The early ‘controversy’ in DF:UW right now is progression. Specifically, some are very upset that those with more time and more efficient farming methods are ahead of them in prowess. Yes, people with more time and skill get more done than those just looking for a handout. Shocking huh? The most laughable are those asking for a return to macro/exploit ‘progression’, or for a pure P2W method of just buying prowess.
In any MMO, a balance must exist in between short-term viability and long-term progression. This is especially important in a PvP-focused MMO like DF:UW. If it takes too long to become viable, new players will be discouraged that they can’t catch up. If overall progression is too short, players will ‘cap-out’ and one of the core activities MMORPG players enjoy (character improvement) will disappear. Countless MMOs have hammered home how disastrous it is when players cap-out too quickly, and only a fool would miss the link between EVE’s ‘endless’ progression and the fact that the only MMO still growing after 10 years.
DF1 was too heavy on the long-term. Progression was very lengthy (which is good), but new players faced a huge wall once vets had complete characters. On top of this, most early vets gained those completed characters through dubious means, and new players had little choice but to jump on the macro train if they wanted to compete in a reasonable amount of time.
I think DF:UW is in a much better spot right now. First and foremost, we are not seeing exploit-fueled god-like characters running around, nor are all of the top clans holed up under the world macroing. The biggest ‘offenders’ so far have been Zealots; who simply figured out the best mobs to farm in beta, and using that knowledge to get ahead in week one. The most common reports of macroing are the ‘potato farmers’; people running a simple macro to dig repeatedly for them. AV should still ban them, but the gains from that are minimal and the act itself is pretty laughable.
The overall time to ‘finish’ a role (50k) is also a very low hurdle, and all but the most casual players should be able to accomplish it within a month or two. At the same time, with AV being able to add new roles (and likely new classes in expansions), total progression length can always be extended to give everyone something new to work towards and spend prowess on.
Point blanks, when the major complain from some Darkfall players is that there is too much PvP over mob spawns, YOU ARE DOING IT RIGHT!
Now, there are some tweaks that need to be made.
I think the diminishing returns cap at 6k prowess needs to be raised to somewhere around 20-25k. It makes little sense to slow someone down at 6k, because at that point they are just starting to put together a character and invest in skills/stats. At 20-25k, you are rounding yourself out and finishing some things up in your first role, which would be a more logical spot to start slowing things down.
Diminishing returns DO need to exist however. They slow vets down, which helps new players, they delay the ‘maxed out’ characters, which helps retention, and they help put more emphasis on finishing feats which in turn get people out and doing different things. Tweak them, but don’t remove them completely.
I’m not as against the 150 kill feat as others, but I agree that something between the 30 and 150 feats would help keep player momentum up and smooth out the progression a bit. Right now finishing a major 150 feat (or double feat, for something like giants) is a huge power spike that can create a have/have not gap. Again, not THAT big a deal, but something that could be smoothed out.
Revealing the hidden feats would help as well. They are a big source of early prowess, and would help those that don’t scour the forums to map out an efficient prowess path.
Finally, I think post-150 repeatable feats should be added so that mob spawns don’t lose 99% of their value once you have finished the 150 feat. The repeatable feat should give perhaps 25%-50% of the prowess the original feat gave. That way, you can keep farming one spot, but the system overall still encourages and rewards moving around and killing different mobs.
As I stated earlier, the system overall is working beautifully. Players are fighting over mob spawns, different areas of the world all have value, and both short and long term the progression system is reasonable and sustainable.