Sunday, December 11, 2011

Top 10 things I would change about Realms.

1. Rolling new characters. Its beneficial for no one, and generally causes newbies grief to no end when they auth a character then find out after they av that their new avatar is weak and pathetic and cant wear the best equipment because they didnt know the right stats to make. Older players hate it because it means needing to run triggers for days or weeks or months on end to get the stats you want. Why do the imms care so much to keep this even after its proven to be nothing but annoying to players?

2. Supply and demand. There is no market for equipment (or other stuff). If the only person with that item logs off the whole game's supply is gone. More and more you see sellbots on traffic. Why? Because it means they can supply a reasonable amount of stuff and make profit while they are offline. There is no downside to running a sellbot other than the fact you can't do it while killing something with an IP check. You gain customers by being able to sell to people while you would normally be offline, and because you are the supplier, you dictate prices and can demand a little more.

3. The difficulty curve. Most of the leveling process isn't remotely difficult unless playing a class not designed for fighting (18 dex classes primarily) as long as you are aware which mobs in the area can kill you (then you die quickly) Fights until you av are generally either a pushover or a suicide mission. Then once you av, everything you want is on mobs you cant kill, cant kill on this class, or cant kill because you dont have enough damage or cant kill because you dont have enough hp.

4. Risk vs reward. All things lead back to this. Some mobs are too easy, some mobs are too hard, and frankly alot of the "newer" equipment is plain straight out crap for the effort involved. Not to mention pop rates and puzzles. This is in my opinion one of the WORST things about the game. How much is a 4 dr 50hp ring worth? 7-10mil if you are evil or neut and 70-90 if you are a devout fighter/druid. 300 if you are a cleric. oh and here's a dr discount for you too.

5. Mud wide IP checks. I can see the reasoning behind a 8 ip limit. I can see the reasoning in IP checking a mob. What I can't understand is why a mob should be harder (or outright impossible) if I have a character that isn't even in the same room or even area. I forgot to log off my storage character in DH so I got slain along with the rest of my team and ruined the rest of the run? Seems a bit harsh when that character has absolutely no bearing on the outcome of the fight. I really wish they would turn IP checks to area only so I can  leave stuff running in the background *cough* STAT ROLLER *cough* when I'm running. Or at the VERY least not count stuff inside DH or preauth? IP checks are totally unfun when someone (though often times .. me) manages to ruin a kill (or at least seriously set it back) because they happened to have a second or third character online.

6. Auction! going once, going twice, new bid received! Up the min bids after a certain point please. Or heck.. up the minimum bid. Period. Waiting till after going twice then bidding 10k isn't bidding. It's annoying and juvenile.

7. Class restricted runs. IMO you should be able to go into a fight with whatever you want. Just have limited effectiveness. Slay on circle? Immune magic? ugh. Can we use proper counter-progs? Heals? Damage? In significant amounts where it would dissuade players not to use that class but NOT force them? It really sucks for new players exploring. Sure some of us older players have armies enough that we have at least one of every class and for some classes several aligns to cherry pick which is best to do the job but telling new players you can't kill this mob because you don't have the right av is just plain lame. Give them incentive to make thier own lives easier but don't force them.

8. Equipment. Quality, Slots and Jumps. The game simply lacks variety. Particularly for the newer classes (though there have been improvements slowly coming in). For example Dev thieves get two substantial nonmagic short blades. Lord Kahl's "Thievesblade" and Ret dagger. Huge price and quality jump. Between the class restrictions on mobs and things like this, it becomes pretty much impossible to play JUST one character and be able to go everywhere, see everything.
Anyhow back to the point, some classes with specific level and wear locations are just simply lacking or empty or just are a humongous jump and some wearlocs it isn't even a class/align issue. For example the about slot has 45 items with DR on it. The problem is it goes 1-4, then jumps to 7-10. And really you start at 2dr (rug of wraatha), nothing significant till you hit the first 3dr cloak in the mid 30s. then 4dr in the 40s.
Probably just as bad? Arms. 2dr from bands of power since level 9. 3dr from haven arms at 35, 4dr in the mid 40s if you are evil/neut and dont manage to die fighting your way to the top of the tower in cursed lands (HIGHLY unlikely as the difficulty is closer to av level mobs than it is to leveling) Then once you hit av you get 6-8dr on just about every single usable piece and for practically all classes there's only one or two decent pieces per class. You either have it or you don't for a 3+ dr difference.
In short leveling eq could use alot of gaps being filled and so could the Av stuff. I'd even like choices if that's so hard to imagine. Like neckwear has a decent variety. Generally everyone (other than barbs) have access to 4dr neck (with less hp) or 2dr neck with 50hp (scalesof a&o) obsid cloaks for 3dr +hp median for dev/neuts and evils get df talismans. But really... necks are the only slot with that kind of serious flexibility.

9. Account management. Due to 7/8. Everyone needs more than one character. At least if they want to seriously play realms (instead of just RPing or sitting in avchat and treating the game as a glorified chatroom) It really wouldn't hurt to help players by building in some character management tools. For instance being able to give and take stuff from characters that aren't logged in. Sure. logging 7 storages at a time then c locate "whatever you are looking for" works. but isn't exactly the most efficient. And since the game isn't requiring us to brew our own heals anymore AND there is "standardized" pricing for heals could we not just get a healing potion "tab" like at a bar? It would be nice if it were ip wide but I wouldn't mind a character potion tab where I can just say or indicate how many heals I want and get them deducted from my tab. Or here's an idea... make the bank our tab instead of making us walk with our pockets full of money from 4e s w all the way to 2s 2w n with thieves lining the road? Can't we pretend we gave zelah an IOU from the bank for however much we owe her? Not that thieves stealing your money is the real issue. I'm just sure there are more efficient ways to do things. Maybe a refill function? Instead of buying up to 50 potions at a time, I tell zelah how many potions I want to have in my pouch/basket/case/empty head and she sells me exactly how many I need? And preferably let me do it so I can refill offline characters I own at the same time :p

10. Unified item market aka trading post.
Most people probably don't even know this exists. Because no one talks about it. As of time of writing, there are 5 posts (one of which just says lol) It could replace the auction system AND all the sellbots at once if done right. Instead we have a noteboard of people posting things they want without any real indication of what they are offering for it. Done right it would even fix the issue of trust in trading. As is we have a "give and hope they are telling the truth" system. It generally does work but some less ethical players have stolen expensive stuff in the past. Here's how I would have it done.
a) Sales. Put up item for sale, acts like auction house. You lose the item, you get an item "Certificate of ownership of item # - Itemname" Once it's listed you get it back by taking the certificate in. If it gets bought before you do so, money gets put into the bank. You can also pay extra for an "auction it" deal where it stays on sale for X hours after which the highest bidder takes it. Everyone else can just check itemnumber blah to see the stats or to buy it.
b) Buys - offers. Person buying puts up price and the name of the base item. Players can then offer up the item in question like a sale. Once the buyer checks the item, they can buy it, or reject it. Multiple people can offer the same item but all of them are returned once one of them has been bought though one item should also be offered to multiple buyers at the same time. A nice tidbit of code that could be added for this function would be to have base items shown to the buyer so when offers come in from sellers, it would compare to the base item and highlight irregularities (etch, neph/druid/cleric enchant, glory) and of course.. player tagged item's aren't allowed.
c) Trading Lots. Good old barter system without the possible complications of someone running off with your stuff without paying or giving you what was agreed on. Open trade <player> screen shows items and gold in the lot. Both players can add and remove from their side. Both players have to confirm before the trade goes through. If an item is removed, the other player is "unconfirmed" to prevent people doing sneaky things.

If you wish things were different: post a comment here, or on the RoD archives and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bridging the Gap -bottom tier vs top tier characters.

For a long time I've had this idea. Mainly due to alot of my old mains being totally unusable and worthless. It would be nice if that first character you ever authed, and aved without knowing you should max con, has crappy base stats and would be deemed worthless other than for 500 weight of storage (or 999).

The idea is this:
A lonnnnnng quest chain. Containing everything from search and retrieve to mkill (mob kill). That would boost your base stats and hp up to "below average" levels (meaning it wouldn't do as much for "perfectly" stated chars as it does for the newbie. It would give PERMANENT stat and hp bonuses to help the "trash" character be at least usable.
Limitations: If there were no limitations it would be abused and imm's would never let it enter in the first place.
a) it ONLY helps the character's PRIMARY stat AND only up to 16.
The example I talked with Versetch about yesterday was an H-Orc thief. you could auth it with 18str, 18 lck, 18con, and 9 dex. With the quests you would be able to add a few extra points of dex to it. (In my opinion... up to 3 max which would still penalize a player pretty heavily for a bad choice, but still help make the character useful to them). In this case you would have a base of 12 dex instead. Of course the "most" logical way to abuse this would be to auth it at 13, then let the quest boost it to 16 for 3 free stat points. However it still leaves the character slightly below average in terms of stats meaning even with the 3 extra permanent stats, it would still never be gamebreaking.
b) It will help the character gain max hp up to -20 ish 30 hp off average.
Taking the thief as the example again, whats considered average for a thief is 730hp. So the quest would allow a permanent hp gain of up to a total of 700 base hp. Again great for first chars, still wont help the perfectionist looking for an 18/18/18 750hp thief.
c) the quest chain will be balanced also to help characters learn to use some of the basic skills offered to the class and once the hp/stat bonus gains are over, all the prizes are converted to items/gold. That way the quests will still "exist" for every single player but will have the most impact on helping newer players acclimate to the huge difficulty curve of the post leveling game... assuming they get there.
d) the quests are Av only and non repeatable. Done in the fashion of miniquests like Haven of Everlasting Light or Temple of the Moon with each segment completed rewarding a prize (perm stat gain/hp gain/item/gold)  and all this would help fill out class deficiencies, and hopefully open up more eq options for some classes with still fairly bad wear loc combinations.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A cheap augurer (dev)

Ever since coming back I've been trying to figure out.. what would be the best setup? Dev/Neut? (forget evil. protect makes evils not even worth using and the only way to figure out if the mob has it is put on detect magic, then spam dispel magic on them enough times till you either see protect, or are satisfied it isn't there)

Back when I started, Dev was for cheapskate new players cause all the great easy to get items were Dev. Evil and Neut were for people who had money or knew how to run seth but with so much new eq, things have changed a lot.

Anyhow, here are my choices for T0/T1 setups. if you have no idea what I mean by T0/T1.. read this
Since all augs care about really are stats and HP. The former to do stuff, latter to spiral. DR is ignored. YES. IGNORED.

Sigil (20/20/1 stat of choice)
Ring of the universe (30/10/0) X2
Cloak of Solitude (50/0/0) X2
Adamantium Plate Armor (120/0/0)
Shade Helm (100/0/0)
Eltor hide leggings (30/0/1str 2dex)
Snug winter boots (20/0/2dex)
The Golden Gauntlet (25/0/0) (Templar gauntlets for +3 ogre)
Immortal light (55/55/2 wis)
Mindflayer's robe (100/0/1 int)
Skin of the gods (45/0/0)
Lion crested bracers (0/0/2 str) X2 (cause you need the str probably)
Doomgivers (100/50/0) X2 (just any old cheap 100hp weapon. you cant dual anything with maul of stone unless its reweighted though the alternative would be to wield maul, and have hold/shield be over 50hp total to reach the same amount)
Maddening voices (25/0/-1wis)
Shades (0/0/0) (for the detects)
This setup will give you crap for stats as you can see.. but you will still have half respectable spirals.
900hp from eq, 5 str + 3 from ogre, 4 dex (switch to mocassins if you need 1 more point to max dex but you need max dex), only 2 points of int and 1 wis (which is fairly unimportant as far as I can tell) but its 4int 3 wis if you bother to get dragon wit/sagacity. Still gives dev auggies a decent sized wrecking ball to spiral with. If your priorities are int/wis... get ring of wizardry.

I'll cover the neut variant in another post later.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pally setups.

End game

<used as light>      (Flaming White) (Magical) Crusade
<worn on finger>     (Flaming White) the ring of the ancient gods
<worn on finger>     (Flaming White) the ring of the ancient gods
<worn around neck>   (Smouldering Grey-White) (Magical) the Medal of Clan Freedom
<worn around neck>   (Flaming White) (Magical) (Glowing) (Humming) scales of alpha & omega
<worn on body>       blood soaked bandages
<worn on body>       a black dragonscale hauberk
<worn on body>       studded leather keshka hide
<worn on body>       White Gryphon Keep Tabard
<worn on body>       (Magical) the runecape
<worn on body>       (Flaming White) (Glowing) the Lily Covered Tabard of the Knight Protector
<worn on head>       (Flaming White) Crown of the Ravenells
<worn on legs>       (Red Aura) (Smouldering Red-White) godskull shinguards
<worn on feet>       (Flaming White) (Magical) moccasins
<worn on hands>      (Flaming White) (Magical) (Glowing) Blessed gauntlets of the Templar
<worn on arms>       (Flaming White) (Magical) (Glowing) the Sun, Moon and Stars
<worn as shield>     (Flaming White) (Glowing) the ivory colored tower shield of the Lily
<worn about body>    (Magical) (Humming) the cloak of Death
<worn about body>    (Flaming White) the essence of kundalini
<worn about waist>   (Glowing) the Ice Girth
<worn around wrist>  (Smouldering Grey-White) (Magical) an obsidian bracer
<worn around wrist>  (Smouldering Grey-White) (Magical) an obsidian bracer
<wielded>            (Flaming White) (Glowing) (Humming) Justice
<held>               (Magical) a mahogany staff named 'Divine Solemnity'
<worn on ears>       (Flaming White) the Relic of the Infinite
<worn on eyes>       Eye of the Raven

<used as light>      (Flaming White) (Magical) Crusade
<worn on finger>     Ring Of Kings
<worn on finger>     Ring Of Kings
<worn around neck>   Obsidian cloak
<worn around neck>   Obsidian cloak
<worn on body>       blood soaked bandages
<worn on body>       a black dragonscale hauberk
<worn on body>       studded leather keshka hide
<worn on body>       White Gryphon Keep Tabard
<worn on body>       the runecape
<worn on body>       the Lily Covered Tabard of the Knight Protector
<worn on head>       Crown of the Ravenells
<worn on legs>       godskull shinguards
<worn on feet>       moccasins
<worn on hands>     Blessed gauntlets of the Templar
<worn on arms>      dragonscale armguards
<worn as shield>      a dragonscale shield
<worn about body>    cloak of light
<worn about waist>   the Ice Girth
<worn around wrist>   an obsidian bracer
<worn around wrist>   an obsidian bracer
<wielded>            A black hilted sword named 'Doomgiver'
<held>               Storm
<worn on ears>       Maddening voices
<worn on eyes>       the Crystal Lens

As a newbietar set, most of the items are T0/T1 and are under 2m each other than the hauberk, tabards (the tabards are fully optional you can always grab a few tabard of roses which would leave you 1dr/hr short. Lily tabards don't run over 10m and gives you access to a reusable +7hr bless. Crusade is a must for any paladin but if you are really that poor a sigil works nearly as well. The biggest hp drop is no doubt the danny rings while most other pieces give a minor drop in hp. A T0/T1 set you should be able to easily get up to 1500hp  (I should think). The highest priced pieces in T0/T1 set are Storm, Crusade, Hauberk, Gryphon tabard, crown, Lily tabard, godskulls (in that order) everything else you should be able to obtain yourself or get for a few mil. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A new team.

In my absence, two classes have gotten alot better especially for new players to start on. Barbs and Pallies. The reasons you can see in the posts below. Though pally is definitely the best new starting place for a player. They are very self sufficient (minus the lack of any door opening skills and scan/scry) Both are fairly easy to level with barbs possibly being a little harder due to equipment restrictions. Also basic avatar eq is cheaper for the pally. With shieldbash now available to tanking pallies, it should definitely be THE tank of your new team. Unless you are spending more time quaffing than shieldbashing then which point you might want a warrior or thief anyways. In this less than active state of realms, with most guilds and orders being fairly inactive, it is very hard for new players to get assistance to run basic mobs for basic eq though not impossible (kudos to those who helped bronie with justice the other day). I would definitely put pally a little ahead of barbs in terms of number of mobs they can solo.

Dev thieves aren't dead as hitters, just less useful (but still definitely have their uses where rend is less effective)

My New order
Pally ->Barb -> Mage/Cleric -> Fathomer/Thief.
Depending on how you play/what you want to do it would be more barbs/thieves/fathomers. Perhaps an auggie as well as you get more gold. Then once you have enough hitters, a second mage (or two or even three dont hurt). Definitely priortizing balance > defense > countermagic > destruction>elder though your preferences may vary.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The state of the RoD economy.

As I see it, the RoD economy is stagnant. Housing has drained off most of the biggest gold reserves while equipment continues to stack up on storages, in organization vaults. I will attempt to illustrate why the economy is in such a bad situation, what is wrong with it, and how it should be fixed.

a) Basic avatar eq. I use this as the basis. All "leveling" eq, is obsolete once a player reaches avatar. The first set of available avatar eq is what I call Tier 0. Everything here can be easily killed, soloed and or multied. Some even by nonavatars. But this "tier" of eq is where the problem begins. My examples for this tier of eq would be shade eq (helms, shades, rings), moccasins, icingdeath arms/ears, thoth rings, dpass eq (crystal bracers, silver arms, gold greaves, dcol), aegis, . Everything here is easily gotten, farmed, and dirt cheap. Which is good for a newbie avatar who can go down to coral depths, sit for an hour or two killing eels and crabs and afford to buy this stuff off the plentiful bots and off traffic. If they do decide to go get it themselves, fail or succeed, it will rarely ever lead to a corpse rotting. In most cases, an entirely new player will fail to get the item themselves but be more than capable of paying for the item. (1-5mil usually)

b) Good eq. Tier 1. A good chunk of stock is here. EQ here is expensive enough because of it's rarity but not because of it's difficulty or vice versa. Good examples of these would be devout scales, hellfire leggings, crusades, morphs, ft shields. The eq here is good, in some cases top of the line for alot of classes in general cases. Mobs are either too hard to sit and farm indefinitely (due to things like eq damage, heavy use of potions) or simply pops. This also makes up the majority of traffic and auction exchanges as the items while plentiful, are hard enough to obtain that it would take alot of time or effort to obtain by yourself (or in some cases impossible) but due to years of running, there is a bountiful supply of these items to the point where prices are fairly stable and rarely change. (6-40mil)

c) High end eq. Tier 2. This is where the problem begins. This is where top tier eq usually comes to rest.  Runs sufficiently spammed will drop the item from tier 2 to tier 1. Or more usually the case, top tier new items (tier 3) having being sufficiently explored by most major organisations have accumulated enough stock to drop prices to a fairly constant level. Good examples of this are Justices, danny rings/essence, cato armor, nasr. The prices are also significantly higher than tier 1, usually starting around twice as much. (80m+)

d) Top tier eq. Tier 3. As usual, the prices are about twice that of the previous tier. Either the items are rare pops off hard mobs, but also include seth (where the danger of losing eq is very real and a single failed run can mean hundreds of millions lost.) All these runs require runners to be dressed in eq worth at the very least, what the character alone is worth but usually several times over. Generally these runs are not known (and or doable) by the general avatar populace due to various reasons. Difficulty, puzzles, lack of saftey, dedication of time (getting in takes a good while, have to spend a few uninterrupted hours there, requires specific classes to run etc.)

e) God tier eq. Tier 4. This usually gets downgraded to tier 3 as soon as 3 or more organisations start running it consistently and bring in enough supply. Usually by this point prices drop rapidly as more and more people test their abilities and try it out. This is the tier where all the brand spanking new, top of the line avatar gear comes in at. The puzzles are harder, longer, there are more mobs to kill on the way (alot of which are tier 0-3 mobs in themselves). These are generally "area" bosses with multiple items that are all better than existing items. This is where explorers flock, order secrets are hush hush and secretive and where a smart relatively poorer player can suddenly make bank selling new eq they managed to get to first. This is what the imms put in to keep older players playing (or they will get bored of the existing stuff because they have done it a hundred times). Usually between the time an item is tier 4 and the time it drops to tier 3, Imms will make changes to the item, the area, and the difficulty of the mob(s)  up to and even including changing descriptions. The other side of this coin is the old items. So old they no longer exist. What was once common (unholy symbol of the dammed) suddenly goes OOG (out of game) and suddenly rises. Either way, the price is very directly related to the rarity.

So whats the problem? There are two main problems. Tier squishing, and power creep (eq being obsolete).

Tier squishing: Tier squishing because there is over supply because the best players in the game figured out something or, abused a loophole and basically devalue items to the point they are pushed into the tier below. One of the best examples would be Sindroad/Olsen eq. aka the half orc set and some other evil pieces. In the process of trying to obtain a tier 3 or 4 items (in this case darkfire blaster), the rest of the eq on the mob gets devalued. Darkfire blasters pop roughly 1/20 kills meaning for every darkfire blaster, there are 20ish S/O sets lying around in some storage somewhere. So what happens? The prices drop like a rock. Darkfire blasters? 6-7 seth sets (by my last estimate) each of which are worth 600-800m depending on the day. 3.6 billion - 5.6 billion... gold. Comparatively speaking, you can get a S/O set for pretty much under 20mil for all the pieces which are individually usually sold for 1-5mil on auction depending on the day. Of course, when people first killed S/O the pieces werent sold for 1-5mil. They were worth alot more. Tier 4 eq got squished into tier 3, then tier 2, then dare I say.. tier 1. Its now so common that the average player that is incapable of running S/O can still own several sets of the eq. As a byproduct of a "failed" kill (failed not because the mob didn't die, but rather the rarest item didn't pop), chaff eq devaluates itself and drags the prices down for items below it. After all, if you can pay 1m for a olsen plate for your thief, why would you pay 1m for spoils (which has 1 less dr)? As a result of the chaff eq, orc thieves have become the standard basis because they are cheap but better than all other thieves using spoils. The fact that there are no other 6dr ears even remotely close to that price range (the closest you get are whispers... for about 100X the price). Olsen ears are practically godly and very much comparable to seth (-15 hp, -50 mana, -6hr) but worth a very tiny fraction. This is the result of the stagnant economy and is clear simple to see proof there is something fundamentally wrong with how the economy works.

The other thing that comes from tier squishing is eq becoming obsolete. While new items come in, old items become obsolete. For example Danny rings (ring of the ancient gods) obsoleted long time existing rings primarily for warriors. Before your choices were scorched band of glass 3dr 25hp, Diamond ring (3dr 0hp), Draupnir (3dr 0 hp but with some saves), Ring of Kings (3dr 1 str), Ring of dragons (3dr 30hp), Signet of Lauriness (3dr 20hp, elf only). You can see.. there was plenty of selection. Plenty of choices but they were all pretty similar. 3dr, and some hp or other stats/saves. Suddenly Ring of the ancient gods gets put in, Most of those rings never get trafficed for again. There is simply no point in compromising for 3dr +some hp when you can have 4dr and 50hp, 2dex. As an obsolete bunch, they rarely see any action other than on rare occasion. The mob is now much too difficult for the reward (as it's obsolete). Even if they were tier 1 or 2, they immediately drop at least 1 tier, to the point where only newbietars are the only ones interested in purchasing.
The mobs are now obsolete (and thus never get run anymore. Ask an older player whens the last time they did an odin run.. or a dracolith run. they probably won't remember.)

When power creep happens, it is a pivotal time for the realms even if it is a small change. In terms of devout warrior rings, theres a clear mark before danny rings, and after danny rings. The top if the tier (danny rings) are 80mil (and for a brief time a while back... 90m) while odin rings, draco rings, leodegrance rings? 5mil? the problem is no one even really knows the price for them anymore because no one sells them anymore. No one sells them anymore because no one runs the mob anymore. Why bother with a outdated mob with an item that isn't the best? Is Danny 16 times harder than leodegrance or draco or odin? probably not but even with a linear increase in difficulty, there is an exponential increase in price.

Though Immortals are working hard (yes! I do actually appreciate the efforts) to breathe new life into old mobs and areas by updating them with new eq (lovely new skullbreaker/crushers!) The problem still remains. Way too much supply especially at the tier 0, 1 levels (though by definition, they are that tier because of the supply) But you still get items in tier 1 (olsen eq) when the difficulty is easily tier 2 or 3 because of a lacking out flow.

Prices are based on supply and demand (obviously.. but I had to say it) as mobs get run more, supply increases, while demand slowly decreases. Olsen eq is worthless because of the sharp increase in supply without a remotely close change in demand. S/O repop every 10 minutes or so and people can sit around there for 10-15 kills at a time in a single day, while it takes a few days to av a orc thief and it has to be specifically an orc thief for the reason that there is no increased demand for olsen plates/ears if it isn't an orc. If it can't wear it, the player won't buy it (unless they intend to buy or level one in the near future).

So what is so magical about seth? Every order has at some point run seth. It's been in the game for YEARS, and still typically new eq is worth less than it. What makes it so unique? It's also the solution to fixing the economy. An outlet. Players kill seth for blivs/gens/DIs/VoDWs really. Not for the seth sets but seth sets are still worth alot and would take days possibly weeks of golding for a new player to afford it. The key lies in the fact that seth sets have an outlet. Ravenhill takes seth sets, a set at a time, and randomly gives the player back nothing, a raven eye, guard of raven black or the much coveted crown of talons. Seth has an outlet, sufficient difficulty and has thus retained its value (and thus most organisations that know how to run seth refuse to share HOW). Blivs, gens (and their sac pops) should have turned seth into another S/O. but with an outlet, the chaff is worth something. Without an outlet, its worthless because players will constantly generate a supply much larger than demand. And due to the fact there is an outlet, seth setS (emphasis on the fact its the set as a whole) is the basis of the RoD economy. My opinion is, supply could be stabilized and the economy put back on track if a few select items had an outlet. The outlet would turn their supply and existence into a currency instead of trash sitting on yet another storage. As it is, only the best players keep playing because they continue to be the ones generating supply. Newer players are stuck playing catch up, and at some point they either learn to run seth, or don't. They are able to continue to explore newer areas, or stuck trying to get obsolete eq because they can't afford better. Then the choices for them are a) attempt newer content designed for people with better eq than them b) gold for days, weeks or months to afford eq to attempt newer content or c) give up on new content and possibly the game. After all. A game is meant to be fun. And its no fun when new stuff comes in and you can't explore and kill stuff because you haven't gotten the best possible eq that already exists (or at least a decent standard of eq).

The number of bots in the game directly speaks to how much the game is suffering. Bots increase when players are more interested in buying items from other people than they are willing to attempt to kill the mob for it and speaks volumes to how the game is slowly dying at least in the mob kill/exploring point of view. Gone are the days of public runs, chat started runs where just about anybody who was around would come. To play, to kill with random strangers they never met before but for some reason want to come for the loot, or to help out, or teach. Guilds and orders keep secrets simply because items devaluate the moment more people know then suddenly the item isn't worth much at all. If a good fraction of items had an output, gold would regain value, and items would also regain value as every day items now have a value for being equipment, but also as currency. The fact that seth sets have slowly lost demand (as in very few people are on traffic ltb seth set/pieces) tells us that something is very very wrong with the game's economy. The fact that items that used to be currency and have intrinsic value has been reduced primarily to currency indicates the lack of demand. My most educated guess (and occam's razor) would suggest that the most simple explanation for this is lack of new players. After all: an old player avs a new character (thats evil or neut), they load up a storage, and put seth on it. A new player avs, they have no seth. They gold, farm, sell other items to attempt to buy it. The lack of buying says either all the new players are running seth (which is highly unlikely) or that new players are giving up before they need seth. Or worse, giving up because they don't want to spend the time to get seth. Either way, new avs have no other possible currency, and it's removing their incentive to play the game as it was meant to be played (or at least how I think it should be played. As a persistent world where you can constantly explore and kill new things). Sure you could argue there's exploring and killing to be done before aving (and I agree), but the majority of new content comes in. The thing im most sure of is the fact that endless medieval enjoyment does not come from sitting in mithrill hall or coral depths killing mobs for gold to buy a shiny new piece of equipment that just came out. The fun is in playing the game, getting it for yourself. Not doing what bots do, sitting, golding to buy a piece of equipment you will never really need or use.

tl;dr? (too long didnt read)
- Realms economy is dead. Immortal attempts to revive it by draining excess gold in the form of housing just causes inflation. Key to balancing economy is putting demand on items. Not demand on gold.
- We need more standardized equipment as currency. Seth vs olsen shows the huge gap between what works and what doesn't.
- New players will only tolerate gold farming for so long and from my estimates, its not long enough to get to seth. We really need a currency in between.
- Old mobs with old items get obsolete with new items because they have no intrinsic value. Activity and thus player base will continue to decline without better standards for currency.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My favorite places to adept skills.

When you love exploring as much as I do, you need your generally "useless in other situation" skills adept. Heres the rundown of the places I do mine:

The big 3:
Search: Down North of the gnome receptionist. The crack respawns every time you walk in the room. Walk out, back in, search.
Dig: The graveyard. The entrance to the tomb where gartock hangs out disappears on entry. Dig down, go down, dig up, repeat.
Detrap: What? yeah. Detrap is the third. Why? because its so rare. If you used it every chance you got on every trap you found by the time you av'd, most people would still have it at 19%. My personal detrapping spot (that DOESNT hurt very much) is Bartok's grove. Unfortunately you will need to wait for repops for it to come back.

The rest:
Styles, weapon skills, attacks, : Kylara in front of dragon cult.
Pick lock: Receptionist in shattered refuge. steal her key then pick/lock d.
Climb: The warehouse has a tree all the way to the west side. make sure you dont have fly on and have float on instead. Spam u, d.
Doorbash: pick a door. any door. Just dont do it at the darkhaven gates. That just annoys people (same goes for spam pick locking them)

A few things I've noticed.

In the 4 years I was gone, things have changed, for better, for worse. These are just a few of them that have made an impression on me.

Attempts at making the 18 dex classes more capable of fighting (augurers/clerics)
I'd like to say they tried but honestly they still fail so hard fundamentally. The storm clerics while having power are practically useless on most runs (still) simply adding a countable 3 mobs you can use storm of vengeance for and not want to switch class. The anti undead clerics have absolutely NO added value, and the healer clerics have some... half decent spells but again with VERY little actual use.

Storm clerics: I prefer cawyn for the anklet since you now have prayer for favor. Storm of vengance is NICE... but entirely too limited. There are only a handfull of mobs that are outdoor flagged (it can only be cast where you see the sky!) and the even shorter list on which you could use magic, and a cleric at that. The only reason why it makes clerics viable in those rare situations is entirely based on the fact storm of vengance will keep casting while you spend most of your time quaffing heals and manas to deal with damage/dropping potions.
Healing clerics: the best spell they get is ameliorate. Second best is probably ward of the divine.. for stuff you can multi yourself and can keep a cleric in the room safely (20% res mag/nonmagic is nice!) however the applications of which are limited (chances are if you can multi... the 20% wont show. The mob would have died ip8 before the spell existed and probably dies just about the same now)  Seriously. Cadcading heal? requires you to be standing in the room (decent if you are soloing something you can multi) but also has a LOONNG timer on it making it practically useless. It casts ONE heal a round for 5 or 6 rounds which is a good bit of healing... but its way too slow, and way too limited. Complete heal is awesome... except for the mana cost and the fact it also takes ages to run down the timer. Ethereal elixir ... has its uses I guess. if you are planning to go somewhere where you need the extra healing power. The problem is if you need to quit at all.. you lose them making em a pain to carry to a run. On the other hand, if you can bring the cleric to the prep spot, sit there all day making elixirs before the run starts... Then yes.. it might be useful.
Anti undead clerics: Worthless. Please switch your deity. In terms of lore and background sure.. the skills fit. But in terms of gameplay adds absolutely nothing to the class it didn't have.

The other good from the cleric changes have been mostly resurrect: lets you CR after a fight and save the long walk back. But beware.. you lose all the spells on you when reincarnated.
Prayer: awfully convenient for clerics now to favor.. sit there for 20 minutes and "prayer" your corpse back. Alot easier than manually favoring like before.
Remove hex: I hate this. it used to be remove curse for the spell curse AND cursed items.. now its split into two.. just to add an extra spell. Annoying is what it is.

Next.. Augurers: They added coil of flame (similar to storm of vengance) except... weaker, requires ONE WHOLE CRYSTAL TO CAST. Its nice to add a bit of damage, but again, doesn't really add much to expand the places where you can use an augurer. The fact that spiral is hp based + 18 dex making for crap quaffing means you still wont want to go near most things that do a consistent gas, or lots of random breaths.
Spirit chains: worthless. entirely, totally, utterly WORTHLESS. Good in theory, crap in usage. It absorbs damage from the character you cast spirit chains on taking some of the damage for yourself as well as draining mana. The problem is this spell really needs to work in reverse. It hurts the augurer (which in turn hurts the spiral) and drains BOTH mana AND hp at the same time (again hurting spiral and even coil). Then you spend even MORE time quaffing heals and manas because of the chains (instead of your 22/25 dex tank quaffing them much more efficiently and your aug.. being the HITTER.. actually doing its job and HITTING). This spell would be great if you could cast it on ENEMIES instead and offload the damage and drain their mana. Or at least if it worked in reverse reducing damage to you and offloading the damage to your tank... so you know.. he can TANK. If the run needs multiple tanks.. get multiple tanks. augurer with spirit chains = one person doing nothing. You might as well be sitting in an entirely different room quaffing heals and manas for no reason while the rest of your group is fighting.
Last but not the most worthless (that prize DEFINITELY goes to spirit chains): third eye. Generates a 100hp eye (that dies at the slightest glance in its direction) and do the equivalent of posessing it. Basically instead of the nephandi possess spell where you can actually choose a possibly useful mob, you get stuck with an entirely useless mob that cant fight and can only be used for scouting. The most laughable thing about it.. its level 33. 19 levels above charm (for evil mages), 19 levels above dominate (vampires), 15 levels above seduction. The only spell its lower level than thats comparable... possess though I should hope the reasons are obvious. It seems still the Imms hate augurers and are determined to keep them entirely worthless on their own. Coil has put them on a .. slightly more even playing field (but unlike everyone else's damage.. requires one crystal per cast.. which is a huge pain in the ass to make crystals all the time, and carry them and the extra potions you need to bring to a run (cause you will DROP alot of them)

Now the good. Barbs are the new thief. Rend had it's crappy 65% max upped to 95% and chokehold actually is comparable to backstab. Armblock isn't great but better than nothing for sure. For a long time rend was the barb staple along with charge. The problem was charge required a horse (which gets killed by areas blasts), lagged as much as circle (but dealt less). Rend was better.. because it only had 3 bars of lag (meaning you could actually quaff before that second round of damage came in (and yes that half a round is a huge difference) Now that its 95% max... charge is practically worthless. Especially with the new ancestral strike skill allowing them to use ACTUAL WEAPONS.. Lets face it.. barbarians riding horses, wearing a lance, having a weapon and a shield? Really didn't get it not to mention having 3 different modes of attack depending on the run was annoying (barehanded for rend, horseback lance, shield, wield for charge, and dual wield/two handed which left them with just plain ole melee... which as we all know works GREAT on some mobs and not at all on others.. especially if they are magic weapons only...) Now.. barehanded is clearly the best choice, and ancestral strike lets dual wielding much better.

The other class which has seriously benefited from the changes made: paladins. Before they were the more defensive warrior type, warriors were of course the better hitter and because of the dex..... tank. Now paladins have shieldblock AND shieldbash, they can tank AND hit at the same time now. Especially with the nice new high hp holds, gives paladins much better hp than their warrior counterparts. Also not hurting is the fact they have shieldbash which is better than smash making them also better hitters... but only when they are tanking. So warrior? still the better rescue tank and still has better melee. But paladins finally have a use as a hitter/tank hybrid (one per group) while warriors still very much excel in the melee department with stun and the much easier to level part going for them. Personally I would like to see changes to augurers more in line with the skill level of what paladins and make them a more unique and specialist mage class instead of being entirely outclassed until level 50, then finally able to be used in very specific circumstances if you dump loads and loads of money into it and prep a bunch of crystals for it. Unlike most other classes, Augurers are still fairly worthless until you sink about 500m worth in eq onto them. Past the rings/neck/body/wield, every single piece will be 50m+ 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gold and you.

Gold is the universal medium. The trading standard. You can buy everything with gold (practically) and you will never get enough (ever). Some things to think about before your next purchase.

1) If I don't want it.. will I be able to sell it? some stuff is very easy to find someone to sell it to you (sellbots!) but not so easy selling it back. If it's easy to sell you its less of an issue. But if its hard to sell chances you are stuck with it (and your money is tied up in it until it does) this goes especially for older items like old clan but also inbetween items. For example you have a devout warrior and eventually want to get danny rings (ring of the ancient gods). A good inbetween item would be signet of ravenells (roddy ring) because they are popular and sell easily. On the other hand... a scorched band of glass or Ring of Kings is nearly as nice as the signet (but a fraction if the price) but even if you find someone to sell you one... chances are you won't be able to sell it back.

2) How long will I be wearing it for. Whats your upgrade path? For a new player. shelling out 80mil (each!) for danny rings will be probably the most expensive items for a dev warrior (short of the Justice/Rav plate) If you save a little by little because you can't play all the time your upgrade path might go from ring of dragons to roddy ring to danny rings. But when will you switch? when SHOULD you switch? Consider the next point.

3) How much does it benefit me? are there items that would benefit me in the short term?
Going from a ring of dragons to a roddy ring is probably a 30ish mil cost. but then the roddy to danny ring is another 80. (or 110 total). The question is really when is that upgrade worth it in comparison to everything else? For example you are using sword of the king's crest from lodd. cheap, easy replacable nonmagic slashers. your next upgrade would probably be Justices. Or if you dont have it yet.. a nasr. The crest swords give you 150hp dual wielded. The nasr will probably help farming gold and give 40hp and is also your end goal gear meaning you wont ever have to replace it (though you will still need the justices for the nonmagic only mobs as well as the saves). Depending on how much income you get you might decide its better to skip the roddy ring (and save the effort of reselling it) or if you see one go cheap snag it and turn it for a profit once you get your danny ring. But the alternative upgrade (nasr) is a good investment and the damage output and hp makes it better than upgrading a single ring so that should be the priority.

a) like with real money. think about your purchase. The more it costs the more you should think.
b) if its a good upgrade in the interim and will open you up to being able to run more/better stuff (and get money faster) its a good idea to upgrade bits here and there
c) your money is best spent upgrading your weakest pieces first. Those blackened spurs of the nazgul lord might look great. but the usual pricetag of 50m+ should make it the last thing you buy. not the first. the 1 extra point in second attack will be barely noticable.

A new beginning.

Its been about 4 years since I last wrote here because about 4 years ago I quit. Tired of two faced friends and all the people that insulted me publicly and behind my back. I left to get away from them but I came back to find my friends. Realms has always been more than just a game to me. Its been a place of rest, comfort and enjoyment and I guess this post means I'm officially back! (though to be fair I've been back for a few months now).