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Maxwell has problems.


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Alright so a few hours ago the beta for the Maxwell rework dropped. And after testing it a bit, there are some... verrry apparent problems with this rework. As in, Maxwell might be legitimately worse now than he was before. I touched on these problems in the original post, but it feels appropriate to make a fully-fledged thread to flesh out the thoughts and problems I see with it. So, let's get too it.

 

1. Spells.

First thing's first, the extra inventory space? Phenomenal. Utterly perfect. Being linked to shadow Chester might be a problem. but effectively having a second backpack at all times is genuinely an extremely useful feature. Especially for a harvester character. It would be nice if the shadow inventory was recognized between shards. But that's a convenience more than anything. 

But then, I have some concerns for the other two spells.

The two spell effects are "snare" and "scare", with the latter being a trap you set up beforehand. I'm guessing these two effects are to play off of how "Squishy" Maxwell is. But I question why we need both of them. They both have the same end-goal; keep enemies off Maxwell. The scare effect being a trap is really nice. But I'm not sure how many scenarios there are where I'd prefer a scare effect over complete paralysis, especially with the latter being more unique. The scare trap does have the secondary effect of forcing creatures into their "shadow form" if applicable (Shadow Splemonkeys, Beardlings and Lords). Plus all scare effects being the same having the side effect of Spiders dropping glands 100% of the time as though they were haunted. But it's still not nearly as useful in my opinion.  I do like that the shadow magician actually has shadow magic now, but I do think it could still use some changes. 

Also the range on shadow prison feels quite short. Not at all times mind you, but there are definitely scenarios where you just can't be out of attacking range when you cast it. Or atleast where it's difficult to do so. Example: Deerclops.

 

2. Servants.

Ho boy, this is where things start to fall apart. By all accounts, the transition from "puppets" to "servants" was a nerf. It may not seem like it at first, given that they're much cheaper now and aren't specialized, but there are a few problems.

For starters: The AI is really dumb. In order to match the speed of live-version shadow loggers., you need to spread them apart. Otherwise, they'll waste a TON of time all trying to dig up the stump when only one of them can even do so. The new ability to pick up items also isn't very useful. It sounds great on paper, but they're comically slow; only able to hold one item at a time and having to walk back and forth to you every time they grab something. Plus the whole reason that Maxwell's considered the best farming character is the fact that he can pick up items while his puppets are working. Because that's something Maxwell can still do and is much faster than relying on the shadows. 

But, here in lies the problem. Maxwell's puppets are now stationary; working around the area they were summoned. 

This one single change has made Maxwell go from a harvester character to a niche harvester character.

Sure, whenever people talked about Maxwell's farming capabilities, it was usually in the context of wood. But he still had other things he could do, such as running through a rocky biome with a collection of miners, or... Well actually it was mostly just that and wood, but he could still do it! But with reworked shadows he can't anymore. You might find a cluster of rocks were summoning shadows saves you some time.But it's not like; say; Pokemon Legends: Arceus, where you can throw down a Pokemon and profit without waiting around. Shadow Servants won't even leave their circle to bring you your items, so if you cast one down and walk away, you'll have to walk right back too get it anyways.

The point is, if you're not dealing with a dense cluster of harvestable materials, such as Salt formations, Trees, or a pile of Stonefruit; then the shadow servants are literally useless.

 

Also, we need to acknowledge the giant in the room. When it comes to chopping, Max is still outclassed by Bearger.

I get why you'd not balance around that. Obviously not all players are going to be getting to Fall 2 reliably. And even then, that's still a full in-game year where you don't have Bearger. 

But Bearger gets brought up in literally every discussion about harvester-based characters. 

Woodie's werebeaver doesn't spawn treeguards anymore? Bearger's still faster. 

Maxwell can chop, shovel, and pick up all at once? Any time saved there isn't enough to outpace bearger.

Wurt's can hire dozens of merms at a time to chop trees for her at once? neat, but does each merm chop down dozens of trees per attack? No? BEARGER WINS! DING DING DING!

I get why Klei doesn't want to touch Bearger in this way; They're really the only source of woodcutting that can meet the demand of megabase builders. But isn't it a bit frustrating that any harvester-oriented character gets a massive part of their kit turned into little more than novelty by a single creature? I think the only character that's ever been able to compete with Bearger is Wagstaff. And that's because they basically built their own Bearger!

 

3. Shadow Duelists.

Yeah these are still useless. No other way to put it really. Still get 1-tapped by most bosses, do pitiful damage, are awful at avoiding hits. Yeah, they're cheaper and spammable now. But you're still doing about... I dunno, 200 damage per nightmare fuel? You're looking at 1360 damage per Nightmare fuel if you make it into a dark sword. Probably safer too, sense you're not locked into that long animation.

And once again, these being stationary is once again a nerf. What little use they had before; following you around for a tiny bit extra damage; is impossible. 

4. Sanity.

Not nearly as big as the other things, but still worth bringing up. One of the best things about Maxwell is the fact that you can lock your max sanity below the shadow threshold to farm fuel. But, obviously, you can't do this anymore. You can still bring your sanity down that low. But because shadows aren't permanent anymore, you'll just go right back up a minute later.

 

5. Conclusion and suggested changes.

Ultimately, the Maxwell rework does have stuff going for it. The new mechanics it introduces for him are quite useful and fun. But it's all held back by Max being worse at the things he did previously. It is still workable however, and here are some ideas how.

A. Spell adjustments: Shadow Sneak is now called Shadow Snare. It summons a trap like it does currently, but the trap will cast a shadow prison around enemies in it instead oof scaring them. However, it now lowers max sanity as though you summoned a puppet. The actual Shadow Prison spell gets a slightly higher range and area to compensate.

B. Servants now check to see if there's another servant performing a task on the same object; and if that task is sped up by having multiple servants work on it. Stumps are the obvious target here, but there are still other interactions that benefit from this; namely chopping burnt trees and digging graves.

C. Servants can now pick objects such as grass tufts or saplings. A niche that surprisingly hasn't really been explored, unless you count Wickerbottom's growth book.

D. Servants will now send harvested resources straight into shadow storage, or Maxwell's inventory if that's full. Maxwell can already save a lot of time by picking items up while servants chop. So why not just cut out the middleman, eh?

E. Servants now take .2 seconds to summon. If we're going to have servants be temporary fodder, then I want to summon that temporary fodder as fast and as often as possible. Walk by some trees? Servant cutting them. Walk by some rocks? Servent mining them. I reffer back to my Pokemon Legends: Arceus comparison here. I want to drop down a servant and profit. Because that's how their current functionality should work.

F. Shadow duelists... Ok Klei, be honest. Do you actually want Maxwell to have these? or are you only keeping them around by obligation. Because I don't think anyone would miss them. Imagine using that spot for a cool new spell. Or maybe a combat ally that's actually helpful.

G. Maxwell can now use the Codex Umbra to "Embrace". Locking his sanity to 15% while active. This is not the same as a Nightmare Amulet, just so it's clear. It's just what he can do now with 3 choppers and a duelist.

 H. Nerf Bearger. Please.

 

Well, that was longer than I thought it would be. But, I think I got all my thoughts out. Have a great day everyone.

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I love the codex changes, spells, and magician chests/hat.

The new way to summon/cast shadows from the codex is amazing. It's a lot cleaner and more smooth than going through the crafting menu to do it. It actually feels like you are using the book.

Yes the spells do need some tweaking (mostly scare). The snare spell is almost perfect, i would be fine if it didn't get any changes.

The interconnected magic hat and chest is amazing for maxwell and expands on his magician persona. They are very handy and useful for item transport and extra storage.

 

 

The reworked minions.. I don't like. A minute is way too short. If they were still pre-refresh shadows, but with minor qol changes and features, i would call it a great refresh.

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I absolutely agree with your assessment of the servants and duelist. Honestly? If Maxwell lost the duelist as a spell then I'd be okay with it, but he'd need to gain so much more functionality for the servants before I'd be satisfied. I agree that the servants should be able to directly place items in Maxwell's inventory without running to him, or even if they simply placed the items into shadow storage instead that would still be better than the current issues. Basically make them lazy foragers. I'd also love to see them be able to pick grass and twigs.

I would like to add an idea here: Shadow Siphoning. If we lose Duelists, giving Maxwell the ability to literally suck the nightmare fuel out of nightmare creatures would be perfectly on brand and so very useful for Maxwell. Armed with a Nightmare Amulet, Maxwell could replenish any depleted fuel stores incredibly effectively.

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Why do you guys keep trying to bargain removing the duelists in exchange for something else? If they really are as useless as you say they are their removal wouldn't warrant any buffs.

I like the duelists. They're good against non-boss enemies like hounds.

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Balancing around bearger is not needed. Bearger always was king of wood. Bearger is fine since you have him later on and with preparation too.

They did buff shadow puppets today.

Having them be stationary is an interesting direction, making max be well suited for bulk tasks.

I am also torn on the shadow sneak as well. I still feel it should also do some damage along the haunt, and increase the shadow cost.

The prison should have higher shadow count as well.

On farming nm fuel, I like it now as I can lower my sanity much cheaper than before, instead of committing to full insanity or no insanity

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3 hours ago, loopuleasa said:

Having them be stationary is an interesting direction, making max be well suited for bulk tasks

They kinda stated how this only really works for wood and has really hindered his rock gathering skills. It isn’t perfect and kinda just makes him more niche

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Wanted to give a brief update on my thoughts now that recent changes have been made.

 

>Servants can pick now! This is just really good.

>Duelist Buff: Honestly these things might be too good now lmao. Especially against enemies that can only hit 1 of them at a time. 

>Shadow Sneak buff: Pretty cool that it makes shadow mobs drop increased loot. But still a pretty niche spell IMO. I'd either replace the scare with a shadow prison, or increase the number of mobs that are affected by the loot buffs. 

>Shadows are less dumb now. Which is good! But I still maintain that the inability to harvest large areas was a massive nerf to them. No more clearing out rocky or desert biomes for enough stone to build The Great Wall of Maxwell. Again, this could be fixed by making shadows send items to shadow storage instead of walking to Max. But either way, they are better now, just still niche. 

 

 

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