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My thoughts on various VG things.

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:45 pm
by mythdrannor
Been reading about this for a while, sounds great, and seems devs are interested in the players' opinions so here goes. I know a lot of people like the old ways and some don't, I am somewhere in between and would like my vote to be counted.

Rifts travel etc
I personally prefer the modern version of the game in terms of travel. I played the game in beta and at release and I could go along with how it was then, but I found it boring and tedious. The horses were slow, the world was huge, and it ruined the sense of freedom and it seemed opposed to the idea of lots of different dungeons. Over the course of several years and lots of characters, I got to see all the dungeons, but I never saw a fraction of them with my main character at release. It just took too long. With the way the game was later, I could zip about using the rifts and visit any dungeon at any time. I would travel to a dungeon and do a few quests and if I got a bit bored or didn't want to follow the questline to the end (like the ant queen dungeon), I could just go somewhere else. So my vote, keep it like it was at the end. I did the boat thing in '99 EQ and although it preserved the feel of the world, I'm not a teenager anymore and I really can't be bothered taking 40 minute virtual journeys.
p.s. Not that I supported the idea of rifts at the time. To me the better solution to travel would have been to keep it like early VG but make horses faster and give flying mounts much earlier. Like give the first horse at about level 5, then a much better horse at 10, and a really fast horse at 15, and a super fast horse at 20, and a slow flying mount at 25, and a fast flying mount at 30, etc. To me that's how the game SHOULD have been designed. That way it keeps the world one solid thing that you have to travel around for real, but it just doesn't take forever and doesn't make people hit auto run and keep one eye on the screen while you watch TV.

Exp / death / and difficulty etc
XP - Although I prefer the less tedious travel of the later game, I much prefer everything else how it was at release. It's not that I 'like' slow exp rate, it's just that I didn't like it when it was too fast. I would go to an area and after a few days I had outlevelled it whether I finished all the quests or not. Again with a big world this seemed to go against the philosophy of the game. Why have 100 great dungeons when you only need to visit one every 10 levels. I think somewhere in between the super slow early xp and super fast late exp would be best.
Death, don't really care about this either way, I can justify both ways. Harsh death makes the game much more exciting and tense. But less harsh death makes me free to try more things. When you look at that group of mobs and think Hrrrrmmm... tempting... In early VG I just walked past it. In late VG I would give it a shot, and often I would die but it didn't make me want to /wrist. Again I think in between would be best.
Difficulty, tbh I can't remember how this changed and what they did exactly. I just remember often having a really hard time soloing in the early days of VG, and in the later days I could solo like godmode was enabled. I always attributed this to the stupidly overpowered armor sets added later (Hunter's League?), but whatever it was, I much prefer it like early days. I want the game to be as hard as possible. I want to be able to solo but I want it to be really hard and feel like I'm doing something I shouldn't be able to. I want 3 dots to almost kill me and 4 dots to not be possible. Full groups should almost wipe in all group content and dungeons, not the button spamming never below 100% health/mana loot piƱata that VG became. The only thing that ever made me quit this game was when I did a Greystone run with a group, nobody died, nobody even got seriously injured, mana felt infinite, we just ran silently from room to room spamming our 1234 routines and all the mobs went splat. Tanks would pull whatever was in a room and SPLAT. It was the most boring thing I've ever done. I remember early VG when groups often wiped in a dungeon, I remember using the lull/harmony spell on my Druid to pull groups of mobs in 1s or 2s instead of a whole group which would often kill someone. I want to play that game again, not the thing VG became.

There are a few things I would change about the game if it was down to me. First off, some of the areas felt like a waste of space and effort. I remember often visiting Bordinar's Cleft because I liked the graphics and mood of the place. But it was ALWAYS empty. Even at release when the game had 150,000 players or whatever, at the most I would see one other player. And of course a month later when everyone had quit, it was a ghost town every other time I visited. There were other places like this and I always felt it was a real shame because of the buildings and things were fantastic. Bordinars for example, the actual city bit has massive high walls with 200 foot high ceilings and is amazing to look at. And yet a lot of players never saw it. There was a dungeon nearby too, in Leth Nurae, which was really fun (although a bit buggy), and I never saw other players there too. There were other areas too that I really liked but seemed a bit under developed and a lot under utilized. If it was up to me, I would have a must-have questline send players to these places to do a bit of questing there or have must-have items placed in these under-used areas. Encourage players to explore or purposely visit off the beaten path areas, not just go along the golden path.

Also, some areas were a big disappointment to me. When I first saw Hilsbury Manor I was so excited.... I hoped it was going to be Unrest from EQ all over again, but the entire place was just a big let down. Nobody hunted outside because the mobs just weren't good for XP, people were only interested in questing and those were all inside. And even inside I thought it sucked. There was a bedroom with a mirror and none of that was usable because it was either broken or for high levels or something. I forget. So the only real fun to be had was the lackluster basement which was basically just one room and a quest. Or the library room where you have to collect a million of those book pages for some rings. I thought that was ok but overall I wished it was better. I wished it was more like Unrest. A group in each room and people running from trains etc.

Also, there were two spider dungeons near Veskal's, I forget their names. One was easy and everyone did it. The other one was NEVER visited. I think I might have gone there in beta but after release, I never saw groups go there. Part of the problem is that the gear became obsolete because the questlines added later made that dungeon not worth the hassle. But I also hated how it had 3 linked mobs at the entrance. I often wanted to explore it with a couple of friends but even with 3 people wouldn't even get inside. It would have at least been nice to hunt in the first couple of rooms. This is not what I expected from the EQ team... All EQ dungeons worked like I wanted, soloers could maybe take the first room, small groups could take the first couple of rooms, and beyond that you needed a group. But I had a lot of fun hanging around at the bridge in Karnor's or trying to hold the Bedroom in Lower Guk with my couple of friends. Vanguard ruined this by over engineering things with linked 4/5 dot mobs. So my advice, re-itemize dungeons like that, and remove the 'link' from the entrance mobs so small groups can at least get inside. In a low population game, this will be even more important. Also, make it more like EQ so people can invis inside places and camp a named. I often saw a Necro soloing a mob in Lower Guk which he carefully reached with invis, verrrrry carefully split the room, and then diligently camped until he got the item. I even did this myself and it was a lot of fun. Nothing like that was possible in Vanguard and it should be imo.

Lastly, there needs to be an incentive to reach the top end of the game. Without that I lose motivation very easily. With EQ it was never an issue because a new expansion full of content was always on the horizon and it was always dangerous so you had to push as hard as you could to be prepared for the future. With Vanguard I always lost my motivation in the late 40's. My the time the game ended, I had one of every class in the late 40's. I even had multiple characters of the same class, I probably had around 25 characters that were all above level 40. But very few I took to 50 because I just lost motivation so quickly in the late stages of the game. I have always hated raiding, it's just not my thing. I got burned out doing it in EQ and no game since has ever made it any more interesting for me. I hate how the raid leaders do all the hard work and everyone else follows around like sheep doing whatever strategy they are told to do. And you repeat it a million times until you have all the end game loots you need. And then what? Knowing I will eventually have everything and have nothing else to do, ruins the whole game for me, and every time I would reach the late 40's, this thought hit me and I ended up quitting or rerolling. The best solution I ever saw to this was an EQ Emu called Shards of Dalaya. There was a ton of raid content, but there was an NPC who sold charms and the prices grew at a massive rate. So anyone could buy their first charm for 50p ish, then there was a better one for about 500p which you should have by the time you reach high levels. But then there was one for 25,000 plat, then another for 50,000, then a 500,000... and a 1 million plat charm. The stats were amazing, and combined with a full set of raid gear, it made players become like gods. My guildmate could go into a dungeon with his pally, and pull literally half the dungeon in one pull. He would stand there and tank 40 mobs and while a second character AoE'd them all to death. Then he would pull the second half of the dungeon and repeat. This was before he had the high end charms. So high level players would first get good raid gear and a 25k charm, and then start destroying dungeons like this. There were about 10 dungeons people used to go to, one by one, they would clear the entire dungeon in about an hour and then move to the next dungeon and repeat. The idea was to fill up on AA exp but mostly to get cash and loots to sell for cash. Getting a million plat, even doing this, would take a looooong time. But players did it because THAT was the end game. To me this was amazing motivation to never get bored of the game. A semi casual player like me could dream of someday owning the 25k charm (which I eventually got), but I would never lose motivation at that point because I had so much more to do, and the thought of being godlike and clearing entire dungeons by myself was such a massive motivation. It was so much fun.

The only downside in that game is that there really weren't that many dungeons so sometimes a high level player would go to a dungeon like Mistmoore or whatever and there would already be a lower level group there, hunting. So the higher level player would have to find somewhere else, or be evil and ruin the whole zone for the newbies (which was bannable). But in a game world as big as Vanguard, I think something like this could work, and I think it would be well worth spending the development time on. Whether players like raiding or not, repeating many dungeons should be essential to work towards some very long term goals. And eventually you should get a genuine payoff.

And one other component of this is that for people like me who didn't like raiding, that game also had a lot of really good endgame dungeons. Even raiders would want to do them because there was almost-raid-standard loots there but also utility items and spells etc. These were dungeons that you couldn't solo in at all, and even weak full groups would not be able to get past the door. It was for full groups of well geared players, and it was really challenging, and there were several boss mobs that required raid-like tactics. They reflected spells or pumped out adds etc.. So the end game was something everyone wanted to reach because these dungeons were so fun and had such uber gear and even after finally reach max level, you could play for another year or more just doing these dungeons and collecting their loots. And another year doing all the raids. And then another year strutting around the world with a godlike character, saving money for the endgame charms.

Re: My thoughts on various VG things.

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:31 pm
by elquar
Interesting read

I never was able to do much in early vanguard release since i did so much trade skills (i was addicted to VG trade skill systems). I do remember the pain of traveling on them slow horses though 8). Always found it weird that the designers made the horses sooooo sloooooow.

I believe if you dig around you will find post detailing how the initial server will be. It will be almost exactly like live vanguard was before sunset since most of the data collected will be from this time frame. COULD a server be created to reflect some of the topic you have addressed ? that is possible i would think but would require a ton of time investment.

Re: My thoughts on various VG things.

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:06 pm
by Amnath
Concerning Hillsbury Manor, and I'm not sure if this was a revamp, while the level 20 content remained intact, the "behind the mirror" area was one of the few things for level 50 small groups. You had to kill one mob a bunch of times, in order to gain resistance to a pretty serious curse in the area past it, and then there were a handful of boss fights beyond it. I thought it was pretty well designed, but what I saw happening through time as new people hit 50, they would log on and get a hound kill and then feel like there was nothing else to do and leave. Towards the end, I saw several people blow bundles of lockout removers in order to get all the hound kills at once and then they thought there was nothing to do and left. A lot of the 50ish small group content was quite good, but when most everyone was a maxed 55, it wasn't used very much.

From what I can tell, the emu is leaning towards all the content from sunset, but perhaps with fewer rifts, slower xp, harder mobs and less loot pinata. In this way, and without pre-existing max level characters, I think we will go back to spending more time with the 50ish content, which seemed to cost the game a ton of players as it went dormant.

I agree there was a ton of unused real estate; the team of course has the option to complete things like Cave of Wonders, Stiirhad, Halls of Shattered Souls; certainly no need for those at the start of the game, but I wouldn't say never...

Re: My thoughts on various VG things.

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:45 pm
by Moldew
That is one thing I would love to see disappear - lockout timer removal. That was a horrible idea IMO.

Re: My thoughts on various VG things.

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:03 pm
by mythdrannor

From what I can tell, the emu is leaning towards all the content from sunset, but perhaps with fewer rifts, slower xp, harder mobs and less loot pinata. In this way, and without pre-existing max level characters, I think we will go back to spending more time with the 50ish content, which seemed to cost the game a ton of players as it went dormant.[/quote]
Sounds great!