Let me start off by saying obviously I don't want region exclusive content to be removed from the game, in favor of improving it or leaving it as is instead for the most part.
However as a fellow Programmer myself, I very much do understand that something you made initially expecting to be able to support for many years and quickly become a thorn in your side that regularly breaks and isn't worth the time/effort to maintain.
As a player I also do acknowledge that GMS has had numerous extremely powerful region-exclusive features added that totally throw off the balance of the game, and while it will always leave a bad taste in someone's mouth if you give them something great, then take it away, I think a good handful of the content and features here trivialize lots of other content in the original game and don't really feel right to keep in the game in their current state.
Basically, I understand that the game is better off in the long run sometimes to remove content, even if it hurts to rip the bandage off.
As far as communicating these changes goes, I personally think these would be the best in order, Both done at least 1 month prior to the content being disabled in-game
1. Announcement + Livestream Q/A schedule -> Q/A session -> Updated removal plan with player feedback taken in account -> Followup Q/A Session to address remaining concerns -> Final Removal Plan
2. Announcement + Player Feedback survey, including open ended response prompts -> Updated removal plan with player feedback taken in account
The current communication of
Announcement -> Reddit/Discord Feedback -> Minor adjustments with many major concerns being left in the dark until the changes go live
I believe is the biggest issue with content being removed.
I think in most cases, the communication is more of an issue than the actual content removal.
Examples of poor communication:
- Jett removal being announced extremely soon before having creation disabled in-game, and the details of how character transfer works not being clear until a few days later (how nodes/gear transfer will work; some other things still aren't clear)
- Commerci Transposing flame change being shown in patch notes while/right before game is down
Let me close off by listing a few Regional Exclusive content/feature examples and what I think the best way to go about removing them would be if it ever comes to that, and also note that I don't think permanent legacy items are ever a good solution:
- Class Removal (including Jett):
Allow players to change jobs to ANY other job. It's only fair that players that carefully decided who to main / invest heavily in to make a bossing mule should be able to pick a different one of their choice in the event it's removed.
Make it clear from the get-go that Skill nodes will retain their level in transferring, all upgrade stat bonuses including Potential, Bonus Potential, Flames, Scrolls, etc will be changed to make the target class's Primary/Secondary/Tertiary/Quaternary stats, and core quests like Liberation will be properly transferred alongside your weapon, to a weapon of your choice if your class has multiple options (for example, Hero can go with various 2H or 1H melee weapons).
Players that didn't switch in time, will have their character defaulted to the closest explorer class to the class removed as a temporary measure, prompted of what happened while they were gone on their next login of the affected class, and will be given the option to switch (some people take long breaks from the game and I don't think it's fair to them to come back after a 1-2 years and see their Jett was turned into a Corsair or Beginner without them having any options).
- 0 Attack Speed:
This one is a bit tricky since a number of classes are significantly stronger with 0 AS in the game compared to in KMS. For this reason, it's sort of in the same boat as class removal where players who main certain classes may be heavily inclined to switch mains after the change, and because of that, I think those classes should be given the option to do so.
Since this change would affect quite a few classes at the same time, but I don't think it's a good idea to just let everyone change every one of their characters to any job they want just because all classes are technically affected by attack speed, I think the best approach would just be to gather some data on what classes are the most different DPS wise from KMS compared to GMS using only KMS exclusive gear on both test characters for each job, get the median difference for all jobs combined between servers, and then any classes that are more than 5 or 10% above that median value are given the option to switch jobs similar to the Class Removal process above, perhaps just limiting it to the top 5 or 10 classes that are significantly better in GMS than KMS due to attack speed.
Nerf the set bonus Superior to 10% Boss/IED (so the set bonus is clearly worse than Pitched 4 set and the legacy items will not be BIS), or buff Pitched 2 set and 3 set bonuses to be 30% Boss Damage / 30% IED respectively (although I think I'm more in favor of aligning with KMS, a lot of players would prefer this over nerfing items they already worked for).
Players would also most likely receive the removal of Gollux a lot better if it was done AFTER a pity system were added to make obtaining Dawn/Pitched boss set items more accessible and consistent.
Since the Transposing mechanic was already heavily nerfed, I think the main thing people still use this content for is getting Face/Eye/Pendant Accessories that are most consistent to obtain than Dawn/Pitched Boss set items, so I think this is in the same boat as Gollux where I think it'd be more positively received if it was done AFTER a pity system for not only those 2 set items, but also the Papulatus Mark Eye accessory rare drop.
Since players in regular servers spent money on theirs, I'm not sure you even legally could remove them.
On Reboot, even where players couldn't pay to enhance / reroll, players have no only grinded hundreds of hours to get good familiars, but they've also deprived themselves of better EXP rates by farming in Limina instead of Grandis maps that have much better rates, so to many players would've been many levels higher than they are now if they had been training on the best map they could access instead of lower leveled areas to get cards. That being said, I think anything short of some exceptional compensation such as a handful of level potions that work up to 280 or 20-22 starforce enhancement scrolls scaling with number of super rare familiar effects you have probably would leave players a lot of players very unhappy with how much time they wasted on that system.
Certain bosses are trivialized severely by healing familiars as well such as Hard Will and Hard Verus Hilla, but I don't think there's really any great answer to this problem of players being used to these bosses being much easier on our server...
This is the only one I think have no obvious solution that wouldn't leave a lot of players feeling like they wasted hundreds of hours of time or lots of money.
As far as game balancing issues, specifically Gollux, AS0, and Familiars - i personally think Nexon should leave things as is, or at the very least, make future content more enticing rather than nerf current content [make pitched easier/better rather than nerf gollux]. In terms of the things GMS already has, and has had for years, they should honor what they determined was right for our version of the game at the time these things were implemented. Too much time has passed and these features are ingrained in GMS. Too many people are too invested in their gollux gear, their familiars, their classes with AS0.
That said, i can understand why they would want to remove or adjust these things significantly, and quite honestly, i expect it; but for me personally it would ruin the already fragile trust i have with this company and would result in me quitting the game. Dramatic? Perhaps, but when i've invested a significant amount of time and money into these features that Nexon has provided me with and invited me to participate in, i see no other choice. Nerfing the set effect after this long, items that many players have dumped significant resources on, would not sit right with me any way you slice it.
Do i think Nexon would be necessarily wrong to make sweeping changes to Gollux set, familiars, and AS0. Not quite, its their game after all. Would i like it, and continue to support this company with my energy, time, and money? Absolutely not. Its about trust, and they have broken it many times already. Nexon's lack of foresight on their own game only punishes players who have invested their time and money on it, and its reaching a point where i can't tolerate it, out of self-respect.
/end rant ty for coming to my ted talk
I'm more just saying that IF at some point they come to the conclusion any of these major things is too much work to maintain or they just don't like what it does to the game
- Players would be much happier with the communication from Nexon's end if they do it one of the ways I stated
- Some of these changes have a lot bigger impact on balance and a player's choice of Main than the devs may think, so my stated solutions would be the best way of handling its removal
Basically, if they're gunna remove any of this stuff at some point, here's a way to minimize the fallout.