After spending close to 165 hours in this game so far, and based on my pervious experience with 20+ years of MMOs, here is what I think will happen in this game and some suggestions going forward. Now I will not be touching bugs, because those have existed in every single MMO released at the start. And I recognize that some people love this game. Some people hate. Again, both of these groups exist in the same fashion that we see now at every single MMO release. Overall, I give the game a 6/10. I will touch on what this game does well first then move onto the major issues and how they will impact the game.
Table of Contents
- The Good – Sound, crafting, combat, graphics, voip
- The Bad
- PvP Open World
- PvP War Mode
- Character leveling
- Sound – This game has some really great sounds
- Gathering/Crafting – These feel satisfying just from the action perspective
- The Combat – I appreciate the combat being something I’ve never seen before in a MMO. That being said, I think balance will be a challenge moving forward; which I will go into further below
- Graphics – The game looks good
- VOIP – I love that this was included, you don’t see it often inside the game
This is gonna be a long run so strap in
- PvP – Open World PvP – So there’s quite a few major issues with the PvP design. Going forward I will be splitting this up into different bullet points instead of just one major one. I will also preface the pvp section by saying that the PvP community is notoriously toxic and abusive. You as a developer need to predict that people will be jerks and if there is something to exploit/take advantage of; they will do it. And it doesn’t take many to completely change (ruin) the experience for others. So from what I’ve seen of open world PvP, it will not last. As the community settles and people get max level, open world PvP will eventually be pushed to the side. It just isn’t quite that fun after awhile and the incentives are very low. I’m already seeing people adopting the opinion of why bother defending an area 24/7? I’d rather just let a war start so we can play in the war mode. There’s also quite a few people who see the PvP missions as absolutely boring. The other part is flagging for just general roaming PvP. Again, there’s not a ton of reason to flag for PvP. Aside from the first few days, every time I encountered someone in the open world for PvP; they were either 5+ my level or they were in a group. So not really fun even PvP encounters there. And if you have ever played a MMO with open world PvP; this is the normal experience. When designing optional World PvP, you NEED to make the benefits to solo flag far out weight the frustrations of experiences I just described. In your current iteration, you do not do this.
- Heavily increase the benefits of flagging. 10% exp is not enough. I’d say at least 25%. Increase the chance of rare drops too. Both of these would be huge incentives for the randoms to actually flag.
- Different resource spawns – Make it so that the resources someone can gather are not the same if they’re flagged vs unflagged. What I mean by this is say you have an iron ore node. An unflagged person comes up and mines it. It doesn’t disappear because the iron node a flagged person sees is not the same as the one an unflagged person sees. Unflagged people have their own shard of resource nodes to gather from compared to flagged people. Why do this? Not only does it give a nice resource boost incentive to flagging, but it also introduces the concept of fighting over resources. Something you didn’t address at all. In every other MMO with PvP like this, resource fighting is an integral part of the system. You didn’t include it at all.
- PvP – War Mode/Settlement Owning– The decision to make this based on the faction rather than a company will end up biting you in the butt down the line. Mainly because it just further increases the incentive to stack a faction. The whole reason you want to own a settlement is for the tax and settlement bonuses, no the actual action of fighting a war. There’s not “carrot” on the stick for that beyond just for fun. I predict that once the community settlements and a majority of people have been 60 for awhile, you’re going to find a large preference for outpost 20v20 pvp and war will be pushed to the side. That being said, in these types of games drama happens. It always does. Company leaders wont like one another. Wont agree with tax decisions. Just dislike one another. You don’t want to get in the way of these disagreements. You want to remove as many blockers as possible to prevent two companies from fighting one another in these situations. Because if you don’t, those frustrations boil up until someone quits. With the requirement of being on opposite factions to fight one another, that will cause issues. Not only organize a 100 man faction switch, but also some people like the faction they’re in for the aesthetics or lore. So you further are putting in complications in this regard.
- Allow a company to go to war with another company. How does this work? Inside of the company menu there will be the option to go to war with another company of the same faction. To do this, roles with the “War Vote” permissions in the company need to submit their vote if they agree with going to war with the select company. This allows companies to have democracies if they wish. So they can make it so all the officers have to agree to the war or a leader can make himself the deciding factor. Either way, once a company goes to war the company (or multiple companies) they’re at war with turn orange in color. Now when those warring companies flag for PvP, they can fight one another. On top of the other factions. They can do missions in a zone and fill up that meter with an orange color to take it over from a company of the same faction. You can have multiple same faction companies you go to war with if you choose. There’s no limit. Basically the Orange color represents a same faction company going to war.
- Variety– This game lacks variety heavily. Especially in the 1-30 levels. You’ll be fighting the same monsters but with different color pallets. Seeing the same buildings. Seeing the same environment. Blightwood is similar to the previous zones in the props being used, just really dark. There is a larget Lost presence here which is nice, but that presence then gets repeated in the future zones. Restless shore isn’t hugely different from other beachside zones such as first light. Weaver’s fen is like previous swamp areas we’ve seen, like in cutlass, just darker. Really the only zones that really “stand out” are the shattered mountain snowy areas and ebonscale reach. Like I said its not that there isn’t any difference, but the differences are so small that it really isn’t that noticeable. Same thing with the monsters. Monster variety is very lacking. Angry earth is cool and you fight them every now and then. But you really do get “used” to the monsters fast and you keep fighting the same ones. Questing variety is very lacking too. Sadly there’s not much to solve this without reworking stuff and putting in new things to the zones. So going forward for future zones, you may just have to try to increase variety.
- Character Leveling– The leveling in this game from a character perspective is very very rough. I’m not stranger to grind. But this game the grind is just…bad. Now I’m not talking about leveling up crafting professions, I’m talking about getting 1-60. Because of the huge lack of variety, leveling in this game is a huge slog. I’ve personally already seen quite a few friends really struggle with leveling in this game. Especially past 30. And if you’re not someone who likes crafting and is leveling that up alongside your character; the variety is lacking even more. I’m not surprised at all that you have zergs of 20+ running around farming corruption to try to speed it up. And sadly, the leveling in this game feels utterly pointless. There’s no satisfaction in gaining a level. It doesn’t really feel like you’re progressing at all. You’re fighting mostly the same enemies in similar looking environments. Sure you may unlock a dungeon every 10-15 levels…but that’s it. Pvp doesn’t seem to cooperate with the leveling structure either. Having 50+ level zergs fighting in an area for a fort/war while you’re leveling as a 20….it doesn’t make you want to flag up. The stat difference, despite the scaling, is still very noticeable. And while you’re leveling, you really don’t have a good option for consistent PvP to shake things up. Not only that, but I’m now hearing that some companies are purposefully not upgrading anything in their towns so that there’s less townboard quests. Less exp to slow down their competitors (like I said, the PvP community doesn’t like to play nice). While it may not be noticeable now, you’re going to be in a situation of other themepark MMOs where the game doesn’t start till max level. And if you make getting to max level difficult….then you’re going to get a burn out. I suspect that many players will get burnout between level 30 and 50. You’re going to see a big drop off in playtime during that bracket. Outpost pvp doesn’t open till 60. Best gear isn’t till 60. War/Open World PvP will be fought by higher levels, so it will be harder for lower levels to participate. Once a large portion of players get 60, you’re going to see this feeling hit hard.
Suggestions (not all of these need to be implemented):
- Increase quests amount. We don’t need voice acting. Don’t worry about it, you already have little VA in the game. Just throw in more quests. More side stories, stuff to do. You don’t even need just NPCs, you can make it so that they start from items/lore notes spread throughout the world.
- Increase exp from monster kills
- Increase exp from townboard/faction quests. Specifically, explorer and kill X quests
- Increase exp from existing side stories
- Balance- Because of the full removal of stagger, you’re going to see a meta that is going to develop a bit strangely. I suspect melee offense roles/weapons will heavily favor weapon masteries that can push out as much CC as possible. Slows, stuns, knockdowns, etc. These will be the name of the game. We have already seen this in the way of many people favoring axe and hammer. The next major part of the offense role are weapons that offer high mobility. Specifically for ranged roles. Again, that is why hatchet is so popular. I suspect 50% of the reason so many people choose that is for the speed buff. That’s a lot of mobility.
- Put in stagger again. With no stagger, attack speed and attack timing is no longer that much of a consideration with attacking. Doesn’t mean it has no place, but significantly less. Some weapons may end up being pushed to the sideline as a result. Now you don’t need full stagger. Build a mechanic around it. Make it so that when someone gets staggered, they have a cool down start where they can’t be staggered again for 5 seconds. So make stagger resist an actual buff. Then you can build weapon functionality around applying stagger resist. You can also make it so that stagger only happens if someone gets hit during the animation of an attack or from behind.
- Put in a parry system. Again, it can work similar to the stagger system where you can only parry once every so often. And you can build entire balance/functionality around being able to parry or not. It would make combat soooo much more fun.
- The Economy– The economy is not going to do well in this game. Inflation is going to happen. Right now for an endgame player, the economy will consist of the following. Repairing your items, paying your property taxes, and buying/selling consumables. Crafted items will plummet in price after awhile because once you have the best gear, there’s no reason to buy it again. And getting repair parts is not that hard. There’s just not enough drains on the economy to slow down inflation. Another big thing is that since the leveling experience relies so heavily on crafting to be more bearable, you’re going to have a lot of crafters at level 60. So I suspect by the end of Jan 2022, you’re going to have a pretty big supply of endgame items and not enough demand. If you've play any MMO without full gear replacement, you know that most crafted items plummet in price. Developers usually end up trying to counter this through time gates or very rare RNG mats.
- Change the repair part mechanic. Instead of just having one repair part for everything, make it tier based. For every tier of gear, there is a corresponding repair part. So if you want to repair a legendary item, you’re going to need legendary repair parts. These are gained from salvaging other legendary gear. Along with this, put in the option to convert repair parts into higher or lower tiers. Have 50 tier 1 white repair parts? Well they can be transferred into repair parts for tier 2 green. 10 green into blue. So on and so forth and vice versa. This would be done at the engineering workbench. This will put in an intrinsic value for all items for endgame players and give them a reason to keep farming those materials that are used to craft them.
- PvE– I don’t think there will be enough PvE in the game to really hold people over in the long run. Sadly, no matter if you agree with it or not, the silent majority is coming into this game from AAA mmos that have been running for years. WoW, FF14, ESO, etc. They’re expecting a similar amount of engagement for PvE endgame. Right now I think there will be what, one main expedition for level 60 players? Maybe 2 or 3 depending how the drops look for the level 45 dungeons. And PvE arenas, again I’m not sure if this will be enough to engage players for months on end.
- A real simple suggestion beyond just more is in the orb system. Make it so that there are level 60 versions of each dungeon that are accessed by crafting the associated orb for that level. So there’s an orb at level 60 for armine expeditions, for example. When you craft this version of the orb (instead of the level 25 version) all the gear/rewards/monsters are scaled to 60. This will allow you to keep all these expeditions relevant for endgame players.
Those are my suggestions. I think with the games current status (and when I say current, I mean this point in time. Who knows what they will release within the next few months) the game will continue to drop players each week. We’ve seen a what, at 15% drop from launch week till now? Not too uncommon for a MMO to drop after launch week. But I think the number will continue to drop till in Jan 2022 we’re going to settle on an average peak player base between 50k and 100k. Still really good for a MMO mind you, but yeah. solid 5 or 6 out of ten, but needs work to help with its longevity.
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