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  1. #1
    Community Member Drus-the-Axe's Avatar
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    Default To ProducerRowan: DDO Strategic Issues

    Hi Aaron. It's good to see Turbine engaged and communicative. I wanted to bring a few key issues to your attention, if you hadn't noticed (yet). I've played DDO for years, since shortly before F2P (and been VIP since then). I generally don't play with a guild; solo or (esp) PUGs is my preference. Just so you know where I'm coming from.

    I'd posted this a couple of months ago => https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthrea...=1#post4996928

    The relevant part's reposted below. I'm interested in your thoughts - do you see these as issues, and if so, do you have any plans (that you can share or not) to address them?

    No. The enhancement pass isn't DDO's biggest problem (or pending one). There are 2 critical flaws today, of Turbine's making:
    1. Stone of Experience
    2. Ship buffs
    3. BB

    Stones seem like a good idea on the surface. Jet folks forward to high enough level to play MotU. Problem is they work too well. Many skip levels 8-15, turning them into a nearly party-less 'dead zone'. Couple that with the thinner selection of questions in the low teens (and the ones available tend to be older, more complicated, or require multiple players). I enjoy PUG'ing. I generally don't run with a guild. And that's OK. Or at least, it was. The past year+ it's gotten harder to find parties, in that 'mid' range. Partly as noted the wider 1-25 range spread out the population a bit. Partly DDO's not the hot Game of the Month. But partly because of Stones. It's hard to explain anything else when you find multiple parties up, all oddly stopping around level 7, then nothing until high teens. TDNBW.

    Ship buffs are horribly unbalancing and OP'd. Tell me why a level 1 toon can walk into a ship and get 30pts acid resist and other buffs normally requiring a caster level of 11+.

    Ship buffs also produce a nasty SOCIAL affect. Since they're so OP'd, lots of folks want them. Think you _need_ them. So every quest or two it's time to go out for dinner and drinks, while many scamper off to their ships for the latest 'fix'. Buff junkies. Some parties I've been in, folks run off to their ship between _every_ quest. Now some of these are TRs who know what they're doing. Some are powerjunkies who want every last little boost. And many are 'introduced' to the life of a ship buff junky since 'everyone else is doing so I should/can too'.

    Bravery Bonus causes many to run elite first (or only). Before BB folks would run normal + hard before elite (sometimes multiple times), but now many refuse to run anything but elite (whether or not they're up to it). I'd rather run no-elite quests than sit around for a half hour waiting for an elite group to form (oddly enough, the latter don't earn xp for those 30 minutes, and somehow think they're coming out ahead...)

    DDO cannot survive as an Eveningstar-only game. Even if everyone had the option to start at level 15, there's not enough content (and won't be for a while).

    I only see partial solutions.

    Stones
    The 7-16 game suffers (badly) whenever Stones are available (and quite a while after, since most don't take their lvl 5 toons to 10+ overnight). This is a problem of Turbine's making, and likely a profitable one at least in the short-term. I see fiscal incentive not to change this, but it has negative implications over the long-term. I've thought about it a fair bit, but the only solution I can see is to kill Stones, and I doubt that'll be desirable to Turbine (they undoubtedly bring in good coin), or to some of the community (3rd+ lifers no doubt tired of running some of that content repeatedly). This is worrisome.

    Ship buffs
    This is easily solved -- scale the buff to character level. A level 3 barbarian using a fire resistance shrine should only get 10pts resistance, or +1 stat boost, or... Resist Energy is 10/20/30 resistance for levels 1/7?/11, _at least_ use the same scale. Perhaps a bigger nerfbat is needed, to scale up through at least heroic levels, e.g. for 3 tiers go 1/8/15 or maybe something like 4/10/16. Considering they can't be dispelled like normal spells and cost a party 0 sp, they should give less benefit than spells at the same level. As is, ship buffs are unbalanced and OP'd.

    Bravery Bonus
    This has been discussed before. A simple change so you only get BB/hard on your 2nd life and BB/elite on your 3rd+ is one option. That may cause its own troubles, e.g. TRs would prefer to run elite-only and likely to see fewer non-TR in parties with TRs. Of course, one could question how that differs from today, and it would certainly encourage 1st and 2nd lifers.

    Take a look at server populations via DDOracle e.g. Thelanis
    http://ddoracle.com/Thelanis.html
    Throw "Characters by Level" (2nd set of data) into Excel and make a line graph, and you see the trend
    level 1 drops to ~half as many by level 3, flat through 5, then a HUGE spike at 6, plummeting for 7, then a ~60 degree slope up to 10, a drop at 11, a small incline to ~18 and then peaks then then a steep dropoff around 22-23 through 25. The numbers vary a bit but the chart's about the same for Khyber and Argo and others. Stones seem likely to be a key factor behind the spike @ lvl 6. That's also where the game starts to get harder, and some of the free content starts to get thinner. The trough @ 10+ seems likely due to content - the low teens have been a poor spot for quests for a long time. The popoulation doesn't really recover until ~16, and there's a dramatic rise ~17-18. There's an interesting valley @ 20, probably due to TR.


    So..no. Sorry OP. The enhancement pass needs some serious love, but it is alpha so I'd be shocked if it didn't. I for one am heartened to see such early work shared for feedback. Kudos to Turbine for doing this.

    The question now is how Turbine moves forward. Since they're removing the enhancements to test UI18 it'll be a while until the next batch of enhancement changes are shared. This hopefully gives them time to review and think on the feedback to date, and take steps to improve this change. What that new round of enhancement changes address (esp the meta- issues) will likely be telling.

  2. #2
    Community Member Vellrad's Avatar
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    Theese are not real problems.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vellrad View Post
    Theese are not real problems.
    Exactly

  4. #4
    Community Member MiniKobold's Avatar
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    Those aren't the problems Turbine should be worried about. I wouldn't even call them problems.
    Last edited by MiniKobold; 07-14-2013 at 12:23 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vellrad View Post
    Theese are not real problems.
    +1
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  6. #6
    Community Member mondo's Avatar
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    All these "problems" or 'critical flaws" as you call them, all make TR'ing easier. TR'ing is a system that Turbine heavily promotes and has more plans for expansion in the future, and all 3 of these systems supplement TR'ing and Turbines pocketbook as well.

    So now with all that being said, I cant help but notice that these are systems that you don't like personally and just wanna see nerfed because you have a problem with them. Well Im sure I wont be going out on a limb to say that most of the gaming community doesn't or wont agree with your way of thinking, especially those of us who like TR'ing.

    so uh.... /not signed
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    2015 DDO Players Council MangLord's Avatar
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    Ship buffs saved my life.

  8. #8
    2015 DDO Players Council MangLord's Avatar
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    Also, maybe twice I've had issues as a first lifer partied up with TRs, and those people were obviously just sad, disgruntled humans. Assuming one can play their character competently enough to not die in every fight, most people are happy for the company.

  9. #9
    Community Member AzB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mondo View Post
    All these "problems" or 'critical flaws" as you call them, all make TR'ing easier. TR'ing is a system that Turbine heavily promotes and has more plans for expansion in the future, and all 3 of these systems supplement TR'ing and Turbines pocketbook as well.

    So now with all that being said, I cant help but notice that these are systems that you don't like personally and just wanna see nerfed because you have a problem with them. Well Im sure I wont be going out on a limb to say that most of the gaming community doesn't or wont agree with your way of thinking, especially those of us who like TR'ing.

    so uh.... /not signed
    How does a lack of parties in the middle levels help TR'ing? Today, Sunday afternoon EST, there are no parties between waterworks and Vale on Cannith. None. Not a single LFM. Been that way for a couple hours. Every now and then one or two LFMs pop up for something, and they're generally someone way over level trying to get favor or something, and they all remain 1 person LFMs until they are removed.

    I TR a lot, and I agree with most everything in the original post. I think it's hilarious that people use stones, as they're paying not to play a game that they're paying to play. I don't begrudge anyone doing whatever they want, but I would never buy a stone. And I've been VIP since a month or two after I started playing, and generally don't have a problem paying for whatever I want in game, so it's not about money. But the stones, while profitable I'm sure, hurt the game in a way that's particularly damaging right now when there are so few people on line. Turbine may make a little money right now, but it makes the game pretty unattractive overall, and is bad news in the long run because many new people are not going to stay around. A game like this always suffers from player attrition and a constant influx of new players is the only way to combat this problem. The secondary aspect is getting them to stay, and right now it's not particularly attractive for anyone not already ensconced in guilds or static groups to stay.

    Ships buffs are stupid. They always have been. They slow the game down considerably and give way too much advantage at low levels. In some cases, the ship buffs are more powerful and don't stack with character buffs, leaving some characters rather redundant and less attractive. Giving it some perspective, from a TR point of view, for playing through all classes to 20 you get +2 to all attributes. Or you can hop on a high level ship and get them on a first life, first level toon. Seems a bit unbalanced to me. I think scaling ship buffs to level wouldn't hurt a thing, and would make them far less attractive at all levels.

    Granted there are more important specific issues with the game right now, but looking at the big picture some of these ideas might help overall.

  10. #10
    The Hatchery Cernunan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mondo View Post
    All these "problems" or 'critical flaws" as you call them, all make TR'ing easier. TR'ing is a system that Turbine heavily promotes and has more plans for expansion in the future, and all 3 of these systems supplement TR'ing and Turbines pocketbook as well.

    So now with all that being said, I cant help but notice that these are systems that you don't like personally and just wanna see nerfed because you have a problem with them. Well Im sure I wont be going out on a limb to say that most of the gaming community doesn't or wont agree with your way of thinking, especially those of us who like TR'ing.

    so uh.... /not signed
    Absolutely agree with this assessment.
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    While it's not difficult to figure out, it's a mindless, stupid and eye-bleeding grind. It's not too hard to figure out that is not what this game needs right now. 2-3 million karma ok, there's some pain for your gain. But really, the EPL's are not worth the pain of 6 million XP in off destinies/sphere's.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vellrad View Post
    These are not real problems.
    This.
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  12. #12
    Hero JOTMON's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drus-the-Axe View Post
    Hi Aaron. It's good to see Turbine engaged and communicative. I wanted to bring a few key issues to your attention, if you hadn't noticed (yet). I've played DDO for years, since shortly before F2P (and been VIP since then). I generally don't play with a guild; solo or (esp) PUGs is my preference. Just so you know where I'm coming from.

    I'd posted this a couple of months ago => https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthrea...=1#post4996928

    The relevant part's reposted below. I'm interested in your thoughts - do you see these as issues, and if so, do you have any plans (that you can share or not) to address them?
    Ship Buffs..
    Lots of posts on this,
    My suggestion when the buffs first came out was to change Resist to Absorption (tiered by shrine level)
    This would be useful at all levels and relatively so, low level players no longer become immune to elemental attacks and high level players can associate value to better elemental damage mitigation since it is % based not a static amount.
    The resist spell from those able to cast them and wands actually become useful again.

    My second recommendation was to make all the ship buffs available from the house P buffer for the appropriate price and favor.
    This way you are not forced to join guilds or go begging for ship buffs, get your house P favor and pay as you go buffs.

    don't really care about BB or TR stones those I don't see as an issue.
    Last edited by JOTMON; 07-14-2013 at 02:27 PM.
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  13. #13
    Community Member Wanesa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOTMON View Post
    Resist to Absorption (tiered by shrine level)
    /signed

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  14. #14
    Community Member Charononus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mondo View Post
    All these "problems" or 'critical flaws" as you call them, all make TR'ing easier. TR'ing is a system that Turbine heavily promotes and has more plans for expansion in the future, and all 3 of these systems supplement TR'ing and Turbines pocketbook as well.

    So now with all that being said, I cant help but notice that these are systems that you don't like personally and just wanna see nerfed because you have a problem with them. Well Im sure I wont be going out on a limb to say that most of the gaming community doesn't or wont agree with your way of thinking, especially those of us who like TR'ing.

    so uh.... /not signed
    This
    /not signed to the op in any way shape or form

  15. #15
    Community Member Drus-the-Axe's Avatar
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    Wow. I didn't say outright kill BB, ship buffs or Stones. I didn't make outrageous thoughtless remarks. I didn't 'demand' <sic> solutions overnight. And yet, of the 13 responses, 11 are dismissive entirely.

    In fact, the point of posting this was to NOT ask for any immediate action. Even if Turbine didn't have their hands full with u19 and u20 already, these are the kinds of things one needs to carefully think through and evaluate, so any changes are improvements and not solutions worse than the disease. The point was to open a dialogue, or at least get a feel if these issues are on Turbine's radar (or if I'm so totally off base I'd like to hear them tell me so - after all, they're the only ones with the hard numbers to inform their opinion).

    @AzB You obviously saw my point. I like DDO. I dislike some things, but overall, I quite enjoy the game. I hope to see it stick around (and improving) for years to come. But that in part requires a healthy population and, to some degree, regular injection of fresh blood. Stones have a noticeably negative impact on that. Anyone who hits level ~6 and doesn't buy a stone to rush to end game, and doesn't belong to a guild and only run with guildies, is largely SOL while Stones are on sale and for weeks to months after. Not-so-established players are forced to find a guild, solo or just turned off and find another game. That's not good for DDO in the long term.

    @JOTMON Changing ship elemental buffs to Spell Absorption is a brilliant idea. It scales with players, isn't hideously OP at low level and is still useful at high levels. Though that only addresses protections. Any thoughts on stat buffs or the rest?

    As for the dismissives, explain to me why a 1st level toon should be able to get level 11+ enhancements and protections, w/o cost, for longer than level 20 casters can provide?

    Explain to me why a level 1 toon should get level 11+ magics, when items are level gated? Why does gear have ML, and ship buffs don't?

    All I see from naysayers so far is naysaying. That's your opinion. Fair enough. Care to back it up with an explanation? I did mine.

    I'd like to hear an explanation why BB, ship buffs and stones don't contribute to the problems I described (or if they do, why you think these are not problems).

  16. #16
    Community Member Charononus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drus-the-Axe View Post

    I'd like to hear an explanation why BB, ship buffs and stones don't contribute to the problems I described (or if they do, why you think these are not problems).
    BB ---

    Not a problem because at worst it's a neutral proposition to grouping, for everyone that complains about it there seems to be someone like me that tosses up groups for elite because it makes most quests easier. If not for elite streak I'd farm normals and hards and never ever toss up an lfm.

    Stones ---
    Not everyone buys them, in fact many don't. Your lfm problem is do to people running in closed groups of guilds/channels with a diminishing playerbase. Merge the servers into 2-3 super servers, one server if it can be done similar to how eve online does it with just one server.

    Ship Buffs ---
    You can destroy those low level quests without ship buffs too, If 30 pts of resist is the difference between you dying and not you need to look at your build. (Or you pulled a stupid move, stupid moves are always an option in any quest, trust me I know) As far as your stat points being op, come on, someone got 1 more damage from a +2 str shrine. That's really not a big deal, I'd say if you think people with ship buffs are out performing you it is probably more from player skill or build not from ship buffs.

  17. #17
    Community Member ferd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vellrad View Post
    Theese are not real problems.
    Quote Originally Posted by Impaqt View Post
    +1
    +2


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    Quote Originally Posted by Drus-the-Axe View Post

    All I see from naysayers so far is naysaying. That's your opinion. Fair enough. Care to back it up with an explanation? I did mine.

    I agree that the shipbuffs are overpowered. But... they compensate for new folks that have no idea of the ruleset they are about to play in, having likely come from other games with much simpler rules or not played the genre at all. They also free up caster classes to not have to buff. Again, I do not agree with the philosophy behind all this, but I cannot argue with the practicality of it. I'd rather shuttle off the new people to my boat for elite runs, and hope they stick with DDO, and maybe even eventually learn why I asked them to please go buff.

    I like the stones of experience. My only complaint is that we cannot allocate the experience to precisely where we want it to go. I would love to use the 2 million exp to for 16-20. The people that purchase one stone are in essence paying the same amount of money that a 4 month game subscription would cost. With that fact in mind, they bother me even less! F2P is perhaps cool and fun and the fad at the moment, but again, practical considerations...

    I am neutral on Bravery Bonus. I TR a lot so I enjoy it. I also see the trouble with people primarily wanting to do only elite. Not a game breaker for me however.

  19. #19
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    Those who TR who ignore the issue of lack of groups in Heroic levels are shortsighted. I have nothing against TRing but what they don't seem to understand is that:

    1. A lot of players don't TR - TRing is not a common denominator in this game.

    2. New players are on their first life and find Heroic levels with no groups.

    3. Players who TR cannot carry the game by themselves - DDO needs those new players to have a good experience so they will stay. Low # of Heroic groups is not a good experience.

    I'm not saying I necessarily agree with the OP as I don't have the metrics. However these are serious issues for the game and dedicated DDO players would do well not to shrug them off.

  20. #20
    Community Member Drus-the-Axe's Avatar
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    At last! A real response.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charononus View Post
    BB
    No one is 'forced' to run elite, but the social and psychological aspects make it hard for many to avoid it. This has been discussed regularly on the forums. The vast majority of LFMs are elite. Hey, that's great, if you're up for it. But not everyone is. Doesn't stop them from having eyes bigger than their heads, as my mother used to say. I've seen too many parties are refuse to do hard or norm because it'll break their BB streak yet wipe mercilelessly.

    Before BB there were plenty of Norm + Hard LFMs up. Elites too, but not overwhelmingly so. Higher difficulty meant more XP and shot at better loot, but overall it seemed more balanced than where we are today.


    Quote Originally Posted by Charononus View Post
    Not a problem because at worst it's a neutral proposition to grouping
    So if 90%+ of all LFMs require elite, you don't see that as a bad thing?


    Quote Originally Posted by Charononus View Post
    Stones -- Not everyone buys them, in fact many don't. Your lfm problem is do to people running in closed groups of guilds/channels with a diminishing playerbase.
    If it were that simple, why is there a dramatic drop in LFMs in Stone level range when Stones hit the market, and a perceptible rise a month or two after? It varies a bit as there's multiple variables (time of year, DDO updates, other new 'hot' game releases) but there does seem to be a repeating pattern observable with the naked eye. Ascribing this due to sudden and coincidental large uptick in closed/guild/channel grouping with a coincidental drop fo same seems a bit of a reach. Are you sure about the cause and effect there?

    Diminishing playerbase is an issue. My assertion is Stones don't help - in fact, as currently implemented, they hurt (and maybe more bad than good, though that's complicated and only Turbine has the data to make any such claims). If you want to bring in new blood, and retain a % of them, you need a game that's engaging and fun, AND with a learning curve and community that doesn't helps.

    Not to say Stones are the only reason behind shrinking headcount. nor did I say they're all bad. I think iconics are one attempt to do what Stones were aimed at -- to get people to high-hero/epic levels so they can run in Faerun. Iconics seem to be a better approach. Between Iconics, a Vet-15 option and Stones, which do you think are better or worse for DDO in the long-term?


    Quote Originally Posted by Charononus View Post
    Merge the servers into 2-3 super servers, one server if it can be done similar to how eve online does it with just one server.
    It's all bits. In theory, anything's possible. But the only difference between theory and practice is, in theory, there's no difference between theory and practice...

    Code is a funny thing. Never confuse 'perceived value' and 'effort to create', and don't assume just because it's been done once it's repeatable. Software is more art than science, and more custom built than mass produced. Tell an engineer to build a bridge and they'll do it like they've done for centuries. Of sure, newer materials and whatnot make it easier, but it's largely repeating past experience. Software development is almost never repeating past work. So even though it may sound easy -- 'just do here like you did there' -- in practice it's rarely like effort.

    Fewer but bigger servers doesn't seem so simple, given evidence to date and past remarks from Turbine. Quite the opposite. We've heard (directly, or hinted at) essentially DDO's code is older and more complicated to modify than LoTRO, but not as bad as AC2. And even LoTRO has multiple servers. And non-technically, merging servers poses its own issues (e.g. name collision). I can understand why Turbine hasn't done this. And longer-term, it's questionable if that's all that helpful.

    And Eve Online is a rather unusual game, technically and socially. Good for them. But things they do well are unlikely to apply to DDO.


    Quote Originally Posted by Charononus View Post
    Ship Buffs
    Any one buff is (rarely) significant, but no one grabs just one buff from their level 60+ ship. And it's the mindset behind their 'necessity' that concerns me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Charononus View Post
    As far as your stat points being op, come on, someone got 1 more damage from a +2 str shrine. That's really not a big deal

    Quote Originally Posted by Charononus View Post
    I'd say if you think people with ship buffs are out performing you it is probably more from player skill or build not from ship buffs.
    It's got nothing with people outperforming me. I hold my own quite well thank you. Personally I almost never get ship buffs (yeah, I walk the talk) because I don't see the point of paying money to play a game so I can zip through it and not play the game. I enjoy the path as well as the destination. But that's MY choice. Others are free to do as they choose.

    What DOES concern me is two-fold:
    1. Perceived 'necessity' of ship buffs
    2. Social dynamics

    I've been in parties where I've been kicked because I don't get ship buffs. Despite having more HP and SP than most, game knowledge, how to work in a team and how to play to my toon's strengths, every few weeks I seem to run into someone who thinks no buffs == deadweight. That's an unhealthy outlook, and sadly one I've found often enough to find disturbing. It also feeds the 'power creep' and makes Turbine's job harder to provide a fun and (sufficiently) compelling game.

    And there's the crackaddicts. The ones who can't conceive of running a quest w/o ship buffs, or even if their ship buffs are 'running a little low' and might run out before they finish the quest. It's fun to party with folks who every quest or two need to run off for 'their hit'. Hey, that's their call. But when the rest of the party has to wait around for crackaddicts, it degrades the 'fun' factor.

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