Still Not Quite There Yet #EQ2 #EverQuest2
Sony announced last week that players would be able to complete dungeons as their characters instead of having to pick an avatar to play, and I thought that this would be a fantastic way to motivate players to actually complete the dungeons – I was wrong. It’s not enough.
Player created dungeons are great in theory, but in practice there is still too much missing from them to make them worth while for players. Number one, you barely get any experience from completing them. If you run a player dungeon and then go run a regular zone or even quest for the same amount of time, you will find yourself quite far behind. As an example, I took my 90 shadowknight through a dungeon that was 90 minutes long (and rewarded 300 tokens) – gaining not even 60% of a single aa. In that same amount of time, I was able to gain 10 aa mentored down to 65 and running through New Tunaria.
Now lets take a look at the tokens. The shop is located in the station cash shop, and there’s very little motivation for players to actually spend the tokens aside from picking up the mount (500 tokens) and maybe some repair kits. The gear available is sub-par compared to items you can solo quest for, and also random from chests (and flagged as no value, so you can’t even sell it or transmute it).
There are no shinies in player created dungeons. There’s no trash loot. There’s no chest drops, no spells, no craft recipes. All of these things are reasons why players should (and will) continue to quest and explore through regular overland zones instead of the creations of other players.
You can argue that this is a good thing, forcing players to explore “the world” instead of being stuffed inside of solo dungeons – however, with the introduction of mercenary a lot of players are already exploring on their own and doing dungeons alone. Why not have them at least partaking in dungeons that are created by other players.
I really think that user generated content is incredibly amazing to have in games, but I also think SOE missed the point of them in this round. Players need more than a neat dungeon layout to entice them to do them more than once. It’s simply wasted resources other wise.
Sorry, that should have read “clean out one of the grind dungeons in about 35 minutes.” I also double-checked and am actually getting 394 tokens per run.
I kindof like the dungeon I made (Steping stones (SOLO) on AB), even though it doesn’t include any of the new story-telling tricks. You can tell from the placement of stuff and mobs that there is a story there. Well, a couple of them. Don’t get your hopes up, as I’m terrible at decorating.
Also, if you want tokens and AA — well, this weekend at least, go in with a lower-leveled character. My 70th level can clean out one of the grind dungeons in about 15 minutes and get 330+ tokens and about 1.5 AA. Look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FG8rOFQYOA to see what I mean.
For a game to be successful, game theory suggests you need a balance between risk, time investment and reward.
Player made dungeons fail not in the risk vs. reward category, but rather in the time investment vs. reward category.
There is a reason why most players of MMOs are not hard core raiders. The primary reason has to do with time.
Most players are 2-3 hours a night 3-5 nights a week. Studies have shown that most players play solo or duo, grouping up for task specific purposes, after which the group separates.
MMOs make a huge number of demands on a player’s time. Leveling up adventurers, leveling up AA, leveling up crafters, harvesting, questing, decorating, running festivals, doing player-made dungeons, roleplay, helping guildies, and on and on.
There so many tasks to be done, that there is simply not enough play time to accomplish them all. Multiply that x10 if you have an alt army as well.
To make player made dungeons successful, the rewards need to be increased. Not the tokens per se, but the rewards the tokens purchase.
Additionally, in order to prevent player-made dungeons to be more than the 300 token MOB fest, there should be an incentive for designers and players to use the more creative dungeons.
What that mechanism may be, I am not sure, but at this point player made dungeons are off the mark. Not by a lot, but they need some adjustments.
Player made content is the future of MMOs in my opinion.
If Neverwinter nights could develop a player run content game, then I am sure with a little more effort and incentive, that EQ2 can also manage it.
I’ve ran a lot of dungeons, and have only ever seen a story once. If you look at the leader boards, the ‘top’ dungeons are “quick 300 mark run, solo” titled. So whether or not you (or me, or anyone) ‘want’ them to be story telling dungeons – I don’t think the inclusion of non-combat NPCs will help motivate players to take advantage of the player created dungeon system.
They are adding the ability to use non-combat NPCs to tell story. That opens the way for peaceful storytelling which is pretty much what most of the decorators wanted to use the DM for in the first place. Still a lot more to be done on that front but it’s a start.
I’d be happy if they removed all the xp and rewards and re-tooled the DM as a direct adjunct to housing. The remorseless insistence on adding a competitive, combative or acquisitive element to everything can get really tedious.