ACE Investor & Tester
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About Duffy

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  1. Most of it was pretty good, nice job! The race trees on the other hand, not feeling so great about. Might need to see more details before a real critique, but from what we saw it looks like the result is gonna be simpler decision making for building characters and/or some training taxes. Still happy they seem to have dropped the Vessel upgrade line, that was a good move.
  2. Maybe I'm confused then, as you quoted my entire previous reply and stated "This is incorrect.", that seems to imply some sort of disconnect between the differences of your local machine's performance versus the server's performance and how that interacts with everything. Usually the higher the skill ceiling of the game via movement and targeting mechanics the less concurrent players can have optimal performance for a given piece of server hardware due to the added communication overhead. As you reduce the skill mechanics the number of concurrent players increases for the same piece of hardware. Optimizing local client behavior is another layer of performance optimization on top of that, but it's also finickier because people will have different hardware. Technically the client somewhat fakes what you see and if there's delays in the server's ability to process and relay commands you will experience desync issues, rubber-banding is one of the most common problems. Sometimes the desync is subtler such as getting hit even though you think no one is quite in range. This of course is impacted by both your ping to the server and the server's workload itself, both can create the effect as they both amount to delayed processing. In the former case only the individual would experience the issue whereas in the latter case it would impact everyone connected to that server. So are we actually agreeing that it is a balancing act between the two different areas of optimization? I focused on the server side as that is one of the reasons tab targeting vs. twitch combat was a popular choice for MMOs. In an ideal world when optimizing for large fights you'll want your server performance to degrade before your local client does (at least for a target client spec), the likely hood of that occurring entirely depends on how intensive your graphics end up being comparatively. tl;dr: it's a giant complicated pain to balance out the various aspects that impact performance and at any particular moment the source of performance degradation can originate due to local client issues, server issues, or a combination of both depending on various factors and target performance specs.
  3. Yes, that is a series of local client problems and all of that does play a huge factor on your experience, but it doesn't impact the server and the server can and will be a potential bottleneck depending on how much communication is required. Even in a fairly well optimized game the server is still the bottleneck when you start adding more connections to the pool. You seem to be implying the server is never a major bottleneck for processing large fights, that is most assuredly not true.
  4. GPU limitations are a local performance problem not a server problem, turning down the graphics will impact your performance but has little impact on the server itself (at least in a way beneficial to the server, it can be beneficial to you). The server is handling processing and verifying every command issued by the clients (never trust the client), when that load gets too big your experience will degrade regardless of your graphics settings. You can fix your personal side of the equation in various ways, but nothing you do will solve the server limitations. EVE used a novel solution to the problem with their Time Dilation mechanic, by reducing the tick speed they created a version of a controlled slow motion effect to stabilize performance when too many clients were engaged on a particular server cluster. When you reach that point you have two options: more hardware or less processing. They can only dynamically allocate resources up to the actual physical limitations of a particular machine (paralleling something like a game's main loop is pretty damn close to impossible), once you start to hit the limits of the box you start slowing down processing, which is gonna happen anyways due to a backed up queue, you mind as well control it so the better option is slow down the processing.
  5. Generally not that relevant unless the engagement is spread out enough far enough that different hardware is handling the overhead. the primary performance issue is communicating all the information between the server and the connected clients. The specific mechanics in play strongly effect that overhead cost, that's typically why you don't see FPS games go past 64 players max.
  6. Just a note: The high/low skill mechanics isn't always a choice of 'flavor' or 'preference', in MMOs they are often picked for primarily technical reasons, mainly how well they scale for target encounter sizes. In simpler terms it usually boils down to something like a choice between fluidly supporting 100 players fighting in an area or supporting 30 (made up numbers).
  7. Issue seems resolved for me, thanks!
  8. Well of course, that is literally the epitome of competition. Artificially limiting yourself is playing sub-optimally, which is choosing to play poorly. It's like someone complaining about the guy spamming throws in a fighting game as cheap because the 'not so good' player keeps running into them. It's not cheap, it's the way to beat your opponent. If throws are all around the superior and un-defeatable option mechanically and it simplifies the game's competitive state, then it's a problem with the game. MMOs are of course not nearly as simple an example, but the basic premise is the same: if something is good and improves your situation without breaking the 'rules', you should use it. Alts usually fall into that category. I would be fine with alts going away because I think it makes the game better all around, but if they stick around I'm not gonna avoid them out of some sort of 'moral pretense', that's just silly. Refusing to do so is playing the game by a set of arbitrary self-constraining rules, which is playing to lose if your opponents aren't also playing by those rules. Ergo, not playing the same game. Which is really the heart of the alt problem, due to the inability to spend more money some players may not be playing the same game by the same rules. The active ones are running through stockpiled time since it doesn't really hurt at all to do so, I wouldn't really call logging in once a month for a few minutes here and there 'playing' either.
  9. I just checked, in the last passive skill sandbox MMO I played my record was 8-10 active subs. I am literally the type of player I'm railing against because I recognize how ridiculous my advantage often is. Just because I recognize and use the advantage doesn't make it any less dumb in principal.
  10. Yep training line is the big offender in my opinion. Honestly though, the rest of the Vessel tree is pretty bad in my opinion. It's similar to the combat tree issues but applies to every character type (I assume may be wrong in the end) so it's a tax you'll feel compelled to pay for optimization instead of a real choice, it's just a matter of when you 'pay the tax'. If you scrapped it nothing of value would be lost. For those familiar with EVE it's kind of like the old Learning skills that got removed, they were just a tax that everyone paid to reach the optimal training efficiency, unless you didn't know about them and the intricacies of how stats worked in that game.
  11. The best they can do keeping things as is will reduce the potential scale, it won't go away without major revamping at the mechanical level. So you add a sub, okay it cuts down on some of it, but people will still sub a bunch of accounts, so while the scale changes there's still an alt advantage and people using money to buy advantage. Even removing the skill training consideration, Alts straight up add potential value, therefore they will be pursued. The only way to remove them is to make them completely unappealing or borderline useless, which unfortunately the mechanics do not reinforce. I think the root of the problem is the focus on splitting combat and support (crafting/gathering/etc...) into separate and unequal game-play systems yet expecting players to specialize into the unequal portion. They partially accounted for this with Class training being separate, but I don't think they went far enough. If they removed the top level combat specialty tree and left the rest of the top trees as General Training 'Secondary' options, would it decrease the interest and impact of alts? With the generally cheaper skills you can get more of them over time but since there's so many more to choose from you'll rarely get copy cats. Hell, I would even say they should maybe add another Top training slot, let us make a bit more diverse options on single account. It would decrease the desire/need of alts. Sure some crazy people would still make a couple characters, but it would matter a lot less. Also should remove or seriously revamp the Vessel branch, I can't believe anyone thought that adding a time tax was smart when nothing else in the game that you can equip uses the same sort of restrictive process.
  12. The problem with that was that they failed to make that specialization and interaction interesting. However, I think the problem is lopsided mechanics design and not the basic premise of specialization. Ultimately when push comes to shove it's gonna be about the people fighting and working together in the moment of conflict that is going to decide the outcome. The alts end up filling roles that don't consume enough time to be detrimental and acting as a support buffer. If someone would turn the support alt roles into an actual time consuming activity that can't be gamed by just making more alts then a lot of the problem goes away as the advantage of alts shifts from simply having them to utilize their passive systems to having them for a breadth of options. Alts would become more 'how will I spend my few hours of gametime today' and less 'queue up the things I need then go back to my main'.
  13. That's a pretty radical idea, but I honestly like it a lot. I just don't think they'll do it because no one seems to want to introduce that much complexity to solve this sort of problem. Your account example is kind of an apples to zebras thing, but I get where your trying to go. I think the problem is that as long as your 'locked' into some choices alt accounts will always be an enticing option and RPGs generally force you to lock into some sort of choice. I don't know if it can be solved without removing progression.
  14. No, I get it. I was framing my answer to the specific example. There are several examples that play into this and I was being brief. Yours is a much better example and I have no answer to account for it, that does look like a weird corner case of what could be loosely called P2W. I also agree it's not 'good'. But I'm just trying to point out that practically speaking, there's just not much you can do about alts existing without causing other problems. The only 'good' solution I can think of is to make the game sub based by default, and don't let F2P accounts import into campaigns. People will still buy alts, but the scale of use should decrease by a decent factor. Course that would probably go over pretty poorly. I dunno, the Imports/Exports are both integral to making the game interesting and also a hugely exploitable area.
  15. That's the best example problem I've seen, but as long as theirs no population caps I don't think it matters that much. I still fall back to my usual counter, is it any better than just working with more people? I think the answer is no, therefore it shouldn't be governed as somehow superior to people working together. Sure Jim Bob brought in 32 imports worth the resources, it's not gonna matter much against an actual group of 32 other people bringing in resources, they'll still have the advantage. If your concerned about Uncle Bobbing Import issues than you need to be concerned about blobs period, which no one seems to bring up. This does highlight the various issues with the Import system and I admit I don't have a clean answer, but if the money is spent on an alt, it's really just a way less useful version of getting another player.