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Monday, July 18, 2005

Test Update #12: Good, Bad, Controversial

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Alright, I am not going to go too crazy about anything in this update because it can always change dramatically before it goes live. But, I thought I would give you a little rundown.

The Good

Okay, most of it is good, to be honest. There are a host of minor changes that I believe will improve overall gameplay. Would I have liked these changes to be included at launch? Sure. Do I feel the urge to tell new players, "You don't know how good you have it now you young whipper snappers...why back in my day the map interface was the worst ever,etc."? Sure. But am I happy these changes are being made? Definitely. SOE is steadily taking all the minor annoyances out of Everquest II.

Basically, they hit two of my complaints from this rant: a changeable bind point for the Call spells and better quest sorting. These are much needed changes.

The cross-zone invite will be useful. Right now, when we're setting up raids it's annoying to wait until guild mates are in the same zone. This was also a big problem when we were doing writs as a group - one person would finish their writs and gate to get more. While he or she was in Qeynos another guildie would log on looking for an invite to our writ group. Oops, the person in Qeynos is the leader. Now this is no longer a problem. As to seeing the health and power of other group members in different zones, well, I suppose it's a nice touch but, frankly, I don't care that much. Call me lazy, but if your health is low and you're in another zone don't expect me to come and bail you out. My loyalty extends to one zone only.

Artisan quests will be a nice addition. Anything to make tradeskilling more interesting is fine by me. While we're on tradeskilling, let me throw one great suggestion at you (from Warm_Machine on the
Aggro Forums). Tradeskill vaults. How nice would it be to have all your tradeskill materials in a vault in your tradeskill instance? Very nice, I'd say. Also, I may as well take this chance to bid a farewell to tradeskill dev Frizznik, who has announced his departure. It is unclear to me whether that means he is leaving the tradeskill area or SOE entirely. As you probably know, I, for the most part, avoid the tradeskill tedium as if it were a Norrathian plague. Still, to my un-expert eye, it seemed like Frizznik was working hard to implement changes brought up by the community. Hopefully, tradeskilling will be fun enough to get me interested again someday.

A few other things that are quite minor but often drive me crazy are fixed in this update. Namely, losing food and drink when you revive in another zone and the raid window not showing when people have died. And, yes, I know you can see if someone is dead by mousing over their name in the raid window but I want to be able to see it a glance.

I got a laugh out of this change, "If you are typing a line of text and hit a movement key to run away from something (causing "wwwwwwwwwww" to appear in your chat line, for example), your character will soon begin running forward and the repeated character will be removed from the chat line," because I do that all the time. All the time.

A new live event and dungeon instance is always a positive. Hopefully it is better executed than some of the previous instanced dungeons added in earlier updates.

The Bad

It sounds like the end of vendor trash. Call me crazy, but I like vendor trash. Okay, maybe I am crazy. I had nothing else to write in the bad section, okay? I really do like to turn all that junk in at the end of a long day of adventuring.

Heritage quests will now count against the fifty quest limit. Wait a minute, they didn't before? I guess I really am bad at math. Either way, I don't like the quest limit (although I realize there are performance issues) and I certainly don't like anything that makes it easier to reach. I absolutely hate deleting quests. Arggh, after I initially wrote this post
Blackguard announced that the quest limit is being tentatively raised to 75. These guys just won't let me write anything negative these days.

The Controversial

The patron changes (not losing guild status when you lose a patron) are very controversial. There are great arguments on both sides on the forums so I am not going to make any here. I just don't see the point because I am making the following prediction: This change will not go live, at least without a number of additional restrictions.

And finally, we have the reverse writs. I will admit, I thought these were a good idea at first. I felt they added variety to the writ process. But after discussion on this topic with others in-game, I have come to the conclusion that if you can buy these items on the broker it will be a negative. Guild status should come from hard work, not from clicking an item on the broker screen. And let's face it, money in EQII isn't always earned. What's to stop me from buying some plat on the secondary market (or, heck, on Station Exchange) and then buying every reverse status item in Norrath? Make these items no-trade (and I know this will be annoying for the unguilded) and I will reconsider my criticism.

I have to give credit to SOE for really listening to the players' complaints on these minor annoyances. Let's hope they make the right decisions on the more controversial items and handle the larger-scale issues (i.e. the fabled combat changes) in a similarly positive fashion. To be honest, the longer the combat/spell change saga drags on the more nervous it makes me in terms of the time and manpower SOE has to focus on balancing PvP and getting the expansion up to speed.

4 Comments:

Blogger Anskiere said...

When I first read this part of the update

Creatures no longer drop random body parts and other gross items as loot. Who wants to pick up skulls or clumps of maggots anyway?

I'm thinking.. I DO! Because a goblin's skull from LS sells for like 1.5 gold! I don't care if it's GROSS if I can make that much money off a hunk of bone. yeah? yeah. I like my vendor trash too!

8:51 AM  
Blogger Neil said...

The reverse writ argument sounds like it's coming from someone who's gotten guild level 30 and wants it to be as difficult as possible for everyone else to get there. The secondary market point pretty much doesn't hold up, because you can buy anything on the secondary market, including Mongolians who will play your account for you 24/7.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Aggro Me said...

Heh, I had a feeling someone was going to call me on that somewhat questionable secondary market argument the moment I posted it.

I guess what I was trying to say was that up until now, the only way in-game or real money could raise a guild's level is by, as you suggest, paying Mongolians to do writs for you.

Even without the secondary market point, I don't feel that guild wealth should equal guild status.

How about if the reverse writ items were made tradable within guild and sellable by unguilded players to an npc merchant only?

If that were the case I would back this idea one hundred percent because it sounds like fun and it adds variety. It's just the straight-up plat for status part that bothers me.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Aggro Me said...

Also, the reverse status is not necessarily bad for Guilds that are Level 30 already. We could keep the status items in the bank until the guild level is raised and then turn them all in to level up quickly.

12:48 AM  

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