Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weekly Dungeon Quest One-Upmanship

One of the dangers of taking a similar feature from a competing game is that your version 1.0 may be up against the original game's 3.0 by the time you get it out the door.  Well, whatever else you want to say about Rift, Trion has become one of the fastest studios out there when it comes to fixing this sort of complaint.

The case of the dungeon quests
Case in point, Trion significantly reduced the "plaque" currency awards for its max level expert dungeons shortly after launch.  To compensate, they increased the award from the daily dungeon quests - in theory, infrequent players would now have more of a chance to catch up, while players who grind out multiple dungeons per day would take longer.

One of the issues with this approach is that each day's quest is use-it-or-lose-it.  If you run only three dungeons per week, but all three are on Saturday because that's your free evening, you only collect the bonus once.  If you sign on one evening and you choose to do something else that keeps you from getting around to your daily dungeon run - perhaps helping a friend, visiting a world event, etc - there's no way to "make up" the missed plaque stipend, it's simply an opportunity lost.

The competition over at Blizzard, which has had these types of quests for years, decided to make their token grind a little more friendly by changing the daily dungeon quest into a quest that can be repeated seven times per week (as part of patch 4.1, supposedly hitting WoW servers on Tuesday).  By comparison, Trion's emphasis on the daily version felt out-dated.  So they're fixing it.  By two weeks from now.

The sharp-eyed folks at Rift Junkies caught an interesting detail from a Massively interview on Friday - Rift will now allow you to "bank" up to seven day's worth of quests to complete at your leisure.  I prefer this version to WoW's not-yet-released variation, because it is much more flexible in letting you work off your backlog at a reasonable pace.

Improved competition?
Beyond Trion's impressively fast reaction time, I'm hopeful to see this kind of competition in the future.  Blizzard has been free in the past to let changes like this take months on end, with routine gaps of six months between patches, because there hasn't been anyone who could be seriously thought of as competition.  Everyone else has felt free to let their patch cycles drop to quarterly at best because that's the bar set by the industry leader.  While it's still a bit early, it's certainly looking like Trion may make a real run at forcing developers to pick up the pace a bit, which would be a win for players everywhere. 

P.S. Unfortunately, like WoW's system, Trion is offering a large currency award to convince players who no longer need Tier 1 Expert dungeons to continue running them daily.  I maintain that this is a misguided approach to filling groups that harms the quality of the experience for all concerned, for reasons I've discussed previously.


Kring said...

> Unfortunately, like WoW's system, Trion is
> offering a large currency award to convince
> players who no longer need Tier 1 Expert
> dungeons to continue running them daily.

Looks like a polished version of an outdated concept.

Instead of being faster then Blizzard I would prefer if they would come up with a "more fun" solution.

Aracos said...

Agreed. I like RIFT a lot, but it is becoming more and more obvious to me that Trion is just trying to be the "best little WoW clone they can be," rather than actually innovate or stand apart. And I get the reasoning for that. Tried and true formulas become tried and true for a reason, they work. But I quit WoW because I was tired of that formula. I was hoping for something at least a little bit different.

Stabs said...

I think a lot rests on Rift's implementation of the LFD system, also mentioned in Syp's interview with Scott H.

If there were ever a great idea in need of better implementation it's LFD.

Straw Fellow said...

As nice as it is that RIFT is keeping up with the developments of its older brother, I'll have to agree with the above poster in that I'm not terribly impressed. Any MMORPG on the market can (and frequently does) copy WoW. It takes some innovation to really stand out. Developments like this are what keep me from buying RIFT to begin with: I already own World of Warcraft. If I get tired of that game, why would I play another game just like it?

Koal said...

"there's no way to "make up" the missed plaque stipend, it's simply an opportunity lost"

This is not entirely true. You can pick up the daily quest every day whether you have completed the previous days quest or not. the quest remains in your log until you abandon or complete it. The quest does not have to be finished on the day it is offered and can be turned in any time after it has been completed.

The only hangup would be if the daily quest on offer is one which you have in your quest log already since you cannot have more than one instance of the quest in your log at a time.

Thus it is possible to pick up several expert dungeon daily quests over the course of the week and complete them all on the weekend.