We have enacted a new GM policy governing the release of scripted items in GemStone IV. Since the Revels of the Anfelt is the first festival that will be governed by these guidelines, we want to publish them in advance so that players will know what they're purchasing when they buy a ticket to this and future events.
First, a word on exigency. Starting at the time of the first Dhu Gillywack, we began to see more and more emphasis on scripted items as a keystone of the festival experience--instead, for example, of an emphasis on merchant services, roleplaying events, and the like. In and of themselves, interesting and desirable items are good things. But there are two main issues involved here, both of which touch on the customer experience in GemStone. First, we've heard a lot of feedback about the means of delivery of the most desirable items. Because the means of delivery has been largely left in the hands of individual GMs, there's been little consistency across the game in regard to what items are appropriate for general release, which should be offered through merchant interactions, and which should be reserved for very limited release as "auction quality" items. We do believe that special items should be handled through special means of release, and in order to guarantee a more fair and equitable system for release, we've developed standard expectations for what kind of items will be released in various venues.
The second unintended consequence of our festival emphasis on scripted items is what might be called a slippery slope of player expectations. Players expect each festival to out-do the last, in the number and kind of original items up for sale. The GM staff strains to meet these expectations, and we're seeing more and more creative energy and time going into designing the items. When players don't find these expectations met, interesting and original designs are disparaged as "crap" in whispers, chat rooms, and on the message boards. This is not a trend that is healthy for the game. We need to protect the value of valuable items in the game, and we also need to protect the value of GM time.
As a result, you're going to see a change in emphasis at paid festivals away from merchandising scripted items and toward merchant services. The scripted items that we do offer will be limited in their functionality. In unlimited ("EZShop") festival shops, you should expect items with only a few activating verbs for utility items like swords and shields, and perhaps a few more for prop items like clothing. If a live merchant sells items or improves items available in a shop, you should expect to see a bit more functionality. Only for limited release through auction, raffle, or event prize will you see the most heavily scripted items.
One model for this new order would be Khaladon's white/black ora weapons, which feature basic functionality in shop-sold versions, then "unlock" features if worked on by a merchant, and have full functionality only in raffled/auction versions. Another model would involve the restriction of certain special or unique items (say, Dakarai's chocolate heater/mold system) to spinner/raffle/auction/prize release. GMs will negotiate with festival designers and their SGMs to determine the most appropriate release venue for each item that's designed for a particular festival.
What does this mean for you' You should still expect festivals to offer new and unique items, but the off-the-shelf versions will likely see some reduction in complexity and function. We'll also likely see an overall reduction in the number of items for sale. Consequently, there will be relatively more emphasis on live merchant interactions and roleplaying at the festivals. Most festivals will include raffles and auctions of highly desirable goods, and some will also include limited-edition tickets (above the basic cost of the festival) that provide access to raffle/auction areas. Ideally, this will guarantee the ongoing creation of excellent items, while not undervaluing them by flooding the lands with them. In addition, it will ensure that the actual festival experience remains dynamic and exciting for all attendees.
Note: This policy does not affect the release of quest prizes, feeder items, loyalty prizes, or other special releases. The policies for release in Plat may differ at the discretion of the Upsells SGM and Product Manager.