First, a bit about my feelings about SK. Frankly, it's not interesting content, and the gains make me feel as if the game may as well have stopped after I got into it (I'm level 87). I recently rejoined the game, re-leveled a character, and essentially the moment I got into SK I moved on (recently back again, but been leveling alts). It really was like pulling teeth - there isn't much to kill, and the gains feel piddly compared to the XP required to level. I did the math, and if it takes me ~100b to get to level, and I get ~70m / kill, it's just over 1100 kills. That's fine, but when the most efficient way to level is to sit in the casino in silver, and kill the same 3 mobs over and over, that's not fun.
Sure, I could move around, but if I don't have to, why would I? And every floor in SK is just like the last. From what I understand, kills can get down to 7m / kill while the level xp goes up by about ~10b / level (quickly glancing at my exp chart). That's just way too much time spent there, for what little variety it offers.
And that's in NL Alt 2, which is only available for platinum (I also think that should be changed, because I would much rather pay several accounts than 1 or 2 platinum. We feel like we have to pay plat to even make XP worthwhile, and when you have multiple accounts, that's simply infeasible.). I can't even imagine doing this in NL Alt 1.
It's just really not fun. All it does is sink time. You can't even do it solo, which makes it tough when the game has a dwindling community. And the worst part is that it's the only real place to level from 87 to whatever.
Well, it was, until you introduced PNork.
I've been having a blast in PNork. I kinda stopped going since item decay became more prevalent and I lost my gear, but that's fine (I'll talk more about this later). I know it's still being worked on, and I know there's a lot to be done. And I know that it's not supposed to be permanent.
But it really should be. It's fun and it's challenging. And that's what I like best about the other parts of the game. For their level, they're both fun and challenging (or, at their time, they were). I really, really think you should consider making PNork permanent. It's a great alternative spot to level. It's actually fun! With all of the tuning that needs to be done to make it a viable scenario, I would certainly like to revisit nork and have fun there once again. And best of all, I think it could bring back people who left because of SK (almost certainly for the reasons I stated above) - one of the best parts is that I can get in to PNork with just a silver sub, which certainly is fine for many players who are quirk maxxed, etc.
It's very tough to get a lot of benefit from PNork as it is, with all the tuning going on, and that's fine. But if you're not a thief or ment, the possible benefits you can get are very minimal. Given that the plan is to make it go away this week, that means that basically, most classes were unable to effectively participate.
I really think there should be a better solution to gear decay, as well. I think the existing game logic is reasonable. I know your concern is to not let the gear bleed out to other scenarios to trivialize the game. I also understand you plan on implementing a similar system for IR. I have some thoughts, and they're not really original ones - they're things you've done:
- Don't let the gear go out of the scenario. While this is a possible route you can choose, it would actually do a world of good to allow the gear to be used in different scenarios. This is especially true for a scenario like Nameless which has very cookie-cutter gear that is rarely switched out. In essence, getting out of this rut would make the game much more interesting to play.
- Make the gear tie. Please don't actually do this. It would be quite unfortunate if all of these items tied. We would have less incentive to help other players with gearing their crits and more incentive to search for the perfect items for our own crit. This is especially true if the stat boosts on the items are unpredictable.
- Don't let people without access to the scenario pick up the gear. You do this currently with NL gear and free accounts. I think this is the best solution. Reasons being: it lets us use the gear we find, share it, but not flood the game with it.
So you may be thinking: "but who will go to SK if PNork is permanent?" and very likely, in it's current state, the answer is that people will go there to get the tiers, and then stop going there. After they get what they want, they're going to go back to PNork. Offhand, I don't know what you can do to make SK more fun, but I'm more than happy to think about that sometime - lets have a forum discussion about it. What I know, right now, is that PNork is a hell of a lot of fun. If it truly is going away this week, I'm certain a lot of players will be upset. It should stay in the ranks with CCob and CAleria.
I feel your pain. I do game design as well, and when people leave something in favor of optimization, it saddens me, but that is how players are. There needs to be multiple interesting paths for people to do more than the optimized route. And when the optimized (and only) route is SK, I think the community will be a bit sad at the loss of this great event.
We don't want things to be easy. We just want them to be fun.
Thanks for reading, I know it was a lot.