All We Have to Fear…

Posted: June 15, 2007 by Kendricke in Everquest 2

I wish I understood earlier that people don’t operate on a wholly rational basis where, once the logic of a solution is explained to them, they will embrace it and move on. I wish I had understood that in the absence of information, people often fill the void with their worst possible imaginings. 

Mark Mullaly, PMP  
President, Interthink Consulting

So Upate 36 is coming. 

Basic achievements for all classes is being pretty dramatically altered.  Builds which player have been relying upon since early 2006 are suddenly being changed.  Forums are filling quickly with posts on the subject, but I don’t think the majority of players have really grasped “what does this mean for me” quite yet.  It hasn’t hit yet.

In a few weeks – perhaps less – it’s going to hit and hit big.  Forums that aren’t quite raging yet are going to see a major upsurge in activity.  People, who might normally be rational and calm, are going to come to the forums full of vitriol and hurt.  We’ll see comparisons to Update 13.  We’ll see comparisons to the NGE.  We may even see a few comparisons to Nazi Germany (which I’ll quickly Godwin).

In some ways, this is going to dramatically alter how raids and even groups are run…which can be good (in some ways).  However, these changes are also going to see some changes to rosters, which is going to directly impact a lot of players on a nightly basis.  Classes traditionally used for hate support or management are going to have to start competing in other areas (which isn’t necessarily bad) and a whole lot of higher end DPS scout players (I’m looking at you brigands, swashbucklers, assassins, and rangers) are going to have to start reigning in their DPS till they readjust to the “new hate”. 

To be fair, there are some changes to the ways fighters can gain hate, but this will also require some adjustment.

There’s a few of us testing some of the achievements pretty hard right now, but it’s difficult to make accurate comparisons from Live to Test since most players don’t have high level Test characters to begin with, much less ones which are in similar gear to their Live characters.

I’d love to see a short 2 week stint where players were allowed to temporarily copy or buff on Test.  There’s actually an SOE precendent for this.  Back in mid-2006 (about a year ago, actually), they used Test server as an open Beta for the Fallen Dynasty adventure pack.  For the duration of the Beta, you could create a new character on Test server and use a Beta buffer NPC to level up for testing purposes.

It wouldn’t be a perfect solution, but it would definately get more visibility on these changes before they go Live.  Because once the changes go Live, that’s when you’ll start to see the real complaints and problems hitting the forums, when players who aren’t going to bother with levelling up another 60-70 character with another 50-100 achievements start to see differences to their nightly play. 

There are some good changes here.  There are also a lot of gaping holes in the communication that are being filled in with worst fears and assumptions.  Hidden somewhere in all the confusion are the actual problems we haven’t managed to find yet. 

SOE has a real opportunity to nip this bud early, to openly involve and engage players in some of the most significant changes to their nightly groups and raiding since September of ’05 (the Desert of Flames Combat “Revamp”).  I’m pretty optimistic we’ll see more interactivity and communications.  However, with Dev Tracker down, I’m worried about how many players will actually see these communications. Even without Dev Tracker, how many players aren’t reading forums or fansites on a regular basis?

Toward that end, something needs to be put up in Station Launcher, scrolling across the top, which points players at an article or two on EQ2players which describes the changes in detail, and then includes developer statements and explanations on why some changes were needed.

As mentioned above, without that communication, people will simply fill in the blanks as they see fit…and that’s most likely not the way SOE wants players to come to their conclusions here. 

  1. teamratonga says:

    A fine post! I think the paranoia bat has been handed round. But without information filtering down to the players, who is to say that isn’t without good cause.

    Having been a victim of LU13 I must say I am worried. I am also excited about some of the other stuff destined to arrive, for one the final part in the Sword of destiny line…should be fun..well I hope.

    Thanks for posting this …a nice insight.


  2. ogrebear says:

    i agree, and with out dev tracker it seem like the devs are not talking while they are.

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