The discussion regarding Commendations of Valor has become particularly heated lately in part because it's bringing up a lot of other complaints that are only partially related, but are in serious need of being addressed. So it occurred to me that this could potentially be turned from a PR disaster into a significant PR boost if this could be turned into an opportunity to address several concerns at once. So I offer for your consideration:
One System to Rule Them All: Commendations of Valor (A Humble Proposal)
Part 1: Phase out old upgrade systems and replace them with Commendations of Valor
Goal: Eliminate old systems without invalidating players’ hard work. The idea here it to clean up clutter in players’ inventory, reduce confusion for new players, and make old content more viable in the current game.
How it’s done:
- All named items in the game are updated to drop normal, hard, and elite versions (heroic and/or epic versions as appropriate). This is understandably a BIG endeavor, so prioritize all epic items and other items that have “special” systems for upgrading.
- The original scroll/seal/shard epic system is officially retired. Pre-existing epic items remain the same, but can be upgraded to their new Epic Elite versions via the Stone of Change. Pre-existing scrolls, shard, and seals can be used to upgrade pre-existing heroic items in the following way:
- One scroll, seal, or shard + Heroic item = Epic Normal item.
- One scroll, seal, or shard + Epic Normal item = Epic Hard item.
- One scroll, seal, or shard + Epic Hard item = Epic Elite item.
- Tokens of the Twelve will be phased out. Old Tokens can be converted into Commendations of Valor at the Stone of Change (exchange rate TDB).
- Additionally, all heroic level “upgrade” item systems will be collapsed into a single system using Commendations of Valor. This includes Unraveling Enchantments from Sentinels of Stormreach, Dampened from the Red Fens, the Cauldron of Sora Katra effects from Attack on Stormreach, the Trace of Madness from Reign of Madness, Suppressed Power from the Dreaming Dark, and Nearly Finished from Secrets of the Artificers. Such items must still be upgraded at their respective altars/devices/etc., but now require Commendations of Valor to do so. Old upgrade ingredients can be converted at the Stone of Change (or at a new "ingredient converter" NPC if that's easier to program) to Commendations of Valor (with the number needed varying depending on item level and the strength of the upgrade).
- Finally, allow players to upgrade items to higher tiers (normal --> hard --> elite) with Commendations of Valor.
Part 2: Make Commendations of Valor a common find
Goal: Don’t leave players constrained to Sagas as their only means of gaining Commendations.
How it’s done: Add Commendations of Valor as potential collectibles at all levels (from fallen monsters, broken boxes, and anywhere else that you can currently find collectibles). In addition, add them to random loot tables and end rewards at all levels. Scale up the number of commendations that can be gained appropriately with higher levels.
Potential Issue: This creates the potential problem of encouraging players to farm out high level quests to upgrade low level items. This problem could be lessened by dividing Commendations into three tiers: Heroic (Levels 1-10), Paragon (Levels 11-20), and Epic (Levels 21-28, eventually 30).
Part 3: Make Commendations of Valor easy to keep track of
How it’s done: Forget bound to account/bound to character issues. Instead, make Commendations of Valor go to a single pool in the player’s account on any given server, similar to Astral Shards. Don’t let them be tradeable (though they can be passed from one player to another if they pop up in a chest) – make this one aspect of the game that must be earned by the player and only by the player.
Final Result: A single, unified system that is easy to parse, easy to keep track of, and gives people a reason to run all kinds of currently-neglected content in the game. Having multiple things that players can spend Commendations of Valor on also means that the cost of Hearts of Wood doesn't need to be inflated - players will instead have to make hard choices about what to spend their Commendations on.