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Level Cap Increase: As Bad As It Gets

Posted by The Peanut Master on September 26, 2009

If for some strange reason you’re out of the loop and don’t know about this level cap increase, I’ll fill you in real quick: The level cap has increased from 35 to 40. To put it bluntly (and probably somewhat offensively), that just sucks. Here’s why:

1. No prior warning/alert whatsoever

One of the nice things about AE is that they have lots of outlets with which to let the community and players know what’s going on with game development and what’s coming up in the future. The Design Notes, homepage updates, newsletters, and forums (most importantly Beleen’s release notes) are all updated often with all kinds of information, and AE almost always does a great job keeping us in the loop with what’s going on. Up to this point, every level cap raise has been met with ample notice at least a few days in advance. It is then repeated in almost all the available outlets to make sure everyone knows about such a big event as a level cap increase. But this one? From 35 to 40, no less? Not a wink. No mention on the homepage, no mention on the Design Notes, no mention in the newsletter, no mention in Beleen’s release notes, no mention anywhere. In fact, it’s only been officially confirmed by one official source (Personator), and the main level cap thread on the forums hasn’t even been officially tagged. For as close to the community as AE generally is, the complete lack of notice whatsoever is incredibly troubling and makes me wonder further what AE was thinking in this decision.

2. Too soon after previous level cap increase

The last level cap increase was about a month ago, and it’s just straight-up too soon for another one. Imo, level cap increases should be pretty uncommon, as they cater to a very small portion of the playing population and don’t add much to the game. So naturally, I’m against a level cap increase only a mere month after the previous, relatively substantial one. If this happened in a couple months I’d be much better off, but this way too soon.

3. A five-level increase is overkill

To be honest, if the cap had been raised by one or two levels to provide some war motivation that would have been okay by me (not great, but at least tolerable). There is no legitimate reason to increase the level cap by this much, and I would have loved to be present at the meeting in which this was decided, if only to hear the surely twisted logic used to justify it.

4. Mecha/equipment gaps haven’t been filled yet

AE has done a pretty good job recently taking big strides to fill the level gap that has haunted MechQuest for ages, but there is still a lack of mecha (and to a lesser extent, equipment) at a bunch of levels, and increasing the level cap will not help sort out this issue. Now there are five more levels with which to fill with content, and that will surely take attention away from the level gaps that already exist.

5. Not enough content to justify a level cap increase

Let’s face it: Accomplishing everything there is to do in the game will only get you into the mid-to-high 20s level range, leaving double digit levels and an absolute boatload of farming ahead to get into the higher levels (let alone the level cap). I’m fine with a fair amount of straight-up farming for those hardcore players out there, but this is overkill for anyone and level 35 was perfect for the time being. There needs to be a lot more content released to justify a cap increase of this magnitude, content which would take a good few months of permanent releases to fill.

6. This wasn’t being requested by the community

One of AE’s strengths is its ability and willingness to listen to the community and implement into their games what their audience wants. While it is a quality very few game companies nowadays possess and AE is very unique and special in that regard, they sometimes take it overboard and put things in the games that just don’t makes sense (a lot of AQWorlds represents this perfectly). However, this situation was the complete opposite. No one anywhere was suggesting or requesting a level cap increase, and because it hadn’t been mentioned anywhere, it came as a massive surprise for everyone. If the community had been hotly requesting a cap raise at least I could have seen the motivation for making such a decision, but because it came out of literal thin air I’m completely in the dark as to where the idea came from.

7. It won’t give proper motivation for the current ShadowScythe war

I’m guessing AE thinks this cap increase will significantly help the war participation. To an extent, it probably will, but the fact remains that the players the cap increase is targeted towards (high-level, hardcore players) probably would have participated anyways, thus their high level standing. Therefore, the key motivation the level cap increase should provide is almost completely nullified by the fact that many of those players would have participated regardless.

And there it is. Seven key reasons why this level cap increase was a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad (one bad for each reason) idea. I’m posting this before the release analysis so you all won’t be shocked when it not only receives a likely record low score, but also a score that brings down the overall release significantly. This entire post is probably going to come off as incredibly harsh, offensive, unforgiving, rude, and in many parts unnecessary, but you’ll just have to believe me when I say the criticism comes out of my devotion and love to AE and my willingness to keep AE from making decisions that aren’t in the games’ best interests. It is my hope that this is not taken the wrong way and helps prevent AE from making these kinds of decisions again.

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6 Responses to “Level Cap Increase: As Bad As It Gets”

  1. kasama999 said

    Hm.

    Korin now runs MQ, what do you expect?

  2. ZamuelNow said

    I have been away for a bit but this was point blank a bad idea. Period. I can’t see the justification for this at all and at this pace MQ is going to surpass DF’s level cap.

    “but there is still a lack of mecha (and to a lesser extent, equipment)”

    On the contrary, to a much greater extent is equipment needed. Also, there’s still a number of projects that were never finished (ranging from switching ammo types mid battle to re-engineering Energy Blade mechanics) that may never see the light of day because several people will rush to the cap, complain about being bored, and the staff will be forced to accomodate these high level players.

    This also feels like it might be the nail in the coffin for the rebalancing project because it’s just going to be MUCH harder to fix the older equipment as they keep adding more. I think that while AssaultMecha was a more noticible feature for new player drop off, I think that the older version of the new player experience was the real reason. That experience is vastly better now but there’s still snags and there’s still mistakes being made.

    • You make two great points furthering the argument against the level cap raise, both which I highly agree with. There have been a lot of battle-enhancement strategy ideas AE has tinkered with or talked about, and a lot of them if fully fleshed out could work really great in MQ. Unfortunately, level cap raises will take their attention away from working with those ideas and instead focus on adding new equipment/mecha for all those whiny level-cap players who insist on new stuff to buy. This also ties into the ongoing rebalancing project, which will only get more difficult with 5 more levels of equipment and mecha to balance.

  3. mechquestlord said

    will you cut that out!?! you sound like a bunch of babys without attention! anyway this lvl 40 max is too low so i hope they start making lvl 36-39 weapons and mechs. and dont get me on about lvl 32. zargon quickflash is good enough lvl 32 version of course but i meen come on! not enough good mechs weapons stats and levels! i say levels because look at stat points. you need to be a lvl 200 sc to get all stats max. fight id 8 and you shall find someone who seems to be lvl 200 sc. lvl 40 mechs is sorted by house mechs. lvl 40 ng wolfblade is just weak if i say so myself although it has over 700 hp it cant stand up to extreme enermys of the same level. well maybe it can but look at enermy stats at that level. im lvl 31 and nearly lvl 32 but if i get to lvl 40 before a new lvl limit is here i will be found having the decimater lvl 30 chalenge enermy for breakfast then using whats left for a toilet. aka i will own it. and i face enermys with over 1000 hp no hack its hard. p.s dont try to kill him if u r a runehawk even lvl 40 you will still be kicking yourself for joining runehawk.

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