Daybreak’s Horrible Kunark Poll Decisions

ragefire-kunark-vote

I’m having a blast on Ragefire. I still play every day, and I am leveling my Magician with plans for multiple alts in the works. I’m stocking up gear for those alts and preparing a plan that could easily last me another 5+ months without Kunark.

Well, the results of the Kunark poll are in and I am not too happy with how Daybreak is handling things. You can find the entire post here, but I’ll break it down for you.

On both servers, the 6 month option got the most votes by far, meaning a very large percentage of you like things as they are and want to continue on that path. Ragefire’s second choice was to unlock Kunark ASAP, but Lockjaw’s second choice was to unlock Kunark after 3 months.

Awesome! This is how I voted. I want to extend classic as long as possible. Glad to see the 6 month option won by far.

Here’s where it gets really good.

With such a significant portion of the active players on these servers voting to keep progression slow, we will not be changing both servers. We plan to keep Lockjaw on the six month schedule that was originally voted for by the populace at large.

For the other half of players, however, we are going to decrease the wait for Ragefire to vote to unlock Kunark from 6 months to 3 months. The voting period for Kunark will thus become available on August 23rd and end on September 6th.

What the …. ? You literally, verbatim, just said that on BOTH servers the 6 month option got the most votes BY FAR. Your words! To top it off, they “investigating” server transfers… does that mean there’s a chance they won’t be possible? Even so, why would I leave the server community I chose to join and stay on since day 1.

Why are we voting? Seriously. That’s TWO polls where the players spoke and Daybreak chose to ignore it and go there own way. You combine all of the other options in a poll to say, “Oh it looks like the winning vote doesn’t win after all.” You throw out the results of your own poll while Holly Longdale puts her foot in her mouth by showing what the executive producer of EQ really thinks about the vast majority of players.

“What we don’t want to do is instance raids, which is what casuals want us to do because they want to fight Nagafen. Casuals shouldn’t be allowed to fight Nagafen… that diminishes the achievement of others. That’s part of the challenge: You have to be better than the other guy; you have to be more strategic that the other guy.”

I’m sorry, are you then insinuating that a dozen people boxing multiple Mage accounts have more strategy? Is sitting at a spawn 17 hours a day to kill the mob in seconds a challenge? Have my 161 hours (some of that spent afk) in the first month been too casual and undeserving?  Casuals should absolutely be allowed to fight Nagafen. If instead of playing my own way I had decided to go the route of raiding, I STILL would not have been able to kill Nagafen due to how the server handles the kill, yet I would be more “hardcore” than several people who have participated — several of the mere handful of people.  Where do they find some of these people who say crap like that?

EverQuest, specifically my experience on Ragefire, is amazing. The devs, however, have proven they are disconnected from the players and are running a very amateur show. If Daybreak continues down this road I probably won’t last long. I enlisted to play on the 6 month per expansion server. I’m not interested in playing live EQ, and that’s where this server is quickly going.

Calm, Spontaneous, and Relaxed

My gamer profile: Calm, Spontaneous, and Relaxed.That’s what I scored on the Quantic Foundry Gamer Motivation Profile survey. Seems to match up with how I personally view myself and my playstyle. Too much action and I get worn out, too much repetition and I get bored, and I prefer to avoid the intensity and just relax when I play.

Keens' Gamer Motivation Profile

Really thinking about this being my motivation, is it any wonder that I am so turned off by new MMOs? Every new MMO that comes out boasts some new intense raid or non-stop action. Blowing stuff up, constantly combat, no downtime, competitive PvP, repetitive leveling/endgame/everything, you name it and it conflicts with calm, spontaneous, and relaxed.

The relaxed virtual world is a thing of the past. The new worlds are all about constantly pushing players forward. Standing still is not something a new MMO can handle because players are treated like sharks and must keep moving otherwise they’ll die.

Players don’t “hang out” anymore. When someone is hanging out it’s because they are waiting in a queue to do something. Usually the idea of hanging out is seen as wasting time, and very undesirable. To be anything but active is considered a negative game experience, and something to avoid at all costs.

Some of my most memorable experiences in MMOs are the times when I was sitting in my house in Ultima Online crafting, or roaming caves and mining ore with my friends. I fondly remember the time I spent in Star Wars Galaxies as a musician and a dancer sitting in the cantina in Theed or being a chef and experimenting on different alcoholic beverages to find the right recipe that would sell to other players and make me millions.

Spontaneous is another beast altogether. If you think about it, being spontaneous in a modern/new MMO is almost an oxymoron. You’re told what to, how to do it, and how often it should be done. You’re put in lines to complete things, limited on how many times you can do those things, and told when it’s no longer necessary to repeat that process.

We talk a lot here about what MMOs have lost over the years. Add to the list the ability to create a world where players can be calm, relaxed, and spontaneous. Such traits are indeed (as seen in the chart) indicative of a social and immersive game — the very type of experience we lack. There might be a recipe for success somewhere in figuring out how to bring those traits back.

Whew… that EXP loss

eq-hill-giant

MMOs can bore me. In fact, they can bore me quite easily. I get bored of MMOs all the time. What MMOs typically can not do is frustrate me or give me that moment of pure grief where I’m literally sliding to the edge of my seat clinging to my mouse for dear life.

I had such moments recently while playing EverQuest. I dinged level 37 and decided to try farming Hill Giants for some spending money. The giants conned anywhere from yellow (above my level but not more than a few levels) all the way down to blue (a few levels below me). Giants being a little stronger than most mobs are typically harder than their con. I stuck to the blues. I pulled a giant and suddenly had another giant on me. I died and de-leveled back to 36.

I decided to try my hand at this again after spending a little bit getting back to 37. I tried again and succeeded for several pulls, but died again when for whatever reason a blue giant completely wrecked my pet and outran me to the zone line. I died literally one step, less than one second, from safety. I died and de-leveled back to 36 — again.

Screw that. I’m going to Guk to get my level back and get some more exp! Sure enough I made it to level 37 again and even 12% in. I’m in the clear! Or so I thought. The cleric went AFK and we all died. Yep, I de–leveled back to 36.

While infuriating, and eliciting squeals of angst, I did not lose my desire to play EverQuest. Overcoming this two day ordeal of fluctuating levels has strengthened my resolve to keep pushing on. I’ll tell you what I’m not doing: Going back to giants. I’ll wait until level 39 when I get my next pet and I’m strong enough. I’m also going to be more careful about joining groups with certain people.

Some people may look at a scenario like I have described above and think that such an ordeal is horrible and not fun. Some may even call the game ‘bad’ because of such mechanics. When I died and lost exp that was absolutely not fun. But being able to lose exp makes the rest of the game more fun. That danger makes surviving more rewarding. There’s a level of thrill associated with success that I absolutely can not find when there is no opposition to my success. Does that make the game bad? I haven’t had this much fun in a while. If this is torture, chain me to the wall.

Back in Tamriel for ESOTU

Elder Scrolls Online has had a relaunch of sorts with its latest version now available on the PS4 and Xbox One: Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. Graev and I both enlisted quite some time ago in ZOS’ offer to buy the new edition for only $20 rather than a full price console release. While both of us also took advantage of the free character copy to bring over our banks full of crafting mats, we decided to completely reroll characters in the Daggerfall Covenant.

I went with a Templar using a 2-hander and a Bow (designed to just be lots of DPS and AOE DPS), and Graev is playing as a Sorcerer user of sorts who summons and heals. So far we are enjoying ourselves by taking things slow and doing most of the quests. Neither of us love quest grinding, and that is purely what ESO is all about, but the combat is fun and we like to slaughter monsters.

So what’s different in ESOTU? Umm… I guess not much. The use of a controller makes playing way more fun, if that counts? Really though, apparently the game hasn’t received THAT much worth writing home about. Stealing has been added, and if you are caught with contraband you will be fined by guards. The thieves guild and Dark Brotherhood, however, are not yet in the game. The running conjecture at this point is DLC now that ESO is B2P supported by a cash shop. End-game has received some decent work with veteran ranks, though, if that’s your thing.

One interesting addition is voice chat. Area voice is on automatically and is opt-out rather than opt-in. This has proven to be quite embarrassing for some. The quality is decent, and having such a feature makes grouping easy since the console comes with a mic for all to use.

Performance on the consoles is not without its downsides. The graphics are great on PS4, but both Graev and I run into hitching at the exact same spots in-town leading me to believe it is game/server-side. The hitching is most common in cities at this point. Unfortunately, playing on PS4 means having a subscription to Playstation Plus which is like $50 a year or something. Not huge, but worth noting.

Worth buying? Here’s my honest stance right now. ESOTU is ESO, and it’s worth getting if you liked the PC version enough to say, “Hey, I’d like to sit on my couch and play it on my console.”  The game has life I honestly haven’t seen since week 1 of ESO launch. Both Graev and I both liked ESO but couldn’t fall in love with the game. ESOTU is a great chance for us to dungeon crawl, slay baddies, and play in a world we enjoy. Will we be playing long? We’ll make our way to 50 at our own pace and play until we get bored.

Edits after reading some comments: If you treat ESOTU like a MMO then you’re screwed. It’ll be 1-2 monther at most. Treat it like a multiplayer RPG with a semi-decent story and better than average combat. Play with a friend or two. Go at it alone, or quest grind your way to the top, and you’ll be bored in a week. It’s a console game for me. I would not even consider playing it again on PC or treating it like I do an MMO. ESO on PC was the beta for the console version, where it clearly belongs.

Keen and Graev's Review Score:

EverQuest Ragefire Raids & Instancing

Yesterday I wrote about why I like the instancing in EverQuest. I think Daybreak did a nice job of meeting the average player’s needs quite well. After yesterday’s post went up, Daybreak announced some changes to the instancing system as it pertains to raiding and zones which contain popular raid monsters.

Let’s take a look at the patch notes.

View the Patch Notes

At launch, as now, there is only one Lord Nagafen and only one Lady Vox. If you defeated them, you also had to compete with a server full of people who wanted to defeat them, too. That’s a pretty big accomplishment.

So, in the spirit of making raid content more available while still allowing for competition and accomplishment, here’s what we have planned for an update in July:

  • Nagafen’s Lair, Permafrost Keep, the Hole, and Kedge Keep are now load-balancing zones. This will let more people have access to these zones for XP and non-raid items (WTB GEBs, PST).
  • We now have a way to prevent raid targets from spawning in extra load-balanced zones. We have done this with Lord Nagafen, Lady Vox, Master Yael, and Phinigel Autropos so they will only ever spawn in the base version of their zones.
  • All raid targets (dragons, Phinigel, Yael, and gods) now spawn more often than they used to, but have a much larger variance in their spawn times so they’ll be more difficult to predict.
  • We’ve made the raid bosses more difficult, so that they will require coordination of more adventurers to tackle them successfully. Healing and support should once again be very important in these encounters.
  • Speaking of Hate and Fear, while we didn’t implement load balancing, we did reduce the respawn time of all non-raid targets by two thirds. Any mini-bosses that didn’t have persistent timers (such as the Fear golems) now have them and have additional variance in their respawn times. This means that they won’t necessarily be spawned when the server first comes up.

 

Now before I begin, I’m not a raider in EverQuest. I don’t enjoy the toxic community currently dominating that space. I don’t plan to raid. I’d participate in invite, but do not consider raiding necessary to enjoy EQ. So really none of this affects me except the part where I can now get more gear easily from the non-raid encounters.

That said, for the people who DO like to raid in EQ, but aren’t apart of the 1% doesn’t this have much of the opposite effect? I have a few questions that just do not make sense.

  • What stops Raid Guild X from filling all spots in the raid zone, forcing everyone else out of it and never able to enter?
  • Doesn’t increasing raid variance make it more difficult for casual players to have a chance at participating since those players aren’t regularly camping mobs for 12 hours a day?
  • If the targets spawn quicker, doesn’t that mean the rich just get richer?

I’m curious if Daybreak really thought this one through. All this will end up doing is creating a competition for the 1% to sit around in the base instance of the raid zones. But hey, I’ll be in /pick 2!