Factions: MG + CoF feedback in the current state and issues + potential solutions. (Beware long post)

Current Status: Edit 2 2024-05-16T22:00:00Z

(This post will be updated with the information on other threads around those topics + will showcase ‘Edit ‘n’’ henceforward for anyone who’s interested in keeping track of it. Also newly added parts will be highlighted with a ““n”” henceforth. Example: "“1"” ‘This text has been added’. Given I can keep up with it
The same will happen with the ‘Worries from users’ quotes with alphabetical notations for changes if necessary, hence ““a”” to ““zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”” if it’s needed.)

So, since I’m often arguing in a circle about the same things I want to put both factions into overview. All the good/bad, the issues and fixes I see possible to be made.

It’s a large and complex topic, hence I’ll provide main points to navigate it easier. Also there’ll be some missing with guarantee as it’s a massive topic.
Read those relevant for you, that’s your ‘TLDR’ If something is unclear refer to the glossary for terms.

Index:

Core Setup:

  • CoF Issues
  • MG issues
  • CoF suggested changes
  • MG suggested changes
  • Existing situation conclusion

Complex topics:

  • Terminology Glossary
  • Faction switching/double dipping
  • "“1"” Resource Sinks
  • "“2"” Merging, adjusting or major rework?
  • Worries/Issues found from users

CoF Issues

CoF Ranks:

  • The Ranks are fairly good with the exception of Rank 9.
  • Set item rewards are useless, especially that late.

CoF Prophecies:

  • They’re a fun design, albeit a mini-game style thing and not all too enjoyable. The UI needs to be better to show conditions without hovering over each one.
  • Prices need to be adjusted a bit between different rewards.
  • Weapon Prophecies are not balanced in availability to other ones because of the pool-size.

CoF Lenses:

  • Yeah, they exist. You’ll only use very specific ones. Extra loot is nigh always the solutions. Blocking doesn’t happen later on, the third slot is usually the enforce a specific item type more.
  • It lacks options, basic function is there though.

CoF Boos-Loot - "“1"” Rogue Mage Loot:

  • Uniques from bosses are outside of LP chance not affected by CoF. While overall the amount of exalted and unique items skyrockets highly those are the bottleneck. This makes CoF slower then MG in progression and is the major bottleneck.
  • There needs to be a system to increase the quantity of boss-uniques being dropped.
  • "“1"” Rogue Mage outcomes aren’t affected by CoF either in quantity. While the upgrade of experimental bases happens the overall quantity of them as well as the specific unique drops from Rogue Mages doesn’t scale with the system.

MG Issues

MG Ranks:

  • So… these are nonsense, from start to finish.
  • A healthy economy doesn’t work if the access to it is hindered.
  • The time between ranks at the upper ranges is far too high to scale together with your first character, making MG useless there.
  • Putting common, rare and boss-uniques into the same category solely discerned by ‘LP or not’ is fairly nonsensical. The same goes for access to exalted items as a baseline. T6, T7 or double-exalted items have a very different power ceiling and need to be handled differently.
  • It’s a very bad system.

MG Bazaar:

  • The UI is bad.
  • The code has seemingly an issue, re-loading from the database too often and hence costing immense amounts of bandwidth, makes it not only slow but sometimes actively breaks.
  • Affixes are missing (especially for Idols).
  • The walk between the traders is annoying.

MG pricing:

  • The favor prices are fairly nonsense. A good exalted item is valued less then a common unique.
  • Listing costing favor feels very awkward. The incentive to put an item on the market is the outcome, limiting sell-space is a better solution.
  • No re-listing makes people undercut each other and the market less functional.
  • Using Gold for the function of the market ruins Lightless Arbour completely.

Faction switching:

  • Account wide punishments for character actions is nonsensical.
  • Punishments for switching are extreme and lock people into a playstyle which has ‘fallen out of favor for them’.

CoF suggested changes

  • Introduce boss-unique specific solutions.
  • Adjust prices.
  • Give players ‘a bit’ more options for deterministic outcomes. It’s meant to be a ‘solution’ for both sides but fails for longer-term players with that.
  • More interesting lens options.
  • Showcase content restriction as a symbol above the prophecy.
  • Split weapon prophecies into more ‘big pools’ to make them close to the other prophecy types in re-roll cost, or reduce re-roll cost heavily.

MG suggested changes

UI:

  • Implement missing affixes.
  • List should be default mode, not detailed.
  • Provide sub-priority searching (Affix 1 min T7, Affix 2 min T5 etc etc.)
  • Separate listing from searching mode. It’s complex enough to warrant that. (Hence a full screen for options and a full screen for results)
  • Allow sorting and sub-sorting by priority (highest health roll then highest increased elemental damage roll for example. Up to 5 obviously)
  • In conjunction make the client save the result for the first 10 pages (no reloading and hence server load from that in return for initial bigger server load)
  • Provide a ‘combined’ trader at the start, the ones now are a mess to use, give a window to choose category first instead.

Ranks:

  • The need a total rework. Limitation of access is not a proper trading option.
  • Ranks can do something else. Taxation (favor or gold price), amount of listings, amount of maximum buy-able items per x time (with extra favor usage for more) and similar are optimal options there. Access should be limited to availability, that’s how a market works.

Pricing:

  • Using gold as the core resource is nonsense. Implement a new one (tokens, platinum, diamonds… whatever fits). It allows double-dipping into it in very rare cases + utterly ruins Lightless Arbour.
  • Favor cost needs to increase with selling price. Favor is never the limiting factor for a buy.
  • Taxation of some means needs to be there to create a proper resource sink, optimally a part of the price for the seller (with a minimum to reduce ‘0’ listings) and a good part of the favor for the buyer. This causes limitations on the listing flood as well as keeps supply/demand in line with actual effort needed as well as reduces MTX issues since favor is time-investment and hence the chokepoint.
  • "“2"” Listing shouldn’t cost favor. Favor costs for listing means progress is tied to putting items on the market. This causes people to list items without wanting to sell them, flooding the market and hence working outside of supply/demand aspects.

Existing situation conclusions

The implementation of both factions was a good first try overall, CoF has a lot less issues then MG has.

My conclusion is that MG was simply rushed, the sheer amount of missing functionality versus clearly missed affixes showcases that it was a very shoddy job and premature to implement. It’s badly thought through, has a lot of issues related to ‘Economy 101’ and even more actual functional issues related to game design.

Terminology Glossary

Base-game resource:
These include everything both factions get. Gold, Glyphs, Sigils, Runes, Affixes.

Faction-resource:
These are the unique resources used by the respective faction. Reputation, Favor and others.

"“1"” Primary Faction-resource:
This is Favor. It’s ‘Primary’ because everything else hinges on that as the core aspect.

"“1"” Secondary Faction-resource:
This doesn’t exist yet. It’s another resource besides ‘Favor’ and the sole task is to uphold using no Base-game resource in their main mechanics.

Benefits:
These are the direct mechanical upsides a faction provides upon usage. Currently baseline loot and prophecies for CoF and market access for MG.

Rewards:
These are the outcomes at the end by using the benefits of the faction and putting effort into acquiring them. The faction-tagged items currently.

Current Tags in the game:
Non-tradeable:
These are all base items dropped during CoF.
CoF-tagged:
These are all items created through prophecies or the Rank mechanics (Idols for example). Also some beyond, albeit it’s not clear how it decides that as it’s not implemented with simple easily visible rules. (If someone can clear the exact example up I would be delighted)
MG-Tagged:
These are items bought through the Bazaar.

Faction switching/double dipping

So, the first complex topic.
The current options to change factions are very punishing, that is something which can be agreed to generally.
It is something which is quite extreme even and definitely needs to be looked at. Best-case is the completely removal of any aspect of time-investment being lost.

Obviously that’s something which opens up the option for there to be situations where someone can ‘double-dip’ into mechanics. This is something which has to be avoided 100% of the time.

Hence the base arguments:

  • Faction changes are overly punishing.
  • Double-dipping has to be 100% removed.

So next up let’s make clear what the downsides are:

If you change your faction currently:

  • All stored favor for all characters in the faction will be lost.
  • All Prophecies for the character will be lost if you’re CoF.
  • All ‘opposite’ tagged items will not be able to be used. Hence no usage of CoF-tagged items in MG and no usage of MG-tagged items in CoF.

So we can see it’s not ‘optimal’. The faction-tagged items are after all a reward and removing those from players generally feels ‘bad’.
It also opens the chance to ‘soft-lock’ a character into a specific faction, giving no reasonable ability to switch over as the invested time to acquire the equipment is so high that one could instead make a new character without feeling the difference.

So that’s something which I would say is ‘good to be solved’ definitely. It always is the question about the ‘how’ though.

For that I’ve talked - far too much - about this already in a variety of threads to a variety of people with a variety of answers.

It generally comes down to the following:

  • If someone from CoF has enough gold they can afford all the pieces they need in MG right away.
  • If someone from CoF switches over with enough gold they don’t need a lot of time to acquire the favor to allow buying the most expensive items on the market.
  • If someone from CoF switches over they can have acquired the needed favor already on a second character and outfit themselves right away.

So, this shows me a few things. Namely that gold and favor are the main problem as well as we already have a double-dipping problem existing in a small manner.
Both aren’t good.

So the solutions which are in the list above to handle that specific issue:

  • Gold shouldn’t be used for trade. Since it’s a base-game resource it means both factions have access to it. It warrants a faction-resource to be implemented of some kind, ‘Platinum’.
  • ‘Platinum’ can only be dropped while a player plays in MG, it doesn’t drop otherwise. It drops regularly and is auto-pickup like gold. The amount plays no matter since supply/demand is purely based on invested time this way. It’s a stop-gap.
  • Favor cost for buying is not high enough to hinder this, which warrants scaling favor costs with price to remedy it.

Those have to be done in conjunction with each other. To showcase how it solves the issue I’ll provide a rather extreme example. We’ll imagine a player which has 2 characters (1 CoF, 1 MG), invested 1000 hours in both, has 500k Favor in both factions and is capped on gold.
Also for the new status we’ll say ‘Favor cost is 50% Platinum cost’ and ‘Platinum gain is equivalent to favor gain’.
Meaning a 1 million platinum item is 500k favor.

The current state:
Given our player decides that their next item is unrealistic to be acquired in CoF he switches over, takes the full hit in loosing all 5 million favor and immediately buys full end-game gear which is better then their current one in 5 minutes as that players owns the funds.

The new state without:
The player switches over to MG, looses no Favor and can keep wearing their rewards form the benefits of the faction. Their situation hasn’t changed yet, they’ve played up to their state, they keep their state. Now they can go ahead and try to buy items there… he finds an item costing 500k platinum, buys it and is left with 250k favor at the end and can switch back.

The result… and the question ‘Is that double-dipping’?:

The result is currently we would loose 500k favor, outfit ourselves in every single item slot and return back with ‘0’ favor for both factions and ‘0’ items which can be used. To use them we can’t ever use CoF anymore, permanently. Hence staying in MG it is with the new setup and all the CoF-Tagged items being ‘useless forever’ unless a new character is made with CoF.

The new result would be a singular usable item, no changes outside of the usage of platinum which has been all used up. You don’t get ‘punished’ in any way.

‘But Kulze! That’s double-dipping! You’re using both mechanics on one character!’
No, it actually is not. It’s less so then the current state.
The platinum and favor have to come from ‘somewhere’… which in our case is time-investment. You invest time with the benefits to derive a reward which is how game-mechanics generally go.
If you go into CoF your benefit is multiplication of loot. The reward is the loot dropping from that, useful or not.
If you go MG your benefit is allowing to sell items in the market, acquiring gold (or platinum in the suggestion) to sustain your spending. The reward is the bought items, costly or not.

The distinction between benefit and reward is extremely important. To give an equivalence example, imagining specific content drops loot with ‘tags’ for their specific content:
Monolith drops ‘Monolith-tagged’ equipment. Your benefit is the drops there through higher corruption, the reward are the tagged items.
Arena and Dungeons are freely accessible and also dropped 'Dungeon-tagged* equipment. Your benefit is the drops there through higher levels or higher waves, the reward is the actual item dropping for you, useful or not.

Now imagine you loose all corruption and can’t use a single item should you decide to do Dungeons. And the other way around.
Sounds good? No?
It’s the exact same.
We have a piece of core content that’s limiting us in usage, it’s a measure of player agency which allows us to choose out play-style. Depriving us of the benefits when we’re not using it is a given. Depriving us of the rewards from them on the other hand is nonsense.
Like any content Factions need to be treated the same way as any other content in those terms. Benefits only come into effect during usage of a mechanic while Rewards are outcomes which can be used everywhere, they are your character’s identity.

I hope this clears up as much as possible what the difference is. Why the current situation is not a positive one and a singular solution to solve this specific issue.

““1”” Resource Sinks

This one is a very important topic as it’s one directly tied to one of the most important resources in the game, Gold.

Currently we have 2 ‘natural’ resource-sinks in the game for Gold:

  • Stash Tabs
  • Lightless Arbour

I won’t count vendors as the usage of them is very limited commonly and ends quite early.
Stash Tabs are a limited resource sink, there’s an upper limit of 200 Tabs (yeah, I was surprised to find out the number, I don’t 100% know if it still holds true) which means it’s not a ‘endless’ sink, which makes it not viable for a long-term measure to remove natural inflation through the creation of the resource.

Lightless Arbour on the other hand is a far better and more viable option. It’s actually a very good one. Big loot explosion, high price, definitely something one would want to save up Gold for to use. It’s a natural resource sink which never ends and always has a chance for a positive needed outcome, the content with the highest chance for rare high-value exalted items as well as core-pool uniques.

The current issue is MG though.
Why? Because MG uses Gold as the resource for trade. Gold being a Base-game resource means that both factions profit from keeping it for trades, which obviously is not positive.

To put the issues into a list:

  • CoF can switch over to MG and ‘skip’ the necessary time-investment for item-acquisition.
  • Favor-cost in MG is not of any relevance in the current state. It is so low that a secondary character in the faction can create enough of it to buy ‘god-tier’ items before level 100.
  • Gold-usage causes Lightless Arbour to be less viable to use because of a second mechanic in high need of the base-game resource that only ends when Lightless Arbour usage would also end.
  • Lightless Arbour provides less value in comparison to MG’s market.

So as a result Lightless Arbour doesn’t get used by MG characters commonly, their gold is ‘too valuable’ for it.

The solution hence?
Instead of a base-game resource faction-specific dealings should be using faction-resources in general.
The faction resource for MG can’t be pure favor since it’s the primary faction-resource and it would be detrimental to do that. Hence a secondary faction-resource is needed. ‘Platinum’ named here.

So the outcome would be that Lightless Arbour has no competition for being a gold-sink, both factions can use it without worry, only needing to hold back enough gold to use for Stash Tabs.

Also it removes the option for people to circumvent time-investment into MG should they decide to switch over from CoF. They would’ve either needed to do that already on a secondary character with a scaling amount (rather then the flat amount currently) to improve the situation of the first character… or invest the time fully with their first character to get the rewards from the faction.

"“2"” Merging, adjusting or major rework?

This one is a fairly important one, it’s been mentioned here:

Basically the notion of partially merging the factions since currently they don’t work in a functional way.

So, what are the issues as to why this was brought up and can be read through the - massive - amount of text there at the whole thread?

  • MG has too few people as the cycle progresses, making it less viable then CoF
  • CoF becomes less viable then a functioning MG during the end-game.
  • The cost of switching factions is so extreme that in case something goes ‘awry’ you’re soft-locking your character in the respective play-style, not allowing to have personal agency on how you want to play, solo-style or community-driven.

Which is why a combination has been brought up, combining the favor into a singular system for both factions.

The problems I see with this:

  • It speeds up progression a lot since you basically can have access of both factions at one, double-dipping.
  • It doesn’t solve the root problems, just uses a band-aid to fix the outcomes.
  • It would mean that overall loot-drops need another nerf, and a major one at that to allow it to work properly.
  • It doesn’t uphold the design-philosophy of making sure to keep solo-play and community-play separate depending on personal liking, it enforces trading once more.

All of those are not good things obviously. I don’t see how it can be implemented hence without making major concessions in spaces which aren’t supposed to make them in the first place.

So, would be adjusting better or a major rework?
Obviously a rework as it has the biggest effect. The issue with that is the time- and resource-investment needed. This is just not a viable solution in a short bit of time, hence why partial adjustments are the only viable route for EHG to go.

The major points for that will be the points mentioned in the overview of the issues.
The biggest point is ‘Scaling Favor costs for bought items’ as it causes the sole way to double-dip into the mechanic as Gold is a base-game resource which gets acquired through CoF as well.
Next up would be ‘Listing costs favor’ which is a major issue as it removes the natural state of a market working on supply/demand. This means items will be listed which are never meant to be sold, just to progress the system further, obviously not a good thing! The off-chance for them to be sold is a more viable option though then gambling for the items at the vendor.
The third and last major point and which also comes last on the list is ‘Rank re-work’, the current system is stifling once again natural supply/demand. Access restrictions aren’t something which ever works on a market unless specifically tailored to work in conjunction with one. This simply is not the case in LE though. Access restrictions work actively against the game progression. The re-work needs to at least include breaking down unique types and their respective LP to be accessible at the right times, as well as exalted item access depending on Tiers on the item. Rares fall into that as well and should scale. A 10 Rank system doesn’t work at all.
Alternative options for that are a full-scale re-work which would work overall better and implement a taxation system with reduced taxation at higher Ranks. Easier, quicker and solves the functionality right away.

Worries/Issues found from users

““a””
"“1"” Yes, this is something I’ve overlooked in the initial post. I’ve hence added it to the top as well.

““b””
"“1"” This is a direct outcome which happens with removing access-restrictions through ranks and making favor cost reliant on resource cost.

““c””
"“1"” I’ve forgotten to add that one, thanks for reminding me! It’s been highlighted as a extra topic.

2 Likes

Perfect, both factions are a way to transform the true currency of the game=time investment~favor into items.

As long you aren’t getting items without spending TIME there is no issue!
I already paid the price in “time” for all the items I aquired in the previous faction, so it shouldn’t be taken away from me whatever the case, like changing factions.

Favor tracks decently well with time investment so it’s a good way to make the gear aquireability tied to it! COF already has it this way with prophecies which is amazing!
This being the case, I would propose to make the MG currency also be favor.
This would :
1.Remove gold/favor disparity in listings/buyings
2.Give a better time investment to gear tracking
3.Make Gold be used in the Lightless Arbor Gold sink
4.Create the need to implement a favor sink for MG which could simply be taxation!

This makes time to be worth more at higher levels and higher corruption which is a good way to incentivise players to chase better drops and push higher! A point could be made for limiting favor gain per mob at a certain value, as to discourage people from only playing META or BUGged builds on both factions.

1 Like

I want to highlight this. I made a thread a while ago mentioning how gold was always scarce in CoF. It’s our resource for stash tabs and LA, too. So using it as trade currency causes some collateral damage there.

Also, you know I agree on most CoF-improvement requests. You might group Exiled Mages with bosses explicitly, maybe you consider them bosses, but that is debatable. However we have the same drop quantity issues regarding both experimental items and their exclusive uniques.

Prophecy favor cost needs more than a bit of an adjustment regarding the per-item-cost of exalteds.

Edit 2 bump since I added a whole new topic to discuss.
Going forward I’ll also try to link other threads for the whole Faction talk when I have the time, or a new one comes up which provides any form of ‘fresh take’ on one of the topics… including new argumentation lines.