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Quizzical

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  1. Thank you for the replies. I hadn't considered the reality that even if not explicitly associated with a particular race or class, some skills will simply be more useful to some races or classes than others. It simply isn't going to be possible for someone playing a lot of different things to be as good at all of them as someone who specializes his whole account-wide skill choices to focus exclusively on only one. So in that sense, having multiple accounts with independent skill leveling choices will always offer an advantage. That leaves open the question of just how big of an advantage, though. I'd customarily be skeptical of any claims that something is an advantage in PVP, but not really that big of an advantage, on the basis that if they don't want for it to be an advantage, why create it at all? But in this case, they might well genuinely not want for playing several accounts to be an advantage. I can see how it's a natural result of their skill training system, and they might well try to minimize it. There's also the likelihood that having more accounts will have harshly diminishing returns. It seems likely that it would be a considerable advantage to, for example, have one account that completely ignores crafting and also another account that is a pure crafter. But it also seems likely that this will come on harshly diminishing returns. For example, the benefits to adding an eighth account as opposed to "only" having seven might well be awfully slim, and perhaps even outweighed by the hassle of it. A lot of the details surely aren't in the game yet. I'll probably have to wait until the game is much closer to launch and then have a look to see how they're going to handle this.
  2. At a high level, my question is, how alt-friendly is this game going to be? If there are a lot of classes, then I want to play them all, not just pick one and stick with it forever. In a lot of games, that means that I level slowly because I split time among so many characters. In PVE that's fine. In PVP, months of mostly dying because I'm too weak to be competitive is not fine. Crowfall apparently has skills that you level on the basis of real-life time passed. It also has some such skills that are specific to the class and possibly specific to the race. Does that mean that you have to pick a single race/class combination and stick with it so that you max the skills in it, and would be horribly gimped if you split skills among many classes? As it was a while ago, there was going to be a VIP system to allow you to level skills from more skill trees (but not more skills from the same tree) simultaneously, but my understanding is that that was scrapped. I've seen it asserted elsewhere that different character slots would level their skills independently, so you could have a character slot for a ranger, one for a druid, and one for a champion, and all level their own skill trees independently at full speed. I've also seen it asserted elsewhere that that's not the case and all skills leveled based on real-life time passed are account-wide. So what is the current situation? I get that leveling characters from 1-30 repeatedly in the same campaign would slow you down. But would someone who wants to be a ranger in this campaign and a myrmidon in his next campaign and then a templar in the campaign after that be gimped because of account-wide skills on all of them? Or are the race and class skills not account-wide in the first place? Or for that matter, is it possible to create a combat-focused character and also a crafting-focused character on the same account, without either of them being gimped due to account-wide skills? I could get a crafting-focused character being bad at combat, but if being a crafter means that your whole account must be bad at combat, that's a different problem entirely. Obviously, it's possible to have independent account-wide skill trees by having multiple accounts. Apparently there are people who do that in EVE, which uses a somewhat similar skill tree system. But that's like charging $50 per character slot, which would be an awful lot of money. $50 to buy a box isn't a problem for me, but if you're going to multiply that by 11 classes to be able to play them all, that's an awful lot of money.
  3. It's important to distinguish between how players will behave when they're just messing around and know that a wipe is coming versus how players will behave after launch when they're trying to progress as fast as possible. A lot of players will try to progress as fast as possible, as proven by pretty much every MMO ever. A forum marketing blitz that might work today would be much less likely to work a year after launch. It's also important to realize that players will get much better with experience at quickly recognizing which faction is going to win. That can make situations where one side is somewhat behind quickly turn into a rout as the side that is behind gives up. If campaigns are short enough that they usually end before it becomes obvious which side would win if the campaign were to go on for another month, then yes, that would fix the problem. But that creates other problems of its own. For example, that could force campaigns to last no more than a week. Or only a day. I'm not sure what would be typical, but it will probably be much quicker after launch when players are trying to min/max for the best rewards than when they don't really care because they know a wipe is coming. If they end too quickly and most players rarely to never reach level 30, that creates new problems of its own, as then, the game just wouldn't play how it was intended to play. Maybe they could scale up the speed so that you level faster, get mats faster, and everything faster so that a full campaign cycle can happen faster. Or maybe not. More likely, it will take a lot of tinkering and doing things that get people squawking about one tweak or another. But letting most campaigns consist almost entirely of playing out the string after everyone knows which side is going to win is a recipe for disaster. On another note, this forum is pretty severely broken. For some inexplicable reason, it lets me post a reply from a private browser window, but not from a non-private browser window. I'm on an unpaid account, so I have restricted forum access, but that seems like a really stupid restriction to implement intentionally, so it's probably a bug.
  4. It's interesting that you assume that nearly everyone will be in the dregs. I assume just the opposite: a handful of elites will slug it out in the dregs while the overwhelming majority of the playerbase (by number of unique accounts that log in per month, not by hours played--and yes, that makes a huge difference) will avoid it. If you are correct, then that just moves the question to being how to balance the dregs, and that strikes me as completely intractable. If there aren't limits to faction sizes in the dregs (or guilds or whatever you call the relevant concept), then the stable situation will be a small handful of enormous factions, and you have to either join one or abandon all hope of winning. In some campaigns, it could be just one major faction, which would be stupid and boring, but having more than two meaningful factions would never be a stable outcome. If there are limits to faction sizes, then the benefits to filling your faction with highly active players are both obvious and enormous. If one faction is full of players who play 5 hours per week, and another has the same number of players, but they play 40 hours per week, then the latter faction is going to beat the former because they'll pretty much always have far more players online. The stable outcome in this situation is that eventually the handful of players who play the most join factions or guilds or whatever with each other. The handful of players who can get into such guilds can compete with each other in the dregs. Everyone else--that is, the overwhelming majority of the playerbase--will know that they have no hope of ever winning anything in the dregs, so they'll avoid it. Most people wouldn't find it fun to play a PVP game where you know up front that you'll never have any chance of having any outcome besides losing horribly, and that's all that the dregs would have to offer most people. The only way that I can see to avoid that in the dregs is to have so many dregs campaigns and such large player caps per faction that there are generally only a few significant factions in a dregs campaign, and they're always starved for players, so that they'll accept just about anyone. Otherwise, you'll get a cascading effect where the worst players can't get into a viable faction and quit. Then the next worst players are now the worst players and subsequently quit for the same reasons. The playerbase then dries up with one tier after the next quitting when they realize that they have no hope of being competitive until all that is left is a handful of elites at the top. Maybe it would take several months for that to play out, but if you design a system where that's the only stable outcome, it's a question of when, not if. That's not to say that the dregs are bad. Rather, it's a simple acknowledgement that top-tier PVP is inaccessible to the overwhelming majority of the playerbase in just about every game ever. If the entire game is unplayable for everyone else, then the game will predictably be dead on arrival. The tiny sliver of elites who are the very best aren't enough to sustain a game unless they're all whales in a pay to win game, which doesn't seem to be the plan here. If the game is to be commercially successful, then you can have the dregs, but you also need to have something that works for everyone else. Which returns to the original question: how do they plan to balance factions? That seems easier to do than trying to make the dregs viable to more than a relative handful of hardcore players.
  5. Let's suppose that a campaign starts, and players are distributed among factions however they are. After a while, it becomes clear that one particular faction has more and stronger players than the others. Everyone figures this out and knows which faction is probably going to win the campaign. Theoretically, the other factions could prevent this by ganging up on the strongest faction to deny it a victory, but the individual incentives are such as to make this impractical. Once everyone figures out which faction is going to win, the people who join the campaign late overwhelmingly join that faction. Or if they're blocked from joining that faction, they don't join the campaign late at all. Worse, the people on the losing factions leave to go play some other campaign instead. That guts all but the strongest faction, so then you have one dominant faction that controls everything, no one else has any chance, and it's boring even for the winning side because they're nearly unopposed. How do they plan to prevent that from happening? If they don't, it will wreck the game. As I see it, there are really only two ways: 1) Make it so that in most campaigns, most factions have a legitimate shot at winning right up until near the very end. That doesn't merely mean not yet mathematically eliminated, but actually has a real shot at winning so that it wouldn't be that surprising if they pull it out. 2) Make it so that if you're part of a faction that is obviously going to lose, both: a) The best loot you can get is from sticking it out and finishing the campaign with a loss, rather than abandoning it to join some other campaign where you have a chance of winning, and b ) It's still fun to play out a campaign even if you're obviously going to lose, rather than being frustrating. The problem is that I don't see any good way to do either of those. The easy way to do (2) is to make it so that it doesn't matter who wins a campaign, but that seems contrary to the design goals. It probably isn't practical to do (1) without making it so that the overwhelming majority of what you did in a campaign contributes nothing to victory, outside of a brief rush at the very end, or worse, something so weird that it seems stupid to base victory on it.
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