My take on things after a short while playing

Discussion in 'New Player Experience Feedback' started by Nevyn Waldail, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. Nevyn Waldail

    Nevyn Waldail Avatar

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    Having now been playing SOTA for 3 months I'd like to put forward some feedback and ideas. I do love the game and I don't suffer from getting irked by the obvious flaws such as the questing system. I plan to play for as long as I can and there is very little I find off putting about the game and certainly nothing that would raise my blood pressure. I do like others worry about the impact this has on new players and the longevity of the game, after all if there are no players there is no game.

    I am enjoying the game as is but there are a number of items I believe could be a lot better, in content, in design, in general management of expectations and housekeeping. There are some systems that are quite frankly just not made enough off. Graphically I think the game is fine but then I'm more interested in the game play than the graphics.

    In general I am amazed at how little information and guides are available out there for the game. Especially when some of the systems have extremely steep learning curves. While I appreciate there is an argument that things change so quickly in the game that guides are quickly redundant, but even so I think the lack of noise out there in the aether gives the impression of a game that’s done.

    New player help and ideas

    Firstly the new player quests are fine but there needs to be more quests that get them involved in the systems we want them to take part in, the player economy is a good example of this. There needs to be a quest right at the start that introduces them to public vendors and an explanation that they will get more money from selling this way than direct to NPC vendors. It would also be extremely useful if that vendor didn't punish them by eating their goods after a fortnight for virtually nothing. Public vendors should be free for new players with an increased order limit.

    In most games players get their initial kit from drops. In Sota the basic player made stuff at very basic levels is good enough for AL0-60 easily. I'm still using it at AL70+ with some very basic masterworks on it. While there are a couple of crafting quests, I think starting with a few more recipes, perhaps influenced on their starting choices would help but even if at some point an NPC or the oracle literally said, if you want better armour check out the player vendors on a regular basis.

    In most of the newbie areas there are a lot of Superfluous NPC's. I just found most of these guys unfinished if they weren't directly related to the quests. Removing them would give the game less of an unfinished feel and speed up servers (I presume). If they don't provide something positive, get rid of them.

    The same goes for scenes that have very little of content or use in them other than farming. If a scene is a clone or not the final version remove it. That has the benefit of encouraging people to move to more populated areas again making the place feel more alive. Once the time or the reason to reintroduce them occurs then bring them back. Adding new lands in a game already sparsely populated could kill it dead. Even UO struggled with this eventually as did several other games I have played.

    The questing system I found fine but mainly because I ignored its flaws but its been well discussed and will get overhauled, then maybe I can lose the several tasks that are stuck on my compass and journal despite having been completed. One thing I'd like to see is given the mature and active community we have here would it be possible to allow players to add quests to a specific NPC kind of like an advanced version of the old Gamemasters of UO. Perhaps a member of the community could submit a storyline or quest to the team with all the NPC interactions, etc for the team to implement on some of the existing empty NPC's?

    The oracle handing out cash is great as a new player, not sure it needs to continue beyond a certain level.

    Housing

    The housing system is good, although I agree with the recent idea on the forums of handing out the row lots a little earlier, again to introduce players into the system earlier. It would of course be greatly enhanced if the players towns were filled up a little more by more players and I like some of the coming changes to row lots. I don't think I even knew that I'd get a free house at the end of the main quest when I bought the game, that should be a massive advertising pitch.

    More housing customisation would be good either through crafting add-ons or similar. Another positive idea would be to replace or allow the current NPC vendors to sell player goods in some form or another, for example people who wanted to Smith could rent vendor space at blacksmiths in the main towns, tailors at the tailors, etc. You would only be allowed to sell relevant goods in the relevant places.

    Adventure Skills

    I love the free form nature of the skills, it was what was really great about UO, the idea you could pretty much have any skill mix and I think the team have taken this idea and went too far with it. Being able to be everything at once I think not only detracts from the game but stifles discussion about builds, roles, and even roleplay. There is no need to discuss what skills you should be focusing on because you can have them all. I would absolutely stick a skill point limit on this forcing people to design effective builds with this limit. Once people got over the initial shock I think they would have as much fun designing their builds as they do playing just now. Given that this penalises those who already have all the skills, a good compromise would be to allow people to build all the skills but only able to activate x amounts of points worth at any one time. This would allow people to change builds for specific roles and give flexibility in LFG's when a tank needs to change to a healer for example to fit with a group. Could be a lot of fun.

    Combat

    At the moment there are a number of complaints about combat being mundane. I personally don't find this and I don’t run two bars so that I can perma buff quickly. Firstly I'd increase the time it takes to swap decks to stop the buff bar, force people to make choices or at least make it harder/riskier. Secondly I think the individual glyphs need to have more accurate descriptions and more pronounced effects.

    Finally with regards to combat I think decks are the single biggest missed selling point of the game, they could be absolutely awesome if managed correctly/worked on. There should be discussions all over the forums of how to build decks, how much of each glyph, how to get the best combos, etc. There isn't because at the moment there isn't much of a noticeable difference between a great deck and an average one. I would attempt the following to improve this,

    1. I'd increase the number of combos and increase the power of combo effects, make it more worth while to combo rather than charge a glyph.
    2. I'd make the combos more relevant to specific roles, so tanking combos, DPS combos, healing combos, CC combos, etc
    3. I'd introduce additional Glyphs that you can add as a 3rd glyph to a combo increasing power or special/additional effects, these glyphs would be awarded through quests or rare drops, tradeable and not part of the trained skill system. They could have different rarities depending on power and add an additional collectible to the game while at the same time mixing up the deckbuilding.
    There are obviously other issues with combat such as pet summons not really being much different or incorrect descriptions, but these are fairly easy fixes.

    PvP

    I'm not a PvPer, I'm too old and don’t have the finger dexterity anymore:) However I do think it has its place in a modern MMO. Would be great to bring back some form of faction wars like UO created, perhaps through some of the less used scenes. Guilds would choose a side, gain points for their side, it would be non lootable/safe PVP. The scenes could be built in different ways so that factions could get control points and for each day they hold them that could give benefits to that faction. Dark Age of Camelot did this very well with the faction with the balance in power at the time gaining access to a special dungeon. It is an area of the game that is missing at present.

    Crafting

    I like the crafting system but it is quite complicated for a new player, its quite complicated for someone whose been playing for 3 months and there are some serious anomalies that don't really make much sense. A pole taking 12 logs for example compared to a board that requires 3. So other than some recipe tinkering I enjoy the system. Like the combat system though I would limit crafting skill points so that you can maybe only master half a dozen trees from the 3 crafting tiers or specialise in gathering or refining, etc. I feel this would increase player interaction, help with the economy and allow people to make a living at gathering or refining as a pure crafter would no longer be able to do it all.

    Economy

    Crafting leads on to the economy and everyone has ideas on how to fix it. There is essentially only one gold generator and that is farming monsters. PVE has always been the most efficient way to make money and create it. The challenge is to get that from the PVE focused player to the non PVE focused player through equipment they need to buy via players. Given the patient PVE player with the current crafting system can make everything he needs with the resources he gathers, limiting crafting points would help resolve this. Other options are and have all been said on other threads

    Removing consumables from loot

    Removing items creatable by players from vendors

    Using NPC vendors to manage gold and prices by selling resources on them as and when needed to deal with inflation or remove gold from the system

    Creating another level of crafted good so there is normal, exceptional and GM that you can only make once GM

    Removing a lot of the randomness from masterworks allowing people to take orders and make task specific equipment

    I know its not popular but at least a list of whats available where to allow you to go and fetch what you require efficiently

    Creating recipes that use player crafted produce in larger quantities for the common used consumables increasing the value of those, especially if they have been removed from Vendors

    Increasing the risk of equipment breaking completely

    Of course the ultimate fix to a player economy would be more players, almost the largest issue by far is not enough demand for anything.

    I may add to this post as ideas come to me, I don't expect them to be implemented, they are just ideas I have had, some better thought through than others.

    Everyone has their own ideas on how the game should progress, these are my opinions/ideas and not an exhaustive list and that is one of the problems in a game that looks to the players to help steer it in a direction, every player has a different idea of how it should work and there probably aren't two who agree on everything. With that in mind I'd suggest focusing on keeping it simple, cleaning up what isn't working and if possible looking to find that unique selling point that will pull people in. Whether that’s the free house earlier on, a crafting focused system over PVE or a deck combat system, who knows?