The overall difficulty of endgame content is an ongoing discussion and looking at the new revamped Castle Never dungeon is was apparent right from the start that it would not add another layer of challenge to the game.
Generally I have to say I quite like the new design. It has mechanics that can both be fun and challenging and we will have a full strategy guide up at some point next week. The issue is that the mechanics do not scale well with item level, meaning they get rather irrelevant for well geared teams. In the end all you need is a potent tank, and no it does not have to be a Pally although that’s the most convenient way. Beyond that the more power you have, the less other stuff you need to do.
All bosses can be burned down so quick that you don’t have to deal with all those chains, spikes, death spheres, portals and poison balls. And that’s both bad and unnecessary, because there is literally no reason why fights can’t stop at a set percentage of HP and require the group to run through additional mechanics and challenges that work independently of item level, DPS and health pools.
This is most definitely obvious when looking at the first solo runs, which took players merely three days into the Module to accomplish. Granted, these are probably some of the better players the server has and the CW is a class suited best for the type of fights CN offers.
It’s one thing that a companion (the players used Blink Dog) is probably able to tank Ocrus better than an actual player, because attacks are slow enough for the companion to revive and take the next hit without the boss switching targets. That opens up the possibility for full DPS runs with the right pets and I’m sure players will look into it after seeing what the Dog was able to do.
But then there’s also so little to do besides DPS. There’s a bit of luck involved with those poison balls, but the CW doesn’t need to close the portals that empower Orcus and could even fail the death sphere phase without dying. That’s a no-go. How can you not care about mechanics and still prevail? The chaining mechanic used throughout the dungeon even doesn’t work because of the lack of another player, although that’s not as important for the whole point. Still a funny and fitting tidbit to actually loose challenge in a certain area when doing a dungeon solo.
Castle Never shows that mechanics should require more roles than just a the tank, because in that case the rest besides “do not die to stupid shit” becomes obsolete and enables players to make these solo runs. Ideally in a group every member should have a task to perform or a role to fill at some point during a run or a fight.
It’s probably too late for Orcus and his minions, but the devs might want to watch the footage and draw the right conclusions for their next designs. It’s not even that more challenge has to equal more item level. That’s only the case if adjusting difficulty with mob damage and hit points. Clever mechanics work beyond that and challenge players of all tiers equally, because the most important requirement becomes skill. Power should make runs more convenient and less time consuming, but not enable skipping phases altogether.
What do you think about the challenge inside Castle Never? Share your thoughts in the comments or visit the corresponding thread in our forum.