GU57: Streamlining Spells/CAs From Levels 1-20

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Game Update 57 could be a big update, based on some notes already posted in the Test forum, and hints of other changes coming down the wire. The biggest change thus far is the removal of certain group spells from the various player classes from levels 1-20. Because level 1-20, and especially levels 1-10 are considered solo play, those spells which are only useful in groups are being postponed to later levels.

From Rothgar:

These changes are PART (notice the emphasis on the word “part”) of a bigger change that wasn’t fully rolled out to the Test Server.

As you’ve probably guessed, these changes are part of a package to make the game more approachable to new players. There were many spells and abilities that were either useless or made no sense at such a low level.

We can also expect some changes to the default User Interface (UI) appearance of spells and combat arts. Of course, these will be customizable by installing third party UIs. Again from Rothgar:

I’d ask that you wait until you see the other changes that are going with it (to the default layout). Then decide if it fits or not for you.

From SmokeJumper:

You’re seeing some new changes on Test right now. We’re doing a bunch of revamping, some of it to make the game a lot faster when you play it, and a bunch more to make the game more intuitive and cool when start playing for the first time.

The skill progression for the lower levels was a) drowning new players in skills that they didn’t understand, and b) often giving players certain skills way before they needed them. Also, some classes just simply weren’t getting enough useful skills in order to have fun. So we’ve shuffled things around. Details of that shuffling are listed below.

After the jump, the changes to class abilities (mostly from levels 1-20) which have been submitted by Xelgad:

All Scouts:

  • Evade 1 was removed from the Auto-Grant list because you do not need a detaunt at level 6.

Predators:

  • Murderous Design 1 and Primal Reflexes 1 were removed from the Auto-Grant list because you do not need a hate transfer or reduction at level 11.
  • Villainy and Hunter’s Instinct were lowered to 11 to fill the gap caused by removing the hate spells. This also improves their soloability at lower levels.
  • Hilt Strike was added to level 6. Hilt Strike is a second stun for predators and will help them solo and get behind the enemy to do back/stealth attacks.

Rogues:

  • Mug and Double-Cross were lowered to 6 to smooth out progression.

Bards:

  • Tarven’s Crippling Crescendo and Vexing Verses were lowered to 6 to smooth out progression.

All Fighters:

  • Intercept 1 was removed from the auto-grant list because you do not need an Intercept spell (absorbs damage for someone else) at level 6. You will be soloing.

Warriors:

  • Mock 1 and 2, Provoke 1 and 2, Enrage 1 and Shout 1 were removed from the auto-grant list as you do not need taunts before level 15. The odds of grouping before then are pretty low.
  • Shield Bash (now Bash) and Body Check no longer require a shield. This lets players get an extra damage ability while they are dual wielding weapons or using a two hander.
  • Wall of Rage and Hunker Down no longer snare the warrior, allowing them to move while their defensive buff is active. This helps them while soloing and grouping at all levels.
  • Reckless Aide and Stand Firm were raised to 21 to smooth out progression and because they are a bit more complex to use than the other spells gained.
  • Destructive Rage and Battle Tactics were lowered to 18 to smooth out progression.
  • New versions of Body Check and Raging Blow were added to levels 2 and 3 to help Berserker soloing at the start and match the guardian skill progression.
  • Bash II, Body Check II were lowered to 8 to smooth out progression and increase soloing at lower levels.
  • Overpower II and Rupture II were lowered to 6 to smooth out progression and increase soloing at lower levels.
  • Both offensive stances were lowered to the same level as the defensive stances, as it is more useful to use offensive at low levels.

Crusaders:

  • Clarion 1 and 2 were removed from Paladins as they do not need taunts before level 15.
  • Hateful Slam and Heroic Dash no longer require a shield or a symbol to be able to use them.
  • Devious Evasion and Resolute Faith were raised to 21 as they are a bit more complex than the other spells gained.
  • Unholy Strength and Crusade were lowered to 18 to smooth out progression.
  • Both offensive stances were lowered to the same level as the defensive stances.

Brawlers:

  • Silent Threat I and 2, Slurred Insult I and II, Challenge and Abuse were removed from the auto-grant list because they do not need taunts before level 15.
  • Tranquil Vision and Shrug Off were raised to 21 as these are complex spells not needed unless grouping.
  • Both offensive stances were lowered to match the defensive stances.

All Priests:

  • Summon Food and Water was removed from the Auto-Grant list as the effects were extremely weak. It was replaced with…
  • Wrath, added at level 6, which is a scaling damage attack that increases with the level of the priest.

Clerics:

  • Soothe was moved up to level 30. Soothe is a bit complicated to use correctly and isn’t needed at very low levels.

All Mages:

  • Dispel Magic is now Absorb Magic and, in addition to dispelling magic, now also drains some power from the target and returns it to the caster. This makes the spell more desired to use throughout all the level ranges and on all targets, rather than a very, very few amount.
  • Bind Sight is no longer automatically granted and is now a fun spell you can buy cheaply from a merchant. This spell had no benefit to be used in gameplay, it was only used for fun.

Sorcerers:

  • Ice Spears and Vacuum Field are gained at level 4. This increases the power of the spells dramatically and smoothes out the spell progression at low levels.
  • Vital Transfer and Void Contract now cost less health below level 40, when they’re more difficult to use.
  • Nullify and Cease were not needed at level 10 so they were removed from the auto-grant list. They are detaunts like Evade.

Enchanters:

  • Shift Mana and Extract Mana now require less health to cast below level 40.
  • Mesmerize and Entrance are no longer granted at level 1. They’ll get the Mesmerize spells a little later when they’re easier to use and understand, about level 10.

Summoners:

  • Aqueous Stone is now just a spell that gives water breathing, rather than one that gives you a water breathing item that you need to activate to get water breathing.
  • Vampire Bats has had a new, level 10 version added to make soloing easier with an extra damage spell.

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Comments (25)

  • AlienShine

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    What is the benefict of all these low level changes ?!
    level 1-20 takes 30 mins tops…

    Reply

  • Haute

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    I don’t think these changes are being made to help out veteran players that can level from 1-20 in 30 minutes, but rather people who are just starting to play the game.
    I can see these changes being very beneficial to new players.

    Reply

  • Blockhead

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    Yes why waste time on this? 1 – 20 is a blip.

    Reply

  • Eva

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    These changes are not meant for those of us that have been playing and know all the little tidbits to each class. it is meant for new players to get to know there class better before they start operating in a group environment and hopefully keep them around for the latter levels. now if only the marketing division would get of there butt and do a better job promoting the game.

    Reply

  • Bubbahotep

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    Some nice side effects: wrath for priests, stun for predators, no more damn aqueous stone summonings. A bit more power drain for mages. Nothing earth-shattering.

    For someone who is a veteran of EQ2, sure 1-20 is not a big deal. But for new folks (and we have a lot of new folks on AB), its helpful to streamline the newbie experience. The health of the game depends on fresh blood, so some time to make it better for them is better for all of us. IMO.

    Reply

  • Zizzu

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    Has to be biggest waste of time by SoE. Who really cares about the first 20 levels when they can be done in less than a couple of hours if not less than that.

    Instead of fixing class balancing and other important issues, SoE must fix this first.

    /sarcastic golf clap to the new Lead Dev Smokejumper

    Reply

  • Quesera

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    For nut jobs who like to grind up to 20 in an morning, it’s pointless. But for new players without any idea of what to do quite yet, it’s good.

    Reply

  • zerigo

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    1-20 is a blip for vets, but they still designing the game for people that don’t actually play it… Wasting time and money that should be spent making the end game better and more balanced.

    Reply

  • Bubbahotep

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    Not sure if everyone here understands that the work done for 1-20 spells isn’t consuming the entire team. The work is divied out, folks. But I guess anything SOE does is a guarantee for some b*tching.

    Reply

  • Arkon

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    Taking away class defining spells ? (Mezmerise / taunts) – shouldn’t newbes learn from lvl 1 what they are about ?

    “you will solo at lvl 6” ist that so ? Sounds a lot like “We know what is best for you better than you. AND we will force you to do it” are you out of your mind ?

    Heroic Opportunity wheels for fighters require taunt to finish (just an example) and we are not allowed to use them till lvl 15 ? fifteen ??

    Yes you can change the “finishing” skill to something else – but WHY ? WHAT is the plus in doing so ? Except that under lvl 15 no one can tank – eg is useless in groups.
    Tanks will not learn their role as a taunter – HOW will that help new players exactly ?

    Changing things just for the sake of change ist… unwise and (sorry, but it is true ) plain stupid. Like was taking away the starter islands.

    We don’t want a watered down WOW clone. IF we wanted that we weould play WOW grrr… 🙁

    Reply

  • Green Armadillo

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    The new attack for priests is much needed. Apparently they are changing solo heroic opportunities to no longer use taunts and detaunts. I’m a bit concerned about unintended consequences on aggression skill gain if there’s no longer any reason to use taunts while solo, but it sounds like they’re not even at that level yet.

    Reply

  • Brian

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    Typical overreaction by the EQ2 veteran playerbase. Look, you guys aren’t the only ones playing EQ2. In order to attract (and keep) new players, the new experience HAS to be better, HAS to hook players to keep playing this great game we love.

    Look, as was stated, the devs working on this revamp aren’t the only developers at SOE – to suggest as such is foolish. It’s clear SOE is working towards making the beginning of the game more appealing to new players.

    Yes, as a veteran player, its easy to breeze through the first 20 levels in a flash. What about new players? Why would you suggest they could (or would want to) fly by those levels? Stop being so damn selfish, and think of others for a change.

    Reply

  • zerigo

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    The problem is not the wasted dev times, or even how dumb this update is. The issue is they are making changes for people that do not play eq2. I have never seen a EQ2 advertisement and this games going on 6 years old soon… no ones out shopping for a game that old. EVERY update needs to be aimed at the people that have actually been paying and playing for the last 6 years.

    Reply

  • Brian

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    Zerigo-

    Your arrogance about how ‘EVERY’ update needs to be aimed at the people been playing is very telling and also very sad. SOE wouldn’t be devoting resources to these projects if they weren’t getting feedback that people’s reason for cancelling was because of these issues, they wouldn’t devote time to changing them. Please, stop assuming that YOUR experience needs to be EVERYONE’S experience!

    Reply

  • zerigo

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    I was inebriated when i wrote that, even sober i think they need to stop wasting resources on people that do not play. If the early levels really needed adjusting then how did so many people make it to level 90. They are still pushing out updates for the millions that will show up some day soon. Problem, they forgot the send out the invitations.

    The guys like me, and there is a lot of us, have put over a grand into eq2. That is not talking fried computers or video cards either. Were the glue that keeps this community alive and running, and were the ones that the bulk of the updates should be aimed at. Forget removing taunts from level 6 toons. Maybe try to balance monks and rangers before they all end up quitting.

    It says this is PART of a larger change, which means more of this bs is on the way. Sorry if you do not see things my way, but its a good things im not leading the development team then eh, cause all the resources would be used in keeping the players we already have. Maybe if the endgame was set they could work on these updates, but its not. There is still no reason to ever group with 6-8 of the classes, these are the issues that need to be addressed now. The newbie experience can wait.

    Reply

  • Feldon

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    It’s no secret that more effort is being put into making the game accessible for new players. The existing subscriber numbers are solid, but new players coming in is staying low.

    In the Stratics interview, Georgeson hinted that our estimates about the expansion being this November may be off a few months, if they are really going to spend a lot of time on making sure the game gradually ramps up difficulty.

    It is completely irrelevant how many people managed to learn the game in the last 5 years. In the first 3 years of this game, new players have had help and been able to ask people questions, and group up from levels 1-50 and then 1-60. Now, 1-40 players are pretty much on their own, so things that people used to be able to ask other groupmates for help on, now must find this information on their own.

    Assuming that the game that worked for us 5 years ago will work for new players today is an extremely bad approach and I’m glad they’re not ignoring new players. A game with no new players will die.

    Reply

  • Brian

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    Zerigo-you’re ignoring the fact that 90%+ of all content/updates/changes already ARE for the existing player base, and anything that gets and keeps more players new to the game is a good thing. How can you possibly not see that? Do you think that SOE is in the business of spending money on things that aren’t going to help the overall business of EQ2? Do you honestly think they’re doing this so they don’t have to address class balancing? Get off your high horse already and realize that without new players, this game will surely die. As it is now, its near impossible to get groups at low levels and having a better beginning game experience will be what keeps EQ2 going for all of us.

    Reply

  • AlienShine

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    How many active devs still on EQ2…
    Just wondering, I think maybe 3 in a basement somewhere hidden from plain sight.

    Reply

  • snowline

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    Whilst the new players experience is important for new population, honestly I’d like to see more time spent on the issues with characters at 90 where most of the PAYING customers spend most of their time. For most established players, levels 1-20 is barely 1 afternoon if they do actually decide to roll a new alt.

    There is also good financial benefits to retaining existing players, 70% of respondants to a SoE poll said that lack of attention to class issues was the biggest disappointment of the SF expansion, and yet nothing positive seems to have happened since release, many players still have the feeling class mechanics is a “see no evil, hear no evil” issue over at SoE.

    Reply

  • Bubbahotep

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    You know, I’ve been in EQ2 from beta onward, and as much as SOE has stumbled and made mistakes, they have, overall, really polished this game up from a turd to one of (IMO) the best, well-rounded fantasy MMOs on the market.

    So while its fun to play ‘bitch at Sony’, lets step back and realise how far we’ve come from GU13 and hand the dev team some credit for those changes.

    And yes, we need new blood. If you grognards want to bitterly complain about your end game, go do it in EQlive, please. God forbid 1% of the dev time is spent getting new folks tired of WoW to enjoy the game experience at low levels, which has changed over time.

    Reply

  • TuriasDreugan

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    My guild has had some returning players who came back from WoW. Guess what? They’re loving EQ2 again. I’m glad to see some lower level content changes, but I do have to say that Sony is probably once again forgetting the other part of this. Advertising. If you don’t do anything to draw in new players, then all this is useless. I feel bad for the developers, because they’ve really worked hard to make it easy for new and existing players to remain entertained no matter what level they are. But if Sony’s advertising department doesn’t do their part, then our beloved game is royally screwed. Hire some classic actors like Adam West, Brent Spiner, Ernie Hudson, and get christopher Lee back to do a Lucan D’Lere add.

    Reply

  • Bubbahotep

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    /second TuriasDruegan’s thoughts on advertising.

    Reply

  • Feldon

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    AlienShine, There are more than a dozen EQ2 developers/artists.

    Reply

  • Eschia

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    I don’t think i even used summon food/water when the game was new. Except once right after EQ2 went live, but then i found out about the provisioner class lol.

    Reply

  • Twisted_Mentat

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    lands tomorrow, i’m getting all excited (and ready to turn my graphics settings down another notch)
    :p

    Reply

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