In addition, I'd argue that exploration has the same problem when you're trying for a particular thing; if you want arcane ingredients, you are pretty much going to have to run through stash room after stash room until you have what you want.
Except a) stash rooms are within buildings which are part of the randomly generated world so you encounter different things and b) you go from one random situation to another as you explore through the world looking for the right stash. Right now buildings aren't immensely interesting, but caves are pretty good ie. I want to get to the resources but there's a boss in my way or there are traps in my way etc.
I would personally like to see fewer buildings per area so areas are more memorable, but the point is that when you're out in the world, you get to sample the persistent randomness of the game's universe. In missions, you're confined to the predesigned bubble that is the mission.
I wonder if they should consider putting more bosses in buildings in general. Blocking the way to some stash rooms, perhaps.
Right now, the normal stash rooms have no risk or anything to get to them by default. But the cave's gem rooms..... which provide an overly abundant resource.... require a boss fight to enter (usually).
I like that aspect of the caves; what I DONT like about the caves is how same-y they all are, with the exception of the Shallows and Ocean, which are the ones that actually have caves that are very different. Otherwise, the game seems to use the same generation type for any given cave.
Now, as for the random nature of the game, and the whole "go into stash after stash"...... one way or another, this is unavoidable. If you've got a game that uses alot of procedurally made content, the player is GOING to have to deal with that randomness in some way. There really arent any games that get around this. In Roguelikes, maybe you want a staff or something for your Wizard.... the game only hands you swords though, so guess what, you have to deal with it. Or Minecraft; trying to get diamonds often leads to alot of "Ok, try this area.... nope, nothing. Try the next area.... nope, nothing".
I think players that like this sort of game, with the randomness, should be prepared to deal with it. In the case of this game, I know that if I'm wanting something or other that is gotten in a stash, I'm gonna be doing some searching, and it might take some time. There are benefits though; first of all, I'll get shards by smashing enemies along the way. Secondly, I'll often get some OTHER resources along the way to finding the exact one I want. And this can lead to something interesting, where player decisions become influenced by the RNG. Maybe I'm looking for Magma to get Fireball, but I find a Welkin Gel instead; suddenly I realize, I have the other ingredients, I could use THIS to get Energy Orb or Ice Cross; they arent Fireball, but they have their own uses, and could be useful for the stuff I want to do. Things like that.
And the previous way the game was, this really didnt happen. You found a mission that had exactly what you want, you did the mission, boom, done. And it's true, the missions were pretty much ALL you did.
Now, as I've said before, I have no problems with the mission system. I enjoy them. But I want the exploration to be just as important; I like the Metroid-y aspect in general, and I like exploring new places and seeing what I can find.
Right now, this part is balanced sooooooooooo much better than it was before. And really, I dont think that reducing the mission count on the world-map is gonna hurt that as much as some seem to think. The idea of having the count be influenced by the presence of Wind Shelters is actually a really good idea.
There was, though, one other problem I always had with the missions: Their location simply doesnt matter enough, with the possible exception of some Lava Flats missions (a stealth mission in there, for example, would require a heat suit, but stealth missions in any other chunk were not). This fact really did make them seem a bit TOO seperated from the rest of the game. I'd absolutely love to have the region the mission is in actually influence it in more ways than before. The only real way they DID matter was the selection of enemy types that might appear. In some missions this was enough of a difference (anachronism, and the boss missions), but in others, it really made very, very little difference (like the Freefall, or Meteor types). Wouldnt mind seeing more of a connection here beyond just enemy selection.