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Icebrood Saga: Champions - Gameplay and rewards

Manasa Devi.7958

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I've been thinking about why I can't bring myself to replay this part of the saga. And it's really quite simple. "Champions" for me combines unappealing gameplay with unappealing rewards. This is a deadly combination. I'll play appealing content with unappealing rewards. I'll spend some time playing unappealing content for appealing rewards, until I get those rewards. I'll fawn over appealing content with appealing rewards and play it for a long time. Who doesn't?


Now, these are subjective terms. My "appealing" can be someone else's "unappealing", we all have different preferences. (I'm using these 2 terms because they're the most neutral ones I can think of. The least loaded terms, so as to not predispose people through use of language.)


Now, I'm wondering how other people see these two aspects of the saga (gameplay and rewards).

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Some big asterisks though:

1) The /stretch EMOTE is Hilarious and I love it.


2) The sustained rewards would be better if the DRM CMs filled a better niche and the base ones (non-CMs) weren't so crappy. At current mastery levels base rewards (public option) are worth nothing at all and even cashing in the seals, DRM CMs don't really have that great of an ROI in terms of time played (even less if you're picky about faction).


3) DRM CM gameplay would be better if they nuked the blasted timer to allow for sub T4 fractal CM/raid play in PuGs. If they removed the timer or perhaps encouraged less frantic gameplay (something other than the timer for the CM that requires more cooperation over frantic gameplay), it might be better, then as long as you take a healer and pick good strategies, they'll be no where near as frustrating and people would be a little more forgiving in terms of comps and taking randos in their party. A simple example of how to achieve this might be to increase the timer dramatically, but decrease it significantly for each full death. Then on FoR CMs people would just ranged and that would be okay. I'm not a game designer though, just an idea. Also massively long iframes and random invulns are REALLY annoying at current timer levels. During Ryland split phase in snowden drifts it's not uncommon for the berserker elite to get behind Ryland's bubble and you can't kill him, usually because he's fighting an NPC, but during that phase it's more beneficial to fight the elites the NPCs are working on too. The For Boss's 30s invulnerablilities where he's spawning the nuke of all hell while you stand in green is frustrating with such small timers because you think "if I could hit this guy more, it wouldn't be so bad). It honestly feels like some really angry dev designed these to try to make the elitists cry, but all they did was make the community hate the game and make the elitists stick their noses up harder at the rest of us.


I like playing the CMs to an extent, but they feel worthless if you don't get 3/3 gold. Sure you get full item rewards at 2/3 but everyone is just doing them for achieves right now and missing 3/3 is toxic (also feels like wasted time). People bail mid boss fight if they miss time and it effing sucks.


ALSO, I do better soloing them than in party. The scaling is the nature of the beast, there's so much synergy between players, they have to scale something crazy with more because of top players who exploit synergies, BUT, if I use diviners and a class that can provide a lot of self-boons, my performance is often better than a normal PuG 5-man party and that sucks, an MMO should encourage more cooperation between players/less elitism, especially in content that is designed to be mainly for achieves/LW content, not high-end content.


Many raiders hate the DRM CMs, I know the elitists on the forums don't say this, but the pulse of the community is that they're more difficult than even some high-end content, with even less rewards.


Not an asterisk at all, but I would say, never use this instancing formula again, EVER. People accidently phase out of the instance on rez because of the overly helpful popup when you rez at portal and it's caused way more resets than I'd like (also, random DCs cause this issue too). Also, making a group is way more annoying than say Forging steel: In forging steel, because people can join in the middle, you just start the mission and let people join you as they come. For DRMs, you have to sit around, doing nothing, while you gather people. Also, making everyone join your instance before you start it is annoying too. I literally couldn't come up with a more annoying instance formula, even if I tried.

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The only reason I'm forcing myself to grind DRMs is for the /stretch emote as there was no other way to get it. I really hoped that they'd stick with the initial implementation of emotes (Reward Track end chest as an alternative to make it accessible to players who main other modes), but sadly that hasn't been the case. In fact, I'm annoyed about how WvW Reward Tracks have been ditched since they messed up the Northern Drizzlewood Reward Track, then removed it so it no longer exists instead of just fixing the rewards. I still have the end chest from that reward track just so I can glare at it on a regular basis and be reminded how much WvW is neglected, but that's a whole other topic which goes way beyond rewards. Just another problem I have with IBS to add to the pile.


The story aspect has caused me to be the least invested I ever have in 10 years of playing Guild Wars. This is something that personally started for me during PoF and has got worse through LS4 to the point that I'm only doing keeping up with story in the hope that I might care about it again, and so that I'm up to date on completion. The fact that DRMs involve repetition of the dialogue, taking up good chunks of the timer to boot, makes it even more tedious and uninvests me even more. I'd much rather have a skippable cutscene so the NPCs will move when the initial events are completed. Certainly in Snowden Drifts, the NPCs could also move faster considering the brevity of the timer in CM. That particular DRM has multiple problems with NPCs refusing to follow you around (for some reason the Deldrimor Dwarf never moves with me but hangs out near the entrance of the boss encounter but I've seen it follow other people in videos), a mob who launches you up and out of bounds of the map so you get forcibly respawned at the entrance to the boss area, another mob who will wander into Ryland's invulnerable dome so you can't do damage to it... While I don't think I'm super awesome at the game, I know I'm competent enough to clear all the other DRMs solo in CM, and this one is a particular thorn in my side, even after watching videos and reading strategies which somehow just won't work for me, mostly due to bad coding or bugs. So yeah, unrewarding gameplay for sure.


As for rewards, why can't I exchange Tyrian Defence Seals for Prismaticite Crystals so I can at least make the first set of Dragon Slayer weapons before the expansion comes out? Why do the recipes for the next tiers of them also use Prismaticite as currency to unlock them? Especially when the recipes themselves require 5 Prismatium Ingots per weapon (plus the next tier up which will be released on the 9th and presumably require even more)? This would be bad enough for any of the other Living World currencies but given the currency can't be harvested from nodes and you get a measly 5 per reward track completion, it's excessive gating which only demoralises players from bothering to work on these sets. As for the Volcanic Stormcaller weapons, locking a mastery point behind that collection was ridiculous given the rarity of obtaining those weapons. Is something broken with the RNG for those weapon boxes?


While I mentioned my earlier dissatisfaction with how WvW is treated and that the rewards for that mode are terrible, I'd rather honestly play WvW because, for all its faults, the gameplay makes it worth it. IBS can't even do that.

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As Anet has let us know that this series of Episodes/Chapters will be 'lite' releases due to the teams working on the Expansion I have changed my mind about DRM.


As the DRM releases have been improved upon with each release, I am holding out hope that they will polish the set of DRM and story experiences when it has all been released. As such, I have done the minimum to qualify for the Rush Week events and am waiting until they either give the DRM some polish, or they state that it is 'done' to decide if I care to grind the Achievements.





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