DF:UW – The pace of progression

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.

13 Responses to DF:UW – The pace of progression

  1. Adam says:

    Disagree about the diminishing returns.

    If they actually had put in all the classes would you seriously want all the horrible extra grind to explore the different builds?

    DR needs to go. If they need to rebalance the points because of that they should do so.

    I do think it’s a big problem that the 150 kill prowess bits aren’t repeatable, it’s one thing to encourage exploration and another to force it.

  2. dsj says:

    Is it viable to PvP only and skip PvE entirely?

    • SynCaine says:

      No. You don’t get any significant prowess from PvP.

      • sid6.7 says:

        As Syn pointed out in his post, the PvP comes to you at the PvE hotspots whether you want it or not. :)

        There are some spawns, most notably hags, where this is worse than others. Darkfall does take a different personality — you do need to play for the PvP and be willing to give up your “plans” to do something else.

        We had an encounter last night that was pretty funny. Two of us came rolling up a group of 3 fighting a group of 2. We took out one of the 2, then took out 2 of the 3 (the 3rd ran), then took out the other 2 reformed (which we killed again).

        This went on for a bit and we eventually ended up inviting one of the other groups to join us so we could increase the spawn rate and finish the feat. Then we successfully defended the spawn later against an even larger group.

        So yeah, it’s good stuff. And I agree w/ you on the repeatables. Although I think it should be more like a daily where it’s like only 2-3 mob types for everyone and only for that day.

  3. Spidubic says:

    “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!”

    Not a PvPer but I would agree with this statement.

    ” Yes, people with more time and skill get more done than those just looking for a handout.”

    Time is always going to be a factor in progress. You don’t really need to have skill as Google will provide you the best way to do something. The more time to play the more progress. That can’t be fixed as it is just a way of life.

  4. sid6.7 says:

    Zealots are doing something different. I won’t go so far as to call it exploiting, but it’s not as simple as they “claim” in the “guide” they posted. That’s just the political spin.

    I suspect the reality is that they are using a number of alt accounts to increase the spawn rates on certain high prowess feats. This is allowing them to cruise through all of the “kill” feats and a faster than intended rate.

    So yeah, they are doing these feats but it’s not like you/I doing the feats with a single character. To put it in perspective, one player with two alts (not attacking) will get 4 times the spawns. This means that the player with 3 accounts can move through the feats at 4 times the speed.

    Alt Accounts = New form of Macro’ing

    Which, by itself, should be it’s own blog topic about human behavior. Take away a cheat, people will find a new way to cheat.

    • SynCaine says:

      Zealots said they use alts to increase the spawn size. That’s not a secret.

      • sid6.7 says:

        I didn’t say it was a secret. I said it’s the new form of macro’ing.

        To say “simply figured out the best mobs to farm in beta, and using that knowledge to get ahead in week one” is complete bullshit because that’s not why they have the prowess.

  5. sid6.7 says:

    On the progression topic, let’s wait and see what happens when the average guy starts hitting 100k prowess. :)

    It will be interesting to see if players lose interest because there is less to work on from a character development point of view or if they keep playing because the siege system is that engaging. If beta is any indication, they’ll lose interest.

    AV needs to improve the value of holdings. Zap towers anyone? :)

  6. Tierless says:

    Do they still have a housing system and if so, does it have good decor options? When I’m not killing I like to decorate lol.

  7. “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.”

    Hopefully they can produce content quickly enough to maintain players’ interest in progression.

    BTW: Are you planning to use Xfire to track trends in this game’s population?

    • SynCaine says:

      No plans for Xfire. Someone on the forums was keeping track of the number of players in clans (since you can view that in-game), and hopefully someone takes that and expands it into something more consistent.

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