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bohemian3
05-28-2014, 11:30 AM
In another thread: Thread: "Retaining newbies" I tossed out the idea of mercenaries and thought I'd post it here as well.

As a returning player who never got past level 7 but tryring again and almost level 15 for the first time, This is an interesting challenge. Personally, I'd like to explore a system of mercenaries. Instead of paying for a gold seal hireling I'd pay for an experienced player close to my level working on a TR to take orders, let me set the pace, not kick me out of a group for being a newb or not having a certain buff, etc.. And this would set up an incentive for experienced players to have a rotation of alts at different levels.

Set up a rating system - good mercenaries will get hired more, bad ones less. And huge end game type rewards for being a 5 star mercenary that makes it truly worthwhile for a rock star to pair with a lowly newbie. Just a thought. It is frustrating exploring content for the first time, the challenges of pugging etc. I am in a great guild, smallish, but mostly out of my level. When someone in my guild can help, they are like saints though, so a good new-user friendly guild is crucial as well Again, just a thought.

As a relative neophyte to the game, I'm sure my suggestions display naiveté all over the place, but as someone who has tried DDO before, sworn off the game out of frustration, then returned because there isn’t anything better out there, I humbly spitball ideas.

Few more ideas to flesh out the idea of mercenaries:

To make it worthwhile for experienced users to do this, perhaps using the existing favor system to piggyback the mercenary idea. For example, “The Stormreach Mercenaries” (Or whatever) become a new patron. Gaining mercenary favor gets rewards, for example permanent storage that doesn’t go away during TR. That seems to be a common theme and mercenaries do need a bag of tricks. This next part may be tricky though (!) : the lower the level, the higher the favor to encourage lower level mercenaries. Also if you are on a TR cycle, slow down slightly and get some new stuff.

But at the same time the player with the mercenary toon gets the astral shards a new player would pay for a Gold Seal Hireling (With The Mercenary Corps aka Turbine keeping 15% brokerage fee (of course). Suddenly a f2p becomes pu2p (Pay You to Play). Interesting incentive for those who don’t have the kind of income I have to invest in the game. For Lower levels, the prices get slightly bumped over hirelings too. The fee is not payed until completion of the contracted quest. (Yes, problems for quests that have instant failure conditions, timers, and moron npc’s to protect!).

High level favor rewards could in fact be a past life as a mercenary with cool feats to go along with it gained during the next TR – “You were a Mercenary in a Past life. You get x, y, and z bonus). And A unique quest that is nothing but the Grand Commander of Mercenaries giving a thank you speech for bringing in new blood to protect Stormreach and a chest with the kind of loot long-timers covet.

Though it’s hard to read Turbine to conjecture if they are willing to make this kind of investment in getting new blood into the game and encouraging lapsed experienced players to return for the pu2p model. And if there’s some unknown expiration date on the game anyway as some cabalistic posts seem to suggest.

Yes, there are tons of things that have to be thought out and huge holes in the ideas but most capitalize on existing game mechanics, I think. I am enjoying returning to the game and appreciate the community support and encouragement in posts like these. I don’t think hirelings with a decent AI are coming anytime soon, so this would be fun for me, a voice of one of course.

Khatzhas
05-28-2014, 12:02 PM
This strikes me as something that would be better dealt with through friends and guildmates.

A new player probably wouldn't have the Astral Shards to pay the mercenary, and the current favour system doesn't support repeated runs.

The sort of people who would require payment to help a newbie without denigrating or abandoning them for not being BYOH, knowing the quest, having an optimised character etc are the sort of people who would try to exploit the scheme to get the rewards without actually helping people.

Franke
05-28-2014, 12:27 PM
It's obvious you've spent some time gathering your thoughts on these ideas, undoubtedly you have only the best of intentions and want to encourage experienced players to assist those who could do with a guiding hand.

Sadly a large percentage of the experienced player base are jaded and selfish, you'd find yourself subjected to more scam artists and abusers than you might otherwise encounter had you just hit random lfm's and "winged it".

It's a sad state of affairs when folks who want to improve their skill/game knowledge begin to come up with ideas to "bribe" experienced players to help them. Now, I realise that bribe is a dirty word in this context, and in no way mean to demean you, but I can assure you that some folks would see it that way. Time was when this game used to have a high percentage of experienced players who would gladly help newcomers......perhaps it's because I cut my teeth on a euro server and most of the newb edges were rounded off before I crossed the pond....but that's another topic for another thread perhaps.

Lonnbeimnech
05-28-2014, 12:34 PM
In another thread: Thread: "Retaining newbies" I tossed out the idea of mercenaries and thought I'd post it here as well.

As a returning player who never got past level 7 but tryring again and almost level 15 for the first time, This is an interesting challenge. Personally, I'd like to explore a system of mercenaries. Instead of paying for a gold seal hireling I'd pay for an experienced player close to my level working on a TR to take orders, let me set the pace, not kick me out of a group for being a newb or not having a certain buff, etc.. And this would set up an incentive for experienced players to have a rotation of alts at different levels.

See, off the bat this makes no sense to me.

Newbie entering a quest that he has never run before with a vet that has run it hundreds of times on elite by himself at level, that knows all the tricks of how to easily handle all the encounters, which ones to avoid and so on. But we go with the newbies strategy... and the vet just follows along. basically paying a vet to do the quest for you, but without a strategy or efficiency.

Would make far more sense if the vet told the newbie how to do the quest, and the newbie did what he was told.

or

the newbie does it solo and figures it out for himself

or

the newbie gets some other newbies and they figure it out together.

bohemian3
05-28-2014, 01:07 PM
Yes,... up front I said it was probably naive - there's human nature, a jaded player base, etc. And I've had the worst luck with LFMs. Like i said when my guildmates are online and same level as me, that's the ideal situation. They are patient, helpful, and the way to go.

Bribe is indeed the fair, proper word, ergo mercenary. I didn't mean not to use strategy - actually the opposite. I prefer to pull enemies. Bounce ideas off someone in game who has more experience. That's all. The PUGs I've run with (again bad luck) tend to run into a mob, slash, and move on - even if I put in my LFM no zerg. As a rogue in one pug I messed up a trap on a bum roll - they kicked me out. Yes, they are the jerks, but it does leave a bad taste in the mouth as much as you try not to let it effect you.

Last time 3 years ago I logged off waiting for someone I knew at my level to walk me through some frustrating content, started a new game, got caught up in it, and didn't come back for three years. Was spit-balling ideas on how to avoid that.

Lonnbeimnech
05-28-2014, 01:26 PM
Yes,... up front I said it was probably naive - there's human nature, a jaded player base, etc. And I've had the worst luck with LFMs. Like i said when my guildmates are online and same level as me, that's the ideal situation. They are patient, helpful, and the way to go.

Bribe is indeed the fair, proper word, ergo mercenary. I didn't mean no strategy - actually the opposite. I prefer to pull enemies. Bounce ideas off someone in game who has more experience. That's all. The PUGs I've run with (again bad luck) tend to run into a mob, slash, and move on - even if I put in my LFM no zerg. As a rogue in one pug I messed up a trap on a bum roll - they kicked me out. Yes, they are the jerks, but it does leave a bad taste in the mouth as much as you try not to let it effect you.

Last time 3 years ago I logged off waiting for someone I knew at my level to walk me through some frustrating content, started a new game, got caught up in it, and didn't come back for three years. Was spit-balling ideas on how to avoid that.

3 things you could do.

1. run the quest on norm by yourself, take your time, learn the quest. Run it a few times if you want, try harder difficulty if it seems easy.

2. go to youtube and search for the quest by name, someone has put up a walkthrough, it might be outdated, it might not explain everything, but it will give you a good idea of what to expect

3. join someone elses lfm and tell them you are new. You will run into some jerks, some of them might boot you right away, but you will find people that are willing to teach, or at least have the patience to let you fumble along without scolding you.

Khatzhas
05-28-2014, 01:27 PM
Its a good intention. I'm just not sure that its the best way of going about it.

Any form of payment or bribe per quest is more likely to encourage the mercenary to zerg and try to force their client to go fast, in order to maximise their rewards/minute.

bohemian3
05-28-2014, 01:32 PM
3 things you could do.
...


Sound advice, Lonnbeimnech. Thanks. I've been doing this and I have gotten to 15 this time around.

PsychoBlonde
05-28-2014, 03:22 PM
See, off the bat this makes no sense to me.

Newbie entering a quest that he has never run before with a vet that has run it hundreds of times on elite by himself at level, that knows all the tricks of how to easily handle all the encounters, which ones to avoid and so on. But we go with the newbies strategy... and the vet just follows along. basically paying a vet to do the quest for you, but without a strategy or efficiency.

Yeah . . . "carry me, but slowly".

Not to mention that the vet would be losing far more than a few minutes worth of time. Newbies aren't usually up to running an elite streak (except as a frequent soulstone), so you'd have to ditch your streak or they'd have to live with over-level penalties. And the vet would have to live with permanent -10 "bonus". I doubt this would be enticing unless the newbie was willing to shell out a ton of cash as shards . . . and usually the whole point of being a newbie is that you haven't yet reached the stage of wanting to shell out cash for the game. You're still trying it out.

That, and I've found that the experienced players are usually DELIGHTED to help newbies out . . . if the newbies don't act like a JACKASS. Here's how to get experienced players to help you out:

1. Communicate and also LISTEN. Read the party chat and LISTEN to the voice chat. I can't tell you the number of times I'll say AND TYPE OUT "doing this optional" and have someone ask, TEN SECONDS LATER "uh, are we doing the optional?" PARTY CHAT. READ IT. Just reading the chat will make you look 1000% less of an idiot and vets love anybody who is even moderately not an idiot.

2. Tell people that you don't know what you're doing so you'd be happy to get a few tips.

3. Pick ONE experienced person and STICK TO THAT PERSON LIKE GLUE. Your job is not to kill mobs, wander around, or figure things out. Your job is to STAY WITH THAT PERSON AT ALL TIMES. You may not figure out 100% of the quest on the first run, but you'll at least get to SEE some of what gets done and also be in healing/rezzing range if you get into trouble. There's NOTHING more irritating to a vet than a newbie who apparently is so ADD that they cannot do something so simple as follow you so they wander off, get lost, die, and either throw a huge whiny fit or release. Either of these will get you insta-booted by most vets, and deservedly so. You also need to WATCH what the experienced person is DOING. If they stealth, you stealth. If they hug an edge, you hug an edge. Don't let yourself get distracted and lose sight of your guide. They will NOT appreciate it if you make them come back and jump up and down on the lever you need to pull 45 times before you feel like paying attention. Turn off the TV you have running in the background. If your kids are demolishing the house and the dog is sick and your wife is trying to get you to do chores, don't join a frickin' quest. Consider yourself a guest in a famous person's house and act accordingly. If you would not expect, say, President Obama to wait on you to handle your ****, don't expect strangers in games to do it either, particularly since they can't even see or hear you to know what the heck is going on. (and if they can, they probably wish they couldn't.)

4. Don't ask for stuff (except ship invites, those are okay--but ask when you're STANDING AT THE SHIP PORTAL so they don't have to try to invite you 30 times before you actually get the invite). Make sure you have the basics--remove curse pots, remove disease pots, neutralize poison pots, lesser restoration pots, cure serious wounds pots. If you can't afford them because you're REALLY new it's okay to ask for a bit of cash to pick some up, but vets are not going to look kindly at you if you go around whining about strength damage that could easily be fixed by drinking a potion. The best time to ask for buffs is when you've just gotten to a shrine on the heels of the experienced person you're hugging--they'll be happy to use their blue bar on you when they can just shrine to get it back.

5. Your red bar is your problem. Even if there's a healer in the group, turning the quest into a fastest-finger competition because you insist on charging every group of mobs and standing in the middle of them like some kind of kamikaze pilot on acid is not being a good newbie. When you hit half health GTFO and start drinking pots/whipping wands/using scrolls. Yeah, your dps may suffer but a soulstone has 0 dps. Even better, let your vet hug-buddy tank. They probably have the gear for it. You, not so much.

6. Be aware that Elite is much, MUCH nastier than hard. MUCH nastier. Anything that on hard was mildly unpleasant is very likely to one-shot you on elite, particularly since you'll probably have 50% the hp of a vet, if not LESS. The vets might act like they're still running on norm. You cannot. Stick to your hug-buddy and act like things breathing on you is DOOM and you'll be okay. Let the vet eat all the lightning bolts etc. They probably have the gear for it etc.

7. I don't care what you're playing, con is the 2nd most important stat. Period. No, I don't care if you're trying to re-create your elven princess character from 2nd edition who had a 20 dex and an 18 cha. CON IS YOUR SECOND MOST IMPORTANT STAT. Invest in it. Get items for it. And get items that raise your HP total directly. The vets have twice your HP because they've learned that's one of the easiest ways to STAY ALIVE. If you ever come to a point where you're asking "should I get more (not my primary stat benefit) or more con/hit points?" go for the con or hit points. You can worry about maximizing your off abilities once you've learned how to survive all the way to the end of a quest.

8. Don't be character-proud because, let's face it, you're gimp. And an idiot, in the sense that you don't know what you need to be doing. That doesn't mean you can't contribute. It doesn't mean you're a bad person. You're just gimpy and confused compared to the vets. You can't do what they do . . . yet. If you complain to a vet about something being "hard" they will probably get annoyed at you. If you blame other people/things/lag (even if it's true) for your death, they will probably get annoyed at you. Assume that anything bad that happens was your fault (although not intentional or malicious) and say "OOPS MY BAD" then either fix it or ask the vet what's the best way to fix it. If they decide the best way is making you wait on the next shrine, so be it. Go get a drink or something (and say so, so they know you're afk). If you just wait silently until the vet figures out that there was a screwup and then wait silently when they're asking a.) who did it and b.) what's going on, they WILL get mad at you. Don't act like you can wish that pile of poo out of existence by pretending it isn't there. Own up to it IMMEDIATELY. Every vet I've ever run with pulls a bonehead maneuver now and then, but the difference between them and noobs is that they say "**** I SCREWED UP GUYS WE HAVE TO GO BACK!" instead of acting like a kid with a bad report card.

9. If you have rogue or artificer levels (even ONE LEVEL) people will occasionally expect you to do traps. Trapping on Elite is actually pretty difficult for a newbie because the general expectation is not only will you have your skill maximized, you'll also have maximum-available-at-level GEAR. You want to have, AT MINIMUM, +search and +disable gear equal to your level. So, if you're level 7, you should have a +7 item. No, they're not easy to get. No, there's not a lot of +skill gear available on the auction house any more (and it's likely to be on named items that people price out of your budget). It's very likely that the EASIEST way to get these is to ask around until you find someone with cannith crafting leveled up and then ask them to MAKE you a set of +search and +disable items. They can pretty much kit you out from level 1-20 by making you several sets. +13 is the highest bonus from cannith crafting but you can use those up to level 20 and still do pretty decently. If this feels like too much work play something other than a rogue or an arti until you have accumulated some lootz. On the other hand, rogues and arties are the one exception to the "don't ask for stuff" rule. If you see someone pull a +rogue thing item (particularly if they've just expected you to trap a quest), then FEEL NO SHAME AND SAY "PASS ME THAT PLEASE". Be polite, of course, but building an ultra-trapper in this game while still contributing dps and staying alive is a serious gear challenge and it IS reasonable to expect people to help you out to a decent degree.

10. Learn fast or, AT ALL, even. Every time you die or get lost or otherwise experience failure, ask yourself "what can I do to prevent that from happening again?" Then, do it. Don't be like many people who have characters on their 3rd life but still don't know how to do the puzzles in the Shroud or The Pit. If you want to run a certain raid, know how to a.) get to and b.) do ALL of the flagging quests. Alone if necessary. To play this game you are, by necessity, AT A COMPUTER THAT HAS INTERNET ACCESS. There is this thing called Google. There are maps of every. single. area. available in the game and wilderness explorer areas are DESIGNED to be solo'd. LEARN WHERE STUFF IS AND HOW TO DO IT. If you can't LEAD a quest by the THIRD time you run it (and a raid by the fifth or sixth time), then you probably want to play an easier game. You can only have an enjoyable experience by hanging on people's coattails for so long.

bohemian3
05-28-2014, 05:17 PM
Yeah . . . "carry me, but slowly".

...Your job is not to kill mobs, wander around, or figure things out...

...you probably want to play an easier game. You can only have an enjoyable experience by hanging on people's coattails for so long.

Yes, as a newbee I do read the wiki, and study the maps, but there's only so far that takes you once you're actually in a dungeon. (and it feels more and more like homework and not a game.)

Also as a relative newbee I do try to adhere to the experienced players canon of conduct when I have pugged. Interesting to see the condescending rain of rules when one is merely spitballing ideas on how to bridge the gap between newer players experiencing content for the first time and long-time players. I actually do agree with all you said, except I do want to learn how to effectively and strategically take out mobs and not run straight into them, and for me the fun of it all is trying to figure things out the first time because they're won't be another once you know the trick. So solo casual it is for me.

Actually, I appreciate posts like this as I debate on continuing on in DDO or throwing myself into Watch Dogs and see if the currents pull me back.

PsychoBlonde
05-30-2014, 08:55 PM
There is no way to "bridge" that gap because what separates vets from newbies is not really experience or skill but a mindset that says "I am damn well going to do this whether anybody helps me or not" and then diving in, dying a bunch, scratching your head over puzzles, soloing stuff that says it requires extra party members by finding the tricks for yourself, etc. etc. etc. I know people who have done The Pit WAY more times than I have and yet they still have not the slightest clue how to run it--nor do they make ANY effort to learn.

Every single vet has REAMS of experience of running with people like this--people who, when you ATTEMPT to give them guidance, get all sullen and nasty about it, which turns "PLZ HELP!" into a giant red "AVOID THIS LIKE THE PLAGUE" flag. Paying vets is not going to make the experience any less nasty and annoying for the vet.

If you really want to put something in the game that'll help make vets less leery of deserving newbies, ask the devs to create some sort of soloing challenge with achievements that newbies can do and point to as "see, I completed this all by myself! I'm not a loser!" A difficult solo dungeon that allows no cakes, no reentries, no hirelings, and that you fail if you die would be a start. Just being able to SEE other people's gear and stats would be nice (and most other MMO's allow this).

It would also be VERY nice to be able to associate ALL of someone's characters with that person, so if you run across someone who is the worst kind of self-righteous jerk noob, you can BLANKET ignore ALL of their characters at once. This would greatly increase my personal willingness to deal with people I don't know because I'd at least know that they're not the bad people I've ALREADY run across. (And, likewise, you can friend all of someone's characters instead of just one at a time). It wouldn't prevent people making new accounts but it'd make things a bit easier, at least.

It'd also be nice if Ignore tracked WHEN you blocked someone (with the option to make it duration-limited) and let you, say, include a little note about why they particularly irritated you that one time.

A few extra game features could go a long way.