Check out the patch notes for the v17 Precursor Update here: http://maplestory2.nexon.net/en/news/article/53778/precursor-update-v17
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Hey this is going to be a long and opinionated post, so I apologise in advance, also it is just my personal opinions please don't bite my head off about it, I would like to hear your views too.
I took a break from MS2 and came back recently. Really I felt like I was too consumed by the game, I was running a guild, and I felt like I "had" to log on every day to get anywhere in the game. I think taking a break really helped me with that feeling and gave me a fresh perspective on the game. I logged in and straight away jumped into my old habit of starting off with dailies like Life Skills, then Daily Quests then Dungeons, and I realised there is one problem that exists throughout all of MS2, but is most obvious in Life Skills: It isn't fun! I felt like I was pulling teeth doing my dailies, and when I levelled up a couple of days later I realised I actually felt pain at levelling instead of the joy and sense of accomplishment I expected. This is because when I levelled I realised I would have yet another material type to farm each day, adding even more pain and monotony to the ritual.
I know I can just not do it, but I don't think this is a good solution. I LOVE farming games, like Stardew Valley and Harvest moon. And even in other mmos I usually really enjoy gathering. So I wanted to figure out why I hate MS2 Life Skills so much.
I think it boils down to this:
1. I feel "forced" to do it. It is a daily quest, if I skip a day I can't make it up the next day. This really sucks and makes it feel like a chore, taking away from my enjoyment significantly. I personally think that the plants should "grow" over the week, so you can farm them each day if you like and get less resources, or farm them after a few days and get more resources. This is a problem in all of MS2, everywhere are things that if I don't log on every day I am punished, so they turned from something fun and exciting into a chore.
2. There is very little reward from gathering. This is what I consider the biggest problem. What makes gathering fun? Consider a game like Ragnarok Online, which is one of my favourite games ever. I used to grind for hours and hours every single day with very little boredom, I actually really enjoyed the grind. Why did I enjoy it? Well I think there were three parts:
- -I was always making progress (this part exists: I farm I make progress levelling both Prestige and farming skill)
- -I was rewarded often. Every time I killed a mob it dropped loot, that I could sell for Zeny and buy things I wanted (this part also exists, although since I feel the need to horde it for crafting, I think this is a little more blurred for me)
- -I was rewarded in a BIG WAY rarely. This is the part MS2 is missing from life skills. Many loot based games rely on the dopamine shot you get to your brain when you anticipate a reward. That is the part that makes grinding mobs fun, the anticipation. You kill a mob and anticipate a reward. Games like RO and Diablo do this really well. For example in RO when you see that card drop you can't help but have a shot of excitement as you wonder "is that card good? which mob did it drop from?" it is an exciting time the moment you see it on the ground, then you open it and maybe it was a crap card, but you still got the excitement in the moment before you confirm that it was not the one you want. Similarly, in D3 you see a legendary drop, you get a shot of excitement as you anticipate it being a legendary you need, then if it is a legendary you need you get yet another excitement shot when you anticipate it having better stats than your current gear! Genius. This is what makes grinding in those kinds of games fun. In MS2, there is nothing like this. An ore vein will never ever ever drop anything exciting, so I can never get any excitement or anticipation from looting it.
3. Currently gathering is a cookie clicker, without any progression. It is like you played a cookie clicker where as you gained more cookies, you could use them to buy different coloured cookies. At first you would be excited "oooo blue cookies, oooo red cookies", but after a while you would get bored and realise there was no meaning to those cookies, they are just a different colour. Cookie clickers are fun because you make progress and begin to automate the clicking progress. Personally I don't think this is necessarily suitable for a game like MS2, but it is something to consider. MS2 Gathering is basically a cookie clicker if you took out the fun part.
So here is my opinion on how MS2 could improve Life Skills. In particular gathering.
Firstly, make gathering build up over time, so you can do it daily and be rewarded by it being quicker, or weekly and it takes a bit longer. Don't force me to log in every single day and turn gathering into a chore. Reward me for doing it daily by making it easier, but don't punish me for doing it weekly.
Secondly, I suggest that there are 1% and 0.01% drops added to gathering (numbers are picked at random to give an idea, what I mean is "rare" and "super duper rare"), and make those rare drops exciting, so I have something to look forward to.
Here is an example using Mining/Blacksmithing as an example. (Please don't judge my examples too harshly, honestly I am more interested in the idea of making gathering more rewarding than the specific rewards, but the point is that the 0.01 needs to be so exciting that you want to jump out of your seat with excitement just for getting it, or something, haha)
Have a 1% drop that gives a special rare gem or metal, that can be used to craft a gem box. (yay I got a shot of excitement when I realised I got a rare drop). Then make that gem box have a medium-low chance to have a Tier 2 gem (shot #2 of anticipation at getting something i really want, prolonging the excitement). The second chance has to be high enough that I think it is possible, but low enough that I won't get it often.
Have a 0.01% drop to get a gem that can make an random armour box. This armour box can have ANY epic+ armour in the game, even legendary items, but at appropriately low drop rates (ie. legendary probably won't happen, but hey maybe Varrekant's wings could, and there is still a chance right?) Again we are doubling up on the excitement. First I get OMFG excited when the 0.01% drops because I know it will be good no matter what, but what if it is something AMAZING???, then the anticipation when you actually open the box (please be legendary +.+).
You could do similar things with Foraging/Alchemy, making 1% drop be an elixir bundle for example, and the 0.01% be something like a random attribute lock/reroll card, especially if you could add something amazing like an attribute perfecter card which takes the attributes currently on a gear piece and perfects them, that would be exciting!
The above suggestion is particular to mining and foraging, but I want to make another suggestion to be considered for farming and ranching. (I mostly suggest this because I really like farming games hahaha :P But it would be awesome, even if it might be a lot of work to implement.)
Instead of having ranching be a cookie clicker like it currently is, what if instead we had a special currency, lets call them "seedlets" for the sake of the example.
Let me buy seeds with "seedlets" then plant them, have them take a period to grow (eg. 3 days). Have them benefit from daily watering but not require it, maybe daily watering increases the chance of getting a rare seed as a reward. Let me either trade the produce for more seedlets or use for crafting life skills. Let me buy higher quality seeds that produce more produce per farm, so I start with low quality wheat that gives 10 wheat per plot, but I can buy higher quality later that gives up to 50 per plot.
Rare seeds could be as simple as, a seed that keeps growing every x days and never has to be replanted, or perhaps I could use 100 rare seeds to buy an auto-gathering machine which automatically harvests crops in a 9x9 around it, so I can just pick them up instead of having to gather them myself.
I think Life Skills highlights a problem in a lot of areas of MS2. The feeling that it is a chore because it "must" be done, instead of doing it because it is fun and I want to. And the feeling that it isn't very rewarding.
For example with dungeon drops you could probably easily increase the excitement by adding the equivalent of Diablo 3 primal weapons. Let us occasionally get a weapon that has guaranteed perfect stats which is a different colour (eg. purple with a gold border), and have that anticipation/excitement of hoping it will have the correct stats.
And removing the chore aspect of Dungeons would be instead of having 10/20 - 30/60 limits, let them build up. If I get to Friday and haven't done any dungeons let me go ham and do 60 in a row. At least it will take the chore feeling away from Sat-Thurs, that feeling like "sigh I really should do my 10 dungeons today or else I won't be able to use up my weekly cap").
Fun comes in when we anticipate a reward. Very few things in MS2 give any sense of anticipation. Weapons drop almost every run, so there is no excitement when you see a weapon drop, there is only possible excitement when you check for the correct stats, you have reversed the anticipation/excitement formula (to make it worse, actually only correct stat weapons feel rewarding, so you have made it only possible for people to even feel rewarded once and repeat failures would make people feel jaded, preventing any possibility of anticipation and excitement from weapon drops). Gathering materials drop every gather, so there is no excitement gathering. If you want to make this game more fun, instead of throwing more items at as or making things easier, you need to reduce the items but increase the feeling of reward for getting them. Low drop rate high reward items are fun, high drop rate low reward items are boring.
Anyway sorry it's so long, this is just something I have been thinking about for a while. I hope the MS2 team considers my suggestions, since I think without compelling rewards, and just relying on FOMO (Fear of Missing Out; which is the main addictive formula of this game), will just cause people to become unhappy and burnt out.
TL;DR Life skills are boring because they are daily which makes them feel like a chore, and they do not give any sense of reward since they always drop the same thing.
EDIT: I realised after re-reading it that it is all a bit negative toward the game. But honestly I love MS2 sooooo much and I really want it to succeed. That's why I keep making suggestions and really want to try help it become a better game. Overall I think the game is amazing, I just think there are some issues with it that if they get improved would make the game better. I am so thankful to the MS2 team for everything they do.
EDIT 2: Spelling errors etc.
That sucks, yeah I don't want to recommend skipping the story just to get 60 more quickly, but that is an option. If you skip the story text and just hammer through it, it only takes 4-5 hours to get 50. Auto-performance vouchers from the maplopoly at the higher levels (45+) might help you get those last few levels without playing the game too.
I unfortunately think the 60 cap is to prevent abuse by players or gold sellers creating multiple accounts and claiming the reward....
Maybe they should have done something like "for accounts created before x date" instead of level 60 accounts, to make it more fair.
I agree, it would probably upset most of the community. Also there is no problem in us disagreeing on the forum, in fact it is healthy since it brings in different opinions, and even when we disagree, I am sure we can at least acknowledge some of the points other people make. Often I think something that sounds right to me, only to have someone argue against it and make me realise that I didn't consider their perspective.