April 25, 2011 Leave a comment
EQ2 is contemplating a big idea.
I have Syp and Ardwulf to thank for pointing this out to me, and my thoughts are substantial enough to warrant its own blog-post. I want to start off the meat of my opinion with this: this is not a new idea, or one without precedent. WoW did this, basically, with the Death Knight class. You had a max level character and you got a high-level one to play as an alt. You didn’t get one at the CAP, but you got to skip all the old stuff you’d done before. This isn’t a new concept, or an untested idea. We’ve seen it, and as a whole, it didn’t really have a big effect on the game.
In regards to EQ2 specifically, it’s not a complete shift in outlook. This is a game that has an in-place bonus for alts once you have a character at max adventure or crafting level, and that bonus increases for each maxed level. For SOE, this isn’t changing the shift of the game, or completely altering the paradigm – it’s taking an in-place concept, and carrying it to a logical conclusion. Leveling after the first time kinda blows.
Would it interest me? Hell yeah. I go back and forth to EQ2 on a semi-regular basis. I love the game, but doing the whole leveling bit all over again makes my soul cry a little bit. When I do go back, I want to play my Shadowknight, but my Shadowknight of past times, when he used a 2-hander, not the current sword/shield, super-tank they apparently are. So, every time I go back, I play around a bit, grow frustrated at the route the class has taken, want to play a dirge or some other alt, and then watch the last week go by unplayed as I’m sick of leveling aspect in themepark MMOs. It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t retain me as a player.
This new attempt might though, and I don’t think I’m alone. This offer would only be applicable to returning players, and I hope that it would require a character on the account at least level 50 (the first cap). This lets a returning player instantly jump back into the world where the highest concentration of players can be found, and I believe that’s vital to a game’s success. From my own experience, the reason why starting back up on an alt is a painful exercise in drudgery, is because I’m forced to do it alone – everyone’s playing end game, or getting power-leveled by guildmates. Once you have a capped character in most MMOs, any future character is created with specific intent to fulfill a need, not because the leveling process was so much fun you couldn’t wait to go back and do it again.
Was SJ a bit foolish in throwing out the test question to the forum community? Maybe, but it’s a great litmus test for a customer’s first blush opinion. It’s important to remember that initial reactions can change when given thought. I remember when Mythic first announced that guard was going to be tied to the use of a shield in WAR, I was >initially< excited, but once I had a second to sit down and actually think about it, I came to the conclusion that it was a TERRIBLE idea. The two ends of the spectrum can often seem very similar, which is why you always have to be cautions. I think that this idea could be a great way to get some new income (expansion box sales) into EQ2 at little development expense, and a relatively minor impact to the game community beyond an initial bluster.