ACE Development Partner & Investor
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  1. This is a low point for Crowfall testing population. We haven't had many new features come online recently, mostly just bug fixes and stability improvements - which are necessary but not exciting. Patch 5.3 is coming soon, and it's going to wipe everything and change everything (hyperbole, but not far from the truth), so I expect a lot of us are waiting for that.
  2. I'm worried about the potential for P2W mechanics in Crowfall, but honestly I think you're overreacting. You can grind away, and you can pay real money, and it will give some advantage (was there ever an MMO in history where it didn't?). But the power curve is very gradual. The game mechanics limit the advantages you can get. As bad as it might get if ACE makes no changes to limit P2W (and I expect they will), it'll never be ArcheAge. The best epic/legendary weapons I've seen in Crowfall are about 60% better than a slag one that any noob can craft in less than an hour. And those weapons will last for about one evening of heavy pvp before they break. Sure, you can no life grind for those things (or pour money into VIP tickets to buy them), but they don't give you a insurmountable advantage and it's an advantage that will be quickly lost. It's nothing like ArcheAge, where people would drop thousands of real dollars on high end weapons that gave them a permanent advantage and made them practically unbeatable by lesser geared players. It's closer to EVE, which has always been slightly P2W because you can spend real cash on temporary advantages (ships) - but you can lose that advantage just as quickly, it's worked out for them pretty well in the long run. Skills are a different story. They give an even more gradual increase in power, you probably won't be able to tell the difference when fighting a guy that has +/- 3 months of training compared to you. But it does add up to a significant difference eventually, and unlike gear it is a permanent advantage, so I'm more worried that whales will pour money into it (using tomes). We've brought these concerns up with ACE (not just here, but also in the dev partner forum), and suggested some kind of total training cap or other limitation. They don't plan on tomes being in until 3-6 months after launch, so they have to time to tweak this system. ACE doesn't want it to be P2W, I hope they'll add whatever limitations it needs to prevent that. Overall the advantage you can get with infinite skill training + best gear possible is nothing compared to most MMOs. You'll still have to be worried about 3 or 4 untrained noobs in slag gear taking you down. And the greater part of that advantage (gear) will be gone after several deaths. Or one death maybe, depending on campaign rules - and then the noobs are wearing your epic gear. Social skills - i.e. your ability to gather and coordinate with a group of players - will matter much more in Crowfall than anything else. I'm honestly much more worried about the power of zergs than individual whales killing everyone. Next after that is player skill (not skill training), which also makes a much bigger difference than any advantage you can buy. Finally in a distant third/fourth place is buyable stuff like gear and training, and with any luck ACE will prevent P2W abuse of tomes with a training cap.
  3. Alt accounts. People with alts will have the choice to (1) let the alt keep its training, specializing in something their main doesn't have; (2) have the alt make tomes and funnel them to the main account, letting it skip ahead of the training curve; or (3) have the alt make tomes to trade away, either to help newer friends/guildmates, or to get ingame currency, or to get VIP tokens (which you could feed back into your alts to keep their VIP running for "free"). Which option is most attractive will depend on a lot of factors - for example the training cap many have suggested could kill #2 completely. The supply and price of tomes should eventually stabilize into some kind of equilibrium: if they become too rare and valuable, people with alts will be more tempted to go with option 3, and vice versa.
  4. Alloys are in, have been as long as we've had crafting (since 3.0). Check out this spreadsheet, specifically look at the "metal bars" and "metal rings" tabs for metal alloys, or "hardened leather" or "reinforced padding" or "stitched leather" for the leatherworking equivalent, which functions the same way. This was created way back in the 3.x days, but as far as I know not much has changed. As you can see there are many combinations that don't yield a unique alloy - instead you get something like a generic "metal alloy bar" with +resource (seems to be the default stat). Hopefully those get filled out eventually, but for the other alloys the system is already working.
  5. Yeah, that is to me the major weakness of this system, many have brought it up. One thing you should know: ACE plans to add the tomes later (3-6 months after launch), so they won't be helping people skip ahead on day 1. There are other limitations: diminishing returns the farther you get into a tree, so you don't get full benefit from the tome. Also the fact that if you want tomes for an advanced tree, your alts have to complete the basic trees leading up to it first. But none of this will stop people from using alts to farm tomes, it just limits their power. We've been discussing ideas to prevent this. The one I like most is a cap on total training, so you can't ever use tomes to get farther ahead than a day 1 VIP account. So it would work as a catch up mechanic, but once caught up you can't go past where the day 1 vets are.
  6. I'd look at the archery disciplines - master of bow, arcane archer, etc. - as a good example, something I'd like to see more of. They're available to 5-6 classes (depending on if cleric gets them like legionnaire did). That's not very restricted. If you want to be an arcane archer, you have a variety of classes and races to pick from, not just one or two. But they're not available to everyone, notably they're blocked to templar. So why is that important? Imagine templar and knight fill a similar role in groups, they both do the tank/area denial thing, except templar does it a little better. The fact that knight can equip a bunch of archery discs and be a hybrid ranged tank, that gives you a reason to go with knight over templar in some situations. Likewise the lack of any ranged options, either in the base kit or discs, is an interesting limitation for templar that helps offset their power in melee. If a later patch allowed templar to use archery discs, we'd lose something that differentiates templars and knights. Both classes would become a little more generic. If we go too far down that path, we wind up with two classes that can do all the same things - except inevitably one will do them a little better, and the other becomes obsolete. I like your confessor example. What if Elken Confessors were weaker overall, but could access an interesting disc that elf/nethari fessors couldn't? This is a good example of a restriction breeding build diversity. Except why make it just elken fessors - why not let all elken use that disc? Maybe even half-giants and minotaurs, too. Then you still get that same diversity in fessor builds, but you also get diversity in [that disc]-builds too. Then people who want that specific disc for whatever reason can choose from a variety of classes and races to go with it. I think this is what gets us the optimal level of build diversity: a moderate restriction of 3-6ish classes or races. Edit: That being said, I'm not arguing that all discs should have a restriction, just more of them (right now, most majors have no restrictions at all). There are general-purpose discs that go well with any class (bard, escape artist, firewalker, etc.) that I'm happy to see remain unrestricted. In fact, firewalker is an example of a disc I believe should never get any restriction, or it'll hurt build diversity. Right now if fessors are OP, firewalker is your answer. Any race or class that doesn't have access to it risks becoming unplayable whenever fessors are too powerful, adding a restriction there would take us in the wrong direction.
  7. I agree that the Confessor base kit being too powerful is really the root problem. However, I expect there to always be balance issues like this. ACE could reduce those issues if they put some development time into balancing, which is something I'm sure they'll get around to eventually, but I don't think they'll ever be eliminated completely. Therefore I think the overall character building system should aim to be "robust", i.e. designed to weather some imbalances without them having too much impact. I see (loosely) restricted disciplines as a tool that could help here. If only 5 classes could be bard, then those 5 classes will always have an advantage and see some use, even if the other 6 classes happen to be more powerful this month. Likewise if the bard discipline proves too powerful, but can only be used by 5 classes, you ensure that not everyone will use bard; surely the other 6 classes have their own strengths that could offset it. But bard is perhaps a bad example. You're correct that since bard provides such a variety of buffs, it's likely we'll see confessor bards and champion bards and cleric bards, each using different bard skills. Maybe bard should remain unrestricted, and my logic applies better to other disciplines - standard bearer, for example. SB gives us one or two very powerful buffs that any group would want. It's the kind of discipline that makes a group leader think "I need an SB, which class would go best with that?" instead of the reverse ("I want to play [class], which discs would go best with them?"). It's this kind of situation that makes me wish there were some loose restrictions on the discipline, to make that choice more interesting.
  8. Crowfall is mainly a Shadowbane spiritual successor, but it's not just a Shadowbane spiritual successor. Notably, it takes some ideas from EVE Online and Star Wars: Galaxies. This means that, yes, there's a passive offline skilling system as your main way to "level up." This may seem very different from the original Shadowbane system: grind through some mobs and hit the soft cap (level 55ish) in a matter of days. The end result is kind of the same, however - either way you spend very little time worrying about PvE grinding, and focus most of your gameplay on PvP. In that way Shadowbane and EVE/Crowfall are similar, they just use different methods to push the PvE leveling to the side. The crafting is a big departure from Shadowbane, it borrows more from SWG crafting. That being said, it's optional - in fact the skill system encourages you to specialize in combat or crafting but not both. If you want to be mainly a pvper and let other people worry about smithing up swords for you, that should be possible. You will probably have to do some bashing rocks, but honestly, it's not that different from farming gold in SB. In SB you: Farm mobs for gold (or kill people farming and take their gold) -> use it to buy gear from shops -> use gear to kill people. In Crowfall you: Harvest resources (or kill people harvesting and take their resources) -> trade them to a crafter for gear -> use gear to kill people. There's a huge and complicated crafting system hidden in that second step, but you don't need to get into it if you don't want to.
  9. That's a good point point, too. I would be disappointed if, for example, Stoneborn-only groups were impractical because: Stoneborn can't be rogues, only rogues can equip bard, and every group needs a bard. On the other hand I'm still troubled by bard being available to every class, therefore: "What's the best class for a min/maxer bard to choose? Confessor obviously, they're the best at everything!" Perhaps the most interesting restriction would be something like: "Bard requires Knight, Druid, or any Rogue sub-class." So you cover almost every race, and a variety of classes, but not all of them.
  10. I actually think the character building would be far more interesting if there were some more restrictions (not too many, but more than we have now). Hear me out. Imagine you're a guild leader trying to theorize your ideal group for the upcoming siege. We have a ton of powerful disciplines like bard, or standard bearer, or field medic that any class can use. You want a bard for your group, so you ask yourself "Which class has the strongest base kit to add bard onto?" Well, confessor obviously. You want a standard bearer for your group too, so you ask yourself.. I'm going to skip to the end. Your group is now 5 confessors with various disciplines. You don't really need to think about which class to choose, the answer is always confessor, because confessor is a little stronger than the other classes and confessor can do everything (i.e. use almost every discipline). Even if confessor gets nerfed next patch, it'll just be a different class that becomes the "default" when your desired disciplines allow you to choose any class. On the other hand if standard bearer said "only usable by knights", it would be even worse. Then everyone needs to bring a knight, no thought goes into that decision either. It would be best IMO if standard bearer had a loose restriction, like.. "only usable by fighters". Maybe fighters are a little weak this patch, you wouldn't normally want to bring one along, but now you need one as a vehicle for standard bearer. So you find yourself considering the various fighter classes, figuring out which one has the best abilities to use in between dropping standards, and which one has the best other disciplines to pick from. Maybe you wind up going templar/standard bearer/friar, because friar is also something your group needs, and templar is the only class that can equip both. Another group decides they don't really need friar, they go champion/standard bearer instead to take advantage of champion's stronger base kit. There are choices to be made here - more interesting choices than you get when every class can use (almost) every discipline.
  11. Well, Krakken is a more patient person than I. @Nazdar you may also find this quote of interest. It's an old one, from Todd 2 years ago, but as far as I can tell his stance hasn't changed:
  12. I'm pretty sure Todd mentioned something to that effect during this stream, but I'm not going to rewatch it all so.. I agree, getting 'official' clarification on the forums would be appreciated.
  13. If I understand correctly, VIP tokens are going to be like EVE PLEX: buyable with real money, but tradeable in game. So there isn't really a reason for an out-of-game black market. If you want to give cash for ingame goods (tomes or whatever else), all you have to do is buy VIP tokens. They seem to be against directly selling things like tomes from a store, things that have a gameplay impact and need to be earned through player time spent. There's an important distinction between "you can trade real money (VIP tokens) for this thing, but someone has to create the thing legitimately ingame" vs. "you can give us real money for this thing, which we will magically generate for you." The latter puts no cap on how many of the items you can generate aside from your bank account, no one needs to go out and gather them, it can screw up the economy (see: ArcheAge).
  14. Okay, it sounds like we made a few different assumptions, so my end results are going to be off. No one should quote me on those numbers. Anyway I agree with your conclusion and think it should hold true regardless of the exact numbers. The "snowballing" method as you call it - using alts to boost other alts to allow them to make higher tier tomes for a main account - is going to provide a significant advantage, at least for those with enough cash to burn. It's a good system overall, but it needs a limitation of some kind (many good ideas have already been suggested in this thread) to prevent this particular use/abuse of the system.
  15. I'm not sure how you ended up with 15120 / 24 = 630 days worth of training, which is 63 days per account, in 21 days' time. The number seems off by a factor of 3. 10 accounts should get a total of 210 days of training in 21 days, right? That's compared to the alternative of making tomes to give one account 90 days of training in the same time period, which is 90/210 = 42.86% efficiency. Also worth noting that it's 90/21 = 4.29x the normal training rate. Assuming @Verot's math is correct, I did not double check it. Progress will slow after that, when you need to master the first tree on alts so they can boost the next tree, but you don't need to wait the full 3 months. You'd use some of the alts to boost the other alts to the end of the first tree faster. I did some rough estimates with a few different alt progression strategies, I think the fastest method is: 1. Use all 9 alts to tome the main account to the end of the first tree (as described by Verot) 2. The main starts training tree #2; meanwhile use 8 alts to tome the 9th alt to the end of the first tree 3. The advanced alt starts making tree #2 tomes; meanwhile use 7 alts to boost the 8th alt to the end of the first tree 4. At this point the main with tomes from the two advanced alts will finish tree #2 before a third alt can catch up to them. So you can do whatever with the remaining 7 alts, depending on your future plans. If you were planning to push for a third successive tree on the main, you'd start advancing another alt to tree #2. If Verot was correct and my napkin math is close, the main can finish 180 days of training (two 90 day trees) in about ~91 days with this method. That's almost 2x the normal training rate. That's 20% efficiency if you only value the main's progress, or ~49% efficiency if you value the extra tree #1 training completed on some of the alts (the efficiency actually goes up because you spend some time doing real training instead of toming on some alts). You're right that the problem more or less* disappears once non-boosted accounts have mastered a line of training. At that point the guy that just trained up all his alts normally is ahead of the game since he didn't sacrifice any training time to tomes with diminishing returns. It'll just take him longer to see the payoff, compared to those who rushed using tomes. And if tomes are not patched in until after that point, then the problem never really occurs. *At least, the problem goes away for crafters/harvesters. Boosted combat players will be ahead for much longer, but I'm less worried about them.. a single guy with a 20% stat advantage is one thing, a crafter who can equip an entire guild with 20% better swords is something else entirely. The problem also disappears if they go with the suggestion to cap the total training time, so that you can't ever surpass a day 1 VIP. I prefer this solution, then tomes will fulfill their purpose as a catch up mechanic only, without the side effect of boosted accounts advancing faster than intended.