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Author Topic: 2nd Writeup  (Read 2378 times)
schild
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on: September 15, 2004, 10:19:40 PM

Quote from: schild
As a disclaimer, I feel that giving feedback like "Ur game r0xx0rs!!!11!!LOL" does nothing for a company. In fact it may effect them, but only in a negative way. Weíre here to say whatís Wrong With The Game. If somethingís right, theyíll know by the lack of feedback. They need to know what to fix to grab the casual and hardcore gamers alike at release. So Iím here to give my thoughts as a veteran gamer (played everything from the Realm, M59, EQ1 (in beta no less), through all the latest MMOGs short of WoW. Without further ado, put aside 15 minutes and enjoy stream of consciousness at itís worstÖor best.

Character creation is fantasticÖI really like the hairstylesÖof the girls. Thatís it. The world has been spoiled with City of Heroes. Eyes are too small for the color of them to matter. Suggestions to increase the enjoyment of creation are as follows:

- Add accessories for every race. Piercing, glasses, and exotic piercing are great examples that are already in. Why donít you add things like, well, thatís for you all to decide. Iíll give you my thoughts on the Dark Elves to spur some thought. The women have really cool hair many of them with accessories in them. Let us color those accessories and pick from a wider range. Chopsticks, human bones, and smooth metal rods come to mind.

- The men of EQ2 need some hair upgrades. The styles are either too modernized or a little tooÖ.flamboyantly feminine. Iím not trying to come off as homophobic here (especially considering the hairstyle I picked for my Dark Elf, Nimlue). Perhaps a couple more goatee styles as well (if you havenít noticed I like Dark Elves).

- I refuse to play Erudites because they are Just So Boring Looking. Give me metal studs to put on my head. Give me tattoos that near clash with the color of my skin. Give me something interesting to work with here, this is a game not an exercise in military conformity.

- Are We Going To Playtest Frogloks?

- Why are humans and half-elves so alike? Why do the human hairstyles look about 10x less creative than the half-elves one? Is your own *real* race just that boring? What happened here? Youíve seen magazines like Bizarre on the shelves at Borders, youíve been to goth and punk clubs. Comeon, letís see some creativity. I want neck piercings. I want earrings that have a gauge I can fit my finger through.

- Weight and height. SW:G had it, any reason why itís not in a game that [seems to have] cost astronomically more in production costs (i.e. Not counting the price of the Star Wars License).

- Just want to pound it in a little more. The game lacks COLOR at the moment. All the armor is pretty dull. The most colorful thing Iíve seen was a purple gem on the hilt of Ben-QAís weapon. Thatís bad. We were spoiled by City of Heroes. They set the bar for design and uniqueness among their players Ė now itís time for you to crush it like you deserve. Knock it over, kick dust on it Ė THEY ARE THE COMPETITION. This is not a political race, you donít have to keep your fingers clean. Give us capes at launch, medieval people wore capes. Give us huge bone necklaces MADE FROM THE SKULLS OF THE WEAK THAT FELL BEFORE US.

- Street clothing. Street clothing. Street clothing. SW:G did this perfectly Ė they had a wide range of clothes to just bop around in. I loved that and it probably held my attention for a good two months before I let the subscription lapse. Maybe after a hard day, I donít want to be in my armor. I want to be in a kilt and wearing a fur vestÖ.or something. Point is, if I just want to sit in the guild house with my guildies, I donít want to be denied that due to the complete lack of clothing besides what you wear while fighting.

Newbie Island (Iím skipping the tutorial ship because itís fantastic): Oh how I love thee and hate thee. Oh the number of quests is fantastic, though only about 5 are necessary:

1. Picking your class

2. Killing the First Goblin

3. Blowing up Boxes, etc etc.

You see the line Iím going on. Whatís the problem? The last quest (the instanced one with Grimgash something-a-rather) REQUIRES GROUPING. No, No, No, No, and No. For the first 6 months of the game or so this may not be a problem. However once you break that Ďnew shinyí part of the game being on shelves (particularly with the inevitable release of Guild Wars, Tabula Rasa, and whatever else may be coming out) there may not be enough people on the island for people to even finish the main line of quests. Perhaps you should get the option of two different quests. One for grouping (better reward, not the horrible 89 copper or whatever you get now Ė Give Us Shoulderpads) and one for

Solo, perhaps shoulderpads with a lower AC or no buffs. The moment someone gets on that island and there arenít enough people to do the last quest, youíll agree with me. It happened to me at 3am the other night (EST). You know what MMOG players are like, you know this will happen, and itís only a matter of time before it does.

[The following is a personal gripe: Smite and Lightning Strike are WAY TOO SIMILAR in graphic. I think the first mage spell should be something more like Magic Missle or lightning coming straight out of the hands while the priest (keeps the same graphic) calls down some divine power. Again, personal gripe and probably unreasonableÖorÖnot.]

Real quick before I move on to the other newbie island problems (such as some of the patrol routes and absolutely evil chokepoints, Iíd like to touch on the armor and weapons players are given out. SW:G has done something fantastic with being able to change the color of your armor at will. Can you add that, plz? Sure, Iím a refugee and getting "free" armor, but I worked for it. I spent my time (and eventually my money) to do some quests to come out looking exactly the same as everyone else. I am not a robot. Please donít make me feel as though SOE thinks I am one.

As for the patrol routes and chokepoints. At no point on that island can I walk up to two goblin protectors and kill them by myself. So every time I want to get to the graveyard, or chieftan hut, or the goblin cave I have to run past and train the goblins to the guard by the waterfall. Itís getting old. The static two-goblin teams that spawn there should just be removed.

I think the shared bank vaults shouldnít apply until people get off newbie island. Iím tired of seeing people running around with even slightly twinked avatars (i.e. a level 2 person with a full set of armor because he shared an expensive sellable item from his main). I know Iím making friends by the second with thoughts like this.

Are there sets of dual-wield items for scouts on newbie island? If there are they must be ridiculously rare on the loot table. Itís kindaÖ.unfair to not get the signature weapons of the class you picked.

I see a lot of people asking for duck feathers. Perhaps the spawn rates on the feathers and shells are a bit too slow? How about there always be 4 of each type (shell or feather) on the island at all times and each time one is looted, another pops (randomly of course). Feather++, plz.

The only annoying voice Iíve come across is the woman on the Far Journey who you talk to during the first quest. I love every other voice in the game (particularly the slum lord in Freeport). Is re-recording voice-overs possible? She approached the Fran Drescher level of annoyance. I really hope sheís not a staff member. If so, /me cries; please let me keep my beta account. (I think her name is Ingrid).

At the moment there is a part where it says Ďtalk to the ambassadors.í You only really talk to one of them. The other gives you the cold shoulder for being the opposite alignment. Why not, at this point, give the players their first chance to switch alignment. Particularly if one of their friends decided to go the other way and not inform them.

Alpha Wolf and the other named mobs (particularly supply leader) are nearly always gone. There are a ton of people on newbie island that camp them. Do we really want a repeat of EQ1 in terms of camping? Arenít the days of camping behind us? Thereís nothing people hate more than it (except the campers, and they are the ones who annoy the rest of us). I donít even know why people camp the supply leader, you can only have one lore item at a timeÖmaybe Iím missing something. Anyway, perhaps they should either be removed altogether (to minimize time on newbie island) or spawn more often so people can get the kill out of their way. It would also be neat if players could only kill a named mob once each, letís say 2 hours. Or perhaps, after you kill the monster and loot him, he never drops loot for you again (or doesnít for a week). That way camping would beÖ.stupid, and the game could spawn the mob again immediately for the next parade of munchkins.

The EXP bar represents a grind. It represents that you know there is a grind. With this quest driven advancement, perhaps the exp on quests should be up, and the option for an onscreen exp bar should be removed completely. Nothing is worse to the casual player than realizing he gets less than 1% per kill, EVER. Nothing is worse to the hardcore player than letting him know how much he needs to slave away at the treadmill. I will cover the topic of the crafting grind (which is absolutely pointless, and for which I have a fantastic idea for advancement, later).

You have the basis for removing the grind. Either hide it or remove it completely. Weíre past the age of players needing a grind. I.E. It should not take me 400 kills of something that is my level for me to advance (one of my toons is level 11 and in the wailing caves at the moment), it will take 400 kills of HARD kills (in a 5 player group) against mobs the same level or 1 above as me to level. Alone it would take me 600. I should:

A. Not know how many kills it takes me to level. But when I see the bar tick 1% every 4 kills, itís rather obvious.

B. Not have to pay what will probably be $15-$18 a month to have to slave away to see higher level parts of the game.

You may say my glass is half empty. Well, After playing MMOGs for 7 years and MU*s for another 5 or so, yea, my glass is half empty. Gameplay hasnít dramatically changed since then. Admittedly, itís shorter to hit Ď5í than to type Ď/backstab.í

It takes about 4-6 hours to EXHAUST the content of newbie island. It takes about 3 hours to hit level 7 in City of Heroes. It took about 2 hours to hit level 6 in Horizons. It takes aboutÖwell, minutes to level in SW:G if you know what youíre doing. Donít set the bar for time requirements. The idea is to beat them. How? Increase EXP dramatically all around. You have two SEPARATE games here. Good and Evil. You want people to play both sides and exhaust the possibilities. It would take a good one or two years to do that, even now if a player is willing to give crafting, side-questing, and the alignments a chance. Thatís a lot of content and youíve got it all there. Having a grind is rubbing salt in the wound and is the surest way to turn away jaded veteran A or casual gamer B. Keeping up with the Joneses is just too hard.

No Matter What you Do Hardcore Gamers and Uberguilds will exhaust your content in a matter of days, weeks, and/or months. Itís not even worth worrying about. This is what they do and they WILL find ways of doing it. They are in the heavy minority. Just make sure what they see, and what everyone else sees is fun. And make sure the endgame rocks. Remember, the longer it takes to level, the more youíll be hurting the solo casual gamers. Amazing graphics, sound, voice acting and quests can only go so far.

Before I finish, Iíd really like to touch on something that really gets my goat - debt. Donít let people have debt before level 7. it just leaves them on that godforsaken isle longer than necessary. Itís ridiculous that I can get debt at level 2 from an intruder if Iím not paying attention. Punishing the new players for being new is, well, EVIL. Just make it so you donít accrue debt until you become a citizen. Many other games have a grace period before death penalties apply, thereís absolutely no reason for this game to break that rule.

This concludes part A. Towards the end there I rambled into territory Iíll cover in a couple days. I just want to conclude by saying that these are just what I see when I play. Formed from my own opinions of playing casually in some games, hardcore in others, leading an uberguild in a couple games, and running an MMOG website. Iím very interested in discussing everything here. I may very well be wrong on a lot of topics Ė I tend to write when Iím very tired and/or drunk. In most cases the word Ďandí should be used and not Ďor.í Please, spit your ideas at me, Iím a learner, not a teacher. ButÖ


Iíd like Everquest 2 to be the success it can be with EVERYONE across the board. Changes have to be made, but I think this game is coming closer than I ever expected it to be. Anyway, Iím tired now, and want to do a few quests. Iím Nimlue in game if anyone wants to rail on me for being a crazy man. Odds are Iíll read this tomorrow again and think, I myself, am crazy.


If you want to see the kind of crap feedback you get from Friends, Family and EQ Fans, here's the corresponding thread where I make an ass out of myself due to my anger level and almost get banned: Critical Beta Journal
Signe
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Muse.


Reply #1 on: September 17, 2004, 04:17:59 PM

I wish I had received my beta invite sooner, Eric, or I would have protected you against those meanies by sexually harrassing them.

Sorry.

My Sig Image: hath rid itself of this mortal coil.
Ardent
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Reply #2 on: October 18, 2004, 12:13:40 PM

Holy crap, this idiot from your journal thread made me laugh:

Quote
While playing an MMOG, I would FAR rather have an auto-attack feature than a click-fest.  My entire CoH experience was taken up by these commands. "Click on mob, push 8 on keyboard to levitiate, push 5 on keyboard, push 3, push 4, push 5, push 6, push 3, push 4, push 5..."  That is NOT fun.  It was so stupid that I quit playing before the 30 day grace period was over.  I like the interactivity of an auto-attack system.  Honestly, I would prefer a system where the player is required to swing, but that is neither here nor there.  With an auto-attack function, the player can either take an active part in the battle or not.  It all comes down to choice.  If I'm fighting and I know I can kill a mob without resorting to my special attacks, I'll fight it, and then run to the bathroom real quick or go grab another beer.  That way I am not required to constantly be pressing keys to be active in the game.  


The bold parts are what really got me. Auto-attack ADDS to interactivity? Pressing buttons is NOT the active part of the game?

You're right, schild, if these dolts are the people SOE is listening to, the game is doomed forever to mediocrity.

Um, never mind.
schild
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Reply #3 on: October 18, 2004, 12:17:15 PM

Yea, the people in the beta test were easily some of the worst gameplayers ever. They want everything on a silver platter. Maximum reward for minimum effort. I really think the EQ2 dev team shot themselves in the balls with the friends and family beta being the longest of the beta tests.
Resvrgam
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Reply #4 on: October 18, 2004, 02:06:47 PM

Both of the write-ups are really great, Schild.  Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure SOE's head's in a dark warm oriface right now where they won't listen to constructive criticism.  

You stated "you're not a robot and you don't want SOE to think you're on."  Nope, you're a "monthly subscription #" nothing more, nothing less.

The graphics in EQ2 have been some of the MOST inefficiently designed models I have ever seen in any game.  Sure, there's pixel shaders and high polycounts but: the hair-do's look like melted seagull diarrhea drop from high altitudes and they actually drag performance down (I saw a 12 FPS difference between the"bald" model and one with a hair-style added).

CoH has let the Genie our of the bottle with their player uniqueness and companies like SOE (too set in their own ways to even bother) will find that the market has changed dramatically since 1998....they've got some serious competition now and because they won't adapt - they're gonna die.  The sad thing is: there's a lot of talent and money wrapped into that product and it's gonna cost SOE lots of cash because:

1.) EQ2 will cannibalize EQLive's sales because "the Cult of the Shiny" will flock to the latest and greatest (thus ditching the original product).

2.) Hardware requirements are too high and they've already alienated a vast amount of potential customers.  The proof is in how many people posted "I can't even run the CC Disk" in SOE's official forums.

3.) Since there's nothing really new in this offering (beyond "fluff" and conventions already existent in other titles already launched), the EQ2 zeal will die out a LOT quicker and leave only the fanboys playing.

4.) The game is embarassing to play around the "uninitiated."   Developers should be trying to destroy that stigma of only "geeks" playing these games and unfortunately, the dialogue in Qeynos feels ripped from a flaming Sesame Street for the mentally challenged.

5.) Some of the "Quests" (see: menial tasks) are really interesting and well thought out but, unfortunately, the "Go get this extremely effeminate man's face cream slugs" and "collect a bunch of dog shit for a garden" are downright insulting and leave me to wonder how pathetic the microcosm's dearth of originality will sink.

Well, that's pretty much all I can comment on because I don't have much access to the Beta.  I've only been allowed to play for a few hours and observe on a mate's computer and it hasn't been all that fun to watch.

SOE's no Open Beta policy has already turned me off as well.  I don't buy anything unless I've tested it first: cars, TVs, speakers, products that require an initial upfront cost and a continued monthly subscription, etc.

"In olden times, people studied to improve themselves. Today, they only study to impress others." - Confucius
Soukyan
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Reply #5 on: October 18, 2004, 02:33:56 PM

Quote from: Ardent
Holy crap, this idiot from your journal thread made me laugh:

Quote
While playing an MMOG, I would FAR rather have an auto-attack feature than a click-fest.  My entire CoH experience was taken up by these commands. "Click on mob, push 8 on keyboard to levitiate, push 5 on keyboard, push 3, push 4, push 5, push 6, push 3, push 4, push 5..."  That is NOT fun.  It was so stupid that I quit playing before the 30 day grace period was over.  I like the interactivity of an auto-attack system.  Honestly, I would prefer a system where the player is required to swing, but that is neither here nor there.  With an auto-attack function, the player can either take an active part in the battle or not.  It all comes down to choice.  If I'm fighting and I know I can kill a mob without resorting to my special attacks, I'll fight it, and then run to the bathroom real quick or go grab another beer.  That way I am not required to constantly be pressing keys to be active in the game.  


The bold parts are what really got me. Auto-attack ADDS to interactivity? Pressing buttons is NOT the active part of the game?

You're right, schild, if these dolts are the people SOE is listening to, the game is doomed forever to mediocrity.


Okay, that's what borders on addiction. If you need to piss or get another beer, use that nifty little AFK command that is available in all of these games since the MU* days. Jeez. Or better yet, log the hell off and go stock up on beer and snacks and drain the lizard. THEN come back and play. It's just a game. I can see where these people come from. It invades their lives so it becomes a metagame of balancing the gameplay into real life instead of just putting it on pause to handle real life needs. Sick.

"Life is no cabaret... we're inviting you anyway." ~Amanda Palmer
"Tree, awesome, numa numa, love triangle, internal combustion engine, mountain, walk, whiskey, peace, pascagoula" ~Lantyssa
"Les vrais paradis sont les paradis qu'on a perdus." ~Marcel Proust
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