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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Take out the Trash

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Well, after a pro-EQII post on Monday and a positive review of Splitpaw yesterday it's time to rip into SOE a little. They have a chance at a good thing so why mess it up?

First, stop this
garbage now. It's a complete embarrassment and makes SOE look like an absolute joke. Just because I don't talk about it every day doesn't mean it doesn't make my blood pressure rise to dangerously unsafe levels every time I see it. You can read my rants here, here and here. I've ranted enough in those posts about the integrity of the game and SOE's hypocrisy. But let me make one more little argument.

A tenet of all MMO companies should be to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. With Station Exchange, people will and already have accused SOE of making gameplay decisions for the sake of increasing profits on the Exchange servers. SOE has said clearly and strongly that they will not do this. They will say it again and again. To be honest, I kind of believe them. But that is not enough. An MMO company should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. By running Exchange servers, SOE is creating a system where gameplay changes could increase their Exchange profits. And just that possibility is enough to raise an ethical cloud over the whole situation. In an industry where customer trust is so important, it would seem to me a betrayal of that trust and a bad business decision to create such a system.

Okay, Station Exchange is a subject which is at least open to debate. Let's move on to some more concrete rantings.

EQ2Players is an absolute cesspool of web design. It's amazing how bad it is. I'm referring to the stats, rankings, and guild sites. I have never had a more unpleasant experience with a website outside of Geocities. I would still be complaining about this even if it was free but somehow this cornucopia of trash code is actually supported by players who optionally sign up for "extra" services.

Now, you might be saying, Aggro, why does EQ2Players suck so bad? Hmm...the problem is - where to start? Okay, guild sites. Half my guild can't log onto the bug-ridden forums. Ever. This is because of the endless log-in loop which has been known about since day one. I also lose roughly half of the news stories I try to post due to errors.

Let's take a look at the rankings. You have access to all this glorious data...tons of it. There are so many ways you can organize it in various fun rankings which would get people more involved in the game. The current rankings are very limited and unimaginative. The most glaring omission is a lack of guild rankings by level or status points. Uh, hello, wouldn't that be the absolute first ranking you set up?

Attempting to examine items is an exercise in frustration. The item search (a paid feature) is rudimentary at best. Rudimentary is too nice...it's worthless. I find it consistently bugged and quite incomplete.

I'm sorry to the people who set this up. I'm sure you tried hard but you probably had other projects. But damn, you either need some more help or just need to scrap the whole thing and try over. Small positive: the addition of web guild chat. When it works.

Okay, enough with EQ2Players. Back to the game. I've said it before, but some of the character models are just bad, specifically the humans. I'm not going to harp on this too much as the Soga models will be an option soon, according to
Blackguard. Thankfully, you will be able to choose Soga or regular for each race on the client-side, which will be a nice feature. We also desperately need more armor models. The ones in-game now are mediocre at best and the variety is very slim. This may seem shallow but it does make a difference.

Guild housing. It's rumored to be coming but I haven't heard any info for a long time. We need this. On the guild topic, the rewards for reaching guild level 30 seem a bit dissappointing (especially if you are not wealthy enough to afford a flying carpet). Reaching Guild Level 30 is a lot of work and should definitely open up a really special quest, or series of quests. If it does, and I just don't know about it, I apologize. I'll let you know soon enough as we're currently level 29 and moving fast.

From Karnatos on the Aggro Forums (and agreed upon immediately by a bunch of others): Okay, let's say you decide to lay out some serious cash and upgrade your pad to a South Qeynos abode. Wow, nice. All is well until you use CoQ. Then you end up having to zone twice to get home. Paying more money for less convenience is bad. Bind it to your home. SOE did mention they would look into this.

The quest sorting is awkward but a fix for this is already in the works. The mail system is too slow and a tab for Sent mail would be nice (credit to Gnume from the AF).

I would also like to note a few ideas that are suggestions from members of the
AF rather than complaints:

Warm_Machine: Ability to rez non-party members. This is being considered I believe.

Gnume: Ability to save different graphical settings for raids and normal play. Also, a "Fast Pass" system similar to amusement parks where you could "take your "Pass Item" to the location where the named mob you need is supposed to spawn, get it registered you were there ... and after an allotted time period has passed, the next time you return and register your "card", your mob will spawn."

Anskiere: The ability to add comments to the LFG window. That way you could see "Oh, Aggro is lfg for AQ6 - cool" or "Aggro wants to hang in CT, forget him." This would cut down on extraneous tells and OOC spam by a large amount.

Karnatos: Mini-games, i.e. a timed multiplayer footrace or something like Gems in EQ. Just some light fun to pass the time.

Okay, that wasn't too bad was it? Some of it was philosophical differences (Station Exchange) and a lot of the in-game stuff was merely suggestions or stuff that is already in the works. Well, except for EQ2Players.com. That's just awful. Rant endeth.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello !

I had the problem about the guild forum and the endless login loop too...

Most of my guildmate could log, and I found out it was not linked (apparently) to as specific version of Windows.

Tinkering to make it work, I went to the security option of I.E.

There, I setted it up to accept all cookies coming from SOE sites.
And then.. tada.. worked !

I don't remember what sites exactly I put, but at least, eQ2players, the guild site, etc..

Since we have made up an independant site, I don't have those settings anymore.

Hope it helps still ;b

PS : Support was awfull and definitively unhelpfull on this...

PPS : I'm a 'New Tech' Senior Architect, so, sometimes, it get on my nerves to have tech support which doesn't know up from down

PPPS : Excuse my french (yes I'm not native english speaker !)

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Scott Adams said...

Thanks for the login tip. My guild has recently decided to use the Sony forums once again. We'll try that if we run into problems again!

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anskiere said...

You spelled my name wrong, but I still love you. :P

8:52 AM  
Anonymous slaxer said...

Gameplay decisions are already being taken in order to increase profits. I have been to splitpaw, and so have you. How much gold did *you* make? How was the XP? yeah, thats right - gold and XP flow fast in Splitpaw, much more so then in the rest of Norrath. Not really fair in my mind, and the exchange stuff will follow suit, mark my words...

9:56 AM  
Blogger Mr.X said...

RE - EQ2players.

There's some junk in there true, but if you only pay the $1 for character profiles you might like what you get. It's like a replacement for Magelo.

I get a screenshot (excuse me, paperdoll shot, whatever that means) of my choice for my character; see all of his stats and levels, quests completed and how he's doing compared to everyone else serverwide and worldwide; and have something to link to that autoupdates and that shows off my character.

And for that I think EQ2players is fabulous. Not that I argue your points, but I'm looking in a different place.

2:30 PM  

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