More comments triggred by DAoC’s new ruleset I save from F13 that I haven’t completely covered in what I wrote below.
As has been said before, the PROCESS of DAoC’s PVE treadmill is what makes it so grindy.
That’s the point in fact. As I define it: a problem of quality and not of quantity.
DAoC’s treadmill isn’t longer compared to other games, but it is awful for the most part (especially now with a weak community).
In this thread someone brought the example of task dungeons as a relevent improvement to the treadmill. My point is that they are exactly the opposite. They BREAK the game. They are essentially corridors with a row of immoble mobs in the middle. You whack your way through them, one by one, with about a two minutes downtime between each kill till the end where sits the exact same mob you whacked till that point, just named. You kill the named and you get rewarded with money and experience.
Now the reward is good, this is true, and it makes the treadmill shorter since you can efficently level up in solo. But this is, in fact, the “quantity” aspect of the problem. The truth is that you are really playing an unashamed version of Progressquests that puts you in a corridor with a row of mobs you need to grind to increase the size of your e-peen. There is really NOTHING ELSE. Just repeat your easy kill 20x for each mob, complete the task, get another and repeat.
This CANNOT be tolerated. It cannot be tolerated for weeks or months as it cannot be tolerated for ten minutes. It’s one of those things that give you epiphanies: what the fuck am I doing? The game cannot be THAT dumb.
And you really cannot believe that the devs could be so unashamed to add something like that to the game.
Having played this game off and on since beta, I was very excited about the new server concept initially. Then I began to consider how ranged buffs and the lack of ToA would effect RvR gameplay. Sadly, it seems that the release of NF and catacombs both relied heavily on balance currently in place with ToA. As a result, I think that these two servers will be heavily populated initially, but the problems inherent in the system will cause some huge balance issues unless Mythic is willing to address the special needs of such a server. I personally don’t see Mythic willing to redesign the game for 2 servers, so the problems with balance will simply become a game artifact that the players there will work with. The people unwilling to live with the imbalance will leave after a month or so.
That’s also what I wrote on my website. The rulesets are divergent and I don’t expect them to split the work in two in order to let the two ruleset develop.
It will be also fun to see how they’ll show the horrible design even behind Catacombs. We have now powerful classes like Vampiir planned as workarounds to the buff bot problems. Now the buffbots are being removed and those “already buffed” classes will simply be completely unbalanced.
I preferred questing in DAoC, but you couldn’t level exclusively with questing, and after 20 or so, there were no quests to speak of.
That’s not true. The problems were *radical*.
To begin with you couldn’t know where to get them. You had to visit a spoiler site to understand what you could do since in the game you could just click on EVERY NPC in the game world and NOT EVEN KNOW if the quest was appropriate for your level. There was NO con system. You couldn’t know if you could complete the quest alone or if you needed a full group.
All this becomes recursive in a system simply *inaccessible*. Noone was questing, so it was impossible to build up a group to complete your goals. The rewards were always awful and the quests required HUGE downtimes by constantly riding horses. Most of those quests offer that exact gameplay: run around endlessly trying to figure out imprecise informations (that required spoiler sites in order to not waste REAL HOURS) and kill sporadically a few targets that were inevitably too hard to solo.
As I wrote many times, the questing in DAoC was a BURDEN. You did that only when absolutely FORCED, like in the case of extremely powerful items you needed for the endgame.
Why is it more fun to do a quest where you kill 50 foozles to collect 10 widgets then go back to Angry Dwarf 12 for Hammer of bashing 3? Also what are the /played of the people hitting 60 in wow?
Because WoW is often seen superficially and trivialized when there’s a complexity under the hood. The fact is that too many times its accessibility is confused with a lack of depth (which exists, for example in the PvP).
I passed the whole 55-60 range by trying to figure out the quests in BRD. Those are five levels, the longest in the game and by running (and not completing) just ONE instance. I was actually “lucky” to be able to join groups where I was systematically the most expert. I proceeded by little step, doing something more each day and finding out what was behind the next corner and how to face it. The fact that the game is designed wonderfully is proven by the actual mechanics. Once I knew what to expect it was way easier to face it and move onward. So it wasn’t just repeating the same kill over and over and over for hours. Instead it was a learning experience, a progressive conquest, constantly renovating and enclosed by smaller steps in the form of the quests that allowed me to not simply restart from zero each time (one of the flaws of Guild Wars).
Figuring out those quests isn’t easy. Especially if you don’t get powerleveled or just join raids to trivialize the experience. The game is HARD. It requires competence in the sense you need to know how to play. It’s not just relative to how much you know your class but, especially, the knowledge you have of that precise place.
To date those runs through BRD have been the most rich and fun experience I’ve EVER had in a (PvE) game. And that’s just one small example of what is available in the game that isn’t “reheated food”.
HRose: I see the PvE in DAoC as nothing more than the price of admission to RvR. It’s not fun nor is it interesting. Aside from CoH where the PvE was fun for about a week due to its fast pace, no MMOG has interesting PvE. PvE to me is killing a mob to get better gear to kill a mob with more hit points to get better gear… etc. It gets old fast.
From Dave Rickey’s interview, which is really worth-reading:
After about 4 months of that, I became convinced that we needed to focus on improving and expanding our RvR game, as our unique competitive advantage. PvE wasn’t why our players were coming, and too long of a treadmill on the way to RvR was losing us a lot of them. This put my “malcontent” status at a whole new level, rather than pushing for 1 or 2 new positions, a few days of programmer time, or the reorganization of a half-dozen people, I was essentially saying that the entire strategic direction for the ongoing development of the game had to change, and since TOA (with a total PvE focus and a new levelling system to be stacked on top of the old) was scheduled to come out in 7 months, the change had to happen right *then* if we were to put anything else on the shelves that Christmas.
At an analytical level, TOA was an attempt to make Camelot more like EverQuest 1. Hugely complicated multi-step quests to earn “Master Levels”, that required the cooperative efforts of large numbers of people, doing them over and over again, and a new set of items that were bigger, better, and more shiny to collect. It was the antithesis of what I thought Camelot needed at that stage, as it added yet another treadmill that players would have to climb before they could be competitive in RvR.
For my $$$ I want to log on and hunt other players. The encounters are more varied and the tactics more interesting. My personal conclusion was that I had to come to grips with the fact I have to grind a treadmill for a week in able to do that.
Firstly, I believe that DAoC shouldn’t ditch its PvE. I strongly believe that it IS possible to make it fun and not a burden. That’s why I hate “/level 20”, those unacceptable task dungeons and that stupid “free level” mechanic.
Those are, exactly like the new ruleset, ways to DODGE the problems. To avoid to face them. Nothing will improve if you do not SOLVE or at least TRY to address the problems. There’s a serious need of acknowledgment even before they start moving a finger.
“The PvE sucks, so no PvE”, I do not accept that. That’s seconding a problem, not solving it. When “Wish” was turned toward the GM driven content the exuse brought by the devs was: “we tried to go in the PvP direction but it wasn’t fun”.
OF COURSE it’s not fun. Because to make good things you need to work on them and expand their potential. The quality or the “fun” in general doesn’t fall from the sky, you need to hunt for it. So I don’t accept that DAoC has to become “just PvP” because PvE isn’t fun. It should instead START to work in order to offer something interesting. Because they definitely have the resources to do so.
The second point is about the battlegrounds. They are a WONDERFUL idea. They allow you to do just PvP from day 1 till the last. But even here the idea is ruined by an awful implementation. Most of these BGs are devoid of players. Most of the times they are PACKED with stealthers behind siege equipment to one-shot you constantly. At best you find super twinked players where again you can just watch and feed them with points.
Even here there’s A LOT to do. There’s the need to cut out the twinking at the roots as a mechanic, there’s the need to draw the population of the BGS from ALL the servers in order to keep them populated at all times, there’s the need to SEVERELY NERF the siege engines, there’s the need to make the economy accessible again for the casual player, there’s the need to ease the accessibility to good equipment, there’s the need to balance the classes specifically for PvP at the low levels. AND SO ON.
But it’s dodging all these issues that brings nothing to the game. In fact this new ruleset is again a withdrawal from solving the problems. A workaround.
If I were going to start in DAoC at max level for RvR, maybe I’d rather play CounterStrike? You know, something not based on phat lewt, otherwise I’m just grinding for equipment anyway. Today I’m getting sleepy just thinking about a grind.
But the point is that PvP in a persistent environment is able to offer A LOT MORE. This is in fact what is happening to all the successful FPS. The deathmatches, today, are considered obsolate and all the design and the development is leaning toward more complex and interactive environments. This is why we have vehicles, large environments, semi persistent and tactical elements. And so on. This is why we have “onslaught” and “assault” modes instead of deathmatches and CTF, this is why the next Unreal Tournament is going to bundle them in an even more complex “battleground”.
The point is that mmorpgs have AN ADVANTAGE on this field that is completely WASTED. Noone is doing anything at all.
This is a genre that “is supposed” to move faster than everything else out there. That should push out “innovation” at a daily rate. Instead it’s severely lagging as the worst console game. Look around and you’ll see that the innovation is coming from everywhere BUT the mmorpgs.
BUT… the /level 20 did show one thing. None of the other battlegrounds is/was as populated at the level 20-24 battleground, mainly from people using /level 20 to quickly get a PVP-enabled character. And those battles were damn fun. Once they put in gold and experience, as well as realm points being gained from PVP, I never leveled by PVE until I had capped out my realm points for that BG. I got new items from the marketplace in the housing zones. At that point, the game didn’t exist for me outside of that same zone, and it was the most fun I had in DAoC ever, counting both times I subscribed.
I agree on that. But these are two different beasts and both need work. The PvE needs work to be attractive, not to be just as quick as possible in order to forget it. It needs value.
On the other side I believe that to give the possibility to advance completely through PvP is good for the game. I always suggested this and I supported them when they decided to go in that direction. A choice is always a good thing to have. So you can choose to do some PvE and PvP mixed, or just PvE, or just PvP.
“/level 20” just broke the community and jumpstarted the trend of super twinked characters. I found always hard to do anything in the BG exactly because I didn’t have a chance to compete due to those balance problems.
Again, with the introduction of BGs from level 1 to 45, there is no need anymore for commands used to jump levels (like the “free level” idiocy) because there is finally something worthy and interesting to do. But this is only a potential because the reality is WAY different. Most of the BGs are empty and have the serious issues that I listed above. So without a direct work this choice isn’t really a choice available for everyone.
It’s from day 1 that DAoC has accessibility problems. In the design, the ruleset and the gameplay. Games like WoW have been hugely successful exactly because they eased the accessibility (good UI, controls and so on till every tiny detail that has been defined as “polish”).
And if someone remembers I was the FIRST to suggest to hand out premade characters at level 45, way before Guild Wars. On these boards, in fact.
But my idea wasn’t to systematically give the possibility to the players to jump all that experience and break the game for the new players. My idea (that I still consider worth a try) was to bundle in each expansion pack like “Catacombs” a key code. You use the key code and you can pull out a maxed character. Just one.
That would allow EVERY player to see how the game works at the latter levels and enjoy the best it has to offer. At the same time it doesn’t break the community at the low levels that is CRUCIAL to keep the game healthy. “/level 20” was a superficial workaround that I believe damaged the game way more than the benefits it brought.