Indie MMORPG Saga of Lucimia embraces gated content

    
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See, it's always dark and you need to have someone carrying a torch instead of fighting, and wait, come back.

You should probably not be terribly surprised to hear that Saga of Lucimia, an upcoming MMO that is staking a claim on the hard-as-nails market, is embracing gated content with gusto. And to hear the team tell it, this is logical and corresponds to most hobbies in real life.

“Just because you paid for a game and/or are paying a monthly fee doesn’t mean you automatically have access to the top levels of content,” the team said. “Does that matter? Does it affect anyone other than those who are attempting to meet the barriers in place for the highest levels of gated content? Not in the least.”

An example of Saga of Lucimia’s gated content is with its main epic questline, in which players “will need to meet certain standards of entry” at certain points, including dungeon and raid runs. Yes, it sounds as though keys and attunements are making a comeback.

But the devs argue that just because you might not be a raid doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy other parts of the game, such as roleplaying, landscape adventures, or faction hunting. For the tougher stuff, the team expects players to learn to get better and rely more on others as they work together to achieve goals. “If it’s not inspiring, it’s not worth pursuing,” is their new motto.

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Michael18

Without gating no progression. Without gating no RPG.

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Jack Kerras

It occurs to me that gating is perfectly fine as long as it does not have arbitrary requirements for opening those gates.

I talk about Warhammer Online for a lot of reasons, and since no one can play it anymore, it makes sense to say what I know in case folks just missed it.

In WAR, gear had something called a ‘ward’ on it. The first tier of gear was the Lesser Ward, then T2 was Greater Ward, T3 Superior Ward, etc. There was a ward for each tier.

Originally, they intended dungeons to be gear ‘capped’, in that wearing 5/5 pieces of tier gear would make it possible to play, and turn one-shots into two-shots for DPS classes for undodgeable mechanics that acted as heal gates, or so I believe. I think so because Greater Ward pieces only bestowed a Greater Ward (not Greater and Lesser), and they were directly tied to a piece of gear, whether dungeon or RvR-dropped.

This indicates to me that they meant T1 dungeons to be run in world-drop gear, but that the better-statted T2 Dungeon gear would NOT impart a similar bonus.

And Wards were serious. Running in no-ward gear in a dungeon meant 75% less damage dealt and more damage taken, with that debuff reduced 15% per Ward.

Now, they later decided to make those experiential in nature. Each piece (helm, chest, gloves, boots, pants) of each Ward would now unlock in your Tome of Knowledge instead of being tied directly to gear.

Crucially, they also added other things, as follows:

Lesser Ward
Helm slot
Get helm drop from %t0dungeon_boss1 0/1
Get player kills in RR40+ Areas 0/100
Complete Keep Defenses in RR40+ Areas 0/10
Defeat %t0dungeon_boss1 0/5

So now, rather than have the Lesser Ward’s helmet slot available only to people currently wearing an Annihilator piece, they made it so that 5 kills on the boss who drops it (regardless of whether the drop occurred) would also unlock the ward and allow progression. This reduced the reliance on RNG and allowed RvR-only players an avenue to unlock Wards, which were ALSO needed to destroy bosses, with lesser (IE closer to the middle of the RvR campaign) keeps having lower-level Wards, all the way up to Emperor Karl Franz having maxed Royal wards.

Even healers could complete this (with Keep Defenses) without making a single kill in PvP despite being integral to PvP success. There were more options, and each type of Ward required different inputs, but it really eased the keying process for folks who RNGesus did not smile upon. Like me, who saw 150 fucking White Lion helms despite the fact that I never a single time brought a White Lion with me to that dungeon aaaaargh!

They had no bearing on PvP stats, but the game was PvPvE in nature, so HAVING to dungeon-grind high-level content and bring real, dedicated raiders to the endgame PvPvE experience was a huge problem for a while, as was the whole concept of Royal gear not being able to save you from HUGE DAMAGE in lowbie dungeons.

In short (I realize this is nothing like short), the idea of flexibility in gaining access to content is of real importance to me personally, and I mention WAR’s neato system every time I can. I believe games which are dead can teach us an awful lot, both for things to avoid -and- things to emulate or riff on.

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Robert Mann

I didn’t mind keys/attunements as an idea. That said, the static world thing with infinite respawns always made it feel silly and artificial, but that’s the nature of the static world.

I think the idea of keys and attunements needs a world with lots of hidden content, randomized or generated content that needs them for long and epic journeys over time that aren’t just repeated stuff, and some sort of sharing system to either unlock content for the entire player-base or to pass on the word of what has happened (and if the second, which is my ideal, it needs enough of the first two parts that people have things to do.)

That there’s my keys/attunement stance. Status quo MMO? No thanks, but do enough to make the combat seekers have interesting new stuff to do and it could work. I don’t think our systems are there yet, however.

*P.S. the reason I think that would work, is that it would either be a server unlock, or it would be just for the group pursuing the vague hints to finally see what was going on, thus either avoiding the negative side, or giving groups something epic all of their own.*

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Tim Anderson

Considering ours is less of a static world and one that changes with each ongoing volume (expansion), we’re using gated content as a way for players to unlock the ongoing story content. It will not be used for repeatable “raid” content in the traditional MMO setting.

There are also some interesting things we’re doing with world/server unlocks, such as the server community needing to work together as a whole to bring teleportation portals into use for limited fast travel, which is another element of gated content where the whole server has to work together, or they won’t have fast travel :)

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Tulerezzer

Can’t wait to play it!
Nothing out currently is hitting the sweet spot for me so something different with a classic feel sounds great.

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Tim Anderson

Good to hear it!

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David Goodman

Thing is, if I’m not interested in a part of the game, I know I have other things I can do.

However, the money I spend on the game (for whatever monetization metgod this game uses – I’m not looking it up) could then potentially go towards things I am not interested in, becoming a waste of money if an expansion or patch is released that does not offer something for my playstyle.

Therefore, I am asked to put my trust AND my money I to a developer who says they are OK with me not having access to everything, to continually develop enough ‘other’ content to fill my needs.

What, then, prevents me from going to another game that does offer me access to all content already? And without anything enticing to casual / non raiders, what do you expect your market to be?

The “super hardcore” crowd is not worth chasing. They are already invested in their current games – these are not groups that, as a whole, flutter from one game to the next.

Wildstar learned that lesson. They learned it hard. Just knowing a company is even trying to follow in those footsteps makes my eyes roll.

This post typed up on crappy Wi-Fi on my phone. Enjoy the typos :)

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Robert Mann

Wildstar’s issues… I think were only partially that. The graphics weren’t aligned to the hardcore crowd, the 4 societal aspects thing was terribad, and the game flubbed a number of other critical things. Granted, the extremes that WS went to were an issue, but there was more than that.

I mean, I expect that the chase toward those people did limit their population somewhat, but the other things need to be accounted for when considering if a game can work with that hardcore crowd chase setup. Assuming it is the chase, and only the chase, of a subset of the population that dooms a game when there are so many other big issues is a little off, to me. I didn’t think they had numbers left by the time people even got to the raid unlocks to maintain a success… if so then maybe it can be called the sole reason.

Not that I expect a super hardcore focused dungeon/raid game to do great things in terms of numbers, but let’s at least assess properly! :D

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Tim Anderson

And yet we’re not, nor have we ever been, chasing the “super hardcore” crowd. Our target audience is gamers just like us…people who play 2-3 hours here and there, maybe 2-3 times per week.

Group-based mechanics do not = “super hardcore”.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

If that is the case, maybe reconsider adding a traditional dungeon finder. If a person only has two hours to play, spending a quarter (or more) of that time finding a group is probably not something they are looking to do.

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Tim Anderson

That’s what forums and Discord are for, as well as the OOC channels: finding people to group with and forming friendships. Be social, be friendly, and actually TALK to other people, rather than rely on a gimmick to find people for you.

It’s a community-based game, after all. Friendships and community are what it’s all about.

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Rolan Storm

Everyone so against it. Don’t know. WoW riding did not make the game fold.

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Tim Anderson

WoW raiding still has a fairly high barrier of entry, as well.

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Rolan Storm

That’s exactly my point.

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Cosmic Cleric

With the dev’s hardcore mindset, I wonder how many customers they are shooting for? What they would be happy with?

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Tim Anderson

Except at no point in time have we ever called ourselves “hardcore”. That’s a title that Massively OP community seems to have bestowed upon us, which makes us giggle every time.

That being said, we’re a niche title b/c we’re group-based, not single player. We’re on track for our base estimates, which are 5k-10k. We’ve had several companies claim we have the potential to hit 30-35k, but those were publishers who were trying to get us to go F2P, which we won’t.

5k subs is our minimum target goal, with 10k our “ideal” goal. Anything beyond that is pure gravy on the cake.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Games like Elder Scrolls Online needed to do the area scaling and let people go everywhere because they simply had too much content. The hordes of lower level content all over would get skipped for being too easy when people leveled so really it was more about letting people do all that content than letting people run to end game stuff right off (though it ended up so that they could as a consequence).

And they’re right, most games do have gated content, so it made me wonder why they were going on so much about it. It seems that it’s not just simple level or quest based gating. It seems that it’s more of an elite super player hard core raid type of gating. If I’m wrong from not reading the details close enough, feel free to correct me, but that seems to be somewhat along the lines of what they’re talking about.

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Robert Mann

ESO didn’t start out like that, the combat was tough. Then people whined, it got nerfed beyond the pale, and it turned into waltz through the world with a twig time…

Likely it is quest chain gating, much like raids in WoW vanilla and TBC had, but details are for them to know.

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Tim Anderson

I chuckle every time someone calls anything we are doing “super hardcore elite raider” content, because our game is designed for players just like us…we play a couple of hours per session, and 2-3 times per week.

Right now, for example, I’m playing LOTRO on Tues and Thur, and EQ on Wed/Fri. About 2 hours each session, sometimes going as long as 3 hours on Friday nights. I sometimes miss one of those sessions if I’m doing something with the wife (who is not a gamer).

Faaaar from hardcore/elite.

Some of it will be quest gating, other will be faction gating, some will be raid-related (you can’t enter the zone unless you have X players), others will be server-based. As in, “if the whole server doesn’t come together to accomplish this goal and overcome this challenge, the server doesn’t advance”. Still others will be things like requiring X crafting skill, or Y mechanical skill, or needing a very specific at a specific level, like Advanced Tracking at 150+ in order to uncover the foosteps of a specific mob.

But that’s only 10-15% of the game content. There’s a whole rest of the game world out there to explore which won’t have any sort of gated content beyond needing to have a few friends to go adventuring with.

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Eliandal

Worked oh so well for Wildstar ;P!

plasmajohn
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plasmajohn

Was just gonna post “Wildstar says ‘hi'” not just once but twice now. At launch they had this huge slog just to get into raids. They had to retune it a few times. Eventually that had to pare it down to running each of the Vet dungeons once.

Their latest cock-up was to introduce the Primal Matrix which is a months long grind. Without a filled in matrix you can’t do the current tier. Older tiers are completely invalid now. Roster boss is killing the few guilds left.

Attunements, like most of the barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways! features may sound great in theory but experienced raid managers know it’s the kiss of death. If these guys are so keen on bringing back old school they really should re-institute open world raids that required scouts and 3am rage pings.