Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Walk of Echoes changes and FFXI rewards systems

From the Official Forums:

Q. If you fail to clear the area will you receive any reward at all? Will it be like campaign union where even though time runs out you will still get a treasure chest after you have been evaluated?
A. There will be no reward if you fail to clear the area.

Q. I’d like to know whether the brown treasure casket that everyone can lot on upon clearing an area will be removed or if they will remain.
A. It will be removed. Think of it as all the items up till now will be either added or taken away from each player’s rewards.

As far as I know there currently hasn't been a definitive decision about making WoE a closed area or keep it open like it is now. Initially they wanted to close it off, but due to the amount of feedback on the Official Forums they decided to have a vote. Regardless of that point they will be making it so that NOT clearing an area won't give you any rewards. Forcing people to clear the area will probably mean forcing some type of cooperation/planning/strategy.

I'm all for strategy and planning, but I'm not eager to have to gather people against their will to do this event. There is nothing in it for anyone except a few rare situational pieces of gear and of course coins right now. So you'd think the obvious route would be to make WoE appeal to a larger audience. I think it's only natural that they add new and interesting drops to draw more people to the event than just those after upgrading their knock-off Empyrean. I can only hope that they do a better job at it than Dynamis. Although the new weapons and accessories that drop off the Arch bosses are good. The main draw of Dynamis is still the currency. I'm sure that I am not alone in thinking that the drops are not enough to get someone in there if they don't care about currency/gil.

A personal reward at the end of the battle sounds like voidwatch, and we all know how happy poeple are about THAT system. That was sarcasm. Getting something you don't want isn't so bad. Seeing someone ELSE getting something they don't need and you DO (desperately) want is quite a bit more painful. FFXI and other MMO's have the bad habit of giving you a chance at something after you've completed a challenge. If you win a race/challenge in the real world, you generally know beforehand what the prize is. It might not be why you're competing, but it's not a gamble. The winning team of any sport at the end of the season gets a bonus in their paycheck, not a Powerball lottery ticket (maybe as an extra!). I understand that developer don't want the very best rewards to be too easy to obtain, but they seem to re-forget the lessons they learned in the past.

Remember Assault Points? You had to do a bunch of assaults before having enough points to get your reward with varying prices. Ichor from Einherjar worked the same way. These were great systems because they allowed you to save up points to be spent on the EXACT thing you wanted, not a random thing. Although there are problems with the Empyrean trials (mostly just the large differences in difficulty and the crappy VNM system), they are essentially the same slow progression of saving up trophy items like they were points. Over the course of 50 items the relatively high droprate evens out. If you made each stage a single trophy that had a 1 in 50 chance of dropping, you'd see a much larger variation of streaks in the playerbase. Some people would go 1 for 1, while others could take 100+ turns. Where is the sense/logic in that? That is in essence what a large part of FFXI's reward system STILL is. I got a defending ring recently. Yay me, but what's the point of making such a strong and desirable item so varyingly difficult to obtain? Depending on your "luck" a relic is more attainable. Mog Bonanza rank1 seems to agree. The same varying results applies to the conversion of NQ to HQ pops.

To top it all off, SE's random number generator seems very prone to streaks and "favoratism". I'm not knowledgable enough on statistics to know if you could even prove such a theory, but it does seem like more than just an anecdotal claim. Tiny probability combined with large time investments per iteration do not a good rewards system make. Please developers, let me save up for my rewards. I don't expect it NOT to be a grind, it's an MMORPG after all. I just want some light at the end of these tunnels.

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