Which brings me to the main topic of SL2's design, specifically it's combat design, and I'd like to start out with a question. Is SL2's combat even supposed to be connected to its RP? Now, this might seem like a really stupid question but think about it. So much of the combat design directly opposes this notion. I'm going to focus on combat designs that conflict with the RP setting in this post and how it could improve. For the purpose of appealing to both crowds, because I, in particular, am more interested in the RPG combat mechanics than RP, I will be tackling this from both an RP perspective and a mechanical perspective.5: Dungeon RP is always a bit weird
I feel like when you group and do content, the RP is always a bit rushed and extremely secondary. You might say a few words when you do a cool attack, or your characters might have a small conversation during battle. Either way, it feels a bit awkward, like RP and gameplay are disconnected. A very minor concern, but I wanted to bring this up.
This means that the core gameplay of the game isn't really good at stimulating rp, which it should be in a game with high rp focus.
Scroll to the bottom for TL;DR
Right off the bat, let's be honest guys: BDPs aren't hard. You can walk into any level 70 dungeon and have just as easy a time as if you walked into a level 60 one, I would wager that this isn't a controversial opinion to have. People just run Summoner or get a few mercenaries and do the dirty work themselves. Why is this a problem though? Let people enjoy the game the way they want to, right?
Well, from an RP perspective, this causes antisocial behavior. What's the point of going in with other people, who have to waste your time taking their turn when you can just do it all yourself, it's easy alone anyway. Now, I'm not preaching against mercenaries and summoners, my only contention here is that, because the content is not hard, there is no reason to interact with anybody else doing the content. What's the solution? Make the content more difficult. I know Grindylows are not the best-designed mob in this game, but for one thing, I appreciate them if only for the reason that it makes any fight with them incredibly harder as a result and creates the need for a player-character, maybe a support in specific or a mage who can deal an abundance of damage to it from far away or someone who can disable it for a turn or two. Make enemies create dire situations that players can RP around if they want to. Maybe a mob that has high mobility, moderate damage, and always goes after the player with the lowest maximum HP. Maybe a mob that literally eats another player and that players consistently takes %HP damage each turn until that mob is killed. Maybe just make mobs do more damage and have more devastating effects in general, including actual injuries that players can RP.
From a mechanical combat perspective, this is boring. This lack of difficulty has, for me and a lot of randoms I talk to loocLY made the combat horribly unappealing because there is no challenge to it. Trying to do a core boss has no actual weight to it because there is no actual challenge. In RPGs, there's generally a need for support classes/healers but builds like tactician and curate and, heck, even tank builds are made obsolete because there's no actual difficulty that you need to build around. Again, I hate to do this, but you know the situation is bad when Grindylows are the most exciting that fighting in this game has been for a long time because at least then, the fight becomes about something more interesting than hit, hit, pass, hit, hit, pass, sidecut, attack, end turn. Again, solving this problem only takes giving enemies more unique abilities/more power to their already existing abilities. Give regular mobs more damage and more defense at higher levels, make their abilities afflict more lethal/impactful debuffs, bosses at level 60 should not have anywhere near <2000 maximum HP; honestly, having a boss at a level 60 core have anywhere less than 5000 maximum HP and deal, at the very least, 100 damage per turn to a somewhat geared character honestly doesn't make any sense to me.
There's also a large lack of actual "endgame" progression. Once you hit level 60, the dungeons are hardly worth trying to get a party for because they just aren't as hard as they should be. This might seem like a good thing because it makes it easy for people to get to the endgame gear they "need," but, in that ease of access, you lose the immersion that comes from most RPGs grinding systems. It breeds the complacency that comes with reaching SL2's "endgame". When you are grinding gear through easy dungeons just so that you can become powerful, what are you trying to become powerful for? I think the answer that most people have naturally fallen to is PvP and the widespread desire to make your build as optimized and overpowered as possible. This is where we lose the RP aspect of the game because as more and more people try to get as optimized as possible, the closer we get to having just a bunch of Mary Sue's running around. I also think this is a big contributor to the classic "sit in Cells/Arena and talk" RP number that most people just default into because they might not be as serious an RPer to make a dedicated RP group but serious enough to want to indulge in the roleplaying aspects of the game.
Asking for content that can only be completed with a "full, competent party" should not be something you need to ask for.
Positive Feedback: Difficulty
post by Yark » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:16 pm
Just wanted to post this to say I've been greatly enjoying the higher leveled content. Thank you for adding it, and I'm looking forward to even tougher areas in the future - the kind that can only be completed with a full, competent party.
Truly, I'm grateful for all the hard work the devs do right now but I also feel like some things need to change as they are greatly affecting the community in ways that we may not even notice or that we notice, but are too complacent to ask for change for. The lack of actual difficulty is hurting the game in more ways than one; it's discouraging immersive gameplay and the lack of endgame progression is creating an environment where the places where RP could be the most fruitful are forcefully devoid of it.
Thanks for reading y'all.