The real issue behind the hold the dome meta, and why Evolve 2.0 won't fix it

(This is from what I personally know of the major update coming to Evolve)

Holding the dome is a major issue in Evolve ESL at the moment. It makes games last for about one dome, and it has very little counterplay outside outplay the hunters in the dome. It’s not fun for anyone, and it’s nice to see that TRS has noticed this and is trying to fix the issue. The issue is that I believe that Evolve 2.0 will not fix what is fundamentally broken at high level play. To understand how to fix an issue it needs to be understood what is causing the issue.

To understand why the hold the dome meta is being employed lets look at one of the most fundamentally broken maps in the game.

The fundamental issues with this map lies in wildlife placements, and how the map itself is designed. Heavy wildlife spawns are near the Speedway and Pass, both in the southern parts of the map. If you play or watch Evolve ESL you’d know that nearly every monster player that stands a chance on this map rushes towards the SE, Pass area. This is for a few reasons

  • Enough wildlife to obtain an entire Evolve meter
  • Safety of being able to eat and kill all of that food without the fear of the hunters
  • Safety of pillars and pathing that make dealing damage to the monster extremely difficult if they decide to dome you.
  • Ease to make it to the caves compared to any other part of the map.

The reason the Speedway isn’t rushed is because

  • Not enough wildlife to Evolve
  • Hunters can shoot you off of most of the food
  • Terrible dome location for the monster
  • Difficulty to use traversals to head back north
  • It’s impossible to juke a trapper that doesn’t make a mistake in this location of the map

The reason no ESL monster ever sneaks on this map is due to how small the map is, and how most of the wildlife is congested in the North (which can be checked extremely quickly due to steamadons, and glaciopods) and then your SE and SW locations. You could sneak into one of these areas, but be found before you have half of your Evolve meter. If you decide to sneak around into less congested wildlife areas you’ll be in the same boat, but instead be caught by birds. Even if birds weren’t a factor an ESL team can use multiple methods to track a sneaking monster i.e. wildlife spawning, broken terrain, prefered pathing, minor wildlife spawns etc.

From what I’ve seen of Evolve 2.0 doesn’t change this

  • Monster has a stronger early game for a slightly less burst late game
  • Doming is much easier
  • Monster has less armor for more damage in the early game

So this means that you’ll no doubt land a stage 1 catch on a monster on Distillery. The issue is that you’ll still likely do little damage as the monster is going to do damage mitigation. The monster will still have a full evolve meter and rush to the caves when the dome falls. With most trappers already running reload speed on this map it doesn’t feel like the change is going to do anything.

To fix Evolve the maps as a whole need to be reevaluated and fixed so that one path is not viable, but instead multiple paths are viable. It’d be ideal that sneaking would be looked into (mainly bird RNG, wildlife spawning, and wildlife locations), so that it’d be viable to both sneak or go loud as a stage one monster on these maps. Because right now buffing a monsters stage one will not do anything if the hunters aren’t splitting up. You will never break through a hunter team stage one unless they make multiple major mistakes. This is how it should be, but the monster should have more options to make the hunters make mistakes.

tl;dr Evolve 2.0 will allow monsters a fighting chance, but without reevaluating sneaking and map favor Evolve will never be balanced and will likely be always hunter favored.


I disagree.

I don’t really feel like typing out my reasoning so my apologies(I will when I get a little more motivation :smile:) but I would also like to point out you didn’t take into account the monster running game after a dome has been improved.

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Ha! Someone finally said it, good job explaining but as of right now we can’t say too much due to the fact that there are other nerfs and buffs that we have yet to see come along with this patch to judge it yet. The melee damage of stage 2 is increased as well, hank is also getting a nerf so while people may dome hold still, it would be easier to counter play and break it a bit.

If the stage 2 melee damage is sufficient enough the meta should go “Kill the monster at stage one or as quickly as possible. If he gets to stage 2, we’re in trouble.” <— How it should be. It will all depend on the numbers after the patch, then who and what got nerfed or re-worked. But as of right now, everything you’ve said is correct. Wildlife should spawn instantly to gain easier meats and have sneaking be viable plus carrion bird nefs need to occur. I already like this thread.

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I think it’s not melees that play a key factor but about the fact all stage 2s are not only tankier, and have better low point distribution versatility for abilities. The formula is that of how you explained that an “oh crap he is stage 2” is what we will get.

I most certainly agree that in a sense birds need a rework and eats should spawn earlier.

Other than that none of us can really see how effective this cut off game will be once we see how combat mode stamina or whatever was changed to make monsters faster until the patch comes out unfortunately.

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The reason I didn’t include this is due to how doming currently works. I run reload on most maps as trapper as this will allow me to stage 1 dome, and still be able to land the Evolve dome. How I assume running is going to work is that you’ll get likely one more traversal worth of combat stamina when running. To best get this point across I’ll use NjP as an example. NjP likes to stage 1 dome on this map, this is due to a mix of extreme skill, and confidence that they can deal hp damage and still land an Evolve dome. This change will get rid of Parnell getting ~a bar of hp damage on this map, but this will likely just be changed to how much damage will be done stage 1. It won’t get rid of Griffin being in position to land the immediate Evolve dome, and now with a faster dome it’ll be even easier landing better domes.

Essentially we’ll still see a very similar game the only change being monsters having a chance to apply more pressure in better domes for the hunters. This post stage 2 Evolve will be very interesting though. Basically my issue is that a lot of this game rides on how well the monster does in the early game. With limited options the monsters can be very easily controlled on most maps. While Evolve 2.0 is a good first step to making a point where combat is balanced I feel that the larger issue of monster options needs to be addressed.


That’s just the thing. You’re trying to make sense of it from the current game’s balance.

We don’t know everything that changed and the patch isn’t as close to being done as we want to believe so neither you or I can truly judge to this degree based off of what was showcased when they themselves acknowledged how little they actually got to show us in stream due to the time limit.

Maybe we should wait a bit longer?


I feel if they were making major changes to the issues I stated at the top they’d be more open about them especially if they were planned for Evolve 2.0. While I can’t say for certain what is going to be in the major update I think we should have a good idea from what they’ve shown, as I’d imagine they’d want to show the major changes off.

At the end of the day I’d just like TRS to be more open about how they’re balancing the game.

Well they have their reasons as to why they can’t be as open as we would like them to be so we can’t really fault them for it.

I’m not really going to discuss this much longer for the reason I stated that I feel we don’t have enough info to make a judgement of this magnitude. I feel your concern but we should also acknowledge how Cory helped with this balance from a competitive monster standpoint so you have your stance and I have mine.


We don’t know all the information yet so it is too premature to make any assessment of what the next set of balance changes are going to do or not to the meta of the game.


While it is premature I feel that it is important for us as the community to talk about this issue of most maps having 1-2 viable monster paths and all of them requiring you to go loud. It’s not realistic for TRS to include a meta change to both combat, and tracking/pathing. This thread is less me complaining on Evolve 2.0 on not doing enough, but rather showing that another flaw exists from making the game at its core balanced.

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We don’t know if they’ve changed maps, or how wildlife spawns occur, or anything that could potentially make your argument moot :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not saying you don’t have a point right now, but I am saying you may not have a point in a few weeks or whenever this Title Update hits. I’d say let’s just shelve this discussion until we know if it’s still relevant or not :wink: Nothing vindictive, it’s just why waste time discussing something that may already not be a problem any more?

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Fair enough. On a note though if they’re changing the game to the extent that sneaking is viable, monster pathing is balanced, and combat is stronger stage 1 before the ESL Cup on PC (like they hinted at on stream) it’ll be like playing an entirely different game for the teams that make it to Poland.

I think waiting until the full patch notes are out and making a judgement call then will be a better place for a thread like this. All of what we talked about on stream was prob 1/3 of the total higher level changes that we put in for the next balance update. There is a ton more coming on top of what was talked about on stream between Chris and myself. You guys are going to go crazy once you see the full patch notes :slight_smile:

Being that I played through the creation and have dealt with this meta for a long time (scrims against Hard on You still have left me scarred) we are aware of the issue of hold the dome meta and will continue to keep our eyes on it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the whole patch and where we’re pushing the game.


Thanks for the response. I’ll have my fingers crossed that this issue is addressed in Evolve 2.0 or hopefully in the near future.

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The way I look at it, there’s no way you can prevent dome holding or running around the dome at S1. S1 Monsters will almost always run to mitigate damage no matter how much firepower they have. A lot of Monsters do the same at S2 and hardly at S3. Its a matter of armor to firepower ratio.

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It sounds, from what @GentlemanSquirl and @Insane_521 have been pretty awesome in offering up insights in to, that there may well be holding the dome strategies that still exist, but that they feel that they just aren’t a dominating. I’m hoping that the question you have to ask as a monster now is “Can I reliably stay out of combat for the full minute, or will I get caught? Because if I get caught I’m going to get health loss for sure, and in that case maybe I should try for a strike to offset that”

Hunters aren’t stupid, if there’s a chance at doing good damage at stage 1 then they’re going to take that. It’s less risky than trying to fight at stage 2. The whole holding the dome thing only works right now because monsters can’t fight at stage 1 against decent hunter competition, and have enough armour that they don’t need to. If the hunters run around waiting for the monster to evolve then hopefully in Hunt 2.0 we’ll see the monster be able to say “Well screw you, here’s a good spot you’ve followed me in to, how about I get a strike on your trapper here if you’re just going to try to wait until I’m evolving anyway?”

But like I said above, we don’t know it all yet, we just know they’re actually working on solving the issues that the game has with pacing, stand offs and most importantly how fun it is to play for a wide range of people. It’s going to be hell waiting for the full details!


I agree with your theory here from experience. But I think that the thing that only needs to be fixed here, is to have wildlife spawn a fair amount in a variety of locations throughout the map instead of just one general area. I don’t agree with the devs lowering the armor bar for stage 1’s without reducing some hunter damage because the hunters deal in my opinion, too much damage. What do you think on this matter?

I feel that stage 1 armor needs to be reduced like how it is in Evolve 2.0. Currently the monster can dodge to the point where if the hunters don’t have perfect aim they’ll land no health damage in the dome. This change to armor is more of a reevaluation of how fast hunters can take down armor in a dome due to the changing size of a monster.


I get that, but what if the monster does wanna fight a little? His armor will jut melt in Meir seconds and he’ll probably lose up to half health dealing with a skilled team. But as the programmer said, we only saw like 1/3 of the total patches so I’m hoping they can make this work for us monsters to once again have a fun time instead of a piss off time haha

This is the tradeoff. You’ll deal less damage once pressure is placed upon you. This is why monster damage was raised stage 1. I assume that you’ll be able to engage and lose less health than the option of running in the dome.