I’ll be frank: I don’t get the agent system. On a bunch of levels. So, maybe somebody can actually help me make sense of the things I’m struggling with?
When the system first came out, everyone got Faction Recruit and then pure RNG hell both in terms of in-game drops and boosters. There was no clear sense of progressing toward a wider agent network with more operatives beyond the vague promise of Roman Konstantinov in 500 agent missions.
Then came Lydia Darling and apparently, the people rejoiced.
I don’t get it. There’s now essentially two starter agents, making the promise of Roman Konstantinov half as vague, but it seems to me that’s all there is. How did Lydia fix the underlying issue there’s no clear sense of progressing toward a wider agent network? Anything beyond now three rather than two agents is still pure RNG hell, isn’t it?
As far as I can tell, there’s basic missions with rewards that aren’t worth it most of the time (the sub-250 xp distillates), and more advanced missions that my agents can’t even go on most of the time.
I mean, they literally can’t. When someone with only Faction Recruit and Lydia Darling unlocks T2, chances are there will be some missions they can’t go on. When that player unlocks T3, odds are there will be just one or two missions one of them can try. And at the time when T4 unlocks, chances all those missions cannot possibly be attempted at all.
I don’t get it. Does Funcom actually think going from largely pointless to hitting brick walls with only a minor speed bump (T2 missions) would create a sense of progression that entices people to use the system?
Mission and agent balance
I don’t get if what we have is even supposed to be some semblance of balance. if it is, I don’t get why it would be considered such.
That’s due to two things basically going hand-in-hand: resource acquisition and resource costs.
It seems to met hat getting certain resource-gathering agents early on is a massive advantage in terms of actually being able to do the more interesting agent missions in the long run (provided one can even get success chances up high enough to try them).
It also seems to me there’s little rhyme or reason to what resources missions cost. At T2 in particular, I keep seeing 15 minute missions actually consuming a resource for the benefit of nothing I can figure out. At higher tiers, mission resource requirements quickly become so obscenely high that given the… odd… progression of success chances I at least have come to think of ‘good’ T2 missions as the system’s sweet spot.
I don’t get it. Is that actually what the system wants me to think?
Bad mitigation, part 1
So, stuff from agent boosters is character bound and can only be sold for Hexcoins, which can only be spent to gamble on the luck of the draw. How is this a good idea?
Now, Hexcoins are meant to be a ‘mitigation currency’ that lessens the blow for people who spent a lot and had bad draws, but as far as i can tell, they fail miserably at that, because Hexcoins only buy what are, effectively, lottery tickets that can wipe out what is supposedly there to mitigate the luck of the draw. And I don’t get it.
Somebody already posted they felt RIPPED OFF of 200 HexCoins, and I for one can understand where that feeling came from.
200 Hexcoins takes a lot of booster = Aurum = money to come by. We’re realistically talking over 100 dollars here, because someone who draws a lot of high Hexcoin value items isn’t going to sell all those agents and the nice gear back. Most of their Hexcoins came from green gear, at $1.25 a coin.
That thread wouldn’t exist, and I would not be commenting on it, if 200 Hexcoins bought a user a top tier agent of their choosing, or a bag they open to select the agent of their choosing, or whatever.
I really don’t get it. The Hexcoin system as implemented should make people more wary to spend any more with every agent they do get, which is the opposite of what I feel it should be designed to do.
Bad mitigation, part 2
Now, aside from my getting the impression Hexcoins fail miserably at mitigation, there’s a completely different elephant in the room. Let’s talk about that, because I don’t get that.
From my perspective, play-dropped agents being marketable and booster-dropped agents being bound seems alarmingly likely to make players who actually spend money on SWL question the wisdom of that.
I mean, let’s look at four hypothetical players, whom for a lack of imagination I’ll call A, B, C, D and E. Players A, B, C, D and E have in common that each of them have not one, but two copies of Hayden J. Montag.
However, player A got both of his Hayden J. Montags from play, while player B got both of his from boosters. Players C and D both got one Hayden from playing and one from a booster.
Player A is really happy: he’ll use one Hayden and sell the other on the AH. He’s probably going to sell for nearly a million Marks of Favour! At current exchange rates, that’s about 5.000 Aurum some other dummy paid for. Finally, amenities like Sprint VI for this F2P player!
Player B spent real money on the Aurum he used for boosters. Given the drop rates of top tier agents being reported, he probably bought around 100 boosters, so 12.500 Aurum’s worth. He gets 4 Hexcoin for that second Hayden.
Player C had gotten Hayden from a booster and unlocked him, so getting his second copy from playing is a massive boon. On the AH, that dossier is probably going to sell for nearly a million Marks of Favour, which can buy back a lot of the Aurum he had spent on boosters!
Player D got his first Hayden from a dungeon chest and, playing Chaos, immediately used him. Because it looked like a lucky day, he decided to buy some Aurum, outright, with real money, to buy a bunch of boosters. And he got another Hayden who… is worth 4 Hexcoins.
Players A and C, one of who doesn’t actually spend real money himself we don’t know if C does), are happy. Players B and D, both of whom spent real money, may be questioning the wisdom of that about now.
Player E, by the way, got his second Hayden from the 200 Hexcoin unlucky bag he bought in hopes of getting another good agent for the rest of his $125 booster purchase. He is screaming bloody murder.
Whom is this even aimed at?
I don’t get it.
I really was expecting a system that tries to draw in people, especially the more casual players who wouldn’t even want to care about hardcore endgame elite grinding, and entice them to spend a bit more every now and then, a bit like similar systems in other games. But I don’t see how the system would actually do that, given the above limitations.
So, what kind of player/customer persona(s) did Funcom have in mind when designing this? I can’t for the life of me imagine.