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[SPOILERS] Hard Mode ideas for future updates and DLC

Joined
Jun 29, 2017
The Master Trials will be released soon and I’m very excited to jump back into Hyrule! Nintendo surprised us with lots of great additional content beyond their initial announcement of the pack, which is awesome, but I still can’t help feeling a little disappointed with hard mode (which should also be called master mode). It’s what I’ve been looking forward to most of all.

I really hope Nintendo considers to include some additional options in the next DLC, The Champion’s Ballad, or even in a third DLC pack sold separately. Personally, I would definitely purchase another DLC pack that simply adds a ton of interesting options to customize the game to exactly the way we want to play it.

Below are some ideas. Keep in mind, with hard mode, we’re assuming you’ve played through the game already and know the ins and outs of it. You know how to take on enemies, you know where things are located, you know when to sell things, you’re a culinary whiz, etc. Also, I’m trying to keep things simple and streamlined, whenever possible.


* Food and Elixirs:


1) Food has a 5 min cooldown before you can eat more food.

2) Elixirs have a separate 1 min cooldown before you can drink another elixir.

3) Hearty foods/elixirs no longer fully replenish hearts. They replenish empty red hearts first and any leftover becomes extra yellow hearts.

4) Enduring foods/elixirs no longer fully replenish stamina. They replenish empty green wheel stamina first and any leftover becomes extra yellow stamina.

5) Elixirs have slightly better duration times for effects, since they're harder to make and they often lack extra hearts.

*) Optional: The down button on the control pad activates a new quick menu that holds elixirs. The horse whistle is moved to the up button with your camera and runes, and is cast like a spell.


Many would probably agree that this is the most broken part of the game. Even if this section is the only thing added in, I think it would greatly enhance gameplay. Carry a ton of food with you and you can take on anything that doesn’t kill you in one shot; it’s pretty comical. There desperately needs to be some kind of limitation to stuffing your face. I think simply putting food consumption on a 5 min cooldown would be enough.

However, elixirs would be on their own separate cooldown of only 1 min. This helps to make them a little more useful and allows you to maintain effects when your food consumption is still on cooldown. Elixirs will also be very important for climbs, glides, or anything else that you need more stamina for after eating a meal. Also, they’d be an important source of extra hearts during battles. Along with hearty elixirs, brewing fairy tonics would be an important aspect of the game -- they should be! Nuts would even be utilized more in elixirs to add a few hearts when needed.

But fairies would take center stage and you would be constantly catching them and using them to brew fairy tonics or adding them to other elixirs for some extra hearts to go along with the effects. In my first playthrough, I really never saw fairies nor had the thrill of finding and catching them because I had five of them sitting in my inventory for most of the game and I never felt the need to use their dust as an ingredient (it felt like a waste since I could just depend on food and constantly eat).

Also, elixirs should be more important with their low cooldown because critters are much harder to find and obtain than food ingredients, which just sit their glimmering in abundance waiting to be plucked. With my own experience, I tended to favor food much more and heavily leaned towards it, because they were easier to make and granted lots of hearts. I'd make elixirs if I was low on ingredients for a meal. With this change, you'll need to balance your food versus elixirs. Also, elixirs should have better effect durations compared to meals because they often lack hearts and their ingredients (mainly the critters) are more difficult to find and amass.

The next broken thing is how hearty and enduring meals and elixirs fully replenish. They really trivialize the game and trump other things. On top of that, later in the game, you have access to more of their replenishment properties because it’s only worthwhile to cook a single ingredient at a time! A very simple fix to this is to remove the full replenishment and make yellow hearts/stamina fill empty red hearts/stamina before they overflow and grant you extra. This way, they’d be great for preparation and to eat when your hearts/stamina are full, and even in a pinch when you’re not full but need the hearts/stamina. Also, later in the game, you’ll still want to cook a high number of them together to restore yourself, instead of resorting to cooking one at a time.

Also, it would be really nice to have a quick menu for elixirs (given their new importance in the game), much like the existing ones for weapons and spells. Having to go to the item menu for both meals and elixirs is a bit disruptive to the flow of the game, especially during battle. The quick menu system is genius and works so well with everything else. I think it would be nice to move the horse whistle to a spell slot, like the camera and such, and to have the down button access elixirs. It makes sense since you’re just chugging a potion and it would be practical since there’s much fewer types of elixirs than there are meals and raw food. I believe combat and other actions would flow much more seamlessly and natural with a quick menu for elixirs. There’s no need to have the horse whistle take up its very own button when there are much better uses for it. The way it would work is that you select the elixir you want and when you release the quick menu button you’ll consume it. If you accidentally pressed the elixir quick menu button, you just leave it at the first empty slot (like the other quick menus) and nothing will happen. For convenience, all heart elixirs would be first in the list, followed by stamina elixirs, with everything else sorted after them by type then level/duration.


* Champion Powers:


1) Mipha’s Grace: Doesn’t fully replenish hearts and doesn’t give 5 additional yellow hearts, instead it works like a fairy but with twice the power: auto-resurrects and grants you up to 10 red hearts. 15 min cooldown.

2) Revali’s Gale: Single use. 5 min cooldown.

3) Urbosa’s Fury: Single use. 15 min cooldown.

4) Daruk’s Protection: Single use. 10 min cooldown. Now activated by holding ZL and A buttons together.


Mipha's Grace is a bit broken. Having an auto-resurrect is already valuable, it doesn't need to fully replenish you and give yellow hearts too. Instead, it behaves just like an extra fairy when you die and will auto-resurrect and grant 5 red hearts (only if you’re out of fairies). Also, you can now choose to manually use this power to grant you 10 red hearts, so it’s another valuable source of hearts now that meals and elixirs have cooldowns.

Revali’s Gale can be quite powerful too; chaining three gales together can really trivialize some things. Most of all, it can all you to perform overpowered jump shots anywhere. I think making it a single use, like the others, would be fine. It has a short cooldown, so it can be used often enough, and I have an idea below to make jump shots a little more challenging.

Urbosa's Fury is crazy strong. This definitely needs to be reduced to a single use out of all of them. The damage is really high, but I think it's fine for hard mode; the stun is what will be most useful. Enemies will have lots of health in hard mode and if you're facing a large group they'll all be regenerating too.

Daruk's Protection is another strong power which needs to be reduced to a single use. The cooldown is short enough to have one casting of it available for most tough encounters (or skydives). It now activates by holding both the ZL button and the A button. Unless you disable the power, having it on only the ZL button activates it all the time when blocking and locking on, and often wastes it. On top of that, in my opinion, it’s really distracting during combat (especially when trying to parry) and isn’t aesthetically pleasing. I just want to see Link with his shield raised stoically, not a gerbil in a plastic ball all the time. Also, if you hold the A button soon enough after holding ZL, Link won’t even perform the parry motion when you activate the bubble. Also, the bubble will only appear if you hold the A button down, if you just tap it while holding ZL you’ll perform a parry and won’t waste your bubble.


* Fast Travel:


1) Fast traveling has a 30 min cooldown.

2) The travel medallion is on a separate 30 min cooldown of its own.


Early on, Hyrule is HUGE. But that vastness dwindles quickly until the world feels very tiny as you just teleport everywhere. Also, your horse becomes neglected. You can also exploit things a bit when you can fast travel frequently. One example is hopping from stable to stable and stocking up on arrows, or zipping back to a fairy fountain to restock on fairies. The new travel medallion, while very convenient, will only make this worse. I think simply having a decent cooldown before you can fast travel again would help resolve this and would make horseriding essential.

I would’ve liked to have a cast time so that if you’re hit by an enemy it cancels, just like when charging up an attack, but I’m trying to keep things simple. A longer cooldown helps take away that sense of security in knowing you can teleport out of anything you get yourself into whenever you need to and would make things a little more thrilling.

Having the travel medallion on its own separate cooldown helps keep the item as a powerful addition to the game. I’m not sure how easily it is to obtain and how early you can find it, but later in the game, it’ll be nice to have for quick trips to a location and back (like a fairy fountain when farming materials). Still, you won’t be able to just zip around the map endlessly like you can now.


* Enemies:


1) More roaming enemies which can catch Link by surprise while exploring.

2) Better camouflage for lizalfos.

3) Larger chuchus always split into two smaller chuchus upon destruction until the smallest tier is destroyed.

4) More challenging wizzrobes: much less damage from elemental arrows and either invisible footsteps, fading visibility of footsteps, OR abilities to better disrupt when disappearing/reappearing.


Enemies are too static and most stay put in their locations or have short roaming paths. The world and its inhabitants need to be more dynamic, with lots of roaming threats that can come upon you while fighting other groups or unexpectedly while you’re focused on hunting/gathering/exploring. It would be nice to come across a wandering hynox (a sleep walker? Lol, jk), lynel, or guardian out of nowhere and for them to catch you by surprise while exploring. Even traveling bands of bokoblins led by a moblin, or more bokoblins on horseback speeding through the open plains would be nice too. Hard mode will supposedly have strange floating platforms of enemies, but I believe they’ll still be stationery.

When I first played the game, early on I was really immersed in the world of Hyrule upon discovering other NPC’s exploring the land, the traveling merchants, and even NPC’s under attack by enemies -- it was very thrilling. I was blown away and amazed by my first dragon sighting as it traveled across the map and the world felt so alive. It would be great to have more of those feelings watching enemies travel around the map and timing/planning routes around these. It would also be a lot of fun to always be alert and pay attention to your surroundings, as you would if you really were out in the wilds in a world filled with monsters.

Also, to catch you off guard even more, there needs to be more camouflaged lizalfos ready to ambush you. Not only that, but give them better camouflage! They shouldn’t be invisible, but they should definitely blend in a little better so that they can get the jump on you if you’re not paying attention.

Chuchus act as the stals of the daytime, except they’re even more trivial. I think giving them an interesting mechanic, like the stals have with their skulls, would help make things more fun. Especially since chuchus are pretty slow and have no weapons or ranged attack. I think having larger chuchus split into two smaller chuchus of the next tier upon being destroyed would make things interesting. It would be a big blobby mess of chuchus as you hack them up, especially once you start encountering the very large ones and they split multiple times.

Wizzrobes need to be more challenging as well. Being able to one-shot them with certain elemental arrows really trivializes them. Also, it’s easy to follow their footsteps when they go invisible and fire at them just as they reappear. One simple option is to remove the footstep effect when they go invisible so that you don’t know where they are going to reappear. But, it would be a real shame to lose that because it’s such a nice special effect. Another option could be to make the puddle footsteps fade away quickly until the wizzrobe is traveling completely invisible. This way, you know the general direction it’s heading in but you don’t know the exact endpoint.

Finally, another option could be to have wizzrobes reappear right as they shoot projectiles at you, then they proceed to either shoot again or cast a spell. Also, to further distract and disrupt your aiming, elemental keese should always appear in a wizzrobes location when they go invisible. This way, there’s something to keep you a little busy while you’re trying to follow the footsteps with your drawn bow (remember, you’re also going to be fired at as soon as the wizzrobe reappears).


* Combat:


1) An unsteady aiming controls effect is applied while time is slowed during jump shots OR jump shots simply drain stamina twice as fast.


Jump shots are pretty overpowered. It’s also strange that Link can fire a ton of arrows right on the mark while in mid air, but can’t do the same while standing still on the ground. Sure, it’s just a game mechanic and doesn’t need to be realistic, but it’s a very powerful mechanic and could use a little more skill to execute. If an unsteady effect (similar to the aim cursor bouncing around a bit when sniping in shooting games) is applied to aiming during jump shots while time is slowed, it would not only feel a little more realistic, but it would be more balanced. You’d still be much better off with this than you would having no time slowdown during jump shots, lol. Another option is to simply make jump shots drain stamina twice as fast, so they don’t last so damn long.

And no, there’s nothing wrong with weapon durabilities, if you’re looking for it on this list. It’s like collecting ammo in a first person shooter. I’m actually glad that enemies will have more health and will need to be beaten on for longer, because that also means weapons will break more often. In my experience, there’s always an abundance of weapons available, especially later in the game. And especially when starting a new game as an experienced player, because you’re now a champ at finding korok seeds and can quickly increase your inventory space. I welcome anything that’ll have me scrambling and desperate for things to fight with. Maybe I’ll even start repairing the champion weapons for once if I become really desperate in hard mode, lol.


* Rupees and Purchases:


1) Except for gems, all items sell for 50% less rupees.

2) Great Fairies now cost: 1st = 500; 2nd = 1,500; 3rd = 5,000; 4th = 15,000

3) Resistance clothing being sold also has ingredient costs to purchase them, just like the Radiant set.


Items are too easy to amass and sell off for tons of rupees. Especially for an experienced player who knows how many items they need to hold onto and how many they can sell off. Newer players typically just hoard everything until they learn what each item is used for. The simplest method to reduce the player’s fortune in hard mode would be to adjust the main source of income -- selling things. By reducing income from selling things by -50%, the player will amass a fortune more slowly. Also, it’ll have the effect of making clothing purchases (especially those important resistance sets), arrow purchases, etc. relatively more expensive and harder to obtain. It’ll also make treasure chests filled with things like gold rupees relatively more valuable, which is a nice thing. One exception though would be gems; they would remain at their current sell price because I think it would be more fun for them to be valuable. Currently, it’s a bit disappointing to open a chest and get a lesser gemstone… or even anything lower than a diamond. Also, this would help make mining a little more interesting.

Currently great fairies cost: 1st = 100; 2nd = 500; 3rd = 1,000; 4th = 10,000. Initially, part of the challenge is actually finding these great fairies and that’s what hinders your progress. In hard mode, experienced players know exactly where these fairies can be found. So, because of that, and knowing exactly what to sell in order to amass a quick fortune the costs need to be increased. These new costs seem fair enough and each tier triples in value: 1st = 500; 2nd = 1,500; 3rd = 5,000; 4th = 15,000.

Another good speed bump to apply to experienced players in hard mode would be to add an ingredient cost to resistance gear (or all gear!), just like how the Radiant set requires luminous stones when purchasing. This way, you can’t just beeline to a city’s shop and drop a heap of rupees to easily obtain a full set of resistance gear. I think that would be the best way, but other options that are less simple could be to only grant set pieces upon completing certain quests (you can’t buy them) or to have a reputation system in each city where each set piece becomes available for purchase as you complete quests for the city’s inhabitants.


* Game Saving:


1) Ironman: no manual saving, only autosaves.

2) Autosaves only occur after: finding a korok, completing a shrine, completion of an event/quest/dungeon, exiting the game, or if 15 mins have passed since the last autosave.


The Yiga clan hideout was a unique part of the game and had a really thrilling feel to it since dying was much more of a penalty. Everywhere else you can always be at ease if you manually save all the time, especially before something dangerous or risky. Relying solely on autosaves could help with this. Of course, players could always just restrict themselves from saving. Also, I’ve read that the game will not only keep hard mode save slots separate, but it’ll only keep two autosaves -- I like that.


SUMMARY:


* Food has a 5 min cooldown before you can eat more food.

* Elixirs have a separate 1 min cooldown before you can drink another elixir.

* Hearty foods/elixirs no longer fully replenish hearts. They replenish empty red hearts first and any leftover becomes extra yellow hearts.

* Enduring foods/elixirs no longer fully replenish stamina. They replenish empty green wheel stamina first and any leftover becomes extra yellow stamina.

* Elixirs have slightly better duration times for effects, since they're harder to make and they often lack extra hearts.

* The down button on the control pad activates a new quick menu that holds elixirs. The horse whistle is moved to the up button with your camera and runes (and possibly champion powers), and is cast like a spell.

* Mipha’s Grace: Doesn’t fully replenish hearts and doesn’t give 5 additional yellow hearts, instead it works like a fairy but with twice the power: auto-resurrects and grants you up to 10 red hearts. 15 min cooldown.

* Revali’s Gale: Single use. 5 min cooldown.

* Urbosa’s Fury: Single use. 15 min cooldown.

* Daruk’s Protection: Single use. 10 min cooldown. Now activated by holding ZL and A buttons together.

* Fast traveling has a 30 min cooldown.

* The travel medallion is on a separate 30 min cooldown of its own.

* More roaming enemies which can catch Link by surprise while exploring.

* Better camouflage for lizalfos.

* Larger chuchus always split into two smaller chuchus upon destruction until the smallest tier is destroyed.

* More challenging wizzrobes: much less damage from elemental arrows and either invisible footsteps when disappearing, fading visibility of footsteps when disappearing, OR abilities to better disrupt when disappearing/reappearing.

* An unsteady aiming controls effect is applied while time is slowed during jump shots OR jump shots simply drain stamina twice as fast.

* Except for gems, all items sell for 50% less rupees.

* Great Fairies now cost: 1st = 500; 2nd = 1,500; 3rd = 5,000; 4th = 15,000

* Resistance clothing being sold also has ingredient costs to purchase them, just like the Radiant set.

* Ironman: no manual saving, only autosaves.

* Autosaves only occur after: finding a korok, completing a shrine, completion of an event/quest/dungeon, exiting the game, or if 15 mins have passed since the last autosave.


Any other ideas?
 

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