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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Stealth Speed

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Sometimes, things that are stealthy are not that fast. The Stealth Bomber aircraft, for instance, is actually slower than some conventional bombers. But if you can't locate it, it doesn't really matter how fast it's going.

Of course, ninjas are stealthy and are also known to be quick. Um, where was I going with this?

Up until now, being stealthy in EQII has resulted in a movement penalty. Since the combat change, my invis has really slowed me down to a painful crawl. But speed is on the way with
Test Update #14A. I think you're gaining a lot in enjoyable gameplay and I fully support this decision. Some posters in this thread on the Aggro Forums raised the issues of a hit to immersion and the possibility of invising through content. While I agree that these are valid considerations, to me the convenience factor outweighs these concerns, especially since some zones now appear to garner more mob aggro than before the combat changes.

Gambling also appears to be on the way and it sounds pretty cool. I'd rather see some type of original and strategic card game as the gambling in EQII but I suppose a Keno style game is okay. From what I read, the chances of winning are not that good, but I guess EQII is as good a place as any to learn that gambling doesn't pay. That doesn't mean it can't be fun.

While they're covering vices, what happened to the alcohol skill? I understand alcoholic drinks did have an effect in the original beta for EQII. I'm guessing taking this out was a ratings/public relations move but I think it would be a pretty interesting feature.

I'll have some more expansion comments in the future but a quick one for now on group xp. Edit: Heh, it looks like SOE beat me to the punch on this one. I'm going to leave the comments that follow anyway as an argument in support of what they are doing rather than as the complaint it was originally intended as.

Does full group xp seem a little slow as compared to solo, duoing or three-person xp? It seems that way to me. If this is a case I believe it is a problem because I feel full group xp should have a bonus. I have been soloing quite a bit and enjoying it lately so this is not a knock on soloers. But, I think even hardcore soloers would understand that full group xp should be at least a little better. There are two reasons why it should:

1. Soloing is pick up and go. From the moment you log on you can fight till you log off. Grouping can take a half-hour before you fight your first mob. Putting a group together and getting people in the same zone takes time. I think this should be factored in.

2. Grouping should be encouraged for the long term health of the game. While soloing is great to have as an option it is the social connections which really keep people playing. And really, it is the interplay of the classes that is meant to be the focus of combat.

My evidence for the fact that full group xp is currently slower than soloing or small grouping is purely anecdotal based upon my own experience and people that I have talked with. Also, I am no rush to grind out to 60. I'm enjoying the expansion and the new content and I urge you to do the same. It's just an observation. I'd also like to see quests (especially those with no item rewards) give a little more xp to encourage them as an alternative to grinding.

If you haven't purchased the expansion yet, you might want to check out the three overwhelmingly positive reviews linked to from the EQ2Players news page. I'm not a fan of reviewing MMORPG's or their expansions so quickly but I'm happy to see people getting the word out to the WoW-centric masses. Keep in mind that the Gamespot review is a "Community Review" which I presume means that the review was prepared by a volunteer contributor. For what's it's worth, all three reviewers actually seem to play the game.

While I have some issues I'll get around to mentioning eventually, I continue to actually like the expansion more and more. Rather than getting bored with it, I'm having fights that are the most exciting I've had, finding some of the spells and arts very interesting, and enjoying the fact that the zones have an absolute ton of hidden nooks and depth that was not originally apparent. Riding dust devils is just one example. There are plenty more secrets in the Sinking Sands alone that I won't ruin for you here.

Okay, I'll be back from my SOE trip on Tuesday, hopefully with some good material. Until then, stay safe and have fun.


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