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Skill mechanics - Official discussion thread

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On ‎7‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 11:12 AM, Anthrage said:

I'm just going to come out and say it - the lack of non-VIP queuing, forcing people to log in every 14 hours or waste training time, is quite possibly one of the most vile, disgusting and disappointing things I've seen in over 40 years of gaming and software use, and this in a universe where Microsoft exists. It won't impact me at all as I will have VIP, but the fact this is being done to anyone who buys this game almost makes we want to boycott it. Absolutely gross decision on ACE's part, I'm quite simply astonished.

 

"For non-VIP players, there is no “queueing system”, so you’ll want to log into the lobby and adjust your skill trains between “dings”.

For VIP members, skills will continue to train after earning any pip, up to the maximum of five pips for the selected skill.

Example: A VIP player can start a skill training at zero pips and three days later it will hit five pips automatically. A non-VIP player can achieve the exact same result in the same period of time, but they will need to login five times during that period – once every 14 hours"

 

As for the pip system in general, like many of CF's mechanics, it artificially introduces PITA complexity for dubious reasons and minimal payoff. The idea that this is being done so people can better feel their advancement is ludicrous, given the consequences. Stunning really.

Last bit of criticism on these revelations - those not criticized are positive by default - the iconography for the skill nodes does not, in my opinion, do what it is intended to do. The difference between a horizontal hexagon and a vertical hexagon is one that will for those who require the indicator mostly likely also require checking a reference for recalling the difference between the two. My genuine feeling here from a design and goal-meeting perspective is that it would be much more effective to use different shapes entirely.

Sorry to sound harsh and overly negative, but damn, these are some questionable decisions and without honest feedback, I'm not sure you'll know it.

I usually try to read a whole thread before replying ....... but his one?

I got to page 3 then went to 18 and nothing really changed so to make it easy I went back to page 2 to just +1 @Anthrage

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After reading posts from other perspectives and thinking about this issue--I am still fine with this.  I am fine also with ACE "softening the blow" a little bit (and perhaps there are creative ideas on how to do that), but not at the expense of the annihilation of multi account cheese.  Specialization is really the only lasting facet of character customization CF has (and is a major part on presence and lasting effect in the game) and that is something they really need to protect.    

Further, people who really want to be min/maxed probably just need to pay for VIP.  If they can't afford VIP and the idea that they are not absolutely maxed out on training at any moment torments them, perhaps CF is not the game they should be playing.  


The Artist Formerly Known as Regulus

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Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on for the skill queue argument, logging in for each pip is not going to be a great experience for people starting out with the game. Many F2P games that have an optional sub model with really big inconveniences for free players have had a very big problem with retaining new players.

I'll float the notion that if they're going to copy Eve so extensively with this skill system that going with Eve's queuing system would be a happy medium.

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One thing I think  people are forgetting is that this is not the ONLY thing VIP may get.  I assume some other benefits might come to light before launch.  To me its STILL not the most necessary thing in the world to pay 15$ (granted I will) but typically whales in any game mostly mobile make up 1-3% of the paying users.  So that being said I assume a lot of people will just set some alarms or not go crazy if they start their next training a few hours late.  NOW....that being said if some other cool bonuses are a part of VIP I think we can see a majority of active players feeling like its needed.  Lets be honest that will be the goal right?  I for one still think VIP needs more and I feel everyone thinks this is the extent of VIP, which  I hope it is not.


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7 minutes ago, Colest said:

Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on for the skill queue argument, logging in for each pip is not going to be a great experience for people starting out with the game. Many F2P games that have an optional sub model with really big inconveniences for free players have had a very big problem with retaining new players.

I'll float the notion that if they're going to copy Eve so extensively with this skill system that going with Eve's queuing system would be a happy medium.

EXACTLY going through with this will hurt player retention a LOT, the first day or so is like the MOST imporatant time to make sure players stay with you game, if that first day is not a good experience then how the rest of the game is wont matter at all, this is the reason you often see the starting areas in traditional MMO's being way prettier and better designed in numerous ways then the later zones. This VIP/skill system here funnily does the opposite the low tier skills made a PITA cause of low training time, but get mitigated at later skills having longer training times instead so it wont be as much of an issue later on, that is if players stick around for that "later on" which they are very unlikely to as it is now

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4 hours ago, APE said:

Don't like the system at all myself.

For the most part it is straight vertical stat boosts be it for specific classes, combat, gathering, crafting, etc.

It takes almost zero effort to click some buttons and gain power boosts. Without a generous catch up mechanic, newer players will be left behind much greater than this change alone with people worried some will miss a few training times here and there. Catch up mechanic seems pretty silly in a game about choices/consequences if someone can come along see what is popular and instant or train faster to gain what is "good" at the time.

Vertical progression will take place no matter what, but much rather have it tied to all the current in-game systems that can be lost or done less efficiently. Risk vs Reward. Clicking skills and waiting for them to train so I gain a numerical boost is not skillful in my mind, especially when someone doing similar will be exactly the same in that area.

When the core game seems to be about loss and short term events (compared to traditional MMOs), holding on to the old freebie stat gain system seems out of place. Considering how upset some are over this update, clearly even a few % is enough for some to not play or at least not feel as satisfied.

 

I actually like the current skill system but think it needs improvements.  Right now it takes closr to a year to become a master in any one profession if taking mass production an the other globally beneficial crafting skills and there are a bunch of crafting professions.  i like that the skill system makes you choose what you eventually want to be and do.  i like that this part of the system is permanent and carries from campaign to campaign because it is based around the knowledge/skill of the immortal crow and not the temporal form the Crow is inhabitting.  i like that if there are no gaps in queue time that someone who started the game 2 years before someone else would have 2 years more of skills.  from my thought process it only makes sense.  an immortal crow whose existense started before another immortal crow should know more and be able to do things better.  there should not need to be a catch up mechanic for this because this is not some MMO with gear/level/power gates that keep you from doing a dungeon or Raid.  if you are a veteran player you will likely be someone leading the charge in combat or proposing strategy for winning a campaign.  if you are a newbie, you should get with a group and essentially act like a nove gatherer/crafter/foot soldier in the game.  with time and experience you move up in guild ranks both for your improved knowledge of the game and your increased power.  all a while new newbies are starting up under you.  This is a war game. we dont need a 4 year veteran being on equal ground as a newbie player.  the newbie should group up with the veterans and the veterans should help teach the newbies the ropes.  they could recommend skill paths, but the veterans should always maintain their skill progression advatage based on how long they have been playing the game.  in a case where 2 people started at the same time, though, their global skill progression should remain the same.

You might have a veteran player who is an expert craftsmen who does not actually play a lot but hops on to play a little here and there as he has time and makes high level stuff for his guildies.  his resource contribution wont be good to his guild but his profession training still adds value to his guild.  then you might have a newbie who has little to add in value as far as his skills trained go, but he can play a lot more and can help gather basic resources or fight and defend.  he can also add a lot of value to his guild, but he should not have a catch up mechanic to let him be equal to the veteran player in his crafting professions skills after a few months of playing when the veteran has played for years.  the veteran player could craft really good gear for the newbie which would help catch the newbie up in strength a bunch, but the newbie should still be the newbie. The newbie could start training profession skills and after a year the newbie could be a master in 1 crafting area, but now maybe the veteran player is a master in 4 areas instead of 3 areas.

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5 minutes ago, VIKINGNAIL said:

Crowfall's retention is not going to be based on whether people have to click every few hours days or weeks.  If you think that is somehow too high a bar to set then LOL.

it not about "setting a bar" but rather that ANYTHING you make the player do within the first day, will have an impact on whether they will come back, and showing a mechanic like this that is tedious and annoying at best, downright frustrating at worst, will have an impact on player retention, no it wont be the only factor ofc, but it will play a role in it and thus would be the one thing that tips some ppl to be "Meh, it's okay, guess I give it some tie" to instead going "custard this poorly made socks, I'm out". This is not a matter of opinion, it is a pure fact, that is being borderline exploited in most games

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On 7/6/2017 at 1:53 PM, thomasblair said:

Talk to some of the older EvE players, they played a system very similar to this for years before the advent of between skill queuing. (except they had to pay and their skills could shut off, leading to much wasted time)

Maybe you should talk to older Eve players so they can tell you how much better the current system has been for the game.

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1 minute ago, Gummiel said:

it not about "setting a bar" but rather that ANYTHING you make the player do within the first day, will have an impact on whether they will come back, and showing a mechanic like this that is tedious and annoying at best, downright frustrating at worst, will have an impact on player retention, no it wont be the only factor ofc, but it will play a role in it and thus would be the one thing that tips some ppl to be "Meh, it's okay, guess I give it some tie" to instead going "custard this poorly made socks, I'm out". This is not a matter of opinion, it is a pure fact, that is being borderline exploited in most games

Oh yea we all know how smooth the most successful mmorpgs were at launch.  Sorry having to click a node every few hours is not going to break people, and if it does those people would have been broken anyway.


Skeggold, Skalmold, Skildir ro Klofnir

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19 minutes ago, VIKINGNAIL said:

Crowfall's retention is not going to be based on whether people have to click every few hours days or weeks.  If you think that is somehow too high a bar to set then LOL.

I'd imagine annoying your player base with trivial inconveniences "just cause" would be a good way to lose said player base.

Edited by Helix

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1 minute ago, Helix said:

I'd imagine annoying your player base with trivial inconveniences "just cause" would be a good way to lose said player base.

I'd imagine that some people that want things easy call lots of things inconveniences.  Perhaps if someone can't handle clicking a node every once in a while crowfall isn't the game for them.

Edited by VIKINGNAIL

Skeggold, Skalmold, Skildir ro Klofnir

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EVE: passive skill progression, active resource gathering, player diplomacy, player combat...

What I mentioned works pretty well for EVE so LOL

I dont want to play a space game now, though, i want to play a fantasy, throne war simulator, where i am fighting over dieing worlds with medieval mechanics and kingdom building.  I dont think that keeping the skill system like EVE is that crazy.  it is a good mix between benefits of being able to play the game actively and benefitting from having played the game over a long period of time and supporting it for a long period of time.  i think ultimately we all want folks to want to support the game for a long period of time, so why some people think the system cant be a split with part of the game being active resource generation and the other part cant be about long term passive research/training progression, confuses the heck out of me.  why such sentiments would be something to laugh at, well some folks just dont think a like, but it sure as heck is better than the idea of always wiping all skill gains at the end of every single campaign as someone has mentioned before.  I mean if i had all my progress always completely wiped at the end of every campaign their would be no point in playing the game at all because half way through a 1 or 2 month campaign a new work project would come up, i would miss playing most of the rest of the campaign, and when i would hop on ot would feel like why dod i even bother start playing the game in the first place.  the game needs to have some regular progression with some regular loss.  ot also needs to have some passive progression while some active progression.  that way it works for those who can play alot, those who can play a little, those who can play consistantly over time, and those who can play alot in short burst and then none for longer stretches.

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38 minutes ago, VIKINGNAIL said:

I'd imagine that some people that want things easy call lots of things inconveniences.

So your argument is "If we make the tedious aspects of the game even more tedious and more of a chore then surely people will buy VIP and stick around even longer!".

black-guy-laughing-on-boat-gif.gif

More likely they'll peace the custard out.

Edited by Helix

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34 minutes ago, Helix said:

So your argument is "If we make the tedious aspects of the game even more tedious and more of a chore then surely people will buy VIP and stick around even longer!".

black-guy-laughing-on-boat-gif.gif

More likely these peace the custard out.

My argument is that you find it tedious because you want easy mode.  Crowfall shouldn't be an easy mode game.  To most people clicking a node once every few hours days or weeks is not a big deal. 

You are basically concerned that casual players are going to be upset that their character isn't allowed to min/max every millisecond of training without the effort of clicking a button. 

If they are so casual they don't want to play the game frequently then they are most likely also the type that isn't going to be a min/maxer. 

Obviously this line of complaining is silly because games with active progression are much harsher on people that don't play a lot, especially with their vertical progression.

On top of it you might as well argue that all skilltraining should be reversible since a casual is going to be disadvantaged in knowing how to train the most efficient path anyway. 

Less hand holding from ACE is good.

Edited by VIKINGNAIL

Skeggold, Skalmold, Skildir ro Klofnir

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18 minutes ago, VIKINGNAIL said:

My argument is that you find it tedious because you want easy mode.  Crowfall shouldn't be an easy mode game.  To most people clicking a node once every few hours days or weeks is not a big deal. 

I don't want easy mode, but I do want to retain hardcore as well as casual players.  I want the game mechanics to be a mix in such a way that they not only reward someone who has no life, but that also reward someone who is loyal to the game.  If someone is a "casual" gamer based on how much time he can put into the game, but he is a loyal player of the game over 5 years time then I dang well want to see him at least be able to make good progress in some way for having played the game over a lengthy chunk of time.  The game will already be heavily rewarding to those who can play a lot.  That is why I like in Eve that skills are gained with time passing, and ships/weapons,etc are earned with active resource gathering.  We don't need to say "You are not hardcore enough for our mechanics, go play another game!"  That is stupid and not good for a healthy bottom line.

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Just now, XiousDs said:

I don't want easy mode, but I do want to retain hardcore as well as casual players.  I want the game mechanics to be a mix in such a way that they not only reward someone who has no life, but that also reward someone who is loyal to the game.  If someone is a "casual" gamer based on how much time he can put into the game, but he is a loyal player of the game over 5 years time then I dang well want to see him at least be able to make good progress in some way for having played the game over a lengthy chunk of time.  The game will already be heavily rewarding to those who can play a lot.  That is why I like in Eve that skills are gained with time passing, and ships/weapons,etc are earned with active resource gathering.  We don't need to say "You are not hardcore enough for our mechanics, go play another game!"  That is stupid and not good for a healthy bottom line.

And he can make good progress without playing 24-7, because the game literally just involves clicking a button for your persistent progression.


Skeggold, Skalmold, Skildir ro Klofnir

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19 minutes ago, VIKINGNAIL said:

My argument is that you find it tedious because you want easy mode.  Crowfall shouldn't be an easy mode game.  To most people clicking a node once every few hours days or weeks is not a big deal. 

And here you go again calling tedious things for hard, when as a matter of fact whether they do stick to this as announced in the news post or not, it is, per definition, easy-mode, cause, yes it require no conceivable effort to press a button. Hard is not synonymous to tedious, those are 2 perseverate concepts, while they often do both appear in same areas, they are describing two very different sides of it. easy/hard being the difficulty, and tedious is about how annoying or frustrating something are.

And for this VIP and skill system, it will be easy, again cause it takes no conceivable effort, regardless of if it ships like this newspost says or not, where as if it does ship as it says it will be very tedious for non-VIP players.

Now i you gonna come up with some actual arguments, I will be happy to discuss it further, if on the other hand you just gonna continue with the blabla easymode blabla, I will just ignore you from now on

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4 minutes ago, Gummiel said:

And here you go again calling tedious things for hard, when as a matter of fact whether they do stick to this as announced in the news post or not, it is, per definition, easy-mode, cause, yes it require no conceivable effort to press a button. Hard is not synonymous to tedious, those are 2 perseverate concepts, while they often do both appear in same areas, they are describing two very different sides of it. easy/hard being the difficulty, and tedious is about how annoying or frustrating something are.

And for this VIP and skill system, it will be easy, again cause it takes no conceivable effort, regardless of if it ships like this newspost says or not, where as if it does ship as it says it will be very tedious for non-VIP players.

Now i you gonna come up with some actual arguments, I will be happy to discuss it further, if on the other hand you just gonna continue with the blabla easymode blabla, I will just ignore you from now on

They are only tedious to you because they are hard to you.  To most people clicking a button every few hours days or weeks is not tedious or hard. 

If you could come up with some actual arguments let me know.  Instead of "omg clicking a button every once in a while is too much and will drive people away!"

Edited by VIKINGNAIL

Skeggold, Skalmold, Skildir ro Klofnir

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I wrote a post on this topic to summarize some of the discussion we had in Discord. 

https://medium.com/@orleans/beating-a-dead-horse-eloquently-crowfall-vip-12c89400ec00

Let me start by saying that Crowfall generating revenue is completely aligned with my goal of having a great game to play perpetually. There’s no logistical reason of which I am aware that ArtCraft can’t continue to build on the assets they have created with successive Unity versions, and provide an evolving title over a decade or longer. Personally, I’m happy to invest in this effort.

tldr;

The passive training improvements are a step in the right direction and visually looks great, but a few changes are required to make the existing system a positive experience for all customers.

The issue identified by members of the community is that with the existing design, it is likely that new players will need to log in frequently on a specific schedule as they train the early parts of skill trees. This can be as short as ~4 hours, which encourages unhealthy behavior.

Ideas

  1. In the current design, non-VIPs effectively have no queue and VIPs have up to a 3 pip queue. These values could be changed slightly. A 1 pip queue for non-VIPs and a 6 pip queue for VIPs would be compelling value.
  2. Provide 1 month of VIP to all customers. The ancillary benefit here is that it’s a great upsell for VIP.
  3. Balance the time invested per pip for early nodes in trees with short nodes, and ensure that none are less than 12 hours.
  4. Remove any cost for switching between nodes and ensure that at all times some node is available with at least a 12 hour pip.

Good Feels and Entitlement

A lot of the debate in the community has been around whether people should feel entitled to maximizing passive training. This is an easy question from a business perspective. As a company, you want the customer’s experience with you to be positive. You want them to walk away feeling fulfilled, whether or not their entitlement is justified.

The feeling of logging in to find out you ‘wasted’ time that could have been invested into training is an objectively bad feeling, no matter how casual of a player you are. That means the system design will drive behavior. Is the behavior we want to encourage:

  • “Don’t sleep, ignore your responsibilities”
  • “If you can’t afford to support the game monthly, can you check in once per day to help us maintain a community and give us the opportunity to up-sell you”?

The Crowfall team has done a really great job so far of making most people feel good about their decisions. Whether you want to play a gatherer, a crafter, scout, rogue, combat class, or something else, you can have fun in the game and contribute a lot. It’s a great feeling to have too many viable options, and more are on the horizon. This value should be carried forward into a genuine empathy for customers, and decisions which maximize revenue in the short term at the expense of customer morale and loyalty should be avoided.

Good Guy Brand

The most successful companies are the ones that create a product no one else can or will (check), has a revenue accretive way to acquire customers (check), and consistently makes good decisions for all stakeholders. This last point is what culture and brand are all about. The Crowfall team has done a great job in this regard so far, with impeccable customer support and a clear design goal of player enjoyment (except holding F to gather resources).

In the current situation, you’re a good guy brand if you encourage healthy behavior in your customers, which means not requiring anyone to log on more frequently than ~12 hours from when they logged off.

Brainstorming Additional Value for VIP

I think we’re nearly unanimous about wanting as many people as possible paying for VIP, and all alt accounts to require VIP.

Without a rule stating as much, the system needs to be designed to encourage VIP without making it an entirely uncomfortable experience for newcomers and casuals.

Some of the ideas that were discussed in the community were:

  1. A yearly ration of bonus queue pips for extended vacations could be included in VIP, and queue pips could be purchased in the cash shop individually or in bundles.
  2. Login queue priority (assuming that the maximum server capacity will be low for some time, I expect this will be a big deal. alt accounts are much less useful on the dregs if you can’t login to the same server easily)
  3. An additional primary skill (only one allowed per: combat, crafting, exploration)
  4. Auto-F key so that you can gather with proximity not key press (seriously, this mechanic has no value and only hurts. If you need to hurt someone, hurt the character, not the player. Give a short debuff while/after gathering)

But I’m sure there will be other great ideas that come up. Please do comment with any ideas you might have!


Free Ginko.

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