AO became boring, plain and simple. We went from a progression gated by weapon fame grind and PvE/PvP activities to all content being gated by gathering, and it’s completely unbalanced. There is absolutely no logic in farming your weapon in a few hours and then spend a month gathering. There is no incentive to do more gateways, hellgates, raids, castles or even decent OW-PvP. You login, realize all you have to do is gather, stay by your guild’s chest a couple hours and logout.
To be fair, we actually got amazing upgrades in this BETA. The new way tiers work for weapons/armors (including crafting), masteries and progression simplification are a few examples of great steps. By the other hand, the way the fame progression was dealt with is absolutely horrendous, and it makes no sense to implement such changes on the last BETA, only a few months before launch. I have to be honest, it feels like we took giant steps back.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking to “nerf gathering grind”. in BETA 1 gathering was too easy, agreed, so we actually needed some more difficulty on it. Problem is this game is right now far away from being difficult or hardcore; it’s boring, a complete snoredom. There is zero risk in spending hours, days, weeks wandering around in black zones in which you won’t find anyone and praying for the gods that some 6.3 node will not be depleted in one of the tens of maps you visit.That’s the hardcore of this game: walk around and hope for some gathering node. No PvP, no PvE.
Now, even we force ourselves to OW-PvP, even then it’s weird. You again have to walk endless hours and hope for an enemy to show up, usually in numbers that won’t allow even a decent fight. There is no reason to gather friends and do a gateway or hellgate, or even less motive to gather a big group and raid or invade a castle.
The worst part of all this is that the “solution” proposed on gems is absurdly useless in the big picture, and once we criticized it there is now complete silence. Not a single comment or answer on how things are going.
We need to take a step back and realize the current progression is simply awful. Gathering cannot be the main gate for gameplay progression (although it has to be relevant, of course). Now, add all this to this gigantic map size in which no one faces no one due to the spread of players and the ridiculous amount of dungeons and you get what we have now.
My suggestions: weapon grind to be way harder and more rewarding, plus its masteries to mean more (just an idea, but perhaps you could unlock vanilla tiers on the tree and enchanted weapon/armor on the masteries); More resources around/better respawning and a a small nerf on gathering grind at higher tiers; more incentives for gateways/hellgates/raids; remove most of dungeons and link those that remain (link clusters); remove the central outlands island or make it red zone (GvGs with soft gear cap for smaller guilds).