Oct 222013

Power to the People!
Da Man Cannot Keep Us Down!

And so the great Epic Token protest comes to a close, demands demanded, opponents opposed, and surprisingly, goals met. We won! I expected a reaction from the powers-that-be, but I did not expect them to rollback their plans, no matter how temporarily.

We won!

For anyone coming to this topic for the first time, a quick recap:

  • Turbine announced their design for the new method of acquiring Heroic Hearts of Wood (currently called True Hearts of Wood but this detail is unimportant right now)
  • Their new design had serious implementation issues for the player base, especially the F2P player base and those who want to earn their Heroic Hearts of Wood through primarily Heroic actions rather than a very lengthy Epic grind
  • The DDO playerbase united in demanding changes to the design, both in (often vitriolic and often unfun-to-read) forum posts, and at an in-person protest that formed on Wayfinder sometime Saturday
  • More details on Turbine’s design here, and more detail on the protest here
  • By Monday evening the Wayfinder protest had grown to encompass three instances full of avatars in the Marketplace
  • Massively picked up on the story and it soon spread to other gaming sites that I’ve previously never heard of including MMO Fallout and Gamebreaker
  • Late Monday, Turbine backed off the least popular design changes

And I was there too, more or less, Monday was a work day but fortunately it was a work from home day, and I was able to park Brickie Lee in the thick of the protest and wander by every few hours to see what was what and take a few screenshots.

It was fun! Who knew civil disobedience could be such a good time? And did I mention that we won?

Was it the forum onslaught? Was it the protest? Was it the press coverage of the protest? Or was this something that would have happened anyway, albeit at a slower and more deliberate pace? Who knows, I am guessing all of the above apply to some extent.

I’m not going to quote the entire Monday night forum post from Producer Glin but here are some key excerpts:

When Update 20 goes out to live servers, there will be a new commendation available through select Epic Sagas that will allow players to barter for Hearts of Wood. Initially these Epic Sagas will offer an option to claim a Commendation of Valor; in time we intend to add additional methods to obtain “Commendations of Valor.”

A quest can overlap two or more sagas. In the situation where a quest is in multiple sagas, you will receive completion credit for each saga, for example, completing “A stay at the Inn” from the Update 16 Adventure Pack will reward credit in 3 Saga’s (b, c, e above). In this way, you can complete 5 sagas by playing 36 quests, and various combinations within that scenario if you prefer to skip some content.

This is pretty much the original design but with key differences including the fact that there will be additional methods, beyond the Sagas, to earn Valors.

But wait, there is more.

The prices on Lamannia are not final – inspired by the Lamannia feedback, the Heroic Heart of Wood will be greatly reduced from the price displayed in the bartershop today. We’ll be looking at your additional feedback and how players play through sagas, and adjust the costs appropriately. We expect the average player to, upon reaching the minimum level requirement, spend additional hours to obtain a Heart of Wood – but never hundreds of hours.

Since the heroic goal is 20, we are lowering the expectation of number of Epic quests needed to earn the heart.

And the one that seemed the most important to the most people:

Update 20 will not remove the Heart of Wood from the Twelve barter NPC. Next steps will be discussed at a later date, but eventually commendations will be the preferred method of exchange – ideally this is preferred by most players, today that is not the case and we are acting accordingly.

There is more, it is a lengthy post with lots of detail. Glin includes the overall scheme of why they are making these changes, specific metrics showing why they believe the existing system is broken, and the philosophy they are hoping to implement to improve it.

It is not just lengthy, but thoughtful. Here’s the link again. Go read it.

Glin’s paraphrase, via twitter: TLDR? Lower the Prices! Keep spending your 12Tokens!

My paraphrase: they didn’t realize the impact on Heroic players when implementing the new design with only one path to earn Hearts. Now they do. They’re still going ahead with their new design, they feel that they need to, but they will ease into it and continue to support existing paths until the new path is more built-out.

The goal, according to Producer Glin, is to wait “eventually commendations will be the preferred method of exchange – ideally this is preferred by most players”. So we’ll get them when we want them but will still have Epic Tokens until then.

That is a win. A clean win, no matter the naysayers. And yes, there are naysayers. Come on people, enjoy your victory while you can, they do not happen all that often.

Power to the People!

🙂 😀 🙂

  18 Responses to “Power to the People!”

Comments (18)
  1. Well they did say they wanted player feedback… It looks like they got it.

  2. Huzzah!

    I would hope commendations don’t become the preferred method 😉

  3. I wouldn’t sound the fanfare quite yet. We surely got them to communicate, but honestly, that really shouldn’t take a 60-hour 300-people protest. So far, none of the core complaints have been addressed except an unspecified delay in phasing out the Tokens, and I think the protesting players have the negotiating power to push the pay-wall back further.

    • Yes, this. I found Glin’s response very weasel wordy, and it in no way addresses the concerns I have. I am staying on the bridge.

    • People will throw money at the game they want to play, I hope Turbine keeps this the game I want to play 🙂

  4. The CoV are still BtC though so as much of a win as this is it is only just barely by the teeth of its teeth a win. The new commendations must be made BtA like how the current fragments of the tokens of the twelve are and how the full tokens of the twelve are.

    I still think that forcing people to run content like this a really bad idea why can’t Turbine let us players play the game how we want to play and decide what content we want to run and not be forced in to running if we want to use a particular game feature… in this case the TR system.

  5. This is not over. As long as the system is tied to sagas and the commendations are BtC it will not be over.

  6. I am completely surprised that there was any kind of turn around. I expected a “we are looking at lowering the amounts needed for hearts and we will be increasing the number of thingies given” from Turbine.

    Glad to be wrong.

  7. I’m still on the bridge. Check Glin’s thread that’s been linked for a reply from Cordovan and you’ll see why I’m not leaving it anytime soon.

    We’ve been given nothing but token concessions. They’re still going to make Heroic TR pay-to-obtain, they’re just kicking the can down the road now.

  8. Ain’t over until the new comms are BtA.

  9. I usually, agree with your comments and observations, here I do not. This is not over, this decision is only delayed. This is about Turbines foresight and focus. Since, the expansions which I enjoy; there has been no focus of bringing Ebberon in sync with Evening Star. What do I mean? The goal used to be Greensteel, TOD sets and Dragon touched (Dragon) armor as well as shards, seals and scrolls to make EPIC items. With the addition of House C this continued. Now with Evening Star and random loot generation most if not all are next to useless. Most augments purchased in the Twelve are better to purchase from Giant Hold except a few and the True Heart of Wood. Do people still run Reavers Reach, Amrath or anyone really running Eberron Epics on a whole (other then to get tokens for TR’ing)? These old epic quests helped build community; in order to have a reasonable chance of getting your needed seal you ran with guildies or friends so people could assign loot at the chest. The issue of Tokens and btc ingreds are important issues in my opinion. I would feel much better served if Turbine focused on these issues. Is this possible in a small way with Commendations of Valor? I really think there is at least in regards to having one currency. have all Epic quests give valor and saga’s give even more, we still need more saga’s to accomplish this. This though does nothing to improve the old Epic loot or Dragon Touched Armor. For the most part I feel that the Dragon Scale Armor is up to date. I want all the content and the time I spend to be worth it and fun. SOS and TOD used to be some of the more enjoyable quests to me and the items even though sometimes difficult were good items for many levels not just two.

  10. Token concessions are token. We’d be getting none of this if media outlets hadn’t picked up the story. Geoff, I love ya man, but you will literally jump at any chance not to be critical of the screwing you’re being subjected to and call it a win.

  11. Common sense would have told them to phase in their new currency after consultation with the playerbase. Did they seriously learn nothing from the Epic Reincarnation debacle where they proposed to wipe Epic Destiny xp?

    They had a chance to unify all of the Epic content by providing the same reward from old and new content to offer the players the flexibility to play whatever quests they like to earn whatever flavour of Heart of Wood they want. Instead they turn the well-received optional extra that is Saga End Rewards and made that their core mechanic.

    When the hell will Turbine learn to speak to the players before wasting time and resources on these poorly thought through wholesale system changes?

What do you think?

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