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UPDATED: ACE Q&A for September - Official discussion thread

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I believe the simple answer is to simply limit time total across an account to a simple calculation of what a VIP could have earned from day 1 to day Z. 

By this I mean if player A is a day 1 VIP and has 3000 minutes of training across 6 different skill trees and sub trees at day Z,  then player B who bought all his tomes with selling VIP packages (aka real money in for game ptogress) can not exceed player A's 3000 minute progress no matter how many times he consumes a tome. 

This blocks money from bypassing the benefit of VIP and makes VIP status wanted and beneficial which keeps it "level". 

Does this make VIP itself P2W?  Maybe,  but that can be addressed by what was brought up prior of not allowing multiple sub trees to be trained in parallel vs trained in sequence.

Or if that doesn't bother the developers  / player base allow armor and weapons to be trained in parallel by a VIP (the one glaring hole in VIP doest buy power is in combat that we know based on what was shown).  

VIP is a purchasable in game item as well as out of game with paycheck in hand.  Either way all players have access to it if they value it and the outlier in the combat tree can either be blocked or embraced as seen fit to aleviate subscription VIP being thought of as pay to win. 

Personally I dont feel like paying for VIP aka a subscription is that unfair (  combat tree exception excluded since it was noted by the devs that it needs to be addressed).  There needs to be some benefit to VIP or why bother other then we all want to fund development of this game for one reason or another or we wouldn't all be here in the first place. 

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5 minutes ago, Jah said:

You can't be serious.

Why not? He compared the ability to bypass time constraints on veteran accounts to giving my low level buddy a sword.

If we use the monster that is WoW as an example. There is a difference between giving a low level character (often your alt) a max stat weapon for that character level, either for the purpose of speeding up leveling or competing in level restricted battle grounds, and what has been proposed here. In the context of WoW it would be like me being able give my guild leader my raid entrances for the week so that he can can a full set of gear in less time than would otherwise be possible. You are not twinking a low level character, you are bypassing restrictions for high level accounts.

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Just now, Verot said:

I would just say this.

If you are the type of competitive player, which CF is surely a competitive game, then you will be a VIP member. If you are a casual player who wants to be competitive, then you will still be a VIP member. If you just want to be part of the team and help out where you can then go non-VIP and realize you were never going to be as effective as the VIP to begin with. At least that is what I'm taking from @KrakkenSmacken

Even if I'm a VIP player, i could still be at a disadvantage to a non-vip player. The non-vip could be able to put in 18 hours a day on CF, collecting materials and killing players to get their gear while obtaining a level of knowledge about the game that my 8-5 job will never allow me to get. There is a wide swath of players and advantages will be obtained in a wide range of ways. I don't quite see VIP as p2w, but apparently we are all entitled to our own definitions of words.

Very close.

In summary, VIP for 15$ should be at most a 10 hour of play time equivalent.  

  • For some, that will make up for having a full time job, or two jobs, so they can keep up without having to make CF their life.
  • For others, that will turn 40-80hrs of time into 50-90, worth of effort.
  • And for others, spending 10hrs to get zero results because they want VIP, will in fact produce the same 10hrs in VIP training results.  It's a trade off.

I understand the ideology, but the fact of the matter is this is not Chess, or rock paper scissors, and this will never be a balanced and even game. In fact I have the very first answer from the very first Q&A where Todd said

Quote

I don't believe in one on one balance between all classes, I don't think that it' even a good goal quite frankly. It's not possible for one, and two, it's not even a good goal. I mean the idea of a perfectly balanced game, like rock paper scissors, those games aren't actually fun. The goal isn't to build a game that is balanced, the goal is to build a game that is fun. The way I look at it is that classes are like dream/fantasy fulfillment.

Feel free to watch the whole thing to see that I have not pulled it out of context.

This game was NEVER, from day one, about perfect balance, or a perfectly even playing field. Different guild sizes, different commitments to in game time, different gear, different time zones, different ISP's will all change the playing field, for every player. 

The "advantage" is capped for VIP.  You can't stack it, you can only be on one track or the other, so it's very limited.

Spending an extra 15$ a month so I can have a more diverse dream/fantasy fulfillment than someone who does not, I think is entirely reasonable.

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Twinking through in game means is part of the game.  If the developer was charging you extra microtransaction money to twink your characters that would be p2w relative to the twink scene which varies from game to game.

 

If you sell power for money that is p2w, you can call it a catch-up mechanic and I understand why things like tomes will exist, but it is power for money.  Catch-up mechanics are fine, they shouldn't be a microtransaction of any sort though. 

 

VIP is also p2w in reality, but we've come to accept that crowfall is designed a certain way and nothing is perfect so extra trains for VIP may be a necessary evil and may ultimately do more good than bad when it all shakes out.

 

The question is how many grey area features do we accept before a game is just too murky and becomes unattractive to potential customers? 

 

I've warned many times about this kind of stuff. Don't keep adding too many casual convenience features or your game becomes a casual convenience game, don't keep adding too many p2w elements or your game has significant p2w. 

 

I think overall the things we learned in the QA will ultimately hurt the game more than help it, but because we can't see how every narrative could have turned out we just gotta accept that this is the direction we are headed.


Skeggold, Skalmold, Skildir ro Klofnir

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5 minutes ago, KrakkenSmacken said:

Very close.

In summary, VIP for 15$ should be at most a 10 hour of play time equivalent.  

  • For some, that will make up for having a full time job, or two jobs, so they can keep up without having to make CF their life.
  • For others, that will turn 40-80hrs of time into 50-90, worth of effort.
  • And for others, spending 10hrs to get zero results because they want VIP, will in fact produce the same 10hrs in VIP training results.  It's a trade off.

I understand the ideology, but the fact of the matter is this is not Chess, or rock paper scissors, and this will never be a balanced and even game. In fact I have the very first answer from the very first Q&A where Todd said

Feel free to watch the whole thing to see that I have not pulled it out of context.

This game was NEVER, from day one, about perfect balance, or a perfectly even playing field. Different guild sizes, different commitments to in game time, different gear, different time zones, different ISP's will all change the playing field, for every player. 

The "advantage" is capped for VIP.  You can't stack it, you can only be on one track or the other, so it's very limited.

Spending an extra 15$ a month so I can have a more diverse dream/fantasy fulfillment than someone who does not, I think is entirely reasonable.

I know the quote. Todd was talking about class balance in that quote. That has nothing to do with what we are talking about.

There is no cap to how much advantage you can get from VIP, actually. Someone with unlimited money could buy as many VIP tokens as they want and trade for whatever they want in game. They could literally buy unlimited power, especially with skill tomes. Just buy tons of tomes (or accounts to farm tomes), transfer to main account. Trade tons of VIP tokens to get thousands of resources and crazy crafted gear. Maxed out skill tree and the best possible gear in the game all bought with real money.

And again, I guarantee you that VIP will be worth a lot more than 10 hours of play time. Look at literally any game ever that lets you buy stuff and sell it to others for in-game currency. It's more like $0.30-$0.70 an hour typically.


Guild Leader of Seeds of War

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what about this instead of tomes:

Mentor system

-

After X (6?) months from launch, becomes active.

An 'old' account that has a *100%* completed sub skill tree can act as a "mentor" to a new account.

A 'new' account being the first X month since it joined the game (which could be set 1-2 months or scale over time)

An old account can only act as a mentor to x1 other account.

A new account cannot have multiple mentors at once.

Once the old account has decided to be a mentor - it is locked in for the duration and cannot be revoked or changed by either party.

For the duration the new account has Y increased speed of skill training within either a single or any tree that the mentor has trained to 100% full completion.

This could only be limited to 'one' of their training slots [of either 3 or 6] and could be limited only to "Professions".

Encourages:

- finding someone specific for what you want to train up [Bob the master blacksmith]

- player reliance and guild/social systems [Bob will look after you and show you the ropes....e.g. their own 'default' player to player chat channel etc]

Discourages: 

- constant "farm accounts" selling for RMT [due to hard limits on how often you can do it]

- the old account 'losing out' their own time

- powerleveling x30 for a new account

- alt account funneling would duplicate skills they already had

[not sure whether or not to suggest that only VIP members can act as the old mentor...but that would also help against alt or farm accounts]

After the new account has reached X age the mentorship ends and then cannot take on a new one.

[or after the single 100% tree has reached either a certain threshold or full completion if we are limiting it to only a single tree for a boost]

not sure if you might want to limit it to 'guild only' as well
 
so what does an "old" account get for doing this?
 
nothing except cosmetic recognition / free advertising!
 
while they are a mentor they get a visible title e.g. MASTER BLACKSMITH
 
make this visible on their EK, above their player in EKs, on their forum profile/near their post count or whatever / an icon next to their name in-game chat...whatever
 
e.g. i liked this in DAOC where your crafting acheivements was broadcasted to all above your head...
 
yWIg0ao.png
 

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I'm really liking the direction of the new system overall.  I think that 30 day bank for the VIP is a big seller as far as I'm concerned.  Having to make sure I'm logging into a game every day tends to burn me out on games.

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I believe you created a very good system, with two obvious (p2w) flaws that have easy fixes. I have seen others who have suggested similar solutions.

Fix 1: Introduce a skill cap based on 1 VIP player that has played from the start. Each of the three trees (Profession, Race, Class) would have their own respective skill caps. That way Tomes cannot be abused as a p2w mechanic and there is a known skill cap that you cannot surpass. Tomes are now a catch up/respec mechanic ONLY. UO had a skill cap and is probably my favorite skill system I have seen to date.

Fix 2: VIP players only get 1 Train in the Profession Tree. Any way you look at it giving VIP players 2 training in the Profession Tree is giving them twice the power in that tree. They are literally getting 2x the trains as a normal player. This is a P2W mechanic in my opinion. VIPs should be allows to train two races and two classes (as you can only effectively use one benefit at a time) still.

This really seems downright simple to me. If I am missing something, please point it out to me. Unless I am missing some obvious fact, this seems to take a well crafted system by ACE and corrects the debatable P2W mechanics.

Edited by ClockworkOrange

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12 minutes ago, ClockworkOrange said:

I believe you created a very good system, with two obvious (p2w) flaws that have easy fixes. I have seen others who have suggested similar solutions.

Fix 1: Introduce a skill cap based on 1 VIP player that has played from the start. Each of the three trees (Profession, Race, Class) would have their own respective skill caps. That way Tomes cannot be abused as a p2w mechanic and there is a known skill cap that you cannot surpass. Tomes are now a catch up/respec mechanic ONLY. UO had a skill cap and is probably my favorite skill system I have seen to date.

Fix 2: VIP players only get 1 Train in the Profession Tree. Any way you look at it giving VIP players 2 training in the Profession Tree is giving them twice the power in that tree. They are literally getting 2x the trains as a normal player. This is a P2W mechanic in my opinion. VIPs should be allows to train two races and two classes (as you can only effectively use one benefit at a time) still.

This really seems downright simple to me. If I am missing something, please point it out to me. Unless I am missing some obvious fact, this seems to take a well crafted system by ACE and corrects the debatable P2W mechanics.

Fix 2: Don't agree.  I would much rather see everyone get the two profession trees regardless of VIP as a solution, if that is deemed a problem.  So 2/1/1 and 2/2/2.

I mean aesthetically 1/1/1 - 2/2/2 is more pleasing, but if the real issue as seemed to be indicated in the live stream was the over interdependence in the professions, then simply correct that by giving everyone 2/1/1.  That takes away some if not all of the potential P2W aspect of VIP.

That would also clear up the double down in combat advantage, because then everyone COULD have made the choice to go that way.

 

 

Edited by KrakkenSmacken

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12 minutes ago, ClockworkOrange said:

Fix 2: VIP players only get 1 Train in the Profession Tree. Any way you look at it giving VIP players 2 training in the Profession Tree is giving them twice the power in that tree. They are literally getting 2x the trains as a normal player. This is a P2W mechanic in my opinion. VIPs should be allows to train two races and two classes (as you can only effectively use one benefit at a time) still.

 

  Why would I pay for VIP then?  Without the dbl profession it has no value. 


40 minutes ago, Andius said:

W/HoA were held up as like these mystical forces of highly skilled players with legendary theorycrafters chained to a desk in some deep dungeon holding all the arcane secrets we could use to win if only we knew them.

wiDfyPp.png

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You guys keep talking about them chasing away players and all this.  Todd mentioned at the end of video something about them needing more revenue stream for month to month operations and if VIP doesn't have value it won't make them the needed money. 

Edited by mandalore

40 minutes ago, Andius said:

W/HoA were held up as like these mystical forces of highly skilled players with legendary theorycrafters chained to a desk in some deep dungeon holding all the arcane secrets we could use to win if only we knew them.

wiDfyPp.png

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I've been stewing on this since the stream yesterday.  I have mixed feelings.

First:  I've been saying since Day 1 that VIP (as originally explained) was a business model waiting to fail.  This fixes that - no question.  It's not classic Pay 2 Win, but it's in that quadrant, and that's enough to boost revenue 10x-100x.  We now have a potentially successful business model:  one big step forward.

Second:  My inner Idealistic Gamer just died a little.   I really wanted something that was Pure and Fair.  Todd started talking about the Time Bank and I got really excited.  "I'd pay for that!" I thought.  Then he started explaining Tomes.  "Oh, so they're cleverly masked micro-transactions that you purchase on a subscription schedule. Got it."  One sad step back.

Third:  It does provide a catch-up mechanic.  Not a perfect mechanism, but it fills that gap.  That's another step forward.

Fourth:  "But, they have DIMINISHING RETURNS!"  Please, stop saying that.  Everything in an MMO has diminishing returns.  If min/maxing has taught me anything, it's that players will invest heavily in diminishing returns.  It sounds like a bad excuse, and it's a little unbecoming of professional game designers. :P  I've come to expect better of the ACE team.

Fifth:  If you're going to have tomes, you're going to have a black market.  This can be avoided be selling the tomes yourself.  Yes, it's ugly (like micro-transactions).  Add it to the store and it becomes an alternative to alt accounts and it short-circuits out-of-game trading (a support nightmare) and saves ACE resources in the long run.

Synopsis:  Time Banks and Tomes are good progress, but they carry some very real collateral damage.  The self-proclaimed "knock it out of the park" may have been premature, but I have faith that ACE will get paid now, and that's a Good Thing.


Nazdar

Proud member of The Hunger

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38 minutes ago, Nazdar said:

Fifth:  If you're going to have tomes, you're going to have a black market.  This can be avoided be selling the tomes yourself.  Yes, it's ugly (like micro-transactions).  Add it to the store and it becomes an alternative to alt accounts and it short-circuits out-of-game trading (a support nightmare) and saves ACE resources in the long run.

If I understand correctly, VIP tokens are going to be like EVE PLEX: buyable with real money, but tradeable in game. So there isn't really a reason for an out-of-game black market. If you want to give cash for ingame goods (tomes or whatever else), all you have to do is buy VIP tokens.

They seem to be against directly selling things like tomes from a store, things that have a gameplay impact and need to be earned through player time spent. There's an important distinction between "you can trade real money (VIP tokens) for this thing, but someone has to create the thing legitimately ingame" vs. "you can give us real money for this thing, which we will magically generate for you." The latter puts no cap on how many of the items you can generate aside from your bank account, no one needs to go out and gather them, it can screw up the economy (see: ArcheAge).

Edited by Avloren

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45 minutes ago, mandalore said:

  Why would I pay for VIP then?  Without the dbl profession it has no value. 

So you like the P2W mechanic. That is your opinion, I hate P2W.

The value is the fact I get two train more racial and class options. This allows me to experiment with more of the games playable classes since CF does not have Alts. I also get the benefit of 3 Week Time Bank over a 24 hour. With a 24 hour time bank, you will fall behind. I found enough enticement to justify the VIP with this update.

49 minutes ago, KrakkenSmacken said:

Fix 2: Don't agree.  I would much rather see everyone get the two profession trees regardless of VIP as a solution, if that is deemed a problem.  So 2/1/1 and 2/2/2.

I mean aesthetically 1/1/1 - 2/2/2 is more pleasing, but if the real issue as seemed to be indicated in the live stream was the over interdependence in the professions, then simply correct that by giving everyone 2/1/1.  That takes away some if not all of the potential P2W aspect of VIP.

That would also clear up the double down in combat advantage, because then everyone COULD have made the choice to go that way.

Krakken, I love you. I just keep agreeing with you. This is a better suggestion than my Fix 2. My Fix helps appease those who complain that there isn't enough specialization with this new system. I definitely like yours though as I would prefer both VIP and non-VIP getting 2 profession trains.

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49 minutes ago, mandalore said:

You guys keep talking about them chasing away players and all this.  Todd mentioned at the end of video something about them needing more revenue stream for month to month operations and if VIP doesn't have value it won't make them the needed money. 

This game is going to be Buy To Play. Then it has an optional Sub and has an item mall with really steep prices. If they don't gain enough revenue its not because they didn't have enough revenue streams. It is because nobody liked their game and refused to buy it or continue playing it.

You want a P2W mechanic. Many competitive and casual players refuse to play games that they deem "P2W". I count myself among that group.

Two professions is a P2W mechanic over non-VIP having one. In my opinion this isn't even arguable, it is literally 2x the training.

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Ok my two cents. This current skill split is a terrible idea for everyone but combat focused players. As a crafter what incentive does someone have to go to me for items. Either it is because I can craft better than them or because they cant craft. If any combat person chooses to focus combat and crafting they are now just as good as someone who whats to just be a crafter this also applies to the other set of exploration. This becomes even worse as you then can use multiple accounts to farm skill time with the training tomes so now each account can go a different path and just split off pips for any thing. Or just buy it from players so with this new system you can have a person specialize in combat, crafting and buy a decent amount of exploration.

The reason that Eve's system works is that you cant be a crafter and a combatant and a miner at equal levels. Even before it was fine as you locked the combat, crafting and exploration to one being trained at a time even for vip. If you had done the same here then there would be no issue with the system but allowing the major paths to be doubled up on diminishes each path to the thing a combatant does during non combat times.

So now instead of a system where each individual has a purpose and a role in the world we have just gone down the path of solo characters that can do everything. Now unless I am mistaken this was the one thing we were going to avoid at the start. If this is the final system then crafters and explorers are no longer needed while the combatants do everything.

You may have nailed the system but you have nailed it to the wrong wall.


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27 minutes ago, Avloren said:

If I understand correctly, VIP tokens are going to be like EVE PLEX: buyable with real money, but tradeable in game.

I hope that's true, but that wasn't the impression I got during the Twitch stream.  I'd love clarification.

Edited by Nazdar
Trimmed quote

Nazdar

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47 minutes ago, ClockworkOrange said:

Two professions is a P2W mechanic over non-VIP having one. In my opinion this isn't even arguable, it is literally 2x the training.

That is more pay for convenience than pay to win.  Training isnt gated where you have to pay for it if you want any. You can train twice as much, but you cant have twice as many passive and active skills going or buttons to mash. 

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42 minutes ago, Nazdar said:

 

I hope that's true, but that wasn't the impression I got during the Twitch stream.  I'd love clarification.

I'm pretty sure Todd mentioned something to that effect during this stream, but I'm not going to rewatch it all so.. I agree, getting 'official' clarification on the forums would be appreciated.

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1 hour ago, KrakkenSmacken said:

I mean aesthetically 1/1/1 - 2/2/2 is more pleasing, but if the real issue as seemed to be indicated in the live stream was the over interdependence in the professions, then simply correct that by giving everyone 2/1/1.  That takes away some if not all of the potential P2W aspect of VIP.

That would also clear up the double down in combat advantage, because then everyone COULD have made the choice to go that way.

+1  Either 1/1/1 - 1/2/2 or 2/1/1 - 2/2/2, everything else is potential P2W for VIPs.

 

Really like the new training system. But I don't like these 2 training lines in profession for VIPs only. You can only play 1 class and 1 Race at once, but professions give VIPs a real advantage.

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