Saturday 31 August 2013

The mystic is critical to longevity; we need a strong item sink. Blizzard has to get this right.

So I'm starting to hear that blizzard is considering making rolls with the mystic unlimited, and I take this to mean that so long as you've farmed enough essence, then you can enchant your item to godliness to your heart's content.

I think this is a bad idea. Yes, the item would be account bound and yes, that is a type of item sink, but it's not a very strong one, because once you find a solid base to work from enchanting the item you want shouldn't be too hard, and then once it's rolled, it becomes that much harder to upgrade out of. I worry that if the mystic is implemented in this form at the mass scale then we will hit a dissatisfaction guaranteed probability wall much sooner than we would otherwise. In the game we have now, the odds of finding an upgrade anywhere other than the auction house is nearly zero, and most freshly rolled upgrades come from unids picked up by bots that were sold in the unid market. These bots are able to function 24/7 in high MP levels because of excessive power creep in the gear relative to the content difficulty, and the average player has no ability to compete.

The solution from Blizzard seems to be a making strong rolls more accessible, for a type of instant gratification. However this is very much a game of relative power, and if you exponentially increase the odds of short-term success you also dramatically speed up the player hitting a nasty gear progression wall where they begin chasing base rolls on items that are stupidly unlikely to occur, just like what we have now. The best solution is a limited # of enchants, such that medium and strongly rolled items (relative to the metagame at that time) are continually removed from the economy.

The added benefit of this approach is also that content will remain challenging for a longer period. I would get sick to my stomach if 1 month after release we're all just shaving seconds off efficiency farming runs and nothing else. By slowing down the gear progression, it remains easier to balance the content and keep it interesting for everyone. It also hurts the bots, I mean who remembers when bots were stuck to farming gold in nightmare while all the human players were item hunting in inferno? We should aim for that.