When we had a think about how we'd like to do that, we took stock of how long it had been since the first was released and thought a lot about the feedback we'd received from players (and us devs too!). We felt it was a great time to switch up a few things now before we complete the rest so the idea came up to revamp the existing quests first. The temptation is there to just "get them done the same as before because that's faster" but we wanted to get them done right.
We're going to revamp each of the four existing quests in the same order they were originally released (Cleric, Shaman, Warrior and Wizard). Once that's done we'll then continue to create the rest, one at a time, using the same logic for those in most cases.
At the same time, we felt it was a good time to review the class spells and abilities. So with each epic 3.0 (revamp or new) we'll also change or add new spells for that class.
The first was Cleric. Before I go into the details I'm going to cover the overriding feedback we received about the existing quests and the changes that will happen to all of these quests and why.
First up, I want to make it clear that we're not changing the quest story very much at all because Vaion did a fantastic job there. For the most part, the quest structure remains the same as before.
The most common feedback was around the long camps for items (particularly if taking the solo options). Each quest has around 9 of these, even if you don't do the solo tasks (which add 2-3 more). These solo camps were designed to take time and that's important (the quests need to take a lot of time) but they're all mostly the same 6 minute spawn and 5% chance to drop. The issue with this approach is it means you must diligently remain in one place for several hours, killing the same npcs repeatedly.
Whilst it should be noted that the raid option does let a T8 raid force reduce that wait by several hours, potentially, that's only 3/12 total camps (and those raid tasks are still highly challenging as they are). Ultimately, these camps provide little challenge but the demands on the player's time without providing a significantly fun experience was probably the biggest negative feedback about these quests.
The feedback for the raid challenges has been overwhelmingly positive so no need to change those.
The foraging parts can be very time consuming and generally didn't generate a lot of positive feedback.
Players mostly loved the unique class based challenges (e.g. I personally loved most of the warrior epic, the tasks were really fun and interesting).
The option to choose the solo or raid tasks has always been permanent. The idea was to add weight to the player decision and I support that vision. I just don't think it's appropriate when the variance between the two options is so dramatic (and it's really easy to accidentally click the wrong option). This results in a lot of petitions to reset quest flags and I can tell you that experience isn't a fun one for player or for us (I've had it happen as both). It feels a touch punitive for players and also takes a lot of effort to change our end.
So, with this in mind, the below is the list of objectives for the revamp:
- Replace the solo pathway long camps with solo instances that are for the quest character only - these should be designed to complement the class and they should be fun but time consuming. They'll result in the exact same items as required now but the only caveat is you won't be able to "preloot" and will need to do them in the sequence of the quest.
- Allow players to switch between solo or raid with no penalty! This is a big one. You can choose the raid option, give it a try with friends and if it's too difficult or you're not powerful enough (or you just chose the wrong option) then the npc will let you change to solo. You can freely switch between them. Just make sure whichever you do opt for that you hand in the right resulting loot (it'll only work if you're flagged for it)
- Replace the 6 minute, 5% drop chance stuff with much longer re-spawn timers but much higher chances to drop. It'll be something like 25% chance to drop but 3 hour repop (subject to variation). This means theoretically much longer to get the item but with virtually no requirement to "camp". You just go, find the mobs, kill them and wait for the next cycle to try again. In between, you are free to go enjoy other content.
- Change the forage part of the quests to make it more fun, less time consuming and interactive. It's currently possible for the character doing the quest to forage the items themselves (all classes can get 50 forage skill minimum with the AA) but I'll script it so it'll react to a player flagged for that quest at the right stage. This should be interactive and fun and not take more than an hour or so (more detail below).
That's it. The rest of the quest will largely remain the same. If I have time I'll update the existing wiki entries for each quest as I revamp it.
Below is some detail about changes to the Cleric quest (going live today!) so...
It should go without saying that below are a lot of spoilers about the cleric epic 3.0 Quest so please don't read on if you don't want it spoiled.
Changed the below quest kill targets to 25% chance to drop the existing quest items they drop but increased their respawn to 3 hours with +- variation:
Mithril Steel Bar -> Bishop Alderan -> Plane of Valor
Liquid Bronze -> Sir Forndel -> Befallen
Raptor Tooth -> Vrakkth -> Timorous Deep
Ghoul Sinew -> Kurckri -> Emerald Jungle
Dragon Bone Bolt -> Sarkanoth -> Field of Bone
Essence of Marr
Removed the 3 solo task camps entirely (butcher docks, necropolis and burningwood) and replaced them with 3 totally new solo instances, each with its own challenge for the cleric to complete. The reward for successful completion is the same items and the tasks are time consuming but a skillful player can finish them faster, whereas those who perhaps find it more challenging will still be able to get the items they need but it'll take longer.
These instances have been tuned to non donor T5 clerics (I literally used a Cleric that's rank 5 to test it).
Without going into too much detail, these instances are:
1. Help Harbormaster Ironbeard on his patrol around the Port Feydwer docks, whilst he looks to discover and apprehend smugglers. Help him by keeping him alive and preventing smugglers escaping. Help him by inspecting suspects and pointing them out to him. As you successfully detain smugglers, you get tools and upgrades to help Ironbeard and you but the smugglers also get stronger! If Kormif Smugglers are discovered (higher chance the more you progress), you get to keep the evidence they carry.
2. A proper dungeon crawl, perfectly designed to make you feel like a badass battle cleric! Carry an ethereal weapon that inflicts great damage against the denizens of the Necropolis tombs, loot upgrades that enhance your battle prowess (all temporary and only usable in the instance) and fight your way using all your abilities to the bosses of the Tomb, who will drop the hearts you need.
3. Help the gnomes of House Taryn defend their Fort against the onslaught of the Wasp Spitter swarm! Keep the brave gnome warriors on the front line alive as they stand against waves of attacks. Earn rally points for survival and spend them on upgrades to enhance their power. Each attack survived offers an increasing chance of obtaining the single doses of wasp spit required (up to 100% chance).
When Madam Kurstiv requires the 4 items of clothing (2 ground spawn, 2 foraged) the cleric can spend a point into the forage AA (if they haven't already) and actually forage for the items themselves, rather than rely on a druid/ranger etc to do it for them. If they do this, each time they attempt, they'll be given an indication of how far away they are and whether they're getting closer or further away. Use deduction to work out where the item is. If you forage close enough, even if the attempt fails, you get an item you need.
The location of the item resets after 5 minutes of inactivity (the 5 minute timer restarts with every forage attempt though, so easy to keep it going). If you do luck out and get the required items via forage anyway, that still works.
Finally, a lot of work and love went into creating these new solo tasks. Through play testing internally we all felt that they're really fun and wanted more players to try them out (useful for more feedback too). So, for the existing epics only, we'll do something a bit different...
Any cleric that already completed the 3.0 can Hail the relevant npcs to create and enter the 3 new solo instances. You'll be allowed to play them as much as you like until you receive 4 rewards (the normal quest rewards will be replaced with up to 4 AA potions). Once you've got all 4, the instance and event can no longer be accessed.
Those who have a T5 or higher cleric and would like to try soloing it, please do give the new quest a go. Let us know what you think. Those who have completed the Cleric Epic 3.0, please do give these new instances a try and let us know what you think. Do you prefer them to how it was when you did it? Did you find it fun and challenging? Is there anything that we could do better?
The remaining 3.0s will all follow a similar patten as the above. I'm really excited to see what you think.