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  1. #1
    Community Member BigErkyKid's Avatar
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    Default The massive grind wall

    Returning players are the best chance of this game
    It seems to me that it is no secret that this game is not attracting to many new players. I think it is fair to say that it is probably returning players that seem to be driving the up and down cycles. However, recently SSG has introduced mechanics that are in fact a massive grind wall that, IMO, will make returning to the game much harder. In particular, I am talking about reaper XP and racial reincarnations.

    In the past grind walls were much weaker
    While epic PLs and heroic PLs where quite nice to have, it is well known that one could have some competitive toons with only a handful of them. While we had Sestras (triple everything, tomes everywhere, etc.), there were also Eths playing at a competitive level without being a completionist. Gearing was a large part of the power of a toon, and we all know that gear gets obsolete. A returning player could possibly skip several updates worth of gear grind and do alright.

    New grind walls are huge
    However, reaper XP and racial PLs are non-avoidable grinds. The AP from racial reincarnations is very tasty given the power creep in enhancements. Furthermore, it is an even further incentive to run heroic lives and acquire reaper XP. A toon with high reaper XP is much more powerful that one without, and coupling it with the benefits of racial PLs makes for a big power gap. The killer is that those two forms of XP are very time consuming to acquire and there isn't any chance to skip part of the grind. PS - who was the genius who introduced reaper trees in a mode that was supposed to be about difficulty? Now reaper 1 with high reaper XP is easier than EE...

    For the first time in my time playing I see no chance for a new or returning player to be able to be truly competitive in the game in a reasonable time frame.

    Grind vs replay value
    In my view, SSG has chosen to double down on cheap development strategies. Since they cannot produce much content due to limited budgets, they give us replay mechanics based on grind. Low drop rates that require many reruns (ToEE, Slavers), the ever lasting TR hamster wheel, and cheap challenge via reaper. It is quite obvious that low drop rates are cheap to code, as are TR mechanics, and we have developers stating that reaper took an extremely low amount of resources to code.

    The reason why these time sinks have made me go away from the game is that they are not fun. Yes, given enough incentives through handing out power, there is a segment of players that will grind endlessly. However, in cheaply pursuing this segment they have abandoned other types of players. There has been no attention to replay value through game variations and fun. For example, slavers is a chain with little to no randomization, yet a full set requires over 40 runs on EE. How are the honey and bear jokes supposed to remain funny 40 times?

    Making some of these unfun (for some of us) time sinks unavoidable (rPL, reaperXP) is a huge mistake in my opinion. The sad part is that I really don't see any way they can undo it by now



    Here is my anti-grind proposal:

    Racial TR

    • Give everyone 10 AP for free: the point of racial revamps was to make racial trees appealing again. Give the 10 AP to everyone instead of gating it behind a grind and racial choices become more relevant.
    • Keep bonuses for racial TRs as is: people did iconic TRs for minor benefits, I am sure some would still racial TR



    Reaper XP / PRE

    • Make reaper PREs similar to epic destinies: Maximum 1 active.
    • Reduce the grind for reaper PREs: Filling a tree should be as grindy as filling an epic destiny
    • DO NOT CREATE A REAPER TR: Enough is enough!


    These simple changes would maintain a viable "grindy option" while allowing a majority of players to remain roughly competitive.
    Last edited by BigErkyKid; 06-05-2017 at 04:05 AM.

  2. #2
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    They could start by deleting the biggest detractor for reincarnation, which is the increased XP requirements.

    It might not be such a big deal for veterans to grind out 4m XP, mostly because they'll go into Reaper with a whole bunch of other XP bonuses, but to the newer players the idea of having to go back to level 1 and then take more time getting back up to 20 might be a bit too much, then every life after takes 2 times the amount of XP, so it's even worse then. Top it off with having to farm the hearts and it's simply too much added to the already huge list of lives to grind.

    So my opinion is simple, make every life take the normal amount (2m XP), and bring the reincarnation timer down to once a day. Some will think this makes the game "way too easy", but hey, we're talking about new players being able to join in to the hamster wheel, they'll still take longer to reincarnate simply because they need to farm the hearts.

    Also it makes no sense that further lives take more XP.

  3. #3
    Community Member tralfaz81's Avatar
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    As a potential returning player, I agree. As much as I love the game, I forgot how terribly grindy it is. My old toon's gear is hopelessly outdated where I can't keep up to the point I'd almost rather start over and TR through the heroics...but the thought of all the grinding just to get the stats and gear to make a competitive toon makes me cringe. I wouldn't mind paying to get a boost, but (as I mentioned in my thread) the prices haven't come down in years and there are a number of exciting, fresh and new games coming out this summer that I'm looking forward to. It's a competitive market and they need to start offering more for less if they want to stay in it.
    "Shut up and die like a wizard"

  4. #4
    Staggering LightBear's Avatar
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    I agree with the level of grind needed nowadays is silly. But putting it all on SSG seems a bit overkill. Sure the same people are involved in making it but the overhead now seems gone. Even reaper was something in development before SSG was founded.
    I'd even say that replay vs new has been around for some time now.

    Anyway, you're right on the grind being silly. Lets hope ssg can turn that one around (instead of doing 1d4 damage per level, hihihi).

  5. #5
    Community Member tralfaz81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColdGuy View Post

    So my opinion is simple, make every life take the normal amount (2m XP), and bring the reincarnation timer down to once a day. Some will think this makes the game "way too easy", but hey, we're talking about new players being able to join in to the hamster wheel, they'll still take longer to reincarnate simply because they need to farm the hearts.
    Right there's the problem. The fan-bois can (and will) argue, but the game was designed to be intentionally grindy to sell pots and boosts and raid-by pass timers. You can do it free for a lot of your time and effort, or pay to skip the intentionally slow and repetitive part and still give up a lot of your time and effort to keep up with the Joneses.

    At this point they'd do better to concentrate on offering a fun product that's worth the monthly subscription price instead of trying to milk every penny they can out of us from the DDO store.
    "Shut up and die like a wizard"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tralfaz81 View Post
    Right there's the problem. The fan-bois can (and will) argue, but the game was designed to be intentionally grindy to sell pots and boosts and raid-by pass timers. You can do it free for a lot of your time and effort, or pay to skip the intentionally slow and repetitive part and still give up a lot of your time and effort to keep up with the Joneses.

    At this point they'd do better to concentrate on offering a fun product that's worth the monthly subscription price instead of trying to milk every penny they can out of us from the DDO store.
    Amen.

  7. #7

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    and it is not just new players--it is a problem for alts

    The other big change has been the decline of viable flavor builds. In the past peeps would build around a named weapon's improved crit profile. I rarely see this here. I still make'em and play'em, but feel the weight I am putting on the team.

    And stealth...poor stealth...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saekee View Post
    In the past peeps would build around a named weapon's improved crit profile.
    Now it's in the enhancement trees so you are really limited in choices, like a brushhook SB.

  9. #9
    Community Member BigErkyKid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColdGuy View Post
    So my opinion is simple, make every life take the normal amount (2m XP), and bring the reincarnation timer down to once a day.
    .
    IMO reincarnation should not be a requirement to have a competitive toon. And if it is, it should be truly low level advantage. As things stand between reaper XP and racial/h/ePLs one can accumulate a vast advantage by sinking tons of time. Contrary to gear, which becomes obsolete, XP based bonuses are forever and they only lose power through power creep. Racial TR giving AP and reaper XP unlocking extra enhancement trees are massive power boosts that new players / returning players won't be able get.

    Quote Originally Posted by tralfaz81 View Post
    As a potential returning player, I agree. As much as I love the game, I forgot how terribly grindy it is. [...] I wouldn't mind paying to get a boost, but (as I mentioned in my thread) the prices haven't come down in years and there are a number of exciting, fresh and new games coming out this summer that I'm looking forward to.
    There is no real way to p2skip all that grind. You may otto box racial PLs, but then you'll be massively behind reaper XP. At this point they have kinda killed otto boxes. Some will say it is good, but we end up in an scenario where there is no real way to stay competitive but sinking hundreds of hours. And those who have already done it are so much ahead that new / returning players can't possibly catch up.

    Quote Originally Posted by LightBear View Post
    I agree with the level of grind needed nowadays is silly. But putting it all on SSG seems a bit overkill.
    This is not about pointing fingers, rather about stating a problem (IMO). Regardless of who decided this, it is SSG who will face the consequences (and the players unable to get in).

    Quote Originally Posted by tralfaz81 View Post
    the game was designed to be intentionally grindy to sell pots and boosts and raid-by pass timers. You can do it free for a lot of your time and effort, or pay to skip the intentionally slow and repetitive part and still give up a lot of your time and effort to keep up with the Joneses.

    At this point they'd do better to concentrate on offering a fun product that's worth the monthly subscription price instead of trying to milk every penny they can out of us from the DDO store.
    Freemium model FTW. I am with you. But my point is that once they put these absolutely massive grinds, even people who would potentially p2skip (you, me) are discouraged. It is just not reasonable to expect people to sink thousands of dollars in an old game just to try to catch up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saekee View Post
    and it is not just new players--it is a problem for alts

    The other big change has been the decline of viable flavor builds. In the past peeps would build around a named weapon's improved crit profile. I rarely see this here. I still make'em and play'em, but feel the weight I am putting on the team.

    And stealth...poor stealth...
    The alt problem has been around for a while, it just keeps getting worse. I used to have 3 active toons, now I have 0 /1.

    As for the weapons, that was because in the past people could build for end game. End game is now dead, since the new game is acquiring racial Pls and reaper XP. So leveling builds are back and depending on and end game weapon is not a valid build premise.

    Given that reaper XP was an end game player demand, it is baffling how it turned into yet another TR centric activity.

  10. #10
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    As a returning player from about 3 years ago, (played 2009-2011 and 2012-2013/2014ish) I kind of agree and kind of disagree. First, the disagreement: Reaper
    Sure, I felt pretty gimp running reaper (it didn't help that I left before warlock, so I TRed into warlock with no gear AND no idea how to play warlock... and then realized my old guildies run reaper), but it got vastly better when I was the right class after that. (Yeah, warlock is OP, no, I didn't care, I just wanted to get through it to play my melee, which is what I like).

    On the other hand... my first life I got, what, 5-6 reaper points? Everyone else who was levelling with me got 1. The thing about reaper xp is it's INSANELY exponential. I disagree, point blank, that people can't make up this difference. Will returning players be at a disadvantage? Sure. And in a few weeks, that difference is less noticeable. In a few months, it's meh. Because except for a few who only play one character and grind reaper like mad, the points after get harder and harder to get. So someone new can get halfway caught up relatively quickly, (relatively, because all reaper xp is real slow compared to regular xp).

    As for the racial TRing... this is bigger problem. the stats are pretty meh for non casters, to be honest. The racial AP is either awesome or meh depending on what race you are, as some racial trees are just bleah. I assume most are ending on human, though, and human has a pretty bomb tree. So I can see that as really good. Again, though, they backloaded the benefits... this is quite the opposite of heroic class tring, where the first one gives you 1. The chance at the active (Even though all but 3 suck) 2. The passive and 3. The checkmark for completionist. Further ones are only useful if you want that passive to stack, and not all are useful for all builds. With racial you get .... an almost meaningless skill boost except for UMD with gnome, I guess (though I usually no fail heal scrolls, or close to it, when I meet the level req)... followed by a stat boost that may or may not be useful to you, again, though, unless you're a caster, the difference is pretty meh, and finally a racial AP.
    This backloaded nature DOES make people want more of the racial lives, but the cost is that returning players have to get THREE lives per real benefit. This is a massive time sink. With heroic PL's, they could just get the ones they wanted, say wizard, fvs, cleric for casters, monk, fighter (for stun dc), barb, paladin for melee... maybe one of the others for completionist, but completionist has never really been necessary.

    So, again, I kind of agree, and kind of don't. I think reaper allows catch up pretty well. Racial TRing... massive time sink. I happen to like TRing, so I don't mind. Endgame has never appealed to me, in part because of how obselete gear gets, and in part because I never really cared for DDO's odd economy and especially limited bank space. (This is actually my number 1 problem with the game, I absolutely don't bother with a LOT of content or buying things because I have nowhere to put it).

  11. #11
    Community Member kismetbuy's Avatar
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    The xp requirements and the amount of dungeons aren't coinciding especially TRing and 20 to 30th levels.
    Running the same quest over and over again gets kind of blah when you're running the same quest at epic as you do in heroic.
    SSG should focus on just new epic content.
    Taking content from heroic and making it epic at cap level is rather can I say "redundant".

  12. #12
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    The problem with the RTR's is that they don't solve a problem for SSG and they do contribute to the seemingly endless grind for most of the players.

    The people that SSG was trying to cater too with the RTR's already do content so fast that many of them are nearing the end of the RTR cycle already. They'll be begging for something else in a month or two.

    The rest of us will probably never do an RTR in our lives because we're still working on heroic, iconic and epic reincarnations for required character power at whatever endgame (calibrated towards those past lives + now RTR's) will eventually bring.

    So, the only thing that RTR's really did was to add to the perception of a monstrous grind to get to desired state. They just crept power again without actually providing any service to the average player. The service they provided to the truly addicted is almost over.

    This is why grinds are a bad way to sustain things. Two new x-pacs each year, a full one in December and a smaller one in June, would be a better way to serve the customer base. Everybody would benefit from the fresh look twice a year and the grinds would continue in the background against that appealing tableau. New players are more likely to join when a fresh x-pac is out with cool new features that are being promoted to the existing customer base in a more aggressive way than the dribs and drabs of update releases.

    Updates should be fixes, not content. X-pacs should drive the marketing and almost all new content.

  13. #13
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    Default Reduce XP requirement

    They could reduce the xp requirement to L20 by dropping from 3.8M to 2.7M or make it static for all lives. Didn't make sense to me that 2nd life and beyond requires more xp to heroic cap. Epic is static, why not heroic?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by KoobTheProud View Post
    The problem with the RTR's is that they don't solve a problem for SSG and they do contribute to the seemingly endless grind for most of the players.

    The people that SSG was trying to cater too with the RTR's already do content so fast that many of them are nearing the end of the RTR cycle already. They'll be begging for something else in a month or two.
    This.

    Why they keep pleasing only those 20 guys that have nothing to do but play all day long in their mom's basement?

    Are those the only 20 guys giving them any money?

    I doubt.

    Their public should be D&D players, because the game is...or it was supposed to be D&D.

  15. #15
    Community Member FranOhmsford's Avatar
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    1) Merge Racial and Heroic Past Lives!
    Give us BOTH when we TR! All the current situation is doing is allowing those already with all or most heroic past lives to get yet further ahead and it's putting a truly insane grind ahead of the newbie starting today!

    2) Reaper XP NEEDS to be Account Based {or at the very least Server Based} as alts are now flat out a drag on players and anyone with more than a handful of alts may as well kiss goodbye to EVER getting them all maxed out!

    There should be an End in Sight! It shouldn't be easy but it should be IN SIGHT! Even for those who aren't the grinding type the end should be doable just through playing the game in their lifetimes!
    Reaper XP is a joke! While it's Character Based there is no reason for me to step into Reaper on ANY of my toons! It's too difficult for the reward and I don't care about the Challenge! The Devs killed it as a Challenge difficulty anyway when they decided it should be a grind difficulty!

  16. #16
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    Alts lol, all my 10 alts are now only completionist bank toons....

  17. #17
    Community Member BigErkyKid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrakHar View Post
    As a returning player from about 3 years ago, (played 2009-2011 and 2012-2013/2014ish) I kind of agree and kind of disagree. First, the disagreement: Reaper.[...]
    The thing about reaper xp is it's INSANELY exponential. I disagree, point blank, that people can't make up this difference. Will returning players be at a disadvantage? Sure. And in a few weeks, that difference is less noticeable. In a few months, it's meh.
    I disagree. In a few months people will have 1 reaper tree maxxed out. Some already have millions of reaper XP, although they are the dedicated grinders. How much fun will it be for a new/returning player to play with someone that, on top of newer gear (and racial PLs), has 40-50 AP in reaper trees?

    Precisely because it is exponential it can seem very discouraging, and it is not like the reaper trees themselves are front loaded. The power in reaper trees seems if anything a tad backloaded. And again, the power is not minor, it is like a generic extra PRE.


    As for the racial TRing... this is bigger problem. [...] This is a massive time sink. With heroic PL's, they could just get the ones they wanted, say wizard, fvs, cleric for casters, monk, fighter (for stun dc), barb, paladin for melee... maybe one of the others for completionist, but completionist has never really been necessary.
    For my taste, TRing was balanced. Some boosts to those who like re running heroics or feel they want to grind all the possible stats. It felt a bit of an alternative as long as some other activities were available in end game. Epic TRs where more unbalanced IMO, but not completely game breaking.

    Anyway, don't want to nitpick, but I felt that the reaper XP part merited an answer.

    All in all, the two systems are huge time sinks and unlike gear I don't think they will be washed out by newer updates.

  18. #18
    Community Member TacoStand's Avatar
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    There is no vertical progression in first person shooters.
    They are MMOs, but not RPGs.
    MMORPGs started dying as soon as "GRINDING" replaced "ROLE-PLAYING"

    RIP

    [

  19. #19
    Community Member Chai's Avatar
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    This is all going to depend on how much money they make on selling XP and XP increases.

    A few of us in the past saw this coming, but when we brought it up, it seemed like most were happy with the increased XP needed and the ability to buy their way past it. We were told playing DDO was all about the journey and not the destination. Once other grind systems get added to that however, the "journey" became multiplicatively longer, but the amount of newer content doesnt get implemented fast enough. The result is increased "difficulty" in the same content people have run for 5-10 years, where other MMOs introduce new difficulty with new content.

    Turbine and now SSG were able to make money on XP and XP increases in large part due to the acceptance of the higher XP amount needed to run lives after the first. There are some builds which do not require past lives to be competitive, but restricting yourself to playing those builds simply due to not having the time to climb the grind wall encourages reducing the number of characters someone plays. Players who do this likely are not making the company more money in the current era. They tomed out their characters years ago and are now reducing rather than increasing the number played, which means no more XP and tomes needed. Their contributions looked good on previous years spreadsheets but theres no reason for them to spend any longer.

    On the other hand, there is a fairly healthy racial TR grind happening, and people are clamoring for boxes to be in the store and points sales to happen on the forums. How much money are they making on this? How many still dont care about an end game and would rather run heroics over and over again because thats the part of the game they enjoy most? Are enough people paying their way past that grind or is reaper XP keeping them from wanting to XP too quickly? If they are still making scads of money on this it likely will not change. If reaper is causing people to not buy XP pots and boxes would people even want the XP amount lowered. Staying the same level longer means being able to play all of that levels quests for reaper XP.

    I got the original box for this game sitting in plain view on a shelf here, and I can read clearly from where I sit the words "the no grind mmo" in one of the on package review quotes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Teh_Troll View Post
    We are no more d000m'd then we were a week ago. Note - This was posted in 10/2013 (when concurrency was ~4x what it is today)

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vish View Post
    That's the kind of veteran mentality that hurts the game, not everyone is willing to stick around for months to figure out if they like the game, and the fact that you're mentioning 6 months to get to end-game capability, that in itself is horrible, what even is end-game? Is it raiding or Reaper content? There's a lot wrong with your message/recitation/poem.

    The problem here is that 100 people who love the grind will not sustain a game, but if the grind is cut and allows for more players to join in on the fun of feeling and being overpowered, and being capable of using flavour builds without hurting their end-game (whatever their end-game be) capability, then the game becomes more accepted and population can grow.

    For your last verse i really have no idea what to say, if lore and art and whatnot is what drives you to keep playing, good for you, but that might not be the same for everyone. Also that comparison to art and requiring a strong heart, what?

    I recommend you read a book about writing recitations or poems, those lines are weird and don't rhyme.

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