Reputation Part 1

Hey all! This is your new website blogger, Julien! No, I will not be a host on the show, but I do plan on using this blog to discuss MMO features (ala round tables this podcast used to have), News (when there is any), and possibly the latest Whore Lore review :p. This is the first time I blog about MMO’s so, forgive me if its a little rough around the edges.

Today I plan on starting the first of two blogs that discuss Reputation in MMOs. The first blog will discuss problems with current Reputation systems and possible fixes, and the second will discuss how Reputation can improve next gen MMOs and create a deeper immersion in the game world. Now I know that as soon as I mention Reputation, anyone who plays WoW will groan and sigh at the endless grind that is Rep farming. From the three MMOs I have played, these are the problems which I have felt stop Reputation from being a fun system:

1. Mob Grinding: There’s always a place in some territory where you get rep by simply killing mob after mob…I’m bored just talking about it so let’s move on to number two.

2. Obscure Quest/Slow Quest Rep Progress: OK so some MMOs at least give you the courtesy of giving you quests that reward you with Reputation. Big step forward, right? No. Sorry. These quests are either few and far between or simply do not give enough Reputation for the amount of work you have to do.

3. It Takes Forever: By the time you’ve increased your Reputation with Faction X, you’re usually a high enough ┬álevel to find anything Rep Vendors have to offer as junk, and even if you were the correct level, the rewards are slightly underwhelming.

4. So, altogether the lack of diversity and slow grind up towards Reputation currently make it a system that could have been great, but is a completely neglected facet of an MMO.

To begin with, a player should be able to see all the things he will be able to purchase from a Rep Vendor prior to levelling up Rep. This is a rather simple change, but can have a huge impact on when and where you spend your time in game, saving you that feeling that you could have been out having a life rather than grinding up that last tier of rep that you dont really need.

Next, Rep should be given in as many ways as there are systems in game. So ideally this is what happens: I got to a quest hub in Faction X’s territory on my Hunter. I check what the Rep Vendor has to offer and see he has a kick ass armor set for my hunter….now I have to get Rep. I pick up quests and see that all of them offer me a Rep reward. So not only to I get the monetary or item reward at the end of the quest, but I also get the Rep. Then I go out to Quest and find some crafting mats along the way and of course pick them up because I need to get my Woodworking up. Ok while I’m killing mobs in the area for the quests there seems to be a 1/5 drop rate of an item called [Stolen Weapons]. Hmmm..wonder what those are for. Anyways I then notice a path leading off the road, and naturally (as we’re supposed to do in MMOs) go explore. There I find some ruins and the head of a fallen statue as a usable world item. I use it and get the item [Ancient Statue Fragment]….ok….another item I don’t know what its for. I return to the quest hub. There I turn in my quests and get my rep….then I see that there is a Reputation trader who wants the [Stolen Weapons] I found. Nice! I give them to him and he gives me Rep in exchange. Then I see I can also trade the [Ancient Statue Fragment] for a huge rep bonus! Awesome! I proceed to craft the mats I found earlier, and then realize: “Hey they wanted all the other stuff, maybe they want the bows I just crafted!”. Sure enough I trade in my bows and bam! More Reputation. So basically the changes that need to be made are these:

1. All quests given by a someone of race X in Faction X’s territory should give Rep for faction X.

2. Exploring an area should give Reputation rewards.

3. If you think about it…what factions couldn’t use more weapons, food, armour, etc. Crafting should be rewarded with Reputation if you give it to a Crafting/Rep Trader in the territory of Faction X, thus not only increasing your Rep, but also your crafting proficency.

4. Most or all mobs should drop reputation tradeable items within the territory of Faction X at a pretty steady drop rate.

So now that you’re getting Reputation…its time for goodies, and unless the game you’re playing is Age of Conan you won’t get “slave girls” as your Reputation Reward. All Reputation factions prior to a level cap should give rewards that can be used by everybody: Ranging from cheaper potions to armor sets for every class. Once you reach level cap, there should be several faction Rep areas and all these should specialize in different classes, because a Healer would not be getting light armor from dwarves, unless they’re the pansy ones who actually talk to people instead of mining ore and killing some ugly ass orcs all day. And I’m not sure a Tank would get heavy armor from the Elves who hide up in tress and shoot down with their sticks either. However, different factions aside, the very fact that you are levelling your Reputation at level cap should offer you a class Armour Set as good as, if not only slightly weaker than Raid class Armor Sets. Example: I’m a Hunter and am levelling Rep with the elves. At Tier 1 of Rep I get boots and gloves, at Tier 2 the leggings, and so on and so forth.

Well I hope you all liked this blog on the Rep system and how it can be improved. Please post your thoughts and comments on the “improvements” to the Reputation systems in MMOs that I’ve presented.

5 Comments to Reputation Part 1

  1. April 30, 2008 at 3:47 am | Permalink

    Hey, nice first post Julien. I will now actually have to re-read this to digest your points so I can either vehemently agree with or oppose you. :)

  2. Marcus V's Gravatar Marcus V
    April 30, 2008 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Shoulds like you need to try Lord of the Rings
    LOTRO Faction Rep has all these items with the exception of the explorer reward(which would be a one time advance anyway).
    Most of the normal quests in a given region give rep as well as their regular awards. Normal quest running ususally gets you about halfway through the tiers. When they implemented this update a few books back they also made it backwards compatable so all characters got credit for the quests they had completed prior to the update which was just slick as hell IMO.
    There are mob drops from certain types of creatures that can be turned in to level rep. They also added daily repeatable rep only quests which are grind 15 monsters for xxx rep and a money amount but no xp(and they put said mobs very close and on a pretty fast respawn for a quick turn around)
    The rep vendors do show you all the available options you can get with each tier. The items include housing items, cosometic clothing items, neat little add-ons like portable repair anvils and consumables,as well as standard loot options. They also added craft-able items that can be turned in for rep as well. The items have no level requirement in and of themselves just a tier requirement to make them available
    Several of the rep dungeons are actually pretty fun just to run through in their own right which makes farming it much more palatable. The rep dungeons also have special unlockable titles and subquests within them all that do a lot to break up the monotony.

    There you go Julian a currnet game that currenly has all your requirements :)

  3. kanker's Gravatar kanker
    April 30, 2008 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    another aspect that wow has touched apon but entirley missed is mutually exclusive rep/factions… if implemented as a game feature, you could have multiple static pvp factions that players could slowly join during the lvling prosses.. faction/rep drops from opposing faction players, or token drops that are used for faction gear available only from the opposing player kills..
    I think this alone would add a valid method of faction/rep gains, however would be enhanced greatly with the addition of your points slighty modified to encorage balance
    you could also scale item costs and faction gain based on the number of members of each faction, to attempt to balance the factions over time..

  4. kanker's Gravatar kanker
    April 30, 2008 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    this assumes a ‘multi faction’ system.. 4 or more, so you have active foes and neutral/allied factions

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