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Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem out of Early Access

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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,931
593
126
I reached the end of Act I and had a bunch of issues on the boss. Turns out that my build was pretty much complete garbage. Well, I had a few good talents, but I think I was too much in the Diablo mindset where I tried focusing on a stat because that's "the stat" for my type. I redid both my attributes and my passives, and without any gear changes, I was able to face-tank the boss with my health going as low as 50% at one point, but not usually below 80%. The one thing that I spent a while looking for is... what are arguably the most useful non-stat passives? Of course, some builds or play styles may prefer one over the other, but having a good idea of what works as a defensive passive and what works as an offensive passive would be helpful. I think part of my problem early on is that I didn't really grab any defensive passives. The only complaint that I have about my new build is that I lack movement speed passives, so I feel so much slower! Anyway, I used this build, and went down to Siegebreaker and am now going over to Warmonger.

The one thing that I have a hard time "accepting" about the game is how the different armor types -- which don't seem to truly matter outside of certain passives -- are differentiated based upon one main stat. I guess it's the idea of losing health for all resist just feels odd even though all resist is technically part of my eHP. I guess it goes back to that Diablo mindset again!
 

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,007
255
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I went full glass cannon mage until I hit the act 1 boss. I had to redo all my skill points and pick Toughness as my primary because he could kill me in one or two hits. After I redistributed my points, I killed him on the first try.

Does anyone know if you can farm bosses though? I've ran through older areas on Offline mode and didn't see a single boss that I killed previously. Even named enemies are gone, so I'm guessing you're forced to never grind and only progress and hope for the best, which I'm currently not a fan of.

Edit: I've played about 13 hours so far and I can definitely see that this game has potential, but it's currently being seen in a very bad light due to a lot of blatant and glaring issues that the devs should have caught WAY before they released this from early access. At this point, it's a waiting game to see how long it takes the devs to jump in and start fixing these issues. Grim Dawn had a similar (though more polished) release but they were churning out patches constantly after the 1.0 release. So far, I'm not entirely sure there have been any patches for this game yet but I'm willing to give the devs a month to see how they handle all the negative reviews and bug reports.
 
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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,931
593
126
So, I'm finally in Act III, and awkwardly enough, I had more problems with some randomly spawned boss in Act II than I did with the end boss of the act. It was in that ravaged town after doing the Vault of Truth where I had to fight a boss-level shaman lady. She wasn't hard by herself, but what made her more difficult than pretty much any boss that I fought is that she didn't just summon normal adds... she summoned champion adds. That was made even worse by how one of the adds had a whirlwind move that could move faster than me and lasted longer than for which I could dodge. That whirlwind move would kill me in just a few seconds, so I had to be really careful with it. Of course, I got absolute garbage for killing the boss, and it definitely wasn't worth dying 5-10 times.

I'm not sure if this is just a product of my lower level, but one thing that I've noticed is that there are very few good weapon drops in this game. The problem seems to be with secondary damage types, and how they can seemingly roll as minor sources of damage (e.g. a weapon has 40-50 physical and 5-10 fire) or major sources of damage (e.g. a weapon has 40-50 physical and 25-35 fire). My current weapon is one of the latter, and the sheer difference is damage is enormous compared to most other weapons that I find, which are like the prior.

Edit: I've played about 13 hours so far and I can definitely see that this game has potential, but it's currently being seen in a very bad light due to a lot of blatant and glaring issues that the devs should have caught WAY before they released this from early access. At this point, it's a waiting game to see how long it takes the devs to jump in and start fixing these issues. Grim Dawn had a similar (though more polished) release but they were churning out patches constantly after the 1.0 release. So far, I'm not entirely sure there have been any patches for this game yet but I'm willing to give the devs a month to see how they handle all the negative reviews and bug reports.
I think there was a patch this past Friday, but I don't recall the patch list being very long. I only sort of breezed over it, but the issue there might be that there's likely little indication that a patch occurred given that you'd have to see it in the Steam downloads list, and check the news.

In regard to issues, I think the game certainly has some awkward choices that I'm not sure work well from a design perspective. One of the more glaring issues is likely the Aspects of Annihilation. I recall when I got the option to select my first one, and naturally, after having to reset my talents, I wanted to make an informed decision on which of the four to select. Well, the Internet had a prevailing opinion that all aspects were fairly useless with the exception of movement or reviving allies. I also saw complaints that these were supposed to be oriented around your play style, but ended up becoming a simple choice mechanism.

Although, my complaint about Aspects has nothing to do with those. The biggest issue with Aspects is that their implementation provides no guarantee. You have to charge up the Aspect bar by attacking (or getting the white orbs), and then you can use it whenever you want. The lack of a guarantee means you cannot have any real reliance on the ability. If you can't rely on what should serve as a sort of MOBA-like Ultimate ability, then what's the point of even having it?
 

ewdotson

Golden Member
Oct 30, 2011
1,277
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I finished the campaign a couple of nights ago. This is arguably a silly grump for an arpg, but the ending cinematic was … unsatisfying. As in, I literally went to youtube to make sure I hadn't accidentally cancelled it partway through somehow. Should you find yourself in the same boat, I'll go ahead and assure you now that no. That really was it.

Anyways, I don't really regret buying the game, but I think I'm done with it for now. Maybe I'll check and see where it's at after I get bored with the next PoE league.
 
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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,931
593
126
I finished the campaign a couple of nights ago. This is arguably a silly grump for an arpg, but the ending cinematic was … unsatisfying. As in, I literally went to youtube to make sure I hadn't accidentally cancelled it partway through somehow. Should you find yourself in the same boat, I'll go ahead and assure you now that no. That really was it.

Anyways, I don't really regret buying the game, but I think I'm done with it for now. Maybe I'll check and see where it's at after I get bored with the next PoE league.
I can certainly understand that sentiment. The story hasn't exactly been the best part of the game. It definitely seems like they're trying to draw parallels to Diablo, but the difference is that Diablo presents an overarching story where you're a sort of pawn in the game. On the other hand, Wolcen tries to present a story where you're a main actor in the story, which includes all of the personal stakes (Val, Heimloch, Edric, etc.) that you'd have. However, I don't think the writing was done well enough to really present that very well.

Although, I don't regret buying the game either. I'm still having fun for what it is, but I certainly won't pretend that it's a game without flaws. However, I will admit that I've been looking at Torchlight II again to see all the new/update mods that have come out since I last played the game about 6+ years ago.
 

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,007
255
126
I reached the end game and flushed out Stormfall with all the upgrades as well as ran some solo 140 expeditions. It's fun and definitely has potential, but the game needs some work. Just a few points I can think of off the top of my head:

- The dialogue doesn't match the voices half the time (changed the script but never transcribed it into readable dialogue).
- Heimlock's pauses between sentences seem to take an eternity and some of the other character's speeches don't flow normally - they feel as if they listened to the dialogue and edited pieces together instead of having them re-record their lines.
- The story itself is decent but it feels like they cut out massive chunks just to rush out a 1.0 or consolidate it into just 3 acts. I get the feeling they are going to try and sell us the rest of the game instead of giving it for free, but I could be wrong (I hope I am).
- The names of everything feel really out of place for some reason. The "Svriir" for instance just sounds completely silly in both trying to pronounce it and hearing it spoken in-game. Grim Dawn does an outstanding job of having unique names that completely fit the lore and atmosphere.
- The bugs and glitches are far too numerous, though not game breaking as the game itself is pretty easy (even on high level expeditions). All the screeching on the Steam discussions seem to revolve around broken skills being nerfed (ie. balanced).
- The act bosses desperately need to be reworked. As in, scrap everything about them and start over. The second act boss was pretty fun but it's far too easy for the type of boss it's supposed to be. Also, the enemy variety is desperately lacking.
- One single town is fine but it should be expanded as you progress and maybe make Demetra less moody as you progress (or just get rid of her personality altogether).
- I really enjoyed the skill system how you find/buy skills and level them up as you use them but most of the upgrades as you level were bland. As if the upgrade system was an afterthought so they just Ctrl C/Ctrl V everything and called it a day.
- I also really enjoyed the passive skill system with being able to rotate the tree to link skills that otherwise would require complicated pathing. It adds a new layer to being able to completely customize your character however you want.

To be honest, I didn't play the early access for Wolcen but I played the hell out of early access Grim Dawn and looking back on some of the old forum posts that people have linked here and there, it's blatantly obvious to see which dev team listened to the player feedback and which did not. I also think that where Wolcen is now would have been a great spot to leave alpha and go into beta with some die-hard testing. Maybe if they had thrown out a decent sale and asked for player support for testing, they could have released a truly great game later this year, but right now it's a bit of a let down. It's fun, but it needs a lot of work and from what I've seen, the developers have been oddly silent since the release.

In conclusion, buy it on sale but wait until this time next year to give it a try.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,931
593
126
I've only just started the "end game" myself as I beat Act III. I also understand @ewdotson 's awkward response to the ending now!

The dialogue doesn't match the voices half the time (changed the script but never transcribed it into readable dialogue).
I noticed this in a few spots, but it didn't seem to be that bad. There were some weird cases like I remember the written dialog saying "she" and the spoken dialog saying "her" -- or possibly the reverse. The dialog being off definitely seemed to happen more toward the end rather than at the beginning.

The story itself is decent but it feels like they cut out massive chunks just to rush out a 1.0 or consolidate it into just 3 acts. I get the feeling they are going to try and sell us the rest of the game instead of giving it for free, but I could be wrong (I hope I am).
Last I heard, all content updates are meant to be free. However, I also heard that they've shifted their focus away from prioritizing content and toward bug fixes, balancing, etc. Supposedly, upcoming content updates should include updates to the Stormfall building and a potential Act IV.

Overall, the story was kind of... eh, and that's ignoring the lack of an Act IV. For me, it seemed like they wanted to focus heavily on the characters, but the characters lacked a lot of depth for that to really work. It doesn't help that you are supposed to be the third protagonist, but it's not like you have any say in how the story unfolds. It also doesn't help that the story's writing lacks the proper setup to take the path that they took.

The names of everything feel really out of place for some reason. The "Svriir" for instance just sounds completely silly in both trying to pronounce it and hearing it spoken in-game. Grim Dawn does an outstanding job of having unique names that completely fit the lore and atmosphere.
I find that this is an issue in some games with the obsession over using proper names rather than simpler names. When talking about that, I usually bring up Final Fantasy XIII and its weird names like fal'Cie and l'Cie. When you read a synopsis of the story, it just makes no real sense, and the goofy names are making it worse. In Wolcen... I didn't really care that much. If we're talking about ridiculous things, I think the silly Warhammer-esque armor was a bit more ridiculous.

One single town is fine but it should be expanded as you progress and maybe make Demetra less moody as you progress (or just get rid of her personality altogether).
If we're going to complain about someone in Stormfall, how about the lady that's hacking/coughing during Act III? I was really tempted to turn off sound effects just to address that issue.

- I really enjoyed the skill system how you find/buy skills and level them up as you use them but most of the upgrades as you level were bland. As if the upgrade system was an afterthought so they just Ctrl C/Ctrl V everything and called it a day.
- I also really enjoyed the passive skill system with being able to rotate the tree to link skills that otherwise would require complicated pathing. It adds a new layer to being able to completely customize your character however you want.
There's one thing that I think doesn't work well about these systems, and that would be their effect on gear. One thing that I've noticed is that the gear in the game is... not very interesting. I think this mostly comes from playing Diablo III in how the gear in the game can completely change how an ability works, and depending on your gearing, change the way you play. It's a way to spice up gameplay outside of permanent game changes. Although, as a quick note, Diablo III had a huge issue for the longest time where set bonuses were almost required for end-game progression. They've tweaked that enough with that no-set gem, but I digress. It seems like the effects that you'd normally find on pieces of gear have been placed on passives instead, which limits the gear to be far less interesting. I'm at the point where I'm mostly just looking for better stats as there really isn't any specific pieces that I'd like to find... and that's not very interesting.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,931
593
126
So, the one thing that I haven't warmed up to are the maps. I guess the biggest thing for me is that I'm still upgrading Stormfall, so it becomes a constant drain on my money. Consequently, I like to pick up a good amount of loot. When either using a map or picking up a quest from the map, you cannot teleport back into town. Another bigger problem for me is the enemy level in the maps. I'm currently level 55, and I've been using maps ranging from 51-55; however, the enemies in the spawned zone are level 40. This not only means that they're easy, but they also give low experience and drop weak loot.

I don't know if the game is like Diablo III where you get tons of money as you're able to complete higher difficulty content, but I think I'm still stuck at the single difficulty right now as the other difficulty selection option is locked out. I'm also trying to get an idea about resistances and the "sweet spot" where they don't scale much anymore. I'm around 60%+ for each type, and I definitely don't seem to gain much if I add more.
 

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,007
255
126
I went with a toxic AoE caster that causes everything to explode around me (ridiculously OP and broken right now) but I took a Siegebreaker (far outer red ring) major node - Salvatory Anchor - and changed both my chest and helm to Bruiser pieces and everything else to Heavy (pure resistances). Coupled with my Bulwark of Dawn with the resistance buff modifier, not only can nothing hurt me except bosses, but when I cast Bulwark of Dawn, I'm damn near invincible while dealing massive sacred damage to anything dumb enough to get close to me (who then also explode and deal massive poison damage).

As far as the maps, you just have to keep slogging through them with as many modifiers as possible and keep going further without returning to town. You get the trade shrine at the end of the map to sell off what you've picked up but for the lower levels, I found it highly useful to enable the Untainteds, that way you don't worry about picking up loot at all. Not to mention, if you just rush through the map, you'll end up with a better rank and better rewards (I usually received at least one legendary each time I kill the boss) as well as a small "lootsplosion" after you receive your reward. The only problem with activating Untainteds, is you cannot go further down so you're stuck to just doing one run at a time.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,931
593
126
I took a Siegebreaker (far outer red ring) major node - Salvatory Anchor - and changed both my chest and helm to Bruiser pieces and everything else to Heavy (pure resistances). Coupled with my Bulwark of Dawn with the resistance buff modifier, not only can nothing hurt me except bosses, but when I cast Bulwark of Dawn, I'm damn near invincible while dealing massive sacred damage to anything dumb enough to get close to me (who then also explode and deal massive poison damage).
Hm, the build that I'm using has that passive, but it uses them with the Heavy pieces for more resistance. Is the Bruiser's bonus HP regen that much better? Right now, most of my sustain comes from HP leech. The only downside is that the game only restores leeched HP on HP regen tick, which can feel like quite the eternity if you're taking a lot of damage. I was going to use Juggernaut for my last ability, which I haven't unlocked yet. (I'm not a huge fan of having to unlock the last ability slot via building the town.) Although, I'm thinking about subbing out a damage ability that I don't really use much (the hook one) for Juggernaut. Honestly, I don't really die much at all... unless I stand in some crazy AoE. Although, the hard part is that most attacks don't seem to hurt me much, so sometimes, I'm being a bit overzealous without knowing how deadly an attack actually is.

As for other gear, I tend to do a mix between Heavy and other pieces. Like I'll have one shoulder be Heavy and the other be a Bruiser. I do the same with my gauntlets too. I usually go with Rogue pants just because I want the movement speed. I have that one passive that makes you move slower (I'm really not too big of a fan of the movement speed penalty on it) and I can use any movement speed that I can get! (It's really just boots and pants.) One other issue that I tend to run into with gear is that it's so easy to get a nice piece that's marred by a single attribute. (Yeah, I know that's common in ARPGs.) It's a bummer when you look at a pair of boots with Wisdom and think, "That would be great if it was just Movement Speed!"

As far as the maps, you just have to keep slogging through them with as many modifiers as possible and keep going further without returning to town. You get the trade shrine at the end of the map to sell off what you've picked up but for the lower levels, I found it highly useful to enable the Untainteds, that way you don't worry about picking up loot at all. Not to mention, if you just rush through the map, you'll end up with a better rank and better rewards (I usually received at least one legendary each time I kill the boss) as well as a small "lootsplosion" after you receive your reward. The only problem with activating Untainteds, is you cannot go further down so you're stuck to just doing one run at a time.
Well, I think the biggest bummer was the enemy level in the maps. It just seemed odd that a level 50-55 map would spawn level 40 enemies. I went to try the untainted thing, and I ran into the same problem... he was a level 40 enemy and all of my loot was for level 40. I've been mostly doing Mandates because they're actually at my level.

Although, I ran into a problem earlier where an enemy spawned under the ground. It appears that the level has some terrain that's really meant to be the background as it's inaccessible to the player, but perhaps the enemy is allowed to spawn on it? I've also seen that same problem with high ground as well. Enemies will spawn up there, but fortunately, I can usually still attack them.

EDIT:

With some Googling, it looks like I figured out the map issue. Essentially, to level up the Expeditions, you must complete all three levels of the expedition. Actually, you have to complete Adept at level 40 first to unlock Veteran, which also starts at level 40. Then you have to beat that one to unlock level 43... and I'm assuming it keeps climbing from there. I'm not sure how I feel about this system. It's probably not too bad since it really just means you need to do them every three levels to keep up the pace.
 
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Printed Circuit Bro

Senior member
Jan 21, 2020
411
84
61
So, the one thing that I haven't warmed up to are the maps. I guess the biggest thing for me is that I'm still upgrading Stormfall, so it becomes a constant drain on my money. Consequently, I like to pick up a good amount of loot. When either using a map or picking up a quest from the map, you cannot teleport back into town. Another bigger problem for me is the enemy level in the maps. I'm currently level 55, and I've been using maps ranging from 51-55; however, the enemies in the spawned zone are level 40. This not only means that they're easy, but they also give low experience and drop weak loot.

I don't know if the game is like Diablo III where you get tons of money as you're able to complete higher difficulty content, but I think I'm still stuck at the single difficulty right now as the other difficulty selection option is locked out. I'm also trying to get an idea about resistances and the "sweet spot" where they don't scale much anymore. I'm around 60%+ for each type, and I definitely don't seem to gain much if I add more.
Weird. When you're selecting a map and choosing veteran, there's supposed to be a level range just below to choose from. You have to run those successfully to unlock the next level range above, just like doing nephelem rifts in Diablo3.

It's weird if you're doing that and it's still giving you level 40 enemies. So strange that you found a bug in this wonderful game :p
 

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,007
255
126
Is the Bruiser's bonus HP regen that much better?
When I first got the skill, my HP regen was around 60ish. When I equipped two Bruiser pieces (chest and helm), my regen shot up past 4,000. Tossing in Bulwark of Dawn which starts HP regen is what matters most for Salvatory Anchor so if you're not using a skill that procs HP regen, then you'll only notice a difference when you've retreated from the battle when the regen normally goes into effect.

Although, I ran into a problem earlier where an enemy spawned under the ground. It appears that the level has some terrain that's really meant to be the background as it's inaccessible to the player, but perhaps the enemy is allowed to spawn on it? I've also seen that same problem with high ground as well. Enemies will spawn up there, but fortunately, I can usually still attack them.
Yeah this is a known issue for maps and even little side areas where you have to kill all the enemies. It happened a lot in Act 3 where enemies would spawn behind a wall and run off trying to find a way around to you. Luckily as an AoE caster, I was able to kill most of them, but there's a deadzone for the Y axis, so if they are really far under the map, you'll never hit them - even if it looks like they are right underneath you. It's one of the things I hope the devs tackle soon because it appears to be one of the common complaints from people.

With some Googling, it looks like I figured out the map issue. Essentially, to level up the Expeditions, you must complete all three levels of the expedition. Actually, you have to complete Adept at level 40 first to unlock Veteran, which also starts at level 40. Then you have to beat that one to unlock level 43... and I'm assuming it keeps climbing from there. I'm not sure how I feel about this system. It's probably not too bad since it really just means you need to do them every three levels to keep up the pace.
Sorry, I meant to type this out but I'm not sure why I didn't. There's a lot in this game that you're forced to figure out on your own because the devs didn't bother to give us a proper tutorial on anything.

There's a lot about this game that is a great concept, but the developers didn't invest enough time into testing or expanding. The Aspects of Apocalypse is a pretty cool concept that fell flat on its face when you realize that the giant being you transform into, isn't as powerful as the game makes them seem to be. The only time I ever use them is when I'm bored and I realize that my AoA bar has been full for a few hours and completely unused, or when I'm teleporting into a questionable fight and need an easy "Oh S***" button in case I get overwhelmed. I think I'm done with the game for now but it'll be fun to see what it looks like towards the end of this year.
 

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