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Rikutatis

Seasoned characters vs New Players (FAQ discussion)

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Quote

FROM THE OFFICIAL FAQ

HOW DO YOU PREVENT SEASONED CHARACTERS FROM SMASHING NEW PLAYERS?

This is a fairly large problem for traditional (level-based) MMORPGs where high (or max) level characters are basically invincible against mid- and low-level characters. Numerically, this is often caused by power escalation: the low level warrior might hit for 10 to 20 damage while the high level hits for ~4000.

In a game that is PvP-focused, this is obviously not going to be a fun fight for the low-level player. Level-based progression systems force their players into zones based on level brackets, which really segments the population.

Since Crowfall is a very different game, we’ve approached this problem from a few different angles.

First, we are using a skill-based system; there are no levels. Without levels, the difference between a “maxed” character and a starting character is far less severe.

Second, we designed the game to have a much flatter power curve, meaning that your biggest gains for any skill (or attribute) come early and the remaining gains are all on a steep “diminishing returns” curve.

Additionally, access to equipment will be largely based on acquiring it rather than an arbitrary “level” restriction. To add to this, the power curve for equipment has been dramatically “flattened,” as well. Power gained from equipment is much smaller than in a level-based game, but still meaningful enough that players aren’t running about naked.

More action-related mechanics such as dashes and blocks will create opportunities for new players to avoid damage that isn’t based on a random number generator. Additionally, terrain and position make a huge difference, making the game much more tactical.

Lastly, because we use passive training as the primary mechanism for advancement, there is no grind for player powers or camping of monsters to find that “one rare item”. Players will essentially have a full arsenal of powers to use from the beginning.

 

 

I highlighted certain parts of this FAQ for discussion. Just wondering if the above is still a design goal for the game or if it's just an outdated FAQ at this point. This is clearly not where we're at, or have been for a very long time (since big world I guess).

There are vessel levels now, with a pretty big power curve in them, which means anything below lvl 30 can hardly even compete properly (and you'll see lots of new players around below lvl 30). The grind for lvl 30 isn't extremely long (despite being super boring), but it's mostly vets who speedrun the process in the most efficient way. I get it that it's supposed to be some sort of tutorial to get you acquainted with your powers, but just throwing this out there. And I won't even mention vessel quality here. 

This "flat" power curve for both skills and gear is pretty far from where the game is at, but it's specially true for gear. Basically instead of grinding to get to lvl 100 and own lower levels, you grind to have all purple+ and own everyone else. Jewelry atm is particularly disgusting in how much power it gives, but armor is also horrible. Mitigation and pen is a huge power gap. Honestly combat stats are far too complicated and bloated, whole system should be streamlined and toned down a lot. 

I know the Shadowbane vets love their deep customization and builds, but I still hold firm to my belief that the game's combat started going downhill with discs. They addded very little in the way of interesting new mechanics and gameplay options, and just added more stat stacking, power creep, hard counters and cheese combos/builds. It's much easier to balance around a kit. I like promotion classes, I think the whole game could revolve around that and weapon selection and having plenty of powers to choose from within each class/weapon, instead of discs and so many gear stats. 

Right now Crowfall isn't so much a territory control PVP game, but more like a farming simulator spreadsheet game with some pvp sprinkled in to close the loop. Kinda like EVE I guess, which isn't surprising given how ACE modeled their game after EVE, but still disappointing for those of us who bought in based on their original design pitch.

The only part of the game I feel is working perfectly well with the original pitch is the tactical/coordination side. Comms and good coordination/shot calling is one of the major deciding factors in fights atm, probably the most fun aspect of the game right now IMO. 

Other than that it's mostly spread sheet combat, stacking stats and winning that fight cause you have the right disc/build not so much because you made the right plays. So yea, might want to rethink certain elements of the game if the question "HOW DO YOU PREVENT SEASONED CHARACTERS FROM SMASHING NEW PLAYERS?" is still something meaningful to the game's design. 


 

 

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I think with each new system being added in the power curve becomes more and more gross. With discs being added it increased the power gap, with crafting rework and rerolls it increased the power gap, with jewelry being added it increased the power gap. And I think we will probably continue to see this as the game develops. 

Right now the only big thing that I think will keep the power gap reasonable is having different world bands where organized players and groups can't use their power advantage quite as much since they will be facing other organized groups, and at that point a lot of it comes down to organization. I think in outer bands the time it takes to hit those power breakpoints will be lengthened quite a bit and it won't feel as bad. But that doesn't mean it still isn't there.

I doubt we move away from the discipline system, but I do think stats need to be streamlined and power gains from different areas need to be looked at again. There is a pretty big barrier for entry into the game at the moment and before you break that barrier you don't stand much of a competitive chance in any fight and that feels pretty bad I would imagine.

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Posted (edited)

thats what happens when you use percent increases to crafting and gear rather than flat stats increases. put enough % multipliers on something an it becomes scary.

Edited by Marth

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The power curve is a lot less steep than in any other MMO I've played. I don't think Epic vessels and gear provide as big an advantage as people think they do.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the power curve is exactly where it should be, but its not that bad. In particular, I don't like how weak players are at level 1. It doesn't take that long to max level, but at low levels players are very weak.

Organization and experience are playing a much larger role in who gets smashed than epic gear.


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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Rikutatis said:

Right now Crowfall isn't so much a territory control PVP game, but more like a farming simulator spreadsheet game with some pvp sprinkled in to close the loop. Kinda like EVE I guess, which isn't surprising given how ACE modeled their game after EVE, but still disappointing for those of us who bought in based on their original design pitch.

It's not much a game right now because its still pre-alpha and there an entire game systems missing from the game.  Just wondering what you want to happen in your ideal situation.  Are you advocating for them to wipe all of the skills training, levels, vessels, discs, gear and talents from the game and start over with just classes, some end game promotional classes and a new gear system with less of a power curve? 

 

In regards to the game not matching the FAQ, you're right.  I will 100% concede that the image they pushed and what the game is aren't the same or in some instances aren't even remotely similar. 

 

37 minutes ago, Jjusticar said:

Right now the only big thing that I think will keep the power gap reasonable is having different world bands where organized players and groups can't use their power advantage quite as much since they will be facing other organized groups, and at that point a lot of it comes down to organization. I think in outer bands the time it takes to hit those power breakpoints will be lengthened quite a bit and it won't feel as bad. But that doesn't mean it still isn't there.

You're right, it will be there it just won't be there as quick but once that power Rubicon is crossed you can't undue it.  So is that really a solution or a just wait a few weeks longer and see what happens? 

 

6 minutes ago, Jah said:

Organization and experience are playing a much larger role in who gets smashed than epic gear.

 

That narrative places the blame on the players in the community and that's just inconceivable (see cliffs of insanity).  There will always be an excuse why somebody lost and rarely is that excuse player error. 

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.

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, mandalore said:

You're right, it will be there it just won't be there as quick but once that power Rubicon is crossed you can't undue it.  So is that really a solution or a just wait a few weeks longer and see what happens? 

Definitely not a solution, especially considering different import/export rules for campaigns. I'm not sure what a solution is tbh off the top of my head, would need to think about it a while. Just wanted to give my input on the topic. 

And in response to @Jah's post which I agree with I think organization should continue to play an important role. The issue I see right now is that it's not organization v organization (i.e Guild v Guild in a competitive setting). For a lot of players now, and in the future, it will be organization v a small casual group of friends or small guild. I think that is where the biggest power gap is and I'm curious to see world bands in action to see how that plays out before any massive system changes/balance. That's not to say discs/gear/talents should not be looked at power-wise as well.

Edited by Jjusticar

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33 minutes ago, Jah said:

The power curve is a lot less steep than in any other MMO I've played. I don't think Epic vessels and gear provide as big an advantage as people think they do.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the power curve is exactly where it should be, but its not that bad. In particular, I don't like how weak players are at level 1. It doesn't take that long to max level, but at low levels players are very weak.

Organization and experience are playing a much larger role in who gets smashed than epic gear.

Roll out for siege defense one night in all white gear. Would be curious how much of a difference there is.

 

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30 minutes ago, Jjusticar said:

Definitely not a solution, especially considering different import/export rules for campaigns. I'm not sure what a solution is tbh off the top of my head, would need to think about it a while. Just wanted to give my input on the topic. 

And in response to @Jah's post which I agree with I think organization should continue to play an important role. The issue I see right now is that it's not organization v organization (i.e Guild v Guild in a competitive setting). For a lot of players now, and in the future, it will be organization v a small casual group of friends or small guild. I think that is where the biggest power gap is and I'm curious to see world bands in action to see how that plays out before any massive system changes/balance. That's not to say discs/gear/talents should not be looked at power-wise as well.

That organized vs not organized isn’t temporary though.  That will be the majority of the game, just like Shadowbane was.  Those small groups of friends always make the choice to remain small, lose, blame the game and quit.  The painful truth is the game isn’t for them though.  Factions mitigates some of the guild responsibity but that only works if every guild agrees to take factions casual.  If small guilds wish to remain small they still need powerful allies to band together with or face the consequences of their decisions.  


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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20 minutes ago, mandalore said:

That narrative places the blame on the players in the community and that's just inconceivable (see cliffs of insanity).  

You keep using that word... /wink

As a response to OP's post, the entirety of this problem is something I think a lot about. I may be getting too esoteric or far-fetched here, so call me down if I just sound dumb. It may also just be a jumbled rambling mess. 

I think the entire problem of appealing to any crowd in an MMO has its root in the dynamic between two factors that you could arrange on an X/Y axis. Something like:

uy3hMSz.png
The casual and solo-oriented ends of the axes are going to be less powerful than the group-oriented and hardcore sides, etc etc. The problem with concepts like "power curve with relation to PvP viability" is that a game like Crowfall, as we all know, is trying to cater to both PvPers and crafters. Each group needs its respective rewards in order to feel justified in even logging in. On top of that though, you need to at least attempt to cater at a small degree to the hated solo-casual player so these people buy the game and don't uninstall 30 minutes in. This means providing at least some potential within systems for an individual to contribute to whatever end goal and make some impact. With that opportunity for the "little guy" though, they have to give a higher end in the potential to give large guilds' crafters something to shoot for too when average quality becomes mundane or common. I think they balance this dynamic fairly well so far. 

The fact that crafters are fueling PvP in the way that they are without there being a return loop in the cycle yet (i.e. PvPers able to reliably destroy crafted creations by whatever means whether they be armor/weapons or player-crafted keep walls and hence fueling another crafting need) is what, in my opinion, is allowing the gear power curve to be so dominant right now.

They talked about tacking on to this gameplay loop in the last podcast when they hinted at PvE entities dropping items that crafters could make use of.  My opinion is that this is a step in the right direction, but there needs to be a chance for PvP to create scarcity as well. The obvious and eventual step will be the need for certain professions to both erect and repair walls (looking at you Stonemasons), but we're not there yet for that. The other, and more controversial means that have at least been discussed in the past, would be enabling a full-loot system. I'm not sure how implementing that last part would affect the crafting economy as the game is right now, but I think eventually it needs to be tested on whether it's a standard rule or not. ( @jtoddcoleman @thomasblair, if you read any of this, I hope you take notice of this last sentence)

On the OP's points about disciplines: Blair has talked about essentially adding disciplines to the loop by having them only lootable or available through limited-run recipes. This may or may not make the power curve worse, but I am keeping an open mind and waiting to see if his supposition about "players haven't found all the cool combinations yet" actually creates build diversity as he expects. I hope he's right, because at least for some classes, your options are fairly limited in viability.  

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1 hour ago, Jah said:

...

Organization and experience are playing a much larger role in who gets smashed than epic gear.

My post wasn't really a commentary on the current state of the past couple CWs. I know gear isn't even close to being the deciding factor in Balance being so powerful compared to Chaos and Order (although it's still an important factor regardless). I'm not that naive, lol. It was just a commentary on the current state of combat mechanics and the progression/gear power curve. Which I'm sure you'll disagree with me on that as well, but just wanted to clear that out. This is a NOT a "why balance is OP" thread. I've been making these threads with feedback on the power curve for years now, ever since discs rolled in and the gear power creep started to get out of control. And I'll probably continue to make them until launch whenever I happen to be bored and feel like writing on the forums 😂 


 

 

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46 minutes ago, xary said:

Roll out for siege defense one night in all white gear. Would be curious how much of a difference there is.

 

 

He is talking about the difference between blue to purple, not white to purple. Purple gear is definitely better than white by a large degree, but the difference between blue and purple as so much smaller it begs the question on whether it is worth the effort or not.

If any supposedly serious guilds/groups that have been playing since the last wipe and are still in white gear at this point they should just quit and go play something like Elder Scrolls Online. This stuff isn't hard, it just requires effort and will.

#unpopularOpinions

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1 hour ago, mandalore said:

It's not much a game right now because its still pre-alpha and there an entire game systems missing from the game.  Just wondering what you want to happen in your ideal situation.  Are you advocating for them to wipe all of the skills training, levels, vessels, discs, gear and talents from the game and start over with just classes, some end game promotional classes and a new gear system with less of a power curve? 

Honestly, yea. Something pretty close to that. I'd keep skill training and vessels tho. Then just slap classes, promotional classes, weapon selection (different weapon styles for each class, not just one weapon type per class) and a new gear system with less of a power curve. And give class/promotion class/weapons more variety in powers to make builds a bit more unique. Exactly. I know that's not going to happen, but hey you asked what I'd advocate for 😋

 


 

 

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20 minutes ago, mandalore said:

That organized vs not organized isn’t temporary though.  If small guilds wish to remain small they still need powerful allies to band together with or face the consequences of their decisions.  

That's a good point, yah. I guess I just assume most bigger competitive guilds will be spending most of their time in inner band worlds instead of mid/outer band worlds with small guilds either subbing to them or playing together in outer bands. Leaving solo or smaller groups to fight eachother making everyone on a more even level in their bracket. But can never rely on guilds/people doing that.

So I definitely see your point. It's a bit of a hard topic to find a solution to. 

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1 hour ago, Rikutatis said:

 different weapon styles for each class, not just one weapon type per class

We definitely need some diverse weapon styles. There’s not much reason to use a short sword vs a long sword vs an axe vs a mace except for the damage type. I would very much like to see short sword Knights having a different playstyle than long sword Knights and long sword Knights having a different playstyle than axe knights, rather than it just being a personal preference. You kinda get that with mace vs sword (crushing dmg vs slashing dmg), but if mace lmbs had different anims (and maybe a different lmb altogether), it’d probably feel more distinct. No idea if this is just a symptom of pre-alpha and that’s going to be an alpha/beta feature, or if it’s something that’s nice, but not necessary and will be pushed post-soft launch. Maybe the next time Blair/Dogget/Todd are on a combat stream, I’ll ask.


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You Can't Be A Genius, If You Aren't The Slightest Bit Insane.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, coolster50 said:

We definitely need some diverse weapon styles. There’s not much reason to use a short sword vs a long sword vs an axe vs a mace except for the damage type. I would very much like to see short sword Knights having a different playstyle than long sword Knights and long sword Knights having a different playstyle than axe knights, rather than it just being a personal preference. You kinda get that with mace vs sword (crushing dmg vs slashing dmg), but if mace lmbs had different anims (and maybe a different lmb altogether), it’d probably feel more distinct. No idea if this is just a symptom of pre-alpha and that’s going to be an alpha/beta feature, or if it’s something that’s nice, but not necessary and will be pushed post-soft launch. Maybe the next time Blair/Dogget/Todd are on a combat stream, I’ll ask.

I'd LOVE to see this. And I think GW2 did this really well with their weapon system personally. Wielding a 2H hammer made you feel like a big old wrecking ball, while wielding a 1H sword made you feel agile and quick all within the same class. I'd like to see something similar. Having which weapon type you wield augment your base class abilities would be incredible in pushing varying gameplay styles with the added augment of promotion classes could produce some very cool styles.

i.e something like: colossus smash on myrm stunning with maces equipped or doing more damage and applying an armor break with axes. Or losing dagger spin on ranger if you wield axes or maces, but getting a similar style AoE ability like an AoE bleed or slow similar to whirlwind if you have axes and daze if you have maces. 

Edited by Jjusticar

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20 minutes ago, coolster50 said:

We definitely need some diverse weapon styles. There’s not much reason to use a short sword vs a long sword vs an axe vs a mace except for the damage type. I would very much like to see short sword Knights having a different playstyle than long sword Knights and long sword Knights having a different playstyle than axe knights, rather than it just being a personal preference. You kinda get that with mace vs sword (crushing dmg vs slashing dmg), but if mace lmbs had different anims (and maybe a different lmb altogether), it’d probably feel more distinct. No idea if this is just a symptom of pre-alpha and that’s going to be an alpha/beta feature, or if it’s something that’s nice, but not necessary and will be pushed post-soft launch. Maybe the next time Blair/Dogget/Todd are on a combat stream, I’ll ask.

That's going to come down to money spent on animations which they will 100% answer with maybe post launch. 


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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In regards to the power curve it would help a great deal if White Gear started at 6 PIPS of Experimentation like it USED to.
So gear would be 6/7/8/9/10 instead of 4/7/8/9/10 which is a HUGE jump from White to Green.
This would also ensure that White Gear would not phase out into obsolete territory for crafters as quickly if it still had a use and more potential Experimentation Points.

I like the Talent trees, that's where you can create differing Class builds.
But forcing players to level to even be able to play their Class is atrocious and grindy (even if it is a fairly small grind)
Perhaps new Vessels could start with a significant pool of Talent points to unlock their Class Basics as Talent trees expand and grow
OR get rid of the Class Basic Talents that unlock Skills at least and allow new Vessels to have the Skills applicable to their Class from the start.


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4 minutes ago, Scorn said:

In regards to the power curve it would help a great deal if White Gear started at 6 PIPS of Experimentation like it USED to.
So gear would be 6/7/8/9/10 instead of 4/7/8/9/10 which is a HUGE jump from White to Green.
This would also ensure that White Gear would not phase out into obsolete territory for crafters as quickly if it still had a use and more potential Experimentation Points.

Totally agree with this. I'd take it one step further and let people make advanced gear with non-premium resources again as well.


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20 minutes ago, Jah said:

Totally agree with this. I'd take it one step further and let people make advanced gear with non-premium resources again as well.

I will fight for my right to make Cobblestone armor again!


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You Can't Be A Genius, If You Aren't The Slightest Bit Insane.

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I had not seen that “HOW DO YOU PREVENT SEASONED CHARACTERS FROM SMASHING NEW PLAYERS?” in the FAQ. If what is their intent then I agree with most of what the OP is saying. There are a lot of suggestion and ways to make things more flat line and I would appreciate it if we started to go in that direction. It is definitely MUCH better than most MMOs where an end game player can look at a lv 1 player and turn them to ash but the end result is still the same.

 

I disagree that discs are where it went wrong. What the discs are adding might be wrong but the disc system I think is a fun one. The ability to create your own style or theory craft the next best is one of the things I find most appealing about the game. I just think they need to revamp the discs so they give various tactical abilities vs +20% dmg abilities. For example Force Mage – I like the push back but dmg boost makes it OP. Make me run faster, jump higher, see more, CC more, change dmg type, etc… Stop giving me more dmg, more armor, more healing, more crit, crit dmg, ap, +wpn dmg, etc…

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