Pantheon Rise of the Fallen: Season 3 Thoughts

At this point, I'm a bit conflicted about this game. Not because the game isn't entertaining or that I no longer enjoying playing it because it is and I still do. I'm conflicted because of what I know is coming in a couple of months.

Basically, each season lasts 6 weeks. Different levels of supporters have access to different durations of that 6 weeks. Some lucky few who poured more money into the game's backer funds can get access to the full 6 weeks. People like me get the last 2 weeks. And others who gave the minimum only get the final week.

Its not a bad system but it does have some drawbacks to me.

Firstly, seasons run back-to-back. This means that season 3 ends this week on like 6/21/24 and Season 4 starts on 6/22/24. There's no time between seasons for developers to really ingest and incorporate feedback from testers. Anything being rolled out for Season 4 has either been planned out for a while or was deemed a minor or critical fix.

What I'm playing now in Season 3 is only slightly different than what I was playing in Season 1. They still have the same limited number of classes. They still have only the one Race (Human). They still have limited character appearance customization. The towns are still sparsely populated and every building is an empty wooden husk essentially.

They've not done much over the last 18 weeks to expand the basic world. There's still basically only 2 zones in the game with limited content. Granted, they did expand between Season 1 and Season 2 to add a new dungeon and some new mobs. I think a similar expansion was made between Season 2 and Season 3, but both changes largely only impacted higher level players. There really wasn't anything in terms of content for newbies or lower level players.

Secondly, the crafting system is a work in progress. Yes, I understand this game is still in Alpha/Beta and that a lot of mechanics will be revamped, redesigned, or simply balanced more through the course of development but the game's core concept seems focused on crafting so far. Player made items and equipment are the majority of what's in the game at this point but the ability to make those items seems to be constantly in a state of flux.

In Seasons 1 & 2, I spent a considerable amount of time harvesting various resources and working on my trade skill proficiency to make a wide variety of goods for my toons. With the launch of Season 3, a few of the trade skills, mainly leatherworking and tailoring, saw a major revamp that invalidated a large number of skills in those areas that required players to re-acquire skills. On top of that, they raised the minimum skill level requirements for those skills that meant things I could make in Season 2 I could no longer make in Season 3.

And while this was slightly annoying, it was what I learned about the developer's near future plans that made it downright irritating.

I learned that Season 4 would introduce 2 new classes, one being a class that I have been waiting for. The Ranger class is one of my all-time favorite MMORPG classes to play and it would finally be available in Season 4. This meant that I would be able to make a new Ranger toon, use my skills on my existing toon to craft it some decent armor, and give it a special weapon I found. The setup would make for an awesome level 1 Ranger that would be able to plow through enemies and level up quickly.

The bummer was that this all had to happen in the 2 weeks I had for Season 4 because with Season 5 would come the first server wipe. This means that Season 5, expected to start sometime in August I think, all of my characters, skills, equipment, and everything would be deleted by the devs. I would be forced to start over from scratch.

This automatically put a damper on Season 3 and killed my excitement for Season 4. With the crafting changes, I would need to invest significant time in my 2 weeks of Season 3 to get my skills re-learned to the point to do the level of production for my Ranger in season 4. But that was all for naught because I would only get to use the gear for a few days before the devs delete everything. I don't see the point in developing my crafting skills just to produce items that would be deleted not longer after I created them.

But on a bright side, if the devs are wiping the server for Season 5 then that leads to me to think that Season 5 will see a massive update. It almost makes me want to wait until Season 5 to do any major crafting efforts. I may finish Season 3 just exploring and Season 4 learning the basics of the Ranger class while waiting for Season 5's changes to do anything significant.

But it does mean that this season's 14 days and next season's 14 days are more or less empty seasons for me. There's no point in trying to grind levels, grind trade skills, or camp named mobs for special drops. Anything I do over the next few weeks will just be wiped clean in August. Why put in that much effort if any progress will be automatically lost and there's nothing I can do about it?

I'm still enjoying the game. I'm still excited about the upcoming changes. I'm still looking forward to the game's eventual release. But I'm less compelled to invest a significant amount of time in the current and following season knowing that everything will be blown away in the near future. And like I said, I understand this is all part of the development cycle. This isn't the first beta that I've been a part of or the first server wipe that I've been through. But when you spend numerous hours building, learning, and playing a character, you build a bond with that character. Having that character deleted is like having a friend or loved one die almost. You are forced to watch and are helpless to do anything as that character forever dies and all is lost.

There's still a lot left to be done in this game and for the most part there hasn't been a lot of growth between season so far but hopefully that comes with the painful server wipe that will see my favored paladin and new ranger deleted in the near future. Hopefully, server wipes don't become the norm in what I anticipate to be a length Alpha/Beta phase but I highly doubt this will be the last.

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