03/06/2019

XP, CXP & Conquest

I mentioned in my post about the Onslaught gearing stream that I had a few things to say about XP and Conquest, so here goes.

First off, Charles and Eric said that once Galactic Command becomes Galactic Renown, CRXP will simply be based off the regular XP numbers you would gain if you were still levelling at max level. This may not sound like much but is actually a pretty big deal in my eyes because of how different the two systems are right now.

Basically, Command XP is heavily focused on rewarding you for doing what you could call endgame content, which generally means repeatable activities, a lot of which involve other players. I mean, SWTOR doesn't draw as strict a line between levelling and endgame as some MMOs, and technically you can quest, run flashpoints or play GSF at any level, but you probably know what I mean.

As a reminder of just how skewed the ratio between XP and CXP is right now, I decided to do a couple of simple tasks on both a level 70 character (to earn CXP) and on a level 60 character (to earn XP):

- Do a side quest (I chose Explosive Discontent in Kaas City)
- Do a warzone (OK, I had to do a couple to get comparable results, as you get more for a win than a loss and more for an 8v8 than for an arena, but you get the idea)
- Kill a few outdoor mobs (possessed people in front of the Dark Temple)

Killing a level 15 possessed Sith initiate (strong) netted me 3,456 XP on the 60, and 15 Command points on the 70, which is only 0.4% of the regular XP number. The quest gave my level 60 76,208 experience points, and my level 70 227 Command experience points - and that last one was with a boost applied! This made it worse in terms of CXP than the mob killing, as it was less than 0.3% of the number I got in experience points ten levels earlier... but OK, just because the number is smaller that doesn't have to be a problem if it scales down the same way across all content, right? This is not so, however.

Losing an 8v8 warzone for example got me 84,187 XP on the 60, and 4,986 CXP on the 70. So here the max-level number was actually almost 6% of the levelling number, meaning that participating in actively promoted endgame content rewarded 20 times as much CXP as just continuing to play as you would have while levelling by doing quests and killing mobs. Or in other words (and this is more what it feels like in practice): if you continue questing and killing mobs at max level like you did while levelling, you suddenly get bugger all XP for it.

Now, in fairness Bioware did have grounds to nerf mob CXP at least - remember the guy who hit Command rank 100 three days into KotET due to farming a heroic area on Tatooine in an ops group? Basically, with Galactic Command being the only way to gear up, and mob killing being the fastest way to do so if you did it right, the game suddenly turned into a mob farming simulator, which is not something it was ever meant to be.

The result was a massive nerf to CXP gained from kills... but they did ease up on that again after a while, as Galactic Command was improved upon and actually gave you a bit more freedom to actually make some progress by playing your own way.

Still, the spectre of the crazy power-leveller hasn't been banished entirely. Whenever there's a double XP event for example, "bug farming groups" will sometimes form in Bugtown on Balmorra, an area that's very densely packed with mobs that are easy to kill, where a certain type of player likes to power-level their umpteenth alt by simply grinding mobs in a group for a couple of hours.

I don't see this as a problem as long as it remains a niche style of play - but I think if Renown experience is meant to scale the same way as normal experience, Bioware will have to keep an eye out to make sure farming bugs won't suddenly turn into the new best way to get endgame gear.

That said, I do look forward to the transition from normal levelling to "endless levelling" at the level cap becoming a bit more organic. Right now doing any sort of quest content at max level feels extremely unrewarding if you're not doing it primarily to see the story.

Now the other matter is Conquest, which will also be tied to XP gains to some degree in the future, in fact already starting with tomorrow's patch. Now, this won't be a 1:1 conversion, as you'll only get a small percentage of XP as Conquest points, but still... in 6.0 it will also start to reward gear.

I have to admit that my first instinct was to not be happy about this one, even though I should also benefit from it becoming yet another little bit easier to hit my personal Conquest target on any given character. I also don't inherently dislike the idea of getting gear rewards from Conquest... but there are two issues I have with this general direction:

The first is simply that I think Conquest should remain its own, distinctive thing. In fact I talked about this back when the system was first revamped in April last year and people were complaining that it was suddenly much harder to hit their personal target by just doing whatever. If both Galactic Command/Renown and Conquest fill a bar based on your XP and give you a box of rewards for it, what's the point of having two different systems doing the same thing?

The other fear I have concerns competition between guilds. Several times now my guild has managed to beat guilds that were much bigger in terms of active members than ours (we figured this out via the /who Command) but whose members clearly weren't particularly interested in Conquest, with a lot of them just logging on to play through the story or whatever. Yes, I'm biased here: I want my guild to keep winning!

I like that an interest in how Conquest works and making an effort to participate in specific activities that reward Conquest points can currently beat raw numbers (to some degree). Anything that makes Conquest more "passive" means moving away from that and more towards favouring whichever guild can simply get the most members to log on and play in some fashion, regardless of what they do and whether they are making any effort to work together.

I guess I'll find out about just how much of an effect that will have tomorrow.

2 comments :

  1. Under the current system, completing a daily area's weekly for a sub 70 character is barely noticeable. That same weekly is good for 3 command crates by itself with a CXP boost. That weekly boost is in addition to any crates you earned from the dailies themselves. The daily quests are good for a crate, maybe a crate and a half.

    After the conversion, will the same ratio's hold? If the weekly ceases to be an absolute hammer strike of CXP goodness, then I'll quickly forget about daily areas in 6.0. I've already got the reputations, and I sell stuff on the GTN for money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dailies are one area I hadn't really thought about (I guess because I don't do them very often) but I suppose it makes sense that they would be skewed towards being more rewarding at max level.

      Warzones are quite similar really - at max level a single one can easily net you 1-3 crates, while during levelling it'll only advance your XP bar a little. But then, I wouldn't want them to give more while levelling, or I'd just out-level the lowbie brackets even faster!

      We'll see whether Bioware will feel the need to re-jig anything there or will just shrug and go: "It's supplementary now, it doesn't need to be balanced." Also, with the heavy focus on gear rewards, it might well be that both warzones and dailies will also reward you with gear going forward!

      Speaking of boosts though, I love the idea of XP boosts finally having a purpose at max level. So many of my characters have a whole bunch of them saved up because I never felt the need to speed up my levelling; now their day will finally come!

      Delete

Share your opinion! Everyone is welcome, as long as things stay polite. No sign-in required. I also read comments on older posts, so don't be shy. :)