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Numa

On boarding New Players with Passive Training

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Hello Crowfall Community,

I was talking with some fellow testers. 

TLDR; I like the passive training system, others don't - they view it as barrier of entry for new players.

So I view the passive system as a mechanic to balance powergamers vs dad gamers. This goal is accomplished with the current passive training system.

But the main complaint is that new players have to wait x-amount of time to catch up.

So my question - is how do we on board new players who want to do action X,Y, or Z, but are curtailed by the passive training requirements?

Please forgive me regarding my lit review - (I didn't review forums to see if this question has already been asked).

 

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Numa said:

Hello Crowfall Community,

I was talking with some fellow testers. 

TLDR; I like the passive training system, others don't - they view it as barrier of entry for new players.

So I view the passive system as a mechanic to balance powergamers vs dad gamers. This goal is accomplished with the current passive training system.

But the main complaint is that new players have to wait x-amount of time to catch up.

So my question - is how do we on board new players who want to do action X,Y, or Z, but are curtailed by the passive training requirements?

Please forgive me regarding my lit review - (I didn't review forums to see if this question has already been asked).

 

Tell them to stop expecting to be the literal best at everything from day one and suggest they learn to go play the game.

It really is that simple.

The ONLY thing training truly gates is crafting.

You're not going to be crafting all your own stuff anyway. People should get used to that idea from the jump by not crafting any of their own stuff, then decide it they feel like crafting is worth their time, since they're gonna have to skip out on either combat, harvesting, or crafting trains.

Training is not a barrier to harvesting. You can acquire the most critical harvesting buffs through consumables, tools and gear. Harvesting training makes harvesting cheaper and more efficient, but is not required to harvest. If oyu want to grind out some harvesting gear, food, and pots in stead you're harvesting just fine.

Training is not a barrier to combat. Your equipment provides the vast majority of your combat stats. You can max out all of the important ones (Armor, crit, critchance) with zero training via gear alone. Combat training mostly serves to allow you to use cheaper gear for the same stats.

 

It isn't a barrier to entry, its a barrier to exiting the character advancement treadmill, and a scapegoat that distracts from the real problem, which is that our NPE that doesn't explain the game very well, and probably won't until after soft launch when the team has the time to build a proper tutorial.

Edited by PopeUrban

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1 minute ago, PopeUrban said:

Tell them to stop expecting to be the literal best at everything from day one and suggest they learn to go play the game.

It really is that simple.

The ONLY thing training truly gates is crafting.

You're not going to be crafting all your own stuff anyway. People should get used to that idea from the jump by not crafting any of their own stuff, then decide it they feel like it or not.

Training is not a barrier to harvesting. You can acquire the most critical harvesting buffs through consumables, tools and gear. Harvesting training makes harvesting cheaper and more efficient, but is not required to harvest. If oyu want to grind out some harvesting gear, food, and pots in stead you're harvesting just fine.

Training is not a barrier to combat. Your equipment provides the vast majority of your combat stats. You can max out all of the important ones (Armor, crit, critchance) with zero training via gear alone. Combat training mostly serves to allow you to use cheaper gear for the same stats.

 

It isn't a barrier to entry, its a barrier to exiting the character advancement treadmill, and a scapegoat that distracts from the real problem, which is that our NPE that doesn't explain the game very well, and probably won't until after soft launch when the team has the time to build a proper tutorial.

Not really a solution - I mean we can ignore the issue. But it is likely we will lose some players because of it.

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Just now, Numa said:

Not really a solution - I mean we can ignore the issue. But it is likely we will lose some players because of it.

The people we lose because of it really weren't going to stick around in the first place. Crowfall is a game that doesn't offer a lot of instant gratification. The people complaining about the training time, I've found, are also people who don't appreciate systems that don't offer those rapid fire instant dopamine hits, or people who don't actually understand how the game works.

We aren't ever going to retain the first type. They simply don't have the patience to wait for anything. Not seasons, not campaigns to end, not training, not anything. We need a better tutorial to retain the second type.


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3 hours ago, PopeUrban said:

Tell them to stop expecting to be the literal best at everything from day one and suggest they learn to go play the game.

Who wants this? Not sure I've seen anyone ever say they should be able to hop in and "be the literal best at everything from day one." More of people want to play a role (specialization is reeeally important right?) without having to play a different role or be insignificant for a good while. Be it perceived or not, I'm not sure any NPE will convince people to just stick it out for X amount of time.

3 hours ago, Jah said:

There are catch-up mechanics planned for passive skills.

Which makes me question the point of passive training.

Unless there are heavy restrictions in place, seems like an invite for pay to advance.

Buy 1 VIP, trade for 1 nodes worth of training. Buy 1 castle, trade for 1 weapon line worth of training.

A new player will have little to no value to trade from playing the game compared to an aged account if the two are both seeking training time.

If training time is raining from the sky for everyone, again goes back to what's the point beyond an attempt to make it appear like it has importance?

Not sure how it works in EVE exactly as far as new players, but they also have F2P, trade market, RL cash flowing in, better designed passive system, cost/benefit catch up, etc.

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10 hours ago, Numa said:

So I view the passive system as a mechanic to balance powergamers vs dad gamers.

That is one of the goals, and I like that aspect 😁. Other goals for the passive training are role specialization (short-term) and permanent account progression (long-term). All of these are important for an mmorpg, and the community-building aspects of the game.

10 hours ago, Numa said:

So my question - is how do we on board new players who want to do action X,Y, or Z, but are curtailed by the passive training requirements?

In a themepark mmo, you won't be joining an end-game dungeon raid in your first week of play. MMO players expect long-term progression, I don't see why they would quit over it.

The real issue is not passive training, but how long do players think it should take to max out a skill like Blacksmithing?  A week? a month? 6 months? If you spend 6 months grinding out bad swords that no one wants and trashing them, that's not a better system than passive training for 6 months.


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I'm having my doubts on this matter myself.

It all sounds good that everyone progresses at the same rate but as I joined the game roughly a week ago and decided I wanted to focus on crafting and gathering I noticed a few things:
- Other people can craft much better items and I've no way to catch up besides waiting
- There's no reason to craft stuff other than to sell them or help your guild, which means there's no reason for me to craft because everyone else can craft much better items and nobody would want the stuff I craft.
-The effort it takes to craft a top tier common item for a maxed out crafter is just as much if not less than someone who is new to crafting and thus their prices can be just as low, forcing you as a new crafter to ask ridiculously low prices for your stuff. With the vendor fees it becomes impossible to sell some items as their fee can be quite high compared to hjow much people are willing to pay for it.

These two things make me feel like there's no real reason to play until I've nearly maxed one skill branch. That's a lot of waiting and not nearly enough playing for a game I paid money for. 

That said it's still fun to play, but it doesn't feel great or even a little bit rewarding.
 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, SnuwWulfie said:

1) Other people can craft much better items and I've no way to catch up besides waiting
2) There's no reason to craft stuff other than to sell them or help your guild, which means there's no reason for me to craft because everyone else can craft much better items and nobody would want the stuff I craft.
3) The effort it takes to craft a top tier common item for a maxed out crafter is just as much if not less than someone who is new to crafting and thus their prices can be just as low, forcing you as a new crafter to ask ridiculously low prices for your stuff. With the vendor fees it becomes impossible to sell some items as their fee can be quite high compared to hjow much people are willing to pay for it.

1) This would be true if passive training were the only way to improve your crafter, but it isn't. While you are waiting on your training, you can improve your vessel and gear, and obtain the resources, tools and disciplines you need for your profession.

You can also improve your crafting via buffs. Sumptuous Pot Pies increase your exp points by 1. The leadership buff increases your assembly, experimentation and exp points. Bon Tippers reduce experimentation difficulty. The stations in the keeps give a buff that increases your exp points by 1.

If you start the game late, you have an advantage that the early players did not, which is a more robust economy. They had to farm for everything. And they were every bit as beholden to passive training as you are. They had to wait for it, without the benefit of any catch-up mechanics.

2) Disciplines, potions and food are always in demand and don't require any particular skill to make. Regardless of what you are training, you can make them. And you can make buildings and parcels as well. But yes, besides that, there isn't a lot that you can craft that will have a lot of value until you get better at it, which is why you should be doing the things I mentioned in #1 instead of just waiting for your passive training.

Don't ignore the idea of becoming incrementally better. The crafting armor you make may not be very good, but it will make you a slightly better crafter, which means the next set of armor you make will be better, and the next set after that better yet. That's assuming, of course, that you don't just save your gold, dust and embers and use them to buy the best possible gear. I have 4 accounts and almost every profession fully trained, but I still went through multiple iterations on my armor, and I'm not done yet. I just finished leveling my blue vessel blacksmith and he is using blue gear. At some point in the future, I can upgrade him to an epic vessel with epic gear. My assembly and experimentation stats will cap at 120 either way, but raising my exp points will make my blacksmith better.

3) The difference is that a maxed out crafter isn't going to waste his time crafting common gear. At this point, I sell almost all of my common resources to the vendor. I keep just enough to use in recipes where the quality doesn't matter, like for cutting blades and grinding wheels. The loot drop system has definitely impacted blacksmithing, to the point where most of the gear being sold is dropped items rather than crafted, but that impacts crafters at all levels. And there's nothing stopping you from setting up a vendor and selling mostly dropped items until your crafted stuff is good enough to sell. 

No one, regardless of when they started, is going straight from 0 to 100. It's an incremental process of improvement. With a robust economy, catch-up mechanics, and the support of a guild, you can advance a lot faster than the people who started at the beginning.

Edited by Arkade

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14 hours ago, APE said:

Who wants this? Not sure I've seen anyone ever say they should be able to hop in and "be the literal best at everything from day one." More of people want to play a role (specialization is reeeally important right?) without having to play a different role or be insignificant for a good while. Be it perceived or not, I'm not sure any NPE will convince people to just stick it out for X amount of time.

Implying the current iteration of passive training forces people in to a narrow role or relegates them to being "insignificant" willfully denies the actualy state of the game as it exists right now.

The current balance between passive training and active engagement rewards from gear, loot, and material does neither.

With zero training and just the ability to farm you have an ability to craft, harvest, and engage in PvP at a level that is in the case of harvesting or combat extremely competitive you need better gear/consumables to reach caps. The trained player can utilize cheaper gear and less consumables. That's it.

You are very nearly as efficient as a fully trained person and in the case of crafting competitive with dropped gear.

You can drop in, day one, and start playing whatever role you like, making real progress in effectiveness through active AND passive means, and stick with that role long term while passively training a secondary role.

You don't need full or even half of your trains to participate in or win a fight, harvest enough material to make a living, or craft something with enough value it can be marketed to another player.

What you can't do is be as efficient as a player with full trains and really good equipment/loot/vessel for that purpose. You can certainly be competitive and are in no way insignificant. You just can't be at the top of the heap. I don't think that's unreasonable. 


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9 hours ago, SnuwWulfie said:

There's no reason to craft stuff other than to sell them or help your guild, which means there's no reason for me to craft because everyone else can craft much better items and nobody would want the stuff I craft.

This is where I think some improvements can be made in the progression process - making sure that even new crafters have something they can craft in their specialization that is needed in a mature economy. Maybe it's a component to trade/sell to veteran crafters, or a consumable that pvpers want, etc.


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29 minutes ago, miraluna said:

This is where I think some improvements can be made in the progression process - making sure that even new crafters have something they can craft in their specialization that is needed in a mature economy. Maybe it's a component to trade/sell to veteran crafters, or a consumable that pvpers want, etc.

How can they realistically make improvements in that area when we don't have any economy, let alone a mature one. 

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The NPE when it comes to harvesting and crafting is terrible.  The NPE if you're NA and pick Order or Chaos and hope to win fights is terrible.  Some of this is prealpha and the inevitible population issues with such an early state of the game among other things.  Some of this is a serious issue that needs addressing immediately through dramatic changes made with a serious emphasis on testing different approaches and finding better alternatives.

 

The passive tree is a good idea on paper.  The problem is it is bad in practice.  Eldritch has already had three or four recruits straight up not bother playing after experiencing the current state of the game, some because there's no possibility to compete in PvP due to drastic gear differences (among other balance issues, Sturdy being a big one and disciplines in general badly needing their trees and a serious pass) that are months worth of time from comparing to, while others are leaving because they want to be crafters or harvesters and the time gating makes that impossible.  The current state of the game for us would have even further been exacerbated if we weren't lucky enough to find two Foreman for sale on GR.  The current state of crafting in particular is made even worse by the complete lack of value in green crafted gear and in effectively requiring (nearly) max crafting to make anything of real value.  Suffice it to say that the passive training needs a massive rework.  A catch up mechanic simply won't be enough.  The time gating is going to be a serious turn off to many people and that will kill this game.  It will certainly help for the faction war campaigns having better population numbers so new players can feel valuable as an extra body, but if they want to feel valuable as a player then the game currently does not make that possible due to the time gating of the passive tree.  God's Reach has been invaluable, but the current state of crafting and the passive tree in general mean you aren't going to be getting much farther for a looong time and aren't going to have much fun or success PvPing unless you gravitate to the overpopulated faction and join the established guilds.  At the rate things are going just in the current campaigns, once Dregs comes out there won't be anyone to fight.

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3 hours ago, Deioth said:

...Eldritch has already had three or four recruits straight up not bother playing after experiencing the current state of the game, some because there's no possibility to compete in PvP due to drastic gear differences (among other balance issues...

Possible solution - could the passive training be more of a teeter totter versus a positive linear growth curve? Example - new account necromancer - is actually able to make better green vessels compared to an old necromancer account that can craft legendary vessels better.

Thoughts?

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20 hours ago, Numa said:

Possible solution - could the passive training be more of a teeter totter versus a positive linear growth curve? Example - new account necromancer - is actually able to make better green vessels compared to an old necromancer account that can craft legendary vessels better.

Thoughts?

There are ways to keep the passive tree in place, but it's not just the time gating.  They need an active system of some kind and the nature of this game wouldn't lend well to a traditional "craft 1000 daggers" kinds of grind.  It's not even so much a matter of needing new crafters to at least be able to make worthwhile green gear, it's that they need to be able to make it in the first place without needing to sit on their hands for three weeks doing nothing and maybe finally crap something out that's better than a king drop because the game decided to congratulate them on their patience.  It would also require another pass at the passive tree to ensure players can properly specialize.  Somewhere between the account level and the character level there needs to be a means to specialize because as it stands now it's only a matter of time before veteran players effectively can do everything.

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This passive stuff doesn´t work for me at all. I always intend to time my next login for when the 250.000 points are full, but then I forget about this game and miss several months. :(

On 8/29/2019 at 12:19 AM, PopeUrban said:

The people we lose because of it really weren't going to stick around in the first place. Crowfall is a game that doesn't offer a lot of instant gratification.

Not really. This game lost me three times because of this so far. And a PvP title better should offer some instant gratification, because noone likes to be stomped for long, just because he´s new. If you want to have an advantage for older players, implement a league system where everyone can battle on his level. 

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Frontload the training.  Givge 50% of the points in the first 2 weeks and the rest spread out over whatever time frame.  This way new players can be competitive.

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