@Remianen LOL. My strong words brought equally strong in yourself. I just think that they could make these things more streamlined and not allow the expansions to get ahead of themselves. Why create gear in the next up expansion that makes the previous expansion's gear so obsolete in the first place?
Again, progress. We had many years where a new expansion's gear wasn't all that much better than the previous expansion's gear. So, the people outside the raiding guilds just refrained from buying the new expansion. Bad for business. So what SOE started doing is frontloading things like entry tier armor and weapons (hi Windblade, War Marshall's Bladed Staff, and the 2h axe that dropped like rain in PoJ. Weighty Polearm?). So people would run out and buy the expansion first thing in order to take advantage of the drop rates (and elevated XP rates too). After a while, the gear gap (between raiders and non-raiders) became a chasm so SOE felt a gear reset was in order. It makes sense when you consider trying to balance content for people with WIDELY disparate levels of capability (due mainly to gear quality). Of course, then things got crazy with HoT when the numbers basically doubled but I'm guessing that was necessary.
I do understand making mobs harder when you raise the level cap and that you will want to use the gear from the previous level cap, but why must there be such an epic jump from one gear set to the next? I guess all I am saying is that there can be progression of gear with level cap increases that makes for a continuum of progression. And HAHA on the mercs and PoK books too . Yes. I think it is lame that they support soloing by catering to it rather than sticking to their guns and supporting a game that requires teamwork. Do I use a merc right now because server population in lower levels is low - Yes, I think of him as the tank that I would have had if things weren't in the state they are (I try to think of him less as a mercenary and more as a group member)- and I probably wouldn't need him if mercenaries didn't exist in the first place. There are enough people in the newbie zone that if there were no mercenaries people would still form groups out of necessity.
Kinda hard to explain this but, they did exactly what you suggest with regard to gear sets. The problem was, raid level gear was head and shoulders above group gear. So when you have groupers wearing items with 400 hp/mana/end and raiders with 750 hp/mana/end, how do you design group content? Anything that groupers can do would be steamrolled by raiders but anything that challenged raiders murder the groupers. I give you the Underfoot expansion as an example. Until that gap is closed, you cannot design content for both groups without segregating them. And if you do that, the raiders can monopolize the groupers' content because it's so easy to them.
Also, you don't realize it but what you are advocating is the death of this game. If they had "stuck to their guns" as their playerbase aged and no longer had 6 hrs a day to play (of which, 2 are spent LFG), it would have driven even the staunchest non-boxers right into the arms of the 18 or so other games that don't force people to place themselves at the mercy of people they don't really know. See, it's easy to say "they should have" when you've never actually seen what had happened to the game in the interim. Those of us who have are trying to tell you that your idealism would lead to shutdown due to low server populations unable to sustain the game financially. Yes, stick to your guns and lose your shirt rather than change to fit the times. Yeah, that sounds like a good plan.
Wouldn't it be great if druids and wizards were still heavily relied on for travel?
No. And this is coming from a person with eight wizards and three druids. My first character way back in '99, was a druid. I know what those days were like. Do I want to be flagged down by people camping a druid ring for a port? No.
I just think it's more fun that way. I think enough people are drawn to a challenge rather than another game that wants to fit in with the status quo.
You think it's more fun that way and I wouldn't argue with you. But, as you're probably aware, Sony is a for-profit corporation. They don't care what you want if you're not paying them money. They want to get as many people as possible actively playing their games and if they have to "dumb down" the games to accomplish that, they will. The only people who have a voice are the people who are active, paying members of SOE's customer base. The status quo says it shouldn't take you a year to reach the level cap. The status quo says you shouldn't have to plan a play session specifically to get to where you want to hunt...for the next play session. So I would disagree with you. More people aren't drawn to a challenge, unless you think World of Warcraft (or Rift or The Old Republic or Guild Wars 2 or The Secret World) is challenging. By all accounts, those games all have more active players than this one (even after free to play). What people want is entertainment and they don't want to have to "work" (without gettin' paid) to get it. With the playerbase as overwhelmingly casual as it seems now, it stands to reason that EQ's old model was untenable.
What this all boils down to: I know there is a way that new content could have been released that is level appropriate that wouldn't make obsolete other content that is also level appropriate. It's all a matter of being at the cause of things rather than at the effect of things.
How do you attract people to that new content? Rewards? Well now you have the new content being better than the old content and if everyone's crowding into the new content, guess what that makes the old content? That's right, you guessed it, obsolete. Perception is reality in these games. If one placed is perceived to be "better" than another, that place will lead to the other place being abandoned and ignored. Now, you might still like that old place but with rewards out of whack (with the new place outclassing the old place), you are making a conscious decision to forgo the greater rewards because you prefer the old content for whatever reason. Most people would not make that choice. "Progression" in most people's minds does not equate to 'staying in the same place cuz I like it'.
(@Remianen Don't get too up-in-arms. I recognize that my first post was a little overly ranty and I will tone it down a bit.)
I'm not up in arms at all. It's just that I've dealt with many who feel as you do. When free to play was announced, I tried to get several friends/former guildies to return and they said the exact same things you did, while they run around Azeroth on their 14th level 70+ character. These games have to evolve or they die (or become footnotes, like Ultima Online).
There are very good reasons for inclusion of defiant gear but I agree with the OP that it would be nice if its acquisition had been integrated into the lore even a wee bit. I mean it IS lame for a snake to drop a helmet or breastplate. Maybe they could have made it all questable in some fashion, even if the quests were much easier than some of the "original" armor quests. Those quests were often challenging and fun and required more than just "killing # rats", such as running around exploring Norrath, talking with various NPCs, etc.
Can you do that without involving EQ's gawd awful RNG?
What bothers me is that there are so many EXCELLENT zones in the game which now are utterly useless because nothing has been done to make them relevant to any degree. I visit such zones from time to time for nostalgia's sake and they're always empty. Even lower-levels and new players tend to stick in the "hot zones", understandably, so even they don't frequent some of the truly memorable lower level zones of the original game and early expansions. Supposedly this upcoming expansion will have some content requiring going back to older zones but I don't hold high hopes that it will accomplish what I'm talking about: making changes so players will have real reasons to visit more than about 20 zones out of the hundreds making up EQ.
Rain of Fear will do nothing to accomplish what you're talking about. Cut & paste + adjust mob levels for a handful of zones isn't going to cut it, really. Yes, you'll have level 100 players running about Kael Drakkal. But would it even come close to duplicating the sheer terror many felt when going there? You're 100, you've seen and done it all already. Your gods' smoldering corpse at your feet is still somewhat fresh in your mind. Going back to Kael? Where you've already ostensibly destroyed its king AND the avatar of its god?
Also, I wouldn't count on them reverting 4 years of what they consider progress. This is Pandora's Box.