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  1. #1

    Enhanced alt-friendliness through VIP-subscription

    I propose to provide additional benefits to the VIP-subscription model, that make the game more alt-friendly for the paying customers with a running VIP subscription.

    Disclaimer: Not all of the proposed ideas are my own. Many ideas have already been proposed in one or the other variant by other forum posters.


    Why enhanced alt-friendliness through VIP-subscription?

    First, there have been numerous and rather recent complaints, that the endgame grind has become exceedingly alt-unfriendly. A couple of customers are considering to opt out entirely of the grind and their subscription. If nothing is done, their number might increase.

    Second, the VIP-subscription does not currently provide any relevant benefits for players at level-cap. If the VIP subscription is redesigned to support multiple alts, it might become more attractive to long-term players, increasing long-term revenue


    What do I suggest specifically?

    There are several different ways to make the game more alt-friendly and to combine "enhanced alt-friendliness" with a running VIP-subscription.
    My proposition covers two aspects, that have become a tedious grind for players with alts, namely the trait point grind and the level-cap equipment grind.
    Different approaches to cover the mentioned two aspects, or combinations of approaches are thinkable.
    There also might be other aspects that I did not cover.
    Posters are encouraged to criticize the suggestions and to provide alternative suggestions.


    I. TRAIT POINTS:

    Proposition: Trait points that are gated behind quest-chains or deeds should be automatically granted to alts under the following conditions:
    a) at least one character on the account has completed the required quest-chain or deed(s)
    b) the alt-character that is "freely" granted a trait point has reached the maximum level of the quest pack, that is required to obtain the trait point
    c) the VIP subscription must be running, if the alt-character meets conditions a) and b)



    II. END-GAME EQUIPMENT:

    I propose two different models based on two different approaches. Alternative approaches are thinkable


    Proposition A: Account-bound equipment

    a) make all level-cap equipment (teal quality and up) account bound, provided the customer has a VIP subscription running
    b) revert the equipment to character bound (with a choice what equipment goes to what character), when VIP expires


    Pros:
    - conceptually a rather simple idea
    - as long as the VIP subscription is running, the customer can share the high quality level-cap equipment between his level-capped alts, reducing the grind
    - the customer still has to earn the equipment on at least one character, meaning that the system is not so much "pay-to-win", but rather a convenience that reduces repetitive multiple grind for alts

    Cons:
    - if the classes differ in role (dps vs. tank/healer) and require different armor classes (light, medium, heavy), there might not be many pieces of equipment that can be shared
    - not sure if the game engine is capable to change the equipment back and forth between "account-bound" and "character-bound"
    - the implementation of the transition from "account-bound" to "character-bound" when VIP expires could be tricky
    [suggestion: force de-equip all equipment that needs to become character bound and make it "bind on equip"]


    Proposition B: Account-bound VIP-currency for the purchase of end-game equipment, that can only be spent during VIP

    a) when a character completes a level-cap instance or raid, (s)he is granted an amount of *account-bound* VIP-currency depending on the difficulty of the instance or raid. The acquisition process for the VIP-currency is independent of a running VIP-description, similar to destiny points
    b) as long as the character has a VIP-subscription running, the VIP-currency can be used by any level-capped character on the same account to acquire endgame gear from a special VIP-currency barterer
    c) in order to discourage "pay-to-win", equipment that only drops on high difficulty levels or in specific raids/instances should only be barterable, if at least one character on the account has completed the instance/raid at the required difficulty level
    d) optional: in order to reduce highly repetitive grinds in order to equip a large number of alts, all level-capped characters on the account get a monthly stipend of *character-bound* VIP-currency during a running VIP-subscription, that allows each alt to buy 2-3 pieces of equipment per month


    Pros:
    - alt characters can be equipped individually and the equipment remains with the individual character, even if VIP runs out
    - the customer still has to complete the instances/raids at the required difficulty level for at least one character. The VIP subscription merely reduces the repetitive multiple grind for alts
    - this option is more flexible than the account-bound equipment model, because it is not based on (random) equipment drops, but a barter-currency
    - the option is less random and more predictable than the current system of more or less random equipment drops

    Cons:
    - conceptually more difficult than account-bound equipment




    In my opinion the above mentioned proposals not only provide a real new incentive for level-capped players to purchase a VIP-subscription, they also provide some rather general benefits for overall game-play such as

    - the easier it becomes to equip alts, the more flexible people will be when it comes to put together a group. This will make it easier for new players with non-optimal equipment or not overly powerful classes to be invited, because the players with many alts can freely chose what alt fits the current group best. In the current system it does not make sense for a player to switch in his direly needed tank to replace his not needed hunter, if the tank is already fully equipped.
    - experienced players with many alts will be more willing to chose the alt appropriate for the current group, making it easier to take in and educate new players, that just have reached level-cap
    - this, in turn, will increase the long-term healthiness of the game in general, and the long-term participation of a large number of players in the more difficult end-game activities.
    Last edited by MasterOfNothing; Jan 09 2017 at 06:07 PM. Reason: Clarification

  2. #2
    Interesting ideas, and I support your line of thought.

    One detail though: item characteristics are fixed. To dynamically change the 'boundness' of an item based on subscription status is likely to need a major overhaul.
    And we already do have account-bound equipment. In my experience with 6 alts is there isn't a lot of reuse due to different class requirements, so i believe this might be a big change for small benefits.

    The VIP currency idea I like a lot, but if it is useful for endgame players only it would provide little incentive for new or low level players to go VIP. How about a VIP perk to be able to exchange any currency into marks/medallions and back? Marks are already there, account bound and accessible to any player. Access to usage of the currencies could remain unchanged: even if you may convert into a specific currency, you can only spend it if you did the required content. This would give VIPs a real advantage managing alts, without screwing up the game balance too much.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by OghranNasty View Post
    In my experience with 6 alts is there isn't a lot of reuse due to different class requirements, so i believe this might be a big change for small benefits.
    I agree. Personally I would greatly prefer a VIP-currency system to gear alts (including essences), mostly because it reduces the woes with the RNG

    The VIP currency idea I like a lot, but if it is useful for endgame players only it would provide little incentive for new or low level players to go VIP.
    There is already a strong incentive for a temporary VIP subscription at low level, in order to get Swift travel, 2 extra bags, currency cap removal and the virtue and class trait unlocks for every logged in character.
    The lower level you are when you sub for a month, the more you benefit (you can also use 1 month VIP to bridge the quest-pack gap between the free regions lvl 1-30 and the Moria Xpack at lvl 45+)


    How about a VIP perk to be able to exchange any currency into marks/medallions and back? Marks are already there, account bound and accessible to any player. Access to usage of the currencies could remain unchanged: even if you may convert into a specific currency, you can only spend it if you did the required content. This would give VIPs a real advantage managing alts, without screwing up the game balance too much.
    Endgame currency -> marks/meds seems a good option.
    The other way around might not be so good, because this way you could receive huge amounts of end-game currency without doing any endgame content at all.
    The general idea is that end game currency (to barter endgame equipment) should be generally earned via end-game activities, similar to seals in older days.
    At every level-cap raise the endgame currency should be converted to marks/meds, in order that everyone actually runs the new endgame content.
    Last edited by MasterOfNothing; Jan 09 2017 at 06:09 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by MasterOfNothing View Post
    I propose to provide additional benefits to the VIP-subscription model, that make the game more alt-friendly for the paying customers with a running VIP subscription.

    I. TRAIT POINTS:

    Proposition: Trait points that are gated behind quest-chains or deeds should be automatically granted to alts under the following conditions:
    a) at least one character on the account has completed the required quest-chain or deed(s)
    b) the alt-character that is "freely" granted a trait point has reached the maximum level of the quest pack, that is required to obtain the trait point
    c) the VIP subscription must be running, if the alt-character meets conditions a) and b)



    II. END-GAME EQUIPMENT:

    I propose two different models based on two different approaches. Alternative approaches are thinkable


    Proposition A: Account-bound equipment

    a) make all level-cap equipment (teal quality and up) account bound, provided the customer has a VIP subscription running
    b) revert the equipment to character bound (with a choice what equipment goes to what character), when VIP expires

    Proposition B: Account-bound VIP-currency for the purchase of end-game equipment, that can only be spent during VIP

    a) when a character completes a level-cap instance or raid, (s)he is granted an amount of *account-bound* VIP-currency depending on the difficulty of the instance or raid. The acquisition process for the VIP-currency is independent of a running VIP-description, similar to destiny points
    b) as long as the character has a VIP-subscription running, the VIP-currency can be used by any level-capped character on the same account to acquire endgame gear from a special VIP-currency barterer
    c) in order to discourage "pay-to-win", equipment that only drops on high difficulty levels or in specific raids/instances should only be barterable, if at least one character on the account has completed the instance/raid at the required difficulty level
    d) optional: in order to reduce highly repetitive grinds in order to equip a large number of alts, all level-capped characters on the account get a monthly stipend of *character-bound* VIP-currency during a running VIP-subscription, that allows each alt to buy 2-3 pieces of equipment per month
    I like option I Trait points.

    Option II A or B I am not a fan of and let me explain why.

    A) Level capped characters generally use class sets with specific class bonuses. Most people play a different class as alt, so this whole system seems pointless to me. The only general purpose 105 armour I can think of is the flower armour you could want to buy for an alt but it would be a hell lot easier to just make flowers account bound.

    B) Not sure why we need this "VIP-currency" as all the gear is already account bound. (Throne of the Dread Terror is account wide token and FI/Pelennor armour can be exchanged for account wide selection box.) So to me this pretty much feels like pay to win: those common folk have to hope for a armour drop and to win the roll to equip their main while VIP just buys it with their "VIP-currency" on their main as it only requires one raid completion and some level cap instance grinding in your suggestion.

    If you want to make this game more alt friendly I would consider other things. An example would be a catch up mechanic for the LI grind:
    -if max tier is below 45 an emp scroll will increase it by 2.
    -Alternatively add an "improved" symbol of the elder king to craft an LI which starts with max tier 40 instead of 25*. But of course final tier 59 will still be exactly the same.

    *Not sure about the exact number, but you get the idea.
    Last edited by Nydhogg; Jan 09 2017 at 06:26 PM.

  5. #5
    "First, there have been numerous and rather recent complaints, that the endgame grind has become exceedingly alt-unfriendly" <---- Agree 100%
    Proposition: Trait points that are gated behind quest-chains or deeds should be automatically granted to alts under the following conditions:.... YES!!! any solution would be a great solution! The idea of having to back track and rerun Gondor and Rohan for pts has made me unofficially retire many alts.
    I had just finished commenting on a topic regarding the grind itself so I'm not sure I have any viable ideas for this one, but Im glad someone atleast is trying! +1

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    MA, USA
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    For Trait Points, I think the following might provide a more even incentive/benefit for being VIP and may also be simpler to program:

    VIP Trait Points

    - Implement a level based trait point cap based on what a character can currently earn by each level.
    - Add 14 VIP Trait Points, awarded 1 every five levels from 30 through 95 inclusive.
    - If you are no longer VIP when you log in, then your trait points are reset.
    - New display field in trait panel showing total trait points including VIP points, even if not VIP. Available field shows what you can use right now.
    - If you are not VIP and decide to subscribe, you can immediately allocate accumulated VIP trait points as each character logs in.
    - Put 2 (or maybe 4?) trait points for sale in the store, but no more than 4, so you can pay in lieu of BBs and a couple of meta deeds.

    This adds a new incentive for going VIP at level 30, where the free content ends. Also adds an incentive for players with many alts to go VIP and get traited up to end game numbers immediately.
    The Lag is so bad I saw Sara Oakheart outrun someone - kickman77

    Cener, Ingo, Rilibald, Hesred, Halras, Belegthelion, Ingoror, Gloringo
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Wales, United Kingdom
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    I like some of your ideas, especially trait points. With regards to gear sharing across alts, I think a straight forward swap and change would be too complicated. For one, set bonuses on class armour would be an issue, not to mention light, medium and heavy differences. I think for the purposes of alt friendliness, it could work in a limited way like FI gear does, based on stat gear like FI jewels, or even light armour can share with other light armour alts etc.

    For gear, I would prefer to see something along the lines of VIP ability to unslot and share essences freely among alts. The gear itself is not the problem - the essences to go into it is where the problems are.
    Monkeys are superior to man in this . . . . When a monkey looks in a mirror, he sees a monkey.
    Edited, because some folk just can't do wordplay.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Arnenna View Post
    For gear, I would prefer to see something along the lines of VIP ability to unslot and share essences freely among alts. The gear itself is not the problem - the essences to go into it is where the problems are.
    I might not have been clear in my wording. Of course you are right, that the gear is rather easy to obtain, but without essences its not worth anything.

    Unslotting essences and sharing among alts seems rather tedious. Or did I misunderstand you?

    It is difficult to come up with a system that alleviates the essence grind for alts, making a VIP sub worthwhile

    I like your idea of a weekly (maybe even daily) VIP quest that grants something that alleviates the grind, such as
    - solvent,
    - essence recipe,
    - purple essence,
    - shard, ...
    or whatever the devs feel appropriate, if they care to implement the idea.

    The idea is also alt-friendly, if the quest can be done on a per-character basis (instead of a per-account basis) for the level-capped characters

    The idea could be "misused" to "make money", but that is the case for anything useful at levelcap that is tradeable.
    One could make the stuff account bound, including the essences that are crafted from the quest-mats
    Last edited by MasterOfNothing; Jan 12 2017 at 02:48 PM. Reason: Typo

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    having to do trait points again just makes me not want to have an alt, ever, if this were fixed i'd likely run a tank for my small kin so we could run content more often, I'm happy to BoV a toon, and pay for the privilege, i'll even buy virtues, but I won't do it if I don't get auto-included trait points i've already run and grinded my face off for
    Belolth Hisses with fury as venom drips from his maw, scorching the earth, "come manling, my brood hungers!"

    Broodlord of Ungoliant's Hatchlings, Devourer of souls.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,881
    The problem is not unique to alts. It is a gametime per character problem.
    People with many alts run into it, as they have a lot of chars. So do people with low game time and just one char.

    For me the question of trait points is the same as always: How much of old LOTRO should we put on a new characters shoulders? The current answer is: Everything. Maybe a dogma that could be revised. After all it will get ridiculous after a while, e.g. once we need 542 trait points in 2050.
    The currently affected mechanisms: XP level, virtues, ILI level, relics, riding points, BB points, trait points, stat tomes, ILI level. Of course not all of them are relevant, but still they are there. Before RoR we had XP level, virtues and relics. (LIs were outdated every cap). If we plan to stack up more on the cap side, I guess we need to start removing on the other side at some time. Maybe now.
    Last edited by thinx; Jan 16 2017 at 09:33 AM.

 

 

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