Never fails, does it? Turbine does something nice but not especially well-thought-out, and the more unscrupulous players quickly find a way to take advantage of it at the expense of others.
In case you haven’t seen this thread (or the others about the same issue), I’m talking about the new Stones of Experience. A quick breakdown for the unfamiliar:
- Everyone who purchased the MotU pre-order can now receive up to five Stones of Experience by talking to an NPC in the Harbor.
- Each Stone will advance a lvl 8-15 player to lvl 16.
- Only one Stone can be used per server per account.
- If you have a Stone, you can use it on yourself or on someone else (provided the toon getting the benefit of the Stone is between lvls 8-15 inclusive, and none of that account’s toons on that server have already had a Stone used on them).
- If you use three Stones on players other than yourself, you’ll receive, via ingame mail, an ownership certificate for a snow panther cosmetic companion.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Help people out and get a nice reward – except for the glitches. If someone tries to use a Stone on you, you’re SUPPOSED to get a dialog box that will let you click “Yes” to accept an instant advance to lvl 16, or “No” to decline it and stay at your current level. Trouble is, the dialog box sometimes doesn’t appear at all, and when it does, it can easily get hidden behind other windows, particularly if you’re at the mailbox, the bank, the AH or the crafting hall. And the dialog defaults to “Yes,” so if you inadvertantly press Enter or Space – easy to do if you’re typing and get hit with an unexpected Stoning – you’re suddenly insta-leveled to 16.
For some this isn’t a big deal – “Yay, I just skipped ahead a whole bunch of levels, so much less grinding!” But not everyone WANTS to level up this quickly; I certainly want to keep Char and Chalei (lvl 13 AA ranger and 9 fire savant respectively) on the beaten path since I haven’t played an AA or sorc before. I want to take them through all that great mid-level content – Fens, Sands, Gianthold, Lordsmarch – and see how they handle it compared to my other toons. I don’t want to find either of them suddenly in a position to do Vale flagging when the hardest thing they’ve faced so far is elite Pit.
Not to mention, if I could level ONE toon up quickly, it would be Jall, who’s TRed and is now lvl 4. Slvr’s saving a stone for her when I get her to 8; I don’t mind her advancing quickly because, being a TR, it takes her a lot longer to level, and as both her lives have been cleric, I already know how to play her in high-level content. But if someone Stones Char or Chalei, there goes Jall’s shot at that 8-16 jump.
And unfortunately some people are so eager to get that snow panther, they’re lurking at the AH and the bank and the mailboxes dropping unsolicited Stones on unsuspecting players. It’s being called “ninja stoning” on the forums, and it SUCKS. Seriously, people are so anxious for a cosmetic companion that they’ll take a chance on ruining someone else’s game experience to get it? NOT COOL… and also not cool is the fact that thus far, Turbine seems disinclined to do anything about it. Support tickets, from what I’ve been told, are getting a generic sort of, “Sorry, we can’t do anything and we don’t intend to change that” response.
Speaking of ruining the game for others, seems one DDO entrepreneur is back in business on Thelanis. After getting banned for spamming ads for his lottery (according to what he himself told a friend of mine), he’s once again taken up his spot by the Harbor mailbox, selling lottery tickets, blind inviting people to his guild, and being pretty much up to his old tricks. Unfortunately those tricks include trying to get a monopoly on popular AH items such as large green steel ingredients and mana pots.
I don’t price GS ings often; I pretty much just grind what I want/need, so I don’t know personally how the value of those has changed (although several people in our ToD group last night said that AH prices on large ings have more than doubled since “Joe Corporate,” as I nicknamed him in a previous post, has been back). But I DO have a pretty good handle on the price of mana pots, as I check those a couple times a night. Right before Joe Corporate got banned, major pots were running around 35K. Within 2-3 days after the ban, they were down to around 15K, and I picked up a fair number for less than that.
Now he’s back, and even before I saw him in Harbor, the first inkling I had was when I went to the AH and saw, instead of the usual four or five pages’ worth of mana pots, ONE page, and that wasn’t even full. Last night there was exactly ONE greater pot listed – starting price 15K with no buyout. Last week I was getting those for 5-6K or even a bit less. And only three major pots were listed – a set of two with a 66K buyout, and one with a starting bid of – think it was around 12K, but with the slim pickin’s out there, I’m sure it’s quite a bit higher now, haven’t logged into the game yet.
Trying to make a little plat is one thing. Trying to control prices by using the millions of plat you’ve obtained by running a “lottery” and selling “stock” in your “company” – with neither enterprise subject to regulations of any sort save the no-spamming thing – to establish a monopoly, well, that’s just pathetic. And WRONG.
There doesn’t seem to be much Turbine can/will do about either the ninja stonings or Joe Corporate’s monopoly, so I guess it falls to us, the players. Me, I’m going to be VERY careful where I take Char and Chalei – if I log them in at all – until I have Jall leveled up high enough to get her Stone, and I’m not buying any mana pots off the AH unless I’m lucky enough to find them at pre-monopoly prices, and DEFINITELY not buying any direct from Joe Corporate. Both solutions are pretty sucky, but unless/until Turbine steps up with solutions, they’re all I have.