I feel like if I had gone 100% in the larger more open ended hand crafted world I would have got a much better response in general thus far. Seeing peoples reaction to random gen content and looking at the general leaning towards hand crafted levels gives me a pretty strong vibe.
What I mean by this is having it so the levels act more like dark souls in that you find fast travel nodes which allow you to visit the sanctuary or travel around the world more quickly. Seeing new objectives pop up on the auto-map and having a reason to genuinely explore every section of the world. This would also mean allowing players to discover areas they are too low level to complete and having to find key cards and artifacts that open the path further for you to explore more. There would be a lot more exploration but it would also mean having to go through the same areas multiple times to reach new areas.
Currently right now the game is mission based which playing through a bunch of one shot experiences and repeating them on harder difficulties. I then use random generation mix things up a bit more. Its a pragmatic solution but then its also causing people to feel like its very samey.
What are your thoughts?