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NotASnowman

Tweaking The Leveling System

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Looking at the leveling system you've designed for Crowfall, I can see a lot of influence from Eve Online. For the most part, this is a good thing; Eve's system would fit well in a game like Crowfall, and offers a large amount of flexibility in how you can approach it. But while Crowfall would definitely benefit from this system's strengths, I fear it would also fall victim to the system's flaws.
 
Once a user has chosen a specific path, it's costly for them to divert from it. Every second spent leveling a different skill set means they're one step behind their competition. Deciding to be half miner,  half fighter, means there are people better than you in both categories. There's no way you can catch up unless they stop playing, or choose to diversify themselves.
 
As far as I know, CCP never tried to fix this flaw in Eve. It would change status quo considerably, and take too much time and effort to put in place. Instead, they decided to impart their solution in Eve's bastard son: Dust 514.
 
In Dust, players not only gained skillpoints over time, they also earned them for fighting in battle. There was a weekly soft cap, but points could still be earned after that. Although, at a significantly lower rate. This addition to the system went a long way towards fixing the flaws apparent in Eve. Players who wanted to diversify could simply spend a bit more time playing to make up the difference, rather than stay forever behind the competition.
 
Sure, this didn't fix the problem completely; a lot of people just used these extra points to specialize faster. But It definitely mitigated the problem.
 
Now, how do we use what we've learned here to make Crowfall better? Dust's system wouldn't work at all if directly ported to Crowfall, so instead of hammering that peg into the hole, we'll have to make a different one.
 
So I propose a little tweak of my own, I call them: Skill Tokens

 
Okay, the name could use some work, but that doesn't mean the system is bad, it just means It's almost 4am and I probably should've slept before writing this.
 
the system is simple; every so often you'll get a Skill Token as a drop for doing something that produces drops. These tokens can either be traded amongst players, or cashed in to shorten the time to train a skill a little. They would be pretty rare, I'd say a good approximate amount of time to find one would be; six times the amount of time you'd chip off its respective skill.
 
They would also be limited to specific skills or skilltrees. A Token for mining can't be spent on fighting, and vice versa. You could also use this to give them a second kind of value; both versatility and time saved could contribute to their rarity.
 
This tweak to the current system could possibly fix its flaws for good. However, I'm not much of a game designer, I've never made a game using code and pixels, only pen and paper. So I have truly no idea if this would actually fix anything.
 
Feel free to leave feedback and suggestions below, I'll arise at the crack of noon to review my work, and answer any questions that have been asked.

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I was afraid of this negative side of our leveling system. Unfortunately, Tokens would not fix that in my opinion. There is limited amount of points in each skill, right? Half Runemaster, Half Gunsmith would always be worse at both disciplines. But he would be more independent which is his gain.

 

I am unsure if there could be a solution for this.

 

On the other hand, a hunt for the Tokens would be fun, so I agree they can become a part of the game, despite, not a solution.

 

I would call it god's favor so we have a more original name than 'skill tokens'. Or probably make a name even better  :)


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Once a user has chosen a specific path, it's costly for them to divert from it. Every second spent leveling a different skill set means they're one step behind their competition. Deciding to be half miner,  half fighter, means there are people better than you in both categories. There's no way you can catch up unless they stop playing, or choose to diversify themselves.

 

As far as I know, CCP never tried to fix this flaw in Eve.

 

You call it a flaw, but I'm not so sure if it is one. Taking a certain path (with your skills training) should have consequences. Make a mistake and you'll pay for it. I think this is a good thing. Not saying players are stupid or anything, but having a system that makes up for any ones mistakes is a bad thing imo.

 

Currently we have a lot of games that offer free passes and conveniences to make up mistakes that people made themselves. Free respecs all around. Yes, I'm looking at you WoW. Players making mistakes creates diversity. Yes, your mistake will cause you to be behind those who didn't make one. That's life. Learn from it and do better from then on. Think before you decide what skills you want to learn.

 

A game that allows making mistakes and make players live with them is a good game imo. It also separates the good players from the bad. Like it should do.


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The sole passive skill training has been a extremely heated debate. I think the only other two topics that have been more heated are combat and friendly fire.

 

ACE's stance on it is clear. They are relying on what worked in EVE. Despite the many failures of games that went with 'it worked in WoW' they are taking this chance.

 

However, they are yet to elaborate what catch up mechanic they are wanting to add. In EVE you had to be part of the game for 2-3 years before you had a meaningful impact. It will be interesting to see what they choose to do on this issue.

 

However a good idea this is, i doubt they would consider it, they have said a number of times they dont want people that play all the time to have a campaign advantage, and what you are suggesting would be along those lines. 

 

 

Although we have to also consider that maxing skills is not always what we want to do. It entirely depends on the archetype we play, if we are capped out at 150 on sword skill with a knight and that is the only archetype you want to play, every point above 150 is wasted time. Also, to hit 150 maybe you need to use a legendary vessel, so actually it may be capped at 100. Until we actually get our hands on everything and how all the systems and items interact with each other its sort of just making guesses and assumptions. 


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If you want to be really good at a single Archetype and one of its promotions classes, that is one year roughly of training to get to max.

 

At worst, a player will be one year behind to catch up to a veteran in a single archetype. Not as much flexibility, but it certainly solves the problem that EVE faces.

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Okay, now that I'm significantly more awake, I think I agree with you guys that Skill Tokens (or God's Favour, thank you) would not be a cure-all for the currently proposed system's flaws. but if that is truly the case, then all I've done is waste everyone's time with a nonsensical idea. However, with a bit more tweaking, I think my idea could be made into something useful; so I'm going to see if I can salvage it before throwing it completely into the dust.

 

If we are going to fix my system, I think the first point we'll have to look at is acquisition.

 

Currently, I've been very vague about how I wanted these items to be obtained, I hadn't actually put much thought into this side of things when I wrote the original post. The drop system I've devised in the mean time should fix some of the flaws in my system, fixing the flaws in my drop system will come later.

 

Tokens will be split into different categories, each corresponding to a different discipline. However, each type will only drop when doing activities of a different discipline, and no two disciplies will ever yeild drops that are directly exchangeable. For example, harvesting would produce fighting tokens, fightlng would produce exploring tokens, and exploring would produce harvesting tokens. This would make aquiring tokens for your main discipline difficult, but make branching out easier, and less costly.

 

Sure, this may seem to go against the point I was making in the original post, but please take into consideration the fact that diversifying is the cause of the problem I'm trying to fix. I know not everyone sees it as a problem, but I see it as punishing people with a scar that never truly fades, rather than a wound that can be healed with time.

 

To fix my system completely, aquisition isn't the only thing that needs changing. The second point I'd like to look at is versitility, and how altering it even a little could change the very function of the tokens.

 

I think I didn't make myself clear on how I'd approach this in the original post, I wrote about how versitility could affect value and drop rates, but not leveling itself. If every token could be applied to an entire discipline, then they would be far too exploitable. Limiting tokens to use with individual skills (or maybe individual levels within those skills), would make them much more suited for Crowfall, but still allow them to retain their value.

 

Restricting these further, so only tokens for entry level skills would drop, would turn them into a useful kickstarting tool. But I guess their value would drop among higher level players.

 

However, that might be a good thing in the end: One of the main flaws in Eve is the fact that new players have absoloutely no way to compete with players who've been around for a while. even if all the other flaws i've mentioned are things that don't need fixing, I think we all can agree that this one is something that needs a bit of work.

 

I'd love to hear your feedback on these changes, I might need to do further tweaking before the token system is of any use.

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EVE system has no flaw per se, it is stupid and simple, and it does the job greatly for more than 10 years. If you make a mistake, you pay for it. Thus making search (or maths) to get things right rewarding.

 

In EVE, it does not take 2 years to make a difference, depending on your profession and who you decide to work with. I would say it takes up to 3 weeks to get started and having great fun. Even less sometime, as part of the fun is figuring out the game. Plus now, part of the very basic skills are already learned for new players.

 

For having played DUST from release to decease, the active training was just a good adaptation for FPS players. These kind of players (me included) likes being rewarded for their skills and acts above all.

 

Truth is, implementing the active training not only did not solve what you call a flaw, but made it worse. It was becoming mandatory to cap the active skill training points pool every week to stay competitive. Eventually came a time where you could, on top of that, get boosts of passive AND active SP (I am not even talking about accumulating them, as it was possible in the end), which ends up with everyone mastering pretty much everything (did I also mention the paid respects to adapt to the FOTM?).

 

This being said, I like your idea of tokens, but that makes me think about the discipline part (even tho, I don't know much about it). To be honest, I would love to learn disciplines by finding out fragments of knowledge during my adventures, allowing the creation of a discipline token, or something, which would allow me to learn and start training the discipline (rather than a boring training NPC). This could be great!!!

 

However, I think it should be unique and account locked. Because if it is trade-able, you will end up with imbalance toward the powerful, and the roleplay part will not be the same to my opinion.

Edited by Eaden

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I think it’s important to note that, while Crowfall’s skill leveling system is similar to Eve’s, the context is considerably different. In Eve, you need to level up your skills to gain access to a lot of more powerful stuff than what is possible to get access to in the beginning. More powerful ships, upgrades, skills, techniques and so on. There’s a considerable power and utility difference between a new and old player. This is different in three significant ways in Crowfall, according to the official Faq:

 

1. You don’t need to level up skills to a certain point to use stronger equipment. Starting the game as a fully new player, you will be able to equip all the highest armors and weapons that you can get your hands on.

2. You get more out of skills early on and all remaining gains are on a steep diminishing returns curve.

3. The power difference between a full skilled and full equipped player compared to a low level, badly equipped player will be much flatter than it is in games like Eve.

 

This all means that as a new player, you will be perfectly fine participating in a world inhabited by older players and won’t just be flattened completely.

 

 

I really like the leveling system. It makes you able to actually focus on playing the game how you want to play it, instead of having to grind before you are able to compete. In general, I think people misunderstand the system. The good players won’t be the high level players, but the players who commit more time, effort and planning to their game. It doesn’t matter that you have a crafter and gatherer alt, which levels up alongside your main. If you don’t spend time on it, learning the systems, actively crafting and exploring stuff, you are not really a good crafter or explorer. The player who scouts a lot, writes down details of the environment, keeps track of enemies nearby will be a much better scout, no matter his skill level, than some high leveled scout who never moves, because the guy owning him is too busy actually playing the game on his main character. A dedicated low level character will be so much more worth than any high level alt that’s barely used.

 

For reference: http://crowfall.com/en/faq/combat/#8

Edited by Smed

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Yeah, now that you've removed my rose-tinted glasses, I can see how Dust wasn't the best example. However, this doesn't have much effect on anything I've proposed; my system has almost nothing in common with Dust's.

 

The point you made about the token's tradeability is something I've already addressed, the token's versatility and power can be tweaked so high-level users gain little, or no, benefit from them. Even if the level restriction wasn't put in place, the fact they decrease training times linearly rather than proportionally would mean high-level users require much more to gain the same benefit.

 

How that affects things would probably change with time, at first it would have little effect, due to everyone being the same level. But as time goes on, the supply and demand will shift unpredictably, I would need to know more about the system already designed before I could predict how tokens would affect Crowfall in the long run.

 

The only thing I can say for certain; is the tokens won't cause any sizable power shifts as long as they're balanced against the other resources, and don't have a sizable effect individually. Sure, that would be pretty hard to do, considering the fact you can't accurately put a pricetag on time. (just look at how many times we've fiddled with wage laws in real life.) But since this is a videogame, all Artcraft will really have to do is implement a feature that tracks trade information, and adjust drop rates accordingly.

 

They're probably going to put in place a trade interface, so all they'd need to do is export the information from that page into a file stored on the server. Exporting that kind of information would be useful for other reasons as well. For example, it would help them to track down duplication glitches. Well, that's if there's duplication glitches to track. Most MMOs get one at some point.

 

Actually, something I've just realised is the whole trading thing won't matter much anyway. People will only sell these tokens if they believe the items they'd receive are worth more than the token. In order for a group to obtain them in sizable amounts, they'd either need to spend much more than their worth, or trick new players into practically giving them away. The first practice would make hem broke, and the second one could get them banned. well, unless Artcraft are going to borrow CCP's scamming policy as well. (Artcraft, if you're reading this, please don't do that. The only people it benefits are the scammers.)

 

Overall, I think I've managed to fix the new problems I've been shown. But then again, it's 2:30am right now and I could've just written a page full of gibberish. Either way, I'll check this thread again later, and address any of the other flaws you guys find. I've got one more rewrite up my sleeve before I'm ready to throw away this concept.

 

Edit: Ninja'd.

 

Thank you, I actually completely missed many of the points you've brought up. I still stand by my statement that my idea would improve Crowfall, but that's just because I made my idea, and I wouldn't suggest something I didn't think would improve the game I'm trying to change. Also, I'm quite stubborn, and this hole I'm digging shall be my fortress.

 

I think my wanting to change Artcraft's currently proposed system simply comes from my dislike of passive training systems. I much prefer currency-based trade off systems, like those found in Dark Souls and FTL, over systems with comparatively little player input.

 

I think it might be time for the rewrite, I'll wait for a few more posts before I write it, though.

Edited by NotASnowman

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Once a user has chosen a specific path, it's costly for them to divert from it. Every second spent leveling a different skill set means they're one step behind their competition. Deciding to be half miner,  half fighter, means there are people better than you in both categories. There's no way you can catch up unless they stop playing, or choose to diversify themselves.

 

As far as I know, CCP never tried to fix this flaw in Eve. 

You say flaw. I say diversity.

 

Choice needs to matter. Decisions need to matter. In my view holding our hands and protecting us from our own mistakes would be the flaw. Gently shuttling all builds toward a generic "viable" character would be a flaw.

 

Giving us control over our build and making our successes - and failures - mean something in the game context is what I want.

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https://youtu.be/TErDtyeQIDI?t=3m53s 

 

"the players can screw their up characters

 

you can make a bad character

 

but thats is ok!

 

we believe that there is a hole in the market for creating a game where you have the power to create something really cool or really crappy

 

and that power is valuable

 

we enjoy systems like that, we just don't see them anymore"

Edited by Tinnis

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I like the NotASnowman proposal because it helps a bit to compensate the option of having multiple accounts for each different crafting, explorer and fighting tree instead of having a single account with VIP (or not) to play and develop it in as much trees as possible.

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https://youtu.be/TErDtyeQIDI?t=3m53s 

 

"the players can screw their up characters

 

you can make a bad character

 

but thats is ok!

 

we believe that there is a hole in the market for creating a game where you have the power to create something really cool or really crappy

 

and that power is valuable

 

we enjoy systems like that, we just don't see them anymore"

 

Indeed, the fact i can mess up my character is the best part of this game, or will be.


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Well, I guess it's time to throw the whole token idea into the dust. As you guys have pointed out, Artcraft have thought about their system thoroughly, and there's no need for an active side to skill training. So, I think it's time for a new proposal:

 

Instead of a token that helps you level up, what about an artifact that gives you a skill as long as you wear it? I've avoided suggesting this until now because this feature would feel a little weird to me, since It's directly ripped from a project I'm working on.

 

While playtesting my project, I noticed low-level characters had a lot of difficulty defending themselves against enemies that were only a level or two higher. To fix this, I introduced an item that would grant people the abilities of a level one user of the respective magic. If you were already level one or higher in that respective magical type, the item would have no further effect.

 

If an item similar to this was included in Crowfall, it would allow players to try out archetypes, without having to commit to them. This would encourage diversity, without punishing it. Without this item, you'd have to invest time and resources into trying out your chosen archetype, and if you find you don't like the archetype you've invested in, then those points are wasted.

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I def dont like how long passives take to lvl up and of course with that comes the topic of VIP vs Non-Vip, but thats a diff conversation. What i really want tho is for a very very viable soft cap to be easy enough to get to then some very very marginal passives to help you buff as you play for months/years, kind of like how ESO does it with champion points. It def takes time to get them but its achievable and its not crazy op. The passives should account for like 5 percent at best improvement, and I dont think that skill upgrades should be included in passive training at least not combat skills. Im okay with crafting taking longer and being more on the passive side of training.


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Really, we won't have a fix for this until the game releases. As it stands now, it might work or it might not. The devs also said they wanted this game to be more skill based anyways so having the levels still won't guarantee you'll win. It's just a advantage. If that does end up being the case, the passive training will work great imo because it will be there for diversity not as a necessity.

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