- Problem: equipment decays while inactive, causing players returning from hiatus to log in and have no equipment -- which is needed to get more equipment. This is an unnecessary impediment to returning players.
- Solution 1: battlemaster "care packages." If a character has been inactive, the character can visit a battlemaster for a set of level-appropriate but mediocre power, zero marks value, no mod slots, fast decay equipment (maybe 7 days). (Bonus: on class swap, can give this kind of equipment to a player! Helps low level players a lot.)
- Solution 2: equipment stops decaying after X days (30, maybe? pick a number) of inactivity.
Weapons and armor decay in 120 - 180 days. This is a good thing for the game, long-term. Although it may feel like a long time for an active player, it's a different story for inactive players who return to the game after half a year or more. This matters especially for a game in beta, when a lot of people are checking out the game and putting it on the shelf for a while to see how development goes. The problem becomes apparent when the returning players are broke and don't know anyone to ask in a justifiable, in-character way, ensuring that these players can't dive into the bashing cycle -- which is how a player can get more gear.
"But we want returning players to plug in to the community," you may say. Yes, that's true. But my experience has shown that a whole lot of players aren't willing to compromise RP by asking for handouts. Furthermore, I've observed that having no equipment is one impediment to getting back into the game too many for a lot of people. What would really help, then, is something that anyone can access without having to rely on other players (assuming any are around and checking NEWBIE or FT!).
Solution 1: battlemaster "care packages."
Battlemasters are familiar to every returning player. They're accessible through Omni, so there's no factional gating for factionless characters. They *should* have a prior relationship with our player characters. That's why they're the perfect means for providing returning players necessary equipment to get back into the game. As a side note, battlemasters are funny in that they don't seem to remember the player characters, and there's not much reason to return to them unless learning something. This is a chance for developing that aspect of the world some more.
I propose they provide players a set of class-specific equipment with the following properties:
- Level-appropriate stats,
- On the low end of the stats-spectrum,
- No resale value,
- No mod slots,
- and 7 days of usable life (7 "months" in-game).
* Note: If free is too cheap, then please consider giving them the HETE debt treatment.
This gear wouldn't be worth keeping, and those restrictions ensure that there's not much anybody can do to abuse the system. If players do have marks in their accounts or can get them from people, they can still upgrade and buy whatever's on the trade terminal -- and would have a good incentive to do so, especially for weapons.
As a bonus, this gear could be given to people on class swap, too. This helps low level players who swap classes to try things out. I did that at least four times on Steve. It would be a nice perk for multiclass, too, though that's less of a concern.
Solution 2: equipment stops decaying after some time period of not logging in.
I'm not a huge fan of the idea, but it does the job. Self-explanatory.
I want to see this game's playerbase expand, and I'm all for removing every obstacle to long-term player retention. As someone who's been here over a year, it feels as though every player counts right now. I hope this is a relatively simple feature that would help grow the playerbase, long-term.
Thanks for considering this feature.