THE GRINDSTONE TRIBUNAL:
Despite having plenty of people to play alongside this time, only three people were willing to contribute to the Tribunal this round. This is also the second episode in a row I gave Dreskar a break from writing… which is probably why I’m so late. Anyway, enjoy the tentative praise of Dabeer and myself, and some classic sarcastic rage from Karochi.
Oh, so you actually came here looking for this article after I mentioned it in the FFXIV review, huh? Well, here we go.
There’s an ugly hidden truth to the Rested XP system most often featured in World MMOs. What could be wrong with a system that rewards you for not playing, you ask? Read on.
For those of you who might not know what Rested XP is, it’s a system first implemented by World of Warcraft but adopted by games like Rift, SWTOR, FFXIV and many others. By finding an appropriate location, usually an Inn, you will gain a limited amount of bonus experience when killing monsters, until it wears off. Sounds awesome right? This way you can more easily catch up to friends that can play more often, as long as you log out in the appropriate spot every night!
Now before I start explaining something, I want to talk about another experience system often featured in Chinese and Korean MMOs, called “Experience Fatigue” also known as a Stamina system. A game like Rappelz would feature multiple tiers of this, dropping your experience gain by 25% per portion of your stamina level. If it was depleted, there was nearly no point in enemy grinding, which was a heavy part of the game, and you’d need to log off for a while to recover it. Some of these systems are more Draconian than others, some forcing you to log off, or making it impossible to progress through the game until you do. MMO players HATE these kind of systems, and every time I made mention of one in a game, I’d see more than a few people talking about how much they refused to play games with these restrictions. XP Fatigue systems were put in place to discourage players from playing a game for far too long, as MMO addiction and lack of productivity was an epidemic in these countries.
In fact, when Blizzard started to create their MMO, they knew the risks of addiction, and seen what happened with Everquest, so they decided they would include their own XP Fatigue system.
As you play the game, you gain normal XP amounts, but slowly become fatigued as you kill enemies. After a while, you’ll reach Fatigued status, and earn half the experience until you find an Inn and log off to replenish it. Players in the beta threw a FIT, flooding the forums with complaints, screaming about how Blizzard had no right to control how much people play, and punishing them for doing so was wrong.
Come the next patch, Blizzard announced a new system called the “Rested Experience Bonus”. As you play the game, you’ll gain normal experience from monster kills, but if you take a break by logging out in an Inn, you’ll earn a Rested Experience Bonus, giving you double the amount of XP you’d normally gain until you run out. Players rejoiced, and considered Blizzard as the most amazing and giving developer.
Here’s something you’re probably figured out unless you’re not very good at math. The values were never changed.
Under the Fatigue System, if a monster gives you 100 XP with normal status, it would give you 50 XP when you were fatigued.
Under the Rested XP System, the same monster will give you 50 XP with “normal” status, and will give you 100 XP with the Rested XP “bonus.”
It’s the exact same system! By switching which version of XP gain was called “normal”, and making it sound like players were being rewarded, rather than punished, they were able to keep their original system without changing a single thing about how it worked.
THE RESTED XP SYSTEM IS, AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN, A FATIGUE SYSTEM.
Blizzard wrapped it in a pretty bow, changed around the terms, made us feel special, and we all fell for it. GG, Blizz.