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ACE Investor & Tester
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  1. I just want to clarify that I don't think it's just a matter of letting the devs do their thing. Feedback and criticism are really important for them to get a handle on what's working and what isn't. The reason I haven't written a feedback post myself yet is because I only got back in to the game a week ago and I'm still gearing and levelling up from the last wipe. There's a lot of concerns that I would like to see addressed, many of which are in common with others on this thread. I just don't think it's because of any single person, be it Thomas Blair, Raph Koster. or Todd Coleman. I think @Rikutatis hit the nail on the head about good ideas on paper not translating to enjoyable gameplay. The only way we're going to figure out which ideas work, though is to try them. Most games don't actually become fun until six to nine months before release. So we have to playing, keep suffering, and keep complaining until it gets done right. The hard part is not getting discouraged because things can definitely get worse before they get better.
  2. Blair's stated that he tries to err on the side of too difficult than too easy when initializing a system. That way when a balance adjustment has to be made, it's usually in the players favor than a nerf. I was without a computer for a couple of months so I jumped from 5.7 to 5.9. While there's still a long ways to go, I feel that Crowfall is easier to get started in now than it had been when campaigns were initialized. So I think Thomas Blair's direction is working, it's just a slow process that will require a lot of iterations before the game gets to a satisfactory point. There's still new systems being brought online that will have to be taken into consideration. Once the vendor system is more fleshed out and version upgrades become consistent enough to make EK development a bigger part of the economy, I expect to see an impact on player interactions. White materials might have little value in crafting equipment but you need a ton of them to build EK plots. That could be a good way for lowbies to earn gold to buy the equipment or resources they need to be a warrior or tradesman. I wouldn't take the current build to be representative of what the finished game will be like. But it's important that the people at ACE hear these criticisms so that they have an idea of which way to, as seastodd put it, adjust the knobs. Have you written over on the 5.9 feedback forum yet? That would probably be a more direct way to get your concerns looked at by the developers.
  3. That's a fair point. For me, and I should have clarified this more in my original post, the reason I don't like the invisibility toggle is because it obscures telegraphing. I play GW2 and that game has a lot of cosmetic customization, which is great, but it means that the information I can infer from glancing at an enemy is reduced. Even the light/medium/heavy class distinction is overridden by outfits. By not wearing a helmet, I'm currently telegraphing to other Crowfall players that I'm undergeared. With a discipline that translates the headgear slot to something else, it could instead telegraph that I probably have a certain set of abilities that they can be cautious of. With an invisibility toggle, it telegraphs nothing. Given that headgear, by itself, isn't really that interesting; equipment doesn't have the transformative quality that disciplines do; I can understand why it's not really important to telegraph anything. But wherever Todd & ACE come down on helmet visibility, I wanted to throw this in as an option.
  4. I want to propose a minor discipline called "Not the Hair" or "Don't Touch the Hair". I was playing in a group event and another player remarked that I was undergeared. Now, I had all master level armor and equipment except for one small point, I wasn't wearing a helmet. Of course not! How could I risk it disrupting the luscious cascade of fine tresses emanating from my scalp? A lot of MMOs address this by making headgear optionally invisible. SWTOR even charges a premium for the privilege. I really don't like that solution for Crowfall since it feels cheap and gimmicky, but I'd still like to have the option to not wear a hat or helmet without going into battle stupid. So I figured, how about making it into a minor discipline that removes or blocks the headgear slot in exchange for a bonus? Now, I'm not sure what exactly that bonus should look like. One thought I had was to add a unique retaliation so the user can respond appropriately to anybody who would date disturb the do. Another was to add a jewelry slot as a testament to vanity, but that's already been done. Perhaps other forum goers can contribute more ideas. Whatever the impact, though, it should be sufficient enough to warrant the loss of both an equipment and discipline slot.
  5. This why I say resources, though I should have clarified that I meant harvested materials rather than crafted goods. As @Jah points out, these materials don't have individual stats and can be traded automatically without the presence of both parties. Every uncommon silver is identical to every other uncommon silver. The benefit here is to get newcomers and underdeveloped characters involved in the player market as early as possible. Unless you're part of a guild that can equip you, harvesting and crafting are requisite to gearing up. With the addition of buy orders for harvested materials, these players can skip crafting if they're not interested in it and have an avenue to buy the gear that they want. As for priorities, as Thomas Blair says, there's only so many nickels to spend at a given time. Buy orders may not be a priority now but it's worth mentioning for when those nickels are freed up.
  6. I agree with points 1 and 2. I'm only quoting because I disagree on point 3. When you're in a combat or battle situation, looking at your map means sacrificing your environmental awareness. Having a minimap mitigates that tension. Even while ranging, you want to be careful where and for how long you examine your map to avoid being sneak attacked. That said, I would not be opposed to enabling a minimap as part of a discipline. It makes sense for players who want to be a dedicated scout have an awareness advantage at the cost of other functionality.
  7. I think a big issue here is that there's no way to set up automated purchase orders. I'd like to see the option for vendor owners to indicate that they want to purchase n amount of resources @ x amount of gold. Then, players can visit that vendor and deposit these resources and receive gold deducted from the vendor until either n resources are acquired or there's no longer enough gold in reserve to pay out. This would give entry level characters an opportunity to earn an income before they're able to gear up and grind mobs in the adventure zone, and does so in a way that avoids more magic gold flowing in to campaigns. It's actually a gold sink, when you factor in taxes. Also, having a maintenance cost for vendors is important to avoid abuses. There has to be some risk involved in being a merchants so as to weed out players who aren't serious about the profession. This gives players more confidence that a vendor will have something of value when clicking on it. Otherwise, if you have a bunch of vendors set up but they're not routinely stocked by their owners, it reduces players' confidence in all vendors and they'll be less inclined to go shopping. Pasting the name of the shop or its owner over a vendor's head would also help players identify what vendors they want to peruse. Another problem with a low bar for entry is that it increases the potential for nefarious, wealthy guilds to claim all of the best vendor plots and sit on them to block competition. This is not a problem now, but it might become one as the population develops while plots remain finite. One way to possibly address this would be to auction vendor plots at the start of a campaign, at least for the safe zones. This would establish a kind of real estate market to ensure that the cost of entry scales with demand. It would also negate the first-come-first-claim pressure for merchants to log on immediately as a campaign starts and race to their preferred plot before anybody else can claim it.
  8. Minor map glitch. Overall I am so far having a positive experience in 5.9. Virginia / Baltia (NA) /Formosa > XYZ 2563, 12, 1908 Resources from tree clipped below the rock it was sitting on, making them inaccessible.
  9. That's assuming that the income of the median gamer is the same as that of the median customer. A person who makes $15/hr is probably going to have less disposable income than a person who makes $75/hr, meaning that they have a slew of other expenses to consider before they'll think about unloading money on an MMO. These prices indicate that ACE is targeting customers who are in the $75/hr or more bracket. While I don't have any numbers to back it up, I don't doubt that ACE is using market analysis that indicates this demographic most likely to spend money on cash shop items in the first place.
  10. I agree with Arkade and PopeUrban that a little more granularity would be beneficial. SWTOR has a $5 minimum purchase, though I think the $10 minimum is fine. Arkade's solution of offering a $15 package sounds like the simplest, most straight forward solution. I'm more concerned by the 35% bonus for buying the $100 package. I'm trusting that you folks are using some marketing data I don't have access to for determining these prices but it feels a little high to me. Or also consider, in addition or in lieu of the straight up bonus, adding a bonus for being a VIP subscriber. Perhaps a VIP gets a 10% bonus on their crown purchases. If you're going for a big ticket item like a manor, that would basically let the subscription pay for itself. It might help migrate cash-shop customers into subscribers in the long run. I agree with this for the most part but wanted to add that it /does/ make sense for ACE to offer /some/ incentive because of transaction fees. A single $100 purchase brings in more money than than ten $10 purchases. So I wouldn't mind seeing ACE passing that savings on to the customer but agree that the current 35% bonus seems high.
  11. It incentivizes the purchase of store credit. Take for example the villa. In the cash store, the villa was $65, now it's 6500 crowns. This has actually diminished the price since you can buy it with $60 worth of crowns and still have 750 left over. That means the villa only cost $51.72. If the player had instead spent $100 on the 13500 crown package, though, the villa would only have cost $48.14 and the user would still have 7000 crowns left over to spend on something else. This makes it advantageous for customers to spend in larger increments.
  12. This is the first time I think I'm skeptical of one of ACE's design concepts. There are some interesting ideas here but they seem focused on fixing theoretical rather than actual issues. Adding a resource sink may be a good thing but are we sure we need a new system for that? I think more attention should be put on the harvesting, crafting and degradation systems first and see if they can be tweaked or amended to find the right balance. Do we need an additional system for character development? I feel like attribute allocation has been tacked on as a means of legitimizing the sacrifice system. And the steep curve means that the system will only be applicable during a narrow window. What's the incentive for players to sacrifice after the "weekend" they've spent maxxing out their vessel? I'm also worried about ACE underestimating the value of macro-goals. To me, that's a little like saying "this game needs to be more like WoW". The macro goals are /why/ I supported Crowfall and look forward to playing it. They're why I plan to log on. I didn't play Ark: Survival Evolved to level up my engrams, I played it to construct bases and ride dinosaurs. I don't play GW2's WvW to accumulate "pips" but because I enjoy the experience. My motivation is objective rather than advancement oriented. Having said all that, I'm not /against/ the sacrifice system. I just think it needs some rethinking. The issue of having a reason for players to hang around after they've logged on is legitimate. The more a player stays logged on, the more likely they'll participate in group activities. Other MMOs address this with "daily" achievements. One alternative to the existing sacrifice system might be to grant vessels a timed buff rather than a permanent bump. Something like 24 hours. Maybe there's an advanced level of buff potency for vessels who sacrifice consistently to the same deity. That way casual players could easily earn a sense of achievement without creating a gap with veteran players, while veteran players still have incentive to sacrifice in the long term.
  13. I get that you want a reason to spend more time in your EK, Svenn. I really do. But your proposal introduces a lot of complexity to replicate functionality that will already exist in the campaign world. Even if the fan base reached a consensus on the forum that it was a desired feature, I don't see ACE spending the resources to implement it. There are just so many other demands pressing for their attention. In my opinion a better approach would be to limit the resources that you can collect from campaign victories to raw materials and some world exclusive items like relics. This means that any equipment or other crafted goods that you import to a world are effectively spent once the campaign has concluded. Since all equipment imported into campaign worlds would have to be crafted in the EKs, that would make the interim period between campaigns more important and increase the viability of an EK as a bazaar. People would come together, exchange resources, and craft or buy the equipment and items that they want to take in to the next campaign. You might even have some vessels who remain exclusively in their EK to produce goods to sell during those periods. From a strategic standpoint, players entering a campaign would have to weigh the value of the items they're bringing in to a campaign versus what they can expect to get out of it. It also means that during campaigns, players will have to weigh how worthwhile it is to craft an item versus the value of bringing back to their EK the raw materials it would consume. Invest too much in equipment and you might not recoup your costs. Invest too little and you might not have the wherewithal to complete objectives and protect the resources that you've earned. I don't think ACE would quite implement that system either, though, since I expect people would complain about not being able to re-use their Vorpal Longsword +5. And, frankly, I find that a valid argument since a part of the game is developing your reputation and a big part of reputation in fantasy lore is artifact quality equipment. Maybe a compromise could be made where equipment exported to the EKs would have their durability reduced to zero or transformed into a 1X blueprint so that it had to be recrafted before they could be used again. In any event, I think it's really too early to be having this discussion. We don't have campaigns yet and the EKs are very rudimentary. A lot of the systems aren't yet in play. There are no victory conditions in the PvP maps, no craftable structures, no guild structure, minimal npcs. While I'm all for building relationships between the two world spaces, I think the focus right now should be making sure that each is individually fun or interesting in their own right.
  14. Regarding the premise of the thread, I think it's a fallacy to believe that the EK's necessarily must impact the campaign worlds in order to have value. This assumes that the player's goal is to achieve victory in the campaign world. But the EK's bring something independently to Crowfall that challenge this assumption: User generated content. There are going to be some people who value their EK just because it provides them with a tool set to create their own world and invite their friends to share in it with them. For this artist class, the campaign world is going to be adjunct to their EK, their interest more in the resources that they can extract than the equipment they can import. Their focus is going to be spending time in their EK, arranging and rearranging parcels and structures until they achieve their vision. I also heard J Todd talk about the possibility of enabling EK's to be attached to create mini-campaigns. Two guilds could set up a world with fortifications and NPC guards and then engage one another in a show of strength and prowess. Heck, in the short term you could simulate this by having a neutral monarch assign two halves of an EK to two separate teams, separating them with an impassible wall until the start of the match. These fights are a drain on resources since you can't recover anything above the first node tier but people will be willing to pay that premium for the fun of the experience. Or maybe they'll pay it for the opportunity to train for specific conditions in a controlled environment as practice before they commit to a campaign. Another thing I expect ACE to expand on in the future are monster nodes for the EKs; the ability to designate parcels that will house and spawn hostile npcs. This would enable players to build something for Crowfall that ACE has no real intention of doing itself: PvE worlds. Monarchs could construct a dungeon populated with hostiles, scatter chests around it with exotic or valuable items as loot, and then build a wall around the temple with a gate that requires payment to access. Other players would then be invited to challenge themselves against the dungeon to collect loot, with a fee to be paid for each attempt made. The creator could then use the fees collected to go buy artifacts from someone else's EK to repopulate the chests. Not only have you established "dungeon mastering" as a valid profession that doesn't require stepping one foot in the campaign world but you've also addressed the criticism that Crowfall lacks PvE content without ACE having to invest time or money into it. Once ACE opens the door to players adding their own content, the possibilities of Crowfall expand considerably. As that happens. so will expand the motivations of the people who play it. Thus the value of the EKs is intrinsic. They don't need to influence the campaign worlds in order to contribute to gameplay (though I'm personally of the opinion that they should).
  15. I think you and I are pretty much on the same page on this point. My argument was more that the benefits or reasons why a person would want to buy a second account should be embraced by ACE and implemented as a game feature. So working with the system as it stands now (I strongly suspect that it will be radically changed before release, but as mivius pointed out, that's a topic for another thread) what I would do is let players buy additional "character slots". Each slot would have 1 General and 1 Archetype skill which would be accrued independently without any crossover. Any VIP bonuses that are account based would then increase the value of the subscription for each additional character slot the player has purchased. Now, again, I'm not saying that's what ACE /should/ do, just one way it could provide all the features that you are asking for but consolidating it into a single account. Like I said, I suspect that the skill system is going to get reworked at some point and concerns like these will hopefully be taken into consideration. And this is one of the reasons why I'm opposed to encouraging multiple accounts. I don't have a problem with spying. Marketed as a "thone war simulator" Crowfall should have intrigue, espionage, and betrayal aplenty. But I want it to be handled through in-game mechanics rather than externally. From my GW2 experience, it's really frustrating having people messing with you and no recourse to stop them. It's not the messing with that I mind, it's that they can do it with impunity. Moreover, from my MUSH experience, I find that people who create multiple accounts to pass themselves off as different people tend to create out-of-character drama. I'd like for people to have to take their reputation into account when weighing the consequence of their actions. Props for taking the time to compile and present your ideas. Another idea I had was to keep the three pillars as they are now but give the player a skill slot to assign to each. Then, when creating a vessel, have it specialize in either Combat, Crafting, or Exploration, gaining the benefits of that pillar at the exclusion of the others. I think we all agree that specialization is an integral part of Crowfall, but I think it's also important to recognize that there's a distinction between "being good at everything" and "being good at everything at once". ACE can deal with the former through mechanics, but as long as it's possible to buy multiple accounts, we have to accept the latter as a de facto function of the game. With regards how skills relate to accounts and Crowfall's buy-to-play sales model, I still say that the main issue is that skill points are earned passively. The accumulation of any other resource requires active participation so having extra accounts won't necessarily reap a benefit. But since your account earns skill points regardless of participation, there's a linear benefit for each one you buy. The essentially turns "accounts" into "characters" and if this is really the system that ACE wants to implement, I think they should acknowledge it and provide characters as a game feature. Otherwise, they should rework the core system accordingly.
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