Game is slowly dying ):

  • iamatree it's a difficult question to answer due to many variables.


    I and many others talked about this topic in the past before relating to " what they should have done ". It is a broad topic so I'll try to tackle it in parts of what happened and what still could be done.


    Why does it feel like the player-base is shrinking?

    There are plenty of Real-Life issues going on that diverts players' free time to play. Every corner of the world is feeling it so I won't touch upon that. I will aim solely at the game itself. The problem is the Target Audience of which should have been the Original Secret of the Solstice player-base. If they focused it being nostalgically accurate largely on the classes, it would have kept more players attracted to the game. Many players I spoke to would come back mainly cause of that reason. They felt cheated on how some classes were favored over others and how their beloved class feels weaker or off, plain and simple.


    A bonus is that if they focused on the nostalgic accuracy it competes on a finite playing field of nostalgic experiences of which there aren't many like this particular unique game. Divert away from it and the playing field shifts to competing against any other game that does it better of which there are infinite amounts of it. There are plenty of players I spoke to that would return to the game if their classes are accurately balanced again to make it so they do not feel like they have lost something from the original game.



    But that's what should have been what about now?


    The problem is still the present target audience. Because it doesn't grow from there. If that doesn't grow then attracting new players is hard. Because new players will compare this game to any other game and because this game is old it will have trouble keeping up with an infinite amount of games. Not only that, the game has been made easy for the original target audience. Think about everything that got changed to make it easier.

    • Leveling easier
    • Weight issues reduced
    • Nothing costs real-life money
    • At certain parts, you don't even need to grind no more
    • Robo-wings implementation at early levels
    • Movespeed items in general
    • More ways to gain defense items
    • Dungeon Instances
    • Anti Mob-lock
    • No competing for maps with channels
    • Solo Havens
    • Free Deathpendants and stackable

    Not saying any of these changes are bad btw, just saying that the Target Audience has shifted.


    Because if the game has been made easy, then nothing challenges the players. There is no parrel nor excitement around venturing parts of the game. No threat of well anything. Everything has been made comfy and cozy and as comfortable as possible. If there is nothing to strife for nor challenges the player's grit of what the game used to be like, then the focus of the Target Audience is aimed towards " Casual players ".


    Think of players who are delighted by anything that adds quality of life, making grinding easier, or reducing the challenge of anything as long as the activity takes less time or burden/hassle to do. This kicks the reward feeling out of it. With class balancing issues this chases non-casual Grinders and even PvP-players away. And we have seen this plenty of times where a game caters to Casual players too much chasing away another target audience making it shrink by dumbing down the game and making it less skillful. I can name a list of games as examples, but I think that's unnecessary.



    Well, how do you grow the target audience from here on out?


    And this is the hard part. Many private servers do this by following life games that are still active. Because this way they gain content endlessly from a company that still publishes a game. Solstice has lost Outspark so the content is finite. There is still content btw, but it is very very finite. It also feels boxed in because Lv200 was unreachable in the old days, now that's looking to be like a cakewalk with the Dungeons. Increasing the level cap would solve nothing because that would require more skill coding workload to feel even remotely rewarding and you would only make the player reaching 200+ feel left out because that player can't join in any activity for out leveling everything.


    I don't have a clear answer now, because it feels like the doors of opportunities are closing due to how boxed in the game feels in which way the game can be steered into now. I will not say I predicted it in the Rebirth discord. For one thing, try to avoid doom-posting and enjoy what we have for now.


    pasted-from-clipboard.png


    Xen Rebirth Discord, 01/03/2020






  • hit the nail on the head. Nothing more needs to be said

    If you can read this....you're too close

    LittleDylan 131 Paladin -Retired-

    Dylanangel 71 Knight -Retired-

    GM Daenerys -Retired-

  • Just sharing my opinions: As far as I have seen in the last 10 years, I don't think there is a MMO that will last forever. Some will run for a few years, others for several years. But at the end, all of them slowly die down at some point. The worst thing I didn't like was that everything you worked hard for in a MMORPG would be gone forever.


    This is the third time I've played Xen Online/Secret of the Solstice. Twice my characters have been deleted from two shutdowns in the last decade (original SoS and SoS Reborn). But this time, in this third one, I managed to achieve all goals I wanted on my main healer and made new friends and memories as a bonus. All that is enough for me accept a third shutdown, should it ever happen one day.


    That aside, one of the reasons I don't play this game much now is exactly as Rage stated: I have some IRL priorities going on. And even if I do find free time, my interest has shifted to other things that keep me from revisiting the game.

  • Yes, I think the excitement and nolstalgia was what drew me back to the game. I think some RO private servers are still running so don't see why we can't..

    I actually do not particularly like grinding/leveling. I like buy/sell and collecting items. (but the buy/sell market is limited to a few shops these days.


    In my part of the world, things are getting a bit of normal and work is resuming after the lockdowns so I also find myself having lesser time to play.


    However, I still value logging on and afk or chatting with guildies and friends ^^^^^^


    Suggestions:
    1. Auction House (I believe this coding exists):

    I believe the next step forward would be to put the auction house in game, because realistically, it is impossible to keep an afk character leaving your computer running for months while you are at work or sleeping. The potential drawback is the feeling of an even "emptier" game.

    Edit: I think in OG, auction house charges 5-10%? fee but you have option to still afk for no fee charged), that still allows players to afk sell.


    2. Smaller player base (but still forced interactions getting lesser):

    We are still able to find dungeon parties (Tiger, altar) for now due to regular players running them but lesser for e.g. lizard, tramis. And Im seeing a few players aoe-ing in last maps as there are no more dungeons aoe-able. Now, for the Longevity of the game, I feel that we should not be creating more dungeons. After Altar, level 178 is high enough and nobody reached this in OG but we reached it in a few months. (if players wish to progress, it should become more grindy?) The easy leveling does kill the fun and there is no prestige attached to being a high level because if one runs dungeons long enough they will get there. However, there must be some good reward or good risk/reward ratio to being level 200. I'm sure players like Enn or Mewshix are just leveling now for the level number cap (for fun or prestige) and in anticipation for future content.

    I think some one threw the "reborn" idea of being reborn back into level 1 for some stat boost (permanent reward to character) but maybe you lose 1 full set of gears so there is some kron sink. This might make low level maps worth doing again. Yea, some people might powerlevel over and over again though... . but this might also help new players find parties in a game where everyone is lv 150 above...


    3. New content?:
    I feel personally that reborn had more content (gears, jewels , crafting systems , dungeons and quests etc), but many of the OG players DO NOT like the idea of no AOE. However, Reborn/Xenepic was a far more complete game than original game ever was. But I feel that Synex and team have did well to create many content that OG lacked. I guess it is up to the available coding and creativity by the dev team to create "new" content, which I'm sure is being worked on at the moment. Xenepic was probably the most complete version of the game, but as Rage pointed out, many like the AOE version and quit with reborn.

    -=tsu=-

    Lv 15X Saint Guardian

    “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” ~ Yoda

    Edited once, last by Tsukiyacw ().

  • 3. New content?:

    While new content is always a good thing, one of the drawbacks that many players fail to notice is: new content can increase the cost of running the server. It can also increase the game's system requirements, i.e. more new content requires more and more hard drive space; even certain ones might require you purchase a "better" graphic card from your old one.


    I say so from my experiences in MapleStory. When I first started playing it like a decade ago, the game's system requirements back then were so low (2 GB HD space, less RAM) that it could run so smooth on my "potato" laptop. But after a few years have passed, Nexon added new content that made the game slow and laggy for me... until I purchased a new laptop with more HD space and better graphic card than my old one. But then again, another few years later, Nexon added more content and so on (eventually upped system requirements to 12 GB and requiring more RAM). Even now, I can no longer play the game as I'm unable to afford better computer due to my financial situation. Not only that, but looking at the big picture of how far the game has come, there was too much new content that felt soooooooo overwhelming, to the point where I realized that the game was far better off in the way it originally was, in old-school style. :( Furthermore, players have become lazy and abusive when the new content makes things too easy for them when it originally requires effort & commitment to obtain.


    If Xen Rebirth's to have new content, I hope they keep it optimum. But, I'd suggest that Synex should fix up up any old problems within the game (current bugs, glitches, broken story/quests, etc) as the priority before introducing new content.

  • While new content is always a good thing, one of the drawbacks that many players fail to notice is: new content can increase the cost of running the server. It can also increase the game's system requirements, i.e. more new content requires more and more hard drive space; even certain ones might require you purchase a "better" graphic card from your old one.

    None of that should be an issue here. Nearly all the maps, monsters, costumes, etc. that are available are already in the game, so new updates wouldn't be adding more storage requirements. Upgrading graphics is something synex can't do either I don't believe. New content would be based on whats already in the game, but just made available to regular players. There are still dozens of maps that no regular player has been too, and more than 100 that only a few players have been warped to during events.

  • TwinkleVal I like to use one of Gordon Ramsay's metaphors where a Restaurant loses its old customers due to a change in direction. Be it the building, chef, or its menu. Still getting customers, a portion of the old customers that aren't returning means their reasoning as to why isn't heard either because they aren't here anymore to say why.


    The original balance team also harped on " Longevity " quite a lot. Yet what defines Longevity to a game? and as far as I can tell from their PoV it was how long it takes to reach end game levels and running out of content. I don't view it that way. How I define it is " How enjoyable the journey is made " regardless of reaching an end destination or not. And that destination can be antyhing from becoming the highest level, end game gear, best PvP'r, owning all fashion, obtained all pets and mounts you name it.


    A synonym for this " Journey " in OG probably could be revered too as " The Grind ". While there are plenty who didn't enjoy it, this was the core of the game since it is a classic Asian/Korean Style Grind game. It even took its inspiration to be that way since it is a pseudo copy of Ragnarok Online. Eliminating this means eliminating a good portion of the Target Audience it's supposed to attract because they feel out of place and perhaps like you stated " Overwhelmed " by so many changes. I believe this still would not have felt so foreign if the classes were more true to their original Solstice setup and players weren't handed tools to out level any content at extreme rapid pacing.


    Another thing to point out to the OP iamatree is that " Near nothing incentifies helping each other ". It's about your level, your items, your tokens, your dungeon runs, your timezone you can do said activities on etc. By design a game can be molded to be more selfless, to not care who you party whenever and however, and encourage a more harmonious community. Yet it is more towards selfishness. Cause players care who they party, which class they invite, which person even, what level you are, how geared you are for a Dungeon etc. At any point in time players will have trouble partying with each other for anything. Regardless of the player-base amount, good adjustments should separate that discrepency.


    Due to how difficult it has been made to do an activity because you need X class at X level for X activity at X time with X gear etc, a player might search too long for a party unless they have friends/guild/clique or have a known name. Resulting in feeling like the OP said that the game is out of life. What I am saying is that the definition of how lively a game is, transcends far beyond a simple number of how many players there are online at any given time AFK or not, multi logged or not.

  • I wouldn't say its dying yet. number of new accounts each week has been very steady since October. Its not trending up, but not trending down either. With just how many people showed up to the event today, killing boss monsters so fast as if they were just poyos, i'd say there is still a large dedicated player base.

    It's dying.

    Senshi - 12x Holy Avenger | DarkSenshi - 8x Cleric

    Chaos - 6x Mage | EvilSenshi - 7x Templar

    Siggy by Setsuna

  • Now, for the Longevity of the game, I feel that we should not be creating more dungeons. After Altar, level 178 is high enough and nobody reached this in OG but we reached it in a few months. (if players wish to progress, it should become more grindy?) The easy leveling does kill the fun and there is no prestige attached to being a high level because if one runs dungeons long enough they will get there. However, there must be some good reward or good risk/reward ratio to being level 200. I'm sure players like Enn or Mewshix are just leveling now for the level number cap (for fun or prestige) and in anticipation for future content.

    Please. If any more dungeons are added, please limit them to exclusive item/costume/gear drops. Why should I AoE when I can take the slow and steady route of spending half an hour on daily dungeons (if there was an incentive for leveling, that is)? I've said this in the past, but the way dungeons are currently structured turns this into an idle game. Players can reach near max level from daily dungeon log-ins with no gear, no skill and no effort needed.

  • I agree with Tsu and Clepclep. If we are to continue beyond Altar dungeons then it should be for exclusive items. That's not to say I wouldn't like to see another dungeon after Altar because I would love to continue to use my healer after level 187 but I am inclined to want to work for those levels, meaning grind when I can outside of work and actively participate in events when possible. Eventually the Dragon Heart Raid will open up and I look forward to participating in that but I'm hoping it's less of a mindless grind and more of an active-participation-required kind of thing unlike some of the other dungeons have become.

    (Signature by Setsuna)

    Sammie13 - Paladin - 18x | Saturn64 - Archmage - 14x | Pluto64 - Saint Guardian - 14x | Planet64 - Knight - 9x

  • What ClepClep stated reminds me of what I posted way back... It's almost prophetic...

    We already knew GM's included that during CBT Dungeons gave too many rewards, allowing players to make money through selling un-bound mounts and leveling at the same time. I advised it to be nerfed, but it got ignored quite a lot of times and I even advised GM Emetseltch to remove Dungeon Experience points altogether and to make mounts Bound to not flood the market specifically with the intention to maintain balance.


    Neither were done and during OB it was too late because the damage became apparent. Players hit Lv160+ without grinding ever like it was a breeze. While at the same time players who had trouble finding parties for Dungeons were left behind. Thus I gave my Final advice again right before the Shenzhen Patch to remove Dungeon Experience specifically around Tiger dungeons in this thread posting on 7th November 2020.


    Because I knew the damage was going to be irreversible unless something was done about it ASAP. Veteran players reaped the rewards from all that Experience they obtained through Dungeons so removing it cannot be done because new players would be left in the dust. Thus keep everything the same prior to all Dungeon Rewards and Experience up until the Tiger Dungeons and somehow limit when players stop getting Experience points from specifically Tiger Dungeons and beyond around Lv151 or Lv161.


    But like a broken record I believe this wasn't done because of Class Roles

    which I hammered to no end...


    Mages and Archers who used to be able to AoE in the original game in a tanking manner cannot. Thus them having trouble finding parties to Assist-AoE for, their only alternative to decently level is through Dungeons. If this wasn't the case, more grinding parties would have been made, to also include healers due to the increase of demand for them, to remove the Dungeon Experience points at some point for you guessed it Longevity.

  • OP's statement on the game dying is starting to resonate with my thoughts lately (more like the dungeoning is really idling the game a lot, and of course it always has been). Lately (and for a long while now) my main reasons for logging on for average 2 hours in the game are:

    • World Bosses
    • My dungeon commitments (socializing and having laughs with guildmates and friends during these times)
    • In-game and GM events (huge, huge, huge appreciation to GM_Ganta for hosting them regularly -- it's honestly these events that keep me rather engaged with the game)

    Like ClepClep said, dungeons really made this game such an idle game. For my lvl 187 AM, there's no motivation or interest to level via partying mainly due to terrible exp rates (e.g. while I was 17x, I would get like 2% per spa run in a small AoE party -- COMPARED to also getting around 2% per spa run solo'ing Christmas dungeon last month). Literally 95% of my exp from 120 - 187 was from dungeoning consistently.


    The recent Yellow Gate invasion event was incredibly fun to party with AM again (especially in a large chaotic party with friends), but with such a large party, I barely got any exp. I'm sure the challenge is to balance exp where it's decent for solo'ers (for those who cannot find/want to party) while also decent for large parties (especially for those who rely on parties).


    I acknowledge the dev/GM team has made modifications to dungeons since it first came out to help discourage it a bit more (e.g. runs decreased from 6 to 4). Obviously too late to just eliminate dungeons altogether at this point, but there's opportunity to continue modifying them to change the current culture of the game (to where dungeons aren't just too centered upon for leveling).


    I now personally would like a radical idea of eliminating exp and tokens rewards altogether from all dungeons. Here's an outline of what it could be (and some ideas are based on what has been suggested in the past):

    • Loss of exp from dungeon is compensated by increase PvE exp rates
    • Daily Mob Kill Quests are the source of additional exp and tokens, but modifications need to be made:
      • Have kill quests adjusted to class when solo'ing (e.g. WLs and SGs can have higher counts because they can AoE effectively than ranged and support classes)
      • Include a party option for kill requests (e.g. better rewards if you choose a party quest versus a solo quest)
      • That said, you either choose the solo quest or party quest (not both) daily
    • Tokens could be obtained through other quest means, though daily mob kill quests should be a decent source
    • Dungeons focused on reaching one-time helpful progression rewards (with some cool QoL rewards if you continue beyond the goals). Example structure:
      • New NPC that tracks your Boss Kills (e.g. tracks as you submit an item that auto-drops after you kill the boss, like the Tiger Breath from Fiersavier)
      • If you reach, for example, 100 Fiersavier kills, then you are awarded a one-time (exclusive?) reward
      • I personally think the (exclusive) reward for Clock/Cow could be a Platinum mount of your choosing (with a stat of your choosing) while Fiersavier is for an Obsidian mount. Or Clock would be a Plat mount of choosing while Cow is a Robo Wing of choosing.
      • If you go beyond the kill count (e.g. beyond 100 Fiersavier kills), you could be awarded tickets or something that you can redeem for cool QoL things like the Obsidian buffs, special scrolls, etc. (but nothing progession changing like mounts)
      • The Token Exchange NPC exists (with some modification to the rewards) so If you want to obtain more mounts/extra Robo Wings, you just get tokens through the daily kill quests. It's subjected to RNG rolling but should be fine ASSUMING re-roll system exists
    • NO Dungeon limits, so people could crack it out to meet the one-time reward or take their time in meeting the goals. This could GREATLY help a lot with finding dungeon parties. Even for those who met their one-time rewards, there should be worthy QoL rewards that motivates people to help friends or others.

    I personally think the above change would:

    • Focus grinding on PvE
    • Put dungeons as important part of progression but in terms of one-time gears/mounts, not exp
    • Encourage more PvE participation, and lessen the restrictions with dungeoning

    Overall, the dungeoning culture should really be dealt with so that it changes from idle day-to-day gameplay to more engagement outside of dungeons.

    Matcha - ArchMage 18X ∞∞∞ Celten - Paladin 16X ∞∞∞ Ube - Saint Guardian 16X

    BubbleTea - Archer Lord 14X ∞∞∞ Umbreon - Shadow Master 13X

    Main Guild(s): Chaos n Carnage (GM), Itadakimasu!, Kuki Kumas


    Credits to my Sekrit Sant-ugh (Setsuna) for the Siggy and kaicean (Skittles) for Avatar <3

    OG: Celten (Adeline) - Warrior 10X l Galatic (Marian) - Shadow Master 13X

    CB: Celten - Paladin 13X l Matcha - ArchMage 13X


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    Edited 2 times, last by Celten ().

  • Celten I don't wanna say I said so too many times...


    I practically yelled this, the harms of Dungeon not nerfed throughout the entire forums... and I got ridiculed for it by enough people for it. While at the same time... I could blame both complacent GMs and every Veteran player who knew of the long-term effects of the player-base spamming Dungeons and not saying a word about nerfing it ASAP like I did until ( present-day ) the damage has been done. We all knew it since CBT


    I sound harsh and blunt I'll admit that, but it's like the compassion is lost and all I sense was... This greed from players who wanted this opportunity to stay for as long as possible until they get what they wanted out of it before it's gone and nerfed. Not realizing the damage they do to the game, or if they do not care... cause here's the thing now.



    Removing Experience points now will have Backlash


    This literally simulates many scenarios of what ends a game in other games due to heavy sudden changes... Think of the consequences of any change right, most players who enjoy Dungeon playstyle stayed and those who cared more for the original playstyle are likely not active nor here. So the player base has been filtered out to be more Casual. Less Grinding, play max 2 hours a day and you get everything. Do a radical change now and it will lose the player base that's left faster.


    Another negative is that Mages and Archers can't AoE on their own as efficiently or equally as the Tanks in terms of pulling on their own. Yes, this will somewhat stimulate party play in the open world, but it goes back to another problem I stated where with forceful division and a lower player-base count it is not feasible to force party play.


    You'd also have to give a forewarning announcement when any heavy change happens on the Token rewards because players stack them to spend them for the highly-priced mounts or their Robo-wing rerolls. If this suddenly changes it could end up having negative effects.

    TLDR: doing this must be done very carefully now



    Lastly, why do people feel so annoyed by this?


    Players might not realize it from the top looking down... but imagine just imagine

    • not being able to get that party going for your dungeon
    • not being able to play with friends who left the game
    • or friends who left you out because of the party limit
    • thus you make an alt only to bump into overly geared farmer alts of the veteran players
    • trying to get a dungeon party again and your the wrong class
    • your not high level enough
    • you're not geared enough
    • heck you don't have enough HP
    • or I don't know you
    • you go to events and you have no one to party

    And I am not saying this is a social issue or where someone should say " heck just make friends " as the low blow below the stomach... think about how left out that player would be who on top of that? has lost the ability to not do anything solo unlike OG and is still forced to party without being able to get a party. I am just saying, for that type of player... this game might as well be " dead "...

  • Well, you're right there. I'm not suggesting to just flip to this suggestion right away; obviously it has to be incremental. It's like that in real-world where systemic changes can result in backlash and resistance. What I'm suggesting shows a possible end-picture / a possible piece contributing to the larger change. How we get there is up to the team (what can be done, what other input and feedback they have in mind).


    And yes, the suggestion is a piece of a larger picture that requires a lot of other incremental changes to other areas, such as class re-balancing (e.g. a lot of what you have been suggesting in various threads from time to time). Changing a whole dungeoning culture requires moving A LOT of pieces around (we can have a whole 20 page essay on this if you want). So yeah, I forgot to mention this comment in my initial response.


    So overall, yeah, obviously incremental changes are best to push a shift in gameplay culture that folks have been expressing. Slowly we've been getting that through a round of class balancing already (with more, I'm sure, pending on their way).

    Matcha - ArchMage 18X ∞∞∞ Celten - Paladin 16X ∞∞∞ Ube - Saint Guardian 16X

    BubbleTea - Archer Lord 14X ∞∞∞ Umbreon - Shadow Master 13X

    Main Guild(s): Chaos n Carnage (GM), Itadakimasu!, Kuki Kumas


    Credits to my Sekrit Sant-ugh (Setsuna) for the Siggy and kaicean (Skittles) for Avatar <3

    OG: Celten (Adeline) - Warrior 10X l Galatic (Marian) - Shadow Master 13X

    CB: Celten - Paladin 13X l Matcha - ArchMage 13X


    New to the game? Check out Vivi's Guide Index

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