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Caster's Realm: What Will Playing as a Monster Mean for EQ?

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Anonymous
July 5, 2005 3:40:54 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

The 'Play as a Monster' feature of the recently announced Depths of
Darkhollow expansion for Everquest may be one of the most revolutionary
changes in massive online gaming. Sometimes, however, it is hard for
us to comprehend all of the possible changes this feature may create.
How exactly does this feature work? What problems will this feature
solve? What will this feature mean to the future of Everquest? Let us
pontificate.

'Play as a Monster' is actually two major features: Spirit Shrouds and
Monster Missions. It is easier to look at this whole topic broken up
into these two topics.

Spirit Shrouds let players shift their character to a small set of
monsters. These monsters are persistent. If you zone, you will still
be the monster. If you camp and come back, you will still be that
monster. You can pick a level range for this monster from your level
and below. Each monster also has a class archetype such as healer,
damage dealer, tank, or utility (these are just examples, the ones
in-game may not be the same).

So what does this mean? How will these be used? I can see two clear
ways right now but there are probably others. For one, players can now
switch to a monster and hunt with their lower level friends. Say you
have a friend who just began playing. He wants to go in that scary
Crushbone Citadel he heard about. You can switch your level 65 Ranger
down to a level 20 Wolf. The two of you go to Crushbone and you tear
the throats out of vile orcs, spraying their black blood into the
nighttime air.

Sprit Shrouding lets you and your friends can hunt together regardless
of your level difference. Spirit Shrouding lets you go to old zones
that no longer hold challenging content at level 65 but may offer
challenging content at level 25.

There are a few things we don't yet know about this system. How does
death work? If I die as a monster, will I wake up naked in a cage like
that guy in American Werewolf in London? How do I receive experience
rewards? Will experience points earned at level 30 be worthwhile at
level 65? Will the reward be worth it enough for me to bother when I
could just go powerlevel my friend instead?

Spirit Shrouding has another use as well, one perhaps even more useful
than hunting with lower level friends. With Spirit Shrouding, you can
switch to a different class archetype of your same level. Here's an
example:

You and your friends want to hunt together. You're all around level
60. You have two clerics, two rangers, a paladin, and a wizard. You
have good healing, tank and damage support but you don't have any crowd
control classes. One of the clerics or one of the rangers can switch
over and become a monster with crowd control abilities. If your group
lacks a tank, one of your members can switch to a tank monster and off
you go.

This means you and your friends can hunt together regardless of your
class breakout. If you are missing a key class, one of the people you
have can switch. This will also help pickup groups and raids. No
longer are we strictly defined by our class. We can now spirit shroud
into whatever archetype is needed for any group or raid. If a raid
needs more healers, they can switch to more healers. If they need more
damage dealers, they can switch to damage dealers.

These changes help alleviate the requirements of levels and classes in
order to get groups together. If done well, this change can greatly
lower the time it takes to find a group and have fun. There are many
unknowns in this feature as well. We know that monster class
archetypes will be much more limited and focused than traditional
player classes. Healers will ONLY heal. Tanks will ONLY tank. You
won't find the same variety in a werewolf that you'd find in a true
ranger.

We don't know how experience will be rewarded with spirit shrouded
characters. We don't know how item rewards will work. If a monster
class is only partially as good as a pure player class, what limits
will there be on places you can hunt? Will you have to go back to
easier content? Will these class archetypes be matched to raid-geared
or group-geared players? If they are matched to higher-end raid-geared
characters won't they be more powerful than group-geared players? If
they are matched to group geared players won't they be so much worse
than raiders that raiders won't ever switch?

A lot of the answers to these questions ares still under development so
we might have to wait until beta to see for sure.

We now look at the second aspect of 'Play as a Monster': Monster
Missions.

Monster missions take a group of characters and places them into the
bodies of monsters for a specific mission. You will only be this
monster's body for this mission and only within one zone. Because
specific missions can allow for any monster, the missions can turn
players into any monsters at all.

We already hear rumors about missions where a group of six players can
turn into Nagafen and his Fire Giants and defend themselves against a
raid of NPCs. There are really unlimited possibilities with monster
missions so we will have to see which ones they pick to release with
Depths.

We do not yet know if players of any level can group with players of
any other level but the basic idea is to let any group of six players
group together and begin a mission regardless of their level. You
won't have to be level 50 to start the 'Play as Nagafen' mission.

So you and your friends are all level 40ish but you dream of being six
rats, bats, and spiders on an incredible journey through the bowels of
the Sewers of Qeynos (this is my example, not SOE's). You and your
level 40ish friends gather to a mission NPC who gives you the mission.
When you enter the mission instance, you will all shift into rats,
bats, and spiders within the mission. You might all switch to level 25
orcs or level 65 Muramites. The creatures you switch into will be
specific to the mission and the mission's goals. The level will be for
whatever level that mission was intended.

Again we receive nearly as many questions as we have information. How
will rewards work with these missions? Will there be mission
progression and how will that work? How will experience be rewarded
back to our main characters? Can characters of any level range join to
do a mission? If so, how will they be rewarded? Most importantly, how
many of these missions will we see?

As much as the concept behind spirit shrouding changes how we group,
the monster missions open up endless possibilities for missions. Think
of every bit of Norrath's history you want to see re-created.

Imagine being vampires tearing through Felwithe. Imagine being dragons
eating raids of NPCs. Imagine being Overlord Mata Muram sending in
your five best warriors to defeat Dranik. Imagine being Emperor Atrebe
Sather fighting Trakanon over the Field of Bone. Imagine being the
Shissar invading the Plane of Fear against their renounced god, Cazic
Thule. I could go on and on.

As excellent as these changes are, they are not without worry. This is
the first time we are separated from our player character while we play
EQ. Will we lose our sense of identity? Will our class, level, and
gear now be less important with our abilities to transfer into other
things? What if I enjoy being a werewolf more than being a cleric? I
don't suppose it is much different than playing an alt but we won't
really know how we feel until we try it out.

Let us break up this whole topic into a set of evil powerpoint bullets:

What will Playing as a Monster mean for EQ?
- It will allow players to play through their eyes of a monster of
Everquest legend.
- It will become possible for players to hunt together regardless of
level.
- It will become possible for classes to switch to monster archetypes
to help balance groups.
- It will become possible for players to go on Monster Missions
regardless of their level.
- Allowing players to lower their level makes older world content
profitable and challenging again.

What do we not yet know about Playing as a Monster?
- How will experience rewards be handled when lowering one's level?
- How will experience rewards be handled when switching to a monster of
the same level as your character?
- How powerful will these monsters be within each level range?
- Will these beasts be upgradable at all? If so, how?
- Will players of widely mixed levels be able to do Monster Missions?
- How many Monster Missions will we see and what rewards will they
offer?

It was my intent with this article to shine some light on this exciting
feature but we won't truly know how this will change EQ until we see
Depths of Darkhollow released. It is a huge change. It is an exciting
change. Hundreds of thousands of eyes will watch to see if SOE can
pull this off. If it works, the six year old EQ may be the most
revolutionary massive multiplayer online role playing game on the
market. Let us wait and see.

Loral Ciriclight
loral@loralciriclight.com
24 June 2005

More about : caster realm playing monster

July 6, 2005 2:39:19 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

In article <1120588854.805079.288710@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,
mshea01@gmail.com says...
>
> It was my intent with this article to shine some light on this exciting
> feature but we won't truly know how this will change EQ until we see
> Depths of Darkhollow released. It is a huge change. It is an exciting
> change.

Frankly I don't see what the big fuss is all about.

I for one am not that excited about it. I don't think its exciting or
even that revolutionary.

Yes, when I want to group with lower level friends it will be very nice
to be able to join them. However, the reality is that I don't spend much
time wishing I could be 20th level again. Its a nice option, but I'm
hardly thrilled about it. And CoH's mentoring/sidekicking etc seems like
a better system for that.

Same goes for when i want to play with high level friends but we're
short a healer. Getting to spend the day as the healer is a nice plus
because we're moving instead of being at a standstill...but if I log in
each day and am pressured into being a healer because they need that
more than a monk/rogue/bard/mage/whatever... I'm going to be pretty
annoyed. If I wanted to spend half my time as a cleric I'd have rolled
one.

Sure the monster missions neatly avoid imbalances in gear etc by
standardizing what goes in... at the same time it neatly undermines the
entire point of rpgs. If I wanted to play a standardized character in a
standardized instanced mission I'd just play something else.

What's next?... EQ to have instanced zones with moving platforms and
mobs that we can defeat by jumping on them...? For those of us who think
the everquest engine is a touch staid, and crave variety... for people
who think playing Mario brothers should somehow advance our Mains? :p 
Anonymous
July 6, 2005 7:18:49 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

>> It was my intent with this article to shine some light on this exciting
>> feature but we won't truly know how this will change EQ until we see
>> Depths of Darkhollow released. It is a huge change. It is an exciting
>> change.

>Frankly I don't see what the big fuss is all about.

>I for one am not that excited about it. I don't think its exciting or
>even that revolutionary.

>Yes, when I want to group with lower level friends it will be very nice
>to be able to join them. However, the reality is that I don't spend much
>time wishing I could be 20th level again. Its a nice option, but I'm
>hardly thrilled about it. And CoH's mentoring/sidekicking etc seems like
>a better system for that.

Having played both CoH and EQ2 I agree it's not so great. To start
with if I'm the low one lvl I fell like I'm a charity case. That my
friends are doing be a favour.

Seeing your high lvl char gimped, losing all the skills and dieing at
the hands of a mob you would normally 1 hit kill isn't much fun for
long. The temptation of switch back, power level your low-level friend
through and then go off and explore new areas is very great. Playing
down works as a temporary fix but few people would want to be in this
situation for long. (A fair better idea would be to drag out a long
forgotten alt of the same level.)

A much better longterm solution is to enable the low level char to
temporary increase his level to roughly match yours. This isn't
without it problems too. While your level increases your skills and
equipment don't. So, if anyone going to die it will inevitably be the
low level guy. Still, that's the price you pay and as long as I
didn't die and get debt it didn't bother. It did give me as a
healer a real headache though. You had to watch them like a hawk. One
person in a group was manageable but 2 or more and you've got real
problems.

Still, temporary raising a low-level char level so he can play with you
was always the preferred option in CoH. People generally avoided doing
the reverse for any length of time.
Related resources
Anonymous
July 6, 2005 4:11:49 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

42 wrote:
> And CoH's mentoring/sidekicking etc seems like
> a better system for that.
>


Didnt CoH's mentoring system allow the low level people to become high
level? I think the EQ2 mentor system would be best for EQ1. It allows
you to stay as your character, but you scale down to your friends
level. I think that would work alot better.

__________________________________________________________
Submitted by: Vidden
This message was submitted through the Erollisi Marr Forum
July 6, 2005 9:20:54 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

In article <slrndcntjb.76m.faned@wyld.qx.net>, faned@wyld.qx.net says...

> There is much, *much* potential for coolness with this. There is also a
> huge possibility of them screwing it up beyond belief. Sadly, with the
> track record of Sony, I'd place money on them screwing it up and putting
> some mind bogglingly stupid limitation, either in the mechanics or in the
> reward, which will make it a seldom used feature no matter how cool it could
> be.

Indeed. If the 'raid coming at you' if of your own guild, and will get
drops if they win, whats your motivation to even fight back?
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 12:40:51 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

Vidden <Vidden.1rrcz1@erollisimarr-dot-com-forum.com> wrote in
news:Vidden.1rrcz1@erollisimarr-dot-com-forum.com:

>
> 42 wrote:
>> And CoH's mentoring/sidekicking etc seems like
>> a better system for that.
>>
>
>
> Didnt CoH's mentoring system allow the low level people to become high
> level? I think the EQ2 mentor system would be best for EQ1. It allows
> you to stay as your character, but you scale down to your friends
> level. I think that would work alot better.
>

Even that is a pain in the butt, you have to dig out all those old
spells/abilities, and load them up on your hotbar. If, instead, they
just scaled your current spells/abilities down to be essentially the same
as your low level ones, it would make things much easier to deal with.

--
On Erollisi Marr in <Sanctuary of Marr>
Ancient Graeme Faelban, Barbarian Soothsayer of 70 seasons

On Steamfont
Graeme, 36 Dwarven Mystic, 24 Sage, Treasure Hunter <Tempest>
Aviv, 15 Gnome Brawler, 30 Provisioner
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 12:40:52 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

Thats why when you replace a skill with a new one, just put the old
skill on a hotbar bank that you dont normally use. I put all of my old
skills on bank 0 and Alt 0. That way when I go to mentor, I can just
switch to those and keep going.

__________________________________________________________
Submitted by: Vidden
This message was submitted through the Erollisi Marr Forum
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 12:42:34 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

42 <nospam@nospam.com> wrote in
news:MPG.1d35b2daf41514f9989bb6@shawnews.vf.shawcable.net:

> In article <slrndcntjb.76m.faned@wyld.qx.net>, faned@wyld.qx.net
> says...
>
>> There is much, *much* potential for coolness with this. There is
>> also a huge possibility of them screwing it up beyond belief. Sadly,
>> with the track record of Sony, I'd place money on them screwing it up
>> and putting some mind bogglingly stupid limitation, either in the
>> mechanics or in the reward, which will make it a seldom used feature
>> no matter how cool it could be.
>
> Indeed. If the 'raid coming at you' if of your own guild, and will get
> drops if they win, whats your motivation to even fight back?
>

The raid coming at you is NPCs...

--
On Erollisi Marr in <Sanctuary of Marr>
Ancient Graeme Faelban, Barbarian Soothsayer of 70 seasons

On Steamfont
Graeme, 36 Dwarven Mystic, 24 Sage, Treasure Hunter <Tempest>
Aviv, 15 Gnome Brawler, 30 Provisioner
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 1:28:23 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

Vidden <Vidden.1rrobd@erollisimarr-dot-com-forum.com> wrote in
news:Vidden.1rrobd@erollisimarr-dot-com-forum.com:

>
> Thats why when you replace a skill with a new one, just put the old
> skill on a hotbar bank that you dont normally use. I put all of my old
> skills on bank 0 and Alt 0. That way when I go to mentor, I can just
> switch to those and keep going.
>

It involves a lot more than one alternate hotbar, as the spells/abilities
get replaced multiple times as you level. At level 36, I have at least 3
levels of most of the spells I use, and it takes two hotbars to contain the
spells that I use frequently, plus another hotbar to contain the spells
that I use infrequently (I could just use them out of the book I suppose,
but I am too lazy). Not to mention, I also do tradeskills, including all
the added tradeskill buffs required by the change that allowed me to make
most of my own subcomponents.

--
On Erollisi Marr in <Sanctuary of Marr>
Ancient Graeme Faelban, Barbarian Soothsayer of 70 seasons

On Steamfont
Graeme, 36 Dwarven Mystic, 24 Sage, Treasure Hunter <Tempest>
Aviv, 15 Gnome Brawler, 30 Provisioner
July 7, 2005 1:46:49 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

In article <Xns968B959BE5FADrichardrapiernetscap@130.133.1.4>,
RichardRapier@netscape.net says...
> 42 <nospam@nospam.com> wrote in
> news:MPG.1d35b2daf41514f9989bb6@shawnews.vf.shawcable.net:
>
> > In article <slrndcntjb.76m.faned@wyld.qx.net>, faned@wyld.qx.net
> > says...
> >
> >> There is much, *much* potential for coolness with this. There is
> >> also a huge possibility of them screwing it up beyond belief. Sadly,
> >> with the track record of Sony, I'd place money on them screwing it up
> >> and putting some mind bogglingly stupid limitation, either in the
> >> mechanics or in the reward, which will make it a seldom used feature
> >> no matter how cool it could be.
> >
> > Indeed. If the 'raid coming at you' if of your own guild, and will get
> > drops if they win, whats your motivation to even fight back?
> >
>
> The raid coming at you is NPCs...

Doh. That should have been obvious. :) 
July 7, 2005 2:30:23 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

Mike Shea wrote:
> The 'Play as a Monster' feature of the recently announced Depths of
> Darkhollow expansion for Everquest may be one of the most revolutionary
> changes in massive online gaming. Sometimes, however, it is hard for
> us to comprehend all of the possible changes this feature may create.
> How exactly does this feature work? What problems will this feature
> solve? What will this feature mean to the future of Everquest? Let us
> pontificate.

[snip]

Maybe it's because I'm a long time GURPS player/GM, but that doesn't
sound all that revolutionary :)  Besides, you can already play as
"monster" races: ogre, troll and iksar.
--
Xiphos - All bow before the perfect creation of Cazic-Thule! How do you
get any more monsterous than that?
July 7, 2005 11:36:36 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

In article <1120757423.926073.289790@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
xiphos@rahul.net says...
> Mike Shea wrote:
> > The 'Play as a Monster' feature of the recently announced Depths of
> > Darkhollow expansion for Everquest may be one of the most revolutionary
> > changes in massive online gaming. Sometimes, however, it is hard for
> > us to comprehend all of the possible changes this feature may create.
> > How exactly does this feature work? What problems will this feature
> > solve? What will this feature mean to the future of Everquest? Let us
> > pontificate.
>
> [snip]
>
> Maybe it's because I'm a long time GURPS player/GM, but that doesn't
> sound all that revolutionary :)  Besides, you can already play as
> "monster" races: ogre, troll and iksar.

You forgot Froglok, Elf, Dwarf, Halfing, Gmone, and the various flavours
of human. ;) 

There truly were monsters on that ship, and truly, we were them.
-simpsons
Anonymous
July 15, 2005 10:45:10 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

Vidden <Vidden.1rrcz1@erollisimarr-dot-com-forum.com> wrote in
news:Vidden.1rrcz1@erollisimarr-dot-com-forum.com:

>
> 42 wrote:
>> And CoH's mentoring/sidekicking etc seems like
>> a better system for that.
>>
>
>
> Didnt CoH's mentoring system allow the low level people to become high
> level? I think the EQ2 mentor system would be best for EQ1. It allows
> you to stay as your character, but you scale down to your friends
> level. I think that would work alot better.

[delurk]

CoH allows you to do it two ways.

Sidekicking raises you up to one level below the person you are sidekicked
to. All of your powers and hitpoints are scaled to that level.

Exemplariung brings the higher level person down to the level of the lower
person. They lose the use of the powers they gained above that level, but
they keep all of the enhancements to the powers that they are able to use.
In addition, when exemplared, any debt you have is worked off at a much
faster rate. Once all the debt is worked off, the influence (platinum)
starts rolling in. The farther down you exemplar, the faster the work-off
of debt/accumulation of influence.

[/delurk]

--
Marcel
http://mudbunny.blogspot.com/
!