I made a thread about this yesterday, but it got way too long and convoluted so no one read it, also it was mixed in with some other issue I had, so I’ll try to keep this one much shorter. (TRY to, it’ll probably be just as long.)
THIS IS ALL FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A GOLIATH PLAYER, CANNOT SPEAK FOR OTHER MONSTERS
Stage 3 is supposed to be the apex of a monster’s power. A team of hunters is supposed to want to kill a monster before stage 3 at all costs – but lately I’ve learned that stage 2 is when I’m at my deadliest. Why? The power relay.
The power relay allows hunters to turtle up, and when they do that and, since most maps with relays tend to favor hunters over goliath at the actual relay, it becomes a really bad idea to stage up to 3 as a goliath player.
A monster’s greatest benefit is his battlefield, and stage 3 battles take that power away from you, they essentially neuter your strength when fighting a good team.
I believe this kills the “monster gets stronger over time” dynamic of the game. As the monster, I should never be avoiding staging up, but it’s all I do, I only hit stage 3 if I don’t have the HP to survive stage 2, and even then I’ll usually risk it and hope my armor holds out.
My personal suggestion would be to change the final goal for the Monster; something like me getting some energy and trying to “evolve” again, but this evolution is some mcguffin, like “Oh no, if he pulls this off, he’ll spawn eggs or… call in other monsters or something.” It doesn’t matter what the specific reason is, but the goal would be to allow the monster to choose the battlefield. Anytime you press the evolve button from this point on, you’re highlighted in-game and on the map, so you can’t do it in secret, it’d take significantly longer than killing a power relay due to the advantage the monster would have by being able to flee, but the “hunters win after x time” stipulation would stay.
I believe this would make stage 3 more exciting and properly strengthen stage 3 monsters in high level play for multiple reasons.
No turtling up for hunters. This keeps the trapper just as useful throughout the whole game, instead of making them a gimped damage dealer. As it stands now, trappers are only situationally useful in stage 3 if the monster tries to flee.
The battlefield remains dynamic the entire game. Stage 3 games, unless the monster does something very wrong, end at the power relay, almost every time. That’s boring.
The monster actually becomes more powerful, rather than having to sit there and think about what they’re sacrificing to hit stage 3; their freedom to choose a battlefield on their terms.
It gives the hunters more incentive to actually end the game at stage 2. Of course, most hunters want the game to end there as is, but a highly skilled team doesn’t fear stage 3 at all. They know they’ll have the advantage on almost every map, and goliath in particular struggles with some of the weirder geometry in these areas, considerably so with a Sunny placing shield bots in awkward spots that have great line of sight to the entire battlefield.
Just a suggestion on one of many ideas that I think could work. A team of hunters should ABSOLUTELY be able to beat a stage 3 monster, it should never be impossible or hopeless (unless he has full HP and armor and they have 2 strikes each) but as it stands, I feel stage 3 goliath is worse than stage 2 goliath against a really good team, and that’s no bueno.