First off, I have to say I LOVE the design concept of this place:
- Free form trash farming with fairly decent drops
- Targeted farming of bosses
- Ease of gem drops, especially Riechlu, Limoany, and Vellinque
- Stepping stone in progression toward 0.5 and eventually early T1 farming
- Varied and distinct sets with clear applications
- No zone debuff to artificially inflate difficulty (which I realize is necessary for 0.5/1 to function as intended, but still)
It's overall a really fun, relaxed way to farm up gear sets and socketables. But I do have a few criticisms.
1. Soul binding for the 5/8% DR bonus on gear is necessary for progression, but souls are hard to farm outside of T1 zones. This brings a fun/leisurely progression into a tired/boring grind. The only common sources of souls for this area are the random Lesser Soul drops (which you need 500 of to make an Angelic Soul, which you need 3 of per piece of gear) and the T0 Legendary + Catalyst recipe (which you need 50 of to make an Angelic). The easiest change to make this still feel like progression, but drastically reduce the excessiveness of the grind would be to have the trash drop Greaters instead of Lessers.
2. Tier 0 gear and gems are useless in T1 once some of the bosses are farmable. I'm not sure what to say/think about this one other than how it feels kind of crappy to spend the time farming them up only to have them rendered entirely useless once T1 sets are more available. On the one hand, this is how progression works: harder content yields better gear, and eventually all the better gear will replace the older gear. On the other hand, it makes farming Tier 0 feel like a waste of time to do any more than the absolute minimum needed to safely farm 0.5/1 content. I'd really like to offer a solution instead of a complaint, but I'm not sure what (if anything) should be done about this. I do know that I wish the 0.5 gems could drop from the Tier 0 bosses, though, because that would alleviate some of this issue while making that area more exciting and less wasteful.
3. Too many dragons--especially as bosses. I know this is a common theme throughout Synergies raids, but with the sheer number of them in T1 alone, coupled with their inherently annoying fight mechanics, it's just a pain in the ass to have so many of them in Tier 0. It's not even a question of difficulty, but of annoyance and how it plays into a general gripe about Synergies raid content in general (see no. 4). But the most annoying "feature" about dragons is that they take off into the air, hover there, and are not targetable while they do whatever they want (usually damage). Worse still, they do this in rapid succession so they spend more time untargetable than targetable. An especially bad case of this is the red dragon in part two of the Warlock fight (T1). It wouldn't be so bad if it had like a 30s internal cooldown instead of being spammed, but dragon mechanics in general just aren't that fun.
4. Too much melee hate in the form of knockbacks, slows, freezing, and shotgunning spells/attacks... and too much ranged reflect. I could live with the slows/freezing just fine, but the knockbacks and shotgunning makes melee extremely tiresome to play, and that really sucks because that is my preferred play style. However, even when I played ranged builds, it feels like everything
has Missile Reflect, and reflect mechanics in general are a shortcut to bad ARPG gameplay (see Path of Exile). I really don't mind if the occasional champion/elite monster or boss randomly spawns with it (as long as the actual reflect chance is still relatively low, ~35% or so), but when everything has it, it just feels like bad/lazy design.
I like the idea that budgeting your damage against certain defensive requirements provides depth in gem/enchant/gear choices, but if you haven't noticed the trend about which things I criticize, most of it has to do with "no counterplay" mechanics--reflect and many dragon mechanics are like this, along with most knockback or pull effects (like the tentacles in the last fight). At least knockback can be geared against, but some skills/spells don't seem to count as knockback even when they act like it, and the primary method of gearing against it involves equipping a shield, so dual wield or 2h builds get twice screwed since they also don't get a chance to block.
Anyway, these are not intended to be put-downs, because I love most of what Synergies has to offer, but these things really nag at me, and it feels like they could be a lot better. Certain other aspects of the mod definitely are. For example, balancing damage and gear progression against 75% DR and max health is a fairly healthy way to approach gear/difficulty checks without having to resort to "cheap" mechanics like reflect.
Just one person's views/opinions to consider as Synergies moves forward...