I played a large amount Wizard 101, which was recently updated with the Grizzleheim update. Not only is there a new region, which branches the usual leveling path, but there are a whole slew of core mechanics that were just added.
The first, and in my opinion biggest, core improvement is the Bazaar. The Bazaar acts as a trader depot where the NPC will buy just about every item (some have the “No Auction” tag) for gold, and if it has an item in stock it will sell it back. Guild Wars uses this type of NPC-controlled market for materials, for an example of another MMO that uses this mechanic. It is a great system, and much needed in a game where items could not be traded in any way between players on separate accounts.
There are two issues. The issue that I am still on the fence with is in regards to the economic model used to determine buy price and sell price. The system is built so that the NPC gets a huge turnaround profit so as to get rid of gold stockpiles, but that is not the thing that concerns me. The Bazaar window has a numerical counter that shows how many of a particular item are in stock. This counter caps at 100, and I am not sure what that means. Will price be more severely affected as things are sold when the Bazaar already has 100 of them in stock? Or, is it merely a faux consumer gauge? The counter ending at 100 items in stock seems awfully low in a game where there are over 1,000,000 registered users.
The other issue is the searchability of the items. There really is none. Last night I was scrolling through 53 pages of wizard hats. They were not really in alphabetical order, ranked by power, level, rarity or anything. There were items that were in alphabetical order for maybe 3 pages, but then the next 2 pages would have Storm wizard gear with no order. At the very least put things in order somehow.
The second big core mechanic was the addition of crafting, and I have to say that I was not able to try it out because everybody wants Mistwood, which seems to be on a roughly half hour respawn schedule per node. The supply vs. demand was so bad last night that there were people who would stand at a single node for 45 minutes. This is just poor design. The “tutorial” stages of crafting should happen with minimal effort and competition so that new players can easily experience the crafting system. I would have suggested the first recipe only require NPC-bought items. After the player gets a taste of the system, then go for competitive collecting. The first item players can craft are just merchant trash to 99% of the active population anyway. In all fairness, I am sure that after this initial glut of players passes the amount of Mistwood around Wizard City and in the Bazaar will increase to a good amount, but the initial impressions were made last night.
I am still slowly and happily playing in Kroktopia. I just bought my first castle last night, the tier 2 Kroktopia castle. I am now officially overwhelmed with how to place all my little trophies. One small room was okay for my clearly house decorating incompetence, but now I have tons and tons of rooms, open areas, nooks and crannies. I am slowly building up the rooms trying to figure out which rooms should be themed for what. I was disappointed while my cyclops statue fit on the myth pedestal base my unicorn statue would not fit on the life pedestal base. I am not sure how I can submit a bug report, if this is indeed one.
After Kroktopia, I’ll have to decide whether to waylay to Grizzleheim or continue the first chapter of Wizard 101, leading up to Malistaire. I have to get that hat from Krokenkahmen first!
some of your foldin’ money is come unstowed