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Tier Burnout?
Written by VelvetLies

     On March 5th, Gaardian's public vote on tier burnout closed with the following results:

[ 3258] Aardwolf: Poll results for: Tier Burnout: How tiered is tiered enough?
Board: Voting
Date:  Mon Mar  5 23:59:57 2007
To:    all
Poll Number       : 12
Description       : Tier Burnout: How tiered is tiered enough?
Question          : When will you hang up your exping shoes?
Category          : Mud
Started by        : Mandorallen
Flags             : HideResults, Anonymous
Started           : Mon 02/26/07 03:03
Vote ends on      : Mon 03/05/07 23:59
Min/Max level     : 1 - 30000
Min/Max hours     : 0 - 50000
Total Votes       : 187
Winner            : If I get to t1, it'll be a miracle. (78) 
-------------------------[ Voting Options ]-------------------------
  1 - Never! T9 Redo for Life!                    (34)
  2 - When I claw my eyes out around t7 or t8.    (17) 
  3 - t5 is like t9 lite!                         (16)
  4 - I'll tier a couple times to learn more.     (27)
  5 - If I get to t1, it'll be a miracle.         (78) 
  6 - I'll stop exping as soon as I'm an imm.     (15)

   During the duration of the vote, I logged captures of Gamestat 9 at random intervals to collect information at various times of the day regarding the tier statistics of online players. At the bottom of this page, you can see the numbers I was able to capture, and they do parallel the voting results. Intrigued by what I found to be surprisingly low counts of t7 and t8 characters, it seemed appropriate to take a closer look at some of the activity on Rank 1. The first 18 slots go to the t9 re-doers, and the t9's end at 46. Only the next 32 spots are made up of t7 and t8s, but keeping in mind how long the t9's have had to accumulate, this pace seems to fit. You'd have to get more than halfway through t6 to crack the top 100, and well into t3 for the top 300.

   Our recent online counts show that there generally are more tiers than non-tiers online, but overall, less than 13% of the characters on rank 1 have experienced the miracle of tiering, and only about 38% has managed to remort. Of course our beloved non-remort SN community isn't accounted for in the rank 1 numbers, but we don't need any additional numbers to see there are a couple of burning questions. The first: is it hazardous to foster an environment where a small group of people pwn the world? Considering that Freggle is the only t9 in a nopk clan (and there are no non-clanned t9's, yet) it would be pretty hard to argue that this isn't worth considering. It's no secret that player vs. player and clan vs. clan activities are a huge focus in our world, and a great deal of collective effort has gone into accommodating this very small portion of the population. It's been necessary essentially because that when these players reach a particular state of 'boredom', it creates a certain chain of events that tends to trickle down and effect everyone. Whether or not it's a positive or negative effect can't be questioned - it is both positive for some, and negative for some. To an extent, we all live at the mercy of the Uber Powerful, from pk, to gq's, to the availability of levelling mobs, and at the same time we rely on them to supply a certain EQ market, and to tank OC runs.

   The next question applies to all of us; as we grow our characters and obtain certain luxurious lifestyles on Aard, what responsibility comes with our privileges? Many players set the example of paying it forward, yet it's also a valid claim to say that our genuine efforts should be investment enough to revel in the glory that is tiered life. The hazards of tiering are fairly minimal - tnl goes up, and there's a slight element of imbalance in the spells and skills gains, but outside of these factors, the game gets progressively 'easier' as we all tier on. Quests and campaign mobs have no 'adjustment' for tiering, and the combination of both increasing stat capacity and reducing training cost each tier almost seems excessively accommodating. The result has come to be that for most gameplay functions, characters are hard pressed to compete with the elite few. When the tier system went in, it made sense to have certain incentive and perks to motivate people to try out the tiering system, but can we say the ultimate result has been successful?

   The high-powered still voice their dissent - they are still bored, and certainly the non high-powered won't hesitate to voice their opinions on the matters of balance and playability in our world where there is no separation to speak of. We saw the addition of 'notier' wars, heroonly eq, and in Gladiatior's Arena we saw the first 'adjustment' based AQ, which is evidence to me that there is still an interest in keeping certain balance, but the gap is greater than what these can accommodate. Yet, are we misguided to rely on the coding elements of the game, rather than the personal conduct aspect? How much of the current population would we lose if they were no longer able to exercise their great advantages? Would things like non-tier-only, (or tier-specific) levelling areas, tierchecks for pvp, and gq mods help? Does the answer lie in accepting an 'endpoint' in the game, and simply starting a new character once this point is reached? Do we need stricter regulations regarding methods and rules violations in obtaining and maintaining great power?

   Despite the overwhelming advantages and increased perks of tiering, we still see a level of MIA-edness among those who have invested the effort to get where they are. It's hard to say how many AWOL because of hazards in their personal lives, and focuses on new games, and how many have actually burnt out in the process of multi-tiering. It can be a very time-consuming process, complicated with the inconveniences of being stuck in the mid-zone where one can still be at the mercy of the more powerful, but powerful enough to endure shameless solicitation from less developed characters. Over several years sharing mixed up tells with Velvet, I can speak from experience that the more powerful a character is, the more shameless the solicitation from 'n00bs'. So when I ask the question of responsibility for privilege, I don't mean to imply that increased power assumes an automatic debt of service, but I do believe it's up to each and every person to contribute to the dynamics of Aard and it's community. There will always be a niche to be filled by predators and avengers and victims, but how much focus do they warrant?

    Our atmosphere is determined by the priorities of our players. Certain features capture more interest than others, and as a result, those features tend to grow and overshadow the rest. The first challenge is identifying the legitimate obstacles from the general entitlement issues shared by the more vocal public.



 Statistics Table - Gamestat 9


Tier 0 Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4 Tier 5 Tier 6 Tier 7 Tier 8 Tier 9
153 50 31 32 20 14 9 6 5 12
154 54 30 33 23 14 12 7 4 14
128 41 31 25 20 14 10 7 3 13
173 62 35 33 20 17 18 6 5 22
191 53 39 34 20 17 13 6 6 18
148 46 31 28 16 13 11 8 7 13
134 49 28 28 20 12 10 4 4 14
167 57 32 30 20 14 15 4 6 20
134 50 30 26 19 10 12 5 2 14
152 56 29 31 22 15 9 4 3 17

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