In Path of Exile, there is a few things that I think feel pretty bad in SSF that can be addressed with balance changes/recipes that wouldn’t impact trade leagues in a meaningful way. Unlike buy poe currency, I’m not looking to make SSF “easy”, just opportunities to handle bad RNG in a targeted way instead of just “run more maps”.
1) Endgame Lab Trials can feel incredibly unfair with bad RNG.
There’s no way to really force lab trials. With bad luck, you can be stuck without being able to enter endgame lab until late in a character – or if you can’t play all that often, late in a league. In a trade league, completing your trials only takes going to a chat channel and waiting for people to offer, completing them is fairly trivial. I think GGG should putting two Offerings to the Goddess in a map device with a map spawns an endgame lab trial in that map.
2) Filling out your atlas can feel very punishing due to maps with multiple branches.
Getting map drops for maps which can’t be upgraded using the 3 to 1 recipe can become a punishingly long grind. If you run out of maps that CAN drop that upgrade then you’re stuck in a situation where you don’t have a good way to actively work towards your goal. (Example: running flooded mine to get a leyline and cells drop, run out flooded mine, run out of dungeon forces you to run other T1s where most of your drops will be the connected T2). I think that vendor should recipe 4 identical maps = 1 alternate connected map 1 tier higher. (4 flooded mine maps = 1 leyline map).
3) Lowered drop rates of maps in the red tier and the disconnected atlas make trying to reach all four guardians a nasty grind.
I think it’s good that red maps are valuable and tougher to sustain again. However, the standard strategy of “find one version of each map at the next tier before running any” that SSF players often use really breaks down in the red maps. You just don’t get enough drops to move up on all four sides in a reasonable way. Proposed solution: vendor recipe that gives an orb of Horizons. (1 Divine + 1 Regal + 1 Chaos + 1 Chance or somesuch).