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View Full Version : XP Stones - How to Properly Introduce Them



Qzipoun
01-08-2013, 04:35 PM
SUMMARY / TL;DR

I know, I know. Half of you want to scream "P2W!" and half of you want to shout "DO IT ALREADY!" but hear me out on this. I would like to propose a way for the XP Stones to be introduced without seriously breaking the 8-16 content of the game or the grouping mechanism. This would be done by applying a restriction on which characters or accounts can use the stones.

A Little Background

The tech for XP stones (leveling from 8 to 16) has been created by Turbine and used in two situations now. First, with the release of MoTU and second with the holiday-special Otto's Box:

1- With the first release, there was a very simple reason: the expansion focused on end-game content and the stone allowed new players to quickly access what they have paid for, I think everyone will agree that with hind-sight that did not break the game (and while I was skeptical at first, I think it was the right choice)

2- With the second release we definitely heard a lot more "P2W!" arguments since you were no longer limited by the "one time only per server" restriction but only Turbine Points. Otto's Box was ridiculously expensive but it still sold right and left, and not because of the potions and gems in the bundle, the XP Stone was by far the main reason and Turbine will want to cash in on that.

The Concern

The main concern with XP Stones is that it may trivialize leveling up and allows players to circumvent significant portions of the game simply by coughing up $$$. There are other issues as well:

- If too many people are using XP Stones, those without the TP to spend on them will have less people to group with at levels 8-16
- New players, or old players running new classes/builds will reach higher levels with much less experience and knowledge of what they are doing. Potentially leading to more "Gimp 16s" who simply have no idea how to play their characters
- A VeteranII account can start a character at level 7. Being able to use a stone means that through the use of the Store, it would take a whopping 70k XP to get a level 16 character from SCRATCH (many can do this with their eyes closed in <1 hour)

The Good

- $$$. Let's face it, Turbine will not make a store-related decision without money in mind. XP Stones will sell and they will sell well. I do not want to go into pricing but the success of Otto's Box speaks for itself.
- The Grind. As more and more levels are added, a rift is created between the "Leveling Game" and the "End Game". When Cap was Level10, End Game started at 6/7. With the cap at 25, you are spending significant time not playing what you wish to play (assuming End Game is your goal, if it is not then XP Stones are irrelevant). XP Stones bridge this gap significantly for those that want a bridge to cross.
- TRing is dead. The benefits of taking a TR after TR2 (and arguably before as well) are significantly less than the benefits of spending the TR time leveling epic destinies. Epic destinies take "The Grind" gap and multiply it. I think TR benefits need to be boosted in their own right but I also think that shorter TRs through stones will be a much bigger incentive to get those benefits without sacrificing too much else.

Game Breaking?

I don't think XP stones are game breaking for a simple reason. I never spend my TP on anything except meta-game (bank space etc...). The ONLY item that I CONSISTENTLY buy off the store is XP Potions. Assuming someone is using a 20% XP pot then every 5 times they level from 1-20 they have essentially gotten one free 1-20. With that in mind, is that so different from an XP Stone?

Where I do think the stones might be game breaking is if they are too easily attainable (cheap, few restrictions) and in return most players never need to run 8-16 anymore, making those levels dead for those that do not want to use the store

I don't think there is anything to "WIN" in levels 8-16 for this to be P2W. But I definitely think there is something to lose and ironically that is "experience". Not XP, but actual human experience :)

The Compromise

I think XP Stones should be introduced with careful restrictions to be "available" but not "expected"

- Reasonable price (they can't be a dime a dozen)
- Character must have completed a TR2/Account must have completed a TR2*

*I know this seems harsh at first but I don't see a way around it. I initially thought:

"well, no Vet2 characters"
Then I thought how would we ensure that people are getting the appropriate leveling and game experience? so I thought:

"well, the account must have made it to 20 on at least one character"
but that brings up TRs and how a TR1/2 character requires significant more XP so I thought:

"well, the account must have made it to 20 on at least one TR2"
This got me thinking, one TR2 per account or a TR2 on the specific character using the stone. I am not sure I know which one is fair so I am undecided on this point. I am leaning towards TR2 but having done dozens of TR2 lives I may be jaded on this. With that said, having done dozens of TR2 lives I haven't seen any "end game" for such a long time than I have no idea what it looks like :)

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Thoughts, comments, criticisms are welcome. Let's just not turn this into a foolish DOOM/P2W/GIMMEEASYXP discussion...