MMORPG Info Logo Kunark Tradeskill Faction

There is a whole new faction system in Kunark for tradeskillers which starts with New Lands, New Profits which is a fun, well thought out quest. Then you are sent to various factions in the Fens and asked to create items for them in bulk in order to gain favor and access to the merchant. The merchants sell fuel at exorbitant prices as well as advanced recipe books. Provisioners, who don’t have advanced books, can purchase special recipes only available from these merchants.

I haven’t written about what happens after the initial quest other than that it doesn’t seem worth it. Since then, they’ve upped the faction per writ from 250 to 750, which is a pretty serious jump. Still, I’ve realized I’m dreadfully conflicted about the whole thing — upset about two sides of the same coin.

On the one hand, I find it frustrating that only provisioners must complete a meaningless grind to get their full set of recipes. I am not arguing that everyone should have every recipe without effort but it bothers me that other tradeskillers can buy their books off the broker by spending a bit of cash. My tailor already has two advanced books when I’ve barely even been on (one dropped for me, one was handed to me) and as I’m clearly not going to be the first to level 80, it’s not a big deal to wait a bit for the rest.

I am willing to bet that within a few months, the price on the broker will equal the cost from the faction merchant, thus making the faction writs totally irrelevant.

Except provisioners don’t have this luxury. They have to do the faction writs and will continue to need to do them long after every other tradeskiller has forgotten the writs even existed. That annoys me.

On the other hand, I will only do these writs on my provisioners. Why? Because that is who gets the visible benefit.

I don’t mind doing a grind, I’m happy to do writs for rewards (and yes, I’m still sulking that they removed negative faction from city writs, allowing everyone to do every faction) as long as that reward is some type of direct compensation for the time I put in. That isn’t a question of value (who could answer that?) but it does require uniqueness. If I have earned a reward via hard work, then whether that reward is armor or a title or a piece of pie, I want to feel that I earned that reward and that everyone wearing that armor or showing that title or eating that pie when through the same thing I did. It’s a question of shared experience.

If I can’t tell the difference between George the Fragrant fought lots of ceramic dolls and George the Fragrant spent 50 gold, well then, I’m not interested in the Fragrant as a title. And lets face it, it’s a shit title, but the fact that I know how hard it is to get makes me respect the person that not only got it, but deigns to wear it. Suddenly, it’s cool.

That’s what earning your rewards does for you.

Taymar is a tailor who has not traveled much outside of Freeport. She’s level 17 and wears pretty dresses instead of plate armor. She decided she didn’t want to just stay at home this time, she wanted to go to the new lands and see for herself what was there.

Taymar risked life and limb to travel to the Dreadlands. She snuck past guards and rushed to sokokar posts, trying to click before she got spotted. She made her way to the Fens and sprinted her way to the crates. I was gasping at the computer as she desperately tried to avoid being swallowed whole by a vicious flower and literally collapsed in my seat when she got to the fourth crate, the quest a success.

So, what’s the difference between Taymar and the tailor that walked into her house, fed her Burynai some compost items and sold the results at ten gold each in order to fund some recipe book buying? The simple answer is that Taymar had the better experience. I’m quite happy that I had a lot of fun on the initial quests. But the way the game is set up, you get a reward for achieving something special. At the end of it, whether quests or writs or collections, you have something to show for it. Something you can put over your head or wear or set in your house: fact is, we’re not very fussy. The players accept all sorts of rewards … but we do expect something. That’s why we play the game.

And that’s why, in retrospect, I think that it’s the provisioners who are the lucky ones, who actually have something to show for the writs. And the low level provisioners who can cook up a decent drachnid steak, well, we know they risked life and limb to get that knowledge. These are dedicated chefs and deserve acclaim. Whereas my tailor? Did she get handed the books or did she buy them or did she quest them? Who cares?

That’s what is lacking in the new system. We want to care, we’re trying to care. But when it comes down to equations like how many gold per hour is this worth, then it stops feeling like a reward and starts to feel like a piss take.


Leave a Reply