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Armor tweaks and avoiding "The new hotness"


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I really love the fact that new armors are being introduced into Grounded on a consistent basis. With so many bugs it's not a wonder since there is so much inspiration. My only issue is that with a live service type game like this, that is ever evolving there is the potential for things to get designed into a corner. I call this "the new hotness" effect. Basically a lot of games put out new weapons and armor, and to incentive them, they make them increasingly stronger and better than previous armors. This makes sense as a long time player might want a reason to validate going through whatever steps are necessary to get the new armor, and also wants a reason to have it. Some people are completionists and will go for the new item regardless, but long time players might want a reason to replace the top tier armor they already own. And that is the problem. If you keep going that route you end up making it harder to introduce new armors and weapons that are significantly better or fill a role while also rendering older armors obsolete. Consequently you also make new players feel pretty crappy for owning anything that isn't "the new hotness". Grounded hasn't hit that level yet, but for me I see some of these things already happening. Things like the Spider armor used to be the new hotness. Then it was the Ladybug armor. It used to be the Antlion armor and now it's the Roly Poly armor. Or Termite maybe? I'm not saying there won't be top tier armors ever. That is understandable.  But older armors should be viable and necessary. Some times this happens. For example, regardless of the new hotness you NEED the Antlion armor to get past certain sections or explore them effectively or else you'll suffer the effects of the plain old hotness without its sizzle protection. That's good! But not every armor is getting that attention.

The other issue for me is having bonuses only apply to full sets, with partial sets receiving nothing. I totally understand this, but in some cases it makes whole suits of armor invalid. Mixing and matching anything with a gas mask means you lose a ton of bonuses in the Haze. Adding a diving helmet to anything does the same in the pond. This feels limiting. Why not have a partial bonus based on the number of pieces the player has with a full bonus and perk gained from a full set? This would open up build options for places like the Haze and Pond, while also benefitting new players that are trying to build a new set. If they can't build it all at once they can still wear it and receive a bonus.

I have some suggestions to try to make it so older armors can still be viable and in rotation, if not outright necessary. 

  • Acorn Armor: This is the opposite of the new hotness right? This is like Fisher Price level armor. But the first time you got it you stopped feeling naked and afraid. It should still be viable! I would make a tweak where if you are by the Oak tree this armor offers camo. If you're by the Oak tree where acorns are plentiful and an enemy appears, standing completely still will make you seem like just another nut and they will not attack you. For anyone foraging near the tree it would be great to allow you to explore and gather without fighting. And for new players it would give them a gameplay mechanic that allows them to avoid combat while being absolutely terrified of getting caught. Red light, green light level fear. The less damaged your armor the better the camo, with the acorn armor being especially susceptible to fall damage, and battle damage almost completely breaking it.  
  • Spider Armor: This used to be very useful but with the Quickness being a separate perk and better armors arriving it has fallen down. And it's one of the hardest challenges to get at first. How about a reworking? Instead of just quickness, and spiders not attacking you, what if wearing the armor also caused other bugs to fear you? In combat they would be more prone to run from you instead of maintaining aggro. This would make it viable for other uses. Or maybe instead of sticking to webbing in the field, you bounce off of it like a trampoline. That could make exploring spider laden sections more fun and interesting. 
  • Koi Armor: Why this armor does not help you swim faster or have something related to the Pond itself is beyond me. It should be the go to armor in the pond. It feels odd donning it anywhere just for perfect block. I'm not entirely sure how to rework this but as it stands the diving bell helmet and a pair of flippers is the best armor choice in the pond and it offers no protection, but is still absolutely necessary to wear. Whereas this Koi armor seems niche in every area, and obsolete in the pond. Maybe a combo of swimming and breathing underwater that is not as good as the diving helmet and flippers but with the added plus of great damage resistance against those annoying diving bell spiders?

I understand there will always be something better and that having different armor tiers is a good way to give players something to work up to. I just feel that regardless of tier, each set should provide something, whether in terms of perks, ease of procurement, or  maintenance that keep them viable and useful as the game adds new items and evolves. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very good suggestions. At the moment, the Rolly-Polly armor is my go to armor.....except, I'm an archer. So off goes the RP helmet and on goes the sharpshooter hat, feather and all. But.....wouldn't it had been better to have a full archer armor that could be upgraded for better defense latter in the game, as well as accuracy and speed? Each tier could either increase these stats or add another feature like camouflage.  Red ant armor is still NEEDED. I refuse to run back and forth, back and forth, carrying only 5 weed stems at a time. But have you ever been trotting down a path with a full load of weed stems and came to a dead halt, eyeball to eyeball, with a Wolf Spider? And couldn't stab the keyboard fast enough to open inventory so you could change your armor in time? So......as you're picking up all those stems that went flying into the air before the heart attack, you're probably thinking.......sure wish that brand new Black Ant Armor had included a lot more hauling capacity and way more defense instead of......what? Can't remember? Probably still gathering dust at your base. :)  Yep. This needs a bit of a re-think. :) 

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