Every Sunday night at 7 p.m. The Symposium meets to discuss ideas to help improve the Realms of Despair. At least in theory. Attendance is usually so abysmal that anyone who’s willing to talk about anything can usually keep the floor while the others glaze over.
This has been the sad state of affairs for at least the last year, yet despite these meetings ideas still get processed and submitted up the tree with a few even making their way into the game. At some level the process works.
Part of the problem is that most of the people who volunteered to participate don’t. Another part is that there is 20 years of history of ideas that have been submitted, voted down by one level or another and that resurface and get resubmitted from time to time. The submitter feels like they’re being slighted when they’re told that the idea has been shot down lots of times before. I suppose if we understood why it was shot down then it would be a lesson to help grow our understanding but usually it’s a big ol’ raspberry.
So last night’s meeting started out with the usual suspects … 2 mortal members, 1 mortal head and the immortal head, hardly a quorum even in the current membership roll. The meeting started out with an assertion that Paladins are over powered (OP). I disagree with this statement – shieldbash may be overpowered but it’s only useful in a restricted group of scenarios. My opinion of Paladins is that they’re a specialty warrior class and that they’ve always attracted people who wanted a cleric that could hit. In other words, largely ignored by the masses. Shieldbash made it so that people wanted one in their army – along with 8 barbs and 8 thieves and so forth. So the new skill increased their use – as an alt in the bottom of the tool box.
So the question I put forth was, “So what?”. If they were OP then everyone would be spam using them everywhere, it hasn’t happened so I don’t think I’m out of line disagreeing with the sentiment. My follow up is essentially “What do you want to do about it? Do you want to down Paladins or up everything else?” I’d like you to understand how little investment I had to the conversation at this point: I don’t agree with the premise and don’t think meaningful changes to under used classes is going to do anything to help Realms retain players anyway.
I ticked off, tongue in cheek, that clerics and mages have already had some attention, the original suggester mentioned that vampires are already OP, I said Bladesingers and Barbarians are too new to be on the upgrade pile already so hey, there’s 5 of 13 classes down.
So … it was asked how can we fix Nephandi? The two mortal members agreed that they could care less if the class was deleted. I’ve always felt that they’re some weird evil mage thing that doesn’t seem internally consistent to their own premise. The idea was suggested that qlippothic shift (qlip) should have it’s own damage type and saves and so on. Ok, great. On the face of it I have no problem with that but I circle back to “so what?” Let’s say that qlip becomes the next big attack. I think the players would only take it and use it to spam particular mobs EXACTLY how shieldbash or choke or rend are used now. Then the prize mobs of that pack will get a resistance or immunity to the nephandi damage types and they’ll go back in the tool box.
So a new damage type to help 1 class that few people use. The discussion MONTHS ago about new damage types IN GENERAL went nowhere but …
You know, I’m not trying to be overly negative … I think I can come across that way because I’m frustrated and bored with small ideas when there are big things that need fixing that we don’t see movement on. To be fair there might be lots going on and as a mortal I just don’t see any of it – I always leave myself room to admit I’m wrong and have my head up my ass. I just don’t think a new class or a new area is going to do much to revive interest – players barely visit Winterlight or Florebit now despite interesting puzzles and great equipment. The sentiment was captured by Cellador on avspam – why bother, I’ll level characters for people and buy my eq. People have no idea how hard someone like Merkess had to work to get 5 people together to go to Seth – a team with experience who has never rotted a corpse can’t get mass to what is a premier mob. That’s the conversation we should be having. Attracting new players is great and I wholeheartedly think the game has tons to offer but as a Guildmaster I’ll tell you that they get annoyed and frustrated at problems that have existed for a long, long time that have never been addressed. In today’s gaming world they can be on a new game having fun in the time it takes to log into Facebook instead of being bored or frustrated with Realms. The challenges we’re facing require a hard look at the critiques people have been making for years … or at least an admission that what we’re doing now might not be working.
Long after the meeting I managed to come up with something to at least try and work down the road that was presented. I suggested they should have a skill that halves the duration of any magical spells (so your sanc is halved if you’re fighting a neph), halves the damage from magical sources and drains mana. The answer that came back was “yeah but most damage is from prog damage so it won’t fix that”. True. Most mobs don’t cast sanc or elemental shields either, they’re aff_by.
Never mind … you get it by now.