Here is my personal feedback on Isle of Siptah. I hope this can be somewhat useful in making the game experience better.
I mostly play solo, so I might be a bit biased, but I think I can still provide a valid perspective on what works and what doesn’t.
So, the map. The size is more than adequate, I LOVE the way it looks and I also love that it is clearly more “game-y”, being more designed in terms of general game experience rather than by biome. I LOVE the fact that resources are spread more evenly and you don’t have to travel to the other side of the map for some Silverstone (and Goldstone nodes are a GREAT addition). This makes for a more balanced gaming experience overall, both in PvE and PvP (ESPECIALLY the latter), and it makes impossible for players to grief the map by building in a specific place and block access to a resource to the whole server.
There’s plenty of nice things to bump into (the rabbit shrine, the secret door near X’Chotl), but the underground of the island is seriously lacking. Whereas in the Exile Lands there are always some cool caverns to explore with monsters and resources, the caves on Siptah range from mind-blastingly cool (Glowing Cavern, The Depths) to outright abysmal that borders on trolling (Fuming Cave). I won’t suggest to add dungeons since that’s the reason we have Vaults, but adding more caves with interesting resources and lore inside would be a great addition. The Depths, in particular, left me amazed; had the Sunken City had such an entrance, it would have been several times more amazing than it already is. This really drives home the sense of wonder and exploration that Conan gives, so that’s where I would concentrate.
Also, as many people have previously stated, this map is an RNG cringefest. It is SO grindy it’s not even funny. AFAIK, the only monster that can drop all the armor recipes is the Judge, a brick wall with a mountain of armor that hits like a train running on nuclear power. Even then, I think I killed him 4-5 times and it NEVER dropped a recipe. Seriously, guys, this is not fun, and it’s one of the main issues on Siptah as I’m sure someone has told you: the grinding takes FOREVER. The problem this map has is that, contrarily to the Exiled Lands, endgame level gear is locked behind RNG, whereas in the vanilla map you can find it at the end of a dungeon. This makes progression less fun and way, WAY more frustrating. To give you an idea, I spawned and killed over 20 Judges (20!) before getting 1 recipe. The average Judge loot looked something like this:
Compare it with the average loot that the Zombie boss in the Ruins of X’Chotl drops:
Keep in mind that the latter boss is A LOT easier to kill than the Judge. Sure, it doesn’t have the same loot table, but this is what a boss that I have traveled the whole map over to kill should drop. This DOES NOT mean that the zombie boss should be buffed and have its drop nerfed. Quite the contrary, THIS is how ALL bosses should be, especially when they are a tough nut to crack like the Judge (and why does the Judge drop stone?! There’s plenty of stone on the island, let us get good stuff from bosses, not basic resources).
Also there is no reason to gatekeep the recipes so much. A recipe is not the item, especially when it comes to armor: we still have to grind for hardened leather AFTER we have gotten the recipe. This is why getting the Silent Legion armor is much better: it is a reward for killing a boss, we then have to get the resources to craft it. The grind is in the crafting, NOT in the obtaining.
To make the map better would be “simple” really: all it needs is more content. I would personally add more interesting caves (again, Glowing Cavern and the Depths are a great idea. I thought the Fuming Cave was going to be the same, with gas instead of water, but it was only a dead end, which really irritated me). I know that more areas of the map and/or biomes are coming, but still, I would also concentrate on the underground, not just on the surface. The Depths in particular left me amazed; had the Sunken City had such an entrance, it would have been several times more amazing than it already is. This really drives home the sense of wonder and exploration that Conan gives, so that’s where I would concentrate.
The grinding is also one of the main problems. I would address it by either making the chances of dropping recipes something we can control in the server settings, flat out increasing them to the point where we have a 1/3 chance of dropping a recipe from strong bosses like the Judge, or making the most sought after recipes (Black Knight Armor comes to mind) more available through delving.
Having such a diverse group of dungeons is a massive feature. I love dungeon delving and seeing them all similar in visual style and yet different in layout and navigation is great. Some of them also have puzzles (such as the Harbor of the Drowned, where you have to collect the eggs in order to open the door), which is a great thing since it further diversifies them. Also secret passages and the like would be nice, just like in the Sanctuary of the Snakemen.
They sometimes feel too small. I know they are not supposed to be massive, but still. Also they are not consistent in their rewards: in some of them you can find MAYBE 1 legendary chest, while in others (Asylum of the Fiends comes to mind) there are always 3-4. This goes against what I said about the map: I can imagine experienced players fighting to set up their base there, since they can have a steadier influx of legendary items. The same goes with the Sanctuary of the Snakemen, where you can farm “Obsidian” weapons that deal a lot of damage compared to the items you can craft. This should NOT be encouraged in my opinion: every area of the map should be as neutral as possible in their rewards.
Also, while the Harbor of the Drowned has that cool puzzle, the solution to it is insultingly simple. I’m not saying that you should require players to solve the Einstein Riddle to access the final room of a Vault, but if you want to add puzzles to Vaults, please make them worth the trouble and not a mere nuisance that we have to go through: once again, I think exploration is key.
PS: PLEASE make the Decaying Eldarium inside chests tied to a multiplier we can change in the server settings, if possible. Or make Eldarium nodes that spawn inside vaults.
Normalize the loot inside of them, making it consistent between one another: no Vault should reward you with more stuff than the others. Also make them bigger, if possible: getting to the end should not be a trivial task, but rather a commitment. If you are afraid people might stop going there, improve the Decaying Eldarium gain by making it more likely to appear in chests (or add more rooms/chests).
Also, if the Vault has puzzles, make them more difficult and not something that is stupidly simple.
Mechanics- and lore-wise, it a phenomenal feature that I love. And it also looks ****ing amazing. Also the fact that meteors spawn only there makes it easy to understand and makes Star Metal more accessible.
Elder Things one-shotting any building piece is the main problem I have with it. Building in the Maelstrom should be difficult and reserved only for the most hardcore and foolhardy, but this makes it absolutely suicidal from an economic point of view. I get the design principle behind it: you can build your base closer to farm resources with convergence traps and you are closer than the others when the meteors land, but you get attacked by demons that can kick your ■■■. This is a great idea, but if demons can one-shot your T3 tower then the result is that NO ONE in their right mind would commit to building there, effectively robbing the map of 1/3 of its building surface. It should be CHALLENGING to build and maintain a base in there, but it should not be IMPOSSIBLE. This more so when you consider that you MUST build in the Maelstrom in order to make Siege Elder Things spawn.
Nerf the damage done by Elder Things to structures. They should be dangerous but not terminator-level engines of destruction. This alone should fix it and make building in the Maelstrom a more challenging but fair proposition. I get it that in order to make the map fair for everyone it should be difficult to do this, but it should still be possible since you are actually encouraging us to do so.
Well, mechanically they work and they are a great feature for creating PvP opportunities.
Oooh boy, where do we start… First off, PLEASE reduce the time it takes to convert Unstable ??? to Swirling Chaos: having to wait minutes before the Altar is ready is not fun.
Secondly, for the love of God, either reduce the number of Veterans and un-tameable thralls, or reduce their damage. Trying to solo these is a MASSIVE chore that requires epic-level gear for you and your thrall, makes you burn through 30+ potions, and you still die in mere moments if you get cornered somewhere. I get it, you don’t want to give us too many thralls, but if that is your goal, either nerf the existing Veterans, or create new, un-tameable thralls that don’t do nearly as much damage. Seriously, I summoned a T3 Caravan Surge the other day, and one wave was like 5 veterans and 2 T2 thralls. This is bad, infuriating, and NOT pleasant.
Thirdly, I would personally either reduce the cost of Decaying Eldarium needed to activate the stunning devices, or I would increase the amount given in Vaults. Better yet, tie it to a multiplier we can control.
Nerf the damage/amount of Veterans. This should make it more approachable to solo players, who simply cannot get T4 thralls all by themselves. Another idea could be to have Stun devices damage Veterans if you really, REALLY don’t want to nerf them.
BUILDING PIECES AND ARMOR
Nothing to say here, except that the armor and building sets look stunning. Stormglass is my favorite set ever and I have built a lot with it. Love it!
I am really enjoying IoS solo, although there are some aspects that deserve more polish and attention, though I don’t think it would take much to improve it overall.
I will end with a suggestion: many official servers are generally unplayable due to bad player behaviour. DO NOT make the same mistake with Siptah by leaving it be. If you do not want to go back to PvP Blitz (which was an awesome mode) or do not have the resources to monitor all of these servers, I would advise you to introduce in Siptah a server-clearing feature in the hands of the players: if players gain control of the tower, they can wipe the server clean and “win” the game. Tie it to a number that makes it impossible to scour the server before that amount of days has passed since the last scouring. This way, cheaters and griefers can be punished for their actions by the players themselves, and there is an actual “endgame” to look forward to. Tie it to a Steam achievement to encourage it (“Scour Siptah X/Y/Z times”), and you’re golden.
General Bugs I Encountered
- The game (at least for me) currently refuses to spawn Siege Elder Things in the Maelstrom, even with the required building pieces set to 0. This is clearly a bug and I have seen it reported elsewhere.
- It is currently impossible for me to get the head of ANY Siptah creature. This is also a bug that I have seen reported.
- The infamous bug that spawns empty chests inside Vaults. While I haven’t been getting it lately, getting to the end of a Vault and opening the final chest only to see it empty is INFURIATING. This is a really, REALLY bad bug, guys.