I could write 50,000 words about the disappointing Game Update 61, with referenced links to the nearly 100 forum discussions about its flaws, plus countless player and developer quotes. But what difference would it make?
Despite a 2-day delay, and despite pushback from both Developers and Testers warning that the update still needed weeks, possibly a month of work to meet any reasonable measurement of build quality, Game Update 61 was released Thursday, August 25th.
It was clear on Monday the 22nd that there was no way the Reitemization of EQ2 would be completed in time for Game Update 61’s launch. Not only were thousands of items still in a bugged or unusable state on the Test server, but the scope of the project seemingly kept growing. Despite the incredible time pressure of trying to re-do 50,000 items in a span of 2 months, the project grew as the release deadline loomed. We were more alarmed than impressed by news that Sentinel’s Fate had been added to the already overwhelming slate.
SmokeJumper admitted after the release of Destiny of Velious that much of its Itemization had been done programmatically by a computer under human supervision, rather than by hand. To get the Reitemization ball rolling, those automated scripts were tweaked and updated and then turned loose on the whole of level 20-90 gear, some 50,000 items. The results suggest that humans aren’t about to be replaced by computers any time soon, at least in the realm of MMO itemization.
So who is going to clean up the Itemization mess? Apparently that responsibility falls partly to the Players.
In thread after thread from players documenting problems with Itemization, the response from SmokeJumper and others has been consistent:
Please list the items you’re comparing. It’s easy for us to compare and adjust if you can provide the item names.
Can you please be specific? Even just the item names you are comparing would help immensely.
Please be specific. We can make fixes if you let us know more than what you’re telling currently.
Apparently it is on the Players to go through every item in the game, compare them to their pre-GU61 versions, post screenshots of both, and explain to the developers why the change(s) are undesirable.
What kind of unexpected changes have we seen?
- Hundreds of items which were previously usable by more than one archetype, or a cross-section of classes, were reitemized and reclassified to only work for one archetype. The choice of archetype seems to have been derived from which stat appeared first in the list of green stats on the original item. For instance, items with +12 INT and +20 WIS became Mage items, while items with +20 WIS +12 INT became Priest items.
- Many items that listed Wisdom as the first stat were turned into Priest-only items. Wisdom used to be useful for Resists, but most of these items were not Priest-only. And yet many other items such as Scimitars and Katanas have lost their Wisdom, despite being usable by Druids.
- Many FABLED items were inexplicably downtiered to LEGENDARY, LEGENDARY downtiered to TREASURED, and TREASURED downtiered to UNCOMMON.
- According to one report, Named mobs in Kunark overland zones, Maiden’s Chamber, and Chelsith now drop no loot, with this loot having moved to trash mobs.
- Mastercrafted armor sets have been merged down to archetypes. Previously, there were Brigadine vs. Reverent sets, or Devout vs. Plate vs. Vanguard vs. Dextrous which had some overlap between archetypes. Mastercrafted armor is now not only worse than Treasured of the same tier, but often of worse quality than Handcrafted from the same tier.
- Crafted armor has been consolidated down to just a few weapon delays (5.0, 6.0), stats, and damage ratings, when there was previously a lot of variety, allowing player customization.
- Some Mastercrafted bows are flagged as Thrown weapons and cannot be used by Rangers.
- Mastercrafted armor is missing Toughness, a crucial stat for Battlegrounds.
- Certain Mastercrafted armor/jewelry tiers completely omit one or more archetypes. Some crafted armor has also changed material type from cloth to chain or leather to plate, making it impossible to equip for some classes. Some items cannot be equipped at all due to a bad Category. Some Imbued items are now worse than the original items before they were imbued. Some items switched slots from, say, hat to hands.
- Crafted Resist jewelry is now missing all primary stats.
- Some Crafting gear (clothes, tools, etc.) saw Tradeskill skill stats replaced with Adventure stats.
- Numerous items had the LORE-EQUIP tag unnecessarily added.
- Spring Loaded Gnomish Boots as well as several different Goggles are plate/chain only.
- The new Elements of War easy mode group zone seems to be dropping more powerful loot than Drunder hard mode raid loot.
WHAT WOULD EQ2WIRE DO?
I would have liked to have seen this:
- All level 1-82 items revamped so that the primary (green) stats match the mechanics changes in Destiny of Velious.
- Any item usable by Priests add an appropriate amount of WIS (leaving other stats as they are)
- Any item usable by Fighters add an appropriate amount of STR (leaving other stats as they are).
- Any item usable by Mages add an appropriate amount of INT (leaving other stats as they are).
- Any item usable by Scouts add an appropriate amount of AGI (leaving other stats as they are).
- NOTE: It’s PERFECTLY OK that items have 3 or 4 green main stats on them so that items can be used by different classes depending on player choice.
- All items gain a minimum amount of STA based on the level and tier of the item.
- Add items to fill in those few itemization gaps here and there (probably 30-40 items per Tier tops).
- Sentinel’s Fate items reitemized to be just below Destiny of Velious in progression. Echoes of Faydwer did not negate Kingdom of Sky gear, and The Shadow Odyssey did not completely negate Rise of Kunark gear.
- A gradual increase of Crit Bonus and Potency from level 70-90 without removing the unique effects on items.
What we got:
- Thousands of items have been “rebuilt”, with unique interesting effects, procs, and stats replaced with the DoV formula:
- +XX MainStat
- +XX HealthMod (STA)
- +1.2% Crit Bonus
- +1.2% Potency
- +XXX Elemental resist
- There are now huge itemization holes due to some items being removed or the class flags on items switching to different archetypes or excluding classes.
- Unique armor appearances are no longer available.
- Level 50-80 items now rival the power of Sentinel’s Fate items.
So what can we expect going forward? Some quotes from SmokeJumper:
Updating zones that are not yet reitemized:
- Icy Keep: Retribution
- Shard of Hate
- TSO raid zones
Item categories that are not yet reitemized:
- TSO raid armor sets
- Legendary armor sets
- Power differences in SF raid items (easy mode and hard mode differences)
- Bugs from feedback in regards to items being changed to a class that did not make sense
These changes will get into the game ASAP.
Tuesday’s (8/30) hotfix has many itemization changes. This includes the following:
- Many weapons and most jewelry are now “multi-class”. In other words, they have multiple primary stat boosts on them so they are useful to more classes.
- Easy mode Heroic content in the Plane of War will be getting a significant reduction in power for both Potency and Crit Bonus.
- The new rares that named NPCs drop in the other dungeons (added in GU 61) will also be getting the same power reduction so that they are in-line with other items dropping in that same progression.
These changes, plus the myriad miscellaneous fixes we’ve been making as people report the odd item here and there that’s strange, should solve the majority of issues. However, we are continuing to read and tweak even after tomorrow’s hotfix.
Also, in regards to Velious items and why they are not being altered:
We knew that re-itemization would cause lots of heartache, so we didn’t want to change the items that people had *just* received in the Velious expansion (we were planning to change them later). However, we’ve decided against changing them later and it’s likely that instead, the old items will just stop dropping in the near future, replaced by items using the updated progression so those new items are in-line. In other words, you’ll keep your current gear, but if you went back to the same spot, you might earn different gear than last time.
There are still a raft of quotes from SmokeJumper and others which we’ll get to tomorrow.
Tags: game update 61
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