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PC A reasonable discussion about master mode

Orithan

Eye of Cthulhu
Before people start debating about master mode, I'm going to leave this here:

In order for a debate to progress at all both sides need to make an effort to understand each others position and understand why they hold these opinions. The moment either side fails to do so and begins shouting down their opponent is when a debate begins to spiral out of control.
This becomes especially apparent when people start repeating arguments or points, as they feel the need to try and drum it into the opposition as opposed to trying to debunk their points.

Master Mode has been a touchy subject on the Discord server and from my experience it is very difficult to hold a reasonable discussion over it here. While I am not fully confident this thread will not fall into the same chaos and madness as it does over Discord, I hope my insight will help keep this thread from falling over.

As for my opinion of Master Mode: I don't have really much of one except that it looks really unfun to me. I never liked Expert Mode. There is no way I am going to pick up Master Mode anytime soon.
 
I am going to make a Master Mode world specifically for bosses and some sort of huge megaconstruction. Maybe I'll finally start on that 1:1 recreation of the map from Castlevania: Circle of the Moon.
 

FibS

Official Terrarian
I have resolved myself to beat the game in Master Mode in order to qualify myself to criticize it.

Master Mode isn't as asinine as Expert Mode because Master Mode has less consequential stuff in it. While there are still some functional advantages (e.g. you get +1 accessory slot from the start of the game in addition to the +1 from the Demon Heart), a higher percent of the Master Mode content is vanity only compared to the Expert Mode rewards.

Except, you know, the best mount in the game and all.

Of course, if you beat Moon Lord in regular difficulty and deck yourself out, you can probably storm through the early Expert or Master bosses easily, getting some good stuff without much effort. Throwing yourself into death over and over with post-Moon Lord equipment might get you a lot of the important Master Mode-only stuff through sheer stubbornness.
 

Rik Kirtaniya

Terrarian
First of all, let me be absolutely clear that I am not "complaining" (as some people in the Discord channel thought) to the Developers that they should change how Master Mode is and how it works. Whatever be their decision, it's absolutely theirs and I admit that I have no right to dictate what they do, and I WON'T be doing that. Re-logic are absolutely free to design their game as they please. Also, I think it is mandatory that I should mention (before people say that I am "ungrateful") that the 1.4 update has been absolutely amazing, and I love almost all aspects of it. What follows is a bit of constructive criticism about what I felt about Master Mode, and if you are one who does not like criticisms of any kind, I urge you to stop reading my comment right now.

(If someone is out of the loop, this thread is about the argument that's been going on the Official Terraria Discord about Master Mode.)

Master Mode is supposed to be difficult, and it is indeed difficult, but not in a proper way. Enemies have been given "flat stat increases" and that's it. What this entails to is making the game more like a dull slog, a test of patience and stubbornness, and only serves to make fights longer and more grindy, instead of making them more engaging by challenging you to use new and improved tactics. If that's how the Devs intended it to be, it very well is. What I wish to say is that it could have been done in a different (and in my opinion, better) way.

Consider this. You can make an exam hard by either putting in questions that require one to memorize a lot of stuff by rote learning and then write out long answers, OR you can put questions that need people to think innovatively and answer intelligently. Master Mode, as it currently stands now, feels just like writing a long answer that you had memorized. It feels hard, but not really fun. What makes something both hard and fun at the same time is unpredictability, surprises and stuff that encourages intelligent gameplay tactics. And that is where an improved AI comes in. If you go from Normal mode to Expert mode, you immediately feel those changes, but going to Master Mode, it feels exactly like an "Expert mode on steroids". Right now, it's just dodging normal mobs in fear of getting one(or two)-hit-killed, with little scope for unorthodox and ingenious gameplay tactics. It's surely hard (as might have been intended), but again, not really fun. At least that is what I feel. (If you are reading this and you think differently, relax, I'm not attacking you. It's okay for people to disagree, as long as they are respectful to others).

Leviathan here sums it all up eloquently.


As I said before, I am not saying that Re-logic are obliged to change Master Mode, but it's something to be considered. This is simply a humble request, and nothing more. I understand they had time constraints in developing the game update, and among all the other absolutely amazing things that they have added in this update, there was probably not enough time to design an improved AI for Master Mode enemies and bosses. But here's hoping. :)
 

Kaio

Official Terrarian
Master Mode doesn't bother me because it's entirely optional. One thing that bugs me about Expert in comparison to Classic is that its increased drop rates and the Shield of Cthulhu make the game so much more fun to play that I haven't touched Classic since Expert released. Treasue Bags make a huge QoL difference in multiplayer coop. Master Mode doesn't have any of that so it's entirely up to you if you want some masochism in your life. I also think it's too late in development to change Master Mode in any substancial way and I don't expect it to be something it's not.

While there are still some functional advantages (e.g. you get +1 accessory slot from the start of the game in addition to the +1 from the Demon Heart)
It seems like an advantage at first but I wouldn't call it one. The way enemy health and defense scale in Master Mode makes you need to equip an Emblem and a Celestial Stone as soon as you can so your damage output can keep up with the pace, while that wasn't necessary in Expert. Those are accessories that add very little in terms of how you play as they are mere number improvements. In terms of build diversity, nothing has changed, in my opinion. But this is more of a Terraria problem than a Master Mode problem.

Enemies have been given "flat stat increases" and that's it. What this entails to is making the game more like a dull slog, a test of patience and stubbornness, and only serves to make fights longer and more grindy, instead of making them more engaging by challenging you to use new and improved tactics.
One big thing that changed in how I played in Expert in comparison to how I've been playing in Master is that I've been stacking potions and buffs to every boss fight. I don't like how most of the potions in the game are mere number multipliers as they don't add much in interactivity, make the game more grindy, and occupy many inventory slots. This probably resonates with your point. Excluding that, I think the boss fights are fine, really. Except for the ones that were already poorly designed (I'm looking at you, Skeletron Prime).

In my opinion, what makes a fight (or encounter) fair is how many attacks you can dodge out of your ability. Master Mode makes everything kill you in two to three hits, so the good and bad challenges stand out even more from each other. Pumpkin Moon is still amazing. Frost Moon has made me reconsider its quality. Martian Madness and the Celestial Pillars are really, really torturous. It's almost like Terraria combat was designed around the idea that your character should be able to tank a few hits for being out of position, as a "correct position" is sometimes unexsistent due to the lack of arena design in the game. Master Mode doesn't take that in consideration, a hit is a hit, so I hope you don't feel cheated when you lose half of your health bar in a hit you couldn't have dodged.

Just to close it up, I never expected anything different from Master Mode and I don't need it to be changed in any capacity. That being said, I'm not playing it again after I defeat Moon Lord, as it makes the game a little less fun to me. I'm sure there must be one or two people out there who really enjoy Master Mode though, and more power to them, as this game difficulty was made to cater to them. I don't get the commotion over optional content.
 

FibS

Official Terrarian
I don't get the commotion over optional content.
With the exception of the additional accessory slots, all Expert / Master Mode content can be taken to a Normal mode world (including, say, a multiplayer server.)
  • The Shield of Cthulhu gives invincibility frames on command. It can also be used to immediately hit full horizontal speed on any mount.
  • The Flying Dutchman mount has infinite flight and the fastest mount speed in the game.
  • The Suspicious Looking Eye pet ties for brightest light pet and additionally looks directly at the closest NPC, enemy, or treasure within 20 blocks.
This is in addition to the implication that someone who earned any of these items legitimately will already be better at the game without any such advantages.
 

Kaio

Official Terrarian
With the exception of the additional accessory slots, all Expert / Master Mode content can be taken to a Normal mode world (including, say, a multiplayer server.)
  • The Shield of Cthulhu gives invincibility frames on command. It can also be used to immediately hit full horizontal speed on any mount.
  • The Flying Dutchman mount has infinite flight and the fastest mount speed in the game.
  • The Suspicious Looking Eye pet ties for brightest light pet and additionally looks directly at the closest NPC, enemy, or treasure within 20 blocks.
This is in addition to the implication that someone who earned any of these items legitimately will already be better at the game without any such advantages.
I fully agree on the Shield of Cthulhu and I'll say that dashing is a mechanic that should have been inherent to the default character in any mode, without the use of accessory slots. It's one of the reasons I only play Expert mode, unless I'm playing multiplayer with a newbie friend.
I can't think of a context where The Suspicious Looking Tentacle would be particularly useful in post-game, which is where the item belongs. I don't get the hype over The Black Spot since the Celestial Starboard and Soaring Insignia are Expert items that together outrun the mount by 2mph horizontally without acceleration. If I wanted to cheese the Master Mode bosses by outrunning them I could just build rails or something.
 

Mille Marteaux

The Destroyer
The primary issue with the "you have many talented modders in the community, you could have reached out to them" in the case of a free update to a retail product is that doing so means you have done one of two things:

- You have just contracted multiple people to work on your retail product for free

OR

- You have just added multiple people onto your payroll for a free update

Neither of these are desirable outcomes. Especially after that little thing that happened a few years back called Otherworld.

Basically everyone owns Terraria at this point, while profitable they're still going to be making most of their money off merchandise sales instead of paid updates to the core game.

If they did want to just up and buy previously existing code for new AI, though, how do you value existing work? How can you decide its value? It's been freely available for a long time, and placing it in the core retail product is flattering, but it stops being "for love of the game" when it stops being a mod and starts being a part of the game.

There are a lot of weird gray areas involved, and none of them really have good and clear answers that would satisfy every party.


I haven't played much of Master on my own - the flat stat increases don't appeal to me as the parts of the game I really enjoy are fighting tough bosses instead of fighting mobs, and early Master is horrific. I have to respect enemies, but not because they're clever - I have to respect them because an Armed Zombie can hit me for 123 damage when I have 100 HP. That isn't fun to me, and that's alright - anything I want from Master I can just load up an existing geared character on and go kick the Master boss off the table.

Master, I believe, shines best with multiple players that are very confident in each other's abilities playing together in multiplayer. If you want to solo it, Journey is there to make it less.. dreadful? I want to say "dreadful" as the word.

I don't think it's a bad addition. It's not taking anything away from the game, and it's clearly possible to beat. It's just there for the people that it appeals to.

I just.. don't know who it appeals to.
 

Banmei

Terrarian
So far it's not bad. Right about ready to take on the Wall of Flesh but still discovering/enjoying much of the new content from 1.4. There's sooo much new stuff.

CONS

- Kind of wish the 50% HP increases wasn't a flat rate across the board. Some creatures had waaay to much HP in Expert and now it's kind of silly.
- As if some classes in periods within the game didn't suck bad enough Master Mode made it even worse. I kind of miss being able to pick my class when I want not with what is available which can be a loooooong time in Master Mode.
- I don't even want to imagine the Four Towers deal. Manageable for the most part in Expert Mode except for that damn fire centipede. He could kill me in 2-3 hits with max tank defense. I'd bet he's close to a one hit kill now.

PROS

- I find I rarely run out of money. With the increase spawn rate and *i believe* additional gold drops I am finding myself with multi-platinum in the bank and I'm not even farming.
- I finally just placed my first Water Candles in the Ocean in an attempt to get that evasive Divers Helmet. This is a good thing. Previously in Expert Mode I was using Battle Potions and Water Candles all over the place and still was getting impatient with spawn rates. Now there's plenty of things to kill.

All in all I think it's an improvement. Could use some additional polishing but better for me. Last time I played Expert I was running around trying to see how far I could get in Hard Mode with a Miners Helm/Molten armor. But that is just me and not everyone else. I am a fighter at heart. For those that are not or are moving through the ranks I could see this being a complete hell.

Hell? Well, it is Master Mode. It was made very clear even before release that this would be the next challenge and would not be easy. It's kind of difficult to tell what is Master and what is a new release for 1.4/everything so I don't have a bunch to talk about.

I like it.
 

The Deceiver

Terrarian
I don't think Master Mode is a bad addition either, but I do believe it's rather unfinished/unbalanced, especially for multiplayer. The HP scaling for bosses is overwhelming, everything seems to hit-kill you from early to end-game, no matter how good you are at dodging. It's irrelevant whether you can evade most attacks, the only one that hits you might be a game over. You can't tank anything and defense feels worthless.

The rewards are "fun" (I guess?) but that's about it. In comparison to Expert Mode at the release, which had a whole new AI and many satisfying prizes, Master is simply outshone. You don't have to relearn any mechanic/mob pattern of the game, you just need to avoid getting frustrated by a hitkill from any mob.

I guess I'm entertained because it's the last major update and there's a lot of new cool stuff, and mostly because I'm playing with my best friends. Despite that, the experience has been discouraging. It's probably the last time I'll play on this difficulty. Just like Rik said above, it's indeed hard; however, not in a proper way.
 

Nimblentfox

Terrarian
Is it challenging? I think it is, but not in creative way. Its just like playing ARPG where every hit or second kill you. It's expect you to be very good at the game or cry in your room. At least I'm glad that it is optional (except for the Dutchman mount)

Going from normal to expert is great. Its still add up number, but some change make it good. Expert to Master is like the description say, only for the best of all. However, imo, because this mode exist. I'm sure that some people will try to go around like... playing on expert? Nah... real people go master! or leave you with something hollow like.... why I can't beat the master mode? Why not playing Master Mode already? Yadayada. Lot of people do this already. If you didn't have someone say that - you're bless.

TBH, I'm not saying it's bad. Master mode served its own right. Simple higher difficulty. 99% of the reward are cosmetic that show you can do it. What bad is me, I think I need sometime to make it fit in "Terraria" style I use to know... and to stop someone I know who keep 'go master made' too.
 
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