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The Case for Removing Levelling from Crafted Vessels


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1 hour ago, BucDen said:

If one has no concerns about whether or not the game is still running a year after release, then yes you are spot on. 

One has a better chance of getting and surviving corona 3 times in 2020 then this game does if they release as is. Disclaimer: I personally know someone that got it 3 times, so there is still hope for CF.

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7 hours ago, BucDen said:

No, EVE isn't everyone flying around with the same build, and the fact that you'd try to throw that nonsense out here and think anyone would believe it is borderline insulting.

 

In sov warfare that's exactly what it is, and crowfall is 100% sov warfare with literally no other content.

You can't make a false equivalency between the breadth of content (uncluding full pve-only gameplay loops and open ended goals structures) in EVE and the narrow focus of crowfall. The comparison, if it is to be made, is that all of crowfall is effectively sov null, and this is exactly the way the meta works in sov null. You fly and build around doctrine ships and corp leadership determines doctrine. If you're not doing that, you are losing.

And even then, that meta includes a significant training AND production speedbump light years beyond what you see in crowfall. I can't produce five line battleships in a day in EVE with ten people. I can easily produce five custom vessels in CF in a day with two.

Simply put, taking the XP out of the equation puts the "spin up" time so ridiculously low that you gut what little pve combat gameplay there is.

I also encourage you to re-read my point about vets vs noobs. The problem is, literally, that we expect vets to fight noobs, not that vets can play a game with legs. You fix the problem by actually providing appropriate spaces for noobs to fight noobs. ANYTHING you do will disproportionately benefit veteran players with tight logistics over new players.

I'm not here to argue or insuly people. I'm here to tell you that the shortcut you're proposing makes the problems we have worse, not better. Measuring up to richer players becomes harder, not easier when they can more easily commute that wealth to instant counterplay. Campaign population shrinks, not grows when people have fewer reasons to do things in the campaign.

You're looking at this like I'm saying "people should have to grind" and that's not at all what I'm saying. I'm saying "people should have to invest effort" and its the same mechanism that governs crafting, keeps, and every other part of the game. This is not a system build upon instant gratification. Its rewards and systems, with the exception of XP,  are now all built around loot based progression. I'm simply suggesting to use the same metric that governs the rest of the game to govern this one. Sacrifices, if done properly allow the user to directly choose what that effort is. Wanna farm war tribes? cool. Gank people? cool. Fight over PoIs for the chests? cool. Harvest and craft? cool. ANYTHING that generates loot in this system ALSO generates progression for those vessels. In order for that system to be compelling at all all we need to do is remove the most direct path, farming XP in GR, because it kills pvp content, and constitutues narrow, repeatitive, and boring gameplay. Move ALL OF THAT so sacrifices, and make sure there's no arbitrary "you can't sacrifice this item because its too low tier" and people can do *literally any content they want* for progression, ALL of that content is balanced by the same risk/reward factors that govern the rest of the game.

People CAN swap out for whatever they need, but without XP that swap is *entirely too easy* especially considering we're talking about items that literally never decay. Vessels are *free* to maintain and *quick* to build and the only thing that keeps them balanced at all is the fact that there's some back loaded setup in the form of discs and XP. That back load is frustrating when the most optimal method is to stop playing the game and go braindead in GR. Remove that part of the loop, and simply make the most optimal method the same one people do already, chase loot in campaigns, steal things, set stuff on fire.

Create entropy to drive the need to acquire. That's what sacrifices, if done properly, do.

We expect people to engage in a consistant loop that drives gameplay to maintain gear, and I don't think its unreasonable that we ask people to engage in a set of acquisition rules that drives pvp to finish vessels either. Especially if that system encourages people to use their existing vessels to engage in combat in stead of putting them on a shelf to afk on a pve map.

I mean otherwise where's the progression and maximization? Gear? That doesn't really apply as nobody is maintaining legendary gear. Gear is about upkeep, not progression. The progression is all the domain of the harvesting and crafting that went in to it. Vessels are the only vector the game actually has for long term player progression at this point. Is it so terrible that maybe you'll have to play the game a bit on your white before you can use your legendary? We already have the ability to max out crafting and harvesting in like a week do we also need to be able to max out vessel progression literally instantly?

What do we gain by doing this? The thing that is frustrating about vessel XP is having to literally stop playing the game to go grind, or having stockpiles of items who's only purpose is sacrifice that can't actually be sacrificed. I'm proposing we remove that aspect of the system entirely by making the "grind" simply an expression of cost that can be paid with any reward in the game by doing any content in the game.

You keep the cost, you cut the grind, and you drive content over the entire game by making every player's personal advancement relative to those rewards.

EVE runs on a personal advancement value of "how much ISK can I make" and I'm simply proposing crowfall runs on "how much sacrifice xp can I bank" at a personal level. As in EVE people will eventually reach a point where they have more than they know what to do with, and that's intentional. That's the reward for effective personal or organizational play.

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13 hours ago, MacDeath said:

"I can't tell you how many times in my MMO experience that one member of a group of friends got left behind because they were more casual, or that one member who was off the rails bonkers on time commitment, would end up too far ahead to play with the group anymore. That is one of the major downsides to the "must put in time" aspect of MMO's. Seperation of friends by time commitment. "

@KrakkenSmacken Well said mate. That's been a problem forever.

Isn't it relevant to understand the landscape of gaming genres in light of this problem? I go play MOBAs with my more casual friends. They spend zero money on games, outside of the occasional shooter. They'd never buy an MMO, let alone sub to one.

I have also experienced this separation by time commitment issue in my MMOs. And I am thankful for it, because it is proof positive that I am playing a game in my favorite genre. The more you all push for swap skins MOBA hunger-dome, show up at forts and keeps, the less likely I think this game is to succeed. Not because you all won't like it more, but because you're pushing it more towards genres with games that we all like way, way, way more than Crowfall and are, frankly, lightyears ahead in quality (DOTA2, LOL, any shooter).

This game needs to sprint away from being casual. And I mean sprint. Of course you will hear from people who are sad they can't play because they don't have the time to play. But that will be much better than everyone playing for one week and seeing all there is to see. Which is what we have now.

tl;dr in a choice between a casual game with wider "appeal" but no population and a hardcore game with a tiny population, I pick hardcore. It's the difference on a likert between getting 100% between 2 & 3 and a game that scores 80% 1 & 2 and 20% 4 & 5. The first has "wider appeal" but is DOA. 

I know which one I want.

Edited by McTan
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48 minutes ago, PopeUrban said:

I also encourage you to re-read my point about vets vs noobs. The problem is, literally, that we expect vets to fight noobs, not that vets can play a game with legs. You fix the problem by actually providing appropriate spaces for noobs to fight noobs. ANYTHING you do will disproportionately benefit veteran players with tight logistics over new players.

You are correct in that anything that benefits a new player also benefits a veteran player. This is common knowledge. In light of that, it is ridiculous to focus on "providing appropriate spaces for noobs to fight noobs" when the far more logical approach... the historically proven approach... the SANE approach... to a level PVP playing field is to close the gap as immediately as possible. 

  • LOTRO did this with Monster Play - all PVPers start at the same level. 
  • Guild Wars did this by allowing you to skip the levelling  process completely. 
  • Guild Wars 2 did this with instant Max level copy of your character in the PVP area.

I am not at all suggesting these systems for Crowfall, rather pointing out that these were successful systems, and they all revolved around ensuring all the players were on a level playfield without having to grind their way there. I'm sure the Crowfall devs can figure out a system for Crowfall that achieves the same goal. 

Edited by BucDen
edit: removed WOW as it was not the game I was thinkingof where you could lock XP and stay a certain level.
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55 minutes ago, BucDen said:

You are correct in that anything that benefits a new player also benefits a veteran player. This is common knowledge. In light of that, it is ridiculous to focus on "providing appropriate spaces for noobs to fight noobs" when the far more logical approach... the historically proven approach... the SANE approach... to a level PVP playing field is to close the gap as immediately as possible. 

  • LOTRO did this with Monster Play - all PVPers start at the same level. 
  • Guild Wars did this by allowing you to skip the levelling  process completely. 
  • Guild Wars 2 did this with instant Max level copy of your character in the PVP area.

I am not at all suggesting these systems for Crowfall, rather pointing out that these were successful systems, and they all revolved around ensuring all the players were on a level playfield without having to grind their way there. I'm sure the Crowfall devs can figure out a system for Crowfall that achieves the same goal. 

The difference is that all of those systems were not built around pvp as a constant and intended part of the progression model. All of those games used PvP as an optional side mode.

Crowfall is built completely differently. We can not simply "level the playing field as quickly as possible" because having an unlevel playing field is the sole driver for rewards. GW2 is built around cosmetics from the ground up. LOTRO monster play is such a niche side mode thing that I can't even consider it an applicable example.

You'd have to basically throw out the entire game to make crowfall work that way. Crowfall is built around wealth transitioning to power, transitioning to more wealth and more power until the primary challenge is maintaining that power through, again, a consistent acquisition of wealth by application of power. That's how the reward systems and game loops are set up. If you took that out of crowfall right now you'd kill every part of the game that isn't essentially hunger dome, and as a result fundamentally change what crowfall is.

Furthermore, I am not playing GW2 for a reason. It is boring and lacks stakes because of its insistence that loot doesn't really matter, that everyone is equal, and that loot shouldn't be a factor in PvP. It feels hollow and pointless and I hate it.

I do not want to play a pvp game where loot is meaningless and progression is a function of back patting and rank numbers. I play these games to acquire wealth and social connections because they equate to power and involve broader skillsets that encourage greater connection and cooperation between players. I play these games because those same factor create contextual rivalries and situations I simply can't get in the "proven" model of instant gratification and level playing fields. That's why I played EVE. That's why I played shadowbane. That's why I play crowfall.

If I wanted a fair fight where everyone is on even footing I wouldn't be playing an MMO because shooters, mobas, and BRs are far better at providing that experience. In its proper bite sized short match context. I want to lose to people with better stuff and more dudes than me and I want to be rewarded for closing that gap through skill, cleverness, or just plain stubbornness because it creates options. I want to feel the organizational progression from having outgrown a lower tier campaign and being able to step in to a higher tier of competition against greater organizational, logistical, and battlefield skills.

What you call the "historically proven" approach is an entirely different type of game, and one that I would not have spent the money I did to back in kickstarter because I do not want to play those games. If I did I would be playing those games. I do not want a handicap. I want power and progress that is earned. I want to earn it, I want to steal it, I want to look back on it 2 years after launch and remember the terrible state I came from and feel good about the things I and my guildmates worked hard to accomplish together. I want my stuff and my guild's stuff to be something I can be proud of as an accumulation of successful play and rewards for that successful play. THAT is why I play MMORPGs. To earn things through a combination of cleverness, skill, and time spent because that simulation and the choices it offers are far broader and more compelling to me than "everybody is equal go fight" because then I simply question what I'm fighting FOR and get bored.

Sandbox MMOs aren't there to provide a quick fix with minimal effort and that's not why I play them. They're for placing everyone on unequal footing with a bunch of tools and allowing a broader set of variables to inform play. I'm here to compete in campaigns of varying levels of risk that begin and end, that have winners and losers, and that pay rewards persuant to the economic, military, and strategic prowess of their participants.

That's what was on the metaphorical box, that's what I backed, and that's what I expect to play. Despite all of the changes to the game in the past five years, that core concept has not changed. That is at its basic level what crowfall has always been about.

Not equality.

Not ease of advancement.

Wins that are hard, that take effort, and that pit you against other players in a bid for glory, wealth, and power.

I want to LOSE if I haven't put in the work so I have a reason to put in the work. I want a war, not a series of skirmishes, and war is not simply an expression of who can hit the right hotkeys the best.

You mentioned warframe. That's one of the things I LIKE about warframe. That all the dumb space ninja stuff I have I had to do stuff to earn. I play these games to earn things.

There are surely scales to balance.

There is surely a fine line between grind and satisfying progression that crowfall is currently leaning too far toward grind on.

However, I don't think everyone should be in dregs facing off against CF's top end any more than I think a newbie starcraft player should be qued for double diamond korean god tier or whatever. I think they should have a reasonable (and currently nonexistant)  path to walk to earn their way there, or simply stop at whatever the ceiling of their ability to engage with the systems is because statistically most players will never be truly competitive with the best players. That's why they're the best. This is true at a personal level as well as at a guild level. This is why matchmaking and ranking systems are a standard of competitive games. Crowfall's proposal to add that sort of mechanism to the sandbox MMO formula is the entire reason I backed it, because I felt that throwing everyone in one big pot expecting most of the players to have a good time is the primary reason the genre is so hostile to new players.

Edited by PopeUrban

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On 12/26/2020 at 11:58 AM, PopeUrban said:

Let me paint you a picture.

You defend a fort on mondey. You run up against a range heavy fire damage comp. You spend the rest of monday kitting out vessels specifically to counter that comp.

You go to fort tuesday, annihilate that comp. Now THEY have to spend the rest of the day rerolling, say, mudman anti0-crushing comp or whatever.

The way this plays out in practice is an endless round robin of busywork and chasing counterbuilds, in a meta which has strong counters, meaning far FAR more busywork because the expectation is that every single engagement is not "experimental" or "unique" but bleeding edge optimal. There is no personality. No "these guys generally run X" or "this player is well known for Y" and no reward for mastry and investment.

  • If the combat system is well-designed - balanced and not too rock-paper-scissorsy, there won't be a need to constantly re-roll characters. If skill and experience at a class outweighs gear/vessel/meta considerations, then it will be optimal to play the class you enjoy and are best at rather than constantly swap to whatever you think might have a slight edge. 

 

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Just now, nihilsupernum said:
  • If the combat system is well-designed - balanced and not too rock-paper-scissorsy, there won't be a need to constantly re-roll characters. If skill and experience at a class outweighs gear/vessel/meta considerations, then it will be optimal to play the class you enjoy and are best at rather than constantly swap to whatever you think might have a slight edge. 

 

If skill is the only determiner of who wins a fight, you've made a poorly made dergsty MMO combat system in my personal opinion. Part of what makes the genre compelling to me is that there are vectors beyond who is best at their character that determine the outcome of fights.

If I want a purely skill based contest, I don't play MMOs. I go play a MOBA. If I'm playing an MMO I want mastry at a class to be maybe half of what determines the outcome of a fight, with the other half being encounter selection, economics, and mastry of systemic factors outside of who can hit hotkeys and call targets the best.

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3 minutes ago, PopeUrban said:

If skill is the only determiner of who wins a fight, you've made a poorly made dergsty MMO combat system in my personal opinion. Part of what makes the genre compelling to me is that there are vectors beyond who is best at their character that determine the outcome of fights.

If I want a purely skill based contest, I don't play MMOs. I go play a MOBA. If I'm playing an MMO I want mastry at a class to be maybe half of what determines the outcome of a fight, with the other half being encounter selection, economics, and mastry of systemic factors outside of who can hit hotkeys and call targets the best.

While that's true in general, I think we disagree over the degree to which those non-skill vectors ought to determine the outcome. I maintain that a fight should mostly be decided by mechanical and tactical skill, and that gear/vessel/meta considerations ought to be maybe 10-20% of the reason why a player wins/loses.

Regardless, I don't see how that necessitates a frustrating levelling process for each new vessel. If you want players to be invested in their class/discipline choices, I say make those choices more viable and balanced so they don't have to switch. Make their gameplay deeper and more fun so part of their progression is a skill progression rather than *just* a gear/vessel progression.

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7 minutes ago, nihilsupernum said:

While that's true in general, I think we disagree over the degree to which those non-skill vectors ought to determine the outcome. I maintain that a fight should mostly be decided by mechanical and tactical skill, and that gear/vessel/meta considerations ought to be maybe 10-20% of the reason why a player wins/loses.

Regardless, I don't see how that necessitates a frustrating levelling process for each new vessel. If you want players to be invested in their class/discipline choices, I say make those choices more viable and balanced so they don't have to switch. Make their gameplay deeper and more fun so part of their progression is a skill progression rather than *just* a gear/vessel progression.

Or make the leveling process not frustrating.

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10 minutes ago, PopeUrban said:

If skill is the only determiner of who wins a fight, you've made a poorly made dergsty MMO combat system in my personal opinion. Part of what makes the genre compelling to me is that there are vectors beyond who is best at their character that determine the outcome of fights.

If I want a purely skill based contest, I don't play MMOs. I go play a MOBA. If I'm playing an MMO I want mastry at a class to be maybe half of what determines the outcome of a fight, with the other half being encounter selection, economics, and mastry of systemic factors outside of who can hit hotkeys and call targets the best.

Gotta agree with that.

My warden build is, for example, really, really good at defending a place. But awful at open field battles and running around. No matter skill, it is a fact I will be screwed if I try to fight someone in a open field if they start moving around and they dont suck.

As a side effect, I had to start selecting my battlefield. And I honestly love it. I find that part of the 'strategy game', so to speak, super interesting.

Pretty sure the last few newbies I fought with thought I sucked. But they ignored all my advices to bait people and get a edge using enviroment. Hell, I think I am better at sneaking around than actual stealth classes since I cant just get invisible. I had to learn to make the best out of what I had because exactly the game wasnt "fair".

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7 minutes ago, nihilsupernum said:

But why level at all?

What does it add to the game the 2nd.. 3rd.. 40th time around?

It's just time spent not being pvp-ready and not pvp-ing.

 

That's why I advocate for fixing sacrifices and removing activity based xp on crafted vessels and using only sacrifices to level those vessels. So you don't spend time not being pvp ready and not pvping, and in stead play your current vessel to ready your new one doing whatever pvp or pvp content you like to gain the loot to sacrifice while not constantly feeling like your only way forward is to go hit rocks or be bored out of your mind in a GR war tribe camp, or that your personal character advancement is solely a function of someone else's ability to craft stuff.

Most importantly, it adds uniform entropy to item hoards across the game to counteract the "we already have massive piles of stuff so why do we care about doing anything" problem across the entire game. You care because literally any form of loot, even if you have no other use for it, is xp for your next vessel, either a stronger version of a current one or a new one you want to set up.

Edited by PopeUrban

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2 minutes ago, BarriaKarl said:

Gotta agree with that.

My warden build is, for example, really, really good at defending a place. But awful at open field battles and running around. No matter skill, it is a fact I will be screwed if I try to fight someone in a open field if they start moving around and they dont suck.

As a side effect, I had to start selecting my battlefield. And I honestly love it. I find that part of the 'strategy game', so to speak, super interesting.

Pretty sure the last few newbies I fought with thought I sucked. But they ignored all my advices to bait people and get a edge using enviroment. Hell, I think I am better at sneaking around than actual stealth classes since I cant just get invisible. I had to learn to make the best out of what I had because exactly the game wasnt "fair".

That's still skill/tactics, and I approve of that kind of gameplay.

What I don't like is when gear/vessel/meta matters so much that players can ignore the fact that you baited them into a disadvantageous position and still easily win through superior gear or by "hard-countering" you or by balance/design decisions (eg. current Pit Fighter).

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3 minutes ago, PopeUrban said:

That's why I advocate for fixing sacrifices and removing activity based xp on crafted vessels and using only sacrifices to level those vessels. So you don't spend time not being pvp ready and not pvping, and in stead play your current vessel to ready your new one doing whatever pvp or pvp content you like to gain the loot to sacrifice while not constantly feeling like your only way forward is to go hit rocks or be bored out of your mind in a war tribe camp.

Yeah, that sounds fair .. but what if we just skipped the sacrifice item step and made the vessel cost more gold and more materials, then present it to the player already-levelled?

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Just now, nihilsupernum said:

Yeah, that sounds fair .. but what if we just skipped the sacrifice item step and made the vessel cost more gold and more materials, then present it to the player already-levelled?

Because then you're simply passing a grind on to the people gathering and requiring a smaller number of players to do more grind to support a far larger number of players in stead of placing the majority of that progression in the hands of the one that's going to be using it, not to mention you're now requring those players to do one very specific piece of content in stead of literally any content they want.

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22 minutes ago, PopeUrban said:

Because then you're simply passing a grind on to the people gathering and requiring a smaller number of players to do more grind to support a far larger number of players in stead of placing the majority of that progression in the hands of the one that's going to be using it, not to mention you're now requring those players to do one very specific piece of content in stead of literally any content they want.

I mean, assuming a functioning economy, everyone will work to their comparative advantage and trade for what they need anyway.

It's just a question of having sacrifice items exist as another thing to buy and sell. Makes no difference to me either way :)

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4 minutes ago, nihilsupernum said:

I mean, assuming a functioning economy, everyone will work to their comparative advantage and trade for what they need anyway.

It's just a question of having sacrifice items exist as another thing to buy and sell. Makes no difference to me either way :)

The difference is that all items are sacrifice items. That's the key here. *everything* is sacrifice XP and as such *everyone* can get their own doing *anything* they want to do. This means removing the stupid "item is too low tier can't sacrifice" nonsense and making sure you look over the sac xp numbers and make sacrifice values compelling for not just dedicated sac items, but all other forms of loot/crafted items as well. We already need to make sure this works properly due to how sacrifice is used to rank keeps anyway. This work better than forcing quarrymen, alchemists, and necromancers to work harder and also attempting to make everyone have something of value to trade to them. Hard to trade, say, bows to a guy that doesn't want them, and IMO the idea that in a competitive game like crowfall a real trade economy will ever appear (especially now that anyone can max out all the crafts they want on their own account) is wishful thinking that isn't really even going to pan out.

This creates a far better loot sink that is spread far more evenly without also leaning on the assumption players will have a trade market that may not ever appear due to recent changes that have made it less likely to appear than ever.

Edited by PopeUrban

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