Is Acquisitions Incorporated What the Game Really Needs?

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I have to say I was a little surprised to see the poll results about the Module 15 announcement, because I expected an overall more positive result. Instead, most of you guys went with “Acquicorporated who?”, the most negative answer you could vote on in the poll. Granted, we didn’t really set up the answers too smart. Most people would have liked a little bit more distinction and didn’t feel properly represented, but 329 of 538 is still a strong vote against the upcoming content. Especially since Ravenloft has been such a success Omin Dran and company might need to convince the playerbase of their qualities.

Are You Looking Forward to Seeing Acquisitions Incorporated in the Game?

  • Acquicorporated who? (61%, 329 Votes)
  • I'm curious to check out how they've implemented these rowdies! (17%, 91 Votes)
  • I know/like Acq Inc, but don't think they should headline a module. (12%, 65 Votes)
  • Longtime fan, can't wait! (10%, 53 Votes)

Total Voters: 538

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Like I said, I was somewhat surprised, but thinking about it I think I can relate. I touched on some points in the podcast on Monday, but like to add to my thoughts today. So is a humorous, story-driven module what the game needs at this point? First of all it’s important to understand that the devs plan content months in advance. Even if they decide they have to push a certain area of the game, it’s going to take at least two mods until release. So it can actually happen that content that seemed like a great idea no longer is come release time. So if you’re talking about whether or not content is a good fit, you’re kind of judging in hindsight because the devs decided on it months ago and obviously can’t fully anticipate the game’s development.

Focus on Bringing in New Players

With that little disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk! In the pod on Monday I mentioned that I generally like what bringing Acquisitions Incorporated in means for the game. As long as these collaborations continue to happen, Neverwinter is in great shape. Because as D&D game you obviously want to be a strong part of the WotC family. And Lead Designer Thomas Foss indeed did a wonderful job of building the brand! Module 15 once again seems to cater to the classic D&D crowd. Ravenloft already was a decent job of bringing an insanely popular setting to the game. Now “The Heart of Fire” offers a solid, story-driven, and casual campaign.

It means that the game more than ever focuses on bringing new players in and probably tries to build endgame around grind. Criticizing this approach is beyond my pay grade and knowledge to be honest, but being around since 2013 I obviously would like to see a little more classic MMORPG features for veteran players. Especially since, in my case, I grew into D&D due to the game, and not the other way round. So these official story lines are not necessary a selling point for everyone.

What About Retention?

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More than that though, you have to worry about retention. I tried to do a little research on free-2-play MMORPGs and it seems like the genre is really about constantly bringing in fresh blood. The vast majority of players don’t even stick around for 30 days after their first login. What the linked article also mentions however is that the key to longevity is indeed retaining as many players as possible, and that titles usually start to stabilize after two years. Unfortunately the disastrous Elemental Evil happened around that crucial two-year mark, which probably screwed the whole theory. But now that we theoretically should be over the hump, I think it’s time to think about features that aim a little bit more towards the future.

That’s what has me a little worried in terms of “The Heart and Fire” release. I believe the story telling of the Penny Arcade folks will be superior, but right now we’re still looking at farming the same old group content for at least six more months. New players already have tons of stuff to do, but seasoned ones could be looking at a pretty serious content drought. That said, the professions system could actually fill the void and, given it’s well set up, be one of those classic MMORPG features that can be extended and maintained in the future.

Group Content, Foundry, and True Housing

Especially systems that work completely besides the game’s main story and grind make sense at this point. What you’re talking about is the Foundry, a true Housing system, new class, or competitive PVE and PVP. This stuff ideally never gets outdated and naturally grows with game, given sufficient maintenance. In Mod 16 I think we really need to see at least something related to the list above. It can’t just be another dungeon, another campaign, and some minor extras.

A reader commented a while back that “The Heart of Fire” exactly feels like the type of low resource module that precedes a high resource module. So here’s hoping that Acquisitions Incorporated is indeed just a filler and big things await adventurers six months from now! It wouldn’t hurt, because based on what we know right now Module 15 won’t feature enough additions or improvements in MMORPG key areas.


How do you feel about Module 15? Does it offer the right type of content given the game’s current state? Share your thoughts and experience on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit our message board!

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j0Shi

j0Shi

j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

13 thoughts on “Is Acquisitions Incorporated What the Game Really Needs?

  • September 19, 2018 at 7:41 am
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    I will hold fire until we see the module and whether there is anything in it worth spending time on. The publicity does not fill me with hope. It looks like a series of in jokes between the devs and their self promoting friends. On the face of it an unlikely draw for new players.

    Reply
  • September 19, 2018 at 8:41 am
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    Acquisitions Inc. certainly has the potential to be a good time, and it is well rooted in D&D at large. Its enormous popularity (trust me on this 🙂 ) may indeed draw in some fresh blood.. Which in turn may lead to adding to the voices clamoring for meaningful changes. So we will wait and see.
    Either way I am sure the new content will give us a couple laughs and that’s never a bad thing.

    Reply
    • j0Shi
      September 19, 2018 at 9:36 am
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      Oh yeah, it’s going to be hilarious for sure. I’m actually even looking forward to it, just a little worried about the short-term vs. long-term impact.

      Reply
      • September 20, 2018 at 8:34 am
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        The campaign will be window dressing for other changes (like professions) that should (ideally) lead to a better long-term for the game. I’m fairly certain the campaign will be fairly quick and easy, but a lot of the underpinnings are likely to be getting revamped.

        I”m still holding out hope for either a companion rework (so stats are in line with the Masquerade pets) or a new class with the mod (despite Foss’ denials).

        Reply
  • September 19, 2018 at 9:16 am
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    I respectfully disagree on your assessment of the poll results. I hadn’t heard of Acquisitions Inc before this mod was announced. However I’m still really excited for this mod. I think it will be silly and fun! Just because a good portion of the current player base hasn’t heard of it, doesn’t mean they won’t like it.

    Reply
    • j0Shi
      September 19, 2018 at 9:35 am
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      I would need to go through my post again (will do btw.), but I definitely didn’t want to make it sound like the poll actually means that people dislike the mod. As said the whole thing wasn’t really set up great by us to begin with. It just got me pondering over stuff that was on my mind anyway. Cheers!

      Reply
  • September 19, 2018 at 10:53 am
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    I’m looking forward to it. I’m familiar with PA, going back to when y2k was a ‘thing’, and I finally decided to check out their AI vids, which were fun.

    And that’ll be a nice change of pace from the whole doom-and-gloom, save-the-world-again motif. I can take a break, have a few laughs, and enjoy a change of pace. If I want to be burdened with saving the world, I can take an alt to grind out SKT or ToD again.

    More importantly, though, is that there seems to be a lot of QoL stuff going on with this mod – the profession overhaul being at the top of the list. And I still suspect that a new class will sneak in (despite what the devs have said publicly).

    And if this means that it draws new people in, or old players back to the game – even better! More players = more people (likely) buying Zen = more $ to put towards development.

    Reply
  • September 19, 2018 at 11:09 am
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    “Acquicorporated who?” is the major response because that’s how few NW players have ever heard of Acquicorporated Whatisface.

    Personally, despite being Ye Olde Schoole AD&D from First Edition to 2nd to 3rd and 3.5E, I’ve never heard of them at all and I really don’t care who they are. Now, I DID play the original Baldur’s Gate Trilogy from beginning to end many, many times with almost every possible race and class combination as the Protagonist. And after seeing what they did to Minsc, I’m probably glad I’ve never heard of Acquicorporated Fuckface.

    Not to mention their misleading misappropriation of the name of Mod 6 from the classic AD&D module The Temple of Elemental Evil. What a disappointment!

    Also, after 4 weeks of The Day of the Dungeon Master, I really don’t want another jokey, comedic, cartoony semi-module. It’s enough of a pain being sent all over The Realms for the same daft quests for Maze Engine. Then, when you realise how many of your Alts could actually make good use of the Apocalypse Set, and how little time is left to get 400 Accreditation on them all, you really don’t want another cartoon thing in the next month or two.

    So, “Is Acquisitions Incorporated What the Game Really Needs?” NO!

    What the game Really NEEDS is bug fixes, class balancing, PvP fixes and the removal of scams and unexpected synergies. Some sort of smoothing of the power creep, so new gear is not so ludicrously over powering.

    You linked a great Reddit thread a while ago to a blog about how the game seems to be deliberately designed to set traps for the unwary and encourage you to make mistakes and waste resources to keep you grinding. And it’s certainly very true for new players. All they really want is new players constantly coming in, dropping $50, then quitting in disgust. That’s why 3 Blood Rubies cost 2000 Zen for so long and didn’t even get your weapons to Legendary.

    Apparently, it’s called “churn”.

    🙂

    Reply
    • September 20, 2018 at 4:25 am
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      ditto what Contractions of Fate said

      where are the fiction books
      where are the game modules
      where are the sourcebooks

      is this just some group of people that stream their games and made some podcasts?
      some of us just aren’t twitch fanboys.. watching people aint my thing

      so most definitely “who?”

      Reply
      • September 20, 2018 at 9:46 am
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        Yes, I also meant to mention that I’d prefer them to run Day of the DM 2 or 3 times a year, like the Siege Event, rather than a cartoony mod.

        I’m still trying to find out who the hell they are. Maybe some 5E thing?

        >:8o

        Reply
    • September 21, 2018 at 2:56 pm
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      I agree with contractions of fate.

      If a change of pace was needed the Waterdeep Heist could have provided it. But because they are fiddling with professions and ‘trashing’ salvage we can only have a Maze engine clone and some in jokes between the devs and their chums.

      Reply
  • September 20, 2018 at 8:03 am
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    I struggle with keeping interest due to their way of doing endgame content. This game has so much potential, but the content gets very tedious very fast.

    I am not saying copy and paste from World of Warcraft. But why not implement a small part of what worked so well? For me that was the raids. Long hard and challenging raids, with multiple boss encounters. It had a weekly reset, and only dropped 2-3 pieces of loot in a 10 man raid. The anticipation was so much fun, as well as downing a boss after 2 weeks of working together to make it happen. And not being able to “buy” the gear after 2 weeks, kept things interesting for a good while longer.

    It was a grind, but lets be honest… We are Neverwinter players, and we are differently no strangers to grind. So no difference there. 🙂

    Reply
  • September 21, 2018 at 8:40 pm
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    Surprised at the result? There may be a wee bit of selection bias in your poll 🙂

    Reply

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