Map Changes in 2.0.4

We've been working on a 2.0.4 patch for deployment late next week, before the One-month events start on the weekend.

This patch includes several changes related to the mapping end-game. We're keen to test them out in the one-month leagues and will gather data and feedback from players.

Map Drops
We've finished analysing map drops and usage from the Warbands and Tempest challenge leagues. Our conclusion was that map drops were slightly lower than we were happy with. We also noticed that many of the higher maps were being run through Zana rather than through actual dropped maps.

The 2.0.4 patch increases the rate of map drops to help with these two issues.

Map Difficulty
We have been examining the difficulty of maps, particularly regarding spikes of physical damage and the damage dealt by Act Four monsters. While we are relatively happy with the difficulty of the highest maps, the early maps suffer from spikes of damage that are too high. The damage dealt in the lowest two-thirds of maps is being reduced slightly. In addition, the damage dealt by Act Four monsters is being reviewed and problematic cases are being fixed in 2.0.4.

Map Symbol Colours
Previously, most maps had a yellow symbol. We've changed this colour to indicate whether maps are low-, medium- or high-tier. These groups specifically line up with the set of mods available to be rolled on the maps. For example, if the map has a red symbol, then the top mods are available. This also makes it easier to spot the relative tiers of maps in your stash.

Map Levels are now Tiers
There are 15 tiers of maps, from level 68 to 82 inclusive. We've struggled for ages with the confusion caused by this. Players expect to play maps of their level (which can be way too hard for them), or make arguments about that they're level 95+ and can't find a level 80 map. Players with backgrounds in contemporary MMORPGs expect to play content equivalent to their level.

In order to resolve this confusion, maps now display a tier rather than a level. The level can easily be calculated. Tier 1 is level 68 (or level 66 if it's an old map graphic).

As a side note, this makes it hard to distinguish between old (pre-Awakening) unique maps and their post-Awakening counterparts. It may be best to put them in different places in your stash.

Experience in Top Maps
Due to the increased levels of content in The Awakening and the ever-improving skill of our best players, people are reaching level 100 too quickly. Watching the intense challenge as players complete to reach this amazing accomplishment would be more fun for the community if it lasted longer. We want to make this change without affecting the regular levelling process.

There's an additional problem where the difference in experience between the highest tiers of maps is too large. The higher maps definitely need to grant more experience, but when an 82 map grants 35% more experience than a level 81 map, which grants 35% more experience than a level 80 map (and so on), then players really feel the pain of not sustaining the top maps. We wanted to reduce the difference between these upper tiers to more like 15%.

We have made some changes to the calculation of experience in level 77-82 maps. They now have effective experience levels (for the experience penalty calculation only) of 76.9, 77.7, 78.4, 79, 79.5 and 79.9 respectively. This achieves both of the above goals, while leaving all other players unaffected. It takes approximately twice as long to reach 100 from 99 as it did previously, and the difference in experience between the top-tier maps is around 15% per tier, rather than 35%. It's far less important to be running a level 82 map for experience than it was before.

Ground Effects in Maps
There's a lot of work still to do on ground effects. However, in 2.0.4, some changes have been made to how they spawn in maps. These changes have the following consequences:
  • Ground effects due to map mods now use significantly less server resources. This prevents problems occurring during times of peak player concurrency.
  • Ground effects due to map mods now use significantly less bandwidth, which will result in much less lockstep stuttering. They will also contribute far less towards being disconnected when coming through portals.

There's definitely more we need to do to improve the performance of ground effects (and much of the rest of the game), but these initial changes will hopefully have a positive impact. We're looking forward to seeing how much they help.

The 2.0.4 patch contains a few other things, such as new Divination Cards and bug fixes, but the bulk of work in this patch has gone towards the above map changes.

As they're in 2.0.4, these changes will apply to Standard/Hardcore and also the one-month events. We will get a solid set of data from these events, which we'll then be able to use to fine-tune the map system for subsequent events and challenge leagues.

We're expecting to post full details of the one-month events tomorrow.
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interesting...but finally, exp gained is being adjusted in response to time it takes to lvl 100, rather than drop rates!

also first :D
IGN: HowToMuteScion (STD) PotatoStarch (Tempest)
Last edited by libstayung on Sep 23, 2015, 11:03:07 PM
I like most of these changes, but I'm not sure confusing people into not being frustrated with their map progression is going to be effective. More map drops overall is good news, so I guess we'll see how these 'tiers' and the other changes work out in the one month races!
Last edited by Imprecision on Sep 23, 2015, 11:20:31 PM
Interesting, but still somewhat cloudy discussion of map drops. I still feel it needs more than just an adjustment of a few numbers to make mapping fun again.

EDIT: "Many of the higher maps were run through Zana"? How does that even work, Zana does't offer any high-level maps even at lvl 8...?
Remove Horticrafting station storage limit.
Last edited by Char1983 on Sep 23, 2015, 10:59:43 PM
Balance is an illusion, exile.
Riiiiight... so I can say bye to trying to lvl 100 at all. It was already quite a grind before. There was no challange at all involved in it. It just took long, and now it's going to take twice as much time? (from 99 to 100 at very least, don't feel like calculating differences on lower levels)
I have to say, sounds pretty freaking cool.
Can't wait to try it. Looks like a nice improvement.
grind to 100 was to easy imo
Finally :) Best news I've heard in awhile. Thanks GGG for (hopefully)fixing the horrendous map drop rates

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