Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mob to Quest Exp Ratios

One of the things that was really striking to me during the recent Rift retrial was the ratio of exp per mob kill to exp per quest completion. 

At level 38, I was getting about 800 exp per kill with rested bonus (400 if/when I ran out) and about 3600-3800 exp for turning in your average quest.  For the traditional kill ten rats quest, this means that a third of my exp came from the quest reward, a third from the mob kills, and a third from rested exp (a mechanic that I think is out-dated, but that's another discussion).  Sometimes, you might get 2-3 quests in the same camp of mobs that you can complete simultaneously, which makes the situation a bit more favorable to the questing, but factor in travel times and Rift is a game where you can actually level faster by grinding mobs (especially with a good AOE farming build), rather than questing. 

On the opposite extreme sits Runes of Magic, which I jumped into over the weekend for a double exp event.  At level 52, a mob kill was ringing in at maybe 300-400 exp (doubled for the weekend event), and quest completions are worth closer to 80,000-90,000 (i.e. 200 mob kills per quest complete, as compared to 10).  This steep curve exists in part because the free-to-play ROM has a cash store item for resetting the daily quest limit, and therefore does not want players bypassing quests. 

(Interestingly, there's an argument to be made that bonuses to item drop rates are actually more significant than bonuses to mob kill exp, because the latter is such a small part of your progress, while the former gets you daily quest items that can be turned in for much larger awards when your cap permits.) 

Where to peg this ratio is an interesting decision.  In some ways, mob kill exp is almost incidental to other forms of gameplay - whether you're questing, harvesting, or just trying to cross the road, you will probably kill some mobs somewhere along the way.  In that context, though, it seems especially odd for Rift - which was intended to showcase spontaneous rift and invasion content - to weight the incidental kill so heavily. 

There's a balance to be struck between rewarding players for doing this content with a nice exp boost (though honestly I didn't find that I got much exp for minor rifts or even zone invasions) and not pushing them out of the level range for the quests they're working on.  Then again, Trion will have some unhappy players if the coming AAXP mechanic strongly favors grinding non-elite mobs over daily quests, rifts, or other things that players actually do at level 50. 


Yeebo said...

At one extreme there is launch EQ, in which doing anything apart from grinding mobs for XP was damn near pointless until the very highest levels. Certainly, the quests available in game were for the most part far less rewarding than standing in one one spot and killing mobs you were certain you could handle.

From what you say ROM is the exact opposite extreme. LoTRO is similar, the XP per unit time for grinding mobs is quite low compared to quest completion rewards. However, it enables mob grinding as a form of gameplay by tying kills into racial traits and into virtues. I've always found it to be a good balance, but opinions will vary.

In any case, I would never want to go back to the olden days where grinding mobs was the only viable method of leveling. Launch EQ, launch DAoC, Anarchy Online, and Everquest Online Adventures (a bit later) were the ones I experienced.

It was utterly monotonous. Not so much "fun gameplay" as "paying $10-$15 a month to be allowed to participate in a second job." I am glad we never went back there. Modern games may have erred on the side of the opposite extreme, but given one or the other I would choose quests over grinding.

Chris said...

I prefer the quest waited xp, just because thiers (sligtly) more variety to them even if not much.

I've assumed as i played it in rift that it was waited that way to make doing rifts to level more attractive. Which it works as as you get both gear and xp.

Whilest they could have made only the closeing of a rift give xp that creats problems when most people are not low level, alla public quests in WAR

Magson said...

Rifts give gear? I've done hundreds of them and gotten maybe 4 gear pieces in total, and of those only 1 was any sort of minor upgrade for me.

The current world event rifts do have a chance of dropping a lovely mount, and I've got a friend who got one, and saw someone else win one in a rift I sealed with them, but that's the extent of the gear that's had any use. Rift XP seemed decent in the low levels, but in the upper levels most people actively avoid the normal rifts anymore. They just don't give you anything to make it worth your time to seal them anymore. The xp is poor compared to AE farming, the gear is almost non-existent, the planarite drops are ok in the upper levels, but you can get much better crafted gear than the planarite vendor offers.

In short, in the current MMO "all carrot" state, rifts don't have carrots. Or at least, not carrots anywhere near as big as running experts or doing dailes or even AE grinding for faction. If the current world event weren't running and people farming those rifts hoping for that mount drop, I think most rifts would simply be ignored.

Expert and Raid rifts are a whole other story, at least, but those are lured by guilds on demand, and thus are simply another form of a dungeon instance that happens to be out in the world, is all. they're not "dynamic content" by any stretch of the imagination.

I think this is definitely a problem. I actually do enjoy the leveling up part of the game, but once I hit 50, I'm largely shelving the top level character and then starting a new alt. Got 2 to 50 so far, and I've barely played them since hitting that mark. Working the 3rd now, and enjoying it again, but once this toon hits 50, what then? Grind up on the 4th calling and then when it hits 50. . . . . ?

At that point I'm hoping SWTOR will be out. I'll be done with Rift then, I think.

Don't get me wrong, I really do enjoy the game, but I can see myself fast running out of content that I enjoy. The gear/token/plaque grinds at max level just don't do it for me.

Straw Fellow said...

I think quest rewards being larger than the mob kills is a perfect system in a game where combat is only as interesting as hitting the same buttons over and over again. In a WoW-like game, it can be skewed, but say we somewhow get a game like Dynasty Warriors. There are some who enjoy that combat immensely, and taking down larger challenges should be worth more exp than a simple "Kill ten red dudes" quest.

I don't believe there is a one-size-fits-all ratio, it needs to be tailored to the game and how that game is enjoyed.