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courant101

Design changes: possible impacts on "skill based, no grind"

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I agree with you on the majority of the points you make here. My concern isn't about those ideas and changes being good or bad, fun or not, etc. It's rather based on what we were told "what determines if I win or lose is skill, decisions and actions" compared to what I notice, which is a  slow and steady shift into "winning thanks to skill, decisions, actions, real money and repetitive tasks". It may end up being the right decisions from ACE, both monetary-wise and to retain player base for a long time, it's just different than what I'm looking for as PvP MMO.--I see what you are saying.

 

Knowing that only lower tier resources can be harvested in EK doesn't inform us on the profitability. It will depend also on the rate at which the resources are collected, the value of these resources, the ease at which the resources can be sold and the maintenance/other cost related to the EK. If we sell ten thousands ton of copper, it can be as profitable as ten once of gold.-- I'll talk about this below.

 

Concerning the max, I think both the maximum capacity for a user to collect (how many characters can be controlled by a single user) and the maximum capacity of resources available (they said in the FAQ we can bypass by purchasing more parcels) are not something I believe would be extremely difficult to avoid. Bots, more efficient techniques, cooperation between EK, real money, multiple accounts... There are plenty of strategies to bypass restrictions.--There will always be people who try to get around the restrictions. We saw this with people wanting multiple accounts for multiple skills. I don't like it, but ACE may have some tricks up their sleeves to combat this (they did not reveal everything they know about the system to us).

 

 

The "risk vs. reward" is great I think and I'm happy they're going that route. What I disapprove is that the consequence, now, seems to have shifted to "paying more real money" and "repetitive tasks". It's ok if the consequence is losing some gears after dying I guess. We do a few things in-game and we try to get back some gears that allow to jump back in the fight. ACE has said multiple times in interview that it would be relatively easy to regear after dying and the equipment wouldn't make such a huge impact on the power of a character. With the Vessels in the inner bands, we now have to find the money for a new character if we want to continue to fight at a competitive level (we could stick to a default vessel from cemetery or decide to pick any vessel of archetypes we are not used to / passive trained on, but I guess it would reduce our chance to be effective in PvP considerably) and also the runes that the vessel equips, on top of the possible gears and inventory items loss.--Maybe, maybe not. If your guild has a more communal approach, you may not need to purchase replacements because it has been handled by guild planning(i.e. go to requisitions and request a replacement vessel. your payment is the contribution to the guild. Is that the best approach? Who knows, but it is a possible approach).
 
The hints we given about 1 character only per CW per account were:
"[...] is it allowed to buy and use multiple accounts to bypass the 1-character (per campaign) limit on normal and VIP accounts?"
"We aren't fans. However, there's really not a whole lot we can do about it. The thing we can try is: ensure that there's so much to do with an active character that playing multiple would likely mean you aren't performing at 100% effectiveness on either."
 
and
 
"Probably not - we want to encourage players to play a single character within a campaign, so we’re putting design rules in place to encourage that. An upshot of this design is that the best “crafters” won’t generally be alternate characters, because it’s not a very effective strategy."
 
Thank you for providing these! I wonder how much of the vessel system they had thought of by this point (the economy FAQ sounds like they may have at least been considering something like it by that point). Neither post explicitly states a yea or nay that 1 character per campaign was their intended plan, but they sure don't correct it either.
 

 

The big differences I see between "losing a gear" and "losing a vessel" are that previously losing an item wasn't catastrophic, they said they were designing it so you can quickly regear and return in combat (gears grant power, but nothing unreasonable). Vessels however is the only access to use an Archetype. If a player has trained only 1 or 2 archetypes, and is efficient only with those, he may (still hypothetical but we were given some info about this) need to find 1. the money to pay for the vessel (donation for guild, grind, real money?) 2. the right person selling the specific archetype vessel, 3. pick a decent quality of vessel to remain competitive, 4. find the appropriate runes and then return to combat. Or move to a cemetery offering the specific archetype he's looking for and get a sub-par vessel. Or try to find on the map any archetype he's not used to and has no passive training for.See my earlier comment. Yes, I agree it could become a grind and tedious, but it may not. It could all be based on how you plan and play. If that is the case, then I am for it.

 

Personally, I like to fiddle with systems and have some (in this case) game data and experience to work with when I try to make judgement. That's not to say your fears are unwarranted or have no data to support them. You obviously did research and pay close attention to reveals and discussion and know a great deal. However, for me, I like to wait until we have something to work with and even then may wait until they pretty much say "we think this is how it will stay" before I make a conclusion. Is that the most helpful for development? Maybe not (I hate feeling like something is finished only to turn around and keep working on it), but it does give the most accurate/stable basis for an argument. The economic value of things, how different systems will work, there are just too many variables for me. When it does come out, I may be in the same boat as you, or I may not. I say, the fears may be warranted, but let's see whether or not they will last when we get to work with the systems.

Edited by FrostSword

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I have two key design goals, and they are equally important.  They also have not changed.

 

1. We want to focus on player skill, actions and decisions -- not "grinding".

 

There seems to be some debate as to what constitutes a "grind".  For illustration, let me draw a spectrum:

 

On one end we've got WOW, which requires thousands of hours of fighting monsters, and an exponetial power curve.  Power in the game is largely a function of the amount of time invested.    

 

On the other end, we've got an old-school FPS.  Everyone starts on equal footing, there is no prepartion cycle prior to fighting that can be used to gain an advantage, and the power curve is perfectly flat (sans equiment).  Power in the game is entirely based on skill (and luck.)

 

Obviously, we don't want to be anywhere near the first end of the spectrum... but we also don't want to be at the other end, either, because that's not an MMO.  But we want to be far, far closer to the latter than the former.

 

"Removing the grind" means that we want the game to be focused on actions, decision and skill rather than a simple function of time investment.  

"Removing the grind" does NOT mean "you get nothing for time invested."

 

We talked about resource aquisition, crafting, equiment, etc in the kickstarter video.  All of this is a part of the vision, and it always has been.  

The question is: how much time do I invest, doing what, and what do I get for it?

 

...the answer is related to design goal #2: 

 

2. Higher risk = higher reward.

 

Removing the grind doesn't mean "the game doesn't include a single task that is repetitive."  There will always be tasks in games.  There will always be players who choose to repeat them.  

 

The design goal is: the rewards gained over time are a function of risk, and that risk can be offset by player skill.  the more easily you can repeat a task, the lower the reward.  the less skill is required to perform a task, the lower the reward.

 

Ultimately, this comes down to balance.  

 

If we make the game such that you can't be competitive without endless repetition of easy tasks, then we have failed at #1. 

If we make the game such that you can generate significant rewards with little-to-no risk and/or skill, then we have failed at #2.

If we make the game such that you can be competitive through the endless repetition of easy tasks with little-to-no risk, then we have failed at #1 and #2.

 

As I said, it all comes down to balance.  You can poke through every interview and chat we've ever done, looking for evidence that we will or won't screw this up, but it won't really affect the outcome, because it all comes down to balance.

 

Will we hit that balance, right out of the gate?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

 

But that doesn't matter.  What matters is that we are committed to these two design goals, and if we don't get it right, keep working until we do.

 

If you don't buy into those design goals, you're going to be unhappy.  If you do, then great!  All we ask is that you give us a chance to actually try -- and adjust, when don't get it right immediately -- before you cast your final judgement.

 

Todd
ACE
 

 

 

 

 

...


J Todd Coleman

ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.

Follow us on Twitter @CrowfallGame | Like us on Facebook

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I'm completely fine with a game where players can choose to grind but will earn less rewards by doing so than the players who choose riskier playstyles and succeed, and that's what I've always understood Crowfall to be.


Official "Bad Person" of Crowfall

"I think 1/3rd of my postcount is telling people that we aren't turning into a PvE / casual / broad audience game." -

Tully

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Nice post JTC, and nice job courant for creating an interesting thread that got a nice response from JTC.

 

It's good for us, the backers to discuss everything we can about the game and scrutinize it all... but in doing so we must also remember that the game is not done yet, things are subject to change, and nothing is absolute.  We won't know what we have til we have it and it is far too early to say the game is the greatest thing ever, or to say it will fail and abandon ship...

Edited by VIKINGNAIL

Skeggold, Skalmold, Skildir ro Klofnir

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To me, grind is a disparity on what you already know versus what has to be taught to your character. You could do a ton of rotations like a master, aim and skillshot, do a bunch of combos like you can do them in your sleep but the artificial gaps were like levels or a skill that still had to be unlocked and that's kind of old design and a bad one.

 

GW2 was a perfect example of having to do your 1 skill over and over to unlock 2 skill, then you do 2 skill over and over to unlock 3 skill which was mediocre.

 

It is a tricky thing to balance, MOBAs are a perfect example of how things snowball based on how well you farm, kill, and level and unlock the skills but however it doesn't feel like you're grinding in a MOBA match oddly enough. It has to do with the player interaction and how some mobas offer a fireworks of variables including personal skill and situational awareness, every match, you do have to "grind" but it's not there or doesn't feel like such because you're thinking about 3 different decisions to make instantly and you switch tasks immediately.

 

Imo that's the magic in the grind, you have to make it objective and meaningful and people don't consider it as one when pulled off.

Nobody has ever said "god I have to grind another match of DoTA 2 to hit max and do it all over again the next"

 

(I hate MOBAs. I'm cool. I care about what you think.)


The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters. - Audrey Hepburn “:♡.•♬✧⁽⁽ଘ( ˊᵕˋ )ଓ⁾⁾*+:•*∴
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@Todd. Most of us here are relying on the ACE team to find balance.

For me, I just cannot fathom why the ACE team decided to complicate the game design with the latest game reveals.

 

Not sure if anyone was aware of the fact that about 50% of the Shadowbane community walked away when the  first EK reveal was released, but I sure noticed it. Those hard nosed vets realised back then that it was going to be a big deviation to the game design.

 

I know and understand that a lot of gamers don't mind these changes to the game design because they are used to P2W, RMT's and Bots and exploits and hacks and whatever to gain an upper hand.

 

It would be refreshing to have a game where everyone could pvp on an even playing field and just use guts, intelligence and guile for a chance at gaining an upper hand. Even if it was a B2P and a monthly sub, I'd rather play that. Rather than having all the tricky bells and whistles that come with trying to please everyone's play style and genre.


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@Todd. Most of us here are relying on the ACE team to find balance.

For me, I just cannot fathom why the ACE team decided to complicate the game design with the latest game reveals.

 

Not sure if anyone was aware of the fact that about 50% of the Shadowbane community walked away when the  first EK reveal was released, but I sure noticed it. Those hard nosed vets realised back then that it was going to be a big deviation to the game design.

 

I know and understand that a lot of gamers don't mind these changes to the game design because they are used to P2W, RMT's and Bots and exploits and hacks and whatever to gain an upper hand.

 

It would be refreshing to have a game where everyone could pvp on an even playing field and just use guts, intelligence and guile for a chance at gaining an upper hand. Even if it was a B2P and a monthly sub, I'd rather play that. Rather than having all the tricky bells and whistles that come with trying to please everyone's play style and genre.

There wasn't a change to the games design goals, pretty sure that's what Todd was trying to say. Its fine if one doesn't understand how features and mechanics fit in right away but to just outright claim its a design change is a bit much, IMO. MMOs are complicated by default, so I doubt a Dev willingly adds features that are complicated just for the sake of being complicated. If we trust they have the games best interest in mind than have to also trust they made features the way they did with a reason and purpose of adding to the games design, not changing it.

Edited by pang

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Not sure if anyone was aware of the fact that about 50% of the Shadowbane community walked away when the  first EK reveal was released, but I sure noticed it. Those hard nosed vets realised back then that it was going to be a big deviation to the game design.

I played Shadowbane and strangely, I wasn't part of that poll. I think you pulled that number from the same place you pulled the rest of your ideas about what players are "used to" and find acceptable.

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I played Shadowbane and strangely, I wasn't part of that poll. I think you pulled that number from the same place you pulled the rest of your ideas about what players are "used to" and find acceptable.

I was one of the original shadowbane players, tested it like crazy, played at launch... and the people that claimed they were the shadowbane community and then got mad and abandoned ship on crowfall were not part of the original shadowbane community.  They basically wanted crowfall to be an emulator sized game with some graphics overhauls where they could hope to beat up a bunch of nobodies. 

 

Luckily JTC and GW want a thriving pvp mmo... and i am sure they hope to make a game cool enough to attract the best mmo pvpers...


Skeggold, Skalmold, Skildir ro Klofnir

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I was one of the original shadowbane players, tested it like crazy, played at launch... and the people that claimed they were the shadowbane community and then got mad and abandoned ship on crowfall were not part of the original shadowbane community.  They basically wanted crowfall to be an emulator sized game with some graphics overhauls where they could hope to beat up a bunch of nobodies. 

 

Luckily JTC and GW want a thriving pvp mmo... and i am sure they hope to make a game cool enough to attract the best mmo pvpers...

Lol, see you've proved my point. ;)

 

I'm not saying that Crowfall is poorly made socks and writing it off, so don't get me wrong. I'm saying that I simply fail to see ... at this moment in time ... where this is all going. Or more accurately, I'm saying that I'm more cynical.


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I was one of the original shadowbane players, tested it like crazy, played at launch... and the people that claimed they were the shadowbane community and then got mad and abandoned ship on crowfall were not part of the original shadowbane community.  They basically wanted crowfall to be an emulator sized game with some graphics overhauls where they could hope to beat up a bunch of nobodies. 

 

Luckily JTC and GW want a thriving pvp mmo... and i am sure they hope to make a game cool enough to attract the best mmo pvpers...

 

You will still be able to beat up on nobodies.  Alpha and Beta testers will still have a leg up when the game launches.  Hopefully with the EKs, people wont pick up their ball and go home when they lose everything they built in the last 2 or 3 months.  They will still have their Barbie Dreamhouse and still feel important and hopeful.  Then they can start the cycle again when a new season starts.  Just a longer time to harvest salty carebear tears.

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You will still be able to beat up on nobodies.  Alpha and Beta testers will still have a leg up when the game launches.  Hopefully with the EKs, people wont pick up their ball and go home when they lose everything they built in the last 2 or 3 months.  They will still have their Barbie Dreamhouse and still feel important and hopeful.  Then they can start the cycle again when a new season starts.  Just a longer time to harvest salty carebear tears.

if they create a game where player skill actually matters (which means a decent skill-ceiling) then headstarts won't really matter all that much...  We've seen it in games like sc2 and LoL... people can have years of headstart but the best will still rapidly rise to the top...

 

If they have an open beta people will still have plenty of time to learn what they need to learn before launch.

Edited by VIKINGNAIL

Skeggold, Skalmold, Skildir ro Klofnir

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You will still be able to beat up on nobodies.  Alpha and Beta testers will still have a leg up when the game launches.  Hopefully with the EKs, people wont pick up their ball and go home when they lose everything they built in the last 2 or 3 months.  They will still have their Barbie Dreamhouse and still feel important and hopeful.  Then they can start the cycle again when a new season starts.  Just a longer time to harvest salty carebear tears.

Shadowbane had levels. Skill didn't matter when the player you were fighting was 20 levels higher than you. CF will have a much more shallow power curve.

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if they create a game where player skill actually matters (which means a decent skill-ceiling) then headstarts won't really matter all that much...  We've seen it in games like sc2 and LoL... people can have years of headstart but the best will still rapidly rise to the top...

 

If they have an open beta people will still have plenty of time to learn what they need to learn before launch.

You forgot to mention guts, intelligence and guile as well as button mashers. Phht!


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Not sure if anyone was aware of the fact that about 50% of the Shadowbane community walked away when the  first EK reveal was released, but I sure noticed it. Those hard nosed vets realised back then that it was going to be a big deviation to the game design.

 

I wonder if it's more the ebb and flow of how forums like these go. I hopped in a little bit late here, but my understanding was there was a large "carebear" pop. before the pvp pop. moved in. In a game that is pre-alpha there is only so much to talk/argue/criticize/debate about before you pause and take a break, come back in 6 months and see what's up. How many fully "left" and how many are sitting dormant is anyone's guess.


"Through the travail of ages, midst the pomp and toils of war, have I fought and strove and perished, countless times among the stars.
As if through a glass and darkly, the age old strife I see, when I fought in many guises and many names, but always me."

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I have two key design goals, and they are equally important.  They also have not changed.

 

1. We want to focus on player skill, actions and decisions -- not "grinding".

 

There seems to be some debate as to what constitutes a "grind".  For illustration, let me draw a spectrum:

 

On one end we've got WOW, which requires thousands of hours of fighting monsters, and an exponetial power curve.  Power in the game is largely a function of the amount of time invested.    

 

On the other end, we've got an old-school FPS.  Everyone starts on equal footing, there is no prepartion cycle prior to fighting that can be used to gain an advantage, and the power curve is perfectly flat (sans equiment).  Power in the game is entirely based on skill (and luck.)

 

Obviously, we don't want to be anywhere near the first end of the spectrum... but we also don't want to be at the other end, either, because that's not an MMO.  But we want to be far, far closer to the latter than the former.

 

"Removing the grind" means that we want the game to be focused on actions, decision and skill rather than a simple function of time investment.  

"Removing the grind" does NOT mean "you get nothing for time invested."

 

We talked about resource aquisition, crafting, equiment, etc in the kickstarter video.  All of this is a part of the vision, and it always has been.  

The question is: how much time do I invest, doing what, and what do I get for it?

 

...the answer is related to design goal #2: 

 

2. Higher risk = higher reward.

 

Removing the grind doesn't mean "the game doesn't include a single task that is repetitive."  There will always be tasks in games.  There will always be players who choose to repeat them.  

 

The design goal is: the rewards gained over time are a function of risk, and that risk can be offset by player skill.  the more easily you can repeat a task, the lower the reward.  the less skill is required to perform a task, the lower the reward.

 

Ultimately, this comes down to balance.  

 

If we make the game such that you can't be competitive without endless repetition of easy tasks, then we have failed at #1. 

If we make the game such that you can generate significant rewards with little-to-no risk and/or skill, then we have failed at #2.

If we make the game such that you can be competitive through the endless repetition of easy tasks with little-to-no risk, then we have failed at #1 and #2.

 

As I said, it all comes down to balance.  You can poke through every interview and chat we've ever done, looking for evidence that we will or won't screw this up, but it won't really affect the outcome, because it all comes down to balance.

 

Will we hit that balance, right out of the gate?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

 

But that doesn't matter.  What matters is that we are committed to these two design goals, and if we don't get it right, keep working until we do.

 

If you don't buy into those design goals, you're going to be unhappy.  If you do, then great!  All we ask is that you give us a chance to actually try -- and adjust, when don't get it right immediately -- before you cast your final judgement.

 

Todd
ACE
 

 

 

 

 

...

 

 

This post from Todd just convinced me to upgrade from KS Contributor to 15 Sapphire.  Great post and design philosophy.  Oh, and I also played Shadowbane heavily and consider SB part of my old community.  The EK and vessel concepts are intriguing and I think they will work. 


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I wonder if it's more the ebb and flow of how forums like these go. I hopped in a little bit late here, but my understanding was there was a large "carebear" pop. before the pvp pop. moved in. In a game that is pre-alpha there is only so much to talk/argue/criticize/debate about before you pause and take a break, come back in 6 months and see what's up. How many fully "left" and how many are sitting dormant is anyone's guess.

Yeah as someone who has followed a few of those games from announcement to launch that's pretty much how it goes. Theres a big surge at first then it settles down and then every so often it picks up again and calms back down. Like I've stated before that this is the natural flow of things and not anything that's really wrong or bad.

Edited by pang

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