October 16, 2010, 01:43:52 |
I think this is the most important question to ask about Wakfu - or any other MMORPG, for that matter. I'm sorry to report, however, that my daily Wakfu experience sucks right now, to the point where I haven't even logged in to the game in about four months.
It used to be better, though, and I have hopes that it will be again. I'll start with what my daily experience used to be, then explain what it's like now, and why.
It used to be that I logged in pretty much as often as I could - the game was that fun, and there was that much to do. Before joining a guild I at least had a handful of good friends on my friends list, and I'd usually say a few hellos after logging in. This got easier after joining a guild, as most of my friends were in the same one. While chatting, I'd usually start my day inside my havre sac (it's like a portable house), where I feel safe and have access to all of my equipment. Depending on my mood, I'd decide whether I wanted to spend some time working on my professions, or if I felt like killing some stuff. If I didn't have much time to play in one sitting (less than 45 minutes or so), then I would usually lean towards crafting, but getting in some solo hunting would still be an option.
Professions are a bit more complex than in Dofus, but are far more accessible. They do not require loads of money, though having a big havre sac helps (and expanding one can be expensive; that, or you need to be lucky with your drops when you do fight). Unlike Dofus, there is not really any competition for collected resources: you can plant your own trees, grains, herbs, whatever, by harvesting seeds and cultivating them. That alone is a lot of fun. You can plant out in the wild, or if you have expanded your havre sac with a garden, you can do it in the privacy of your own little home. Crafting professions are much easier to level, as recipes (so far in the Beta, anyway) are much, much simpler than in Dofus, and are composed mostly of non-drop items. It takes a lot of time and patience, though, especially since most recipes require items made by other professions: for example, a lot of bakery items require ingredients made by an alchemist. Thus, it's actually easiest to raise ALL of your professions roughly at the same time, as needed. When the bakery recipe you want to level on requires an alchemy product, start leveling alchemy. And so on.
Fighting monsters was easy enough. There have not been proper respawn rates in a long time, but you can "plant" monsters as part of the Hunter profession. This is a double-edged sword: while it takes a lot of time leveling up Hunter, collecting "semence" (jars of seed that you use to make monsters), and planting them, you at least have some control over monster populations. In Dofus, the popular hunting grounds are usually stripped bare during peak hours, and any mobs that you do find running around tend to be the really undesirable ones (too small, too big, too hard, bad XP/drops, etc). In Wakfu, you can save up some semence for your next hunting trip, and then when you do feel like killing some stuff, simply pull out your reserves, plant them, wait till they grow (about 1 minute), then start killing. Yeah, there will be moochers who kill your mobs without planting any of their own, but dems da breaks.
Sometimes when I don't feel up to hunting OR crafting, I go and work on the ecosystem. This involves looking at the map and checking out the health of a region. Each region in your nation has a "clan member", an NPC (despite what Ankama says, they're NPCs) who watches over it. Clan Members (CMs) make demands about the populations of plants and monsters in their region; if you keep the CM happy, your whole nation gets a small bonus to their stats. Thus, you can help everyone out, including yourself, by spending some time planting or reaping to balance things out. I actually spent about 50% of my time doing this, to be honest. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and it bothered me when a good bonus (like the +30% XP one) wasn't active, or if a monster was nearly extinct. It rarely takes more than 15 minutes to fix an area, though there have definitely been exceptions!
I won't comment too much about the Wakfu/Stasis deal, as they're changing that in the next update. Suffice it to say, some important items (mostly the AP amulets) are restricted in use depending on your Wakfu or Stasis rating. This usually means that you wind up picking one path or the other, and sticking to it (though it is possible to change your stripes, with effort). This can be tricky when it comes to hunting and gathering, as sometimes you can't do so without going against your alignment. This may mean that you'll have to either go someplace else, or pick an entirely different activity. Not always fun.
Lastly, the other thing I tended to do a lot of towards my later levels was protect the nation by reclaiming territory. You can do battle with the Clan Members to win their territory for your nation, thus stealing any bonus that may be active there. The more territory you hold, the better. I didn't like raiding other islands, but I always did what I could to liberate any conquered territories in my own land. This was much easier and faster once I got to the point where I could solo most of them: I just log in, check the map to see what's been taken over, then go free it. If I need a hand, I just ask the guild; usually someone is up for it. It's free and fun, and you get to feel like a big damn hero. Sometimes you'd catch other nations invading (you suddenly see territory disappear!), and that meant some PVP in your future. I had some good times forming war bands with friends, hunting the invaders down and ambushing them.
So, that's how it used to be. Here's why it isn't like that anymore. There are three main features that were implemented in the most recent content patches (months ago.. it's been quiet all summer while the devs were on vacation) that I can point to as basically sucking the fun out of the game for me:
1. They made it harder to plant monsters. It used to be that you could plant monsters right next to each other in huge numbers. You could create what I'd call a "raft" of monsters, dozens of them neatly packed together, before the game told you you'd overdone it and made you stop. People would often wall off an area behind high level trees, so that only high level lumberjacks could access the monsters they planted. I guess this annoyed the devs, so they made it impossible to plant more than a few monsters in a small space. This actually made it really hard to plant enough monsters to hunt, or to get a clan member bonus. Instead of planting a ton of monsters and waiting for them to hatch, you now have to run all over the damn place to find spaces to put them. Then, like a squirrel in the springtime, you can't remember where you put them all, so you only get to hunt a few of them. Hunting this way takes FOREVER and is extremely boring and frustrating.
2. Diseases. Yes, they implemented a feature where you get sick and suffer stat penalties (critical failures, damage penalties, poison damage every round, etc etc) if you fight monsters. This is the dumbest game feature I have ever, ever heard of. In order to not get sick while fighting monsters, you need to obtain a vaccine, which is not cheap. When you take it, it only protects you for a couple hours before you need another dose. And you need a vaccine for each kind of monster you hunt. If you DO get a disease, you either have to wait 4 in-game hours with the damn thing, or you need to take an even more expensive remedy. You can catch diseases from other characters in a fight, even if they're allies, and transmission is essentially automatic, even if you keep your distance. Once this stupid feature was released, I suddenly found myself spending hours upon hours making vaccines and remedies for my guild, and wasting space in my inventory carrying half a dozen different kinds of each with me at all times. Before joining a fight with someone, you have to ask them if they're sick. It's insane.
3. Spores. Special monsters were released in the last update that drop these little spores on the ground when they die: either wakfu spores, or stasis spores. These spores became ingredients for a lot of items - the ones restricted to members of one alignment or another. The problem here is that these monsters are also great XP. People hunt them like crazy, and they don't always want the spores. The result? The ground in many regions is literally carpeted with unwanted spores. It takes time to actually pick them up, and you can only pick up the ones that match your alignment, so it's really hard to clean areas. You can't plant anything in a space with a spore in it, so they actually choke out monsters and plants. They're like an invasive species. They look ugly, lying all over the place like litter at a park, and they mess up the game in so many ways.
Those three things tipped the scales for me. Logging in to play used to be fun - now I log in, waste time making vaccines, find friends to hunt with, give THEM vaccines and cures, go someplace to hunt monsters, waste time picking up spores, run all over the place desperately trying to find somewhere to plant monsters, plant enough that I can hunt them without losing Wakfu or letting my friends lose Stasis, run all over the place trying to FIND the monsters I've planted, then finally kill the monsters. 9 out of 10 times, we never get to the point where we actually kill monsters.
As I said, I hope that the developers fix all this crap and take us back to where things were last winter or so. The daily experience badly needs to be streamlined, or I can't be bothered to play.