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Perceptions

This was originally written back in December, 2001 when I was actively playing DAoC. I have been looking for a copy of the text since I began the site, but couldn’t find it until today, hidden away in a backup folder I had forgotten about. At the time I wrote this, Hibernia was demonstratively the weakest of the three realms, yet any cries for adjustment on the dev boards resulted in threads filled with endless flames and arguments. I spent almost two weeks writing this post if I recall correctly, and I was rather proud when Sanya Thomas of Mythic replied to my post and said she was going to show it to other coworkers of hers. Considering that the “official” DAoC forums were on the VN Boards (aka the Seventh Cesspool of Hell), it just proved that well written and thought out posts can rise above the usual bitching, whining and moaning that most game forums seem to revel in.

I’ve seen it written that a lot of Hibernia’s problems are a result of players “perceptions.” While this is a slap in the face for those who really -do- have problems with their classes, it’s not entirely false either. Anytime someone from Hibernia posts a complaint on the Dev Board here, it is almost immediately flamed by others, many telling people to STFU and just play the game. I’ve also read posts by people saying that the only reason Hibernia is getting “special” attention from Mythic is in an attempt to shut the whiners up; the only reason is because Hibernia has cried so much and so loudly that we’ve caused our problems ourselves.

Someone cross posted something to the MLF message board, asking for opinions as to why people say Hibernia is gimped, mainly because we are one of the few servers where Hibernia is holding its own, and isn’t being beaten down. Here are my thoughts, read them if you wish. Any information that I’ve used is hopefully as accurate as possible, I did my best, but since I only play Hibernia (level 5’s in Midgard and Albion don’t really count), forgive me for any glaring mistakes.

“Hibernia is being fixed only because people whined so much.” As I said above, this is partly true, but only partly. Talking to guildmates on voice comms the other night, we were discussing this problem. People come here to complain right and left about what is wrong with THEIR class and WHAT IS MYTHIC GOING TO DO TO FIX IT YESTERDAY!!!!!!! Or they come to complain that XX class in that other realm -OMG THEY R 2 POWERFUL NURF THEM!!!! Ugh. That, or the “I’m quitting and it’s all your fault Mythic posts,” those aren’t much better to be honest. Are there problems with the game? Absolutely. Does it help to come here and cry, complain, whine, bitch and moan about it in 16 gazillion threads though? No, because then any valid concerns that people may have, or intelligent, useful analyses are buried under loads of spam. This is partly what has happened to many of the posts about Hibernia. People are posting valid concerns about classes and game issues with our realm, but instead of some people doing the same, we get thread after thread, many duplicating already existing threads, about the same issues. And people wonder why Mythic doesn’t reply in some of these threads… I’d not reply to some of the people either.

It also doesn’t help that there are some people that immediately jump over any thread pointing out issues with Hibernia, claiming that the poster is just a whiney baby and they need to shut up about Hibernia and its “problems.” That also helps to defeat the purpose of bringing up any issues with our realm. Many of us in Hibernia have never denied that there are problems with some classes in the other two realms. But the fact remains that overall; Albion and Midgard are much more finished than Hibernia is. There is no way to deny this. Albion was worked on for over a year, Midgard for at least 6 months (I think), but Hibernia went in only 2 months before retail. How can anyone honestly think that our realm is anywhere near as complete as the other two? And saying that Mythic should have waited until the game itself was more complete before going to retail is a moot point; they didn’t, so we have to work with what we have.

The amount of attention paid to each realm is apparent just by walking through them. I’ve heard Hibernia called candyland, Disneyland, and a few other things; I call it candyland as well. It’s the little touches that seem to make the most difference though… Things like NPCs in taverns, a makeshift merchant fair outside the capital’s back gate, going into a marsh and having to negotiate around pools of water and little spits of land and fallen trees, going through a forest that looks like it is an old growth forest – large trees packed close together, winding roads – all in Albion. Or taking a horse to Svealand in Midgard, and crossing canals and fjords, over stone bridges, the sense of climbing the foothills of mountains moving from zone to zone, the water looking like it is frozen over, evergreen trees. Hibernia doesn’t seem to have that sort of diversity just in the landscape. I understand that we are based off of Ireland, but it’s not completely made up of wide-open rolling hillsides, is it? Going into the Bog of Cullen, I would have expected to find something similar to the Marshes of Avalon, pools of open water perhaps, hummocks of land with trees, a bit more of a ‘dank’ atmosphere. What did I find? Except for the ground being a bit more brown, and some rock outcroppings, it was pretty much more of the same as you can find in the rest of the land.

The architecture of the three realms is different as well. At least Albion and Midgard look like they are based off of Viking and Briton history. What did Hibernia get? Taj Mahal fairyland onion towers and giant mushrooms. Just because we have elves and lurikeens, does that really mean that we can’t have any reality based structures? I don’t see trolls and dwarves being made to live in caves, why should Hibernians have to live under (or near) mushrooms? Personally, I don’t mind the land being “brighter” than the other lands; I happen to find Midgard and Albion too dreary looking IMO. Spell effects are also lacking for our realm. What difference does that make, you ask? Nothing really, as long as the spell works as intended. But it’s a “coolness” factor that is missing for Hibernia. Create a magician in Hibernia, and an elementalist in Albion (the only Albion caster class I have experience with). Now, cast your base level AF buff and tell me what is “cooler” to see… the blue glowing ball or the purple gem that comes out, surrounds you, then goes back away. A mentalist in our group leveled last night, and got a new AF buff that he wanted to show us. What did it look like? A blue-white bright glowing ball this time. Yes, it’s just eye candy, but it’s a “finalizing” touch that Hibernia is missing. Why should we worry about that? No reason, but it just helps to show that Hibernia isn’t quite finished yet, if we don’t have the little touches yet, what big issues aren’t in place yet?

The complaints about classes that some Hibernians seem to voice constantly (and others constantly deride) are also valid in many ways, just as not being flexible enough to play the “insertgimpedclassoftheweek” differently is also a problem. Yes, there are certain classes that are still woefully unfinished, and there have been posted plenty of threads complaining about those classes, so I’ll not go into those again. Partly because, except for the class I do play, and the classes that my friends play, I’ve not really paid that much attention to what other realms get unless it were to directly affect me.

One thing that I have noticed, and this isn’t meant as a “bash Midgard” post at all, is that when it comes to class comparisons, Midgardians have pointed out that their realm only has 10 classes available from a base of 4; Hibernia has 11 classes available from a base of 4 as well, while Albion has 12 classes to choose from a base of 5. While this gives Hibernia and Albion more diversity to chose from (apparently), what it actually does is spread some necessary and vital traits out across more classes. Out of those available classes for each realm, 7 of 10 have magics in Midgard, 8 of 11 in Hibernia, and 8 of 12 in Albion. That is actually about even for the classes, on the surface, but where it becomes a bit more interesting is the allocation of spells and spell-like abilities in those classes. In comparison to Hibernia, Midgard has 2 main “vital” classes (or rather, the ones that everyone complains the most about) – the skald and the healer. While those 2 classes can encompass most of the most needed skills for a group, Hibernia needs 3 classes (bard, druid, warden) to get some of those same abilities, and the two Midgard classes have additional abilities that aren’t available to the 3 Hibernian classes. I -think- that the situation is similar in Albion, with the equivalent classes being minstrel, cleric and friar, but I’m not completely certain.

The biggest complaints always seem to be about how “gimped” Hibernia is versus Midgard, especially since Midgard is overwhelmingly doing much better on most of the servers overall, as compared to the other two realms. On MLF, Hibernia is holding its own quite nicely, despite the state of our realm; but we are doing so -despite- any shortcomings in class and content. That is a testament to the ability of some Hibernian guilds to work together as a team and to take advantage of what strengths we do have. We jumped out to an early start in keep takings, mostly because my guild helped to beta-test Hibernia, so we know the leveling spots and what to do to level fast. That was a advantage we used, and so we went after keeps first, in order to learn the routine. We learned that you -could- beat the keep doors down using melees only, but that it’s a wee bit faster to use siege gear. So we learned about siege gear, and that lead us to develop the setup that we have now, mainly having at minimum 4 teams for fighting, and at least 2 seige teams to just carry the parts. We’ve done it several ways, but this seems to work the best for -us-. Those numbers are the minimum needed for us to take a keep, going for more raises the numbers even more. And this is with us requiring that all team members carry a minimum of wood with them on all raids. It’s complicated sometimes, but succeeding makes the organization worthwhile. I’m not sure how Albions do their keep raids, but it’s probably something similar.

For example, the other weekend, the Albions on MLF made a relic keep push, taking 5 or 6 of Midgard’s keeps in the span of 10 hours (maybe even longer). It was an amazing feat on their part, and we’ll not know how it would have turned out because Midgard crashed on them. I do know that they reportedly had in excess of 100 people involved. The truly sad part of this story (besides the server crashing on them I mean), was that it took Midgard approximately 2 hours to take back all the keeps, using less than half the amount of people needed to take the keeps in the first place, and the Midgards did it without needing to use siege gear. How is this possible? Simple, they are the “melee-dependant” realm, so their strongest melee class, the troll, starts with base 110 strength (like no one would put an extra 10 points into that stat). Compare that to Hibernia (firbolg – 90 base, 100 effectively) and Albion (highlander – 70 base, 80 effectively). 10 points may not seem like much, but it obviously is when 2 teams of trolls can beat down a keep door in the time it would take twice that many firbolgs to do the same.

Why is something like this so “unfair” to the other realms? Mostly because of the way keep raids -must- be conducted. The only way to take down a keep door is with melee or siege gear. Guards can be attacked and killed with all forms of attack, yet the lord of each keep absolutely -must- be taken out with melees. There is no way around this, since the keep lords are immune to any form of attack but melee, and what actually does the most damage to him is not the actual hits themselves, it’s the damage added spells that are most needed. But the base fact is, you have to get in the lord’s face to kill him. I frankly don’t understand this requirement at all. I can understand not wanting people to simply gather a team of high level eldritches to stand on the ledge and nuke the lord to death (like that could happen anyways), but making him only vulnerable to melee damage is a bit ridiculous. It gives a slight advantage to the strongest melees, which are of course trolls (the fact that they are also slightly slower than the other 2 “tank” classes isn’t that relevant here).

The differences between the base races in each realm for certain classes is markedly different as well. The “melee-dependent” realm of Midgard wins here because the base stats for the trolls (str-100, con-70) are strongest compared to the firbolgs (str-90, con-60) and highlanders (str-70, con-70). It’s a slight advantage that has larger ramifications down the line, especially when it comes to having stats raise as you go higher in levels. Something as simple as putting 10 points into Con (which affects your hit points as you go up in levels) can make a huge difference down the line. Here are a few comparisons :

Class Skald (troll) vs. Bard (firbolg)
Level 40 – 40
Con 92 – 82 (assuming 10 points allotted at creation)

Class Healer(Norse) vs. Druid (Celt)
Level 40 – 40
Con 98 – 88

Class Thane (troll) vs. Champion (Celt)
Level 40 – 40
Con 92 – 70 (this stat will never raise for the champion)
** note – the strongest Hibernian class, firbolg, cannot become a champion, so to compare Thane to Hero would be like this:

Class Thane (troll) vs. Hero (firbolg)
Level 40 – 40
Con 92 – 88

Class Berserker (Norse) vs. Blademaster (Celt)
Level 40 – 40
Con 98 – 82

Those are just the classes that I have actual comparative stats for. The race chosen isn’t necessarily the best one for the class (Druid and Blademaster aren’t firbolgs), but I could compare those because I asked guildmates for their actual stats (bard, champion and BM) and used my own for the druids. Our classes are coming up short simply on constitution alone, which affects hit points, except for the thane vs. hero comparison, which isn’t fair to the hero (he gets no magics, plus against a troll thane, he’ll have fewer hit points and less strength to affect his damage variances). I started thinking about these comparisons when our group bard (firbolg), mentioned that his wife’s champion (celtic) had fewer base hit points that he did at the same level (41)- his 676 to her 660. This is for a class that really cannot melee (breaking that lute/drum that bard’s have to carry over someone’s head isn’t good tactics) versus one of the most important melee classes Hibernia has. This from the fact that he only put 5 pts into his con at start while she put 10 pts. As a druid, and a level under them both, I have over 10 more points base con now, and 712 hit points. Something is seriously wrong when our realms main healer has more base hit points than one my tanks!

Okay you say, but Hibernia isn’t -supposed- to be strong in melee, we are the “magic-dependant” realm. Fine, I’ll answer, then lets do a similar comparison with our caster races. For this, I included the related Albion races as well – love that DAoC catacombs configurator : . I’ll include strength, con and intelligence/piety for comparison reasons. I used the runemaster, eldritch and theurgist/wizard classes for this.

Race Dwarf / Kobold – Elf / Lurikeen – Avalonian / Saracen
Str 60 / 50 – 40 / 40 – 45 / 50
Con 80 / 50 – 40 / 40 – 45 / 50
Int 70 / 60 – 80 / 60
Piety 60 / 60

Piety is the main base stat for a runemaster, while intelligence is the base stat for the Albion and Hibernian classes. Just looking at those base stats, with nothing added to them, already Hibernia is showing a slight disadvantage. For a realm so “magic-dependent” you would think that our primary caster races would show a clearer advantage here, yet Avalonians have a better starting intelligence, and the Midgards peity is either the same as the Hibernians equivalent stat (lurikeens) or just 10 pts lower. As with the melees, that will give the elf an advantage down the road, but then if you consider other factors for the “bathrobe armor” classes, the advantage swings back towards Midgard once again. Elves and lurikeens have the lowest starting con stats, and even raising that 10 pts at creation, the dwarf and kobold (and the Saracen and Avalonian – to a lesser degree) will have more hit points and be able to take at least a few more hits than their Hibernian counterparts. A good friend and guildmate, level 42 eldritch, is frequently one-hit, in a full group, by red/orange monsters, because he pulled aggro. This is with warden bubble going, and melees beating on the monster in question. He is so used to dying that it doesn’t even faze him anymore, even if he has to release and lose xp.

For being the most “magic-dependent” realm, or the most magic diverse one, Hibernia is similarly lacking in anything that truly defines our realm as “magical.” We do not have the strongest casters outright, nor do we show an advantage when it comes to the number of classes able to use magic. Midgard has 7/10 magic-using classes, Hibernia has 8/11, and Albion has 8/12. That does not show a “magic-dependence” at all, it shows that Hibernia has pretty much equal magics to the other two realms. How then can Hibernia be classified as the magical realm? The fact that if spec’d a certain way, our eldritches have the strongest nukes really doesn’t not qualify Hibernia as the “magic-dependent” realm at all.

As I said before, a lot of what is complained about concerning Hibernia is very valid, yet it gets buried under the avalanche of general bitching about our realms “gimpiness” and “stungard’s” overwhelming advantages. There are classes in all three realms that have serious playability issues, those people have valid concerns that need to be addressed, yet getting those points across amongst all the other bitching, whining and moaning can be difficult. I’ve read posts from other druids saying that they are quitting because of the pet dex nerf (which actually hurt enchanters much more than druids), or because they can’t solo and group at the same time, or because because because…. Frankly, I have few problems as a druid. I never depended on my pet to kill orange mobs for me, or to do most of the work even. And despite the fact that my spec’d heals cost more mana, and take longer to cast then my baseline heals, I am still able to be the only healer in a group and keep everyone alive easily. We won’t go into how useless the root spell is in actual combat, and having my short-range DoT spell (5th level of 10) only doing 25 pts a tick, being good for interrupting casters, that is, if I can get close enough to cast it on them before they nuke me in return. I use what I have in my arsenal, and do my best with what I happen to have. As a druid, one of the more complete of the classes, I really don’t have much to complain about ( I do have my wish lists though).

Is it only a “perception” by the players that Hibernia is gimped? No, not at all. There are many little things that seem to be missing from the newest realm. Does the state of our realm merit the sheer amount of complaining that seems to be going on about it? Not sure, really. Sometimes the complaints are needed to get the issues looked at, yet where is the line drawn between constructive criticism and constant whining? Hibernia has been promised looking into, based on the “perceptions” of the players complaints, and while that is the step in the right direction that we have been waiting for, the impression given to those of us that play in Hibernia is that it’s only being done to “appease the masses” and get us to shut up. Right or wrong, we can be grateful for the attention. Let’s just hope that the attention we get merits what many have had to put with for a long time. Once again, sorry if there are any glaring errors in my post, I tried to double check all my information first.

Thank you.

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