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  1. #1
    Community Member Oberon_Shrader's Avatar
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    Default Epic Items, Scarcity and the Grind

    At the risk of people hating me (and certainly some hating this post), I'd like to suggest that epic items should not drop as complete versions, but should continue to require a scroll, seal and shard grind. Now to clarify, I do not mean to say that there should be no new named items dropping in epic level quests, but that items labelled as epic (epic, in my mind, being items of surpassing power much superior to others in the game that may be similar) should require some additional effort to attain.

    I have a simple reason for this: scarcity creates value. And truly epic items should be by far the most valuable items in the game.

    For this reason I prefer the long grind for scrolls, seals and shards against getting a fully completed version. I know many will disagree for a variety of reasons.

    Some may claim that the new epic items, like those that drop in CitW, are already rare enough. To this, I will say that they are certainly rare, but when compared to the grind of older epics they are much easier to get.

    Others will say that epic items which require no grind make the game more accessible. To that, I will say that this is true, but only to a certain extent. Other items which are powerful and rare (but not to the same extent as epic items as defined above) will do the same trick for the average player, but will not take away from the awe and feeling of accomplishment given by epics that require a grind. Additionally, it makes grinding those epics superfluous and tedious, as fully complete and better epics exist.

    There will also be those that say that the new epics (CitW, for example, again) are not really complete, as they can be upgraded through a grind (heroic Commendations). To them, I will say that this is factually true and yet the power of those items even in their most basic form make other epic items seems... well, less than epic, especially when considering the grind needed to get them to epic version.

    There is a danger in reducing the scarcity of epic items. If they can be got with little effort, or even if they need some work or time to be got, then their value is much reduced and they are not epic at all, merely average. Powerful, yes, but unfortunately common.

    If the goal of epic items was to make them rare and wonderful artifacts that not everyone has, that is to make them special, then the emerging system of dropping complete versions of epic items falls utterly short of this goal. On the other hand, the hated grind, which stood between the player and their completed epic item, was really the thing that made them epic. Their scarcity was what gave them such great value, what made them rare and wonderful, what made them special.
    Last edited by Oberon_Shrader; 01-26-2013 at 10:22 AM.

  2. #2
    Community Member Dendrix's Avatar
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    3 years. 250+ completions over multiple characters.
    No Sword of Shadows shard.

    that's what rarity is.

    ****ed off.

    An equally skilled player with an epic SoS will always out damage me.

  3. #3
    Community Member Oberon_Shrader's Avatar
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    I'm very sorry that you haven't pulled that shard yet, one would expect to after so many completions. But that's just bad luck and doesn't speak to or change the nature of my argument.

  4. #4
    Community Member Argila's Avatar
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    After 366 runs of DQ1 and DQ2 and no Thornlord shard yet, not signed.

  5. #5
    Community Member Oberon_Shrader's Avatar
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    I suppose I knew this post wouldn't be popular and though I didn't mean for this to be a petition, simply a commentary, by its nature it does suggest that the old grind system is better than the new system.

    Nonetheless, I would ask both of you: Would you prefer a system where everyone has endgame epic SoS and Thornlords? Would that not make them commonplace and therefore without any value?

    Isn't the reason that you're so unhappy about not having them because they have such special value?

  6. #6
    Community Member Argila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oberon_Shrader View Post
    I suppose I knew this post wouldn't be popular and though I didn't mean for this to be a petition, simply a commentary, by its nature it does suggest that the old grind system is better than the new system.

    Nonetheless, I would ask both of you: Would you prefer a system where everyone has endgame epic SoS and Thornlords? Would that not make them commonplace and therefore without any value?

    Isn't the reason that you're so unhappy about not having them because they have such special value?
    I answer your question with another question, do you really think 200+ runs to get something is ok?

  7. #7
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    Low drop rates, combined with lengthy time investment vs character improvement equals no lifer haves, looking down upon casual have nots. these breeds elitism and excluding those who do not have from the very content these items come from.

    MMO age, the older they get the easier the older items need to become easier to get, or the new items easier to get and surpassing of the old, lest the game become a stagnant population of hard cores.

    Pretty much what haooened to and nearly killed DDO.

    In PnP. an epic artifact is not something people get to keep for more then a few sessions, maybe till the end of a campaign to be used in some heroic epic moment. They where never meant to be carried for a characters entire career. The closest exception I can think of is a holy avenger in the hands of a paladin.

    In any MMO though, gear grind is one of the carrots the devs use to keep us going. Sadly the player community turns it into a large and unfriendly stick used to beat down new players until they reach a point of "WHy BOTHER playing" DDOs community in general is very anti new player. They dont want to see it made easier to access, nor more enjoyable to play. THis is why all the vets are so clandestine in their play when logged in, avoiding the masses who will in time dwindle away due to not having any help to understand the game.

    Loot should of never been the defining trait to a character it became in DDO, same thing ruined Age of Conan. In such lands it should be character ability alone that defines one, not ones golf club bag of tricks. things like boss beaters, trash killers, situational tools for every bit of content, are all bad things in an MMO if you want to encourage free form character building, and a friendly pug atmosphere.

    Frankly Im a one and done when it comes to DDO content. I have been so since I took a stand years ago. Outside of the challenges which by their nature randomize events enough to keep them mildly interesting. Content that loses all challenge once known and meta gamed isnt worth gridning out for any reward. Content has to be fun for that. and DDO fun is lost the second you know whats coming.

  8. #8

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    The principle problem, IMO, with a totally random loot system, is the lack of determinism.
    You can run 'The Snitch' a 100 times and not get an EAGA Seal (believe me, I know).
    There's no guarantee that you will get one on your 101st run; in fact empirically you
    are no closer than you were on your first run.

    The reason I like 'The Shroud' and the Challenges is that they are deterministic. You
    are incrementally closer to your goal after every run. The size of the increment is
    determined by how successful you were. Note, I'm praising the mechanism not
    necessarily the nature of the quests (Kobold Island, I'm looking at you!).

    As I've posted before, I'd like to see a barter system in place for the older
    shard/seal/scroll items. After all, it was only a matter of luck, not skill, that meant you
    didn't get the drop you wanted. In some of the content, seals are sufficiently rare that
    getting a multiple amount to trade in for the one you want still wouldn't be a trivial
    task.

  9. #9
    Community Member Torkzed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knockcocker View Post
    The principle problem, IMO, with a totally random loot system, is the lack of determinism.
    You can run 'The Snitch' a 100 times and not get an EAGA Seal (believe me, I know).
    There's no guarantee that you will get one on your 101st run; in fact empirically you
    are no closer than you were on your first run.

    The reason I like 'The Shroud' and the Challenges is that they are deterministic. You
    are incrementally closer to your goal after every run. The size of the increment is
    determined by how successful you were. Note, I'm praising the mechanism not
    necessarily the nature of the quests (Kobold Island, I'm looking at you!).

    As I've posted before, I'd like to see a barter system in place for the older
    shard/seal/scroll items. After all, it was only a matter of luck, not skill, that meant you
    didn't get the drop you wanted. In some of the content, seals are sufficiently rare that
    getting a multiple amount to trade in for the one you want still wouldn't be a trivial
    task.

    This response is pure gold. I hope any dev reading takes note of the wisdom of these words...

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by knockcocker View Post
    The principle problem, IMO, with a totally random loot system, is the lack of determinism.
    You can run 'The Snitch' a 100 times and not get an EAGA Seal (believe me, I know).
    There's no guarantee that you will get one on your 101st run; in fact empirically you
    are no closer than you were on your first run.

    The reason I like 'The Shroud' and the Challenges is that they are deterministic. You
    are incrementally closer to your goal after every run. The size of the increment is
    determined by how successful you were. Note, I'm praising the mechanism not
    necessarily the nature of the quests (Kobold Island, I'm looking at you!).

    As I've posted before, I'd like to see a barter system in place for the older
    shard/seal/scroll items. After all, it was only a matter of luck, not skill, that meant you
    didn't get the drop you wanted. In some of the content, seals are sufficiently rare that
    getting a multiple amount to trade in for the one you want still wouldn't be a trivial
    task.
    I agree with this, but I actually agree with the OP too, at least to some extent. Sinking hours and hours into the game and ending up making zero effective progress toward your goal is simply unfun. But at the same time, I like the idea of having some items be very rare.

    Items that are of only moderate power or less (such as almost all of the old epics), as well as items that are absolutely game-changing (i.e. overpowered, such as the eSOS) should be something everybody can make consistent progress toward. Weaker items because a huge grind for them doesn't make sense at all given their power. Game-changing items should require more grind but progress toward them should always be continual, because without that item certain characters will effectively be gimped.

    But the presence of some other items in the loot tables that are hugely desirable, yet not really game changing (such as the eROSS), are also good for the game. A person could grind for years and not expect to ever get one, so it feels particularly special if you ever actually do get it. A phenomenal item, yet it doesn't break the game.

    I'd like to see an eROSS-style item with similar rarity be added to the game once every update or two. Items that are unique in their properties and highly desirable to a broad group of characters, but not overpowered. There should be some more truly rare wondrous items in DDO. In the early days of the game they were the Sunblade, Mace of Smiting, lootgen power 5 items. Or maybe there already are, with some of the cool new rare lootgen items. I think that was a step in the right direction.
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  11. #11
    Community Member SealedInSong's Avatar
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    Default @deterministic

    +1

    At the very least I'd like to be able to turn in, say, three shards of _______ (The Helm of Mroranon) and transmute it into a Shard of the Sword of Shadows.

    Some may argue that would just lead to people being super greedy about everything that drops in the hope that they can use it to their own ends, but I'd argue from personal experience that I'd much rather not count on people not putting shards/seals up for roll than ALWAYS being inferior to a person that got lucky enough to get the best drop (per Dendrix's comment).

    If we could all trade in three shards of the Necklace of Silver Prophecy for a Sword of Shadows shard, we'd all be happier.
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  12. #12
    Community Member Zorth's Avatar
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    Yes!

    I agree!

    This thread hits the nail on the head in the first few sentences.

    Random loot is better and is more fun, stop giving us artifacts every update!
    The Blood of the Red Dragon

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oberon_Shrader View Post
    At the risk of people hating me (and certainly some hating this post), I'd like to suggest that epic items should not drop as complete versions, but should continue to require a scroll, seal and shard grind. Now to clarify, I do not mean to say that there should be no new named items dropping in epic level quests, but that items labelled as epic (epic, in my mind, being items of surpassing power much superior to others in the game that may be similar) should require some additional effort to attain.

    I have a simple reason for this: scarcity creates value. And truly epic items should be by far the most valuable items in the game.

    For this reason I prefer the long grind for scrolls, seals and shards against getting a fully completed version. I know many will disagree for a variety of reasons.

    Some may claim that the new epic items, like those that drop in CitW, are already rare enough. To this, I will say that they are certainly rare, but when compared to the grind of older epics they are much easier to get.

    Others will say that epic items which require no grind make the game more accessible. To that, I will say that this is true, but only to a certain extent. Other items which are powerful and rare (but not to the same extent as epic items as defined above) will do the same trick for the average player, but will not take away from the awe and feeling of accomplishment given by epics that require a grind. Additionally, it makes grinding those epics superfluous and tedious, as fully complete and better epics exist.

    There will also be those that say that the new epics (CitW, for example, again) are not really complete, as they can be upgraded through a grind (heroic Commendations). To them, I will say that this is factually true and yet the power of those items even in their most basic form make other epic items seems... well, less than epic, especially when considering the grind needed to get them to epic version.

    There is a danger in reducing the scarcity of epic items. If they can be got with little effort, or even if they need some work or time to be got, then their value is much reduced and they are not epic at all, merely average. Powerful, yes, but unfortunately common.

    If the goal of epic items was to make them rare and wonderful artifacts that not everyone has, that is to make them special, then the emerging system of dropping complete versions of epic items falls utterly short of this goal. On the other hand, the hated grind, which stood between the player and their completed epic item, was really the thing that made them epic. Their scarcity was what gave them such great value, what made them rare and wonderful, what made them special.
    No thank you. The horrible bugged gind of scrolls, seals and shard (and on top of that for the item) is terrible.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oberon_Shrader View Post
    I suppose I knew this post wouldn't be popular and though I didn't mean for this to be a petition, simply a commentary, by its nature it does suggest that the old grind system is better than the new system.

    Nonetheless, I would ask both of you: Would you prefer a system where everyone has endgame epic SoS and Thornlords? Would that not make them commonplace and therefore without any value?

    Isn't the reason that you're so unhappy about not having them because they have such special value?
    The value is in what it can do for my toons, not in how long it took me to get them. If something is super common but still fabulous for my toons, I'll take that over something of the same usefullness of a toon with a ridiculous grind out.

    Further, how you define value is subjective. With the exception of the scroll, the items involved in these endeavers cannot be sold, and therefor are monetarily valueless. And since I define value in the fun I have with other players, and not in getting that uber super rare drop, your proposal and arguments to support just sound odd to me. I am assuming from the context that your definition of value in this case is a variant of ego: It was super hard to get, look at my gear! since you cannot sell it, and in most cases these days epic ground loot is less valuable than good combinations of random loot gen items your defintion cannot be the stats and effects of the item in this case.
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  15. #15
    Community Member Vellrad's Avatar
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    I prefer seal/shard/scroll to N/H/E versions.

  16. #16
    Community Member Oberon_Shrader's Avatar
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    Talking I see I have a lot to reply to! I do love a debate!

    Quote Originally Posted by Argila View Post
    I answer your question with another question, do you really think 200+ runs to get something is ok?
    Simply put: No, I think it sucks.

    That said, I still don't want epic items to be so easy to get as to become commonplace.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karavek View Post
    Low drop rates, combined with lengthy time investment vs character improvement equals no lifer haves, looking down upon casual have nots. these breeds elitism and excluding those who do not have from the very content these items come from.

    MMO age, the older they get the easier the older items need to become easier to get, or the new items easier to get and surpassing of the old, lest the game become a stagnant population of hard cores.

    Pretty much what haooened to and nearly killed DDO.

    In PnP. an epic artifact is not something people get to keep for more then a few sessions, maybe till the end of a campaign to be used in some heroic epic moment. They where never meant to be carried for a characters entire career. The closest exception I can think of is a holy avenger in the hands of a paladin.

    In any MMO though, gear grind is one of the carrots the devs use to keep us going. Sadly the player community turns it into a large and unfriendly stick used to beat down new players until they reach a point of "WHy BOTHER playing" DDOs community in general is very anti new player. They dont want to see it made easier to access, nor more enjoyable to play. THis is why all the vets are so clandestine in their play when logged in, avoiding the masses who will in time dwindle away due to not having any help to understand the game.

    Loot should of never been the defining trait to a character it became in DDO, same thing ruined Age of Conan. In such lands it should be character ability alone that defines one, not ones golf club bag of tricks. things like boss beaters, trash killers, situational tools for every bit of content, are all bad things in an MMO if you want to encourage free form character building, and a friendly pug atmosphere.
    I agree in principle with this. I myself am not VIP, nor do I spend all my time playing DDO or have all the content in the game.

    My thought is not that there shouldn't be excellent items available to anyone who plays DDO. On the contrary, I think that there should be many items which drop completed and are truly excellent. But I maintain that epic items should be something apart that not every character should have. That is, I think every character should be able to have an epic item, I just don't think it's healthy for all characters to have (fundamentally) the same items.

    For example: "I haven't been able to get this, even though I really want it. But I have all the parts for that and it's great, too!"

    Quote Originally Posted by knockcocker View Post
    As I've posted before, I'd like to see a barter system in place for the older
    shard/seal/scroll items. After all, it was only a matter of luck, not skill, that meant you
    didn't get the drop you wanted. In some of the content, seals are sufficiently rare that
    getting a multiple amount to trade in for the one you want still wouldn't be a trivial
    task.
    An excellent solution!

    Quote Originally Posted by patang01 View Post
    The horrible bugged gind of scrolls, seals and shard (and on top of that for the item) is terrible.
    You're right, bugs are terrible in any capacity/situation. They need to be fixed. But, my purpose here was not to discuss bugs, it was to discuss the system used to get epic items.

    Quote Originally Posted by TrinityTurtle View Post
    I am assuming from the context that your definition of value in this case is a variant of ego: It was super hard to get, look at my gear!
    Not at all what I meant. Yes, I am proud of my epic items (the few I have), but the value I find in them is having them for myself, not at showing them off to other players. They're special to me because I put in time and effort to get them and I felt adrenaline and joy course through my veins when I got the pieces that I needed and especially when I completed it. All that effort paid off and I was rewarded in a most delightful and special way.

    As a final note, being a player, I also want to have the best gear possible (for obvious reasons). My dissatisfaction at the new system stems from my standpoint (based in principle, not in personal interest) that we all want to have something valuable, but that if everyone has it, how valuable can it be, really?
    Last edited by Oberon_Shrader; 01-27-2013 at 01:29 AM.

  17. #17
    Community Member psykopeta's Avatar
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    the value of an item is the value you put to it

    because you aren't talking about money, right? then there's, your XXX will be the same that newbie got in 2 runs, but yours needed more than 2 years to get, your ahs more value

    that newbie will probably sell or destroy that XXX because (as u pointed) its powerful but hasn't personal value, you won't

    if the reasons to change were what i saw, can't find why shouldn't give a complete version

    except if you are thinking in that strange concept called endgame or if you want the old epic stuff to show off
    psykopeta - hoarding pl, for the sake of hoarding, the day i become ubercompletionist will be because there isn't anything to delay it more - thelanis, where the gimps claim to be pros and noobs claim to be pros, no newbies allowed(unless they claim to be pros), we have enough drama w/o them. PS i'm not a pro, maybe if i reincarnate in RL...

  18. #18
    Community Member Ivan_Milic's Avatar
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    As someone said 200+ runs,thats over 1 year(doing it every 3 days),took me 2-3 months to get eaga scroll,before motu,Id rather have e/h/e system than the one where you need 4 items to make something epic.
    Barter system would also be good.

  19. #19
    Community Member Oberon_Shrader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psykopeta View Post
    the value of an item is the value you put to it

    because you aren't talking about money, right? then there's, your XXX will be the same that newbie got in 2 runs, but yours needed more than 2 years to get, your ahs more value

    that newbie will probably sell or destroy that XXX because (as u pointed) its powerful but hasn't personal value, you won't
    New players do all kinds of things, mostly because they don't understand the game. I personally pulled a heart of wood in one of my first runs of playing only to destroy it because I didn't know it's value. I don't think this has any bearing on the discussion at hand.

    The value of something could be defined in monetary terms, if you like. Everything has its price, so to speak. However, I meant a more basic understanding of value: that whereby something is appreciated for its innate characteristics; that is, its special for what it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by psykopeta View Post
    if the reasons to change were what i saw, can't find why shouldn't give a complete version

    except if you are thinking in that strange concept called endgame or if you want the old epic stuff to show off
    I'll reiterate:
    We shouldn't give away complete versions of items we want to be special and apart from the rest because when everyone has them it makes them no more than commonplace. They become powerful junk that every character has laying around and there's nothing special about it.

    We look at an item and we have a reaction. That reaction might be the best way to judge the value of something. Perhaps we look and say "Wow! That's something special!" I would venture that this item has a good deal of value. On the other hand, maybe we look at something and say "Eh. So what? If you dont have that, you're just gimped." I would venture that that item has little or no value.

    Now, I'm not talking about the prideful boasting of items we have. I'm speaking of the feeling we have in ourself when we judge an item.

    I mentioned endgame and eSoS as an example simply because it was brought to attention early on. But I'm not really interested in endgame gearing. I'm interested in maintaining the special value of epic items.

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