I've played around with the new GG, and he kind of works, but in a really weird way. You basically just ignore his strictures against fighting higher level foes
Yup, the devs didn't really "fix" the GG's problems, they just lowered his piety loss to the point at which we could ignore them. If you begin worship early enough, it's considerably less restrictive than spellcasting with Taurog, and Taurog is one of the most laid-back gods out there.
The new piety gain structure has also created a new problem: you must
begin GG worship no later than level 3 (unless you're just converting in for some last-minute protection after having used your potions). The GG already has a serious problem with both humility and absolution being front-loaded and best used at low levels, but his piety gain is now set up so people who join the religion at higher levels will never build up significant piety, which means he's completely useless for level 4-7 characters. You don't have the piety to afford his best boons, and they're weaker anyways since you're too high a level to leverage them effectively, and
piety loss from killing higher level monsters is magnified since you need to kill more monsters to level up at this stage of the game.
but there is no boon in the game that is strong enough to compensate for the massive loss of xp that would entail.
And any such boon would be blatantly overpowered.
I also really, really hate the new theme for GG, and really miss the old "heroic redemption" theme. It was fun. It was a type of heroism that you don't normally see in fantasy games.
I agree; I loved
the concept of the old Glowing Guardian. I've come to view the traditional fantasy adventure game as a bit of a moral joke; the "hero" invades the lair of "evil" creatures and proceeds to slaughter them with the primary motive of increasing his wealth and power. The context of the setting is that they really
deserved what was coming to them, so you're not culpable for their outright extermination. This kind of merciless slaughter is difficult to justify, and usually fantasy games resort to very cliched displays of depraved villainy on a regular basis to maintain the player's moral superiority despite the violent acts committed.
I like that DD doesn't do this, and in fact implies the opposite; the kingdom is conquering
this land from the monsters (who may or may not all be evil), you
are the invader who is entering their homes and slaughtering their kin. The Glowing Guardian represents an actual god of heroism in such a setting; you have to rise above violence and redeem
evil if you want to be a real hero. If you're just picking on those weaker than yourself, you
are the monster.
Enlightenment is now completely inaccessible and GG may as well have one less boon for all the good it's going to do the player.
Thanks to stacking piety gain taking off, it's possible to get Enlightenment if you begin worship at level 1. If you stick with him for 8 level-ups, that's 108 piety total gained from leveling up. Desecrate an altar, convert a few items, and kill a handful of undead to top things off, and you can have the 180 piety you need for humility/absolution/enlightenment and convert out. If you have Pactmaker or if you worship him for 9 level-ups (135 piety) then this becomes even easier. Of course, because this piety gain is backloaded and that many level-ups is contingent on leveraging humility early it's basically impossible to do if you find GG after level 2.
Still very risky and a poor use of piety, though.
I think the old GG could have worked, he just needed his piety income toned down and there needed to be an on worship effect so that he isn't for 1st level characters only.
I believe the fundamental problem with the old structure is that his piety gain and
his boons were front-loaded. Absolution and Humility are strongest when purchased at very low-levels, and at this stage pretty much everything counts as a higher-level kill for piety gain. Later on, this boons can't be leveraged effectively and piety gain with GG becomes a nightmare, while protection is one of the weakest late-game boons largely only useful to resist-stackers with HALPMEH. I agree he needed serious attention and minor tweaks to his piety gain probably weren't enough to completely solve his problems, but I don't believe the devs have really solved anything with their iteration.