Aggro Me: It Lives
Why, just the other day little Update #12 was only playing in the Test Server sandbox, and now it's, sniff, all grown up! I should have treasured these years, spent more time...
Yep, Live Update #12 is, well, live.
Let's get it out of the way first: my prediction on Monday regarding the patron changes turned out to be, at best, barely accurate. "This change will not go live, at least without a number of additional restrictions," I stated boldly. Well, there was an additional restriction placed on removing patrons, but it's a mild one and it's only one restriction. So you could say I was wrong. Under the new system, you will not lose status for losing, booting or demoting a patron unless that person has been a patron for less than a week.
Well, that does attempt to address the main issue I feared: endless swapping of patrons in and out to maximize guild status before each raid, heritage quest and writ. But a week is such a short time period that it really doesn't have teeth as a penalty. You can still come up with a bunch of strategies to use the new system to your advantage. For instance, let's say a bunch of people are about to finish heritage quests. Make them patrons for a week and let the writ-runners take a week off. The week is over and the new patrons are back to being non-patrons again. I guess that's a legitimate strategy under the new system.
There are a lot of positives to the new system. You will no longer be awakened by the pangs of guilt customary to those who leave a guild and knock it down a few guild levels simply by leaving. It also lessens the elitist feel of the patron system and will probably reduce guild drama a bit. On the flip side, it takes away from the seriousness and responsibility of the position. But, hey, maybe that's not a bad thing.
Unfortunately, the drama will be replaced by more management pressures on guild leaders and officers as they try to figure out complex rotations and plans to maximize the new system. They will find themselves creating and demoting patrons quite a bit more than before. And honestly, guild leaders have enough of a headache as it is. A lot of them just ironed out their patron rules for the previous system. And hey, what good is my crazy spreadsheet now?
So, how do I feel in the end about the whole thing? I'm for it. But I feel the time limit is just too short. Would a month be so terrible? Do we have such a short attention span as a culture that we think a week is a long amount of time? Wait, what was I talking about again?
Oh, and remember the no double writs thing? Well, you might want to take a gander at this thread. While I have by no means verified the information therein, if it is accurate then it is a pretty silly mistake by SOE. But, I'll give them a pass. It's a minor mistake (if it even is one) and I love a lot of the minor changes in this update. Edit: My bad, these writs are not stackable. Still repetitive though.
Let's move on to a somewhat controversial item: the removal of level restrictions on many zones. First let's look at the positive. As Moorgard states here, Scott Hartsman explains it well. "It should be the content that prevents you from getting to dangerous parts of the world, not artificial barriers." This is an argument which speaks to immersion in this world we call Norrath. Let it be fear of the terrifying sharks of Everfrost that keep you in Zek rather than some arbitrary level requirement. If you think you are a bad enough dude to rescue the President in Lavastorm at Level 5, then go for it tough guy. (Anyone get that reference?)
This is a powerful argument. Let me just give you the other side of the coin.
There are three nights I remember most from my extensive time in Norrath. One was the night I first stepped onto the Zek docks, triumphant. This night was memorable for many reasons. I, alone, had slacked off on the access quest and the fact that five friends would take hours of their time to get me through it meant a lot to me. The quest itself was a long and arduous one, even before I set foot on the high seas. The boat battle was a difficult and long struggle. When we set foot on the docks of Zek we danced and cheered and ran around like lunatics. It's probably the night I went from casual to hardcore player.
For me it was akin to Joseph Campbell's crossing of the first threshold on the path of the hero - the proverbial rite of passage. Okay, let me relax for a minute. It was just an access quest (and an optional one at that). I know the access quests will still exist and even give an additional reward. But still - the fact that these quests gave you access to a whole new zone gave them a special significance.
Anyway, the fact that I enjoyed an access quest does not negate the valid concept behind the changes. I look forward to seeing some level 4 people rushing madly through Lavastorm.
They went ahead with the decision to make reverse status items tradable. I will have to monitor the cost, quantity and effect of these items on guild status before I complain about this any further. If some of the posters in this thread are accurate with their numbers, the status gained from these items may not be a huge deal.
As I discussed when it was still on Test, there are a ton of great little changes in this update, not the least of which is the addition of a changeable bind point. It seems that SOE has truly been listening to the players complaints because many of those complaints are addressed here. To give you a very small example of just how much they listen, the command /raid was changed to /whoraid between test and live. This change is straight from forum feedback.
So, enjoy, and keep your eyes open for the live event connected with this live update.