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Paragus Rants

Rants, reviews, and interviews from an MMO veteran and guild leader.

Author: Paragus1

Rant: Undocumented Patch Notes

Posted by Paragus1 Thursday July 31 2008 at 12:24PM
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Rant:  Undocumented Patch Notes

Patch day, the day that most MMO gamers look forward to.  MMO's appeal to so many people because of the constant addition of new goodies that the devs put it over time that usually give us, the players, new content, bug fixes, and other things to hopefully make our gaming experience a little better.  Every MMO out there worth a shit will continue to release these patches every so often, and then provide us with a complete list that we eagerly wait for so we can find out what the devs are up to, as well as rationalize our subscription.  Unfortunately, Funcom's "Age of Conan" does not fall into this category.

 

Now I have played a lot of MMOs in my day, and survived many a patch day, but I have never seen a game with so many "Undocumented Patch Notes" as they are called by the community.  I was an early access player for Age of Conan, unsubscribed recently for a variety of reasons, but every patch I have seen looks good until you see the things that aren't listed there.  One has to ask themselves, why wouldn't they list all of the things they changed?  You would think you would want to take credit for all the changes you have made to your game to show the community that you are proactive about fixes.   Let's take a look at a few of the undocumented fixes from previous patches....

Improvements

Items
* Reports of further Loot Table additions: New items dropping in several areas.

Trader
* Silks,Gems,Jewelry, all such items are now searchable and showing up at the traders.

Herald of Xotli:
* The spell "Hellfire Breath" now has a new animation.

* Party members now show on zone maps

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Looks good!   Take credit for this and list them on the patch notes!   You might be wondering why I am writing a rant about this issue?  Let's take a look at some other things that never got mentioned...

Stealth Nerfs

Guardian
* Overreach reduced in power. Apparently reduced by 40-60% damage. Strikes that were hitting for 1200-1500 overreach III now hitting for 600-700

Assassin
* Assasin's From the Darkness combo (Corruption lvl 70 feat) nerfed. Animation after charge has been changed, damage on next attack lowered by roughly 50-70%

Barbarian:
* The Level 40 talent in the Barbarian Tree "Cyclone of Razors" has been changed from 5-points for 28% Damage to 5-points for 10% Damage.

Items
* Reports of many items losing their Gem Slots. If you had gem's in these items you have also lost your gems

  *Invisible walls everywhere, it's now impossible to climb an average slope. It was very easy to notice in eiglophian mountains.

 

 

Nothing says "Fuck You" to your customer like massive undocumented nerfs (AKA Stealth Nerfs).  Do they seriously think your customers are so stupid that THEY WONT NOTICE THEY ARE DOING 40-60% LESS DAMAGE?!  Not only is it insulting to my intelligence, but it speaks volumes about business ethics.

Look, I understand that class balance is key, especially in a PvP MMO.  I have been around this genre long enough to know that nerfs happen, and in quite a few cases they are justified.  But at least MAN-UP, have the balls to let your customers know that you ran the numbers, and you thought a nerf was justified.  When you make drastic changes that are literally going to cripple the play style of a large portion of your customers and not even mention it in the patch notes, that is like trying to rape someone who is asleep and think they won't know something happened when they wake up sore and pregnant.

 

These kinds of changes without documentation seems like a deliberate effort to mislead players.  You would think that a side-effect of a given patch that was unintended would be a bug.   Yet for some reason, bugs that reduce our damage by 60% never seem to get fixed.  Weeks go by without any real comment regarding the crippling of a critical class skill by the devs.  That's customer service worth paying $15 a month for! 

Are there any other games out there that this has happened in, or is this another next-gen idea brought to you by Funcom?  This type of spineless activity on the part of developers shows that they are not fit for the business world.   I am a big believer in accountability, and things are not always going to be sunshine and lollipops.  If you can't step up and be honest and tell me how it is without sugar-coating, I don't think I trust you with my business.

 

Paragus

Co-Leader of Inquisition

www.inqguild.com

Rant: AoC - Exploit Early, Exploit Often

Posted by Paragus1 Monday July 21 2008 at 11:13AM
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Rant: AoC - Exploit Early, Exploit Often

When a new MMO comes out like Age of Conan, there are bound to be exploits that the Devs missed.   Let's be honest, there are some real scumbag players and guilds out there that are willing to trounce the rules of the game in order to gain an unfair advantage.  It then becomes the job of the Devs to not only close these loopholes, but to take action against those who knowingly exploited the game mechanics.

My guild went to Age of Conan when it released, and recently we have decided to back out the game and return to older MMOs.  We left for a variety of reasons which have been documented on various forums, but one thing you might not have heard on the forums is about the rampant exploiting going on that has gone completely unpunished. 

The following is a post I made on the Funcom forums that recounts what I discovered about exploiting in Age of Conan.

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Exploit Early, Exploit Often.

This unfortunately is the motto that Funcom has chosen to adopt. I was among the first players in my guild to reach max level. The day after I hit max level, I began to start looking at the end game content, specifically raiding as an avenue to pursue. I was told what we all know, that raids are set on a 1 week lockout timer.

There was a patch dating back to around June 26th I want to say, that fixed a certain weapon proc that enabled it to bug out certain raid boss mobs in a way where they would not fight back. I soon found out that most of the so called "uber" guilds on my server were involved in rampant exploiting not only of this game mechanic, but more so they were exploiting the raid lockout timer.

Yakhmar in specific was being killed upwards of 10 times in a single day by members of the same guild, by cheating the lockout mechanism. On a PvP server, competition plays a huge role, and it irritated me that the "server first" and "world first" guilds on my server who have a habit of talking down to everyone else took part in massive exploiting and geared out much of their guild by using this.

Upon discovering this fact, I sent an email to the exploit email address at Funcom explaining everything I had discovered. I explained not only how this was happening in more detail, but also that it could be proven following this method on their end:

1 Yakhmar kill = 3-4 epics. If Funcom would have looked at the characters in these guilds, and added up the number of epic items from this boss, they would see it would be statistically impossible for them to have the number of drops from this boss. They would have to kill this boss every day since the day the game came out to reach the number that they had.

The response I got from Funcom to my letter was "Please explain how the exploit was being done".

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Um, excuse me?   I thought I already explained it!  To make matters worse, one of the guilds doing this was a guild whom I will not name, but has been banned from every MMO they have played for exploiting.  No action to this day has been taken against any of the guilds, and my thread was locked by Funcom.

 

 

Nice one guys.  No wonder people are progressing faster than you thought.   Are you that desperate that you need the money of exploiting players?  The legit players in Age of Conan will continue to watch as they fight geared out exploiting players on PvP servers.  I later found out that this was not limited to my server, but incidents have been on many if not all servers.  The integrity of this game has been compromised by their lack of action against those who are deliberately circumventing the raid lockout timer in order to gain unfair advantage.

Devs please take note.   You may lose some money from the revenue of banned accounts, but you will send a resounding message that cheating and exploiting is not tolerated in your game.  When potential customers find out you are letting this rampant activity go unchecked, they will opt not to subscribe to your game.

 

Paragus

Co-Leader of Inquisition

www.inqguild.com