On the latest episode of Guild Chat, host Rubi Bayer was joined by Gameplay Programmer Ben Arnold and Game Designer Sean Hughes to discuss updates to the Fractals of the Mists in the latest content update, Out of the Shadows.
Ben said that the fractals UI needed to be overhauled because it wasn’t a good user experience. Players had to go to the wiki to find key information—and while the wiki is an amazing resource, it shouldn’t be required for players to understand the game. The updated UI shows players information on fractal dailies, agony resistance, mistlock instabilities, and personal fractal level. It also provides an option to run a random fractal and warns players which fractal levels are hazardous to them based on their character’s agony resistance.
Sean explained the changes to infusions. He said that when the system was originally designed, it was intended to modify weapon skills and utility skills, much like traits do. When that idea got cut, the different types of infusion slots that would have utilized it stayed in the game, and that resulted in a complicated system players had trouble learning. Now players obtain infusions for fractals by running fractals and can easily upgrade their infusions to obtain more agony resistance.
The Snowblind Fractal was updated to address complaints about pacing and mechanics. The ice elemental boss originally teleported players every twenty seconds, which created a tedious experience in higher fractal tiers where enemy health pools are much bigger. The boss now teleports at set health percentages and spawns a minion—a change intended to reduce the amount of time players spend waiting for gameplay to happen. In the new version of the battle, it’s important to keep the fire burning to help the fight go smoothly.
The Swampland Fractal’s opening wisp encounter is largely unchanged, but players who aren’t busy running wisps can now grab rifles to actively support their teammates. The branching paths were removed from the fractal, and the Mossman is now a miniboss who ambushes players underwater. Bloomhunger received gameplay changes to make the final boss battle more challenging and engaging.
The new Chaos Isles Fractal is a strange and unsettling landscape of fused fractal elements. Although existing assets were reused in its environment to help tell the story, nearly all of the content was built from scratch. Eight different fractals were combined to create the Chaos Isles, and the design team spliced together elements to make interesting juxtapositions, such as the Jade Maw’s tentacles rising up out of Snowblind’s dark forest, or the Uncategorized Fractal’s harpies being replaced by golems with wings.
If you missed last week’s episode of Guild Chat, you can watch a recording below!