[Feedback Request] Arcade Mode - Thoughts on long term balance

Discussion in 'Suggestions & Feedback' started by Teddy, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. George

    George Green Slime

    I've been playing arcade since I beat the stable beta (co-op with a friend, then solo on hard mode).

    After I'd learned thoroughly how to play against enemies, there is little challenge left to arcade mode. I have a good run if I get lucky with drops. When I get lucky with drops, I am able to clear most rooms fairly quickly and get s-ranks (using snowy buddy summon and spin-to-win method). I still struggle with some bosses (the only real place I take damage).

    The first time I made it to the floating temple, I was ecstatic because I had been struggling in all my prior runs. I found that I was able to breeze through it with very few hiccups. My damage was still high, and I knew what monsters to prioritize. I'm not so good at bullet hell dodging (Phaseman and Gun-D4M hurt me a lot), but other than those guys, there isn't as much of a challenge entering the higher levels as I was anticipating.

    Once you have a strategy down, you can just play through arcade mode with that strategy in mind from the start. I'd like to see the need to make decisions that become harder and harder as you progress.

    (As a side note: I'm sure once all the skills have been fleshed out fully and more items are added into the game, the divergence of strategy might show itself more in the early game. Right now, if I get sunglasses as a drop, I think of it as bad luck. I'd like to see that cause me to make the choice if I want to commit to a magic based strategy.)

    The challenging decision I used to enjoy in the later levels was deciding whether or not I wanted to spend my gold to top off my HP to get another health potion (if I could ace the boss), or to save it for something better from the store. Now that I am better, the HP becomes a null point. If I'm having a lucky run, the store also becomes a null-point.

    Whenever I see the dark priest who offers a unique challenge, I always accept it; Hardly ever for the reward but just because it will make things different.

    I'd like to see something like those challenges added in permanently from floor to floor or world to world. After each floor or world, the priest (or a new character) blackmails you. You're given 3 random options to pick from. Examples could be things like:
    1. A few extra enemies are spawned (sort of like in story mode after clearing an area) once you've cleared the room
    2. An additional enemy or two from the previous worlds will spawn in each room (random boars in winter-land?)
    3. The minimum number of rooms to fight through before reaching the boss will increase by 1
    4. Pay XXXX gold for no adverse affects (but you lose the gold advantage & only if you have enough gold)
    5. Enemies HP increases by 10%
    6. Enemies gain 10 Attack
    7. Elemental obstructions appear (thorns, ice spikes, ice, cannons -- either more appear, or they start to appear once this is activated)
    8. Challenge me! Add them all! (Adds all the listed effects - maybe rewards you a bonus skill point)
    If there are enough options that it can be random or if the same ones can stack, progressing will require you to think about which of these you are willing to accept and shape your arcade journey to be more unique on each run.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  2. Own

    Own Moderator

    A way to influence your Arcade run with score modifiers is already planned. :)


    What build do you use? How many of the Double S-Rank items have you unlocked? Have you tried typing /beastmode ON?
  3. George

    George Green Slime

    For abilities: I get Frosty Friend, max 2H spin, then max Frosty Friend, max shield/protect.
    For attributes: I max %ATK damage, crit chance, crit damage, HP
    For gear: I usually volunteer for whatever gives the most ATK. My strategy is hit hard and don't get hit.

    I'm not going to say I'm really good. I get hit (sometimes boars instantly charge, there are thorns, and frosty is in your way). I can get through Phaseman and Gun-D4M taking only 1 or 2 hits.

    I take my time with the rooms though. I don't S-rank them always because I figure its better to get further than it is to rush. Going back to my strategy: hit hard and don't get hit. Patience wins out.

    I still have some of the Double S-Rank achievements to earn, and I can take them as a one time challenge, but that's all they are. Once I get them, they are gone. I'm more interested in the dynamic nature of arcade and pushing that as far as it can go.

    A good way to test this is to add it as a quest for the town. In fact, the town quests are a perfect way to prototype full features for arcade mode. Get a bunch of user feedback on which quests they enjoyed the most and use that to improve arcade mode. I'd say my favorite quests are the ones that change the nature of the arcade mode by adding the extra layer of complexity (no health orbs until level 4, no leveling up, elite enemies).
    Pharphis likes this.
  4. GoodStuff

    GoodStuff Friendly Moderator :)

    You're saying that the Double S-ranks are just a one time thing but if you want to compete for the highest score (which is one of the biggest drives for skilled players in Arcade if you ask me) you have to be able to get those scores with consistency. Scoring close to Double S-rank on every floor in one run is what every competitive player in Arcade mode is trying to do so therefore the safe and slow playstyle is not necessarily always the key to winning.

    I think many who have played Arcade mode can agree that the quests were all quite fun once you got a hang of how Arcade mode is played and I believe that many would enjoy the extra difficulty that you could add to spice up the gameplay. I can not speak for the difficulty of the higher floors since my best run ended in floor 6 but my impression of Arcade mode is that the early floors are the hardest since that's where the player starts to learn. You'll probably die more in the first 4 floors than you will ever die in the floors beyond those because the learning curve starts off steep and then flatten out once the player have learned and adapted the different playstyle that Arcade mode requires compared to Story mode. The biggest challenge in Arcade mode is IMO to reach a point where you can get through the early floors without any mistakes because from there everything else is just about learning how to fight the bosses and what enemies to kill first. Once you've got the basics down you'll start climbing higher up the levels and soon enough beat the last floor. From there on the challenges that remain, as of right now, are the Achievements and the Highscore Board. If speed and perfection isn't difficult enough then you'll have to wait for a patch with the currently planned Extra Challenges. :)

    Sorry for going all out. These are all my personal opinions and I don't expect everyone to share my point of view. I'm always happy to discuss and try to find a good conclusion. :D

    TLDR.... Arcade mode is as hard as you want it to be, meaning the more you challenge yourself the harder it gets. But to reach that point where everything feels easy you first have to get through the really rough start that you're presented when you first start playing Arcade mode. Also, more challenges would be awesome.
  5. Pokesly

    Pokesly Green Slime

    Hmm seems like you're disappointed that just simply beating arcade is too easy, which is completely true, once you get the hang of it you should be able to reach and beat Winter every time. However the true difficulty comes into play when/if you decide to go further than just beating arcade mode (highscores/achievements/beastmode ect.). I've been playing SoG for quite some time, and I'm currently #1 on 1 through 4 player leaderboards, that being said I STILL find it difficult to S rank every single floor 100% of the time. Being unhappy with the difficulty of arcade mode when you're unable to consistently S rank multiple floors seems a bit odd to me, but I suppose if you have no interest in highscores or achievements then I can see your point. I agree that adding more special challenges or some sort of difficulty setting would be great, but there are certainly challenges (self imposed or not) currently in the game which are by no means easy, if you're looking to stay interested while waiting for future updates :)
    Fred and Own like this.
  6. Own

    Own Moderator

    The difficulty with Arcade Mode isn't really based around beating it, like they said. You could easily beat Arcade Mode using nothing but Summon Plant and Frosty Friend if you didn't mind D-Ranks on every single floor, assuming you were good about dodging.

    The challenge is in doing it well.

    As the official Discoverer Of Awesome Builds, I'm taking partial credit. :D
  7. George

    George Green Slime

    Those are all valid points.

    I've always come from a play style where I enjoy learning how to beat something and doing it effectively. Especially when it comes to co-op games (the main reason I bought this game). I love the aspect of working through these challenges with friends, developing a strategy that works with them and filling the role discovered.

    I've never really paid much attention to scoreboards (and haven't submitted a score to steam for that same reason... I just never thought about actually doing it). Since games started having online global scoreboards, I often found it discouraging to play against. Either people found a hack or some other exploit and rigged their score, or they are just so damn good that I wouldn't ever come close. Since then, I've found I'm less of a competitive gamer and more of a cooperative one.

    I totally get the score challenge though. Back before global scoreboards I was super proud of dominating the scoreboard (beating my siblings and dad's scores) for Star Fox 64 and beating my own records.
  8. Pokesly

    Pokesly Green Slime

    Of course of course, couldn't have done it without you XD
  9. GoodStuff

    GoodStuff Friendly Moderator :)

    The scoreboard does not show cheaters on it. All the submitted scores on there are legit runs. If the game detects a cheated run it gets removed. :)
  10. Own

    Own Moderator

    Yep, most of the people on the top 5 actually have recordings of them wrecking Arcade Mode available on Youtube. It's completely legit.

    Except for MD20. I'm 99% sure their score is cheated. But that'll be tended to when the devs check the high score list.
  11. Teddy

    Teddy Developer Staff Member

    As was alluded earlier in the thread, we're definitely going to "broaden" the Arcade Mode at least once (likely more but we plan one at a time)! Apart from reconstructing Arcadia a bit, to allow for an expanded town, we're going to experiment some with the Candy's curse idea (courtesy of @Own) where you can curse your run in various ways to make it harder, but also get a score multiplier.

    Another major point we want to iterate on is adding more event rooms (the ? room that currently only means fishing), and possibly coming up with some interesting rare events as well.

    That's a great idea, and something that could definitely be a cool quest (or score modifier curse, or both)!
    Pharphis likes this.
  12. Martimus

    Martimus Green Slime

    .......people actually kill GUN-D4M on Arcade mode??? My God, how?? Holy crap I suck at this game.
    SoyAntonio likes this.
  13. loobiedoobie

    loobiedoobie Rabby

    I can't even get to floor 3 consistantly :( my hand-eye coordination just ain't up to snuff for arcade xD
  14. Rdy

    Rdy Green Slime


    I've recently put in a fair amount of time into Arcade Mode. At the time of writing this, my most recent high score run ended at GUN-D4M with a score of 505k, placing me in the top #200 on the leaderboards, and giving me the top score of any F08 scores, for what little that's actually worth. I'm a completionist, primarily. I play Arcade Mode less for the challenge, more for the prestige of having Achievements that are viewed as "difficult" or "rare." In fact, without the Achievements, I would currently have little vested interest in Arcade Mode after my most recent high score.

    Originally the idea of Arcade Mode did appeal to me; however, the further I reach in floors, the less enjoyable I find the mode for its snowball difficulty, relative lack of variety due to the consistent nature of individual rooms, and definitive lack of meaningful choices in defenses. Before I touch on any of these, I read all the previous responses in this thread, and noticed that Binding of Isaac is a common reference of comparison. I personally find that Binding of Isaac has several design flaws itself, so I certainly hope any inspiration taken from that game is insured to be integrated well with Secrets of Grindea. While the structure of Arcade Mode is similar to Binding of Isaac, there are many features that would be quite incompatible. That said, I will draw a few comparisons for posterity, myself.

    As a side note, this post unfortunately focuses on most of the things I think are lacking and should be improved. Overall, Grindea is a really good game, and I promise that I wrote this many words because I sincerely want the game to succeed and to be the best that it can be. So, the unabridged essay of my personal assessment of what I believe to be current design flaws in Arcade Mode, and any related suggestions to help alleviate these flaws (buckle in because words happened):

    --Snowball Difficulty

    My biggest problem with the difficulty of Arcade Mode is its outright "snowbally" nature. This is actually an issue that Binding of Isaac suffers from as well - your run typically will go either absolutely swimmingly, or it's a desperate struggle that could be ended at any moment just because of the slightest, teensiest slip-up. There's very little in-between. In Arcadia, this presents itself in the nature of either easily sweeping everything with high consistency, typically with simple S ranks, or having huge problems and just dying or having a B or C rank. The largest contribution to this is the vast chasm between damage sources and healing options. By the time you reach Floor 05, damage taken is almost always catastrophic, even when it comes from supposed "chip damage" sources, such as thorny vines. Taking a hit from an Elite is especially harmful, which just makes it worse that they're one of the easiest sources to slip on.

    The result is that playing for S Ranks on non-kiting builds doesn't even feel like a high performance - it feels like par.

    On the other hand, as displayed by the top players, being able to play to finish is accompanied with the feeling of little remaining difficulty in the mode - "Problem: Arcade Mode is casual mode.". Already, the #1 score on the leaderboard is a nearly perfect run, and several posts can be seen alluding to the idea of, "I beat it once, I can beat it always." And it's true! I'm on the cusp of S Ranking Floors 05 and 06 in the same run, and they're almost irrelevant to me now. Floors 01-04 are such a breeze that I already don't mind resetting over trivial mistakes (the only time in the game as far as I've seen where mistakes are trivial!) or bad luck. There's no real variety to the challenge per floor, so it almost becomes exactly a burden of knowledge - understanding enemy mechanics, knowing how to space and position yourself, and being able to allow muscle-memory to deal with almost every situation.

    S Ranks should certainly be made way, way less forgiving. A Ranks should feel like "par," rather than S Ranks. In exchange, however, there should certainly be more reliable ways of self-healing. The damage enemies deal feels certainly balanced - each room should feel like its own challenge, so reducing enemy damage would make them feel irrelevant. What I suggest was something mentioned earlier, with a slight tweak:

    Instead of a time-based cooldown, which wouldn't work well, the potion should recharge based on enemies killed. This way, the player is encouraged to continue fighting - singular one-off mistakes become less disastrous by nature, but continuous mistakes without progress is punished all the same. The punishment for taking any damage at all is already quite steep - any spells you're casting or charging will be interrupted, you lose HP which brings you closer to death, you're put in a more vulnerable situation due to the nature of charging enemy AI (as well as the risk of allowing certain enemies to stay alive longer, such as Beehives, Guardians, Wisps), and most importantly you lose the potential for score. Everyone seems to agree that Arcade Mode shouldn't be easier; however, it's still perfectly balanced if it is easier to complete, but just as hard or harder to high score. As it stands, Arcade Mode is already very unfriendly, and as it gets longer and more grueling, the burden of knowledge (and its difficulty to attain this knowledge) to approach it will scare off a lot of potential players.

    --Lack of variety

    In Story, all of the skills are valuable in their own ways, and lends to a variety of playstyles. In Arcadia, however, burst damage reigns supreme, leading to one primarily superior playstyle. EP is less of a concern because rooms instantly recharge your EP bar, so any trade of an EP bar for clearing a room is an optimal resource trade with no actual tangible cost. This issue compounds itself with the fact that the best defense is excessive offense - aside from naturally requiring fast clears for S Ranks for higher score values, fast clearing is defensive. Most enemies flinch upon taking damage, interrupting their otherwise annoying attacks (Jumpkins in particular come to mind.) The few enemies that don't flinch are, incidentally, mostly top or high priority anyway for their typically chaotic attack patterns, such as the enemies that spawn other enemies. The result is little actual variety between rooms - they're all approached quite similarly. Check priority list, use preferred AoE burst attack, finish room. Most other viable playstyles involve a lot of kiting, which isn't useful for high scoring.

    This is an issue twofold: First, it scares away a lot of players new to the mode - instead of being an open, noncommittal mode to test gameplay like it may seem at first glance, it actually requires significantly more dedication than the Story Mode itself to have any amount of consistent success. Experimentation within Arcade Mode is highly discouraging. Second, the choice in skills or build used currently has a negligible impact on playstyle, leading to one clear preferred meta. Almost all of the "acceptable" builds are effectively interchangeable, so long as you have the basic muscle-memory to perform the skill in question (for example, the difference in positioning between Flamethrower builds and Spirit Slash builds). This leads to a feeling of lingering staleness.

    My suggestions on this: Battle room variety definitely needs to increase, and ideally in such a way to reward alternative methods of damage. The greatest pitfall to Spirit Slash and Flamethrower is the immense EP cost, which is made less of a pitfall with EP regenerating instantly between rooms. Possibilities include rooms designed to make the player take a hit but finishing upon damage taken (such as the Don't Get Hit! challenge rooms) which could offer the decision of taking a small hit for relative safety or taking the risk of actually clearing the room with the possibility of bigger damage sources. In particular, I would like to see rooms designed around having Elites - so far, they seem to just randomly occur on already spawning enemies, but a room with, for example, two Guardians and an Elite Brawler Bot could be enough to break up the monotony of rooms. Room layouts can also inherently provide a difference. A Flying Fortress room with multiple small platforms you Warp between, each with a single enemy - high EP cost AoE moves become slightly less effective whereas higher sustained damage sources becomes slightly more effective.

    More unique room hazards would also help create variety. Currently, the only room hazard that even exists in a form that matters up until Seasonne are the thorny vines: Missiles in the Flying Fortress are random and almost totally irrelevant. I think I had to dodge one maybe once. Unique room hazards would also present the possibility of different tactical approaches, such as a hazard that you could turn around on the enemies with the a Perfect Guard or skillful positioning. There are a lot of possibilities here, several already being coded in the game, such as tornadoes or slime trails. On a related note, Red Slime trails are extremely powerful for the length of time they last, and should probably be tweaked in either power or duration. Other possibilities that come to mind are hazards from the floor's boss showing up to do one of their attacks before disappearing - random thorns popping up from the ground, Giga Slime jumping around and leaving a few puddles before jumping off, or even Vilya just dashing out from the trees to do a spin attack before emoting anger and fleeing!

    Pharphis likes this.
  15. Rdy

    Rdy Green Slime

    --Meaningful choices in defense and power
    Another issue with the best defense being an excessive offense is how it reduces meaningful choices. Sure, you could equip something and lose attack power but gain defense, but the ultimate goal is to not take damage at all, and reducing your own damage output can tangibly increase the likelihood you will take damage. A particular point to highlight the severity of this issue: Bosses are irrelevant if you have enough damage. I am even quite certain that with proper MATK drops and a Battle Potion, you can clear GUN-D4M in one cycle with Flamethrower, which removes what is in my opinion the most difficult phase of the fight - at least in the DM phase you don't have to attack things while you dodge bullets.

    Defensive stats are the least desirable stats - even ATK on a MATK build can be more useful, though the opposite may not hold quite as much truth. This is analogous to Binding of Isaac's Red Hearts, in fact - they're undesirable and the least efficient form of defense. However, Binding of Isaac has actual meaningful defensive upgrades, such as Maggy's Bow which doubles Red Heart container heals; the Wafer which halves damage past a certain floor; Holy Mantle which gives a free hit; and countless items which produce varying invulnerability statuses. Grindea only has one thing to this nature: Halloweed Card, one of the less common cards in Arcade Mode.

    On the other hand, it's worth pointing out that the shield offers a great non-stat defensive option. For this reason, I don't suggest looking to Binding of Isaac for inspiration on forms of defense - if anything should be done to equipment to add defensive options, I would primarily prefer to see a greater variety of shield effects as opposed to what has generally been "Perfect Guard for added effect." An example could be a series of shields that offers a wider range of blocking for flank attacks (~165° as opposed to ~80°) at the cost of being incapable of Perfect Guarding or with heavily reduced Shield HP. This can be helpful for Story Mode, as well - as enemies get more chaotic in attack patterns, Perfect Guarding is less of an option. The Temple of Seasons arena rooms are a good example of Perfect Guarding sometimes being a non-option.

    The issue of lacking meaningful choices can largely be helped through some of the earlier suggestions, such as the bottomless potion. Certainly consider more shield effects that don't rely on Perfect Guarding - they don't necessarily have to be superior, so as to continue to reward the Perfect Guard players, but serviceable options for when Perfect Guarding isn't necessarily an option and to allow for differences in latency and skill.

    I would also like to suggest an improvement to shops. As it is, they're seemingly quite random, which can be frustrating when paired with the already random nature of item drops. I would like to see more items be added as static options - spending Gold on items should be considered the last resort, as Gold can also be translated to HP with the Nurse, but so far it has been uncommon for me to see anything I wish to buy due to either not seeing the right things in the shop, or already having the things I need from drops. As an addition, I would also like to see some of the rarer cards added to the Shop for somewhat exorbitant prices - the likelihood of getting, say, a Pecko card is quite low, despite it being such a high-power boost in raw HP. Being able to purchase it in Seasonne at a very high price would be a nice addition. Jumpkin and Lantern Jack cards are also highly influential drops, and missing them can be quite a shame. A second chance to obtain these cards at questionably high costs would bring another level of resource management with your gold, which otherwise sometimes has little use.

    Other things:

    Normalize EXP gains. The variance in EXP gained is enough to completely change runs, with a possible entire level differential upon reaching Floor 05! It's completely possible to reach the boss of Floor 01 without even gaining a level-up while solo. This is a really sucky form of "difficulty" - it doesn't feel good to play around, and the reasons for lacking EXP often boils down to whether you get good Challenge Rooms or not. A simple solution would be to tie EXP gains to battle room clears as opposed to enemies killed - removing the EXP variance in Challenge Rooms (which makes a huge difference) but maintaining the choice of fighting more enemies for more EXP, which currently is a very lopsided choice to begin with.

    As enabled by above, some form of shortcuts should be allowed. Personally, I am fond of the idea of an "endless tier" mode, where you can continue endlessly through a set of floors until you die without receiving any score or EXP, though anything to allow more reasonable access to practice later floors will be good. With normalized EXP gains, you could have a guaranteed amount of EXP at any given time and just set the player to that amount of EXP upon taking a shortcut. Solving the problem of what gear the player should start with could be done through either a sum of money and a shop that offers many items, so as to simulate obtaining several rewards on the way to the floor, or even a random equipment pass that slightly favours the player's start weapon (Sharp Start, Smart Start, etc..) If not endless floors, I would like to see shortcuts after every four levels, which divides the the current floors well into their respective chapters. This could also be a source of more quests for unlocking the shortcuts.

    On the topic of score multipliers,
    I agree with the concept, but from previous experience with osu! I understand that it is important to keep score multipliers surprisingly low. For example, in osu!, playing a song with the "Double-Time" modification, which adds half of the BPM to the song, only gives you a 12% score bonus - for playing at 150% speed, you only receive 112% score. The result of this is that someone that can moderately succeed at "Double-Time" will not inherently overtake someone who can perform perfectly without "Double-Time." This is important because it preserves the primary goal of top scores being top for their perfection, rather than being a cocktail of the best multipliers with relatively poor play.

    I would certainly like to see Continues at the cost of all of a player's score. I wish to address this in a later post, as this topic will prove to be its own beast, and I feel I've been far too loquacious as is.

    I intend to return with feedback about particular skills' capabilities within Arcade Mode in the future. I wished to write further on how it feels like the skills don't feasibly offer notable differences in playstyle for Arcade Mode, but as I haven't fully experimented with everything yet, I don't feel in a position to speak well enough on the topic. Tentatively, I would like to see more skills offering defensive capabilities outside of the standard of making monsters flinch.

    Thank you for your time, and my apologies as this did end up slightly longer than I intended. I hope this feedback proves useful for improving the game mode.
    Pharphis likes this.
  16. Ardeof

    Ardeof Rabby

    Arcade Mode is not hard. What is difficult is the lack of skill options.

    It's basically Flamethrower and Frosty Friend, and that's about it. Watched a youtube vid of a 1.5m scorer (Antonio), and went from whirlslash and heroic slam to Flamethrower and Frosty Friend. Instantly went from an average of 300k scores to 600k+. That's double the efficiency. I doubt any other skill combination that doesn't include one of those skills would work. Nothing from earth is of use, not enough dps in the boss fights. Air Magic is underwhelming as well. Why bother with the cloud when Frosty Friend does 5x more damage overall.

    Fire magic is mainly a 1 hit wonder, with the Flamethrower skill having a ton of early game dps compared to a lot of other skills. Meteor has some damage, though based on the cost could use a bit more. Fireball is a solid skill, but lacks some of the features of Flamethrower. Ice magic is okay, especially frosty friend. The second closest is Ice spikes, though trying to make use of that is difficult when the cost is about 40 EP. Ice Nova is a great skill in concept, but the damage is negligible. In fact, fully upgraded Ice Nova does half of the char's magic dmg total. So if a char has 300 magic damage, a fully upgraded Ice Nova will do around 150 dmg. Which is terrible scaling considering Ice Spikes has as much AoE as Ice Nova, and Whirlslash would still be a better option (even as a mage) to prevent enemies surrounding a char.

    Arcade is well built, and could use a few tweaks. What really needs fixing is a skill overhaul, especially the numbers.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
    Pharphis likes this.
  17. Own

    Own Moderator

    Only 30-40~ people have ended the game at F13. The people who can beat it with Flame+Frost are the same people who can beat it with Whirl+Static Touch, or Spirit Slash+Shadow Clone, or Insect Swarm+Earth Spike. Us high score runners just use Flame+Frost because it's the best for achieving high scores, but is also the trickiest to master for new players due to enemy attack memorization.

    I'd say the challenge is fair and there's plenty of skills that can beat Arcade, but beating Arcade absolutely requires you to know exactly how all enemies behave to get anywhere. Which I like. :D
  18. Rdy

    Rdy Green Slime

    The primary reason Flamethrower is the clearly superior option is because of its insane burst. The theoretical flaw to Flamethrower is completely irrelevant when all you have to do is kill four enemies and then you get a full EP recharge. The cost of Flamethrower means it probably shouldn't work with a skill that reserves your EP, but due to Manaburn and the ease of clearing rooms with enough burst damage, it's generally a non-issue.

    Incidentally, that should make it relatively easier to master. The burst damage is so high that sometimes what you learn is to just destroy enemies before they do anything. I legitimately don't know what to do about Jumpkins besides burn them or kite them, and the only thing holding me back from S Ranking 05 and 06 in the same run is the DoT attack from the boss that I only get to practice in Arcade Mode.

    Personally, I agree that the way skills are made leads to it being a bit stale. The most unique build is probably Insect Swarm+Earth Spike, and mainly because it's the only build that allows actual long-range skills. Everything else has the goal of getting in the enemy's face and decimating it with raw burst. Maybe it feels different for those of you that are currently High Scoring (and thus have a different goal) but as a player that just wants to beat it, I really don't look forward to learning the rest of the floors with just Flamethrower. It's only 12 now, but 24 in the future? 24 floors of nothing but using your Flamethrower to mow down enemies?
    Pharphis likes this.
  19. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    Having played a bit more Arcade mode recently I'm starting to spot a few inconsistencies.

    Firstly, the perks system. People who play more of arcade mode, get to later floors and overall do well are rewarded with essence, which they can use to make the game... easier? No wonder you get beginners complaining it's too hard and the pros claiming its too easy. I'll draw some inspiration from Binding of Isaac: Rebirth here. As you progress in Issac (and get better), the game gets harder. Not only do more floors unlock, which are more difficult (which I'm not too keen on, although it does force players to learn how to beat the earlier floors before they can progress onto lower ones) but more enemies appear, both in number and variety, and different layouts of rooms appear on the earlier floors, also with entirely new enemies. If Arcade in one way or another made the game harder as you progressed, but ultimately at a rate which matches player skill/understanding, instead of creating the divide between players, you reduce it.

    I've seen a few people touching on how much damage enemies do on later floors. If you take a moment to actually take a hit on floor 1/2... a single rabby can 4-hit KO you when you have no HP upgrades, around 6 with HP upgrades. Compared to in later floors, when I have my (practically) all DEF gear, as well as +25% of that if I've hit something in the last 3 seconds from the brawler talent, it takes about 15-25 hits to kill me, and that's while I can still S rank a room in Séasònnë. This doesn't work in my head, and probably creates that bit more of the divide.

    Levelling seems a little strange. On floor 5 I can get a whole level in the space of 3 rooms, yet I can go almost the entirety of floor 8 without one. I don't think many of the bosses reward much EXP either.

    I'm sure there's more to come, seen as I've only gotten to floor 10 once. We'll see.

    [Edit]: Ah, also meant to mention what Rdy said. It's completely true that the best form of defence is excessive offence. I think that's what the game is going for though. It's not like the music is trying in any way to get you to calm down and keep it slow, and you get nice shiny S ranks if you complete rooms quicker, by killing all the enemies quicker. When I used to die on the early floors, I would do so with mostly S ranks in all the rooms. Only now am I slowly translating that up through the higher floors. It depends what the overall goal is as a mode, and that seems to be this at the moment.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
  20. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    Here's another thing. There seems to be a few factors that by themselves can break a run to pieces (for me anyway). This is mainly which bosses you get. They seem to be at a good level in the pillar mountains through to the pumpkin woods, but after that it gets a little iffy. In the Flying Fortress, the OP boss is the Sentry. I've got the strategy down now so it's quite a bit easier. However, if a blue crystal protects the boss crystal it may as well be game over, the amount of damage you take from other enemies chasing that crystal round the platform while the boss crystal spawns even more of them is ridiculous. Phaseman and GUN-D4M by comparison are a walk in the park.

    In Séasònnë, it's Marino. This is more likely my incompetence, as I never realised you could perfect guard his combo and knock him to the floor. Having said that, it seems a little more aimed at 2H players or long range builds. Once I've knocked him down, there's usually a snowstorm over his face and I can't attack him because of my short range 1H attacks. Toy Machine got eaten on my first encounter with it, and Smashie Bashie... probably my incompetence again, seen as the attacks are quite easy to dodge due to the repeating pattern.

    I've yet to encounter floors 11 & 12, although I have a feeling those will be at a good level.
    Pharphis likes this.

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