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Passive Skill Training Tree - Why It Hurts the Game


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2 hours ago, Staff said:

15% physical pen is significantly more than a 2-5% dps increase

  1. New player = No armor
  2. No armor = No passive bonus

Everybody wins problem solved.  Prepare yourself for the naked mudman meta.

Edited by Atraeus
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@miralunaA poor RNG implementation to make crafting more laborious, not more active. It isn't better than the old system was and it is extremely tedious in the current state of the game.

My opinion may change when passives are reset and we can build up more naturally. Right now we're trying to catch up to pre-wipe levels of crafting, but that change added to the grind and the pain it did not alleviate it. If it was either less harsh or more rewarding it may become OK but I don't think anybody is having fun popping out boots and gloves to get something mandatory for logistics.

Do I think a more active system could be more fun for crafting? Yeah. But something has to change fundamentally in that system to get there. I don't have a good solution that accommodates passive training and current tech.

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21 hours ago, PopeUrban said:

Compare that against a set of well crafted blue armor, weapons, and jewelry on a well crafted blue vessel. Not even purple or legendary, just blue.

Now compare the resultant numbers against the stat caps.

It's an impressive looking list, but that list describes a practical increase of roughly 2-5% DPS and a whopping 10% resists. Increases outstripped easily by simple playing better than your opponent, or (more likely) better itemizing your gear. I can outstrip any one of those values on one equipment slot and a combination of intelligently itemized slots, talents, discs, and attributes is capable of reaching whichever stat cap you like without any combat passive training whatsoever.

Where did you get 2-5% DPS from?

Even if that is all that came from such a list, that's still something. I have a stat advantage simply because I started playing before someone else with no effort or skill involved.

Those effortless stats could sway outcomes when two evenly skilled/geared players go head to head if they are playing dueling simulator.

Considering the low skill ceiling in this game and heavy leaning to stats and numbers, I'd argue that "simply playing better" isn't exactly easy to do. I can't really click my 10 skills or LMB much faster nor are there that many challenging combos/rotations to unload on someone.

Unless someone is able to reach every meaningful stat cap prior to passive training factoring in, it will provide an advantage. How significant is subjective I guess, but 1>0 from my POV.

I really wanted the passive system to be something interesting and using EVE as an example was smart. 5 years later, yikes. It's just generic stats with a heavy dose of clock watching. No effort, no challenge, no thought required, copy/pasted everything, rewards alt account use, little to no interconnection, time & alts > specialization, etc.

Much rather see them dump the "extremely minor advantage" into something in-game that required active play, choice, and effort. Like Advantage & Disadvantage system or some sort character creation stat allocation that plenty of RPG have. For harvesting/crafting, limit how much can be active per account at any given time so someone can't do it all. Never going to happen, but the passive system is just brain dead boring IMO. If a game system, especially as potentially game impacting as passive training, isn't fun or at least interesting, something went wrong. I pity anyone that finds this model fun or interesting that has spent more then 5 min looking at it.

Edited by APE

 


 

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2 hours ago, APE said:

Where did you get 2-5% DPS from?

Even if that is all that came from such a list, that's still something. I have a stat advantage simply because I started playing before someone else with no effort or skill involved.

Those effortless stats could sway outcomes when two evenly skilled/geared players go head to head if they are playing dueling simulator.

Considering the low skill ceiling in this game and heavy leaning to stats and numbers, I'd argue that "simply playing better" isn't exactly easy to do. I can't really click my 10 skills or LMB much faster nor are there that many challenging combos/rotations to unload on someone.

Unless someone is able to reach every meaningful stat cap prior to passive training factoring in, it will provide an advantage. How significant is subjective I guess, but 1>0 from my POV.

I really wanted the passive system to be something interesting and using EVE as an example was smart. 5 years later, yikes. It's just generic stats with a heavy dose of clock watching. No effort, no challenge, no thought required, copy/pasted everything, rewards alt account use, little to no interconnection, time & alts > specialization, etc.

Much rather see them dump the "extremely minor advantage" into something in-game that required active play, choice, and effort. Like Advantage & Disadvantage system or some sort character creation stat allocation that plenty of RPG have. For harvesting/crafting, limit how much can be active per account at any given time so someone can't do it all. Never going to happen, but the passive system is just brain dead boring IMO. If a game system, especially as potentially game impacting as passive training, isn't fun or at least interesting, something went wrong. I pity anyone that finds this model fun or interesting that has spent more then 5 min looking at it.

I don't find the current passive system fun but it can be interesting. We can't level ALL our passive stats at once so it does take some thought on where you want to gain stats early.

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There is nothing fun or engaging about passive training. At best it benefits people that don't play the game regularly and is a boring/unfulfilling feature to active players. Too much of the game's progression is gained by simply waiting. 

My suggestion would be a hybrid active skill up system with a skill over time component for vip members. Anyone can actively skill up by doing the activities they prefer and vip players can retain the current passive system on top. 

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2 hours ago, dreaden said:

There is nothing fun or engaging about passive training. At best it benefits people that don't play the game regularly and is a boring/unfulfilling feature to active players. Too much of the game's progression is gained by simply waiting. 

My suggestion would be a hybrid active skill up system with a skill over time component for vip members. Anyone can actively skill up by doing the activities they prefer and vip players can retain the current passive system on top. 

Isn't that what we already have? An active and passive path.  (Don't even talk about VIP having a different skill progress rate, the screams of pay to win will deafen you).

Active skill up = gear and vessels. (Let me know when you have a legendary everything with all the stats you want)

Passive = Crow level permanent upgrades that crosses vessels. 

If you want to sit on your ass and "benefit" from not playing the game, your going to be behind those who have spent the effort to gear up, get better vessels and learned how to use them. 

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9 hours ago, MacDeath said:

I don't find the current passive system fun but it can be interesting. We can't level ALL our passive stats at once so it does take some thought on where you want to gain stats early.

The passive system is boring and generic when it was touted its like EVE Onlines passive training. Its only in name that it is and just boring generic stat increase.  Its not even really specialization. They could roll all those stats into player crafted gear and be done with the whole passive system.   If we want to follow the EVE comparison lets use the power management (efficiency here but could raise caps higher and only get more through passives) , or increased capacitor (here it could be more pips , mana, etc).  Take the Passive for the healing buff that gives thorns which is weak. Move it to passive training and allow us to skill it up to wherever the devs feel its acceptable.  The minors can be the start or a small buff.

You can sort of see the start of this in the exploration basic tree's with increased damage verse slow ,  more movement in stealth,  bandages.  These could be expanded on and more could be added with other effects to create T2 skills even T3 that require more training time.  Maybe use a skill tree similar to Albion so they can keep expanding upon it instead of these minor bonuses or in the case of armor weapons just boring.

Crafting they could add to it by doing passives like you can add stats to treated steel if you're trained up in it.  Keep the current things baseline but now everyone cant get everything but this always leads to more alts in the end.

 

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Let me start with combat, I have no objection to a 5-10 percent combat advantage, or reduction in required gear quality to achieve caps, of a player who has played for multiple years over a new player. I think that when there is a layered approach to player power, as we have between the passive, discipline, vessel and equipment systems, then the final impact of this will be minute on the field of battle.

Crafting and Gathering each have a major problem with passive skill gain as currently implemented:

For crafting, if you are not a day one crafter then you will never be as good as someone who is a day one crafter.... until you have both maxed out your crafting tree. This sucks and I don't see a good solution. It may not seem hugely consequential, but a day one crafter is who people will go to for their important crafts and there are currently no systems in place for someone who starts subsequently to catch up and ever fill that role. I would take a shot at fixing this by making a day one max passive skill limit and allowing users who joined after day one to somehow acquire passive points up to that limit. No idea how you pass out passive points without crossing the p2w threshold. One other idea would be to further the exponential cost in the passive skill trees, making someone who has spent more time only marginally more effective (read 10,000 nodes, 20,000 nodes, 35,000 nodes, 50,000 nodes, 75,000 nodes) This would both aide and exacerbate the problem, bringing the crafters closer in passive skill over time, but requiring more time to finally achieve equivalency, when both crafters complete the tree entirely.

Gathering is both the area that requires a change the most and seems like the easiest to fix. In Gathering I can think of many circumstances where a new character would have no way of participating without waiting for skill training: Blood&bone, soul gems, grit, grubs, gems, minerals, etc. Having a new player be expected to wait for weeks without being able to participate in harvesting is a poorly designed system. Your passive system will cause new players to not actively play the game. Luckily there is an easy fix to this, change the baseline value of these various gather skills from 0 to 3-5%. That is the instant fix and every new player can now participate in an entire facet of the game. Another solution would be to have more potions akin to the mineral&gems potion for these other resource gatherings. A third solution would be to have more foods to give benefit to these resource gatherings. A fourth solution would be for rune crafters tools to have a bigger % increase to these resource gatherings (read as 5-15% instead of trivial 1-3% at the expense of 50 gathering skill.)

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17 hours ago, miraluna said:

How do you feel about the active progression grind (discs/belts) added to Crafting?

I think it was a step in the right direction myself.  I can now, with zero training, get my hands on any profession rune and try my hand at crafting. 

This means an individual who really really wants to try to solo craft items, can use multiple vessels to do so on the same account, and with vessel progression, push out *something*. 

It also means there is a clear active path to being a better crafter, with better vessels, crafting bonus gear, upgraded runes and belts, etc.

Edited by KrakkenSmacken
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8 hours ago, ShuaiGe said:

Let me start with combat, I have no objection to a 5-10 percent combat advantage, or reduction in required gear quality to achieve caps, of a player who has played for multiple years over a new player. I think that when there is a layered approach to player power, as we have between the passive, discipline, vessel and equipment systems, then the final impact of this will be minute on the field of battle.

Crafting and Gathering each have a major problem with passive skill gain as currently implemented:

For crafting, if you are not a day one crafter then you will never be as good as someone who is a day one crafter.... until you have both maxed out your crafting tree. This sucks and I don't see a good solution. It may not seem hugely consequential, but a day one crafter is who people will go to for their important crafts and there are currently no systems in place for someone who starts subsequently to catch up and ever fill that role. I would take a shot at fixing this by making a day one max passive skill limit and allowing users who joined after day one to somehow acquire passive points up to that limit. No idea how you pass out passive points without crossing the p2w threshold. One other idea would be to further the exponential cost in the passive skill trees, making someone who has spent more time only marginally more effective (read 10,000 nodes, 20,000 nodes, 35,000 nodes, 50,000 nodes, 75,000 nodes) This would both aide and exacerbate the problem, bringing the crafters closer in passive skill over time, but requiring more time to finally achieve equivalency, when both crafters complete the tree entirely.

Gathering is both the area that requires a change the most and seems like the easiest to fix. In Gathering I can think of many circumstances where a new character would have no way of participating without waiting for skill training: Blood&bone, soul gems, grit, grubs, gems, minerals, etc. Having a new player be expected to wait for weeks without being able to participate in harvesting is a poorly designed system. Your passive system will cause new players to not actively play the game. Luckily there is an easy fix to this, change the baseline value of these various gather skills from 0 to 3-5%. That is the instant fix and every new player can now participate in an entire facet of the game. Another solution would be to have more potions akin to the mineral&gems potion for these other resource gatherings. A third solution would be to have more foods to give benefit to these resource gatherings. A fourth solution would be for rune crafters tools to have a bigger % increase to these resource gatherings (read as 5-15% instead of trivial 1-3% at the expense of 50 gathering skill.)

Thing is, I don't see much of a point in a passive system that is basically just an active system with a penalty for noobs. That's what you get in this situation. You get a system that advantages the veterans you're trying to catch up with far more than the newbies that are trying to catch up.

Whether you love or hate passives, far as I can tell you can't actually have a passive system that is both designed to easily bypass its timers AND use those timers to in any way meaningfully limit veteran players.

Time based passive systems have to create some form of unassailable advantage to be in any way useful as a concept. Otherwise they're just there to waste your time or needlessly complicate an active progression system.

I'm not going to pass judgement on people that want passives to just be dropped entirely, but I will say that there is no point to a passive system that doesn't also at a basic level make people with more time invested in that system fundamentally better than people who didn't in some way.

EVE's system is a good cautionary tale about this.Its attempts to add catch up mechanics and accelerators that are super accessible to brand new players have essentially turned the entire passive training model of EVE in to a thing only new players have to do. If a veteran wants to max out a set of new skills... they buy skill points with their considerable pile of ingame currency. Even if you were to cap this, hey, there's another account to buy to evade that cap.

Established players with income to burn can easily sidestep every limit, rather than being fundamentally subjected to the same limits as new players. You're not longer competing with a maxed out blacksmith. You're now competing with a maxed out blacksmith capable of using the considerable wealth of not needing to train blacksmith to now become a maxed out woodworker, leatherworker, necromancer, and anything else far faster than you could grind to "catch up" with the smith. Every account, given enough ingame currency to buy the "catch up" items, is now a maxed account. You, the newbie have no ingame currency. The established player you this system system is supposed to make you competitive with? They have enough money to pretend passive training doesn't even exist. If you think a guy with three accounts he created at release is a problem, imagine a game in which that guy can just buy an account any time and instantly max out another crafting or gathering line while you're still trying to grind out to "catch up" with the first one.

Any way you slice it, such a "catch up" system grants far more advantage to the veterans you're supposed to catch up with than the newbies, and as such, completely invalidates the point of "catching up"

If you're worried about established players have an advantage because they hit a cap first, I'm sorry but that's going to be true no matter the system. The passive system slows down the established player by clamping progress on that part of their stat pools at the same rate as everyone. The active system drastically speeds them up exponentially as a function of how much they've already trained, as their grind is both faster and easier the more they've trained. This makes it harder, not easier, to "catch up" to veterans.

Edited by PopeUrban

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The passive training should pass these 4 tests: (1) Provides meaningful specialization, (2) Provides meaningful progression, (3) Doesn't discourage or overly disadvantage new players, (4) Unlocks feel fun/rewarding/interesting. The current system often fails these tests. In general, the most successful passive training systems have been those that allow for quick specialization in a role/niche for newer lower skill point (SP) players, while adding breadth slowly over time to provide a sense of progression on a longer time horizon.

Combat:
The combat trees fails most of these tests.

If, like many have pointed out, stat caps can be hit relatively easily with gear alone, then combat specialization and progressions is clearly not meaningful. The situations where distinction might be seen is early in zero-import campaigns, and maybe high-SP harvesting chars that maintain some combat strength.

The unlocks are definitely not fun or rewarding. Everything is basic stat increases; there aren't additional active abilities, passives, or disciplines; The various trees feel like a random grab bag of stats without meaningful distinction in playstyle.

Progression also feels incredibly slow to provide any distinction. You spend the better part of the first couple months in the basic combat tree with no real choice in path (no meaningful specialization).

Item based specialization in general feels poor. It feels narrowly targeted at a single class instead of a role. It doesn't provide interesting distinction in playstyle, nor does it affect a characters ability to fill their role (defense, support, damage, control, etc.). Role based specialization would be much improved, imo.

Crafting:
The crafting tree probably is most lacking in the 3rd and 4th tests.

I wouldn't say that the specialization and progression are superb, but are generally ok. The crafting system does, however, struggle with discouraging and disadvantaging lower-SP players. There's basically only 4 tiers of recipe (basic, improved, advanced, runic) and 2 of those tiers are useless. Combined with this, the progression system is such that a higher-SP character can make anything that a lower-SP character can make significantly better for the same investment of resources and time. So there's no real value to what a lower-SP character makes (economic or otherwise). The way this is often handled, in other games with passive training, is to require lower quality items in the production of higher quality items or to tier the system in a way that low-SP players always have an economic niche in the system. Currently, there is no use for crappy quality items in the economic system, so low-SP crafters are left with little in the way of rewarding crafting activities.

Beyond this, the unlocks are incredibly bland. The nodes provide almost exclusively the same 4 stats over, and over, and over...

Exploration:
Much like combat, exploration passive seem to fail most all of the tests.

The specialization and progression leads to such meaningless levels of granularity; specializing in harvesting a single variant of wood/ore/animal/stone feels extremely unsatisfying. Much like the other passive trees, exploration would also benefit from more interesting unlocks spread throughout the levels of progression. For example, allowing players to unlock, equip and use harvesting pips in the basic tree, while unlocking specific exploration disciplines with their associated unique benefits in the later trees might be an improvement. White versions of disciplines should be vendor purchasable so that players can see what is potentially available, and plan accordingly.

Much like crafting, the progression is such that higher-SP characters do everything a lower-SP player does substantially better and can additionally harvest more resource types. This leads to lower-SP players feeling useless. Sure, every piece of ore mined is a piece you didn't have when you started, but if my labor is always worth 50% of your labor, then I'm going to feel that my contributions are meaningless and be discouraged from engaging in that activity. Low-SP players need to be able to competitively fill a niche. Added to all of this is the pitiful state of resource economics due to the fort and caravan systems.

Successful games that have a strong focus on exploration, gathering, and crafting succeed in making these activities enjoyable because the player gathers a multitude of materials while exploring, and has the pleasure of using those materials to craft new and interesting items. Forcing the choice of combat/craft/harvest in the skill training mostly eliminates (for single account players at least) the pleasure of seeing the fruits of your harvesting efforts culminated in a shiny item made by your hands, while specializing so narrowly in a resource makes the tedious and monotonous act of harvesting even more tedious and monotonous.

Specialization in a biome of harvesting, with a multitude of wood/ore/animal/stone being specific to each biome and harvestable by those specialized in that biome would help reduce the mind numbing grind/boredom that is harvesting currently. In addition, allowing the training of one subtree of all three types would be welcomed. Let players engage in the broadest possible set of activities. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say they wanted to RP a Peon in an RTS game, so let's stop pretending that people are going to be motivated to break rocks for the good of their guild without there being something personally rewarding about the underlying gameplay loop.

 

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If the problem is getting new players up to speed faster a "simple" solution would be to reduce the prices of everything. And add a multiplier everytime you train something.

So you can get a crafting track trained faster than now but the second one will be longer to get, same with the next one etc.

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My problem with the skill trees isn’t that they’re not engaging (they’re passive, by definition, not engaging) or that you have to take nodes you don’t currently need (if we’ll eventually get everything, it doesn’t matter), no. My problem is that it’s way too slow. Beta started August 11, and I’m less than a third way through the Armor skill tree. 4 Months, and that’s the second tree after Combat Basics. I’m further in the Ore Specialization tree, but I’m only three nodes in. It feels agonizingly slow to progress. Last year when we had 3x training, progressing through the skill trees felt just right. You breezed through the earlier trees like you’re meant to, and even in the later trees, you’re progressing 1-1.5 pips a day. Didn’t feel too fast nor too slow. After a year, you maxed out maybe 1.5-2 crafting professions and ~2 harvesting professions. That felt decent to me. Bring back 3x training, join my lobby!

@MrErad does bring up a good point that raising stat caps through the skill trees rather than the stats themselves could be more interesting. I think the skills that give bonuses to wearing certain armor and weapons work well enough (they’re so deep in the trees though that you realistically don’t see them), but if the rest of the stats were stat caps, you’d see combat players steadily rise in power to match with crafters as they steadily increase. Though, this does mean that new players can no longer use better gear to match vets, since they’re caps will be lower. You’d either have to add a way for new players to artificially raise their caps at a cost (alchemy pots or food maybe?) so they can benefit from better gear, or just accept that new players are stuck with lower caps. Depending on how it’s implemented, this may or may not matter. Since this is a group game, individual stats don’t matter too too much, but that’d have to be communicated.

On @Pystkeebler’s suggestion about discipline unlocks in the skill tree, I would caution on how they are done. The devs once put Careless Whisper on the mastery node of Combat Basics, which resulted in everyone skipping unlocking Careless Whisper because they did not want to invest the time to 100% complete Combat Basics. The same could happen if harvesting unlocks are done similarly. It should also be said that right now, new players can bypass the skill tree by using higher grade harvesting disciplines that vets can farm. For example, you need skill training to farm blood and bone but you can get a 5% chance using Connoisseur without training. It would be a shame if this functionality was removed because Connoisseur was locked in the Reaping tree.

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7 hours ago, coolster50 said:

My problem with the skill trees isn’t that they’re not engaging (they’re passive, by definition, not engaging) or that you have to take nodes you don’t currently need (if we’ll eventually get everything, it doesn’t matter), no. My problem is that it’s way too slow.

That's my main issue with the passive skill trees, it takes too long to max out a profession specialization. If I could change something about the skill trees I would divide them up into smaller specialization areas that each could be completed faster.

When I hear people asking for active progression I interpret that as "add something that speeds up the passive training because it's too slow" - that's not the same thing as saying "add more grind activities because it's so fun". In so many games I have played with active skill progression, players find the most efficient/fastest way to do it (trap a bear in a house and macro spells on it overnight! craft 1000 low tier belt buckles no one wants!) and it really adds no engaging gameplay other than being a time and resource sink. If that is the alternative choice, I far prefer passive training in concept. Current implementation could use some refinement however.

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They really should bump up the training to 3x & add deeper skills into the trees that give different effects.  Where's the life steal, thorns & everything else they removed off of armor and said it would end up in the passive trees. 

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15 hours ago, miraluna said:

That's my main issue with the passive skill trees, it takes too long to max out a profession specialization. If I could change something about the skill trees I would divide them up into smaller specialization areas that each could be completed faster.

Something like Albion Online's model would work much better IMO.

Allow players to actually specialize into specific item slots, types, tiers, roles, etc. Making use of both passive and active training with both offering different benefits for a focused goal.

Where training general plate, plate boots, plate healing boots, epic plate healing boots would all provide different benefits at different speeds with active/passive both providing something.

Would allow a lot more flexibility day 1 to day 1000 for all. Also would make specialization an actual thing and not heavily reward alt accounts.

Same could work for harvesting and combat.

Not going to happen as it would require significant resources at this point, but wish they had thought it out better from the get go or one of multiple reworks done over the years. Don't need to reinvent the wheel, other games already do it fairly well in different forms. For a game with so little content, I expected the major systems to be at least on the same level as older games.

 


 

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On 11/14/2020 at 2:35 PM, ShadowwBoi13 said:

What ever happened to the passive system being horizontal progression? Things that gave more options not bigger numbers?

Linear vertical stat chasing is easier to do. Horizontal requires more effort and creativity. Insert small team small budget excuses why it is not fun or interesting. Maybe it's one of those "future dev problems" like passive catch up.

 


 

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