Here's an idea I have been working out for helping Classic's PVM situation. Please feel free to give feedback, I'd like to get this hammered out into a balanced and acceptable proposal for everyone (well, as many people as is reasonably possible) so that we can maybe get this implemented with as little fuss as possible.
Table of Contents:
-The Big Snag
PS Its very long, you have been warned.
One of the large problems behind Classic is the lack of PVM participation. People log in for WoE and nothing else. What options are there for someone to participate outside of WoE?
-Leveling: Once you reach 99, or even 90~95, there isn't much incentive to continue doing this.
-Endless Tower, Sealed Shrine, etc: A good option, but limited a few times a week at most, and most of the rewards are restricted to very elite-level players. There's something in it for everyone, though, which is good!
-BG: This would be a good option if people actually played the BGs normally. Last I checked, this wasn't the case.
-MVPing: While a good option, it is basically restricted to a very small subset of players, especially high-end MVPs.
These are all of course good options in their own ways, but they are very limited in scope. Aside from just leveling, none of these are something you can just "log in and do," they require either a large time commitment in terms of organizing people, or can only be actually done by a small handful of people at a time.
So the goal, then. To develop an in-game system with the following features:
-Worth the time to do (sufficiently rewarding)
-Can be done by a large subset of the population (not restricted to those with the leet gear)
-Doesn't require large time commitments (no cooldowns, doesn't require organizing large parties)
-Doesn't break the game
So with these goals in mind, I want to develop a system that will breathe some life into the PVM aspect of RO Classic.
Before I talk about what changes I actually want to make, let's discuss why I want to add to this particular part of the game.
One of the parts of RO I enjoy the most is hunting MVPs. I don't think there's a whole lot to say there. The task of finding enemies much stronger than you and finding a way to bring them down is extremely exciting, especially considering the rewards. The problem with MVPing though, is that there are only so many MVPs, and many of them are completely beyond the reach of the average player.
So why not, then, have a similar system that rewards hunting boss monsters that aren't MVPs? In fact, we already have a system like that, with tons of these enemies in the game. Yet, aside from a small few (the poring bosses, MayaP...are there even any more?) you very rarely hear of people seeking out and hunting them down. Who camps Dark Illusions? Or Chimeras? Or hunts down the Swords and Bloody Knights in Geffenia?
The Minibosses of RO are stuck in an odd place. They are very widely spread in difficulty, ranging from the lowly Eclipse to the 99 Ghosts in Bio3. The spread is very even, so players at almost any level can take part in the hunt if they so wished. But no one does. Why not? Because there's no reward for doing so. There's no benefit. As much as you might enjoy getting a party of two or three people to work together and hunt down the Dark Illusion in Glast Heim Abbey, a thousand successful kills will get you nothing but a thousand brigans. Even the card drop isn't fantastic, compared to the difficulty of acquiring it.
So we are left with a system primed and ready to draw people into the PVM aspect of the game, but currently is unable to do so due to a lack of foreseeable reward. There is no purpose to hunting these minibosses. So...why not add one?
So, the obvious solution to making Minibosses more worthwhile to hunt is to increase EXP and improve drops. While that is an easy task to propose, it's considerably more difficult to implement. While minibosses across the board give horrendously low experience compared to the difficulty of finding and killing them, how much should they give then? And much more difficult, who wants to think up 44 new drop tables that balance difficulty to reward, enough that people will find it worthwhile to hunt them, without making them 'too valuable,' where monsters start getting GTB Syndrome?
My proposal is this. Rather than updating each monster individually, a tremendously time consuming task, aim for a more sweeping change. We want something that is easy to implement, so the GMs being stretched thin isn't an obstacle to implementation, but still gives a good enough reward for players of all skill levels to find it worthwhile. More concretely?
Implement a coin system for minibosses. This would probably be similar to jRO's famous MVP coin system, but I do not know a whole lot about that system, so I can't say how similar this will actually be. We would, as a community, develop a list of minibosses, as well as elect one or two entries on their drop table that are suitably worthless and can be harmlessly overwritten. Then, those monsters are split into "classes" based on difficulty and scarcity, and each class is assigned a set reward, being a chest of coins. Minibosses of more difficult classes would drop chests that give more coins. These coins can then be traded in for sufficiently useful rewards.
There are 2 key aspects of this that I believe make it effective:
-Minibosses come in all difficulty levels, meaning the system scales itself to the players' level of seriousness naturally. Anyone can get in on the system, yet the truly hardcore will be able to achieve hardcore results.
-It is relatively simple to implement at the start, requiring only small changes to each miniboss, creating maybe 5 new items, and one NPC, and can be scaled up by simply adding a few NPCs and new items, allowing for simple and easily implemented expansion.
So, let's talk about the details then.
The main idea here is to make implementation as simple as possible. I know there are time restraints on how much Gravity can spend on Classic, so I want to maximize time spent for effectiveness.
For the core system, I would propose the creation of 5 items and one NPC:
A coin that looks like it came from a different world. The Spectral Merchant in [Prontera] is collecting these.
Misc. Weight 1.
[Obtained directly from Spectral Chests]
Light Spectral Chest
A chest containing Spectral Coins. It doesn't feel very heavy.
Usable. Weight 10.
[On use: Gives the player 1~5 Spectral Coins]
[Drops from Grade C Bosses]
A chest containing Spectral Coins. It has some weight to it.
Usable. Weight 10.
[On use: Gives the player 6~10 Spectral Coins]
[Drops from Grade B Bosses]
[Rarely drops from Grade C Bosses]
Heavy Spectral Chest
A chest containing Spectral Coins. It feels quite heavy.
Usable. Weight 10.
[On use: Gives the player 11~20 Spectral coins]
[Drops from Grade A Bosses]
[Rarely drops from Grade B Bosses]
Enormous Spectral Chest
A chest containing Spectral Coins. You are surprised you are able to even carry it.
Usable. Weight 10.
[On use: Gives the player 21~50 Spectral Coins]
[Drops from Grade S Bosses]
[Rarely drops from Grade A Bosses]
The NPC would be the aforementioned Spectral Merchant, placed in some significantly central location. I said Prontera, but really wherever works. In fact, it might be more fun to put it in a significantly off-central location, like Niflheim or something. Anyways, that's a different story.
This NPC would be quite simple. All he does is trade your coins for stuff. I'll talk more about what kind of things he could give in the Rewards section later.
Next, there's the issue of which monsters should get which Chests. As you can see above, I've tagged each chest as coming from bosses of varying 'grades.' Here is a short list of what bosses would fit into which grades. This is obviously subject to change, pending feedback from both the community and the GMs.
-=Grade S=-Mastersmith HowardHigh Wizard KathryneHigh Priest MargerethaLord Knight SeyrenAssassin Cross EremesSniper CecilByorgue-=Grade A=-Arc AngelingDespero of ThanatosDolor of ThanatosMaero of ThanatosOdium of ThanatosDark IllusionCat O' Ninetails*Maya Purple*Hydrolancer*Valkyrie*-=Grade B=-Baby HatiiAngelingDevilingGhostringExecutionerMysteltainnOgretoothBloody KnightChimeraGoblin LeaderKobold LeaderUngoliantZealotus-=Grade C=-MasteringVocalEclipseVagabond WolfToadDragon FlyChepetChoco*Gemini S58Giant WhisperMobster*Mutant Dragonoid*
Firstly, you may notice not all of these enemies are Boss Protocol. That is intentional. The list doesn't want to target Boss Property monsters, it wants monsters that distinctly have that "mini-boss" feel, thus ruling out things like Galions, Incarnations, most monsters in Thors, Thanatos Angels, etc.
The general idea here would be:
Grade C: Light Chest (90% Chance), Normal Chest (5% Chance)
Grade B: Normal Chest (90% Chance), Heavy Chest (5% Chance)
Grade A: Heavy Chest (90% Chance), Enormous Chest (5% Chance)
Grade S: Enormous Chest (90% Chance), Additional Enormous Chest (5% Chance)
This would be the general template. Naturally, these drop rates can be modified to make each a bit more balanced. For instance, the Asterisked entries above are minibosses with abnormally large spawns, and so may warrant smaller drop chances. Feel free to give feedback on this list, either whether some bosses should be moved to other classes, if I missed some monsters that should be on the list, etc.
I've also been considering the idea of creating a "Grade D" that drops a single coin every time for those bosses with less than 5k~6k HP. Let me know what you think.
Now that we have monsters dropping coins, lets talk about what we want to do with those coins.
This is really the core of the system's appeal. Without reasonable rewards, there's no point to any of it. If the rewards are too good, however, obviously it'll be a problem.
First, this section will discuss rewards that can be given without the need of additional items to be created. The true magic of the system comes with proprietary rewards in my opinion, but those can be added at any time later. For now, for the sake of ease of implementation, this section will discuss only rewards that we can give without adding new items.
First, the biggest and possibly most enticing reward for the more average players: Experience.
I've done a bit of a comparison with Hugel Medals as far as how much each coin should give, so here's a very raw concept. Ideally, these would be unaffected by BMs, but as I suspect that is not possible, I've reduced it from my ideal slightly.
Base EXP: 30k per coin.
Job EXP: 30k per coin.
Split: 15k Base/Job per coin.
Like Hugel Medals, you would choose either Base or Job EXP, but you could also split it evenly down the center. This gives the following payouts:
1 Coin: 30k EXP
1 Coin with Manual: 45k EXP
1 Coin with HE: 60k EXP
1 Coin with 3x: 90k EXP
Which gives us the following chart:
Grade C: 30~150k without Manuals, 90~450k with 3x
Grade B: 180~300k without Manuals, 540~900k with 3x
Grade A: 330~600k without Manuals, 990k~1.8m with 3x
Grade S: 630k~1.5m without Manuals, 1.89m~4.5m with 3x
In my opinion, this alone would make minibosses valuable enough that people would start hunting them. But leaving it at just EXP would be wasted potential, so lets add some items as well.
The key here is that we don't want to devalue anything important, so right off that rules out high end gear. Again, this will look a little similar to the Hugel Medals, in that at lower values the list will mostly be populated by consumables, and and extremely high values it will have some cool stuff, that is not really obtainable via PVM.
So following is a hypothetical list of rewards. Again, this is an area that could benefit extremely well from feedback. The idea is to make it interesting, worthwhile, and not game breaking. Ideally, it would also include things that are mostly fairly difficult to obtain from PVM otherwise.
So, here's a first draft:
1 Coin: 25 White Potions
1 Coin: 5 Blue Potions
1 Coin: Gift Box
2 Coins: OBB
3 Coins: OPB
5 Coins: Guild Surplus Box
10 Coins: Jewelry Box
10 Coins: Wrapped Mask
15 Coins: 5 Ygg Seeds
20 Coins: 5 Guild Surplus Boxes
25 Coins: 5 Ygg Berries
25 Coins: 10 Dead Branches
50 Coins: Old Card Album
120 Coins: Ancient Card Album
200 Coins: Random Level 4 Weapon**
200 Coins: Random Slotted Elemental Armor
500 Coins: Level 4 Weapon of Choice**
500 Coins: Slotted Elemental Armor of Choice
500 Coins: 5 Bloody Branches*
**Selected from the following list:
[Obviously this list can be edited as seen fit]
Other ideas which I didn't include would be:
-Kafra consumables like enriched ores, BMs/Gum, etc etc.
-Selectable guild supplies (ie including Karvo, Stems, Alcohol, not just GSBs)
-Equipment that drops from normal monsters
Now, while I think that, if implemented thus far (though I think the item list probably needs some tweaking still), the system would work perfectly fine. However, the real fun would come with a bit more...customization.
This section is much less important, and not necessary in any way to the rest of the proposal. It is included here to serve as a suggestion for how the core system can be expanded in order to provide continually developing content for the Classic server. The following violates the whole "simple implementation" philosophy rather violently, so I've spoilered it to keep it a little bit separate from the main idea of the post.
Please do read it, but keep in mind it requires a lot more love before it would actually be acceptable for implementation. Feedback will be received gratefully on this section, but just remember this is to serve as an example of possibilities that could be explored after the core system has been implemented.
Okay, so that was a lot of fun, and there's a lot of potential for fun to be had in making new stuff. But let's rope it in a little and put a conclusion on this thing.
Expansion stuff aside, there are a few main goals of this project:
-Create a meaningful PVM experience that can be enjoyed by anyone
-Create meaningful rewards without breaking the rest of the game
-Be easily accessible at lower levels, while scaling up well enough to satisfy high end players
-Stimulate the economy via the buying, selling, and trading of Coins
-Be simple and easy to implement
-Can easily be expanded with minimal effort
By including expansion material (ie custom items specifically designed to be obtained via coins):
-Create new PVM goals for players to aspire towards
-Allow players to obtain specialized gear options that aren't available in-game at all otherwise.
-The option for community events in creating items that can be added to the system.
-The option for continued development of the server beyond the "hard cap" that is the end of kRO supplied content (13.2).
Add on top of that the fact that the rewards list can be added to or otherwise tweaked at any time:
-Adds the ability to address material shortages (EDP drought? Two week event where you can buy batches of Karvo with coins! Want to promote the Kafra shop? Two week event where you can buy a limited number of kafra consumables with coins as a taste-test!)
Do you see what I'm getting at?
-=The Big Snag=-
There is one big, big big big, humongous snag that many of you have probably already thought of. To cut to the chase, that is of course, Endless Tower.
With so many of the listed monsters appearing there in huge quantities, it would create a massive flood of coins every time a group went through. This is, of course, problematic, as it devalues both the coins and everything that could possibly be obtained with them.
The easiest solution to that problem is clearly "make them not drop on ET." That could be...a lot more complicated than it sounds, as how I imagine it would be implemented would require them to create brand new monsters for each listed monster, so they could make a new drop table. I'm not sure if this is entirely necessary, since I for some reason have the weird idea in my head that ET monsters already have a different Monster ID than their non-ET variants. I don't have any evidence to suggest this is actually the case though, so I don't put much confidence in that theory. If it were true though, problem solved. Don't let the ET monsters drop coins.
Assuming that isn't the case, the other option is to just nerf the drop rates of coins, or completely remove them, from any monster that appears in unreasonable numbers in ET. This is probably the next easiest option, but ET has a lot of monsters in it. It kind of guts the system a bit to have so many potential bosses taken off the list.
If anyone has any ideas as to how to tackle this issue, please share. Later, I will review the ET monster list and see how big of an impact a single ET run would actually have, and from there we can maybe come up with some more concrete solutions. But until then, let me hear your thoughts!
I think this has gone on long enough, so I'm going to try and wrap it up a bit.
The possibilities of a system like this are really endless. Even with just the core system, which I would recommend be implemented well before any custom items made it in, there is so much room for creativity and fun in the rewards alone, not to mention enjoying the actual act of hunting the bosses themselves.
On top of that, with an incredibly small-scale change, via 5 new items and 1 new NPC, I believe it has the potential to really breathe life into the PVM aspect of the Classic server. Not everyone can do High End MVPs, and not everyone wants to deal with the drama. PVP is great, but limited with no reward, and WoE only seems to give its big rewards to those on the top.
This system would be an excellent complement to the MVP system we already have. Buying and selling of coins will help to pull money down from the rich lazy players to the poor, which will improve their ability to compete not only in the Coin hunt, but also in standard MVPs. At the same time, it doesn't remove value from the currently existing systems, as nothing proposed would remove value from WoEing/MVPing, or even the Kafra shop.
It provides a newer, strong leveling option for those who can't or don't want to do the standard thors/bio leech, or sit on their hands waiting for dragonlabs or Ice Titan turnins to come back. While it may not be competitive with hardcore grinding, it's a lot more interesting, allows for a lot more variety, and opens options for those who want to level classes that can't do standard grinding, like potters and forgers.
Naturally, I don't believe the system is perfect as I've proposed. So that's where I need your help, community of classic! These are the specific points of feedback I'm looking for:
-Boss Grade list. Who doesn't belong where they are? Who belongs on the list but isn't on it? Who is on the list but shouldn't be on it?
-Rewards list. What are interesting, non-game breaking rewards that could be included?
-Lastly, general comments. What are the major flaws of the system that I didn't catch? Where is there room for improvement? What ideas are there that we can really run with, and create a much better experience overall?
I will look forward to your feedback! I don't have much faith this will get a lot of attention buried down in the proposals section, but after we've hammered it out into something that can be widely accepted by the community (haha fat chance), I'll start being a bit more verbal about it elsewhere.