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Make PQs Great Again

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Gurk, Apr 16, 2022.

  1. Gurk
    Offline

    Gurk Capt. Latanica

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    Mar 9, 2020
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    5:15 AM
    Gurk
    Shadower
    Warning: huge wall of text.

    You can click here for a summary of the proposed changes.

    A Case for Buffing PQs

    PQs are trash. I know it, you know it, everyone knows it (well, maybe not the misguided souls on a quest to reclaim their childhood). If you haven't already seen them, you can refer to Sku's journal entries on some PQs here for further amusement and validation, although I'll also provide that further below.

    Okay, so PQs are just terrible in every respect (eph, mesos, nx), but why should they have to be this way, especially when they were so core to the original MapleStory experience? Surely they deserve a win in at least one department. So I had been wondering why there has yet to be any significant overhaul of PQs despite it being universally welcomed, entirely uncontroversial and easy to implement (at least with respect to boosting exp), especially when staff has already acknowledged the unbalanced effort vs. reward ratio. After all, everyone is partial to QoL changes and making the game more welcoming to new players (er, let's table the washing discussion).

    There's a lot of critique and feedback regarding making towns/henesys more alive and attractive to new players but what about improving the #1 content where these new players actually gather and frequent, y'know, PQs? When most people experience nostalgia for MapleStory, which is the #1 reason people play pservers in the first place, what is it that we think they are reminded of and yearn for first and foremost (other than the music :p)? Probably the social experience and bonds made that came about via PQing, party grinding and bossing. However, party grinding is mostly non-existent pre-4th job and bossing is obviously inaccessible to these new players, which leaves just PQing. So if we think empty towns leave a bad impression for prospective players, how do we think those players will feel when most of the PQ lobbies they come across are deserted? As they are now, even the most popular PQs are a ghost town outside of a few hours, and the rest, well, good luck smegaing your way to a party. Ultimately, their options are to spend a significant amount of time waiting in relatively empty PQ lobbies or to opt for some solo grinding. Probably sounds like a rather solitary existence.

    One might think that in a washing environment PQing would be popular but no, PQing is so slow that spending what seems like an eternity on a rope in the hellscape that is kerning subway and ghost ship is still preferable. My vision is that where PQing is an option, leeching (specifically low-level leech as making PQs comparable to ulu and WS leech would be a recipe for disaster) should be inferior in pace to PQing (under optimal conditions) and be an option only the rich and/or lazy should consider. With 7f and 5-6 (and CDs, I guess) being the last real bastion of party grinding (rip mp3 parties), I see the server being better served if PQing, content where players actually interact with each other, was a viable alternative to solo grinding and was better than leeching. It should not be the case that the proper advice from a veteran player to a newbie should be to avoid PQing like the plague and instead solo most of your way to 120 in an MMORPG (how's that for welcoming, eh?). While tweaking the profits of PQs could also be a primary consideration, I don’t believe I would have the ability to adequately propose changes on that front without knowing the exact rates for items in the reward pools (e.g. 10% OA INT from KPQ) or spending a large amount of time data tracking. So I decided to make it my quest to come up with reasonable numbers to which the exp of each PQ could be boosted to, with the revamps premised on the idea that PQing with a competent party should generally yield an eph comparable to that of grinding (and leeching by extension).

    And it was then that I maybe answered the question that I posed to myself earlier after hitting a bump in the road. Where the hell are all the numbers detailing PQ exp, especially for OPQ/LMPQ/MPQ/PPQ? How long does it take for a competent party to complete each PQ? And how much of PQ exp comes from the PQ itself rather than from mobs and bosses? I asked my buddy list; no one knew. I asked my alliance; no one knew. I asked in discord; a few responses but nothing concrete. With no numbers to work with it's no wonder there has yet to be any real PQ overhaul. It wasn't until I stalked some active PQers with /find and $exp and ran a few PQs myself on some mules did I finally have some concrete data to work with to propose exp revisions.

    All of that being said, while exp tweaks are certainly deserved, I’m not naive enough to believe they alone would truly revitalize PQs, at least not on the scale that I’d want. In order for that to be the case with a server of this size, it has to be more than just the new players that want to participate. PQs would have to offer an incentive great enough such that even the veteran players would want to join in as well on their new characters as their time would otherwise be better spent multimaging while having their other characters blister their hands on ropes. The fact of the matter is that for much of the current player base the early game just doesn’t exist. After all, why spend months grinding your way to bossing levels when leeching is an option and players are increasingly encouraged and incentivized to pump ungodly amounts of INT into their character that makes them unplayable? This dynamic makes low level content entirely moot and irrelevant to the greater discussion of content and class balance, serving to funnel all focus exclusively on the end game bossing meta of 30k HP ranged characters. There is no energy in the room to talk about revamping PQs when it is content that will be skipped over by most, regardless of whether they are good exp or not.

    Now I’m not here to propose that we get rid of leech, even though that would be the best way to reintroduce an early game experience to the server, as that would most certainly lead to an entirely unproductive conversation. What I am trying to say is that by providing certain unique incentives for PQing, playing through subsections of early game content can be made partly relevant once more. One need only hop on the official MapleStory server, or any of a few other Neckson games where the playebase and content is skewed so heavily towards the end game, for it to be immediately apparent why this would be a good thing.

    As there are two separate issues that need to be tackled simultaneously to really improve upon the PQ experience, I will break this suggestion into two parts: that of improving the effort to reward ratio for the PQs themselves so as to make them content worth doing for their level range and the other of creating an incentive for older players to join in as well to revitalize PQs.

    「 Part 1: Improving Party Quest Rewards 」

    Note: The eph numbers below assume the unrealistic scenario of non-stop PQing with no waiting.

    Kerning City Party Quest (KPQ)

    unknown.png

    I'm going to start with KPQ because buffing HPQ is a moot exercise when questing to 21 is already so damn fast.

    According to Sku's KPQ log, an average run takes about 8 minutes and yields about 20k exp per run, i.e. KPQ has an eph of about 150k (less if including all the waiting). And with some stalking help by Nightz, I also managed to acquire the following data for a 6-man run, which took about 6 minutes to clear.

    e91748787821b85f83cc1c51de4160df.png

    The above run data yields a similar eph of about 137k using 6 minutes per run as the baseline. If we compare this to grinding at Genins, a level 25 mob, we can see that the latter is far more preferable with an eph of about 400k (and also double the mesos), a claim which I've also verified with my own sin. The kicker is that Sku was also one shotting them on a sin with 38 base LUK, i.e. at these levels grinding is still a far more viable option than PQing even on an int lord.

    "Now hold on, Gurk!" you might exclaim. "It's not KPQ's fault that Genins are just really OP!" I might agree with you except that I discovered that I was able to get an eph quite similar to genins at Sand Rats (370k eph). They have the same HP and are one level lower, and though they give less exp the eph is still comparable because of the more friendly flat terrain. "Then maybe sand rats are OP too!" you might counter. Well mister, I was also able to attain an eph of 340k grinding at Wild Boars, which have slightly less HP than the two above, and is still about 2.5x the eph of KPQing non-stop. Grinding at other weaker miscellaneous mobs at Ariant also yielded at least 250k eph. For reference, duo split Genin leech also yields around 250-300k. No matter how you slice it, KPQ is bad and the Squishy Shoes, the KPQ equipment reward for clearing the PQ 20 times, doesn't make up for it at all.

    So to what extent must KPQ be buffed, exp-wise, to be viable? At least doubled at a bare minimum just to be somewhat comparable to leech and suboptimal grinding, and tripled to at least match genin grinding. That is to say, a single run of KPQ would need to net at least about 40k total exp per run instead of the current paltry ~15k. But how exactly would we achieve that? If you'll refer back to the above table again, you'll see that over half of the exp (7,725 of 13,687. or 56.4%) gained from a run comes not from the static exp rewards of the PQ itself but from the killing of mobs. Thus, simply multiplying the static PQ exp values by the factor by which grinding exceeds KPQing would either result in overshooting or undershooting our target eph. So what we have is the following:

    EXP obtained from mobs and boss: 15,000 * 0.564 = 8,460
    EXP from PQ itself: 15,000 - 8,460 = 6,540

    Which gives us the following simple equation where we want to solve for x, the factor by which we want to increase the exp of the PQ:

    6,540x + 8,460 = 40,000 => 6,540x = 31,540 => x = 4.82

    In other words, the exp that KPQ itself awards should be increased almost fivefold to achieve the desired effect of being comparable to grinding and beating out buying leech.

    I would also like to propose altering the stats on squishy shoes. At present, Squishy Shoes are nothing special. They're replaced relatively early for most classes (as soon as level 40) and well, Christmas socks exist. The tiny bit of speed on it is maybe cute but no one is gonna lose any sleep over passing up on it. I would suggest buffing the stats on the shoe and taking it from 0-2 stat to 1-3 stat and also increasing the speed on the shoe from 2-4 to 9-11. Everyone knows how painful it is walking around on a new character with zero speed so adding more speed to the shoe (without marginalizing haste) would be a welcome QoL change for new players who put in the work to KPQ, and the increased stats on the shoe means they get to enjoy the speed boost for longer before having to swap the shoes out.

    Of course, increasing the exp of KPQ means that the number of runs needed to earn the Squishy Shoes from npc should also be lowered so as to avoid forcing players to kill themselves repeatedly in order to not exceed the PQ level range before acquiring the shoes. Getting from level 21 to 31 requires a total of about 547k exp, which would take 14 runs of KPQ. Thus, I would propose that the number of runs needed to acquire the shoes should be reduced to around 10 to be more accommodating.


    Ludibrium Party Quest (LPQ)

    unknown.png

    Once again, we have Sku to thank for his PQ data. According to his data sheet, an average run takes about 18.5 minutes and yields about 76k exp. I also ran a few 6-man LPQs on my LPQ mule (the runs took between 17 and 20 minutes) and recorded the data from one of the runs.

    lpq.PNG

    The total being greater than Sku's reported figure can likely be attributed to the fact that my character was doing the most damage to the mobs and the boss and thus may skew slightly high. To err on the side of caution, let's say that a typical run takes about 15 minutes, which is situated at the halfway point between Sku's fastest run (the slowest of which was 28 minutes, if one was curious) and his average run.

    If we ballpark a run at about 75k exp then we get an eph of about 300k for LPQ. The attentive reader will remember that the eph from grinding at Genins is still greater than this figure. That's right, a mob that you can start grinding at from level 20 yields a greater eph than a PQ designed for the level range of 35-50. In other words, you could just stay at Genins and grind thirty whole levels from 20 to 50 and really not miss out on much. Get neckson'd. As for single target grinding at mobs during this level range, killing teddies at Terrace Hall will yield about 450k eph once you can start consistently 1-hitting them and grinding on Platoon Chronos will yield about 500k eph once you can start 1-hitting those. As for leech, duo split Jr. Wraiths will yield about 350k eph until you get to 43, and then Wraith leech will yield about 500k eph. So to what extent must LPQ be buffed to be a viable alternative to grinding and leech? If our target eph is 600k, then the answer is doubled. That means a single run of LPQ should award about 150,000 exp.

    From the table, we can see that about a third of the total exp (24,857 of 83,761, or 29.7%) one gains from a run of LPQ is derived from killing mobs and the boss. As I mentioned earlier, this likely skews a bit high as my character was vastly overgeared so let's say that a quarter is more accurate in a more representative case. Thus we have the following:

    EXP obtained from mobs and boss: 75,000 * 0.25 = 18,750
    EXP from PQ itself: 75,000 - 18,750 = 56,250

    Which gives us the following simple equation where we want to solve for x, the factor by which we want to increase the exp of the PQ:

    56,250x + 18,750 = 150,000 => 56,250x = 131,250 => x = 2.33

    So effectively, the static exp rewards from LPQ should be increased almost two-and-a-half times over to beat grinding and leeching.

    Furthermore, the Broken Glasses have always been a very mediocre reward. With the exception of thieves, they are replaced very cheaply by average 2 stat clean spectrum goggles that can be bought for 5-10m (shads would need 3 stat specs and NLs would need perf 4 stat specs, which are pricier). As far as chaosing potential is concerned, glasses are technically best in slot for thieves, but if we're being honest no one is going to CS them when they have no resale value for when one eventually upgrades to better specs. I would propose that the stats on glasses be changed from +1 to a range of 1-2 and to also increase the HP from 20 to 200, which is a nice added bonus comparable to the treatment that the Horus' Eye from MPQ received in the last anniversary patch.

    Understandably, some might have a kneejerk reaction to having glasses be potentially just as good as specs (and superior to them for thieves), which is a drop from a higher level PQ, but one should keep in mind that glasses are untradeable, which I believe keeps them in check and realistically doesn't contribute to any power creep. For reference, BFCs can have 5 att and 300 HP and are technically best in slot, but the number of viable end game BFCs are few and far between and their existence has little to no bearing on the meta except as HP gear for the less washed. This is not because they are too rare; anyone who CWKs often would probably tell you that they have several sitting around in their inventory taking up space, or that they simply toss them out or let others have them. No, it is because of their untradeable nature, which makes one weary of slamming 300m CS onto them when they will almost certainly want to upgrade to a better cape at some point, which makes scrolling BFCs an extremely expensive non-recoupable undertaking. This would similarly apply to buffed glasses. Even as they are now, in the context of CSing, glasses are already superior to specs for thieves. You won't, however, come across any end game NLs with perf gears using Broken Glasses. So I want to propose that LPQ glasses be the equivalent of the BFC of eyewear.

    It takes about 6.4m exp to get from level 35 to 51 so even with the increased PQ exp, one shouldn't have to kill themselves to get the Broken Glasses reward at 25 clears as long as they start by level 44 (25 * 150,000 = 3.75m exp). But since EPQ begins at level 45 (about 2.9m exp to go from 35 to 45), the number of runs needed could potentially be reduced from 25 to 20.


    Ellin Forest Party Quest (EPQ)

    unknown.png

    As many might know, EPQ actually gives you a relatively fair shake for your time and is the PQ situated most closely to what its ideal eph should be. Its equipment reward doesn’t need any tweaking either. Instead, the biggest issue with EPQ is the fact that it is literally negative mesos, i.e. you lose money overall by doing it. But I’m not going to really spend any time addressing that other than to suggest possibly adding meso drops (and the occasional gacha/nx) to the mobs in the first map (mobs in some PQs already do this so this doesn’t seem like it’d raise any issues), adding other clean slate scrolls to the boss drop pool like 3% and 5% as it already drops 1%, and more generally adding mysterious pouch 1 to the drop pool of all PQ bosses as a rare drop, which I think would also help better acquaint new players with the server’s custom prestigious coin system.

    Anyhow, the average EPQ party can generally get through a run within about 10 minutes. The average run length for Sku’s runs over 40 runs was 9.5 minutes and my runs were typically just under 9 minutes with my PQ mule. From one of my runs, I got the following exp numbers.

    epq.PNG

    From the table we can see that EPQ gives a total of about 125k exp per run. Because my character was doing by far the most damage (I swear I’m not trying to flex), let us say that a run awards about 120k exp for the average person. Using a clear time of 10 minutes, we can say that EPQ has an eph of about 720k.

    So what does grinding and leeching look like in the early 50s? My sin was able to get about 850k eph at Primitive Boars at level 47 and I believe low level clerics would get around a mil at GS. Similarly, Red Slime duo split leech yields an eph of about 800-900k. So if our target eph for EPQ is 1m, then the eph of EPQ needs to be increased by just under 40%, i.e. an EPQ run should award a total of about 165k exp. From the above table, we can see that the mobs and boss make up about 15% of EXP exp. Thus we have the following:

    EXP obtained from mobs and boss: 120,000 * 0.15 = 18,000

    EXP from PQ itself: 103,900 - 18,000 = 85,900

    Which gives us the following simple equation where we want to solve for x, the factor by which we want to increase the exp of the PQ:

    85,900x + 18,000 = 165,000 => 85,900x = 147,000x => x = 1.71

    So effectively, the static exp reward from EPQ should be increased by about 1.7 times to be comparable to grinding and beat out leeching.

    It takes about 7.7m exp to get from level 45 to 55 so even with the increased PQ exp, one shouldn't have to kill themselves to get the Glittering Altaire Earrings reward at 40 total clears as long as they start by level 47 (40 * 165,000 = 6.6m exp). To be more accommodating to those who start the PQ closer to 50, however, I would suggest lowering the amount of runs needed to upgrade from Altaire to Glittering Altaire from 25 to 20.


    Orbis Party Quest (OPQ)

    unknown.png

    Oh Sku, why have you forsaken us? I didn’t have any characters in OPQ level range so I instead did some stalking of random PQers and also referenced
    SobletSoblet ’s OPQ guide here.

    opq.PNG

    Soblet’s guide says that a run typically takes 20-25 minutes to complete. I’m also told that fast parties can clear in about 15 minutes so let us say that the average party will take 20 minutes (please do correct me if runs are actually usually faster as I’m taking a bit of a leap of faith here having never done OPQ myself). A single run gives a total of about 285k exp, which means OPQ has an eph of about 855k. That’s only 18.75% more than EPQ. So what does solo grinding and leeching look like in the early 60s? This is where things get a bit trickier.

    At GS2, a cleric will be getting close to 2m eph while an IL will be getting almost 2.5m eph. At CDs, a sin will get over 2.5m eph while warriors will get over 3m eph. For duo split leech, GS2 will yield an eph slightly under 1.5m and WR leech will yield an eph up to 2.5m. So just what should OPQ eph be ideally? I’d say at least 2.5m, but for the sake of avoiding the jarring effect of having OPQ eph eclipse EPQ almost thrice over and having just a single OPQ run already level someone in their 50s, I’m going to somewhat arbitrarily settle for 2m. Therefore, the total exp of OPQ needs to be increased by about 2.34 times, i.e. a single run of OPQ should net about 665k exp. From the table above, we can see that the boss and mobs make up only about 3.5% of OPQ exp, meaning the overwhelming majority of the exp actually does come from the PQ. Nonetheless, we have the following:

    EXP obtained from mobs and boss: 285,000 * 0.035 = 9,975

    EXP from PQ itself: 285,000 - 9,975 = 275,025

    Which gives us the following simple equation where we want to solve for x, the factor by which we want to increase the exp of the PQ:

    275,025x + 9,975 = 665,000 => 275,025x = 655,025 => x = 2.38

    So effectively, the static exp reward from OPQ should be increased by about 2.4 times to be comparable to grinding and leeching.

    Furthermore, while the Goddess Wristband already received a buff last anniversary patch, I think it could actually still be further buffed to have 4 att (especially in light of the fact that OPQing would still be worse eph than grinding for most classes). That’s right, one att less than Stormcasters. The fact of the matter is that currently two-thirds of all OPQ participants will walk away embittered with a 9 att or worse wristband, i.e. nothing to show for their efforts when a 10 att glove can already be made for virtually free by slamming work gloves. Sure, they could also walk away with a solid 13 att glove at a 7.78% success rate but I don’t think the equipment reward at the end of a long journey should amount to a longshot gamble when it’s already untradeable; it should at least be usable in the average scenario.

    Bumping the wristband from 3 att to 4 att would mean 68.3% of all OPQ participants would walk away content with at least a 10 att glove, which is a complete reversal of the current situation. Now one might say that this would tank the glove market, or at least the price of 12 att gloves but I disagree. As I pointed out before with the Broken Glasses and BFC situation, people really value tradeability. EPQ earrings are already potentially 12-14 stat earrings and have done virtually nothing to curb demand for 12+ dex earrings. I could perhaps similarly point to timeless/reverse gloves as well.

    It takes about 26m exp to level from 51 to 71 so even with the increased exp, one shouldn’t have to kill themselves to get the Goddess Wristband reward at 20 clears as long as they start by level 64 (20 * 665k = 13.3m). That being said, with the buff to the wristband and the presumed reinvigoration of PQs, I think the number of clears needed to earn the wristband should be bumped back up from 20 to 30 (originally reduced from 40) to better reflect their new value and so that players only earn one and not two wristbands while PQing from 51 to 71.


    Ludibrium Maze Party Quest (LMPQ)

    unknown.png

    LMPQ, the PQ that is a ghost town 24/7. Absolutely no one does it and I had no characters in the level range so I figured all hope was lost… until Soblet linked me a video from two years ago of someone soloing LMPQ on ML.

    Where do I even start with LMPQ? It’s a jank PQ where the most exp-efficient way to run the PQ is to only do rooms 6 and 7 for the Tauromacis (which have a chance of dropping 50 passes each) and then exit, which can be done in about a minute. The amount of exp you get from each run is dependent on the number of passes you get (100 exp per pass), which ultimately just translates to how many of the Tauromacis drop passes. Ideally, I’d revamp the PQ by reducing the number of passes Tauromacis drops or increasing the number of passes needed to be able to clear but that sounds more like an avenue for staff to explore and experiment with on the Tespia server as I wouldn’t be able to procure the numbers to base changes off of, e.g. how average length of a run would change.

    In the video, a total of 11 out of 27 of the Tauromacis dropped passes, which is a drop rate of roughly 40.7%. As there are 3 of them in each of rooms 6 and 7, a run will average 122.1 passes (6 * 0.407 * 50) for a total of 12.2k exp. The mobs from rooms 6 and 7 also award a total of 4.38k exp, which if divided up between 4 party members will contribute about another 1.1k exp to the running total for a grand total of 13.3k exp per run. If we say each run takes 1 minute, then LMPQ has an eph of about 800k.

    So just what do we do with LMPQ? It appears rather redundant given that it has the same level range as OPQ and has no equipment reward. Were it to simply have the same eph as OPQ, there would still be no real reason to do it. Thus, I propose that we simply increase the exp of LMPQ by about 1.5x by changing it from 100 to 150 exp per pass and continue with the trajectory that staff originally set for LMPQ with the last anniversary patch, which was to have LMPQ be a meso-making location. This way there exists a tradeoff and a distinction between the two PQs; LMPQ would have worse eph but in exchange yield greater profit. To this end, I would add a gach-exclusive scroll or two to the reward pool for a two-birds-with-one-stone approach and possibly further tweak the quantity of potions rewarded.

    According to the player in the above video, LMPQ had a profit of about 400k an hour (before the buff) with 2 minute solo runs (i.e. 800k an hour with 1 minute party runs). If we are to accept this at face value, then LMPQ likely has a profit of slightly under 1.5 mil an hour currently as staff has stated that the change increased the meso gain from a single run by over 50%. If true, I would ideally have the newly added scroll(s) roughly triple this meso/hour figure to 4.5-5 mil an hour, which seems acceptable for a 51-70 spot given that farming Nightghosts yields about 7 mil an hour (before gachas). As I have no knowledge of the drop rates for the current rewards, I leave it to staff to decide on what the appropriate rates would be to achieve this increase.


    Magatia Party Quest (MPQ)

    unknown.png

    The amount of exp MPQ awards varies depending on whether you fight Frankenroid or Angry Frankenroid and whether or not you manage to protect Romeo/Juliet. As choosing to fight Angry Frankenroid and successfully protecting Romeo/Juliet yields the highest exp and eph, I will only be focusing on the numbers of this route. With the Angry Frankenroid route, MPQ itself awards about 645k exp while the boss and mobs contribute about another 75k exp (115k with HS) for a grand total of 720k. MPQ runs typically take about 20-25 minutes to clear. Using 20 minutes as the baseline, MPQ has an eph of about 2.16m.

    So how does that compare to solo grinding and leeching during the mid to late 70s? Grinding at CDs yields an eph of about 4-5m on both ranged and melee classes while duo split WS leech yields an eph of about 6.5m. Now it would of course be ridiculous to have MPQ match the eph of WS leech as it is here that leech starts to really pop off and greatly outpace grinding. For the again somewhat arbitrary reason of not wanting to have a PQ have an eph more than double its predecessor, let us just say that the ideal eph for MPQ should be 4m. This means that a single MPQ run should give a total of about 1.33m. From the previous figures, we can see that the exp from the boss and the mobs makes up about 10% of the overall PQ exp. Therefore we have the following simple equation where we want to solve for x, the factor by which we want to increase the exp of the PQ:

    645,000x + 75,000 = 1,330,000 => 645,000x = 1,255,000 => x = 1.95

    So effectively, the static exp reward from MPQ should be roughly doubled to be comparable to grinding. Furthermore, I would also like to expand the level range of MPQ from 85 to 90 to hold a larger audience as its relatively small level range makes it currently a bit niche. This would also make it so that MPQers would not have to kill themselves to get and fully upgrade the Horus’ Eye pendant reward.

    As for the Horus’ Eye pendant, I think it could again be further buffed. The fact of the matter is that Horus’ Eye simply gets entirely outclassed and replaced way too soon after getting it by the very easily obtained Mark of Naricain. It takes 35 runs of MPQ to get the pendant and fully scroll it; that’s over 15 hours! Meanwhile you can just waltz into CWKPQ just 25 levels later and casually loot a MoN that is effectively almost three times as good as the Horus’ Eye. From my viewpoint, a fully upgraded Horus’ Eye should at the very least be as good as the worst MoN you can loot. That is to say, it should be able to give upwards of +10 to all stats. This can be achieved by doubling the amount of stats that the Rock of Wisdom gives from +1 to +2.

    While still easily replaced, the increased stats on it makes the reward more commensurate with the effort required to get it and also makes it more appealing to those who care much for INT gears as it will give the most INT by a decent margin until HTP, which actually requires a decent amount of effort to get unlike the MoN. Now one might argue that buffing the pendant would marginalize the Silver Deputy Star and tank their prices. To that, I would point out that the Horus’ Eye was already buffed once and ironically the price has only gone up significantly since then despite the deputy star already being worse than the Horus’ Eye. Again, tradeability is king, and furthermore the deputy star will still be the best-in-slot pendant from levels 50 to the early 80s (I say early 80s because one won’t be able to earn the base pendant until at least 80) and therefore retain a valuable use.


    Lord Pirate Party Quest (PPQ)

    unknown.png

    PPQ has always been in a rather strange place. It has the enormous level range of 55-100 but has an eph closer to that of OPQ than MPQ. So how does one balance something like that? Should it be treated as the successor to MPQ? Its predecessor? If the former the eph would be too great for those at the PQ’s lower level range, and if the latter the PQ would simply marginalize OPQ’s existence and encroach on the 51-71 space that already has two other PQs. I raked my head over this for a long time and could only arrive at two possibilities:

    1. Increase the starting level of PPQ from 55 to 65 so that we can take a middle ground approach of having PPQ be better than OPQ but worse than MPQ without encroaching on OPQ. As OPQ (after buffs) will give better eph than PPQ does in its current state, players below level 65 who would be temporarily cut off from PPQ after this change would not be negatively impacted. That being said, I don’t think players of those levels normally PPQ in the first place.

    2. Have the awarded exp depend on your level such that the eph of the PQ will be lower than that of OPQ for most of the range of 55-70, lower than MPQ for most of the range of 71-90, and higher than MPQ above 90. As PPQ originally gave exp that varied with the average level of your party (you got less exp if your party’s average level was above certain thresholds, which seemed rather backwards and unintuitive), this would not necessarily be too custom of a change. The idea behind this change is to have PPQ be a place where players of greater level differences can still party with each other for decent eph without marginalizing OPQ or MPQ and having it become a one-stop shop from 55-100. This also allows for players to continue PQing until 100 at an adequate pace.

    Before discussing these options further, let’s first look at how PPQ is at present. Each run grants 131,250 exp from the PQ itself and about 5k exp total (before HS) from the boss and mobs (doing normal Lord Pirate) for a grand total of about 136,250 exp. As the angry version of the boss seemed to only give about 5k more exp and the enraged version only about another 10k more, it does not seem worth considering them in the analysis of eph. As PPQ can be done in 7-8 minutes with a fast party, we can say that PPQ has an eph of roughly 1.17m using 7 minutes as a baseline.

    If we are to go with the first option of having PPQ be the in-between PQ, then it should ideally have an eph in between that of OPQ and MPQ. As we had previously settled on 2m and 4m for OPQ and MPQ respectively, let us go with 3m for PPQ. The total exp of PPQ must thus be increased by a factor of about 2.5 times, meaning a single run should yield about 340k. As the boss and mobs make up only about 3.7% of PPQ exp, we can largely dismiss their consideration and simply say that the static exp reward from PPQ should be increased by about 2.5 times to be comparable to grinding.

    If we are to go with the second option of having PPQ give exp dependent on player level, then PPQ should ideally yield an eph of slightly less than 2m for most of the level range of 55-70, slightly less than 4m for most of the level range of 71-85 and slightly greater than 4m for the level range of 91 to 100. This can be roughly approximated with the following equation:

    EXP (in millions): 0.125 * (Level - 54) + 0.5

    This can also of course be handled in the more static albeit slightly ham-fisted manner of simply having awarded exp change whenever the previously defined thresholds are crossed, i.e. one will always get 175k exp (~1.5m eph) below level 71, 350k exp below 86 (~3m eph) and 585k exp (~5m eph) above 85.

    As for the Lord Pirate’s Hat, the PPQ equipment reward could be further tweaked to give it more of a niche. At present, the hat amounts to a slightly weaker Ravana Helmet, and with average scrolling a slightly worse Zakum Helmet with less defense and no accuracy or avoid. Despite requiring many hours to obtain, the pirate hat is of no real use to anyone who has the money to scroll a helm, but to one who doesn’t it has a few more stats clean than the more easily obtainable zhelm.

    My proposal is that we go with this distinction and take it to its extreme and have the pirate hat be significantly better than a clean zhelm and in exchange remove the slots on it, thus making the pirate hat be a competitive budget option that can last one a while without really marginalizing the zhelm. To this end, I would add +4 to all stats on all tiers of the pirate hat (taking it from +14-18 to +18-22 for the last tier) and remove all slots on it. This new pirate hat would have the same total stats as the old pirate hat would have if it were scrolled with four 60s (the average outcome) and the same total stats of a zhelm scrolled with five 60s.


    「 Part 2: Incentivizing Older Players to PQ

    So now that PQs are actually good content for newer players, how do we actually populate them with more veteran players so as to truly reinvigorate them seeing as there are probably not enough new players to keep all the PQs active? They have to offer a compelling enough incentive without causing power creep, impacting end game gear progression or contributing to the hyper washed meta, and the incentive would also have to somehow be accessible to characters already outside of PQ level range for the sake of fairness. For that kind of accessibility, the reward would have to be classified as a cash shop item so that it would be transferable across characters on the same account

    From there, I went through several iterations of ideas, many flawed, ranging from making PQ equipment rewards into cash shop items to having PQs award AP resets. And then I finally arrived at the idea of a sort of PQ cash shop ring that gives stats. After all, everybody loves rings, right (quest ring when)? The ring could give something like +3 all stat and 300 HP and be made one-of-a-kind or function like couple rings so that only one can be equipped. If there’s anything that sweaty end game players enjoy, it’s min-maxing and you can bet your ass that they’d PQ to get free stats, whether it be on a new character they’re working on or just on a PQ mule made for the express purpose of acquiring the ring for their main. The extra HP may also be appealing to those who aren’t as washed as they’d like.

    So how exactly would the ring be acquired? Well, I was thinking something akin to the gathering of infinity stones, i.e. collect all the equipment rewards from all PQs. How cute would that be? The idea would be that at level 21, a lightbulb would appear over a player’s character in a fashion similar to the way the monster ring is introduced and have a perhaps custom NPC tell the player that there’s a reward at the end for any adventurer bold enough to gather all the PQ “artifacts” across the Mapleverse (I’m sure there are creatives who can come up with something better). This could then either be an active quest where the quest helper would display each of the PQ equips at 0/1 or it could be a “hidden” quest where upon getting the last piece another lightbulb event would be triggered. Talking to the NPC again would then award the ring. HPQ and its respective A Rice Cake on Top of My Head reward could also be included in the quest, though the hat would probably need to be made untradeable and the rice cakes needed for it increased.


    Conclusion

    By making PQs relevant and active content again, we can improve the new player experience while simultaneously reintroducing something akin to an early game to the server. Though the server will retain its heavy skew towards end game players, the early levels (at least at PQs) would be bustling with life with a healthy mix of new and old players. Imagine having to actually play a character before 4th job. What a novel concept.


    Special thanks to Nightz777Nightz777 and TTKirnkTTKirnk for their feedback.
     
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  2. OP
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    Gurk Capt. Latanica

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    Summary of Proposed Changes:

    KPQ:
    • Increase base exp fivefold (adjusted from roughly 137k to 365k eph)

    • Buff Squishy Shoes from 0-2 stat to 1-3 stat and increase speed from 2-4 to 9-11

    • Reduce runs needed to acquire shoes from 15 to 10

    LPQ:
    • Increase base exp by about 2.3x (adjusted from roughly 300k to 600k)

    • Buff Broken Glasses from +1 stat to 1-2

    • Reduce runs needed to acquire glasses from 25 to 20

    EPQ:
    • Increase base exp by about 1.7x (adjusted from roughly 720k to 1m eph)

    • Add meso drops to mobs in first map

    • Add 3% and 5% CSS to boss drop pool

    • Reduce runs needed to exchange Altaire earrings to Glittering Altaire earrings from 25 to 20

    OPQ:
    • Increase base exp by about 2.4x (adjusted from roughly 850k to 2m eph)

    • Buff Goddess Wristband from 3 att to 4 att

    • Increase runs needed to acquire wristband from 20 to 30

    LMPQ:
    • Increase base exp by about 1.5x (adjusted from roughly 800k eph to 1.2m eph) by changing exp per pass from 100 to 150

    • Increase average profit per run by about threefold by adding a gach-exclusive scroll or two to the reward pool and possibly further tweaking quantity of potions rewarded

    MPQ:
    • Increase base exp by about twofold (adjusted from roughly 2.16m to 4m eph)

    • Extend MPQ level range from 85 to 90

    • Buff Rock of Wisdom to give +2 stat (from +1)

    PPQ:
    • Increase starting level of PPQ from 55 to 65 and increase base exp by about 2.5 times (adjusted from roughly 1.17m to 3m eph)
    OR
    • Change PPQ to give exp dependent on player level such that it is inferior to OPQ and MPQ at the respective level ranges and better than MPQ beyond MPQ's level range
    • Remove all slots from all tiers of Lord Pirate’s Hat and add +4 stat
    All PQs (minus LMPQ and HPQ):
    • Add Mysterious Pouch 1 to the drop pool of all bosses as a rare drop

    • Normalize the stats of all chars inside PQs such that chars with base int will still have a "normal" attack range

    PQ Ring:
    • Add a cash shop PQ ring (one-of-a-kind) as a reward for obtaining all PQ gears

    • Ring would have +3 all stat and 300 HP (stats are flexible)
     
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  3. iccqqq
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    iccqqq Dark Stone Golem

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    good post
     
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  4. Snork
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    Snork Dark Stone Golem

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    Great post. What makes you think that making the PQ rewards cash shop transferable isn't the way to go? I would prefer that over the ring idea.

    With the ring you'd grind it out then not touch the PQs again. The big pro with making the rewards transferable is you'd most likely always have people going for the perfect item, scrolling them etc.

    Edit again: I gave it some more thought and I suppose the items are just too weak for it to be worth for endgame and buffing them even more than suggested doesn't seem like a good option. I support the ring idea!

    On the other hand, why not both? :writing:
     
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  5. Soblet
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    Soblet Skelegon

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    How do you think the average PQ party would handle splitting a coin pouch drop?
     
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  6. OP
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    Gurk Capt. Latanica

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    card thieving intensifies

    Yeah, that was certainly something I considered but ultimately I didn't think it was enough of a reason to hold it back, nor is it something that I think happens often enough. I've personally never encountered any issues PQing with boss loot.

    It's something they'll have to familiarize themselves with at some point and I felt like simply taking the position that the average PQer wouldn't have the sense or maturity to handle pouch splits would be rather patronizing (not directing that at you). I figure anyone who goes around stealing pouches or taking more than their fair share is gonna get themselves ostracized, if not banned anyways.
     
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  7. OP
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    Gurk Capt. Latanica

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    If PQ gear was somehow account transferable without them needing to be classified as cash shop items (not possible as far as I know), then we'd run into the issue that you pointed out in your edit. They simply wouldn't be worth the time of end game players to repeatedly procure, and even if they were I don't particularly like the idea of normalizing the concept of a PQ mule that repeatedly kills itself and having it be a meta strat.

    However, in the particular instance that we're talking about where PQ gear would be classified as cash shop items, the issue isn't that they would be too weak as the stats they provide would be additive as they would of course go over your normal equips. The main issue is that it would be jank in the sense that it would determine the look of your character (with the exception of MPQ pendant) as you obviously can't wear two cash shop items over each other. Anyone up for rocking the broken glasses look 24/7? :p

    As for the concern that players would just grind it out and never touch PQs again, that's partly true but I also think you might be underestimating the number of characters that people would be doing it on (and it'd also be very time-consuming). The monster ring is a good case in point; farming cards will always be done on the server.
     
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  8. Soblet
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    Soblet Skelegon

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    Agreed on all points. Where I'm going with this though is the average PQ party from what I've experienced is made up of much more casual players than the average bossing party. They're going to have to open the pouch (I don't believe you get a display message for the amount of coins earned in a PQ as you get in a boss map, ez scam, though I suppose the message could be added but still run risk of the pouch not being opened for whatever reason). Then they'll have to either roll for who gets 1 coin and who gets 0 or have people that take a coin pay the difference in mesos for a fair split (assuming the PQ runners know the coin value and the runners have the mesos on hand).

    I'm rambling a bit but the point is I think this will cause much more drama than the cards ever could. If you want to increase the meso value from a PQ I'd rather have it through the reward you get after leaving bonus stage. Revamp the existing reward pools and add one for EPQ aswell.

    I like the idea of easing people into the bossing culture but I think a fair amount of them will never even make it that far anyway and it will just be awkward alot of the times.
     
  9. OP
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    Gurk Capt. Latanica

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    Yeah, I was acting under the assumption that if they were added that there would be a display message in PQs. The pouch not being opened because of someone forgetting to or whatever is already something that sometimes happens in bossing (e.g. JC) so I don't take particular issue with it. As for the rolling, I'd think it'd just work like with other bosses. If there's only one coin from the pouch, everyone rolls and highest roll takes it, as is already done for PQ boss loot. If there are two coins, then highest two rolls each get one, and similarly for three coins.

    The issue with increasing the meso value of PQs through rewards obtained after leaving bonus stage is that we don't have access to the rates of rewards and as far as I know no one has extensively tracked this data for PQs beyond LPQ so any tweaks proposed by players would be entirely arbitrary. That being said, I'm not really too pressed on increasing the profitability of PQs (outside of LMPQ) as I believe their gear rewards in their revamped form are rewarding enough. I also think grinding should still have a niche (not all players like PQing) and am content with relinquishing the domain of meso-making to it.
     
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  10. iPippy
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    iPippy Windraider

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    I've always wondered why we don't want to make PQ items best in slot, or at least equivalent to other items. Is it because higher levels have no access to them? Or is it simply a desire to not have PQ gear reduce diversity in gear options or lead to a power creep? The former (and possibly even the latter) can be worked around.

    What issues do players have with PQ and PQ items?
    -A limited level range, where the only options for a player are to either camp the PQ or level past it. Extremely non-ideal when the best way to make money and advance is to reach high levels and either boss, sell leech, or multimage.
    -PQ requires a party, with larger and more strict requirements to run than grinding or leeching. Folks won't turn up without an exp/meso/item incentive, and as mentioned, raising exp simply isn't a good idea for an already fast server.
    -Some PQ items are already decent (glasses or earrings) while some are hot garbage (shoes and pendant). It will be difficult to balance item incentives when item value is both massively skewed and varies by the player. A thief would value more glasses while a warrior might value earrings (and nobody valuing pendant). Both of these examples are to chaos for stats that either do not currently exist on other items in the slot or are expensive/rare to use tradeable counterparts. Even the objectively "better" bfc is not good enough to justify untradeable status. Likewise, PQ items aren't worth the effort to obtain, and if they were, already leveled characters would be at a disadvantage.

    What have been recently proposed ideas to improve the content?
    -More exp: Raising the exp to match other options still puts it at risk of being a worse option than grind/leech due to many being worse in meso and gacha and does not factor time needed to find a group in the first place. Higher exp makes already quick gameplay even faster, leading to more washing complaints from NX-gated players.
    -Remove PQ level caps: This allows anybody to pq at any time, solving the issue of being locked out of PQ gear. This also means that PQs can be dominated by squads with unintended mobility/damage skills and breaking the design of pq and removing most nostalgia of content as the challenge is removed. Likely opens the door to unhealthy PQ muling and leeching by multiplying end of run rewards and providing PQ leech.
    Buffing PQ items: this can (and has) been done, but all efforts have to be conservative such that they do not become must have equipment in any capacity. If the Horus' eye was actually a healthy level of HP that an endgame player would consider sacrificing mon or htp for it in harder hitting content, this buff solely benefits new players with no ability to acquire the item (or items if scrolling is required).
    Make PQ items CS transferrable: Solves the previous issue, but also implies that only one of each item is needed per account. Sure stacking multiple characters per account is looked down upon in today's meta, but there are some of us who prefer only having 1-2 accounts of "mains", and CS transferable breaks a bit of the meaning of "untradeable". When will my zhelm become tradeable?

    And so, here's where my thinking leads me:
    Why not buff PQ items so players actually want some of them in some (even if niche) capacity?
    A: Players can't go back for the item on pre-made characters.

    Why not provide a way for players to always have access to a supply of glasses, pendants, or whatever they require?
    A: No level limit PQ and CS transferrable items both break the design established by these quests/items in unsavory ways. Likewise, waiting for other unfortunate souls at MPQ who only want its item is a nightmare.

    What if a player could run the PQ of their level range and replace their PQ reward with say, pendant progress in place of earring progress?
    A: Still doesn't bring users to OPQ, but now the PQ could be redesigned around its exp/generic PQ item progress/difficulty instead of how useful the gloves actually are to runners. And we'll still be mostly "locked out" to high levels stuck with only HPQ or GPQ realistically. (Maybe a higher level "PQ-focused" content that isn't raw bossing could be implemented...? ;)

    What if we allowed a generic PQ point to be CS-transferrable instead, so now an in-account PQ mule can provide any PQ-item relevant items to the main character?
    A: I don't have this answer and im tired of this Q/A structure.

    The idea would still need investigating and smoothing out, but what if we took inspiration from the prestigious coin to reward untradeable but CS transferrable currency to purchase PQ items. The "shop" can expand on the sad inventory of the pog coin chest, and can include a variety of untradeable equipment or equipment scrolls (like mpq marble) from all the PQs. It could even allow for more items to be added such as higher level versions of PQ items, temporary buffs or expiring "event-lite" items, or even items from newly released PQs...? :cool: In any case, it removes a dimension of balance along the various PQs by separating the PQ from its reward type, allowing focus to be placed directly on the exp (new players like this) or the currency (established players like this).

    The PQ structure would still be mulable, but to a much more limited extent as it only benefits running within the account (the only true multiclient limiter). PQ mules are likely to be much stronger than leveling characters as well, so I don't see more PQ mules as an inherently bad thing, as long as users are not solely running by themselves/not welcoming actual new players. It also does not directly solve the issue of specific PQs not being very good, but perhaps it can open the balancing door to the lower level content being worth making characters to play. I'd probably consider a "daily bonus" to the pqs, rewarding slightly more currency the first however many times it is ran a day, to turn PQ content into a potential daily for users who want a little more incentive.

    Such a structure could also could allow for the addition of more early game or potentially late game PQ content to fit into a greater mold.
     
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  11. LeonardoJF
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    LeonardoJF Capt. Latanica

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    Lucidcat Master Chronos

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    and buff axe
     
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  13. lemonpasta
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    Love these suggestions! Well written!

    Especially this -
    Anyway, it will be c00l if HP and MP can be added to all PQ EQs.

    Prefer a buff only on the Squishy Shoes exchanged from Lakelis but a nerf on the Squishy Shoes that drop (or keep it as it is)? This is to keep players at KPQ longer.

    I disagree with the OPQ suggestion of increasing the runs from 20 to 30 though.

    Currently, unlucky players who fail to achieve 9-11 wa on their Goddess wristband may be willing to run another 20 rounds to get another Goddess wristband.

    Not sure if 10 more runs for an additional WA is worth it. 5 more runs seem reasonable.

    Maybe nerfing the magic defense on the MPQ mobs can draw mages and non-mages with magic attack to MPQ.

    Increasing PPQ's starting level to 65 may encourage more players to get a zak helm at level 50 and just skip PPQ completely.
    This is a good idea if the ring is implemented tho.
     
  14. -ovv
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    Any change that can lead to less rope-hanging progress is good in my book.

    As you've already mentioned, the main problem with the negligibility of lower level content stands ultimately behind the philosophy of remaking characters. PQs are really only enjoyed by newer players on their first account with lots of mistakes (regular stats and no int give maximum early game playability but minimum longevity), while most late-game/bossing characters are usually remakes taking a much more calculated path (full int, no early game playability with long term benefits past early game).

    Unless there is more of an overlap, I'm afraid the dilemma of negligible/skippable low level content will still persist.
     
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  15. cruddas
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    cruddas Mano

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    Would it be good to have new players that aren't strictly preparing a character for endgame only content? there may be a whole community that the server could draw in that doesn't really concern themselves with bosses and maximizing their character with the best gear or HP, only enjoying the game and available content.

    For those that enjoy the challenge of making a character with main stat only, i believe the PQ awarded gear would be quite useful, since it would be a great and free alternative to other items that might cost quite a large sum of mesos to aquire.
     
  16. Snork
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    Snork Dark Stone Golem

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    Haha of course! This didn't even occur to me. What is indeed needed is an item classification which is both untradeable and storageable.
     
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  17. Cak33
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    Lots of analysis, and great idea.
    Had an idea myself after reading it. Perhaps it may be possible to make PQ points shared within the same account. For eg, an LPQ mule, after doing 50 runs in LPQ, provides 20 LPQ runs, allowing the main attacker to take a trip down to Eos Tower 101 and redeem it

    If you are refering to rewards such as broken glass, making broken glass a cash item allows it to be stacked on top of spectrum goggle
     
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    Gurk Capt. Latanica

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    I was actually originally considering also doubling the amount of HP that the Rock of Wisdom gives from 100 to 200, allowing Horus' Eye to reach a total of 700 HP and giving it more of a niche, but for whatever reason I felt like players would have been irrationally against it thinking it would be too much. I also played with the idea of having the Goddess Wristband give like 20-25 accuracy, something akin to Flamekeepers but with wep att so as to still have some niche even with poor scrolling. However, that would of course likely only benefit warriors and buccs. Perhaps just adding HP to it would work as well.

    A sort of PQ point system with a generic PQ shop was actually one of the first things I thought of when I was playing with the idea of having PQ gears being CS-transferrable without actually making them CS items themselves. One could have the option to redeem points for a CS-transferable voucher of sorts that would allow another character to exchange it for the PQ gear at the shop. However, I wasn't able figure out a way to determine how to go about assigning points to PQ runs in a way that it wouldn't marginalize other PQs.

    That being said, one of the primary factors I was keeping in mind while coming up with suggestions was relative ease of implementation. We could spend a lot of time theorizing about ideal systems but at the end of the day, we all know that changes that are too overly custom or require a significant amount of effort to implement won't be seriously considered with how backlogged staff is with only one dev.
     
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  19. TrueKebab
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    TrueKebab Brown Teddy

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    does 72/7 count?
    upload_2022-4-18_0-50-30.png

    Great idea though, I'm probably one of the only players who'd go through every pq regardless of state (aside from lmpq) again and again but hey, gotta have the odd one out huh?
     
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    ozoatas Slime

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    What about PQ equips giving some extra hp? I think this can help some new players while they are waiting one or two years for their washed ranged attacker :)
     

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