One thing that happens everytime I level a new character recently is, that I have a very rocky transition from story to endgame modes regarding my gear.
Chapters 7+8 increase difficulty in a meaningful manner. But it’s still viable to focus more on damage than defensive stats. This means that when I finished the story, I am absolutely satisfied with my damage output. Next step would be to build up defences. And this is where I struggle with.
The stats on my gear are all over the place. Going for the mandatory resistance and CA / CB affixes results in gimping my damage massively.
Also it can be very tedious to balance all the stats. Because I usually don’t find gear that has the same combination of protections as the old gear I want to replace. For example I find new boots with the wanted set CB affix and movement speed and decent poison protection. My old boots have void and elemental protection, as well as vitality (dont know if this is a correct affix combination, but I think you get the point). Replacing the boots now messed up my whole defensive balance between the different damage types.
Before I get all this in the correct order by grinding for new gear with new balanced protection combinations, I get a lot weaker than before. I also would go that far and assert that I won’t get back to the damage potential before transition. I have to sacrifice damage affixes for defensive affixes. And there is no way to get that lost damage affixes back.
Right now I have 2 Sentinels where I refuse to build on my endgame protections, because they really have a very good damage output. I don’t want to mess them up. But I don’t get that many monolith streaks either because of the lack of defences.
The only way to get around this is to grind for new gear, but to not equip it untill I have everything gathered together and balanced in my stash.
What causes this in my opinion is that we have a lot of different damage types, in combination with a relatively small amount of affix slots. To get to the edge of maxing defences, we have to work hard for it in terms of planning which specific protection type has to be on a specific item. And even if we find that exact combination of 2 or even 3 affixes on the item of choice, the item may fracture during crafting.
Sometimes I find a really good item with nice stats and rolls. But that item does not fit into my build because it has the wrong affixes. Taking it into account would mean I have to replace 1-2 other items as well with other stat combinations to balance the new one. But I don’t have that 1-2 items at that moment. And while I farm for them I possibly create a chain reaction. So i go in circles without ever getting that exact combination I need.
In PoE for example you have way less different damage types. It’s not that hard to cap your resistances. During the story you get permanent resistance penalties, but they don’t hit that hard. If I find a better ring with the downside of less lightning resistance I don’t need to care that much. By replacing I maybe still capped or just slightly below the cap.
I don’t mean to say that this is the better system. But it is way easier to build a working defense and maintain that level when you start transitioning into endgame (it feels this way currently, although I have to admit that I don’t have a rich PoE experience).
I think there should be more ways to either build damage or defences to an endgame viable amount. But it feels way to punishing in mid to lategame. Actually there is no buffer to compensate the gear transition I mentioned above.
I think of adding more passive nodes like the CA in Paladin tree. Many classes have protection passives but they don’t have that much if an impact. These stats could help a lot because they could possibly compensate missing a specific protection or damage type on gear.
Maybe increasing the affix ranges so less affixes of a certain type are needed to get a viable amount of protections. This would make builds in general more tanky, but this could be compensated by adding increasing protection penetration on enemies.
Crafting is another point. The system is soooooo mighty as long as you are lucky and have the right bases. You can improve an item with nice stats very easily by just adding tiers. But you barely can transform an item with 2-3 good stats into an endgame viable item. Having “wrong” affixes needs you to gamble and remove a random stat. High potential to ruin you item. Building on an item with only 2 good stats will probably end in a fracture. So in no way you will “craft” an endgame item. You have to find an item that already has the exact stat combination you need with good tier rolls to have a small chance to get a t16-20 item.
I think this would not be that much if a problem when having 1-2 “bad” (non build fitting) affixes on a 4 affix item would not feel so bad. Or if we would have more control of crafting by choosing affixes we want to remove.
Fracturing items also feels to punishing imho. There should be a way to unfracture / disfracture (how do you call this?) an item. Another suggestion is to get rid of the whole fracture thing and use instability to increase the amount of shards needed for a successful crafting attempt. So an item with a high instability needs 10 shards of whatever to get from t4 to t5 with a 20% chance of success. Every crafting attempt adds instability and so increases the amount of shards. So if you fail your crafting attempt you would need 12 shards for another try. And so on…
I mixed the topics a bit, maybe, but the whole point is my problem with the gear transition. I don’t have a feeling of a positive progress when getting to endgame.
What are you guys thinking about this? Do you struggle, too? Do you feel different? Maybe I’m doing something fundamentally wrong and you have some nice tips for me.