Trion, unlike many MMO developers, is willing to take risks at times for the betterment of RIFT. We received an announcement regarding one such risk yesterday, when Elrar invited Public Test Shard (PTS) players to join the team on Tuesday, August 14th at 4 PM PST to test out a completely new style of PvP gameplay– Normalized PvP. Yep– normalized stats across the board, including baseline reductions to damage done and healing done, as well as a reduction to healing debuffs. This will mean that gear won’t matter, but PA, consumables, temporary abilities, and class abilities will.
Sounds pretty risky, right? Trion fully understands that, which is why both Elrar and Daglar repeated the fact that this is merely a test– an experiment. In fact, the test that will be conducted on the PTS today is merely a precursor for the real test, which will be taking place on live servers at a later date and will last one week. After the week, the change will be completely reverted. The team will then take the metrics and data recorded during the live test, and see if it’s even worthwhile to take the idea further.
Here is Elrar’s announcement:
Originally posted by Elrar (Source)
We’re getting prepared to undertake a grand experiment – to explore the potential of normalizing player stats in Warfronts & Conquest.
Join us tomorrow, Tuesday 8/14 @ 4PM PDT (11PM GMT) on the Public Test Shard as we explore this potential change and help us to uncover any bugs or issues.
Should these changes pass inspection our intent is to deploy them on live shards for roughly a week allowing us to collect vast amounts of metrics and feedback far beyond the capacity of PTS. After the experiment is over we’ll be assessing all of the information we collect before making a final decision to officially make the transition.
What does this mean?
It means that all players will compete with the same baseline stats with no benefit received from upgrading your armor or weapons. This potentially means more even matches where skill & coordination is the biggest factor in determining the victor. Consumables, class buffs, Planar Attunement and other buffs/temporary effects will continue to provide a benefit, only the stats granted by the gear you have equipped will be normalized.
Now obviously, this is a big test, and we’re well aware that we’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re already hard at work finding and resolving any edge cases we can think of. Ultimately the success of this test comes down to you – helping us to explore whether this is a viable option and if so, assisting us prepare it for its debut.
What about PvP Progression?
Meaningful PvP progression is definitely not something we want to lose because of this – we’re exploring a myriad of options and will keep you informed as development continues.
Ultimately we are seeking a better balance between “fair” and “fun” and seek to answer the question – “is more fair fun?” Your feedback is an important part of finding the answer, just make sure it stays constructive and that you actually try the changes for yourself before forming an opinion.
Read below for instructions on how to access PTS and come see what these changes mean with your own eyes!
Character Copy to PTS
You can now copy your character to the Public Test Shard! Simply click the Transfer button when you’re at Character select on the Live client and select “Copy to PTS” – it’s as easy as that! (though there may be a few bugs/limitations we’re working out). We will no longer be offering Gear/Leveling vendors with the introduction of this feature (except when testing requires it.)
You will need to download the PTS client if you have not done so already, this is approximately the same size as installing the full game and may take some time. For more information about PTS and how to access it please see:
Daglar also posted a number of times in the thread, reminding players that this is all merely an experiment– nothing’s set in stone yet. He also posted an update regarding the normalization reduction:
Originally posted by Daglar (Source)
Did I forget to have Elrar mention that all healing debuffs are reduced to 10% maximum for the duration of the test?
Additionally, damage output is reduced at a base level, as is healing. There will be more complete patch notes for when it goes to live servers for the test week.
Players are pretty surprised by the announcement of this experiment, and for good reason– a permanent move like this would be quite a large change from RIFT’s current PvP progression system. That’s not to say it would automatically be a bad change, of course, but it would definitely be a large one, requiring some major reworks and adjustments. Let’s dive into some community responses, which have been taken from this thread.
“I’m P50 and fully geared, but I like this direction for two reasons:
1. If I wanted “progression” I’d PvE. I play PvP because competing against other players is dynamic and ever changing, and it’s more challenging when the gear scales are balanced.
2. Once players no longer feel the need to grind gear, content will be king. This change, whether Trion recognizes it or not, is going to put a huge burden on them to make warfronts fun and interesting for their own sake. Conquest is going to need a major overhaul for that to happen, and additional warfronts will probably need to be added on a more regular basis.”
Some very good points here. Remember Scott Hartsman’s thoughts on PvP during his Reddit chat last month? In it, he mentioned there are multiple types of PvP players, and this normalization concept definitely highlights that. Some players will be fully behind an idea like this because of the differences between RIFT’s current PvP progression system and PvP systems seen in other games, including those with more competitive PvP action.
Other players, however, enjoy RIFT’s PvP because it’s progression-based.
“Good idea but, what of the gear we earn, will it mean nothing now? If so why bother with PvP unless you simply like it? What of those that already put in the time to get the gear – it there no advantage for that now?
Yes PvP needs help but, there has to be an advantage for the time put in.”
RIFT’s endgame is currently very focused on carrot-on-a-stick rewards, and shifting from that model, if this experiment is successful, will be quite a shift.
“This sounds like it could be GREAT or it could be a huge FAILURE.”
Yeah, that’s pretty much what I was getting at.
“You should probably look for the middle ground, in the end.
This is CLEARLY a ‘gear grind game’. I mean, that’s just how Rift is.
However, shortening the grind, when it comes to PvP, is probably the best thing to do.
Many people PvP not because they enjoy PvP, but actually just for the progression.”
And this is very true as well. Many players enjoy the carrot-on-a-stick endgame progression. And there’s also this:
“While this change seems like a good idea, and I would like to see it succeed, the thing that has me concerned the most right now are trinkets/synergy crystals.
Now that all stats are equalized, the PVP trinkets and synergy crystals confer no bonus whatsoever. However, PVE trinkets and crystals provide procs and other X-factor bonuses that probably are not considered in the normalization calculations. The result is PVE set gear is now BIS for PVP (because of the synergy crystal options), and PVE trinkets are BIS for PVP….all while the PVP trinket is BIS for PVE…lolwut.”
While it’s pretty safe to say that a major change like this may not happen on a permanent level before Storm Legion launches, this comment still gives us an idea of the careful nature in which Trion will need to adjust future synergy crystals and items with procs. Yep, major change indeed. But worth a try as an experiment? I don’t see why not. Risks can be good, and I think most PvP players would agree that RIFT’s PvP needs some type of change.