I’m also going to throw my support behind the need for a rework on how delve loot works versus level progress in a delve. And I’m the one who did the multiple write ups on how much easier it made your life if you kept a delve low level.
I’ve started and archived several multiple paragraph long rants with respect to how this is designed, but here I am again, seeing if I can organize this well enough that it feels worth posting.
Human brain has a bias for novelty (new experiences > “progress” for more “difficult” delves and the necessity to tweak your team and strategy) but also appreciates efficiency (figuring out how to best use time or a resource, which in and of itself is generally a novelty for any given system). The “grinding” state that most people hate is a state that is reached when optimizing a system as far as it can go (and thus, no more novelty even with respect to finding new optimizations) and you are playing for the promise of future novelty. For delve levels, you want to progress first to seek out novelty and you expect it to be efficient or rewarding in the some way but you know you are instead permanently reducing efficiency, however small, and this creates cognitive dissonance in many people.
In short, the player is actively penalized (however small) for doing the thing that makes the mode engaging to play, which is bad.
The bottom line is that efficiency for a given bottleneck to progress a system should increase with mastery and progress in a given system, never decrease. The steady increase in efficiency is counteracted by widening goalposts. The bottleneck for underworld progress is Chaos Shards, so a widening goalpost is something that you’d have to dump more and more shards into to reach the next level of progress. Turns out, they already have widening goalposts in terms of hoard xp which is only attained from treasures which is only attained from shards, thus you need more and more shards per hoard level, and you eventually hit a “soft cap” where progress is essentially required to allow you to reach the next goalpost in a reasonable amount of time. Another widening goalposts is the increasing amounts of a given troop you need to ascend each one without having to use orbs, as more and more shards are “wasted” just for this.
An enticing system would have efficiency (bottleneck rewards per unit time and per entry currency) be charted as a general increase for taking the route that offers the most novelty and is thus most overall engaging route. And if not a general increase, at the very least a flat line with respect to time or entry currency.
To compound this, shards are also the bottleneck for this entire system, and they come in at depressingly random intervals. The steps that happen after you get the shards also have a bunch of random steps (random if you get treasure, random if you get the quality upgrade for lower treasure amounts. And, as pointed out, you need more and more treasure to reach higher hoard levels, and it is highly unlikely you’ll ever “finish” any of these - the widening goalpost keeps this resource in check (you need 99 times as many treasures to reach level 1000 as level 100, and you need a lot of treasure levels to make some faction team runs even possible without absurd luck and throwing away a bunch of runs on failed attempts). The one time renown shard rewards are simply too small for this to be an effective way to progress anything with these widening goalposts in place. We could have some guaranteed shards somewhere in our daily rotation in addition to what we are already getting randomly and still not come close to being able to match the rate at which it takes to max out delve content as it enters the game.
I’d fix this by enacting the following:
- No penalty for choosing a lower level delve, not even the 0.5 modifier reduction. You should just flat out not be punished on your acquisition rate of the bottleneck resource for progressing.
- Any delve level can be chosen up to current highest +10 and only highest level +10 gives the 2.0 modifier ever
- thus no permanent “mistakes” can be made when leveling your delve
1 base shard, guaranteed, in the chest drop for every 10 levels of delve past the base (eg., level 100 delve, 2.5 modifier = 20 shards guaranteed in boss chest on top of other loot)
- The player would still have a reason to completely clear every delve to the best of their ability (more of them, in fact)
- The player isn’t ever penalized in terms of overall efficiency for making progress
- The only reason a player would ever go back and farm a lower level delve than your current highest level is if they weren’t confident they could completely clear the level to maximize their modifier or to do renown runs with the faction team.
- A player still want to be able to consistently and completely clear higher and higher levels, because they always offer more rewards. This offers way more opportunities for engaging gameplay, as they get to constantly optimize to push your efficiency up for the current level or the next one, thus staving off “grinding” for much much longer.
- Best shards per run becomes doing repeat runs in a delve that at least isn’t completely trivial, or where routing actually matters. This is good because this is likely way the mode was “intended” to be for maximum engagement.
- Very little reason to farm a completely trivial delve (only if shards were so abundant as to be essentially worthless before ingots, which is not going to happen)
- There would be no reason to "keep a delve low level"
I’d also go with others suggestions and let delve scrolls stack for a few days, while still just getting 3 a day. The whole “start a delve now to bank a scroll” thing is an exceedingly silly workaround that shouldn’t have needed to exist. Three days worth of scrolls is honestly probably enough. If I’m banking more than three days worth of scrolls, I’d likely have trouble finishing them, period, or get burnt out doing huge amount of consecutive battles required to clear them all when the issue gets pressed.