So I’ve hit FoTM lvl 100 and I’d like to post some feedback. Unfortunately it is mostly negative because I believe the update actually made fractals worse in many respects. It seems to me like the fractal updates were rushed and as a result the quality suffered. There are a number of problems with the new system:
1. The Boon Fumbler instability (when you dodge roll, you lose all your boons) is just bad.
Fractals used to be one of the few places in the game where skill and knowledge of each specific encounter (boss attack tells, etc) mattered. Dodging mattered in most cases. Why would you punish skilled play? Becoming better at fractals is fun, being punished for applying skill is not. There are ways to reduce the effectiveness of dodging (see Mai Trin) other than a blanket ‘f*** you if you dodge’ rule. Suggestion: remove this instability and add specific boss mechanics at higher levels (if you must).
2. Huge health pools and nerfed boss damage make fractals tedious, boring and requiring less skill
This is related to the previous issue too. Mai Trin at lvl 100 hits for less than Mai Trin used to at lvl 50 before HoT. This makes skill and encounter knowledge less important, while making boss fights slow, boring and unfun. Why learn the boss attacks and mechanics when they don’t actually threaten to kill you? High level fractals (51+) were supposed to be even more challenging than the 40-50 tier we had before HoT, but most of them are not. Now some fractals are actually somewhat challenging, but many need to be balanced individually. I’d suggest you make some bosses (maybe depending on the level/intability) have high toughness but low vitality, wheres others have low toughness and high vitality, but not both.
But the biggest issue of all is this:
3. Once a player is done with their achievements, almost all fractals (esp. lvl 51+) become dead content for them.
Remember how the aquatic fractal before HoT was dead? For exactly the same reason almost all 51+ lvl fractals will be dead. The reason is that fractal rewards are tied to dailies, and the single 51+ daily will be completed by doing a combination of Swamp and Molten Duo fractals, because they are the quickest, just like how everyone used to roll for Swamp which meant they never did the Aquatic fractal. The game doesn’t reward you for doing the hard fractals at all. There absolutely need to be multiple specific lvl 51+ daily fractals. But even this will solve the issue only partially. Before HoT, in order to get the best rewards (at lvl 50 daily) you HAD to potentially do the hardest fractals in the game every day! There isn’t an equivalently hard + rewarding option now.
Edit: Further suggestion for a fix — add 4 more specific fractal island dailies, 2 randomly selected from the pool of levels 51-75 and 2 from 76-100. Make daily rewards scale with the fractal level and make these dailies give the best fractal rewards possible (even some unique rewards from the daily chest from these only). This will ensure people can’t get the best rewards (or at least as quickly) by only doing the easy fractals. Balance the 51+ fractals (read: make Swamp, Molten Duo and Jade Maw hard). The balancing will likely require mechanics/instability changes which unfortunately makes it unlikely.
I don’t have detailed statistics on how good the rewards from dailies are, but my feeling is that the rewards aren’t even as good as they were before HoT. I’ll just say that I’m happy I did the 40/50 dailies for the past year and a half before HoT so now I’ll never have to craft another ascended weapon or armor piece.
Let me know if I’ve missed or misinterpreted something.
Edit2: So here’s what Colin has announced in this article
In the short term, we need to take a look at iterating on some of the issues with rewards, XP, and potentially some scaling issues on the higher tiers of fractals.
(edited by Alphard.6529)