There are alot of posts on this sub lately that people seem to be very dissatisfied with the current state of the league, which is totally fair. But I feel like giving a different point of view on the current league, so here is my take on the current league and what I think is good and what is not so good or bad about it.
About me: I play since Talisman and I play alot every single league. Last 2 leagues I decided to play SSF only and was a little burned out of the classic SSF hurdles, so I started Ultimatum in trade league. Ritual was maybe my favorite league of all time. I made like 8 different characters and cleared all endgame.
Ultimatum had a rough start, which luckily didnt impact me at all. I decided to skip the Launch day in order to spend time with my gf. It was literally the only league start I have missed since 3 years. So I guess I was a little lucky on that front and dodged a bullet. I know myself and I know I would have absolutely gone mad about not being able to play, and maybe it would have affected my overall enjoyment of the league to some extend.
But lets start with the goods and bads about Ultimatum itself:
The first thing that comes to mind is the performance for me. The performance this league is absolutely abysmal and the worst it has ever been for me. Texture Streaming is terrible and needs to be acknowledged by GGG. A friend told me I should try "–waitforpreload" and I added that to my .exe and it actually did help. Starting the game will take a few seconds longer, but the performance increased. Before I did that, I often found myself in the middle of a pack that wasnt visualized on screen. Monsters appeared out of nowhere, Boss attacks were invisible, textures where super blurry. But with this little workaround, it got better. Its still not good, but its better.
So the performance is a big fat "not good" this league.
I read alot that people struggle with Map sustain this league, which I can relate to a little bit aswell. It was the first time I had to buy some red maps from other players in a long time. There was a point when I started getting into red map where I was struggling to keep the map pool up. But as soon as I hit 16 watchstones, everything turned out to be rather fine. But what I want to say here is that just in general, Map sustain in this game should _never_ever_ be a problem. There is no reason why people should be held back in their progression on the atlas. Its the very core of the game after all. We have so many other things that we have to work towards to or have to invest into. Map sustain should never ever be one of those things.
Another thing I read alot is that the League is not rewarding. And this is where I have to heavily disagree. And to be honest, I dont even in the slightest understand how people come up with this. Ultimatum gives you so much currency and great other stuff, its insane. I have progressed through the entire game already, killed Sirus multiple times, Elder, Shaper and even Maven yesterday. Sure, I have spent an unhealthy amount of time on this league so far, but I think the one thing GGG has succeeded on over the last leagues in general is that playing the game and interacting with different mechanics is highly rewarding. When it comes to rewards, its really not about finding that one exalt on day 1 or 2. Or getting an Exalt from Ultimatium. What GGG has achieved over the last leagues is, despite all the RNG in the game, that you will always have a constant gain of income as long as you interact with the game. Its the one thing they absolutely nailed in my opinion. When I compare my progression through the last leagues, especially playing SSF, I have to acknowledge that despite all the RNG in the game, it overall turns out to be rather deterministic aswell. Every league I end up with pretty much the same stuff. Same amount of Exalt drops, my unique tab fills up smoothly, crafting materials fill up nicely. And most of my friends who play as much as I do go through the same league cycle every league aswell. They play alot, they find alot, they craft alot, they progress, they make currency, they upgrade gear, they tackle endgame. There is no secret ingredient and luck plays a very minor roll if you just keep playing the game. You will get lucky, you will get unlucky, but it all evens out over time and give you a very steady progress. And that is true for SSF and trade leagues. Im not sitting in my hideout flipping currency, i have never, ever done that. Just playing the game is enough to get you everything you want.
And this is probably the point where Harvest should be mentioned. Ritual League was amazing. And one factor was that you always looked forward to progress you gear through Harvest Crafts. You always had something on the back of your mind, wanting to craft this or that, wanting to remove or add this or that. Harvest was Motivation and Reward at the same time. And I totally understand why this creates such a feelgood feeling for players. I personally think Harvest is in a much worse spot right now in terms of crafting and progressing your own gear. Obviously though, as many crafts have been removed and redecued. But its really not bad at all. The Master Mission crafts for example have much higher value. Keep Prefix and Keep Suffix crafts have always been great, but are now the ones that really help deterministically craft influenced gear. And honestly, I really enjoy the reduced time spent doing these Harvest. Its a quick in and out now, where before it felt like playing a mini game for 10 minutes during a map. So just in general, I think Harvest feels better and worse at the same time right now, but is nowhere near terrible.
What I will say about the Harvest nerf though is that the previous, powerful Harvest implementation allowed for many whacky builds that required very specific gear that the market didnt quite offer. And a nerf to Harvest is a nerf to those builds aswell, which is sad ofcourse. I completely share the sentiment that poorly performing skill gems should get some interesting buffs.
Another thing I personally Enjoy is that the League mechanic is pretty hard in high tier maps. My Bladestorm Max Block Bleed Gladiator feels actually great for farming. And the Mechanic itself feels very rewarding. I think it takes a little bit too long in general, so slightly reducing the time on Ultimatum encounters would be highly appreciated. But thats really my only "gripe" with the mechanic.
Another thing I love is the reworked older League Mechanics. Jun Missions actually feel amazing. It has this thrilling feeling that Veil Mods can actually be amazing. Also I think the addition of the Catarina Staff is great. I genuinely get excited finding veiled gear. Also, using the Aisling Safehouse craft od adding veiled mods has insane potential now.
Also, Alvas Temple is awesome. I personally always liked the mechanic and I know im in the minority on this. But the current implementation feels really satisfying. Being able to store your temple is amazing QOL, so you can do the temples when you want to do them. Giving players the freedom of how to play the game is always great. Feeling forced to do the temple right now always felt kind of bad, so this change is really great.
One of my personal favorites changes, even though its rather a minor one, is the Essence buff. Not only is the Essence node in Haewark amazing (as before), but the change of Screaming Essences being a "chaos orb" is just highly appreciated. I always struggled with Scours in past leagues in SSF. Essences are a crucial method of crafting gear, especially in SSF, so this is just the perfect change.
I have no opinion on the Delve changes, as I have not really interacted with Delve alot this league. My main focus was getting through the atlas and doing the endgame grinds.
So thats my little take on the current state of the game. I am not at all trying to invalidate any negative opinions or criticisms. I think voicing your concerns and pointing out flaws is very important. And due to the steady increase of the player base, people have many different expectations to the game and different opinions iin general. Different people like different things in their game. But on the other hand I feel like reading this sub lately is very disheartening, because I personally cannot relate to all the negative feedback at all.
So yeah, overall, I think this league is absolutely amazing. It definitely has its problems – Performance being the worst offender this League. But I am having a blast and I will, as always, keep playing the game and enjoy all these changes and adapt to the news ways of playing the game.
- Group-Found Ritual League
- The Harvest mechanic and my road to lvl100 HCSSF. (WARNING – Long read)
- Having vs Doing, or why Harvest is divisive
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