Monday, May 11, 2009

AA XP Conversion

It looks like they will be adjusting the Combat XP to AA XP conversion ratio at level 80 now! I am loving the idea of this (assuming the conversion isn't a paltry amount). It finally fixes a part of the game that I feel has been broken for some time. Namely, that, since AAs came out, and particularly with the most recent AA level cap increase, the game has turned into one huge solo quest grind.

And I HATE quests. I like them on occasion, but I despise having them as the primary means of playing the game.

I know it's quite ironic that I play a game called "EverQUEST" when I hate quests, but the reason I picked EverQuest II over its major competition (such as World of Warcraft) was because grinding quests wasn't how you were forced to play the game.

Once upon a time, before the Achievement XP system was added to EverQuest II, we had three ways to advance. 1) We could grind quests to gain XP. 2) We could get together with people and camp mobs. The game, when it was introduced, even had a "dynamic camp" system where as the camp continued to respawn, the mobs would become stronger and stronger, and occasionally would reward you. 3) You could grab some people together and go crawl through a dungeon.

Many other games such as World of Warcraft or Lord of the Rings Online give such paltry combat XP that you really have no choice but to grind quest after quest after kill X quests collecting bandit livers and boar testicles for all the NPCs that litter the world that have an insatiable need for such things.

As AAs become more and more important over time, the game developed two problems. One: since TSO, there are a LOT of AAs to obtain, and the XP curve is pretty steep. You can gain some good AA XP from doing TSO shard missions, but that's not enough by itself to earn those AAs. And many of the TSO instances are balanced for a party that is expected to have well in excess of 140 AAs. Two: when leveling up alts, we have to do every boring kill X quest along the way, sometimes even shutting off XP gain temporarily to finish the quests for a particular area. While Sony has greatly increased how fast we level, they haven't increased the speed in which we earn AA, so it's easy to get to the level cap and then find yourself without enough AAs to play viably.

So that means my playstyle has been forced to change. I can no longer just get together in a group and plow through dungeons as the primary way in which I play the game because I'll gimp myself without earning those AAs. My alts, in particular, are effectively penalized when grouping because they will gain XP too fast and I'm afraid I will end up stuck at level 80 having to grind gray quests to get them later!

While simply increasing the conversion ratio isn't a perfect solution to our AA-related problems, it does mean that once I get to the level cap, I can earn AA XP by getting together and doing what I enjoy: camping and dungeons instances (even without a quest or mission for the zone).

And as for my low level alts; while skipping some quest lines along the way does mean I will get to 80 with too few AAs, it does mean I can keep playing, at least in the ROK zones and the easier TSO instances, and know that I will gain them over time just playing the game the way I want - without feeling forced to run around doing boring gray quests to earn them all.

Assuming the conversion ratio is decent...

1 comment:

Ysharros said...

For someone like me who doesn't really adventure much unless I have to (and for my pre-AA chars who are level 20-40 with 1-10AA tops), this is great news. Like you, I hope the conversion rate is good.

A friend recently opined that it would be great if crafting xp converted to AA after level 80 too, but I don't see that happening, sadly (though she's going to /feedback it just the same).