I want to start this off by saying I really like the enchantment simplification - and while it has a few things to iron out, I think it's going to be a pretty big QoL improvement going forward. However, I think there's some other improvements that could be made without reworking any of the character-based systems, and I think introducing these could be a big way of making the game more fun/engaging to play without impacting the player base. Characters and combat have been reworked so many times over the last year or 2 and a pause on that seems like the perfect time to give players some challenges to focus on within the content y'all have.
Right now, we seem to have the following options for primary character upgrades:
- AD spending
- Legacy Campaigns
- Reaper's Challenge
- Dungeon RNG
- Progression Reward RNG
- Trade bars (Zen)
- Zen spending
Of these two, Reaper's and Legacy campaigns are the most reliable and, to me, the best because they encourage the best reward for engaging with the game. I've given a few ideas that build on this below and would, imo, also make leveling more fun within the game.
1) Other sources for Zen currency.
LotRO has this and it is one of the few aspects of that game I think is seriously ahead of the curve. They have a system where Deeds (Achievements) award small amounts of their cash store currency and it allows players to grind for it if they so choose while engaging with older zones and WITHOUT an exchange. This would be huge and would help to fix some of the bottleneck of needing to participate in the exchange to not spend real currency.
A few places this could come into play (doubtless there are more)
- Completing a collection
This would give y'all the opportunity to add more challenges with Zen rewards to zones that are not seen as relevant for content anymore with the goal of players being able to slowly earn Zen and eventually use that zen as an option for upgrading mounts/companions/insignias or obtaining coalescent wards.If Zen seems like a hugely bad idea to introduce in any other way, these could at least offer progress rewards?
I'd love some motivation to go back and revisit collections, but right now, there's very little reason to in the limited playtime I have. The focus is all on progress = moving to latest content.
2) Other sources for guild shards.
Adventurer's shards are horrible to grind out right now. Outside of legacy quests, there's no real source, and small guilds go to a complete standstill when trying to build these compared to other currencies.
Some options for these
- Weekly challenges (described below, #4)
- Offer stronghold vouchers in the Reaper's store
3) Allow crafting of higher level progression upgrades.
I know there are some problems with Mastercrafting right now, but I'm talking even before mastercrafting. The updates seem to have put some good thought into how to make that gear relevant, but right now, it is so easy to level beyond the point where any of the lower level crafting is worthwhile.
While leveling crafting, creating the tools across and doing the quests keeps you progressing pretty well! But once you hit the cap, it would be nice if each profession could offer something worthwhile towards progressing your character as a whole. Even if those materials are harder to find out in the other areas. Reagents for the following could be a rare drop and provide another benefit to completing legacy campaigns and revisiting older, less end game content.
- Insignia powder
- Variant Enchantments
- (Variant ?) mount collars
- Stones of health
- Augmentation Cubes
Enchanting stones & marks of potency are available from multiple other avenues. Shards of empowerment drop and also are available for obtaining, though honestly those could be an option as well ^. But insignia powder is a HUGE grind and crafting could really become relevant if there was a way to source it. Same with wards, which are easy to burn through but slow to obtain outside of zen purchase.
For Enchantments, it would be neat to see crafted or master-crafted variations of enchantments that are only available via crafting. With the simplification, you have a shot at restarting, and this is a huge opportunity to give crafters something they can create that is directly relevant to their builds! (Especially if there's some customization available while crafting these)
Mount collars - the only way to reliably get these is Zen, which is not ideal for pretty obvious reasons. I know the game has to make money but being able to craft these would be huge. A few crafting-specific companions and mounts would just be really neat. I love that aspect of the festivals and there could be some wild scavenger hunts to drum up the necessary reagents. I think players would enjoy it.
4) Weekly challenges
Within the Zariel campaign, there were weekly challenges for the currency that were a LOT of fun. They were removed without warning, but I'd love to see something like that return. The reaper's challenge is really neat but a different idea - these weekly challenges could be content-wide and include things like
- Running a specific dungeon
- Running a specific dungeon HC
- Killing a set number of specific enemies
- Completing doing a set number of hunts/treasure maps
- Crafting certain items
Rewards could depend on the difficulty and range from a small amount of insignia powder/reagents/AD to something more like a progression reward or companion/mount tokens. The capability is there - there was a lot of enjoyment from groups running this during Zariel, and Reaper's has been an overall positive it seems outside of some minor bugs. This would be a nice middle ground between the item level required for that and those who are still trying to build their characters up.
5) Bring back vaulted zones as adventure quests
I know y'all spoke about this when you removed them, but this is an opportunity for an update that adds some content back without removing or reworking anything current and without a new mod. The above changes would make it relevant, offer rewards for progressing through (outside of the end reward, which is good in and of itself) and cut down on the complaints that the game has been scaling down without adding new.
I'm assuming y'all are improving these zones and that takes time, this is more a request that this still be a priority, maybe over any character-based reworks going on now. I know new content still needs to come for end game players, but adventure rewards are such a cool way to add quests that move a storyline. I'd love to see more campaigns along the lines of Undermountain/The Maze Engine return. Pirate's Skyhold and Mount Hotenow had such great diversity of map.
Bonus) Automate the Zen/Astral Diamond exchange.
At this point, the price is never going to be anything but 750 AD to 1 Zen. This seems to be the stable exchange and the only thing you really gain by making this based on player demand for Zen vs player demand for AD is frustration. Right now the exchange relies on you balancing the value of astral diamonds vs the value of zen, but that shouldn't be the case. AD should always be more valueable than Zen if this game is truly free to play.
Remove this factor entirely and find an automatic exchange rate that works for the game economy.
These changes don't really have any downsides in my mind. They would reward players for engaging more with the content and provide more avenues, outside of grinding the same dungeons or hoping for RNG drops/spending Zen for gaining levels. There have been some great steps that I've noticed in this direction! Adding more things to dungeon rolls, legacy campaigns giving more, reaper's challenge. There's just a few resources that have slipped between the cracks.