Better is Worse

There is a saying here in Silicon Valley (and perhaps elsewhere) — “Worse is better”. This is meant to convey the notion that it’s often a bad idea to spend a long time perfecting a technology or new invention; it’s usually better to get a new idea out into the marketplace quickly, even though it may have imperfections.

This idea shows up in Everquest II, in that the game was pretty clearly rushed into production, and there have been pretty serious changes in the game design over the last 9 months. Still, overall, the game has several design concepts that I like and endorse, and overall, I’ve enjoyed myself. Also, SOE has been making money at it, which is necessary for me to be able to play. Worse is better.

In this post, I’d like to address another design idea that I now think was a mistake. I call this design idea, “Better is Worse”.

As a character gains in level, the game designers want to slowly raise the difficulty level of the game, presenting the player with greater and greater challenges. As far as that goes, that’s appropriate. The mechanisms that they’ve chosen to do this create a problem though.

Whenever a character gets a straight upgrade to a spell, the new spell is typically not as effective as the old one, particularly when normalized for level. Healers often notice that their new upgrade doesn’t heal for any more than the spell it is replacing, which is gray. Often, this comparison is unfair, since the new spell is apprentice I, and the old one is often Adept I. Of course, the new spell will be orange, and thus allow skill increase, and will improve as you level, which the gray version will not. Of course, if you gain a few levels, and upgrade to adept I, the new spell will do more healing, or more damage.

But in the meantime, the mobs are getting tougher, too. They have more hitpoints, and do more damage. Your new nuke might do more damage, but is it probably doing damage that is the same as or smaller relative to the health of a “typical” encounter of your level. Unless you are a warlock. But at least it looks like you are getting better.

As an illusionist, its even worse. A stun that lasted 15 seconds (Daunting Gaze) has been “upgraded” to a stun that lasts 8 seconds (Uncertainty). This isn’t a direct replacement, since they don’t use the same icon and aren’t on the same recast timer. However, Daunting Gaze stops working on mobs above level 31 or so.

Likewise, the higher level illusionist root, Lock Mind, has an upgraded capability ( a chance to stifle, as well as root), but it breaks entirely too often to be of much use, much more frequently than the lower level version, Binding Light. Binding Light also has the useful property of slowing the movement of its target after the root breaks. Still, I’d much rather use Binding Light than Lock Mind, but on mobs above level 35 or so, I can’t, because it doesn’t work.

This feels very heavy-handed and intrusive to me.

Now I’m all for making the game more difficult as you gain levels, but I think that this kind of mechanism is a mistake. It puts a player in the position of working, sweating, and enduring debt and bad pickup groups in order to level, and as a reward, he receives a spell that isn’t as good as the one he has, and the only reason to use it is because the better one doesn’t work any more. And that isn’t fun.

Everquest 2 may be a way of life for some of us, but it’s important to remember that it’s a game, too. Players want to feel rewarded by the game for leveling, not punished.

To me, the standard for whether a spell is an upgrade or not is whether I would use it to fight low level grays or not. Most of the damage spells pass this test, after all, they do more damage. But certain classes of spells, notably the stuns and roots, do not. Mesmerization seems to merely tread water, with the new replacements working about as well as the old, only the old ones do not work on mobs above a certain level.

So, as an illusionist, I have the feeling of being punished for leveling, or at best being put on a treadmill. I suspect other classes have the same feelings, the complaints from wizards and warlocks resulted in a big upgrade to their higher-level damage dealing last spring.

Making people feel bad about leveling is a good way to kill interest in the game, and as such is contrary to SOE’s interests. However, they’ve kind of painted themselves into a corner, a complete revamp of spells and combat arts would be very disruptive. They are talking of a new “combat concept” though I don’t know when or if that’s scheduled, or what form it will take. But I do think it’s needed.

2 thoughts on “Better is Worse

  1. Hot News From The Automotive Lending Industry!!+++++++++Current Profile+++++++++InterFinancial Holdings, Corp (IFLH)Current Price $0.036+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Is this an undiscovered gem priced to go higher!!Please read the following Announcement in its Entirety and Consider the Possibilities�Watch this One to Trade! IFLH announces Senator David Cain has joined its Board of Directors!! IFLH volume trading is beginning to surge with landslide Announcement. The value of this stock appears poised for growth! This one should not remain on the ground floor for long. BREAKING NEWS!!InterFinancial Holdings, Corp. (OTC Pink Sheets: IFLH – News) announced that they have added David Cain to their board of directors. David Cain is currently the Chairman of the advisory board to TTI (Texas Transportation Institute). Senator Cain represented Senate District 2 for eight years in the Texas Senate and Chaired the Senate State Affairs Subcommittee on Transportation and served nine terms in the Texas House of Representatives for District 107.During his twelve years as Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, Senator Cain�s efforts on behalf of the people of Texas have been widely recognized. He was named to Texas Monthly Magazine�s list of Ten Best Legislators, the Dallas Morning News said he was one of the outstanding legislators of the 73rd session, and the Texas Department of Transportation awarded him the Russell H. Perry Award in 1995 for his efforts to gain public awareness of the need for and benefits of transportation facilities in the State of Texas. Jeffrey C. Bruteyn, Managing Director, stated, We at InterFinancial are proud to have such a widely recognized Senator join our board and oversee out automotive lending division. His affiliations and connections to the automotive industry will be invaluable to our company. Senator Cain will be instrumental in expediting our approval to use a government issued Seller Finance License. Seller Finance Licenses are very difficult to obtain and are usually reserved for the Big Boys with heavy lobbyists. These licenses are highly coveted because it allows the finance company to collect the entire down payment, instead of paying a portion of it to the taxing authority. This dramatically helps a finance company�s bottom line if the buyer defaults on the loan.With the new GPS tracking systems being installed on every car to dramatically improve repossessions and with Senator Cain on the Board of Directors, InterFinancial Holdings is ready to take their business to the next level. Conclusion:The examples above show the Awesome, Earning Potential of little known Companies That Explode onto Investor�s Radar Screens. This stock will not be a Secret for long. Then You May Feel the Desire to Act Right Now! And Please Watch This One Trade!! GO IFLH!All statements made are our express opinion only and should be treated as such. We may own, take position and sell any securities mentioned at any time. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, goals, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance are not statements of historical fact and may be “forward looking statements.” Forward looking statements are based on expectations, estimates and projections at the time the statements are made that involve a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those presently anticipated. This newsletter was paid four thousand dollars from a party (IR Marketing). Forward looking statements in this action may be identified through the use of words such as: “projects”, “foresee”, “expects”. in compliance with Section 17(.b), we disclose the holding of IF LH shares prior to the publication of this report. Be aware of an inherent conflict of interest resulting from such holdings due to our intent to profit from the liquidation of these shares. Shares may be sold at any time, even after positive statements have been made regarding the above company. Since we own shares, there is an inherent conflict of interest in our statements and opinions. Readers of this publication are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and expectations involving various risks and uncertainties that could cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the forward- looking statements. This is not solicitation to buy or sell stocks, this text is for informational purpose only and you should seek professional advice from registered financial advisor before you do anything related with buying or selling stocks, penny stocks are very high risk and you can lose your entire investment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>