Thoughts on PNork/SK: an open letter

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seiyria
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Thoughts on PNork/SK: an open letter

Post by seiyria » Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:29 pm

I wanted to talk more in-depth about my thoughts regarding SK and PNork. The long and short of it is that PNork is a great alternative to SK, and I think it should stay.

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.
I know I mentioned this in lobby, but I absolutely love the random equipment generator you've made. I want to see more of this, even if it's more minor stat gains, just randomly. It makes more pieces of gear unique and makes it worth re-doing content to min-max a bit more. It makes finding the same piece of gear for the tenth time actually interesting. I really like it. It also makes a lot more gear horizontally useful - instead of straight upgrades, an item that might be slightly less good now could be better (with, say, another 3 con and agi) than the "next best item." It can certainly make many more pieces of gear viable.

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.

-seiyria

curiousredmonkey
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Re: Thoughts on PNork/SK: an open letter

Post by curiousredmonkey » Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:16 am

I have really enjoyed the recent events, most especially the Primal Nork event. Revisiting Nork (which is what hooked me on Drakkar!) has been great. It is challenging and varied. It has high level growth and drops that surprise. So, it has been a month of fun!

Seiyria's open letter is excellent. I agree with all he pointed out. I won't be as articulate as him, but here is some feedback on the event:
  • Keep Primal Nork permanent. Some of us love the diversity and content of Nork (even after all these years!). Yes, I primarily worked on my experience gains this last month, but I also tried to visit all areas of Nork for reasons of nostalgia. I rediscovered Nork all over again and did not succeed in revisiting it all, since there are so many nooks and crannies. I also had a reason to stop often and enjoy each area (while I sensed what dropped), and so my explorations were steady and calm instead of rushed. Making it permanent would allow us the time to really experience it as it should be experienced. [Suggestion: Scale sense rings to high levels so that classes without the Sense Discipline can also know when to try on the random gear.]
  • Keep Primal Nork gear non-decay and special. You currently have them not decay while in Primal Nork and never need repair. That is cool, because we get to keep what we earn and the gear is slightly different from other game gear. If the gear is allowed outside of Primal Nork then let it not decay. Keeps things simple and a nice reward for the challenge of playing in Primal Nork.
  • Reduce the size of the Primal Nork NPCs and lair creatures. Make their xp less if you need to. When I first started playing Primal Nork, the NPCs were hard, but could be killed in a reasonable time. However, about a week ago they were boosted too far. Killing just one NPC can take minutes and lair creatures many hours. While this is challenging, it is not fun. The week ago NPCs were not tame. If you think they were, then instead of making them harder to kill, try making them worth less in experience instead and fine tune with feedback. That way the sense of fun is kept, even if the rewards are smaller. This is a balancing issue you know how to do well. Just keep our pace of the kill rates up so the perception of fun is maintained.
  • Allow our high skills to advance in Primal Nork. My skill 40+ skills do not gain skill. Maybe there is a reason not to allow this in Primal Nork that I do not see. I will be going back to Sullen Keep and beginning to play Refuge next month, not for skill gains but for new gains (finish building my Black and Green gear, earn platinum coins, gain arcane abilities, experience new content, etc.)
  • Make a Primal Cobrahn. Cobrahn has as much diversity and content as Nork. It could be another success like Primal Nork. Have it drop random stat gear or maybe go in an entirely new direction. The cool thing about these events is how versatile your scripts are in turning them into new experiences. You can start with stat drops and turn on a dime if it doesn't work.
Thanks for your work Brad. Thanks for your letter Seiyria.

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Migam
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Re: Thoughts on PNork/SK: an open letter

Post by Migam » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:22 am

Pnork was great for my thief until they upped the crit hp and it took 10 sets of tiers and lots of chasing to kill 1 mino; it took 3 sets before for the same exp. I was getting 6-8b an hour at level 84 on KM5. Tbh that was the best non-NL multiplier-event gains I ever got since my guildees got too big for gnomes or took off to NL2 for better gains, which I can't afford.

I've emailed constantly about areas or instances where party-sized is limited (or even entry) so you don't have to make crits so hard to provide a challenge for 10man parties, which leaves solo, duo play twisting in the wind and only gaining faster in huge parties. 10 guys beating down a crit to get close to my solo gain, wouldn't a RL solo player be said to have gained more experience, if they're doing more and for longer time for that 1 kill? I can only hunt the entrance level of gnomes since the zoo on the next level is usually huge. Miner49er is ridiculous with him popping in and IceFloes is much more time killing to make only 30% more exp than gnomes. Meadows takes me 3x more time to kill for only 30% more exp than gnomes.

There needs to be alot more areas to gain so we're not on top of each other. PNork is huge and you can gain Primal all over and you have Nork, KM, Maeling dungeons to go into plus down to Enork, all the way up in DT plus all the surface and you gain large in all the deepest levels. My choices right now are a little exp in SDC rockman, good exp in gnomes and better exp in meadows. If you keep Spur and Skar from wandering so far, I could hunt LC even.

Once they changed PNork, gnomes and meadows are better for me at this size but reading Seiy's post, I can see that when big enough to do SK (maybe by 2018), I'd be better off in a permanent PNork once I prot for all types of psi there and if I can hit and if my gear stays intact. Working to gear only to lose it to decay is another issue and I get that you don't want unlimited repaired gear that's uber being used outside PNork, just make it non-functional when it leaves, just like NL gear is in PNork. Destroying gear removes the incentive to hunt there. Why do you think so few do Mjorin?

Without a permanent PNork, I'll be at SK solo or duo, bored, dying and struggling to gain :roll:
Starfire: There are two wolves fighting in each man's heart. One is Love, the other is Hate.
Ghost: Which one wins?
Starfire: The one you feed the most.
---Pathfinder

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max|pic
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Re: Thoughts on PNork/SK: an open letter

Post by max|pic » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:25 pm

The problem with sullen keep is that it was never properly tuned and tested. How drak is right now, it is no where near a solo game, but you don't have the player number to party through it.
Sk needs several changes or it is a multi box or power level through environment only. By multiple box, I'm not talking about 2 accounts, usually you will need 4. Alot of Brad's testers played 5+ accounts and didn't take into account how people that didn't would feel the content was or should be. If you play 10 accounts, you have yourself a 10 man raid group in wow, so the content should not be tuned to your group EVER.
How the population of the game is made up, most of the content should be 1 or 2 account able, certain areas you need 3 or 4, and only the hardest lairs should a group of 6 accounts be needed. Maybe a raid lairs needs 8 accounts like wardens for example, hardest nork lair.
Primal nork should be left around, but it also needs tuned and tested so that it isn't a thief psi fun area with melee getting left out and primal stun ruining everyone except a thief's day.
The biggest problem if pnork is left in and sk is not retuned is the need to still complete sk quests to lvl. You still have to go to sk to get gear to hunt sk and level farther. The green captain for example takes a raid amount of accounts, but a new player or small group has no chance of getting the gear, even though he was not intended to be a full blown lair. His intention was a mini lair at the beginning of the scenario, but now he takes an average of 7 or 8 accounts to kill safely. Compared to maybe 3 which would be a mini lair. Spur and skar could be killed with 3 accounts at 85 and they were full lairs, but green captain is a mini lair that is harder.
So my long winded explanation for what I am trying to say is that although primal nork needs to stay permanent, many things need changed with that one.

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