Qairon Posted November 12, 2022 Share Posted November 12, 2022 Since I haven't seen many people talk about the Maxwell rework from the perspective of actually playing him in a playthrough, I figured I'd give my thoughts (rambles) from that angle. The vast majority of the posts seem to be covering the duelists in all their functions, DPS potential, optimal damage setups with the equipment combinations, and how fast they kill X boss that was spawned in a day 1 world, etc. And while I'm glad the community is so involved in it and hopefully it gets whatever fine-tuning it needs, I didn't care for any of that myself, I just wanted to know... how he actually feels to play. And he's still pretty fun! I'm also not going to be covering the entire year, just some key moments in my playthrough that really stood out to me involving his mechanics, and how it directly compares to non-beta Maxwell in my opinion. This is completely anecdotal and not much testing or a goal was put into it. So, getting right into it, and almost completely blind to how he works, I started the world like I do as just about every character, getting an alchemy engine out of the way, exploring the world and gathering to set up a base, and it usually always starts with me harvesting everything in the mosaic biome. While I was pretty confused how the shadow servants worked at first, the first major change became apparent right away: the new Maxwell does not need tools or flint of any kind to gather anymore. It's such a unique and interesting advantage that helps him stand out from day 1, but it does act as a tradeoff to his previously unparalleled snowball-effect gathering in my opinion and took a lot of getting used to. The best feeling in the world as current Maxwell to me, at least in the earlygame, was securing that first pickaxe shadow: once you had him, you had boulder resources forever lol. Anyways, That's not to say I didn't find beta Maxwell's gathering method intuitive, as the servants being able to effortlessly switch betewen axe, pickaxe and shovel is honestly a godsend. It always felt pretty inefficient when it came time to actually clear trees and sacrificing 6-8 nightmare fuel, 3-4 tools was how it had to be done every single time. While it's kind of awkward getting the most use out of these new very disposable shadows, I felt it really makes Max a more versatile character, much like his singleplayer counterpart. Shadows make sense being formless and adaptable, so I like how they are right now. The fact they even help with clean up and gathering is just the icing on the cake. Speaking of gathering, after some exploring and finding a pig torch grass setpiece, i think this is when I really fell in love with the new servant shadows. I had no idea if the pigmen were going to just punch my shadows for intruding on their grass, or if the shadows would even gather it, but they were fairly cheap to summon so why not. After nearly getting myself killed when I learned the hard way how long it takes to read the book, I managed to get a few of them into it and yeah, they gathered just over half of it and even walked over to me to hand deliver it. The pigs were completely oblivious to what was happening apparently. Or they pretended not to notice. After getting my base set up, my next priorities were clearing gear mobs nearby for fridges and then hunting spiders to try the tophat. While it's pretty foolhardy, I've played Max enough to know my limits of what I can or can't do without needing armor, and killing a clockwork knight is something I'm usually comfortable doing without it. I also saw it as a key opportunity to try these new duelists. After summoning two or three, I got to work and immediately made my first grave mistake: assuming these things took aggro like the older duelists. I got hit once, was confused because I was sure I let the duelists lead with an attack, made sure of it the next time-- nope, my face just got smashed in. I want to say beforehand that I'm one of the few people that didn't despise the old, spear-consumed duelists: they weren't amazing, but they were reliable and had your back. A werepig or two? They'll split the aggro for you to focus one at a time, and run the other one around in a circle. A bishop? They'll take the heat off you and let you go wild on it, as long as you let them get that hit in before its shot, they'll literally take a bullet for you. They excelled at reacting to ANYTHING that aggroed unto you and immediately intercepting, like a real bodyguard. (It also made them horrible in the swamp though, lmao) Hunting was always especially fun with Max since shadows can get a "sneak attack" on koalaphants and voltgoats when feint attacking with either a boomerang or ice staff equipped to send them over, making them an actual reliable source of meat when another character might need actual ranged tactics to start combat, or chase it into a corner like an episode of Benny Hill. They're kinda meh with spiders, especially a large number, and just kinda die to most other things that aren't similar small skirmishes. But I was okay with that. I liked getting my hands dirty with Maxwell but understood everyone's complaints with duelists for years now; as a summoner Max never felt super powerful in the combat department as someone like Wendy. I also had a pretty hard time adjusting to the fact he can no longer cap his sanity to insanity at will now with double duelist + worker. At first, I thought the intent was to just summon max 6 shadows and kill as many shadows as you could within that short window, but it was horribly inefficient. I mostly resorted to eating as many greencaps as possible and using wormholes for insanity farming lol. It wasn't until like, summer that I realized Shadow Sneak seems to be the way you get abundant fuel now Well, after getting a clutch touchstone revival and trying again, I definitely felt the power once I realized the new duelists seem to be purely focused on DPS, not so much protecting you like the old ones. I'm glad they did it in a way that actually forces Maxwell to act, too, since aggro and targeting seem to prioritize Maxwell and he can't "hide" behind the duelists. Of course, I imagine that's where Shadow Prison comes in and also with that the controversy, but I personally rarely used it, so have nothing to say for gameplay with high usage of it. And man, do duelists look flashy with that teleporting move. Even when they're idling, they seem to brace themselves, and at some points that seemed to actually draw aggro sometimes with a taunt. While I didn't like that part too much, they actually feel like extensions of Maxwell. After cleaning up the knights and rook, I farmed spiders for a top hat, enchanted it, and found it pretty nice for storing even more loot before I needed to really commit to a base. The shiftclick + M2 animations is also pretty neat, since he actually pulls things out of his hat and drops them. It felt nice dumping an entire inventory on the floor once I got to my base spot that way. I'm not really a fan of giving characters greater nearly-private storage options, like Walter with his Woby, but honestly with the way his shadow inventory is now, I'd probably prefer it to this weird communal hive network that it is right now. I played this run solo, and once again with a friend up to around end of winter, and while I can really see the potential for early base building and just relaying equipment and resources in a coordinated group of friends that don't even need to be Maxwell via the Magician Box and Shadow Chester, I just know this is mostly going to make drama that will unfold in public servers when some Maxwell gets angry his meatballls he stored in the aether are now missing, or Maxwelll #5 has lost his 5 stacks of nightmare fuel he was safekeeping in it, etc. It was rare to see anyone discuss the hazards or suggest changes for it, and I thought this post had interesting solutions. Sometime in Winter is when I first started messing around with the shadow prison, and that was primarily with hunting Mactusk. It was nice bullying the one mob that loves nothing more than shooting a gun at you while running away. I'm well aware the prison is also extraordinarily useful against Dragonfly, but opted not to use it. It was mostly just because I was panicking enough trying to get used to resummoning so much, it's quite the balancing act in and of itself. It definitely adds to combat in a way no other character has, and I think the refresh succeeded in making him stand out that way. I also did a lot of sailing in mid-winter to early Spring, and man are servants good in the ocean. I've never felt getting salt was as fun as how Max can do it now- deploying a few shadow servants over it cleans the entire salt biome in just a minute or two, and they Jesus-walk it over to you in a neat stack. In my fight with Malbatross, I had a pretty MLG moment where I prisoned her mid-dash, saving my sails at the last second and finishing her off. The duelists also put in some work and helped aggro her onto me as an alternative to a ranged attack at points. My summer was largely uneventful and was mostly spent in the caves and ruins, but this is where I got to learn how useful Shadow Sneak was and had that eureka moment that this is kind of just how he gets fuel now lol. Killing a few infected bunnymen and splumonkeys yielded more fuel than i knew what to do with, and I imagine bunnies on the surface became beardlings to similar effect. The ruins also went pretty well, and after putting on thulecite armor, I did get a taste of that damage increase people seemed to obsess over. It was fairly noticeable. Overall, this is probably the most interesting character-centric update I've ever seen in this game, and I was around since the very first one with Willow. Thanks as always to the devs for literally giving free content, I've gotten more from this game than I ever could have hoped for over the past few years and it's gotten me through some rough times at that. Rambling over. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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