Updated Fri, Jan 02, 2009 by Savanja
After much muddling over things in my mind, going this way and that as to what I would change most about Everquest 2, I thought of the days when I was just a lowly mage. Everything went smoothly; soon came level 10, and I continued on without much difficulty. Life was good! Along came level 20 and more of the world was opened up to me, and so life continued on even to this day and my most recent achievement: level 48. I have dropped out of my role as a power-gamer: no more 18 hour play days, so running out of vitality [the "casual" players' experience bonus] is no longer an issue. Life is slow and things are good. Adventures were had, and mistakes were made, the gaming is slow, the experiences are great, and all was good fun! Fine points aside, the great attention to detail from the developers is noticed and appreciated.
Now I could go on about how I dislike the 1337 sp34k fanboi’s, but by simple use of the ignore command they can be silenced. Some might argue that in light of the new Desert of Flames expansion, classes just shouldn’t change as was the result of Live Update 13, the infamous "Combat Changes." I welcomed the changes; after all, change is what makes this game interesting. It’s ever changing, and if I wanted a game that never changed day after day, I'd play the lottery!
Another complaint that crossed my mind was the nefarious folks who attempt to exploit game bugs to advance past everyone else in the game in a dishonest manner. While their motives make these the type of people that I don’t want to associate with personally, they are a valued part of our society. Without tracking and knowing what these people currently do by dishonest means, the “gods” (developers) would not know how to manipulate our world into as near to perfection as they possibly can.
Which brings me to the one thing I would like to see changed the most: more accurate testing of publishes. It really doesn’t matter what the developers change, something gets pushed in at the last moment that isn’t properly tested, so it disrupts a game system, ability, or place that used to function. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying anything is wrong with the test server; I used to call Test Center my home back in Star Wars Galaxies. However, new changes come up on patch day and get pushed hastily to live. For instance the DoF/Combat publish, added a new way to sort things on the broker. In the process of doing so, this made it impossible to search for trade skill books. It's not game breaking but it is a major inconvenience: considering that trade skills were increased to level 60, it's now very hard to find the new books you want and need.
Please don’t write me saying that the broker isn’t the only thing that's broken. I am sure there are things broken that each of us notice, for instance my group illusion spells no longer work to transform others, and don't stick as buffs. These are things that are broken, not just changes that have occurred that we don’t like. There is no way to properly balance the strength of spells, combat arts, and attacks on Test. To do it properly you need the wider variety of players. You need the Exploiters, you need the casual gamers, and you need the Power-gamers. You need the widest variety of classes, play styles, personalities to build upon to improve the game.
By taking the good with the bad, if you step back to a 3rd person perspective and realize that what may have hurt you, making you less powerful, less “all important”, less über, you might see that the Combat Changes actually make the gameplay better. There shouldn’t be some "set" all-powerful team that can take on anything. By lowering your damage and raising someone else’s, it does put you on a more comparable level, making encounters more challenging, making you work for what you want to achieve. After all, isn’t that why we all play: the challenge before the victory, though sure the victory feels good. But as you keep at it, you want to tell your buds about the tough experiences you've had, and occasionally share the intensity with them. No one is proud when they solo a gnoll, but when they with 23 or more of their good friends, fought valiantly and eventually met their death struggling against the powerful <Insert Powerful Epic Mob Here>- that’s something an MMO gamer dreams of, despite the result.
Change needs to occur slowly, so as not to create more chicken-little syndrome: such as with this combat revamp, and such as with station exchange (which in my opinion sold out to one of the things I despise most in the game, however it was done well to keep things separate and the selling doesn’t adversely change my active gameplay). People claimed this was the final straw, people claimed this was the end of the game as we knew it. A few did leave but most stayed. Things can and do undergo correction, drop rates are adjusted without our knowledge, spawn timers are changed. What may have been worth 11s to an NPC vendor yesterday could be worth 10s today, small changes when done quietly don’t kick up much dust, but when big changes are pushed in at the last minute you can almost hear the air raid sirens on the official forums!
Fast changes are bound to greatly upset lots of folks and create a lot of misinformation, so why not take it slow? Thank you for taking a look at my opinion on the subject, now it's your turn! Use our Op/Ed forum and post the one thing you’d like to see changed the most. Bounce your ideas off others, but try and keep it civil, we aren’t the SOE boards (hahaha)!Have a nice day!