D2R Patch 2.5 PTR Terror Zones Guide: Big 2 Changes, Improvement Ideas, Bad Ideas, and more

8/30/2022 3:01:32 PM

What a crazy transformative change to the endgame in D2R just in time for Ladder 2! Here we discuss my overall impressions of Terror Zones and their impact on the game and go into specific positives in addition to areas that could use improvement. Through the implementation of ideas, we can all get behind, this feature has the potential to be the best thing to happen to D2 in over a decade!


The Big 2 Changes We Want To See

After testing the new Terror Zones experimental feature in the Patch 2.5 PTR we have come up with a couple of easy changes that we think would make a big difference in elevating these zones without making them too powerful for late in the 99 grinds. Help us push these 2 changes behind a united front:

1. Reduce the maximum Area Level in Hell by 4-6 Levels so the monsters are between 92/94/95 and 90/92/95. Based on a large amount of testing, this seems to be the sweet spot for making them relevant (competitive with Season 1 starts) while not excessively cheapening the achievement of Level 99. Currently, 96/98/99 feels a bit much in terms of hyper-acceleration of this grind and will lead to overly fast races and not feel meaningful for a great deal of OG players who have always enjoyed this grind. Another negative of the current levels is that it is possible for Solo P1 to grind to 99 fairly quickly, which may lead to a decline in grouping overall.

2. Put the Terror in the Terror Zones. Make all Unique/Super Unique mobs have an extra affix (in all difficulties) in these zones, making them more dangerous and more likely to roll nasty auras. This would put Uniques in these areas on par with Super Uniques and make Super Uniques ultra-dangerous. They could even add new modifiers and Auras to these monsters to make them really stand out! Small buffs to all of the monsters themselves in these zones could also make them a bit more convincing (+%Life/Dmg), or perhaps increased Character penalties (-res/-dmg/-dr, etc.).

Other Good Improvement Ideas

These are some other smaller-impact adjustments I think could help make Terror Zones have an overwhelmingly positive impact on the game:

1. Increase the number of areas in the Terror Zone pool. Several areas such as Swampy Pit, The Pit, Ancient Tunnels, and others seem needlessly left out.

2. Show ilvl on Items: This would clearly communicate their impact on Charms on other D2R items dropping in these zones.

3. Remove the Monster Level/Character Level Difference penalty from the Attack Rating calculation so this change doesn't overly punish Melee/AR Based builds. This can also help in other areas of the game and bring more parity to the Smiter for Uber-Killing.

4. Make it possible that random Magic Immune guest monsters can sometimes randomly appear in a Terror Zone (for more balance against the supremacy of Magic Damage builds, bringing parity with what Baal Wave 2 already does for the 99 grinds and Hammerdins and such).

5. Create a high experience penalty for underdeveloped Characters entering a Terror Zone (20/40/60 Character Level Breakpoints like with the Ancients Quests in each difficulty) to prevent power-leveling abuse scenarios beyond what is already experienced in the game with Grushing and Chaos and such.

6. Reset all monsters in a Terror Zone whose corruption has faded to the Area's default monster levels even if they have already been spawned. (to prevent abuse scenarios such as pre-spawning and holding games indefinitely for a Streamer etc., as Secret Cow Level Terror Zones spawned in P8).

Bad Ideas

These are some ideas that we've determined to not work or be bad for the game:

1. Multiple Terror Zones per hour (people will just choose the most favorable one and ignore the other one or ones). Part of the purpose of these Zones is to increase the diversity of areas farmed and to challenge builds that may not be up to the task of a particular area or to highlight builds that are typically not favored by current Meta-99 areas.

2.  Changes to monster immunities. Removing them altogether would just favor faster clearing builds even more so given that immunities currently serve as the only thing promoting build diversity since only certain areas can be farmed effectively with certain builds, or rather that certain builds are particularly strong in certain areas. With Terror Zones being so powerful, this would only exacerbate this issue. Additional immunities (2+) just make them frustrating solo or otherwise.


Things already working well:

1. Diversity of builds used to grind 99 and diversity of areas farmed.

2. Sound FX/Indicators

3. 1 Hour Time-Based Rotation of a single area. Keeps these areas balanced relative to other areas and farming strategies.

4. Alternatives to Leveling between difficulties

5. New loot opportunities

Guess you ask