My intention with this post is to bring up a lot of issues and put them all on the table so that we may better address them as a whole.
One of the biggest things that we need to address is Laughing Skull as a whole. I don't know about the other people reading this right now, but I'm personally not in the business of second-guessing my own decisions. The fact is that Laughing Skull has always been marketed as a High Risk realm. That fact was made known to us from the very onset, it was displayed in bright red letters next to the server name and has always been there above our first character in the character creation screen. We all knew exactly what we were getting into when we chose to make a character on Laughing Skull and this Hybrid Risk system implementation completely negates the decisions of not just myself but every single player on the server. This needs to be addressed.
The second topic I would like to bring up is how the Hybrid Risk system was implemented as a whole. It has effectively cut the population of the server in half. Not being able to see people on different risk settings makes the server feel much less populated than it actually is.
There has been rumor mill talk of a merge with Andorhal in the works. I don't much like the idea of taking baseless rumor as an actual fact, but such a topic needs to be addressed if it is even a remote possibility. For this purpose, I will continue on with the assumption that this rumor is true and proceed to talk about it as such. If there is a merge with Andorhal in the works, it should have been made known publicly before now. Only by having an actual discussion with your population can you understand the steps to be taken to bring about a smooth transition. I can understand the reasoning behind keeping such a decision a secret until now, but you must also understand that it paints you in a poor light.
If the merge with Andorhal is not a baseless rumor, and there really is such a situation in the works, the Hybrid Risk system should have been implemented on the Andorhal server first. They, after all, are the ones with the most to lose, not us on Laughing Skull. They have spent a long time gaining the gear that they are wearing. To potentially lose 5 of their items has to be absolutely terrifying for them, and rightfully so. I would absolutely not like to have a chance of losing weeks of work from being ganked once. We have all experienced the grind to raid gear, we can all relate to this ideal.
The third topic I would like to bring up is the general situation with world pvp in Laughing Skull immediately after the change to the Hybrid System and the problems and possible solutions to the situations explained therein.
The players on Laughing Skull have always decided to be High - Risk. It's normal for us. So there being much less PVP happening in the world is very disconcerting. In daily quests now, there's no risk at all of losing gear. Some people have made it known to me that they think this is a horrible occurrence. I, on the other hand, am completely unperturbed by this particular change, in fact, I like it the most out of everything that has happened so far during this transition. Yes, Laughing Skull has always been a High - Risk realm. But the fact that the realm was High - Risk is not the reason why the realm is fun to play on. Laughing Skull is fun to play on because of one reason. World - PVP as a whole. To understand this concept we need to break it down into many smaller parts.
Gear is dropped on death in Laughing Skull High - Risk PVP
Gear is expensive to replace on the Laughing Skull Auction House
Having something to lose gives a real sense of loss to the player
Gold is the end all be all to security in Laughing Skull
Many people will agree with the first three statements but then get caught off guard by the fourth. That is understandable, allow me to explain. Because gear is lost on death, the player experiences a sense of loss, due to expensive prices of replacement gear on the Auction House, the desire for more money is inspired in the player. This desire for more money is what fuels world pvp in Laughing Skull. More money means more replacement gear, more replacement gear means less sense of loss, nobody enjoys feeling a sense of loss. This fuels not only world pvp, but also a desire to farm for more items, to make more money, or to take items from other players through world pvp. This is the life cycle of Laughing Skull.
Currently, that life cycle is threatened. Because there is no risk to doing daily quests, less world pvp is happening as a whole, fewer items are being lost on death, which means that less replacement gear will be required by the player base, which means that players will experience less sense of loss, and therefore, their drive for more gold will be lacking, which will bring about less desire for gear and, as a result, world pvp as a whole.
That being said, there is a reverse to this line of thinking from the no - risk perspective. Because there is no risk of loss on death in pvp, there is less reason preventing people from taking part in world pvp.
These reasonings are also counterintuitive to each other, which makes the situation very complex and requires absolute care in execution.
My solution for both problems would be an increase in server population with a merge with Andorhal. I would increase the population of the server as a whole, then I would recreate the daily quest system to better suit both high-risk and no-risk playstyles. Two sets of daily quests would be available, "High - Risk" and "Low - Risk"
Notice that I said "Low - Risk" and not "No - Risk"
The changes I would make are as follows:
High - Risk quests maintain the exact same system prior to the Hybrid System change on Laughing Skull with the addition of requiring players to be in "High - Risk" mode and maintain such mode at the start, during, and upon completion of the quest. Party creation results in immediate failure of the quests.
Low - Risk quests maintain the exact same system prior to the Hybrid System change on Laughing Skull with the addition of requiring players to be in "Low - Risk" mode and maintain such mode at the start, during, and upon completion of the quest.
This brings to question what the difference is between "High - Risk" and "Low - Risk" daily quests. The answer to that is, there is none. The only change that I propose is who the enemies are.
In "High - Risk" daily quests, you stand alone. Completely without allies on your mission. Enemy to all, friend to none. These quests would be similar to the current "kill 30 x mob" quests that we have right now.
In "Low - Risk", daily quests follow the path of the original World of Warcraft and create a faction based World PVP option with the exact same gear drop on death system as high - risk except that in this mode you have allies, the people who are on your faction. These quests would promote large scale World PVP war over quest bosses that spawn at specific times of day on cooldown. Massive, raid size bosses that require large numbers of players but little management of tactics to be effective.
World of Warcraft has always been a faction verse faction game. The conflict between the Horde and the Alliance has been a major selling point for 15 years, there is no reason to throw it out simply because it is an old concept, we should use it to fix our current problem.
Because both play styles have the same sense of loss, players will still have the drive to farm gold and get gear, and, with the addition of a larger population, should balance out the two factions of the Horde and Alliance respectively.
This solution is not without fault, so I request everyone that reads this thread to post your own concerns and bring about a dialogue so that we may make progress towards a greater future for Project Ascension.