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  1. @Jordan @Bash (Writing from my wife's forum account) Greetings, GMs, and folks. I'm not usually the one to talk or comment on any Forum, to be honest, but it was brought to my attention this whole discussion about what's good and wrong (mostly what's wrong) about this game to which I would like to touch on. I know this is a long read, but there are many things that have to be said that just cannot be explained in a few words without being taken out of context. First, a little background. I feel like I need to voice my opinion too based on two factors. First, because I have been playing EE for 8 years starting in EE-ES, then EE-EN after ES closed, the first EE-Private Server, your now EE-Awakening and now the EE-Classic seeing the same thing happening over and over again. Second, my drive on seeing things from behind a GM's perspective. I worked for other videogame companies for a few years now and I understand the point of view of people like Jordan, Bash, etc. that want to make a profit out of a game, servers are not cheap nor free to be run and unlike most people, I know how of much it costs to maintain a game running seeing for myself over the years up close and in person. Now, let's be honest, most of the MMORPG games fail or end up closing because there is always a lack of balance between P2W and F2P players, which is a cancerous situation that has been happening for years within companies and the only way to fix this problem is to maintain or create this said balance. There are a few exceptions to this fail rule which end up being the only currently popular and surviving MMORPG games, and their secret is that they did crack this balance issue and it works. You have a huge advantage to your end, that since this isn't an original server, you have the chance to use that power and modify the game to your liking as you have been doing with Awakening to strive for a better future to fix this ongoing problem. How do you fix it? My suggestion for fixing this problem is very simple, change your focus on trying to be a generic P2W MMORPG in the sense of marketing to be run more like a MOBA instead. Why? People here, in Aeria and the majority of MMORPG games, have always the same point of view: "After I'm done gearing myself, finishing all achievements, what else can I do?" The answer is very simple. PVP. If there was the right balance within the game, there would be enough F2P players to fill arenas and more than enough of P2W players to sustain the server expenses and keeping it running because sooner or later you will gear yourself up and have nothing else to do other than PVP. Delaying the gearing up process only makes it that F2P players leave frustrated and P2W players have nobody to compete against, making the experience boring and ultimately, leaving. People are not complaining about wanting things easier but rather about not seeing any kind of goal being met overtime, feeling like you're wasting weeks of your time to ultimately nothing. MOBA games have a different more competitive approach to this since they only ever sell customers vanity items like skins, not the actual gear or gameplay which anyone can get free or by grinding. This way F2P players can win against anyone and people that love to spend their money can shine in arenas by looking better than anyone else making companies richer than ever. The first change I would suggest is to change the Ranking Reward System. Currently, there are 4 Ranking which you can aim for to which there are only rewards for the first 20 players on each ranking. This needs to be changed and adjusted properly so everyone that lands on there, even the lower rankings, has at least some kind of reward given out for the effort. The first Ranking Board should be aimed to be for the TOP Players of All Times for overall score and have the same rewards and would be more difficult for anyone to try and compete in, but not impossible. The second, third, and fourth rank should be for Effort, such as one for Crafting Points, second for Boss Hunting Points, and third for Class/Lv up or similar and have different prizes for all rankings. This is done to incentivize everyone to do more ranking competition since if you don't land within the first few ranks, it doesn't matter how much you spent or how much time you got into it, in the end, you get nothing. As an example of a decent incentive for the other rankings could be: Rank 1: 2500 APs +5 special rewards Rank 2: 2400 APs +4 special rewards Rank 3: 2300 APs +3 special rewards Rank 4: 2200 APs +2 special rewards Rank 5: 2100 APs +1special reward Rank 6-10: 2000 APs + 1 special reward Rank 11-30: 1900 APs + 1special reward Rank 31-50: 1800 APs Rank 51-60: 1700 APs Decreasing the reward every 10 levels, up to around 500 APs to all first 100-1000 in the rankings. Second would be to change the way one can obtain upgrade stones. Any stones needed to upgrade gear from +2 to +8 should be available to be purchased by AP directly but also to be able to be obtained from Altar. This way everyone, both F2P and P2W players, has an opportunity to obtain them. Stones from +9 to +10 should not be added to the AP store or Altar and should only be given as a reward for finishing a hard mission like completing X quantity of Boss killing, Guild Reps, Monsters, Elites (but not World Bosses because this would be unfair). Say something like: Kill 50 Trial Bosses Kill 3000 Monsters. Kill 50 Elites (Lv 55 Up) Complete 30 Guild Reps. Reward: 1 Stone +9-+10 50% Chance. This mission should take about a week or not being able to be completed within a day or two so it gives people something to work for but limiting it to only be able to complete it 2 Times a Week getting 2 50% Stones. This way, one would not be able to get geared +10 in a day or a week whilst giving a good reward for both P2W and F2P players which would help both for PVP and PVE. Third, take away all vanity items (Head, Face, Mouth, Back, Body and Weapon Costumes) from Altar and make them exclusive purchase by APs, however, these need to be rotated every Week/Month and these rotations have to include a wide variety of said vanity items, making sure that these items have a reasonable price, like 5 to 10 USD maximum per object. Include the rest of the items that are necessary and have an impact on gameplay in Altar only, Mounts, Pets, Bags, Enchants, Racial Gathering, etc. making them available for everyone to get. You need to make it worth for people to use the EC and getting something useful or needed out of it, which currently, is almost nothing. EC's don't sell, P2W people don't make money or progress with their cash, ruining the economy. With these few changes, the majority of people would have a bigger incentive to play, be it to have fun in PVP/TW/GVG, show off wealth or to be able to grind Top Ranks for rewards. The change of stones would give a very needed balance between P2W and F2P players which would make people get involved more into TW, GVG and PVP since currently, the servers are slowly dying because nobody wants to get into Arenas or Guild Content due to getting shot down immediately one hit or that their guild has 1% chance of actually competing since it seems always to be only a war between 2-3 Guild whilst nobody else has a chance. If players had an actual chance to have equal or very similar odds, Guild Content and Arenas would become more competitive and defined by the abilities and skills of the players themselves rather than defined by the amount of money you spend or by being able to play 24h a day. If you invest money into a game it is because you wanna get things done easier and faster either because you don't have as much time to invest or you just want things quickly, however, if someone has time but no money should equally be able to gear up just like the people with money but over time. Also, with the change of vanity items, it would be a way to ensure that the company has their finances secured continually since players never stick to only one look for too long and would strive to rock the latest grabs and show off how rich they can be. This way, P2W and F2P players and the company can all make the game survive and even strive for a mutual benefit and have fun doing it. These are some ideas that need to be looked upon, tweaked, and adjusted obviously but they could be a base good enough to start getting a balance for the true long run of this game. Also, these are examples based on other games that are very successful and work for them beautifully. You said that you have no obligation to take note or notice of what other games do and you're right, you have no obligation, however, you can still take some ideas and personalize them to your liking. Besides, you should listen to your people since you're making a game aimed for the community, the community should be able to ask what they want. You should listen to what the players actually want and need and should not try to convince them of what they should want or need instead. You lose nothing by trying new things, in the end, if it doesn't work, you just return everything as it once was. It's a risky business, sometimes you gotta take chances just as you did when you decided to open this server or any other server you currently own. It is a gamble that may or may not end up paying off. It's up to you if you're committed and want to do a change with your game or if it's too much work for you and easier to just leave it be and see how far longer it can be stretched without a change. PS: I've seen topics regarding issues being closed, deleted, or even comments being deleted and I don't think it is right. You shouldn't suppress people's opinions because you're fed up reading the same things over and over or not wanting to deal with it. If they're voicing themselves it is because they feel like they aren't heard and you have a duty to listen to your people and their cries of help. A good leader is the one who discusses ideas and opinions openly, taking both the positive and negative comments, letting them speak. If you silence people you will only naturally instigate people to keep opening new posts and continue because they feel like they're being silenced to ultimately put under the rug. I used to do the same a few years back when I first started managing forums, however, this only led to more flooding. I discovered that by being honest and responding to people they feel like their voices matter and that they're being heard ultimately calming them down. Seek constructive comments and posts, even if you don't like what is said, its still someone's opinion and you should respond to them, give them a chance to respond to you. Remember, even if it's just a person, they still matter. Just a humble opinion from a veteran that has spent years grinding and also spending cash in EE. Best Regards and Stay Safe.