Back in Pre-Alpha 5.1? maybe 5.3, I spent a couple of months playing every day for about 6-8 hours a day. I saw many things about this game that COULD make it an outstanding game play experience, but I also saw a couple of flaws in the passive training system. How the passive training system is handled WILL determine the long term and financial success of this game (most other aspects seem on the right track, or close to it).
From the way I see it, the training system favours the long time player way too heavily. A good example of this is the CC game mechanic.
A player with a years worth of passive training will completely stomp a player with a month or 2 passive training just because of much better CC. Using the right CC at the right time will make or break a fight, and if there's a big dependency in defender vs attacker ability to mitigate the CC, the fight is over. Player skill will make next to no difference at this point and the shadowbane players know this all too well.
When a new player comes into game, sure he can get guild help for gear and maybe a decent vessel, but when he is CC'ed for 50% longer then he can CC another for, it's game over. If Todd Coleman thinks back to the faxion days, they had to remove the stun ability because a player/guild with stun had an I win button against any player that hadn't taken (and passively) trained stun.
As for the food issue in CF, that's a relatively easy balance change to make - add a type member to the super class (OOP type, not game play class) that allows different classes/professions to lose and recover chicken ticks at different rates. Not every class/profession needs to eat an apple every 5 minutes, some classes/professions might not need to eat an apple for 10 minutes while others need to eat an apple every 13 minutes to keep their chicken ticks up. The individual time can be adjusted per class to suit balance.
Change the business logic of the passive training system.
ATM (Pre-Alpha 5.7) a person needs to train crafting AND harvesting related skills to open up mastery skill powers. EG: Mankind tree needs to have a lot of passive training into both crafting and harvesting passive skills in order to open up Mankind Mastery skill. This is complete bogus and should be optional like the crafting trees where production and thrall skills are an option to train, and don't prevent the mastery skill from being trained. Right now training up through the Race trees bites big balls and needlessly increases the tedium of the passive training system.
In attempt to illustrate some ideas, I am going to lay out a legend of types........For the Exploration Tree there are (for lack of a better way of saying it) 3 limbs. Limb 1 would be Exploration Basics, limb 2 would be Excavation/Command/Reaping, limb 3 would be Ore Specialization, Stone Specialization Grave Specialization, Wood Specialization, Animal Specialization. See where I am going with this?
So for limb 1:
The Exploration Basics skill - requires 360 points per pip x5 = 1800 points.
IMO it should be more like 160 points for pip 1, 260 points for pip 2, 360 points for pip 3, 460 points for pip 4, 560 points for pip 5 = 1800 points
The next skill on the branch (for this example the next skill on the branch would be "Survival" or "Tracking") would require 170 points for pip 1, 270 points for pip 2, 370 points for pip 3, 470 points for pip 4 and 570 points for pip 5.
ATM it takes 4 pips to open the next skill along a branch. Change it to 3 pips to open the next skill.
This will allow a new player to narrow the gap in a relatively short amount of time without giving them too much too soon.
This is where my ideas/solution to the training gate start to complicate the programming, business logic.
Make it so that a person can only train a skill's pips up to what the lower limb's, equivalent skill is trained too. So, if Mankind Mastery skill is only trained to 3 pips, the Half Blood Mastery skill can only be trained to 3 pips; a player would have to go back an spend points on Mankind Mastery skill to 4 pips in order to train Half Blood Mastery skill to 4 pips.
The Half Blood skill, "Half Blood Tradition" (still locked for me, so not sure how many points required per pip), pip 1 should cost 260, pip 2 should cost 360, pip 3 should cost 460, pip 4 should cost 660, pip 5 should cost 660. So more points per pip than the lower limb, but still only 3 pips to open next skill along the branch, and the lower limb equivalent skill needs equal or more pips for the high limbs skill to be trained.
Limb 3 follows the pattern outlined above.
What I am trying to point out is not the number of points per pip, but the graduated procession of the number of points per pip required to train a skill.
Another change I would consider making:
ATM there are 3 training slots. 1 for Profession, 1 for Race 1 for Class. With VIP, 2 trees of each can be train simultaneously.
I would change it to 4 training slots. 1 for Combat (No need for VIP, only 1 limb can be trained at a time), 1 slot for Crafting/Exploitation (VIP can train limbs for both trees, Non VIP can train a limb from one or the other), 1 slot for Race (VIP can train 2 Races at once, Non VIP can only train 1 race at a time), 1 slot for Class (Non VIP can only train 1 class tree at a time).
If something isn't done with the passive training system, I will login only to passive train for the first number of months. Only after I have a close to a fully realized character will I login to grind vessel levels. Lets say I want to play a Half-Elf Assassin that specializes in crafting poisons, I won't bother even grinding levels on a vessel until I am way up in trained skills on the One Handed Melee limb, the Half-Elf limb and the Assassin limb. By that time I should have Alchemy limb fully trained and I can start training the exploration skills to gather mats to make poisons with.
For all you players that say, this is a guild/group game, not a solo player game....that's a weak excuse for over-looking the flaws in the system. There will be times a player has to play solo and times when a player has to play with a guild/group. It should not be mandatory that a player has to have a group to run with, just to login and do something. "Hey Mr. Guild member, I am glad you finally logged in. I would like to craft some poisons, but I don't have enough of x mat, and you're the only one in the guild trained to harvest that mat." "What was that you asked? Can I not buy those mats? No, actually that mat is super rare and those players that have those mat are saving them until their crafters login to craft an item". "No using a lower quality resources won't be worth it, it would be a waste of upper quality resources, I need you to farm high quality resources for me". Just logged on player responds, "I don't have time right now, I only got a few hours and I want to pvp, I'll harvest for you tomorrow," tomorrow comes 6 days later.
THAT'S AN ABSOLUTELY STUPID DESIGN DECISION. To make my point, all one has to do is look at roguebane. There was not enough people playing for the gvg game to be realized, so players would login and play a rogue. Form there it was a down hill spiral of players leaving the game. The more players leave, the less population to play the gvg aspect, the more players started to play solo. If there is something to do for the solo player, that same solo player will join a group when enough other players are logged in and doing grp things. If nothing for a solo player to do but wait around for others to login, well he (I) might as well go play a console game with what little free time I have to play a game that day. Maybe tomorrow, there will be enough players logged into Crowfall that I can actually do something.
Rant done......good thing I seldom post on forums eh. By the wall of text, one might think I actually like typing/writing. They would be wrong, I would rather play a game than rant about it on the forums.