I love the game. I love the art, I like the music, the story is fun, I love the lore books, the gameplay is great, both in combat and in exploring the dungeons. Enemies are interesting/annoying to fight, the bosses are pretty neat. I’m really looking forward to a sequel (there’s going to be more of these, right? Right!?). Just some nitpicks/areas of improvement.
Combat is excellent, except for two issues. One is that buffs and debuffs last very short durations, so either you don’t use them (Mantle of Aramus, Gaia’s Fist) or they’re the only thing you use (Gully and Taunt, Heroism, Shatter, Cripple). Most of them could stand to be basically doubled in duration (except Calibretto’s Invigorating Mist and the like), so that support characters can do things other than cycling the same handful of buffs/debuffs. And that certain other strategies/combos might become viable, once you can actually stack certain buffs/debuffs together.
The other issues is that, aside from Garrison and Knolan, overcharge is hard to come by, which makes taking advantage of the very powerful overcharge perks/masteries difficult. Monika completely wastes overcharge whenever its spent on something like Stealth or Lightning Reflexes. We have no ability to control where our overcharge gets spent except by not using abilities. This eliminates a whole swath of possible choices in combat, because a lot of the time the answer to the question “do I really want to use up my overcharge on that?” is “no”.
Once you get enough perk points and abilities unlocked for builds to really start coming together, the game becomes too easy. The main problem seems to be enemy health. Enemies do a good amount of damage, but they’re basically made of paper. Even new game plus C’Drall just sort of folds under the sheer damage an endgame party can dish out.
Broadly, I’d add a health buff to enemies based on the difficulty level. Heroic has 50% more health, legendary has 100%, mythic has 150%. I would even further buff boss HP under higher difficulties, just so they’d be meaty (maybe just double boss HP before applying the difficulty mod). I’d also add an additional difficulty level (tentatively dubbed “mythic plus”) which is unlocked by hitting max level on NG+; it increases damage done by 20% and health by 400%, boosts the dungeon enemies to level 33 across the board (boss is 34), makes all gear drops level 27, and has increased legendary drop chance compared to mythic. This also makes old dungeons relevant later in the game, and gives more build options.
Also, C’Drall’s zone should count as a dungeon and have difficulty modifiers, so people have the option of fighting extra hard C’Drall.
Taunt II: taunt is for redirecting damage, not doing it. It should either increase the number of attacks taunt lasts for, or increase the damage reduction during taunt.
Chimera Sting II: increased damage over making it apply 2 random debuffs?
Shadow Whip II: the attack for increasing follow-up damage should get more follow-up damage (make the buff bigger).
Soul Shard II: the attack for doing lots of damage doesn’t get more damage as its upgrade? This is the one place it would be perfect!
I like a lot about the crafting system. Though there are two problems, I feel. The first is the lack of things to craft, both in missing tiers to upgrade people’s gear (i.e. only half the characters get an upgrade at most levels of armor or weapon), and in lacking alternate options to customize characters with (i.e. everyone has to wear the same jewelry, no alternate weapon or armor for different builds). The second is that crafting mats drop much slower than the characters level, so by the time you actually get enough to craft a decent set you’ll be six levels above it and can buy better (common!) gear from the blacksmith.
I would substantially increase the drop rates of low-level crafting mats. Also make crafting mats cheaper to buy (except for endgame stuff). And let you buy more at a given time, so you have more ability to throw money at bad luck rather than running the dungeons so many times you hit max level absurdly early. And I know it’d be a chunk of work, but it’d be nice to have to more gear options to craft. Especially for enchanting in the end-game, why are there so few end-game enchants? Where’s my end-game keen and swiftness and inner fire enchants?
I’d suggest making “Advanced” versions of old gear to fill slots, as in higher-level equivalents of items, so you can re-use art assets. For example, it’d be nice to have an Advanced Overcharged Mythril Band as an option for endgame builds. You can do the same thing to fill out the missing low-level armor and weapons too. This would reduce the amount of work it’d take to give more gameplay options. Also, you could use similar recipes, which would make older zone materials more relevant (would work nicely with mythic plus difficulty).
I want there to be more things to do once I have all these gear and perk options! Getting to the end of the game and gearing up and then there not being anything to do with it (aside from curbstomp C’Drall) is a little disappointing. This is the hardest problem to fix, because adding new content is a huge amount of work and its not like it’d bring in extra money to cover costs. Just, it’d be nice if there were more stuff to do. Maybe a really simple dungeon filled with powered-up versions of old bosses?
I think it’d be nice if there were a bunch of endgame jewelry that did unusual things. Like a trinket called “Matador’s Cape” that redirects single target attacks to you and gives a chunk of evasion. Or a ring that gives each of your allies a point of overcharge every time one of your ignites, poisons, or bleeds ticks. A necklace that makes your buffs and debuffs last longer. That kind of stuff.