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Dragonfall volatile magic traders - Oddly designed system and flaws analysed


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Alright so to make this simple and to the point.

 * Basic statement:         The new choice I find, to have the new maps volatile magic trading system like it currently is, to me it utterly seems just illogical and odd.*

I will break it down now why I state such below.

1. Beginning we have 4 merchants rather than simply 1 with tabs. Simply more running about and confusing to figure out who has what in stock.(Edit fix: Fixed merchant count statement to 4 instead of incorrect 5. Apologies for that one)

  • Extra merchant count simply clutters things up especially when the one located in central spot is actually not even the usual "common volatile magic" merchant as in all other season 4 maps he or she has a central spot clearly standing apart. They simply do not even point you in direction of "This one is where you find usual things". Now I am all for finding things out for yourself, but does it really need to apply to a basic shop merchant to cash in currencies for the map when it is simply basic things even? To point of Salvage kits being even locked at another merchant until you put in extra effort if you wanted to and needed to buy some with karma

(Karma point is debatable since you usually need to do extra tasks to unlock this shopping elsewhere. However if you put it on a volatile magic trader in clear view and lock it like so it seems peculiar once more to me to do so. )

  • Understanding you do want for lore reasons the merchants to offer goods for helping their respective team out, why mark them as volatile magic traders (and not as some other class of merchants we do as I recall have in game already) then and allocate all normal volatile magic related stock and such things to the main merchant hanging out in the camp next to way-point?
  1. My main gripe is that unlike before in every single season 3 and 4 map now suddenly volatile magic trading is locked behind needing to perform some task to even gain access to basic wares.

    • This is to me utterly puzzling for the fact never before did they lock simple shopping of map currencies before behind any kind of such task limit. Frankly all it does it cause confusion and problems as before system was simple and fair as could be:

Here is the map, here is your vendor: Here is what they sell: Get currencies it requires to buy any wares sold: Done.

I simply highly question this design choice of locking basic shopping and wares for Volatile magic like this. It makes no sense in any light to me and never was done before and was a highly unpleasant surprise to me finding this out as I have all currencies I need yet I can't use the shop one bit.

(Now as a side note anyone saying "Just do 10 events" -> Well considering I have to (due to RL reasons I will not go into) play with one hand and not expected to get any better anytime soon plus took me 30 mins simply to get from story to new map so I could grab node to let my guildies mine it for free in my home to give them a bit of a nice extra service to take me up on should they wish to not really an option nor the point)

  • Not to mention if you do consider fact for someone this will be first season 4 map they gain access to and if I have no idea for like 20 mins and need to look it up (Being around for a good while as a player) How are they meant to figure anything out? Even to point of figuring out you have some odd event limit to unlock basic volatile magic trader?

    As it does not actually state what you need to do even when talking to the Crystal Bloom Quartermaster: She simply says about helping them out but has no expression of how much or actually in what way. I know its a big minority new players going to Dragonfall as first season 4 map but it is a big enough possibility to be worth mentioning here I feel as another stone in my scale to say this design choice is simply bizarre.

3. Reward vs Effort point.

  • If you say I need to do extra effort to unlock a merchant which for most part is same on as in all season 4 maps then there should be an extra reward type thing unlocked too VS said maps. Simply it has mostly same things found in other season 4 maps for same price one of the merchants here sells once you unlock their store. If I go through extra effort surely rewards must also be a bit better. Effort Vs Reward is quite a important concept. You may argue its not much extra effort and potentially yes: But its still extra effort needed to unlock basically same thing all other season 4 maps let you do without much more than you enter the map and find Volatile magic trader and shop if you have enough of whats needed to buy their wares.

Final words

New map does seem to me from looking at map (as I said I can't really do much right now) a good one and well designed, the entry mission had good writing in my eyes and even if I struggled in the story mission to gain entry I still found it overall a bit enjoyable even despite my great difficulties doing so. I am not saying its 100% bad map by any stretch of the imagination or playing down Anet did put time and effort into making said map and I can see it clearly from little bit of it I had the pleasure of witnessing.

However this design choice I simply cannot wrap my head around so hence I felt the need to make this thread and bring this up, if nothing else than for discussion with other people: Potentially might be someone who could actually ponder of this more of Anet forum staff does stumble in and check it out if nothing else and have internal inside Anet discussion on this occur even if I am none the wiser it happened or never find out if it did happen so.

Hope to get some discussion going on these points.

Thank you for reading.

  • Dragon
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Reading your wall of text, it seems to me you are simply upset because they mixed up vendors (heart, volatile magic, basic) and put an icon on them that you didn't expect.

Would you have been more comfortable with them putting the coin symbol on them that's indicates basic merchants? The karma symbol for karma merchants? Invent a new symbol (maybe a mix of coins and mistborn motes)?

Personally I do appreciate that ANet always tries to come up with solutions best fitting to the situation at hand, rather than doing things a certain way only because "we always did it this way". I do understand some (many?) people are uncomfortable if things don't follow a recognizable pattern, but I honestly believe it's better to design things so they work than design them "because we always did it this way".

Dragonfall as a map is basically a huge chunk of unexplored area recently ripped out of their place of origin. From an immersion point of view, there's no civilization there in the beginning except the pact camp in a very tiny corner of the map, so it's logical that all vendors are there. They could've put in a bunch of different vendors (basic for the salvage and harvesting tools, karma for minis and tonics, volatile magic for nodes, scrolls and special tools, whatever else I'm missing), but they choose to make joined vendors for the different factions instead that trade things for multiple currencies.

That's not illogical, on the contrary, it fits the theme and story of this map much better than any previous layout would've done. Imagine having a crowd of all the available vendors standing around the camp like they do stand around in major cities. Would you have prefered that simply because "that's how it's always been done"?

As for your personal limitations that is very unfortunate, and I can sympathise (especially since I have phases where I am handicapped in playing the game, too), but it's an edge case that is difficult to work around without drastically reducing the amount of content for everybody else. For most players 10 events per area really is no problem, especially since the achievements clearly state which ones are required to unlock the vendors. And even if you don't want to check the achievements (which I for example didn't on my first play-through so I wouldn't spoil the exploration for myself) it is easy to figure out what's necessary if you just play on the map for a bit.

My suggestion to you is to come to terms with the fact that this game's developers always tries to improve upon previous designs, which sometimes leads to new things turning out drastically different from the way things were handled before. That's not bad nor illogical, it's simply a different way to do things. Many players appreciate this, as it keeps the game fresh and often improves on what they did before.

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@"Rasimir.6239" said:Reading your wall of text, it seems to me you are simply upset because they mixed up vendors (heart, volatile magic, basic) and put an icon on them that you didn't expect.

Would you have been more comfortable with them putting the coin symbol on them that's indicates basic merchants? The karma symbol for karma merchants? Invent a new symbol (maybe a mix of coins and mistborn motes)?

Personally I do appreciate that ANet always tries to come up with solutions best fitting to the situation at hand, rather than doing things a certain way only because "we always did it this way". I do understand some (many?) people are uncomfortable if things don't follow a recognizable pattern, but I honestly believe it's better to design things so they work than design them "because we always did it this way".

Dragonfall as a map is basically a huge chunk of unexplored area recently ripped out of their place of origin. From an immersion point of view, there's no civilization there in the beginning except the pact camp in a very tiny corner of the map, so it's logical that all vendors are there. They could've put in a bunch of different vendors (basic for the salvage and harvesting tools, karma for minis and tonics, volatile magic for nodes, scrolls and special tools, whatever else I'm missing), but they choose to make joined vendors for the different factions instead that trade things for multiple currencies.

That's not illogical, on the contrary, it fits the theme and story of this map much better than any previous layout would've done. Imagine having a crowd of all the available vendors standing around the camp like they do stand around in major cities. Would you have prefered that simply because "that's how it's always been done"?

As for your personal limitations that is very unfortunate, and I can sympathise (especially since I have phases where I am handicapped in playing the game, too), but it's an edge case that is difficult to work around without drastically reducing the amount of content for everybody else. For most players 10 events per area really is no problem, especially since the achievements clearly state which ones are required to unlock the vendors. And even if you don't want to check the achievements (which I for example didn't on my first play-through so I wouldn't spoil the exploration for myself) it is easy to figure out what's necessary if you just play on the map for a bit.

My suggestion to you is to come to terms with the fact that this game's developers always tries to improve upon previous designs, which sometimes leads to new things turning out drastically different from the way things were handled before. That's not bad nor illogical, it's simply a different way to do things. Many players appreciate this, as it keeps the game fresh and often improves on what they did before.

First of all big thanks for reading and commenting on my post. I'll toss some of my own thoughts that came to mind reading here in regards.

A new symbol would not be a bad choice per say.

In regards to things, logic is "If it's not broken: Don't fix it"

Also we come to my field which is a bit of designing things in general and all, technology world wise. Usually you aim for making it most functional and simple easy to use. In this regard the concept of cashing in a currency is such a thing. It was never broken to begin with so why fix it AKA Add extra loops and hoops to the mix when it was one thing which perfectly was working and did not need to add another loop or hoop to even begin using a currency you earn to purchase rewards with.

Improvement as you mention is very good and yes it does take a lot of tinkering to get it right or get anywhere in general. I applaud trying this out and I see it has some merits however still quite peculiar design choice I still maintain personally..

This again me saying so and not claiming its some overbearing view, that a basic concept of a shop does not need to have a ton of hoops and loops added to it for basic things.

If we for example talk of Armour skins, some spiffy collection related things, maybe some novelty class thing, new fancy stat combos or any such such then we can say its ok to add loops and hoops.

However my point being basic shopping of basic volatile magic related things needs no such thing. If we don't wanna take content away as you pointed to then basic things split into basic things and anything else into the more advanctier list needing extra work to access or so.

And my personal view on any design or technology (to repeat myself as this is how I was taught it) is make it intended to be usable by the group you aiming for, or if no clear such group for lowest "know how" tier possible of your range of know how: Thus in this regard you create something which majority can use to get things done, and for ones who are more advanced tier of it or go above basic tier then adding as I said loops and hoops is pretty much a nice way to separate tiers of things clearly. Always tilt for lowest end if functionality is key point. This doesn't mean dumb it down completely nor make it not have your creative touch or problem solving shown: But still its a valid point of designing anything in such matters.

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It is FAR better then the system that was in place. Instead of having to do hearts which where all over the map, and having to do them every day you wanted to access the merchant, now you unlock them once and they are all in the same area. Players complained about having to re-do hearts, the devs listen. I for one love this new setup instead of the hearts.

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@DragonMagicks.3190 said:And my personal view on any design or technology (to repeat myself as this is how I was taught it) is make it intended to be usable by the group you aiming forThe thing about the vendors in Dragonfall is that they have a double purpose. For one thing they're service providers, selling things from mundane salvage kits to unique mini pets. On the other side they do double as rewards for playing. Only through playing events do you open up the vendors that give you access to the rewards (minis, tonics, map teleport scroll, ...). As such, they do justify following different design rules than generic service providers.

Personally I'm with the poster above me and very much appreciate that these are the first vendors providing volatile magic harvesting tools that I can permanently unlock, instead of having these available through heart vendors only that reset daily. For me this functionality alone is worth the modified design.

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@ShiningSquirrel.3751 said:It is FAR better then the system that was in place. Instead of having to do hearts which where all over the map, and having to do them every day you wanted to access the merchant, now you unlock them once and they are all in the same area. Players complained about having to re-do hearts, the devs listen. I for one love this new setup instead of the hearts.

Thanks for the response! To comment on a bit

Basic volatile magic trading materials never were heart locked though, they were there to purchase from the vendor as you found them in map and as you stepped in.

Same place convenience is great! This I agree to 100% and the redoing of hearts daily is as well a bit odd of a design choice. Though it did on the smaller positive side have replay ability and more daily (all being repeating) things on a map , mostly it was quite bothersome to run around and do hearts daily. Especially ones which were quite time consuming to sort out.

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@Rasimir.6239 said:

@"DragonMagicks.3190" said:And my personal view on any design or technology (to repeat myself as this is how I was taught it) is make it intended to be usable by the group you aiming forThe thing about the vendors in Dragonfall is that they have a double purpose. For one thing they're service providers, selling things from mundane salvage kits to unique mini pets. On the other side they do double as rewards for playing. Only through playing events do you open up the vendors that give you access to the rewards (minis, tonics, map teleport scroll, ...). As such, they do justify following different design rules than generic service providers.

Personally I'm with the poster above me and very much appreciate that these are the first vendors providing volatile magic harvesting tools that I can permanently unlock, instead of having these available through heart vendors only that reset daily. For me this functionality alone is worth the modified design.

Double purpose is great as I said above and all. Basic volatile magic trader however is not in my view a kind of logical "Trade off" for this being there. Other ways to have a "trade off" if you will use the term.

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I think this is a rather minor issue. Different vendors have always sold different items in the maps. HoT is notorious for it with the map currency vendors in different maps. The vicinity of all these vendors makes it work. I can imagine if the vendors we all at the base camps ... UGH.

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@"DragonMagicks.3190" said:(Now as a side note anyone saying "Just do 10 events" -> Well considering I have to (due to RL reasons I will not go into) play with one hand and not expected to get any better anytime soon plus took me 30 mins simply to get from story to new map so I could grab node to let my guildies mine it for free in my home to give them a bit of a nice extra service to take me up on should they wish to not really an option nor the point)

I am sorry about your health issue and hope that you will eventually get better!However, I think you are stressing yourself out a bit too much on these 10 events. You don't need to participate from the beginning to the end. You don't even need to do siginificant damage or "help" much for it to count towards the 10 events. You can just tag along or join in the very last minute (for example, during an escort event), autoattack a few mobs and then move to another event. Eventually they all add up to 10 and you unlock the merchant. A lot of times two events meet each other on the map, meaning if you spam some AOEs around or just autoattack the mobs from the second event, they will also count towards the 10 needed events. You should be able to tag at least 4 events in let's say 10 minutes. This is even easier when you have a commander with a squad running from event to event. Since the merchants do not sell anything special (unless you do the skyscale collection, then you need to buy the medicine) so it is NOT neccessary to unlock the merchants within the first half an hour you spend on the map. It is not a race. Anet wants you to play the new map, so it's perfectly reasonable that they make certain merchants locked behind some hard work.

@"DragonMagicks.3190" said:

  • Not to mention if you do consider fact for someone this will be first season 4 map they gain access to and if I have no idea for like 20 mins and need to look it up (Being around for a good while as a player) How are they meant to figure anything out? Even to point of figuring out you have some odd event limit to unlock basic volatile magic trader?

Mapchat! I've spend a lot of time on that map and so far I never witnessed a moment when someone refused to help the commonly asked question "How do I unlock the merchants?"

@"DragonMagicks.3190" said:As it does not actually state what you need to do even when talking to the Crystal Bloom Quartermaster: She simply says about helping them out but has no expression of how much or actually in what way. I know its a big minority new players going to Dragonfall as first season 4 map but it is a big enough possibility to be worth mentioning here I feel as another stone in my scale to say this design choice is simply bizarre.

Fully agree. The merchant's dialogue does not help at all. It should be more specific and especially mentioning the number 10 somewhere. Even better, add a small text that says "Participated in 3/10 events to help the Olmakhan" for example. Just like the counter in the achivements.

@"DragonMagicks.3190" said:3. Reward vs Effort point.

  • If you say I need to do extra effort to unlock a merchant which for most part is same on as in all season 4 maps then there should be an extra reward type thing unlocked too VS said maps. Simply it has mostly same things found in other season 4 maps for same price one of the merchants here sells once you unlock their store. If I go through extra effort surely rewards must also be a bit better. Effort Vs Reward is quite a important concept. You may argue its not much extra effort and potentially yes: But its still extra effort needed to unlock basically same thing all other season 4 maps let you do without much more than you enter the map and find Volatile magic trader and shop if you have enough of whats needed to buy their wares.

Considering that you can literally unlock one or two merchants in one meta run, I wouldn't call this a big effort. Sure if you have a busy RL life then this sure seems like forever, but let's be honest - the vast majority of players have that time to do the full meta in one go or maybe even two metas in a row. The rewards are fine, they are nothing special, just the usual novelity tonics, gathering tools and ascended trinkets. Considering that these trinkets are stat-selectable makes these merchants absolutely worth the effort. Gathering Difluorite Crystals or Fire Orchid Blossoms for 2 days one one toon just to buy one earring is far, far more worse IMO. On Dragonfall, you earn enough currency by participating in the events, meaning you can afford something from the merchant once you unlocked it for the first time.

Once the merchants are unlocked they stay unlocked, which means all you have to do is spend time on the map and then have a permanent access to them. There is, IMO, nothing wrong with that and surely more enjoyable then having to do the same heart quests each day if you want to buy something from a merchant. It's not like this is something "new" that we never seen before. On HoT you need to do multiple masteries (meaning, you had to gather lots of mastery points and a big load of EXP) to talk with specific vendors. Now THAT, my friend, took ages!

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I will have to disagree. The flow of the vendors made sense as soon as I interacted with them. Now may be that I did some events first and didn't go straight to all the vendors but the first one I interacted with was locked and I knew what I needed to do right off. I didn't hit the middle vendor until later so maybe that was the differences in experience but I liked the flow. I needed influence with each faction before I could use the vendor for that faction. Be that other game experience or what not I didn't blink an eye at that, it made sense. Know someone before you trade, ok. All the living story maps have that same general interaction, you know more about them as you play them, this didn't feel any different in my experience. Wouldn't recommend any changes here.

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I mean I don't really see the issue considering it encourages map exploration per meta rotation. I've unlocked all 3 maps in 3 meta rotations because it encouraged me to get familiar with each terrain.

That's actually a good design in my opinion since there's reason for exploration. It's a simple design choice and nothing overcomplicated like what you make it sound.

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I understand you have limitations in playing with using only 1 hand, but that isn't really a problem, this game is actually easy enough that you can play with one hand and complete the 10 events per area as required...and once you complete those 10 events, that's it, the vendors are unlocked permanently.

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@Obtena.7952 said:I think this is a rather minor issue. Different vendors have always sold different items in the maps. HoT is notorious for it with the map currency vendors in different maps. The vicinity of all these vendors makes it work. I can imagine if the vendors we all at the base camps ... UGH.

Aren't HoT vendors locked behind masteries, too?

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I was a bit annoyed at it too. Usually when a patch comes out I do the first part of the story, run up to the magic vendor to buy the scroll and the new node. This time I was not able to do that right away, as if your timing is off you miss a bunch of events being triggered (and a bunch in different zones trigger at the same time). Oh sure, I got all of them unlocked in a day or two but it just struck me as so unnecessary.

I love the map though. I just would put the usual things in the unlocked one near the wp and for the other 3 sell zone-specific stuff.

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@Obtena.7952 said:I think this is a rather minor issue. Different vendors have always sold different items in the maps. HoT is notorious for it with the map currency vendors in different maps. The vicinity of all these vendors makes it work. I can imagine if the vendors we all at the base camps ... UGH.

These are multiple vendors selling things that are usually in 1 vendor per map though. I do not think it wrong for people to ask for some consistency of basic stuff.

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  • Old: visit 3-5 areas. Complete individual tasks to unlock each vendor (and learn what they have to offer). Repeat every day you want to purchase something, repeat for every character who wants something.
  • New: visit a single area, with four vendors. Complete a one-time achievement for each vendor, which permanently unlocks each vendor for the entire account.

Overall, this is a far, far simpler and easier system and I welcome it.Would it be easier still if those vendors were closer together? Yes. Would it be easier to have a single vendor with some tabs locked? Sure. So there's room for further improvement.

Given the option, I'd keep the lore to interacting with a particular NPC: they'd offer the dialogue to unlock the main vendor (and also turn into a vendor offering a more limited selection). That way, we get to eat our Kralkachocolate Cake and have it too.

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