Empyrea P2: Expectations

Introduction

So this series of articles is an experiment I came up with at 2 am while debating with a friend of mine as to whether Empyrea Part Two would be a walk in the park or not.

So I figured instead of just ramming our heads into one another, I’d actually try to get some results.  So I went to Google Forms and whipped up a quick questionnaire that I circled among a variety of large Wizard101 Discord Servers.

The results were kind of interesting and has lead me to make this article.  I also intend on following it up with three more related articles about the Test realm release, Live release and lastly what could’ve been done differently

With all that said I hope you find all of this somewhat interesting, and a special thanks to all the discord partners who shared this and everyone who answered it.


Questing

So this is going to affect different players in different ways.  Some may not care about the actual quests themselves whilst others may.  I gathered some interesting data to take a look into what people seem to want.

First off it’s important to establish what people do not want.  I think the two world traits the community can universally agree are bad for the game are repetitiveness and easiness.

  • Pre-Nerf Zafaria is infamous among older players as some of the grindiest and most boring questing the game has ever seen, with endless infinite length defeat and collects taking hours of your day.
  • Cast your mind back to Polaris’ release.  Coming off Darkmoor and Khrysalis Part Two we were expecting a serious challenge.  What we got was a measly few hours of killing in a few turns without breaking a sweat.

The communities data reflects these idea’s quite vividly, with 43.6% of players wanting Empyrea Part Two to be the hardest in game PvE content we have ever seen!  And the remaining majority wanting it to at least be harder than Part One!

Part One’s Medulla nerf, while maybe needed, was a little too drastic.  And while not on the same level as the Mirage nerf, it still was too much of a nerf.  Players need PvE incentive, and 100 Kill badges for bosses won’t cut it. We want a challenge!!!

We can see this idea of a challenging second part echoed within other data too.  A big part of the memory of a world is how long it takes. Everyone remembers Khrysalis, most quite vividly, due to its sheer length.  

But that doesn’t mean it’s remembered badly.  Most people see finishing Khrysalis as an accomplishment purely based on its length.  But what it appears Kingsisle doesn’t understand is that that itself is not an inherently bad thing!  

A very clear majority want Empyrea Part two to have equal to or more quests than part one, with 79 quests.  And just under half wanting over 100 quests. Finishing 100 or more quests leaves you feeling like a hardened veteran walking away from battle!

We actually feel accomplished, and that feeling is something that a lot of game developers strive to make their players feel as it keeps them interested and coming back for more.  Sadly, the last time I personally felt accomplished in the game when related to PvE content, was finishing Mirage in test realm, about 2 years ago!  So let us hope that Part Two meets our standards!


Unique Content

Thankfully, this is something that KI succeeded in with the release of Part One!  What I mean by unique content can be broken down quite easily. Variations of mobs, New mob types, areas we visit, unique story mechanics and others.

Empyrea Part One released 5 Unique new creature types.  We got the Dwarves of Athanor as well as the Beastmen of Aeriel.  They were all awesome and conceptually incredible. And those 5 doesn’t even include those tagged by ‘unknown’.  Ranging from The Bat to The Quizzler.

When asked how many new creature types they’d like to see,
the resounding majority wanted more than Part One!  

And fortunately, it doesn’t look like KI are going to let us down here with the new mushroom-fungus like humanoid already teased! 

Could this awesome looking mushroom man tie into his own unique area?  Well, let’s see how the community feels! 

When it comes down to remembering a world, a very big factor that contributes to your memories are the area’s you quested in.  Think Floating Island of Celestia, and how unique it is compared to the rest of the world.

It’s very important for a world to create amazing areas both in design and mechanics.  Part one didn’t let us down too much here, with a sophisticated Alphoi city and a subterranean Lava settlement.  And it’s safe to say the community wants it all again and more!

A clear majority want at least 2 more areas compared to what we saw in Part One, with more than 85% wanting more than equal to what we were given.

A giant Mushroom forest with towering mushrooms as tall as trees to accompany our leaked mob could contribute a lot to making Part Two something truly memorable!

Take a look at some awesome airships that we’ve seen leaked, let’s hope these play a fairly large role, like piloting one into battle and boarding enemy ships.  Just some wild speculation but it’d be awesome.  

Empyrea Part One also brought in fun minigames that broke up the monotonous slaying and collecting we normally partake when slicing our way through a world.  The dance game and shock-a-lock variations made the world a lot more fun and certainly had a lasting impact on the community!

When asked whether they’d like to see more puzzles in Part Two, the very clear vast majority answered yes!

Clearly, this shows KI has considerable interest in keeping the game alive and going and is not out for the quick buck.  Why create these fun new mechanics if they don’t care about the games longevity.

And with talk of a fun new “board game” within the game, with tons of badges and fun stuff to accompany it, it’d be safe to say they intend on continuing this trend!

Now we tackle probably the most divisive and complicated issue.. Gear!


Gear

Where to begin.  Part One brought us the Cabalist Hood and Boots, which are without out a doubt unparalleled in the offensive gear section.  Certain schools find a lot of value out the Corporal Tenni’syn Robes and the Cabalist Decks from Beast Man’s Fight Club are also incredible if you can look past the number of copies.

However, there are a lot of out-dated gear pieces that we REALLY need to see upgraded.  A lot of schools still use Malistaire robes, Morganthe’s amulet or Level 99-100 athame’s.  For 25 levels these gear pieces have not been improved on.

And the communities opinions reflect that too.  

Thanks to the Cabal hat and boots, most don’t feel they need improvement, however, the numbers speak for themselves.  Almost everyone universally agrees that we need new robes, amulets, and wands.

Now the upgrading of the crafted wands could potentially take care of this issue, but that eliminates only one problem.  Could we see the same mechanic for other gear pieces? I believe it’d be unlikely to see it on all, or even just a few, but the possibility and potential is there.

But with all this talk of new gear, a very big thing to remember is the attainability of these pieces.  For crafting, we’re limited by the scarcity of reagents, but for regular dropped gear it’s all about the rarity.  

It’s safe to say that the player base got burnt out farming secret tunnel so much.  The fact that Medulla, a final boss, had its top-tier gear also dropped by some elite minions in the first area is honestly alarming.

And this is a flaw with my questionnaire.  I should’ve asked whether people enjoyed farming a random variety of mobs and bosses for gear as opposed to a single boss.  However, a general consensus I discovered amongst talking with the community was that it was detrimental to the game to have top tier gear dropped so early by such a simple and easy mob.

And while this is a trend we see KI repeating, thanks to the video’s on their official channel, we can hope it’s not as boring and repetitively easy as Secret Tunnel.


Conclusion

I think overall we have a lot to look forward too in Empyrea Part Two.  We’re hoping for this to be one of the biggest and most meaningful PvE expansions we’ve seen to date.  And based on the interviews we’ve heard, it may just be that.

However, there is always going to be cause for concern.  We really need KI to keep up without the creatures, areas and artistic success of Part One while not letting us down in the other factors like difficulty and length.

With regards to the other articles, you can expect to see another form after a week or two of test seeing how it compares to your expectations and more, with a subsequent article on it.  Empyrea Part Two: Chapter 2, Test Realm. Get hyped!

I’d again like to thank everyone who took part for helping me reach these conclusions.  Much appreciation to all.

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