COMMUNITY - FORUMS - GENERAL DISCUSSION
New EP Store Policies
+109

I was requested to put this in a new fresh thread as opposed to it being buried inside of a thread that has effectively died or turned deconstructive so here goes:

I may be alittle biased, but I would much prefer a more dense player population per server than opening up additional servers. I think that a middle ground can and should be found, and if that means that SBS has to draw back what they were planning to have on the EP store based upon community feedback then that is what should happen.

Personally I was fine with CoE's form of Pay to Win because it was surmountable in game. Yes I can buy a title or two or three, however people who are more coordinated and skilled than I am can compete and take those titles from me. Further, I was fine with base level kits / buildings / things being purchasable from the EP store. So long as people have the ability to build the same things that I can buy from the EP store on day one, that is again something that is surmountable.

The selling of rare / legendary / etc things in the EP store for lots of money, then claiming that specifically the research and buildings are research and buildings that a normal non-paying player would not be able to build / reach for a year - two years is turning a surmountable advantage into an insurmountable advantage. If I am in a Kingdom, or Duchy, or County and I want to be a swordsmith. Then someone else in my Kingdom or Duchy or County purchases a legendary sword blueprint / research. There is no longer any point for me to be a swordsmith because I will not be able to compete with that person, at all. Why come buy my crummy swords when that guy can not only create crummy swords but can also create legendary ones? So now I need to switch gears and I go with armorsmithing.... because why not. Oh look.... someone else in my group purchased a legendary armor blueprint, well crap. Etc and so forth.

It was my expectation of this game that to get higher quality things, and to progress in research would take player skill. With the latest plans for the EP store we flipped that on its head and said that not only will the people with the most money have the most influence / assets available to them when they get in game, but now they will have further access to rare / high quality materials, buildings, research and the like that make them completely insurmountable for a year possibly two years. If the EP store stays as it is, I can not blame anyone for not wanting to be on the same server as Vornair or Ghettomaster. We have all of the potential to grab up the majority of these high quality / rarity cash grabs from the EP store (sorry Caspian I can't see it as anything other than that at this current moment), and snowball all of those insurmountable advantages to be head and shoulders above any other community on our server. I think that is a very poor outlook for those servers, and I hope that the development team can see that moving forward.

Yes, we realize that the game is not meant to be balanced its meant to be a simulation, and in the real world some people are born in the US and some are born in Djibouti. However, simulationist game or not, it is a game and people are all subject to competition. The devs have said themselves that every facet of this game is PvP you against other players. You want to farm your farm is competing with other farms, you want to smith you are competing against other smiths, you want to engage in officially sanctioned PvP you are competing against other official military powers. That means this game is competitive, I would highly encourage that the team decide that that they can not give an advantage paid for in cash an insurmountable edge thus killing that competition. The "it can be taken from you" argument gets invalidated by the amount of advantage it gives being so valuable that it is now required for a community to rally around that advantage and protect it so that the community benefits from said insurmountable advantage. "it can be taken from you" arguments only work when / if the advantage you are being given is reasonably surmountable.

Anywho, I kind of wrote a novel there. I feel strongly about the subject. Anyone who watched the latest episode of the town crier can see our opinions on it fairly clearly. I am hoping that even the champions of SBS's message / vision (which I consider myself to be) can take a pause and understand the ramifications of this version of the EP store coming to fruition. Not just from a competition in game standpoint, but also how many players are going to turn away from this game now. How many people did we just kick in the arse away from this game because they now feel like they cant afford to be competitive and achieve their dreams / win condition for this game simply because they didnt have enough money. "I can never take Adam's crown because he has far to much monies and everyone will rally around that monies to gain all of the advantages they can bring to bear, thus uniting them around that player's wallet even more so than before. My win condition will never happen now so I guess I'll just call it a quits pack up my bags and move on to the next thing." . Surmountable vs Insurmountable. If you think that isnt a discussion that is happening all over the community right now, not just regarding Vornair (which even before now people have been looking at Vornair in that light but again, difference in surmountable vs insurmountable) but regarding any community that has deep pockets in this game or any one who has deeper pockets than you in this game but has the same win condition as you... These conversations are happening, and they are hurtful to this game in my honest opinion. Other companies are capitalizing on it in order to capture a bigger portion of the market share. This is a big deal, we as a community need to realize it, then decide what... if anything, we are going to do about it.

Personally, my suggestion to the community and studio, in the best interests of the game, is to remove any plans / ideas to offer higher quality / rarity items from your EP store pipeline. Those items should be gotten through player skill and work in game, not through how big my wallet is. Leave only things in the EP store that are build able / acquirable within the first month of the game. If I as someone who has spent nothing on EP in the game cant build or start building one of these buildings / items / gather x y z that is available on the store within the first month of launch then you are giving to much of an advantage to that wallet.

From a marketing standpoint to do anything else is to absolutely invite people to look at your game as hugely P2W, which it always has been to an extent but it was surmountable so I accepted the explanation of the studio. Pushing that scale of P2W to insurmountable will not bode well for this game in the current market. The amount of people who have been completely screwed by games going P2W in the past has left a horrid taste in all of our mouths, to the point where this is marketing suicide in this industry.

Additionally the marketing folly that comes back into play is that with limited time rare / high quality items on the store and the ability to gift them, you just asked for a grey market RMT to be set up. We have dealt with fall out regarding this multiple times now, the answer from the devs was that we would create mechanics in the game that deter any point or any gains to be made by RMT, then upon the announcement of what will be available in the EP store the studio literally made the biggest, easiest case for someone to set up a RMT site and make great gains on it. There are only 10 of this item on the store, thanks I'll buy them all and sell them back to the community for 10x the price I paid. Oh and while I am at it I will keep at least one of each of the high quality / rarity research plans so that in the long term I can sell copies of these high quality / rarity items that I am producing in game just to keep money coming my way. It is an RMT site's wet dream, not mechanics that would deter / devalue any use of RMT.

Again, rant over, but these are legitimate concerns that can no longer be answered with a simple "But they can be taken from you." My answer to that is, if things stay this way, good luck trying to take any of the advantages away from a group like mine. I can confidently say that these advantages in the hands of my group will equate to a completely insurmountable Kingdom in literally any and every aspect that we choose to go with. If that is a problem with me, it should be a problem with you too.

Thanks.

TL-DR

And for you folks who use the argument that we dont know exactly what the items do yet so hold your horses.

The root of the issue is this: From the outside (those who havent backed CoE yet, the MMO market perspective) looking in they see something that you are paying 100x more for, either needs to give a level of advantage / value associated with it. Thus Pay to Win. or the only other alternative is that you are paying 100x for something that doesn't give any additional advantage and is more of an aesthetic thing in which case the studio is making a cash grab.

There is no inbetween from the outside looking in. The mechanics of the EP store as they have described them can only be way to far down the realm of P2W or they are making a cash grab. Either way is absolutely terrible for PR / Marketing.

I prefer to believe that this isn't a cash grab, as the studio has told us multiple times that they do not need any additional funding from the community. Therefore its better in the long run for the actual case to be that perhaps the Studio didnt realize or see how far that advantage can be pushed in the right hands, or that they didnt realize the impact those advantages being available would have on the community. Or that it doesnt really give you that advantage and is all for story, however thats not what the market sees.

Now I will also admit it is possible, being a member of this community who is familiar with the Studio, that the studio literally just thought these were cool things to offer to the community and didnt think about how it would be auto assumed that a 100x price means a 100x yield / benefit. Or that it would be assumed that a 100x benefit is clearly a huge overwhelming / insurmountable advantage. Or perhaps the extra cost is associated with just limiting these high quality resources and the like, however due to lack of information there is absolutely nothing we can do but speculate. However, I would hope that everyone here can see that regardless of the intent from the studio this has ramifications in the market and from a PR standpoint that is absolutely concerning to us as a community.

More Clarification

(From page 14)

Nope no King tier information drop. This post as I said before, is me putting together the concerns of 300+ people who have private messaged me 4000+ times over the last week with these exact concerns regarding the EP store.

As a community leader it is my job to represent them and ensure that their concerns are being seen by the Studio.

It is kinda interesting how some people on this post are focusing so closely on semantics instead of looking at the core issue. Which is from the outside looking in the current model for CoE is P2W and continues to move further down the path of P2W. That the current iteration of the EP store, with information currently available looks to give even more advantage to the people with large pockets in the game. Not only can I buy 2 Kingdoms I can buy even more advantages to bundle up to a completely insurmountable community. So not only can I put a strangle hold on the politics facet, I can put the same level of strangle hold on the various industries, religion, culture, military, etc, etc, etc. Just because of how deep my pockets are. That is the concern of the community from the outside looking in, which I have raised here.

Again, personally if the EP store stays as is its not going to push me or my community away from SBS, heck we benefit the most from it. However, the core issue has nothing to do with the current backers of the game and everything to do with how this game is received by the rest of the market and what impact that will have on CoE in the long term. This is a marketing / PR issue, more so than a mechanical issue as many of you have already pointed out that we dont know the specific mechanics. However, what we do know is that this is turning people (lots of people) off from CoE. In this phase of development that is a domino effect.

Other Information

I highly encourage you all to also read this post as it is extremely valid for the folks internal to the community to calming peoples fears. It could help with the outsider's perspective, however, a typical outsider isnt looking at our forums they are looking at officially released information directly from the devs.

Views on EP from a freeloader


"Pledged to the betterment of the Studio and CoE through realistic, open, honest communication about what players can and will do with the mechanics you give them."

...
5/16/2017 10:21:32 PM #271
+0

I mean you can just as easily make an algorithm that starts to give NPC children "gifted" so they are sp locked from players and excel naturally in their skill gains thus reaching legendary in their lifetime.

Legends are dying? Darn, good thing bill swainsberry is a natural born genius. 10/10 rather over buying legendaries.


Discord: Julius#7218

5/16/2017 10:28:26 PM #272
-2

Posted By Malais at 6:17 PM - Tue May 16 2017

Except they can't just plop down new NPCs.

I would honestly be surprised if that was completely true. Or else spontaneous change in the grand story would be alot harder.

I was almost certain SbS would "plop" special NPCs to progress the story. Because lets be real; Nobody is going to be tracking every NPC. It wouldn't be that difficult to sneak in a "plop" here or there without being noticed. They surely have the tools to do so as well. I could be wrong, but it was kind of what I envisioned happening.


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5/16/2017 10:31:31 PM #273
+9

Posted By Takeda_Shinukage at 5:21 PM - Tue May 16 2017

I mean you can just as easily make an algorithm that starts to give NPC children "gifted" so they are locked from players and excel naturally in their skill gains thus reaching legendary in their lifetime.

Legends are dying? Darn, good thing bill swainsberry is a natural born genius. 10/10 rather over buying legendaries.

Until the NPC is killed before learning to be a legendary teacher?

Or his "needs" drive him to rebel against a noble and die in jail or starve to death or ... ?

Trainers in most mmos are unkillable. Those that are are typically on a rapid respawn neither of which work in a world where players literally have the ability to watch it burn.

Now back to the "buying legendaries" comment. What does a legendary in COE do? I haven't seen any explaintion beyond it being the name of a tier. No mention of abilities, or damage or even what color it is. Have you?

Knee jerk reactions based on zero information doesn't help anything. This isn't your fault but rather Caspian for not explaining things. They decide to put a mystic currency on sale for a week yet no one knows what we can buy with it or how much these items will cost. So rather than delaying things a month a hastily thrown together mish-mash is posted with no real explaination and then radio silence on the matter leading folks to freak out (not you but just look at some of the chicken little replies in this discussion) which then makes the entire problem even worse. Add in some vornair hate and viola a perfect storm and 18 pages of angst.

Bottom line judging the matter before we know anything and even worse demanding as some have the system be changed doesn't help things.

Just my 2 unsolicited cents.

5/16/2017 10:36:11 PM #274
+5

Posted By Apaukolypse at 5:28 PM - Tue May 16 2017

Posted By Malais at 6:17 PM - Tue May 16 2017

Except they can't just plop down new NPCs.

I would honestly be surprised if that was completely true. Or else spontaneous change in the grand story would be alot harder.

I was almost certain SbS would "plop" special NPCs to progress the story. Because lets be real; Nobody is going to be tracking every NPC. It wouldn't be that difficult to sneak in a "plop" here or there without being noticed. They surely have the tools to do so as well. I could be wrong, but it was kind of what I envisioned happening.

Except NPCs won't be driving the story players will. What I've seen was the plan (as mentioned in non concrete terms) was vices/virtues would whisper in a players ear to do ... something for a reward. Vices and virtues if used as explained are a single step away from being a god which would mean they would be played likely by a GM.

NPCs are merely placeholders in CoE not real actors.

5/16/2017 10:55:18 PM #275
-2

Posted By Malais at 6:36 PM - Tue May 16 2017

Except NPCs won't be driving the story players will. What I've seen was the plan (as mentioned in non concrete terms) was vices/virtues would whisper in a players ear to do ... something for a reward. Vices and virtues if used as explained are a single step away from being a god which would mean they would be played likely by a GM.

NPCs are merely placeholders in CoE not real actors.

No no I get that, but SbS has some grand story PLANNED.

I don't think they can exactly calculate every player action and reaction, and they are obviously going to try to push a story in a certain direction.

So what I ASSUMED that meant is they were going to "plop" NPCs, Antagonists and Protagonists, and push the story in certain directions as they see fit. NPCs will serve to get the ball rolling, but the Players will be the stars of the show.

Again I could be wrong but that was just the vibe I got from that.


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5/16/2017 11:18:10 PM #276
-4

Posted By Apaukolypse at 6:55 PM - Tue May 16 2017

I don't think they can exactly calculate every player action and reaction

Is this the moment we're supposed to remind you Caspian has a psychology background...?

He very well can. ;)


Norhurst, County of Opportunity

5/16/2017 11:26:33 PM #277
+2

Posted By Apaukolypse at 5:55 PM - Tue May 16 2017

Posted By Malais at 6:36 PM - Tue May 16 2017

Except NPCs won't be driving the story players will. What I've seen was the plan (as mentioned in non concrete terms) was vices/virtues would whisper in a players ear to do ... something for a reward. Vices and virtues if used as explained are a single step away from being a god which would mean they would be played likely by a GM.

NPCs are merely placeholders in CoE not real actors.

No no I get that, but SbS has some grand story PLANNED.

I don't think they can exactly calculate every player action and reaction, and they are obviously going to try to push a story in a certain direction.

So what I ASSUMED that meant is they were going to "plop" NPCs, Antagonists and Protagonists, and push the story in certain directions as they see fit. NPCs will serve to get the ball rolling, but the Players will be the stars of the show.

Again I could be wrong but that was just the vibe I got from that.

Once more you assumed which is the whole problem with this discussion. The entire thing is based on assumptions rather than what was actually said.

Don't get me wrong the problem is due to SBS not communicating or at least running their post through a pr manager first. But it is compounded by assumptions and chicken littles jumping on the gloom train without any real information.

As for the story SBS had said the story will be player driven. Dungeons will be player built. Players will be the raid bosses. Unless there was a change I missed Npcs are placeholders nothing more.

5/16/2017 11:32:49 PM #278
-3

Posted By Malais at 7:26 PM - Tue May 16 2017

Once more you assumed which is the whole problem with this discussion. The entire thing is based on assumptions rather than what was actually said.

As for the story SBS had said the story will be player driven. Dungeons will be player built. Players will be the raid bosses. Unless there was a change I missed Npcs are placeholders nothing more.

Fair, but I was just talking about how I thought SbS planned to do the story. I didn't see this as actually part of any argument.

If we want to get technical, they definitely do have the ability to plop NPCs though, so they COULD, its just if they want to or not.

They also technically don't have to, as Takeda said. Just give some NPCs some Legendary Traits. Once one dies, seed it to another one. Its not that complex and can be done. Your argument is based around the concentrated genocide of Legendary NPCs, which I think is unlikely, especially when they will always just pop up again and again. How would a troll even identify them fast enough to genocide them that fast? If he was able to, then surely that troll would be Legendary in of itself.


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5/16/2017 11:35:31 PM #279
-3

Posted By CerebralDaemon at 7:18 PM - Tue May 16 2017

Posted By Apaukolypse at 6:55 PM - Tue May 16 2017

I don't think they can exactly calculate every player action and reaction

Is this the moment we're supposed to remind you Caspian has a psychology background...?

He very well can. ;)

Well, MAYBE if he interviews and profiled literally every single player, sure.


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5/16/2017 11:48:41 PM #280
+1

Posted By Apaukolypse at 6:32 PM - Tue May 16 2017

Posted By Malais at 7:26 PM - Tue May 16 2017

Once more you assumed which is the whole problem with this discussion. The entire thing is based on assumptions rather than what was actually said.

As for the story SBS had said the story will be player driven. Dungeons will be player built. Players will be the raid bosses. Unless there was a change I missed Npcs are placeholders nothing more.

Fair, but I was just talking about how I thought SbS planned to do the story. I didn't see this as actually part of any argument.

If we want to get technical, they definitely do have the ability to plop NPCs though, so they COULD, its just if they want to or not.

They also technically don't have to, as Takeda said. Just give some NPCs some Legendary Traits. Once one dies, seed it to another one. Its not that complex and can be done. Your argument is based around the concentrated genocide of Legendary NPCs, which I think is unlikely, especially when they will always just pop up again and again. How would a troll even identify them fast enough to genocide them that fast? If he was able to, then surely that troll would be Legendary in of itself.

You're correct the legendary NPC was a side note in the grand discussion and in no way central to the problem at hand. I just saw the EP store as a way to 1. Seed the world and 2. Give more power to the players and 3. Solve a problem posed in the DJ "Down the rabbit hole". Given the vitriol against the items being sold I was just curious if anyone had considered the possibility why SBS went this way or if everyone assumed it was just a cash grab.

Basically just pointing out the gloom train of SBS being after money and turning CoE into a P2W mmo wasn't based on anything other than collective panic. I had hoped by posing an alternate reason perhaps someone might stop and think individually rather than piling on the same train as everyone else.

Edit : folks need to kinda lay off the likes/dislikes for this thread. Just my opinion of course.

5/17/2017 12:02:19 AM #281
+0

Malais of course if you make the stipulation the NPC is gonna die. Then #SelfFulfillingProphecy kicks in... so yeah if your gonna assume SBS can do nothing about NPCs and all NPCs are just gonna get killed or what ever grand scheme you think we have against them then yeah, no shit NPCs can't be legendaries.

The fact that your saying players will not only be able to hunt down all the legendary NPCs kill them with that higher spirit loss factored in AND hunt down NPCs with a UNMARKED TALENT before they can become legendary. like what? When did seal team 6 join the game? How are they gonna find a random NPC in this huge af world that they don't even know if he has the talent or not. They kill every 15 year old NPC in the game?

The amount of assumptions that need to be made for your stipulation to work is maddening to me.


Discord: Julius#7218

5/17/2017 12:17:13 AM #282
+1

@Takeda My point was not to derail the thread so this is my final comment on the topic.

My post was based on actual comments from SBS and their explanations on NPCs. NPCs back prior to down the rabbit hole were touted as placeholders. Placeholders that would all eventually be soul jacked by real players. Their purpose was to make the world feel alive until it was fully populated. NPCs originally couldn't even marry players. They literally were soulless (hence why they were one and done). NPCs would never be able replace a player and were simply there to teach players so they in turn would become the legendary <insert skill>. In addition they follow the hierarchy of needs. Caspian said a NPC who hated their lord would rebel. Placing the NPC in a position to easily be killed. Once more one and done. In the old days of the forum there was a very long discussion about what ifs. What if animals were all killed? What if NPCs died out? It was mentioned by a group (who may not even be around) their stated goal was to kill all npcs and burn everything down. Caspian even touched on this on BWs QA back in the day and stayed it was indeed possible to make NPCs go extinct.

Believing deviants would actively hunt legendary NPCs is not an assumption. Believing they can die is not an assumption. Believing they can place themselves in danger is not an assumption.

There is some supposition in my post to be sure but there is very little that I said that hasn't already been discussed at length elsewhere and very little prior to "down the rabbit hole" that wasn't an active possibility.

In fact legendary / important NPCs being killed was enough of a possibility in that very same DJ it's mentioned they are looking into giving important NPCs limited respawns. So does this mean Caspian is assuming or I am?

5/17/2017 12:28:22 AM #283
+0

The mass assumptions lie in the bridge between eliminating all legendary NPCs. All of the variables that entails in such a venture that need to be solved that you just assume are solved one way or another. Not to mention when you step further and say that these players are so good they can even find unmarked talented NPCs and tell them from regular ones....that last part in itself is a huge assumption.


Discord: Julius#7218

5/17/2017 12:50:35 AM #284
+7

Posted By Apaukolypse at 7:35 PM - Tue May 16 2017

Posted By CerebralDaemon at 7:18 PM - Tue May 16 2017

Posted By Apaukolypse at 6:55 PM - Tue May 16 2017

I don't think they can exactly calculate every player action and reaction

Is this the moment we're supposed to remind you Caspian has a psychology background...?

He very well can. ;)

Well, MAYBE if he interviews and profiled literally every single player, sure.

I think you're underestimating psychology, my friend.

The Soulborn Engine is meant to act as a Dungeon Master. Of course, you might be asking yourself how in earth could they possibly predict exactly what choices literally every player on the server will take? In that case, you've missed the magic trick. The trick is that... they don't need to. ;)

Think of what a Dungeon Master does in any game he's setting up, ever. The Dungeon Master never sets a very clear story and very clear events that are meant to happen in a specific way, in his story. He only define a few guidelines, create antagonists and let the story flow from there; that's where the magic trick happens, from here he simply adapts to the events. That's the very reason a Dungeon Master doesn't panic and ends up having to take a break for thirty minutes every time you tell him something crazy like "I roll to pin the Ogre to the ground" or "I roll to throw my teammate at the dragon" or "I roll to convince the guards I'm a tree"; it's merely adaptation.

Now, let's take this into how the Soulborn Engine should most likely work. Let's say that, as part of the storyline, someone's now in front of a sword stuck in the ground, Excalibur-style, and from its looks it seems pretty likely that sword's powerful in some way or another. In that situation, the obvious most likely action the player would undertake is, obviously, try and take the sword for himself; that's simply temptation. However, can Soulborn Engine (or anyone, for that matter) say with absolute certainty that's what the player will do? Of course not, except, the Engine doesn't even need to. Think about what a real Dungeon Master would do in that situation; would he expect you to take the sword, and start screaming at you if you didn't? Of course not, he'd simply let you choose and, based on whatever choice you made, adapt things from there. The same thing applies to the Soulborn Engine; it doesn't need to force a specific choice on you, you can take it, leave it, even destroy it if you want to. What it really needs to do is account for all those possibilities and change the next events based on it. It's not about predicting, it's about adapting.

The psychology concepts underneath the Soulborn Engine aren't about mind-reading the player and discovering what he'll do in a situation, they're rather about defining all the different thoughts and actions that could cross a player's mind, and then coding the appropriate responses from the Engine to fit that sort of action into the overall storyline. That's why there's multiple endings to the story, and why some are said to be more likely than others; that's also why the story can progress without the need for human intervention.

Psychology goes waaaaaay beyond just the thoughts a person has; it also includes the behaviors and actions of individuals. The Soulborn Engine can definitely work in a self-sustained way, without requiring constant checkups by the developers.


Norhurst, County of Opportunity

5/17/2017 1:26:38 AM #285
+152
[Featured]

Hail Elyrians!

First, let me apologize for the long delay in responding to this thread. I've been heads-down the last couple of days working on the token system for week three, as well as the surprise for week four. I was made aware of the thread late last night and would have responded sooner but I was in meetings most of the day today. In any case, thank you for your patience.

Second, I'd like to thank you all for a mostly constructive conversation in a mostly civil tone. The topic of a game being pay-to-win is a touchy one, so I commend you all on being able to have that conversation without devolving into personal attacks.

With that said, I've read over a lot - but not all of the posts in this topic. And I must say, good god people. I'm going to need to start getting your forum posts on audio book.

In any case, I believe I've read enough to get an idea of peoples' overall concerns. So let me address those concerns individually, and then address the real purpose for this topic - one which I think many people may have missed, and one I ultimately agree with.

'Legendary' Items

The first topic I wanted to address was legendary items. We had a conversation about this last week in Discord in the 10k backers channel however due to the NDA people were blocked from talking about it. Straight up, calling them legendary was a misnomer. They're not really legendary in most MMO senses. Our intention was that if we provided EP items in the store that were marked as 'Mystical' they would be relics, 'Legendary' items would be artifacts, and 'Peerless' items would be heirlooms.

As you know, relics are typically ancient items that have some mystical properties. However, activating those properties first requires you to determine how to do so. The idea was that if people purchased one of the 'mystical' items it would be provided with a collection of non-relics, with no indication of which item was the relic, and no information about what the relic actually did. The receiver would be forced to go on a quest - or a series of quests - to discover which was the relic, and how to activate it. Much like we do with the custom relic design experiences. This process was intended to take months to accomplish. So it wasn't an immediate insta-relic.

As for artifacts, these items have a passive bonus that are always applied to them as a result of having been used to achieve some past previous achievement. Remember, CoE doesn't scale with items. There's no +100 STR swords. We subscribe to an older idea of equipment in RPG's where the differences between quality of items - even large quality differences are relatively small, and are even then very situational. When you think of artifacts in CoE don't think of Epics or Legendary items in most games - think of Sting from the Lord of The Rings; an elven blade feared by goblins which glows blue in the presence of orc-kind.

The point I'm making is that items in CoE - not matter their rarity are never game-breaking. They're unique, provide new and interesting opportunities for story, but generally aren't significant character-building tools. That's what PC and player skill is for.

Blueprints

Another hot-topic was blueprints. As you may recall from my EP Items FAQ, I said that blueprints tended to be more complex and interesting as they increased in rarity and quality. Complex and interesting doesn't mean more powerful.

Our goal has always been, and remains to be, about creating a launch experience where players fulfill many of the roles as NPCs in other games. That includes skill trainers. In some cases there will be skill trainers who have slightly more advanced skills than others, but in general the idea is to distribute the skills around the world so that would-be adventurers must travel between distant lands and biomes in order to learn the necessary skills to achieve mastery.

Our intention is not to create individuals who are grand-masters at everything before the game begins. Mastering a single individual pattern or technique before launch? Sure. That gives them the ability to train others. But mastery of a single technique or pattern does not make someone a master or grandmaster over-all. This shouldn't be a concern for anyone.

The Perception of Power and Pay-to-Win

Those quick PSA's out of the way, I don't believe Adam's topic post was about either legendary items, blueprints, or any other item available in the EP store. I think the point Adam was trying to make was whether we're "Pay-to-Win" or not, what matters is the perception people have. And he's right.

When we sit down with someone and explain to them how there is an option to "Pay to Build," and then go through and talk about why it's not pay-to-win, most people get it eventually. But in a market where people make decisions quickly and first impressions matter more than we like, it's imperative that the topic of conversation isn't about whether we're P2W or not. If that becomes the conversation, we've likely already lost the battle - regardless of whether it's true or not.

So the goal going forward can't be about trying to convince people we’re not P2W, the focus going forward needs to be on changing the conversation. The fact that the conversation is P2W right now is our fault.

Consider this: If we're able to reach our minimum goal of 200,000 players, then the couple thousand gentry, aristocracy, and nobility that exists across all our servers is as little as 5% of our total player-base. That means those people at launch who care about exposition or our EP store is extremely small!

And yet, out focus on Domain and Settlement Selection, settlement merging, our Pledge Packages, and even Exposition has lead people to believe that EP and Exposition has, or will have, a significant impact on the overall player experience. But it won't. To 190,000 people, the fact that Exposition even existed is irrelevant. They're never going to know, and never going to care. They're entering a world which was built and customized by players and that's all they should care about.

When 190,000 players buy a spark of life to play the game, the game is simply Buy-to-play. The only reason people feel differently is because of the attention we're giving to something that applies to only 5% of the population - at most.

So being cognizant of that, we're going to make a concerted effort as we go forward to change the conversation and focus on what really matters most - what happens after launch.

As we make forward progress expect to see less and less about things that affect only the gentry, aristocracy, and nobility, and more about things that effect everyone. When our focus is on what the player experience is going to be like for the other 90%, the question of whether we're P2W becomes significantly less impactful, and the perception will gradually change.

Pledged to the continued advancement of the Soulborn Engine and the chronicling of Elyria,

~Caspian


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