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NDA Blues...Follow

#1 Oct 09 2012 at 10:49 PM Rating: Good
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While I don't have an active sub, nor have I pre-ordered Storm Legion yet, I've been trying to gobble up information as it comes out. One of the bummers, of course, is people who are in and have tested have mostly been in the, "Holy **** it's awesome!" category. And I guess the NDA is okay with people vaguely alluding to things like that according to Hartsman.

Anyway, one of primary concerns for hanging up the towel, as it were, was the lack of timely progression options for non-raiders. Sure, you could pick up Infernal Marks or the like from Dailies/Weeklies, but solely doing such through that would put you at a **** of a long time before getting a single piece of gear, and I've never been cool with that kind of artificial grind. The alternative path, though, involved the Inscribed Sourcestone gear. Even after ID's release, this gear was left to rot in its state of sub-HK quality. Come 1.09, Trion did improve these items, but only partially. The head/gloves/pants/belt (all found from Keeper/Farclan vendors) could NOT be upgraded like the weapons or other slots. This is also meant the set bonuses were stuck in the tier prior to HK. This saddened me, because it again meant I really didn't have anything to do since I'm not a raider.

Unfortunately, in bringing this complaint to light on the official forums while my sub was active, it was typically met by raiders or even PvPers demanding that their activities warrant superiority over open-world PvEers if, for only the most shallow of reasons, "you don't need good gear." Nevermind the fact it's likely the people chasing this stuff helping to keep zone events from failing. I lost track of the times I was the sole person defending the remaining wardstone in an otherwise undermanned event where you could probably expect a bunch of people sitting at the portal waiting for the last boss to spawn. But yes, this gear helped people to better to do such things, at the same time helping them stay up to speed just in case they do eventually take an interest in raiding, or in my case, may finally have a schedule that supports it. I could also babble a bit on the likely resulting guild politics that commonly complicate any kind of endgame MMO process, but that's another can o' worms.

So, SL is on the horizon. 2 new continents with lots of PvE things to hopefully do. I tend to favor the pick-up-and-play nature that made coming upon open rifts and whatnot more appealing than setting schedules and being held up by one guy who forgot or whatever. Were these encounters soul crushingly hard? No. Then again, I don't believe they needed to be. If I was looking to challenge myself, I could always just pull all the mobs in a major rift and survive. Sometimes I wouldn't, especially on EI, but it was basically a challenge I could control. Much like EI, even if I did pick up SL, I suspect it'd hold me over for a month or two as general injection of fresh content. My primary concern is what comes after.

Has Trion learned that there are non-raiders/PvPers out there who still wish to engage in the combat system for meaningful progress? Yeah, I capped fishing and survival after they were added, but then there's the sort of, "Then what...?" that's common among the other crafts in that raid quality goods were guaranteed to spank them. So even if playing some kind of tradesman was more your schtick, you'd also hit a brick wall and fewer people will naturally want your stuff over time as they get deeper into the raid game. Said brick wall was also why I was discouraged from picking up alts, because if grinding ISS for one character took so long for so little, imagine two, up to four characters! Madness, I say. I actually look at Dimensions as a similar fate to crafts. While the various crafts sound like they'll be providing goods for building your own home(s), the combat-centered aspect of the game, the very heart of it all, is not improved any by participating. At best, it just sounds like a platinum sink for a currency that's under-utilized for the very reasons I just described of crafting's ills. Of course, my inner artist would joke about doing things like recreating Dracula's Castle from one of the Castlevania games to scall or something, but my more practical side considers a likely lacking of materials or funds for such grand, silly projects. And if wanting more than some strangers going 'ooo' and 'aaa' at makes me a selfish twat, so be it. Perhaps this is a not-so-subtle suggestion that things could be more like Build-A-Raid or whatever would help people get their jollies.

Still, one thing I am at least aware of is the pending adjustment to Planar Attunement and it becoming account-wide. I am for this exponentially in a similar reason to why farming ISS for multiple characters was so off-putting. The more a primary character progresses, the less appealing alts appear. Heck, Diablo III loosely emulated the PA system through Paragon Levels, and the same feeling applies there in knowing that some level 60 character with 35 levels has 105% more MF/GF than a fresh 60. Why spend time farming on that alt when you're seriously getting 105% less quality loot/gold? But I guess true to how the people sought fit to shut me down in my gripes about the Planar armor set, you also had people on the D3 forums insisting that account-wide Plvls would cheapen the game, be hand-outs, blah blah over-exaggerated drivel that someone with no real compassion for others could say with a straight face. Basically, fake difficulty is dumb. Humans aren't rats in a Skinner Box and I'd more than love to hammer that into the head of any game developer.

If you've actually read all of this, great. You're probably wondering why I'm babbling. It's mainly for the concerns I brought up, for that, "Then what...?" feeling that comes about when you've done what you can. Even if people could freely speak about what they've seen in the beta, I fear they may not have seen enough to fairly address any of this. And as common on the Rift boards, people tend to defend Trion's mistakes with the onus that they update the game fast and frequently. That's all well and good if you're getting the things you'd like to see, but from my perspective, nothing had really been added to the game for players like myself since Ember Isle. And when you're done with that in a month or two, seeing months pass with attention devoted more to raiders or PvPers gets demoralizing. And with no clue when the NDA being lifted, the prospect of waiting a month for SL itself, then the cost of the expansion and a month or two on top just to find history may repeat itself has me wary. Curious, obviously, but wary.

And while I know this forum sees little traffic, perhaps the direction of this thread could take on a sort of hopeful aspiration for the game's direction. If you're actually in the beta and find yourself free to further discuss anything due to official info releases, go ahead and throw them in with comparisons of the old and new, too. And despite my lacking eagerness for raiding, I'd like to avoid chatter roughly consisting of how much myself or others must suck, can't make friends, need to learn to play, or whatever juvenile drivel is sadly too common in the internet gaming sphere in relation to issues brought up. That doesn't help the game at all and always leaves me fearful that genuine suggestions get lost in the noise here, on the official boards, or anywhere in general.
#2 Oct 23 2012 at 10:45 AM Rating: Good
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Okay, snagged a beta from the site here (thanks~) and dabbled a bit last night.

While I managed to create a build somewhat similar to my old one, I still feel its survivability took a hit. Hard to gauge offensive improvements since mobs seemed to have higher HP in the places I went, too. I feel like the true test for me here would be holding off a meaty invasion, but without the new areas explored and old ones not really running any events due to lacking bodies, I can't make a true final assessment. Plus there's 10 levels to add on top.

As for ISS gear, I did find something somewhat similar in concept involving Empyreal Sourcestones (I think) that you can get from Carnage, IAs, or even some quests. I then found a vendor in one of the earlier villages that allowed you to upgrade level 50 gear (weaker than current ISS stuff) into level 54 gear (better than ISS) for basically the cost of these tokens. So, as a starting point, it's looking like they're somewhat on track with helping to keep casual non-raiders relevant, but since my limited exploration didn't find a means to upgrade that level 54 gear to even higher versions, I don't know that if, in longer terms, it's not being wasted. So if someone reading knows a bit more there, info would be peachy.

I mentioned Carnage above, and from casual observation, you'll see mobs with little icons by their name if you haven't done a Carnage event with them (presumably for the day). Kill one and the counter starts, basically NPCless Kill X quests. My only gripe with this in the introductary SL area is lacking mob density. You'll be doing a lot of running around to find 15-20 mobs of a given type or small grouping.

I was also sad to see quest-related interactables aren't instanced to the player. There was a quest, for example, where you had to deactivate 7 altars or some such. They're usually guarded by a mob or two. While you're killing those, someone could run up and steal the objective point. While nice people would just move on, I've always been a fan of removing the opportunity for people to be asses to other people. This is something that'll just get exponentially more annoying in crowded areas.

Anyway, it was nice to play again, but I still can't say I'm sold. There were some other little bugs I found along the way, but hey, beta. I certainly need more info about what happens at 60 since getting there is an inevitability.
#3 Oct 23 2012 at 8:27 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'm purposely not reading up on SL. I want to be somewhat surprised. But that being said, I really hope they don't change the game too much. Add things, yes. Change drastically, nope. I'm here because I like the way this game plays now. And it seems like I've been excited about expansions for other games before that left me totally underwhelmed or changed the game into something I just didn't really care for anymore.
#4 Oct 24 2012 at 12:40 PM Rating: Good
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Well, what are you afraid of being changed?

In my painfully blunt opinion, I've yet to play an MMO where a story actually means much. And if I were to be critical of vanilla Rift, its presentation of what lore is present hasn't been very engaging. You get text dump windows (of which you can adjust the size of to better read), maybe the occasional speech script in a rift or dungeon, and in select cases, actual voice work. Throughout all this, we're pretty much silent spectators where don't have any actual input beyond killing a mob when we're allowed to. Granted, there's a practical part of me that understands reality can't consist of universe solely of superheroes, but as also common in most MMOs, we're rarely tend to graduate past common foot soldiers in both recognition and activities, even if some kind of arbitrary rank or title tries to suggest otherwise. So, yeah, I don't expect people to give a **** about a plot because most are more concerned with chasing gear. I could babble further on the failings of the RP sub-genre, but I'll stop there.

As for game play, well, I'd say the soul revamps can be a big factor here. Warrior was my only 50, and since I didn't raid and sparsely PvPed, I couldn't profess to be a master of the class and its mechanics. I just know what worked for me in a satisfactory manner. When I see some people talking about the inability to better macro as a result of these soul changes, I can sympathize. I am not a fan of the WASD+mouse control scheme that's mainstream in computer gaming as it completely skews input requirements to the left hand, which also isn't the dominant hand for a majority of people. Some people advocate getting around this specialized gaming mice or keyboards, but I disagree with this just as much as you'd see some telling others to dump $1k+ on a new PC just because the game lags during events or something. You can't just assume people have such liquid income, and instead need to expect that there will be a lowest common denominator of Trion's choosing that shouldn't be alienated just because. And really, this philosophy applies to a large number of in-game activities with particular reference to a sense of prestige and superiority some wish to lord over others. Most of the time it just boils down to them playing more, not being particular more skilled.
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