Mar 182013

They call it a patch but everything Is changing

As this article is being written, the bits and bytes of Update 17 Patch 1 are flying about, transitioning from Lamannia and Turbine’s testing environments to our familiar worlds of Sarlona, Khyber, Argonnessen, etc.

By the time you read this, the update may be complete; DDO may have already changed forever.

Am I being a little dramatic here? I suppose I am, not “everything” is changing, swords will still swing the same, spells will still cast the same, game play is not itself changing.

Yet this is by far the most significant “Patch” I can recall. Two all-new systems essentially reboot the game economy. An entirely new currency – one based on DDO Store-purchased Astral Shards – comes into prominence, whether for good or ill is yet to be determined.

It is also a fairly controversial “Patch”* and one that has generated a lot of discussion. Not just on the forums, but throughout DDO fan-dom. It even occupied an entire episode of DDOCast.

* I keep calling it a “patch” in quotes because it represents such a fundamental change. Two entirely new systems! More than I recall ever getting in a “patch”. If this had three dungeons in it too we’d be calling it Update 18.

Release notes are not available as this was published. The latest Lamannia release notes are available, and traditionally are all but certain to be identical to what is going live.

But I digress: back to the hyperbole and shameless fear-mongering. This is a blog after all.

Seven years of accumulating platinum. For naught? Plat seems likely to become severely devalued and even more inflated than it is already. And it is pretty inflated now.

This may not be a bad thing, not at all, in fact an economic reset might actually work to the benefits of those of us who are lagging behind in the plat accumulation game, leveling the playing field a bit.

It could go the other way too. Astral Shards are purchased with real money while platinum was largely earned with time spent in-game. This could provide a little too much emphasis on the size of the player’s wallet.

Maybe this is the pay-to-win nightmare come to life. Or maybe it is a perfectly-sized balance between those who are willing to put in time and those who are willing to put in money.

I’ve said this before but I tend to trust Turbine on these matters, at least until such time as they are proven wrong. They’ve been walking the highwire of balancing micro-transaction and subscription for four years now, invented an entirely new free-to-play “fremium” model, and kept DDO not only alive but thriving for all this time. They’ve earned the benefit of the doubt.

Yet change is always scary and this change has the potential to be scarier than most.

Everything changes
Once you get used to things, BOOM!
Different again

We will see. One thing for certain: things will be different. They always are.

πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  4 Responses to “Update 17 Patch 1: The Rise of the Astral Shards”

Comments (4)
  1. This is the worst thing they haveever done.

    In fact it is in direct violoation of what they said they would do with the launch of Free to Play and the introdution of the DDO Store. This is not only a BLATANT Cash grab (sorry I call it as I see it), but it is selling in game items for Real world cash. In fact this is what all MMO developers have hated about all the 3rd party Plat and item farmers for years. The only difference here, is that the Developer, aka Turbine, is pocketing the cash, not some other 3rd party or a player.

    Good luck trying ot find some hard tofind piece of BtCoE named loot on the regular AH now. Why do we even have platinum, gold, silver, copper or the myriad of gems in game anymore?

    I would be slightly less angry about this move, if Astral shards were actually obtainablevia ingame methods, but I haven’t heard of this And in fact, I have had only 1, that right, 1 Astral Diamond ever drop for me. And what did it get me? Nothing, because you could not get anything for 1 Astral Diamond. So what did I do, I deposited it to my Guild’s next Airship increase. And how did that work out you ask? Not well, because, 1 shard made absolutely no difference.

    I could behaning up my virtual d20 here in the near future if the really suffers like I fear it might. Hopefully Turbine can change my mind by the end of PAX East….

    • I know this will be against the grain, but i don’t mind (not saying i <3 it mind you) the Shard house. We have needed a new level of currency for a while now, people are trying to make Otto's boxes and TP codes the new "it" currency. This will make things easier for a lot of people.

      As for a $ grab… I don't remember Turbine saying they wouldn't expand their $ making channels. I do remember saying they wouldn't sale raid loot and try to focus on convince items but depending on your POV this is a convince system.

  2. Quest Rewards and Named Lootitems should not beobtained via convenience. Selling them this way forwhat amounts to real world $, is not about convenience, its about the almighty $. Honestly, selling items for TP is probably a violation of the TOS, because it is really no different that selling it for money (except that this money can only be spent at Turbine, but it can be spend on avariety of things).

    While you may be right about the need for a new type/level of currency, Astral shards are used for what exactly? Buying Bound items from other player? The only non-cheesy use I have found for them so far in game has been feat Respecting with Fred for when I either didn’t/couldn’t afford didn’t want to spend the plat and/or did not have the appropriate Siberys Dragonshard. That is convenience.

    (I think I had some more arguments by my laptop ate my original reply, while trying to enter my email and name below)

  3. While there’s the whole p2w thing (a seperate argument), many MMOs already have that plat/item farmer thing going on through 3rd parties.
    More recently, otto boxes, TP codes etc. were introduced, allowing people to do it by at least put the cash directly in the hands of Turbine – but those still required a certain amount of trust & iirc Turbine have already said that they can’t intervene in private trades like that where someone doesn’t deliver their side & simply pockets it.
    Now by putting the astral shard auction house in place, that uncertainty is gone so it’s removed the scamming risk too, which IMO is probably the smartest move Turbine could have made, from that perspective at least.

    The main problem with it IMO is the kind of mental disconnect – similar to what happened when the original auction house changed from the GP to the PP standard, where people would simply look at the number & not remember that it was actually 10x the original amount. Once people get used to the actual price of the shards equivalent in TP (i use 1shard = 6TP) then the prices will normalise, with some big-ticket items being high priced plus a few stupidly high-price things since if the item doesn’t sell, your listing price gets refunded – that’s a whole lot of extra effectively free storage πŸ™‚

What do you think?

%d bloggers like this: