I’ve been thinking about what I hope to see from LE end game systems so would like to pen a post to share my thoughts and hopefully get some devs’ thinking on their philosophy. I want to begin by saying that I think deep and interesting end game systems are, IMO, important for the longevity of an ARPG. The other key element is promoting a vibrant ingame community and encouraging lots of player interaction. I think that’s the whole point of an online game and I believe the devs agreed as much when they explained why there were no plans to introduce player housing.
What led me to muse about this were the reflections as to why I have been losing interest in the current ARPG top dog, and my conclusion is that, increasingly, its end game systems serve to isolate players, putting barriers that discourage players interactions. Some examples of these would include the Atlas, Incursion Temples, Betrayal Board and the Memory Nexus in the current Synthesis league.
(Edit: for those who are not familiar with POE, what these endgame systems have in common is that they typically have their own progression. To use one of the simpler example, for incursion temples, you clear mini areas (11 times) and make choices in each mini area to shape a larger instance/dungeon (i.e the Incursion Temple). The issue here is that you can only activate these mini areas in instances you create, so friends who join you to play would not progress their own Temple. The other systems I mention work similarly, each system “progresses” towards a reward only in instances you create or host, so everyone is incentivised to “host” their own games).
While these systems are deep, they also forces you to focus on your own progress through these systems, which basically implies you are disincentivised to group with other players as each individual would want to make progress on their own Atlas, Nexus, etc.
I mention the above as an illustration of such end game systems. My question to the devs is not about POE’s systems specifically, but what they think of such end game systems in general. In a way, they can be seen as an extension of character/account customization but over the years, my sense is that the way they isolate players bring more harm than the interesting innovations they introduce. Or perhaps there are ways to balance the two?
I would love very much to hear from the devs how would LE’s end game systems avoid such pitfalls. And also from fellow travelers what you think of the points I raised.