier:

This is by far the most underused skill panel of the three. Basically the way it works is dropping grenades or bombs. The problem with many of these skills is that they are geared towards constant kiting. For example latchbomb explodes when enemies get near it. The noxious grenade does poison damage (that takes far longer to kill than a simple shot from a rifle.) Bauble trap absorbs some of the damage of enemies (that, again, you could kill with a shot from a rifle.) Another skill that doesn’t really seem to have much use is fire sentry (drops a wall of fire that the enemies run through.) Elemental walls are something that have baffled me constantly in these games. Unless you run the mobs back and forth through it, they are only going to run through it once. This skill is set for damage over time, not a burst of damage, furthering my confusion. The thing that gets me the most about this panel is that there aren’t any plain-and simple grenades. You can find them and use them, but why let this be a skill used by a class that has a “grenadier” skill set? The only skill that I find to have potential use is the mute bomb, which can silence enemies for up to 15 seconds. The problem with this, though, is that to maximize it takes 14 skill points just to silence an enemy (even though it can still use basic attacks on you in the process.) Make this 5-6 points instead, or else it won’t get used.

Ok, there’s the combat section. Perhaps I’ll go through the Bloodletter and Pyromancer in the future, but I have a lot more to talk about besides just combat so I’ll leave it at that.

Crafting:
Crafting is something that should be a part of any MMO today, just as it is in Mythos. The problem is that it is very confusing and uses far too many ingredients. You get a lot of space for ingredient space, but the many ingredients that you can buy can also be dropped by mobs, and your space fills up quickly, leaving you unsure which ingredients to keep and which to drop to make room for others. Not only are a good deal of the drops purchasable at NPC’s, they are spread out throughout the three zones, so it can be a pain figuring out what all materials (which happen to be extremely cheap) are buyable and which are not. As I mentioned in the previous post, crafting items that aren’t from the top tier is a waste of time. Not only do you have to find the ingredients, but by the time you hit level 20-25, you can already use the best gear in the game, so why bother crafting something for less than that? I see two options here: either make it so ingredients that you can purchase don’t drop off mobs, or cut out 25-50% of the crafting ingredients and make the remaining ingredients usable in more of the crafting recipes.

Gear:
Like I said in my review, gear is most frequently obtained from random quests once you get up there in levels. I’m not sure exactly how it would determine what quality of items it should generate (perhaps it could check what your top attribute was and base it off that,) but this ability to keep generating new items needs to stop. For one thing it’s a waste of time to the player, and it’s an exploit that shouldn’t be allowed. It should generate gear that is appropriate for your level (and possibly class) and even if you abandon it, it would still keep those 3 options. This way you have a pretty good chance of finding gear that you will use (or be able to trade) but not have complete control over the situation. Also, once the gear set to your level, the quests need to take more than the 5-10 minutes they currently take to complete or have a daily limit of one or two.

Not only do the randomly generated quests need to be fixed, but the drops need to be fixed as well. For one thing, your luck skill doesn’t provide the option for normal items to become magical, but only affects those that already have magical properties, and it only kicks it up by one level. This means that you end up with an unbelievable amount of normal items, a good deal of green, blue, and yellow items, but still with very few purple and orange items (the best.) They need to cut out about 25% of all gear drops (at least those with no magical properties) and find a way to make it so your luck can increase the modifier by more than one setting. I understand that not every piece of gear should be uber, but as I stated, the 4 pieces that I haven’t upgraded through random quests haven’t been replaced in over 12 levels. This isn’t right.

Also, there are a number of unique items in the game, which are obviously items with set stats that aren’t randomly generated. The problem with these items is that almost none of them have excellent stats. They generally have two or three stats that don’t fit the class that would be using them, or they are just stats that people don’t want. If you are going to take the time to make unique items, at least make them desirable to the players.

Quests:
As I said, the quests are basically written well and are usually entertaining, but the objectives are completely dull and uninspired. I understand that it can be difficult when you are dealing with mostly random maps, but there are still ways that you can have fun with these quests. For instance, one quest could be that you need to trap a warg and bring it to someone to study. You need to lay a trap and lure one into it/throw a net over it/shoot it with a tranquilizing dart. Even something simple like an NPC left an heirloom on a broken-down cart in a zone after being attacked by hollows, but he was flustered and doesn’t know where exactly it is. This at least gives you a bit more purpose than “foozles infested the forest, kill 10 of them and bring me proof.”

PvP:
It’s clear that the PvP system didn’t work out they way it was intended. Very few people are participating, and those who are are using junky gear so they don’t lose their good equipment. I have one solution that I think would work much better than dropping actual gear from a corpse. It also prevents punishing those who unknowingly killing a lower level toon. Instead of dropping actual gear when a player is killed, they drop some sort of trophy or token.

Killing a player 10+ levels above you: 15 tokens
Killing a player 7-9 levels above you: 12 tokens
Killing a player 4-6 levels above you: 9 tokens
Killing a player +/- 3 levels: 6 tokens
Killing a player 4-10 levels below you: 3 tokens
Killing a player 11-14 levels below you: 0 tokens
Killing a player 15+levels below you: -3 total tokens per kill for the next 3 kills
After killing a person three times for tokens each day they no longer yield tokens.

You could then turn in the tokens you received for things like idols that would improve your stats while in your pack with higher token rewards being more powerful. Of course the actual levels could be altered depending on balance issues, but I think this would be a great way to increase participation in the Shadowlands. You would no longer have to fear losing your gear, and you would also have the potential to obtain very nice items. All is better.

Wow, so there you have some of my suggestions and more in-depth description of several aspects of this game. Again, this is a game that I truly enjoy, I just wanted to formulate some of my thoughts on what I think can be improved and ways I think this could be achieved (though I’m no expert.)

~Kanthalos

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