I'm a very big fan of problem solvers. In my years here at AE I have learned a lot but one of my most valuable lessons is that you don't just point out a problem, you come to the table with a solution to offer. That's the difference between a complaint and useful feedback.
In Yesterday's Design Notes I mentioned "We will also raise the level cap from 15 to 16 and normalize the 14-15 level curve. If you've earned enough XP to reach the new normalized level 15 then you will instantly be promoted to level 15. All extra XP beyond 15 will probably not roll over."
This immediately got a reaction causing a lot of people to argue that it wasn't fair to throw away the player's hard work. The reason that we placed the huge gap between 14 and 15, as we had done in our previous games, was just to give aimless people at the current "end game" something to do, even if it was just mindless grinding and you knew it was going to be thrown away when the cap was raised. This time, there were two reasons that things were different.
1). The culture of gaming has changed a LOT since we did this in our other games. People now demand rewards for every step that they take even if they know up front that the task is optional and serves no purpose. We're faced with this every day as modern game developers but we didn't factor it into this decision.
2). We screwed up. We put items at level 15 which gave this particular task a challenge.
We had a nice juicy carrot but we put it on the other side of the Grand Canyon and some of you managed to make the impossible jump only to find out that the canyon was being shrunk to a ditch that anyone can jump. You let us know your feelings. We listened.
The solution comes in three parts.
1). The bad news... there will be no level cap raise to 16 with the release on Wednesday because we will no longer be adding this Grand Canyon between the next-to-last level and the level cap. We don't want people spending XP boosts to get there only to find the gap again normalized when we raise the cap. 15 will remain the cap and in the future, when we raise the cap, it will be on the normal XP curve.
18, 19, 20 full stop. Not 18, 19..............................20.
2). Anyone who has earned enough XP to get to the NEW normalized level 15 AT THE TIME OF THE RELEASE will earn a RARE CLOAK, the Wrap of Determination. This means that anyone who reaches the new normalized 15 after the release will NOT get the cloak. The cloak will be injected directly into your inventory even if your inventory is full. The cloak will be level 15 and have Green range stats (not as good as Blue but better than White). Also, there will be no way to retrieve the cloak so, if you delete it, you're boned and it's gone forever. This is just a reward for everyone who went above and beyond.
3). Anyone who manages to reach the CURRENT level 15 AT THE TIME OF THE RELEASE, which is no small task, will be awarded the RARE CLOAK AND get a RARE CHARACTER PAGE BADGE so you can show the world that you accomplished this epic feat.
I made a graphic to help explain.
Please don't ask what the badge or cloak look like because I just cooked up this solution a few minutes ago and and Artix just approved it. Dage is working on the cloak now so stay tuned. I may update this post with the art.
UPDATE: Cloak art added.
I know that some of you are going to look at this and say CHALLENGE ACCEPTED and stay up all night until the release tomorrow trying to hit 15 or at least get well over 14. Just keep in mind that this solution isn't to challenge people to level up to 15 before tomorrow, it's to reward those who put in the time and effort already.
We think this is a pretty fair solution and hope this solution pleases those of you who were distressed.