RNG versus collection for ‘mission systems’

Husband and I played the briefest amounts of Warlords of Draenor to level our monk+death knight pair through the level 90-100 range. That involves a minimal interaction with the garrison system as its part of various quest chains. We only played through the main questline of the first Alliance zone (Shadowmoon Valley) plus a few level-sync’ed dungeons runs before hitting 100. Although I grew very, very sick of the railroading of the Garrison system during the expansion’s prime. With time and distance I’m able to appreciate some aspects of the Garrison system, however. The Garrison system includes the follower sub-system, NPCs that we as players unlock through quests and finding them out in the expansion zones.

A while ago I had the thought of how this contrasts, from the method of acquisition, with the Overseer system in Everquest 2. In this game the overseer agents come as random rewards for the missions themselves. So your speed of acquisition and the specific agents that you receive are both equally random.

I still have no intelligent agents…

Back in the Garrison system the followers are known quantities if you look at quest information in game and/or wikis like the WoWHead article linked above. All the available followers, with their specific and varying counter skills, are ripe for the collecting if you do the right quests or visit the right locations. Some obstacles at the time were there to make this a bit less trivial, high up places or hard to find spots for instance: but returning now with Pathfinder unlocked (for flying mounts) it’s pretty easy to get what you want very quickly by just flying around.

Unlocking Romuul

I do find the random reward aspects of Overseer sometimes motivating, it feels good to get a new never-before seen agent. However, it is frustrating after weeks of regular play with this system to still not have some specific counter skills on any agent. It’d be useful to have rare items that could be used to upgrade or customise an agent to add a specific skill or swap one for a different one. In World of Warcraft’s Draenor it was pretty easy to get counters for anything if you don’t mind using the wiki to locate the follower to match.

It is good to see a new agent pop

Do you prefer one approach to the other?

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3 Responses to RNG versus collection for ‘mission systems’

  1. everwake says:

    I much preferred the WOW way of doing things. In my mind it’s just an instance of ‘interesting decisions versus slot machine’. I’ll take the former over the latter every time.

    Not having an answer to a challenge because you were never given the tools in the first place (in this instance, because of randomness) pretty much always feels bad.

  2. bhagpuss says:

    I have so many agents in EQII it’s ridiculous. I have six characters with almost all the available ones and dozens more in bags and banks – and that’s after I’ve converted dozens more into currency. I hugely prefer as much as possible to be randomized in these sorts of system. It keeps them fun for much, much longer. I find collecting tokens to buy things or grinding points/rep a much more tedious and boring way of going about it.

    That said, there do seem to be the odd one or two traits that are harder to get than others. I have never seen an agent with the brain icon, whatever trait that is. I’ve never checked whether one actualy exists. I presume it must or why would it exist?

  3. Sylow says:

    While i play neither of the mentioned games, i also prefer the determined system.

    I have experienced both sides of the randomized system way too often and while the “get the phat loot on first try” feels great at that moment, i was on the “now do the same thing again, another 30 times and each still get nothing” way too often. And at least for somebody like me, who tends to take breaks from games to return again after several months, games are well advised to avoid this. When i ponder returning to a game i don’t remeber the one time i got the new loot so quickly. I remember the time i have wasted doing the same stuff again and again, without getting what i wanted. So i rather skip the game and go for another one.

    Fortunately i also in some games have seen a good compromise in place: loot plus tokens. You do the same hard content for a few times. You get random loot, so if you are lucky you get what you want and can cheer right away. If you don’t get it at that time, you still get some token, so if you are unlucky for a few times in a row, you just spend the tokens to get what you want.

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