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Balathan

My thoughts on some mechanics and balancing

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I have played Crowfall since 5.3, I am a pvper/harvester and have never crafted anything for anyone. I have never played Shadowbane, I never even heard of it until I was about a month into Crowfall. I played Everquest, Everquest 2, and LOTRO for about 5 years each and I have tried SWTOR and Archage. I only mention this because if this game is to be truly commercially successful people like me are at least half of your new audience. While I am not familiar with the Shadowbane player counts my understanding is that they are not enough to be the core audience for this game. This means that a lot people like me who try the game without any prior knowledge of Shadowbane and its mechanics will make up a large portion of your first-time players. With that in mind I am going to give you some thoughts I had about the game from an outsider’s prospective. (The “It is a pre-alpha” excuse will not be applicable here as most of my critiques are around major game systems and not the balancing or lack of detail or something nitpicky like that though there will be a few of those as well. Ill be sure to label them)

TIMEGATING (Major Game System)

For this game to be successful it must capture a new audience and to do that it will need a create a great first time/early game for players and currently the early game is lackluster at best and pointless at worst. When 5.7 launched I was as excited as anyone I got on as it launched but about an hour in I sat there and began to wonder “Why am I doing this again?”. For the first 8.2 days (that is on 3x training too, it will be a month when it launches with the current system) you cannot make advanced armor or weapons. The vessels maybe even longer though I do not know the time to make all the different kinds of vessels. When I have nothing to work toward really there is not much reason to play and while you could say that I should be working toward stockpiling mats for gear there is not much reason to do that either as even if I got crafters good resources (green or above) they have no experimentation points to do anything with it so why waste my time when I can free farm for gold and convert it into white materials of any kind (this method of farming is far superior I alone farmed over 20k gold on day one that’s 44 stacks of whites for people who don’t want to math). All the crafting progression for the game (by which I mean recipes and experimentation points) is locked behind these time gates and there doesn’t even seem to be a real reason why it is done that way other then that’s how we have done it so far. I think that for combat the time gating system may work because I can still PVP but I will PVP better over time (the same thing goes for the harvesting) whereas for crafting I can’t craft anything of use for the first 8 days or a month at launch. This experience will drive away new players in droves because they will be told of all these cool items they can make but then realize they can’t make them for a month and just go play something else. After some discussion with my guild we thought that the best way to minimize this problem would be to remove the recipes from skill training and instead put them on the crafting disciplines when they come out. Make these crafting discs drop off of bosses in the wild, the spider queen for example though you would need to add more, and have players need to get together for some PVE and go kill a boss to get their main crafter the blacksmithing disc or so that they can make armor or weapons. It would drive PVP in those areas and make it so that a new player (or guild as we have seen many gaming groups come over as a whole to try the game) has something to work toward beyond training 6 skills and going AFK for a month. The loop would go something like Load in -> gear up (basics/intermediate)  -> group up -> PVE for discs to get recipes -> harvest -> get new gear (advanced/runetools) -> maybe PVE for higher end or more specific recipes (sickle or rapier come to mind) -> use new items to harvest actual motherloads or high ranked nodes -> make high end gear. PVP would naturally occur in at most points in that structure. Under this system I still have something to work toward (gear/items) but the stuff I work toward will get better overtime with the skill training system. If you want to take the recipes you now know you just export that vessel at the end of the campaign and move it to the next one. Its not a perfect idea and has its own problems but I think it would go a long way to improving the first time/early gameplay for new players.

 

Harvesting (Major Game System)

The harvesting grind is another thing that a lot of people I know have talked about and it is something that will need to be addressed especially given the new durability changes, which are a step in good direction but may need to be toned down a little. The vendors were a great change that will help guilds get large numbers of people geared the first time around without hitting a ton of rocks, that’s good but it does not solve the problem in the late game when I need blue+ mats to be competitive from a gear stand point. People, myself included, do not want to hit rocks all day they want to get the gear they need so they can go PVP (which is why they play). I have heard about the old mine system from shadowbane and think something along those lines would fix the problem nicely as long as they generated higher end mats. If I am going to have 20 people go take and hold a mine I better get some blue+ mats from it. That system also generates PVP which is what makes gathering fun and creates a lot of great memories for the players. Telling new players, they need to go harvest for hours and hours to make a great set of gear and then it will be destroyed fairly quickly in PVP is great way to drive away players. Creating a system to help generate resources for people who do not want to hit rocks would be a step in the right direction for the game and would once again improve the new player experience after all most of the player base is there to PVP.

 

Group Size (Game system/mechanic)

The reduction of group size from 6 to 5 simply put is a mistake. In a group OF ANY SIZE I need two healers if I am going to survive. As I have been told by a number of people, other healers included, a healer is not supposed to be able to heal themselves very well. While I disagree with that principle that is fine on its own the problem is that a healer outside of group has minimal healing for you as well. I play a druid so I can only give you my end but the clerics appear to have just as many problems with this as I do. As a healer trying to heal another healer or just another player outside of my group there is not much I can really do. As a druid my left click cannot heal people outside of the group and that is most of my healing when you really think about it (more about why that is when I discuss assassin poison next). With no left click I am left with five ways to save someone, soothing winds (in advanced gear 100 point HoT, yea that’s not saving anyone), healing rain (It is a good heal but it requires the guy being focused to stand still in the puddle and I have to wait the full animation which is way to long), Will O’ Wisps (Actually a good heal finally, but with a 25 second CD), and then disc heals. Standard bearer does not stack making it minimal value add as the large group fights get larger (that 200 - 300 point heal is not saving anyone when they are plague lorded disease toxined and attacked by 6 people), Rescue is a good heal with a forever CD though that maybe actually fine for that skill specifically, other healing discs are used rarely at best and are used for filling in after we have the necessary standard bearers and pixies for the raid. So in summary a druid has one good heal, a small hot, and rescue to save a guy outside of their group plus someone’s standard bearer. There just not enough HPS from outside the group to allow a healer to be in a group with 4 other DPS. The healer NEEDS another healer in group for their druid orbs, cleric illuminate, and their Qs. But this is not a complaint about where healing is at as a whole it was strong last patch and I think it will be decent this patch. The point is simply a healer needs another healing buddy in group to have a consistent stream of healing. This means regardless of group size there will be 2 in a group from experienced players. If anything, we needed to make the groups bigger maybe 8. The way it is now 40% of my player base must be healers to be competitive. There is no game in existence where 40% of the base are support players. Its far closer to maybe 25% or lower. Many of the current healers are people who were dps but realized we are going to need more healers to be competitive. People want to play what they like so we should model the ideal group for PVP to be a fairly accurate representation of the player base demographic. A change of group size to 8 or even just back to 6 would be greatly appreciated.

 

Assassin Toxic (Balancing, flame me because it’s a pre alpha its ok)

The entire meta of 5.7 on test was based around the assassin toxin and for good reason it is really strong at all points of the game. 2500 points per assassin that STACKS INFINATELY. While I am not against this type of mechanic in the game, in fact the 5.7 fights on test with full epic gear were a lot of fun and were a prime example of why people want to play Crowfall, the toxin is simply too strong early game. It will take 8 days for the toxins to be made on live (or so I’m told again, not a crafter but I trust my guys math skills) when that happens the game will be unplayable from a healing prospective. Right now as an intermediate geared druid if I could put out 2500 healing in total from all my skills outside of Q (and even then that’s only going to help med for about ½ of a disease toxin one time)  I would be surprised and then I have cooldowns where as the toxin will stack far faster than my save skills will come back. The amount it absorbs healing needs to scale with weapon damage or something because in 8 days when people get this toxin you may as well have no healers because not a single heal will get through to your guy who’s dying. On test in full epic gear we were having trouble with this and the only counter we found to this meta are defensive druid bomb heals which worked fairly well (this is the reason we need 2 healers per group you really need a druid per group to save people with these defensive druid bombs and we need clerics as well for illuminate and their Q) but that was because we actually had gear. This all stacks with plague lord/mortal strike from champions. Simply put this needs a nerf bat or there’s going to be a lot of problems.

Also as a side note that mechanic is really not fun to play against especially for new players you need to add some feedback for people to know their healing got absorbed because they will be confused and think there’s a bug or they missed or something. I know, its pre-alpha but it would be nice to get in at some point.

Food (Game system)

Food consumption is a joke, the vendors saved players from the massive food grind but come on, I need 10 whole briskets to fill my stomach for maybe 20 minutes of PVP. There has been a lot of talk about this already but I figured I would toss it in quick.

 

CC (Balancing)

Crowd controls as a whole are really strong right now, as of live test yesterday it was taking over half of my stamina bar to retaliate just one time. And after that I was just stuck there at the mercy of endless CCs with nearly 0 diminishing return. This is something that has been a problem for several patches and as the game gets larger the problem will only grow. Most classes have a CC, a few usually, and right now there seems to be no way to escape an endless CC chain. There is escape artist but with the 5-man group size how many people can I really have running that disc before there’s a major hit to my raids DPS or healing. Also, it does not work on knockdowns I am told. There needs to be a better way to handle the endless CC because right now you can be knocked down retaliate it and then get knocked down again almost instantly, then you are stuck and will likely die. It is one of those mechanics where people feel like they really didn’t have a chance to even play the game because they were chain CCed so long. I don’t have a solution to this really, but it is something that should be addressed at some point.

 

While there were several critiques for the game here I think its important to note that I think the game is a lot of fun and has a lot of potential but there are somethings that need to be addressed if the game is going to really gather a large player base.

 

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+1 to everything Balathan has said here. I would like to add though that while I know balancing is an ongoing effort even post launch this feedback is less about numbers and more about Discipline viability. You have loads of very neat and effective abilities in game already but the spread of useful abilities throughout disciplines is very top heavy on the "best" few discs of each holy trinity role. A glaring example of this is Field Surgeon. As Balathan said every group nearly requires both a cleric and druid healer to have the needed sustain to survive. Not to mention the fact that they both must run Field Surgeon as one of their majors. This kind of mandatory discipline for competitive PVP gameplay is a huge pet peeve of mine. Of course there will always be a meta but I think some abilities within disciplines could be swapped to other discs to help balance this. A great example of a more balanced set of discs is Sharpshooter and Arcane Archer. While you can take both it is not advisable yet they both are incredibly useful while being similar yet offering different utility to your group.

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29 minutes ago, Balathan said:

Also as a side note that mechanic is really not fun to play against especially for new players you need to add some feedback for people to know their healing got absorbed because they will be confused and think there’s a bug or they missed or something. I know, its pre-alpha but it would be nice to get in at some point.

There is so much running behind the scenes atm in Crowfall. Another example is the crafting where you need a spreadsheet to know what you have to combine for the desired result. Keeping things in the dark on purpose may sound "hardcore", but in fact it´s just bad design. 

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37 minutes ago, Balathan said:

CC (Balancing)

Crowd controls as a whole are really strong right now, as of live test yesterday it was taking over half of my stamina bar to retaliate just one time. And after that I was just stuck there at the mercy of endless CCs with nearly 0 diminishing return. This is something that has been a problem for several patches and as the game gets larger the problem will only grow. Most classes have a CC, a few usually, and right now there seems to be no way to escape an endless CC chain. There is escape artist but with the 5-man group size how many people can I really have running that disc before there’s a major hit to my raids DPS or healing. Also, it does not work on knockdowns I am told. There needs to be a better way to handle the endless CC because right now you can be knocked down retaliate it and then get knocked down again almost instantly, then you are stuck and will likely die. It is one of those mechanics where people feel like they really didn’t have a chance to even play the game because they were chain CCed so long. I don’t have a solution to this really, but it is something that should be addressed at some point.

Half of your passive skills address this. It will get better in a few weeks/months.

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You are making the assumption that what you are playing right now is a base shell of what the game will be. Take for example that graphics overhaul video we saw not to long ago, that slow steady fly through of the village full of NPC's going about their business.

When this game goes live you'll log into the world, into what I imagine will be a starter town of sorts which is generally the case. You'll have your initial gold and poor gear based on the class you picked.

You'll make your way out over to the fields and begin killing creatures, either for their materials for humanoids for their gold pieces and you'll trade and barter with players or buy the tat from vendors.

I really think that basing perceptions of the finished product on what we have now might be jumping the gun.

 

 

I do however agree with 6 person groups, perhaps event 10 man groups (I see no reason to limit it).

I do feel that balance should be an ongoing process, start early, and by the time release rolls around, we'll have years of time invested in balance.

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People can only make assumptions and comments on the way things are now. I am sorry, but I don;t want to wait until the game is finished before we start ringing alarm bells. I agree with Balathan on everything.

CC - Needs diminishing returned.

Time based leveling - Game is boring right now, no win condition, nothing to work for at start besides stockpiling.

Harvesting - A mine or some sort of PvP related way to harvest some goods will drive conflict and give something for PvP'rs to fight over.

Toxins - Anti-heal is too strong.

Food - Consumption is ridiculous in PvP and SCREWS confessors / cleric because as soon as down 3 chicken tickers stop regening mana. Which also forces healers to use Field Surgeon because of the passive. Confessors just get screwed, hence why you see less and less confessors.

My added note:

Balancing - If you guys want to wait for a massive balance overhaul thats fine, but then why do you keep buffing a certain class *couch* ranger *cough* (+50-60 range bows now available, insta cast suppress this patch)

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Skills

Time based leveling is fine. You got to remember that the patches now are doing FULL wipes. Meaning your skills, time bank, spirit bank etc are all being wiped just about every time they do a major update and sometimes in between to squash bugs. There is only going to be ONE campaign where you are going to be time gated and that is going to be the very first campaign that launches as everyone's skills will carry over into successive campaigns from then on. A month  is really not that long of a time, I suppose it is for todays standards where everyone wants everything now, but that isn't how Crowfall is being built.  It could very easily be a case of Artcraft leaving in the 3x skill gain for the first month of release to speed up progress for the first real campaigns.

I completely disagree with your assumption that stockpiling resources is not worthwhile. Simply put whoever does stockpile resources in the first days of the first campaigns are going to have a major leg up on the people who don't. Guilds and large groups of players are going to need to stockpile materials for their guild/group. Not to mention there are going to be other things to keep materials for. Keeps, walls, towns, homes, vendors etc. The RNG component of getting legendary/epic gear is there as well and wanting materials in excess to do well on experimenting to min/max as much as you can at the start. 

Actually. You  know if you don't want to stockpile you go ahead that will just leave more room for my guild and me...

Harvesting

Harvesting causing PvP is already happening, but it will only get more and more as time goes on and as people start laying claim to quarries and mines and have to use Caravans to transport boulders and lumber for supplying keep walls and buildings. Also this is not a game being built around the solo player. Setting up groups of gatherers being protected by groups of PvPers is going to be a very crucial part of the game. If you go out and lose everything in the first few skirmishes you get into, while it is unfortunate, it is a part of the more hardcore aspect of Crowfall. Crowfall is also going to have different campaigns with different rulesets, so for the people that can't handle that, there will be a place for them. 

Group Size

Completely agree with this. Groups need to be larger. 5 man groups work fine in less sophisticated games where the only rolls to fill are DPS/TANK/HEALER. In Crowfall however there are tons of rolls to fill in many different ways. The support is a very necessary roll in CF and in a 5 man group it is to small to fit. Even 6 man seems to small. I think 8-10 is a good number for a full group for a game like Crowfall. They would need to readjust AoE skills to match the higher group sizes, but I think its necessary. 

Crowd Control

I think it is a little hard to gauge this right now. We have a ton of skill training that directly interacts with CC. It could be a case of them putting in diminishing returns more aggressively affects the later game when skills are more fleshed out. I agree however that if, when people are skilled decently, skills don't take care of the issues that it needs to be addressed. There is nothing more frustrating in a PvP game than being completely locked out of being able to do anything to defend yourself. 

This needs to be done very intelligently though and have a lot of thought behind it. Retaliate is a good mechanic and is how TERA handled knockdowns, but even TERA realized it wasn't enough and allowed players to obtain the Cleansing Brooch which broke any CC outside of KD on a 3minute CD. So it might not be a case of hard diminishing returns but a case of adding in more options outside of disciplines to handle CC. 

Food

I agree very much with food. It diminishes to quickly and affects certain classes more negatively than others and should be looked into. This is more of a personal grievance. But I don't like the meat bar either. With all the very clean UI elements it looks out of place. I think a bar with a number attached to it so we can tell how much food is being applied when we use an apple or whatever would fit better. 

Class/Discipline/Race Balance

Balance is always a heated discussion in any game. It is definitely more pronounced in a PvP game when players are directly competing with each other. That said Crowfall is a game in Pre-Alpha and while I think it is important to smash them with feedback on balance we still have to remember that they are testing tech and seeing  how things can work. Increasing the range on bows could very well just be a test to see how projectiles work over much larger distances. We don't know, there could be alternative motives to changes just to test tech and how it works in a live environment. 

I think the main thing here is they need to get all the classes out. Without the last class being released it is hard to really give feedback on overall class balance until it is implemented. It could be a hard counter to a lot of the stronger builds out there now. Or it could be a potato, we just don't know how a large chunk missing is going to affect the game. For example imagine Crowfall now without Cleric and Druid. We just don't know how much Frostweaver is going to impact. So out of all my feedback I say that is something they really need to focus on getting out. 

 

Edited by Vunak
Formatting

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I've been testing consistently for a year. We have already had huge ranges before, so please don't try to defend it as testing something new. Its just power creep.

Also using skill training to defend CC makes no sense.....eventually everyone will have +50% length and -50% length.....soooo back to now with no training.

Let me reiterate. I am only commenting on how things are NOW. Continuous feedback. Right NOW, it is a boring game. Stockpiling whites is fine and all, so is PvPing for the heck of it as long as 30 people aren't fighting and the server poorly made sockss itself. But past that, there is nothing to keep people engaged. No win conditions, not even a point score for holding things over time.

I realize other systems are on the horizon and they are trying to get the core of the systems in, but some point soon they need to start creating things to keep people engaged. Whether thats crafting disc drops, more adventure areas with worthwhile drops(like the spider queen/surging), thralls system.

Edited by Ussiah

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I think i started to play 2 years ago and had a lot of fun in the beginning when there was no spiritt bank. Then i got bored and didn`t play for about a year but i came back. The game is not so bad as you think and in the last 3 patches there was lot of progress. I have to admid that under the later patches i never had one single fight, cause usually there is nobody at the server but in the beginning i really liked that and there was a lot of thrill to it cause you couldn`t safe your inventory and there were many 1 vs 1 fights.

 

Actually i really can`t see how this game is going to turn into a large scale pvp game with 1000s of palyer, probably cause the engine can`t handle that, but the idea is there. The developers have some concepts they are working on and with every patch more and more if it is making it into the game. So maybe just wait a little bit more and see what you get. Its still not finished.

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The timegating thing is my biggest concern. Yes, you SHOULD be more powerful a year down the road than you were when you first started playing, but the real concern is locking many of the important mechanics behind weeks or months of skill training. If it takes players a month to fully experience the game, they aren't going to stick around to find out what it could have been like. This isn't a quest/dungeon progression game, there is not storyline other than the one we make, so if many of the crafting and base building recipes are locked behind weeks and months of x1 speed skill training, the tedium will win out. Gamers (and people in general) don't have the patience or time preference to "wait for the game to get good", they want a polished and engaging experience right out of the box. I think CF has a lot to offer people who like Open World PVP with elements of Real Time Strategy, but if they can't experience things like factories, thralls, and sieges within 30 days of playing the game they'll probably drop it. I'm not arguing for getting rid of timed skill progression, simply moving certain content gates away from it.

Harvesting, as it is currently implemented, is a mistake. Combat, Harvesting and Crafting are currently considered to be equal spheres of gameplay. The reality is that most players are attracted to Crowfall for the political and pvp aspects, with a sizable minority who are attracted to the open ended crafting system. Almost no one is interested in Harvesting for it's own sake, and the system (as it is currently realized) is nothing but pure tedium. I've rolled up my sleeves and have spent countless hours harvesting, but it was never something I enjoyed doing. Most of the people I've tried to get interested in this game take one look at the harvesting system and feel like their time is being wasted. The reality is that they can get their PvP jollies playing some match based game like PUBG. Rather than force players to slog through something they hate doing, just automate the damn harvesting system and turn the "gatherer role" into an "explorer role". Tie exploration and territory control together, allowing prospectors, builders and merchant caravans to exploit the natural resources of the world without forcing them to hit a rocks over and over for hours on end.

Problem: Population of dedicated Harvesters appears to be very small. Any harvesters who do show up will be mercilessly ganked and looted by PvP'ers. The interdependence of Combat Players (PvP'ers) and harvesters is difficult due to mismatched incentives. A Harvester spends hours harvesting only to have the experience ruined in 30 seconds. For the PvP'ers to guard the Harvester, they have to invest hours of standing around for a fight which probably won't happen now that they're on the scene. The likely response will be PvP'ers dual boxing harvesters on alternate accounts, or forcing guild members to stand around guarding them. Either way some number of players will feel forced into doing something they don't want to do in order to remain competitive. 

Solution: Instead of pushing players towards tedium, turn the Harvesting profession into a Prospecting/Exploring profession. Instead of hitting a node over and over repeatedly, allow trained Harvesters to "survey" the resource, determining the yield and rarity of resources they will receive (skill/node rank/tool) tie in. They can then build a [resource type] camp which will passively drain resources from the nodes, much the same way a nearby hunger crystal turns off the surrounding nodes. The Harvester then returns in some amount of time to collect the yield from a group friendly container. Players can slot thralls into the camps to increase yield, yield rarity or increase the harvesting speed. The camps should be destructible by enemy players, but not lootable. Any enemies looking to get the yield should wait for the harvester to return and try to gank them once they've broken camp. For non-static nodes (mobs), players would need to kill mobs within range of a "hunting camp" to yield leather and animal parts. The surveying process would be forgone in favor of combat in the case of skinning.  

To use the RTS metaphor: 

Many RTS games have harvesting units who build structures and collect resources, while others focus on simply holding control points as a way of generating resources. There's still an economy to manage, but the focus is on controlling the map and getting straight to the action. The latter system is probably a better way of porting over RTS elements into an MMO context. If every unit is a player in this MMO, I don't think many of those players want to be the peasant.

Edited by soulein

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6 hours ago, soulein said:

The timegating thing is my biggest concern. Yes, you SHOULD be more powerful a year down the road than you were when you first started playing, but the real concern is locking many of the important mechanics behind weeks or months of skill training. If it takes players a month to fully experience the game, they aren't going to stick around to find out what it could have been like. This isn't a quest/dungeon progression game, there is not storyline other than the one we make, so if many of the crafting and base building recipes are locked behind weeks and months of x1 speed skill training, the tedium will win out. Gamers (and people in general) don't have the patience or time preference to "wait for the game to get good", they want a polished and engaging experience right out of the box. I think CF has a lot to offer people who like Open World PVP with elements of Real Time Strategy, but if they can't experience things like factories, thralls, and sieges within 30 days of playing the game they'll probably drop it. I'm not arguing for getting rid of timed skill progression, simply moving certain content gates away from it.

 

For example, it will take months of training before we can make our first Stoneborn Vessel. I suspect this will make most my guild leave the game, as it puts us at a massive disadvantage to every guild expect all-Fae (which probably won't exist). I expect the vessel-making tree to get completely revamped and have specialized branches for each of the 12 races, immediately branched off the beginner node (or have just the 12 races as initial nodes), then each of those branches has vessel quality training choices (so, we could have a Dwarf Vessel-maker specialize in making INT-Dwarves for Clerics and another in STR-Dwarves for Champs).

Although I expect this particular example (Stoneborn and Fae vessel-making) to be addressed, the overall problem needs serious remedy.

Edited by McTan

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On 8/11/2018 at 2:48 PM, soulein said:

Solution: Instead of pushing players towards tedium, turn the Harvesting profession into a Prospecting/Exploring profession. Instead of hitting a node over and over repeatedly, allow trained Harvesters to "survey" the resource, determining the yield and rarity of resources they will receive (skill/node rank/tool) tie in. They can then build a [resource type] camp which will passively drain resources from the nodes, much the same way a nearby hunger crystal turns off the surrounding nodes. The Harvester then returns in some amount of time to collect the yield from a group friendly container. Players can slot thralls into the camps to increase yield, yield rarity or increase the harvesting speed. The camps should be destructible by enemy players, but not lootable. Any enemies looking to get the yield should wait for the harvester to return and try to gank them once they've broken camp. For non-static nodes (mobs), players would need to kill mobs within range of a "hunting camp" to yield leather and animal parts. The surveying process would be forgone in favor of combat in the case of skinning.  

I don't know if you ever played firefall (while it lasted).  But among its many faults, Firefall did the gathering well.  You surveyed, then found a place to place the extractor (thumper) down.  Once it was placed, mobs would swarm you while it was collecting - and you could stop at any time to get a fraction of the resources.   This mechanism stayed fun the whole time I played the game. It essentially became a variation on tower defense to collect resources, and the difficulty ramped up with.... something, I forget what, but it wasn't a static difficulty.

While this exact method doesn't fit into Crowfall, some variation might - something to keep the gathering fresh.  As it is now, I find it to be painfully tedious - I just can't see people wanting to spend their time this way in the long term.

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Timegating- it's definitely a problem.  New Players will give this a week at most to get hooked.  Not 30d+.  ACE have said they won't address the New Player Experience until the game is feature complete and they're close to launch.

Harvest- a ton to unpack on this one.  Too lazy for real post. Bullet points are (1) Most folks agree a mine system is needed to drive PvP and supplement harvesting; (2) Harvesting being playable is highly dependent on map node density; (3) Most noobs and many guilds don't actually understand the harvest/gear system or how to leverage it--it can be very lucrative on time scales of 30 minutes to and hour; (4) The interdependency/Raph Koster stuff is wrong when applied to an open world PvP game (at least as to harvesting).  A fraction of a percent of players want to be pure harvesters; (4a) Harvesting in a PvP open world is a PvP activity.  Players need to be able to move smoothly and instantly between them--everyone should get a free harvest major disc slot; (5) Gear should not be free--this is a MMO not a MOBA.

Group Size- yup, its broken (and/or healing needs to be radically changed).  Been preaching for larger group size for a long while.

Food - I don't really care about this system but it needs to get the hell out of the way of PvP.  Having to open a clunky full screen UI to eat mid combat is terrible.

CC/Healing/Antihealing/Ridiculous Numbers Sensitivity - these are all related and have to be balanced together (along with DPS).  CC immunity being toothless means CC spam from N+1 is usually the answer.  I actually would prefer stronger healing and very strong antiheal.  If HPS is > non-focused and/or non-antihealed DPS, the game becomes less numbers sensitive as a smaller force won't instantly fall over.

On any given night one side will have few more than the other... This isn't a MOBA. In Darkfall and Shadowbane taking a fight down 10% or 20% in numbers was not uncommon or unexpected--victory was still on the table. 25 vs 32 was not an automatic loss for the 25.  It is in Crowfall.  I don't want CF to have to crutch on instances combat like Albion--but the combat model feels like it would work better instanced.

Balancing is also not ACE's priority, and I'm sure we will have massive balance overhauls before launch.

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Back in Pre-Alpha 5.1? maybe 5.3, I spent a couple of months playing every day for about 6-8 hours a day. I saw many things about this game that COULD make it an outstanding game play experience, but I also saw a couple of flaws in the passive training system. How the passive training system is handled WILL determine the long term and financial success of this game (most other aspects seem on the right track, or close to it).

From the way I see it, the training system favours the long time player way too heavily. A good example of this is the CC game mechanic.

On 8/11/2018 at 8:40 AM, Ussiah said:

 

Also using skill training to defend CC makes no sense.....eventually everyone will have +50% length and -50% length.....soooo back to now with no training.

 

A player with a years worth of passive training will completely stomp a player with a month or 2 passive training just because of much better CC. Using the right CC at the right time will make or break a fight, and if there's a big dependency in defender vs attacker ability to mitigate the CC, the fight is over. Player skill will make next to no difference at this point and the shadowbane players know this all too well.

When a new player comes into game, sure he can get guild help for gear and maybe a decent vessel, but when he is CC'ed for 50% longer then he can CC another for, it's game over. If Todd Coleman thinks back to the faxion days, they had to remove the stun ability because a player/guild with stun had an I win button against any player that hadn't taken (and passively) trained stun.

As for the food issue in CF, that's a relatively easy balance change to make - add a type member to the super class (OOP type, not game play class) that allows different classes/professions to lose and recover chicken ticks at different rates. Not every class/profession needs to eat an apple every 5 minutes, some classes/professions might not need to eat an apple for 10 minutes while others need to eat an apple every 13 minutes to keep their chicken ticks up. The individual time can be adjusted per class to suit balance.

 

On 8/11/2018 at 12:48 PM, soulein said:

 I think CF has a lot to offer people who like Open World PVP with elements of Real Time Strategy, but if they can't experience things like factories, thralls, and sieges within 30 days of playing the game they'll probably drop it. I'm not arguing for getting rid of timed skill progression, simply moving certain content gates away from it.

 

Change the business logic of the passive training system.

ATM (Pre-Alpha 5.7) a person needs to train crafting AND harvesting related skills to open up mastery skill powers. EG: Mankind tree needs to have a lot of passive training into both crafting and harvesting passive skills in order to open up Mankind Mastery skill. This is complete bogus and should be optional like the crafting trees where production and thrall skills are an option to train, and don't prevent the mastery skill from being trained. Right now training up through the Race trees bites big balls and needlessly increases the tedium of the passive training system.

In attempt to illustrate some ideas, I am going to lay out a legend of types........For the Exploration Tree there are (for lack of a better way of saying it) 3 limbs. Limb 1 would be Exploration Basics, limb 2 would be Excavation/Command/Reaping, limb 3 would be Ore Specialization, Stone Specialization Grave Specialization, Wood Specialization, Animal Specialization. See where I am going with this?

So for limb 1:

The Exploration Basics skill - requires 360 points per pip x5 = 1800 points.

IMO it should be more like 160 points for pip 1, 260 points for pip 2, 360 points for pip 3, 460 points for pip 4, 560 points for pip 5 = 1800 points

The next skill on the branch (for this example the next skill on the branch would be "Survival" or "Tracking") would require 170 points for pip 1, 270 points for pip 2, 370 points for pip 3, 470 points for pip 4 and 570 points for pip 5.

ATM it takes 4 pips to open the next skill along a branch. Change it to 3 pips to open the next skill.

This will allow a new player to narrow the gap in a relatively short amount of time without giving them too much too soon.

This is where my ideas/solution to the training gate start to complicate the programming, business logic.

Make it so that a person can only train a skill's pips up to what the lower limb's, equivalent skill is trained too. So, if Mankind Mastery skill is only trained to 3 pips, the Half Blood Mastery skill can only be trained to 3 pips; a player would have to go back an spend points on Mankind Mastery skill to 4 pips in order to train Half Blood Mastery skill to 4 pips.

Limb 2:

The Half Blood skill, "Half Blood Tradition" (still locked for me, so not sure how many points required per pip), pip 1 should cost 260, pip 2 should cost 360, pip 3 should cost 460, pip 4 should cost 660, pip 5 should cost 660. So more points per pip than the lower limb, but still only 3 pips to open next skill along the branch, and the lower limb equivalent skill needs equal or more pips for the high limbs skill to be trained.

Limb 3 follows the pattern outlined above.

What I am trying to point out is not the number of points per pip, but the graduated procession of the number of points per pip required to train a skill.

Another change I would consider making:

ATM there are 3 training slots. 1 for Profession, 1 for Race 1 for Class. With VIP, 2 trees of each can be train simultaneously.

I would change it to 4 training slots. 1 for Combat (No need for VIP, only 1 limb can be trained at a time), 1 slot for Crafting/Exploitation (VIP can train limbs for both trees, Non VIP can train a limb from one or the other), 1 slot for Race (VIP can train 2 Races at once, Non VIP can only train 1 race at a time), 1 slot for Class (Non VIP can only train 1 class tree at a time).

If something isn't done with the passive training system, I will login only to passive train for the first number of months. Only after I have a close to a fully realized character will I login to grind vessel levels. Lets say I want to play a Half-Elf Assassin that specializes in crafting poisons, I won't bother even grinding levels on a vessel until I am way up in trained skills on the One Handed Melee limb, the Half-Elf limb and the Assassin limb. By that time I should have Alchemy limb fully trained and I can start training the exploration skills to gather mats to make poisons with.

For all you players that say, this is a guild/group game, not a solo player game....that's a weak excuse for over-looking the flaws in the system. There will be times a player has to play solo and times when a player has to play with a guild/group. It should not be mandatory that a player has to have a group to run with, just to login and do something.  "Hey Mr. Guild member, I am glad you finally logged in. I would like to craft some poisons, but I don't have enough of x mat, and you're the only one in the guild trained to harvest that mat."  "What was that you asked? Can I not buy those mats? No, actually that mat is super rare and those players that have those mat are saving them until their crafters login to craft an item". "No using a lower quality resources won't be worth it, it would be a waste of upper quality resources, I need you to farm high quality resources for me".  Just logged on player responds, "I don't have time right now, I only got a few hours and I want to pvp, I'll harvest for you tomorrow," tomorrow comes 6 days later.

THAT'S AN ABSOLUTELY STUPID DESIGN DECISION. To make my point, all one has to do is look at roguebane. There was not enough people playing for the gvg game to be realized, so players would login and play a rogue. Form there it was a down hill spiral of players leaving the game. The more players leave, the less population to play the gvg aspect, the more players started to play solo. If there is something to do for the solo player, that same solo player will join a group when enough other players are logged in and doing grp things. If nothing for a solo player to do but wait around for others to login, well he (I) might as well go play a console game with what little free time I have to play a game that day. Maybe tomorrow, there will be enough players logged into Crowfall that I can actually do something. 

 

Rant done......good thing I seldom post on forums eh. By the wall of text, one might think I actually like typing/writing. They would be wrong, I would rather play a game than rant about it on the forums.

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4 hours ago, Angelmar said:

(4) The interdependency/Raph Koster stuff is wrong when applied to an open world PvP game (at least as to harvesting).  A fraction of a percent of players want to be pure harvesters; (4a) Harvesting in a PvP open world is a PvP activity.  Players need to be able to move smoothly and instantly between them--everyone should get a free harvest major disc slot

QFT. In hypotheticals Harvester/Crafter/Combatant can be different playstyles, but in reality, there are a ton of players who want to do combat who are forced into those roles. And it will cause them to quit. And the pure harvesters get ganked, so they will quit, too. The whole concept of interdependency in a PvP game belies its more natural organization around competition.

Maybe mines and blueprints will help this. But, if CF was done over, I'd rather mines and blueprints in the game and toon-based harvesting and crafting out. And this is from someone who typically plays harvesters and crafters as well as combat.

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Harvester/gatherer is no longer even a playstyle in CF, everyone can harvest and everyone can rank the needed skills along side combat.    I am a dedicated harvester but I no longer even need to be, everyone can do it without effort or having to specialize.   I am just another Combat harvester like everyone else now...  I don't even have to harvest much in the first weeks, just sit and let camps kill mobs for coin and buy the white mats...   once the yield nodes give more quality mats, yes, need to be out there with a group but I have no higher skills than any other player as I didn't have to make any choices between important skills like combat OR harvest.    So yes, just eliminate harvesting and let us get mats based on territory or buy for coin...   hell   eliminate crafting and just sell gear for coin...   kill mobs and let the bodies decompose.   That is where we are due to the AND crowd getting their way, no harvester need be dedicated.

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The skilling system is going to be a large problem for the first campaigns, new players later on and returning players. Also as others have said its almost more convenient just to login to spend your training points until you have a decently fleshed out character and THEN play the game. Yes, I have changed my opinion on it in the past few days. 

A simple idea I had was to allow the passive training to persist as it does, but to add to it more. Allow players to slot one or one of each tree (Profession, Race, Class) into an active roll. Every action they take in game whether it be a PvP victory, harvesting nodes or crafting; allow it to add to those passive trees selected to speed up training with actual player activity. With passive training only, people are going to get very tired of waiting for their points to accumulate to spend them. But if you add an active component to it, it will help players have the feeling that they are actually contributing towards their advancement. 

So for example, I have Combat Basics, Mankind and Mage selected as my passive training. I then get an additional option(s) and slot Mage into an active role as well. All my in game activity will boost the passive training gain in that tree by x amount based on my level of activity in game. 

The vessel leveling system doesn't fulfill this very well at all in comparison to how much passive training impacts characters power/development. Especially when vessels have their own tier system and early game you are largely wasting your time leveling your vessel up until you have that legendary crafted vessel, which again is time gated by the passive skills system.

Edited by Vunak

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Honestly, it feels like nothing should be gated behind passive training, simply passive training improves things. The gating is the biggest flaw and annoyance, as it is preventing me from playing how I want (Bad), as opposed to improving how well my character is aligned with my playstyle (Good).

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22 hours ago, Frykka said:

Harvester/gatherer is no longer even a playstyle in CF, everyone can harvest and everyone can rank the needed skills along side combat.    I am a dedicated harvester but I no longer even need to be, everyone can do it without effort or having to specialize.   I am just another Combat harvester like everyone else now...  I don't even have to harvest much in the first weeks, just sit and let camps kill mobs for coin and buy the white mats...   once the yield nodes give more quality mats, yes, need to be out there with a group but I have no higher skills than any other player as I didn't have to make any choices between important skills like combat OR harvest.    So yes, just eliminate harvesting and let us get mats based on territory or buy for coin...   hell   eliminate crafting and just sell gear for coin...   kill mobs and let the bodies decompose.   That is where we are due to the AND crowd getting their way, no harvester need be dedicated.

I think your being a bit too reactionary given NOBODY has had time to train anything harvesting, so obviously everyone is as good a harvester as the next, and with springtime season of plenty, of course the differences are not really noticeable, because season of plenty gives everyone what, 3+ free months or more of harvest training

We are all at the start, but rest assured, once we are all in white gear, those combat harvesters you are so worried about will actually not really be doing all that much harvesting. I am already seeing the majority of my guild when we are running together, nobody but me even looks at the nodes we are wandering by, even when they are hungry and could quickly whack a couple of apples. 

It's just not interesting enough to side track for most player to even think about hitting a node for resources.  That will only increase as people get tired of the whack a stationary object grind.

Just give it time.

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