Alright, let's talk fixes. [WARNING: long post is long!]
The Soluna plot, it is widely agreed, needs work. Currently, you get off the dropship with this sense of urgency about war with the Shadowscythe and then you maybe go to class and then you...deliver pizzas, or something. Yeah, doesn't really work with that whole "sense of urgency" thing. You know what the plot of MQ needs? It needs a Drakath-equivalent. (I'll call the character "Makath" from here on out. D for Dragonfable, M for Mechquest.) A really, really annoying rival, not a Shadowscythe or anything, just another GEARS student who is very talented, like you are, but is kind of a jerk. Not only does it give you someone to really look forward to beating, but it allows a reworking of the plot on Soluna.
See, after you get off the dropship, you'd be told to attend the 101-level classes, where you'd be introduced to said Drakath-equivalent character. Once you and the other GEARS students were deemed ready to go (or close enough!), you'd be shipped off to fight a battle against the Shadowscythe ASAP (the Kingadent Needs YOU!) Then, in the battle against the Shadowscythe, Makath disobeys orders and pulls some crazy reckless stunt, possibly jeopardizing the whole mission; you, naturally, being the heroic sort you are, also disobey orders and pull some crazy reckless stunt to save the mission again, and you'd end up saving Makath in the process. After the mission, you're both sent back to Soluna to Dean Warlic, where Makath claims he saved you and the mission, and you of course say he's lying...Warlic, without any real evidence to go on, decides you're both grounded for recklessly disobeying orders - stuck in Soluna, forbidden to leave or help out in the war, until you can get letters of recommendation vouching for your general good character and helpfulness from "leaders of the community" in Soluna.
Then you have a reason to be running around delivering pizzas in the middle of a war - you're not doing it just because you've horribly misplaced your priorities, you're doing it because you need to redeem yourself and prove yourself - and not only that, but you need to do it *before* that pesky Makath impresses Parma John so much that *he* gets a letter of recommendation. At the end of each job chain in Soluna, there could be one final mission where you compete with Makath somehow to get the letter of recommendation from that person, maybe beat Makath in a mecha fight or a sword fight or just "outdo" Makath in some kind of minigame, depending on the job. Once you get 3 letters of recommendation (since there's 5 jobs in Soluna, that would let you skip a couple you don't like), Warlic reinstates you, giving you permission to leave the planet (and perhaps sending you off to the moon or wherever, right away). Makath, meanwhile, would be stuck on Soluna still trying to get letters of recommendation for a while, conveniently explaining his absence from the plot for a while...of course eventually he'd get reinstated and start showing up again...who knows, maybe eventually he really would get assimilated by the Shadowscythe...
Needs fixing, it really does. For one thing, navigating around the "planet" is a mess right now, you have to find the right options to click on in a couple different screens just to get back to the Crow's Nest. Some more uses for the submarine would be cool as well. The first thing to do, I think, is to have two cities; an Arthurian settlement and the Crow's Nest; and then you'd navigate to the wars and events and so on from the two cities as usual. If possible, the side you picked first/most in the AvP (I can't write that without thinking Aliens vs Predators, oh well) would have an impact on your character for the entire rest of the game - any time you went back to Lagos, you'd start out in "that side's" city. (Alas, probably any of that info from the AvP war is totally gone/untrackable now, so you'd just have to pick Arthurians or Pirates now.) From there of course you could navigate to the other city in two ways, one by taking a boat (which would probably involve some fights) and the other by taking your handy submarine. (Submarines are sneaky, you see, and you'd have a lower chance of fights, most likely against underwater monsters instead of [other side's] mechs.) Throw in some post-war missions about trying to keep the peace between the two sides (and maybe at this point, Makath could reappear, having [naturally] chosen the opposite side from yours) and the world would be much improved.
SPACE, the Final Frontier
So, fewer SCMMs is fine with most folks, but people quite reasonably object that there's not much of a reason to go Star Captain otherwise. (I personally disagree with them, but I can see their point.) Well, the obvious difference between Star Captains and non-Star Captains is that hey, if you're the captain of this ship, you can fly it wherever you want! Heck you can even fly around in circles if you feel like it, you're the captain! So I'd add just that: sort of like the "random battle" button, a "fly around looking for trouble" button for Star Captains. It'd have some "ordinary" random battles (including random battles from any of the current planets, like Westion/Lagos/Gark/etc), a chance of a few minigames (space battle vs some Shadowscythe ships, or a "steer your ship through the asteroid field" minigame), a small chance of happening across the location of one of the seasonal planets like Thoh, where you could replay the old seasonal content out-of-season (without any of the shops; basically just a chance for to see those enemies and/or the plot of that holiday when it's not that holiday) and maybe a small chance of a couple of unique encounters which can only be gotten to by flying around looking for trouble...sort of mini-planets kinda like Gark would be if there were nobody particularly important at the bar; those might have a loot-roll type weapon drop at the end.
(I think I stole some elements of the above idea from AdventureQuest, but honestly it's been so long since I played AQ I don't really even remember.)
Oh, and naturally, you wouldn't be able to do this until you'd gotten your letters of recommendation in to Warlic.
-Make it so the % increase in credits/xp you get for beating opponents on the harder difficulty is worth the % increase in time it takes to beat tougher opponents.
-Add a "persistence bonus" to every single random roll that starts at +0 and increases by +1 (or +2 maybe) for each consecutive time you've failed that roll previously - only consecutive, though, so it would go back to +0 if you logged off or even switched to doing some other mission for a while.
There's plenty of stuff on the S.O.O.N. list I'd love to see, but if it were all up to me that's the stuff I'd want to see first.
Over course, all this stuff requires, y'know, coders and animators and awesome people like that with the time to add it all to the game. Still, I tried to be at least a little conscious of that when writing these suggestions - the Soluna plot-reworking, for instance, only really requires two or three cutscenes and a couple fights; not that much more work than a holiday release, I would think, though of course I don't really know what I'm talking about as far as how much work this stuff really is.
< Message edited by Mstorm -- 12/11/2010 18:33:23 >