@hh_katherine First, I want to say i appreciate your involvement and answers in the forums, as a player it really gives the "warm and fuzzy" that you care.
I have a group of people that play together and we are neither casual, nor hardcore, but somewhere in between (think 2-5 hrs a night). We really enjoy survived by, but have a few concerns with how things are trending. We understand it is still early access, but what better time to speak and try to make the world we play in a little bit better place. Please understand this is only our perception and opinion, you have the big picture of how you want this game to look and feel.
First, the early-mid mechanic of dying and becoming stronger through legacies seems a bit broken. Even by completing challenges and getting a %chance at a premium legacy, the effect from dying up through t6 is minimal. It essentially results in a regrind up to level 25 with the character not being any stronger at all. Also, we have one guy that has the bug that he is unable to pass on an item after death which really "kills the mood." This brings us to the well change in this patch. Before, the best method to get valr and legacies was to die in the well. The first time i did it i lasted less than a minute and only got one kill, but received more valr from that one kill than all my challenges completed, by far. Now it wasn't enough to buy a high tier legacy but it felt perfect to make my character slightly stronger. Yesterday, i went into the well and died quicker and got zero kills, this resulted in zero gain in power for my character. I can't speak to the high end of the well but the start point felt perfect pre-patch. Maybe just change the ramp up if you want to prevent people from hitting the 20 min mark. As of now, there is no incentive to die in the well for a t6 and below character. As a matter of fact, there is no benefit(ok, very, very little) to dying at all for a t6 and below char.
This leads perfectly into the next problem we seem to be facing. We have found that dying doesn't add any benefit so the next logical thing is to continue to progress. The jump from t6 to t7 is huge compared to all other progressions before it. In full t6 gear the t7 dungeon is ridiculous. When asking in game about it, most high level chars just say to skip it (that sucks), but now i understand why. Not only does it not feel like a natural progression, it isn't really that fun (opinion). The foliage removes the dip, duck, dive, dodge skill aspect almost completely.
These two things things combine to give two main paths to progression. 1. auction house- buy higher level gear to pass t7 (not ideal, feels like skipping a lot of game content). 2. find higher level char to level you through it. (again, not ideal, i want to feel like I personally have accomplished something, not just being dragged through content.)
I know there are a thousand other things that need fixing and you are working on them, but the things above feel like a stall in the "at least I'm moving forward" progression.
Thanks for reading
"I want you to feel you're doing well. I hate for people to die embarrassed." - Fezzik