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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Locked Encounters

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Lately, the EQII devs have begun to drop hints about rethinking the mechanism of locked encounters (or modifying it). I notice they first did this on certain unofficial message boards rather than on the official EQII Forums. Let me be clear: I am not in any way against the devs posting on various forums. In fact, it is one of the things I really like about this group and I strongly encourage them to keep doing so.

In any case, Sassee asked Moorgard about it in one of her great Ask SOE features which you can read here.

I happen to be in favor of leaving the locked encounter system the way it is, so I thought I would briefly mention why.

I do not want to see people power leveling or otherwise taking advantage of an open encounter system. I do not want to see difficult mobs conquered by the proverbial "zerg rush" of a hundred players rather than by skill and strategy. To be fair, Moorgard does state that raids will definitely still have a 24 player limit.

And let me be honest. Kill stealing would not really bother me. I am a pretty patient person. Sure, I might get frustrated if I camped a mob for a long time and then lost it to someone who swooped in but that's about it. But I do not want this game inundated with ceaseless whining in groups, on the forums and in /ooc about so-and-so killstealed me. I just don't. And that's what I am afraid will happen if locked encounters are changed. The kill stealing accusations are bad enough as is. And, yes, I am aware the locked encounter system was not intended as a block to kill stealing.

I am not going to pretend there are no negatives to locked encounters. They clearly break immersion. They are a completely artificial system in place solely for gameplay reasons. But, well, so are levels and world-wide chat channels and those exclamation marks over quest givers in WoW that people seem to like so much. There's always a tradeoff of gameplay and convenience for immersion.

People also miss the drive-by buffs and heals which shows that at least part of the community is friendly and willing to help other players. I agree with the sentiment. The problem is, you know people will just get their high level friends to heal them as they fight difficult mobs, creating a power leveling opportunity.

And some might say that power leveling should be part of the game to some degree. In my personal opinion, zero power leveling should be a part of any MMORPG. That is just my personal taste. If the majority of people feel it should be, well, then I can't fight it.

I just think the system works very well as it is. If you really need another player's help, try pressing the Yell for Help button.

Keep in mind that there are no definite plans for SOE to change the locked encounter system nor do I have any idea of just how they would do so.


Blogger strixus said...

I agree with you, Aggro. Locked encounters for me have solved nearly every problem I have with most RPGs. After coming to EQ2 from FFXI, the difference is amazing. Not only the locked encounters, but the lack of the ability to train monsters really, not to mention the inability of others to interfere in a fight. Its very nice.
Just to let you know, you're not the only one in support of the locked encounter system.

12:43 AM  
Blogger warm_machine said...

I agree. Locked encounters are a good thing. I don't miss the cries of "Train to zone!!!"... nope, I sure don't.

1:03 AM  
Blogger Anskiere said...

/agree /agree

I don't want to see them go away. I REALLY don't ever want to see powerleveling in this game. I had enough of that in EQ1 where if you knew the right people (and had the time) you could go from 1 to 50 in like 4 days. I'm thinking that no matter the bad things of locked encounters, the good things outweigh them and I am totally willing and wanting to keep it how it is.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Scott Adams said...

I too like the locked encounters but I also miss the ability to help others. Tough call actually about which I prefer overall.

Will be very interested to see how SOE tackles this tricky issue.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the locked encounter system the way it is too.
The only thing I would like to see changed is the ability to cast more buffs, heals, resurections on people not in your group/raid when both parties involved are outside of combat. Within limits of course - obviously level 50 buffs on a level 10 character would be too much.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Twodragons said...

One of the reasons for the lack of community is the inability to cast lasting buffs on other players.

In EQ1, the bank in PoK was a central gathering spot to get much needed buffs to go adventuring. If folks were selling their buffs, it was too expensive for lower level characters. And the high level buffs would not work on lower level toons.

If someone happened to get a bunch of good buffs, more power to them. The mobs were tough, they would agro each other, and train-to-zone was a hourly ritual.

As a 49 BST I was happy to hang around in PoK handing out free buffs to desparate mages in tissue-paper armor.

Now, in EQ2, everyone knows they can only get benefits from those in their own group, so they make no attempt to help others or ask for help.

You are dependant on your own buffs or party buffs, and if you get out of range from a group-member, your buffs suddenly drop.

This has also been helped by all the solo content made available. In SOE's quest to ensure everyone is made happy, the game is becoming too easy. I actually like the danger of train-to-zone, or an agro mob that will chase you ALL THE WAY across the zone. Now, with a SoW totem, anyone can cross any zone until agro falls like water from a ducks back. Hmmm... nothing dangerous about that...

And the last think I'd want is after the second attempt at a 3-4 hour camp, some knucklehead swoop in and steal the mob and quest credit.
Keep locked encounters.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Mr.X said...

Seems everyone agrees, locked encounters are a good thing.

I just miss the chance to be a hero. It was fun in EQ1 to park yourself at the zoneline in Mistmoore, and save the lowbies who dragged out a big train (if you could that is !).

I have to admit, I missed all the bad behavior that yall are talking about. I didn't see the whining about killstealing. I never got trained other than someone running for their lives.

Just give me the chance to be a hero again is all I ask.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Tovin said...

Locked encounters are a great idea, and were well implemented with only a few issues.

The biggest (to me) is that when someone does yell for help, healers are incapable of healing them with anything less then their very first heal spell. Not a lot of help!

Kill stealing still occurs, since whoever touches it first has rights. Which means you could be camping something for 12 hours, and some idiot runs by and hits it before you can. It has happened. There's no cure for it, other then public flogging. (kiddin'...kinda.)

All together, locked encounters is good, we just need a few more tweaks to make it excellent!


2:12 PM  
Blogger Quylein said...

I dont agree!

But, hey I loved the openess and Imerstion. This locked encounter in the over lands makes it seem more and more like instancing. Some may know how I feel about that. I have learned to deal with this and I spose it dont matter if it stays.

I would rather have it partially removed I dont think challenging encounters should be made easy by any means. You said 0 power leveling in the game but there is mentoring and like I do with my wife. I stay within group range Im 29 and she's 20 and I go kill stuff she couldnt possibly kill solo and would get less xp in a full grp. So this powerleveling will never cease, there will always be one form or another.

As a Shaman I only have 2 spells that heal outside of group now anyhow and both those 2 that I can use are weak. Of course a 170hp heal would rock for a level 10. However, Uhhh any one that really wants to in a weekend can go from 1 to 20 solo.
I would hope that for some reasons they would unlock some encounters. I belive if they do it Heals maybe all group only. Buffs should be level restrictive and rez's should be open for all to recieve.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Anskiere said...

By powerleveling I meant more along the lines of having some uber leveled character not in your group use a DS and let the mob hit kill iteslf on said DS.. as long as you did one point of damage you got all the credit. Thats the kind of powerleveling I meant. I don't consider anything you can do with the implemented group and group xp system "powerleveling", though I see it can be considered that at times, depending on how you use it.

But then again I also have a part of me wishing that there were no locked encounters.. KSing was fun, sometimes... :)

4:51 PM  
Blogger Quylein said...

yeah me and a few other mages/wiz use to try to fight for mob kills KSing each other just for fun. we would do a shot clock count down on said mob and the go to town... of course wizards with Mana burn up would win all the time hands down but, I would get over on them when I hit 62 with Crit nuke AA about 60% of the time. Druids that would join usally lost alot of the time belive it or not... Was quite funny to see aggro PING PONG.

Yeah that's another reason to get rid of locks AGGRO XP wars like that. As far as the powerlvling you said I understand what you mean. Although on SullenZek as a good if you werent powerlvled you would be Corpse camped alot by lvl 40+ newt and evil. I know that dont apply here but still sometimes it's nice to be a class one of you and your friends need and wanna get to 60 in a few weeks. Though as I sort of stated in my last post getting from 1 to 20 is a joke likewise to 40 but hey that's just me. PLing is to me the least of the problems.

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wardens can heal pretty well outside of their group in EQ2. One of my heals has a direct heal component for about 300 (I think) and then a HoT for about 90 / tick. Somewhere around 4-5 ticks.

I've been using this lately as I run around. The casting time is pretty fast that I can throw it up someone and only pause for about 3-5 seconds.

Yes, it only works when they are out of combat, but it helps people in TS/Nek get back to enjoying the game a bit faster.

12:41 PM  

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