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Fixing the Hunt without nerfing rewards

There are two fundamental issues with The Hunt: Allied seals and Myth Generation.

As long as this piece of content awards three useful in-game currencies, when all the others only award two - Hunts will forever be farmed over and over and over. The amount of myth you earn whilst doing a full day of Hunts (which you are doing anyway for the seals) is absolutely mind-blowingly good. It's no wonder that everybody across all servers are doing nothing but Hunts.

The fix isn't actually hard, but is more like an alternative. Instead of other suggestions like a seal cap (we don't need more caps in this game), or lowering rewards - they could just include seals into the pay packet at the end of a dungeon or raid instead. This, in addition to increasing the myth count on all the other content. People need to be nudged to thinking, "Hmmm hunts are lucrative, but you know - the non-hunt things I used to do are pretty good now. Plus I don't have to compete and deal with the entire server to do it!".

Square Enix must change the perspective of players, or else Hunts will be the only thing people will do once they hit L50. When you see how many people fight over a B-rank, and how many people actually zerg train a B-rank, you suddenly realize that Hunt fever has become an epidemic of insane proportions. Players desperately need to get access to Sands and Oils, and they are willing to vilify, criminalize, ostracize others to get what they want.

My Proposal:

Daily Expert Roulette Bonus: +35 soldiery, +50 myth, +30 allied seals
Daily High Level Roulette Bonus: +10 soldiery, +150 myth, +15 allied seals
Daily Low Level Roulette Bonus: +100 myth, +5 allied seals

New daily/weekly bonus rewards:

Daily PvP Bonus (For first match of the day only): +20 myth, +10 seals
Weekly Syrcus Tower Bonus (Bonus once a week only): +100 myth, +30 allied seals

Weekly SCOB Bonus (Bonus once a week only): 1 Blood Spattered Book after clearing Turn 6, mailed to you via Moogle Mail
Weekly SCOB Bonus (Turn 7 clear): 50 allied seals
Weekly SCOB Bonus (Turn 8 clear): 50 allied seals
Weekly SCOB Bonus (Turn 9 clear): 50 allied seals

Further tweaks to The Hunt:

Multiply A, B and S mob HP by at least 3 times.
Decrease 100% contribution requirements by 70%.

So with my system, if you do 1 Expert and 1 High level a day - you will get enough seals for 1 blood spattered log in 6 days. If you do at least 1 Frontlines a day on top of that, you can get a 250 seals (1 book) in less than 5 days, give or take. So even if you don't touch a single hunting mob for an entire week, you will get 1 book guaranteed. After 3 weeks - you can get a guaranteed sands for a piece of i100 gear. The SCOB weekly bonus would also encourage raiders to get back together again. Lots of statics have been ripped apart by Hunts, and that's a damned shame.

Also, by decreasing the "100 contrib" requirements by more than half, this gives solo casual players a better chance of at least getting 2nd level partial credit. Why the fuck should those guys only get 5 seals from an S-Rank even though they were there before me and my zerg train came in to destroy the mob? If possible, they should get at minimum - 35 seals, no questions.

How I feel about The Hunt

We want players to do a variety of content, and make them equally as rewarding as the others - not one piece of content that is far superior to all the others, that it renders the other content an actual waste of time.

Here's why I hunt - I want to maximize the gains from my available time to play. The only way I can do this realistically, is to do Hunts on the weekend, and I mean almost nothing but hunts. This is because it gives the absolute best rewards for what limited time I can play. Time investment : Reward ratio is a really big deal for full-time working casuals like myself. I also don't raid, so Hunts are the only feasible way I will ever get i110 gear.

My Philosophy:

1) Raiders should have the access to the best gear in the game (and they kinda still do, albeit in a smaller way now), and they should get further rewards for attempting the hard content that requires skill and communication. Give statics and incentive to stick together, give them seals and logs for their weekly clears. At the very least, they will stay for a Turn 6 clear to get the log, and it might keep the bonds people forged alive for future adventures! In fact, if Yoshi said that he would buff the SCOB gear to i115 levels, I would welcome that suggestion with open arms.

2) People who are roaming the world alone shouldn't be penalized for not being in a party when encountering Hunt mobs. There are many reasons why they may not have a party, but they are still a player with the same needs and desires as me. For the love of God, give them seals.

3) Openly calling in chat for groups to blacklist people is the most fucking disgusting behaviour I have seen from the general server populace. If someone body pulls (it is obvious when it happens), it's almost always a passing by random player that had ZERO to do with the hunt train, or they may have been doing a FATE and the elite mark spawned on top of them, he was there first and the zerg came second (yet he is blamed, wtf?). This needs to be made as a violation against the ToS.

So to end this wall of text, people should be rewarded for playing different types of content. Seals and books for everyone, that's my motto. Hunts will never die as long as seals are being offered as a reward, but all the other content should not have to die because of it either. It's time Square Enix restored the great balance that this game once had.

- Shaunz
I think it is fair to expect changes in the upcoming patches, because whatever hunts are, they kinda feel stupid and ultimately don't require much skill.
Patch 2.35 lands tomorrow, bringing with it - the much needed changes to The Hunt.

This was confirmed by Yoshi-P himself in an interview during Gamescom.

Q: Hunts, causing a divide in the community, friction, and frustration. Some people pull as soon as they get there, and there are some players who like to wait for everyone and share the hunt. The problem is that even if I get there first and I would like to share, I have no way to stop others from “not sharing”. Is there any way we can setup a system to mend this division being created?

Y: First of all we will make many adjustments in 2.35 patch on the 19th of august. Our intention was to have different types of ranks, each rank having different type of players and communities, each rank reaching a certain type of player. B rank for solo players so they don’t have to wait for other players- they can just attack it and get allied seals by themselves at a constant pace.. this was our intention. S rank was for players to shout in the same zone and fight together. A rank was meant to be in-between, if you had a party you could fight it. But because this was on the public field we wanted to make it more casual... However it made no difference to the players if it was S, A, or B and players just wanted to get them all. In 2.35 we will make changes to solve issues, but I can’t go into more details as I don’t want players to be able to anticipate it.

Source: Here

I'd say it's mostly good, but doesn't exactly change the fundamental nature of The Hunt - namely, A-trains. Even with the new changes, hopping onto an A-train is still definitively, the quickest way to amass seals, farm myth and cap out of soldiery early. On the other hand, ask any hunter what they think, (honestly think) about having to comb the same maps over and over for As - it's a pain in the ass. Especially when an A could easily die moments before you reach the target co-ordinates. That's one the most demoralizing moments in any hunter's day, scouring the map for 30 minutes - only to have the A be pulled early a few minutes away from you on the same map.

Now you have a pretty decent alternative to do it in your own time. In fact, I would recommend hopping on an A-train, and then after that's finished - go do the daily rewards. There's absolutely no reason not to. It's free seals every day if you can be bothered.

With the new alliance system in place, I am pretty sure that 8-man scouting parties will now evolve become 24-man hunting parties instead. The activity of hunting down A-ranks will now be a more streamlined, efficient and easily communicable affair. Basically, it's SE's way of saying, "We know it's too late to do anything now, but we might as well make it easier for people to participate in the wholesale slaughter of As and Ss".

For veteran and novice hunters alike, this looks to be another y2k moment. The Huntpocalypse has been averted, and in many ways looks to be a fairer system for everyone involved. In my earlier Hunt rant, my system had a 250 seal-a-week minimum in place. SE has buffed dailies and the weekly to make that 274 seals a week, and you don't even have to board an A-train, ever.

To be clear, hunts giving three useful forms of currency still doesn't technically address the primary issues of the content. Lest we look a gift horse in the mouth, we should probably chalk this one up as a victory for the players, and thank based Yoshi-P for not sleeping enough even after a week at Gamescom.
Since it's going to be about a Dragon.

Prelude to Madness

Recently, I got my Seasoned Tracker title. Which to many out there, doesn't mean all too much. It is however, one of my most prized achievements in this game. I'd rank it up there with pug-killing Twintania. Mainly because it involves having to kill all unique S-ranks in the world of Eorzea at least once. For those that understand how the Hunt system works, especially for S-rank hunt mobs, it is no easy task. In fact, it is downright murderous - with regards to how random the spawns can be. Despite the caviats of hunting S-ranks, the one monster that had eluded me once before previously, and one of the rarest S-ranks - was a dragon named Safat.

Safat was unlike his other S-rank brethren. His maximum respawn timer has been found to be up to 62 hours. To this day, 2 months after Patch 2.3 was released - nobody actually knows what the spawn conditions for Safat are. Nobody even has the faintest idea, the best guesses are as follows:

  • Safat spawns if you spam /fear and /panic emotes in Coerthas
  • Safat spawns if you fall off tall cliffs in Coerthas
  • Safat spawns if you fall off tall towers in Coerthas

Out of 17 S-rank monsters in the game, 16 of them have pretty concrete spawn conditions that people are aware of. Safat remains as the most elusive of the lot. Prior to hunting Safat, I had already killed over 300 Bs, 500+ As, and I had murdered a good 50+ S-ranks. None of that meant anything, until I got to kill the elusive Dragon of the Highlands. The one time I actually got anywhere close to him was when I just started hunting, noticing a large train - I hopped onto the bandwagon and got to the site just in time to see Safat's corpse before it respawned. It was a bummer, but I thought, "I'm sure I'll just get it in a couple of days". How little I knew back then, because it would be a solid 2 months before I saw anything Safat-related, corpse or otherwise.


Stalking Safat

Last Friday, I decided that I was quite literally going to hunt the ghost of Safat. The conditions were going to be perfect, as there was a maintenance window that would effectively reset the timers of all S-spawns, regardless of their windows before maintenance. Plus, I had 3 days (72 hours) to begin my hunting ritual (as I had a long weekend). My battleplan was simple, a series of alarms that I set for myself, based on information I accumulated from other hunters in my network. Even the most experienced first-generation Huntmasters I knew couldn't tell me much, except that Safat was in their experience, the hardest to spawn, and since nobody really knew the conditions, one of the last to do so. That would be my only "useful" tidbit to go on.

Based on my estimates:

  • +35 hours: Safat's window begins
  • +48 hours: Safat's spawn likelihood increases (people I talked to indicated that +40 was a solid bet)
  • +62 hours: Safat will spawn with no exceptions on hour 62

The hunt actually began sometime after the +35 hour mark after the maintenance window was complete. So it was sometime on Saturday evening that I closed off to bed early. As 5:00 AM GMT+8 would be when Safat's window would open. I woke up at around 5.30 AM on Sunday morning, I was really tired and when I realized I was 30 minutes late from the original window - I was relieved to find that Safat had not yet been killed. The biggest obstacle to my hunt on Sunday was definitely a lunch I had to attend to, this would take me away from my computer for a couple of hours. My windows of opportunity were 5:00 AM -> 12:00 PM, then 2:00 PM until the wee hours of Monday. The 2 hour gap made me worry, but that was out of my control - I just had to hope that it wouldn't.

Then on 5:45 AM on Sunday, something insane happened - an S-train of epic proportions occured. In between 5:45 AM and 11.30 AM, I killed 7 S-rank monsters. I had not done anything like it previously. It's going to sound crazy, but I actually got increasingly frustrated for each S-rank announced all across the network that wasn't Safat. At 11:55 AM, after killing 7 S-ranks. I felt a sense of dread deep in my soul. An S-train of this magnitude was absolutely phenomenal, and definitely out of the norm - I thought for sure that Safat was going to spawn in the 2 hour gap that I was away. It was a grim and painful couple of hours as I despaired about the next window, which would land sometime during an hour which I would be at work (or on the way back from work). It could be another few weeks before a window this good presented itself.

The lunch appointment came and went. I returned home, and gleefully found out that Safat still hadn't been killed. My instinct told me to idle in Coerthas and just camp out for this dragon. At this stage, it was around 2:15 PM and Safat had still not spawned 44 hours after the Friday maintenance window. Nearly 10 of his S-rank brethren had already spawned hours earlier, and were slain in quick succession. This was the nature of my prey. Fickle, stubborn, elusive and infuriatingly mysterious. I suppose it was Safat's qualities as a slippery hunt mark, that further solidified my obsession with killing him. At any rate, I calculated that +62 hours after Friday was Monday morning, but I was already preparing myself mentally for pulling an all-nighter if need be.

Then on Sunday 31st August 2014, 2:30 PM GMT+8, It happened. All of the hunter alarms went off, and in Camp Dragonhead - where I was idled, a flurry of warp-ins occurred. I steadied myself, and made a mental note that Maracco had already died an hour earlier. Since this isn't Patch 2.3 Day 1, nobody could be this excited for Naul. It was time for me to put an arrow or two into this dastardly beast who drove me to near-insanity and profound sadness. A monster that taunted me each time I left my seat, averting my eyes from the computer monitor.

Co-ordinates were X:23 Y:7. I was going to fight the Dragon of the Highlands at the apex of Coerthas. It was to be a worthy battleground, for me to finally complete my destiny as a hunter that killed all unique S-rank hunt mobs in this world. When I laid eyes on Safat, my mouth was quivering, and my hands a bit rattly. Two months, I waited for this moment, in that time - I had seen an entire generation of hunters come and go. The first arrow that connected with his dull-green hide felt as good as my last arrow that put Twintania down for good. Around him, people were disconnecting (as it was peak hour hunting on a weekend by the time he spawned). Fortunately, based Yoshi-P spared me from such a cruel fate.

When Safat died. I felt released. No longer did that moment in the beginning of Patch 2.3 haunt me. This time, I would be there to see his corpse despawn, as others rode in too late. It was then, after my moment of triumph, did I wonder - just how many hunters would see themselves in the same position as I, weeks after they arrived just in time to see Safat die? After this pause, I realized, that if they were really hunters worth their salt - they would eventually kill the Dragon of the Highland.

No matter how long the stalk would last.

- Shaunz
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