Vital Combat was the last straw that sank my hope for DECA and their ability to appeal to not just one, but all playstyles.
This might sound contradictory, but atleast hear me out.
As a long time player, from 9+ years ago (not that i long the content design of those days, as alot of content, mainly Sanctuary and everything after it, undoubtedly demolishes the design quality) to now, hoping to one day see a meta with the overwhelming steamrolling power of players balanced out and with the option to experience challenge and thrill long lost in endgame dungeons while still retaining a fair and consistent reward, without a need for the massive death-mobbing of raid discords, Vital Combat was something to highly anticipate, and yet… the execution didn’t deliver.
The fundamental issues with pets are still largely unnadressed, as a high vitality stat, and/or some exaltation, is all you need to effectively fully bypass these… fairly milquetoast pet nerfs, let me explain: The In-Combat timer is easily lowered to about 2 seconds or even less by a melee with a Sandstone Seal buff and Exaltations grinded, without even needing to sacrifice anything significant, Fungal Armor entirely optional. There is absolutely no base nerf to divine pets’ absurdity, nothing noticeably changes with enough vit; not only that: There is no softening for F2Ps of the extreme costs but a temporary event, Appetizer, there is also nothing done about the overt dominance of Heal and Magic Heal over all other abilities, nor the disproportionate strength a good pet provides for rolling over lower to mid tier dungeons mindlessly in the process of maxing a new character. Another significant factor worth mentioning is Mseal, whose already arguably tame nerf has been softened by tiered lute group buffs and the addition of defense scaling the minimum IC activation damage. Their constant addition of more and more buffs without any sort of mechanical or atleast alot of individual overhauls to ensure groups can’t effortlessly maintain all of them at once is another case of questionable, quite sloppy lack of consideration for something that either slipped past, or they never truly cared about.
This, in combination with Exaltation requiring thousands of these dungeons, far too much to still enjoy them by the end of it all, and providing an even shorter In-Combat timer, it became overwhelmingly likely of a thing to consider that DECA never cared, or atleast wouldn’t be willing to cut enough of their profit, to go about providing such an option for a harder, more fast paced experience mentioned earlier. Having done the endgame dungeons after these changes, only Lost Halls and Sanctuary significantly changed, while Nest, Fungal Cavern and everything below endgame… remained fairly unnafected.
This is not a decision made out of hate for the people who prefer the way DECA has made things, simply disliking the direction led to by majority preference, right? Yes, however, please consider the game’s widespread categorization as a “permadeath bullet hell MMO” across all official sources, many a large minority including myself came, even if not all stayed, exactly for this, and while this could coexist in harmony with the more laidback and slow, time consuming, loot farmer gameplay we have nowadays, DECA has failed in that conciliation as far as balance and simultaneous viability is concerned. And all the time we’ve sunk, along with the lack of similar titles to migrate to, that aren’t derivative and rather lazy, worsens this too; so for us there’s no good reason left to stay unless something drastic happens, please understand. While the changes required to address and satisfy both playstyles in a satisfactory manner are still possible if you give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the developers do care about our large minority, they seem too uncharacteristically… drastic? For DECA, and i don’t expect anything similar in the slightest, but in some extremely unlikely case a DECA designer reads this, please consider this feedback, you can make whatever you make of it:
1 - The Realm Rework as a top priority, and particularly involving making Realms competitive with keys in terms of the overall reward, if you’re active in them and their dungeons, by whatever means that could be done;
2 - Perhaps if keys are too much of a necessary form of monetization, a use that isn’t almost exclusively for large scale raiding, like increasing the drop rates of a portal in a Realm;
3 - Actually reworking pets, and please consider a way to make divines truly balanced, it can be done even without losing money, here’s my take on it:
- Common pets are now stronger, but now each pet tier is a lower increase to the base Heal and MHeal, say, max commons at 10 HP/sec and 5 MP/sec, each max pet tier increasing that by 10 and 5 respectively, up to 50/25 at max divine, with rebalancing to class ability strength if needed;
- More viable pet ability types;
- More F2P pet food;
- Changing Armor Exaltation to something less overtly gamechanging;
- Some sort of scaling of your pet strength depending on your character maxing, as to prevent these more easily obtainable legendaries and divines from trivializing much content.
4 - Balancing Mseal, this is obvious, replacing the effect of course, as another defense group buff is simply unneeded and iffy due to massive defense’s capacity to snowball into overpoweredness;
5 - Please, this is probably the 2nd most important piece of feedback after the Realm Rework, rebalance (mainly), late and endgame content difficulty, so that Sanctuary isn’t miles, miles harder than all other content combined except for maybe Marble Colossus there are a plethora of reasons to do this, but the most important are that:
- It leaves players unprepared for Sanctuary and makes it stick out like a sore thumb, and not in a good way for the game’s overall feel of engagement and balance;
- Lots of content like Tezcacoatl, Insect Tribesman, many shots of Xolotl (suffers from other issues like initial unlearnability of survival phase too), most shots of LoD, most shots of Machine also suffers from getting its’ threat level drastically lowered by melee defense due to most bullets hovering around base 10 to 120 damage without armor pierce, a particularly large quantity or a major anti-tank debuff, and with even a little bit of Mseal? It plummets into an effective nonthreat immediately.
- Cultist Hideout and Void Entity rely too much on overly punishing but really easy to avoid attacks, odd for a bullet hell;
- Leucoryx, while on the easier side to dodge, can easily instantly kill many classes on his beam counters for even a single mistake, making him disproportionately punishing even for Sanctuary, while Beisa is much of the opposite;
- There are other inconsistencies in difficulty but these are the most noteworthy.
Drop rates are obviously something that could also change again with this.
And until that thing happens, if ever, getting the character slot in this campaign will most likely be the most i feel any motivation to stay for, as having the option to enjoy what i came for is something nowhere near the horizon as far as today is concerned, thanks for the good memories, RotMG, but as you were made something effectively genre swapped and almost entirely irrecognizable, there’s not much left for me and others who came for the original premise, goodbye.
(Well, that turned out a wall of text, hope it’s atleast fairly readable and understandable)