I’m not going to lie about my feelings for this league: it wasn’t good. I’ve felt less motivated to play compared to Betrayal, which I initially had cursed out. That said, during Betrayal, I gradually felt motivated to play once I learned about the various Syndicate farming techniques in Act 8-10. Either way, the things I became excited about for Synthesis turned out to be rubbish. Why?
First, I want to explain what I felt went wrong this league. While the basic Memory zone portion was tolerable due to both frequency and relatively ease of play, the Nexus portion was simply too jumbled. For the most part, being capped at 10 memories and having to re-run memories interconnected to the spot you wanted to farm really felt awful. I know people did the equivalent of sextant blocking to eventually grab the memories they wanted but it eventually became nerfed and required one to have some knowledge of blocking.
That just goes to show how confusing the Nexus aspect was. I know they did a few iterations to fix bugs but overall it just felt like crap. Simple things such as your Synthesized Chest being unclickable would be annoying and you would have thought GGG learned their lesson with simple UI issues back in Betrayal league. But for the most part, I felt unmotivated to farm Nexus content because it just was another layer of distraction that lacked focus nor purpose outside of loot and killings.
The memory portion and decaying effect were simply too annoying, especially the decaying part. Because memories are just another version of a map with the decaying piece, there really wasn’t anything all that special in running them beyond having the chance to gain a fractured item (or more). However, the rates of decay and the layouts were pretty horrible. Even if the idea was to simulate the feeling of death from the darkness of Delve, I didn’t feel it captured anything because of how fast the decay would occur on top of the bad placement of nodes.
Now, the thing that bugged the hell out of me the most was that a good portion of the loot seemed to be within these memory nodes and probably the Nexus too. I think the map drop rate was pretty horrendous at the start of the league, probably due to the reshuffling. But there still was a hinted expectancy to do the league content to get your main loot. Maps themselves felt dry and I struggled to keep up with alchemy orbs and maps early on.
Next, the whole synthesis item mechanic itself was absolute shit and stupid. There’s no two ways about it. What looked to be a really cool crafting mechanic turned out to be even worse intuitively than the main league mechanic itself. The fact that you would need to pair various key stats with certain ilvls and items to get what you really wanted made this mechanic worse than useless. Worse than that once you synthesized an item, you really didn’t get much back outside of the distant potential of getting anything remotely useful.
So what in particular would I fix?
First, let’s start with the memory nodes and decay. I can accept the decay but the rates of decay and where it occurs should be more sensible. Some maps have terrible decay. Also, you should be able to get some distance before you see the decay. Next, the breadcrumbs for where the Stabilizers are need to be better done. I hate entering a node and then going left only to realize that I fucked up completely. At least with the Incursions, you had some preview of where the doors were located and the architect type.
Next, the re-running of places just needs to go. You’ve already done it once so why not allow for someone to just teleport to the next spot after they’ve completed an area? It feels like absolute dogshit to redo content you’ve completed for no good reason, especially if it doesn’t regenerate itself.
Add to the fact that re-accessing a placed memory would start another type of decay is just horse shit, especially once you need to expand to newer places in the Nexus. It wouldn’t be bad if you could just store more than 10 memories similar to how Sulfite becomes your limiting factor in Delves. But if you’re forced to only allow 10 memories, there should be zero reason to decay stuff you’ve completed.
Lastly, the whole Distant Memory thing is stupid in terms of decaying. Why not allow someone to finish it up? It seems better especially if you find the loot chest early. I mean the whole point shouldn’t just be finding those loot chests. Otherwise why bother even having monsters or chests close by the entrance? Pretty much the decay aspect needs to go outside of when you decide to finish the area.
Now, let’s talk about the giant elephant in the room: synthesized items. I hate to say this but fractured items are far better than synthesized items. I find stuff with much better stats than what I can craft. It’s really stupid. And it’s stupid because it’s mentioned that fractured items while being useful wouldn’t be as great as synthesized items. Oh really?
The whole synthesized crafting system was the one thing I looked forward to the most this league. But it makes no sense. A friend of mine mentioned that it adds complexity and depth to crafting. O(n^n) complexity. It’s like BozoSort in the implementation.
Nonetheless, why do I keep insisting that it’s unintuitive? Because even with three stats that you get from your fractured items that take you a long time to covet, you still end up randomly selecting stats that have nothing to do with what you’ve found. If I find three items of the same type with life stats, I kinda expect to have life stats as my implicit. Makes sense, right?
Not to GGG. We need to throw more RNG poop right onto this garbage to force players into farming longer. Uh, no. It’s just a massive turnoff when you eventually realize that you’ll never craft nor find anything useful and you’re better sticking with good ol’ elder/shaper items and uniques for the usual meta builds that still get you through the basics of the game.
I really don’t understand how this got badly botched. Just put a limited number of random implicits on your fractured items with 1-3 per item then choose from that pool to permanently imbue onto the item. Easy. It makes sense when you see it. You get what you see.
On top of that, there should be ways to combine these things with veiled mods, shaped/elder items, etc. They should’ve made the situation like Veiled Mods where you could learn a new implicit craft after sacrificing your fractured items. Then it would make farming them totally worth it.
Instead, we got one random pile of garbage mixed in with other piles of garbage. This isn’t complexity. It’s just poop mixed with vomit and boogers and pee. If they add one more stupid RNG based crafting system into the game, then the mixture will add cum and farts.
But here’s the real issue about this RNG on top of RNG on top of RNG stupid crafting system at the end of the day: it’s not really progressive. A person is just hoping that with sheer luck they’ll eventually find the thing they want the most. You’re honestly better off playing Keno in Vegas and hoping to win the big one there than getting what you really need here.
This RNG poop on RNG poop really kills the game for me. What I wanted was to find my 3 fractured items, learn the implicit craft, combine that with 2 veiled mods, add shaper/influence and perhaps toss on some essence crafting with a few other crafting gigs to enhance my build to do higher content. I want to be able to increment the values on my gear so that I feel a difference as I enter higher and higher tiered content such that it won’t matter what build I use as long as I feel a real difference in power.
If you want real player retainership for this brand of RPGs, you need a level of determinism when it comes to character growth. Since you end up with a max level, the real progression happens through gear. But it shouldn’t be the case where only a select few skills matched with ridiculous amounts of RNG crafts and/or items become the sole factor in determining your power growth.