My waning interest in SotA--A plea to Richard and Starr

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by bugmaster77, Feb 23, 2019.

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  1. bugmaster77

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    Greetings!

    Before I start, I'd like to make it perfectly clear that with this post I am attempting to provide meaningful feedback. Nothing more. Take it, or leave it.

    When I found this game I was quite excited, having been a player of Ultima Online for 14 years. After playing Ultima IV on a Commodore64, UO was, for me, exactly what I hoped computer gaming would become--A social experiment intrinsically linked to a fantasy world with detailed systems that encouraged innovation in interaction. So, when I started playing Shroud of the Avatar one of the first things I looked for was an extension of that. Initially, it looked like I had found exactly that. I found skill trees that clearly encouraged experimentation, group dynamics, solo mechanics, etc.

    After playing for some time I've come to the conclusion that while there was focus on all of that when the skill trees were designed, the follow up in creating content that took advantage of all of the previous efforts was less than ideal. I've since concluded that the content is being developed without any consideration for the effort put into the skill systems. Let me provide an example.

    On numerous occasions, I have asked my guildmates about group content with the idea of putting together groups dedicated to making the most of group dynamics/skill sets, only to be confronted with roughly the same answer--There is no reason to do so. I will use the "Spider Queen" boss fight as an example of this as I specifically asked guildmates about this fight. When pressed on the subject, I was told that the only reason to do the fight was that there was a very small chance the boss would drop a "Spider Silk Belt". The rest of the loot from this boss was no different than most of the other monsters in the game. That being said, unless you were specifically after that item, there was NO reason to even seek out this fight--aside from the belt, there was nothing from this fight that couldn't be found elsewhere, and far easier at that. And, on top of that, if I am looking to acquire this belt, I have to convince the rest of the group to help me when they will not be getting a reward. Eight people fighting the same boss, over and over, so that ONE player gets a belt. Now I realize that for some the fight itself is the challenge, that winning the fight by defeating the spider is the goal, but for most people that is not enough--you do it once and then have no reason to return. It's like watching the same movie over and over.

    So, in this example, the problem (and the reason nobody even bothers with the group mechanics needed for this fight) is that there is no incentive to do so. The drop rate is horribly low, the drop is only useful for a select few builds, yet it takes a full group using crowd control, healing, DPS and tanking to complete. Or so I am told...I've never actually done the fight because I can't find anyone willing to go through the effort of doing it because the rewards for doing so are minimal. You can quite literally do this fight over and over without anyone in the group getting anything more than gold, and a pittance of that to boot.

    This same scenario plays out with almost every group-based fight that has been put into the game, a difficult fight with little chance of reward for engaging. The only reason to fight dragons is to get a trophy head and possibly the materials to make some food. What if neither of those rewards is appealing to me? Well, that answer is simple--Don't bother fighting dragons. On and on it goes. Vast effort put into creating group dynamics, but nothing to utilize them. Most of the people in my guild spend their time soloing/duoing content.

    I began to ask myself WHY this happened. How did so much effort put into a well-balanced skill system become undermined by a lack of meaningful content? I can only come up with one reasonable answer--The people designing the content have no vested interest in that content because they themselves never experience it. Do Richard and Starr actually play this game? Do they have any understanding of what reward vs effort means in-game, or is all of this seen from their perspective as nothing more than a reward vs effort in terms that they understand--money? Surely they understand that part of it--You invest time, you get a reward. How often would you two go to work in the morning knowing that more than likely you weren't going to be paid for it? I'm guessing the answer to that question would be "never". Well, that is exactly the situation you've created for your players with SotA.

    As is, it is actually easier to farm a starter scene for gold than it is to farm a tier 8 scene. Sure, I get more XP, but what good is that XP when it can't be used for progressively harder fights, with progressively higher rewards? There is no reason for my continued character development, as soloing everything was NEVER my goal.

    Currently, I see many people building characters with one goal in mind--soloing Upper Tears. Most do it for the XP gains, but I have to ask, what is the point in that if there is no place to take your skills once they are more significant?

    As is, Upper Tears is the ONLY endgame content I see as nobody is interested in harder, group-oriented content due to a lack of rewards. I see a few fights that have dungeon-component drops that require a group, but what if I have no interest in creating dungeons? I have no reason to go there. You HAVE to have incentive for every single person in that fight to participate. As is, if only one person in the group wants a blueprint, and they get it, now nobody in that group has a reason to every do that fight again. POOR planning, on the part of the developers that I can only attribute to one thing--they never play the game, or never do so with the same goals as players would.

    So, here is my advice. Stop developing and start playing your own damn game. You will NEVER understand why you are losing customers, why peoples interest in the game is waning until you become one of them. If SotA is nothing more than a revenue stream to you guys, then it is doomed to failure. Why? Well, to be blunt, you have too many other competitors with that mindset, that it is just to make money.

    I asked an honest question of some of my guildmates--"So, without group-content being viable (no rewards vs effort making it worthwhile), what is the endgame content in SotA?" One guildmember very quickly answered me--"Playing Dollhouse", he said. While most of the people in that voice channel laughed when he said that, I realized that what he said is true.

    Shroud of the Avatar needs serious help to be competitive in the game market. Dollhouse isn't enough to do that. I do not need anything other than my own waning interest to see this.

    Seriously, Richard, Starr--Play the game yourself. And I don't mean just showing up for events. Create a regular, anonymous character without GOD-mode turned on, and play your own game all the way through End-game content. Until you do, you will NEVER understand what is so very wrong with SotA. If you are not willing to do so, ask yourself a question..."If I am not willing to play my OWN game, why would anyone else?" The answer to that question is either the key to the success of SotA, or the realization of it's failure. It's up to you to decide which it becomes.

    Sincerely,
    Cozy Firesong
     
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  2. Weins201

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    Play the game NOT game the play but I fear that ship has sailed.

    Finish what is out there and develop the Char created stuff to its fullest capabilities

    BUT FINISH THE REST FIRST
     
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  3. Lazlo

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    I have actually always really liked the way that SotA works wrt solo vs. group content. It was always pitched as somewhat of a single player world where you can play with friends and interact with other people, as opposed to just an MMO. I like the fact that everything in the game can be done solo, albeit with great difficulty. To me that's a lot more fun than being forced to work in groups to experience all of the content.

    Imo UT was a pretty clever way of providing content that could support groups without being exclusive to groups. It's no perfect, but it was a good idea to build on. Also don't really agree that most people only care about UT. Most people I know get pretty bored with it and can get experience easily enough in a lot of other places anyway. It's great for groups of people working their way up through levels, but it isn't really anything special apart from that.
     
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  4. kaeshiva

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    The UT issue aside, the "bad loot" problem is, in my opinion, the fundamental thing wrong with the game.

    1% of the hardcore soloist elite players farm all the bosses 18 hours a day and sell their loot to the rest of us who don't want to do the flavor of the month build.
    There is absolutely no reason to group up to do anything, for a 1% or less drop? When you have to coordinate a full group of people for a considerable chunk of time, for no gain? Why do it?
    The problem is they can't simply up the loot drop because the 1% of farmers will simply flood the game with the items because they have the time, skill, and patience to turbofarm the crap out of everything.

    A solo player who kills 50 dragons or whatever in a day resetting the instance might get a few nice things.
    A group of 8 players killing 8 dragons taking well over an hour at least to do so so everyone gets 1 "skin" - and gets nothing most of the time. Beyond the novelty, it is simply not a lucrative use of anyone's time.

    That spider? I've skinned it 3 times. Each time I got the exact same loot I get off generic red spider. The ones I can 1-shot. This is just such a horrible implementation I can't believe we have to keep saying it over and over again. "But other games have group content" "insert examples from games like WoW" - yeah, and when you go on a group raid in most games and kill a named monster, it drops something, 100% of the time. Often several somethings. Maybe not the 1 thing you want. Maybe some things are rarer than others. But you never get 16 gold and a shovel. Never. Because then nobody would bother. 17 trips through Ravensmoor, needing multiple players, taking a long time, still no blueprint drop. This is demoralizing. And even if you can solo it, prepare to settle in and do it 100 times to try and get the item you need. Maybe.

    There have been several suggestions on how to rectify this - personal loot bags for participants, quest flag/rewards for unique items (like, get a 'dragon chest' once per week/month whatever for killing one) to keep these things from being overfarmed. Incremental gains, (like getting 'pieces' off every kill that when you gather so many let you craft the item you're after). Ways to make each kill count, instead of relying on this slot machine methodology that got old for most of us years ago.

    For what its worth, I agree with you Cozy - I think a lot could be learned by being in the player's shoes here, instead of just looking at metrics/spreadsheets of how many dragons were killed in an hour etc. Not just about this issue, but about other issues, to actually experience what players experience and understand why certain things are simply not fun. I was thrilled when I could kill my first dragon, back before it even had loot and just dropped serpent scales and obsidian chips. It was exciting. But you quickly get into the situation where there's just no reason to go do it again, since most of the time, you will get a big fat nothing for your effort.
     
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  5. Nevyn Waldail

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    Well they probably don't want to increase the loot for all the reasons you have stated so how's this for an idea

    Tradable glyphs that you put into your decks that combine with existing skills to give power ups or special effects, could be lots of different types of different rarities.

    You could also group them in sets that could be traded in for special rewards or just gold or COTOs.

    Would help deck system and provide further interest in doing these things without fkooding market with the specific drops.
     
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  6. Vladamir Begemot

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    Don't forget "pay crafters enough at NPCs to make it worth their time to sell some bronze plate +15, thus completing the high end loot cycle".
     
  7. Boo Ladedada

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    I for one love what SOTA could be, but unfortunately, I do not see it ever getting there IN TIME TO BE COMPETITIVE with other games that are soon to be released. Hardcore playing completely ruined it for me and that is my fault. I really enjoy teaming up to do things and going out on adventures that maybe take an evening to do with a full team. I got to the point I did not need anyone for anything. I guess I got what they promised a solo online game with multiple people doing the same thing. I thought a classless system was going to be fun as well and it was but then when you reach 100+ GM's which I wish was just that CAPPED at 100. But no I ran a few up to 140 and became a god. I had a blast doing the Path Quests and was extremely proud when I got the Shroud but almost instantly after getting the Shroud only thing left to do is farm materials, Play Dollhouse, and Roleplay or attend a dance party after the live stream every Friday. I appreciate Portalariums openness and communication with the community I feel it is Top-Notch and that will always make me come back and see what is going on if anything new or old has been implemented or fixed. I will always have fond memories in SOTA it was my wife's first computer MMO she ever played and she did great but she also has lost interest in playing also causing me to lose interest.
    Hopefully, one-day things will get better but for now, I'm in other worlds teaming with people and accomplishing goals I cannot do by myself.
     
  8. Synergy Blaize

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    @bugmaster77 @kaeshiva

    BRAVO!!!!

    A very well written post that describes my EXACT frustrations & lack of logging in/interest these days!

    Apparently, Lord British spends a lot of time playing the game (as per Stand Up Notes)
    But he doesn't seem to be playing the way the average players do.
    If he did, he would be well aware of all of the issues/frustrations you speak of (on my behalf also)!

    @Lord British @DarkStarr @Chris
    PLEASE read the OP in this thread.
     
  9. Anpu

    Anpu Bug Hunter

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    They need a Community Manager. This would be Portalrium employee that is tasked with playing the game, thus understanding the concerns of the Players. They would also understand the concerns of the team as well as players and could convey this information between both parties.
     
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  10. Toadster

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    I agree 100% but, I also have to say there are collector groups out there that do content other than upper tears. People can join parties now without the fear of decay. They either hope for the roll on the belt themselves or they know you’ll help with the next one when it is something they need. There are a few areas that are more challenging content than UT but sometimes a nice easy 15 minutes per mil with a 45 minute break is relaxing.
     
  11. Gorthyn

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    I am afraid you have discovered some of the issues that so many have before you have done and yet nothing ever changes.

    Which is why unless a player is either a die hard RG devotee, or someone who wants to play "The Sims with dragons" , or a fishing simulator, or thinks a monthly dance party is somehow something worthwhile - they eventually leave the game.

    Which is why the population level remains on its knees.
     
  12. Doctorface

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    Sota has just been a place I visit when I get tired of flying space ships and getting good fun and loot elsewhere. First MMO I ever really got into and diving into it is still a lot of fun. The loot while better than when I first started a few years ago got better but still needs a lot of work, work that won't be done until likely episode five gets released. The upper tears issue has been ingrained in the community since then too, it was just different places. It was deep ravenswood, then serpent spine, then twins foothills then ulfhiem with the rise and fall mixed in. Couldn't go to any stream without seeing ONE of these places being farmed ENDLESSLY. I used to spend HOURS upon HOURS in the game and kept coming back for more.

    Sota has it's moments, take a break and come back in six months and there will be a bunch more 60% done stuff to go 'hey thats neat' about. It'll wait.
     
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  13. FrostII

    FrostII Bug Hunter

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    Agree ^^^^^ completely .
     
  14. Jekyll

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    That's cool, but theres a lot more than one way to play and experience the game. There is a broad spectrum of players and playstyles and im pretty sure Port has their own objectives and duties. not to mention I think a lot of them actively do play the game.
     
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  15. Magnus Zarwaddim

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    Yeah, over the last couple of years we keep reading upcoming release previews that discuss re-jiggering the loot tables. But alas, not much.

    They need to keep making money to fund the game, but there won't be a game to fund without players. So, two quick suggestions for making SotA greater:
    1. Spend a release or two going over loot tables. Make them varied by tiers, and make them worthwhile incentives for people to go out and do that group content the skill system was created to foster.
    2. Spend a release or two creating mob variation. This requires art assets, which requires more money I presume. Spend it. I like to go out and grind mobs in zones. I don't like the same damn skeletons (just harder) or humanoids (just harder) or animals (just harder) in the same 3-4 zones that have each of these that I would want to grind. They added baby dragons/whelplings in Northwest Blackblade Mountains - a start I guess. More deamons that are not bosses? More undead types? Lizardmen? Gazers? Ratmen? More of anything. MOAR! :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  16. Dhanas

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    I agree they should focus every release in balancing combat, creating challenging group contents that can be better than solo contents, working and improving loots and working on PVP contents.

    They should get rid of those releases focused just on fishing, adding new weapons and new aesthetic stuffs that we don't need, since we have fundations of this game still incomplete.
     
  17. Jekyll

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    I kind of think this is happening all the time.
     
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  18. Dhanas

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    And none of those stuffs are finished yet, so, in my opinion, they should focus on COMPLETE all those things before to add new other contents.
    If they focus JUST on this they will have more time later to focus on something else
     
  19. Jekyll

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    Balance is about continuous readjustment, right? If you're on a bicycle and you "COMPLETE" as it were, you just kinda fall over - its a living breathing thing, ya know?

    By and large, most of these things are technically "complete" - in the sense that there is even a system worth balancing to begin with. Modern games adjust and balance all the time, SOTA is no exception.

    The aesthetic stuff is just bonus and incentive for your support in the telethons, ya know? Like thank you for your support so we can work on all this, here is a token of our appreciation... Its not like they are putting the other stuff on hold just to diddle about with fish masks. (well maybe..)
     
  20. Xkhan

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    Not to be a Positive Polly...BUT...

    I am still thankful and appreciate the loot tables now. How quickly we forget what seems like yesterday our loot would be a few gold and that was it period. Some of the challenges listed here must make the Devolopers stay up at night trying to hit the bullseye on a moving target. Farmers, Elites, Crafting all meshed with varying game styles.

    Loot has improved like 1000% - and I feel confident it will keep being tweaked.

    Same for 'end game' material. I mean we could resurrect a forum post and swap out Control Point with Upper Tears....the content comes....is it as quick as some would like? Clearly no but to not acknowledge that it does keep growing seems to be very dismissive and unfair.

    I've done UT twice. Once solo to see what the fuss was and ran out on the 2nd wave. Second time some guild mates invited me along and we cleared it a few times...until someone said "ok max hit" and "see you in an hour".....lol - that isn't how I want to play.

    As others mentioned there are other places to go - if it doesnt meet your playstyle thats fine - but you can't dismiss it either. Currently I am trying to see how many Elven Mages I can kill at once in The Rise, and keep testing myself on the Liches in Mysterious Swamp. Ravensmoor and the Ruined Keep keep owning me as well. Some of these places have just recently been updated - so I have lots of hope and feel comfortable updates will continue!
     
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