Path of Exile

An in-depth analysis on the current state of Heist and possible solutions.

Content of the article: "An in-depth analysis on the current state of Heist and possible solutions."

I really like Heist. It feels like one of the coolest mechanics in the game. Sadly the current state of balancing removed a lot of the thrill from it.

After playing a lot of Heist over the last week, I decided to make a write-up on my thoughts on the current state, balance and potential changes to make Heist feel better for the player.

The focus is to reward the player for good gameplay, higher investments, running harder content and maximizing player choice.


1) Sentries and Nenet's ability

Problem: Sentries cause frustrating instant alert level increases and are very hard to spot without Nenet.

Currently the alert level is only raised by opening chests and those sentries.

If you take Nenet on the job, the sentries make sense. You see them. You see patrols. This is how Heist should feel like. You're supposed to go in prepared, right? It makes the gameplay feel much more "heisty" by target killing sentries and seeing patrols. Otherwise they just cause sudden frustrating alert level increases.

Potential solutions:

  • Nenet's vision ability should be the default state.
  • These sentries should not be stealthed, the way they are right now.
  • This might be a bit too far fetched, but I'd love to also see some vision "cones" and "circles" on the minimap, to know where alert is generated (until you kill the guards).

2) Alert level from chests and monsters

Problem: The alert level gain on kill did not make sense, but it made heists feel much more dynamic. The major complain and problem was that killing monsters – the core part of POE was getting punished. Sadly the alert level generation was simply removed and later balanced with chest alert level increase. The alert level currently feels more like a "shopping cart", where you just shop from chests with your alert level.

I personally really enjoyed the initial implementation of heist. You had to plan for the distance yet remaining, the risk/reward gave heists a special thrill. Losing the occasional heist target, but still getting out with a inventory full of loot, because you were too greedy didn't feel too bad.

I believe alert level should be generated by certain living guards, similar to how sentry totems generate them right now, but at a much much slower rate. This feels immersive and is countered by doing what the player does best: slaying monsters.

At the same time, the alert level from chests can go down significantly to compensate and reward the player for good gameplay.

This also feels like a good spot to adress the unique monsters in heist. Currently they are pretty pointless.

Potential solutions:

  • Reduce the alert level generation from opening chests.
  • Patrols and maybe some other guards types should slowly generate alert level when they are in combat. These need to be all marked on the map. Shutting them down quickly should be the key.
  • If some special guards will detect the player and the player won't kill them, they will put a room into "alert mode". The player has to then kill them and maybe flip a switch to continue.
  • Unique monsters should also slowly generate alert, but provide the player with 1-2 free openings of chests, without increasing alert level on kill.
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3) Marker Gain and Zone Scaling

Problem: As of right now the number of rogue markers finds doesn't scale well in the endgame

The entrance and reveal prices seem to scale with itemlevel and rogue experience amongst others. The number of dropped markers in maps and the value of the heist targets is not affected by neither the tier of the map, nor the quantity of the map, nor the quantity of the heist.

This leads to the problem of the prices getting increasingly higher, while the player not necessary being able to gain markers more efficiently. More importantly, higher investment doesn't equal more markers.

On top of that, the entrance prices consist out of 3 components: hiring fee, rings cut, travel fee. Even with specialized gear, it feels like we're "chipping away" at the entrance prices without making a significant impact.

Potential solutions:

  • Marker drop count should scale better with map tier. Higher maps should drop significantly more markers.
  • Heist target value should be affected by the quantity/difficulty of the heist
  • Higher itemlevel heists should provide more markers consistently
  • Gear affecting heist entrance prices should be more efficient.
  • Tulina's stolen extra-heist-targets should be worth a little bit more (currently 150-250) or be consistent.

4) Grand Heist reveal opportunities

Problem: As of right now the player can reveal escape routes, reward rooms and wings. Revealing wings is important, because it scales the primary reward. It's also the major investment of markers.

Escape routes can make sense sometimes.

That being said, the reward reveals are never a good investment. Each wing contains some rewards of it's own anyway, the player often can't take all of them and they are very costly. Alternatively the player can just open the small chests.

Additionally, I think there's a lot of opportunity to make grand heists more interesting, by adding new marker investment opportunities.

There's also the issue of Giana being the "best" rogue for reveals. At 40% discount at high level it's mandatory to do rewards with her. Niles on the other hand only provides 10%.

Potential solutions:

  • Grand Heist reward-room-reveals should cost less.
  • Niles can provide free reward-room-reveals, as his special ability, instead of the discount. That will make him distinct in an interesting way compared to Giana.
  • Grand heist purchased-revealed-reward-rooms should not increase the alert level.
  • I also think reveals can introduce "heist preparations" that you buy with markers, such as "all wings contain +2 reward choice", "20% reduced alert level in all wings" and "reward rooms generate no alert". These provide interesting new investment opportunities for grand heists.
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5) Small and large chests in heists

Problem: Large reward chests often drop less loot than small ones. Small reward chests "on the way" feel a bit out of context. The large reward chests are often boring, by mostly generating armors and weapons.

The player can feel like backtracking if he reaches the end and still has alert level remaining. Currently the player is also very inclined to maximize their lockdown time to open as many small reward chests as possible. The small reward chests are nice, but their positioning and alert level generation feels a bit out of place.

Potential solutions:

  • (as mentioned before) the alert level generation from opening all chests should be lower
  • Heists and especially Grand heists should generate less armors/weapons/jewellery reward rooms.
  • Heists can contain rooms with several small reward chests. This feels more heisty, then a small chest on every corner.
  • I'm not sure about that one, but I think there should be some reward chests near the very end that can only be opened if the lockdown didn't begin yet, so that increasing the lockdown timer is not the only viable strategy and reduces backtracking.

6) Rogue balance

Problem: The abilities of rogues feel very different in terms of usefulness.

  • Isla, Nenett, Tulina, Karst and Giana have their uses.
  • Niles, Tibbs, Huck's abilities scale very poorly with levels.
  • Vinderi is strange and I'm not sure what to think about him. He's probably OK?

Nenet's vision ability should be default for all heists.

Tibbs and niles both don't scale with level and Niles discount is way ineferior compared to Giana. Huck is meh.

Potential solutions:

  • (as mentioned before) Nenet's vision ability should be available for all rogues.
  • (as mentioned before) Niles can provide free-of-markers-charge reveals for reward rooms in grand heists
  • Tibbs should be able to destroy more chests/level on the way out.
  • It'd be interesting to be able to take a second rogue in normal heists for an extra fee.

7) Rogue Gear

Problem: Rogue gear currently drops all over the heists, but mostly after the lockdown started. This is not a terrible problem, but it can be optimized. It also feels pretty random.

Potential solutions:

  • Allow shopping for the gear for markers
  • Drop more rogue gear from special chests at the end of the heist (don't generate alert) and less all over the place.

8) Experience Gain

Problem: Heists barely provide any experience.

There's really not much to say here. The content is risky and it should at leat provide a bit of XP. It feels horribly out of place, how little you're gaining right now.

Potential solutions:

  • Increase the XP gain.

Summary of suggestions:

  • All Chests should generate way less alert…
  • ..but.. Patrols and certain guards should slowly generate alert level, when in combat. Taking them out swiftly or avoiding them will stop the generation and reward the player.
  • ..and.. Nenets ability to see patrols, uniques and sentries should be a normal part of Heist, not exclusive to Nenet. The player should see all alert-generating monsters and patrols on the map.
  • ..and.. Unique monsters should also slowly generate alert in combat. They can reward the player with a "free" chest opening voucher on kill.
  • Higher maps should drop significantly more markers. Heist target value should be affected by the mods. Higher itemlevel heists should provide more markers consistently
  • Grand Heist reward-room-reveals should cost less. Niles can provide free reward-room-reveals, as his special ability, instead of the discount. That will make him distinct in an interesting way compared to Giana. Grand heist purchased-revealed-reward-rooms should not increase the alert level.
  • I also think reveals can introduce "heist preparations" that you buy with markers, such as "all wings contain +2 reward choice", "20% reduced alert level in all wings" and "reward rooms generate no alert". These provide interesting new investment opportunities for grand heists.
  • Add some chests at the end to minimize backtracking.
  • Tibbs, Huck, Niles and maybe Vinderi can use some rebalancing/level-scaling
  • Heists and especially Grand heists should generate less armors/weapons/jewellery reward rooms.
  • Heists can contain rooms with several small reward chests. This feels more heisty, then a small chest on every corner.
  • Allow shopping for the rogue gear for markers. Drop more rogue gear from special chests at the end and less all over the place.
  • Increase the XP gain.
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Final Words

I hope I'm not wrong on many levels, but I hope with these changes Heist will feel much more dynamic and rewarding once again. I've intentionally avoided the topic of monster damage/life. It depends a lot on the build, player experience and a lot of other factors. Instead the suggestions focus on giving Heist it's unique flavor again.

I'm not sure if there's any point posting it here, but I'd like to have a discussion. Feedback is very welcome.

Thank you for reading

NeverSink~

Source: reddit.com

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