Update 19 brought a lot of big changes to Dungeons & Dragons Online. Some of these changes, you couldn’t escape hearing about through word of mouth, like the enhancements pass, Iconic Heroes and the Shadowfell Conspiracy adventures. I didn’t check out the Lammania beta server or the forums, or really even read the patch release notes until a couple of days ago, so there was one huge, life-altering change that I didn’t know was coming until it hit me smackeroo in the End Reward. Ultimately, I had to seek answers from my guild about exactly what was happening amidst my screams of horror and dismay. Bewbewcocha – Mayan Doomsayer – beat her drums loudly.
The Experience Point Penalties For Repeating Quests Were Changed.
So here’s the dealio:
It used to be you could farm a quest. The first run though at each difficulty (casual, normal, hard, elite) would grant you the full experience for that difficulty, and hard and elite difficulties were rewarded a first-time bonus. You could repeat the quest immediately, but on the fourth time through, you would start to experience XP decay. You could milk up to 15 runs of a quest in a row, but then every subsequent run would have a -90% XP penalty forever, or until you True Reincarnated a character. Once you hit level cap, XP penalties froze in time, so if you hadn’t incurred decay on a quest, you would always earn max XP after level 25.
This was great for leveling characters quickly, but not so great when you reached epic content. Decay was a factor in getting experience for Epic Destinies, and players would find themselves ‘saving’ certain quests that had an epic version until they reached the level cap, then they would farm the reserved quests like crazy to earn Epic Destinies. Heavy was the heart of the guy who realized he’d already run ‘The House of Rusted Blades’ twelve times.
But with Update 19, this all changed.
Any bonuses for the first run through on hard and elite difficulties stay the same. You now also get a +20% XP bonus for the first time you run a quest each day. You also get a -20% XP penalty for each repetition of a quest, but this heals back +50% every 18 hours.
What does this mean?
Farming quests is dead. You’re pretty much limited to 2 runs of any quest per day without starting to feel the sting of significant XP decay. Gone are the days when I could run down the halls of Splinterskull 15 times in under half an hour to sweep my character from level 7 to 8.
This isn’t to say that you can’t rush through a TR anymore. It just means you have to do a larger variety of quests. No longer do you do quests one level at a time, but maybe tackle a range of 3 quest level on any given day.
This game mechanic change is totally liberating for gaining epic-level experience.
I found myself very sad about the change, however, mainly from nostalgia, There are certain quests, such as Firebrand Mines, Blockade Buster, Bloody Crypt and Shadow Crypt, that are enormously fun if you have a good group. I love hammering out 12+ runs of these dungeons with a guild party. Some of the most fun times I’ve had playing DDO involved these window farming sessions based on team zerging. Now that game play style is penalized, and it kind of made me feel like I’d lost part of the game to realize it. Hence, the wailing and Bewbewcocha.
But part of my dismay over this game XP change revolved around my past gaming behavior. There was a time when I was doing a TR every week, when I played DDO nearly every waking hour outside of work, even at the cost of sleep. I don’t play DDO 50 hours a week anymore. If I play games more than 10 hours, it’s been a crazy recreational extravaganza.
So part of processing this change in quest XP for me has been coming to the realization that I am now a casual gamer. The new decay mechanic would have been an imposition three years ago. Now, it actually works in my favor and compliments my gaming habits.
But there’s still a tiny space in my heart that likes to reminisce and think of zergier, window-farming times. We’ll always have Tangleroot.