After reading through 19 of the 32+ pages in response to Senior Producer Glin’s Thread: Earning Hearts of Wood – post U20, one reason has become clear that proposed changes to the Reincarnation system’s cost has been universally rejected by the player base for a variety of reason. And while those reasons may differ from player to player, the end result is the same: This change just plain sucks, and at least one person has likened it to the “Glitches” experience with the launch of healthcare.gov.
So what is the one overarching symptom or reason leading to this complete and utter rejection? A Complete and Total Breakdown in communications. Yes, that’s right a break down in communications. Any successful leader and business man (or woman) understands Communication is a two way street, and that it is a constant repeating process.
From this player’s point of view and based upon his 7 and 1/2 years of experience in this community, Turbine never asks for the communities thoughts on a subject until well into the design and development process. Up until this point in the design/development cycle there is zero communication occurring with the customer. Now to be fair that is fine when it comes to content. However historically speaking, it has proven to cause near to outright riots when it comes to system changes. And this current situation is no exception. And based upon my past experiences, it is clear that a lot of time and resources have been spent of this new system and Turbine is looking for ways to “salvage” the situation the best that they can, so that those valuable resources that they spent are not wasted.
But I pose a very simple question to Turbine: Why do you (Turbine) feel that it is necessary to re-invent the wheel with every release or two? Why was it necessary to change the name of the Epic Tokens to Tokens of the 12? This is especially relevant if you had been toying with the idea of tying Reincarnation to the Commendations of Valor? It seems like Epic Token = Token of the Twelve = Commendation of Valor, at least as far as its main use goes, namely Reincarnation. Hell, when I first heard I could combine my Voice of the Master and Mantle of the World Shaper into 1 Colorless Augment, I asked the very same question. I then asked an even more important question. Why couldn’t I get the tokens by playing through the new Epic Content that was just released?
The later didn’t make much sense to me at first, until I realized the WotC, as the ower of the intellectual property (IP) has veto power over just about everything (if they choose to exercise it). They didn’t want players to be able to upgrade items that we acquired in Eberron via things we collected in the Forgotten realms for lore reasons. (and for you readers at home this is exactly why we can’t access our Guild Ships for Buffs directly from the Forgotten Realms via an Airship Tower, or teleport directly to Eveningstar via a spell or Guild Ship Crew member (like the Mind Flayer).
All this being said I have two simple solutions to the communication problem:
1) And this is the easiest and cheapest solution: When major changes to systems are being contemplated, work up an outline of the system you are proposing (details can be light) as well as what you think is both working and not working with the current system.
2) Lord of the Rings Online has an actual player Council, composed of actual members from the LotRO community which Turbine pays to come to Turbine’s office at least once a year and I believe meets online or otherwise communicates directly with the player council throughout the rest of the year. In short, the players have a direct line to Turbine’s LotRO development team, through which they can bring forth the communities thoughts and concerns and present them to the team. It should be noted, that this player council is in all likely hood in addition to the closed test group similar to DDO’s Mournlands community. I should also note that LotRO’s Player Council members are elected by the community at large to represent each server. So why doesn’t DDO have its own community representatives, The Coin Lords?
Now for a few simple thoughts on how to fix this proposal, I’ll call this the “Player’s Choice for Hearts of Wood Costs Post U20” (thanks for the name Sig (if I’m not cheating, I’m not trying).
1) Regardless of what you want to call the “currency” (I prefer the elegant name: Epic Tokens, for its simplicity and brevity) pick 1 name to call it.
2) Replace the Current Tokens of the Twelve (and Fragments) with this new “currency, keep the BtA property
3) Expand the quests that this new “Currency” can be found in to include every quest of every difficulty, ranging from Heroic Casual to Epic Elite.
4) Make it so that there are meaningful choices when you turn in this new “currency” (Augments, Reincarnation hearts, tomes etc…)
5) Adjust costs for Heroic Reincarnation, so that through the course of Normal Game play through levels 1 to 20, a typical (i.e. casual player) can earn enough of this new currency to complete a Heroic Reincarnation if they so choose, with minimal repetition of quests) if they save exclusively for the Heroic Heart of Wood.
6) Adjust costs for Iconic and Epic Reincarnation hearts similar to Heroic Hearts, so that through the normal course of Gameplay, a casual player can expect to accumulate enough of this new “currency” to complete the appropriate type of reincarnation with minimal quest repetition during levels 15-Cap.
7) Remove any and all ties between the Reincarnation system and Saga. You sold Sagas to the community as a completely optional way to earn rewards, like XP and Guild Renown. Don’t Bait and Switch on us here!
1) Develop a simple working and usable User Interface. Reuse the Explorer Point UI for crying out loud. Why reinvent the gad forsaken wheel? Not only will it save you time and money, but people might actually use the Saga system for a change.
Thank you and good luck!