Ideas from a new SoD player

Maccolyn

Dalayan Beginner
Let me preface this by saying that I want to thank the staff for all their work keeping up this great server. I recognize that many of my suggestions would require many staff hours and since the server is quite top heavy, there are more pressing matters to attend to. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my thoughts!

Newbie quests - Give boosts to low level quest rewards. Most classes have quests that can be done from levels 1-20. These rewards could give 30 hp/30 mana/3+4 applicable stats (or be levelable to this point) and make the quests much more desirable to do. Having done many of them for fun, it is a shame that more players aren't choosing to experience them due to lackluster rewards. It would put them on par with Starfall quests and give the characters a great boost while leveling.

Related to the above request, it would be great if the ornate quests could be buffed or levelable so that people have a reason to do them. One of the great things about Shards is the availability of quests to do and it's shame that these older quests aren't being done.

Adept system - Revamp the adept system so that a brand new group of 2-3 characters can do them. Much of the difficulty of conquering adepts lies in the large amount of hp/substantial damage output. If adepts were more reliant on mechanics rather than being able to heal through damage/sustain a good dps output, it would make it easier for players to achieve the gear from them. Due to the low population of the server, it's sad to see the higher level adepts remaining up for days on end due to the high player requirement on them. It would be helpful if these encounters were tuned to reflect the current server population.

Another idea for adepts would be to make the adepts be inclusive for a level range rather than having a hard limit, whether that be 5 or 10 levels. I understand that characters lower level than the adept can participate and acquire loot from them, but they are hard-pressed to be much help in the encounter. If for instance Tidefang had a 5 level below and 5 level above cap, one would be much more likely to find help in conquering this adept. Also, it would present players who are eager to play more Shards but want to progress through adept loot with the option to level if they had more adepts within a range they were eligible for. I tried the server once before this for a couple days and was excited by the adept system until I realized I had to either A. make an alt to play B. lock my experience and not continue exploring the world or C. seemingly hamstring my character because quest rewards from newbie quests were horrible in contrast to adept loot.

Low level dungeons - I ended up opting to not get adept loot due to the above reasons and have farmed mostly dungeon loot, sticking to dungeons like crystal caverns where the items were much better than other zones. I recognize the amount of work that would be required, but adding better stats to items from lower level dungeons would go a long way in people trying out more content rather than just sticking to the zones with better loot. I have also noticed that these dungeons are farmed by higher level players on occasion. If the stats on the items were more equal across dungeon tiers, at least the high level farmers would not be monopolizing the better zones.

Faction grinding during main quest - Increase the faction rewards on each quest so that players can opt out so many of them. This is a tedious grind and unless you're privy to the fact that the earlier quests can be done at lower levels, you'll be spending hours of your time grinding on grey mobs. Ideally, it should be sufficient to do a couple quests per tier to get faction with your choice. I don't think this takes away from the game and still keeps the spirit of having to perform service for your faction to gain their trust.

Simple maps - Increase the droprate of simple maps. I leveled slowly, mainly in dungeons, from 1-65 and have seen exactly 1 of these maps. This 1 map dropped in Lasanth when I was too high level to do the map. During the levels where I as eligible to do simple maps, it wasn't affordable for my character to buy maps from listsold. I'm not sure if I was extremely unlucky or if the droprate is just very low. I can confirm that the people who I have been playing with who began on the server recently have never received a simple map as a loot drop.

Tradeskills - as with progression on live EQ, they eventually introduced the auto-combine feature. While I know that that is probably a hard no for the devs of this server, I would request that instead of the skill gains being based on X combines per level that there be a random element to it and a hard cap of how many combines you do without a level. It could work such that if a skill up at your level has a hard limit of 6 combines, you could get a skill up on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or if you're unlucky, you will get it on the 6th. I liked the idea in theory of deviating from the random nature of EQ tradeskill skill ups, but the shards system just feels more grindy than it has to be. The experience rewards for leveling to 250 seem to be negligible, so I don't think it would be gamebreaking to change this from a carpal tunnel nightmare into something more fun for casual players to do.
 

Bonk84

Dalayan Elder
I'm pretty sure most of the community is will agree with a lot of your new player breakdown, and much of what you identified has been brought up in the past. Here are my thoughts
  • Newbie quests should be fleshed out across the board with decent stat loot comparable to adept loot. In these days, doing everything possible to retain newer players should be a priority. I recently started leveling track bots for one of my accounts, and was delighted to see tailored pop-ups every level on what to do and wiki links on things newer players may miss. So whoever did that, you are awesome and much props to you. More should be done to give starting players a great enjoyable introduction to this world.
  • With adepts, I believe the main problem isn't the lack of a player base, but the trivialization of the gear they drop due to power creep. The Ikisith expansion generated a plethora of new powerful BoE's for the 50+ range which started the decline to kill these adepts. Why lock at these levels and try for a piece of loot when you can easily purchase an item that's much better? These adepts were also created during a time of massive interest in adepts due to stagnation of content for a lot of players and lack any sort of "must-have" item that a lot of newer adepts are being generated with. I feel that a lot of the older adepts need their gear readjusted to the quality of the newer adept loot, or rebalanced to be taken down by a single group.
  • During my time on live, one of the things I hated most was the dumb trivial loot code that didn't allow high level chars from looting items in low end zone which was in effect on zones on Erudin island. I understood the reasoning behind it, but still was frustrating for my character. I don't want to see that happen here, but I would also like to incentivize lower end dungeons. For this I would suggest no-drop gear that is coded to drop only if the mob awards XP. Most of the early dungeons in the game just don't offer any meaningful rewards beyond XP or maybe tradeskill items. The dropped loot is horribly outclassed now after spending 12+ years without update. Also the higher end dungeons loot is all over the place when it comes to plat difference. Miel C, Crystal Caverns and Fire Grotto loot is much more valuable than other dungeons like Elds or the Deep (why is the Deep loot so undervalued?). This system doesn't offer many options for newer players to acquire plat as reliably as top end players who can solo farm entire zones, most of which are already farming the valuable zones. Also increase the stats on world dropped items, even to fresh players those items are horrible.
  • Make simple maps tradeable and increase the drop rate. I've done maybe one simple map in my entire 15 years on the server. No one does them because the drop rate is way too low, and being no drop limits those who want to do them but can never find one.
  • Tradeskills used to be much less trivial when the population was up and you could reliable buy materials, and much more worthwhile with the armor/jewelry you could make and sell. Now, tradeskills have been funneled to only seem important for the augments. Tailoring, Blacksmithing, Jewelcrafting, and Tinkering are honestly the only worthwhile tradeskills to do as you have something to do endgame (make augs). Brewing used to be worth it for the violet ointment to make the DS clicky, and the two armors, but that was soon trivialized rendering no need to max out brewing to make violets. Depending on what your end goal is, you can finish brewing at 110 for blue ointments to tailor augs or 215 for the molten core to blacksmith augs (which that in of itself is wildly disproportionate to the augs made). Fletching has also been made redundant with the LoIO arrows. Why spend months farming materials and leveling fletching when you can complete the Vah arrow making rig, kill raid targets who drop arrow making clickies, or complete the LoIO quest. Baking is incomplete (with the highest trivial item adding 5 dex, 3 sv cold, 5 sv disease), and pottery caps at 80 for glass vials or 100 to make rez urns. Make no mistake though, this is a gargantuan task, and it's understandable why it's been left in it's current state for so long. In the end I feel that if I was going to just throw money at a tradeskill to get it to where I need it, I wish I could just pay plat at a trainer or do repetitive random quests (like Daniel-san wax on/wax off or even as new Thurg bounty quests) as an alternate to level up instead to save my fingers/wrist/mouse.
 
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Tevinter

Dalayan Pious Diety
the main quest faction grinds are absolutely atrocious and i think they need to be shortened and/or have some higher level alternative to completing them. It took me 1500~ trivial mob kills to complete my warriors blackscale and about 3 days of /played time. Even if you knew about the quest beforehand and did them while leveling, i'm fairly certain you'd still end up outleveling them. The SC / COI / BS questlines are a wall of outdated, unfun, trivial mob grinding that creates an awkward barrier for fresh 65s trying to progress main quest content and get into doing the ikisith questing.

I agree that adepts are weirdly restrictive and can create a weird gameplay flow for leveling content. Some of the items are powerful / unique enough to where you feel obligated to do them, because it will make the rest of your leveling that much smoother or the items will last you until level 65. Having them at more standardized levels would be neat, every 5 levels or so instead of it being seemingly random.
 

Maccolyn

Dalayan Beginner
I agree that adepts are weirdly restrictive and can create a weird gameplay flow for leveling content. Some of the items are powerful / unique enough to where you feel obligated to do them, because it will make the rest of your leveling that much smoother or the items will last you until level 65. Having them at more standardized levels would be neat, every 5 levels or so instead of it being seemingly random.
I get what you're saying about some of the items being unique/powerful. A random, probably won't get much traction idea, would be to just put some of these items as rare drops on appropriate level dungeon boss loot tables. It would be a fix to the situation about bad loot in some dungeons and also tie into what Shadamir mentioned about putting no drop items on lower level dungeon bosses to make them more desirable. So a more guaranteed way of getting the drop would obviously be to get a few friends together to do the adepts, but you'd also have the option if you missed something to try and find it in a dungeon without level restrictions. I'm sure initially this would lead to high levels trying to get said items, but that would die out, as is the nature of these things. Having some of the adept drops as a possible rare drop off dungeon boss would keep those players around who prefer farming their gear vs. buying BOE's off listsold and vendors. At the moment, if you choose not to do adepts or use BOE's, you're painfully gimp at 65. Take it from me. ;)
 

Ranmere

Dalayan Beginner
Dipping my toe in here I can really feel the age of many items/quests --- which is completely understandable in a game this old --- but leads to problems where basically quests aren't worth doing for the gear/exp they would provide, particularly if a player cares about rewards per time put in.

As an example on the gear side of things, the final reward for a questline I'm doing is this chestpiece, which I likely won't wear because I have a better item that I got from a lvl 1 Adept --- the quest is taking hours to finish, while killing that adept took a trivial amount of time. I'm doing quests mainly to learn more in game lore and experience the content.

Regarding exp from quests there is the problem (from a new player perspective) of if you want to xp lock to kill adepts you need to either accept that you won't receive experience rewards from quests or hold off on quests until you get whatever adept kill you wanted. Exp comes pretty fast from killing things so it doesn't bother me too much, but it does make the quests feel less rewarding.

I had two ideas to address these item reward and exp reward issues ---
  1. For the item reward issue (of older content rewards often being useless) -- having an NPC that would collect these items and give some other form of reward, e.g., you give this NPC a quest reward and receive a token which could then be used to trade for other goods. That way, to update the "rewards" from a quest you would only need to update the token merchants inventory to keep pace with whatever level of reward you want. These could be anything from gear to consumables to adept loot vouchers, etc. This same system could be extended to drops from lower level dungeons, etc. Say something like the NPC gives you a quest to retrieve a particular item drop (from a dungeon that is your level range) -- would make those both more rewarding and direct new players to places they might otherwise not go.
  2. For the experience reward issue, instead of quests giving straight experience they could reward an item which could later be turned in to an NPC for the appropriate amount of experience. This would allow quests rewards to be as intended even if a character is exp locked for adepts.
  3. An alternative for the experience issue would be having lower level alternate advancement options (dunno if this is even possible?).
 

Swight

Dalayan Adventurer
one of the things that would help on adepts would be if there was a system so that after a certain number of kills you get a choice of any one loot from them. this would put a lid on rng holding up progression for those that want a specific item. adept loot vouchers sound like an interesting idea. I know gm events can give them out but I could see it maybe be expandable to other things possibly if they put a level cap on the gear obtainable so the adept gear doesn't too overly surpass the level of gear intended for the dungeon. like a low level dungeon might drop a voucher for any level 1 engage adept loot.
 

Rarok

Dalayan Adventurer
I played through a new toon around a year ago. I found the adept system fun and well created. I luckily met up with a group of 3 others around level 40 which made progression possible.

I personally wouldn't change it. Maybe adding in some additional loot at lower levels could help though. I had access to level 65 toons which impacted my experience- of course not my adept experience...
 

Builder Anubis

Dalayan Adventurer
Let me preface this by saying that I want to thank the staff for all their work keeping up this great server. I recognize that many of my suggestions would require many staff hours and since the server is quite top heavy, there are more pressing matters to attend to. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my thoughts!

Newbie quests - Give boosts to low level quest rewards. Most classes have quests that can be done from levels 1-20. These rewards could give 30 hp/30 mana/3+4 applicable stats (or be levelable to this point) and make the quests much more desirable to do. Having done many of them for fun, it is a shame that more players aren't choosing to experience them due to lackluster rewards. It would put them on par with Starfall quests and give the characters a great boost while leveling.

Related to the above request, it would be great if the ornate quests could be buffed or levelable so that people have a reason to do them. One of the great things about Shards is the availability of quests to do and it's shame that these older quests aren't being done.

Adept system - Revamp the adept system so that a brand new group of 2-3 characters can do them. Much of the difficulty of conquering adepts lies in the large amount of hp/substantial damage output. If adepts were more reliant on mechanics rather than being able to heal through damage/sustain a good dps output, it would make it easier for players to achieve the gear from them. Due to the low population of the server, it's sad to see the higher level adepts remaining up for days on end due to the high player requirement on them. It would be helpful if these encounters were tuned to reflect the current server population.

Another idea for adepts would be to make the adepts be inclusive for a level range rather than having a hard limit, whether that be 5 or 10 levels. I understand that characters lower level than the adept can participate and acquire loot from them, but they are hard-pressed to be much help in the encounter. If for instance Tidefang had a 5 level below and 5 level above cap, one would be much more likely to find help in conquering this adept. Also, it would present players who are eager to play more Shards but want to progress through adept loot with the option to level if they had more adepts within a range they were eligible for. I tried the server once before this for a couple days and was excited by the adept system until I realized I had to either A. make an alt to play B. lock my experience and not continue exploring the world or C. seemingly hamstring my character because quest rewards from newbie quests were horrible in contrast to adept loot.

Low level dungeons - I ended up opting to not get adept loot due to the above reasons and have farmed mostly dungeon loot, sticking to dungeons like crystal caverns where the items were much better than other zones. I recognize the amount of work that would be required, but adding better stats to items from lower level dungeons would go a long way in people trying out more content rather than just sticking to the zones with better loot. I have also noticed that these dungeons are farmed by higher level players on occasion. If the stats on the items were more equal across dungeon tiers, at least the high level farmers would not be monopolizing the better zones.

Faction grinding during main quest - Increase the faction rewards on each quest so that players can opt out so many of them. This is a tedious grind and unless you're privy to the fact that the earlier quests can be done at lower levels, you'll be spending hours of your time grinding on grey mobs. Ideally, it should be sufficient to do a couple quests per tier to get faction with your choice. I don't think this takes away from the game and still keeps the spirit of having to perform service for your faction to gain their trust.

Simple maps - Increase the droprate of simple maps. I leveled slowly, mainly in dungeons, from 1-65 and have seen exactly 1 of these maps. This 1 map dropped in Lasanth when I was too high level to do the map. During the levels where I as eligible to do simple maps, it wasn't affordable for my character to buy maps from listsold. I'm not sure if I was extremely unlucky or if the droprate is just very low. I can confirm that the people who I have been playing with who began on the server recently have never received a simple map as a loot drop.

Tradeskills - as with progression on live EQ, they eventually introduced the auto-combine feature. While I know that that is probably a hard no for the devs of this server, I would request that instead of the skill gains being based on X combines per level that there be a random element to it and a hard cap of how many combines you do without a level. It could work such that if a skill up at your level has a hard limit of 6 combines, you could get a skill up on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or if you're unlucky, you will get it on the 6th. I liked the idea in theory of deviating from the random nature of EQ tradeskill skill ups, but the shards system just feels more grindy than it has to be. The experience rewards for leveling to 250 seem to be negligible, so I don't think it would be gamebreaking to change this from a carpal tunnel nightmare into something more fun for casual players to do.
hey macc its vegeta from p2002 GLAD to see you here!!!!!!
 
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