What we were shown
When the concept of liches was first introduced to us with the empyrean gameplay demo 2019 a few core aspects were shown off to the community.
They're Immortality: Liches were unkillable, the first lich we saw stated they kept building up troops, a fleet, an empire, only to have the player destroy it, all the while the lich kept growing stronger. Even when defeated at the end of the video they stated they would just come back.
Nemesis: The lines read by this first lich showed a long term relationship with the player, not unlike captain vor. That they had fought multiple battles in a long-standing war, His age was also 72 days, This cemented the idea for me that liches were a long term nemesis that you'd battle for weeks if not months.
Neither of these concepts exists in the current lich system, I believe they were either scrapped entirely to make room for the kuva weapons or will be included in the empyrean update, but if the latter is true what we currently have is in opposition to these two ideas.
First off, we don't have a single immortal lich, we keep creating more. The long term relationship is gone and they don't feel like an ever-growing threat to us.
Second, You cannot make an enemy in a game feel like a challenging or threatening adversary while also simultaneously farming them for in-game content. These two ideas directly opposed each other, A nemesis is supposed to be your equal if not stronger, a Moriarty to your Sherlock holms. If we are consistently farming liches for weapons and killing them, they become nothing more then a field of wheat or a domesticated animal.
They become forgettable, I don't even know why liches names are included on their weapons, does anyone care? You kill them in a few game hours, they don't make an impact on us as players.
What we could have had
With a little adjustment the lich system could have been amazing. I personally feel the following changes could be made either now or when Empyrean is released, let me know what you think of the ideas.
- The lich should be a long-standing personal rival, after defeating its larvae form you are marked by the lich as its target. Maybe give the player the option to remove this mark if they want to reroll the lich's name and appearance.
- Liches cannot be captured anymore, this also contradicts the core concept of a lich, turning it into a soldier of your bidding rather than a powerful nemesis (you can still trade lich content, more on this later).
- Liches no longer steal items from the player (honestly this is a stupid idea and once all kuva weapons are farmed, it disincentivizes players from ever activating a lich again) they still grow their operating territories across the map but drop random mods and resources when defeated based on how many planets they currently own.
- Lich missions still exist to farm murmurs.
- Liches randomly (1 in 30 missions) show up in normal missions, these are not invasions, you'll run into a room and they could be there with several exilus thralls, this is a random challenge, for world-building and to reinforce the idea they are an actual nemesis.
- Liches don't gain a level when they defeat you in a fight but earn XP, they also passively gain XP over time as they age, leveling once they've gained enough XP.
- Liches now level infinitely, their power will be rescaled for balance obviously. A level 50 lich should pose an actual challenge to high-level players.
- Defeating a lich with a mercy doesn't kill it, instead, it evolves, it keeps its name, personality, face and level, however, its current armor, attachments (helmet, mask, ephemera) and weapon will change, some of its abilities will change based on the frame you defeat it with. It will lose all territory on the map bar one planet. You have the option to defeat it or sample its DNA.
- If you choose defeat, you get its current weapon and ephemera after the mission. If you choose to take a sample of its DNA this can be traded to a player who can then inject it into their lich, morphing it into a copy of yours, so as to farm its earn its weapon or ephemera.
- Once the lich grows its territory to a certain level (5 planets lets say) it will start getting its hands on ships and showing up in the empyrean content, whatever that might be.
If you have any suggestions or criticisms of the idea, or have you're own view on the lich content please feel free to post it below.
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