This is promising but can we get specifics, please? We’ve been given many empty promises by your predecessors.
Questions, criticisms and suggestions follow.
What ideas were discussed? Did Barunson indicate what would be possible and probable? Did Barunson give a ballpark timeframe for release?
Do both parties recognise that the incongruity between attack and defence is the main cause of PvP imbalance, followed by the disparity of hit rate, evasion and critical and deadly hit rates between classes?
Do you accept that 100% reduction in skill cooldown is a bad idea and makes balancing PvE and PvP impossible?
Two weekly sieges and the royal rumble pass for organised PvP in Last Chaos. They are insufficient. The problems with MCS and DCS have been repeated ad nauseam. The royal rumble caters to few players because it is widely bracketed. Further, the ticket price (100m for 121+ characters) discourages participation. Compare this to competing MMOs where you can queue for warzones and random/1 vs. 1/team arenas (for free and at any time) and earn money, XP, PvP points/credits and worthwhile items for participating.
The arena is no substitute, offering no incentives to participate. Open world PvP is discouraged by the potential loss of XP and SP and the expense of resurrection scrolls; defeat should be its own price.
In PvE, beyond the mid levels, +15 weapons don’t suffice. However, in PvP, master stones have compounded the problems of defence.
While the case can be made that master stones never should have been introduced, that can’t be undone. You can, however, increase the supply and reduce the cost (contingent on major changes to PvP mechanics, as above).
Will master stones be available through gameplay as promised (I consider this vital)? If so, which ones? How easy will they be to obtain? Will they drop as loot and, if so, from which creatures and with what frequency?
Will both parties consider eliminating or minimising the huge element of chance in upgrading? It is possible, indeed common, to spend a lot of money and end up with less than you started with: runes of protection are a case in point. Do both parties recognise that with the upgrade soft cap at +18 and hard cap at +28, the current upgrade success rates with heaven stones, etc., are unacceptable? Prime stones are not a viable alternative for now, being so rare and expensive (I rarely see them for less than 5 billion gold on Katar) and only taking the item to +16.
Last Chaos is no longer an MMO because it no longer demands teamwork. It discourages it and incentivises solo play (XPBs).
I hope to see partying flourish again, as before the 2008 changes to PvE difficulty. I hope to see quests, dungeons and raids that demand skill and teamwork and are rewarding. I hope to see an end to the days of burning tens of thousands of XPBs in solo parties.
The recent improvements to the XP curve, while welcome, don’t address the root problem. My character still gains a fraction of a percent per hard-fought kill, even with dungeon time, irises and XPBs. More importantly, I’m still playing alone.
If solo play is to remain the norm (and I hope not), DPS must be equal across classes. If nobody needs a tank or a healer for 95% of the game, support classes need a damage boost: clerics, elementalists and templar knights deal a fraction of the damage of other classes. It’s no wonder that nightshadows, rogues and RKs dominate the 140+ bracket.
The last half of Last Chaos’s MMORPG is lacking too. Blocks of poorly translated quest text do not a story make. Older games than Last Chaos feature cinematics, spoken dialogue and a coherent, engaging plot. Progressing through the game, the legacy of the Apollon-Eres war is hardly felt. I’m interested in the politics of Iris: titans now walk freely through Randol but surely there is tension with its citizens and the Knights of Apollon? I want to feel like my character is making impactful decisions: why am I slaughtering all these gnolls, exactly? As it is, the game’s plot is an afterthought.
Inflation is an ongoing problem. It is acute in Last Chaos because the items that players most need to progress (PBIs, XPBs/SPBs/IDBs, RoPs, master stones and other consumables like stealers and crit pots) are only available (or available in any quantity) from the item mall. Vendors sell few useful items.
Other games developers have dealt with inflation successfully in two ways (which aren’t mutually exclusive): A) capping how much gold characters can carry and store (less effective in games where players can create multiple accounts for free but still effective) and B) monitoring, predicting and responding to inflation by introducing appropriate sinks. Severe inflation, as in Last Chaos, makes it difficult for new players and those who do not buy AP to make enough gold. Stocking vendors with heaven stones and other essentials would be a fantastic sink and would cap market prices on those items.
Gold sinks are vital but skill trainer fees are ridiculous. They do not reflect LC USA’s economy. It is tedious and expensive enough to make the SP and levels to learn skills: they should either be free or cost a token fee.
Gold drops peak in Egeha then drop off sharply. Gold drops and loot value should scale with the HP of the creatures that drop them, i.e., tougher mobs drop more.
Drop rates in general suck. Drop hunting without IDBs, spells of luck, lucky scrolls, etc., is a futile effort. Even then, there is no guarantee that one will get items worth selling or using, let alone valuable enough to recoup costs. Magnifying glasses cost more than the vendor value of most drops and that’s not fair.
Socketed items still cannot be listed on the merchant mart.
The Egeha teleport fee should be scrapped.
The cooldowns for many skills (mainly those released with and after Episode 2) are too high, especially considering their trainer fees and level requirements. Some examples include attacks like Two-Hand Pierce, Shield Chop and Kick (all 60 seconds). Egregious examples with which most of us are familiar include the level 90 soul buffs (10 minutes); another is the templar knight’s Reflection Shield (also 10 minutes).
The activation times for many skills are too high, e.g., Mana Break. Such skills aren’t worth using when one can do more damage with regular attacks in the time it takes to cast them.
Mana regeneration rates are too low. While one shouldn’t be able to spam skills ad nauseam, nor should one have to use MP stealers, equip MP suction accessories (at the cost of hit rate) or constantly drink potions (where’s the bathroom?) to use skills conservatively.
Buffs expire too quickly. Having to buff oneself or one’s party every five minutes (or whenever someone dies or is debuffed) is irritating. Please increase their duration to an hour.
Buffs should be percentage based rather than having fixed values. For instance, knights’ Divine Shield gives 50 physical defence: great for a level 20 but not so useful at level 140. If it gave, instead, 5% or 10% of the targeted player’s physical defence, it would be useful whatever one’s level.
The radius of effect of soul skills is too small. Also, the buffs (which last a few seconds) expire before they are recast, leaving frequent windows where the party doesn’t benefit from the soul, even when in its range. The buff should expire only when players leave the area of effect.
Healers’ Resurrection (level 5) should restore 100% of a player’s lost XP and SP.
The passive bonuses given by unmounted drakes/horses are poor. It’s currently another case of the rewards not equalling the time and effort invested. The XP curve for these pets is very steep and those who’ve trained level 60+ pets deserve something to show for it. The bonuses per tech point should be increased and/or pets should earn more tech points per level.
Unlike other MMOs where a full breakdown of your damage mitigation/output, chance to hit, evade, block, resist, etc., in PvE and PvP, is given, players are left to work it out for themselves. This information should be available via the character information window. Offence and movement speed should be given units, e.g., attacks per minute and metres per second; critical and deadly rates should be given as percentages, etc.
The game interface and graphics are dated. Some problems:
most UI elements can neither be moved, resized nor hidden
transparency of UI elements cannot be changed
the UI theme, colour scheme, etc., cannot be changed
the translucent boxes around IGNs, guild names and titles are ugly
the signal button and News Board (Alt+B) don't work
only one skill bar visible onscreen at a time
both function keys (F1-12) and number keys correspond to slots 1-12 on the skill bar: this is wasteful
cannot remap keybinds for menus, skill use, movement or targeting
players can only be targeted via the mouse
tab targeting in PvE is clumsy
cannot strafe or jump
cannot mouse walk (by holding left and right mouse buttons)
cannot rotate character
cannot adjust maximum/minimum camera distance
cannot call out targets
no focus target feature
skill bars cannot be locked to prevent skills being dragged off the bar accidentally
maximum resolution only 1680x1050
no full screen windowed mode; switching windows is a pain.
I find the calendar incomprehensible. Times (e.g., skill durations) ought to be displayed in hours, minutes and seconds. Dates (e.g., expirations on costumes, recall cards, etc.) ought to be displayed in yyyy/mm/dd format or some variation thereof. This should be in reference either to the player's local time or a fixed server time, displayed by the minimap (GMT for Auzura; PST for K/C/S/H/T).