I realize that everyone has their own opinion about the Elusive Targets and that not everyone was satisfied with the Elusive Target Arcade. I personally believe that it is a fantastic way to address the long-standing request of being able to play past Elusive Targets. While the addition of the Arcade is a major improvement over never being able to play ETs again, I think that with a couple of tweaks, the system could be made even better, more resilient for the future, and more appreciated by all players.
Here are my thoughts:
Please rework the Elusive Target page of the Career tab in the menu so it is focused on completion of a target, rather than a specific event. The whole concept of ETs was originally that players would get a single chance to take on a target. With the repeating of ETs, the “single shot” concept is no longer relevant. If the player’s career record showed a series of cards, one for each target, rather than each event, it will be much more satisfying to “collect them all” as the cards get marked completed. I am always disheartened to see the grey cards for missed or failed ETs, and Steam players have a whole bunch of grey cards they are forever stuck with. By making this menu more focused on the targets, it will give players more incentive to take on the ETs that they previously have never tried. Perhaps the challenges for ETs can be modified to fit this pattern as well. If the player ever completed a specific target or received a silent assassin rating for that target, the respective challenges should be unlocked. It feels weird that there are separate challenges for Year 1 and Year 2 versions of each ETs, as it feels like its a reward for completing the event, rather than completing the mission. Just to be clear, the player should be able to replay Year 2 ETs when they come up, even if they have previously completed the Year 1 version. The main menu would still show the event as playable, but card in their Career record would just already be marked as completed.
Please continue to make new Elusive Target Arcade batches at least until every single Elusive Target is the first target in at least one arcade. This would allow players to be able to select and play any ET without having to grind through other ETs first. Each player has their own favorite targets, and it would be nice to be able to easily select any specific target, even if it is part of a larger series. (I know that there are two targets that were based on actors, and I hope we can see them return as well.)
Please make the Elusive Target Arcade provide the same rewards as the ETs themselves. If a player completes a particular ET for the first time via the Arcade, it should count the same as if the ET were completed during a live event. The card in the menu should be marked complete, the location-specific suit should unlock, and the challenge and XP should be awarded.
Please make sure that there is a plan to add an offline mode for when the servers eventually shut down. This game is an all-time great. When development is complete, I hope that we receive a patch that allows the game and all of its features (except for leader boards) to be used in a fully offline mode. It would be terrible if in ten years’ time, we can no longer access DLC, save games, unlocks, mission scores, seasonal contents, and ETs. I understand that the online aspect is an excellent anti-piracy measure, but please consider making an feature-complete offline mode for the inevitable time when the servers must be decommissioned. This game is a masterpiece, and I’d absolutely hate to see it lost to time. My kids deserve a chance to play the game as intended.
If these changes were made, I think the Elusive Target system will be near perfect. The ETs themselves are still punishing if you fail (you must wait for the timer in the Arcade to reset). The live events will still keep players just as involved as they currently are, and they will still show the timer and status on the main menu. Players that have missed or failed previous ETs will no longer be forever haunted by past events, even if they are successful at a later time. And in the case of the live events eventually being retired, players will still be able to enjoy the content, the unlocks, and the intense pressure of an ET.