Nine months ago Rob Overmeyer released a rather controversial State of the Game post on the official news blog. The Executive Producer talked about how far the game had come and outlined the roadmap for 2016. Back then we were very critical of the self-praising after months that in our eyes had been truly challenging for the game. Time has passed and Rob is no longer with the studio, but I’d like to fill a user request by revisiting and reviewing the promises made in March. Fittingly the Winter holiday is about gathering and looking back at the year. So let’s huddle at the campfire in Twilight Tor and get this started!
— Alan Bennett (@MASTERZULU) December 14, 2016
I’d like to begin with a key point that Rob made in his posting. With countless nerfs to
player bot income the devs tried to accomplish a stable AD economy. Have to say I’m not an expert on these things and how to identify stability, but for players it’s more important to look at whether they feel they can make sufficient AD to progress anyway. While I personally feel that’s the case, the game could still do a much better job of rewarding gameplay. Earning ADs is an independent grind and you should know I’m not a fan of those.
Otherwise the AD you earn can mostly cover the stuff you need to progress given you are VIP and can claim the daily key. There are few exception however, most namely Companions, Mount Insignias and Weapon/Armor Enchantments. Those areas need a substantial amount of AD and cannot be easily grinded.
I think not just me is hoping that we can put this mess to rest already. By using flowery phrases in the blog post Overmeyer tried to cover up the fact that they simply failed at balancing the level cap raise in virtually every area. Four modules later we’re finally at a point where this doesn’t really matter too much any longer. The 60-70 progression still sucks and is no true storyline, but at least the adjustments made the whole thing bearable.
The dungeon system meanwhile has completely moved on and the gap in progression caused by the module is no longer there anyway.
Class Balance and PVP
Unfortunately the state of competitive PVP is still the same, because the balancing is not complete. Overmeyer promised changes and they delivered some, but the process is really slow. It could very well be that we’re a few months away from another NCL season.
Guild Strongholds are an associated topic because its PVP is pretty much dead. So it’s safe to say the Alpha phase didn’t really help to deliver a better experience to the players.
2016 Outlook vs. Review
Overmeyer promised to make progress in all of these areas: endgame, rewards, guilds, professions and general bug crushing. I think we can negate that for guilds, professions and rewards. Not only did professions not change, but with the Gateway gone the system even regressed. Not much has been done for Guilds and their Strongholds as well and the corresponding PVP as mentioned is dead. Rewards are being worked on, but only because a major fuck-up and ensuing shit-storm forced their hands. Gotta give them however that they delivered a re-work in light-speed. The new design is scheduled to go on preview soon.
I’m undecided on bugs. I think we have fewer than we used to, but not sure their time to fix them has gone down. The same applies to the endgame. They definitely added more challenge, but it’s also evident that this game will never see true raid content. On the other hand they didn’t do enough against the grind. It’s still not possible to maintain multiple characters and Voninblod added another layer of obtuseness. Overall no category gets a true check here in my eyes although you can’t rule out that they worked on stuff that has yet to see the light.
Rob put an emphasis on improving communication and I do think they made some strides. Especially with new Community Manager Nitocris83 and Thomas Foss in charge of the design team things are definitely trending into the right direction. The latest Winter Festival issues have been treated incredibly for example. This might actually be the lone true bright spot.
We haven’t been high on the posting right from the start and in hindsight it seems we were right. Not a lot of the promises made have truly been fulfilled. So a little bit more restraint and self-criticism would have been appropriate.
What’s your opinion on the post as 2016 comes to a close? Share your thoughts in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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