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Axl

Might passive skill progression be a barrier to entry post-launch?

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Hi all.

 

Whilst I am a fan of the skill progression system, I worry that it might bcome a turn-off to people late to the party. Good ideas often require many iterations to get right (as seen with the harvesting redux), skill progression is one of those areas where the outcome of the design may take years to see - by which time it's too late to change/fix.

 

So, two or three years post-launch, will potential newcomers be deterred by the fact they are years behind the curve with no way of recovering or competing with day 0 crows (Cf. EVE Online)? So much clever work has gone into designing a game that retains people - it would be a shame if it failed to attract them in the first place because their was no way to feel "Epic".

Edited by Axl

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I wasn't thinking about this before much, but it does preset in a problem in the current setup. I think there is two issues in Crowfall's skill tree, compared to EvE that might cause this to be more of an issue for crowfall. First is the 1 dimensional depth of the universal tree, and second is the Archetype tree limited by class.

 

For the first issue take weapons in the combat tree.

This tree progresses like so:

Combat basics -> Weapon Basics -> Weapon Familiarity -> Weapon Competency

 

Every one of these trees is specializing in weapon damage, constantly getting better across the whole tree. New players simply will not be as relevant in a skill tree system like this.

 

This brings us to the important distinction that EVE has, "Specialized roles" Every class of ship in EvE has it's role and can be useful. The smaller ships are much easier to train and the ideal ship for things like tackling which is needed for fighting so even if a player starts fresh he can train the quick skills that gives him a reason to be out there.

 

This actually highlights a major concern where balance is not being forced into roles in crowfall. If everything's goal is to do more damage or more healing, then the diversity of the system is irrelevant and only the best classes are played(Bull, horse, girl). This type of game needs a more rocks paper scissors balance.

 

Problem 2:

Archetype depth. So this goes right back to problem 1 where you will want to be trained a good amount in the archetype, This may not matter too much depending on how the Vessel Quality system handles the skill training. But it then hit other negitives like once you are done with your classes you are pretty much done training. 


Jezvin

uXa

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^ This is why IMO the skill tree needs to be Short and Fat, rather than Skinny and Long.

Right now, if you want to do "X" you have a VERY linear path.

A->B->C->D->E->F->G...->X (Phew! Mastered it!)

What they need to do is not have "basic" skill trees but have each individual thing you want players to master, have its OWN tree.

So they want weapon specialization. Great! Create a tree for each weapon type.
They want armor specialization. Great! Create a tree for each armor type.
Create a tree for each ORE type when it comes to Harvesting.

So from Day 1, Minute 1 of my passive training, I get to START right where I want. Not have to fiddle with "getting better at harvesting apples" just to be better at mining Silver later. Or... Getting all these min/max/crit/damage nodes just to eventually get better with "Paired Weapons" etc.

What this means is you might have 50 different skill trees. This gives you 50 different "starting options" in what to choose from. What this also means is each individual skill tree might not take as long to "master". As an example, maybe each skill tree is only 10 nodes. 1 of each "tier". This would mean "Mastery" comes with about 5 months of constant training. But thats just ONE skill tree: maybe "2H weapons" or "Silver Mining". Now you move onto another.

Chances are, a player looking at FULL "mastery" and that tier 10 node taking 30 days... Might instead say "maybe I should train 'Plate Armor' now" because he can train up the first 4 nodes in plate armor for the same TIME cost as that final "mastery" node.

This gives players more choice, and more freedom to move around and take what they feel they want/need rather than all the "good stuff" being gated behind early "Basic" skill trees.

What this does, is allows a newer player, to gain quicker "competency" in any ONE area being able to train specific things up faster than a veteran who will likely want multiple things trained up.

When you separate all the weapon types, armor types, ore types, etc. I bet you would easily have 40+ individual trees for players to choose from. This would mean Mastery of them all (assuming 40) would require 18 YEARS of training. So I dont see this, as being any sort of Universalism where everyone is good at everything.

 

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Yeah, this is something I have thought about, I can definitely see it being an issue with the combat. Especially down the line, X years later, if someone has maxed out all the combat trees, they are going to be better than anyone else and I have no doubt there will be handfuls like them, so in campaigns where it is the smaller groups, they will kinda just set the law of the land (of course, since they won't have crafting, there still makes the reliance of crafters for them to progress, so that makes me feel slightly better). 

 

I definitely do like the idea of proficiency skills with weapons as an alternative to just straight skill. So like the old WoW system, where the more you used those weapons, the better they would be for you. This way would also give combat a more pvp incentive, instead of just letting it train in the skill tree, you can actively increase. 


- From DT, with love and adoration.

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100% agree with the original post.

With time being the only way to increase, new players will be so far behind, they might not stick with it.

Also, I have always had a hard time accepting this system.  I am not a crafter, but i can see how they will be disgruntled, if you can just buy a second account and just train up your harvesting/crafting off line, and PvP farm with your main account.

 

I dont think they should do away with the time based leveling......you should just be able to level faster (say harvesting) if all you do is harvest all day, and your skills stay the same as the guys 2nd account off line.

 

Just my opinion....but im sure others share......


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I have friends who like the idea of Crowfall but are very much turned off to the game because of passive skill training. Their reasoning is slightly different:

 

Passive skill training is less rewarding for hardcore players. If I'm a hardcore player who wants to play 6 hours a day, there is little to no reward to progress your character for playing a lot. 

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I have friends who like the idea of Crowfall but are very much turned off to the game because of passive skill training. Their reasoning is slightly different:

 

Passive skill training is less rewarding for hardcore players. If I'm a hardcore player who wants to play 6 hours a day, there is little to no reward to progress your character for playing a lot. 

This is where I would say you are missing the point. If this is what they think. I am NO fan at all of the current skill tree, but it has nothing to do with passive vs active training.

 

There is a HUGE "advantage" hardcore players will have. You have things like disciplines that will require some "in game" "in CW" farming to get the mats for, since currently stated they will be NPC drops. This grant players abilities for their Vessels that will be HUGE.

 

So active playing will result in that large advantage each CW.

Not just that, but resource gathering is all active.

 

The one that is most passive than anything else is crafting. You could have an alt crafter and just have him sit around doing nothing offline and have him "train" crafting. Play a Harvesting main, get resources then give to a crafter to make, then pass to a combat main.

 

 

But there WILL be big advantages of "hardcore" players over players who barely play, it just wont be in the passive tree. I also think it a false dichotomy to compare "hardcore" with "Time spent".

 

There are many "hardcore" players who dont necessarily spend as much time. 

 

I think its a good thing that you can do passive training, however this creates other liabilities, such as alt accounts which ends up impacting a sustainable business model since it will likely hurt VIP subs. Players would rather buy 3 accounts than VIP 1 account. The latter bringing in more revenue for ACE.

 

But to the objection that passive skill training doesnt give players who spend more time an advantage, I dont think thats true in Crowfall, the advantage just wont be in the skill progression but elsewhere in the game.

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Hi all.

 

Whilst I am a fan of the skill progression system, I worry that it might bcome a turn-off to people late to the party. Good ideas often require many iterations to get right (as seen with the harvesting redux), skill progression is one of those areas where the outcome of the design may take years to see - by which time it's too late to change/fix.

 

So, two or three years post-launch, will potential newcomers be deterred by the fact they are years behind the curve with no way of recovering or competing with day 0 crows (Cf. EVE Online)? So much clever work has gone into designing a game that retains people - it would be a shame if it failed to attract them in the first place because their was no way to feel "Epic".

This topic had been discussed in detail in other threads.

 

It is not a given that a given system disallows new players from competing against Vets. That would only be the case if the system is designed to endorse that (e.g. a WoW or Archeage where the game is predominantly gear/level/stat based, with huge amounts of player time-sinking in game play required to pack those stats/levels, coupled with SCALING of that Farmville grind rendering "vets" invulnerable to noobs - aka arbitrary redirect to "The Grind" out of PvP by the game itself).

 

As best as I'm able to determine at this time, the philosophy in Crowfall so far is: SHALLOW power/ability scaling so that players ARE able to . . . compete . . . even if widely separated noob vs vet . . . while still rewarding advantage to those farther up the passive progression chain.

 

In other words, what I'm hoping for is to NEVER see Vets invulnerable to noobs, no effort required, just passively blanketing them with invulnerability. I, as a noob, would NOT feel put out at all if I was facing off against Vets and getting trounced for obvious common sense reasons . . . yet I was STILL IN THE FIGHT. That I could damage Vets beyond 0's or 1's, that I was at least dangerous to some degree, and that Vets had to take human action to kill me or defend against me.

 

They might have advantages in skill-tree progression, fair enough. But so long as the game doesn't take players OUT of PvP by virtue of an improperly calibrated power-scale, I don't see the issue of "but we can't "catch up"" as an issue. If anything it's a MOTIVATOR to keep playing both in the short term and long term. In the short term the game will have still allowed me to be part of PvP. To have my part in the fight. That's huge. I then get to look forward to the advantages coming my way down the line as demonstrated to me by my opponents.

 

There is a fundamental difference between not being able to compete/participate and being at a disadvantage. That your opponents have an advantage is not, in my opinion, automatically the same thing as a problem, or not being able to compete/participate.

 

In the end none of us have crossed that bridge yet, because it's 2-3 years out post launch using your example. Common sense tells us that if there is a calibration/scaling issue apparent at that time, adjustments will be made.

 

At this point in time what I seem to be hearing is that the idea of keeping noobs vs vets within the same domain of participation/competition is understood, and the method under development by ACE is shallow power scaling along the progression track.

 

If Crowfall was going to be a typical stat/level/gear dominant game then of course everything you are asking about would be an obvious concern.

Edited by Bramble

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I have friends who like the idea of Crowfall but are very much turned off to the game because of passive skill training. Their reasoning is slightly different:

 

Passive skill training is less rewarding for hardcore players. If I'm a hardcore player who wants to play 6 hours a day, there is little to no reward to progress your character for playing a lot. 

 

There are other rewards to be had for active play besides watching skill bars increase.


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100% agree with the original post.

With time being the only way to increase, new players will be so far behind, they might not stick with it.

Also, I have always had a hard time accepting this system.  I am not a crafter, but i can see how they will be disgruntled, if you can just buy a second account and just train up your harvesting/crafting off line, and PvP farm with your main account.

 

I dont think they should do away with the time based leveling......you should just be able to level faster (say harvesting) if all you do is harvest all day, and your skills stay the same as the guys 2nd account off line.

 

Just my opinion....but im sure others share......

This is where a Short/Fat skilltree system has its perks.

 

If you have 50 trees that in any given tree you could "max out" in just a few months... A new player COULD come into the game and say, specialize in "Siege Warfare" and become better at that 1 thing than veterans who have been playing for 2 years.

 

This is why we need to get rid of "basic" trees - that end up eating up the first month+ of time investing into the passive tree system PREVENTING specialization.

 

EVE's system was more what I advocate for. I never played, but have been reading about it for Crowfall. They had 100% passive training, but you would get a "training book" that was a specialized area of the game. You could level that up fairly quickly and make a "real" impact in that area. 

 

I think the Basic Skill Trees are a HUGE enemy to the game. They are NOT specialized, and they eat up tons of training time and a new player ends up merely gaining all the same "basic" nodes that all the veterans already have. 

 

Rather than 50 choices, all representing unique gameplay mastery options, you have THREE basic choices: Combat, Crafting, Harvesting and have no "customization" or "choice" beyond A, B, or C. 

 

Even if you want to master "Silver Mining" you have to spend months progressing through the tree before you can even get the first node that specializes in Silver Mining. 

 

The Basic Trees, are a HUGE culprit of the problem with the passive tree

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There could easily be CW with a skill threshold limit. (i.e. you can only enter the CW if below a certain total number of skill points).

 

To be honest ACE would love to have this problem ... lets make the game and worry about what happens 2-3 years post launch later.

Edited by Dirkoff

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FAQ

Additionally, we have a few ideas brewing that would allow players to “catch-up” to some degree. Our goal will be to strike a balance: early players will have a slight advantage, but competitive gameplay won’t be insurmountable for the players who come along months (or years) later.

 

My guess is either sped up progression or X number of skill points to allocate wherever to be "viable" in at least one Universal/AT. Most likely with a nice price attached. Typical XP Boost mechanic sold in 5-10-25% amounts or something.

 

If this game survives a few years where it is a problem, hopefully it will have grown enough that such things won't break the system.

 

I'd rather play a thriving game, but I know others would prefer everyone "earn" what they get, despite the zero effort clicking nodes and waiting for the clock to tick requires.

 

With the option to allow "catch-up" down the road, rethinking the skill trees goes away. They can just "fix" the issue instead of attempting to avoid.

Edited by APE

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well frankly...

I think this problem would be somewhat solved if they did as I suggested in removing the basic trees, having 50+ individual things all corresponding to each area of specialization.

This allows a new player to become GOOD at something rather quickly. So even if you fast forward 2 years in, there will be a handful of players who are "Masters" at like 2-4 different things. A new player can still join the game, and in a relatively short period of time, differentiate himself as being good, or very good at something else.

The CURRENT problem, as I layed out above, is that new player joins the game, and his initial 1-2 months are all spent training the SAME things that all the VETs have already trained: Basic Trees.

This is avoided with each specialized "Job" having its own specialized tree that you can start from day 1. So that NEW player can train "Silver Ore Mining" from day 1, without having to do all this other crap that many veterans have done already. Sure he will be "re-walking" the road that other "Silver Ore Miners" have walked, but not the same road that EVERY Harvester has walked.


You could then further make "catch up" mechanics, with multiple ways:
- Selling special "training" tokens that reduce the time to train tier 1-3 nodes.
- Have a special "promotion" (Example: Next two weeks, training is doubled in the Silver Ore Mining etc). 
Things like this, however I don't know how necessary it is... Frankly allowing someone to become competent in any one area rather quickly, means that even the newest player can play a vital role in a CW after a short period of time, being a vital cog in the guild. Etc.

Edited by th3gatekeeper

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well frankly...

 

I think this problem would be somewhat solved if they did as I suggested in removing the basic trees, having 50+ individual things all corresponding to each area of specialization.

 

This allows a new player to become GOOD at something rather quickly. So even if you fast forward 2 years in, there will be a handful of players who are "Masters" at like 2-4 different things. A new player can still join the game, and in a relatively short period of time, differentiate himself as being good, or very good at something else.

 

The CURRENT problem, as I layed out above, is that new player joins the game, and his initial 1-2 months are all spent training the SAME things that all the VETs have already trained: Basic Trees.

 

This is avoided with each specialized "Job" having its own specialized tree that you can start from day 1. So that NEW player can train "Silver Ore Mining" from day 1, without having to do all this other crap that many veterans have done already. Sure he will be "re-walking" the road that other "Silver Ore Miners" have walked, but not the same road that EVERY Harvester has walked.

 

 

 

You make some good points here.


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FAQ

Additionally, we have a few ideas brewing that would allow players to “catch-up” to some degree. Our goal will be to strike a balance: early players will have a slight advantage, but competitive gameplay won’t be insurmountable for the players who come along months (or years) later.

 

My guess is either sped up progression or X number of skill points to allocate wherever to be "viable" in at least one Universal/AT. Most likely with a nice price attached. Typical XP Boost mechanic sold in 5-10-25% amounts or something.

 

Adding a skill training boost in the cash shop is a heavy P2W feature.  Since the people already ahead would be able to buy them as well and speed up their skill progression to overtake non paying players. 


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This actually highlights a major concern where balance is not being forced into roles in crowfall. If everything's goal is to do more damage or more healing, then the diversity of the system is irrelevant and only the best classes are played(Bull, horse, girl). This type of game needs a more rocks paper scissors balance.

 

 

 

The vessel system made me think they were aiming more in this direction. I doubt there will be just a jammer role and just a healer archtype. Modern gaming has change that to where everything will has to have a way to kill. Agree or disagree but being able to have some fighting power, regardless of role, is just too sticky.

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Adding a skill training boost in the cash shop is a heavy P2W feature.  Since the people already ahead would be able to buy them as well and speed up their skill progression to overtake non paying players. 

 

Easy to prevent older accounts from buying such things, simply make it time sensitive where an account over X age or X progression earned can't buy them. Along with only able to buy X number of them total for new players. It's a means to "catch up" not go beyond.

 

Could do it for free as well, but this screams "$$$" to me.

 

As far as P2W, game already and will likely have more things that fall into this depending on your definition. Can currently buy items that can be used in EK and CW from the cash shop and then trade them out of game. Supposed to be able to trade them in game as well, such as VIP. They might not be selling ore/logs/weapons/armor, but they will be selling a means to get them just the same.

 

If "player skill" is supposed to be the overriding power in this game, what one can buy be it resources or progression shouldn't matter all that much? Right everyone....

Edited by APE

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