|Having 10 points on the third tier of the DOV AA tree means that one of my default buffs now offers a 10% boost to the coveted Crit Chance stat.|
Overall, EQ2 is generally the game I go with given the choices amongst all the MMO's in my stable, and that's usually the criteria I go by when deciding what games to pay for and play. Unfortunately, SOE is consistently testing my resolve on this front.
Unfortunate updates and decisions
The last Game Update brought in a messy revamp of every item in the game - Arkenor has been covering the ugly and unpredictable details. The mere fact that there were some issues with items that pre-date the current design might have been forgiveable if the current design was good. Unfortunately, it's hard to recommend the itemization plan. A Scout like Lyriana requires a specific amount of crit to auto-crit all mobs in a given zone, and a corresponding amount of crit mit to avoid being one-shot by AOE attacks. Once you're at that number - if and when they get the itemization progression in the order they plan, this will be a highly regimented progression from tier to tier - you're just after multi-attack and crit bonus to improve your DPS. It's neither creative nor interesting.
Meanwhile, the weekend featured SOE's latest Winback promotion. If only I had let my account lapse no later than August 2nd, I would have received three days of free game time, an exclusive mount, and $5 worth of Station Cash just for resubscribing. As someone who routinely comes and goes between MMO's, the message is really clear - when my EQ2 subscription runs out, I should not renew it until the next time SOE offers me a bribe to do so.
Between this promotion and another one that was carefully designed to exclude players who came back voluntarily for the expansion earlier this year, I have missed out on $20 worth of Station Cash that I would have received had I been willing to schedule my gaming time around SOE's marketing gimmicks. That's half the price of an expansion, which would have done wonders to soften the blow of having SOE ask me to open my wallet for a second paid expansion box in nine months come November. This goes doubly when the allegedly feature-focused expansion consists of a bunch of features I'm not that interested in bundled with an AA cap increase that will presumably be mandatory.
Amidst all these adjustments, cross-server grouping is en route to EQ2, possibly as early as this month. This could have a major impact on my EQ2 play. As a Dirge - a class that provides crucial and arguably overpowered buffs to melee party members - I have routinely enjoyed quick group invites which have made it possible for me to spend time in Norrath's heroic dungeons. Depending on how the automated system plays out, it is very possible that this gravy train will be derailed shortly.
Beyond this milestone, and the expansion, lies an interesting thought experiment - how long can an otherwise enjoyable gameplay experience remain so in the face of what I see as major issues with the game's itemization, mechanics, business model, marketing, and general development direction? I suppose I'll keep y'all posted.