Oct 232013

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!

Fixing Sagas:
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!

  8 Responses to “Editorial: Why the Reincarnation Changes Failed Turbine”

Comments (8)
  1. Brilliant!!!!!

  2. I disagree with the reincarnation pseudo-currency being dropped from both heroic and epic quests. With the original Epic Tokens, one could only get them through epic quests – I don’t have a problem with this. Want to TR? Fine – run epic content.

    Regardless, a well-crafted editorial, sir. And a lot of good points.

    {And it’s OK if we disagree – if everyone thought like I did, how boring would that be? Even though the world would be a better place.}

    • Comic, I understand and don’t necessarily disagree with your point about dropping from Heroic quests. It was partially a counter to Turbine’s you must run level 24-27 Epic Content on your TR character.

      But if they offered other tempting items with the new currency, then dropping them in Heroic levels would be good. Costs would naturally go up, but that is perfectly fine, since the currency would be much more prevalent.

  3. Can’t emphasise how disappointed I was with this change that the nice bit of optional add-on that the sagas are become core game mechanics. Defies any form of logic and the player’s reaction to it was entirely predictable. Are we to believe that the feedback from Mournlands was positive to any of this? If it was then you’ve got the wrong people on Mournlands. If it wasn’t then why aren’t you listening to the chosen few?

  4. Very nice sum-up. I must agree with Comic in that I don’t mind the V-comms dropping only in epic quests, but for Pete’s sake, make them drop in all epic quests! Don’t just link them to sagas.

  5. I get that. And yeah, dropping in heroic wouldn’t necessarily be bad. But if they did drop in heroic, I could then see having them BtC (I still wouldn’t like it, but I could understand it). Of course, we do have other things that can be either BtA or BtC I think – but then again, my memory’s not as good as…um…what was I saying?), so…maybe have the the ones that drop from heroic be BtC and the ones that drop from epic be BtA?

    Not ideal, but better then just leaving them all BtC.

  6. That could work to. Regardless, of the bind status, There needs to be a way to earn in game a Heroic (or current True) Reincarnation by level 20, via Heoric Content.

    This is one of the reasons we are in this mess to begin with. Since (old version of ) Epic content was released, and even more so with the changes made to Epic with MotU, it was simply easier and much more fun to Farm for the necessary curreny using a capped character (or any high level character that you enjoyed playing). Making the tokens BtA in the first place didn’t help. Not that I would have accepted them being BtC either.

What do you think?

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