One of the biggest hurdles for trying to design a New User Journey is the radical power disparity that exists in our game between new users and existing players. Our current players have had the time to put together gear templates that set them head and shoulders above new players, and the gap is prohibitively big in some situations. For a new player who wanders into battlegrounds, especially ones like Thidranki or Molvik, they will often find themselves losing almost every fight they encounter, simply because they are playing against people who have had a chance to outfit themselves out in the best equipment they can find for their level range.
Now, one thing we don’t want to do with a New User Journey is remove players’ ability to make that perfect template and give themselves an advantage – quite the contrary. If you are willing to go out and build yourself a great template that absolutely maximizes your stats, resists, and skills and gives you some charges or procs to play with, then we absolutely believe that you should be able to and encouraged to. It is one of the things that makes our game fantastically complex and interesting. However, we also wanted to raise the floor for new players significantly, so that while they may still be undergeared, it’s not such a disparity that they don’t even feel that they can compete.
With those goals in mind, I built a large number of new items that will be going into the game with this New User Journey. I had a few goals going into this project. One, I wanted to ensure that players would be able to feel competitive and that their gear would ensure that they got all of the stats, resistance, and skill bonuses that they needed to accomplish this. Two, I wanted to ensure that, throughout the entire New User Journey, they’d always be able to upgrade their gear without much fear about gimping their character in the process. And three, I wanted to ensure that the best rewards were only available to players who were willing to put themselves in the greatest danger in the battlegrounds. These three goals outlined everything I wanted to do, and I am happy with the results.
If you choose to level your character up in the Classic zones of Camelot, you’ll be unlocking gear through quests that is specific to the region you are in – if you’re questing in Tir na mBeo, then you’ll be getting the Tir na mBeo Protector’s gear. If you’re running around in Fort Atla, you’ll be obtaining the Fort Atla Sentinel’s gear for your efforts. And if you find yourself studying under the tutelage of the Lethantis Association near Campacorentin Station, you’ll be rewarded for your dedication with the Station Champion’s gear.
This gear was designed from the ground up to ensure that, while you won’t cap out your stats or your resistances, you’ll get about 90% of the way there. It was also designed such that if you get the gear from the first hub and go to the second, the bonuses only improve from hub to hub. The leggings in hub one give bonuses to Dexterity, Thrusting Resistance, and Heat Resistance. The leggings in hub two give slightly better bonuses to these three statistics, and as you increase, you’ll also start getting bonuses to your hit points on your legs. Any item you get WILL be an upgrade to what you already owned, and you will never have to worry about “Should I equip this?”
We wanted to ensure that a new player could focus more on learning how to play his class and how to play with his realm and wouldn’t have to focus so much on itemizing themselves out unless they wanted to. Additionally, you can expect to get all of the items your character will need through these quests, including cloaks, necklaces, rings, bracers, belts, and gemstones, and any weapons you want. The weapons will be unlocked through a simple quest and will allow you to pick any and all that you want at no charge after you have completed the quest.
Now, if you choose instead to level your character up through the RvR Battlegrounds, then we wanted to reward you for the risks you are taking. The items that you receive are labeled as coming from the battlegrounds will fully cap you out on your stats and your resistances, though they will not start giving cap increase bonuses until Molvik. This gear also gives the same bonuses as the PvE armor, so if you only have pieces of the new RvR gear, you can fill in the holes with some gear from the PvE zones and still not have to worry about missing stats as a result of it. This gear is a bit higher-level and will provide better protection against opponents, as well as the weapons hitting harder and having better magical effects attached to them. However, this gear, while better than the gear available in PvE, is still not a complete template – there’s still room to improve, but it is vastly superior to the Aurulite gear that it will be replacing in battlegrounds when 1.110 hits the live servers.
There’s a lot of thought and planning that has gone into these items and the effect they will have on the game, and I am extremely excited to see how the battlegrounds pick up as a result of these new items. I’m looking forward to seeing you all in the battlegrounds!