In the Forbidden Sanctum expansion, we're making a number of changes to Eldritch Altars, specifically to their rewards, the monster packs they spawn and the incentives for rushing to map bosses before completing the rest of the map. In addition, we are adding a chance for Maven-witnessed Map Bosses to drop an Awakened Gem (inclusive of the Awakened Gems that are typically exclusive to Maven herself). The overarching aim of these changes is to try to reach a point where the choice between running Maven-witnessed Maps or Eldritch Influence Maps is closer in value while still retaining the gameplay feeling you've come to expect from Eldritch Altars.
- Altars no longer offer some reward types like gems, influenced items, unique items or maps.
- The "Basic Currency" reward has been split up into specific currency rewards. For example, they now have "Map Boss Drops Three Vaal Orbs" instead of "Map Boss Drops Three Basic Currency Items".
- Altars no longer offer some basic rewards like Orbs of Augmentation, Orbs of Transmutation, Blacksmith's Whetstones, Armourer Scraps etc.
- Currency drop weights are still adhered to for these rewards so with the removal of basic rewards, you'll see good currency a lot more often.
- Scarabs and Divination Cards have also been split into specific rewards. For example, rather than simply "Divination Cards", you'll now see things like "Divination Cards which reward Unique Jewellery".
- These specific rewards will be split so that they're exclusive to one Altar type, to allow target farming of these rewards.
- Scarabs are offered a lot less from Altars, but we don't want them to be too scarce as a whole. To help balance this out, we're adding Rusted Scarabs to the core drop pool.
- We're also adding a vendor recipe that can be used to upgrade Scarabs between tiers using the usual 3:1 ratio (up to Gilded Scarabs). We are also adding an 'Upgrade' button in the Fragment Stash Tab that can upgrade your Scarabs, like the one in the Essence tab.
- The amount of Influence Packs spawned by Altars has been reduced by 33% but the chance of Influence Altars spawning has been increased by 50% to offset this.
- We are making changes so that Altar choices that affect Boss Drops or Influenced Monster Drops are comparably valuable.
- We've redesigned the Wrath of the Cosmos keystone.
- We've changed the Wrath of the Cosmos and Eldritch Gaze keystones to only apply in maps affected by their respective influence.
- Not directly related to Altars, but related to the choice of what type of influence you run on your maps, we are adding a chance for Maven-witnessed Map Bosses to drop an Awakened Gem, inclusive of the Awakened Gems that are typically exclusive to Maven herself.
Altar RewardsEldritch Altars are currently too rewarding, so much so that they create a disincentive for any out-of-map gameplay unless it is comparably rewarding. We've lightly nerfed their total rewards and updated them in various other ways that we'll outline below. While it is fair to say that you can no longer min-max into rewards in such an extreme way, they will still be quite rewarding.
We have removed some reward types from the choices available at Altars, such as duplicate gems, influenced items, unique items, gems and maps. This means that other reward types will take their place and naturally be more common.
Altars no longer offer a choice for "Basic Currency" but instead offer choices for specific currency. For example, instead of seeing Altars that say "Map Boss Drops Three Basic Currency Items", you'll now see Altars that say things like "Map Boss Drops Three Vaal Orbs". Currency Rewards from Influenced Minions no longer drop in stacks larger than 1.
Some of the more common but very low value rewards such as Orbs of Augmentation, Orbs of Transmutation, Blacksmith's Whetstones, Armourer Scraps, etc can no longer be offered as part of the Basic Currency reward.
Similarly, instead of offering choices for Scarabs or Divination Cards as a category, they're now more specific. For example, rather than simply "Divination Cards", you'll now see things like "Divination Cards which reward Unique Jewellery".
These specific Currency, Scarab and Divination Card rewards will be split so that they're exclusive to one Altar type. This means that if you're targeting a specific reward type, you'll be able to figure out which influence type to invest into in order to farm that reward.
The rewards that still remain are Currency, Scarabs, Divination Cards, Duplicate (Currency, Uniques, Scarabs, Maps, Divination Cards) and Quantity / Rarity.
To give you a specific example, if you run maps influenced by the Eater of Worlds, you'll see Divine Orbs from the 'Basic Currency Reward' more than twice as often as before.
On the whole, Scarabs will be offered a lot less than before from Altars. However, we don't want them to be too scarce in general. As such, we're adding Rusted Scarabs to the core drop pool. We are also adding a vendor recipe that can be used to upgrade Scarabs between tiers using the usual 3:1 ratio (up to Gilded Scarabs). We are adding an 'Upgrade' button in the Fragment Stash Tab that can upgrade your Scarabs in this way, similar to the upgrade function in the Essence Stash Tab.
Boss RushingPlayers currently have an incentive to skip past all regular map monsters and kill the map boss first. The motivation for doing so is that Altars which offer rewards affecting the map boss are less desirable. By killing the boss first, you eliminate these options from your map altars, which makes them more rewarding.
This is one of those cases where the most efficient and rewarding gameplay strategy undermines the expected gameplay loop and encourages players to do things that aren't really fun.
We are making a few numerical changes to Altar rewards so that choices that affect Boss Drops or Influenced Monster Drops are more comparably valuable, though Boss Drop rewards will be slightly better on average than Eldritch Minion rewards.
Altar Monster PacksThe amount of Influence Packs spawned by Eldritch-Influenced Maps has been reduced by around a third but the chance of Influence Altars spawning has been increased by about half to somewhat offset this. We're making this change to add some variance to Altar gameplay. Previously, Eldritch-Influenced Maps would always spawn exactly 60 packs within a map. They will now spawn somewhere between 20 and 60 packs per map. It's a large enough variance that the difference should be notable. It should also encourage more decision making around Altars. For example, if you intuit that it may be a 20 pack map, you might be more inclined to pick more Map Boss modifiers as there won't be as many Influence Monsters in the map to get other rewards from.
While we were working on this, we took the opportunity to change the pack spawning behaviour from Influence so that a given area will only have three different types of monster packs. Previously, there were eight pack types that could be spawned per influence type and it randomly chose which pack type to spawn. This is a relatively small change that won't have a significant effect during gameplay. The goal was simply to give some identity to an area and give you a slightly better idea of what to expect during gameplay.
Wrath of the CosmosThe Wrath of the Cosmos Keystone encouraged players to risk a level of danger that was outside their capability because of how valuable its rewards were. In some cases, it made more sense to die a few times per map than forgo the level of rewards this keystone offered. This is not ideal, to say the least.
We have redesigned this keystone. It now only affects Altars in maps influenced by the Searing Exarch. Each Altar now has a 50% chance for an additional upside. Altars with an additional upside will have their downside effect increased by 100%. The overall risk vs. reward nature of this keystone is still in place, it's just a lot less intense now.
The Eldritch Gaze keystone now only affects Altars in maps influenced by the Eater of Worlds. The main reason for this is that we want you to invest Atlas Passives into the influence type that you're currently farming. It feels wrong to have to get the passives from the opposite influence cluster in order to maximise the rewards you get from the influence type that you're currently farming. The small passives near these keystones are already specific to influence types and it's nice and tidy to keep things consistent in this way.
Just to say it plainly, this is a nerf to how much you can scale your rewards from these keystones, if you were one of the subset of players who were taking both keystones in the past.
ConclusionAltar rewards are a bit more sensible now, through clearer reward types and by toning down the extreme levels of giftyness. We've worked towards making it so that players don't feel compelled to rush straight to map bosses in order to maximise their rewards. We've also updated the Wrath of the Cosmos keystone to be a bit less brutal and a bit less rewarding. The intent wasn't to gut these systems, just slightly reduce their overall potency. They should still be valuable sources of rewards.
In case you missed them, we recently posted several manifestos covering Jewels and Ailment Mitigation, and Archnemesis. Be sure to check them out.
We'll post the Curse manifesto next, which we expect to be out at the end of this week at the earliest. We also indicated that we would post a fifth manifesto that covered some miscellaneous balance changes. After writing the first four manifestos and reviewing what else remains to be covered, we feel that there isn't very much to put in this manifesto because most of the remaining changes are better suited to the patch notes. Therefore, we've made the decision to drop that manifesto.