Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Trappers, Totems and Guildies

In the Feb 3 and Feb 4 updates were some changes to the way experience is calculated. First, from Feb 3:

  • We have increased the XP awarded to groups of 1 to 3 players for defeating advanced solo/small group encounters.

  • The amount of XP awarded to groups of 2 or more players for defeating normal solo encounters has been slightly reduced.

  • This allows soloers and small groups taking on challenging encounters to be rewarded with more XP than they would have previously earned.

  • There used to be a sort of hole in the experience/encounter system that made a group of 3 characters the worst possible experience group. At 3 characters experience from "Solo"-rated mobs was reduced. But the "Group"-rated mobs were often too difficult for a group of 3 to tackle at a level beyond green or perhaps blue. So SOE added the "Advanced Solo" category. Tougher mobs, and now more experience for up to 3 characters.

    Before this change, the "Solo"-rated mobs gave full experience to a duo, because there wasn't anything else that a duo could reliably tackle. The introduction of "Advanced Solo" mobs
    has allowed SOE to back off on the experience granted to 2 players fighting normal "Solo"-rated mobs, since they can now take on the new mobs for good experience. To continue getting good experience, you will have to change what you're fighting, though. Doing quests for the Trapper in Thundering Steppes with a duo isn't going to be as effective as it used to be, for example.

    So, if you are in a duo or a trio, the best experience ought to be found fighting the Advanced Solo mobs. Of course, if you can handle "Group"-rated encounters at blue, more power to you!

    And in today's update:

  • Higher level group members will no longer take a disproportionately large share of group experience splits. Previously, when one or two group members were higher level than the group's average, they gained a much larger share of the XP than they were supposed to.

  • The blue/green range has been expanded for groups whose members are not all the same level. Depending on your group's level range, even in groups as small as two, you now have more targets to choose from. Some encounters that were grey will now be green or even blue.

  • Since encounter con is based on the group's level, it is conceivable that an encounter may be grey to a player while solo, but turn green when they join a group with an average level that is lower than their own.

  • The blue/green range for players in their low 20s is now significantly larger, allowing them to hunt in some of their favorite spots for longer.

  • This is good news for guildies. I've often seen it happen that a level 22 can come into a group made of high teens and turn their entire zone gray. Folks want to group with their friends, but don't like it when they cost their friends experience and chest drops.

    EQ2 is designed to make the difference of a few levels mean a lot. This means that the content is somewhat compressed. The ability to gain loot and experience in one place fighting one set of mobs goes away pretty fast. I am of the opinion that this is purposeful, intended to get players to move around more, and experience more of the game.

    However, they may have overdone it. It's very common that a mob will gray out before a quest involving rare drops from that mob can be completed. So, the changes listed above will make it possible to group with your guildies with greater difference in levels, while still encouraging you to move on by reducing the experience gain for the higher level character.

    There's something to watch out for, though. Grouping with a lower-level character can turn gray mobs into green ones now, instead of vice-versa, as it used to do. This is probably a good thing as well. We've all seen that one higher-level character join a group, gray out a zone, and make everyone's quest to see the chessboard in Stormhold easy. That trick will not work so well now.
    Instead, there's a whole new trap for the unwary. That gray wolf standing next to you could turn green and start chewing when you accept an invitation, so be careful out there!

    Finally, what does this have to do with Totems? Well, the Chirranite Threat Totem is a chest drop in Blackburrow that is necessary to examine in order to learn the Gnollish language. A fair portion of Blackburrow just turned from gray to green for a level 20 character, and lower level characters will be able to turn even more of the zone green to a level 20.


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