17 April 2009

Harvesting changes

Recently I made a few changes in how the harvesting works. Mainly, I increased the number of events, which force you to actually pay attention to the harvesting process, to restart it when it stops due to those events.
Now, for those who don't harvest AFK, and harvest only resources that require a level smaller than their harvesting level, the change is not too drastic. There will be a slight decrease in the rate of the harvesting, perhaps 5-10%, but since it happens to everyone equally, I don't consider it to be a problem.
There were 3 reasons for this change:
1. The economy was flooded with too many items and resources, and almost every day more gold was coming in the game than going out, by about 15% on average.
2. Gold farmers had many harvesting characters which were used to make gold and then sell for RL $$$. Now, I don't have a huge problem with the gold farming, so long as you have to actually work for it. But having multiple harvesting characters that generate gold is not good for anyone except for the farmers.
3. Some players had harvesting characters which they used to supply their main character. While that is illegal, not everyone gets caught, so this will have a negative impact on the cheaters.

I expected that most of the people will welcome the changes, since it fixes some of the inflation, while at the same time impacts the cheaters and farmers, with relatively little impact on honest players.
But it turned out that I was pretty wrong. A lot of players complained that, omfg, now they can't harvest from school/work, or harvest while eating breakfast and taking a long crap in the bathroom. Others complained that now the harvesting is too boring because they actually have to pay attention(!) while harvesting.

Based on my tests, and the tests of some other players, if you don't harvest AFK, you don't have much to worry about, the resources harvested are about the same as before (and you get more harvesting exp in the process). Nevertheless, the rate of the random events was slightly higher than I wanted, so I will drop it down just a little bit.

Unlike most of the other games, in EL harvesting is almost painless and automatic. We have map walk, so you can get to the storage with just a few clicks. Harvesting id done with a few clicks as well. I think that those complaining should try some other games, and see if they enjoy it more there.

Anyway, the end result is that some people quitted, and many of them don't bring their harvesting alts online anymore, resulting in a players drop of ~10-15%. I am not really crying over that loss, but we will have to focus more on bringing new players and increase the player retention rate.