A quick search of the web for a “Solution looking for a problem” will result in 200,000,000 hits, IMHO the top hit should DDO’s own “Sagas”. It is not as if Sagas are a new concept, with “The Catacombs”, “Delera’s Tomb”, “Tangleroot” and “Sorrowdusk” we have had extended story arcs with end rewards since the game launched. Now the rewards of these storylines and how they are rewarded change. The problem is no players were demanding or asking for sagas. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of other requests for improvements or changes to the game and not a one that I am aware asked for Sagas.
It seems like a long time ago, Turbine introduced the “Bounty” system to the game with the release of Module 7, in 2008. Bounties were a once a day low level quest for killing a “named” optional in the Cerulean Hills, the Harbor, or Waterworks. A bounty was worth 300XP. After much head scratching by the player base, and questioning of the Devs for priorities, Bounties were removed in Module 10 (Eberron Unlimited Release). I bring up Bounties because I am very much reminded of them when I look at Sagas. Nice idea, implementation leaves me wondering what was Turbine Thinking?.
It’s not that I think Sagas are a bad idea, I just think there are much better ways to implement them and make them worth more to the player base. Considering that most of the player base thinks Saga’s are well, to be nice I’ll just call them worthless.
What’s wrong with Sagas?
- Storyline Lore Issues
- Hard to find the giver
- Bad UI
- Lackluster, underwhelming Rewards list
The first problem with Sagas is the “story line” connection of the quests.
In all fairness the “Gianthold” Saga, both the Normal and Epic version, make sense from a Storyline perspective, the rest of them, what do those quests have in common other than the devs grouping them together? I am sorry but the game as I know it has some great storylines that if you put the quests together it totally makes sense to have sagas, however “Honor of the Huntsilver”, “Perils of Cormyr”, “Menace of the Underdark”, “The End of Ebberon”, and “The Chosen of Mystra” all leave me, a Fanboi, scratching my head; what do they have in common.
Where are the “Korthos Island”, “The Kobold Incursion”, “Delera’s Graveyard”, “Threnal”, “The Devil’s Invasion”, “The Necropolis (Litany of the Dead”), “Secrets of the Artificers”, and … well you get the idea. These story arcs make sense to be combined into a Saga, while “The Chosen of Mystra” does not.
Addition Sagas like "Honor of the Huntsilver" may seem like they contain a solid story, the problem of course is like comparing the Saga to a book. In "Honor of the Huntsilver" readers have to complete quests that correlates to reading chapters 4-9 and 13-22 of the story. The first three chapters may be boring and chapters 10-12 might seem a little off story but they all relate together into one big story arc.
Hard to find the Saga Quest giver
As an experienced player if I find it difficult to find these quest providers imagine an inexperienced player and what difficulty they must have.
The complete lack of a useful UI
The problems with the UI and tracking Sagas is well documented. Until Turbine puts forth the resources to create another tab in the “Adventure Compendium” or the “Quest Journal” these complaints are going to continue and grow louder. Don’t get me started on the how both of these UI’s need major upgrades to begin with, the fact we cannot track Sagas in them is just another blow against them.
Lackluster End Rewards
Assuming I have found the Saga provider, suffer through the bad UI and run all the quests, let us move are discussion to the Saga rewards.
In the Case of the Gianthold on Heroic, your choice of one of the following;
Wow is that an underwhelming list. Let’s cover the why. Assuming you are level equivalent 13/14, you have just invested 4 to 6 hours of game play to run those 10 quests. Yes I know super hard core players can do it faster.
- random +1 Tome of Skills
- 16K/22K/35K/46K XP
- 5K/7.5K/10K/15K guild renown
The Skill Tomes, a minimum level 1 item are random, and you chance of getting one that “benefits” your character in the random draw is minimal at best. At the level you are at you should have one random +3, and +2s at a minimum. I could argue that on True Elite that it should be one +4, one +3 and two +2 on your random list.
The amount of XP 16K/22K/35K/46K is well poor based upon time spent and level equivalence. 16K/26K/42.9K/59.8K make far more sense as that is one Rank for ---/1st Life/2nd Life/3rd Life.
Guild Renown is the same issue, 5K/7.5K/10K/15K is to low for the amount of effort people are putting forth, 7.5K/10K/15K/25K make far more sense to me.
Commendation of Valor
Several (okay more than several) players have stated that if you Commendations of Valor that they need to be BTA rather than BTC. My response is different, Saga’s are supposed to offer rewards for the character that completed it. I am not a big fan of Guild Renown (yet I am usually the first to take it) but making Commendations of Valor BTA defeats the purpose. However with the changes being made to tokens Commendations of Valor should be BTA, but I would prefer that Turbine fix other issues and make it better not just a Band-Aid approach.
Each level of rewards are too small/low for the effort and time put in, I fully realize that these rewards are supposed to be a bonus for characters but lets really make them a bonus and a reason to run them.
In review for Sagas:
- Eliminate “Honor of the Huntsilver”, “Perils of Cormyr”, “Menace of the Underdark” “The End of Ebberon” and “The Chosen of Mystra”
- Update the existing Sagas in game to use the same system. "The Catacombs", "Tangleroot", "Sorrowdusk" "Thernal", "Delara's Tomb/Graveyard"
- Create 5 new sagas from the following list; “Korthos Island”, “Kobold Incursion”, “Litany of the Dead (Necropolis)”, “Devil Invasion” “Secrets of the Artificers”, “Menace of the Underdark”, “Shadowfell Conspiracy”, “Zwabi’s”, “Three Barrel Cove” ….
- Create a better UI panel for either the Adventure Compendium or the Quest Journal
- Improve the rewards - make them meaningful enough that players of all skills want to achieve them.
A couple of other somewhat related thoughts
The Lahar, the Epic Vendor in the 12 and what he offers needs to be revisited. An example of what I would have them offer
- “Diamond of Charisma +6” – 20 Tokens of the Twelve
- “Diamond of Charisma +7” – 20 Tokens of the Twelve and 10 Greater Tokens of the Twelve
- “Diamond of Charisma +8” – 30 Tokens of the Twelve and 15 Greater Tokens of the Twelve
- “Diamond of Charisma +9” – 40 Tokens o the Twelve and 20 Greater Tokens of the Twelve.
- Lesser Heroic Heart of Wood – 20 Tokens of the Twelve
- Greater Heroic Heart of Wood – 20 Tokens of the Twelve and 10 Greater Tokens of the Twelve
- Epic Heart of Wood 20 Tokens of the Twelve and 20 Greater Tokens of the Twelve.
I would also rename “Heroic Commendations” to “Epic Commendations” for obvious reasons.