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Thursday, April 13, 2006

FanFaire Report Part 4 - Stuff





Items and Art

Alright, I left off with items and art so let's get back into that. I've complained about the lack of armor diversity since the earliest days of this blog. I've lightened up a little because I've enjoyed a lot of the recent armor pieces. For instance, if you read
Arthais' writeup of FanFaire, you'll know one of my three current favorite things about the game is "that dope new wizzie hat I just got."

But I still think there's a long way to go. I want to see robes that have completely different geometry instead of just new patterns and colors. I want to see more non-robe type gear for mages. All that good stuff does appear to be on the way but it may take a while.

The SOE team is currently proceeding with a multi-month project which will make designing new armor models much easier. The current system requires intensive work on each race and gender, not to mention SOGA. The new system will simplify all this, if I understand it correctly, and give the art team a chance to be more creative and cut down on the repetitive labor. I'm confident that they can amaze us if they have this chance.

So, it's a postive and negative. You can't expect too much for a while, but if you're willing to wait, things might get exponentially better. I'm not saying there won't be anything new until then. There will. For instance, I believe most of the class helms are near completion and will be implemented sooner rather than later. I personally think the whole thing sounds like a great idea.

Many attendees were surprised to hear that the whole Rujarkian Orc storyline had to do with increased graphics performance. Those who don't read Aggro Me that is.
April 3:

"I'm guessing changing the Orcs to Rujarkians is a graphics thing for improved performance."

Just saying. Anyway, whoever the genius is who designed the Orc models in Deathfist, for example, had them equipped with player-type armor (my sarcasm, not SOE's). So when you go into Deathfist, it's like being around two full raids of players. All of the time.

I'm really glad to see this change coming because Deathfist has been a disaster. Now, a lot of people like the storyline there and the quests and the zone itself. But let's face it - it's the ultimate lagfest. And the majority of players avoid it until everything is grayed out and they can complete their Heritages in under twenty minutes. So, I'm hoping this change will give the zone new life. Members of the SOE team said that the whole storyline of the Rujarkian Orcs making an alliance with other Orcs just happened to coincide with this graphical change, but I'm not buying that one. Nor do I care, honestly. I would have created a storyline for it too. It can't hurt.

An item feature requested more than once is the ability to see what an item is classified as. Certain Achievements require a certain item, say a Staff or a Hammer. But sometimes by looking at an item you have, you're not sure what class of item it falls under. These complaints were heard and I expect them to be addressed.

The vendor faux pas issue was discussed. What I term the vendor faux pas issue is when you accidentally sell something valuable to a vendor. I've never done this personally (great - now I jinxed myself and I'll do it tonight) but I do get very very careful when I am selling stuff to a vendor. I live in fear of the day I accidentally double-click on that Icy Nova Adept III I've been saving for 70. Well, SOE did state that they are working on a system which would allow for vendor buy-backs.

But before you get the wrong idea, let me tell you such a system would not allow for "mistake buying." By "mistake buying" I mean travelling from vendor to vendor to see what great stuff other people accidentally sold to vendors. No, you will be able to buy back stuff you sold to the vendors. But if, and only if, you do it while the transaction is still open. Once you close out of the vendor window, the item will be gone forever.

The unequip macro's much needed death was discussed a few times, but I've made my arguments in favor of that already
in this post. I was happy to hear that the intention is that only the most expensive item from each slot will take damage because I made a suggestion similar to that in the post I linked.

Spells

I don't have a ton of spell stuff to talk about because I'm not going to get into specific subclass issues that were discussed.

I was happy to hear that the boring and predictable 14 level spell cycle is likely a thing of a past. I hated knowing what spell I was going to get and knowing it was only going to be an upgrade of an older spell. I complained about that
here. I got the impression that if they ever did raise the level cap again (and I'm not saying they will in the near future) they wouldn't stick to that pattern.

Frequent readers will know that a common theme of mine over the past few months has been the fact that no work has really gone into the HO system since launch and that it now feels a bit outdated and dull. So, I personally raised that issue at one of the panels. The response was that there are definitely things SOE would like changed about that system and an overhaul to make it more interesting (perhaps with symbols for each subclass) is not out of the question.

Raids

I do usually raid around three to four times a week currently but I am not by any means on the top tier level of raiders so some of the raid stuff discussed was over my head.

A common theme was Deathtoll access. Some were upset about the camping/contested issue. SOE clearly stated that this is not a philosophy shift back to camping. Rather, the lore of the quest just happened to involve a contested mob. They are considering adding a special instanced version of a zone for those who are trying to complete this quest.

On a similar topic there was some discussion concerning access flagging. As it is now I believe only one person needs to be flagged for access to Deathtoll. But what if that person leaves the guild? Should access be guild-based? Should access require a percentage of guildmembers to be flagged for access? I don't know that there was any resolution to this issue, but ideas were thrown around.

I was happy to hear that the upcoming Lyceum raid zone is not the only new raid coming to KoS. Another is planned - I believe the name given was "Halls of Seeing" but I could be wrong. I do know that both zones are instanced and do not require access quests. I don't know if my guild will be able to tackle these zones, but I do like the option being there.

Guilds

Hmm, I already discussed guild housing and the changes to tradeskill writs yesterday. But adventuring writs were also discussed. There is a desire to make the writs for each faction more interesting and also to make them be more in tune with each faction's goals and "personality." But, it is difficult considering the sheer number of writs in each level range, for each faction, for each city.

And now we get to the only thing that somewhat annoyed me out of all the great things I heard at FanFaire. Issues with guild rewards at the major levels has been a common theme of mine. It was stated at FanFaire that the current guild level 50 rewards are pretty much it (though of course nothing is written in stone). There are no mounts planned for that guild level. I can deal with that, but I would like to see something more special than a few titles and items which did not sound that great.

Let me be fair - we're not at guild level 50 yet (though we will be soon). But I did ask a few players who knew the rewards and they didn't sound terribly excited about the items available. To me, guild levels are such a great thing because it's something any guild can participate in. You can gain guild levels by tradeskilling, by doing writs solo, by doing writs as a group, by raiding, or by selling status items. There's something there for everyone. And I feel that people really enjoy doing things as a team. It's the one aspect of gameplay that everyone in the guild can be a part of. But they expect to not be let down when they reach a certain goal.

I didn't get a chance to ask a question about guild rewards, but I'm guessing the reasons for the lackluster rewards are one of two things:

1. SOE is misreading how much the player base cares about guild rewards (or I am) and making guild rewards a low priority in terms of development time.

2. Because of the well known "exploits" to raise guild levels quickly, SOE doesn't want to put anything unbalancing or super desirable as guild rewards.

Those are just my guesses - I have no actual idea. In any case, I'd like to see a greater focus on guild rewards.

Okay, tomorrow should be the final day of my FanFaire reports and will cover events, the future of EQII and some miscellaneous stuff that didn't fit in anywhere else. So stay tuned.

11 Comments:

Blogger Twodragons said...

I would vote for player-sold items to stay on a vendor. In EQ1, that was a great way to scrounge around for some item or component needed, and a way for higher players to help lower players.

I agree that they would need to be "safe" while the vendor window is open, protecting your accidental sell of that Prismatic item.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Steve Kramer (a.k.a. Saavedra) said...

Once again aggro, it was a pleasure meeting you.

Maybe someday I will actually start blogging here instead of lurking (i have other blog accounts, but I dont have a "job/gaming" blog which I would like to do.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Aggro Me said...

Thanks, Saavedra, it was great hanging out with you. I'd really like to see you start that gaming blog because I know I'd read it every day.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Steve Kramer (a.k.a. Saavedra) said...

I wrote a post last night. I'm still feeling tentative about what I can and can't write in regards to gaming, so it will be a while before i get in the groove.

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