by Loral on November 18, 2006
During the initial dark days of the release of Planes of Power, life was hard for non-raiders. Experience rewards had dried up for levels above 60 and the available unflagged hunting areas in the Planes were few.
For weeks I ran a Sunday morning Plane of Justice Executioner Trial event that would help non-raiders get into Valor and Storm so they could find areas worth hunting in. These trials, tuned for "high level players" proved nearly impossible for lower-equipped players. The way I got around this was easy: I brought in a ringer. High-end raiders from Luclin had no problem getting through these trials yet non-raiders could barely get through a trial without wiping out in the first encounter. This was my first experience with the danger of the equipment gap.
Few topics get as much attention or as much excitement as the discussion of the equipment gap. Often these discussions begin focused around a specific circumstance, for example the power of a new piece of armor dropping in Ashengate, but degenerate into large and long winded arguments about the core reward system found across Everquest over the past seven years.
While many equipment gap discussions can be easily discounted and ignored with no harm to either the players or the game, there are some important things for players and designers to both consider.
First, let us scope our discussion.
We will define the term "equipment gap" as the gap in statistical power between level 75 gear available to non-raiding high-end level 75 players, and the statistical power of level 75 high-end raid-level gear. Other power levels in older raid content will also be discussed and compared to current level 75 non-raid gear.
There are many zones in which the equipment rewards given are less
powerful than that which is required simply to enter the zone, let
alone defeating any of the bosses. One such zone is the Theater of
We will define "raid equipment" as any equipment that requires more than six people to acquire. We will also define "raid equipment" as any equipment that can only be accessed by those with a raid flag or those with equipment acquired in raids.
We will define "raids" as any event that requires more than six people.
We will scope the whole topic of the equipment gap at levels 71 to 75. Any characters lower than 71 can probably find equipment of sufficient power to hunt in zones for the experience required to take them to level 75. However, it is important to note that level 65 raid gear still outstrips level 75 single group gear in some areas like Tacvi.
We will not define "casual" or "hard core" or "uber" in this article - they are meaningless and worthless terms.
So, with thos caveats laid out, lets look at the current state of the equipment gap and why it is an important point to consider.
The following helmet is the highest powered helmet available to a single-group level 75 cleric. It requires drops from a rare mob in Sunderock Springs, three more common drops from Direwind, and a Softly Glowing Powersource that drops very rarely in Vergalid Mines or Valdeholm, two level 70+ dungeons in TSS:
Mana-Fused Plate Helm
STR: +14 CHA: +15 WIS: +16 AGI: +13 HP: +215 MANA: +225
SV FIRE: +10 SV DISEASE: +13 SV COLD: +12 SV POISON: +15
Shielding: +2% Regeneration: +3 Mana Regeneration: +2
Effect: Truesight (Worn) at Level 75
This next helmet is a raid-level cleric helmet available in the high-end raiding zones in TSS:
Mysaphar's Spiritmind Helm
STR: +30 STA: +30 CHA: +25 WIS: +35 AGI: +20 HP: +445 MANA: +455
SV FIRE: +30 SV COLD: +35 SV MAGIC: +25 SV POISON: +35
Shielding: +2% DoT Shielding: +4% Mana Regeneration: +3 Damage Shield: +3
Effect: Faerune (Worn) at Level 75
When you consider the power of augments available at both of these areas of the game, the statistics get even more wide-spread, with a high-end of about 315 mana for a single-group equipped character and up to 650 for a raid-level equipped character - both at level 75.
With the release of The Serpent's Spine, the equipment gap between raiders and non-raiders is larger than it has ever been before. While single-group equipment power has gone up significantly since the previous expansions, it has not yet outstripped raid-level equipment released six expansion's ago even though that equipment was designed around characters ten levels lower than the current level cap.
One has to go back to early Gates of Discord and even Planes of Power in some cases to find equipment dropping in raids that is less powerful than the gear available to single group level 75 players in the most recent expansion.
Why does equipment matter?
Some specifics aside, and as a general rule of thumb, equipment power equals about 1/2 of the power of the character barring big discrepencies in alternate abilities. From the standpoint of raw numerical statistics, about half of the hitpoints and mana of a character can come from equipment. With level 75 Ashengate-level raid gear just about doubling the power of level 75 Ashengate single-group gear, a raider can be just about 150% more powerful than a non-raider at level 75 due to equipment alone.
Of course, this discounts a few important factors such as alternate abilities and player skill which can dramatically change the overall power of a character but these variables stacked with the variables in equipment power make it even more difficult to balance content.
The arbitrary numbers associated with gear don't matter outside of the game. There is no real extra joy that comes from a pair of 450 mana boots over a pair of 250 mana boots. The real problem comes from SOE's inability to properly balance content at the highest level. SOE isn't alone in this - Blizzard shows that they have the same trouble even more so in battlegrounds where two level 60 players will have dramatically different abilities to defeat opponents based on gear alone.
The gap in power between raiders and non-raiders makes it very difficult to properly balance content and SOE has proven unsuccessful almost all the way back to Planes of Power.
In Depths of Darkhollow, SOE attempted to account for the equipment gap by offering "Normal" and "Hard" selections on single-group missions. However, some "Normal" missions still proved far too hard for those without some type of raid-level equipment and "Hard" missions were still trivial to raiders wearing the highest-end armor from one or two expansions back.
The wide range of equipment power makes it impossible to pinpoint any setting of "normal" or "hard. Most content is tuned somewhere in between but ends up being only useful for a very select audience.
We saw this with Ashengate where SOE admitted that the range in equipment power meant that the zone would have been unusable to a large section of the player-base. However, in the tuning, they made it trivial for high-end raiders even before those raiders geared up on the new TSS raid armor.
The player gap is an important problem simply because properly tuning single-group content at the high end has proven unsuccessful for nearly eight of the twelve expansions.
What can be done to solve this?
There are a variety of methods to look into this problem, but the one that comes easily to mind is to simply reduce the gap. Offer higher-end armor for non-raiders and make it easier to acquire.
SOE should decide now how far back raid content should go before becoming obsolete. Particularly on level-cap increasing expansions, gear power should jump more significantly than it has in the past. For example, with the release of The Serpent's Spine, SOE could have decided that any gear found in high-end raids before the Citadel of Anguish in Omens of War should be easier to acquire for level 75 single-group hunters in TSS.
Raid content is important to keep alive, so improving it any more than that would make too much raid content obsolete and remove a lot of the entertainment found in places like Anguish, the DON dragons, DODH, and POR raids.
How would these changes improve the game?
Reducing the equipment gap helps the game in three ways:
First, it helps SOE properly tune content for certain level ranges instead of tuning around one point in a huge spectrum of player powers.
Second, it helps guilds gear up without having to repeatedly fight through very old raid content just to power up new members.
Third, it helps smooth the path for non-raiders to enter the raiding game. The raid game is a clear advantage of Everquest over competing massive online games. SOE should do what it can to make it easier for newer players to enter this area of the game's focus.
The power level that SOE decides to release for single-group and raid-level equipment in each expansion can have repercussions that last for years. It is important that SOE structure the power levels of equipment and thus improve their ability to properly tune high-end content.
20 November 2006
Comment Posted by: Skuz on November 20, 2006 05:35 AM
This is probably one of the fundemental debates at the heart of everquest, & you raise an important point in terms of how to tune current group content.
With a huge gap in gear currently existing being a big part of the problem as regards developing group content that is suitably challenging & rewarding & then being able to apply that in such a way as high end raiders can also enjoy it is currently hugely problematic & so far totally unsuccesful.
I think though that group aquired gear should be less about farming a few rare items, the last thing everquest needs is yet more timesinks, rather I'd like to see rewarding group tasks that are also complex & tough challenges, yet designed for players with less than raid gear, if designed in the next expansion for players with tss group gear that might prove to be a useful starting point, to offering gear with a much closer to raid gear "power level".
This "power level" is what lies at the core, where do we as players see that the line should be? It should be there, no doubt, both to act as an incentive to improve a player's character, but also to define the strata within the games many expansions, raid gear if you have been a raider from PoP onwards has a fairly smooth progression curve, groupable gear has had a lot less focus on it's progressive nature.
DoDh loot "revamp" was where a new "model" for group gear was introduced, whereby group gear was modelled against raid gear, this was a step in the right direction but it doesn't seem to be working in quite the way it was intended.
Before the next expansion is here we will have high end raiders in unauged gear of 425+ hp/mana
& high end groupers in unauged gear of 225+ hp/mana, for group content to be tuned with that kind of gap in mind in uninstanced content is just not workable, so SoE are effectively putting raiders into a "Raiders only raid" box, & groupers in a "groupers only group" box, for a grouper to step up into a high end raiding guild then becomes a case of that raid guild having to gear up a comparitively very weakly geared player in older, less used content, to give that weaker player more current gear.
Raiding is a huge part of everquest & one of it's best developed playstyles, eq raiding is one of the games greatest strengths, to make it such a huge jump to move from grouping to raiding is detrimental to the game.
Comment Posted by: Galidin on November 20, 2006 04:28 PM
While I agree with you loral SOE will never fix the gap. Why? They care about protecting the dozens of zones and raids worth of equipment that will be useless if you finally do fix this gap.
Comment Posted by: Sunshadow on November 20, 2006 05:21 PM
I agree that the TSS group armor lacks progression there should have been another level to the group armor to bump it up to around the 300 HP/Mana mark. I get the feeling that this armor should have had an extra Aug slot that somehow got lost. In their current for Teir 1 is barely an upgrade to DON cultural.
If on powering up to teir 2, it opened an Aug slot say Slot 15. Then Tenish could offer a group quest in Ashengate or Valdhome to obtain the specific Aug. Each slot should have a different quest so not everyone is fighting over a specific spawn.
Also by creating more than 1 or 2 levels in progression it keeps players in these zones longer. I have seen people get their teir 2 and then go back to doing Dain 1 for AA's. Not sure why, bores the hell outa me, but people do it.
I am also curious as to the respective power levels of the raid mobs in Sunderock/ Direwind/ Icefall and Valdehome. Mobs, like Fiddleback, Oblivion and Avalanche. Some of these should have been targeted at lower power guilds but not having tried any of them, I am unsure where they sit in the raid progression scheme.
Comment Posted by: Naladini on November 21, 2006 12:15 AM
Actually, closing the gap doesn't have to mean making old zones useless. The gap can just as easily be closed by removing the NO TRADE flag on raid gear from content 3 years old and older. That would leave plenty o'incentive to keep going back to the old content.
Plus, it has the ease of implementation angle going for it, in that no new content would actually need to be designed. :)
Comment Posted by: Sunshadow on November 21, 2006 12:33 AM
Removing the "No Trade" would just mean I would be forced to buy upgrades in the Bazaar at inflated prices and raiders could then go farm the stuff to sell in the bazaar when they are not actually raiding. Yes, it would close the gap but it would kill a lot of the enjoyment I get out of the game.
Comment Posted by: Armarant on November 21, 2006 01:37 AM
Sunshadow wrote:Removing the "No Trade" would just mean I would be forced to buy upgrades in the Bazaar at inflated prices and raiders could then go farm the stuff to sell in the bazaar when they are not actually raiding. Yes, it would close the gap but it would kill a lot of the enjoyment I get out of the game.
I agree 100 percent I get joy out of knowing that I can attain gear on my own without the need for the bazaar I dont want to be dependent on the bazaar in order to enjoy EQ
Comment Posted by: SomeoneThat AbsorHates on November 21, 2006 04:09 AM
The equipment gap, the gap between becoming a raider for non-raiders, the lock out issue of zones. All of that goes away in a three part process.
1) Remove the no-drop flag from any item that is not 100% needed to be no-drop for quest reasons (epic's and maybe a limited handfull of others), from any expansion more than 18 months old.
2) Remove the flag process for any zone entry that is more than 18 months old. Leave the flags as optional for those that can/want to persue them for the end result rewards (AA's, etc.).
3) Add a tribute value to EVERYTHING, no exceptions.
The net result is yeah, there will be some people trying to fleece the bazaar market for the first three weeks.
After that, the abundance of what used to be raid only drops, a lot of which rot as they are of no value what so ever to the people currently able to get to them, will drive prices into the dirt. Add to this the effect of newly equiped players able to now go into what are for the most part abandoned zones to exp (not raid), and to gain drops. All fuelling the influx of older "raid" gear into the market.
1) Raiders will have a use for ALL otherwise useless drops.
2) Non-raiders will be able to gear up (to 18 month old gear)
3) Non-raiders with better gear will be able to group in areas they would have been slaughtered in had they been able to get the 72 people together to get into to unlock before hand.
4) Whole segements of the game currently abandoned by raiders will become group exp zones.
5) New "raiders" will be born from the now better equiped non-raider player pool. Fueling the ability for the high end game to continue to grow, allowing for new blood, new guilds, and better competition.
Keep item #5 in mind. It's the most important end result. Keep it in mind when you ask yourself why your old guild died for lack of members, keep it in mind when you ask yourself what it would take for a new player to go from raw newb, to raider, keep it in mind when you consider the daunting task all too many high end guilds have in finding replacements for retired players (other than ebay hacks, or bots).
Total time needed by SOE, maybe 20 hours on the part of the itemization DBA to mass change the no-drop flag. Some 10 hours to remove zone flag requirements by a programmer. Add in some 10 more hours for the item changes to be reviewed by the quest developer to check for any major mistakes.
Net result, the issue is as dead as the hooker found in Absor's trunk in about 40 man hours.
Comment Posted by: Krylax on November 21, 2006 09:34 AM
Outstanding post by SomeoneThat AbsorHates. Very well thought out and offers alot of suggestions that are excellent IMO. Well done.
What I don't get at all are the 2 posts above it:
Sunshadow said -->Removing the "No Trade" would just mean I would be forced to buy upgrades in the Bazaar at inflated prices and raiders could then go farm the stuff to sell in the bazaar when they are not actually raiding. Yes, it would close the gap but it would kill a lot of the enjoyment I get out of the game.
Excuse me , but how exactly does someone FORCE you to do anything in a pretend world ? You may CHOOSE to buy upgrades in the bazaar, but noone is going to force you.
Armarant said -->I agree 100 percent I get joy out of knowing that I can attain gear on my own without the need for the bazaar I dont want to be dependent on the bazaar in order to enjoy EQ.
I don't see how the proposed changes will keep you from attaining gear on your own. The gear will still be right there on the mobs like it always was. Again, you may CHOOSE to play EQ in the bazaar, but noone is going to FORCE you to shop there.
Comment Posted by: Tuppet on November 21, 2006 10:00 AM
Instead of saying "removing the NO TRADE tag" I would amend it to "changing NO TRADE tag to ATTUNEABLE". I don't think you'll get anywhere by simply removing the NO TRADE tag.
Comment Posted by: Naladini on November 21, 2006 12:28 PM
Once again, this is about older raid gear, not the current stuff, so there's still plenty of seperation between current raiders and groupers.
Making old raid gear tradeable is a pretty easy change to make, doesn't impact the fact that monsters still need to be killed for the items to enter the game, and will help quickly close the gap between groupers and raiders.
Moving forward, subsequent expansions can be created with a smaller difference between raid/group gear, and the move against the No Trade flag could potentially be avoided for future expansions if a more consistent ratio can be maintained.
From what I understand, Attunable would actually be a lot more work, in that for an Item to be attunable, there actually needs to be 2 copies of each item in the db, a tradeable and untradeable version. Add to that, difficulty in handling existing versions of items, which would probably wind up as a 3rd set. It also represents a much more gradual shift in closing the gear gap.
Comment Posted by: Teremar on November 21, 2006 04:17 PM
I'll grant removing the no drop tag from older raid gear has some advantages. It really would reduce the gear gap, and by tying the gap to the pace of raid progression (something SOE is good at controlling) it makes sure the gap stays reduced. It's easy to do. And giving raiders a new source of income reduces their opposition. But we should carefully consider what else it would do to the game.
A lot depends on the supply of raid items for sale, and that depends on how much time raiders would choose to spend raiding for cash. A raider can answer that better than I can, but in order to actually reduce the gap their has to be enough raid gear for sale that most non-raiders will be able to get a good bit of it. So let's assume that's the case.
1) Almost all current single group gear immediately becomes obsolete. It's simply blown away by what can be bought in the bazaar.
2) Thus the progression path for non-raiders becomes "accumulate cash to buy raid gear in the bazaar."
3) At the same time, anything non-raiders can get or make just lost most of its value to other players. Thus cash drops and vendor trash become the primary objectives for single groups.
It's true that no one's forced to buy gear in the bazaar. Nor is one forced to level up, gain AA's, etc. Progression is the basis for the game, so if the best progression path makes for poor gameplay, that's a problem. Even if it's only the best progression path for non-raiders.
I would hope that the problems inherent in making the accumulation of cash the one and only requirement for non-raider progression are self evident (and this post is long enough without describing them). But let me add a couple of notes on non-raider psychology, in the spirit of "speaking for myself but strongly suspecting others feel the same way."
One problem is that I've often felt that the single group game is not respected, by raiders or the devs. Making single group progression consist of accumulating the crumbs from the raiders' table only increases that feeling.
Another is simply that wresting your gear from the cold dead hands of the mob you just killed is far more satisfying than buying it in the bazaar. Making money and spending it wisely has a place in the game, but it shouldn't be the entire game. Removing the no drop tag from raid gear would do exactly that.
Comment Posted by: Sunshadow on November 21, 2006 04:28 PM
Of course no-one is forced to buy in the Bazaar. But as this is a discussion about closing the GAP it is relevent. As a group geared player I am unable to take down old raid mobs so how does the GAP close by making their drops tradable if I don't buy them in the bazaar. It doesn't. So again making those items tradable is useless to me. It forces me to buy them, if I choose to close the gap. What I and a lot of other people want is a way to close the gap within a group environment.
We want to be able to progress, not have stuff just handed to us.
Comment Posted by: Blakyce on November 21, 2006 09:09 PM
Well said Teremar and Sunshadow. Every expansion they create group items that don't close the gap. If they ever wanted the gap closed they would have done so already.
Comment Posted by: Krylax on November 22, 2006 08:00 AM
Thanks for the second post. I can see that changing the no - drop flag wouldn't help you in your situation. Myself, I always liked wheeling and dealing in the bazaar, using my alchemy skill to make pp, etc. It added another dimension to the game for me. So buyable upgrades would help close the gear gap for me and the people I group with.
Comment Posted by: Loral on November 22, 2006 08:09 AM
I don't want the gap closed. I want the gap narrowed.
Raid gear should always be better than single-group gear in the same expansions, or even up to three expansions back, but level 65 Tacvi gear shouldn't be better than the best single-group level 75 gear this far into the game.
Narrowing the gap would help the game out a lot.
Comment Posted by: Krylax on November 22, 2006 09:43 AM
Loral said -->I don't want the gap closed. I want the gap narrowed.
Raid gear should always be better than single-group gear in the same expansions, or even up to three expansions back, but level 65 Tacvi gear shouldn't be better than the best single-group level 75 gear this far into the game.
Narrowing the gap would help the game out a lot
I agree with this completely. When i said "close" the gear gap I should have said "narrow".
One more thing I'd like to say (it's off topic - sorry).
I posted a complaint a couple of articles ago about my inability to get my 69 and 70 spells and the trouble I had doing my job without them. From what I've read over at the shammy's crucible the TSS spell system is great and would help solve my problem. Kudos to the folks at EQ for making this change.
Comment Posted by: Skuz on November 22, 2006 10:26 AM
[quote = Loral]I don't want the gap closed. I want the gap narrowed.
Raid gear should always be better than single-group gear in the same expansions, or even up to three expansions back, but level 65 Tacvi gear shouldn't be better than the best single-group level 75 gear this far into the game.
Narrowing the gap would help the game out a lot.[/quote]
I think I would put the gear from the hardest, best designed, complex group missions & tasks as closer to Anguish level, it all comes down to risk versus reward, I would rather repeatedly try a difficult group task with 5 motivated people to gain a powerful gear item, than spend weeks camping parts in an annoying & boring time-sink.
It boils down to having group tasks of a comparable level of difficulty & complexity to the equivalently powered raid, I don't see why some groupable, progressional tasks cannot reward players with gear that is closer in power to raid gear, it's down to time invested in the group game that matches raid development.
I certainly dont want to see where groupers are walking around in very high end gear that they got without so much as breathing hard, I want to see groupers in powerful gear that they had to use guile, ingenuity, planning & a lot of hard work to attain, reason being is the one thing missing from groups is a real sense of achievement.
Comment Posted by: Utziel on November 22, 2006 02:21 PM
I have come to point i believe where I can no longer play and enjoy this game. I dont have the time to raid so I'm screwed. I'm in a small family guild, Screwed. I play a Melee and if group not on i sit LFG for 3+hours, Screwed.
I thought the push to 75 was good for the game but after getting there I now believe otherwise. I cant solo or Duo anything that would produce a decent drop for me. And now im too high to get decent XP in the older zones i can now solo. It was a good 6+ year run and i had fun but its a raiders game now.
Comment Posted by: Coray on November 22, 2006 02:47 PM
I agree the gap is huge now, but I think you overstate what is required to get the TSS armor, and I don't think it should be easier to get, as many of the camps are trivial (ie light blue trash) at 75. The power sources drop almost every time you kill a named in Vald for example, and both together require a similar overall effort as past armor quests.
What surprised me most when I returned was that my gear was still pretty good, even after two years of not playing. Very little of what drops is a big upgrade for me which was surprising.
I think for most classes, gear matters very little in reality, less than you figure at least. Any caster can have 15+ mana regen with bazaar trash and chances are if they get hit in good gear or bad gear in these zones they die. My bots do fine with bazaar gear because they don't get hit. Of course for tank classes, and even dps melee types, armor/weapons are pretty much what the class is based off of and this is where the gap can make or break a group.
I think it would have been a better idea to make it so any named over a certain level can drop the smaller molds, and then same for the bp/leg molds. Then just as you level regardless of where you are, you have the chance to acquire them. An AC upgrade where needed (for example the TSS warrior quest armor has less AC than elemental), changing req level to make sense (66+)and small 20ish hp/mana upgrades would make this armor perfect and superior to what I wear from years ago.
It's interesting to look back at itemization, particularly Kunark. There was a huge gap before Kunark came out, between those who raided the planes to those who didn't. When Kunark was released, items better than what we had were dropping from places like Karnors. In effect we had to start over regearing, but we still had an advantage in that we were better equipped to get the new upgrades than anyone else.
The same was somewhat true in Velious where the Kunark armor was made obsolete by the quest armors, which anyone could get. Raiders broadly had to re-equip with that armor, and other smaller things before moving into tov. It hasn't been like that since, raiders in luclin and beyond, pretty much have gotten the real upgrades only on raids.
They should really go back to that method, where the gap was there, about 30% as the end of an expansion neared, but then was severely lessened when a new expansion comes out. In this way, raiders can get items in a new expansion that are as good as the previous raid items, and so can single groupers, but as raiders near the end of an expansions progression, they are wearing items 30%~ better than a grouper. The raider almost always has an advantage because they come in with superior gear from the last expansion, allowing them to progress quicker (ie quicker exp, fighting harder named initially etc).
To get there from here the next expansion would need to have a large jump in the power of non raider gear, and a smaller jump in raider gear, so from the say 250~/500~ currently it'd go to like 375/550 in the next expansion, and then 475/600 in the following, and then basically following that trend, making a gap but keeping it more like 25-35%, most of which occurs at the start and end of expansions, with the middle time having the two groups be relatively close gear wise.
Comment Posted by: Tuppet on November 22, 2006 03:56 PM
(quick reply: Raiders shouldn't fuel the gear for a server. Players should be able to go out ON THEIR OWN (either 1 or 2 groups) to get their major upgrades. Sure make a few soloable to make it a little easier.)
I think "The Gap" can't be discussed in terms of HP/MANA anymore. (I don't know if it's just the terminology we use for this topic??)
There are really lots of subgroups for the itemization: weapons (ratio + proc), armor (AC + hp/mana, focus effects (melee + caster), stats. I think partly what has exacerbated "The Gap" is upgrading part, but not all, of the subgroups. Boosting the hp/mana of an item does NOT mean it's an upgrade unless the other effects are also present or compensated through another piece of gear.
Each class needs their set of gear: warriors need AC + mitigation mods, melee dps needs weapons with good ratios, and casters need foci for their spells; oversimplified but trying to be brief.
It gets very complicated with all the different focus effects we have. Warriors don't just need AC and hp/mana anymore, they need the good stuff like shielding and a whole host of other effects.
Looking for upgrades lately is frustrating because of balancing all of these stats with the choices given (loot). We have seen a gradual increase of hp/mana on items but there is consistently a disconnect when including other foci. Numerous threads come up with each expansion release questioning the itemization. A few of the latest examples from the Veterans Lounge:
-TSS 70+ Single Group Weapons.
-Weapons in TSS So far
-Teir 4 Helms: Warrior 90ac, Paladin 70ac, Chain 70ac Why?
-Lack of focuses on end game class only items
-Focus affects after level 70
Comment Posted by: Sunshadow on November 22, 2006 04:47 PM
While you are right in that HP/Mana are perhaps a bit over rated in their item power comparion, they are however a common requirement for all classes and so can be used to involve all in the discussion. Also with it being easy to hit the cap on all the primary stats worrying about the stats on items is useless. As a necro I am 82 points over my INT cap and some of the items I use don't have INT at all. For me I look at item power in terms of HP/mana, focus and resists.
HP helps if snare breaks, it also makes mobs flee sooner. The mana regen side has kinda been trivialised by OOC regen but it might help on the odd raid.
So far I have managed to replace 3 of my focii in TSS but this is where I currently see the power lacking. Also, the 3 I have got are just the generic "mana pres VI" 10% whereas before TSS I had "Presevation of Anneuk" 15%.
As for Resists I am happy where I am at, most TSS casters up to Icefall level only land 1 in 10 spells on me. Raid AE's and POR mobs though still find me seriuosly lacking. But then I raid about once a year and POR is a ghost town so of the 3 this is my lowest priority.
Comment Posted by: Sukmei on November 22, 2006 07:57 PM
Or to summarize.
Current EQ game design is hopelessly FUBAR'ed.
Been that way ... well forever.
You are in thier world now ... suck it up.
Comment Posted by: Armarant on November 23, 2006 05:08 AM
Tuppet wrote:-TSS 70+ Single Group Weapons.
-Weapons in TSS So far
*I think Merloc is looking at tuning these for next patch not sure though
Tuppet wrote:-Teir 4 Helms: Warrior 90ac, Paladin 70ac, Chain 70ac Why?
*already fixed for next patch as far as I know. cant point to the thread but Merloc said it was probably a error and he fixed it
Tuppet wrote -Lack of focuses on end game class only items (Focus affects after level 70)
*no clue if these have been looked at yet or not but its probably a trend.. give us our power increase this expansion and the focuses not included in this expansion in the next expansion that way they spread out power increases
and I know this is not on topic but
just came floating in my latest Google news alerts for Everquest.. interesting read.
Comment Posted by: Glormane on November 23, 2006 05:12 AM
Ever since EQ began, its been clear: the more you put in, the more you get out. More what? Time? Yes but thatís not all. Will you commit to bend your brain around certain problems? Will you take on encounters that may be unpleasant so that you can win a prize? Will you undergo flags? Will you help others get theirs? Will you wait in line until the raid is ready, til the OTM is called.
If you think there should not be a reward for those that go to the hardest parts of EQ, why should they go? Thatís a fundamental point for all who play. If there is no reward, why do it?
You want the ac/hp/mana/foci etc gap narrower between Raiders and non raiders. What about raiders who are not up the current expansion? Do you negate all the drops from all raids prior to the current expansion? Do you take away the reward?
Just a few things to ponder overÖ
Comment Posted by: Scrubble on November 23, 2006 06:56 AM
I think you guys look at it wrong, esp you Loral.
I think you need to look at the best gear you can achieve in group format, then when you have 6 folks in top end group'd gear, go back and look at what ''raid'' mobs that group could now kill. Primals/qvic goats spring to mind. Then once those have been farmed by this group. What else can they now kill? And so on. Untill they hit the hardline where you need more than 6 toons.
THEN just there power compared to a raiders power.
That would be how i'd look at it. Group game..may be longer for it's rewards, but if i didn't raid that's how i'd do it.
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on November 23, 2006 07:07 AM
I have a lot of respect for you Loral, but you have made some real mistakes here. Your comparison is the first one. The single group helm is trivial to get, and anyone wanting to get it can,without much difficulty. The raid helm on the other hand is extremely difficult to get,requiring tons of raiding, plus more difficult(and more annoying)quests. One is available and doable by anyone, the other is available, at the current time,only to the most top end players. My guild has some of the top 10 geared people, in every class, on the Luclin server(which is a top heavy server), yet we are not at a position to get that raid helmet.
If you were to do a more reasonable comparison, say the top 250 raiders vs the top 250 nonraiders for each class(enough to get a decent sample), you would discover that the average gear gap has shrunk over the last few expansions,and continues to do so. Looking at one item and comparing does nothing, you need to look at what people are actually wearing.
There is room for improvement in single group gear...the problem is you really have not discussed that, you have just made a pointless comparison, and drawn a flawed conclusion from it. The stagnation of single groupable weapons is a great example, and you could have done well with the topic,bringing up how 2.0's are getting replaces in TSS,while casuals have access to nothing even equivalent to 1.5's, and that weapons have not grown at the pace of other gear slots or spells. This is just one example of how you could have, more successfully and accurately, helped push for single group gear improvments. There are a number of other good examples.
Last comment: The 'equipment gap' is not neccessarily a bad thing. With as old as EQ is, there simply is going to be widely disparate power levels, especially at the level 75 + AA level. There is nothing wrong with that, and in fact, it is a good thing. Those who put it more time and effort should be more powerfull. The only needfull thing is for the devs to design content for the whole spectrum of power levels, and itemize in such a way that people can work their way up through this content. A nonraider probably should not be doing the hardest single group content from the current expansion, but should find that (s)he can do the highest end group content from a couple expansions ago, and that content should be rewarding. Much harder to do that to say, but that, I think, is what the goal should be.
Comment Posted by: Loral on November 23, 2006 08:24 AM
How gear is acquired isn't really my point. Again, this isn't about who deserves what for their time or energy.
The gear gap makes it nearly impossible for SOE to balance group content at the highest level because they don't know whether that level 75 is wearing DON armor or Ashengate armor. We have clerics in one guild alone where the available mana pool goes from about 7500 to 13,000 and that's only up to Anguish armor.
Gear matters more and more these days. Focus effects can account for a lot more DPS for reduced amounts of mana pulled from a much larger pool. DPS on weapons is completely disparate between single-group and raid gear.
I use HP and Mana as a guide only because it is the only real quantifiable measure of gear. If the Hitpoints or Mana are high, likely the other statistics and effects are as well. There are anomalies, of course, but we're taking a wide look and more times than not, gear can be judged on their hitpoints and mana and the rest falls into place.
Coray brings up the way newer expansions made high-end gear from older ones more obsolete and I think that needs to return. Back then it was every year, not every six months, so I could see it stretching out to 18 months before a single-group item is as good as a piece of raid gear.
World of Warcraft is going to do this in Burning Crusade. Already the lowest high-level dungeons in BC will drop armor that's better than raid armor in the old game.
Comment Posted by: Aarkan on November 23, 2006 12:27 PM
Then again Loral, that's just the Tier 1 raid gear, which is far easier to obtain now that it was a year and a half ago. The Tier 3 highest level raid gear will still be able to last into level 70. And so will the Tier 2 and 2.5 gear. Though, the way they've found to allow that type of progression is to finish their stuff after they release it unfinsihed. I mean we're still waiting for half of SoL.
Comment Posted by: nerd on November 24, 2006 10:31 PM
How about we reward the people who have huge amounts of time to spend playing, instead of catering to regular people who love instant gratification.
Everquest for the most part, wasn't designed for the casual player, and that is its most endearing trait.
Comment Posted by: Loral on November 26, 2006 08:31 AM
"How about we reward the people who have huge amounts of time to spend playing, instead of catering to regular people who love instant gratification."
Because the regular people foot the bill for the game. If this game only focused on content for the highest of high-end gamers, they would be the only ones to play and there aren't enough of them to fund expansions from year to year.
Getting more people into EQ and keeping them there is the way this game will continue to grow. Cutting off huge swathes of players won't help.
Comment Posted by: Bonzz on November 26, 2006 10:22 AM
The real problem is not raider vs casual or the equipment gap. The problem is that people log on to play but since there is virtually no solo content, they spend 3 hours LFG, get bored and log off.
Wow has proven that ease of learning the game, an intuitive interface and a huge amount of solo content for all levels attracts new players at a steady rate, and keeps them playing. BTW, WoW is also offering a free trial now.
Comment Posted by: Sunshadow on November 26, 2006 04:21 PM
TSS does a lot to redress the lack of solo content. It is packed with solo content "for kiters". If you can't Kite, your stuffed solo wise, the mobs have a bucketload of HP and hit like a truck.
The designers need to look at ways of helping other classes get back into the solo game. I have seen a few chanters using charms, scary but it can be done. But apart from that it is still the LFG road unless you are lucky or have friends.
Comment Posted by: SomeoneThat AbsorHates on November 27, 2006 05:18 AM
I think people are loosing the idea here.
1) "Raid" gear that is 24 months old, in locked zones that non-raiders cannot access is better than "single group gear" in the latest expansion.
Note, no one is talking about the 1 or 2 perk items for one or two classes that everyone lusts for that SOE has put in for single group content in each of the last two expansion. We're talking the bread and butter stuff with the needed focus effects, DPS, AC, etc., and in a quantity sufficient to fill the need for every single class.
2) Non-raiders would need to find a "raiding" guild that wanted to do 24 month old content in order to 'gear up' to 24 month old standards.
Seriously, ask yourself, when was the last time you saw a successful 'raiding' guild with a stable player base that was doing 3, 4, maybe 7 expansion old content? Think how fast the attrition rate really is in the few guilds that try it.
3) The game population is going down (progress servers included).
Okay, seriously people, I can't fathom the ignorance that says the population isn't going down. a) Don't you think for a moment that SOE wouldn't make a press release if they saw a six month steady increase in player base? That shit is gold for stock prices. b) The numbers being posted are not made up. Seriously, if Macroquest can automate a bard in PoN for 7 days straight of no risk AA grinding, don't you think some bright boy worked out how to string together a long list and /who all XXX XXX commands to get a snapshot of the active player base at hourly intervals over the course of a month? Think about it people. Of course the active player base numbers are known.
4) It is significantly harder for a non-raider to find exp groups than a raider, due to gear issues. The net effect is raiders on non-raid days out perform for aa's and advancement in 'groups' all others. This adds to the disparity.
All too many times people sitting /lfg are turned down by groups because they don't have enough HP, AC, Mana, or AA's. Of course they can't get those without grouping. This results in discouragement, dissatisfaction, and ultimately in them leaving the game.
5) "Success" in a MMO is messured by how far you are from the top. People do not want to play a game where they can never "succeed".
Okay, no stop, before you go on about how EQ is a social game and we all play it because really, it's so much fun when some asshat trains you and you loose a level, and the wonderful "social" experience you had in the guidhall while waiting for a rez. Stop. Ask yourself, when was the last time you played any game at all with the sole goal of 'not winning'? MMO's, MUDs, even paper and pencil role playing games all have winning as part of thier appear. Winning in those is summed up by advancement. Be it in the terms of gaining levels, better gear, wealth, or status. Ultimately it's a question of are you or are you not more "powerful" at the end of the session than when you started. In EQ if "success", i.e. the pinacle of acheivement is where the raiders are (they are on the top), and there is no clear means of getting from the bottom to where they are now, then there is no way to succeed.
So why play?
I'm sorry, but those are just cold facts.
Listen I appreciate, 100% the time, effort, and example the "raiders" have put in, in order to gain what they have gotten. As a 1% to 2% of the player base they are right now GODS of the EQ universe. They are litterally more powerfull than the EQ pantheon by a factor of two or more.
That said, they have a choice, they either need to get very vocal about getting items unflagged as "no drop", and get older zones unflagged and opened so that they can be accessed by less than a raid force, or they are going to find themselves all huddled on one lone server looking around at a game universe that's on life support waiting to have the plug pulled.
Comment Posted by: Sabbeth on November 27, 2006 11:12 AM
I think that SomeoneThat_AbsorHates has hit on some very key points. I quit the game two years ago. I love Norrath, and to this day miss it very much. But I do not miss what the game has become, and I don't see it getting any better. It seems more and more the case that raiding is mandatory and if you do not raid you are on a track to find yourself a second class Norrath citizen. I have no intention to come back to EQ the way it is since PoP but I still long to be in that world that I loved.
Comment Posted by: Toadwart on November 27, 2006 11:49 AM
I think that people need to remember too, that so many times the cliff at the end of the "groupable" content is pretty high. Looking down on the "groupers" from the top of the cliff it's pretty easy to feel superior, and say how it's so easy to do that content. Frankly, it's complete bullsh*t. As one of the top 100 Beastlords on my server (and I have 5 characters that are lvl 70-71 with all the groupable drops I can get, or close to it so far, average of 300 aa's), my only raid experiences are mostly Pickup raids, and a few old family guild raids a few years ago. I've worked my hiney off with a group of comparable friends through the years trying to advance as far as I can, about 35-50 hours a week in the evenings, and weekends.
Unfortunately I've reached a point where groupable drops are crap. TSS groupable drops (and I mean doable by my group) really aren't worth going after. So they give me a few more hps and mana, so what. I want focus effects, I want mitigation bonuses, I want attack, and defense bonuses. They're virtually impossible to get. I'm trying to get droppings from Time raids to get upgrades now. Not that I'm saying Time drops are necessarily bad, but what I'm saying is that those effects, and focuses are NOT available in groupable content. I still cannot get my 69/70 spells/abilities, and I farm MPG names and rarely RSS names every chance I get. I've got 1 for my 5 lvl 70-71 characters so far in the past year.
Yes my beast and my mage and cleric do moderately well in old content, I can even do ok in some TSS content, depending on who's with me, my warrior though, struggles all the time. Yea, I tanked some nameds in Valeholme the other day...with two clerics chain healing, and stonewall going, but that's only because they happened to be desperate, a full group of raiders, and they needed someone to tank. That's happened all of once or twice in years, I'm usually fighting my way through OoW content, very slowly. My warrior is moderately decently equipped with DoN Cultural, which I paid through the nose for, but he has zero shielding, zero avoidance, zero combat effects, zero cleave, zero a bunch of other bonuses because I CANNOT get them in groupable content. I haven't finished a single DoDH arc yet, the damn 68 arc I cannot complete at all, even though I have all but the last 2 DoDH defensives complete with 12khps/2.2kAC buffed. That's freakin' nuts. This is "groupable" content, that 2 levels above, and moderately well geared I still cannot take down because of poor "group balancing".
It's all well and good to say that all of that old raid content is tough to get for a reason, but making it inaccessible when it's so far out of date to current raiders will just continue to widen the gap. When was the last time you saw a PoP progression raid? Nobody does 'em anymore, yet I can flat out guarantee that the drops from the EP zones is upgrade gear for a minimum of 50% of the players out there, but nobody can get it, because nobody goes there. I XP sometimes in those zones, I know for a fact that nobody goes there, because they're always empty but for me.
Comment Posted by: Bonzz on November 27, 2006 02:24 PM
TSS solo content = one class kiting and one class (maybe) charming. Next to skilling up in trades, kiting is about the most BORING activity in the game and that includes kiting groups which are mostly boxed.
And forget charm. Dire charm only works on low level mobs and trying to solo with a charmed, high level, unsnared, fully buffed pet is suicidal. I did charm a TSS bunny to see how it would do against a mammoth just for fun. I would say .5 seconds or less.
Comment Posted by: Keisa on November 27, 2006 04:07 PM
"Okay, no stop, before you go on about how EQ is a social game and we all play it because really, it's so much fun when some asshat trains you and you loose a level, and the wonderful "social" experience you had in the guidhall while waiting for a rez. Stop. Ask yourself, when was the last time you played any game at all with the sole goal of 'not winning'? MMO's, MUDs, even paper and pencil role playing games all have winning as part of thier appear. Winning in those is summed up by advancement. Be it in the terms of gaining levels, better gear, wealth, or status. Ultimately it's a question of are you or are you not more "powerful" at the end of the session than when you started. In EQ if "success", i.e. the pinacle of acheivement is where the raiders are (they are on the top), and there is no clear means of getting from the bottom to where they are now, then there is no way to succeed."
I found this paragraph very interesting for two reasons. The first reason is that if you applied your criteria for winning MUDs or Pen and Paper games to EQ, you'd find EQ a lot easier to win, and you'd probably enjoy the game a lot more.
The second reason I find this paragraph interesting is that you and I diverge widely on our definition of win. I pay $15 a month to enjoy playing a game. I can win the game if I, in fact, enjoy playing the game. I don't really have to have get more AAs, get better gear, or get more "powerful" in order to enjoy playing the game. It helps, but it is not required.
Not long ago, I applied to a guild with some friends. I found that I was not enjoying playing in that guild, so I left and joined another guild. The guild I left raids seven nights a week and is going through Demi-Plane. The guild I joined and am enjoying the game emensely in raids three nights a week and is doing Anguish.
Now, if I were to consider your criteria for winning the game, I would say that the other guild would have been a much better choice (better gear upgrades, etc.), but the fact is I just didn't enjoy the game all that much. In fact, I found myself playing other games, because I just didn't like raiding every evening. Instead, I'm playing with a guild that raids for less uber items. I'll never have the same quality gear I would have if I'd stayed in the other guild (so I guess I'm losing the game in your book). From my perspective, I am really enjoying the game and the people I play with, so I win at EQ almost every evening.
Comment Posted by: sconcerned1 on November 27, 2006 05:11 PM
my lord im going to have a heart attack. the all powerful hard-core raider keisa just admitted to being burned out and tired of hard core raiding...in a beat around the bush type manner.can we have a moment of silence? what could be next? keisa quits eq? keisa rebounds to even a more hard core guild then he was in before? god if even the most dedicated of hard core raiders can fall like that eq must be in bad shape. let alone the rumors about tss being a commercial flop and selling less then anticipated. for you dreamers of a equal eq.....you can forget that. eq will never change. my last Rl friend that still plays eq has told me there are items in tss with over 500 hps un aug'd and that the expansion still has not been beat. i saw where loral compared some casual and raider gear. when i played i remember compareing the berserker 1.5 and 2.0 dps. the bers 1.5 which casuals may be able to obtain now is like a 30 delay 50 damage weapon. the 2.0 version is like 32 delay and 91 damage. its a joke. they are not even close. but see thats the way the devs want it and thats the way the game will stay. they award the smallest percent of the eq subscriber with crazy gear and what do they award the real people ? the other 90-95% of paying customer with? the world may never know.........
Comment Posted by: Bonzz on November 27, 2006 07:19 PM
Hummm ... could be because the Latest expansion with all the content from zero to .... INFINITY ... is only available as a DOWNLOAD .. and what new player is gonna go for that? or even KNOW about it ??
Comment Posted by: SomeoneThat AbsorHates on November 28, 2006 05:20 AM
Let's start with what you said near the end of your last post "The guild I left raids seven nights a week and is going through Demi-Plane. The guild I joined and am enjoying the game emensely in raids three nights a week and is doing Anguish. "
Congradulations, you just said that you by default find yourself progressing in power at least three nights a week. Heck you'd practically find yourself progessing "winning" even if you fell out of your chair and slipped into a coma for a week.
Do you have a magelo profile, or eqplayers profile you can post? Post it and then have a good long look at it. Do you honestly think you represent the 90% of the player base?
Have a good look at your gear, your AA's, etc. Now look at the people in your guild.
Now ask your guild what the minumum stats, flags, and aa's, levels and spells are needed to join your guild. Can 90% of the player base get in?
Now ask yourself, what are the odds of someone not already with ties to a raiding guild getting to where you are now?
Go back and view this from Loral:
That's what life is like outside of the raiding guild structure.
It's great you can say you play to enjoy the game. Your succeeding. Your progressing. By the definition of a "game" you are winning.
Enjoy it while you can, as the gap you so deeply seem to want to see grow ever wider is going to leave you on an ever shrinking island with no way for anyone to join you.
You will in effect be king of the mountain. Kingdom population: 1
Now get this clear. NO ONE IS ASKING TO BE GIVEN ANYTHING FOR FREE.
All people are saying is, SOE, and the "raiders" need to understand the gap has become a chasm.
Something needs to be done to close the gap, or it will become impossible to span.
Comment Posted by: Keisa on November 28, 2006 10:37 AM
Concerned1: I am not, nor have I ever been, a hardcore raider. Nor am I burned out.
SomeoneThatAbsorHates: I'll tell you a little story which may shed some light on why I win at EQ almost every day. When I was young, I told my mother that we were rich. She was somewhat surprised, being as my father was in the army and we were living in a small house at the time. She asked, "Why is it that you think we're rich?"
I responded, "Because we have everything we need and most of what we want. Some people that have a lot more money than us will never be rich, because they can never have all the things they think they have to have."
Applying that philosophy to EQ...
I win at EQ when ...
...my raid kills a big target we have never defeated.
...I get the uber loots.
...I get experience or a new AA.
I also win at EQ when ...
...I play a new Drakkin for hours killing snakes in the newbie zone.
...I farm greenies for hours for one skillup in a tradeskill.
...a friend of mine gets a flag to a zone or completes a quest.
...I get to work on a quest and have no idea what the reward is or even if I will get a reward.
...I pull out a long unused character to go play with friends of mine and find out that I have crap for gear. I still play him and enjoy being with my friends.
...I kick around in the bazaar for some time and find a good purchase.
...I solo in Kod'Taz to get a meldstone for my cleric (instead of paying 20k for one in the bazaar) because I enjoy getting off by myself sometimes.
The thing is, I enjoy playing the game. AAs, loot, progression, etc. only provide the incentive and the focus for playing the game. They add to the experience, but I can still enjoy the game without them. I enjoy raiding. I enjoy grouping. I enjoy soloing.
On the other hand, you can never win at EQ, because you will always want more than you have. If you had my character today, it would not make you happy, because my character does not have anywhere near the top end gear in the game that you so richly deserve.
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on November 28, 2006 12:40 PM
A few comments:
From Loral, "The gear gap makes it nearly impossible for SOE to balance group content at the highest level because they don't know whether that level 75 is wearing DON armor or Ashengate armor. We have clerics in one guild alone where the available mana pool goes from about 7500 to 13,000 and that's only up to Anguish armor."
It is in fact possible to balance group content across, at the very least, most of the specrum of levels/gear/AA's. GoD did a wonderfull job of it for those who bothered to go try the content, and in truth, the gear gap between most raiders, and most nonraiders was significantly larger at the start of GoD. The problem in TSS is that SoE decided to do a level cap raise, AND make content from level 1 on up, all in one expansion. While both are good things, doing both at the same time meant that, simply put, there was not enough content for the broad range of power at 75.
From SomeOneThatAbsorFIndsAmusing are several wonderfully nonsensical statements:
"Do you have a magelo profile, or eqplayers profile you can post? Post it and then have a good long look at it. Do you honestly think you represent the 90% of the player base?"--Does anyones gear represent 90 % of the playerbase? Somehow I do not think so. I also suspect that raiders make up more than 10 % of the playerbase at this time in EQ, but I cannot prove that(nor you disprove), it is just suposition.
"Now ask your guild what the minumum stats, flags, and aa's, levels and spells are needed to join your guild. Can 90% of the player base get in?"--In the case of mu guild, the only flags required are ones that are attained in single groups, there are zero stat or spell requirements. The only thing you need to app is levels/AA's(attainable in single groups). I could care less if 90 % of the playerbase could get in, since we over 90 % of the playerbase would either not fit in with us, or is not motivated to the point needed to be a DP raider, or most commonly, has no interest in joining a guild at our level of progression.
"Go back and view this from Loral:
That's what life is like outside of the raiding guild structure."
You mean the video of Loral passively LFG(the worst way to get groups, and during the making of the video he got a group invite?
And the best from him for last: "Enjoy it while you can, as the gap you so deeply seem to want to see grow ever wider is going to leave you on an ever shrinking island with no way for anyone to join you."
Keisha states to be in an Anguish level guild. This means Keisha's gear is about 50 to 75 HP's better than what nonraiders can get. This is not some huge gulf, and is, in fact, far more representative of the real gear gap than comparing nonraider gear with one item that almost no one has, and won't have untill most likely after next expansion is released, which will probably contain even better nonraid gear.
To repeat what I said earlier: There are some real issues with both nonraid gear(especially weapons), as there are some real issues with the nonraid game. The problem is not in the gap between the highest high end raid gear and nonraiders, and focusing attention on the gap is not going to get the real problem fixed.
If you want to talk about stagnent nonraid weapons, I will be right alongside you, cheering you on. Want to talk about nonraiders needing more secondary mods, and more fun clickies, and more misc. things(Echoes of Anger for nonraid warriors for example), I will help you push for these things. Want to talk about how nonraiders do not have nearly as clear a path to advance through expansions storylines...yup, I agree. Those are just a few real issues for nonraiders, and the ones that matter to my mind, not some comparison taken in a vaccuum.
Comment Posted by: concerned1 on November 28, 2006 02:25 PM
Hmmmmm...if i remember correctly there are still only 7 days in a full week? and keisa you raided everday.....7 days....in demiplane? i'd say thats hardcore. and if my memory serves me you just dont zone in to dp and kill like the first mob you see. you have to kill your way through the zone?like every other raid? which could take a while? so keisa how many casual players do you think raid 7 days a week? or even 3 really? or raid at all?
Comment Posted by: Keisa on November 28, 2006 04:43 PM
I guess some clarification is in order. I applied to a 7 days a week raiding guild who was not in DPOB at the time, but is now. I decided to try it because the guild I was in had a lot of people leave and several of my friends wanted to try out that guild. I knew from the beginning that it might not be my first choice, but it was our decision to try to stay together. In the two-three weeks that I apped to that guild, I found that I didn't want to raid seven nights a week. I found that some nights, I would play an out of guild alt instead or just not log into the game at all.
Now, if for this short time you want to say that I was a hard core raider, then shoot me. I prefer to think of it as a trial period where I confirmed that being a hard core raider was not my cup of tea.
Comment Posted by: Ralik on November 30, 2006 11:50 AM
SOE should have four content managers to make sure each style of play is fun and rewardable.
1) Raid Content - manages raids, and raid content, makes sure raiders are happy.
2) Group Content - manages groups, tunes group and quest encounters, itemizes groups and makes sure items can reach 85% of raid content
3) Solo Content - makes sure every class can solo, provides quests, itemizes solo content and makes sure items can reach 70% of group content.
4) Tradeskillers - provide quests and appropriate difficulty to make items equal to the other class styles, i.e a tradeskill person could make raid level items but it would require a raid level component, and provide some high level items which match the work they put into trade skills(this is actually done a little).
Each manager should be able to make sure his group of play style dosnt get managled by a conflict of interest with any of the other style managers.
Comment Posted by: Teremar on November 30, 2006 12:16 PM
Loral is right that whether one is "hardcore" or not means very little compared to whether one is a "raider" or not. To me, spending almost half one's evenings raiding seems pretty hardcore. But whether it is or it isn't, the fact that Keisa raids consistently means he/she is one of the people for whom EQ works well. Hence his/her constant efforts to defend the status quo.
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on November 30, 2006 01:51 PM
Teremar, the problem with your comment is that the largest portion of people unsatisfied with EQ at the moment is those raiders. For the most part, raiders are extremely unhappy with the status quo.
Further, as the thread at the SoE boards on TSS single group weapons shows, raiders are more than willing to get behind improvements for nonraiders. The only issue I have with Lorals article is with his viewing casual gear issues as a bad comparison(which is uneccessary, and leads to false conclusions). This does not mean that I, and many other raiders, do not think that nonraid gear could not use some work, I know I think that it could, only that coaching the discussion interms of 'gear gap' and the whole riader vs nonraider thing, is the wrong way to adress it.
Comment Posted by: Keisa on November 30, 2006 03:08 PM
Teremar: "Loral is right that whether one is "hardcore" or not means very little compared to whether one is a "raider" or not. To me, spending almost half one's evenings raiding seems pretty hardcore. But whether it is or it isn't, the fact that Keisa raids consistently means he/she is one of the people for whom EQ works well. Hence his/her constant efforts to defend the status quo."
I find this paragraph interesting. It makes the premise that the game is enjoyable by raiders and not enjoyable by non-raiders. Let's explore this a little.
I want to take you back to a time when I wasn't a raider. I was in a guild that had seen some glory days, but was on a dieing leg. We typically had anywhere from 6-20 people on every night, and could basically form 1-2 groups. While we had done some raiding at a much earlier time, most of our raiders had left to join bigger guilds that formed with POP and GOD. We were left with the people who were less likely to want to raid.
One night, a friend of mine said that he wanted his 69-70 spells and was thinking of spending time in RSS until he got them. Another friend joined in and said he was also interesed. We formed a group to go there every night, well most nights. At first, we got our teeth kicked in regularly, but we gradually improved.
When DOD came out, we started mixing in those missions. We won 68.1 easily, struggled on 68.2, hit the wall on 68.3. Then we ran 69.1 and 69.2 and got obliterated on 70.1. We walked through the first werewolf mission, lost to the second, then cycled back through to press and gain victories where we could. We often lost missions 4-5 times before managing to beat them. Eventually, we finished the spell missions and the werewolf missions and started the Korlach and Bellfast missions.
Our guild folded into a raiding guild before we completed all the DOD missions, but I firmly feel that our group of 6-8 players would have completed all DOD missions without any raiding experience had our guild been a bit stronger.
Interestingly enough, this period of time was the most fun I have ever had playing the game. We tried extremely hard missions for us and geared up doing those missions. There were posts everywhere saying how no one could complete those missions who would use the gear, yet each time I finished one, it was a 1-2 piece upgrade of my equipment. Every single win was special. When we won, we felt on top of the world.
Isn't it ironic that the time I enjoyed the most playing the game is not from when I was a raider. It would appear that I didn't have to be a raider in order to get the most out of the game.
I have not been "defending the status quo." I have been saying that you don't have to have the best gear in the game in order to enjoy the game. Yes, having good gear helps, but it all comes down to having fun using what you have in order to perform a task that is a challenge for you.
If you have to have the best gear in the game to enjoy the game, then you'd better be willing to be a hard core raider and jump through SOE's hoops for hard core raiders. You won't see me there. It isn't the game I wish to play. I'll never have the best, but what I have is good enough for me.
Comment Posted by: Teremar` on November 30, 2006 10:57 PM
Redhenna, I do think EQ works better for raider than for non-raiders, but I didn't mean to imply that anyone but Keisa was defending the status quo.
And yes, responding to all calls for change with endless variations on "adjust your attitude instead" is defending the status quo.
Comment Posted by: Naladini on December 1, 2006 12:12 AM
"SOE should have four content managers to make sure each style of play is fun and rewardable."
Actually, the concept of dividing the game up into 4 seperate components to please 4 segments of players is flawed. Rewards seem to be managed this way currently, the problem is, players don't fit neatly into those segments and the segments don't do a good job of allowing for crossover.
From what I've seen over the years, people want some flexibility and variety within their gameplay. They might solo frequently, group occasionally, and catch on a few pickup raids very occasionally. When they've just plunked down $30 for the latest expansion, the expectation would be that they can perform all three of those activities reasonably well within that expansion.
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on December 1, 2006 01:38 PM
Teremar, I have to disagree that EQ works better for raiders(TSS was horrid for people like myself, not yet ready to raid progress in TSS, and zero challenging single group content, and did not take long to explore and see what wsa there, and max level and AA's), but somehow I don't think I am going to convince you(even though I could point to the vast majority of content being aimed at nonraiders), nor do I think you are going to believe me(even though you could point to some things to justify your belief).
It might be safest to say that there are issues at all levels of play, for the most casual of casuals, to the most hardcore of raiders, and leave it at that. Since the issues that directly affect us are the ones we are going to, naturally, think are the most important issues, I do not think we will ever agree on which issue is biggest.
Just to be clear though, it is not all wonderfull in EQ for raiders. TSS was an expansion that totally forgot we did anything but raid, and made some aspects of that raiding incredibly unfun. Not a good combination.
Comment Posted by: Keisa on December 1, 2006 03:27 PM
I'll leave off with the attitude debate, though I think that has more to do with people's ability to enjoy the game than all the other issues combined. Instead, I'll tell you what I really think. I think you'll be surprised.
I'm truly disappointed with the itemization in TSS for the non raider.
Weapons are horrid. I'm really glad I'm a raider, because TSS wouldn't have anything to offer me as upgrades since I was going through DOD. I already had my epic 1.5 and Despair, and frankly it sucks when the weapons that drop in the game are worse than crystal bought weapons from DON.
Tier 1-2 armor offers comparable equipment to Qvic/TOB armor, and is far easier to get. My non Qvic cleric currently has 4 Qvic molds which I basically purchased from someone that farms Qvic. I parked her at zone and collected all the pieces. This is expensive and not really an option for most players, especially with their mains and definitely if they don't have money.
TOB, while one groupable *cough*, is not really an option for a non-raider either. I'm sure we've all heard about TOB so no need to go through that again.
Tier 1-2 gear is far, far easier to acquire and offers what I consider a lateral move. Piece by piece, some is better or worse than the other two choices. It is nice to see that non-raiders can finally get reasonably Qvic level gear while exping.
It sucks that the best SOE has to offer the non raider in an expansion that adds five levels to the game is basically lateral moves in armor and substandard weapons.
I think that the reason gear for the non raider has stagnated is that they want to protect a huge investment in the game, the core group of people that raid (no...not the hard core raiders who take on cutting edge stuff, but the average raider). I don't think anyone realizes just how big that core group of raiders is. I think the most common raider is hitting Time, GOD zones, and Anguish. I don't think that SOE wants to see this investment lost, and they fear that if single group equipment gets too good, the average raider won't feel inclined to raid anymore.
I had a boss that once told me that if you can't be replaced you can't be promoted. Applying that to the game, if you can't replace Time and Tacvi and Anguish as raid zones, then you can't progress the game. I think that Time should fade into the sunset, even as Hate and Fear and Sky have. I think that eventually Tacvi and Anguish should become nothing but a memory as the average joe player passes up these zones. I think that SOE does us all a disservice by stagnating the non raider and therefore a large part of the game.
There you have it, Teremar. How's that for maintaining the status quo. Heh, but don't worry about a thing. I'm a raider snob and look down on all you noob scrubs because well... I'm a raider and that's what raiders do, right?
Comment Posted by: Teremar on December 2, 2006 02:44 AM
Redhenna: I have to admit I don't have much contact with the raiding world and didn't realize TSS has turned out so poorly for you. The problems sound serious and I hope they're resolved. I have to say though, that it would take more than one bad expansion to make EQ as a whole work better for non-raiders than for raiders (especially since it's not great for non-raiders either). That's what I was referring to.
Keisa: Boy, when you address the topic at hand you have some really good points and I agree whole-heartedly. And you don't even sound snobby. ;) I wonder if there's more to not wanting to declare Time-Anguish obsolete than just the fact that it's a lot of content. What should happen is that those you describe will fill out their gear with new single group rewards, then move on to new raid content. But I know there are concerns about some of the more recent raid encounters being frustrating rather than fun. Has post-Anguish raid design gotten so out of control that SOE is afraid to move the softer-core raiders into it? Of course this is outside my expertise so I'll let you raiders answer that one.
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on December 2, 2006 05:50 PM
Teremar, can I ask what exactly you mean by "EQ as a whole work better for non-raiders than for raiders". I think I would disagree, but it's hard to unless I know exactly what you are saying.
Comment Posted by: Teremar on December 5, 2006 11:19 AM
Sorry about the delayed response, Redhenna.
I honestly didn't think that assertion would be at all controversial. I thought practically everyone agreed that the raid game is EQ's strength.
If it is controversial, I don't think it can be easily or usefully debated. But lest I seem to be completely ducking the questions, let me say this: I wish the single-group game had the sense of progression and achievement that the raid game has, and the much greater variety of encounters.
Comment Posted by: Valiantt on December 7, 2006 11:43 PM
Heh... so what folks want is the casual player to have access to the same gear as the raider. NEVER have things been better for the casual player that they are now with the possible exception of DoDH. I remember what it was like being a casual non-raider back in the days of Velious through Yesheka. I didnt start raiding till late LDON. I would have KILLED to have the access of some increadibly nice gear that came in teh recent expansions of DoDH, PoR and TSS. DoDH changed the game in a possitive manner for the casual player much more powerfully than LDON did back when I was a non-raider. Solid Qvic+ gear has neer been more available than it is now. LDON was all we really had back in the day. Now you can get a good group do several missions and end up with some super nice gear. A hell of a lot easier than grinding out a bazillion LDONs to but equipment. Yes Raid gear is getting rediculous, but so is casual gear. Back in the day 140HP gear was raider only territory and now that is junk. So please dont overemphasis the difference between raider and non-raider... its a phalse arguement really. Non-raiders have never had it better. The real agruement is the growing disparagy betweeen top riading guilds and the rest of the raiding wourld. Quoting 450HP tier 4 TSS gear an example of the vast different between raiders and non raiders is the same arguement 90% of raiding guilds can make against the top hard core raiders. Very few guilds are getting this stuff. the more valid arguement is between Demi gear of 330-340 HPs vs the much more common 220HP casual gear available. THAT raiding gear is much more likely, that raiding gear at least bigger part of the raiding world willstart to see with the advent of level 75 and the trivialization of lower rading content. Making the comparison between the top gear in the most recent expansion and the top gear available to casual non-raiders is really a flase one as only a very small part of the raiding population will see that gear soon... and some may never see it.
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on December 8, 2006 03:10 PM
Teremar, if I had to pick where I felt the nonraid game needed the most help, that is certainly where I would have pointed. I have, in fact, been pointing to a need for nonraiders to have more progression through expansin storylines for a couple years now in various places.
Are those issues greater than the issues raiders face? I dunno, hard to be objective about it. I know I have a lot less interest in logging into EQ anymore, as there really is not anything for me to do on my main, outside of raid.
I would say that EQ's main strength is not in it's raiding, but in it's suport of so many different playstyles, and with things to accomplish in so many areas.
Comment Posted by: Syntero on December 29, 2006 11:22 AM
Ok, I read through this forum, and originally said I wan't going to post. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to throw my 2 cents in.
I'll bore you for a few moments with my background/history in EQ. I started playing EQ about 5 years ago, a few friends played it, and made it sound fun, so I went out and bought it started playing and had a lot of fun. My first (and still current) Character was a Rogue named Syntero (The Rathe)I played pretty much every night, and at some point decided hell levels were Frustrating, and I decided to roll a Cleric to pass away the occasional Frustrations .. his name is Pharmasee. I spent the beginning of my EQ life in a Guild called which was never an uber guild, more of a family that helped each other out, and did things together, but most importantly, we had fun.
In time, RN died off when the leaders had left the game, and a lot of the bigger players in the guild saw greener pastures in Raiding guilds, and moved on. My next step was to join a guild called with a few remaining members of RN. That lasted for a bit, eventually lack of clerics forced me to put Syntero on the backburner, and drag out my rusty cleric, and level him up to the uberish 65 and work on spells, aa's.. etc. Time went on, RL Tragedy hit the guild, and the death of the GL, eventually caused the guild to fold.
With PoP flagging going on at this point, moving forward would require backflagging and catching up to other guilds. To that end I split up Syntero and Pharmasee to 2 accounts, learned how to 2-box, joined and began the process of 'backflagging' to play catch up in this 'raiding' guild. Fast forward in time, a year later... The Rathe and The Karana servers would be merging soon... and 'ally' to get their guilds time flagged, before the server merge and The Rathe becomes an FFA server, and the rotations are gone.
Success. Both guilds become time flagged. moves on to sweep through time, loses half its members, grows stagnant and eventually dies.
From it's ashes arose my current guild, to which I am GL.
Why all that backstory? To give you an idea of where I come from.
I Play a 75 Rogue with 1000 aa's and a 75 Cleric with 900 AA's. Both wear gear decent gear, both have their 1.5.
BoR is currently working on progression, and we're making 'decent' progress for a guild of our size. We raid with 20-36 people depending on the night. We are currently up to Uqua, having defeated Ikki 1-4 over the past few months.
Concurrently we are working on Tier 4 of DoN, and gearing up by pushing for the molds and powersources from the TSS Expansion.
We are FAR from a hardcore raid guild. We raid 4 nights a week, non-mandatory.
We have a core group of very skilled players that work together, and most importantly we have fun.
We are not 'uber' in gear, but we don't realy care. Yes, I look at the Rogue 2.0 and stare at it dreamily... but it will happen one day.
Yes, we run off as a guild and farm stuff that can be easily 1 grouped, but isn't it more fun to do it as a team? Isn't that why we're in guilds?
Taking the old content and 'tossing' it away would ruin any enjoyment from guilds getting to that content for the first time.
We're looking forward to finishing up Uqua so we can go goat farming... and eventually Txveu and Tacvi... and eventually Anguish.... DP... etc...
We're going at our own pace. We're butting our heads up against the wall at times when we hit tough obstacles, but we're enjoying it.
Each time we face a new mob, even if its a mob that someone in a raid guild can solo, but is still a challenge for us, it doesnt take away from our enjoyment of beating it.
Anyway, yes LFG sucks, new raid gear makes the best equipment single groups can get look like a paper suit of armor... But the game is what you make of it.
I'd love that uber gear, and uber weapons. But I also prefer having a life, and time with my wife and daughter.
Anyway, who even reads these things anyway :)
Comment Posted by: bob on January 4, 2007 11:45 AM
This genie is out of the bottle and its not going back in.
That is, imho the Equipment Gap is here to stay and cannot be eliminated, and attempts to close it will only disenfranchise sets of players.
Also, to frame this dicussion , we need information that only SOE has. Of all the paying customers (e.g. Accounts) how many of them are raiders as opposed to single groupers?
If your core demographic are the raiders, where is the motivation to increase the power-level of non-raiders?
Also consider this design problem...if you increase access to higher-end gear to the non-raiders, you eventually increase the overall number of players doing 'end game' content. Nothing good comes of having the player base pooled at the high levels or in the high-end content. EQ already suffers from a serious imbalance due to he volumes of high level players.
Yes, more single group content would be most welcome however the rewards cannot be on par with raid-level gear. This content needs to be tuned down and the difficulty ratings need to be tuned as well (so that HARD really does mean you better be a well-equipped raider in order to suceed)
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