3.0: A somewhat coherent review

Opening ramble:
I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts on 3.0 and all its changes for a while, now that it has hit Live and the veil of “it might be a placeholder” has fallen. This is not exhaustive, there are many things I don’t mention because they’re not important enough, or that I haven’t found out about yet. Nor is there focus on the bugs, because those are always going to be present in a major patch.
It is not a complaint thread, nor a cheer thread, it is not pro-Funcom/Tencent nor is it against them. It is all of those things at once.
I don’t have a “team” or a “side” here, because mindless tribalism is stupid. You’ll find me both cheering and criticizing Funcom, often in the same post, the same sentence even.
I do want to make one thing absolutely clear: Whatever criticisms I may have, it is never, ever directed at the people actually making this game. I have nothing but respect for the artists, engineers and many other roles involved in this game. Even the much-maligned “Monetization Expert” is only doing their job to the best of their ability - I think they’re misunderstanding this product and its audience (how arrogant of me, I know!), but that doesn’t make them a bad person.
Of course some of the practices I disagree - even vehemently - with are chosen by people, but that does not mean I have a problem with them as people, or as professionals. It just means I disagree with them. Disagreeing while still respecting each other is becoming a lost art I feel, especially online, but this forum - recent influx of trolls and all - is far from the worst in this respect, and in any case that is a discussion for another time and place.

I was going to split it into a “the good” and “the bad” section, but for many of these things I have both things I like and things I dislike so I decided to go by subject instead.

I was never that gung-ho about Sorcery, so apart from the Illusion system (see below), it was not a HUGE deal for me that it was coming. I feel like the material cost is going to make me use it less than I otherwise would, but I get that there are balance (and probably performance) reasons for not having players spam it every second. It feels fittingly brutal, dark and unpleasant, so kudos for that.

The building system / building hammer:
Overall, I love it. I find it much easier to build with, and it suits my rather unplanned style of building excellently to be able to “copy” an existing piece. The range is also much better than doing things by hand were, and I think it’s a definite upgrade. The hammer should probably weigh nothing, or even better have “building mode” be toggled on/off by hotkey instead of being an item, but those are nitpicks (for me, anyway) and I don’t think they’re important enough to warrant a change.

The inability to share DLC items with other users is understandable - the previous practice was very generous and while it was one of the things I really liked about how Funcom did business, I can’t pretend I didn’t expect it to happen.

The thrall nerf:
Surprisingly, perhaps, I don’t mind it. I’ve always liked having a Follower with me out and about, lobotomized though they might be, and so I was rather dreading this change. Current thralls being shafted on Grit was a bit of a bummer, but par for the course really, and I had rather expected it and kept a few unplaced fighters ready to take over (although they need leveling, which requires significantly more babysitting now). I also love the Elixir of Rebirth, as it allows me to alleviate the random perk system (which I still hate in principle. Random is not good game design!). But I don’t feel like thralls are useless, and it has allowed the player to become the hero again, which is my next point…

The Player Is The Hero:
I have enjoyed this change more than I thought I would. I actually feel like my character is worth something in a fight now, even specced for max authority, and that’s a great change.

The Illusion System:
The greatest single change since Early Access for me. Probably literally. I absolutely love it, it solves SO many problems, and I’m thrilled it’s finally here. They even managed to find a lore-friendly way of fitting it in, which wasn’t imperative in my book, but good job all the same. I do feel the need to be able to craft both the source and the target items could be loosened somewhat, having access to an item through a Thrall ought to be enough, or even better no restrictions at all - the item is consumed in the process after all, so looted items I can’t make will quickly become rare. Legendary weapons/armor should be able to plug in on either side of the equation, too. Wasteful to use a Legendary just for its look? Perhaps, but that’s my choice if so.

Crom Coins:
I dislike “company currencies” in all their forms, because there’s in my opinion no good reasons to have them - it’s all about obfuscating the real cost of things, incentivizing overspending and manipulating people. The name’s terrible, too, but as I don’t see what name I would have liked, I guess that’s as may be. Joyful Tears of Greed maybe?

The Battlepass:
I was leery about this. Very much so, in fact. I’m still not a fan of the concept, the “challenges” are all meaningless busywork, and I dislike all forms of content that disappears from sale if you’re on a hiatus from the game while it’s out. I don’t even like pre-order bonuses, but at least they have the dubious redeeming factor of rewarding those who support an unknown product. Limited availability items won’t even serve to make a meaningful trade market, as you cannot trade it to people who don’t own it. I will say that the price for what you get (if you complete the BP) seems alright, and the ability to get the next BP from rewards earned if you complete the current one is good. I do hope that stays - Funcom has expressed a strong expectation that it will be so, but it’s not clad in iron. I do think being able to complete challenges in admin mode or using whatever server settings one prefers needs to stay, especially if they’re going to stay as mindnumbingly boring as they currently are. The option to buy levels is rather disgusting, and their presence only incentivizes Funcom to make completing the battlepass as difficult as possible over time. My “benefit of the doubt” stockpile is completely depleted, so I am somewhat worried here.

Something the BP experience could have really benefit from would be “quests” as a way of earning XP, preferably ones tied to whatever theme the Age it comes with revolves around. Playing through a story telling us about Sorcery and its entry into the exiled lands (and IoS) would’ve been an infinitely more interesting way to progress it, and it represents a missed opportunity in a game that wouldn’t hurt from having a BIT more handcrafted story content in it.

This all comes out as super negative, so I should probably clarify that, contrary to my initial fears, I don’t think the BattlePass is terrible. It’s something I can live with, I wish that cultural/themed DLC packs could have been enough but I’ll simply have to accept that, for whatever reason, they aren’t.

The Black Lotus Bazaar:
Hoo boy. Here we go. I’ve said it elsewhere, but let me put it in here, too. Those prices… are in my opinion completely distanced from reality. Of course the value of something is always determined by what someone will pay for it, and that’s the metric I go by: It’s way more than I will pay for it. I don’t mind the idea of an a’la’carte menu of things I can purchase per se, but someone seems to have accidentally replaced the “micro” in microtransactions with a “macro”. The prices are definitely my number one complaint here. And this is not about whether I can personally afford it, it’s about determining whether things are fairly priced. Well that, and the interim currency.
Day-one discounts are probably borderline from a legal perspective (heavily location dependent), definitely bankrupt from a moral one, and a clear sign that something is rotten.

Funcom is not some basement indie genius that needs our “gracious support” to make it through next month’s rent, after all. The prices are likely set the way they are because Funcom is whale hunting, and hell maybe it works for them, I really don’t know. But I do know I won’t be participating if so. CE is not a F2P game where you buy a skin or two for your favorite character/weapon and then you’re done. It’s a game that thrives on choice, on combining many options, on getting if not it all then many of the choices, and “it’s just cosmetics” doesn’t really apply when mixing and matching cosmetics is a core part of the gameplay loop for many people, myself included. The base I’ve been lovingly creating combines all the existing DLCs, yet functionally it would be exactly the same if built in Reinforced Stone. Would I have bothered to do that though? No, never. If that means the game is no longer “for me”, well that’s very sad, because I like this game a lot, and further I think it’s a mistake for Funcom to alienate it’s existing userbase this way.

General note:
To what degree this is caused by Tencent vs Funcom is immateriel. I don’t much care who’s “to blame” either, I have a shop/customer relationship only with Funcom, and changes to their product - whether handed down from above or not - impact that relationship alone.

I don’t believe this is a “quick cash grab”, I doubt it makes sense to develop something like Sorcery withot planning for the long term. As such I believe it’s a mistake, an error of judgment if you will, the way things are currently set up. I’m writing this Novella-length diatribe in that hope, even if I am enough of a realist to know nothing will change in the short term, and also knowing that at the end of the day, money talks. So I am voting with my wallet, but I’m also making my voice heard - those things are not mutually exclusive.


A fair assessment - Thank you Mikey

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If this really is the case, I bet famous “very good monetization expert”, FUNCOM hired to produce this mess, didn’t tell them whales are living in the oceans, not in ponds. You have to be able to flex you spending on as much players as possible - otherwise spending a heap of money don’t make any sense. CE doesn’t have any kind of leaderboard or massive interconnected playerbase.
Where do they think those so called “whales” could flex - on a 10/40 server? On a once in a year building contest? :rofl:

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I totally agree , there just not enough around and restricting item trade will likely shrink that pond even further what the point in buying things if you cannot show off or be able to share it with friends.

To some may view this is a good thing to restrict it… but to me conan isnt just an appareance character creator these are real item that we craft and use in the game … as physical items… i wouldnt have cared as much if it was just appareances skins that locked down like the hammee but the fact that we create it in benches and craftingstation in an open world mmo changes the narrative on how widely use dlc item will be they couls have scored a 10 out 10 but i stead they got a 5 out of 10 being bp and bazzaar are going to be the fondation and likely the downfall of their customer based.

Really hope funcom is actively listening to us the community that bought every dlc and loved and praised their works

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