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Dondagora

Combat Skill Tree Should Focus on Combat-Based Roles, not PvP

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To explain this idea, here is a quick view of what I think:

There are three large archetypical roles in this game; Combatant, Harvester, and Crafter.

Each should have a wide variety of Disciplines to choose from.

The reason Combatants will likely be better, and rightfully so, in PvP than Crafters and Harvesters is because they have combat-oriented Disciplines equipped where the Crafter and Harvester has Crafting and Harvesting Disciplines.

The Crafting Tree will/should have a variety of specialties from material to components. Harvesting should have the same, such that they can specialize within their role.

The Combat Tree, therefore, should not widen the combat stats gap between Combatants and non-Combatants, but instead should help Combatants specialize within given roles.

For instance, specializing for Siege equipment, or against Siege equipment, or into their Disciplines, or perhaps a focus into Skills that make one a better Ambusher [Stealth] or Tracker [Perception] (meaning non-direct combat stats).

To this, a Combatant will not simply be a "better fighter", which they are by default of having combat disciplines, but will now be an "Expert Bandit" or a "Good Catapult Engineer". Just as a Crafter might be known for specific wares they make, a Combatant might be known for their specialty.

 

Thoughts on this general suggestion towards a revision of the Combat Skill Tree?

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I like this...

...but I -think- the Harvesting/Crafting Disciplines are temporary stop-gaps, which might alleviate some of your concerns! I know the skill tree is up for a revamp too, but it's definitely worth bringing up and discussing though; no time like the present to make sure your thoughts are considered!

Edited by Xarrayne

:^)

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I am having a little trouble coming up with an adequate reply because I am not sure if you are referring to the new discipline system or the skill system.  I think you are referring to the skill system but you mention Crafting and Harvesting Disciplines so I am not so sure.  I will assume for purpose of this post that your comments are focused on the passive skill training system.

I like the idea built into the suggestion.  Replacing a raw stat benefit from more training time with technical combat specialization is definitely a more interesting and adaptive idea.  I am concerned though that the current system of training for crafting and harvesting really only make those pursuits actually viable in a way the combat system might arguably do to a lesser degree.  Currently, the harvesting system with 1 in plentiful harvesting yields a poultry amount of resources as discussed elsewhere on these forums.  (See, e.g., Harvesting Passives ... Why they hurt gatherers under Crafting & Economy.)  Similarly, crafting only becomes a successful and profitable endeavor (in my opinion, we will see the details as the systems become more interconnected) as one skills up and can obtain reasonable levels of success in the experimentation phase.  So, combat training making the activity a viable long term activity is roughly parallel.  It makes the activity something one can pursue as a "crow profession."

Additionally, I am having some trouble seeing exactly how many ways combat can be "specialized" without it effectively being similar to what we have now.  The examples you have are good - seige, stealth, stealing, and perhaps others are ways to play a combat character that give tactical position based advantages without statistical differences.  The strength of sneaking up on someone is the opportunity to strike first and unexpectedly with the associated benefits for example.  I suppose with some thought I could come up with ways to train in "defending a point" - i.e. raising ones defense when substantially immobile; "running away" - i.e. escapes or slows against pursuers; "chasing" - i.e. to combat escape; "Town Combat"; "Forest Combat"; "Mountain Combat" - i.e. benefits applied only when in those terrain types. 

Now that I have stammered through this post with the idea, those alternatives to strict statistical benefits (lower CC time, stronger raw defense or offense) definitely feel more interesting and something I would support.  It also makes more sense when building a hybrid combat/gathering crow skill-wise (if I wanted a ranger who was good at cutting trees, I might also specialize their ability to fight in the forest for obvious reasons or maybe improve their stealth capability; if I wanted to build a town crafter, I might specialize in town combat or detecting theft to suit my environment).

I do think some of this idea is already accounted for in the ideas of siege or stealth training that are currently in planning stages, but it would be nice to embrace those ideas more fully and avoid the raw stat benefits in the combat skills where possible.

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I agree, it was the one thing I didn't like about the top 3 training options, it didn't feel right that the 'combat' option was just get better combat numbers. Especially when a crafter/gatherer is still going to have just as good 'class' training.

I like the idea that the top 3 should open up game-play options, not game-play power. It does seems like they might be thinking this already to some degree, Siege and Stealth stuff is listed under the Combat tree now. Theirs still at least one planned skill revamp coming so this might be part of it, we'll see.


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2 hours ago, Ivellian said:

I am having a little trouble coming up with an adequate reply because I am not sure if you are referring to the new discipline system or the skill system.  I think you are referring to the skill system but you mention Crafting and Harvesting Disciplines so I am not so sure.  I will assume for purpose of this post that your comments are focused on the passive skill training system.

I like the idea built into the suggestion.  Replacing a raw stat benefit from more training time with technical combat specialization is definitely a more interesting and adaptive idea.  I am concerned though that the current system of training for crafting and harvesting really only make those pursuits actually viable in a way the combat system might arguably do to a lesser degree.  Currently, the harvesting system with 1 in plentiful harvesting yields a poultry amount of resources as discussed elsewhere on these forums.  (See, e.g., Harvesting Passives ... Why they hurt gatherers under Crafting & Economy.)  Similarly, crafting only becomes a successful and profitable endeavor (in my opinion, we will see the details as the systems become more interconnected) as one skills up and can obtain reasonable levels of success in the experimentation phase.  So, combat training making the activity a viable long term activity is roughly parallel.  It makes the activity something one can pursue as a "crow profession."

Additionally, I am having some trouble seeing exactly how many ways combat can be "specialized" without it effectively being similar to what we have now.  The examples you have are good - seige, stealth, stealing, and perhaps others are ways to play a combat character that give tactical position based advantages without statistical differences.  The strength of sneaking up on someone is the opportunity to strike first and unexpectedly with the associated benefits for example.  I suppose with some thought I could come up with ways to train in "defending a point" - i.e. raising ones defense when substantially immobile; "running away" - i.e. escapes or slows against pursuers; "chasing" - i.e. to combat escape; "Town Combat"; "Forest Combat"; "Mountain Combat" - i.e. benefits applied only when in those terrain types. 

Now that I have stammered through this post with the idea, those alternatives to strict statistical benefits (lower CC time, stronger raw defense or offense) definitely feel more interesting and something I would support.  It also makes more sense when building a hybrid combat/gathering crow skill-wise (if I wanted a ranger who was good at cutting trees, I might also specialize their ability to fight in the forest for obvious reasons or maybe improve their stealth capability; if I wanted to build a town crafter, I might specialize in town combat or detecting theft to suit my environment).

I do think some of this idea is already accounted for in the ideas of siege or stealth training that are currently in planning stages, but it would be nice to embrace those ideas more fully and avoid the raw stat benefits in the combat skills where possible.

Thank you for the reply, and let me attempt to try to alleviate some confusion from the main post.

I mention Crafting and Harvesting Disciplines as well as Combat Disciplines to highlight that you do not need the stats provided on the current Combat Skill Tree to have an edge against these non-Combatants. The fact that you have Combat-oriented Powers and they do not should be more than enough advantage and customization to say "I am a combatant and you are a crafter, we are built differently for different jobs". There does not need to be a power difference.

As for specific roles, there can be things such as "Higher Ground Combat" which gives you bonuses against opponents at a lower Z-coordinate than you, "Nocturnal Animal" which might better your inherent Night Vision or give bonuses during Night Time, or "Trench Fighter" which gives bonus against opponents at a  higher Z-coordinate than you (Attacking enemies on walls, uphill), "Defender" which provides bonuses to Barriers and the like, "War Tactics" which gives bonuses when hitting multiple enemies, and so forth. Statistical advantages aren't bad, so long as they're conditional to be fit into a certain style of combat. For instance, a better Catapulter will have statistical advantage on a catapult than the average joe, but this is a specific scenario in which they shine.

I like that you like the idea, and hope it might bring greater tactical choices for any army. Choosing who to put where, and when. Like, a Commander wants to defend a choke leading up to a further layer of the castle, who do they put there and who do they leave in the reserves might come down to who in the army is known to be a Higher Ground Combatant, giving them a specialized role in combat.

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14 hours ago, Dondagora said:

Thank you for the reply, and let me attempt to try to alleviate some confusion from the main post.

I mention Crafting and Harvesting Disciplines as well as Combat Disciplines to highlight that you do not need the stats provided on the current Combat Skill Tree to have an edge against these non-Combatants. The fact that you have Combat-oriented Powers and they do not should be more than enough advantage and customization to say "I am a combatant and you are a crafter, we are built differently for different jobs". There does not need to be a power difference.

As for specific roles, there can be things such as "Higher Ground Combat" which gives you bonuses against opponents at a lower Z-coordinate than you, "Nocturnal Animal" which might better your inherent Night Vision or give bonuses during Night Time, or "Trench Fighter" which gives bonus against opponents at a  higher Z-coordinate than you (Attacking enemies on walls, uphill), "Defender" which provides bonuses to Barriers and the like, "War Tactics" which gives bonuses when hitting multiple enemies, and so forth. Statistical advantages aren't bad, so long as they're conditional to be fit into a certain style of combat. For instance, a better Catapulter will have statistical advantage on a catapult than the average joe, but this is a specific scenario in which they shine.

I like that you like the idea, and hope it might bring greater tactical choices for any army. Choosing who to put where, and when. Like, a Commander wants to defend a choke leading up to a further layer of the castle, who do they put there and who do they leave in the reserves might come down to who in the army is known to be a Higher Ground Combatant, giving them a specialized role in combat.

Thank you for starting the discussion with the idea.

I understand now and I tend to agree.  With disciplines being a semi-permanent active game play choice, it definitely does feel like the correct area to provide statistical combat advantages (in the form of more abilities to cast or combat passives, not merely raw statistics necessarily).  I believe a member of ACE (who, exactly, and where, exactly, I'd have to go searching some more) mentioned they tried to avoid raw stat boosts in the disciplines and more tried to make the disciplines situational.  Along the same lines of thought, one could make skills similar (which is what I think this suggestion leans toward), but in my search for the above quote I came across this by jtoddcoleman from "On the Horizon: Combat disciplines - Official discussion thread" at 12:46 on March 3rd:

 

aha!  now that IS a good question, made even better because (as noted) it hasn't been asked before. ;p

The answer is: we largely disconnected this system from passive training, on purpose.  Training still AFFECTS your disciplines, because your Discipline powers will derive their effectiveness from your underlying stats (which are driven by skills) but you don't need to "invest" in Disciplines to use them in the same way that you invest in archetypes or universal skills.

Why would we do that?

Going back to my SB reference above, what was cool about that system was the ability to try out different options relatively quickly (not minutes, but hours and days -- very different than passive training, which is days/months.)  Requiring a days/months "investment" would work against the cycle of experimentation and exploration we want from this system. Additionally, the nature of experimentation requires that some experiments fail, and if you lost passive training time as a result, that would be really annoying.  Losing the time that you spent actually doing the experiment is fine, IMO, because that's a variable (and discretionary) cost.  Passive Training is a sunk cost, and the experiment would put you behind other people who didn't experiement... which would be a huge disincentive to experiment.  

This system should focus on 1) theorycrafting what combinations might be awesome 2) the collection game, which touches a ton of in-game activities (exploring, harvesting, crafting, thrall hunting, etc), and then 3) putting those theories to the test, and adjusting your strategy after you see how well they turn out.

To answer your question about archetype cross-training: Blair and I discussed some light cross-over of archetype skills (i.e. "because I have invested in Ranger archery-related skills, do I get some benefit with other characters when using the Archery discipline?") and we decided not to go down that path. It wouldn't be impossible to add it later (I suppose) but honestly I think the system will have enough complexity and depth without it.

Todd

ACE

 

This is a reasonable concern (and I'm focused on the sunk cost of passive skill training compared to the disciplines).  I suppose the likely concern is by forcing passive training in order to play certain ways (like stealth or many of the other options we've mentioned), it forces a player to sink time in order to try a play style that might interest him or her.  It would remove or limit the "cycle of experimentation and exploration."  I wanted to hear your thoughts on this post relative to your suggestion - I'm still weighing it out, personally.

 

Otherwise, I like your suggested skill benefits and (in view of the above) even if they do not make the skill cut, they should be disciplines in my opinion.

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18 hours ago, Dondagora said:

The Combat Tree, therefore, should not widen the combat stats gap between Combatants and non-Combatants, but instead should help Combatants specialize within given roles.

I completely agree. 

The slow inch of stat gaining really needs to be revised. 


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