While I'm no fan of Apache, I think the following rant is dead-on.
"I was playing EverQuest: The Shadows of Luclin yesterday and the thought that immediately sprung into my mind was - would this game have shipped in this pathetic state if Brad McQuaid was still the EQ producer at Verant? The guy might not have won any popularity contests, but it was very clear he knew what the hell he was talking about. By the time I got to the screen that asked: you only have 384 Megs of system ram, please pick the 20 player models you would like to load, I knew something was rotten in Denmark. I mean - come on! I have 384 Megs of ram in my computer and I have to pick which player models I want to see? That's f'd up…It's not like Luclin is winning any awards for its visual prowess and the concept that I have to limit my options when I have a PC that's clearly in the top 1% of what's out today is un-freaking believable. The fact that Verant was sending out free RAM (512 megs) to people reviewing the game speaks volumes. I'm not sure why other sites have yet to report that, but you can always trust me and VE. Nothing can ever break the trust we share, especially not 512 cruddy megs of ram."
It does make you wonder. What the hell were these guys thinking? I'm all for bigger better games, but this just smacks of sloppy coding somehow.
By Jason McCullough on Sunday, December 9, 2001 - 06:15 pm:
Yeah, last time I checked Quake III sure as hell didn't require a half-gig of RAM.
By Anonymous on Sunday, December 9, 2001 - 10:19 pm:
Last time I checked, Quake III came out two years ago.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein requires 128MB of RAM, and runs better with 256MB of RAM. It's better looking than EverQuest, but it doesn't have to load nearly as many models and textures per level/zone.
By Jason McCullough on Sunday, December 9, 2001 - 10:23 pm:
Here's a better compliant: did they bother to check with their marketing department about what percentage of their userbase has 512 megs of RAM? You're probably right that it's not that badly coded, but that doesn't excuse losing sales.
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Sunday, December 9, 2001 - 10:26 pm:
They need to look into some concepts called "virtual memory" and "dynamic LOD".
If 512mb memory minimum is the future of the MMORPG, then the industry should be sweating bullets.
You can pick up 1gb of PC133 for cheap, but moving to DDR and RAMBUS makes that a lot more difficult (generally two or three RAM slots instead of four, and two only if you want maximum speed) and the memory itself is about twice as expensive.
By Erik on Sunday, December 9, 2001 - 10:36 pm:
"You're probably right that it's not that badly coded, but that doesn't excuse losing sales."
I'm not so sure. EQ is already more of a lifestyle than a game, and it requires the payment of a monthly service fee, which makes it a significant financial investment as well. I think if any game has a chance of getting consumers to purchase 50 bucks worth of extra ram, this is probably it.
By Jason McCullough on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 01:32 am:
I'm not up on my MMORPG demographics. Is the 90/10 thing still in effect (90% of the subscribers log 10% of the hours)?
By Jason Becker on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 02:14 am:
Sounds to me like its just the problems of trying to keep a 2 1/2 year old engine up to date. I'm guessing they never intended the game to store the higher res textures, more detailed models etc so when upgrading its not being done in the most efficient way obvioulsy. I mean I've seen DAoC and AO run fine on 128MB machines, and they are just as good or better looking than EQ/Lucien.
By Rob_Merritt on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 07:39 am:
Hmmm lets see how much 1/2 a gig cost today..
Typing in crucial.com
ahh pc133 cost $80
DDR 2100 cost $180
Both cheaper than my last videocard...combind. Non issue folks.
By Dave Long on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 10:14 am:
Good God...why on earth would you buy the one 512MB DIMM when you can get two 256MB DIMMs for $106 at the site you listed? At least make the case with the lower number. $180 for RAM is prohibitive IMO.
DDR 2100 cost $180
"Both cheaper than my last videocard...combind. Non issue folks."
Non-issue? That you have spend money like that on RAM just to play an expansion pack descently for a game you already may have?
I call that pretty lame myself...
By Jim Frazer on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 12:12 pm:
Guys, remember, almost every P-II and most of the early P-III motherboards only had 3 DIMMs that maxed at 128 megs each. That's 384 megs max...and most of EQ's target audience is still on PII's and early PIII's. Not every out there is like the people on these message boards. Hell, when DAoC was released, I used it as an excuse to upgrade from a P-III 600 with 256 RAM and a VooDoo 5-5500 to a Athlon 1.4ghz with 512 RAM and a GeForce 3. Most people in this world aren't willing ot do that (especially since my P-III 600 cost me $2000 to build a few years ago).
Now Verant comes out and says "Yep, we're upgrading the system requirements from a P-I 266 with 32 megs to a 1 gig with 512 megs. Merry Christmas.
How many of the people who bought the game on release day are savvy enough to realize that the 256 megs minimum requirement is going to force them to forgo the character models? Most people will see that number and go "Thank god, I have 256. It's going to look like what's on the box".
Out of the 125,000+ sales, I bet maybe 12,500 of those people had a system that can run it the way it was meant to run. That's sad.
And yes, RAM is pretty cheap, for us. We buy computer parts. Now tell someone that they need to go out and spend $100 to get more RAM...and most likely another $120 to get a good enough video card. Unless they're gamers, they will blanch at that.
It's no wonder consoles are so much more popular than PCs these days. You know when you buy a game that it will run on your console.
By Rob_Merritt on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 01:16 pm:
"Good God...why on earth would you buy the one 512MB DIMM when you can get two 256MB DIMMs for $106 at the site you listed? "
Because my motherboard has two slots and I'd like to see a gig in that machine some day. :)
By Desslock on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 01:35 pm:
>Verant was sending out free RAM (512 megs) to people reviewing the game speaks volumes
This is true, by the way, and a pretty offensive practice.
By Mark Asher on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 02:06 pm:
"Now Verant comes out and says "Yep, we're upgrading the system requirements from a P-I 266 with 32 megs to a 1 gig with 512 megs. Merry Christmas."
The only thing that can be said in their defense is that the requirements are on the box.
I think it's nutty too, but I guess they felt a need to compete graphically.
You're probably going to need a similar setup for new MMOGs like Galaxies. DAoC recommends 256 megs of ram, btw. It's intense too.
By Mark Asher on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 02:09 pm:
"This is true, by the way, and a pretty offensive practice."
Not really all that different from a console company sending out review machines, though, is it? Or for a game company to fly out a writer and put him up in a hotel and feed him.
By Jim Frazer on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 02:15 pm:
I'm just annoyed that I'm running a Athlon 1.4 with 384 megs and a GeForce 3 and I STILL can't get the graphics displayed on the box.
Verant should package the damn expansion with a cupon for $50 off your next purchase of RAM.
Zone times must be huge now if the universal textures require 512 megs.
By Anonymous on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 02:23 pm:
"And yes, RAM is pretty cheap, for us. We buy computer parts. Now tell someone that they need to go out and spend $100 to get more RAM...and most likely another $120 to get a good enough video card. Unless they're gamers, they will blanch at that."
If they're playing Everquest, isn't it safe to assume they're gamers?
By Jim Frazer on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 02:31 pm:
Not even close to safe to assume they're gamers. My Mom plays EQ and she doesn't know what RTS or FPS stand for. She's a pretty common EQ player too. Getting her to spend $220 so she can play SoL isn't going to happen. She wanted it for Christmas, but now that I've seen the requirements, I won't be buying it for her.
EQ grabbed the housewife and grandfather crowd as strongly as they grabbed the gamer crowd. They should be tailoring the system requirements to the midling systems, not the top of the line ones.
By Anonymous on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 02:40 pm:
"EQ grabbed the housewife and grandfather crowd as strongly as they grabbed the gamer crowd. They should be tailoring the system requirements to the midling systems, not the top of the line ones."
Hmm. Interestingly, targeting the non-hardcore does seem to be the approach NCsoft and Garriott are taking re: Lineage. Although given the dated graphics, the system requirements still seem higher than they should be (PII350 or higher, 128 megs ram or higher).
By Rob Funk (Xaroc) on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 02:43 pm:
You're probably going to need a similar setup for new MMOGs like Galaxies. DAoC recommends 256 megs of ram, btw. It's intense too.
>>"This is true, by the way, and a pretty offensive practice."
>Not really all that different from a console company sending out review machines, though, is it? Or for a game company to fly out a writer and put him up in a hotel and feed him.
I think sending out a review machine is different, since the only way that the person can actually review the game is to possess one (and it's not just given in the context of reviewing a single game).
A game company flying out a writer and putting him in a hotel and feeding him, to "assist" the writer to write a review, is as offensive (at least) -- I agree.
Verant's actions remind me of Funcom's suggestion to reviewers that they "wait to review the game" for a few weeks -- they essentially want to ensure that reviewers have a different (better) experience with the game than a typical consumer. It's also an unwarranted "gift", that's clearly intended to gain some measure of loyalty from the reviewer to the company.
Other than getting a gold master of the game in advance of the retail release, a reviewer should be in the exact same position as someone picking up a game off the retail shelf. If Verant extended the same offer to potential purchasers, that'd be great. Otherwise, I think it's offensive, and raises an apprehension of bias.
By Bill McClendon (Crash) on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 03:06 pm:
"Not really all that different from a console company sending out review machines, though, is it? Or for a game company to fly out a writer and put him up in a hotel and feed him."
One thing to note on review machines: Those aren't gifts, those are loans. True, most companies don't ever ask for them back, but the possibility is always there. Company-sent boxes do not become "Property of (publication)", at least none that I've ever seen or heard of. And the company-sent machines are identical to what's on store shelves.
What if Microsoft sent out an Xbox with 128MB of system RAM and an upgraded nVidia chip to review one of their games on? Would that be kosher? Because that's basically what's happening here.
As for the "company pays for writer to fly out," that's bad, mm'kay? No two ways about it.
I have no idea what SOE was thinking when they did this, but man, talk about dropping the ball.
By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 03:44 pm:
I thought EQ graphics PRE Luclin were nice as is... and now i read that with Luclin, a lot of people saying that the graphics dont have the same "charm" as the old models. All this requires 512 mb ram and a 1ghz computer!
you know, all Verant had to do was make an EQ2 with a new engine and give a discount to current players of EQ.... why they want to rehash and add to an already dated (imo) game is stupid. They fear losing subscribers... well with SoL i think they wont gain as much as they thought, or maybe even lose some!
By Jim Frazer on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 04:08 pm:
I think SoL became their "Shore up the walls" expansion. When SoL started production in earnest, it looked like DAoC, Shadowbane, Anarchy Online, and Horizons were all going to be out by Q1 2002. So, SoL gets scheduled for Q4 2001, perfect timing on their part.
Problem is, AO was garbage, SB and Horizons are vaporware, and DAoC came out in time for people to have to commit to a monthly fee before SoL was released. Now you have EQ with a processor/RAM intensive graphics engine meant to compete with games that are no longer competition or already established. The result? Upset core users.
EQ needed to overhaul their system to keep the casual gamers. DAoC is so casual player friendly (assuming you pick the right class/specs) that EQ may start losing that player base. The people who have played for 2 years and have done everything in Velious, the planes, etc... will no doubt stick with EQ until they have exhausted SoL of new encounters. Also people who just can't stand DAoC's system will go back to EQ now that SoL is out.
Bottom line is, I think both games will survive. I think there will be a slow migration from EQ to DAoC as people completely burn out on EQ. Then, when Galaxies is released, there will be a huge migration from everything to Galaxies. :) If DAoC gets their expansion out before Galaxies is released, they'll probably hold onto their user base fairly well.
Anyone know the latest subscriber levels for EQ and DAoC? Everyone seems to have decided to stop publishing them. I can get DAoC's peak users during peak hours, but I can't even get that from EQ anymore.
By Anonymous on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 04:11 pm:
Heck man, if tens of thousands of people are still ponying up money to play Ultima Online, I imagine Everquest will still be good for at least a couple more years, good graphics or no.
By Robert Mayer on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 04:31 pm:
An interesting issue, indeed.
Personally, I don't really get too bothered by them offering RAM. It's embarassing, but it isn't a deliberate, well-planned attempt to bribe anyone. They screwed up and gambled that the sys reqs would stay reasonable (and you can argue, I think, that this was a case of deliberate denial, in spades) and they didn't. I don't think it was very bright to send out this offer, but really, any reviewer who'd be swayed by the offer of a few $10 DIMMs isn't likely to hold much sway, anyhow.
I don't know of anyone who took them up on it, either. But folks seem to be missing the point here. The sys reqs don't matter for the review. At all. You review the expansion for how good (or bad) it is. You mention that it requires X this and Y that. You let the reader decide whether the game is worth the candle. Just having high sys reqs does not, ipso facto, mean the game is bad. Having sys reqs that are out of line with what the game offers might be another issue--GameBoy graphics with Luclin requirements would be a Bad Thing, as would poor performance, etc.
The issue with an expansion pack upping the requirements unfairly is also a tough one. I've had people complain that they should be able to play a game for its lifetime with the minimum required system from when the game was new. That might make sense for normal games, but online games are inherently dynamic. One of the things you pay for with that subscription fee is change--improvements, upgrades, cool stuff. It is impossible to add those things and keep the same sys reqs--not if you actually want visible improvements. It is, IMO, unreasonable to expect that an online game you play for several years will keep the same requirements through three major upgrades/expansions.
Sony screwed up with the timing, the lack of notice, the extent, and the type of sys req bloating, but the idea that Luclin requires more horsepower than basic EQ from early 1999 isn't a bad thing. There's plenty to criticize, though, still--poor design, poor code, old tech, clunky performance even with well above the minimum sys reqs if what I'm hearing is at all valid, that sort of thing. But there's also apparently lots of nifty stuff for the hardcore, so maybe a review should focus on the game and not the requirements.
By Mark Asher on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 05:04 pm:
"Sony screwed up with the timing, the lack of notice, the extent, and the type of sys req bloating, but the idea that Luclin requires more horsepower than basic EQ from early 1999 isn't a bad thing."
No, especially if what you get if you upgrade to 512 megs of ram is good. New games come along all the time that require some gamers to upgrade. For a lot of hardcore EQ players, this might be a good thing if SOL delivers. If I played a game for 2+ years I'd be thrilled at the idea that it was getting a major upgrade (that's optional), even if it meant spending more money on my rig.
I just wonder if this was a wise decision on SOE's part? Maybe an upgrade with just as much new stuff but using the existing graphics engine might have been better.
I also wonder if this means EQ2 is actually happening anytime soon? SOE may be thinking of just continually upgrading EQ for the next several years.
By Mark Asher on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 05:06 pm:
"I think there will be a slow migration from EQ to DAoC as people completely burn out on EQ."
Could be. I wish there was more to do in DAoC besides the realm war stuff. My cleric's level 28 and there really isn't much to do.
I wish they had a duel option. I'd like to do team duels.
By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 12:47 am:
Cmon... expecting hardcore EQ players to upgrade a pc (and not just small upgrade but new game requirements... ram, os,video card...) for a game they've been playing 2 years, thats insane. They could have at least spent the time to make either a sequel that was truly needing the higher requirements. So far, most of the people i've read, friends and online, who;ve played some SoL say that the graphics aren't that good for the upgrade... in fact some people still prefer DAOC and AO graphics over SoL which aren't as steep in requiremnets. also, there are still some major SoL (double meaning!) bugs for alot of the players.
IMO, it all smells of a xmas rush job, this might be the worst for Verant... but anyway, it wont matter, EQ is too big to just fall on one expansion... like others have said, UO with its last expansion fiasco was still able to keep its loyal... i'm sure EQ will be able to survive, much as I'd rather have them make a truly great EQ sequel.
By Jason Becker on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 02:06 am:
"I also wonder if this means EQ2 is actually happening anytime soon? SOE may be thinking of just continually upgrading EQ for the next several years."
Well UO is still going after 4 years. Guess they feel the same way.
By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 02:37 am:
If we're going to complain about Verant sending out RAM to reviewers so that they have what is necessary to fully play the game, then we have to complain about EVERYONE sending the actual GAMES to reviewers (a $50 value), or about every single freelancer and game journalist who got a free Xbox ($299) to review those games. It's the same thing - hardware necessary to meet the requirements for playing the game.
Even if you want to justify sending the games themselves, nobody jumps all over Microsoft for sending out a Sidewinder Force Feedback stick with the review copies of the Mech4 expansion so that reviewers can fully appreciate it, do they? Did anyone ever send Apache a free GeForce3? Did he bitch about that?
What about online games? Reviewers often get free accounts (worth $10 a month or more) and sometimes buffed characters (if this were a visa commercial, "...priceless").
Now, the issue of whether or not the game's system requirements are far too high for its quality is something else entirely. That's a valid judgement. It's not that the game requires 256 megs and recommends 512, it's that it should look pretty freakin' incredible if that's the case, right? And I think the consensus is that it doesn't. I wouldn't know, I don't play EQ anymore.
For the record: DAOC requires 128MB minimum, and recommends 256.
By Mark Asher on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 02:39 am:
mtkafka, it's the hardcore players who are most likely to upgrade, just like hardcore FPS fans upgrade to play the latest id game.
I wouldn't be surprised if SOL was a bit rushed though. They were going to have a press beta but cancelled it.
By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 02:58 am:
Have you looked at any of the new character models? Take a look at them on any of the various EQ sites... they are NOT good imo. I dont care how fluid and "lifelike" they might appear in the game, the stillshots are butt ugly. I probably wouldnt care so much for the ugly character models if the gameplay was substantially improved or something completely new "not just a race and class" was added, but when you come down to it, EQ is still the same game, albeit the dress up/twink your character gameplay is less enticing since Barbie Wood Elf Female = fugly now. And to top it off, the game requires Doom 3 like requirements!
Whats annoying me with this EQ apologetics is that you're basically flaming DAOC, which hasnt even seen 3 months live yet and raving on and on about the content-filled barrel of fun that is EQ. You need to play one week of EQ again, and you'll see its worse off than DAoC. Uber Camps, Uber Loot, Uber Twinks, Uber Guilds, Uber Slowness, Uber Snobs, Uber Gehyness.... thats all it is.
Oh yeah, all in my so humble opinion!
By Mark Asher on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 04:30 am:
Uh, where did I rave about EQ?
EQ does have much more content than DAoC. That doesn't mean it's a better game, though I'm already tired of leveling in DAoC and I can't RvR at level 28 with any degree of success.
I think DAoC has a better core system, but it's definitely lacking quite a bit at the higher levels for PvE play. If you come to DAoC after having played EQ, there's a "been there, done that" feel to the game that, at least in my case, is making me lose interest in it much more quickly than I did EQ. I'm hopeful that Mythic will add new content as they've promised and revive my slightly flagging interest.
Restoring the old XP code would help. It really is harder to find groups and the leveling is slower now. At level 28 it's a grind instead of fun to bash monsters for XP.
By Mike Latinovich (Mike) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 04:43 am:
welcome to online rpg's, mark. :P
- mike - veteran grinder -
By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 06:35 am:
Sorry for the ranting!
Yeah, xp is VERY slow post 35 and slows down even more, timewise (1-20) = (20-30) = (30-35)... i think that levels post 20 should fly by comparatively as fast as it does from 1-20... after level 35 i think it SHOULD be slower though... but anything before that turns off people, especially ones wanting to RvR "effectively". And the dreaded treadmill feel has got to me as well... but rolling up new characters hasn't lost its appeal for me yet.
But actually I dont think ill be playing much DAOC after the new year (two or three times a week at most)... until i see some noticeable changes in content. And after DAOC I dont think ill be playing another level-fest based mmrpg... the genre has already gotten stale and theres no need to play the same game all over again. I'm actually kind of surprised DAoC has kept my interest this long! knowing that at its core its very deriviative of EQ (and some AC).
By Rob Funk (Xaroc) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 10:03 am:
Mark, how can you possibly be having problems finding a group with a cleric? Playing an armsmen I can safely say you can never have too many clerics in a group.
Cleric is by far the easiest class to level because you can get into groups that are 5 or 6 levels higher than you and people ALWAYS want you. At 28 you should hit the front room in the Barrows team up with a fighter type or 2 and just rack up the exp. If you did that (and the deeper rooms once you got a few levels) for 3 solid nights I would guarantee you would be 35 and primed for RvR. At 37 I see a mix of gray to red players with the very occassional purple. Most people are blue, yellow, or orange and I do fine against them.
By Dave Long on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 10:16 am:
Hmmm...Jason, I think there's a line that's crossed when a specific piece of hardware is required to play the game the way it's meant to be played and that hardware is provided by the company that wants you to review it. Free Xbox systems at $300 ($450 if you believe how much it costs to make it), smacks more of bribery than just getting the required hardware for reviews. No PC game journalist needed an Xbox to review the games. It's not a PC, the games are supposed to not be PC games and the PC gaming magazines don't really cover console games. So I'd throw that right out of your argument.
The RAM? I think that's similar as are the joysticks, etc. I highly doubt a freelancer would receive the joystick provided to play say, Mechwarrior 4. We'd be left to fend for ourselves there and wouldn't even be reviewing the game if we didn't have the proper hardware right? So the RAM falls under that same category. It's like buying a new console in a way, just to play a game you're meant to review. It shouldn't be required and if it is, then the reviewer in question should already have met the requirements. If he can't do that, and neither can anyone else at that magazine, and RAM is required to play the game, then you'd expect the RAM to be in the box for ALL customers and not just the reviewer. We're reviewing the software itself, not the controller provided or the RAM needed to play the game.
This is definitely shaky ground at best that SOE is standing on.
For completeness, here are the minimum requirements for Luclin as posted in the EQ FAQ...
Pentium® II 400Mhz or greater
256 MB RAM
16 MB Direct3D compliant video card and hardware T&L (i.e. Nvidia GeForce/GeForce 2 or ATI Radeon)
DirectX 8.0 compatible sound card
28.8 K+ Internet connection
4X speed CD-ROM
450 MB+ hard drive space
Note: Although technically below the minimum specs, players with 128 MB of RAM will still be able to run Luclin by turning off the new character models.
"Mark, how can you possibly be having problems finding a group with a cleric? Playing an armsmen I can safely say you can never have too many clerics in a group."
It's hard to find a good group at times. I was in Tepok's and the only people who had an opening were 4-5 levels below me. I grouped for awhile, but the XP was lousy as I was pulling blues and yellows.
I was at the dungeon in Cornwall when I was level 26 and couldn't find a group with an opening one evening.
One of the other problems is that post 25+ there aren't numerous places to hunt, and they are all spread out. If I logged in Llyn Barfog when I log on there might not be an available group there, so then I have to run to Snowdonia Fortress or Tepok's or Cornwall, etc.
It's not even finding a group so much as there's just not much to do beyond level 25 that you haven't done before. I'm essentially killing the same pig that I was at level 3, but the game keeps changing the name, stats, and size of the monster model as I go up in levels.
The game needs more landscape variety, more monster models, more item drops, more dungeons, etc.
By Jim Frazer on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 12:05 pm:
Pentium® II 400Mhz or greater
256 MB RAM
16 MB Direct3D compliant video card and hardware T&L (i.e. Nvidia GeForce/GeForce 2 or ATI Radeon)
This tells me a couple of things. 1) The low processor requirement with a high RAM requirement means they put in WAY too many universal textures. Must be the new race, new armors, new pets (tons of new pets), new universal mobs, etc. 2) REQUIRES hardware T&L. In other words, this is the death nell of the Voodoo for EQ.
On the DAoC note; the lack of content truly is getting old for me too. I'm playing a 30th level Paladin and know exactly how Mark feels about the whole traveling to hunt thing. I play on Pendragon (the test server) and am in a guild, so I never had trouble finding a group. The problem is when the group is in Barrows and I'm in Snowdonia. The travel time is no where near as bad as it was in EQ, but it's still a pain in the bum.
Lucky for me, I love crafting, and the Test server is woefully lacking anyone who is testing the trade skills. Gives me the opportunity to spend a few hours now and then making money without having to kill anything.
By Mark Asher on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 01:00 pm:
The lack of high level content keeps me creating new characters and playing them to levels 8-12. That's actually a lot of fun discovering how to play a new class.
I wish Mythic could understand that. I see no reason why playing 60 hours with a character shouldn't get you to level 40. You could then play a new character, and if you really liked the game you could have five to ten level 40 characters in different classes and realms.
By Rob Funk (Xaroc) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 01:30 pm:
Mark, I get what you are saying. I read somewhere that Mythic is going to add new monsters by the 10th of January and they aren't just going to be bigger or different color monsters. They will be completely new models. So that will be good.
By Jim Frazer on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 01:36 pm:
On Test recently, 8 new monster models were added, but none of them will be showing up until a bit later. They also added a few new armor models that will be showing up over the next few weeks too. Nice and pretty, but I'd rather have Catacombs, Tepoks, and the fronteirs itemized.
Yes, artists making new textures and models doesn't detract from programming time. In my head I know this. But every time I see a flush patch, it gets to me a little knowing all the glaring problems that are still sitting out there.
By Rob Funk (Xaroc) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 01:42 pm:
Mark I think 60 hours to level 40 sounds sort of like what Shadowbane is going to try. It will be interesting to see how people are going to react to that. I don't know if the draw of having 10 versus 5 high level characters is going to keep the hardcore people interested.
I don't know if I would like it or not. Wouldn't be a whole lot of ways of differentiating yourself if everyone was level 40+ in a short time.
By Bruce_Geryk (Bruce) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 02:26 pm:
"Wouldn't be a whole lot of ways of differentiating yourself if everyone was level 40+ in a short time."
Yep - in a static, "kill-to-level" system, that's pretty much all you have to differentiate yourself. Which is why the "dynamic world" brought up by some other people is so attractive.
I'm not sure you can ever make these games appealing to the non-hardcore in the long run, though, since even in the "relaxed" leveling system of DAOC, you still have to put enormous amounts of time into the game to get to the RvR stage. No one who plays computer games for 2 hours a night twice a week is going to be able to level effectively above lvl 20.
No matter what you do,students with essentially 24 free hours per day are going to dominate these games. Which is fine, of course, since it's not my concern who plays, as long as I'm having fun. But Mythic seems to be a little obsessed with limiting power-leveling, and probably thought they had a little time to itemize and build up the post-30 game due to their xp limits and anti-camping/anti-twinking code. That clearly didn't happen. People will always play a MMORPG far more than the designers expect, I think. And they'll find all the exploits.
So I really like what Mythic has done for the casual player: made three realms where you essentially get the 1-20 trip multiple times, using different classes and different strategies. The Champion in Hibernia is much different than the Paladin in Albion, to say nothing of the difference between a caster and a fighter. It's a great way to keep the casuals interested, and for this reason, things like the similarity of monster models don't bother me all that much.
If the high-level content doesn't get fixed, the game may indeed lose the hardcore players. But I'm not sure what you can do to please people who play the game as much as high-level EQ players. I've heard all sorts of stuff about it taking hours just to put together a party, quest monsters that spawn once a week, etc. It seems kind of disappointing that the only way MMORPG designers seem to be able to figure out to keep high-level players involved is to keep them in front of their computers for ever-increasing amounts of time. Because from what I've been reading on this board, eventually it just gets tedious and people quit.
By Mark Asher on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 02:56 pm:
Yeah the level 1-20 trip may be the best part of the game, though I really do want more monster models.
I do think Mythic underestimated how quickly a large number of gamers would get to the high levels. With the RvR, they've created a leveling monster too. Players want to keep gaining levels to keep pace in RvR, but the high level PvE content just isn't there in the right amounts.
By Rob Funk (Xaroc) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 03:06 pm:
Jim, I kinda like having a few unitemized dungeons. They tend to be a lot less crowded and you never have to go to town to sell because they drop all coin loot (and a lot of it). As a matter of fact I wish even in the itemized dungeons either dropped a) the old amount of coin loot or b) useable items. Having to go sell worthless items is a pain in the ass.
By Jim Frazer on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 03:19 pm:
Yeah, the sales trips are a real pain. We got to the point in Keltoi where we were keeping a pretty detailed list of items that were worth holding onto. Got to the point where anything that sold for under 7 silver was deleted (which meant roughly 90% of the drops). Barrows, well, that's a different story. Most non-magic items in there sell for 30 - 60 silver. Being as I just spend 45 gold on a new hammer and 40 gold to fill in some missing armor pieces, I really need the cash. :)
I could get behind the idea of having only large amounts of coin with the occasional rare armor/weapon drop and forgoing the durn "hey, look, another way to spell belt" sales items.
Overcrowding, well, I have never had to deal with that particular problem. Only played on the production servers until 12th level before moving on to Pendragon. Oddly enough, even with an average population of 250 at peak hours, we have some great 30 on 30 RvR fights. Seeing 50% of the server on the battle field at the same time is just really cool for some reason.
By Rob Funk (Xaroc) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 03:20 pm:
But I'm not sure what you can do to please people who play the game as much as high-level EQ players. I've heard all sorts of stuff about it taking hours just to put together a party, quest monsters that spawn once a week, etc.
Jim, you are lucky with the overcrowding issue. The first night Barrows was itemized on Bedevere there were probably 200+ people there. Before the patch at peak times there were maybe 70-90 people there. It has calmed down to around 125 people now but there are a lot of idiots who don't know their way around and cause a lot of trains. Also a lot of goofy EQ like "random" loot rules are starting to be espoused by people who go there.
By Jim Frazer on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 04:33 pm:
Well come on over to Pendragon, we could use some more. :) You get to give actual feedback to Mythic, talk to the CSRs a lot, test out the latest fun, see the worst bugs on Earth. It's great, actually.
Overcrowding just never happens. Tomb of Mithrias is considered overcrowded if it has more than 8 people in it. Last time I was in Barrows, I think we had 14 of us there (8 of us up top, 6 people 35+ further in).
Also, you get to play all 3 realms on the same server. Lets you change pace without having to switch to a new server.
If you or anyone else decides to come over, I play Legollan, Paladin in Albion. Give me a tell and wecan see about getting you into some groups with the Guild-alts. (We had to resort to alts since there were hardly any Cleric or Wizards entering the game, both of which are necessary for decent RvR).