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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Why 2000 XP Mega Pets and Hard-to-Craft Spells Are Ok


Introduction


For the first time in quite a long while, KingsIsle has made a step in a very good direction! That's not to say that they haven't been going the right way the entire time, but this latest update (currently in the Test Realm only) begins to set a standard for the future - one that I'm going to really enjoy, even if it doesn't benefit me more than others.

For a long time, as long as the game's been around in fact, KingsIsle has taken pride in the fact that they're a family game. The problem is that they've mainly been entertaining the younger audience. There are many wizards who find little challenge in boss fights anymore, especially with assistance services. While it's absolutely wonderful that others take the time out of their schedule to help others, it ruins part of the experience - that is, taking pride in defeating an enemy on your own or personally building friend relationships and gathering allies to assist you in times of need.

Then there's the guides, OH, the guides! Approximately five seconds after anything is released, there's a guide for it. That means that as tempting as it is to set out on an adventure to solve the puzzle yourself, find the best pet snack, or farm a boss for an item, you'll instead stop by another website for another guide and fly right through the most difficult of quests.

I remember the days before I discovered the Wizard101 community, and spent my time in-game. To find that new item in a shop or stumble upon a hidden trainer - that was the best! Those sort of times are often referred to as "the golden days" of Wizard101.

While we're throwing problems around, there's that older audience breezing through the game and having nothing but a few quick side activities to do.

A Simple Solution


Unfortunately, there's no stopping such services, guides, and game speed (great as they are, don't get me wrong), which means that KingsIsle has to outdo them directly. How? Simple. Add something so complex, so long and difficult, and make so many options for doing it, that there's not a single best way, and the path is not clear-cut for guide creators.

Examples and an Explanation


Take a battle example - it's small, but effective. What is probably one of the toughest battles in Wizard101 is that in which you fight Young Morganthe. While people have attempted to make guides, they continue to list spells as happening "randomly" which is hardly a guide, but that's how things work.

Now look at the latest updates - 2000 experience pets! Just for another talent? Seems a bit ridiculous, doesn't it? After all, you only had to get 125 for your first talent. Wizards have literally spent all of their 15,000 crowns on Mega Snacks and failing to achieve Mega. What happens in the Live Realm when they don't have that many crowns to spare? Will gardening get them all the way there? Even with Megas, how many hours will it take to train?

Now how about the new crafted spells? Amber, which is only available through select activities, comes in twelves with the new spells. Twelve are needed to craft each one, and by the looks of it, the new crafted spells aren't slowing down. Let's not mention dropped treasure cards (many of which we do not know the drop location), the 60000 gold cost for the recipe, or the fact that there's now nine spells! Going to take a while? You beta-believe it! (Had to throw that in, still waiting on a beta key)

When they introduced rank 15 gardening, they'd begun to step in this direction as well.

"The Direction"


KingsIsle is shuffling their feet along a new path that is a long-term game that will keep everyone entertained over long periods of time. The updates mean that those that have more time to dedicate to their personal game will be more successful. This is the cut-off point. It'll separate the "boys from the men" or the "girls from the women" so to speak. Those that are really dedicated to the game will stand out with their Mega Pets and high-level gardening badges. Those that aren't as dedicated or don't have the time will fall behind.

In my opinion, this is where the game should have gone a long time ago. I'd like to see an Ultra level for pets - 4000 experience and counting! And I wouldn't necessarily like it because I'm one of the people who has all of the extra time - oh, no, don't make that mistake. Between coding a new site design and blogging, I rarely get in-game any more, save new content times. But this way, those with more time can really shine.

I like to compare it to gear. For a long time, people made use of KingsIsle's mistake - Waterworks gear. Everyone had it, and many still do to this day. Just now are they introducing gear that varies in certain areas, making gear selection difficult and everyone different.

Staying on Track


There are a variety of ways to keep this going. There are some that they definitely ought to do, but there are also a few far-out ideas.

First, continue pets on to Ultra, Super, and whatever else. Eventually allow them to gain all ten talents. I'd recommend something like 125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 3250, 4750, 6500, 8500, 10750. With each update, offer new snacks and new ways to obtain snacks. Make Grub Guardian more effective in training your pet. Add alternate methods of training. Increase experience from feeding a pet an item. Those with real dedication can get a pet with all ten talents, and everyone will have the same opportunity, so it isn't unfair.

Second, continue gardening to somewhere around level 50. Besides harvest rewards, offer other incentives for gardening - energy gear available only at certain gardening levels. Combat gear only available at certain gardening levels. Gardening treasure card and other rewards with level-up. Etc.

Third, and more crafting spells and projects. All wizards to craft many spells, but keep them fairly difficult. One or two spells of each rank for each school would be a good stopping point. Offer more badges for major crafting projects such as houses and spells.

Introduce passive bonuses that can be increased by doing certain training activities. For example, if you didn't want to create all new wizard games for training, then fighting in a duel might award a passive strength bonus. This means that the bonus will never go away despite any gear changes, but rather, be added on to any bonuses you currently have and stay forever. You would need to do nothing to activate these bonuses, other than earn them in the first place. So dueling might increase your passive strength bonus by 0.00001% per hitpoint of damage dealt during a battle. Seems small, but if you go kill Malistaire alone, you're looking at a 0.1% damage increase, and Malistaire can easily be soloed. Fight someone like the Jabberwock just ten times (can be a matter of a few rounds), and you've got a permanent 2.5% damage bonus. This would have to have a cap, say 20% or so, based on the statistic.

Introduce the Tower of Time. Through a tunnel hidden deep in Dragonspyre is a huge tower that is sure to be a popular meeting spot for wizards. Wizards must venture into this gauntlet alone. Inside, Dragonspyre's powerful time crystal (tower requiring completion of the Grand Chasm Past) takes wizards on a journey through many of the bosses (all major and end-world bosses, several minor ones) is a tower level that reflects the world from which the boss is from. Occasionally, you'll enter a time-warp level where you'll fight a brand new cheating boss. Can't say more - this sounds like a new post!

Finally, offer combination badges. Similar to the one earned for defeating 200 Sharks (which is a badge in itself) and 200 crabs (another badge), these would require specific levels or activities to be completed in unison with another activity that may be completely unrelated.

From the Stance of a Pirate 


Honestly, I have yet (saying that hoping that I will at all) to receive a beta key for Pirate101, so I don't know much about gameplay, however, I can make some inferences based on what I have read about the game!

Your Pirate101 story will likely be influenced by some of the choices you make in the beginning of the game. For example, when asked how you were orphaned, you might choose that your parents were eaten by a sky squid - this will probably affect your later game.

In addition, your class and companions will make a big difference in the story. Each one has it's own special background.

There's also been mention that there might be some storyline decisions that mean you miss out on certain bits and get to see certain parts that others miss out on. This, the different companions and how they affect the storyline, as well as your initial decisions and class will make guides increasingly difficult, and I like that! It means that KingsIsle realized the same thing that I did, and they're already setting out to fool those guide-makers! Now can we get some forced-solo battles, too?

For Those Without the Time


Don't worry, it isn't the end of the road in PvP if you don't have the time to level a pet to Super or Ultra. While you might have some initial disadvantages, certain restrictions for PvP would be put into place. And it doesn't mean that because Bobby over there spends 24/7 online leveling his pet to unlock all ten talents that you have to do it all at once. After you hit current end-game, you can spend your leisure time leveling your pet and trying the new games.

If anything, everyone else will motivate you to strive for similar goals. It means more time in-game, and more money for KingsIsle (if you choose to spend crowns on pet, gardening, and crafting aids), so why wouldn't they go for it? And then, even if you don't make Ultra or whatever else, you can feel accomplished when you do reach your goal.

I Actually Read This Whole Post


Good for you! Tell me what you think by commenting! Thanks for reading, and see you in the Spiral!

10 comments:

  1. HAHA, I actually did read your whole post. It was defiantly long, but VERY informative. You opinions are great and your ideas are strong. My favorite part was about Pirate101 and that your decisions may change you game.

    I played a game on my Xbox360 that constantly you were making your game. The game went with the guy saying Hi, and you had the choice to say Hi back, or just keep walking. If you were to keep walking the guy wouldn't help you later in the game, that guy found your kid-napped child. That particular game was different from any I had ever played, for one it was obviously for a mature audience that knew a deal of decision making. And that your decisions change your game drastically. Like from your house burning down with your sister trapped inside, to moving in with your sister and your son in a nice apartment overlooking the ocean.

    If this were to happen in Pirate101 I would expect that more people will come back and play it again and again to see the different storyline. Like as you know, in Wizard101 you play the game again and all that changes is your spells. Well in Pirate101 your school and some of your story changes. So that should attract some people to play the game again after they max out.

    Some hope you actually read that comment!

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  2. I did read the whole post and I loved it! I am one of those people that don't have all that time so I wouldn't have all 10 talents for sure :P The Tower of Time seems epic and it would be awesome if that became real. I love your theory crafting and everything you have come up with.
    Keep up the great work!
    -Blaze

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  3. LOL I read the whole post XD, Very well written :). I agree with you :D

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  4. Benjamin DragonswordAugust 6, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    I loved this post. So many great ideas! I'd like to see areas in wizard101 and pirate101 where you cant hire henchmen. I'd even like to see true solo areas where you can't have help from people AND you can't hire henchmen.

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  5. I read the whole post, and I completely agree with this. :3

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  6. Nice job Swordroll! I read the whole post, and pretty much agree with what you've stated. I've had those times too, love soloing a boss, competition, and having a sense of self-worth.

    I like the Tower of Time idea, BUT remember when Wizard101 added Briskbreeze Tower to the game, and there was a reference there would be a similar instance/dungeon in Krokotopia?

    I honestly hope they do, would love to see a hard instance in KT. Perhaps wizards could finally get the RIGHT LVL 70/80+ GEAR, that they need (there's posts labeled under Ideas on my blog that references that) - making the Spiral a better place.

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  7. Bleh, Blogger (glitch) removed my previous comment! Read everything, love the post, logic was understandable, not bad ideas seriously. I remember too those days when my young Wizard, wouldn't rely on guides (much), getting a huge thrill soloing plenty of bosses with some exceptions.

    Like the Tower of Time idea, references when KingsIsle implemented Briskbreeze Tower into the game, and after the instance was completed - chatted, and learned that Krokotopia would be the next world to undergo etc etc.

    I think that would be something, Wizard101 going on its word, adding another hard instance to the Spiral inside of one of Krokotopia's towers (inside Pyramid) - which would lead to players earning new gear: LVL 70/80+ which pretty much contributes everyone (my own posts/ideas on my blog/site). That's pretty much it, keep up the good work.

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    Replies
    1. While the initial idea of Waterworks-style level 70 and 80 gear sounds good, I'm not sure I'd like it.

      I would definitely like to see the Krokotopia continuation of the Briskbreeze Tower, though!

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  8. I think that they should make rankk 10 snacks (if they havent already) so that we can level up our pets super fast. I really like the fact that we can get mega pets now because our "SPUD" pets can now also have another awesome talent like pain giver or stun resist so on and so fourth.

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