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Reply to MMORPG.com: The Active Passive Training Bottleneck

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A recent article was written by Chief Sarcan on MMORPG.com which was shared by Crowfall who asked: "What's Your Take?"

 

For Reference: http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/1214/feature/9736/Crowfall-The-Active-Passive-Training-Bottleneck.html

 

Concern 1:

The author starts off with an explanation of how the skill system within Crowfall is going to work.  Players start with an archetype, they can choose what disadvantages (-skill points) and advantages (+skill points) for their initial build based off of how they expect to play their class.

 

Author's first concern: FoTM builds will arise based off of starting skill point allocation.

 

My Response: First off, the allocation of starting skill points will be limited based off of Archetype and there are limits for how many disadvantages you can take to stack certain stats with advantages.  If you are concerned that an Archetype build is FoTM because a melee class who the player intends to use as a melee DPS puts all of their points into STR, then I'd counter that it is just what makes sense.  If we assume 3 Promotion classes per Archetype, then of course players will identify the ideal starting build for each promotion class, however it STILL could change based off of what runes/disciplines they pick up.  Effectively as ACE adds more disciplines per Archetype, player selection of their starting stats will change as well.

 

This will lead to players who started CF at launch finding their build is potentially less effective due to new disciplines aligning with a certain selection of starting skills.  That still assumes that new disciplines are innately better than others, as opposed to used for different purposes.

I just don't see the concern's holding much weight on this point.

 

Concern 2:

Initial skill selection is followed by payers progressing their selected skills to a point where they unlock their ability to choose their profession.  Again, the assumption is that each Archetype will have 3 to choose from which will drastically change how they play from the others.  This could change your Archetype from melee DPS to melee defense to melee support.  At THIS point, you are allowed to re-select your skill points again.

 

Author's second concern: The selection of promotions is a permanent choice.  There is no going back.  After you reach that point, you've effectively picked how your character will play and have hit your cap for advancement.

 

My Response: ACE has said a few times they want players to make decisions and live with them.  It is a different approach than some games, but there is reason behind it.  Players can easily level a single Archetype up and enjoy that particular style of play afforded that Archetype, and this all takes place without any monthly subscription.  For those who want options, flexibility in PvP, crafting alts, ect.  That is where ACE will be able to earn a living through their VIP sales and their character slots.

Players will be forced to choose between having 1 character that they log into every day and progresses and that's it, or having multiple characters all progressing passively at certain rates.  The complaint about forcing players to choose and live with their choice is from my perspective a business model.

 

Author's follow up concern on this point: The swapping of discipline runes hampers the emotional investment in your character "for most" by eliminating the progression you made with those runes equipped.  This would discourage experimentation.

 

My Response: I can actually see the legitimacy of this concern, but I've went back and read the FAQ on skill progression and maybe I'm wrong, but they only stated that when you replace a runestone, the benefits of that runestone are removed.  I don't know that I've seen it reported that your progression is lost and you'd have to retrain those skills if you swapped back into that particular discipline.  I began my comment here with "I may be wrong" and I'll end it with an "I may be wrong" on this topic.

What that concern fails to account for is the need for disciplines within crowfall.  Yes, the initial rush into the game will see people level weapon skills all the way up only to swap in a new discipline to realize they like it less and (assuming all progression is lost) swap it back and start over.  However, when the game launches and all of this information is public, people will want to test these out and level each of them.  All of this will take place while your core skills and your promotion skills are still leveling.

In response to the end of your earlier complaint, it appears there is plenty of space left to level your character and you can choose many different ways.

 

Concern 3: 

How we raise our skills is broken down into two major systems.  Active and Passive leveling.  Active leveling has been announced as allowing players to increase their skills through actively playing the game up to 50%.  The other 50% will be based off of the age of their character and what skills they choose to passively level.

 

Author's third concern: As base Archetypes have starting skills, which are expanded upon by their selection of a promotion class, won't players end up with only a few skills to train thus leading to a short development of a character to max potential?

 

**Honestly, I was a little confused about what the actual concern was, so I took liberty and extrapolated what I believe his actual concern is.

 

My Response: Yes, to a point after you select your Archetype (from the 13), then you select your promotion class (from the 3), which opens up your base skills + promotion skills (we'll call it 4) thus leaves a total number of options a player can level at 156 different skills.  That is what you have to choose from when looking at your character creation screen.  By selecting an archetype, you limit that number to: 12 potential skills you can choose from.  By selecting a promotion class, you limit that number to 4.

 

**This is again assuming that we only have 5-6 skills on our skill

 

Now, the author seems displeased that his promotion class selection will limit him to raising the same skills as every other player who is playing the same promotion class as himself.  Especially if he wants his character to be "Unique" which I believe to be the crux of this article.  What I don't understand is his logic that eliminates the skills that disciplines can/will open up to each player.  Disciplines are what will make player's characters unique.  The base of your character will be set based off of how you want to play it (support/dps/defense/scouting/stealth/ect) and the extra flare that sets you apart may be a discipline that adds burning and a fire skill to your bar.  As more disciplines are added, greater flexibility for what your choice will allow you to do.

 

Concern 4: 

Passive skill training is the other facet of the progression system that allows players (when not actively leveling their skills in game) to passively select skills to level when they are not logged in.  ACE has said that it will be a 50/50 split on active leveling which I see meaning that if we assigned a timeframe to each side to reach its cap(100 hours active leveling/1000 hours passive leveling) that regardless of how quickly you got to 50%, you'd have 1000 hours of passive training still to achieve.

This doesn't mean though that passive training starts only after you get to 50%., but instead will take place during the span of time you are playing. (It takes you 30 days of playing 4 hours a day to get to your 50% actively trained, but during those 30 days, you passively trained for 20 hours a day).

 

Author's fourth concern: As you only have 5-6 potential skills to train you will run out of options to train passively.  He was also concerned that while you can change disciplines (1-2 skills worth) you lose all your progress thus making that choice not an increase in flexibility.

 

My Response: I want to first acknowledge that ThomasB has explained on my show and in other places that they intend to have a combo system that opens up new variations of skills based off of what skills you activate.  This means that your bar of 5-6 skills could turn into a bar of potentially  10-20 skills based off combination chains.  As the author speculated on many things, I will speculate here and say that we will have a much larger selection of skills to train than has been assumed above.  We can also take into consideration that Pole Arm mastery might not be related to your "1-6 skills" but be a skill you can raise that increases the effectiveness of your "1-6 skills".  

 

Concern 5: Author's Summary of Concerns

The author's concerns are based off of the understanding that players will only have a small selection of skills to train after selecting their promotion class IF they don't want to continue trying new disciplines due to his understanding that removing a discipline rune will force you to start over if you try to go back to it.  He is concerned that there won't be enough variety because of this information.  He believes this will lead to FoTW builds that new players will roll and veteran players will be forced to roll to stay competitive.

Most importantly however, he's concerned that players will reach the end of their character's progression so quickly that it will lead to a game of alts and a lack of emotional investment in their characters.

 

 

My Response and Conclusion:  The author clearly values the existence of "progression" in his character.  It seems that his article paints a stark and empty picture for a player who "Caps his skills".  I disagree with the premise of that notion in Crowfall, as my perspective on ACE's direction is focusing players on PvP/Combat/Campaigns/Tournaments.  Character progression is simply a mechanic to initially invest players into the game.  Players do not require the existence of skills to grind in order to stay loyal to a game where we are driving the content.  Reaching "Cap" will not turn away players from playing Crowfall for great lengths of time as "New Content" will be created through player interactions within the CW's.

 

There could be an argument made for the "Lack of flexibility" within this system.  I 100% understand that sentiment after we've had games such as Guild Wars 2 and ArcheAge which had so much cross over that players could literally take a class and play it completely counter to how it was built to be played.  Crowfall has stated they aren't those games.  I wish I could find the quote, but it has been said that players will pick what their character does and that is the decision they live with.  If you aren't happy, or you want to be competent at other facets of the game, you can start a new character.

 

I mentioned it above, that is part of their business model, players will pay for VIP to level more alts simultaneously.  Players will pay for more character slots.  This money does not give wealthy Player A an advantage over poorer Player B in a campaign.  It will though allow those who spend money on Crowfall to enjoy the game in more ways than those that don't.

 

 

THAT BEING SAID, I believe that when Crowfall comes around, we will find that even if changing disciplines destroys your progress made on your original discipline, that characters will have a variety of skills to train that could include: Weapon, base skills, promotion class skills, discipline skills, and combination skills.

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Just a small remark.... I thought it was 10/90 or 20/80 active to passive training, not 50/50. I know it was a comment here by Thomas Blair, but the dev tracker is screwed up and doesn't go back as far now, so I can't locate it.


I think the best comparison we can use for player progression is of course EvE online, and although there are what are considered 'optimal' builds now, people still stray due to time to complete. If it takes me 3 months to get 5% more damage on my weapon, I will probably benefit more by branching out and gaining 60-70% of another skill in the meantime. Also, depending on the length of time to max out the skills, nobody will know optimal builds for what could be a year or two...and by then there could be substantial rebalancing as new worlds come online.

In response to being locked to the advantages/disadvantages in character creation...I foresee some sort of redo store item in the future. It might take away some skill percentage or w/e to make it have some sort of drawback, but I think we'll see a lot of crying from people having 2 years of passive into their character and wanting to change their initial picks. The squeaky wheel gets the oil in the MMO world.






e: Found the comment by Thomas Blair, although I'm sure it's subject to change:
 

 


How do we plan to avoid this? Limited gains on usage, lets say the first 10-20% of a skill can be gained this way. For you non EVE players the beginning of a new character is pretty drab and doesn't feel very good. We hope that the limited gains spice it up a bit in the beginning.
Edited by primal

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The whole article is garbage because it's full of assumption of design elements that aren't even designed yet. 50/50 active passive? Swapping out discs? Training speeds?

 

You might as well try to theorycraft Blizzard's next MMO.

 

There is a lot of hang wringing in that article and worry about a game that isn't even pre-alpha state. Some people have way too much time on their hands. This line of discussion wouldn't last the time it took me to stop laughing on Crowns and Crows.

Edited by draegan

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Co-Host of Crowns and Crows Livestream: Every Tuesday 8:30pm EST
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My Response: I want to first acknowledge that ThomasB has explained on my show and in other places that they intend to have a combo system that opens up new variations of skills based off of what skills you activate.  This means that your bar of 5-6 skills could turn into a bar of potentially  10-20 skills based off combination chains.  As the author speculated on many things, I will speculate here and say that we will have a much larger selection of skills to train than has been assumed above.  We can also take into consideration that Pole Arm mastery might not be related to your "1-6 skills" but be a skill you can raise that increases the effectiveness of your "1-6 skills".  

 

.

.

.

 

THAT BEING SAID, I believe that when Crowfall comes around, we will find that even if changing disciplines destroys your progress made on your original discipline, that characters will have a variety of skills to train that could include: Weapon, base skills, promotion class skills, discipline skills, and combination skills.

 

My understanding of the combo system is that it would be similar to Guild Wars 2, such that your attack cycles through a three-style chain.  Initially your 1 skill might be Cross Slash, but once you hit with it once then 1 becomes Deep Cut, then finally Leaping Lunge.  But I could be wrong.

 

As for disciplines, I had the impression that disciplines are something we will be changing often in this game.  Disciplines are what will define your crafting specialization, something you might not always want during a campaign. 


 

Sorry you turned into a two-bit carebear whose feelings get hurt over forum banter.

 

 

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My understanding of the combo system is that it would be similar to Guild Wars 2, such that your attack cycles through a three-style chain.  Initially your 1 skill might be Cross Slash, but once you hit with it once then 1 becomes Deep Cut, then finally Leaping Lunge.  But I could be wrong.

The key word there is "similar," though. I don't think they're directly copying any other combo system, so, hopefully it works like the GW2 combo system on steroids and gene-splicing. :)

 

EDIT: The GW2 combo component was designed more to provide variety for auto attacks than it was to provide complex/tactical ability combinations. Some of the non-slot-1 abilities were 2-parters, sure. But, about 99% of the combo abilities were just auto-attack abilities. It seems like ACE is expressing interest in using combos in a more tactical, depth-adding way. Hopefully they consider the possibilities before sticking strictly with something as simple as "Slash 1, then Slash 2, then Slash 3."

Edited by Lephys

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I ran into the article on my google now phone thing earlier today and hated it immediately. They should really slap "OPINION PIECE" in front of articles like that so I can stop accidentally reading a few lines before realizing it's another stupid opinion piece. I go to sites like that to read actual news, not another person's baseless speculative opinions. That's what I come here for.

 

I know I'm being harsh, but these people are paid to write this stuff, right? At least put in the effort to say something interesting.

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Even aside from all the unfounded assumptions, the entire mindset of "character development is the game" is wrong for Crowfall. Character development is the game in Diku style games, including WoW, where there actually isn't any point to playing other than continuous character advancement. When you step outside of the Diku box, you find games where character advancement becomes a means to an end, not the end in itself.

 

You're not going to log into CF because you want to get a level or upgrade your shoulderpads to the next spikier version. You're going to log into CF because you want to win your campaign.


Official "Bad Person" of Crowfall

"I think 1/3rd of my postcount is telling people that we aren't turning into a PvE / casual / broad audience game." -

Tully

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I think FOTM is going to be adjusted long term, but also adjusted short term.

 

 

Balance wise I think they can change things and not ruin stuff, but long term I think they can devise ways to allow things to get Fotm and still not matter because whoops we changed the campaign rules and now your build is way janky.

 

You're a crit build? Well now we have campaign rules where crits increase item breakage, have fun wrecking once every 20min. You kind of get me?

 

So sure they might have a long term picture of where they want crit to be and they'll adjust it there slowly, but short term, they screw with your build by making campaign rules much more varied, and you're inconsistently OP which is sort of a soft fix.

 

Shuffle the rules and now you're inconsistently getting your FOTM results, and because you min maxed in a game with a varied rule set you're only ever recking in a blue moon. Congrats you win FOTM and its now the month of your flavor? Great! Have fun...by the way its a 6month break in rotation between your flavor, and in the time between that we've adjusted your flavor to be more comparable with the other flavors and tuned it to be a balanced flavor meta. Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Banana? You're all aces ice cream, this month, but the next three month's you're going to be yogurt. The month after that, you're jello. Have fun.

 

***

 

At the skill thing... isn't there basically a low ball "effective enough" tier for skills? So ya early on you get the active training down, and you might be active training any number of things to elevate them to that passive training only level, but even the passive training has a low level gate where you're basically as good as you need, and now its about a long term dedication to  your class goal....once you have all the low level skills you desire, you optimize over the long term.

Edited by Zomnivore

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The whole article is garbage because it's full of assumption of design elements that aren't even designed yet. 50/50 active passive? Swapping out discs? Training speeds?

 

You might as well try to theorycraft Blizzard's next MMO.

 

There is a lot of hang wringing in that article and worry about a game that isn't even pre-alpha state. Some people have way too much time on their hands. This line of discussion wouldn't last the time it took me to stop laughing on Crowns and Crows.

 

Draegan coming in swinging with another great post.

 

 

ARTICLE BAD, DRAEGAN NO LIKE.

 

EDIT: WRITER R DUMB MAKE DRAEGAN LAUGH.


☆ We are in a positive posting drought, so just post. Be the change you want the forums to be. Go wild. Just follow your positive posting star. ☆
☆:*´¨`*:.•.¸¸.•´¯`•.♥.•´¯`•.¸¸.•..:*´¨`*:.☆

(¯`’•.¸*♫♪♥(✿◠‿◠)♥♫♪*¸.•’´¯) Member of the Pro-ACE Club (¯`’•.¸*♫♪♥(✿◠‿◠)♥♫♪*¸.•’´¯)

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I ran into the article on my google now phone thing earlier today and hated it immediately. They should really slap "OPINION PIECE" in front of articles like that so I can stop accidentally reading a few lines before realizing it's another stupid opinion piece. I go to sites like that to read actual news, not another person's baseless speculative opinions. That's what I come here for.

 

I know I'm being harsh, but these people are paid to write this stuff, right? At least put in the effort to say something interesting.

 

From my understanding this is how their content is structured on MMORPG[.]com:

 

1. Crowfall has their own section for previews/interviews/articles/columns

2. Members are approved to post content to that section

3. Those sections are created to help delineate opinion pieces from actual news articles

 

After browsing that section though, I found that they've simply not kept up with the organization well and most content pieces are simply filed under "Column".  They also call these "Features" which I'd assume stood for featured content.  I don't know that we can complain to the author about where his piece was filed or labeled, but I also usually expect a linked "feature" from MMORPG to be a news article.  When getting a few paragraphs into it and realizing that it's an opinion piece, it definitely is frustrating.

 

I would assume however that is simply how MMORPG[.]com.

Edited by valor

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At the skill thing... isn't there basically a low ball "effective enough" tier for skills? So ya early on you get the active training down, and you might be active training any number of things to elevate them to that passive training only level, but even the passive training has a low level gate where you're basically as good as you need, and now its about a long term dedication to  your class goal....once you have all the low level skills you desire, you optimize over the long term.

 

I feel you are correct, but I think many people will disagree with us.  There are many out there who will likely focus on pure damage or pure crit first, raising it as high as possible, where I feel it would be better to spread the love.


 

Sorry you turned into a two-bit carebear whose feelings get hurt over forum banter.

 

 

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Even aside from all the unfounded assumptions, the entire mindset of "character development is the game" is wrong for Crowfall. Character development is the game in Diku style games, including WoW, where there actually isn't any point to playing other than continuous character advancement. When you step outside of the Diku box, you find games where character advancement becomes a means to an end, not the end in itself.

 

You're not going to log into CF because you want to get a level or upgrade your shoulderpads to the next spikier version. You're going to log into CF because you want to win your campaign.

 

I wouldn't presume the motivations of people playing video games.

Draegan coming in swinging with another great post.

 

 

ARTICLE BAD, DRAEGAN NO LIKE.

 

EDIT: WRITER R DUMB MAKE DRAEGAN LAUGH.

 

Nice edit.


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Co-Host of Crowns and Crows Livestream: Every Tuesday 8:30pm EST
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I wouldn't presume the motivations of people playing video games.

 

Fair enough. I could more precisely have said "the feedback loops of Crowfall will be designed in such a way that they appeal to and reinforce this pattern of motivation rather than that one" while acknowledging that there are always going to be people out there who do things for incomprehensible reasons of their own, but I thought that was unnecessarily verbose and pedantic.


Official "Bad Person" of Crowfall

"I think 1/3rd of my postcount is telling people that we aren't turning into a PvE / casual / broad audience game." -

Tully

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A recent article was written by Chief Sarcan on MMORPG.com which was shared by Crowfall who asked: "What's Your Take?"

 

For Reference: http://www.mmorpg.com/

 

I stopped reading your response when I got to the mmorpg.com part.

 

Seriously don't know if I've ever read anything noteworthy on that site. The line is blurred between "contributor" and general mmorpg.com member wackadoos.

 

I generally appreciate Anhrez's contributions to gaming, but Sarcan is a new one to me. I say this because they are both G&G podcast guys. Not a great first read for me (though admittedly I didn't bother). What I mean to say is, I read your counterpoints and therefore felt like I had actually read it. No need in sending them clicks :P

Edited by scree

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Uh oh, G&G is poopy.

meUXIHo.png

HAXrF1n.png
 


☆ We are in a positive posting drought, so just post. Be the change you want the forums to be. Go wild. Just follow your positive posting star. ☆
☆:*´¨`*:.•.¸¸.•´¯`•.♥.•´¯`•.¸¸.•..:*´¨`*:.☆

(¯`’•.¸*♫♪♥(✿◠‿◠)♥♫♪*¸.•’´¯) Member of the Pro-ACE Club (¯`’•.¸*♫♪♥(✿◠‿◠)♥♫♪*¸.•’´¯)

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The whole article is garbage because it's full of assumption of design elements that aren't even designed yet. 50/50 active passive? Swapping out discs? Training speeds?

 

Actually all of this information is in the FAQ already with a few caveats attached to some of them.

 

 

 

In response to the whole article and reply though...

I'd have to say again the some of the stuff in question and concerns are all addressed in the FAQ for Character Advancement & Progression.

 

It seems like skills are being looked at as abilities.  They are different, and the two should not be confused.  A selected archetype will always at a minimum have the same skills they start out with, and will only add a few or increase their level cap through advancement.  Disciplines are the exception to this rule, but these are not permanent.

 

There will be a lot to train, and the higher up the skill ladder you get the longer it will take, but don't expect your selection of abilities to vary wildly.


[@--(o.O)@]

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Actually all of this information is in the FAQ already with a few caveats attached to some of them.

 

 

 

In response to the whole article and reply though...

I'd have to say again the some of the stuff in question and concerns are all addressed in the FAQ for Character Advancement & Progression.

 

It seems like skills are being looked at as abilities. They are different, and the two should not be confused. A selected archetype will always at a minimum have the same skills they start out with, and will only add a few or increase their level cap through advancement. Disciplines are the exception to this rule, but these are not permanent.

 

There will be a lot to train, and the higher up the skill ladder you get the longer it will take, but don't expect your selection of abilities to vary wildly.

How can you know all this?


 

This game looks like a larger scale version of marvel heroes so far with forts.  - nephiral marts 7 2015

 

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Dang, that guy already knows exactly how this game is going to work? If I had psychic powers like that I'd just use them for a lottery ticket.

Uh oh, G&G is poopy.meUXIHo.pngHAXrF1n.png

 

Hmmmmmm....

(づ ˘ ³˘)づ

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Actually all of this information is in the FAQ already with a few caveats attached to some of them.

 

 

 

In response to the whole article and reply though...

I'd have to say again the some of the stuff in question and concerns are all addressed in the FAQ for Character Advancement & Progression.

 

It seems like skills are being looked at as abilities.  They are different, and the two should not be confused.  A selected archetype will always at a minimum have the same skills they start out with, and will only add a few or increase their level cap through advancement.  Disciplines are the exception to this rule, but these are not permanent.

 

There will be a lot to train, and the higher up the skill ladder you get the longer it will take, but don't expect your selection of abilities to vary wildly.

 

 

From reading the FAQ?

I won't fault someone for not reading my whole post, but are you disagreeing with my conclusions being drawn in my response to Concern #3?

 

 

I do agree that we should start delineating between the term skill (stat points improving the overall strength of your character in specific ways) and ability (The actual abilities that your character uses to perform actions in game), but CF's FAQ reads that way, which adds an extra layer of confusion.  

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