Arithmetic with Factions
When the combat revamp came along in September, Illusionists suddenly became quite solo-capable. And it was about that time that I made level 45, and could access the highest tier of city writs. Since that time, I've been averaging about 1 writ per day, strictly for the Concordium, in an attempt to boost my faction with the Concordium to something higher than indifferent. I'm still not there.
I estimate that I have killed perhaps 1500 mobs in Lavastorm for Concordium writs. Had I killed that many gnolls in Antonica, I suspect that the Centaurs in Thundering Steppes would be quite fond of me. However, the Concordium is still indifferent to me.
In mid-August, the persona window had a faction tab added that showed all the factions that you had gained the attention of, for better or worse. This was a good thing, but it was quite a shock to find that I had gained virtually nothing toward any of the city factions with any of my toons, including my bruiser, who leveled from 10 to 15 doing nothing but Freeport Militia writs. And furthermore, it is often the case that completion of a writ does not move the faction bar by even a single pixel.
Of course, I'm interested not only in faction but in leveling my guild. So at lower levels, I would gather up writs from all the city factions and go out and pound them out. However, doing one factions writ makes you lose popularity with the others. So if you'd like to ingratiate yourself with the Concordium, you must shun the Qeynos Guard, Celestial Watch, et al.
Our guild is finding it very challenging to level these days. We have maxed out the divisor at 24, and we just hit level 25. Currently, completion of a heritage quest gains us about 2 percent toward a level. At that rate, it will take 250 heritage quests completed to get to level 30, which we'd like for the sake of the 7 room houses.
So it appears that the best way to do this would be to form writ groups of 6 toons that all do the same writ, thus multiplying the guild experience for killing the same mobs by six. There are some serious impediments to that, though.
First, the writs change with your level, and there are several writs from each faction per half-tier. So to get the same writ as your mates, you must be in the same half tier, and you must turn down a bunch of writs until you get the right one. Furthermore, you must not care about the fact that doing writs from that faction will hurt your standing with other city factions. As a result, most writ grinding is done solo.
And there are a few writs that can't be done solo. Sometimes the mobs themselves are heroic, while other times the place that they can be found is simply guarded by heroic mobs, often ones that see throughinvisibility. But a guild can coordinate this via a website.
SOE is planning some changes in this area. On test server now, there are new writs for level 50 and beyond. This reduces the pressure on the 45-50 writs, which can be overcamped. On the other hand, it will again make it harder to collaborate with others. But this is probably the right approach, since writs can be done for meaningful experience and appropriate level of challenge.
Also currently on the test server, writs will no longer lose standing with other city factions. This is wonderful. It will make it so much easier to collaborate with others and grind multiple writs, while still advancing your status.
Finally, the faction tab will be changed to display your current status (indifferent, amiable, threatening, etc.), and progress within that status displayed thermometer-style. This will grant quite a few more pixels of resolution to the progress, making progress toward the next rank more visible. I expect this will encourage writ grinding, since it will make the reward more visible, and behavior that is rewarded will grow.
One other thing mentioned is that there will be solo and group writs. Does this mean more than a simple labelling of existing writs? I'd like the players to get a little more control over which writs they are assigned, or at the very least, allow a group to all receive the same writ. We'll have to wait and see on that.
These changes are quite welcome. I still believe that overall faction progress is too slow compared to other aspects of the game. But the patch notes on test state that other changes to faction are in the works, so it appears that SOE may be of the same mind as I am, which some may consider a scary thought.