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Skill mechanics - Official discussion thread

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It's actually really simple to explain why there is a difference in power between a VIP and a non-VIP here.

Let's take two people who both have identical schedules. They each have 2 hours a night at 6pm to dedicate to playing Crowfall, and let's say they don't have smartphones just to nip the "but apps!" counterargument in the bud. Let's say that the only difference between these two hypothetical people is that one is a VIP and the other is not.

Day 1, these two are on the exact same page. At the end of two hour window #1, VIP player and non-VIP player each have one pip in a general tree and one pip in their chosen archetype.

This is the last time these two will ever be on equal footing.

On day 2, VIP player logs in and has progressed to pip #3 on every skill line he had selected. Meanwhile, non-VIP player gets to select his second pip.

2 hours a day most-but-not-every-day is a fairly reasonable expectation from a casual player of a game. As you can see, the difference between a VIP and non-VIP casual player of this game starts out huge and escalates quickly from there. That is a problem, and to claim that potentially alienating what is supposed to be 75% of their casual market seems like a bad idea.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle#Pre-alpha <--this is where we are. If your complaint is that the game don't not works good, come back later.

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2 minutes ago, KrakkenSmacken said:

Two players starting at the exact same time, one VIP, one Not.

If the guy who is paying is getting ahead of me without putting in more effort, simply because the game is giving him a training advantage that I have to miss sleep and screw with my schedule to overcome, that is demotivating enough for me to quit playing altogether.

It's not the idea that players need to login every day, it's the idea that they can't even pick the time that they login at within that 24hr window. 

If they are not on the game, at exactly 2.39hr after they started that first pip of tier 1 training, they start to fall behind someone who has paid, even though they may actually play more than them, but simply have some other real life obligation at that exact time.

Sorry but if someone is that concerned with being competitive, they need to invest more time and or money to compete. That is how it is and has always been.

If competing meant putting in the minimum, would defeat the purpose.

Take a look at eSports, pros aren't magically gifted gamers that just happen to show up at tournaments and win. They put in 10-16 hour days practicing. Gaming is their life.

Nothing about this is fair and it isn't intended to be.

If my que ends at 3 am, I'm sure as heck not waking up to pick something else. Assuming there isn't multi-que or whatever.

VIP have the same issue just less frequent. The "I have to wake up at X time" shouldn't be an issue for a casual player. If it is, they shouldn't buy the game. If the game crumbles, oh well. Already seen plenty of "this won't work, no one will play it" complaints and ACE still keeps chugging along.

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2 minutes ago, APE said:

Sorry but if someone is that concerned with being competitive, they need to invest more time and or money to compete. That is how it is and has always been.

If competing meant putting in the minimum, would defeat the purpose.

Take a look at eSports, pros aren't magically gifted gamers that just happen to show up at tournaments and win. They put in 10-16 hour days practicing. Gaming is their life.

Nothing about this is fair and it isn't intended to be.

If my que ends at 3 am, I'm sure as heck not waking up to pick something else. Assuming there isn't multi-que or whatever.

VIP have the same issue just less frequent. The "I have to wake up at X time" shouldn't be an issue for a casual player. If it is, they shouldn't buy the game. If the game crumbles, oh well. Already seen plenty of "this won't work, no one will play it" complaints and ACE still keeps chugging along.

I may have missed something, but I don't see where anyone claimed that this was the issue.

The issue is that two people who put identical amounts of time into the game should not be faced with such an enormous potential disparity between them outside of individual skill. When such a huge difference in power between two otherwise identical players is coded into the game and held behind a paywall, that is when arguments of "pay to win" begin to look justifiable. And I say this as a VIP and one of the most vocal defenders of Crowfall not being pay to win on these forums.

Edit: also, the discussion has mostly been about casual players specifically, NOT competitive ones, so this feels an awful lot like a straw man.

Edited by goose

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle#Pre-alpha <--this is where we are. If your complaint is that the game don't not works good, come back later.

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5 minutes ago, APE said:

Sorry but if someone is that concerned with being competitive, they need to invest more time and or money to compete. That is how it is and has always been.

If competing meant putting in the minimum, would defeat the purpose.

Take a look at eSports, pros aren't magically gifted gamers that just happen to show up at tournaments and win. They put in 10-16 hour days practicing. Gaming is their life.

Nothing about this is fair and it isn't intended to be.

If my que ends at 3 am, I'm sure as heck not waking up to pick something else. Assuming there isn't multi-que or whatever.

VIP have the same issue just less frequent. The "I have to wake up at X time" shouldn't be an issue for a casual player. If it is, they shouldn't buy the game. If the game crumbles, oh well. Already seen plenty of "this won't work, no one will play it" complaints and ACE still keeps chugging along.

Who said anything about being competitive? You just love the straw men when you're losing an argument don't you? 

How about just ACE fulfilling the goal and implied promise on the FAQ page.

Quote

In effect, your characters keep advancing while you do things like sleep or go to work. You won’t be at a numerical disadvantage versus other players just because they have more time to invest in the game than you do.
 

Unless of course you can explain to me how having to log in 3X a day for early skill training switching when VIP gets to wait a minimum of 3 days of time isn't asking for "more time to invest".

Edited by KrakkenSmacken

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7 minutes ago, KrakkenSmacken said:

Two players starting at the exact same time, one VIP, one Not.

If the guy who is paying is getting ahead of me without putting in more effort, simply because the game is giving him a training advantage that I have to miss sleep and screw with my schedule to overcome, that is demotivating enough for me to quit playing altogether.

It's not the idea that players need to login every day, it's the idea that they can't even pick the time that they login at within that 24hr window. 

If they are not on the game, at exactly 2.39hr after they started that first pip of tier 1 training, they start to fall behind someone who has paid, even though they may actually play more than them, but simply have some other real life obligation at that exact time.

I highly doubt ArtCraft intentionally made this decision, and I expect that it will be improved before launch. I presume the primary goals here are to require free players to log in daily so that they foster community and there is the opportunity to upsell them, and to tax people with multiple accounts (instead of just one-time fee, multiple accounts should require a monthly fee). 

On the latter note, I think login queues will be a more motivating factor, presuming most people going hard enough to have multiple accounts probably care about The Dregs.

It's always good to align interests. I want Crowfall to be as awesome as it can be, which requires resources. Increasing revenue is good as long as it leads to a good user experience. This has clearly missed the mark, but I'm confident it will be improved. 

You don't inspire fanatical customer loyalty by making the experience painful. ArtCraft has voiced this view multiple times in the past; it just isn't always easy to achieve it on the first swing. 


Free Ginko.

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4 minutes ago, Orleans said:

I highly doubt ArtCraft intentionally made this decision, and I expect that it will be improved before launch. I presume the primary goals here are to require free players to log in daily so that they foster community and there is the opportunity to upsell them, and to tax people with multiple accounts (instead of just one-time fee, multiple accounts should require a monthly fee). 

On the latter note, I think login queues will be a more motivating factor, presuming most people going hard enough to have multiple accounts probably care about The Dregs.

It's always good to align interests. I want Crowfall to be as awesome as it can be, which requires resources. Increasing revenue is good as long as it leads to a good user experience. This has clearly missed the mark, but I'm confident it will be improved. 

You don't inspire fanatical customer loyalty by making the experience painful. ArtCraft has voiced this view multiple times in the past; it just isn't always easy to achieve it on the first swing. 

Fair enough.  But ACE needs to hear from us right now on how this change impacts perceptions and reality.

@thomasblair was in this thread defending the model, and figured that VIP changes would solve the problem, when the real problem is with the 75% of players that won't VIP, and their PAID FOR experience. This isn't a f2p game you can simply ignore the non-paying players and tell them boo hoo, pay so it doesn't suck. 

So now is the time to point out the flaws, not after the news has become public that the game is only really built for VIP players. 

Edited by KrakkenSmacken

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I think foundationally, the issue is that there's a difference between how developers talk (and probably think) about skill training vs. how it actually works.  We see the same stuff with the discussion about catchup mechanics.  There seems to be a belief on behalf of the devs that modest skill training advantages aren't a big deal because there's a limit to how good you can get at any specific thing, so increased training time isn't a huge deal because it just means I'm an expert at more things than you are, not that I have durable apples-to-apples advantages in the things you care about.  If this were the case, the 20-40% skill time advantages that are, in practice, going to be the result of this system isn't a huge deal, and catchup mechanics don't matter because before too long, you'll cap out your most important thing & everything else is just gravy.

However, in practice this is not how the skill trees are actually configured.  Just the vital bonuses for a single excavation subtree, even if every prerequisite can be cleared after 3 pips, takes a year to earn.  Filling the tree in completely takes about 2 years.  In practice, if I am non-VIP I am unlikely to cap a single tree before the release of an expansion.  Any skill training advantage represents a durable apples-to-apples advantage in the things I care about.

Maybe this will change with the tree rebuild, but as of right now, this represents a very serious impact on gameplay for a lot of people.

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7 minutes ago, APE said:

VIP have the same issue just less frequent. The "I have to wake up at X time" shouldn't be an issue for a casual player. If it is, they shouldn't buy the game. If the game crumbles, oh well. Already seen plenty of "this won't work, no one will play it" complaints and ACE still keeps chugging along.

VIP does NOT have this issue. That's the point. For VIP you get to pick multiple skills with different timers. You might queue up 28 hours of skills, but as they start to complete you can come back and add more. So 16 hours in you hop in and queue up another skill setting you back to 26 hours of skills queued up. Basically, you can log in any time during the training to update it with new stuff at the end of the queue. You don't need to wait until 28 hours passes and log in at that exact time. You have large windows of time to just hop in and update your training without any loss at all. The only way to lose out is to not log in at all for multiple days in a row.

Without VIP if you don't log on at the exact time your single skill ends then you can't queue up another skill. You're just losing training. There's no window where you can log in without penalty. You have a very specific time to log in. You want to train a skill for 6 hours? Better be back on exactly 6 hours from now, or every second you miss is wasted time.

If you can't see the difference in those two then I'm not sure what to tell you.


Guild Leader of Seeds of War

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4 minutes ago, Orleans said:

I highly doubt ArtCraft intentionally made this decision

I really, really hope so.  I hope it was just a matter of the hive mind picking it apart relatively quickly on some issues they missed/didn't discuss.

I hope @thomasblair@jtoddcolemanand @Tyrant really think about how fast a non-vip player will start to fall behind if they have a limited time to play and are not willing to wake up at 3am to stay on top of their training.


"Float like a Butterfly.... Sting like a Misplaced Decimal Point" - Xarrayne 2018

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@thomasblair As a huge fan of the game and progress, and relatively significant customer, I can say unequivocally that this system needs a bit of tweaking. But it's a step in the right direction, and I applaud the effort. 

You should put yourself in the shoes of both free and paid customers, and ask.. is this something that I would appreciate? Does this seem fair? Fair is not necessarily equal, people are generally okay with someone who invests more time or money getting more benefit, as long as it doesn't impact The Dregs in a real way. 

But the need to make money should never overshadow the well-being of your customers, if you want to retain them. If you aren't sure how to make money with a system without causing pain, wait. It will come to you. 

In this case, you can't require players to log on at a specific time to avoid falling behind. You need to provide a grace period of at least 12 hours, ideally with an extra allotment of grace for vacations. 

This is a simple fix, and doesn't require major systemic changes. Just provide VIPs longer and more grace periods (queues). 

Edited by Orleans

Free Ginko.

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5 minutes ago, goose said:

I may have missed something, but I don't see where anyone claimed that this was the issue.

The issue is that two people who put identical amounts of time into the game should not be faced with such an enormous potential disparity between them outside of individual skill. When such a huge difference in power between two otherwise identical players is coded into the game and held behind a paywall, that is when arguments of "pay to win" begin to look justifiable. And I say this as a VIP and one of the most vocal defenders of Crowfall not being pay to win on these forums.

Edit: also, the discussion has mostly been about casual players specifically, NOT competitive ones, so this feels an awful lot like a straw man.

Guess I'm confused as why a "casual" player would be anymore upset that they are behind a VIP casual vs competitive players VIP or not that will surely be much further along.

This isn't a lobby game with ranks. Casuals and Competitive will be playing with/against one another.

Is there a Casual Epeen Leaderboard somewhere?

Also don't get the "enormous" "huge" disparity from a few % here and there over time. Maybe I'm looking at something different, but nothing in the skill trees currently makes me believe someone is going to be lost without hope if they miss a day or several training, especially if they are "casual." No they won't be the where they potentially could be otherwise, but there are multiple factors that play into every aspect of this game.

2 minutes ago, KrakkenSmacken said:

Who said anything about being competitive? You just love the straw men when you're losing an argument don't you? 

How about just ACE fulfilling the goal and implied promise on the FAQ page.

Unless of course you can explain to me how having to log in 3X a day for early skill training switching when VIP gets to wait a minimum of 3 days of time isn't asking for "more time to invest".

I'm not losing nor arguing. I'm stating my opinion on a dev choice. If you are trying to "win," good luck with that.

"Implied" is the key word.

If you are referring to what Svenn quoted from the FAQ, ACE is still doing what it states. FAQ doesn't state you'll rarely have to log in. Skills continue to train regardless of work/sleep or VIP or not. Just stop more frequently without VIP.

If I can only log in once a week with VIP, will I be equal to those without VIP logging in multiple times a day? If I'm in the first pips, I'm going to be behind all the same.

FAQ could use a lot of work, but regardless, much of it talks generally and pretty sure could tear it a part line by line if you wanted to. Much has and will continue to change as development goes on.

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2 minutes ago, Orleans said:

...

Does this seem fair? Fair is not necessarily equal, people are generally okay with someone who invests more time or money getting more benefit, as long as it doesn't impact The Dregs in a real way. 

...

Oh, the sacred "Dregs".  I would assume that many players would consider other CWs just as important so let's keep it all similar in "impact".  Furthermore, I am not so sure that you aren't going to see high import in the Dregs because of risk v. reward.  

And, in my opinion, the backlash here is largely hyperbolic.  That being said, I wouldn't be opposed to some sort of grace period if it makes some sense for ACE.


The Artist Formerly Known as Regulus

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1 minute ago, Regulus said:

Oh, the sacred "Dregs".  I would assume that many players would consider other CWs just as important so let's keep it all similar in "impact".  Furthermore, I am not so sure that you aren't going to see high import in the Dregs because of risk v. reward.  

And, in my opinion, the backlash here is largely hyperbolic.  That being said, I wouldn't be opposed to some sort of grace period if it makes some sense for ACE.

Sorry, poor sentence structure. I felt the need to qualify because I had included money in the debate, and we've already accepted that money can buy value in all CWs except the Dregs. 

I realized after posting that, however, that what I said wasn't accurate. What we're discussing does directly translate to strength in the Dregs, which violates the sacredness argument. And that sacredness is not even entirely relevant to the topic. 

The primary issue here is that the implementation as it stands is painful for both paid and non-paid customers in a way that discourages, rather than encourages, behavior that is beneficial to ArtCraft. It discourages people from being customers at all, rather than encouraging them to play regularly on a schedule that is healthy for them. 


Free Ginko.

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21 minutes ago, Svenn said:

VIP does NOT have this issue. That's the point. For VIP you get to pick multiple skills with different timers. You might queue up 28 hours of skills, but as they start to complete you can come back and add more. So 16 hours in you hop in and queue up another skill setting you back to 26 hours of skills queued up. Basically, you can log in any time during the training to update it with new stuff at the end of the queue. You don't need to wait until 28 hours passes and log in at that exact time. You have large windows of time to just hop in and update your training without any loss at all. The only way to lose out is to not log in at all for multiple days in a row.

Without VIP if you don't log on at the exact time your single skill ends then you can't queue up another skill. You're just losing training. There's no window where you can log in without penalty. You have a very specific time to log in. You want to train a skill for 6 hours? Better be back on exactly 6 hours from now, or every second you miss is wasted time.

If you can't see the difference in those two then I'm not sure what to tell you.

So if I finish my fifth pip of a general skill on Tuesday at 3am, I'll automatically begin training a new general skill to replace it?

8 minutes ago, canvox said:

I play league of legends casually which means i don't try to win I just stand in the river roleplaying

Sounds about right.

Remember someone in TF2 that was only there for the cosmetics, would just stand around changing items and emoting. Luckily they were fairly funny and didn't play often so we dealt with it.

Happened other day in quickplay Overwatch. People on both sides started emoting at one another and getting mad at some of us for actually trying to play/win. "Go to competitive" if you going to tryhard...

Edited by APE

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15 minutes ago, APE said:

Guess I'm confused as why a "casual" player would be anymore upset that they are behind a VIP casual vs competitive players VIP or not that will surely be much further along.

This isn't a lobby game with ranks. Casuals and Competitive will be playing with/against one another.

Is there a Casual Epeen Leaderboard somewhere?

Also don't get the "enormous" "huge" disparity from a few % here and there over time. Maybe I'm looking at something different, but nothing in the skill trees currently makes me believe someone is going to be lost without hope if they miss a day or several training, especially if they are "casual." No they won't be the where they potentially could be otherwise, but there are multiple factors that play into every aspect of this game.

I'm not losing nor arguing. I'm stating my opinion on a dev choice. If you are trying to "win," good luck with that.

"Implied" is the key word.

If you are referring to what Svenn quoted from the FAQ, ACE is still doing what it states. FAQ doesn't state you'll rarely have to log in. Skills continue to train regardless of work/sleep or VIP or not. Just stop more frequently without VIP.

If I can only log in once a week with VIP, will I be equal to those without VIP logging in multiple times a day? If I'm in the first pips, I'm going to be behind all the same.

FAQ could use a lot of work, but regardless, much of it talks generally and pretty sure could tear it a part line by line if you wanted to. Much has and will continue to change as development goes on.

Day one scenario for a first time player without VIP.

Remember the scale is. 

Pip1 - 2.39hr  Pip2 - 4.67hr Pip3 - 9.14hr Pip4 - 17.94hr Pip5 - 35.2hr

  • Typical human, just gets off work, has dinner, and buys this spiffy new game Crowfall his friends talked up, and joins another new player/friend who decided to VIP.
  • 7PM he logs in and he only has two hours before life requires him to put the game down.
  • Starts skill training two tier 1 skills, his first effort.  That first pip will take 2.39 hours, so he can only get one tonight.
  • Next day he logs back in at 7pm. That means he just "lost" 21 hours of possible training time on two skill lines (general/class).
  • In that time his friend is done 3 pips, and has moved onto the next skill in each tree.
  • Starts up training again for his second pip, and again has to log off before he can switch.
  • Next day (wow three days in a row, that's pretty dedicated), he now gets to start his third pip.
  • But wait, his friend on VIP has just got his 6th pip, on his second skill, and has moved onto his third skill in both lines.

Both players logged in the same time, three days in a row, for the same amount of time, and showed the same dedication to the game at the early stages. One is just starting his third pip, while the VIP player is three skills deep and will have finished his ninth pip in the same time his friend finishes his third.

If you can't see why that looks like pay to win to most people, how that could be discouraging despite weak benefits from each pip, and doesn't even come close to fulfilling the goal of

Quote

In effect, your characters keep advancing while you do things like sleep or go to work. You won’t be at a numerical disadvantage versus other players just because they have more time to invest in the game than you do.

I honestly don't know what to say.

Edited by KrakkenSmacken

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1 minute ago, APE said:

Sounds about right.

Remember someone in TF2 that was only there for the cosmetics, would just stand around changing items and emoting. Luckily they were fairly funny and didn't play often so we dealt with it.

Happened other day in quickplay Overwatch. People on both sides started emoting at one another and getting mad at some of us for actually trying to play/win. "Go to competitive" if you going to tryhard...

I was making fun of you. 

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Another possible way around could be that on T1s everyone can do the full tier before having to re select. However, after t1 the non-vip has to log in and select each "pip"

This could prevent the initial power creep by still give VIP a noticeable benefit, as the timings then become more reasonable to fit within different gamers schedules.

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, KrakkenSmacken said:

Day one scenario for a first time player without VIP.

Remember the scale is. 

Pip1 - 2.39hr  Pip2 - 4.67hr Pip3 - 9.14hr Pip4 - 17.94hr Pip5 - 35.2hr

  • Typical human, just gets off work, has dinner, and buys this spiffy new game Crowfall his friends talked up, and joins another new player/friend who decided to VIP.
  • 7PM he logs in and he only has two hours before life requires him to put the game down.
  • Starts skill training two tier 1 skills, his first effort.  That first pip will take 2.39 hours, so he can only get one tonight.
  • Next day he logs back in at 7pm. That means he just "lost" 21 hours of possible training time on two skill lines (general/class).
  • In that time his friend is done 3 pips, and has moved onto the next skill in each tree.
  • Starts up training again for his second pip, and again has to log off before he can switch.
  • Next day (wow three days in a row, that's pretty dedicated), he now gets to start his third pip.
  • But wait, his friend on VIP has just got his 6th pip, on his second skill, and has moved onto his third skill in both lines.

Both players logged in the same time, three days in a row, for the same amount of time, and showed the same dedication to the game at the early stages. One is just starting his third pip, while the VIP player is three skills deep and will have finished his ninth pip in the same time his friend finishes his third.

If you can't see why that looks like pay to win to most people, I honestly don't know what to say.

Does look like P2W and depending on your definition, is so. Regardless, he should know this going into the game and deciding to VIP or not. I'm not saying this decision is "right" or the "best" way to go about it but I understand it and don't believe it will destroy CF's future.

I stated that being able to train 3 ATs with VIP was P2W and generally got the consensus that I was wrong. Options =/= P2W. Seems pretty much the same to me.

Fact remains that the typical human is capable of logging in and training skills be it once or five times a day. It is a bit excessive on the low end, but isn't for all Pips nor Tiers.

Likely ACE will make some adjustments, but like almost every change I've seen on here, people reacting without all the context. As a big what if, they add an app or web based training option. Assume the issue would decrease quite a lot. Both of which ACE has said they want to do, then again they could be VIP only as well...

In the end, money is going to impact gameplay no matter what and people looking for a "fair" PVP game are going to be looking for a long time.

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