In this article I’d like to talk about the refining system a little bit, because I think it’s an interesting example of how systems can change over time in a way that the players (and the devs) might not have expected. The current instance of the refining system was build around three major components:
- Refining Points
Farming refining points is the grind aspect of the system. You need millions over millions to upgrade all of your enchantments and investing more time directly nets your more RPs. Reagents were sort of the AD sink, and an additional way to control the speed of the upgrade process. The RP market was always kind of vulnerable to botting, so having another limitation makes sense. And Wards as ZEN Market exclusive obviously connected the real-money currency to the system.
Refining Points Were the Bottleneck
For the longest time refining points had been the bottleneck of the system. You mostly had enough Wards and Reagents, or could restock them when necessary, but had to wait for enough RPs. That’s why, over the months, players always wanted the devs to hand out more RPs in dungeons and such. That might still be the case for new players and casuals, but definitely changed for the endgame community. Nowadays players usually get enough refining points from Quartermaster’s Enchants, Lockboxes, x2 events, and dungeon crawling while waiting for a major ZEN or Wondrous Bazaar discount to restock the Reagents and Wards.
It’s certainly an interesting development that already started in Module 10. The devs giving the Relic Artifact Weapons their own Reagents and RPs was no coincidence. Back then players already had enough RP lying around to instantly get any new set to legendary in a hurry. So you needed to gate the new stuff behind Svardborg and the a separate mark grind to give the players enough incentive to run the content.
Ultimate Enchanting Stones and Rank 14
Mods 12 and 13 then brought the next tier of Artifact Gear and Rank 14s to spend gems on. But once again only gating the system behind refining points wasn’t sufficient as players had stashed away more than enough. So the Ultimate Enchanting Stone made it to the game, and lower upgrade percentages put an even heavier focus on Wards. This now has led to a situation in which you are no longer capped by refining points, but the amount of Reagents and Wards. You have to assume that was a deliberate effect, because the devs could easily have made Rank 13 and Rank 14 require a lot more refining points.
I’m not saying it’s a worse system now, but illustrates how the a game has to adjust based on the market. Refining points are somewhat of a constant income for players while playing the game. Additionally botting unfortunately also always played a major role in the oversupply. It means that if you’re not constantly adding items on which the points can be spend on, players hoard a surplus and the currency gets devalued. The market hasn’t really crashed, but is surely on a slow decline since months. That’s because players sell RP they don’t need for themselves.
No Obvious Solution
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I think there is no obvious solution to the problem, maybe it’s not even one. Over time refining points got more obtainable, either through content, or lockboxes, or players selling stuff they do not need. It’s a natural process. Most have their setup of Artifacts for example and, if at all, only need to change their active one every so often. You also can’t simply introduce much more stuff to refine. It’ll only help for so long and just makes it harder for casuals to keep up. You also would need to make sure the new items outperform existing choices, leading to a power creep just to control the RP market.
I think what you could do is introduce more events that use refining points in a different way. The Wonders of Gond is a nice example because you can spend RPs to get a chance at a mount. Maybe you could find similar ways and I wouldn’t actually mind the devs looking into options. That however also depends in the long-term plans. If we’re close to a level cap raise or something and progression gets wiped soon anyway, this might not be as much of an issue for too long anyway.
So the approach of putting a heavier focus on Reagents and Wards for now is not actually bad. But it’s still interesting that the refining system is no longer as much about refining points.
What’s your take on refining? Do you like its current state or would you rather go back to a system that’s more about the refining points? Share your thoughts and experience on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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