Late testing feedback - The Shatters (09/03/21 - 09/05/21)


#1

I spent my entire weekend testing The Shatters, specifically, how much time it would take.

Key modifiers being released before The Shatters rework was a stroke of genius because it allowed players to change the dungeon experience immediately. I used grade B keys with “Weak Minions 3” which reduced their health by 40%, it affected the health of Monuments in the village area, even with groups of 10 people, a knight with Oryx’s Escutcheon could clear one with a few blasts and run before the Stone Idol caught up.
It made clearing for the second boss take much less time, I never had my progress reset escorting a flame. Done perfectly alone with the best gear and 40% reduced minion HP, it takes 1 minute to escort the self-carrying flame and 3-4 minutes per flame for any others. The fastest group effort with the same modifier of 40% reduced minion HP where we split up took 4 minutes, in that scenario six people made it to the boss and two survived to kill the Archmage, in the end the boss fight alone took 7 minutes.
As for the “Shatter the tablets” gauntlet, the enemies are fair for the massive damage they inflict, even without 40% reduced minion HP they look as tanky as they are, this part of the dungeon takes a little over 3 minutes.
However, one time I got instantly killed by a bunch of green skulls exploding on top of me all at once, that’s not funny.

Here is what I learned about the boss mechanics:
The Bridge Sentinel queues up the phases he wants to do. When you wake him, he either starts his jump attack, or begins his classic phase. Whenever you take out 1/5th of his health, he becomes invulnerable, the pillars become vulnerable, and sets his health to the threshold amount. Every 1/5th you attack a pillar to continue assaulting the Sentinel, and they then summon blobombs every 30 seconds for the remainder of the fight. When you’ve reduced him to 2/5ths of his remaining HP, even if you haven’t broken the third pillar, the screen goes dark and he exclaims, “I WILL DEFEND THE REALM WITH MY LIFE!” however if he has queued up attacks, he will exhaust the queue before saying his line and beginning his assault, it’s possible to finish the fight before he does jump attacks with petrifying bullets, the best way to do that is just to DPS him down.
In my opinion, the Bridge Sentinel is perfectly balanced, quite a fair fight, a competent group with the best gear will bring him down between 3 and 5 minutes, speedruns will take him down in under 3 minutes.

It takes a lot of time to kill the Archmage, no matter how fast you are it will do three attack phases per third of its health. Every time you reduce its health by 1/10th of its maximum, the attack phase ends and it switches tactics, every 1/3rd it summons a phoenix until the last generator is sealed, at this point the boss is at 1/10th of its HP, you then fight the Inferno and Blizzard phoenix directly, once they fall the boss resets its health to 1/5th and it begins its most exciting phase. You don’t get to choose which dies first, but if Inferno dies second the mage does a fire attack and if Blizzard dies second the mage does an ice attack.
In my opinion, the fight itself is fun, Twilight Archmage takes far too long to do, escorting the flames is a massive pain and the DPS cutoffs artificially extend its lifetime for no other purpose than to run the clock. As a Knight I always preferred fire attacks over ice attacks since most of my damage was coming from Escutcheon and getting silenced from every bullet and bomb is annoying, however I don’t believe it should be changed. As for the Archmage’s last stand after finishing both birds off for good, most people agree that the inferno phase is easier because it can be learned whereas the blizzard phase is just random. Melees have a much harder time finishing the fight if it’s the blizzard phase than the inferno phase. Thematically, however, the blizzard phase is neat. Perhaps the blizzard phase needs a slight damage reduction. The average time to kill the Archmage with the best gear and the best pet is between 7-9 minutes.

The Forgotten King has a lot of health. I can’t figure out if he has any attack patterns before he reaches half health. For the first half of the fight, he has a large variety of attacks to throw at you, from what I’ve seen his movement varies between moving in a diamond shape, up-down, left-right, diagonally, and chasing. Most of the times I’ve been killed have been due to the phase where waves of white bullets erupt from the center of the battlefield then circle opposite each other, usually I am chased by the king and think that I can survive taking three of those tiny bullets, but they do 170 armor piercing damage each. Once the King is at half health, he summons many eyes and becomes a giant skull that chases you, at this point your objective is to kill off every eyeball to advance the fight, this phase tends to kill unexpectedly as you get cursed by the eyeballs and the bullets from the skull seem too small for the damage they inflict. After this phase, the king begins a variety of new attacks. Don’t stand in the center of the room- whenever he switches phases at this point he can appear unexpectedly and instantly kill you. Once he’s at 1/4th of his full HP, he initiates the survival phase, blue bullets do 50 piercing damage and red ones do 20 but inflict bleeding which is way way worse, the four shades he summons sometimes chase players. When he’s done laughing you should drink an HP pot, he continues attacking shortly and then the path to victory is straightforward.
In my opinion, the fight itself is grand, it’s damn near perfect, however the Forgotten King on top of the rest of the dungeon is yet more precious time, we could use a little shortening. Perhaps stagger mechanics like in Oryx’s Sanctuary boss fights, or just plainly less HP? As it stands the Shatters is about as difficult but more time consuming than fighting the Exalted Mad God. On testing barely anyone survives (including me) so the average time required to kill the King with the best gear and the best pet is between 7-10 minutes.

I have to ask, Deca, what do you want the experience to be like when you balance the Shatters? Do you want players to scoot back and forth shooting a single minion for a minute because his health is too damn high? Nobody wanted to do the version in prod and almost nobody wanted to do the version in testing. I felt that 40% reduced minion HP was ideal, after all the Knight I used had the best gear in the game, at normal health it just takes too long to kill them, visually those little punks don’t look like they can take that much of a beating. As for the bosses, just compare their health bars to all the other endgame dungeons, and then realize we have to do three in a row to achieve the end game goals set for us. In my mind the ideal time required to complete a Shatters with a competent group would be between 10 and 15 minutes total.

Next time I will be complaining about droprates,
Ramen.


#2

I tried to make a post on Reddit, it was taken down and I can’t figure out why, so here it is copy-pasted.

I really really like the new Shatters, Deca put a lot of work into it which is not lost on me, but despite how highly I hold it, I’ve realized how crazy it actually is. I don’t think I did a good job of testing Shatters, I forgot that it wasn’t just a matter of how long it takes to complete, I didn’t stop to consider the fact that even with the best preparations most players can’t make it to the King consistently, the survival rate is incredibly low. Honestly, I died over fifty times throughout different parts of the dungeon trying to kill the King as fast as possible.

I think the feedback that I posted in the RealmEye forum was too passive, so here’s what I would change if I had my way in the next testing session:
Halve the health of all entities, by ‘all entities’ I want to draw attention to the Conductors as well.
Increase all Untempered Magic’s escort range to be as large as the one that applies Armor Break, and further increase their flight speed
Increase the time it takes for Accursed to respawn
Remove paralysis from Stone Gargoyle
Remove Stone Mage entirely
Remove Glacier Archmage’s special attack where he creates an impassable ring of double stacked circling projectiles, it may actually be a bug
Change Hollow Brigand/Outlaw, instead of bursting out of invisibility blasting like a drive-by, make them akin to saboteurs - have them fling few daggers that inflict a variety of status effects.
Decrease movement speed and shotgun damage for Fire Adept, Hollow Serf, and Hollow Peasant
Decrease movement and attack speed of Hollow Mason/Smith
Decrease damage done by Hollow Importer/Trader
Decrease duration of slow inflicted by Stone Archer
Decrease number of claymores the Sentinel produces
Double the time it takes for Blobombs to respawn
Remove Twilight Archmage’s DPS barriers
Decrease bullets during Forgotten King’s survival phase
Decrease number of bullets created by Yellow Crystal during roulette
Decrease the damage done by the Red Crystal and Green Crystal
Decrease the number of bullets during survival

Justifications:
It simply takes too long, the best way to reduce the time it takes is to reduce the DPS required.
I like the theme but don’t like the time being wasted here, and the mechanic of the Accursed resetting the progress you make carrying the Untempered Magic is simply a waste of time.
Stone Gargoyle is already dangerous enough with the damage it deals, if you’re slowed it’ll always get you, if you have 50 or less Speed it will catch up with you, even in a group it could kill you before it dies, if it paralyzes you one time, you have a low chance of surviving.
Stone Mage is the worst minion Kabam ever came up with(hold the phone - I just saw how much it healed the gargoyles, dude what the hell), its AI is still infuriating, it deals too much damage too quickly, its bullet pattern hides the quantity of health you’re about to lose, and slowing its shot speed added to that problem. Frankly, I expected most of the old Shatters minions would have been erased.
I didn’t even experience the Glacier Archmage’s special attack until I was off of testing and onto prod, it seems really weird and has two sets of bullets that overlap and rotate in opposing directions, it would decimate anyone standing in the wrong place.
Personally, I haven’t lost a character to them, but I understand how the Hollow Brigand/Outlaw has killed so many people, especially in groups.
Fire Adept, Hollow Serf, and Hollow Peasant have attacks and AI that result in them standing on top of your character and unloading a shotgun right through your head.
Hollow Mason/Smith have a habit of melting characters in an instant, I shouldn’t have to run full speed from one little minion. Maybe they won’t be that much of a problem with less HP.
Hollow Importer/Trader tends to line up a shotgun that cleans up most of your health bar, they blend in with other minions and inflict fear in your heart.
Stone Archer is great at killing people who aren’t using a Knight.

The Bridge Sentinel is really good at his job. Blobs are already a big enough obstacle now that they always explode no matter what, their frequency is deterring to the unexperienced and annoying to the experienced. After he exclaims, “I SHALL DEFEND THE REALM WITH MY LIFE!” and begins bouncing off the walls, he leaves a trail of claymores that target the nearest player, I think there should be a bigger gap between claymores and therefore less claymores.
The Twilight Archmage stops his attack, becomes invulnerable, and begins another attack phase if you remove about 1/10th of his health, effectively forcing you to sit and wait for the next time you can begin killing him again. We could use a mechanic to speed up the fight if we have the DPS.
And finally, in the fight with the Forgotten King, the first half of the fight is overstimulating with all the projectiles you have to avoid running into. I never felt like I could dodge effectively during most combinations of attacks from the King and the crystals, and on top of that you still have to walk up to and shoot at the King. On Testing, me abusing the Royal Guard’s Cuirass and a fully maxed divine pet was the only reason I could kill the King in less time than it took to kill the Archmage. The red crystal’s zoning-tentacle-attack has a lot of very slow overlapping bullets, due to the size of your hitbox, one accident grants a free character slot. The green crystal’s “Roulette” projectiles shouldn’t do that much damage, it’s usually paired with a yellow crystal rolling up in your way with the threat of blasting you. We could use a little more time before survival initiates, not everyone has a divine pet that’ll bring them up to full health before suddenly being unable to heal. The four shades that alternate between standing still and chasing the player during survival phase should at least produce less bullets if they’re approaching me directly. I would also like to be able to accomplish that phase without touching a single bullet. Oh, also, we could use another quarter of a second to move before the King comes out of nowhere and shoots during some phases post-accursed-king.

I understand all of these changes at once would be a massive nerf, I don’t expect reality to be whatever I want, I’m just shooting a shotgun of ideas here, but at the very least I believe it should be quicker and easier to activate the Archmage. The most important thing we need changed is HP should be significantly decreased, after that I think most of my complaints about enemies would evaporate. Except Stone Mage - just delete it. I hope this comes into consideration, because as it stands, based on my poll yesterday, most players don’t even want to attempt The Shatters.

Next time I will be complaining about droprates,
Ramen


#3

There’s a few suggestions you’ve made that, in my opinion, really are key to making the shatters a more viable/enticing dungeon to complete, as it’s by far one of the least, if not, the least entered end-game dungeon even with good modifiers from observing.


Base HP should be reduced for most minions, the sentinel and the king. Straight up the main reason why Shatters takes way too long for its own good.


Stone gargoyle nerf is one of them, it should not be outrunning a 50 speed character just to chain paralyse them, considering some high-tier characters don’t actually have the speed to compensate even as 8/8s. I feel like of the 3 main attributes it excels at (Tankiness, Speed and Chain Paralyse), at least one of the three should be nerfed to the ground to make it a fairer enemy.


Blobomb spawn rate during the sentinel fight, imo, should scale with the number of players, but up to a max amount, where the max scaling is equal to the current spawnrate. So at 1 player they spawn less often, and maybe it slowly gets a linearly higher spawn rate up until 10 players for example. By “less often”, I don’t mean like twice as rare, could simply be ~20% less often and it wouldn’t break entirely. Maybe another change I’d do is make the obelisks flash 1-2 seconds before Blobombs start appearing to give an earlier heads up.


Accursed enemies should have a mechanic where the more you kill the same copy, the longer their respawn time. Maybe by default they spawn after 60 seconds, then the next time you kill them it bumps up to 75 seconds, and it keeps bumping up until a cap of say, 150 seconds for example.


Archmage fight, unpopular opinion, is honestly the most fine as it is. However, the bomb spam standard fire attack should reduce in intensity by a lot. Even the ice nuke attack where he throws out ice spheres isn’t half as intense as that attack which isn’t even regarded as a nuke attack.


There should be a hard, systematic cap to how many accursed enemies can spawn in the grand hall. Sometimes, it’s quite straightforward and easy to pass with maybe 1 accursed archer and 1 accursed warrior. Other times, you’re dealing with 3 accursed cavalry riders, 2 accursed gladiators and 2 accursed mages. It’s too volatile really. I think it should go like this, on top of the regular minions:

DL = Danger Level
DL3 Minions = Mage
DL2 Minions = Gladiator OR Cavalry
DL1 Minions = Crossbowman OR Knight

Attacking 1st Tablet: 1 accursed DL1 minion
Destroyed 1st Tablet: 2 accursed DL1 minions
Destroyed 2nd Tablet: 2 accursed DL1 minions, 1 accursed DL2 minion
Destroyed 3rd Tablet: 2 accursed DL1 minions, 2 accursed DL2 minions
Sum of last 2 tablet health = Health of 1 tablet: 2 accursed DL1 minions, 2 accursed DL2 minions, 1 accursed DL3 minion

The reason for that last one is to prevent people from coordinating a double take-down of the final 2 tablets to skip the final guaranteed DL3 minion. So for example, if you damage both tablets to 50% HP, the accursed DL3 minion will spawn.


King fight is ok, but certain crystal pattern density phases are simply too overwhelming to the point where I honestly find the first phase’s attacks to be much harder than the accursed king’s attacks, I feel they should be toned down slightly as well. Sicken celestial should also give more time to heal up before inflicting the global sicken, and bullet density should be very slightly decreased to avoid making the phase’s difficulty too volatile as well.


Man I’ve written a lot haha…but yea, those are honestly the things I feel need a change asap that will maintain the dungeon’s difficulty but also make it more bearable to do especially in smaller groups. This is coming from someone who has straight up soloed like ~25 shatters at this point.