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Re: Full PTS Feedback (As of June 18th)

by RubyJavelin
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Full PTS Feedback (As of June 18th)

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There are things I’m hoping will happen with the next PTS update, but to save on details and space, it’s mostly loot focused. I already have another post for this so I will not focus on this at the current time, but it boils down to waiting to test certain mechanics that are only possibilities and may never come to be.

 

Vara Fight

 

I want to lead off with feedback on the final boss of a Cataclysm, Vara. Vara honestly feels like nothing more than a bullet sponge, Nothing really interesting mechanically that make her harder than any other boss. Plain and simple she needs to be more of a threat, if you have the DPS she will just stand there and get animation locked constantly in all difficulties. When she switches phases this need to be instant, it’s the biggest source of her animation locking.

 

I like that Vara has a combo attack, but I greatly dislike that fact that you either have to avoid being frozen or just get instant killed after that. There’s no time in which the player is given to react to break free from being frozen before they get smacked with her strongest non-instagib attack. Even with a ton of mashing on the jump button you just cannot get free on time. Maybe this is intended, but it feels wrong especially given Freeze Status history to bug out.

 

I feel like Vara would be a bit more of a challenging fight if she used her attacks more often. Some of her weaker attacks have such a long delay before you see them again. Maybe I missed something but the phase in which she setups a lethal game of The Floor is Lava, she only has one attack, she could really use more attacks along with all attacks she has steadily becoming faster as her HP drops lower and lower.

 

Visual Quality

 

I know it’s wrong and you’ve probably heard it hundreds of times but I’d love to see the same level of destruction and chaos being caused by the Cataclysm as in the E3 Trailer. Currently the effects still feel pretty low and I know they can be drastically improved.

 

The glitching effects from staying in the Cataclysm without a protective barrier can be rough to see through when combined with current cataclysm effects being a filter. It can make the screen incredibly dark at times, and be very hard to play around.

 

Currently a bug I think, but Teleporters as well as current lighting effects combined with lightning strikes can cause the screen to go entirely black aside from some UI elements. This is impossible to see though.

 

Current Loot

 

I’ll keep this brief. Overall loot feels better than live, but still has ways it can improve. The main points are that I think Epic and Rare quality drops are just slightly too common. The current chests in the cataclysm also feel equal to Freeplay Chests, which often leaves them with dropping very few items, and rarely the higher quality items one would be seeking out in GM1+.

 

I’d like to comment on War Chests, Crystals and the Seasonal Store, but they’ve only made a brief and buggy appearance on PTS. I’ll withhold my feedback on these until they are officially added as there’s no context between them to get any idea of it’s fair, or needs to be bumped up, etc.

 

In general, I feel GM1 could use a bump up to the Masterwork rate, GM2 and GM3 could use slightly a higher rate of legendaries, and much lower rate for Rares and Epics still. It’s better, but still not ideal personally.

 

Cataclysmic Events

 

Now onto the meat of the Cataclysm itself, the events you need to clear for score. I’ll talk about the aspects of each that I like and dislike, and some of the problems I have with them. I only cannot comment on the Dark Passage event as this time, as it has not been live on PTS yet

 

Eye of Magnus

 

This is a very straight forward event. I like that it’s simple, but the fact it’s the only event without a Named boss (so far) feels very strange. It still spawns a fury, not even a Legendary one. This happens to just die very quickly and just provide extra drops.

 

It’s probably intentional, but it feels like you’re forced to kill everything before completing the puzzle here. The area spawns so many units with the ability to freeze which can easily disrupt your pacing making it hard to rush through it if you wanted to.

The ending chest spawn also seems to swap position every time. I’d like to see this have a consistent and predictable spawn in the general direction of the next two closest events, or at the very least a neutral position closer to the center. It’s just weird having to look for it every time.

 

Britaheim

 

The first of the echo puzzles, the beginning of the anti-solo mechanics of the Cataslym. The switches here pose so many issues already. Between getting trapped in the bubbles they control, to the Colossus Javelin not working properly with them.. The switches themselves are a bit of a mess.

 

I’d like to see the switches have a timer that allows any sprinting javelin to successfully claim an echo. This would reduce the absolute need to try to inscrut every public group you run with, which can be hard if not everyone uses VOIP.

 

The puzzle itself is nicely designed, aside from a flaw that I’ve already reported as a bug. Fairly straightforward if a group lets 1-2 people handle the echoes. Can be absolute chaos without communication though, not to mention a lot of potential to troll people intentionally, or otherwise.

 

The biggest hassle of this area really comes in the encounters. The Valkyries are a HUGE pain, since very few things can knock them to the ground now. This goes double time for the initial Legendary spawns and the Named Valkyrie. They do so much damage on GM2+ and survive far too long due to their shields. This is more a complaint on enemy balance though than the event itself. This event just happens to spawn a bunch.

 

This chest also has a handful of spawn areas

 

There’s no clear tell for what spawns the Named Valkyrie here. As someone that likes that these encounters exist, it’s weird that they don’t always happen. From a leaderboard perspective, this leads to randomness in score. It may be a small difference, but if they gave a higher score than a normal kill (which I think they do) it can lead to huge differences in score.

 

Casja’s Forge

 

This is fairly straightforward as far as puzzles go. Deliver the fragments without touching barriers. These barriers can stay up longer than intended sometimes due to latency, but outside of that really really much to say about the event itself. The barrier swap could be a bit faster, since it leads to long delays outside of quickly running to the other side, which only Interceptor seems to be able to do.

 

The Named Valkyrie here also causes the same concerns. No clear cause of spawn, possible point fluctuations for leaderboard score attempts etc. Might just be something that requires an adjustment.

 

This area does spawn decently high amount of Valkyries and brutes, despite the small area. This could end up being a point to balance around if people find it to be too difficult. Both of these mobs tend to be particularly dangerous in the small areas. All other areas are much larger in size and offer a lot of cover, which this one really lacks in both.

 

Gelrik Castle (New Dawn Area in case name is wrong)

 

This had to be my favorite puzzle of the Cataclysm so far. Starting with the two relics and building up to 4 to unlock the crystal. It seemed to be the smoothest and easiest puzzle to teach as well, between my group and the few people I’ve assisted with learning the puzzles.

 

It’s really simple shape matching, but one minor complaint I have is that two symbols are essentially made of two triangles. There’s one that simply two triangle and another that’s arranged into an hourglass shape. While it’s easy to teach the difference, I feel like a different pattern could be used so there’s no accidentally mistaking them by new players.

 

This is the first event to feature turrets as well. They’re not a huge problem here until higher difficulties, where they tend to disrupt a lot and can lead to getting chain-stunned by them and an a brute or two. It’s a minor thing of course, but something to be wary of when doing any balancing here.

 

Dominion Foothold

 

Another event featuring turrets, and possibly the only event without a puzzle in place. It’s a nice break, since it’s usually never one of the early areas I complete. No real though required, just kill until the Fury spawns and kill it for the key to activate the consoles.

 

One change I’d like to see for this event pertains to the compass, but it may not be entirely feasible. I;d like for the Elementals out in the shallow water to not show up on the compass during this event. When you’re trying to track down spawns and they actually have cover to take, it can really mess with you sometimes to see enemies outside of the immediate area marked.

 

Crucible of Astrid

 

Another Echo Puzzle. The only real problem I have with this one is that it uses 5 Echoes, but does not make it super clear that one is intended to be used for purely activating the barriers. It can really catch people off guard the first time since the other puzzle requires all 5 to complete. It’s still only a minor concern.

 

I do want to give praise for not making the tunnel area 3 of the barriers that destroy/reset echoes. It makes it a lot more clear that things need to be a certain way to continue on. I think applying this to Britaheim’s underwater barrier would reduce confusion as well. The echo destroying barriers aren’t the most fun thing to work with initially.

 

I also want to give more praise for Astrid actually having a consistent and reliable spawn trigger. I do hope Brita and Casja get more clear ways to spawn them or reliable ways at the very least.

 

Scoring and Crystals

 

I like how the scoring is setup, but given the sample Seasonal Store that was up by mistake.. I’m slightly worried about how exactly they will be priced. If Major Crystals have another way to obtain them other than converting Minor Crystals (Cataclysm reward), it might set this at ease. But the price the test pack was made it roughly 1k Minor crystals in total, 500 minor and 1 Major.

 

I’m hoping the goal is that a typical run through, doing just the events and killing Vara would net enough to get a Chest at least every other run at the minimum. Going by the price give before (500 Minor, 1 Major) a full high score run on GM2 would net ~3 items priced that way giving roughly 3k Minor crystals for 35 minutes of effort.

 

It’ll be easier to get a feel for the earn rate and cost once the Seasonal Store is added in full, but it could be okay at that price. It might also not be good. But the main factor of if it is or not hasn’t been released so I won’t put too much thought into it.

 

One last small gripe with the system, is that there's nothing that states whether or not an event is worth more point if completed faster, compared to if everything is killed. there's the score that pops up, but it's never there long enough to determine if there is a bonus for doing the event quickly or not. I'd assume there is, but it's just an unclear mechanic in the system.

 

Freeplay “Conjunctions”

 

I honestly love these but they feel terrible if you’re ever forced to attempt them solo, especially on higher difficulties. Some classes may be able to handle them, Colossus and Ranger specifically. Storm maybe be able to, but it’s rough on Interceptor.

 

For the most part, it comes down to the Crystals that spawn. They like to wedge themselves in a way that makes certain branches of the crystal really difficult to hit. It’s not all of them, but the fact they take reduced damage until all of them are broken can be painful for the only class that doesn’t have a highly spammable AoE

 

Outside of these, it’s a very fun small scale horde mode. I’d actually enjoy seeing this on a much larger scale. Being in freeplay, it’s a nice break from the usual freeplay event which end in minutes. These usually take 10-15 minutes to clear, depending on team and difficulty.

 

With it being a much longer event, it’s also much more rewarding, offering two normal event chests and one that might be better given there’s a visual indicator that suggests it might have better loot.

 

PTS Summary

 

Loot is better, but not ideal in my opinion. I’m waiting for the update where things are in a more finalized state to really touch on loot, as things can still change yet but it’s definitely going in a good direction. Cataclysm is good fun, outside the anti-solo mechanics and unreliable spawning of named mobs. Cataclysm can definitely be more visually impressive, I really hope it gets even better prior to launch. Conjunctions are fun, but very heavily require a team to get the most rewards out of it.

 

I’d be overall happier with the current PTS content if there weren’t as many anti-solo mechanics. I can understand the desire to make content harder to solo, but it shouldn’t be mechanically or physically impossible. I like the challenge of trying to solo, maybe not everyone does. I just think gating content to any degree by raw party size seems like a silly thing.

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Re: Full PTS Feedback (As of June 18th)

[ Edited ]
★★★★★ Novice

The crystals in Freeplay "conjunctions" are the easiest to deal with on colossus for sure. Fly to the top of the crystal and melee down, this will break off all the shards on the crystal and the next melee or two breaks the crystal. so a total of 2-3 melee's, the 1st from the top down then just hulk smash the base once or twice on gM3 and you are done.

 

EDIT: Nice post. However I do not think they can raise the lego loot drop any more on GM3 (at least in Freeplay) As it stands right now lego drops are pretty darn good. Increase it any more and then we will start having the opposite problems we have now on the Live servers. I am pretty happy with the rate they have now. This is a grinding game.

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Re: Full PTS Feedback (As of June 18th)

[ Edited ]
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@deathsdoor_rift wrote:

 

EDIT: Nice post. However I do not think they can raise the lego loot drop any more on GM3 (at least in Freeplay) As it stands right now lego drops are pretty darn good. Increase it any more and then we will start having the opposite problems we have now on the Live servers. I am pretty happy with the rate they have now. This is a grinding game.


However, until inscriptions are in a good spot it's for the best really. It should be less about getting legendaries and more about getting good legendaries. In GM3 at least.

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Re: Full PTS Feedback (As of June 18th)

EA Community Manager

Thanks for this very detailed feedback! 

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