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Monday, December 12, 2005

Testing Test Update 18





First, you can check out the notes here if you haven't seen them already.

Let's get the big one out of the way first. The visual marking of quest NPC's is something I'm not crazy about. They are even letting you see quest rewards before you take a quest which is another thing I never liked in WoW but I realize I'm probably in the minority about.


The argument for: This cuts down on the mindless clicking of NPC's in search of quests. It will let me get to the fun part faster. As for rewards, I can easily look it up on a spoiler site so why not make it easier.

The argument against: It's another example of making the game less of a challenging "game for grown-ups" and cuts down on the immersion factor. But I've said enough about that whole ease of play vs. challenge/immersion already in my lengthy discussion of the last Update.

Speaking of my discussion of the last Update, while I got a lot of comments about the whole spirit shard thing (thanks for that - as I've said there were some great arguments both ways), no one really commented on my dislike of NPC Purpose Tags. Any comments on that? This is really along the same lines.

Back to the quest NPC markers: It seems they have at least put a good amount of thought into this. It's a bit more complex than just !'s over NPC's heads. So that's a good thing. If you're going to do something I don't like I still want you to do it right. You can also turn it off but it would take a lot a willpower to intentionally strip yourself of a convenience other people have.

Onwards. There's finally some Guild Level 40 rewards:

New horses have been trained for Level 40 guilds--Mistrunners and Nightmares!

Long overdue, I'd say, but who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth. I'm curious to see what these look like.

'Tis the season for Frostfell time!

The Frostfell holiday stuff will be great I'm sure, if the Halloween event was any indication. Let's just hope it is a little less buggy. Still, that was an awesome event and I have really high hopes for this one.

Subclass armor has a new look and class-tailored stats!

That's good. Not only is it some much needed visual differentiation (something I've long harped on) but the stats to match which will hopefully help set classes apart a bit more.

Summoned pets get more distinct looks!

I'm sure the summoner classes will be happy about this one and I'm looking forward to seeing what the new pets look like. If you recall my
interview with Xalmat on Summoner classes, he said that certain pets were long overdue for a graphical change. So, I hope this addresses that.

Get ready to explore the new Fallen Gate!

It seems like a lot of the dungeons have been getting an overhaul. And if this helps get players to use a zone that was previously underutilized it's a good thing. I just hope the loot is within reason.

Player characters can now choose from four new Enemy Mastery options at level 52: Cyclops, Djinn, Harpy, or Naga.

I enjoy anything that differentiates me from the other wizards out there. And this is one of those things. It let's you customize your character and even roleplay it a little. Is your character the type who has always hated harpies? Now you can act that out through gameplay.

Accounts with Desert of Flames activated now receive 90 days of bonus Veteran Reward time as our way of saying "thank you" to our players.

What exactly does that mean? I'm pretty sure it's this: You will have 90 days added to your EQII playtime for the purposes of vet rewards. For example, if you've only played for 9 months but you own the expansion you would eligibile for a one year reward (or pretty close). I'd rather see more frequent veteran rewards (i.e. a little something every two months after a year) then something that rewards a purchase but, eh, I can't say it's a horrible thing.

Poisons (as well as other applied effects that have a chance to proc on a successful attack) now only trigger upon successful attacks made with the weapon in the primary hand.

Is this going to be an issue for scouts? I really don't know. It should save some money at the loss of some DPS, right? It's hard for me, as a wizard to be objective about scouts (our DPS competitors) so I'm not going to try.

Players will be able to advance through Nektropos Castle after completing the Everling Lockets quest and killing Lord Everling without having to complete the event again. Those who have previously completed it before this change will have to complete it one last time.

Wow, this is a much needed change. Would I have liked to have seen this change when it still would have benefited me? Sure. But I don't want to see new players go through the Nek tedium I went through and I'm very happy this change finally went through.

NPC movement speeds have been increased proportionate to Live Update #17's player run speed increase.

I'm not crazy about the whole run speed increase but I suppose it's only fair that mobs get the same benefit. I just don't like the way it looks when everything is moving super-fast but maybe that's just a personal thing.

Like I said, some positive stuff there, though the quest NPC markers are open to debate. What are your opinions?

12 Comments:

Blogger Anskiere said...

http://eq2.ogaming.com/gallery/album30/Blackguard?full=1

That is the nightmare (sporting Blackguard!)

Don't think any pictures of the Mistrunner have made it out yet.

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you didnt mention the best part for us wizzards, an aggro reduseing spell.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Gallenite said...

Re: Quest Callouts

Glad to see you're willing to give them a go - Or at least not unilaterally dislike the option existing. ;)

We do disagree on what constitutes a "challenge." To me, especially for starting characters in EQ2, running around hailing 200 town NPCs every level to see who has quests for you this level isn't a challenge, it's tedious and not particularly heroic.

This absolutel does remove tedium, but it doesn't really remove the kind of challenge a heroic adventure should be about.

There are a couple other reasons for doing the quest callouts that we haven't mentioned much yet.

The biggest one: Lots of people mistakenly assume that EQ2 is "More of the same grind."

What many don't see is that it is 100% feasible to do nothing but quest, all the way from 1 to 50, with a fair portion of 50-60 being nothing but questing either.

And by "no grind," I mean: Zero kills that a person doesn't have a quest/story/context for.

That's always been a huge part of this game. So many people assume that since it has "EQ" in the name, that grinding/camping is the expectation, when it couldn't be farther from the case.

Sure, grinding is a valid way to play the game, but in many cases (especially for solo players), it's not the most optimal.

(One notable exception being a full group crawling a dungeon. That has exceptional payouts as well, for obvious reasons. Bigger risk. More recovery time. More assembly time. etc.)

Hopefully more grind-averse people of all skill levels will use this to see that they do, in fact, have choices.

- Scott Hartsman
Senior Producer, EQ2

3:53 AM  
Anonymous Nazeroth said...

Thanks for the post Aggro ME, i always love your opinion on things.

I remember back in the day when EQ2 was just starting to show its face and one of the big 'immersion factors' it sported was the way NPCs would call you out, hail you down when they wanted to talk to you (ala give a quest).
I wonder what happened to that idea, the NPCs do indeed still do that. But not all of them, and some do it and have nothing to say (or, if in Freeport, tell you to piss off!).
I guess its just another one of those features that was never completed to satisfactory levels.

The WoW'er in me wants to run around screaming "ZOMG!! cut 'n' paste!!"
But the saving grace to that is that the Dev Team have put some more thought into it and produced a more effective system.
I still felt that i was some how ruining the game by turning this on, it feels like a cheat. But your right, any quest info can be found on gaming sites, and in light of that i welcome this feature.
Everytime i look up a quest on the net i end up following the spoiler from start to end, and turns from a quest to a guide on how to recieve a cool item from a random NPC, the story and immersion go out the window. So i now sit here and believe this new feature will, in the end, ADD to the immersion of EQ2.

About NPC Purpose Tags, i thought you really shot this feature down. Although to really achieve full immersion you, as the Dev, should expect the player to recognise the purpose of an NPC by what he/she is wearing (or NOT wearing, geddit! eh eh! :P) and his/her surrounding environment.
EQ2, apparently, did not achieve this so they had to make it some what more obvious. I certainly don't mind it, it doesn't impact on my immersion into the game and i already know the cities like the back of my hand so i can't say without bias that it helps.

As for the rest of the updates, they all seem like great advances in the game. There isn't much i can comment on this time around as i won't be experiencing them due to my level or class.

Keep up the great work Aggro Me!

P.S. It'd be great if you could cover the shocking demise of the arenas in EQ2 again sometime. Something needs to be done about it!

-Nazeroth
--Level 50 ShadowKnight
---Lucan De'Lere

4:36 AM  
Anonymous Xalmat said...

I don't like the purpose tags. What is so hard about calling an NPC "Mender Soandso" instead of "Soandso <Mender>" ?

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Xalmat said...

Also, the new pet graphics on Test server are a huge hit with the Summoner community! Definite props to the team for an absolutely positive change. Oh, and the tweaks to pets are also a big plus too.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Quylein said...

While I tend to agree with Mr Hartsman that as a newb with well over 200 quests it can be a pain if you want certain items.
I disagree that if you like my wife and me when we started out and we did every single Quest from the island to Qeynos. We then resarted evil and did ever single quest in FP. So the fact that they would tell us what Item we were getting would of been pointless, it was about the quest not the rewards.

The point of making it avilable early quest's is though. However, it in no way should be included in every quest.

As far as the Purpose tags I think I've only actually noticed 2 so far. I just go where I normally go and dont pay attention to the top of their heads.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Zygwen said...

On inspecting rewards before starting quest. It used to be back in EQLive that almost all information about quest where available on third party websites. Over the years though updates to these sites have slowed down. The phenomina is also visable in EQ2. Ogaming has the most comprehensive third party quest and item database and it lacking a lot of information particularly on endgame raid zones.

Showing rewards will help some people but it may also reduce traffic to these third party websites. The official forums already killed many of the fan based forums. Spoiler websites might be on their way out next.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Scott Adams said...

They have announced on the forums that the purpose tags and the quest icons will be optional and can be shut off by the player.

To me that is best of both worlds. You like either feature then turn them on. You don't, then turn them off. Your choice and not the developers!

1:13 PM  
Blogger TulsaShag said...

regarding poison...

If this means no more poison on bow attacks, there's gonna be a lot of upset scouts out there... The issue they've yet to resolve is poison still goes away with death (including duels). This becomes very costly (average of 10g for a stack of 7 charges) and I'm not sure why it's not treated like food and drink.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing with identifying questgivers etc..anyone who has or has had EQ2Maps installed has had this info and more since the early days. I do agree though that the option to turn it off means that if you dont like it..dont use it.

12:45 PM  
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