Thursday, March 12, 2009

Expanding Heirlooms

I've been doing some old Heritage quests, mostly for AA, and it kind of bothered me that all these wonderful quests were no longer really useful. People level so fast now that most people aren't going to bother doing them with level appropriate characters. Hell, some of the heritage quests are so long that even if you did do them at the appropriate level, by the time you finish them, the item will be gray. That wasn't the case when the game launched, but is sadly the case now.

This isn't an indictment of increasing the leveling speed. I think that was unavoidable. The alternative was to keep it lengthy, but that makes it harder to attract newer players (who see a vast but entirely empty world since everyone is wherever the newest zone is). It also makes it harder to keep older players since if they tire of their main, they are unlikely to want to level an alt if they know it will be months or years to get back to the level cap where their friends are.

But because of all that, the low level heritage quests rewards go unused. Few people even try the quests until they are trivialized by leveling up, since it's almost impossible to get a full group of people to do them at the appropriate level.

So that's why I wish that the heritage quest rewards would be changed to HEIRLOOM. (For those who don't play EQ2, that is our game's equivalent of Bind-on-Account. It means you can trade the item to another character you own [on the same account] but not to anyone else.) At least, this way, I could trade them to my alts. That's twinking, but I think twinking is fine as long as things don't get too grossly overpowering. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, it's a part of the progression in a game. You level up, you earn your top gear, and you should have the ability to pass some of that on as an *ahem* heirloom to another character you own to help them level up as well.

Sure, that means people might gray out, and therefore trivialize, zones to twink their alts, but so be it. At least the quest lines would be useful to people as something other than an AA grind and the quest rewards will see the light of day.


Loredena said...

My husband rolled an alt that he is literally leveled by Heritage Quest (well, and L&Ls too). He's 42 already, and he started with In Honor and Service at 12....

We regularly mentor down to level 12 alts for that one actually -- and if you don't level lock, they usually hit 18 or 19 just as it gets finished.

But beyond that, dwarven work boots, the EL one, and journey is half the fun -- well, most of them are being done by our mains (some were even level appropriate!) but not so much by our cadre of alts....

Still, I do enjoy them, and would rather see them still done by alts on occasion than entirely negated by heirloom tags

Tesh said...

I'd still prefer jettisoning the wide DIKU power band, narrowing it to the point where anyone can play with anyone else. Treat the disease, not the symptom.

That said, it's hard to do in a game so thoroughly invested in the old system, and the Heirloom idea sounds like a solid one. Alts are pretty much an accepted version of "replay value" anyway, so why not let them actually be more valuable?

Lars said...

@Loredena - I would prefer that alts do it too but not everyone has a husband or wife as a guaranteed partner to play with. And the lower level areas are pretty darn empty, which makes most of the heroic content, especially lengthy ones like the heritage quests, virtually impossible to do with a level appropriate group.

@Tesh - I also agree that the exponential power growth in the DIKU model is the problem and would like to get rid of that. Hopefully Guild Wars 2 goes that direction?

However, I was speaking specifically about a feature I'd like to see in EverQuest II, and it's a little too late to redesign the whole game.

Hechicera said...

I'd say I agree with Tesh. But, to take your comment and make it even more specific.

I was sitting on a level appropriate character, in a guild with you, when I saw you complete one heritage quest which I had started and had gotten to the heroic part solo. Gee, I wish I'd known. Now, don't feel bad. I didn't say anything at the time for a reason. Your post brings it up.

Yes, it's EQ2. That's how they lower levels are played. I don't announce when I am starting an old heritage quest either. But, with respect to EQ2's current system: this is one area where mentoring is bad. You are stuck having to run an event, getting enough people of whatever level to form a functional level appropriate group. As you point out, that's a pain for the old heritage quests. The other option is waiting until it is greyed out and solo/duoing it as you please. That works well enough.

As it stands now, as a low end player, I'd rather wait for them to grey and solo them than invite people. I miss the non-TLC (trivial loot code was what they called it when they introduced it in EQ1) set-up. It was fun to have your level "ridiculously-high"buddy come and power you through an old but still cool quest line. Stuff exploded, how cool was that. More fun than making a pick-up group that has to mentor the right way and get a balanced team for an old quest. TLC was originally introduced to combat farmers that monopolized non-instanced content (instanced content didn't really exist then yet) that had good drops. But, with instancing being the norm for good drops, I think it is a solution that has outlived its usefulness.

Drop TLC. They seem to be going in that way with grey quests giving AA and credit (if solo) now. With TLC dropped that encourages duo & trio twink play. Which, is better than pure solo. IMHO.

But, heh. Game companies don't pay me either.