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Just a quick suggestion to add a utility into the game.
Currently, if/when I log out, I lose all my Neph Stacks and my current quest progression. This basically means that, unless I can dedicate at least an hour or two of my time towards playing the game, it just isn't worth logging on. I mean, why would I log on for half an hour, maybe get two or three champ pack kills, then have to log out?
It also means that, once I have started playing, I feel compelled to continue since I don't want the time I've currently invested to be wasted, because only once I'm at 5 Neph Stacks is my time now running at maximum efficiency, so I want to maintain that efficiency and have as little of the less-efficient time be part of my play-time.
So, I propose an option that lets me 'Save' my current quest progress and my Neph Stacks, and then quits the game. The idea of Saving isn't to allow exploits of 'Save and try again', which is why the game must be force-quit if you choose to save. What it does mean is that, I can log on, maybe play for 45 Minutes, then feel like taking a break (which I'm suppose to do anyway according to Health and Safety lololo), I can save my game and go do something else, or browse the AH or whatever, then when I feel ready to play again, I can reload my game.
Upon reloading, my 'Save State' will automatically be deleted (such that I can't manually quit and reload my Save State), and if I want to be able to load a game, I must first Save again. I'd also think that allowing only one Save State per account would be reasonable, to save server space and to prevent any exploits (not that I can see any, but I don't have infinite foresight).
This would also reduce feeling the need to do 'efficient farming runs' as much. Rather than knowing that, since I only have 90 minutes available to play, I need to do yet another '5 stacks then Ghom' run, I can just start my game at the beginning of the act, and work my way to the end, saving and loading as needed. It means I get less bored/have more fun because I'm not just farming the same small portion of one act, but rather I am seeing the whole act from start to finish, exploring each cave and filling out all areas of every map, much as the game is supposed to encourage. I no longer get that feeling of 'damn, I've only got 30 minutes left - gotta skip everything to make sure I reach Siegebreaker in time' - I can just continue at my pace, and when I need to stop playing, I can simply Save and quit.
To avoid exploiting (and potentially make it easy to implement and save server space), Saving could be restricted to Towns only, and could even Save your state only to most recent checkpoint, such that the game doesn't have to remember your exact position and all that. All areas could have their maps 'forgotten' (to further save space).
As I write this, I have considered a potential problem, being that of resetting monsters. If the game can be saved such that it remembers at least the Champ/Elite packs you've killed then the problem is removed, but if the monsters would be reset when you reload, it could encourage people to farm the act up to a boss or whatever, then save, reload, and reclear the same area, effectively never leaving their one game and maintaining 5 Neph Stacks forever (since there'd be an unlimited supply of packs to kill).
A potential solution might be to 'charge a fee' of 1 Neph Stack per Save, a small gold fee, or a maximum limit of Saves in one game before you cannot save again (a fairly high number, otherwise it defeats the purpose of being able to load and save as you want, but enough such that you can't continuously farm the same game forever. Maybe 15-20 saves?). I'm sure there are other ways around it, but I don't like to present an idea that I know has issues without at least offering some kinds of solutions.
Could also restrict loading a Saved State to those with Authenticators, and requiring authentication each load. This is mainly an idea just to smite Botters/gold-farmers.
What do you guys think? Terribly bad idea? Has some merit? Any/all comments/feedback is welcome!
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