Work In Progress Introducing The R&D Gear System!

Discussion in 'Concluded' started by Mepps, Oct 29, 2015.

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  1. Mepps Sr. Community Manager

    Introducing The R&D Gear System!

    Hello, DCUO! Today we are pleased to announce the new R&D Gear System, launching in DCUO with or soon after Episode 18. The concept is simple. With this system, you can salvage those common gear items you don't want, and turn their components into the rare gear you do.

    Not simple enough? Here's how it works.
    1. Play content
    2. Defeat bosses
    3. Loot gear
    4. Salvage unwanted gear, breaking it down into new components
    5. Convert those new components into the rare gear you do want using new R&D Plans
    The R&D Gear System expands the existing R&D and salvage systems to offer a new, complementary progression path to the same rare gear found in large group content. The system does not replace playing content for drops - playing content for dropped gear remains the primary means to progress beyond vendor gear - but it does add an alternative, slower, and guaranteed path to rare gear for those losing the battle with randomness.

    With the R&D Gear System, every drop matters - every drop is progress - and you are no longer fully at the mercy of random luck. In time, if you have not found the gear you want, you have the power to build it yourself.

    That's it. That's the R&D Gear System. For those of you looking for the system's overview, stop reading right here! For those of you who want a more in depth look, keep reading and we'll break down exactly how and why this system works.

    Why R&D Gear?

    We are implementing the R&D Gear System in direct response to your feedback and frustration surrounding loot, randomness, and progression. Before we can talk about the system itself, though, we need to talk about what ELSE is happening with loot starting in Episode 18.

    As you know, Episode 18 is the start of a new 3-month release cycle, and that means:
    1. New Gear Release Schedule
      • Starting with Episode 18, all quality levels of EACH gear slot in each cycle will be released in the same Episode.
        • This means each piece won't have a replacement until the next cycle, or three Episodes later.
        • Phrased another way, this expands the time between one piece of gear's launch and the launch of its replacement to at least 12 weeks.
        • For example, in Episode 18, you will find the vendor, rare, AND elite versions of Chest, Back, Legs, and Waist gear, and you won't find gear for those slots again until Episode 21.
    2. Increased Drop Rates
      • With Episode 18, the rare gear drop rate has been increased by at least 40% when compared to 17.
      • This means more rare drops, less common drops, and that's before we even get to R&D.
    3. Weapon Reward Box
      • Starting with 20, weapons will no longer drop individually. Instead, you will receive a Weapon Reward Box as a drop which, when opened, let's you choose which weapon you desire.
    4. Vendor Gear Stays The Same
      • No changes have been made to vendor gear, vendor gear cost, or vendor gear progression requirements.
    These four points alone might feel like plenty of good news for one post, but we have taken your loot and progression feedback and frustrations to heart. Beyond these improvements, we have created the new R&D Gear System to further address both.

    So Really, Why R&D Gear?

    The R&D Gear System was built in response to your feedback. Below is a short summary of the most significant concerns, and how the system directly addresses them.

    What You Said: You get frustrated when you complete an instance but feel like you have made no progress toward your goal of rare gear when you only receive common drops.

    What We've Done: With the R&D Gear System, common drops now progress you toward rare gear, so progress is guaranteed with each boss, and you know how many bosses you need to get that next piece of gear.

    What You Said: You get frustrated when you are striving for that last piece of gear you don't have but you keep getting the rare drops you already do have. Even worse, you know that (while unlikely) it is possible that you will never, ever get that last drop.

    What We've Done: With the R&D Gear System, you can now create that last piece of gear that eludes you, and you know you can do it for a predetermined amount of components. You know for certain that you will eventually be able to obtain that last piece, even if luck never turns your way.

    What You Said: You get frustrated when you feel like you must play just one piece of content to progress onward, when there is so much other new content to play.

    What We've Done: With the R&D Gear System, all content and gear drops in your current 3-month cycle progress you toward the rare gear from that cycle - every solo, duo, alert, op, and raid.

    What You Said: You get frustrated hunting for your preferred weapon, and having to play with some other weapon or an older, worse weapon until you find the one you want.

    What We've Done: With the R&D Gear System, you can create outright the weapon of your choice as soon as the Episode it is included in launches.

    Okay, Details. How Does The System Work?

    How To R&D:

    By now, most of you should be familiar with receiving gear drops - from common to rare, green to blue to purple. You can receive one of these from every boss in modern content, and generally the purple rare drops are what matter to you. Instead of ignoring the others once you have better, or the purples when you get them over and over again, you can now salvage your unwanted gear for new components.

    Step 1: Salvage green, blue, and/or purple gear for some number of gear scraps. Green gear returns the lowest number of scraps, while purple returns the highest.

    Step 2: Using an R&D Plan, create Fused Scraps from a certain number of gear scraps.

    Step 3: Purchase Matter Enhancers and R&D Plans with Marks of Victory.

    Step 4: Using the correct R&D Plan, combine the appropriate number of Fused Scraps and Matter Enhancers to create your desired piece of rare gear. And yes, this created gear is exactly the same rare gear you find as drops.


    What To R&D:

    You may also be asking yourself just exactly what can be created. All rare (not elite) gear can be created in this way. Some rare gear must be created in this way. Why? This allows us to standardize the number of drops each Episode (always four) and even out drop rates month to month, so you always know what to expect.

    Here's what a full cycle of dropped and created gear looks like:

    Month 1
    Drop or R&D: Chest, Back, Legs, Waist

    Month 2
    Drop or R&D: Helmet, Hands, Feet, Shoulder
    R&D Only: Face

    Month 3
    Drop or R&D: Neck, Trinket, Utility Belt, Weapon
    R&D Only: Ring #1, Ring #2

    The next thing you are probably wondering is how long it will take you to obtain enough scraps for each piece of gear. The numbers are still in flux, as far as how many scraps come from each piece of gear and what the plan requirements are, but we are carefully calculating these requirements based on how many drops a player can obtain playing on average five days a week, without replays, at different points in the 3-month cycle.

    Keeping in mind that this is a complementary progression path, not intended to replace obtaining gear as drops, it is currently intended to take about six weeks to build each piece of gear. It is also worth noting that, because more drops become available as each 3-month cycle progresses and more content is added, the number of required scraps increases for the new gear added from month to month.

    All of these calculations will assume no replay use, and of course using even a small amount of replays will accelerate the process significantly.

    Our Expectations!

    Not everyone will utilize the new R&D Gear System in the same way. Players will fall into three major categories, and our expectations for each are below.

    Scenario 1: The R&D Refuser
    • If you are this player, you refuse to participate in the R&D Gear System entirely, and you continue to play only for drops just as you did previously.
    • You take about 10 weeks of play, without replays, to obtain each Episode's gear set.
    Scenario 2: The Random Refuser
    • If you are this player, you refuse to run content for or even accept random drops, only utilizing the new R&D Gear System.
    • You are now able to progress, albeit very slowly, where you were unable to progress at all before.
    • It takes you about 6 weeks of play, without replays, to obtain one gear piece.
    Scenario 3: The Intended Path
    • If you are this player, you choose to take advantage of the new R&D Gear System AND random drops.
    • You progress faster than you could previously, now utilizing both systems.
    • It takes you about 6-8 weeks of play, without replays, to obtain each Episode's gear set.
    These time frames closely mirror years of standards set by quarterly Episode releases.

    With the refinements to the gear release schedule starting in Episode 18 (see above), each piece of gear is "best" for about twelve weeks, or three months, or a quarter of the year, just as it was in previous quarterly Episodes. As such, the intended time to completion is about the same: from six to eight weeks per gear set. Players that play less will go slower. Players that play more will go faster.

    Questions? Comments?

    If you have questions or feedback, we have answers and/or time to consider your thoughts, so please take a moment to let the new system sink in, and then post below. We have kicked things off with a brief FAQ, and will add to it as common questions arise. Thank you for reading!
    • Like x 51
  2. Mepps Sr. Community Manager

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Q: Why not just add vendor gear as the best gear?
    A: With a single mark system (which enables rolling relevancy and monthly content), we can't just inflate mark costs for rare gear. To do so would mean a very high mark cap, and then players instantly purchasing all regular vendor gear as it is released. R&D gear is effectively the same – guaranteed progress with success.

    Q: Why 6 weeks to create a piece of gear?
    A: Allowing common (non-rare) gear to be utilized in rare gear progression will affect everyone's overall progression, as both drops and R&D work off of the same action/reward system. While R&D is a great feature, making running the content irrelevant isn’t.

    Q: How long should it take to obtain a full set of gear, using R&D and drops?
    A: Gear remains "best" or without replacement for at least 12 weeks starting with Episode 18, just as it would in previous quarterly Episodes. We expect players to take between 6-8 weeks to complete each Episode's set.

    Q: Will Elite gear be included in the R&D Gear System?
    A: Not at this time. If Elite gear ever is included, the R&D Plans would require success in Elite content in order to build the gear.

    Q: Is R&D gear exactly the same as dropped rare gear? Does it have the same stats, item level, feats, and styles?
    A: Yes. R&D gear is identical to the dropped gear, styles and all.

    Q: How are these new R&D Plans acquired?
    A: Plans are needed both for Fused Scraps and for each gear piece, and will be available for Marks on a vendor.

    Q: Is R&D Gear or are R&D components tradable? Can I build gear for others?
    A: No. Just like the original drops themselves, none of the components or created gear is tradable.

    Q: In what content will the R&D Gear System be implemented in?
    A: At launch, the system will be in place for Episode 18 content, and will be in place for each new Episode after that. Timing still to be determined, the system will be implemented into some past content as well.

    Q: Does salvaging gear for R&D components or building gear with R&D for salvage feats?
    A: Yes. When you salvage gear, you still get the same R&D components you have received previously, plus the new gear scrap component. Salvaging is unchanged and still counts for salvaging feats. When building gear, you also get all the creation feats.
    • Like x 35
  3. ChillCat Loyal Player

    SUPER Great! few of quick questions.

    Will the scrap plans be account-bound?
    Will the actual scraps be tradable as I can do with Soder Colas or Mods today, for example?
    Are the plans Tier-specific or is the purchase of a plan good for any tier?
  4. agent whitecell Steadfast Player

    Great job better solution then best in vendor
    • Like x 7
  5. Mathalos Well-Known Player

    I can't wait for this to be in-game. Best day ever!
    • Like x 2
  6. blazeing fire111 Devoted Player

    Please make them account bound, it would make having alts more easy.
    • Like x 4
  7. Sage-Rapha Steadfast Player

    Hehe You guys considered my idea!

    Jk. Good news. Thank you for making my Thursday greater than it is
    • Like x 6
  8. Phil Miller Committed Player

    This is awesome news and I commend the devs for listening to the constructive feedback delivered over the past few weeks. Well done DGB team.

    +1 for Options!!!
    • Like x 3
  9. Phil Miller Committed Player

    @ Mepps, quick question - I understand R&D gear and Dropped Gear will be the same. What will be the CR difference between Elite gear and R&D/Dropped Gear moving forward with Episode 18?
  10. Mepps Sr. Community Manager

    1) No.
    2) No.
    3) Each plan (and each type of gear scrap) is specific to each 3-month cycle of Episodes.
    • Like x 2
  11. Shadowdragon Devoted Player

    Great news! This knight approves of any upgrade to blacksmithing... err R&D!

    I hope the plans are account bound.

    The scraps are not tradeable probably because they'd allow alts to jump tiers if they were.

    The plans seem to be specific to a 3-episode set because the end product is the rare gear.
    • Like x 1
  12. Mighty Hyperion Committed Player

    This is really a great thing, thank you for coming up with these cool new ways to enhance the daily grind in a good way.

    Any way that we could ever make Marks account bound as well? It would in my mind make playing, gearing, and enjoying alts far greater/ more fun/ oh ya and easier
  13. Mepps Sr. Community Manager

    There are no changes here. Rare dropped gear and rare Elite gear have the same CR, and the R&D gear is identical to the rare dropped gear.
    • Like x 4
  14. ChillCat Loyal Player

    Prompt and efficient responses. I thank you, Sir.
    • Like x 1
  15. Rockhound665 Devoted Player

    About fricken time.
  16. Mathalos Well-Known Player

    Are the plans to craft each piece of gear one-time use or can you use one plan to craft both roles of each piece of gear? It would be great for those who collect two sets of gear if it was the latter of the two.
    • Like x 4
  17. ChillCat Loyal Player

    So moving forward permanently the only difference between Rare and Elite gear is the Elite style. Is that correct?
    • Like x 3
  18. Trexlight Loyal Player

    You keep it like other Plans so you can make both :)
    • Like x 1
  19. VictoryMC98 Dedicated Player

    I think I'm loving this new system.. Nice work all
  20. Trexlight Loyal Player

    Cooooorecto! Ep16 and Ep17 Elite Gear was a fluke and Ep18 and going forward is how it was meant to be.
    • Like x 1
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