So after 1.1 and, as Josh said, a great scythe swiped over items & abilities and "reworked" encounters (I think most people would only ever remember the boars, panthers and dragons living happily together) I began another playthrough with 1+3 custom characters, not very optimized and mostly some fun builds, PoTD+all level scaling, only up.
The beginning was promising and game began reminding me of Tyranny on highest difficulty - people who played it probably know that final fight in prologue there was supah difficult, although then it just fell down.
So I began using actual healing spells, switch weapons to fit enemy armor. I explored just 25% of the world map, and due to even more xp gains from monsters, and overall enormous amount of xp you gain for quests and such, hit level 15 (!) and almost abandonded the playthrough again. I only kept going to check on possibly reworked encounters, but so far only few were tweaked (the prologue, engwithan titan and it's dungeon was, for sure, gullet dungeon a bit, some random redskulls were placed - a few); most encounters, secondary & faction locations, bounties, mini-dungeons were not touched and are just as easy as they were.
So here's the thing. Player abilities got cut in half, all items got Sid Meier'd "cut everything 50% and see what happens", yet the game is still too easy.
Well, a few points.
By cutting on player abilities, you also affect enemies. For example, enemy fighters are not an unkillable fortresses anymore due to Unbending nerfed. Rogues are still the only ones which can 2-shot your characters, while others don't seem as strong.
The items and stacking, sure, may have affected some powah builds, but ideally you should actually balance endgame for player having some high tier items, not just turning them all to worthless junk.
But here's the thing. No matter how much you plug the holes, the ship continues leaking. Why?
Because PoE leveling system is simply not balanced for an open world game.
a) You gain XP too fast.
b) Levels are everything, and accuracy is everything. Most of your potential, comes from levels, just like in PoE1. Where after first big city, game became super easy.
Baldur's Gate countered this somewhat with the flat AD&D leveling system, where after particular level, gains did not matter as much ("you leveled up. you gain +1 to saving throws and +1 hit point"). Also some classes were hard to level up (Druids and their 13 to 14 leveling).
And I think PoE2 should have done this during development too, compared to basically linear PoE1.
So, why not do something like this now?
Without MODS WILL FIX IT agenda, I think 2 things should happen (at least maybe on Veteran/PoTD):
1) Without touching much on XP rewards, it's probably possible to make higher levels require more xp. Most players I've read feel that levels 1-8 are fine, since you need to get them quickly to feel like you well played 1st game. The difficulty during these levels is also pretty good.
So I'd keep these levels as they are.
Then there is a particular something about going from level 9 to 12 or so. I felt it and many others said that "after level 12" (which is when player vacuum cleans Neketaka) people become overpowered. So maybe this should get 25-30% or so increased xp requirement.
Finally, going from level 12 to 20 should give diminishing returns. So the further you are, the more xp you need to gain these levels.
2) At some level, character system should create sort of "plateau" (like levels 8-12 in IE games), and your accuracy and defences, as well as hit points gains, should diminish. Naturally it's same for the enemies. That way, most of Deadfire populaton, which primarely consists of low level critters and various pirate goons won't explode the moment you click on them.
Or, you know, maybe scale everything +10/-10. But many believe that level scaling is cancer etc.
Naturally, there should also be more high level content. There are nearly not enough strong creatures and crazy encounters in the game, which we haven't seen in PoE1, and many were just copypasted from it or White March.
I played up to level 18 after all the super patching, and it's same story as ever - at some point, enemies simply cease to be any threat, and begin exploding from your dudes armed with better weapons, or simply die to a single empowered spell... all while you barely touched second half of the game. Oops.
Edited by Shadenuat, 09 June 2018 - 02:48 PM.