Hero Siege Season 9

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Hero Siege is a game constantly in flux. Every season/ major update seems to change the way the game is played drastically. It happens often enough that I find my self coming back to a completely different game each time I come back. Sometimes those changes are good so times not so much.  You can find the patch notes here.

Now I will admit that I didn’t enjoy season 8 that much. I got into climbing the wormhole ladders in season 6, season 7 had a new class to play around with, but when season 8 launched there were changes that made the game feel too different so I put it down. It’s been. Looking back through the patches, season 8 was only last September so it’s about 6 months since I played. We took last night to get through all 7 acts on normal difficulty to see some of the changes. This time around I’m playing the Shaman which is a class I’ve tried to play before but didn’t end up sticking with it for the long term.

Let’s start with the best and most notable change. The enemy sprites and the redone maps look fantastic. It’s nice to see that the visuals in the game are still being worked on and updated. Along with this there has been improvements to enemy AI and behavior. I haven’t noticed much of a change but I’ve only spent time on normal difficulty so far.

One of the major changes in this season is the addition of Ring, belt, and potion slots. More gear for those stats is always better right? They’ve done away with the random potion pickups that either gave a positive or negative stat boost until you died. Now, potions are an equitable item that provides utility on a cool down. So far I’ve seen potions that heal, replenish mana, give a shield, and give a speed boost. It’ll be interesting to see if there are potions that provid more than one type of utility.

You can save up to 3 load-outs now. Helpful not having to remember which piece of gear went with what build. I can’t say I’d use this option too often but I might find a use for it.

XP bonuses on items have been reduced. Maybe now I won’t out level the people I’m playing with by 20 levels in the same session.

There are elemental resistances as well as physical resistance stats now. I’ve never liked resistances and don’t usually pay attention to them unless it’s necessary to do damage or stay alive.

An herbalism profession has been added. I know there was mining before but I didn’t play enough when it was added to understand what it was for. I’ve tried some mining, it’s a mini-game where you time attacks to mine an ore vein. I haven’t run into the herbalism nodes yet.

My least favorite change after returning this time is there are no longer mini-bosses that spawn at the end of each zone. The gameplay loop used to kill the enemy spawns until a bar filled up to spawn the mini-boss. Kill the mini boss, get some relics, and move on to the next zone. Playing last night, it looks like that’s been replaced with just finding the portal to the next zone. I’m not even sure you have to kill any enemies at all. There are now Grim Reaper statues that appear on some maps that will spawn the mini-bosses now.

Now, Like I said earlier I haven’t played Hero Seige in 6 months so I have no idea when this changed. But it’s a big enough change that the game feels off for me. There have always been these mini-bosses. Most of the time you’d kill them fast enough that they wouldn’t matter but sometimes they’d get the jump on you and add a little variety to the combat. Now that they aren’t there, it’s mostly killing little enemies as fast as possible for loot and finding the exit as fast as possible to get to the act boss. Maybe I’ll get used to it but maybe I won’t it’s hard to say right now. I think I’ll definitely need another play session or two before I make my decision to stick with the game this time around.

 

Hero Siege: Shield Lancer and Plague Doctor

 

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It’s always weird starting at the beginning of a season after playing a high-level character. Everything feels slower and it gives me that race to the end mentality because I know what the end game is like and I quite enjoy it. Plus the damage numbers are low and it takes so long to kill everything. But I love loot collecting in ARPGs. I rarely share loot between characters because it’s always a rush when you find that one item that puts you over the edge for the next area of difficulty.

I picked up the Shield Lancer and Plague Doctor classes just to support the developer and complete my collection of the classes. I started a solo playthrough with the Shield Lancer. Shield Lancer has a much different playstyle than most of the classes. Where most of the classes want to avoid damage at all costs, getting one-shotted in the higher levels is common, the Sheild Lancer wants to take damage to deal damage. It’s hard to switch from dodge everything mentality to sit in the AOE to charge up my counter-attack. I’m looking forward to how he performs in this games version of greater rifts, wormholes.

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Shield Lancer doesn’t really come online until level 48. At level 36 you unlock Shield Wall which summons a ring of shields around you. At level 48 you unlock Spiked Shield which makes the orbiting shields actually do damage. So for the build, I’m running, the play is to run into a group of enemies, taunt them to lower their defense, pop shield wall and watch everything die. Anything still alive after shield wall runs out can be taken care of with a counter-attack which has been charging every time you got hit. I find this to be super satisfying.

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In my co-op playthrough, I’m playing the Plague Doctor. I didn’t pick this up when it first came out because I was maining a different class for the season. The theme of this class is fantastic. It has an army of rats to spread the plague to enemies, it throws jars of leaches, and does a lot of damage over time. Just like the Lancer, the Plague Doctor really starts doing a lot of damage at level 48. The skill The Last Patient explodes all of the corpses around you spreading a poison gas. You get enough dead trash mobs around an elite and pop it, that 100K health elite is demolished.  My buddy, Jay, is playing the pyromancer that does a lot of burst AOE damage so we’ve been shredding through the Acts. We just got into Nightmare difficulty on Saturday and the increase in difficulty is actually surprising. Luckily, the quality of loot is improving as well. We made it to Act 3 out of 7 this weekend in Nightmare

I want to try a few more classes out before I decide on one to climb the wormholes with. Last season, I was rocking it on the Marauder and ended up on the top 10 softcore leaderboards for a while. But I also didn’t play anything else for a few months. I want to find another class that clicks for me. So far it’s looking like the Lancer but Jay and I are going to try a few more classes co-op.

 

 

Hero Siege 3.0

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Hero Siege is one of those games that I always come back to. Last year I was really into it and put nearly 100 hours into it before moving on to something else. I actually bought the game in 2014 and it’s continued to be updated and grow from a wave clearing roguelike into a 2D pixel Diablo.

On Wednesday the next big update dropped for the game. Once again, everything was overhauled.  The game engine was completely reprogrammed to improve performance.  The Hero Level system (think paragon points in D3) has it’s own talent tree now for more customization. And there’s even jumping now, I didn’t know I even needed that!

This update also comes with a lot of balance fixes. The difficulty settings have been reduced to 4 (Normal, Nightmare, Hell and Inferno ((Sound familiar?)) Max points into a skill is now 30 and the level cap has been decreased to 100. There also used to be a bug with multiplayer where players that weren’t hosting the game didn’t take damage from the majority of attacks. The patch notes say host/client taking and dealing damage bugs have been removed. My friends seem to die more when I host than they did before so it looks like it’s working.

 

The other major update is to the loot system. Loot is handcrafted now so that stats that did not work for your class don’t show up on your items. In the past, you would end up finding spell caster weapons with strength and swords with energy stats. More stats have also been added increasing item diversity and items can now be socketed with stat gems/runes.

Acts 5 and 6 which had previously been DLC only have been made part of the base game. There looks like there’s some contention around this. Mainly, some think DLC content that others bought should be given out for free. Personally, I’m all for it. That DLC has been out for years and it only gives you the extra maps and not the extra classes. So there’s still a reason to buy it if you’re so inclined.

I played for most of Wednesday night. There were a few stability issues, the main ones being server lag and disconnections. I was DC’d 3 times in my play session but that’s to be expected on release day for a smaller game like this. I’m having a great time and in many ways, it feels like a brand new game. It’s been interesting seeing this game grow over the years and, honestly, I may like it even more than Diablo 3. Now if I could only decide on a class to play in season 7.