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Lephys last won the day on May 9 2015

Lephys had the most liked content!

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    Video games, game design, passing as a human even though I'm android, ranch dressing, etc.
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  1. I know the article/breakdown touched on it, but adding a random factor to your game/system isn't at all bad. Giving it too much weight is what's bad. A blatant example is a coin toss: heads results in you get 200 million gold, tails results in your account being deleted and you have to buy another copy/license of the game to play again. In this, the existence of a coin toss isn't bad. The the degree to which the sheer outcome of a random coin toss is affecting my experience, is. If the coin toss was to determine whether or not a given goblin in a group of 10 tries to flank me or tries to distract/engage me, that's much less ridiculous. That's actually a useful random thing. Why? Because I don't want to see a goblin with a purple hat, and go "Oh, all purple hat goblins try to flank me... I know exactly how to deal with this goblin, and it's exactly the same as the way I deal with every purple-hatted goblin in existence." So, when I don't want something to be the same, but I don't want the developers to just have to determine what's what up front, a random factor is excellent! As a general rule in games, the best use of randomness is to make the player deal with a variety of circumstances in an interesting/"mysterious" capacity. This moment of the day there's a strong wind in this area. Another time there isn't. That affects the way in which you, the player, interact with and make choices about combat. Maybe you forego ranged attacks because the wind's hard to deal with? Maybe you get upwind and cast fire spells, letting the wind gusts spread the fire across the part of your battlefield that your foes occupy? Who knows. But the numbers aren't determining what your character is doing. They're determining what you're confronted with. That being said, sometimes it's not so bad to have a sprinkling of little bonuses here and there that are just sort of jackpotish, direct random bonuses. But they should be rather small. Like... Critical hits get pretty out of hand in games. A critical hit, as another example, is way better as something that affects the factors of combat, rather than something that just grants you +X damage when it happens. If it, for example, rends armor (grants you +20% damage for the next 5 Piercing hits or something), that's a guarantee of more damage than you would've had, but it's more of a factor change. How exactly you manage that bonus from here on out is up to you. You can just attack 5 times, or hit with dots, or hit with super big attacks, etc. The random roll didn't determine what actively happens. It only determined a shift in circumstances.
  2. Looking good! Definitely keep up the good work, though. Don't get complacent with it. Now it's at least an engaging system. I honestly still think the whole quarter thresholds system could be made more intuitive, or replaced with something that's more intuitive. Actively juggling combos and timings of buffs and such to maximize efficiency doesn't group together very well with "but make sure X things are in effect whenever the node hits Y health, exactly!". I'm not saying it's impossible to do or too hard. It's more that it just doesn't flow together very well. I honestly believe that stuff like the weak spots, and other direct rewards to your active engagement with the system is what should be focused upon. Maybe I'm crazy, though. *shrug*. I still say the idea of "you get bonus harvesting time because the node didn't break yet!" would be a great idea. Or, rather, before I was describing a system in which maybe people were trying to do as little damage as possible to the node, then award doobers either per-whack (based on chance), or per-critical-whack, etc. This made sense to me, but wasn't quite as intuitive to others. Well, I realize now that the purest idea there was simply to prolong the harvesting window to increase the quantity of opportunities. So, what if, instead of trying to do as little damage as possible to the node, you had a system of effects that contributed to the node's chance of not-breaking? Think of old side-scroller beat'em ups, when you'd get to the boss, and he'd have like 2 health bars or something at the top of the screen. You'd take him down, and you'd get a little "cut-scene" of him seemingly being defeated. But he'd go "GRRRGH!", angrily rip his shades off his face and crush them in his hand, wipe the blood off his mouth, throw his coat to the ground, then "grow" another health bar and keep fighting you. Well, in that instance, you were upset, because it was just more fighting you had to survive. However, with a resource node, it would be a "Yay! I get a chance at further doobers!" So, instead of the 1/4, 1/2, etc. thresholds, you could just give the nodes stacking health bars. Then, either give some kind of chance to add a health bar in the middle of the harvesting process, OR have some kind of chance on the last hit that the node won't die, but will rather just degrade and proc another health bar. *shrug*. It's a very general idea. I couldn't say exactly when and under what circumstances to do this. Maybe only do something like this for Motherlodes? But, if you're going to have active "action" harvesting, then the thought process for maximizing doober gains needs to be an active one as well. It doesn't need to be a cold, calculated "Okay, so, 23 whacks from now, what state do we want things to be in when we deliver the doober-granting whack?" while you're getting into an action rhythm of in-the-moment effect juggling. I very highly recommend making the doober gains and bonuses of effects shift towards rewards for best-exploiting these short-term active bonuses and effects. The easiest system that comes to mind is a cumulative gains system. As in "for these 10 seconds, you used a bunch of effects really well so that 3 of your hits earned you 2 bonus doobers of +1 quality level." If you want to pay out the doobers at each 1/4 of node health, that's fine. Just make the payout points very visually clear. OR, wait 'til the node breaks and make it doober-pinata. Either way. I think the earning of doobers during the active process works better than worrying about which effects will be in-place during a break-point event. Just my eleventeen cents. To re-iterate, THIS IS LODES BETTER THAN THE SYSTEM FROM ONLY A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO, so good on you guys, and keep up the good work! Definitely headed down a much better path for this stuff!
  3. I'm gonna second (or third, or fifth, or whatever I'm at here) the whole "Thanks for this message, and I encourage you to be more transparent in the future" idea. Honestly, you're screwed if you do and you're screwed if you don't, as in people are going to misconstrue and complain no matter what you do. Just, if you don't tell anyone about stuff, they're going to do it with NO truthful info, rather than with at least some. I know that sucks. Humans are crappy at times/in ways. But, we'd much rather hear your ideas on your designs and goals, etc., than just sit around waiting, then hear what's been implemented. We'd love to hear how your week went. You don't have to go into extreme detail, but go into as much as you want, honestly. We just won't want to know "Ehh this thing is supposed to be done/implemented by the end of the month. It's supposed to be cool. Yay. Maybe it'll hit that date, maybe it won't? We'll see." for an entire month. We'd like to know at least what you're working on, why you're working on it, and how you came to decide on a particular design, etc. We got a lot of this earlier on, and it does seem like the last 6 months or so have kind of petered out. I don't know if it's because you're trying to control the complainers and misconstruers or what, but it's only effectively hurting the people who still actually care about this and who have your backs. No one expects you to do everything perfectly in one go. But the perfect approach can be had by designing, editing, and iterating in the proper manner. The right path is the one that keeps checking to make sure you're going in the right direction, not necessarily the one that has you never going in the wrong direction. We know it's tough, and you guys are working your butts off, and we appreciate that, really and truly. If I could move into your HQ and open a soda fountain and serve beverages and milkshakes to everyone at ACE whilst delivering stress-relieving puns, I'd do so, just to help you guys out. But, alas, all I can do is type words into this forum. But... we've got your back! We just want to help however we can, and we want to achieve the best Crowfall we can.
  4. The abilities feel a bit lackluster. Don't get me wrong... they look amazing, and the general idea is good, but I feel like they're just trying to meet the minimum criteria of a role in a class-based RPG. They're all just circles that heal or deal damage. The "tether" heal one is the most interesting. The rest seem hard to make feel distinct from any other damage/root/healing abilities, other than "the circle is a different size" or "the healing value is different," etc. Perhaps the intent of the current state of the class is simply to cover the basics of the role, and you're going to do more complex stuff later and/or want to leave room for disciplines to provide lots of cool customization. If that's the case, then okay, I suppose? I'm really not trying to be negative. The class is really polished in terms of VFX and aesthetic ability design. It just seems like the abilities could go a bit further into cool-tactical-option territory. The Druid (I think) little healy orbs that can be picked up for heals OR detonated by the Druid, come to mind. That's much more interesting than "If you're standing here, you get healed. Also, I can heal you a couple of other ways. Or I can hit people for damage. Also I can stun you maybe, and root you if you're standing here."
  5. I understood you. I was merely illustrating that exaggeration can go the opposite direction just as easily. You actually have a valid point, but it's almost impossible to tell that when you ignore the simple fact that knowing when a specific thing is going to be done in their development process is actually quite difficult. I do agree that some kind of addressment (I'm not sure that's a "real" word, but I think it works), at least, of their current idea of the timeframe. At the same time, there are perfectly legitimate situations in which they have no accurate assessment of when a particular thing is going to make it into production. Your valid point shines light when there are far too many things that are pegged for release in roughly-less-than-a-year, but are all still giant question marks. I couldn't really say "5 is too many, but 4 is okay," or "It's unacceptable to not know about mounts, but acceptable to not know about Thing X," however. So, again. Good point, sort of, but I don't know what kind of responses you expect if you roll in like you're sure of exactly what they should and should not be on top of right now. Until the game releases and everything's not in it (or at least really close... stuff happens), I don't think any of us can reasonably say "Yes, you guys aren't handling things like mounts properly." By all means, raise a concern for the sake of constructive illustration and discussion, but mic-drop conclusions and judgments are somewhat missing the mark.
  6. I don't recall saying anything about "just as hard." But... *shrug*. I'll take your word for it. If you can always tell everyone the exact day on which each system will be implemented and operational, by all means, be in charge of all development projects.
  7. Those are usually pretty relevant questions, as they deal with the inter-workings of mechanics and intended design. If stuff's doing something crazy and they didn't intend for that, it probably needs to be discussed. Also, "when will mounts be in" isn't a very good question. That's like asking "when will Thomas Blair die, do you think?". They could say "Well, I dunno... I mean he's pretty healthy, so probably another 40 years or so. But, really, I mean, a bus could hit him tomorrow. So... *shrug*" Would you like to waste your life with "an hour" of "Well, we're working on this, but it's not really ready to talk about yet, as we still don't even have it all figured out, nor do we have the tech ready to power an implementation of it" answers? Then be glad they don't answer those questions.
  8. Just be careful with the amount of eye candy you provide, or we might get... ... EYE-a-betes!
  9. Honestly, the names for Plentiful Harvest and Beneficial Harvest seem backwards. Intuitively, "Plentiful Harvest" makes me think it's going to increase the quantity of my harvest (or, at the very least, doesn't sound like I'm going to get better quality things by any stretch of the word), whilst "Beneficial Harvest" sounds more like the harvest quality is going to "benefit." I know it's minor, but this was honestly very confusing to me for a while now, as I have yet to get to actually download the new client and sit down and test the game's harvesting.
  10. Danger and people protecting gatherers is not a part of gathering. It's a part of how combat and gathering relate to one another. The danger and conflict of resource acquisition is there regardless of whether or not anyone's standing around "actively" gathering the resources or not. Gathering, itself, needs to be fun. It doesn't have to be so fun that everyone in the universe decides to drop combat for gathering. But, if you approach it with the attitude that "it's just a boring thing to do no matter what... let's just let combat make it exciting," combat's never going to make it exciting. All that becomes is a convoluted loot system, and combatants protecting gatherers is only fun because they're actually getting to partake in enjoyable combat (with the protection of gatherers simply becoming a specific objective within "kill all enemies" combat), and because they know they'll acquire cool stuff once it's all over. It's negligibly different from simply protecting something for X minutes, then having the game say "Yay, you did it!" and stuffing rewards into your inventory. If you already had a system in which that were the case -- in which EVERYONE was a combatant, and there was no gathering role for players, and you simply protected a big Extractor machine at a POI, then every so often it spat resources out at you -- then who in their right mind would say "Hey, you know what? Let's require about half of those combatants to instead stand around BEING that extractor. Then let's say it'll be fun because COMBAT and DANGER! 8D!"? It's all about approach. If the approach isn't "let's make sure the gathering, itself, is fun, and the danger aspect is just sprinkles on that cake," then there's really no point in depriving those gatherers of combat (an actual fun, active activity) during resource acquisition. Simply put, if getting the resources isn't a fun thing, then you might as well get them in the simplest way possible.
  11. While we're in agreement on the flaws of hunger for hunger's sake, I must clarify that realism isn't invalidated by imagination. You still want to draw from how fire actually works, or what deficits a minotaur would face. So, just because things aren't real doesn't mean realism becomes moot. It's more that you don't want to copy something from reality without STILL asking the question "how does this help me in the game?" There are a lot of abilities and such going into Crowfall that stem from combat abilities in real life, not because Crowfall is trying to present virtual real life, but because of the interesting options those combat abilities offer. It's cool to block with your shield in realistic ways because of all the things that lets you do within the context of combat in the game, not because real-life shield blocking just inherently equals fun or something. It's more of a coincidence, if that makes sense. Reality makes an excellent foundation upon which we can build sturdy imaginings.
  12. It's not the same in a video game. SOMEone in the world wants to do ANY given thing, so you could just say nothing's a chore, in which case we could justify every tiny thing being simulated. Having to guide your character into the woods to relieve himself is SOMEone's jam. Doesn't have any bearing on whether or not it should be in this game. The "eat or die" implementation of hunger/food is functionally no different from "You have to juggle 3 marbles with one hand like the Goblin King from Labyrinth the entire time you're logged into Crowfall or it'll log you out." It's just something you have to do because you have to. Hunger CAN be cool, and the sheer fact that it's being simulated is cool for about 17 seconds. But, if it's not contributing to the existing idea of the game, then it's a useless chore. That doesn't mean that cool cooking-crafting and such can't be in. Depending on how it's implemented, of course. But, just having hunger as a thing that you have to stave off by doing something as easy as right-clicking apples in your inventory is silly. Let's put in a blinking mechanic, too, to simulate that your character's eyes would dry out if he didn't blink. No, he's going to blink on his own. That in no way justifies something to simulate. The only value to something like hunger in a game like Crowfall is resource management/control. At the very least, food/rations should just be something that have like an "ammo" slot in your inventory, and your person should just eat them automatically whenever he's hungry. Ideally, that'd just be like once/day, and the lack of food would just keep you at 0 bonus, while different foods could give you very interesting bonuses. Or however you want to do it. But, the ACT of eating: A) isn't actually simulated, and B ) has no value in being simulated. Unless it's just a humorous game built around impractical simulation, like Surgeon Simulator 2013.
  13. Hmm... what if instead of individual, manually-tackled hunger, it was more of a resource? What if another resource was actually like... "townsfolk" or something? Or thralls? There are already thralls, which is why I mention this. Basically, NPCs as a resource. So that, you have some little fort, and maybe you can do fine without any NPCs, building on it and upgrading/repairing it, etc. But, you get a big fortress, and it's just not feasible for your player group to fix it up without extra manpower. So, you manage to acquire 200 townsfolk to help out with it. Well, your personal character is fine without food. Or rather, it's just understood that you eat trail rations all the time if nothing else, and any other food is just buff/bonuses. But, the TOWNSFOLK need food. They're not immortal crows, and to sustain them, they need food. They are like a big, flexibily-sized forge, and they need fuel to burn and get work done. So, you have to stockpile food in your outposts/forts in this hypothetical, and it gets used by them whenever they do stuff (I know... not 1:1 realistic simulation, as they'd eat food even when just sitting around, but I don't think simulation for simulation's sake is very useful). With this system, you could still have hunger sieges, but it's an ACTUAL effect. Like "Hey, we ran out of food, so our townsfolk/laborers can't mass produce weapons and help us repair our walls." Players could still do these things, but that takes them away from active combat, and just makes the process slower-going, and/or the quantity of work they can tackle becomes smaller. Meh? Terrible idea? Decentish idea? Splendid idea? 'Cause yeah, I love to draw from simulation for cool ideas, but simulating things just to simulate things is always only cool when it's novel. Well, unless the game is just built around that simulation. Even then, though... only people who just happen to be enthusiasts for that kind of simulation are getting a thrill out of it. 7 days in, you're not really getting anything out of sheer simulation anymore. You toy with it, figure it out, then, in the context of the game, just do it the best way possible. Or consistently fail to do it the best way possible, and it's just now a chore. Like food. With food, you're not even simulating a process. It would be like putting in diseases that your characters just randomly contract, then die from. "Yay! We're simulating diseases!" But it's not meaningful simulation. The character cannot make choices regarding the simulation. Just like with sheer hunger. Your choice is "keep gathering and eating food, or be penalized." Being penalized is, by definition, bad, so your only choice is to always do the same thing: try to keep food on hand and avoid penalty.
  14. Apologies, as my brain's stream-of-consciousness often gets ahead of my text. I will definitely amp up my focus on distinguishing between these. My biggest point, which kind of touches on all three of these (though Production the least, I suppose), is to emphasize the necessity of active, engaging interaction within these activities. The resource chests is a great example, for Harvesting. If you're just going to take that and make everyone actively gather the resources sheerly for the sake of saying "Yay, people are gathering now instead of resources just coming out of chests," then there's literally no reason not to have them just come out of chests. Basically, as long as you have a POI that draws opposing factions toward the same goal location, and there's some amount of time factor beyond instantaneous (there'd still be some conflict, I suppose, but FAR less chance of it), there's going to be resource-"gathering" conflict. Simply put, if there's no reason, design-wise, for gathering to be an activity, then don't make gathering, itself, an activity. Just make "resource-acquisition" an activity. It's the same as the difference between finding all your equipment via loot drops, or getting some through a crafting system. In some games, for example, the crafting system is unjustifiable, as it's simply an obstacle within the loot-drop system. "Once I get loot drops A, B, and C, I have to bring up another interface and click a button to get loot X that I want." Even though, within that system, they could have just had loot X be acquirable within the loot drop system, and tuned things accordingly. If the only reason anyone's ever crafting things is to achieve loot X, and not because they enjoy the crafting system, then there's not much point in the crafting system existing. Everyone could've just done the enjoyable activity (combat) and acquired all the equipment via that means. Then maybe just customized stuff after that, quickly and instantly. So, I see your swinging pendulum, and I too would like to see a middle ground. But I still don't just want to see a fully passive middle ground, in which you train crafting for 6 months, so now you ultimately get +25% chance at the dice gods giving you better crafted goods. I would love to see that training partially increasing raw numbers, sure, but also increasing the array of choices at your disposal in the active process of crafting a good. And the options between individual crafting and mass production should be a spectrum of quality (individual) versus quantity (production). As you said, nobody was a better chest opener than anyone else. That problem is not solved by giving one person +60 to chest opening, and the other person +0 (for example... I'm not saying stick with the chest system), just as combat does not give one person +100 to killing skill, and another only +30, then call it a day. This has come up since the Kickstarter campaign even mentioned the existence of crafting and it's proposed design, but... if there's not a way for a player's actual skill (that doesn't necessarily mean twitch-based skill, but it still has to be active, interactive choices) to contribute to the outcome in any given instance of an activity, then the players are not being provided with an entire facet of meaningful differentiation. Looking back at combat, Player A and Player B with the exact same skills and builds can still vary in how well they use their skills. And, unlike in something like crafting experimentation, Player A can't just spend 10 hours optimizing his playstyle with static choices, then employing the same formula over and over again to achieve better success. Player B would eventually just figure out the same formula, even if he could, and do just as well as him. As much as they want to do away with the cons of active skill training (that divide of "this guy plays 5 hours per night, so he's 7 times better than I am at Skill X"), the method of acquisition of character progression points in no way does away with that divide. So, if that divide is the only thing differentiating Player A's quality of produced goods from Player B's, then Player B can never hope to do as well as Player A. Basically, active effort has to count for something, or psychologically we, as humans, do not take very well to it. I'm looking for a middle ground, as well, between active efforts in an ongoing, dynamic activity (be it crafting or harvesting, despite the fact that they will still have differences), and passive training choices / recipe experimentation figurings. All things in moderation.
  15. My reasoning is: If all your hard work and effort is to work towards automation, why not just start with automation, and have all your hard work and effort be training towards the optimization of the automation? As literally as I can possibly mean this, why does the player character have to be the one doing the harvesting/crafting? I'm sorry if it came across some other way, but I have every interest in harvesting and crafting, in-and-of-themselves. So, as long as they don't make it a begrudging task, I'll do it. I understand that the role of harvesting is expeditions of danger. I get that. And that's fantastic that that's a thing. However, you still need solid gathering gameplay in place as a foundation. The sheer fact that it's dangerous and/or a team activity does not make it fun/engaging/interesting. Throwing a handful of seasoning on an uncooked meal doesn't make it any better. That doesn't mean the seasoning is bad. It just only does so much. Rather, the role of the danger is to make the gathering of resources more meaningful. Not to simply make it meaningful in the first place. I understand that. I'm commenting on both the harvesting role and the crafting role simultaneously. Basically all the non-combat roles. Scouting is in there, if it's at all going to be a thing. Anything that isn't combat, really. If the game's design allows for a dedicated role, then that role needs to be just as engaging as any other dedicated role. Heck, the fact that you're probably going to JUST be crafting or JUST be harvesting, as a main role, is even MORE reason to make sure each of those processes, individually, is engaging and meaningful. The game has to have a clear goal in this. Is it just "Oh, don't worry, you're just supposed to increase the number of doobers in your team's resource pool by X%, then increase your productivity by Y%", or is it like combat, in which the goal is for you to affect things on a real-time tactical level? Why not just leave combat as "okay, everyone's just a big aggregate mass of passive build stats"? You're not supposed to go out and fight everyone by yourself. You're supposed to rove in big groups and do strategic things. So why is combat so tuned to individual engagement? What you're actively getting to do is very interesting in combat, and depending on where you aim, what ability you use, etc., drastically different effects can be seen. Build optimization is simply a cherry on top of that. On the last bits, I mostly agree. I only disagree on that it's ONLY the pacing of the activity/rate of resource acquisition that's the problem (although, in all fairness, you did say "necessarily"). I believe that the method of acquisition needs to be more fun. You should make something fun to do from the get-go. The way to keep it fun is to have all the cool team-effort danger conflict stuff. That doesn't make it fun, though. A grind can be a grind because of two reasons: 1)The thing you're doing isn't enjoyable 2)The goal of the thing you're doing isn't enjoyable. If everyone went around completely filling in white canvases in Microsoft Paint using the tiniest paintbrush tool imaginable in order to get resources, it wouldn't matter how group-oriented it was, or how great it was to get a bunch of resources for your faction, or what the pacing or rate of acquisition was. Obviously actively swinging a tool at stuff is a bit more fun than filling in Microsoft Paint canvases. And obviously NOW they are trying to go further with that, so we'll have to see what they do. However, to believe that only adjusting the rate of something will make it no longer unpleasant is folly. Torture can be made to last a millisecond, and it's still torture. It's just less bad. You haven't even breached the realm of good yet.
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