Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Are you really sure that you want to betray us?


EQ2 has a feature that allows characters to betray their chosen faction. As part of this process, the player is thrown out of their home city and is given the opportunity to grind their way to friendly status with the opposing side. As one of the last aspects of the good/evil alignment system that actually matters, this process can force the player to change sub-classes (for example, there are no good Shadow Knights and no evil Paladins). This also requires blanking the player's entire spellbook, since most of your spells will be replaced.



I don't know that it's necessarily a good thing that players have gotten into the habit of declining to read the quest text. Even so, the way that the betrayal system was previously structured made it a bit too easy to accidentally start down the road accidentally. In Neriak in particular, the betrayal questline started right next to the newbie player housing and is not entirely easy to distinguish from an ordinary quest that the player is actually supposed to complete. Though you're supposed to be doing the quest because you want to switch from evil to good, the quest NPC's actually present their discontent with the status quo as dissatisfaction that the city is straying from its evil roots. In particular, newbies who do not know the lore have little way to realize that they're backing the wrong faction.

To fix this problem, SOE implemented a large number of confirmation boxes that pop up during the process in ways that ordinary quest text does not, including one quest that requires the player to type the character's name for confirmation.



One minor absurdity with the new system is that the helper NPC's are relatively oblivious to the fact that someone has walked up to them to discuss how they can more effectively betray and depart their homeland. This is handled as best as the story permits - the clueless Ambassador doesn't realize that he's pointing the character towards the one truly dissident person in the entire city in an attempt to bring them back to the path.

The other quirk is that SOE never took the time to implement questlines for earning the trust of the two newest starting areas, Gorowyn and this patch's addition, New Halas. The officially endorsed workaround is to join one of the other two cities of the correct faction first, and then ask the NPC's for a more routine intra-faction change of citizenship once you're done. This would be fine, except that there are a number of players, myself included, who took the introduction of the new starting areas as a great occasion to bring an evil-aligned race over to the good side.

The result is that, after a relatively brief process of grinding up some faction with the good city of Kelethin, and swearing my allegiance to the same, I then went back to the same NPC I had just been talking to and asked him to ship me off to New Halas. I guess that guy has been getting that a lot this month, because it didn't seem to surprise him in the slightest.

3 comments:

Magson said...

Cute writeup.

As one who has done the betrayal 11 times, and most of those back when you had to do it before level 17, let me just say. . . never again!

Green Armadillo said...

Ouch.

Actually, I started the process promptly at level 10 and was finished by level 15. Kelethin rep is super easy - you can literally kill any three orcs, such as the ones sitting one minute away from the questgiver, and gain 3K rep per turnin (i.e. 20 turnins til you're done). I did each of the other repeatables, and the non-repeatable bounty quests, once each for the AA. All told, I don't think I was an exile for much more than 3-4 hours.

Magson said...

Oh yeah, I did exactly that when making my Sarnak Defiler into a Mystic at level 14. Took less than 3 hours for him and he gained no appreciable xp.

I did my High Elf Mystic to Defiler at level 42-ish in Neriak, and also did a level 10 High Elf Swashbuckler to Brigand in Neriak as well. The healer took a couple of hours for that faction grind, but the swashie took longer becuz it was "level appropriate" and I also had to dodge guards for the 1st while. And I did the other level appropriate quest chains while I was at it and thus gained 7 levels of so while I was betraying.

But my 1st 8 betrayals were all the "before level 17" thing, though only 6 of those were when the named you needed to kill were ^^^. I was semi-disappointed at how much easier it was once they were made just in to ^ mobs so you could solo the betrayal, though I can see why they did it.