Welcome to the first real dev blog in a while. Sorry it's been so long but there has been a lot going on in the background. Today I'd like to discuss an issue you are probably already familiar with and a proposed solution.
I'm going to start with something you may or may not be familiar with: Power creep. What is power creep? Put simply in the context of Rebirth, it's when we go "hey, lets add new items that are better than the old items." It sounds stupid because generally speaking, it is. This was generally done by each new administration. Generally with each new administration leaving the server had not seen any large updates in a while. This made the new administration want to prove they were better than the old administration by giving people something new to do, and they didn't want to chance failure. The made their success basically guaranteed, and they did so by making pretty much everything added in their new additions a direct replacement for everything that existed up until that point.
As you can probably imagine this may have seemed like a good idea at the time. Give people something new to do, and give them better stuff as a reward for doing it to ensure that they do it. It sounds somewhat normal if you think about it, and unfortunately it's become fairly standard in the industry. So standard that almost every game over a few years old does it at least a little bit.
WoE Barrier of Entry
Sadly with the way things were written the barrier of entry to WoE has risen quite a lot. Back in 2006-2008 you could grab some valk gear, an MVP card or 2, and be off to WoE. It took only a few days, maybe a week, to have a viable WoE character in a guild. Now it can take months. We have many new players joining, finding this out, getting discouraged and simply moving on. With the barrier of entry to WoE so high it has significantly slowed the growth of the server.
This problem has been known to me for quite some time now. It was known to me before SE. It's something some of the former staff had trouble accepting, something that most of you reading this may not accept. But the truth is power creep has raised the barrier of entry so high that it is discouraging new players and a solution has been devised.
The primary goal of this solution is obviously to combat power creep and lower the barrier of entry into WoE. Those are 2 very important goals. A very important secondary goal was to include past systems into the solution to bring life back into those systems, reviving old content. And a tertiary goal was to make player made items the norm, rather than found items.
Advanced Smithing & Durability
Enter Advanced Smithing & Durability. This proposed solution would add a new smithing system to the game, complementing the BECS system already in the game for potions. It would allow Whitesmiths (Loki) and Mechanics (Thor) to make both weapons and armor. These weapons and armor would be comparable, and slightly better, than the existing items already available for the systems such as Cedi, RDC, etc. Keep in mind these items won't have slots, so they will not be directly better and veteran players likely would not bother with much of the new gear that would be added. Some will be better in certain situations, but none should be outright better in every situation.
In addition to not having slots these items (and only these items) will have durability. After much use they will break, returning to your inventory and being unable to be equipped ever again. They can then be recycled and turned back into some of the base materials used to create them in the first place (about 5-10%). Things like attacking will damage weapons, and being attacked will damage other equipment. Items will be set with fairly high health so they can last quite a long time, but eventually they will break.
The items total health (durability) will depend upon it's power, with more powerful items having a lower durability than less powerful items. A trade off for having more power. Eventually slotted items with durability may appear. If this happens the cards within the item will be returned 100% of the time when recycling the item to reclaim the base materials.
The system will tie in with many existing systems already in the game. The system will be unlocked much in the same way that BECS is. The materials to make the items will come from sources such as Bio Basement, Cedi, RDC, etc. This will bring new life into those systems and cause players to once again use them. It also means new players leveling in Bio Basement will also be getting an income at the same time. In addition, BECS itself will be redone in much the same fashion, so that materials needed for the creation of items will be in those systems as well.
The fact the BECS offers consumables and durability will be making equipment into what is effectively consumables should keep demand for these items consistent and constant. The goal with this system is to make something sustainable that won't ever phase out because of everyone already having everything from it, a common problem with the systems of the past. This is the first step of many to that end, and we hope to bring it to you before or at the start of this summer.
The hope with this addition is that we will see people doing more in game, that people will once again use the systems which have or are quickly falling out of favor. While at the same time making it easier for people to become competitive in WoE. The current hope is to make it take about 1 to 2 weeks to get all the gear needed (donations aside) to begin WoEing.