[Arcade Mode] A Collection of Gameplay Issues and Suggested Solutions


Frosty Friend is Too Overpowered
See why Frosty is overpowered and the solutions in my post below
My Frosty post (UPDATED)

Ridiculous Attack Speeds
Certain enemies are given insane attack speed in four-player hardmode, and it is virtually impossible to avoid being hit.
Here's an example of their ridiculous speed:
MLG's Post on the matter is here


Shield Projectile Damage
Elite Lantern Jacks and regular hardmode Jacks will always break your shield if you are too close to them even if you perfect guard their projectile, and their projectile will sometimes damage you even if your shield is up, and the same occurs with Frostling Scoundrels. In the Smashie and Bashie fight in hardmode, the player is guaranteed to get hit by one of Smashie's snowballs even if you perfect guard all of them because their shield will be destroyed before the sequence ends.
This video shows that even with the best shield, it will always break during Smashie's snowball sequence
Make shields take little to no damage after a perfect guard against projectiles.


Shrine Buffs' Destruction
Certain shrine buffs inhibit players fighting ability. For example, the movement speed buff causes certain players to lose their coordination when fighting, and it causes them to take damage.
Allow the player to manually disable whatever buff they choose.


Power Flower Revamp
In the current state of the Power Flower battle, it is physically impossible for certain classes of players to beat the boss without taking damage on hardmode, and they can not physically beat the boss at all with hardmode and the two-times damage curses without using the overlooked cheese corner in the arena because they are unable to manage the Toxic Tulips as well as the other enemies which causes them to suffocate.
Since the cheese corner is an overlooked exploit in the battle, it should be removed from the arena. In order to compensate for the lack of crowd control from certain classes, the Toxic Tulips should spawn in with one point of health to allow crowd control, so any class is capable of surviving the fight without using exploits.


Time Crystal Abuse
Because of the current mechanics of the Shadier Merchant, it is possible to obtain 2+ time crystals (TC) without using the treat that gives you one. Arcade mode's scores are supposed to show a player's skill level, but if you end up with 3 time crystals in one run, reset the difficult floors, and do better on them because you know what to expect, it's not a show of skill, but it is a show of luck.
A score penalty is a good way of keeping arcade mode skill based (rather than luck based) because it deters players who are score hunting from using the TC as an unfair advantage while still allowing new players to use the TC to their advantage and learn the floors, and new player's will not care about the score penalty since they will not get onto the top of the leaderboards anyway.
See detailed solutions in MLG's post here!


Enemies' Charged Attacks
When the player walks into a room in arcade mode, some enemies in the room will have their attack prepared and attack the player as they enter the room. The initial attack can usually be avoided by moving as you enter a room, but in the Temple of Seasons an elite summer mage is able to instantaneously create a spike cage on (multiplayer)/around the player(single-player), and if the player walks into a room with the premonition that they will have to run as they enter, it creates the opportunity to walk into spikes that were created in that instant.
Don't allow enemies to be in the middle of an attack as soon as player's walk into a room.


"No-Hit" Challenges
When players enter the "No-Hit" challenge rooms, all damage from enemies and environments is set to 1-5 damage which does practically nothing to the player in the long run except causing them to lose their potion on the next floor, and it is an unnecessary annoyance for the players.
Force the "No-Hit" challenge rooms to only ever deal 0 damage to the player, so they do not lose their potions for no reason and the challenge still ends.


Red Spinsects
Spinsects as a whole are able to move so quickly that players who are not the host experience the spinsects teleport around the room, and red spinsects in particular only stop of their own volition which is a problem because when the player perfect guards a red spinsect, they speed up rather than slow down or stop. Red spinsects also knock the player back even after a perfect guard which can cause the player to be shoved into Larvacid acid.
Force red spinsects to stop moving after their spinning attack is perfect guarded, and do not allow them to knock back the player after a perfect guard.


Berzerk EP
Everytime the player walks into a new room their EP is reset, but Berserk causes all EP of the player to instantly deplete. When Berzerk is activated, the player's EP quickly depletes, and it only comes back after using basic attacks, but walking through rooms gets rid of the player's well-earned EP which is extremely unfair and unforgiving.
Make the player's EP consistent through rooms while using Berzerk while still allowing it to deplete as it normally does.


Melee Gear
Melee gear is extremely sparse in arcade mode. Because of the item pool, the low amount of melee gear and the small percentage to get some melee items, it makes the game extremely unfavorable to melee players. If you don't get attack rings on floors one through four as a melee player, you'll never see a good accessory until around floors ten through 16. On the other hand, mage players get gear like this on floors one through six frequently:
Those are items that will last until around Mt. Bloom in which case they'll obtain even better items even easier. If melee players miss out on the very rare early items, then they won't have anything good until the very late game, and a melee player will almost never get items like these from shady merchants and especially shops because most of their item pool is magic.
Because of the massive deficiency in melee items throughout the game, shops, and merchants, their spawn rate in those respective areas should be matched to that of relatable magic items, or make the game consistently include something beneficial to melee alongside magic while keeping their current rarity.


Temple of Seasons: Season Orbs
If you walk into a ToS room and get a Summer Hydra in summer without any orbs to change to, you are almost guaranteed to take damage because you can never get rid of the fire. You can also be stuck in a room with 10 summer mages that all consistently trap you in an autumn room with 10 autumn mages that never let you move through tornadoes.
Guarantee at least 2 season orbs in every room.


Perfect Guard Rewards
Perfecting guarding a boar still knocks the player back which can lead into being hit by thorns, and autumn mages continue to spin after being perfect guarded which restricts melee from attacking them until they stop spinning.
If a boar is perfect guarded, it should not knock the player back. If an autumn knight is perfect guarded, it should stop spinning as it is stunned.

Berzerk Shield Damage
When you use the berserk skill as a 2H player, your shield takes the extra damage that berzerk adds. It is particularly noticeable in later floors where Echoes of Madness can completely destroy the player's shield in approximately 3-4 shots which leaves the player completely unguarded from attacks, and it will usually result in loss of life (death or a lot of hp).
Make shields take normal damage with berzerk activated.


Earth Spike's Stun
Earth spike has the ability to stun almost all bosses and enemies in the game indefinitely. For example, it is possible to keep Power Flower stunned indefinitely with earth spike's gold charge.
Make earth spike's stun only affect certain enemies and bosses, only affect certain enemies (no bosses), or have a stun-cooldown on enemies to avoid indefinite stunning (If you stun an enemy, it can't be stunned for x seconds after it is unstunned).

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Staff member
As a token of my appreciation for the post I've stickied it and baptized it with a more formal name!

Feel free to discuss and (if you feel up to it @Chaldo ) keep the opening post updated with other issues where there's a player consensus (here or on Discord).

Right now I'm very focused on the desert but I agree with most things posted here, and this post will help me quickly get back into working on Arcade Mode when I find the time!

Dr. Mando

Green Slime
Ah Ha! Chaldo is not a robot. First a post on steam, now I find you on the official site. :) My duo partner and I have been staring jealously at your arcade score almost as intensely as we were at Pydoyks on solo before Mimic and hard mode were added....

I have been a long time follower of this game and never felt the need to weigh in because most of what I was reading in the devblog demonstrated the devs knew what they were doing. However, my love of Arcade Mode and concern for its future have prompted me to act. For the record, I either agree with or am unconcerned with many of Chaldo's points. That said:
Frosty Friend OP?
Obviously, FF was broken in normal mode and old arcade in general. Chain Lightning + FF + Cloud Strike + Arcane Collar meant easy perfect games once the various enemy attack patterns were memorized. However, even back then, Smash Ball without FF (or the sword throw if you prefer) was just as capable of a perfect run in my hands with a little more elbow grease.

Longer Arcade and Hard Mode changed things: FF now already dies really easily in upper floors even if gold points are invested in it if the player is not proactive in micromanaging it with the four directional commands. Yes, for some bosses/enemies, I think de-summoning in order to make the attack patterns more predictable should be considered part of the meta, not an exploit. That, and the burst AOE damage that only be found on the melee skilltree has all new value when many magic spells and their limited AOE and long cast time are suddenly not very good any more (never use chain lightning on Hard). FF still provides unparalleled value in early floors but early floors never really determined the score of runs anyway. Hydras and the winter area bosses (other than toy machine) did that. Perhaps FF should be damaged by the weather effects in winter/temple of seasons. That could make things interesting.

The idea of scaling FF stats off anything but MATK bewilders me, and if a player is really invested in FF in Arcade Mode, there is already a lot of finesse involved to really utilize it. That and any comparison to cloud strike (which has 0 active commands associated with it) is moot even in the current system. Oh, and making a skill a score modifier is hopefully not being taken seriously.

However, I would go further than Chaldo on the FF taking aggro front. I believe that Arcade Mode FF should not block projectiles or even be specifically targeted at all by any enemies. Additionally, the hp (still scaled off MATK and refreshed every room) should be lower to make incidental attacks and AOE kill it more easily. Thus, the left (defend) command is always necessary to be good with FF.

TBH, for me it is a matter of personal preference. If I can't immediately determine who the target is for incoming attack patterns, it actually makes it harder to avoid/perfect guard. I don't see FF as a tank, so much as reliable DoT for mages who don't benefit from a lot of very prevalent advantages that melee specialists have and still work great on Hard Mode. Cloud strike by comparison is only useful for bees and the bee boss. If RNG even gives you the Queen Bee.

On the multiplayer enemy AS scaling issue:
While I can't claim to have ever gotten a 4p run going, we held the 3p record for quite some time, and enemy AS really shouldn't be considered an issue worth discussing once multiple (hopefully varied) AOE and other skills/talents are on the field. My gripe is that there is no way whatsoever melee has any particularly worse time of it. When it gets down to it, mages are more dependent on cast times and their cast time reduction doesn't also make their player avatar basic attack faster too. I know that hard mode is hard but all this talk of melee-inherent disadvantages must (apologies in advance) be a leftover from when FF actually could carry someone to top score. Melee (smash ball and sword throw IMO) has equal footing to be top score even without changes to FF.

Earth Spike issue:
Is that how you achieved your current score? ;-)
I would never have discovered this because my duo partner and I encountered a consistent graphical bug which only occurs client-side and involves the Elite Specters of Madness which meant gold charge earth spike had to be permanently benched. Although it obviously needed a nerf, it still requires a fix on de-sync with stunned Zhamlas. Though I recognize this issue could be unique to us and not a wider, high-priority issue.

My own original suggestions from now on:

First: the only problem with shop/inventory for me is that there isn't a guaranteed shop spawn on F3, F8, and F13. Which also just revealed that my Hard Mode build is also an archer :)

Second: I assume there are at least 4 more floors to be added at some point which means that a full run in one sitting will enter the realm of the impossible.
I humbly suggest slicing Arcade mode in two. Perhaps 1-12 as part 1 with 13-?? as part 2. Similar to pre-existing mechanics in the boss fight arena, you would be able to load from perhaps 3 saved (selected not simply most recent) part 1 completed runs to start your part 2 runs with. The scores then aggregate appropriately. Something to that effect. I believe a checkpoint system of some sort has been discussed since the old days and is finally going to be warranted in the near future.

Third: 35% is actually a little low in my book as the added score modifier for Hard Mode relative to other curses. But perhaps this is me griping because of how long the adjustment is taking. -_- I got very used to old normal mode arcade ending at Winter...

Fourth: some level of RNG is a part of these runs, but certain builds make certain bosses a cakewalk and others a nightmare with other builds existing which reverse it completely. As a sidebar, G4ndam and its tendency to target one player in duo with artillery and only fire randomly on solo runs is a similar RNG problem.
The larger issue is this: I suggest either unlocking the ability to pick which bosses from the pool of 3 on regions where there is a larger pool than 2 OR re-specing mid-run shouldn't cost hardly a penny and you should be informed of the boss before you enter the boss room either way.
My duo partner and I dove straight to Hard on our first story run and re-specing was half the fun along with failing over and over on G4ndam and Winter. I don't know how important not re-specing during a run is for the dev's vision of Arcade but limited capacity already exists and I do make use of it. In Story, re-spec meant grinding a bit. In Arcade, it means potentially not affording a bow upgrade which may or may not be available to me next floor. See the problem?

Sorry again if my tone was less than professional but I love this game, its devs, its arcade mode scoreboard and will now go back to practicing Hard Mode so as to finally beat Pydoyks! I also plan to write a comprehensive guide to Arcade at some point to help those who struggle (believe me, I did too for many long hours at first), but right now I'm obviously trying to master it for myself.

Hope to hear back from y'all :)

Hi Dr. Mando. I know how I get with arcade posts. So I'm just gonna say first of all that I appreciate your enthusiasm for the game and the devs. We need more peoples like you (and less people like me). Because I don't want to write something the size of my melee post, I'm just gonna lazily pop in and say I thoroughly disagree with your disagreements (lol) and think they're incorrect. I'll briefly chime in on each of these but not extensively.

1) Frosty Friend
FF is still OP on later floors. The power of aggro is incredibly insane. It's to the point where very specific parts of arcade are almost unsurvivable as melee without using frosty friend because the aggro helps break up jank combos that melee just can't handle. (If you don't know what combos I'm referring to, that's a different story.) Mage does not have any "jank combos" that it can't handle. And frosty has never been hard to keep alive. He's only hard for people to keep alive who don't know how to use the protect skill well. People familiar with FF keep him alive all the way through tai ming in hardmode. I kid you not, I spent eons training as melee and still never x2 S-ranked Tai Ming as melee (in HM). I pop in playing mage for my first time with frosty friend and x2 S'd all floors within 2 runs. It's a little ridiculous how much ease frosty friend affords.

We're ultimately hoping for an FF rework. One that is balanced but also makes him interesting. But after people originally agreed with the issue, it seems some controversy broke out. We'll see what happens. But I think Teddy's /sadfrosty is a step in the right direction.

2) Scaling and Smash
Smash sadly does not have the potential to be top score compared to others. It's just not that great -- though it is certainly powerful. I'm just gonna say research has been done by several people and leave it at that. There are better 2H skills. And the range Smash provides is not that great compared to its complications. Titan's throw, for example, is superior. The scaling that occurs in 4P HM is definitely unbalanced. This is specifically because certain things that melee needs are effectively stripped from it (usually response time or shield ultimately). Mages don't have the issue of needing to respond within nearly impossible time frames, and they don't always need the shield. Moreover, they almost never have EP problems. More on that in part 2 of my post here: The Game Is Progressing Too Quickly for 2H to Keep Up. If you want to see more disparity between melee and mage, see Secrets of Grindea: Berserk + Whirlslash Arcade Guide and Secrets of Grindea: Meteor Arcade Guide. I tried to play seriously in the first video, but in the 2nd I wasn't as good as I could've been...meaning Meteor is even more powerful than someone might think from watching my video. People much better than me, like pydoyks/em0, could mow through Arcade with a meteor build like that.

I could go into more detail on mage vs melee and scaling and such, but I've already made posts about most of these. I also made a post about the 4P HM scaling. You can check 'em out or not. lol. I don't wanna write all that again.

3) Earth Spike
Earth spike is still doable in co-op. You just have to use it cleverly (eg never use it against power flower). There are...options to handle desync when they occur though. Jank, exploitable options, that is. lol. Thankfully, as you mentioned earth spike did get nerfed. Some think it got hit too hard, but the most important thing is that chain stunning took a hit.

Everything Else
1) Even as a person who hates a lot of arcade RNG nonsense, I don't know that I would like guaranteed shops in the game. They aren't needed...players can do without them...the rng makes things more interesting...and the bow is pretty bad tbh. You should almost never buy past the first upgrade unless you have money to waste (and you shouldn't buy the first upgrade after pumpkin woods). We're hoping bow gets some buffs. Chaldo already wrote a post about that.

2) Arcade will likely get shortened in the future. And we're hoping save-and-quit functionality also gets added to help with coming back to gameplay.

3) Hardmode could maybe use a point buff...but only a few points. (Maybe after desert gets added I'll disagree with that...but I'm desperately hoping desert gets rebalanced before it hits arcade.) The long adjustment shouldn't be a reason in itself though. After getting familiar with all attacks (not just being able to survive them), you then have to weigh the difficulty between them and make a conclusion from there. But, perhaps a requirement for getting a top arcade score should be "You beat this thing on hardmode." That would make sense. You might have an easier time if you get x2 health orbs or use mods to repeatedly practice certain areas.

4) Some builds are easy and some are not. I agree that it kinda stinks. I think the solution to this is to properly buff and rebalance classes. But right now, even after a fair rework, I can't see mage not being the meta for top score. There will likely always be "better classes". But I can tell you that arcade is winnable with all the classes that exist in Arcade mode right now (yes, in Hard Mode). Respecing penalties are intentionally put in place to prevent cheesy build switching...it's the cost for not choosing wisely, and the payment for an easier time is not having the money to get better gear. I think that's fair. The solution is just to get familiar with the build and learn how to make it work. (Sorry if that's effectively "git gud" with fancy words.)

As for the boss thing, I do think the bosses should stay rng, and I don't mind the respec system right now. The key to resolving issues is to approach them head on, not circumvent them. That is, the gund4m issue should be handled by rebalancing gund4m, not by allowing players to choose bosses or respec skills (both of which are technically irrelevant and still don't resolve the core issues).

I'm probably gonna sound like a douche saying this. Please don't take this the wrong way. But the specific point of this post was not just to toss around new Arcade ideas or even gripe about things we think are bad (but in reality might not be bad or matter at all). This is a post with a collection of arcade issues that have been discovered by basically the best Hard Mode Arcade players in the game right now. When it gets updated, it's because new ideas/solutions are found. And we generally can't add ideas to this post (or remove them) without getting approval from a sufficient number of these best players. (These are players who are indisputably more skilled or who have enough research experience to let them weigh on the things the best players say...usually with well over 600-1000 hrs of gameplay.) Note that I'm referring to adding ideas to Chaldo's main post, not commenting on the post itself.

I myself -- even though I'm passionate about arcade and have ideas that I feel most definitely belong in the game -- have refused to add ideas here that I didn't first discuss with others. And I try to avoid adding issues here that don't imbalance arcade in a critical way. This why I created my own series on "Arcade Rebalance Issues" that is not pinned here on the forums. We wanted to keep this post as small and empty as possible so that Teddy only sees the major issues (and possible solutions) that people agreed on so he could quickly scan them and burn through them when he has the time. And we chose to restrict idea additions to things the top players agreed on so that he would be able to see it isn't just one person's invalid complaint. Pydoyks himself has agreed with many of these.

All that said, you're free to discuss the issues that were mentioned here in Chaldo's main post. That's awesome. If you're going to raise a disagreement, please ensure that you've done extensive research on the matter...because a suitable collection of the people who research and test this game heavily have likely already examined the issue that you're commenting on. That isn't to shut you down. And that isn't to say that you can't have valid points. That's just to say plz research first. Because these are things we've agreed on, and because we've tried to keep things small for Teddy, you won't see large, well-documented essays for each and every issue proving the complaints here. When we do have larger posts, we defer them to linked posts in the forums, as seen in Chaldo's main post. But that doesn't mean there aren't well-thought-out reasons for adding the issues that exist here.

However, I would kindly (and awkwardly) ask that new ideas (ones not mentioned in the main post here) be created in new threads or be appended to threads that already mention the idea you have in mind. Again, really not trying to be a douche or shut down conversation. But we were really hoping that Teddy would only see issues that were agreed on by people here, and that those issues would be the only discussed topics in this thread. We even separated posts on some of the more touchy things (like frosty) to prevent the chat here from getting too bloated. I'm stuck not adding new stuff in here too. :(

(Someone reading this may think, "Didn't he say he'd keep things short?" Yeah...that's how bad my writing is.)
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The G-Meister

Giga Slime
Also please join the discord and come chat with us - https://discord.gg/secretsofgrindea. While the forums is great for long-form content like this, we like to have a laugh in Discord. It's semi-active (even during update droughts), and we occasionally play co-op at weekends. If you and your buddy are as good as you say you are (and you don't use frosty ;) ) we'd make some pretty sick 3/4p runs.