The next portion of JWBarry’s Developer Diaries is up, this one focusing on the rewards and quality of the instances. You also might want to check out Part 1 of this 5 part series as that covers some of the high level concepts like travel, scaling, and quests.
The bulk of the diary does cover the rewards which for me are the key to this system working as without good rewards people will continue to not revisit these spaces. They’ve decided to tie the Scaled Instances to the skirmish system and leverage that same reward mechanism such that we’ll be collecting skirmish marks, level band tokens, and campaign tokens. The skirmish marks are the same ones we’re used to with the level and campaign being tied to the instance level and zone very similar to the current Skirmish specific marks that drop. With this transition there will be a new barter vendor with the items from the previous instance vendors and new items as well. He does mention that “many” of the unique items that dropped from these instances will be available on these new barter vendors so hopefully that includes the cosmetic items and things like the Coldbear axe. A few key points from the diary:
- “Trash” monsters will all have low chances of dropping various tokens. Since Classic instances have no Lieutenants, we wanted to have “sparkly” moments during play.
- A new token (much like the old Fourth Mark) is being added for the Challenge modes. These tokens will allow access to 2nd Age components!
- Level 65 versions of the Annúminas and Helegrod sets with updated art and Radiance! It is important to note that while you can barter for Radiance armour from these instances, they do not require Radiance to play them.
- A new level 30 set for the Great Barrow.
- Various new cosmetic rewards added for all instances.
- Cosmetic versions of the Annúminas and Helegrod sets.
The biggest items for me are that this provides another means to obtain radiance sets as well as 2nd Age weapons, and I’m assuming by the components he means the Symbol needed to craft the Legendary Item. I do appreciate these additions as it opens these two systems to more options in obtaining them. I’m also glad to have a guaranteed path to a 2nd Age item, not a completely random one that forces me to not only complete content but win a roll. The new Radiance armor hopefully will also provide some different options for raiding as you won’t be forced to get a particular set, you will be able to mix and match to get the required number. Granted you can do some of that now, but this will just provide more options. Not everyone plays their class the same way and this will provide people more options to gear up their class the way they want to play it.
Aside from the rewards, I enjoyed reading about how they tested these “new’ instances as they ran it not only on-level but at level cap as well. They then compared that with the current instances to see what all needed to be tweaked or changed to improve them. Not that I expected them to just jack the levels, but it is always encouraging to see how they go about the test process.
Over all, I really do like the direction they’re taking but I do have some concerns about the rewards as this system will be just as infrequently run as it is today without a reason to do the content:
- Will the new radiance gear be comparable to the current radiance gear? For me, it seems that getting the Helegrod set will be more challenging then the current sets (it is a 24 man raid afterall) and hopefully the reward is there. I would like to see these sets certainly better then the Moria Radiance set and the 2 3-piece Radiance sets but probably comparable to the DN and BG sets.
- Part of the fun and drive of running these instances was the chance you might get a random drop that was a very good item for a particular class and I see this system as potentially removing that. I realize they’re adding some items to the vendors, so hopefully they will move not only cosmetic items but the gear rewards as well.
- There’s talk of armour sets and cosmetics in the diary, but one of the biggest end-game driver of what instances to run revolves around jewelry and cloaks which hasn’t received any mention at all. I would love for them to add a couple of jewelry pieces and a cloak or 2 as a barterable item from each of the instances. I feel so far they’ve done a pretty good job of this in the current instances and I really hope they carry that forward in this system as without these incentives I just don’t see people running the instances on a consistent basis.