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So I went back to planeshift today, checked it out, it's had a few updates since i last played, almost all of them for the better, there are some very definite gameplay stepping stones laid down here.
A lot of the mobs have been deleted or moved I notice, while others have been replaced, mainly the low level humanoid monsters much to my dismay. You see, they've taken away the weaker rogues and Mercenaries, and left in their place some rather nasty mobs. The game, in general is a lot harder for it - and I don't mind that. In fact that's good. At low levels it encourages grouping and teamwork. More win, right? Well potentially.
Planeshift is still making a couple of VERY bad mistake, and that is simply this:
1. The loot tables are not up to date. A few monsters I have seen drop nothing where they should at least drop something. An example is the diseased rats - they are inhabitants of the Hydlaa sewers, a low level mob, above the standard one eyed rat, which is the easiest mob in the game and drops a veriety of loot which can be sold for a collective fairly decent amount of tria. The diseased rat drops nothing. Nada. Zip. Niether, it seems, do many of the rabid cultist guys in the sewers, which kinda sucks, because they are all wearing armour, a fair few of them are using weaponry.
This results in a gap between what you fight and what you dont - a large one. While I could fight a harder diseased rat, I don't because there's no gain in it. Progression points are a dime a dozen, so that's not an incentive. So You keep hitting the first level rats long after you're theoretically done with them. When you're finally good enough to kill clackers and other monsters a little fursther up the food chain, the process becomes, potentially, very VERY slow and progression halting which takes me nicely into the second point because this is a direct result of:
2. FORCED CRAFTING.
The development team introduced crafting some time ago now, years back in fact. And that's fine. While there is definite incentive to craft, given that the items are much better, the process is unrelentingly long and unrelentingly tedious and for those of us that would rather just kill stuff and sell it's festering body parts the development team says: NOPE. SORRY, YOU CAN'T DO THAT BECAUSE... WELL WE DON'T HAVE A GOOD REASON BUT YOU CAN'T.
Ok, let me rephrase this; you CAN do that, but it's not viable. Here's what happens:
Your equipment has a quality rating, and as you use it that quality goes down. Repairing it bring the quality back up to 75% of the original quality every time, so you'll have to replace it anyway. That's a nice mechanic, it' good. So say you use battleaxes and your axes are too notched and messed up to keep going so your need a new axe. Fine. The catch is that you can't just buy a new axe. Nope. You have to craft a new axe. Doesn't sound so bad? Just you wait.
If you decide to start crafting you will need, first, to spend hours upon hours upon hours mining. Standing infront of an unmarked cliff face, hitting a button and watching your character play the same goddamn animation repeatedly until you have trained a few mining levels, and you will fail a whole lot because at lower levels the whole business is like tedious defined.
if you have the patience and/or braindamage to keep going with this system, you will then need to do much the same thing, but for metallurgy. And finally, you will need to do the same thing to actually craft your axes or other weaponry.
Upon looking back you will find you have just wasted several weeks of your life all because the development team are too stuck up their own arses with their crafting system to give you a basic weaponry salesman. You have ONE type of eapon sold. A falchion. That's it. One weapon. For a game that lords it's unfettered play style and open choice system to do whatever you want to do - there are some BIG linier restrictions.
Now if you think "Ah I'll just buy a crafted weapon, it's fine". Think again. As with most things like this it costs and extortionate amount. The figure I got was Fifteen thousand for an axe. I didn't have nearly that much. Yet there was very little I could do because I couldn't get myself a basic weapon. Infrustration I just went back to using my fists as weapons. Before they moved or took away all the mercenaries, I wasn't too fucssed - if you killed enough low level rogues and mercs you would usually get a couple of weapons which you could use to replace your old battered ones. But now that the low level mobs like that have gone, there's no escaping it. You will find that most of the rogues in the sewers are very much, initially, beyond your ability to kill. Maybe I just haven't relocated the weak humanoid mobs again, maybe they were just moved, and by all means someone who knows should tell me if they can - because I'm not getting into the grind of crafting. If I wanted to be horribly bored I'd go to an old folks home. It would be over faster and I would probably get more out of it.
To give some background, I do believe that I posted a complaint about precisely this thing on the boards some time ago - when they first took away all the weapons. Other people backed me up saying that they didn't want to spedn their time in forced crafting and woud rather do somethign else. But nothing has changed and that was a long long time ago. So therein lies the problem - the development team, while they are implementing some very good things, are still sticking to their "you will play how we tell you to" style. The idea that planeshift is an open experience is very very misguided right now.
Also, just as a side note, if you're ever stuck for answers, or need help with somethign in the game. First see if you can get some help from someone in game. Then search the internet. ANYWHERE BUT THE OFFICIAL PLANESHIFT FORUMS. Any attempts at asking for help are given the answer "We don't give spoilers". Fair enough, but helping a person with a problem is not a spoiler, it's help. Again - there's a strange warped regime to this game, this is but another face to it.