Monday, March 9, 2015

Mimic Hunt Event (An Editorial)

I was thinking of calling this post a "critique", but that has a denotation of criticism, and criticism has a negative connotation.  And while, yes, I do have some criticisms, it is not my intention for them to be the focus of this post, even though they probably will be.  Editorial, on the other hand, makes it fairly clear that these are my opinions (which may or may not be shared by anyone else).

First and foremost:  I enjoyed the Mimic Hunt event, as a whole.  There are some who have suggested that it remain "on" permanently, but with the "frenzy" portion turned off.  In other words - you never know when a chest you're about to open is a mimic or not.  I am not opposed to this idea.  Of course, it means you had better be ready to fight when you open that end reward chest, which can be difficult if you've just come off a really tough fight, are out of mana/healing, just hovering above death, and have at least one 'loot-happy' person in your group.  Still - it's not a bad idea, though it would probably need some tweaking.  Perhaps a fixed, reduced spawn rate (i.e. no increase  of possibility of a mimic with every 'failed' attempt).

I still think it would be cool if Turbine had/would allow mimics to be real* mimics, and not just take on the most iconic form of loot chest.  Obviously, while real* mimics could be anything (switches, doors, rune plates, [rest] shrines, boxes, etc.), in-game ones would be required (by necessity) to be limited to a specific set of "things".  And even then, the animations required would be daunting, to say the least.  So I do understand why they are what they are, even if being other things would be really cool (I especially like the idea of rest shrines being mimic, but then, I can have a sadistic streak at times).

My (2) biggest criticisms of the event have to do with the "lost mote" mechanic.  First, in events like Mabar, you had literally dozens, if not hundreds, of mobs that spawned in a smallish area, making drop collection easy.  And each drop turn-in generated a range of motes, with more motes given for the rarer drops.  So one could collect hundreds or thousands of motes in the span of the event.  Granted, those events have much higher turn-in requirements for rewards, but it wasn't too difficult.

Unfortunately, since mimics can only be chests**, in order to kill mimics to get motes, you have to find and open a chest.  Chests are, by design, not overly plentiful in most quests (and rightly so).  There are a few - very few - exceptions (which we'll get to later).  On top of that, the number of lost motes dropped per mimic is - one.  Yep, not a range of motes, but just one.  Per mimic.  One.  So you could literally spend hours running quests, looking for mimics, and not find any (which sounds an awful lot like my attempts to find the ever elusive epic shards, seals, and scrolls necessary to upgrade certain gear to 'Epic' status...), or even if you found some, walk away with very few motes.

Add to that, the fact that it takes (10) motes to obtain (1) card, and (2) different cards to make (1) reward item.  Which, if you're doing the math with me, means you need at a minimum of (20) mimic kills (and even then you're not guaranteed to get two different cards) for just the possibility of (1) reward item.  And then a 'random' reward item at that - unless you actually know the loot table (which you won't, unless you manage to get an turn in every possible combination of cards; fortunately, there is the DDO-wiki - still...).  So unless you know about some quests with high numbers of chests, you could have spent the entire event period questing and still not have killed enough mimics to get even ONE reward item.

Ay-yi-yi.  It's enough to make one's head explode.

Second, for the 20th level Mabar items, you must have card IX; and for the 24th level Mabar items, you must have card X.  Cards IX and X were made (very, very) rare mote turn-in rewards.  Meaning that EVERYONE was looking for them, so NO ONE wanted to sell or trade them (yes, that was hyperbole; would you feel better if I said "nearly everyone" and "almost no one"?  Hmm?).  So if you were unlucky enough (like me) to have turned in literally hundreds (if not thousands) of motes and still never got even ONE card IX or X, you're not alone.  I only know of (1) person who managed to get ONE card X and (1) person who managed to get ONE card IX, during the entire event.  And every server I went, there were several people, all looking to trade the cards I through VIII or even spend one million gold*** to get a card IX or X.

I do not know what the odds of pulling a IX or X were, but the Wiki says only 1-2%.  Now, if you're like me, you want to collect (at least) one of each type of card just to add to your image gallery (why the image galley is a 'character' thing instead of an 'account' thing, I don't know - except it was probably easier to code as a character thing.  But I digress...).  But there is hope - it has been stated that the mimic hunt will be returning.  Whether it will be a regularly recurring event, or how often it may recur is unknown.  One can only hope they will not be changing cards, either (adding cards would be OK, I guess) - at least, not until I collect all the ones I don't have (which would, of course, be the IX and X).

The cards are unbound and tradable, but not auctionable (why†?).  The motes are unbound and tradable AND auctionable.  Of course, as it seems that a majority of the people are greedy, the prices in the AH and ASX are absolutely insane.  Also - be careful which "mote" you're buying - I suggest searching for "lost" (or even "lost mote"), not (just) "mote" in the AH (or ASX) search box.

Now, as mentioned earlier, most quests do not have that many chests in them.  I know of (2) exceptions:  "Irestone Inlet" and "The Stormreaver Fresco".  Irestone inlet is one of my favorite quests; it can be very tough at level.  BUT there is the potential of up to (15) chests.  Granted, I've never actually *seen* all 15 in a single instance, but it is possible.  I *have* seen 12 chests and usually around 6-to-8 on a regular basis.  Of course, they are scattered all over the questing area.

Stormreaver, on the other hand has (38) "chests".  No, that is not a typo - 38.  And 34 of them are all in the same room.  Of course, the 34 are not filled with "actual" loot (there are only three "loot" chests, in the quest), but they are still considered "chests" and is the place you want to be during a "Mimic Frenzy".  However, Cordovan hinted (in the weekly Youtube update - see 3:10 to 4:30 of the link) that this particular quest may not be eligible in future mimic hunts (but it still may).  If they pull this quest, that would be "bad", especially if the mimic hunt mechanics (drop rates, card rarity) are kept "as is".  But he also hints that there are other 'tweaks' to be made, so...who knows?

I know a few people who were disillusioned with the mimic hunt event, very quickly.  Mostly due to the low mote drop rate (one per mimic) and the very, very low drop rate of cards IX and X.  And honestly, I don't blame them.  I'm OK with grinding things, but with only one week, and the very poor mote drop rate, we as players had little choice than to run Stormreavers and/or Irestone ad nauseum just to get a handful of cards, and none of them IX or X.  There needs to be a better balance.  But, I still had fun.  And I'm even looking forward to its next appearance.

Hopefully, I'll have stopped hearing the Kundarak Bank Alarm in my sleep, by then.

* "Real" in the sense of following the original D&D lore, not "real" as in they actually exists.  Because they don't.  (Or do they?)

** And "chest-like" containers, such as lock-boxes or safety-deposit boxes.

*** Yes, there was at least one joker announcing "1 million gold" in the trade channel.  Someone asked him if he really meant "gold" and he (apparently) sent them a tell saying "yes", which the other guy promptly posted in the trade channel.  And unless you're a new player, you know that the basic unit of currency used in trade is platinum (10 gold = 1 platinum), so either this joker was intentionally trying to mislead people (which is what I suspect), or he was a new player that didn't know any better (which is unlikely, as how many new players would have 1 million gold to spend?).  Schmuck.

† The original (40th anniversary) trading cards were supposed to be auctionable, but as far as I know, never were.  I suspect there was a glitch, so instead of fixing the glitch, it was easier to just make them non-auctionable (pure speculation on my part); meaning I would expect that whatever future trading cards there may be, they will also not be auctionable.  Which frankly, kind of sucks for those of us who really don't want to have to deal with other people directly (i.e. trade) to get them.


  1. Jason Clearwater14 March, 2015 18:31

    Good review, thanks. Please ink to your site. Chez Comic Relief is in the DDO Websites page list on DDOCentral.

  2. Jason Clearwater18 March, 2015 00:01

    Thanks for the link! Please follow DDOCentral on Facebook and Twitter.