“God forbid some depth in the PvP system, let’s just play spreadsheets.”
That’s probably the essence of the new patch that just reached the test server after a little more than a month of gestation. This time the focus is on some new features related to the guild system as I was anticipating here. In particular they left out from this first iteration all the most relevant features (the carryable banners and a dedicated UI) to implement a merit system that on a first approach sounds similar to the one patched in EQ2 a few months ago.
So I start to read the lengthy patch notes (Mythic is developing a talent into making them longer and longer evein if actually with very little content, but at least they are precise). And I scroll, I scroll, I scroll. The merit system sounds nice and it definitely adds something important to the game in the exact same way I commented (and praised) when it was EQ2 to add some depth and purpose to the guilds. It’s simply one of the most underveloped parts in these game and one with the most potential not only because it adds a depth to the system, but because it’s directly a retention system of the subscribers.
From a side it helps a lot the players to integrate into the community of the game. Which is becoming a huge problems in this genre, completely underestimated right now when instead should be between the very first priorities. From the other side it allows the player to chase a communal goal, to work together toward something. To provide a context to a victory that will make the victory itself way more rewarding, and the process to achieve it more compelling. Because it’s right there the strength of the whole genre. To make the players really feel part of something and achieve something more than just a “personal grind of power” that single player games can deliver more naturally and with less problems.
Something that has been my pet peeve for a long time and that I discussed recently here:
Players like to “win”. Yeah. But they like even more if a victory has a context, a purpose. If they have a role within a world. If their presence has a meaning.
The problem is that all these considerations didn’t find their way into the actual system that Mythic patched. I began to read from the start and there is a rather long description of the mechanic of a process. Now, the mechanics do not sound too bad even if I have some doubts (the system seems “fixed”. It means that a guild can keep earning points to spend only till they have the possibility to grind a trreadmill. So there’s absolutely no re-usability and it becomes just an limited event to grind and forget. The problems I underline here are already at the origin of what I’ll say below) but it’s the nature of the process to represent the problem. A process has a meaning only depending on where it leads. On what is the purpose. So I scroll, I scroll and scroll more to find where exactly all those mechanics are bringing and finally I find it:
– Guilds can spend their guild merit points to get up to five merit bonuses.
– The bonuses available to be granted to a guild are:
Master Level Experience Bonus – 20%
Craft Haste Bonus – 5%
Artifact Experience Bonus – 5%
Realm Point Bonus – 2%
PvE Experience Bonus – 5%
If you play the game I believe that you already have understood everything and I do not have to add anything. For the others I’ll simply say that between all those bonuses the only one remotely interesting for an actual player is the Realm Point Bonus.
Two-fucking-percent. A player already high in the rank ladder (meaning that he already dedicated to the game A LOT of time), lets say rank 6, will need 62500 points to go from 6L0 to the next step, 6L1. This new bonus will be equal to… 1250 points. Now these points are the total needed to move from a rank to another. This is something that does not happen every day. If you are a catass you’ll have to play for weeks, if you are a normal player it’s a matter of months. So those 1250 points will be “spread” on a rather long time span.
More precisely. A single kill in the frontiers while in a full group will give you, roughly, 200 points. This means that after having achieved this new bonus you’ll get…
202 points instead of 200. OMFG, that’s SWEET!
Now I really do not know who is coming out with these ideas. In ToA (the hated expansion that will get suppressed soon) there was a new skill (not stackable) that gives 1% to hit bonus. One percent. Please explain me how these sort of bonuses can affect the gameplay. I’m SURE that Mythic didn’t even bother TO CODE IT. A 1% bonus to hit is so irrelevant that its whole gameplay consists of having the icon blinking on screen and nothing else. It’s a fucking UI BONUS, completely irrelevant for the gameplay. Yes, the players will continue to use it anyway. Partly because they are desperately trying to convince themselves that the skill they worked to unblock has actually an use, partly because they believe it IS working. But the truth is that the ability could be just a goodamn gimmick and NOONE will ever be able to figure out that it is not working as expected. The code could be broken or disabled since day one, but the players will never know about this. Simply because it’s so irrelevant that it has absolutely no use. It works better as a “suggestion”. It’s really THE moral buff. A jedi mindtrick.
This bonus to the Realm Points comes exactly from the same concept. It’s so irrelevant that it CANNOT BE MEASURED. It’s another fake feature with zero use aside being another “bait”. Another “let’s pretend”. It’s a roleplay skill.
But what is broken in this system isn’t just that. It’s the whole implementation to be completely useless:
The whole game seems captive of this bonuses greed. Mythic really cannot have an idea that doesn’t depend on a bonus, a malus or a timesink. There’s *nothing else* in their design, they are predictable. Everything has an infinite number of bonuses stacking and messing with each other at an insane degree. Characters have bonuses, skills give bonuses, group leaders give bonuses, locations have specific bonuses, keeps give bonuses, the realm population sets bonuses, owning keeps and relics give bonuses and now even the guilds give you fucking bonuses. STOP IT! Where the fuck is this going? What’s the point of the game if noone can even remotely figure out which bonuses are active or not?
I mean, a server could spend right now 80% of the processing power CALCULATING BONUSES. Who’s having fun in this? Lum?
No, really. Jokes aside. This is a ZERO-GAMEPLAY system. It’s not the player to play here, nor it is the guild. This system offers gameplay EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE SERVER (and its math calculations). It’s really Lum the center of the fun here, while he tries to code the system. Once he is done what is left is just another exquisitely passive system. The players will keep playing as always till the guild will magically earn Yet Another bonus. Who is interested in Yet Another pointless bonus? How is it fun? What’s the impact on the gameplay?
Is this all? No, I left the best part for the end:
The bonus provided to the guild by the merit point system lasts 24 hours.
A 2% BONUS FOR 24 HOURS! It’s true! I’m not making up all this, I SWEAR!
I just come from yesterday pointing out the most retarded between all the retarded ideas in the implementation of WoW’s Battlegrounds due to an irrelevant bonus but this “merit system” on DAoC breaks again EVERY RECORD (and in Blizzard’s case it was just a bug).
The bonus could be active just *forever* and it will still be simply irrelevant. But no. It’s even active for just 24 hours. Fucking hilarious.
This basically concludes my comments. There are only a few other parts worth consideration. One is directly ripped off WoW. The respec:
– Players can now purchase a single line respec anywhere in the game world by using the “/respec buy” command. Using “/respec buy” will only allow the player to buy a single line respec if they do not already have one.
– In their lifetime, players are eligible for nine discounted single line respecs, and unlimited single line respecs at full cost. The full cost scales based upon the player’s level. For example, the first time a level 50 player purchases a single line respec, it will cost 2 platinum; and the ninth time will cost 43 platinum; with the tenth and final cost of 50 platinum. A level 10 player will be able to purchase respecs for much, much less. (Note that we will post a chart detailing the costs of single line respecs for every level and tier before 1.76 goes live.)
So they copy once again WoW but they forget to notice why WoW works and why DAoC doesn’t. Again they only copy half the system and the result is simply awful.
There are two parts missing. One is the fact that in WoW it’s an NPC to offer you the possibility to respec, the other is that the cost of this respect make sense and it’s not completely out of scale like the ridiculous version implemented in DAoC. Just for an idea those 50 platinum are roughly equal to 5000 gold in WoW and I don’t think I have to comment further.
About the first part of the problem I can say that it’s another Mythic-classic. Noone cares about the accessibility. They implement everything through obscure command line commands that you can be aware of only if you read attentively the patch notes. Now tell me how many players read carefully *every line* written in the patch notes and how many will actually remember what they read and all the new /commands they introduce with each patch for more than a few days. Yes, 2% like the bonus above: irrelevant. We are back to the accessibility level of a MUD. Reading player guides in order to find out the exact command that allows you to do something. Or at least if you are even aware that the fuction actually exists.
This is Yet Another obscure command that isn’t referenced anywhere. Again the only way to play the game is to use resources out-of-game simply because the game itself is unable to make itself accessible to the players.
Again Mythic copies WoW and leaves out all the basic points. Even when they copy, they do it badly. Not only to not add anything to it. But make it worse.
And finally a last good feature that the players are claiming from more than a year and that has been denied till today:
Durability loss has now been removed from artifacts. Once repaired at a smith, all artifacts will be reset to full durability and will no longer lose durability.
ABOUT FUCKING TIME. And NO, this is definitely not enough.
I want to know why this change arrives just now. Who the fuck was responsible of this? What are the reasons behind the previous system? Why it has changed now?
(btw, considering the trend, I expect the repair costs for the artifacts to be out of scale as well – EDIT – I was right. Ahahahah!)
EDIT- Oh, I was forgetting. I do not comment the fixes and tweaks to the classes but this time I’ll do an exception:
– We have added two group damage add spells to the Path of Earth base line. The spells are available at the following levels:
35 Earthen Rage – 7.9 dps
45 Earthen Fury – 10.0 dps
And I’m really perplexed. Look here. The wizards have the exact same spell. Already:
44 Greater Earthen Fury Friend 3.0s/10 minutes/0s 1000 range Bonus: Damages target for listed damage/Damage: 10.0 DPS
Yeah, they are identic. The only difference is that one is a group buff while the other is single-target but there’s no difference in the final output.
I’ll never figure out the sense of this.