Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

DISCUSSION: System differences between UO/SWG and CF


Recommended Posts

So I may be something of an odd duck, but one of the core reasons I originally backed Crowfall was the involvement of Raph Koster (and, by extension, Blair). I'm a tabletop RPG developer and organizational psychologist by trade, so I spend a lot of time thinking about systems. That said, I've never stopped being impressed by the work he did on Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies. Despite being very young when they came out, I played them endlessly. What really drew me in was how rich and alive the worlds felt, and how much agency you had regarding how you played.

I've been going through the (very good) post-mortem analyses of UO and SWG that Raph did on his blog (https://www.raphkoster.com/2006/06/03/uos-resource-system/ and https://www.raphkoster.com/2015/04/15/star-wars-galaxies-tefs/), and it occurs to me that there are several core differences between those games and how the resource functions (harvesting and crafting) seem to have been developed so far in Crowfall. Furthermore, these seem to be systemic differences rooted at the very core of these games, and as such not subject to the normal forum refrain that things haven't been fully implemented yet. By that I mean that unlike, say, disciplines or siege warfare (admittedly huge and important aspects of the game), the differences here are the underpinnings of systems rather than the systems themselves. That means they're very likely too fundamental to be radically changed, or in this case brought closer to the underpinnings many of us came to love long ago.

To be specific, here's one example:

SWG used Perlin noise to distribute resources around the various maps of the world, leading to semi-unpredictable distributions and concentrations. Furthermore, the number and type of resources were varied and unstable. That is to say that unlike CF, where we know the resource types ahead of time and their qualities are predictable (and their amount essentially inexhaustible over time), SWG had resources that could be fully farmed out. This led to very interesting emergent market behavior around resources and the items (and blueprints) crafted with them that is quite probably impossible to replicate with the system CF has adopted.

Now, all the above is not necessarily a complaint. Crowfall was never supposed to be a pure rehashing of those games (or Shadowbane, for that matter). But it is concerning, for me, as much of what I loved about UO and SWG came down to how those systems influenced the world. I readily accept that there are some core differences in design philosophy between UO/SWG and CF. Perhaps most importantly, the former were about allowing players to exist in a very complex world that tried to emulate the vagaries of life and the latter is about war and the economies that make it possible. That's a pretty huge difference, and I'm very ready to accept that such a difference may mean that CF really isn't the game I thought it would turn out to be and that it isn't for me as a player. That's my loss, but it's also not something I will complain about to the ends of the earth. It will be the game for some players, and I truly hope that it's the game for many.

Nevertheless, I'm posting this to see if anyone else has identified this same concern (I know there are many, and many others that may ultimately be causes for hope), and to see if they have theories on how these differences may impact the overall game. I'm not a huge fan of the seemingly pedantic back and forth that much of the crafting/harvesting portion of the forum has devolved into of late, and would like to have a detailed, critical, and polite discussion of systems. If that's not your bag, please move on to the many other threads here. Thank you.

 

Note: There exists the chance that the yet-to-be-implemented AI systems will allow some of the emergent behavior Raph describes in his post-mortem analysis of UO. That would be great, but I also don't know that it fits in with the design philosophy that we've seen thus far in CF. But as the jury is still very, very much out on that one, I've tried not to focus on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting reads, thanks for digging those up!  I'm a Systems Analyst by training and the ties to UO were a very large part of what drew me to CF as well, so I could dork out on this...  Be prepared for some rambling:

Resources, by name, are not linearly hierarchical in CF as they were in UO: in UO, Valorite was better than Gold in pretty much every context whereas, in CF, Iron and Gold simply do different things.  In CF, resource quality is the x factor, and the quality is a (subject to change) simple function on the campaign chosen.  The consequence of the hierarchy-by-type in UO meant that Recalling to a known Valorite chunk could be dangerous if you you were in a guild and didn't have any fighting/stealth skills, while a mine that only produced Iron usually meant you were left to your thoughts.  In CF, I anticipate that, unless a particular named resource in demand more than others (I believe I noticed that Iron was specifically required for boots in last weekend's play test), the demand is really spread a little more evenly across ALL resource nodes in a given CW, making each individual node less risky despite the fact that it produces high quality resources.  If the CW is big enough and resources are plentiful and spread out as they are in the current tests (not counting on that) then you might even squeak by relatively unmolested while harvesting, with some luck.

One thing I was hoping for, and that the use of Voxel destruction got me extra hopeful/excited for, was the concept that a mountain side is made of rock and therefore could be quarried or mined and the fun that might ensue from that (tunnels?).  One of the plethora of things that drew me to UO was that you could really interact with ALL of your environment.  I always wished for more visual interaction with the environment, though.  I think CF, in its current and expected form, falls short of hopes there though, if not expectations.  Even if ACE starts building stone and ore nodes into the mountainsides and adds things to interact with between nodes other than knotwood, which I patiently look forward to, there will always be a lot of 'negative space' (albeit scenic) between the resource POI in CF.  Slightly Sad Panda.

In UO, FINDING those valuable resources (Valorite chunks) was hard at first as there were no visual cues, but if you were one of a few who knew where those resources were then you had a competitive advantage gained from your exploration (until the mines were all mapped and easily accessed through guild runebook collections, that is).  In CF, I think finding the nodes will be pretty easy; you can tell what they produce as soon as they render visually.  Because of that, if there is any imbalance in the demand of resources, or the resources are too scarce (less likely, lots of map to fill), then I think it will certainly mean that those more precious resources will be thoroughly guarded early on in the campaign.  If that happens, and your guild can't provide enough support, then you could be SOL on that resource for that CW. Slightly Sadder Panda.

The good news to me: It sounds to me like ACE has designed CF to be very modular, extendable, and scalable (that one is in progress :)) and I think that having put that thought and effort into it up front gives them a fighting chance to deal some of these issues on the fly.  Which of course, brings us back to "It's Pre-Alpha"...

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, starrshipcs said:

One thing I was hoping for, and that the use of Voxel destruction got me extra hopeful/excited for, was the concept that a mountain side is made of rock and therefore could be quarried or mined and the fun that might ensue from that (tunnels?).  One of the plethora of things that drew me to UO was that you could really interact with ALL of your environment.  I always wished for more visual interaction with the environment, though.  I think CF, in its current and expected form, falls short of hopes there though, if not expectations.  Even if ACE starts building stone and ore nodes into the mountainsides and adds things to interact with between nodes other than knotwood, which I patiently look forward to, there will always be a lot of 'negative space' (albeit scenic) between the resource POI in CF.  Slightly Sad Panda.

In UO, FINDING those valuable resources (Valorite chunks) was hard at first as there were no visual cues, but if you were one of a few who knew where those resources were then you had a competitive advantage gained from your exploration (until the mines were all mapped and easily accessed through guild runebook collections, that is).  In CF, I think finding the nodes will be pretty easy; you can tell what they produce as soon as they render visually.  Because of that, if there is any imbalance in the demand of resources, or the resources are too scarce (less likely, lots of map to fill), then I think it will certainly mean that those more precious resources will be thoroughly guarded early on in the campaign.  If that happens, and your guild can't provide enough support, then you could be SOL on that resource for that CW. Slightly Sadder Panda.

The good news to me: It sounds to me like ACE has designed CF to be very modular, extendable, and scalable (that one is in progress :)) and I think that having put that thought and effort into it up front gives them a fighting chance to deal some of these issues on the fly.  Which of course, brings us back to "It's Pre-Alpha"...

 

Firstly, thanks for the very well-considered response :)

I very much agree with your first and second sad pandas, though I actually find the first to be sadder. I've definitely felt that "negative space," as you call it, over the past several weeks. It's not really exciting or interesting to merely wander around, hoping not to get ganked, looking for the slight visual cue of a resource node. I suspect much of what would have made the current issues with that go away was, as you mention, voxel destruction. You could populate a map with lots of resource nodes and essentially hide them, and bam instant game. But once you remove that, now the nodes are merely sitting on the surface. That's fairly dull. I look forward to seeing the introduction of POIs, and hope they alleviate some of the pressure from this problem. It will be interesting to see how far they go with those.

I do hope, regarding your second sad panda, that we end up seeing an economic game that's beyond arbitrage. That's really my core concern. Once you know, roughly, what everything is worth - your so called perfect information market - the best you normally get is something resembling a forex or commodities market. If they decide to add in functions like options (though I see no reason why they would) there might be something fascinating there. Even at this point, I think there are very interesting ways around the complications and concerns that have arisen. But I do see some bad potential outcomes, too. Such as, as you mentioned, complete dominance of a particular resource (which could very well end any resistance in a CW). We shall see.

But yes, I do think there's reason to remain hopeful. The technical underpinnings of the game interest me as much as they did on day one, and I try my best to keep in mind that so much is still very early days. That's why I like talking these things out: so much is unknown but we've got a little bit to speculate on. It's almost like the forums are collective fan fiction of our ideal version of the game. I don't know. That's really cool to me, and I like hearing where other people are taking their mental images of the game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, starrshipcs said:

 

One thing I was hoping for, and that the use of Voxel destruction got me extra hopeful/excited for, was the concept that a mountain side is made of rock and therefore could be quarried or mined and the fun that might ensue from that (tunnels?).  One of the plethora of things that drew me to UO was that you could really interact with ALL of your environment.  I always wished for more visual interaction with the environment, though.  I think CF, in its current and expected form, falls short of hopes there though, if not expectations.  Even if ACE starts building stone and ore nodes into the mountainsides and adds things to interact with between nodes other than knotwood, which I patiently look forward to, there will always be a lot of 'negative space' (albeit scenic) between the resource POI in CF.  Slightly Sad Panda.

 

I too am slightly disappointed my their decision to not use voxels, but I fully understand their decision. Having experienced the sheer power and fidelity of voxelfarm through Landmark, I can safely say it would have been a total game changer as far as harvesting and siege warfare goes. However, I can also say that the technology just isn't there yet in terms of optimization (among other things). To play that game at a solid 60fps, you needed a pretty beastly machine since everything was made of voxels. The sheer amount of data that had to be processed easily strained CPUs, so even if you had a decent GPU, you would have severe bottlenecking on the CPU side. Despite their best efforts SOE(Daybreak), they couldn't really nail this down. Also, servers in that game only hold about a few hundred people before things started getting wonky. I cant imagine how bad optimization would have been if they also had everything crowfall promises to have.

All that said, I'm not saying it's impossible. I'd love it if ACE tried to tackle the problem and finally make voxels a thing in MMOs. But if a team of around 100-200 couldn't do it...

Well lets just say ACE would need a lot of extra money, time, and personnel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, mythforger said:

I too am slightly disappointed my their decision to not use voxels, but I fully understand their decision. Having experienced the sheer power and fidelity of voxelfarm through Landmark, I can safely say it would have been a total game changer as far as harvesting and siege warfare goes. However, I can also say that the technology just isn't there yet in terms of optimization (among other things). To play that game at a solid 60fps, you needed a pretty beastly machine since everything was made of voxels. The sheer amount of data that had to be processed easily strained CPUs, so even if you had a decent GPU, you would have severe bottlenecking on the CPU side. Despite their best efforts SOE(Daybreak), they couldn't really nail this down. Also, servers in that game only hold about a few hundred people before things started getting wonky. I cant imagine how bad optimization would have been if they also had everything crowfall promises to have.

All that said, I'm not saying it's impossible. I'd love it if ACE tried to tackle the problem and finally make voxels a thing in MMOs. But if a team of around 100-200 couldn't do it...

Well lets just say ACE would need a lot of extra money, time, and personnel.

Totally agree. It's a herculean undertaking. It would've been amazing, but I'm not too upset about their decision. After all, developer time and money isn't unlimited. So performing triage on some of the more pie-in-the-sky ideas is something I can't really complain about too strongly. My concern comes down to what was left without voxel destruction, which is a currently very unenjoyable harvesting function. Again, we're still very much pre-alpha. I can't stress strongly enough that I know how much things will continue to change over the next several years of development. But it's still a bit concerning that what's left of one of the three core pillars of the game is essentially rote, with exploration basically replaced with time gates.

 

Edit: I'm not comfortable with how much of my response was just griping. So an addendum would be: "Do you have any ideas about what types of easier-to-implement functionality (or ways to leverage existing systems) might alleviate some of the pressure from this area?"

Edited by IHeartFargo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never played UO, but I played SWG and while the resource system in SWG was interesting, it was also flawed in that advanced schematics required very specific rare resources that might not spawn for months on a server.  There is a more limited number of types of ore in CF versus SWG but that is not to say that there won't also be rare resources that can be a POI on a campaign and can be optionally used in an advanced schematic to make unique items.  It's a similar concept just no harvester farms.  You have to collect it as a group with a harvesting spec character that buffs the group, and use a caravan to bring your loot back to base, protecting it along the way. 

The crafting schematics are designed to offer a lot of places to add optional ingredients or experiment with different combinations to create different effects.  There are spreadsheets out there you can look at the schematics.  I'd personally love for them to consider expanding the schematics a little bit and give us say 3 styles/fittings of each of the weapons/armors/etc for even more ways to customize and set yourself apart as a crafter.  They said they want to avoid recipe bloat which is great and if they can make a single schematic flexible enough to do it all that's great but it's all conjecture until we see a more complete picture of all the items and schematics that will be in the game.

Legend Gaming

Kendogg - Member

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, kendogg said:

I never played UO, but I played SWG and while the resource system in SWG was interesting, it was also flawed in that advanced schematics required very specific rare resources that might not spawn for months on a server.  There is a more limited number of types of ore in CF versus SWG but that is not to say that there won't also be rare resources that can be a POI on a campaign and can be optionally used in an advanced schematic to make unique items.  It's a similar concept just no harvester farms.  You have to collect it as a group with a harvesting spec character that buffs the group, and use a caravan to bring your loot back to base, protecting it along the way. 

The crafting schematics are designed to offer a lot of places to add optional ingredients or experiment with different combinations to create different effects.  There are spreadsheets out there you can look at the schematics.  I'd personally love for them to consider expanding the schematics a little bit and give us say 3 styles/fittings of each of the weapons/armors/etc for even more ways to customize and set yourself apart as a crafter.  They said they want to avoid recipe bloat which is great and if they can make a single schematic flexible enough to do it all that's great but it's all conjecture until we see a more complete picture of all the items and schematics that will be in the game.

Firstly, I acknowledge the (very big) flaw in the resource system of SWG that you identify. For many players, it was a grievance. I know it was for me at multiple points. But it led to one major benefit: by having so many types of resources, and having the possibility of them expiring, you both increase the types of emergent behaviors (such as hoarding excellent materials that may disappear in time, and then releasing them onto the market at a later date) in the economic game and you also have a much richer set of potential reasons for PvP behaviors without needing to increase the amount of developer-crafted content. That said, and I'm not sure you intended to imply this, but it does strike me as interesting that there may be an entirely as-of-yet unseen level of customization to CW rules that might help alleviate this problem, but I don't know that I see evidence of ACE moving in that direction. Anyway, in my book, the system SWG had balanced out as a net positive. But I understand how many individuals may feel otherwise.

I do think that the necessity of group harvesting is a move in the right direction, so we totally agree on that point. My worry is that the game focuses on getting the materials and transporting them, essentially combat-based functions, at the expense of all the behaviors that arise from a more varied and unpredictable set and distribution of materials, the essentially non-combat functions. Note: that's by no means a good framework for looking at it under many conditions, it's just how it appears in my mind.

Lastly, I do think we will get a good deal of this from the varied optional ingredients that you mention. But that ultimately affects the crafting game much more than the harvesting game, and really doesn't have the same macro-level impact over time. It seems to me that you would need to continually inject either new resource types (in which case, why not start from this point) or new schematics (leading to the aforementioned recipe bloat problem) to keep from reaching a point where all has been explored and the optimal versions have been discovered and cataloged by use case.

Edited by IHeartFargo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the supply of rare materials will certainly have peaks and valleys depending on the campaigns running at the time and what ones have recently run.  There may be some hording as well but not on the level of SWG.  The problem with the harvesters is once people got a foothold in the game, guilds could cover the land with harvesters and mine millions of units of a resource and make supply damn near endless.  As a part of one of the biggest crafting guilds I had access to ~500 lots for nothing but harvesters.   We could make more stuff than the economy could support.

Resources will be scarcer and more fought over in Crowfall.  It has many survival game elements such as season progression and less resources as winter approaches.  And there will also be the balance of how much resources do you need to win the campaign and how much do you want to put in escrow to export back to the EK's where the crafters can attempt to specialize in very specific markets that exist within the EK's themselves (some EK's will be PvP) and also for importing into campaigns that allow import.  Within the campaign, events can happen and strategies can change as the world is explored.  Perhaps some world has an abundance of copper but short on iron which forces everyone to change strategies and maybe try to secure one of those rare iron quarries for the guild so you aren't competely shut off from the supply.  But perhaps the iron shortage opens up new opportunities for other equipment to shine, or if everyone is using copper because its the most abundant, but copper based armor is weak to say elemental damage, then whatever resources provide that stat that go up in demand.  Each campaign has its own constantly shifting economy and as campaigns begin and end, the overall EK economy shifts as well.

Legend Gaming

Kendogg - Member

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, IHeartFargo said:

Edit: I'm not comfortable with how much of my response was just griping. 

I felt the same and I'm not sure my overall enthusiasm, which is very much alive and well, was properly conveyed.  There is some cool stuff coming down the pipes, and...

 

24 minutes ago, kendogg said:

Resources will be scarcer and more fought over in Crowfall.  It has many survival game elements such as season progression and less resources as winter approaches.  And there will also be the balance of how much resources do you need to win the campaign and how much do you want to put in escrow to export back to the EK's where the crafters can attempt to specialize in very specific markets that exist within the EK's themselves (some EK's will be PvP) and also for importing into campaigns that allow import.  Within the campaign, events can happen and strategies can change as the world is explored.  Perhaps some world has an abundance of copper but short on iron which forces everyone to change strategies and maybe try to secure one of those rare iron quarries for the guild so you aren't competely shut off from the supply.  But perhaps the iron shortage opens up new opportunities for other equipment to shine, or if everyone is using copper because its the most abundant, but copper based armor is weak to say elemental damage, then whatever resources provide that stat that go up in demand.  Each campaign has its own constantly shifting economy and as campaigns begin and end, the overall EK economy shifts as well.

I think this is where CF will ultimately shine the brightest.  I'm still very curious about what will happen with the voids between POI, should the map's dimensions-to-resources ratio be too high, but barring that I think there will be all kinds of room for ACE to mitigate emergent issues with Economies, and to even to run some crazy social experiments.  I envision CWS that run the gamut from law of the jungle style campaigns, where certain resources just aren't present at all and you have to make due with what can be produced in a crazily hostile world, all the way to a PvE crafter/harvester event where resources are absolutely everywhere and the win conditions are "who has the best crafted Druid Staff in their SB".  I think/hope the former to be far more likely than the latter, but I think the framework is there and it has some flexibility.

Edited by starrshipcs
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, mythforger said:

Well lets just say ACE would need a lot of extra money, time, and personnel.

Understatement.  I was surprised that someone was proposing a client-server architecture with Voxel in the first place and wasn't terribly surprised when they couldn't get the latency issues licked in short order; that's a lot of nonsense to sync between endpoints.  Glad they tried though!  It may parlay into something cool in the future.

Edited by starrshipcs
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, kendogg said:

I think the supply of rare materials will certainly have peaks and valleys depending on the campaigns running at the time and what ones have recently run.  There may be some hording as well but not on the level of SWG.  The problem with the harvesters is once people got a foothold in the game, guilds could cover the land with harvesters and mine millions of units of a resource and make supply damn near endless.  As a part of one of the biggest crafting guilds I had access to ~500 lots for nothing but harvesters.   We could make more stuff than the economy could support.

Resources will be scarcer and more fought over in Crowfall.  It has many survival game elements such as season progression and less resources as winter approaches.  And there will also be the balance of how much resources do you need to win the campaign and how much do you want to put in escrow to export back to the EK's where the crafters can attempt to specialize in very specific markets that exist within the EK's themselves (some EK's will be PvP) and also for importing into campaigns that allow import.  Within the campaign, events can happen and strategies can change as the world is explored.  Perhaps some world has an abundance of copper but short on iron which forces everyone to change strategies and maybe try to secure one of those rare iron quarries for the guild so you aren't competely shut off from the supply.  But perhaps the iron shortage opens up new opportunities for other equipment to shine, or if everyone is using copper because its the most abundant, but copper based armor is weak to say elemental damage, then whatever resources provide that stat that go up in demand.  Each campaign has its own constantly shifting economy and as campaigns begin and end, the overall EK economy shifts as well.

Definitely agree that the system in CF will avoid that late-stage glut, which is excellent for the continued existence of the game. I also agree that within each CW there will be peaks and valleys of each material (and also the qualities of the materials present). That said, neither of those necessarily address the concern that limited, known material types will lead to an absence of the emergent behaviors in SWG and (to a lesser extent) UO. Without that, you don't really have the same quality of macroeconomic game. Again, this may come down to what ACE is trying to achieve at core: economics as being subservient to war, rather than a game function of its own. But I'll leave that aside for a moment. One concern is that when you peg not only blueprints but types of items to specific resources, dominance of production of a resource has very different implications. For instance, a dearth of copper or iron (or the control of the majority of copper and iron on a CW) could very easily stop any real competition in the war because of what those very specific resources are needed to build. There really aren't alternatives. Now, I mention this not necessarily believing that it won't change. In fact, I fully expect it to sometime after we transition to 24/7 stable build testing. But it's an illustrative example.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, starrshipcs said:

I think this is where CF will ultimately shine the brightest.  I'm still very curious about what will happen with the voids between POI, should the map's dimensions-to-resources ratio be too high, but barring that I think there will be all kinds of room for ACE to mitigate emergent issues with Economies, and to even to run some crazy social experiments.  I envision CWS that run the gamut from law of the jungle style campaigns, where certain resources just aren't present at all and you have to make due with what can be produced in a crazily hostile world, all the way to a PvE crafter/harvester event where resources are absolutely everywhere and the win conditions are "who has the best crafted Druid Staff in their SB".  I think/hope the former to be far more likely than the latter, but I think the framework is there and it has some flexibility.

Yeah CW variance is really where my hopes lie at this point. I think, should ACE wish, that you could do some phenomenally interesting things with that. But it remains to be seen if that's what they're intending. I very much hope it is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...