This is my 4th posting on Research Assistants. If you have not read all 64 pages of the marathon topic, you may have missed some info.
SoE wants to add Research Assistants to EQ2. These will be NPCs which will take one of your existing spells and upgrade its tier after a specified amount of time. That time varies by the tier of the spell. If you have an Adept III version of a Tier 8 spell, then the Master version of that spell might take a month or more to research.
What is known about these Research Assistants so far:
- Each account (not character) can be researching one spell at a time.
- The spell is immediately scribed when you receive it. There is no physical scroll that you receive from the Research Assistant, which means there will be no way to transfer, sell, or transmute the spells once they’re finished being researched.
- Research Assistants won’t be part of Station Marketplace. Research Assistants are definitely part of the base game.
- We are leaning towards making this a house item, not a guild hall ammenity.
- If you manage to acquire a spell through tradeskill/drop that you are currently researching, you will be able to stop the research and apply that progress (time) to another another spell.
- Research Assistants are attainable after level 20.
- Time to research at lower levels will be scaled based on the amount of time we see people spending in those level ranges.
- There is no quest line, no additional component because if we wanted to award something via quest, then we would do it via quest. Quests are extrordinarily time intensive to do on the content side. We do a lot of quests. We will continue to do a lot of quests, but this isn’t the right setting for them.
- This doesn’t encourage people to log out. Much like vitality accrues while you’re online or offline, researchers will continue to work regardless of whether you’re online or off.
There has been a TON of feedback in the thread. Different viewpoints include:
- If there are spells which do not get upgraded after T6 (each class has at least one important spell that does not get upgraded after levels 52-55 or so), then T8 versions should be added.
- Why not just go back and fix the mechanics of the game so that Masters are Smart Loot from levels 1-60. Then grouping and raiding Kingdom of Sky and Desert of Flames would yield enough of these Masters for group/raid members to resolve the issue.
- Researched Masters should have a platinum, status, or void shard cost, or at the very least require a lengthy quest or rare material. The void shard cost in particular would keep Master spells in the realm of spells acquired by grouping and raiding. Solo and casual players do not need master spells.
- Use a system similar to PvP master transcription. You have a master you can’t use, you can trade it in and transcribe it to another master.
- Use a system similar to deity altars. Sacrifice items until you have gained enough faction to get your master.
- Make it so if you want a Master, you have to give the researcher a different Master to draw the power from. This would have the effect of boosting the value of worthless master spells like Ranger Hawk Dive and Stream of Arrows and lower the astronomical cost of masters like Summoner/Enchanter pets and Fighter Taunts.
- Alternately, make it so you need a Crystallized Mana (produced from transmuting Fabled items including Masters) to get a Master.
- Making Master spells available with no cost will damage the game economy. Already, there is very little to spend Platinum on. Collectible rares, Master spells, Void Shards (eliminated for sale in GU51), NO TRADE Armor (via selling looting rights), and Mythical Updates are some of the few items that folks with stockpiled platinum pieces can spend them on. Platinum has become so devalued partly because of the proliferation of instanced raid and group zones in TSO. 98% of the desirible loot in TSO is NO TRADE.
- Some people feel that these Researched Masters should come from Tradeskillers completing a complex questline and requiring very rare materials.
On PvP servers we have transcribers that can transcribe a Master spell of the opposite alignment into one of your own alignment, or even neutral alignment. This has a significant cost associated with it and requires that you have in your possesion a Master level spell (not ad3 or w/e)
Implementing something like this seems MUCH easier and its already been in the game long enough to prove it does not cause any kind of imbalance. People on PvP already buy masters off the broker and “flip” them with alts on the other side until they get a master they can use or get stuck with a neutral spell they can no longer flip.
Kendricke made the point about platinum inflation even better:
An average run through Veeshan’s Peak can net a raid force more than 250pp per run. An average run through Protector’s Realm can bring in more than 120pp. Even though my guild only raids three or four nights a week, we bring in roughly 1300-1500pp a month just through raid drops and sales – and we don’t sell Mythical spots or no trade drops, either. If we did, we could easily bring in double the coin we’re already making.
What, then, should all of those raiders spend all of that coin on? Seriously. There haven’t been any real tradeable raid drops since Kingdom of Sky with the exception of Masters. Do you think Masters are overpriced at 200-300pp? I personally have around 700pp on my main account right now. I know raiders who have ten times what I have. I know raid guilds which have tens of thousands of platinum. What do they spend that coin on?
When you remove rare Masters as something to save coin for, what do you think happens to the prices on the rest of the Masters up for sale? What do you think happens to collectibles? What do you think happens to the few worthwhile rare drops? Gage is dead on here – the prices will rise.
and a perspective post by Kendricke:
“I mean, why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker EVERY SINGLE YEAR? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas?” -Mike McDermott, Rounders.
How do the same players on each of the servers come to have so many masters with each expansion? What, are they the luckiest players on their server? As Gage indicates, there is much more to gaining masters than just dumb luck. You think the average player even knows the zones which have smart loot enabled? Do you think they understand which targets are even capable of dropping a level 65 master – named or not? Do you think the average player knows which masters are being undervalued on the broker? Do you think the average player knows how much to price a master on the broker for if there are no current copies of that spell available? Do you think the average player knows how incredibly easy it is to make coin in this game…without ever stepping foot into a heroic or epic level dungeon?
In an MMO, skill is defined as much more than just the ability to punch buttons in the right order. The knowledge behind the game’s mechanics is as much a part of the concept of “skill” as anything else we have to contend with. It’s that same skill which enables better players to earn masters.
Sure, there’s some level of luck involved. Just as somebody and bumble their way through a poker tournament, so too can someone luck out and find themselves in the right place at the right time and watch a lotto roll go the right way so they can pick up a master that they were around. Of course, what we fail to acknowledge is that they were actually out in that right place at that right time in the first place…probably trying to “earn” more experience, achievements, or (wait for it)…gear or spell upgrades.
and further from Kendricke:
I have little problem with the concept of guaranteed paths to specific rewards. I wholly embrace the void shard system. I love the concept of tradeskill advancement through experience as opposed to advancement through skill-up chances. I very much enjoy quests which provide multiple awards to choose from. I favor faction merchants.
The common denominator is that each of the above systems relies upon effort and achievement to earn rewards. The proposed research assistant, as currently explained, does not. It has no coin cost and no apparent pre-requisites save for levelling to 20.
Add in a significant coin cost/status cost/guild level requirements to acquire the researcher and then a per-use cost which is not insignificant to the value of the spells being requested and you’d see a great many of the current complaints simply evaporate.
I promise Kendricke is not paying for my usage of all his quotes, he just has a good overall perspective on all this.
I wanted to say that the feedback has been great, especially all the suggestions we’ve been getting.
We’ve been reading all the feedback on this, both the possitive and the negative and we’ll be thinking about it as we go forward.
So please, keep the ideas coming. How would you want to see this in the game to interact with? How do you want to acquire the Research Assistant? If you could help him or her out to research just a little faster what would you think it would be fun to do? Would you want to see this feature expanded beyond just spells in the future?
and further from Kirstie…
A researcher for armor or quests isn’t something we are persuing.
But I wanted to point out that this idea isn’t quite as totally ground breaking as some might think. Consider some of these ideas:
- What if instead of having to find people to buy your items, you just gave it to an NPC and they brokered it for you (and maybe they could charge a small markup fee for their services).
- What if you could just stick items into a mailbox and they’d appear in your friends mail instead of having to go and meet up with that friend at a pre-defined location.
- Imagine if we added an NPC that just went out and harvested stuff for you!
- What if every hour you gained a vitality bonus that let you level a little bit faster for a while.
Each one of these ideas and many others were a brand new concept in the EverQuest universe at some point after EverQuest 1 launched. So while each new idea can be a bit scary at first, most don’t run down a path that is the worst case scenario.
That being said, the feedback on what you don’t want to see a research assistant to be is just as valuable as what you would like to have as a feature, so keep it coming!
I wanted to thank you all for your feedback. The issues brought up here have led to some really interesting and at times passionate discussions within the dev team on the role of spells and spell upgrades in EQII as we discussed the feedback to the intial post.
We’ve also learned a lot about what type of information we need to present when first talking about a new feature in the game, and we’ll be working on that as we move ahead with new features for EQII in the upcoming year.
We don’t have a solid date for when you’ll see the first iteration of the research assistants on the test server, but when we do I hope that you’ll take the time to try them out and see what we’ve come up with.
Again, I appreciate everyone’s participation and the time taken to give feedback on this idea.
I had to laugh at this suggestion from Foolsfolly:
What if it was a gigglegibber researcher? Hand him an adept3 spell and 5 plat, and roll the dice.
20% chance the spell being destroyed.
20% chance of the plat being destroyed.
20% chance of both being destroyed.
20% chance of getting back both of your items.
20% chance of getting your master.
You can only roll once per week, so odds are you’ll be able to get 1 master every 5 weeks…and lose some plat in the process.
Most people only “need” 6 to 8 masters. Maybe even less. Your big heals, your big buffs, your big nukes, your marquee spell. Once you have those, you can purchase the remaining “crappy” spells from the broker rather than waiting on the Research Assistant and then… Woops you’re fully mastered in under a year.
When primarily raiders had fabled/masters you didn’t see solo/heroic content scaled to their level of gear. What you should be concerned with is the obvious: As soloers get closer and closer to raid quality gear, solo content and everything else will become closer and closer to raid difficulty. Scripts, AEs, control effects on solo and heroic mobs.
You used to be able to do heroic content in full mastercrafted, some treasured, adept 1′s and your best abilities adept 3.
As soon as they made plat, fabled and masters available to soloers/duoers at a much faster rate than any expansion previous they had to, of course, scale the difficulty of the mobs. You complain about altering your playstyle to be capable, well that is because SOE has rewarded soloers above and beyond their means. If you can solo and attain fabled gear/masters then obviously soloing will be geared to that level of progression.
People already complain about hard content is, yet they clamor and beg for items that will undoubtedly lead to future content being made even more difficult. This will just make content in the next expansion substantially harder.
Like I said previously, be careful what you wish for.
I hate to make a very very long post even longer, but now Clockwork Gamer has chimed in:
An Attempt at Economic Stimulus in EverQuest II by Clockwork Gamer:
…and now SOE wants to increase the standard to Master I. Oh, they’re not saying they want to increase the standard to Master I. However, what other possible message could we possibly take from this new concept. If everyone has access to free Master I spells, the standard over time will inevitably once again raise the minimum standard. The average spell quality will continue to raise from Adept III to Master I across the board – not just for raiders and 40 hour a week players, but for everyone. After all, there’s no cost being referenced by the SOE proposition thus far, and without any cost save for time, there’s no real cost at all.
The short term gains would be outstripped by the long term difficulty standards. Players who feel the game is too difficult today – the ones who seem most attracted to the idea of “free masters” would be the same ones upset in a year or two that the game is suddenly even harder than before. Those players who today feel the game is very challenging with all Adept III’s can at least increase their spells to Master I quality over time, through effort and coin gain. In a world where the Master I is itself the standard, there is no way to improve upon the spell quality – casual players will have no additional upgrade path in that regard.
Think research assistants are far off in the future? Guess again.
Lodrelhai unearthed eq2ui_mainhud_researcher.xml which looks like this: