This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “Epic Items…..that everyone else has??” by Emergence, who is no stranger to the spotlight! Emergence is disappointed with the state of epic items in MMOs, asserting that they no longer truly feel epic. If everyone has ‘em, how are they epic?
Read below for more of Emergence’s thoughts on the subject, and we’ll also take a look at what the rest of the community is saying on the topic!
“In every game there are Epic or Legendary Items.
In WoW, every lvl 80 newb has one...or four...or twenty four. WoW suffers from what I call "Dragon Ball...Z...GT... Syndrome" in that the characters never die (or come back to life) and eventually the story becomes ridiculous in how powerful the characters become. At first they were drained from any form of energy attack. In the end, they apparently fight multiple gods, and then level up 100,000,000,000,000x past that. It's what is inevitable when a series refuses to end or change characters.
In Ultima Online, things were different. Items were looted or broke. I remember trying to find Silver Weapons. These did double damage to Undead. WOW! That was awesome! Orc-Bane items. Sweet! Elemental Killers! Pain Katanas.
What do you guys think about Epic Items? Should only a few players have them? Should they be rare, or just breakable? Should every player be allowed several, so that everyone gets to feel awesome- or is that childish and should be reserved for Toon Disney 3: Ariel's Slumber?
Okay... wait a minute! What makes an item Epic? Isn't there a big difference between double damage bane items and the Sword of 10,000 Souls?
Should weapons raise stats? Should weapons increase Skill or Level? What do you think of DPS? Speed? Enchantments? Charges?”
Ubervon feels pretty strongly about the disappointing state of epic items as well:
“lol @ the idea of 'EPIC' items. at least when it comes to the now easy-mode-here's-your-purple-gear-Warcraft MMO. it's rather dumb to say "hey these here items are epic" when every other tom, bob, and joey have the SAME stuff. instead of actually hunting down and getting some random awesome drop, total newbs can just hit a crappy dungeon a couple times, and then go hand in some tokens for gear at an NPC.
wow, that was awesome--now you look like everyone else. what's so fantastic and special about looking like, and sharing the same stats--as everybody else? you don't stand out, you don't have any advantage over anyone. but hey! all your gear is 'epic.'
Epic/legendary should mean those bits and parts are rare. Hard to find. Special. Not so common that any newb can wander off to an NPC and BUY the dumb things. And when you do find one, it should not look like everything else in the game. What would be the point in that? "oh hey my hat is legendary and orange!" ya, and it looks like rest of the "epics" everyone else has that they got off the NPC. Lucky you!”
Krelian understands and appreciates Emergence’s complaints, but ultimately prefers the “WoW system”:
I respect your opinion as you got some good points,
But in an mmo, if only a few players can have epic items, than ULTIMATELY (/eventually) those players will be thehardcore ones, whereascasual players will be forced to walk the eternity in ''grey or white quality items''....
So it would be great for epic players, they would have epic armor
But for the rest of us it wouldnt be so extremly great,.
I beleive thats why games like world of warcraft and etc ''play out'' the way they do...
Its like INSTANT GRATIFICATION TO ANYBODY, so no matter how much you play a day, no matter who or where you are, ur always in the end guaranteed to find some ''uber items'' that can satisfy your needs.
BUT THE DOWNSIDE OF IT ALL (just kinda the way OP explained i guess)if everybody and their mother has access to those epics, than they are epics no more. (and they serve no special purpose, either)
But personally, in the end; I still prefer the WOW system, as I am only a casual player (working&studying+social life= VERY LITTLE TIME FOR GAMING) and if it wasn't for wow, I prolly would never have seen or possessed a rare or epic item in any game in my life :D”
Ramonski7 takes issue with the assertion that games like World of Warcraft dilute the value of “epic” items:
“In WoW Legendary items seperate the wannabes from the real achievers and Artifacts are even a step futher by being unique per server. Epics are measured against the common folk in these games a.k.a. npcs. You know, the real populance. DAoC had relics, UO had silver katanas, LoTRO has legendary and I'm sure other mmos have a step above what WoW call epics. WoW has 3 levels of gear that really matter to it;s players: uncommon, rare and epic. That's not a very wide spectrum of gear quality to get bent over seeing how most bosses wield legendary and artifact items.”
So, here’s my take: I agree with Emergence that epic items have definitely lost their sheen in the current crop of MMOs, but I am honestly conflicted on whether or not that is a bad thing. For example, while I never got into World of Warcraft, I’m aware that the game has become more and more accessible with time, so much so that it’s obviously become much easier to acquire “epic items” (such as Tier sets) than in years past, to the point where it seems like the people I know who do play the game quite a bit are simply going through the motions to acquire these items. On the one hand, it’s nice seeing friends I know who have never been into the raiding scene actually put in the time and effort (as reduced as it may be) into acquiring that gear, because it’s now actually an attainable goal without requiring giving up one’s entire life.
At the same time, I’m not sure I’d want things to go back entirely in the other direction. To provide one recent example, I played Warhammer Online at launch and found a lot of the armor progression to be pretty bland, but I’d also seen the art for the Sovereign gear for my favorite classes and thought it looked lightyears better and wanted it badly. If you saw anyone wearing that stuff (you didn’t, but if you did!), it would definitely stand out as being epic. However, it was so epic it was nigh impossible to get, nevermind the Renown Rank requirements that would be needed just to wear it.
Ultimately, I think that breaking item progression down into a trio of goals in a game’s design is probably an ideal solution. Short term goals, items that look cool, are powerful, but don’t require players to give up their lives, would fit well with casual gamers. Medium-length goals, items or item sets intended for players to acquire over a few months of consistent game time would be great for everyone else and also serve as longer term goals for casual gamers. And finally, long-term goals, items that require immense effort and dedication, are powerful and awesome looking, but are not required to tackle content, for the hardcore types. The key difference is that there should always be a path to these things, even if they are intended to be epic. Just having things be so rare there are only ever 2-4 people on an entire server that have them doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.
There’s also the whole justification of cost. If you have to develop equally epic content for these items, it’s hard for developers to justify creating things that only a tiny percentage of the playerbase will ever experience or attain.
Finally, it’s important not to invalidate these accomplishments. One of the reasons I could never be bothered to play World of Warcraft whether it was in vanilla when things were still hard to get or now, is the rate at which player accomplishment is invalidated. If I put in all that effort, I’d like to be able to enjoy it somehow. Getting the best stuff in the game only to have greens a level or two above the old level cap be better is a real downer. Players who put in all that effort should have an advantage over the new content, they earned it!