The Trials and Tribulations of Lords of the Fallen’s Ever-Changing New Game+

  • The Trials and Tribulations of Lords of the Fallen’s Ever-Changing New Game+

    Posted by wakemeup on October 27, 2023 at 11:45 am

    The challenging action RPG Lords of the Fallen first launched in 2014 to mixed reviews. While some praised its dark fantasy setting and tough combat, others felt it was too derivative of the Souls series. Now in 2022, developer Hexworks has released a reboot simply titled Lords of the Fallen, aiming to improve on the original’s shortcomings.

    One tradition of these punishing games is the New Game+ (NG+) mode, which lets players carry over their powered up character into a replay of higher difficulty. However, Lords of the Fallen’s NG+ has been controversial since launch, undergoing various changes to address balance and design issues.

    The Brutal First Version

    In the initial launch version of Lords of the Fallen, NG+ was exceptionally challenging. The most notable change was that all Vestiges – the game’s version of resting checkpoints – were completely removed. Players had to rely on limited-use Vestige Seeds to manually create rare spawn points.

    This system was punishing, forcing players to meticulously plan their Seed usage across the game’s massive open world. Saving carelessly often meant an extremely long and perilous journey back to their last activated Seed upon death. Frequent deaths quickly drained the scarce Seed supply, potentially leaving heroes vestige-less.

    Many considered this restrictive teleportation too problematic. While applauding the added difficulty, most felt the inability to freely travel made playing NG+ an exercise in frustration rather than fun challenge.

    Community Feedback Leads to Major Changes

    Hexworks was quick to respond to player criticisms, accelerating plans to overhaul the divisive NG+ mode. Just days after launch, the first major update arrived implementing community suggestions.

    Instead of removing all Vestiges immediately, they now get gradually stripped away in each consecutive cycle. For example, NG+3 finally removes the last checkpoint. Players additionally gain options for how to restart their journey while retaining character progress and gear.

    Most crucially, restrictions on Vestige Seeds were lifted. Heroes can now place multiple Seeds simultaneously for easier cross-country travel. Further patches polished NG+ balance and accessibility based on player feedback.

    A Work in Progress

    Lords of the Fallen’s NG+ continues evolving even months after launch. The developers are iterating to find the sweet spot between challenge and enjoyment. Their responsive updates show a commitment to getting NG+ right.

    Recent patches introduced dynamic elements like tiered difficulty and custom modifiers to allow finely tuned personalization. There is also an effort to smooth out NG+’s difficulty curve. Earlier cycles let players learn the redesigned mode before ratcheting up the brutality.

    Further balance tweaks are expected, but the updated NG+ is now receiving praise as a compelling option for experienced heroes. The challenging remix of the base campaign offers intense battles to test players’ skills and cheap LOTF vigor.

    A Cautionary Tale

    The story of Lords of the Fallen’s NG+ highlights the importance of player feedback. While Hexworks had a bold vision for a punishing mode, rigid adherence to that idea produced an experience many found frustrating rather than fun.

    However, by embracing criticism and making sweeping changes based on it, NG+ was able to evolve into something fresh yet balanced. This ongoing collaboration between designers and the community exemplifies how live games can improve over time. Listening to players allowed Hexworks to shape NG+ into the hardcore challenge they intended – without compromising enjoyment.

    As Lords of the Fallen continues growing, it will be interesting to see what other content benefits from this open development approach. NG+ can serve as a template for responsively crafting compelling experiences, not just at launch, but long after as well.

    wakemeup replied 7 months, 3 weeks ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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