An unwanted trip is always too long while a longed-for journey is always too short.
What is the point of randomly formed cross-server groups? They cannot possibly be to meet people, because well, they're useful for seeing people, but not for actually meeting them. Are they for the fun of running content? Maybe... sorta. But they would be more fun with friends, something which is directly contradictory to the random element. Aha, gear! They are clearly a way for us to get gear, in a quick and regulated manner, so that we gear up at a steady pace without needing to raid. Well they're pretty bad at that too.
I'm not suggesting that these random runs have not gained me any gear. They have. But so far, much of what I've gained has been from the instance quests, not the random tool rewards, meaning that the tool, at best, helped form a group, but did not directly contribute to my gear in that aspect. I did manage to get two pieces of justice point gear, gloves and a chest, with pants coming next, which were nice, but aren't going to get me into any raids on their own. But the thing that strikes me as odd is that the weekly valor point cap is lower than the cost of all but the relics and ranged weapons (no guns). It's a contradiction: We want you to use these randoms to get gear quickly... but not too quickly!
Now what is the point of that? If we're meant to quickly gear up, then why not let people quickly gear up? If we're not meant to quickly gear up, then why not remove the random element, encourage players to pick where they go, and run the instances they are most likely to enjoy?
Similarly for heirlooms, and even worse, the screwed up leveling curve, why speed up the process enough to ruin the journey, but not enough to actually fix the problem? If someone wants to be level 85 and be completely overwhelmed with a hundred class abilities, why not let them? It's not as if the trivialized leveling process is teaching much. It just doles out the abilities more slowly, without ever checking if we know what they do or why we have them.
Maybe getting instant level 85s with raid-ready epics isn't the best way to go about things, but it at least seems more honest, and more consistent, than wrecking any enjoyment from the process of leveling and gearing, without removing the now-undesirable process.
Guest post: DDO — Search and Rescue
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