I think it’d be a great idea to have a retrospective in regards to Saga of Blood. Namely, what worked, what didn’t, what could be improved. I think the Saga of Blood had some great ideas, but many were mired down by other less-good decisions.
Some of these points are also pointed at the community, not just Funcom. There’s a lot that, as the player base, we can do to make future Sagas better as well.
Let’s start off with some pros!
- It was great to return to some low level locations and have them active PvP zones. Notable examples are Khopshef province, noble district, and the classic: white sands! Nostalgia overload!
- It was similarly great to experience snippets of each level bracket’s PvP. Really crazy how much the game changes between low and high level PvP.
- In-game Shop PvP t2 armor DISCOUNT: This was a fantastic idea. For only 15$, you get your character to a state where gear is no longer an issue. If this had came out when the original Shrines of Bori did, I think AOC would be in a better state today. For 15$, thousands of hours of mindless rock-clicking is circumvented. Totally worth it for any character.
- All skill levels were represented: Saga brought out a huge diversity of players- it was awesome to see new players being exposed to PvP at the same time as veterans duking it out with one another.
- increased AA gain: It really improved the gameplay experience by getting double the AA points, and getting them all put into expertise rather than the whole mastery/prowess thing. This was probably the best gameplay improvement Saga highlighted
- Constant PvP events: The constant PvP events really allowed for people to get pvpxp and their fill of world PvP and prowess simultaneously
Next, I’m going to move onto some criticisms: please remember that these criticisms are made with the explicit purpose of improving the game. I feel like there were a lot of very questionable design decisions made during this Saga, especially in the early stages
The Two Rings to Rule Them All By far, the biggest mistake of this Saga was the implementation of both the legendary loot crate rings. The issue with these rings was the explicit , tremendous advantage they gave at low levels. The stats on these rings are amazing at level 80, let alone at level 19. The stats on these rings needed to scale with player level, not remain static. As a community, I was a bit disgusted that people actually used these. One of the largest issues with these rings is that they not only totally imbalance the playing field, they scare off new players as well. I’m sure many new players saw these when the Saga was initially released, got their entire group bodied by 1 dude using two of them and the store bought armor, and then quit. It is simply unacceptable to use these rings before 80, let alone implement them. You can tell me, “well, funcom put them in the game, I’m going to use them!” until you’re blue in the face, but it’s still a choice. And when you make that choice, you’re actively making this game worse for everyone who doesn’t spend 5000$ on loot crates. I believe both the community and funcom are at fault here. Destroy it, Isildur!
Rewards: unlike the PvE Saga, the PvP one had an insanely easy quest to complete, and lost most its player base the week 80 was released. A multi-tiered quest should have been implemented to get players on weekly with some sort of challenge, rather than play 10 mini games and 10 duels total. Additionally, unlike the PvE Saga, the PvP saga’s rewards weren’t even comparable- a free piece of pvpt3 accessory is hardly motivational, especially considering how similar it is to pvpt2. Much more emphasis needed to be put on giving players a long-term goal to achieve.
Emphasis in Solo Play: one of my biggest complaints with this Saga is the emphasis on dueling and 1v1s. All I’m going to say is that dueling is not where this game shines. It would have been fantastic to see some sort of group PvP or minigame tournament organized. The rewards didn’t have to be huge, just something to get players to create teams and learn to play with one another consistently
Class diversity: Melee in this game is much harder to play at a competent level than ranged. It would have been great to see some incentives to play melee. Generally all I see now are demos, rangers, poms, ToS, and necro. Melee also need other melee to be effective on a team, so not having any other close quarters combatant with you really hurts your gameplay.
The importance of AA: one thing that this Saga has really showed is just how ridiculously powerful AAs are. I think, in the future, players on PvP sagas need to gain a LOT of AA at 80, or give them some way to catch up. I would propose that the moment a character hits level 80, give them 400-500 AA points to get their character to at least a somewhat competitive level, even if these loaner AAs are only available in mini games.
Group finder for PvP, PvE: one of the big improvements for PvP for people without a big guild or lots of friends would be a group finder for both PvP and PvE. It would allow pub groups to organize for the PvP events and attempt to challenge pre-existing groups
Minigame matchmaking: mini games current matchmaking system does not work. Too many times in mini games, all the veterans are on one team and all the new players are against them. It is simply not fun for either side when this happens, unless you’re a wiener.
Community Criticism- big guilds: I think in the future big guilds need to split themselves up so they don’t just all stand around not attacking anyone 100v3. There were a couple examples of this on Saga.
Community Criticism- Kill trading and alt farming: unfortunately, while I was on a 8 year hiatus, it appears this has become the norm. People kill trade and farm their alt accounts all the time now. I’d like to see the community take a harder stance against such behavior. If you see an alt farmer, don’t group with them. Don’t help them. They’re ruining the Saga for everyone by actively avoiding what this Saga is about- PvP.
Community Criticism- PvP events: many people do not attack one another during PvP events and wait for someone to bring an alt to farm for kills. Really lame. An ffa is an ffa, not “let’s all farm X’s alt for kills and then none of our KD’s suffer!”
Community Criticism- Pad Farming: there are certain individuals on the Saga who prioritize their KD over actual good, fun PvP. Their activities consist primarily of picking up the flag and farming new players for 20 minutes and whining when someone caps the flag, and camping the Rez pad in prominent PvP locations. The big reason this is bad is that it drives new players away. When you’re new and doing your best, not everyone has the fortitude to keep playing the game when you cant even leave the pad. I think in mini games the Rez pad should have a barrier preventing people from entering and exiting. This would also help with the current capture the skull tactic of picking up the flag and running it to your Rez pad.
Anyway, these were the first ones to pop into my head. I’ll probably add more later. Please feel free to add your own as well. Let’s try to make future sagas a longer lasting, more fun experience!
And make no mistake; I think Saga was a huge success. It definitely reinvigorated my love for the combat systems and gameplay of AOC.