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Niartepar

Skill Training Revamp for Engaging Play

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Hello Crows, I'm quite new to Crowfall and the thing that attracted me here is advertisements that it's a bastard child of EVE-Online.

As a long time EVE player (2006-2016) first thing I did before starting, is analyzing skill tree and how to optimize my in-game advantages and what I found was lackluster and not engaging at all. While I understand that for some (maybe even most) passive skill training is boring and just a thing to do, for me personally planning long term for that little 0,5% advantaged in a long run is oh so satisfying. Another complain I read on these forums is that there is no way to f***-up your character (like in Shadowbane, haven't played it so I don't know). Basically passive skill training is too basic lacking any risk reward and not engaging. If your are not yet bored from this rant, lower I will outline some changes that would change all that.

But before I start some disclaimer:

*English is not my first language (not even a second) so bare with me.

*In my 10 year EVE career I only skipped about a month of passive training even when i was not playing actively (i'm sucker for sunk-cost fallacy)

*This is MY opinion so don't take it as a god given gospel, discuss and criticize.

So all that said lets us begin.

1.PROBLEMS

Lack of uniqueness. We all are unique in some ways, so we would also like to be unique in game. As it stands now no Crow will be that unique, we all get to specialize in 2 races 2 classes so combinations are limited, while they will diverge in time it won't be that pronounced. Professions are a bit different next on them.

Greater value of professions. Weapons skill tree has greater value then race and class, since weapons crossover to all classes and races. Crafting and Exploring has even greater value since they unlock game content. Race/class gives you an advantage, Weapons gives you advantage/flexibility, crafting/exploration unlock game content. Before Pvpers blow there gasket remember that probably (and I am basing this on my EVE experience) 90% of time will be spent preparing/bored and 10% will be adrenaline rush trying to bash somebodies head in. So you need to fill that empty time with something.

Lack of risk/choice in skill progression. Currently when leveling skill pips you have 2 choices. One is do i get that level 5 pip, and second is which way to progress in the skill tree. Problem with the first one is that there is really no cost/risk in taking or not taking that level 5. Problem with the second is that you don't actually have a choice some skill are useful no matter what you're trying to specialize in, others are useless for your path. So from this single logical path for progression comes forth and  most will take it (lack of uniqueness).

Redundant/unnecessary game mechanics. Choosing which tier of skill tree to put your training in, serves no purpose. Two things it does is to force players to login and spend points/change the tier, which is just a chore. And probably waste some skillpoints if you over-train in one tier.

2.SOLUTIONS

Here I will outline the changes I propose and explain their pros and cons.

a.Get rid of class/race/profession separation, just leave 9 skill trees we have now.

b.Let players train in any 3 of their choosing (non-VIP) and 4 for VIP.

c.Make skill pips give linear benefits with progressive cost.

    c1. Unlock next skill pips at level 3 not level 4.

    c2. Make pips that require ALL the skill tree to be trained (or just pips that lead to it) be trainable maximum to the lowest level of  prereq.

d.Remove the selection between which  tier of the skill tree you train in. Skillpoints accumulated in your chosen skill tree for you to spend as you wish.

3.WHAT WILL THIS CHANGE

As the skill training goes we have 2 options now, Pvper and Crafter. PvPer will take of course Weapons, Class skill, Race skill (2nd class/race skills are irrelevant since they only give you more flexibility and don't add anything to your current vessel+Weapons skill tree limits what race/class is most effective for you) and either Crafting or Exploration. Crafters have the same choice, but they skip Weapons. So what we have now is a PvPer that can do half of a Crafters work and compete with them and a Crafter that has a a slight disadvantage in combat. This is simplified version since pips you choose will make a difference.

Conclusion. We have 2 bland option which overlap, lowering the prestige/importance of both.

With proposed changes many more options open up. Pvper go Weapons/Class/Race, Crafter go Exploration/Crafting/Race, maybe you want to fight and gather no problems go Exploration/Weapons or Class/Race, maybe you are undecided which path to take explore them all by a little. All of these will give advantages and disadvantages in your given profession. Raising the prestige/importants of those who specialize. Want to be a legendery blacksmith whose wares are sought after by everybody, sure why not but your sure as s**t won't be god in the battlefield and vice versa.

And this lead to another change (c;c1;c2). Numbers are just and example.

Currently if i want to upgrade a skill that cost 5k skillpoints it goes something like this 5k/5k/5k/5k and wow now I have a choice to drop another 5k or move on (Total cost of maxing 25k). Uninspiring. Not much choice.

What I propose would go something more like this. Skill that cost 5k now becomes 2k/4k/6k/8k/10k and at level 3 I have an option to move to next skill (Total cost of maxing 30k). This opens some options "Is this a skill you don't care much about, but need it to progress?" great now you can move on faster 12K compared to 20K. Or is this something that is essential to your game style and that last 1% which cost x5 more then level one is so important that your willing to lose some progression elsewhere.  This will turn passive skill training (bland part of the game) into a little min/max, risk/benefit mini game, which doesn't punish those that wander that hard, but rewards those that plan in advance.

And the cherry on top. Skill that need prereq (ALL) make them stronger but limit the level to the lowest of that tier (so level 3 max when you unlock it with minimal investment), that is a nice way to reward min/maxers without punish others.

4.VIP vs. NON-VIP

Current mechanics. VIP have 2/2/2 in training, Non-VIP 1/1/1 referring to skill categories. Ignoring other advantages (irrelevant). On paper looks great VIPs get 100% advantage in flexibility if not power so no game breaking in-balance. But that 2/2/2 is more like 2/1/1 as 2nd Class/Race skill is not that important it is nice to have, but more like a buffer for nerf-bats. So that 100% flexibility advantages turns to 33% and Non-VIP players are locked from content (i will assume most go pvp way since this is a pvp game). Not very happy clients :(

Proposed mechanics. VIP has 4 paths to train. Non-VIP has 3 paths to train. Same 33% advantage in flexibility. Non-VIPs are not locked out of content since now they can go pure carebear route, without all those nasty pewpewers. If they want to fight they can fight on par with a VIP since both can sink 3 training paths into pvp power improvement. And VIPs can do some stuff on the side excluding pvp.

Please discuss and hopefully find flaws in my thinking everything i wrote is based on CCP Games and their approached to EVE-Online. They had 15 years to master passive skill training, they had goofs and bad design decisions, but they took players feedback (although reluctantly) and improved.

EDIT. Removed some non-sense I wrongly assumed.

Edited by Niartepar

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I agree and disagree.

Agree:
It's not really much choice in terms of actual training. It needs some love.

Disagree:
Actual uniqueness - when we add all the systems in I think actual character variability is huge. 
Crowfall model is not F2P is Buy To Play so actual the power progression needs to be equal with VIP or without. With that in mind I think many of your ideas you would change your self :)


Gen. Prom
Guild Leader of KDS
Recruitment Post - Guild Recruiting and Management - #warstory
Visit us at www.kdsguild.org

 

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B wont happen cause it allows for sopmone to do everything themselfs which they dont want.

Class trees imo should have skill upgrades that give you 2-3 options to upgrade skills in someway but you can only choose one branch to go down so you have to choose an option. (Should be away to reset skill points though either item through the game or something like that)


Veeshan Midst of UXA

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We did have 3 pip advancement for the first iteration of the skill trees.   One consequence is that this unlocks everything much faster...  i.e.  end game weapons enter the game in about half the time, even before much of the combat training is as far along.   We went to 4 pip advancement in the second iteration where we have also tested a circular skill tree instead of left to right branching...   some of this is trial and error and they measure the timing of skill unlock relative to each other...  like are you getting the proper quality of materials from the harvest skill at the appropriate time to use them in the c rafting skill tree.

5.8 has another iteration and it is already engineered, we will see what changes we now have and go from there forward, not back to what we have already seen and tested.


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19 minutes ago, veeshan said:

B wont happen cause it allows for sopmone to do everything themselfs which they dont want.

 

6 hours ago, Niartepar said:

b.Let players train in any 3 of their choosing (non-VIP) and 4 for VIP.

 

 

If by B you mean this part it actually will change very little, now with VIP you can train Crafting&Exploration and "do everything yourself". With proposed changes Non-Vip you would be able to train Crafting&Exploration and Race or Class, Race prolly since it makes more sense in being dedicated crafter. And you would suck at combat.

For a Vip player you could go Crafting&Exploration and 2 of 3 (Class, Weapons, Race) which would make you competent at combat, but not great. Non-Vip player with combat focus would still have an advantage. Risk and reward.

Plus this looser system would let ACE add more skills as needed without the need to spread them equally through all the 3 different categories.

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22 minutes ago, Frykka said:

We did have 3 pip advancement for the first iteration of the skill trees.   One consequence is that this unlocks everything much faster...  i.e.  end game weapons enter the game in about half the time, even before much of the combat training is as far along.   We went to 4 pip advancement in the second iteration where we have also tested a circular skill tree instead of left to right branching...   some of this is trial and error and they measure the timing of skill unlock relative to each other...  like are you getting the proper quality of materials from the harvest skill at the appropriate time to use them in the c rafting skill tree.

5.8 has another iteration and it is already engineered, we will see what changes we now have and go from there forward, not back to what we have already seen and tested.

Thank your for answer. Did the previous iterations had a raising pip cost? And how did lower level of skills work with end-game item manufacturing wasn't there more fails, low quality items? I would expect that manufacturing big guns with low skill would consume alot more of resources and have low quality.

Numbers could be tweeked my example with 5k skill could be 4k/5k/6k... so it would take 75% of current time to advance to the next pip.

What do you thing about my other propositions they are more or less stand alone, so even if 3 pip advancement is a bad idea others might not be so?

Edit. Oh an early end-game items is that really a big problem in later CW (after the first) everybody will have the ability to start the game with end-games items, since skills carry over from campaign to campaign.

Edited by Niartepar

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8 minutes ago, Niartepar said:

Thank your for answer. Did the previous iterations had a raising pip cost? And how did lower level of skills work with end-game item manufacturing wasn't there more fails, low quality items? I would expect that manufacturing big guns with low skill would consume alot more of resources and have low quality.

Numbers could be tweeked my example with 5k skill could be 4k/5k/6k... so it would take 75% of current time to advance to the next pip.

What do you thing about my other propositions they are more or less stand alone, so even if 3 pip advancement is a bad idea others might not be so?

yes…  we still have rising pip cost  5k-30k as you progress; this is key to player catch up mechanics.

I'd rather see more skill tree and more nodes rather than less,  more choices and more options that make my path different from yours.

The tome catch-up mechanics is what is key for the skill trees being separated into distinct branches and tiers, this makes creating a tome more specific to a particular set of skills when bought and sold on the player market...  you don't want players creating tomes for one branch and being used in another.

There are missing pieces to the skills that will cause things to make more sense but they have to be built in regardless of where the engineers are on the other pieces...  that becomes more a problem of communication than a problem of engineering.

Edited by Frykka

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                                                        Sugoi - Senpai

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2 minutes ago, Frykka said:

The tome catch-up mechanics ...
 

Is this something like skill injectors used in EVE-Online, if your not familiar its an ability to extract skillpoints from 1 player (making him lose them) and sell them to another?

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exactly...   so the branch that the tomes are created from are the only branch the tome will be applied.   Thus skill trees are compartmentalized into pieces that limit the use of tomes.

 


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                                                        Sugoi - Senpai

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8 minutes ago, Frykka said:

yes…  we still have rising pip cost  5k-30k as you progress; this is key to player catch up mechanics.

I'd rather see more skill tree and more nodes rather than less,  more choices and more options that make my path different from yours.

The tome catch-up mechanics is what is key for the skill trees being separated into distinct branches and tiers, this makes creating a tome more specific to a particular set of skills when bought and sold on the player market...  you don't want players creating tomes for one branch and being used in another.

There are missing pieces to the skills that will cause things to make more sense but they have to be built in regardless of where the engineers are on the other pieces...  that becomes more a problem of communication than a problem of engineering.

The tome catch up mechanic is going to be used by players to make all characters pretty much the same. I will use my alts to feed a main accounts skills. Yes, I wont be able to advance further then others, but I will keep all lines at max. 

Balancing skill lines on this mechanic will not end well. 

Well it will for me since I can afford multiple accounts.

Edited by mystafyi

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2 minutes ago, mystafyi said:

The tome catch up mechanic is going to be used by players to make all characters pretty much the same. I will use my alts to feed a main accounts skills. Yes, I wont be able to advance further then others, but I will keep all lines at max. 

Balancing skill lines on this mechanic will not end well. 

Well it will for me since I can afford multiple accounts.

This mechanic will probably be locked behind a paywall, tomes will be purchasable for $ from ACE.

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1 minute ago, Niartepar said:

This mechanic will probably be locked behind a paywall, tomes will be purchasable for $ from ACE.

The paywall being paying for multiple accounts. Basically, the mechanic was described as people will sell their training points to other players ingame. So they would sacrifice skill points on one account to give(sell) to another account. The fallacy was thinking this will help new players.

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3 minutes ago, mystafyi said:

The paywall being paying for multiple accounts. Basically, the mechanic was described as people will sell their training points to other players ingame. So they would sacrifice skill points on one account to give(sell) to another account. The fallacy was thinking this will help new players.

You won’t be able to use Tomes to get ahead, only to catch up. Farming Tomes on multiple accounts to make one super account won’t work.


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3 minutes ago, Niartepar said:

This mechanic will probably be locked behind a paywall, tomes will be purchasable for $ from ACE.

Nope...   they are player crafted and sold in the player market.   Yes, players will feed their own main accounts from alts but they will render the alt account useless or be paying VIP on those alts to use the second training line as the feeder line.   It will give main accounts wider breadth of skills faster but everyone will eventually catch up...  We don't know the restrictions but we do know that tomes will not be even available at soft launch.  They will most likely come 2-3 months later with the advertising push...   thus for players wanting to use tomes to enhance alt accounts they will already be beyond many of the fast nodes and only be using tomes on the slow gain nodes making a maxed out tome take a very long time to produce and not give more than 2-3 nodes gain.


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2 minutes ago, mystafyi said:

The paywall being paying for multiple accounts. Basically, the mechanic was described as people will sell their training points to other players ingame. So they would sacrifice skill points on one account to give(sell) to another account. The fallacy was thinking this will help new players.

Nah, i'm guessing this is a direct import from EVE-Online, empty Skill Extractors (or in our case tomes) would be purchased from CCP Games for $, then you can extract your skillpoints and sell them.

This was mechanic that made me quit EVE after 10 years of careful planning and investment, crafting that character which was just the way you wanted somebody with spare 5k $ could just do whatever. All sense of achievement gone, and with it any incentive to play.

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4 minutes ago, Jah said:

You won’t be able to use Tomes to get ahead, only to catch up. Farming Tomes on multiple accounts to make one super account won’t work.

So you are saying that I will be able to train combat and perhaps an exploration lines on my account and I will NOT be able to use skill tomes from alt accounts to level racial and crafting lines?

EDIT: removed a not.

Edited by mystafyi

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13 minutes ago, Frykka said:

Yes, players will feed their own main accounts from alts but they will render the alt account useless or be paying VIP on those alts to use the second training line as the feeder line.   It will give main accounts wider breadth of skills faster but everyone will eventually catch up...  

I agree. My problem is this mechanic is being marketed as a catchup mechanic for new players when clearly it will be used to pump up one account with alts. 

 

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I'm getting a feeling that posting this huge wall of text, before seeing 5.8 might have been unnecessary :D

Let us wait for 5.8 and then I will be back with another wall of text (lets hope it won't be needed)

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27 minutes ago, mystafyi said:

I agree. My problem is this mechanic is being marketed as a catchup mechanic for new players when clearly it will be used to pump up one account with alts. 

This was discussed quite a bit when Tomes were announced. Here's an example:

Quote

When/if we add tomes after launch (and I suspect that we will, because we do need a catch-up mechanic for late arrivals) we'll put a gate in place to keep people from abusing it.  My current plan is to add a global max # of minutes since launch that players can't exceed; in effect, a new player won't be able to use Tomes to gain more total minutes than a standard VIP player who started on launch day. 

Todd

ACE

 

Edited by Jah

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