I was a top 20 provisioner for Hamlet Defense on Durandal and I wanted to give my complete feedback regarding the event.
For the supply phase I spent an unhealthy 12-18 hours turning in botany items. This was over a two day period, and I also spent a good chunk of time crafting while I waited to get out of botany fatigue. Despite this, I was only able to secure the #15 position, and being that I fell from position 12, down to 17, and was able to get back up to 15, I barely secured the spot.
Right on the log in screen it basically says "Don't let the game compromise your life". That's pretty difficult to do when a competitive mechanic like that is introduced, especially when many people put in large amounts of time but then didn't earn a reward slot.
With all of our suppliers hard at work, Durandal barely made it to Stage 2; only by a few hours, which means this high level of involvement is expected by the developers.
What did top 20 provisioner do? Top 20 provisioner allows one to have a second chance at another item when talking to the Militia Captain. This is a chance, and not guarenteed. So after you spend the better part of your waking two days doing botany, you can't actually collect any reward unless you involve yourself for a third day. So in total, to receive your provisioner rewards you have to spend three total days completely focused on the mundane task of botany [the competitive nature of it does make it more enjoyable, might I add; but frankly just having a concrete goal would suffice], followed by a day where you do hamlet defense just to have a chance at the reward. The first time I completed a hamlet defense I received "grade 5 dark matter" for my reward. Out of my 9 runs I received Miliitia Wristlets and a Militia Sledgehammer. Scores in my different parties were between 25-34k. I never saw another person receive a piece of loot; only dark matter. One person I spoke with said his linkshell group got above 40k and someone received a piece of loot in it, so it's possible, but only really apparent for linkshell groups [I was never able to get a linkshell group formed, as mine is relatively small and new] Members from larger linkshells were often too busy doing Garuda to care. I know I will have critics that will cry heathenism at this post because I don't have a reliable linkshell at this point in time, but I spent all day putting together pug groups, and teaching them basic parts of how it functions.
The 3 days demanded of the provisioners is only good if people continue to do Hamlet Defense. As the day went on it became harder and harder to get players, because no one was getting rewarded despite putting in several hours of combined effort. Eventually it got to a point where I was throwing rag-tag combinations together trying to get a kill, but for the last 5-7 hours I didn't secure another defense, simply because the players were losing interest; on the very first day the content was available.
The hamlet defense itself was pretty fun; better than what I expected. I especially enjoyed the DOL incorporation. Many White Mages commented on the fun they were having. DOH would comment that it was awkward to have the crafting music playing in the middle of battle. DOH were often very confused about what they were doing because the rules weren't made clear to them.
In the future, every single time the Hamlets reset it will demand more and more and more of your time, because people will be out farming the trees for turn ins for the next cycle because items for turn in still exist on the server before the supply phase begins again. At some point soon, just making it onto the top 20 provisioners list may take over a week of your life away because of stockpiling.
With the incorporation of additional hamlets, I worry later phases won't be attainable.
I want to go into a problem/suggestion list format now:
Phase 1 has negative effects on your life in order to receive the reward; and if you don't make it in the top 20 for the extra chance, what's your motivation to turn in items?
Potential Solution 1:
Shorten Phase 1 to 24 hours.
Add thresholds players can cross to turn in items, once they turn in the maximum threshold their contribution to the hamlet is complete, and they secure the extra bonus. This can keep this a 2-4 hour event rather than a 2 day event; and encourages everyone to contribute - not just the players who have 3 days in a row available.
Potential Solution 1.2
Shorten Phase 1 to 24 hours
Add a maximum turn in limit; the first of a certain percentage of players to reach the maximum limit win the bonus out of a total of all the players who contribute. [this would require different starting times for the contest].
Make all items that are used for supply phase disappear at the end of the supply phase to reset the contest, and these items won't be gatherable until the start of the next supply phase.
Hamlet Defense ravaged my server's economy. It inflated prices certain items til they weren't available, while other items were completely deflated in value.
Supply phase 24 hours, after the supply phase 24 hours of break, then 24 hours of hamlet defense. This will mitigate any jarring economic changes, and remove the necessity of dedicating three straight days of a provisioner's life to this task.
Players aren't happy with the reward ratio at poorer performance levels. This will hurt the future of gatherers supplying because the adventurers aren't participating, and it will make players less likely to reach the current provisioning top 20 level required to move the Hamlet into phase 2.
Increase the chance of reward to keep players motivated to participate; otherwise it's just going to collapse on itself.
With the addition of other Hamlets, all of the above problems are going to exacerbate themselves.
Potential Solution 4:
Select only one hamlet to defend each week; or have the hamlets designed for different level ranges.
The Hamlet Defense is a great option for botanists and crafters to have game content aimed at them, but it really needs modification to make it more palatable. I hope these suggestions will help make it a better experience.
What did I gain from my experience with Hamlet Defense:
Cost: 3 days and a sense of being pathetic for three days
Cost: 230-272,000 in crafting materials
Gained: 1.5 million gil from botany items [so far, I keep track of all my retainer stuff, see my Lodestone blogs called Mazzma Market Musings]
Gained: 1.45 million gil from the completely perturbed economy [so far] - at least it corrected some of the prices for items that were selling far too cheaply, imo.
Gained: two militia items [one I can't use]
Gained: Two or three botany levels. [seriously, fix this, botany is grossly slow]
Hamlet Battle: 9 completions, maybe 10-25 failures [all failures in the last part of the event].