AN_ADVOCATE_OF_SATAN, PART_01 [Author: riprend]

I don\’e2\’80\’99t think anyone, even a notorious troll, could claim that there wasn\’e2\’80\’99t a problem with underutilization of space or that hybrid experience penalties were justified. But what I\’e2\’80\’99m not sold on is if outright increasing the rate of gained experience is the right path to go.

Let me pose this to you.

Under the new changes, you get a 20 percent bonus for having a full group, with now about 30 percent bonus for going to underutilized zones such as the Hole. Now, I\’e2\’80\’99ve played many a solo-capable class, so I\’e2\’80\’99m pretty firm about what I speak. I\’e2\’80\’99ve soloed at both high levels and low levels (ironically, both were usually at bird houses), both outside and in dungeons, both with crowded venues and completely vacant ones.

Does fighting alone, with noone to assist you, noone to resurrect you if you die, and accepting the downtime as the price of efficiency, truly provide less risk than taking a full group to the zone point of a dungeon?

No. Your risk vs. reward is still firmly in place. You have accepted the reward of increased efficency for the risk of death, boredom, death by boredom, etc. Now, for going with less risk, you get about a 50 percent increase in reward for grouping in zones that, in many cases, didn\’e2\’80\’99t have much risk anyway.

I\’e2\’80\’99m frankly mystified why EverQuest continues to reward one \’e2\’80\’9caccepted\’e2\’80\’9d play style. Then again, it shouldn\’e2\’80\’99t come as much surprise. Many months of patching after the blacksmithing overhaul, we still have cultural pieces that are broken (ogre splint mail, for one). It took eight months of complaints from shamen to finally make Verant Interactive understand that, surprise, the people who play the game on a daily basis were RIGHT: alchemy did not increase in skill.

It took them eight more months to realize that alchemy sucked.

Even more distressing is the outright ignoring of the demographics of outgoing players from the game. Being in a high-level, planes-raidin\’e2\’80\’99, Venril Sathir slayin\’e2\’80\’99 guild, I see guildmates drop out of the game on almost a daily basis from sheer boredom with the system.

What\’e2\’80\’99s the problem with it? Contrary to unpopular belief, most people do NOT like spending an hour putting together a group, another travelling to the spot, and then be at the mercy of one of two classes. If you\’e2\’80\’99re not familiar with high level EverQuest, let me make this crystal clear. If you do not have a cleric and an enchanter in your group in one of these underutilized zones, you will be dead. Quickly. If one of the two leaves, well, you have to leave too. God forbid they go away from the keyboard for a scant moment.

Now, to tie this together, how is increasing the rate at which everyone advances in the game going to fix these problems? You\’e2\’80\’99re going to see hybrids advancing faster than ever, and it\’e2\’80\’99s mana-soaking hybrids who usually need the healing of a cleric or crowd control of an enchanter more than ever – and clerics and enchanters are both classes that will receive no (or in the enchanter\’e2\’80\’99s case, very little) benefit from the experience gains.

Mark my words.

The new changes to EverQuest are good for the short term. They\’e2\’80\’99ll keep people happy until the next shiny thing. But Verant has, with these changes, shortened the life span of the EverQuest account.

In our next merry installment, we\’e2\’80\’99ll explore what they SHOULD have done.