Too Much Money
Robin Williams used to say that cocaine was God's way of telling you you had too much money. I think that Guildhalls are SOE's way of telling raiding guilds that they have too much money. Or at least, of trying to fix the problem that they have created. The top tier guildhall kept its buy price at 1000p even as the lower levels had their price cut in half. And there's no doubt that the top raiding guilds can afford it.
Raiding in the RoK raid zones drops cash. Lots of it. I feel that this was a fundamental game-design blunder, and we see the effects of it everywhere. Raiders get loot from drops. The best stuff can't be bought on the broker, so they aren't spending money on that. Consumables don't cost all that much. Repair costs will be high at first, but as the raidforce improves, they will decline. So the only thing left to buy are adornments and master spells. And the prices of these are astronomical, even 10 months after the launch of RoK. To me, that says that the game is suffering from too much cash.
I don't raid much. It's not that I don't like it, I do. But I also can't and won't commit 20 hours a week to doing it. Which keeps me out of most raid forces.
My guild, Shards of Glory, is small, but dedicated. We have several players that are sought after for raid forces and instance groups. We have several level 80 tradeskillers, some with multiple toons at 80 both adventure and tradeskill. We've got several epics now. We've leveled the guild up. We've seen players go from complete newbs to guild leaders and raid tanks under our tutelage. We are not crappy players. We made and decorated our own "guildhall" in a Qeynos residence.
It's going to be much harder for us to buy and maintain that guildhall than a raid guild. And we will get the best guildhall. But I am really aggravated by how much SOE panders to the raid guild and the raid force. And one particular aggravation is how much money drops on raids.
The game has five categories of reward: Gear, plat, status, experience, and titles. The best gear goes to the raiders, it's always been that way. Adventure experience is minimal on a raid, but each new raid zone brings a lot of AA. But that's as it should be, I think. AA is about doing different things at least once. There are maybe a few titles to be gained from raiding, but I don't think that's a problem.
Status is now rewarded for raid kills. I don't have a good fix on it, but with 24 members all gaining some with a mob kill, that's a big gainer. At least now there is a status reward for killing instance bosses. So that helps.
And money too. It seems pretty clear that the financial rewards from a raid are hefty. There is probably no more effective way to spend time plat farming than to be a member of a skilled and successful raid force.
I'm all for skill, and it's clear that grouping and raiding need incentives. But I like a game where there are tradeoffs, not a game with a big broad highway with a sign that says, "This way to all the rewards you ever wanted!" I'm a child of the sixties, my counterculture self rebels at this. I want to be unorthodox, creative, free!!!
(Never call me a dirty hippie. Toldain is clean, thank you very much!)
The RoK gear is very good at presenting you with tradeoffs. I have to face choices such as, "is +50 spell damage better than +20 int?" all the time. I have a dps set of gear now, and a mezzing set. And I think that's a good thing.
I'm really hoping that SOE has realized its error and is working to fix it or mitigate it in the next expansion.