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Achaea and Rewarding Play

PenwizePenwize Member Posts: 1,544 @@ - Legendary Achaean
I'd like to touch on the subject of rewards, especially in the context of new content and the playerbase's reluctance to engage with it.  This is a subject I've wanted to discuss for a while now, but I haven't really found the time to elaborate on my thoughts so that I could say it in a way that didn't just sound like whining or asking for more.

The Achaean development team (both programmers and content developers) have created some fantastic new additions in recent years.  We've seen some of the most well written areas, large and inspired stories, and interesting PvE encounters the game's ever had.  However, the vast majority of these new additions stand absolutely derelict, completely abandoned and ignored by the playerbase.  Scant few people visit Yggdrasil for questing or hunting, virtually nobody does forays anymore, and the Underworld may as well still not exist.  Entire mechanics were written for the Underworld, with the faction changing quests, that haven't even been activated by the players.  And honestly, I think there is only one reason why any of this is true.

I think Achaea has a fundamental problem with rewarding play, and it has made active strides to become less rewarding as time goes on.  I think this problem has two root causes.  The first root cause is the encroachment of promotional items upon potential rewards' territory, and the inherent need for there to be desirable cash items to drive revenue.  The second root cause is Achaea's economy, which lacks resource sinks but has a relative bounty of resource faucets.  Not just limited to gold, but commodities and curatives as well. 

The first one is probably the biggest offender in my view.  We all understand that Achaea, as the F2P game that it is, very much needs a source of revenue.  However, that said, how often has the talisman system been used for promotional items that unquestionably should have been gameplay rewards?  The Yggdrasil talisman set should have been rewards from various activities on Yggdrasil.  And it sort of has become that, with certain quests rewarding quest-sourced talisman pieces, but that's limited to only the top half of the Yggdrasil set; none of the good or desirable pieces can actually be obtained this way, and what pieces can be obtained are obtained at a very slow and staggered rate.  The Underworld set should have been rewards for engaging in Underworld quests, yet it was given entirely as promo material instead and is unobtainable otherwise.  How many players would fill the Underworld if playing there had a chance to give Underworld pieces?  Even the people who completed the sets would still go there for additional sets to sell, just like elder dragons still farm dragon pieces to sell to others.  Honestly, I think the fate of the talisman system as a whole has been a travesty of missed potential that was directly caused by shortsighted greed.  An opportunity for long-term player engagement was sacrificed for short-term sales.  I don't really know how to put that more politely, and I certainly understand the need for sales from Achaea's side, but I think they've missed the mark here in a big way.

As for the second root cause, Achaea's economy is a bit of a mess right now that I'm not sure how to approach properly.  I have no delusions of complete understanding of game economies, there's a reason that companies spend top dollar on actual economists to help develop their MMO economies - it's a very complex problem that takes some serious skill to balance.  Still, as far as I can tell, Achaea's economy is stagnant and inflationary.  There's fairly little to actively sink resources out of the economy, and the biggest sinks that exist are mostly passive and unengaging things like mining, city upkeep, and warehouses.  There's a few big ticket items like ships, but once purchased those never go away, and with a playerbase as small as Achaea's that means they have eventually dried up as gold sinks.  Cities have city upgrades as a resource sink, and there's a smattering of resource sinks for things like jewellery, enchanting, and tailoring.  Stone's probably got the best sink with housing credits.  But none of it really adds up to be ... enough.  The only reason we're not absolutely flooded with an overabundance of commodities is because people are mechanically restricted from hoarding massive stockpiles of it, which while it does act as a bandaid isn't a complete solution.  Similarly, gold doesn't have enough uses to be in high enough demand for people to seek it out actively.

So, none of this is really new talk, but while the admin have certainly made strides in other areas I think this is one area they've left to the wayside, and I feel like that's a mistake.  I hate seeing awesome content come out and just be summarily ignored because it's not rewarding.  Well, worse than not rewarding - challenging content actively punishes you for failing at it, with time being lost for no reward and coming out negative in experience.  That same time spent on any of the activities that do reward you, even in a small way, are infinitely superior value propositions to the players, and so that's where you see people spend their time.


Since no internet criticism would be complete without a proposed solution from a perspective with only half the information, I'd like to offer my solution to the first problem I mentioned.  I think the talisman system was a golden ticket to making content rewarding for players that was dumped without giving it the chance it needed.  I understand how enticing it is as an avenue for monetisation, since obviously it's a system that was primed for that sort of thing, but I think the way it was done was shortsighted and left free players out in the cold.  To solve that, I'd steal a solution straight from Warframe, and anyone who's played it will likely recognize what I'm referring to.  I wouldn't remove talismans as promo rewards - they're obviously a valuable thing to have there for people who want to spend the money and get something immediately.  Instead, I'd bump them all up to needing level 7 pieces instead of level 1 pieces, and make caches give level 7 promo pieces instead of level 1s.  I'd make the relevant gameplay content give level 1 pieces at a reliable rate - questing in both Yggdrasil and Underworld would give pieces with regularity, and pieces from the entire set instead of just a small subset.  Regularity is key here, so that even failure in an area gives a trickle of rewards, so maybe the numbers would need to be tweaked from level 7s so that a constant rewarding trickle wouldn't finish someone's set very quickly.  Make these quest talisman pieces redeemable for gold, and reduce the straight gold drops from quests and kills to compensate.  Finally, I would make completing a talisman take a significant amount of real time, scaling with the amount of promo pieces used to complete it, and with a sizable credit option to rush completion.  For example, if a full quest-sourced talisman took 4 RL days to finish making, but could be rushed to completion for a small fraction of the talisman's total worth in credits.  This makes everything from both sets obtainable in game, even at a significant grind, but still obtainable.  Those who want to spend, but can't spend as much as the big spenders can, still have a way to get the things they want quicker than those who don't want to or can't spend at all.  Ultimately, it means all content becomes available to everyone, and those that pay get it significantly faster and with significantly less effort.  It also would add more things moving and trading between players, which is pretty important in any multiplayer economy.  With that system in place, I'd also turn all of the Foray talismans into permanent items with a cooldown on use, instead of consumable items that are impossible to complete and once completed have a serious, serious case of Elixir-syndrome.

I feel like I've missed a lot and left a lot out from this post, but it's already too long and I'm more keen on striking up a discussion about how to improve things than just spewing opinions all over the place and crying doom and gloom.  Ultimately, I just really hate seeing all this cool content we've been getting being abandoned so quickly.

FinchyRyzanYsabelAShirszaeAmunetMorthifSiduriFurkhanAccipiterTorinnYenKlendathuAdrikIloiseeZbacoDevranJahrakAlyciaErikkaBoosteyaAileaAstarodNyneveGilliamKorrokMercer
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Comments

  • LaodokeLaodoke Member Posts: 79
    I agree on the Yggdrasil bit. It would be an awesome place to explore but everything is stacked and crazy aggressive. Even going in dragon is pretty hard. Even if the mobs got watered down some in might it would be more manageable. The aggros in some of the areas are weaker than the mobs you have to handle to get there. And they aren’t all stacked on top of each other. 
  • CyrCyr Member Posts: 169 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Jiraishin said:
    The Underworld is abandoned because it's incredibly hard to survive. 
    Two ways to balance risk/reward, reduce the risk, or up the reward. Seems like they don't want to reduce the risk, so if they want people to do it.

    Dunn tells you, "I hate you."
    (Party): You say, "Bad plan coming right up."
    Korrok
  • SobriquetSobriquet Member Posts: 2,441 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    The problem from my viewpoint is that there is a fine line between challenging and annoying and they've got this wrong. The Tree is a pain in the arse to navigate and take s  you off plane, meaning you are disconnected from the world. Other areas such as islands need a fuck ton of gold spent on a ship, and / or lessons to get to even if you can sail a city ship. Then you get attacked by a far more experienced player.  The UW has zero appeal for me and I've not been down there because the mobs are far to strong even for me and being open PK, I'm going to get screwed by the 5 people that do go down there. Without having chance to explore it, I don't know my way around and access to an exit (like I do in Annwyn), so j don't bother. Meropis is a pain to get to unless you buy a pebble (or now hope your lootbox in a lootbox turns up on your side). J could go on and on.

    The content is amazing, the stuff in the tree is fantastic but I don't go looking for it as the challenge is more an annoying grind that separates me from the player base than something j want to spend time doing. I actually shouted "For fuck sake" when Armali showed me how go access the new Angel place. Just what we need, more areas we need to jump through hoops to access.

    The reward for going to these places is frustation and isolation. Yeh, no thanks. 
    image
    IsmayBoosteya
  • PenwizePenwize Member Posts: 1,544 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Sobriquet said:

    The content is amazing, the stuff in the tree is fantastic but I don't go looking for it as the challenge is more an annoying grind that separates me from the player base than something j want to spend time doing

    The reward for going to these places is frustation and isolation.
    Since I think you missed it, this was only true for about a week before they undid it.  You can communicate with people just fine while on Yggdrasil.  It's not the same sort of offplane as the Underworld and Annwyn are anymore, it's all very much connected properly.


    I don't actually think anything on Yggdrasil is too challenging to approach, it's just too challenging for the reward right now.  You absolutely saw people braving the challenges in order to get Elemental Lords, but that all stopped once the majority of the people who wanted to got it.

    Challenging content is GOOD, very good.  We have more than enough middling tier easy content that people breeze through while watching Netflix, we don't need more of that.  The problem I see is that all content that requires you to pay attention and engage with the game that's been added recently hasn't been rewarding at all, so of course people would rather do the middling content that is highly rewarding.
    ShirszaeKrizal
  • CooperCooper Member Posts: 5,321 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I love that you took the time to post this Penwize! The only thing I don't agree with is -reducing- gold drops for kills.

    One thing that I would say prevents me from exploring the whole game and seeing all the relatively unknown cool features is just how obscure some of them are. Some of the things listed in this thread I had no clue were a thing. I think that's a shame, because I bet that means a lot of other people have missed out on those things too.

    Some of the new quests and events have had such crazy commands, or introduced things we didn't know were possible before. One good example is the horkval killing you had to do during the Adryn's Keep event. We went through every emote we could find, trying to duck or jump out of the way, dodge, evade, etc. We finally stumbled on the correct way to do it, but it was unnecessarily difficult and obtuse to find the answer.

    Some of the new quests have been similarly hard to figure out, and I 100% don't believe the first people who got Elemental Lord did so without outside help.

    I think it would go a long way to have SOME content that is difficult like that, but not every new release. It can be rewarding to figure something challenging out, but it is really off putting when you can't figure something out.

    FinchyEllyKorrokMroxyl
  • FarrahFarrah Member, Secret Squirrel Posts: 2,521 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I don't agree about the horkval thing at all. It was a competition that everyone had plenty of reason to go into and try things during. You were trapped in one room, which vastly limited possibilities in terms of "what might we have to do here"? If it was too easy, it'd eliminate the point. I liked that.

    For honours mobs, though, on the other hand, for me, the big thing is I don't really know whether there's something I'm missing, I just need more people, etc. And I have no idea where to begin with those. I could have to do something obscure on the other side of the area or obtain some item on the other side of the continent, or it might just be a "use brage better, nub" or "get more people" deal. I don't feel like I know the rules of the game. 

    With quests, what's the worst is if you don't know the quest even exists or how to start it.

    What I hate about forays is the unnecessary hurdle of finding them, which is a completely boring trek through the wilderness.

    I'm not sure better rewards would impact me much. Doesn't hurt though.
  • LennLenn Member Posts: 624 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    It's a bit strange that the Underworld war was so inclusive about letting people participate (I was able to participate without even having a class), but now that it's reopened, it's one of the most dangerous and exclusive places in the game.
    Keorin
  • FinchyFinchy Member Posts: 142 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    edited February 10
    Cooper said:

    One thing that I would say prevents me from exploring the whole game and seeing all the relatively unknown cool features is just how obscure some of them are. 
    I haven't had much to contribute to a thread worth reading to its fullest extent (until now sorry, but you can just gloss over this post) but I would not only echo but bold and underline this. I wouldn't say this is a new problem as much as a phenomena that has always both plagued and been to IRE MUD's benefit. On one side you have quests of infamous complexity that are still legend and bestow legendary respect on those who complete them which is good and to the benefit of all even if few can complete them. On the other, there are wonderful mechanisms and secrets lost both to time, too deep a demand versus the reward and to sheer esotericism.

    Let me put it this way, Caer witrin is the textbook example of the first side, and I'd argue that it almost has the right to be an absolute nightmare, to the point where I have actively seen it done and still am unsure how the hell to do it. On the other side and I use this example only because I'm somewhat lacking in the field of "knowing esoteric quests and areas that others don't" The fact that Valho coast has three distinct aspects to it that I am reasonably certain are known by only two or three people now, and one I've never seen anyone even touch not because they're great (they aren't) or should be hard to find (they shouldn't!), but by sheer distance and because they were made too obscure will simply never be dug up because as Syndra has said: a lot of quest prompts wound up remaining in the creator's head. 

    I don't know exactly what to do about that, its somewhat intrinsic to our need to have these deep and involving quests that leads to a natural trap. I half imagine some utopic guild that can manage to tread the line between providing the perfect hint that inspires rather than a straight walkthrough.

  • DupreDupre M.Member Posts: 288 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Also Suliel shakefist
    https://www.achaea.com/banner/caiges.jpg
    Laedha
  • KlendathuKlendathu Eye of the StormMember Posts: 3,178 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I agree with everything in Penwize's post. Rewards other than gold are more of an incentive to me personally, I have been really disappointed that there were no more talisman sets like the Elder Dragon and Azatlani sets that could be collected by hunting / questing, other than the Yggdrasil set (I've completed a lot of the quests on Yggdrasil and only ever had one single solitary piece drop, so rather given up on that).

    I enjoy the challenge of working through areas that involve more than just 'hit it until it dies, then move to the next thing', but within reason - if I want mindless grind, I'll go bash round Moghedu for half an hour, but the step up from there to places like Underrealm and Underworld is too steep, even for people with lots of artefacts - reinforcing the stones in the Underrealm often involves at least one death, if not two, and that's without trying to kill anything and just reinforce the stones.

    Tharos, the Announcer of Delos shouts, "It's near the end of the egghunt and I still haven't figured out how to pronounce Clean-dat-hoo."
    Laedha
  • SobriquetSobriquet Member Posts: 2,441 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Penwize said:
    Sobriquet said:

    The content is amazing, the stuff in the tree is fantastic but I don't go looking for it as the challenge is more an annoying grind that separates me from the player base than something j want to spend time doing

    The reward for going to these places is frustation and isolation.
    Since I think you missed it, this was only true for about a week before they undid it.  You can communicate with people just fine while on Yggdrasil.  It's not the same sort of offplane as the Underworld and Annwyn are anymore, it's all very much connected properly.


    I don't actually think anything on Yggdrasil is too challenging to approach, it's just too challenging for the reward right now.  You absolutely saw people braving the challenges in order to get Elemental Lords, but that all stopped once the majority of the people who wanted to got it.

    Challenging content is GOOD, very good.  We have more than enough middling tier easy content that people breeze through while watching Netflix, we don't need more of that.  The problem I see is that all content that requires you to pay attention and engage with the game that's been added recently hasn't been rewarding at all, so of course people would rather do the middling content that is highly rewarding.
    I didn't miss the cross plane communication change and agree that was a massive step forward in making the game more inclusive. The problem I have is the gate keeping behind players trying to access these areas, and also importantly, coming back. We had Mhaldor Raid the other night and Syndra asked if we were defending. While trying not to be OOC about it, I made a comment about how far it was to walk back and that we wouldn't be. They then spent 30 minutes smudging and uprooting without us engaging, their response being that our QW was large enough. I'm not complaining about that at all, but while I could get back from Meropis quickly, the others I were with would have the long walk back as you can't follow through a near 300cr travel artefact. Alongside that, we have other soldiers in the tree and on islands. While I have no doubt Mhaldor would have been prepared to wait for us to collect together, most of us just saw it as more hassle than repairing totems after the event. About 10 minutes later Ashtan came in and I got a tell from Proficy asking why were weren't doing anything. Same reason. The game has 200+ people at max, just the sheer effort it takes to Enter and Navigate the tree, get to Meropis or out lying islands and RETURN quickly when needed is prohibitive. I see why those elements are there as it should be a reward to access and find those places, but it further separates an already small player base. There are islands I've never been to, or been just once, purely because of the gating behind accessing them. Meropis? I annoying walk, a 7MC item, or a card gated behind two lootboxes. Prin? Stupidly expensive personal wings, 1m+ on a ship and lessons, or having someone being able to take you. UW? Far too dangerous and even more so with being Open PK to head down there, let alone try any quests. Tree? Slow access (Sped up by an artefact, who would have guessed?) and tough to navigate, not to mention having to understand how the plane access works. At least getting out isn't too bad. The only other place I hunt is Istarion as I can gare back if needed. 

    E lord quests.... wow. Firelord was such a pain in the arse (and I needed Divine help to finish it) I'm never going to drop it as I don't want to try another. I tried one other on an alt that I was unable to tri-trans so wanted to get E-lord to fight and bash a little easier, seems I'm stuck at needing half the city to help me kill something and have given up trying to find people to do it for me (Being fairly young by game standards, I'm not "popular" enough to be assisted)

    I've done one Foray, which took us ages to find the entrance too and a group of 6 dragons died around 15-20 each, and failed. Thankfully we did this during a GH to avoid XP loss, but there is no way I'm going back into one of those regardless of the reward.  

    Having challenging content is great and just what we need, but there needs to be a limit. Having tough bashing and Dragon Endgame content is a good idea and one we've been requesting for some time, but some of these have gone far too far. 

    I don't really know how to fix this but I do agree that as things stand it's gone beyond challenging for me and into frustrating and pointless. although some talisman type drops would really help. Elder isn't difficult, just takes FAR too long even with assistance, even more so with the Admin assistance that ALL pieces drop equal when they clearly don't
    image
  • IsmayIsmay Member Posts: 696 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    edited February 10
    I am very glad someone finally spoke out about this. Though the new content speaks to a hard working staff, it also defeats its purpose in posing too much effort and frustration. Dragon lairs immediately come to my mind. I've not even considered completing that one.

    Hopefully, something with come of this thread.
    Give us shop logs!

    Pretty please...
    SiduriZbaco
  • LaodokeLaodoke Member Posts: 79
    The dragon lair really wasn’t all that bad aside from one of the denizens having to be tweaked cause it was too easy to kill and ran super fast. The foray that was rough. The other quests not so bad.
  • CooperCooper Member Posts: 5,321 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    The only reason people are able to get access to dragon lairs is because that foray boss is bugged. I don't think a single person has killed the boss in the legit way. 

  • AtalkezAtalkez Member Posts: 5,065 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited February 10
    Ya’ll do know you can do OUT from any flame on the tree right? Getting back to mainland should be simple as can be, provided you’ve survived. Spits you out at the cave.


    You hug Aurora compassionately.
  • MathildaMathilda Member Posts: 902 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    p. sure the issue is getting back to where you were before, in the tree

    ex:

    When you're on an outer island, getting back is similarly easy - die, spend maybe 2 mins resurrecting to the cave. From Meropis, you can GARE out as a dragon.

    but to get back to, say, Suliel or Meropis? glnvm
     <3 
    Zbaco
  • DupreDupre M.Member Posts: 288 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    edited February 10
    Atalkez said:
    Ya’ll do know you can do OUT from any flame on the tree right? Getting back to mainland should be simple as can be, provided you’ve survived. Spits you out at the cave.
    No one said leaving is too difficult, they said getting around is
    https://www.achaea.com/banner/caiges.jpg
  • AntoniusAntonius Member Posts: 4,933 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Sobriquet literally said they didn't defend raids because getting back to their city was too much hassle.
  • DupreDupre M.Member Posts: 288 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    From Meropis
    https://www.achaea.com/banner/caiges.jpg
  • AtalkezAtalkez Member Posts: 5,065 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited February 10
    The game has 200+ people at max, just the sheer effort it takes to Enter and Navigate the tree, get to Meropis or out lying islands and RETURN quickly when needed is prohibitive.

    This is what he said, and I responded to. Comment wasn’t ONLY about Meropis. He isn’t wrong by any means, just making sure the OUT process was known.


    You hug Aurora compassionately.
  • SobriquetSobriquet Member Posts: 2,441 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I feel.we are detracting a little from.the main point and no doubt the raid comment will come back to bite me on the arse, but I did mention it was easier to get out of the tree at least.

    My point is that all the new content, as amazing as it is, is gated behind just enough annoyance that we spend money on making it easier. Why can't we follow through a pebble? Why have an artefact that makes entering the flame faster? Why can't we radio or equivalent back from Istarion? The game is spread out a lot and needs more encouragement to explore those parts and i think access to and from is as important as the rewards for being there as part of this discussion 
    image
    AtalkezYsabelAZbaco
  • TorinnTorinn Member Posts: 1,285 @ - Epic Achaean
    I agree with all these points and long ago stopped bothering with these places and quests as they are not worth the effort.  Antonius hit it right on the head, quest progress is too often gated behind obscure or nonsensical syntax that brings interaction far into OOC territory.  We need a better, more common sense way of interacting.  There isn't a reason to stay in new areas, Penwize has a great idea to make it more viable.  Additionally as others have said the difficulty in going to these places and staying there is too much.  There is a difference between being challenging and being frustrating.  Dying in a balance pass or two (even as a dragon with con and sip arties) is the second example.  My suggestion on that part is lower mob damage so we get a chance to figure out what the hell we are supposed to do, but keep their health and other mechanics the same.
    Deucalion says, "Torinn is quite nice."
    Siduri
  • MinifieMinifie Member Posts: 2,425 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I do enjoy gunning for certain challenges/rewards, but at the same time, they are ancillary to just experiencing the content and trying to mold a story around it for me/house/city. I don’t want to see more rewards from content that can be set up to be done on auto pilot. I do think yggdrasil talisman set was a good idea that just... died, but I also think the challenge vs reward is a hard thing to balance in a game like this. 


    (Mhaldor's Next Top Model): Taryius says, "Oops, thats not a foray. Thats two novices going at it in the wilderness."
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