Monday, October 10, 2011

Opportunity Coast Bypass

My first two trips into the mid-30's in Runes of Magic took a year and half a dozen zones.  My third trip has taken 4 nights in a single zone, the new Coast of Opportunity. 

As part of adding a third class to the game, Runewaker had to offer some way for characters who had already completed the low level content while leveling their first two classes to get their new class off the ground.  Adding half again the current leveling content in the game wasn't really a viable option. 

The Coast of Opportunity was an interesting compromise - it's a zone where each individual quest is about as hard as a level appropriate quest elsewhere in the game, but with dramatically increased exp and gear rewards.  Where a player might get a level and a mildly usable piece of green-quality gear from a series of quests in the original content, a single foray into the new area might award an entire level and one or more pieces of blue gear.  Repeatable quests offer the training certificates needed to unlock your elite dual class skills far more easily than farming the old turn-ins (which are less reasonable now that each character can have up to six sets of elite skills).  

The system isn't entirely for the faint of heart - I'm earning skill Training Points faster than I can figure out what to spend them on, unlocking new skills left and right, and juggling my two secondary jobs on my fledgling Warden.  That said, the system works - I went in with two usable higher level classes, and I will emerge with three.  The old content remains in the game for players who want to experience it, with no need for massive nerfs to difficulty or exp curves. 

Overall, it's an interesting approach compared to the more traditional leveling content revamp/nerf as games age.  Instead of spending cost-prohibitive amounts of time actually removing old content from the game, the developer has simply allowed those who want to bypass it to do so.  It's still more elegant than outright starting characters at higher levels (e.g. WoW's Death Knights), and it doesn't really harm the previously existing experience for people who actually enjoyed it, the way that WoW's Cataclysm has.

I wonder if the hypothetical Pandaren starting area that may or may not be announced at Blizzcon will take this approach?  


Indy said...

Are the quests in the coast area repeatable? For example, for someone to level more than one class using them.

Anonymous said...

Your comment that it wasn't for the faint of heart reminded me of Rift. I picked it up last week when Steam had one of their ridiculously tempting sales again, and I actually sat there after a couple of levels and couldn't figure out what I was doing when I got new skills constantly, and then could also change souls for even more skills.

At least you had the benefit of already knowing the game itself from leveling to into your 30's on your character before you got the third soul. ;)

RoM is on my list of games to check out eventually, but at the moment, I have enough games to juggle as it is. Burnout or lost interest will surely make me move on at some point, though.

Green Armadillo said...

@Indy: The regular quests are not repeatable. As a result, you can only get one set of gear rewards. (In many cases, cloth/leather armor are rewards for one quest and chain/plate are rewards for the next, so you can acquire a second set of gear for your other classes.)

There are also daily quests, which are still a lot more streamlined and faster exp than other options in that level range. Also, the quests that award the elite skill training certificates for levels 15-45 are indefinitely repeatable (though these aren't really efficient exp/time).

@Anon: Yes, I think it is probably better that this fast track approach is primarily presented to players on their third class (though you can go there sooner). As primarily a solo tourist, I've enjoyed ROM at the low-mid levels (my primary job is 53) precisely because the lack of monthly fee means that I can come by for a day or two at a time when there's a bonus exp weekend or I otherwise don't feel like playing the other games that I too juggle. I will note that the post-55 game gets much more gear-intensive (and usually costly), which may be a bigger issue for group players.

Bronte said...

Sounds a lot better than:

level up ->
upgrade gear (x number of content patches) ->
repeat endlessly

That is largely my only major problem at the moment with WoW. I am leveling to 85 right now, but part of me doesn't want to. Because the moment I get enough gear, a new set of instance will render all my efforts obsolete...

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