SOE will begin to release changes based on last week's guild summit next week. Only two changes are noted: a Plane of Knowledge stone for Gunthak and a way to clear empty instances of Time, but I wouldn't be surprised to see more soon.
The Gunthak portal helps level 30 to 50 players a lot. It wasn't exactly hard to run through Paineel, Warrens, and Stonebrunt, but its nice to skip them and head right to Gunthak. It saves a lot of time.
The Time change interests Time-capable guilds who ask repeatedly for an instanced Plane of Time. SOE had this at the top of their "future items" list. I heard whispers of a two month process to rebuild Plane of Time into an instanced zone. I would rather see revamps of Fear and Sky than see Time instanced for a select few. Like Sleepers Tomb, North TOV, and Vex Thal, Time will be put aside when the raiding guilds reach deep into Gates of Discord and start to battle in Omens of War. Quick changes to Time are fine but spending two months on it sounds extreme.
SOE is looking at new LDON gear to help smaller groups and guilds gear up for Gates of Discord. This could help open up more options for single-group hunters as well as raiders who need one or two items they can't seem to get in raids. Gates has a lot of single-group instanced trials including the four sewers, Vxed, Tipt, single group hunting in KodTaz, and the three infamous Ikkinz trials. All of these are available to single groups if you're able to get to them and survive. Vxed, Tipt and above are tuned for Plane of Time and "Time+" level players.
The subject of new LDON gear brings up a few unanswered questions. How much will high-end LDON items cost? How powerful will they be? Will there be other requirements to reach them? Some developers feel that simply awarding it for adventure points is too easy, that some sort of greater challenge must exist to acquire these items. I don't agree. While raid leaders and long-time raiders face great challenges, people slip into mature raiding guilds and acquire massive amounts of armor without seeing that challenge. 30 to 60 hours of LDON hunting is long enough to acquire high-end Elemental or Time tier 1 or 2 loot.
Augment swapping is on the way. Augment swapping solvents will most likely require a trade skill to create. There will be a cost associated with augment swapping, but the cost is not yet determined.
SOE also discussed refunding adventure points on LDON items. People may spend 1500 points on a LDON breastplate and then bank it when a new one comes along. SOE hasn't worked out the details yet but a 50% refund has been discussed. Considering my bank is full of my purple Hate armor, my Skyshrine quest armor, and about a dozen outdated bits of treasure, I think a 50% refund is generous. No drop armor is outdated all the time.
I forgot to mention last week that SOE plans to release a level 40 to 55 LDON raid to Stormhammer and then the rest of the servers soon. LDON raids were initially designed for Plane of Time raiders with little else to do. Unfortunately, no raids were developed for lower level or lower power adventurers. The set duration, difficulty, and player numbers of LDON instanced raids allow for extremely tailored raid encounters for all levels. I hope we see more LDON raids for levels 55s to 65s with gear below elemental.
I had a chance to hunt in the Sewers of Barindu recently and enjoyed the changes I saw. The mobs hit for 66% of the damage they used to. Moderately equipped tanks can tank normal mobs and as a Cleric I had to work for a living again without being overwhelmed. The experience was good but could use a boost when compared to the Planes with their graveyards and easy access. Named mobs were still quite hard and a gating mob ended up wiping us out, but the experience was good and the loot was not bad.
My CR was a disaster. I died once in Qinimi on my way back to Barindu, my body got stuck under the earth, and it ended up decomposing before I could get a GM to summon it. I still want more CR options than having to spend two hours after a loss to recover. Death should be painful but there should be options.
Painful CR or not, I will go back to the sewers.
11 June 2004