Articles - ArticlesEven if you are someone that doesn't frequent the battle stations that float high above the surface of Rubi-Ka, you are likely to have heard the praises and criticisms from fellow players of the level range changes for battle stations that came with patch 18.3.13. While not a monumental change, the chatter is no less embattled on both sides of the fence and even for those that are comfortable right on top of it.
Are the new level ranges fair to everyone involved or do they weigh heavily in favor of one group? The general consensus is that while level ranges that were previously impossible to get going on a battle station are now running; more have become desolate or skewed too heavily in regards to the power and ability at the beginning of a range and the end of it. Combined with the crossing of title levels (and therefore title caps on skills, equipment level requirements, and perk level requirements) this has resulted in some ranges being a virtual slaughter house where the lower leveled characters in the range stand no chance and are often caught in the death loop as their spawn point is camped by someone far more powerful than themselves.
However, this is nothing new. The level ranges that are available may have changed but the problem of overpowered characters picking on the weak is something that everyone has faced at one point or another even if they have never stepped foot in a battle station. A character that has been twinked to the max versus someone going at a regular pace will always be in favor of the twinked character, and rightly so. A lot of work has gone in to the twinking process for whatever end goal they were striving for.
With some of the ranges crossing multiple title levels, when does it stop becoming fun to participate in a round of battle station combat? When does the reward become worthless in comparison to the annoyance of constantly dying with odds that are clearly stacked against you under any circumstances?
Do the new battle station ranges really make that much of a difference? Players that have spent days and weeks tweaking their characters just so to fit in the end of the previous ranges think so. All of their hard work could be for nothing if the new range puts them in the middle or bottom of the pack again with someone that can easily take them down, twinked or not. That's a lot of credits and time lost for some players.
Others ask why some of the new ranges are so small while others obviously span a much higher bottom to top ratio of levels. Does Funcom fear the backlash they would have received from the level 174 twinks if they had been placed in a range where they were no longer the alpha dog? On the same idea, how do the 215-220 players feel being alienated in to the smallest range on the scale?
The most questionable of the new ranges is clearly the 175-214 segment. Spanning three different title levels, this range is almost laughable if you choose to compare the options in equipment and perks between a low and top range character. Does a 175 really stand a chance in this situation? It's entirely possible, but not very plausible. The difference in IP points spent on skills is enough to make anyone in the lower half of the range kneel down and say a prayer before a battle station round begins. When you start to consider that every level from 201 onward receives additional perks at each level and greater skill increases. Then add on even more power at 205 when you breach title level 7 and your IP allotment goes through the roof. You might want to sacrifice a virgin to go along with your prayers, 175's.
Such feelings of hopelessness do not seem to be translating well as the number of AFK battle station players seems to be on the rise. Players that feel they have no chance and instead choose to mount their anti-personnel turret and then ALT+TAB out to do other things. This creates an even worse feeling of frustration for the players that may know their chances are slim, but try anyway. The support those players need from one another is lost when their side mates don't bother to do their part.
Should Funcom reconsider the ranges they chose to deploy, taking in to account player suggestions? A lot of people would like to see them changed even more, yet a larger group of people think that it was too many suggestions in the first place that has caused this new warped set of ranges to be created and making even fewer people happy than were previously.
When Means initially talked about changing the ranges, he proposed a batch that was quickly rallied against. However, the suggestions currently being given to “fix” these now broken ranges are oddly similar to those proposed by Means to begin with.
A largely agreed upon idea is that this change should have been made in a later patch once the changes for the Hold Hell At Bay ring were in effect and the repercussions were gauged. Players with the ring are considered to have a great advantage over those who do not due to the additional 500 added to nano-resist. With a range that has this differentiating factor squarely in the middle how can the players that can't wear it not help but feel cheated? When the ring was not level locked, it did not have nearly the effect on the battle station as it does now as people were able to wear it at a variety of levels. The already great difference between pre 200 characters and post 200 characters has only been magnified and most believe is a large factor in making the 175-214 range, a range that should be thriving due to it's extremely wide berth, a ghost town even in these early days of the new ranges being released...
Another change that seems to have people up in arms is the simple change of the bottom level in one of the ranges going from 150 to 151. This is seen as a kiss of death for the 151-174 range as S10 twinks have now been taken out of the equation and leaves the 174's that have been meticulously twinked for VP farming to reign supreme. This also places those same S10 twinks in a range that gives them every opportunity to completely dominate, making the 101-150 range undesirable for anyone at the lower end of it.
At the end of the day, no matter how the battle station is divided up among the level ranges, there are going to be people that don't agree with it, and there will always be particular blocks of ranges that are not participated in as often or even at all due to leveling mechanics of the game. Early leveling goes so quickly that having ranges before 50 is really just a novelty. Even up through the late 100's a lot of players take the heckler route and breeze through, only hitting the battle stations when they feel at an acceptable level to get a worthwhile set of OFAB pieces that they won't outgrow in a week or to get enough points for their set of research attunement devices.
I suppose it really comes down to a simple question, because no matter how the ranges are divided there will be unhappy players; Do you want battle stations that run on a constant basis in larger chunks (such as proposed ranges; 100-151, 151-200, 201-220, etc.) despite the difficulty the players in the lower portion of each range will face or how alienated they may feel by being shuffled off away from everyone else (in the case of the current 215-220 range)? Or, do you want battle stations that are fair and provide a near equal challenge to everyone involved in that particular range so that people must rely on skill and wit instead of purely being overpowered due to a level gap even if it may not run as often, or nearly at all? Okay, so maybe the question isn't THAT simple.
Article written by Silvana
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