For those that don’t keep up with EQ2, especially the changes that are on Test, last week they implemented a very major change for tradeskillers. Basically they removed the tradeskill instances that had been present in each of the starting villages and moved the tradeskill stations into various shops around the major city zones (North Qeynos, South Qeynos etc.). Needless to say this has created quite the uproar in the crafting community as they feel they’re being yanked out of their comfortable instances and put on public display for no good reason. It doesn’t help that the city zones are some of the laggiest in the game, even when there are no people in them.
If you’re interested in watching the uproar check out the In Testing Feedback forums of The Development Corner section on the EQ 2 Forums, especially the Tradekill Changes, Feedback and Playtest thread.
As you might have noticed they did a play test of the new system last night and, while it lived up – or possibly down – to the players expectations as an unmitigated disaster from a gameplay perspective I also felt it was at least beneficial. After about 30 minutes of testing Glendral, the tradeskill person, basically called a halt and gathered everyone around for a Q&A session. For the first time the reasons for wanting to make the changes were given…they want to make the tradeskill community a more intregal part of the overall EQ2 community. This sounds like a noble cause but, if you play the game, you might be a bit confused I know I was. You see I already think of our crafters as an intergal part of our community if for nothing else than their breadth of knowledge about the game in addition to their good humor and company. If what they’re actually trying to do is make the crafters a more “needed” part of the game then they’re going to have to work on making the items they produce more valued by the adventurers and that’s a whole other issue.
Personally, I think they’re worried that a new player, or worse a reviewer from some website, will log in to the game and find the two major cities all but empty. I hate to break it to them but this has been the case almost from the begining. Adventurers rarely go to the city zones except to pickup a new city writ and instead conduct all of their business in the smaller villages. The crafters spend most of their time in the tradeskill instance, also located in the village of their choice so any business conducted outside of the instance is conducted in that village. Once an adventurer decides to go off hunting he leaves directly from that village or, at higher levels, zones into the “harbor” section of the city proper and immeadiatly uses the bell to be on his way. So I think the real goal here is to use the tradeskillers to make these under-utilized zones look busy. If that’s the case I think it’s a pretty crappy way to treat some of your most loyal players.
I’ve tried to remain positive though, especially since Glendral really seemed to want to get the player feedback and I know from having met many of the dev team that they really do care about the game. I just think that sometimes they get focused on something and lose site of their players.
After the break is a copy of the posting I made in the feedback thread, I’m posting it here as kind of an open letter to the EQ2 Dev team.