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Current Concerns

beaushinklebeaushinkle Member
edited October 12 in General Discussion
I've been hanging out in the forums for a month and a half now, and feel more or less settled in. I want to preempt the upcoming concerns with the following: I'm extremely excited to play Ashes of Creation, and I would love to see this game succeed. I love the PvX ideas, the open-world concepts, resource contention, emphasis on the economy, and especially the nodes. I have heavily considered applying to work for Intrepid, but being a work-from-home mechanism designer cypto-finance is way too cushy to drop to pursue a passion project (in terms of salary, work:life balance, etc).

On with it.

Background:

I'm 31, I'm trained as an Industrial and Systems Engineer from Georgia Tech with a focus in optimization and simulation. That degree, in the abstract, teaches you how to take complex systems and represent them mathematically and answer questions about them. You'll often see ISYEs in logistics, factory optimization, consulting, warehouses, etc. Part of being a good systems engineer is software development, learning economics, and a dash of game theory.

Out of college, I worked in software instead (better pay, better hours, more fun), and eventually got into writing compilers, artificial intelligence R&D (which requires understanding neurons, and brain structures), and machine vision. From there, I moved to crypto-finance as a mechanism designer, which is like reverse-game-theory. Where a game-theorist would take an abstract game and then analyze it to figure out how rational agents would behave, a mechanism designer starts with how they want rational agents to behave, and then they design the game (and the payouts) to generate that behavior. My day-to-day involves writing simulations, drawing math on a whiteboard, and a lot of staring off into space. Eventually that all becomes whitepapers that get approved and engineers implement. Hopefully, this all adds some weight to the later sections.

Gaming-wise, I've played almost every genre at the highest level you can play. I was a top-10 player in super smash bros brawl in Georgia while I was active from 2009 to 2013. In games with MMRs or ELOs, I consistently have top 1%. Master in starcraft 2. Grandmaster in rocket league. 10+ K/D in Fortnite for seasons 4-9 when I was active, and then ran thousands of creative 1v1s in private discords. 15k+ hours of super smash bros melee. 8k+ hours of street fighter 4. Quake. Kovaaks. Guitar Hero.

I played WoW from release until college like a madman. I put in an average of 10 hours a day every day for 3 years. I was a gladiator for seasons 2-6 on my rogue, and then mostly stopped playing as the game became more and more front-loaded. I flew out to MLG Orlando in 2009 for WoW. I got to meet Hafu, Neilyo, Hoodrych, and that whole crowd and party with them in a hotel room in the evenings. Really cool folks. Neilyo introduced me to Ronald Jenkees, who I still listen to in 2021.

I've played every WoW expansion, but none of them extensively since lich king (though, my definition of extensive probably isn't normal). I've also played other MMOs enough to experience the endgame and get a feel for what they're about, and how they're different: GW2, FFXIV, and BDO. I played Albion briefly, but couldn't stomach the idea that I could buy gold, exchange it for silver, and then buy gear (and xp tomes) for silver.

I have a growth mindset - I don't play games to win, I just play to get better at stuff. I tend to think deeply about what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, and the experiences I'm having. A lot of my thinking about MMOs has resulted in this series of essays.


Economic Degeneration

We know that ashes will give players the ability to arbitrarily earn currency by killing mobs and then selling the certificates to NPCs. This means that there's a currency faucet. It's also my understanding that all gear is purchasable, even the best gear. It stands to reason, then, that if your goal as a player is to have all of the best gear possible, all you need to do is become very, very wealthy.

We also know that ashes wants you to specialize. You either become really good at mining, or really good at herbalism, or maybe you're a crafter, or a processor, or a crab killer enthusiast. In any case, it would stand to reason that different folks specialize in different things, and then provide the market with the product of their labor. Other folks buy that product with currency (which is always being generated by players killing mobs and selling the certs to NPCs).

After a hard day's work of killing crabs you have a bunch of crab certs, and a few crab meat. You cart your crab certs to the nearest economic node, sell them to the NPC who buys certs, and then list your meat on the auction house. Now you have more currency, and as far as I'm aware there's no way for other players to take this currency away from you.

Repeat for hundreds of hours and then eventually you can buy all of the best gear in the game.

At some point, the best way to earn currency is to play the market itself. Once you have enough capital (from the above), you spin up your spreadsheets, start tracking prices, start tracking trends, and start trying to buy low and sell high.

There are probably a lot of folks who want to play a game exactly like this, and maybe it's just a taste thing. That's not what I want to do! I don't want to feel stuck in my lane because my specialty is my most effective way to make currency. I don't want to see players in the sickest weapons and armor and think "a lot of crabs died for that". Maybe in order to equip a weapon forged from boss materials, that player needs to register a kill on that boss (or multiple kills)?

Hopefully, the more novel and limited-time activities (castle sieges, raids, contesting world bosses, doing a variety of activities on a monthly basis) are more efficient gold-per-hour wise than staying in your lane.

for more, check this thread


Archetype Supply And Demand

Right now, we have 1 Archetype that is a tank (tank), 1 that is a healer (cleric), and 5 that are dps, and 1 that is a big question mark.

It's been said that a "proper" (references to this vary) group has 1 character of each archetype. This leads to a host of problems. Say that your friend group has 6 players. If you and your friend both want to play a rogue, that's a no-go. One of you has to switch. If your friend group has been playing for 5 months and you meet a new friend who wants to play, but they're a Ranger and you already have a Ranger, that's friction.

Say your 6-man group has all of the classes except bard and summoner, but bard and summoner are the least popular classes on your server. In an ideal world, each class would have 12.5% of the population, but on your server, bard has only 8% and summoner is 7%. Now you're either spamming chat looking specifically for a bard and summoner, or you're willing to hurt your group's effectiveness and take duplicates of classes.

Separately, 8-man content has 1 tank 1 healer 6 dps. Does 40 man content (5 groups) have equal ratios? 5 tanks 5 healers 30 dps? In my experience, you want less tanks (2-3) and more healers, so something like 3 tank 7 healer 30 dps. Does 250-man siege content want 31 tanks, 31 healers, and 188 dps? If any of those ratios aren't aligned, then it creates pressure.

Say, for example, that we want 1 tank 1 healer 6 dps for 8-man content, but only 3 tank for 40 man content. If there are 800 players on the server, and 100 of them are tanks, then you have the right ratio for 8-man content, but you have way too many for 40-man content, and those tanks won't find spots in raiding guilds. If those tanks quit and reroll dps, to make the raiding ratio correct, then there will be 60 tanks for 800 total people, meaning that there can only be 60 8-man groups going at once, leaving a ton of healers and DPS groupless.


Mana As A Resource

Mana, on a game design level, as it is traditionally used, is a slowly-filling, slowly-draining resource that limits how long a character can be effective in combat. When you're at full mana, you have all of your options available, and when you use one of those options, you use some mana, but you still have your options. This means that mana creates a binary effect, where the only time mana actually matters is when you don't have it, and since you'll have it for a long time, it doesn't tend to matter for a long time.

Further, gameplay with mana tends to involve getting full mana, spending all of your mana, and then taking a break to get full mana again. Why do we need to take a break?

Much better design, in my opinion, is to have a resource that ramps up quickly and then quickly depletes and forces players to make constant trade-offs. So maybe by using a few of your filler abilities or weapon skills, you generate a resource that you can either spend on big damage, utility, or a defensive. In contrast with mana, where you can do all of those things until you're out of mana, this creates constant decision pressure and dynamic gameplay. You also never have to stop to drink and can go right into the next fight with momentum, and this feels amazing. This design principle can be applied to tanks, dps, and healers alike.

You can still call this resource "mana", and games like Path of Exile do, even though it operates nothing like how mana traditionally does. It's all about how the resource operates, whether or not the damage is front-loaded or back-loaded, whether or not there is forced downtime or momentum, etc.


Combat Depth

You'll find arguments on the internet talking about how tab combat is boring or how action combat is spazzy. These arguments all miss the mark.

Tab-based combat is a hit resolution mechanism. It's a way to tell the server "I want my attack to hit this target in particular". It makes zerging less effective, because your attack only hits one thing. It makes the server's job incredibly easy: now it only has to check to see if the specified target is in range, and if your character is in line of sight and has the right facing (and whatever other checks you want to do). This allows the servers to stay performant in high-player-count environments.

Action-based combat is also a hit resolution mechanism. It's a way to tell the server "I want my attack to hit all of the targets in this particular area". Maybe the area is a simple geometric shape, like a ground-targeted aoe or radius around your character. Maybe the area is more complicated, the moving hitbox of an axe in new world, or the moving hitbox of an arrow. In order for the server to resolve attacks when there are many clients on screen at the same time, now you have to loop through all of the potential targets, and figure out if they're in range, for all of the potential attacks, for all of the frames of animation. This gets really complicated, and it's why new world falls apart in 50v50 environments. I won't even get into delay-based netcode vs rollback netcode, but you can read more here.

So, now that we've established that tab vs action are just about hit resolution mechanisms, why is it that tab feels boring and action doesn't? It comes down to the Beat Map.

Imagine that you're playing FFXIV black mage at level 20. Your rotation is that you spam fire (1) every 2.5 seconds until you run out mana, then you press transpose (2). Then you spam blizzard (3) until you have full mana, and you transpose (2). Repeat.

Here's what the gameplay looks like: 1111111233333111111123333322

Every 2.5 seconds.

Now, imagine that's in Guitar Hero (or DDR).

eW3RN1I.png

1 is bound to the left button, 2 is bound to the next button, and 3 is bound to the button after that. Every 2.5 seconds, you strum. Playing this song in Guitar Hero would be insanely boring.

Every game is composed of two parts: distilling the information on the screen and your headphones into the beatmap (the puzzle), and then actually playing the beatmap. A puzzle game is intellectually interesting, but the beatmap doesn't have to be interesting at all. A highly mechanical game (like guitar hero) needs to have an interesting beatmap. The faster the "notes" come, the less leniency you have to press them, the more different buttons you have to press, etc all make the mechanical aspect more complex.

Traditionally, tab-target games make you press a lot of different buttons, but you're allowed to press them really slowly, and do them in memorizable, repetitive sequences that don't need to be adjusted much (apart from movement) depending on what your opponents do, or what the PvE encounters are doing.

Relatively and traditionally, action-combat games make you press less buttons, but make you press them with much more precision, more quickly, and with more adaptation.

The beatmap is more interesting in action combat games so far, while the puzzle aspect has been more interesting and emphasized in tab-target games so far.

That's all to say my concern is that the puzzle aspect will not be intellectually stimulating, and the beatmap won't be physically stimulating. Few games are, and this is super hard to get right.

see this article for thoughts on how to add depth to combat in general


Game Balance

It's been noted multiple times that this game "won't be balanced for 1v1s" (they'll have rock-paper-scissors balancing), and "will be balanced for large siege combat".

I think it's also important to point out that players will be doing a lot of their PvP in 1v1 situations, and I have no idea what "balanced for large siege combat" even means.

Say that you play a rock-style character and you're doing farm while you're waiting for your guildies to log on. After you fill up your inventory, you need to haul it back to a node to sell, but you run into another player. That player is either a rock-style (in which case you can have a fair fight), a scissors-style (in which case you have a crushing advantage), or a paper-style (in which case you have a crushing disadvantage). Presumably, if the other player knows what's up, unless they're also rock-style or there's a huge gear differential (or someone suspects a huge skill differential), you just try as hard as you can to avoid combat.

This sounds terrible! I don't want to win/lose or be forced to run based on having a really skewed matchup chart! I don't want to have to try to seek out other rock-types to practice my dueling against because those are my own fair fights!

Then, onto "what is balance?"

We know, from fighting games, what "balance" means on those contexts. When you create a matchup chart like:

mWl44ZL.png

Instead of having a bunch of those 70+ and 30- numbers, you hopefully keep it
so that your worst matchup in the whole chart is 65:35. In a perfect world,
every matchup would be 50:50, but that's unrealistic.

So, super smash bros melee is not a balanced game because you have all of these garbage-tier characters. Fortunately, if you only play the top 5 characters, it suddenly is a balanced game:
01qjuf1.png

What then, does "balance" mean at the 250v250 scale? Are we saying that every possible combination of 250 characters has a 50:50 matchup against every other possible combination of 250 characters? That's absolutely inconceivable. Linear increases to team size lead to exponential growth of the number of matchups that the devs have to balance. Couple this with the fact that they don't even control how the players build their characters (you can choose to build your character in a nonsense way), and I don't know how this phrase has meaning.

At best, you might be able to claim "there will be a build for every class (main+sub combination) that performs well enough in a siege setting that it's worth bringing at least one of them". That's still a tall order. That's claiming that the "best" 250-man team has one of each of the 64 classes. The probability that it's optimal to bring every single class seems astoundingly low to me.

edit:

I'm unable to find a reference to where I got the idea that they want to balance for siege combat, and instead am finding reference that they want to balance for "group play". Assuming that this roughly means "8v8", then this still runs into the same sort of combinatorial problem.

Even if you restrict your "viable 8-man teams" to 1 of each primary archetype and everything else is allowed to be sub-optimal, and if there are only 2 viable builds for each secondary archetype, that would mean there are 16 builds for each primary.

This would mean there are 16 bard builds * 16 cleric builds * 16 fighter builds * 16 mage builds * 16 ranger builds * 16 rogue builds * 16 summoner builds * 16 tank builds = 4.3 billion different 8-man teams to try to balance. Not going to happen.


Phew. That's it for now. I'll probably address stuff in this thread, and if any dev wants to reach out and chat with me in a discord call or something, I'd love to do that. Then, I'll be taking a step back from the forums for a while :heart: and watch to see how alpha 2 unfolds!
mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
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Comments

  • Ok first of all, its been a long but intresting read. I can understand your concerns and much of your concerns we have no empirical data for..

    So let me start at the top again, and try to recognize some concerns and eleviate them with the information that they already shared.

    1) Economic Degeneration
    While its true that you could theoreticly buy all the gear with enough money, your gear also gets dmaged and repairing it doesn't only cost money but also materials. Legendary gear requires legendary materials to repair etc. So its doubtfull that you can outpase the degradation in safe areas. You will need to go to high income / hour area's to be able to do so. And here comes the political landscape in play. Groups will want to control those high reward / hour area's and they will not let everyone use it for free. You'll either have to join them, or fight them. If you join them and are farming, other people will try to take easy prey from you. Fixing the degradation of the gear, and the resources that you need to repair them, will result in some of that. Its also known that if in a certain area resource or token x becomes to abundant npc's will continue to lower the price for it, eventually making it almost worthless. (this is also good to counter botting) This means that mobs don't drop a static amount of gold, but on a asymettric curve. Sure at the start the curves will probably need to be adjusted, but this is a matter of finetuning.

    2) Archtype and supply
    In mmo's its usually tanks that are under in demand. With the secondary archtype though each group can slot out their second archtype to lessen the impact of a gap. Eg your 2 rogue examples. Say your 8 man group has 2 rogues but no ranger. One of the rogues could get the secondary ranger archtype, and focus on the ranged role (often with kiting and such) the'll be worse then a full ranger at it, but sufficient to do the 8 (and 16) man raids
    For 40 man raids, your additional tanks can do a different archtype secondary to fill gaps, and who knows, maybe the 40 man raids will indeed need 5 tanks on average. The dungeon and raid encounters are still unknown, hopefully the'll surprise us. I think the real problem will be in group vs group open pvp combat. Where groups actively defend their valuable resources. i think in those situations, you'll get teams of 3-4 archtypes that focus on a specific build. (similar to fleets in eve online function) but like in eve online, every group build should have a counter build. Eg your main group consists of rangers as dps, with bards as support that focus on movement and range, together with a few clerics. Your fast, mobile and ranged. you wipe out a group of enemies, and they counter with an unexpected build. They primarily use Summoners with mage secondary so their summons can teleport. Their summons also they use a few tanks to block the incomming arrows so the summoners stay safe and have healers of their own. the summons die but can be resummoned, and eventually your group is harried off again. In one guild the rangers will be the favorite with bards and clerics, and the other one tanks, summoners and clerics. Your archtype balance is not equal guild wise, but it is server wise.

    3) Mana as a resource
    We already know that the staff for cleric will create combo points and that some spells will use up those combo points. i assume that all classes will have a similar fluidic mechanic. A bit similar to Combopoints in wow and energy. The mana problem will be different for all classes, i'm going to use wow classic as an example. Mages there have gems to use, drinks to make, mage armor and evocation, Warlocks have lifetap, druids innervate etc. Since we don't know the skills and mana cost of those skills yet, we cant tell yet if there mana system is workable. I want to remind you though of one thing. If every class uses the same resource pool, and if there are spells or abilities that can steal or deplete that resource pool, those abilities can work on everyone insead of on just ssome. This can lead to more options in pvp and pve

    4 Combat depth
    We know that you can choose to go tab targeting or action based. This means you can set up your own playstyle. If you like to smash lots of buttons you can probably make a build that needs to do so. Or not if thats what you prefere. I think it depends on the player that you are, your skill level, and the content that your going to do what the best ratio and build is for you. But if given enough ablities to customize, it could be a good cadence.

    5) Game balance
    The game will not be balanced. Some classes will be better in pve or pvp. But most importantly due to the combination of secondary archtypes, its up to the player or group how to utilize those setups. with a rock paper scissors system, and big battles, you can have decisive victories or defeats, or long pragmatic battles. i think at the start it will be a mash of everything, but eventually certain group setups will be prevelant, again like in eve online, its then up to the developers to change the ablities / classes slightly so there not the meta anymore, but also not useless anymore.


    The game has the potential to whipe away all your concerns, it also has the potential to have the worst outcome in each category. At this time we have simply not enough data for that.
  • you may have just started another tab targeting vs action combat thread... lol

    What a lot of people don't know about tab targeting is the reason why it was introduced and became the normal standard at the time. Action combat tends to require more performance and information demand for data packages. Decades ago when making some of the first MMORPG's, they were not capable of handling the action combat performance demand which you kind of hinted at with the tab-targeting. The technology at the time regardless of hardware versus coding wasn't capable of being able to handle it to the standard gamers expected. Tab-targeting can actually work more in favour of zerg gameplay tactics. Action combat favours more on games with physics and projectiles.

    I wont get into the hybridised spectrum. it's a whole world of grey there :wink:

    Economic degeneration essentially is just how farming works to grind out currency and resources based around the games economy. There are other variables in place based on what I read and saw from their public information. Biomes affect economies, resources available, types of nodes, player contribution etc.

    The supply and demand about group composition may not be as subjectively discriminative as other MMORPGS have been towards classes and group compositions per se. Each class has augment schools which allow them to synergise with other schools for overall better group play.

    Mana as a resource is dependant on combat mechanic functionality and how it regenerates, how much abilities use and consumables aside from vertical progression and gear. Who knows, it may turn into a potion chugging game? hard to say this early on as they introduce the combat system more. Interesting point though!

    It's much easier to "balance" gameplay between 8v8, 40 vs 40 relatively but once you get into the hundreds, it doesn't really matter that much due to some of the chaos variable. How spongey is the combat going to be? No such thing as a perfectly balanced system as each game design is different as we have seen. There are those who can organise the chaos to some extent and those are the dangerous types of gamers and communities as they could have a tactical advantage in most situations.

    Your point with smashbros not being balanced is essentially like saying anyone with a driver licence is the same at driving. The characters are like tool, extensions of your personal skill and style. You find one that fits your style best just like any other fighting game. There are those are are good at many different ones, but each player is different to some degree.

    Great read though! ( I did skim through some if haha )
  • @Kesthely thought I replied first until I hit reload.. lol
  • KhronusKhronus Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Your background isn't needed for you to voice valid concerns about the game. This community has so far evolved into something truly special and I do share similar views. Just saying, you don't have to prove anything to us, we got you : ).

    1) Economic Degeneration - At the heart of this game is the social aspect. I feel like it is the core focus of what they are trying to achieve. That being said, the economic structure will also play a role in boosting the social structure of the game. You will probably get bad ass gear from killing crabs (eventually) if that is what you want to focus on but you shouldn't think of it so simply. Your crab killing addiction is a small piece to the much larger puzzle of working together to get that gear made. The "best" gear will indeed need to be found from raids/dungeons/world pvp. Just because someone got that gear from their profession, doesn't mean that raids/world pvp didn't happen. That player just played the game their way and killed 1289471924 crabs, worked with a processor and eventually a crafter to get there.

    2) Archetype and supply - This is my biggest concern for the game. If it does end up with a system using 8 tanks in a 40 player raid, this will be a HUGE mistake on their part. I have been suggesting the fix to this current archetype system be to have each role able to fill an additional second role with 3 of their 8 secondary choices. For example, a tank can main tank with 5 secondary picks but with 3 of them, they can play a support role (thus giving them the possibility of being picked as one of those 8 "tank" roles). A healer will heal with 5 picks but for 3 of them be able to dps, a mage can dps with 5-6 roles and be able to magic tank for 2-3 of them. This kind of thing would allow leaders to really organize the groups and create unique compositions depending on every scenario. It would also liven up the class system into something MUCH better than "I tank, you heal, you support, you 5 dps....and no we don't need anymore of class X because that would be dumb".

    Looking at new world as an example, the system is complete junk. As a tank, you are holding down right click for more than 50% of your time. Healers are required to dps to lvl their healing talents (which is stupid) and the way to heal is completely janky and weird. Even after adjusting the settings to make it more of a comfortable thing, it still sucked and was not fun. Hopefully Intrepid figures it out and doesn't release the game with all these different secondary options that are really just fancy/simple changes to the core class itself. This would be ass.


    3) Mana as a resource - I am on the fence with this one. I do like the idea of traditional mana because it's simple and it works. Players will feel right at home from the first time they log in and that is a good thing. However, with AoC, I expect to see some next level stuff in every shape and form. I loved the rage mechanic in wow. Even enjoyed the changes to hunter when they went away from mana. It just made sense. In AoC, being that the majority of what we will be doing is pvping, It would be interesting to see a system implemented where regardless of your class, you are able to ramp up for "mana" by doing the basic skills or by dealing damage, and then using/gaining that mana in spikes or keeping a stockpile of reserves to use for bigger moments in the fight and with better abilities. You having something here I just don't have the brain power to think up the whole system haha.


    4 Combat depth - Tab combat is something I have never found boring. I did find the action combat that AoC had during alpha 1 to be extremely boring. So boring in fact that I didn't log in consistently and play something I had paid $500 to be a part of. The melee was absolutely brutal and slow. Constantly swinging long passed the death of the target or moving right around it instead of hitting it. This of course could have been fixed but a solid tab target system is just what I expect from the feel of the game so far. The ability to switch to action targeting definitely adds depth to this system. It does feel good to be able to switch in and out of it but where the real balancing comes into play is how they implement certain classes to this system. I would personally hate having to heal a target by aiming at them when I can simply click their name and heal them. Same with tanking if I had to aim at the boss and land a hit or the taunt wouldn't go off and it would cause a wipe. There is a level of simplicity that makes me respect the game for being fun and difficult at the same time.

    Not saying I disagree with skill shots and I do hope to see some form of this in game but to make skill shots be the deciding factor of a wipe wouldn't be as fun.


    5) Game balance - No balance at lower numbers. The game will be balanced for parties which makes me think the end all be all "perfect" party will be one of each of the 8 classes. I don't like this aspect and I hope I am wrong. I trust that Intrepid will be smart here. I do like that they are not balancing for 1v1 combat simply because it will encourage more party forming and group play. Death to the BULLSHIT EXP LOSS FOR GROUPING that many games have. It's trash and discourages grouping up.

    Ultimately, I have 100% faith in Intrepid. I had issues with things in alpha 1 and literally everything I did not like got changed. I felt like the chosen one that they were listening to......or I just got really lucky that my expectations ended up being exactly what Mr. Sharif was planning haha.
  • Economic degeneration essentially is just how farming works to grind out currency and resources based around the games economy.
    It's not always how farming works, and I'm primarily concerned with the amount of time a particular activity is your most viable option, and how much character power you're able to just buy. For an extreme example, say that every different mob on the server, crafting node, crafting recipe, etc all had a first-time-10x bonus. Normally, when you kill a particular crab it gives 1 crab meat. The first time you kill each crab spawn during a month (seasonal cycle), you get 10 crab meat.

    You're now economically incentivized to go around doing a bunch of different stuff rather than repeating the same activity over and over. Kill all the crabs in the area once for their bonus meat and then move on. Mine all the nodes once for the bonus ore and move on. I'm not suggesting this as a solution - rather pointing out that it's possible to design an economic game that doesn't have players farming the same stuff over and over.
    The supply and demand about group composition may not be as subjectively discriminative as other MMORPGS have been towards classes and group compositions per se. Each class has augment schools which allow them to synergise with other schools for overall better group play.

    I can dig up the reference, but the current idea is that dungeons have exploration activities that allow you to get extra loot, and each exploration activity is tied to each primary archetype. If you don't have a ranger, you're unable to access that part of the dungeon, for instance. You can go with two fighters instead of a ranger, but you'd be missing out.

    It may be the case that fighters do so much more damage than rangers that you'd rather bring two fighters instead of a ranger and just keep repeating the dungeon without that section. In that case, then aren't you now looking for two fighters all the time? Then the same thing happens. I'm not sure what the "synergize with other schools" thing actually accomplishes - it's not about the individual, it's about the group. There will be optimal group setups, and you're a cog in that machine. You're trying to put together the optimal machine, and you hope that the cogs are interchangeable, because if they aren't (like if you have to look specifically for a Tellsword because that's 20% more effective than any other class in your 8th slot), then now you're playing "advertise for a Tellsword for the next 30 minutes in chat game". I'd much, much rather be able to play with who I'd like and for it all to work than having to worry about specific compositions (and exclude players because of it).
    Mana as a resource is dependant on combat mechanic functionality and how it regenerates, how much abilities use and consumables aside from vertical progression and gear. Who knows, it may turn into a potion chugging game? hard to say this early on as they introduce the combat system more. Interesting point though!

    Yeah! Hence the feedback. Everything I've written could turn out fine, this is just stuff that I want to highlight as having the potential to be bad and they're currently all big question marks.
    It's much easier to "balance" gameplay between 8v8, 40 vs 40 relatively but once you get into the hundreds, it doesn't really matter that much due to some of the chaos variable.
    I'm extremely confident that it's the opposite. It's much, much easier to balance gameplay between 1v1s, because there are less matchups to worry about. If you thought that 1v1s were imbalanced, think about how bad the worst 8v8 team you can imagine is vs the most carefully optimized, synergistic 8v8 team you can imagine. There are so many matchups in 8v8 because there are so many teams.

    Then you might say "well, not all of those teams are viable - I'm only talking about the viable teams". Sure, so then trim that number down to 1 tank 6 dps 1 healer vs 1 tank 6 dps 1 healer? How confident are you that tank 6x fighter cleric (and all combinations of subclasses) have even matchups against tank 6x mage cleric (and all combinations of subclasses)? And then repeat the experiment for all combinations. See where this is going?

    Then you might say "well, not just any 6 dps, I'm only talking about teams with good synergy together". Yes. This isn't balance. If you have to exclude tons of teams because they're all trash and have trash matchups against normal teams, then your game isn't balanced at that bracket. It might wind up that 1 tank 3 ranged dps 3 melee dps 1 healer vs 1 tank 3 ranged dps 3 melee dps 1 healer is relatively balanced. I really doubt it. There are still hundreds of thousands of class matchups there. There will be instances where you go into the fight and you're just straight up out-comped because your 8-man team's kit generally loses to the other team's kit. There will be cases where one class is especially strong in the current meta, so you just stack that as 4 of your dps and go slay.

    Then, scale this number to 250. Imagine the sweatiest nerds theorycrafting the best possible 250-man team combination. "Okay we need exactly 9 Paladins, 11 High priests, 14 Scions, 15 Assassins.." and then put that against your average 250-man group of 31 tanks, 31 healers, 188 dps and see what happens, even if you have players of equal skill pilot both sides.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • beaushinklebeaushinkle Member
    edited October 8
    Khronus wrote: »
    You will probably get bad ass gear from killing crabs (eventually) if that is what you want to focus on but you shouldn't think of it so simply. Your crab killing addiction is a small piece to the much larger puzzle of working together to get that gear made. The "best" gear will indeed need to be found from raids/dungeons/world pvp. Just because someone got that gear from their profession, doesn't mean that raids/world pvp didn't happen.
    The raids happened, it just didn't necessarily have to happen for the person equipping the gear, which is the part I'd like to see changed. It's easy enough to give a player an achievement (or whatever) that they earn by defeating a boss, and then make it so they can't equip a sword crafted from that boss' materials until that player has that achievement. That stops someone from buying gold for real money, spending gold on an item, and equipping it without ever doing anything in-game. They at least have to go kill the boss.

    Re - tab vs action. WoW has actually had action combat ever since vanilla in 2004. Cone of Cold, Blizzard, and Frost Nova are all Action Combat spells under Ashes' definitions. There weren't any skill shots in the league of legends sense, where you have to aim a linear projectile that is dodgable, but you used to be able to vanish trick death coils and pyroblasts while they were mid-flight as a rogue, since they were reactably slow.

    I think the ability to toggle between the action camera (which uses tab under the hood) and the tab camera will go away. GW2 has it and only something like 1% of the playerbase actually uses it. Less actively switch between the two modes. I think it's confusing and they should focus on one or the other. Pick a product and make it good!

    Re - balance. I don't see it being balanced at any party size =/. I also don't see how 1v1s being Rock Paper Scissors encourages grouping up. If you want to make your players group up, make the group content significantly more profitable than the solo content, to the point where players will overcome their social awkwardness and group together with strangers for the currency. For example, if I can farm crabs solo for 10g/h, but elite 8-man megacrabs get me 100g/h, I'm going to put the legwork in to group up, regardless of whether or not 1v1s are RPS based.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • @beaushinkle

    The extreme example of economy could potentially work to encourage players to explore their options to get those bonuses for farming, but it also encourages players to grind certain aspect of the game more. I get where you're coming from but players do not really need that bonus especially if they just around to collect all the bonuses once a month like a daily quest/chore. Sure, the normal grind can be tedious as well but the other method create economy issues with inflation and saturated markets.

    Yes, from what I read there are little extra things planned for dungeons. You may want a specific archetype for that feature. It could be based more around the primary archetype rather than the secondary subclass though. I cant not recall at this moment. So there could be 8 rogue type classes that could access that and potentially even 8 more archer types. Hard to say this early. How important or much better that gear is? hard to determine this early. It could just be alternative routes access as well. Just one of those things, if you don't have the composition, oh well, move on and plan ahead better. The gear in PvE is relatively equal to anything you can get in crafting. So it's not really like you're truly missing out anything depending on playstyle preference and gear accessibility. If you just want it because of a transmog... lots of opportunities to get there through replayability.

    The synergise with other augment schools refers to how each class has 4 augment schools they can choose from to enhance their abilities. Certain classes share certain augment schools so you could be able to put out more damage with a grouping of classes that use the same school. I believe Steven mentioned it being part of the balancing for AoC. In example, if you're augments are based around fire, you'd want your group augments based around fire to proc off etc. Think of group compositions like, we're a fire team, ice team etc in a basic way to think of it. They have not announced all the types of schools yet for augmentations. These augments can be rerolled and adjusted relatively convenient and freely at nodes I believe.

    Additionally to that, Steven mentioned their goal was to make combat last about 30 seconds between players ( 1v1 ) so the chaotic chances in a 250 vs 250, you could see some quick deaths from focus fire, siege weapons etc. So keep that in mine with the classes, augment schools and life expectancy when "balancing". I dont know how long a class could keep themselves alive through spam healing and variables like that as they haven't really gotten to that part of the game yet so it definitely less accurately predictable in theory crafting based off examples shown to the public from alpha. with 64 classes, there is no true way to find a perfect balance with the random and chaotic elements that are in large player pool pvp scaling into hundreds vs hundreds. I dont really want to get into PvE MMORPG's like WoW and ESO on their reasoning for their PvP feature balancing through combat mechanics and sponge.


  • edited October 8
    Something else to consider too with the dungeons with certain access conditions. You may need certain mounts such as gliders to traverse certain areas as well. It's part of the exploration design of the game. If a raid member didn't bring their glider mount... oh well :wink: they'll know for text time during raid/dungeon preparation. Then we get into mounted combat variables, what abilities what mounts will have.

    Additionally, if mob drop rates are too low, they could just increase drop rate values with an RNG element as well.
    10% chance to drop twice as much etc
  • Uncommon SenseUncommon Sense Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    at a 1v1 level doing the 'balancing' on a potential 64 archetypes + augments is just nonsensical. In a dynamic MMO that is well designed,. Spread sheet DPS will never account for uptime and down time which is why when they are typically adopted by the general player base they under perform or even handicap. Finding the cheese meta for least effort max gain and pseudo elitism shouldn't be a primary concern

    Why? Because when there is a community driven focus based on societal needs then the meta becomes an organic construct...

    How...? lets say class A becomes the dominant force and starts to overwhelm. in such a scenario elements of the community will branch off and look for a counter meta in such an event. Class B becomes the hard counter top A and as such the dynamic of the server shifts. Weapon A counter B counter C etc.

    It's just a matter of design. whenever a particular force becomes overly prevalent there should be design counters to manage a steam roll situation.

    A true rock/paper/scissors...no shot guns. Nothing overly complicated. Some classless are strong but weak against others.

    When you look at ashes as a player driven group community/faction building interaction space then that's where the balancing is achieved...Though applicable not as required on a singular player level. Yes Buffs/nerfs will be necessary.

  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    edited October 8
    My take on your points.

    Economy.

    The first thing I want to point out is that we do not know if there is a limit on turning in certs. We assume there isn't, but we do not know. There was a comment from 2017 or 2018 about Ashes not having a resource like Archeages labor resource, but Steven did say there would be other limits in place (labor was a resource in Archeage that basically capped all economic activities you could do, including that games version of Ashes certs).

    I appreciate that you likely don't have that piece of information, and I am not going to try and find a link or quote, but rest assured, Intrepid understand the need for caps on economic activity.

    Class distribution.

    In my opinion, your suggestion that if groups use a tank, a Healer, and 6 others, then all content should scale up from there is somewhat flawed.

    The pool of characters that raid is not the same as the pool of characters that run group content, and so the ratio does not need to be the same.

    Also, while an optimal group may be one of each primary class, that doesn't meant that is the only viable group.

    Mana use.

    I don't see this as an issue.

    The developers can use mana as a basic resource, and then add in decision making via means other than resources. There is also no reason why a class can't make use of two resources - mana and one specific to that class.

    All up, having mana as a common resource across all classes is fairly standard.

    Class balance.

    I fully support Intrepid not being concerned with class balance on an individual level in PvP. Individual PvP in Ashes simply doesn't matter.

    Since attempting to balance individual PvP would necessitate either a more bland class design over all, or increase the work needed on classes 10 fold (or more), I can see why they wouldn't consider it worth it for something that really doesn't matter in Ashes.

    I can understand each of your concerns here, quite honestly. However, the reason I don't share many of them is simply due to a differing perspective - which in itself is likely due to differing information. I don't expect you would be aware that Steven did say (many years ago) that there may well end up being a limiter on economic activity. Not knowing that piece of information could well lead to concerns like you have here - but with that information in had that concern seems to kind of fade away.

    Same with mana use. WoW used differing resources for different classes, and was the first popular game to do so afaik. Many games have followed suit, and to a play that has played WoW and many games that tried to follow WoW, anything else may seem odd, or lacking in variety. However, that isn't the case at all, and as someone that has mostly played games with mana as an over all resource for all classes, the idea of tanks having a different resource to mages just seems odd.

    Editing in a section about combat, as I missed it.

    I think you have a fairly narrow opinion of what tab target is, and what it can be.

    I have seen tab target combat where the player has to time individual attacks in between auto attack hits in order to achieve even reasonable effectiveness. These auto attack hits happen every 0..3 seconds, and the player needs to get in an ability between each attack. Not only that, but they need to get roughly the right ability (getting "an" ability is better than no ability, but getting the right ability is best). Further, if they are even a fraction of a second late, they will disrupt their auto attacks, lowering their effectiveness.

    I have seen tab target combat where players have multiple seconds to cast an ability, but casting the correct ability is paramount. A rotation doesn't work, as cooldown times are somewhat dynamic, an ability that has a 3 minute cooldown one time may have a 90 second cooldown the next - these alterations are player driven, but not entirely predictable. Further, there will be times where you want to hold off casting some abilities in order to cast them with others that are still on cooldown in order to gain a synergetic bonus (casting two large cold spells while you have a massive cold debuff on the target, as an example). However, since all spells are somewhat dynamic in terms of cooldown times, you have to always be assessing every ability you have, what it's cooldown is, what synergies you can make use of, and what the best thing to do in you specific, unique to just you in just that moment situation is. You are never able to know what you are going to cast any further ahead than the next two or three spells.

    So, you have tab combat that is almost purely rhythm based. Positioning matters, getting the right ability matters, but rhythm is king. Then you have the second tab target combat where selecting the correct ability is all that matters, positioning sometimes matters - depending on what abilities you are going to cast, but observing and constantly making decisions is what makes you successful here.

    The thing with these two examples is that they are from the same game. Two classes in tab target that play totally differently, feel totally different, use completely different player skills, yet both use tab target combat.
  • Specifically on your mentions in the 'Archetype Supply And Demand' part:

    It feels like the supply-and-demand facet is largely counter-balanced by the intended multi-class function. YES, it's kind of odd that there's a single, specific Healer and Tank class(though Bard will also feature some heals/cleanses), BUT this in-and-of itself shouldn't result in a shortage of Tanks and Healers - because players still play by role.

    In fact, I'd have to suppose that the intended multi-classing system will produce MORE players able to fulfill the Tank and Healer roles - even if in an off-Tank or off-Heals fashion; Having multiple classes will mean having the option of not being locked into a single possible role-function in group content - even if a player normally prefers to play as DPS. The REAL trouble comes in when trying to balance or even address DPS and Healing output. Do you make a Tank/DPS toon *as* damaging as a DPS/DPS? My first instinct is to say 'no' - but unless you want to FORCE people running the highest-end content to be DPS/DPS to ensure maximum damage output, then how can you NOT allow specialized builds of a Tank/DPS to do as much damage as a DPS/DPS?

    Cleric faces the same question. There will be a DPS-focus that players can make their Clerics, instead of being pure Heals; Where's the line, here? If someone normally plays DPS Cleric/DPS and a Healer is needed to run a specific dungeon, they'd have the option to swap focus and fulfill the Healer role. Again, however, the question arises: Should a Healer Cleric/DPS be capable of the same amount of Healing as a Healer Cleric/Healer Cleric - and if not, why should the groups running the highest-end content NOT want a full-on Healer Cleric/Healer Cleric?

    It feels as though there shouldn't be any more concern over Tank and Healer shortages in AoC than in any other game; Again, it seems like the multi-classing system will allow for more flexibility in assembling groups and fulfilling roles. You'd just have to have access to 2 sets of gear and field-respecs for your specializations. I'd be more concerned about balancing DPS output capacity, for characters that want this flexibility without having to be an entirely non-Tank or non-Heals pairing of classes. If DPS/DPS is the only way to maximize DPS output, then we're right back at Square One: needing to have different toons for different role-functions.

    My guess? We'll probably see a TON of Summoners, once the game goes live. The wiki currently specifically states that they are intended to be able to fill any of the 3 primary role archetypes, when making groups.



  • Khronus wrote: »
    .

    2) Archetype and supply - This is my biggest concern for the game. If it does end up with a system using 8 tanks in a 40 player raid, this will be a HUGE mistake on their part. I have been suggesting the fix to this current archetype system be to have each role able to fill an additional second role with 3 of their 8 secondary choices. For example, a tank can main tank with 5 secondary picks but with 3 of them, they can play a support role (thus giving them the possibility of being picked as one of those 8 "tank" roles). A healer will heal with 5 picks but for 3 of them be able to dps, a mage can dps with 5-6 roles and be able to magic tank for 2-3 of them. This kind of thing would allow leaders to really organize the groups and create unique compositions depending on every scenario. It would also liven up the class system into something MUCH better than "I tank, you heal, you support, you 5 dps....and no we don't need anymore of class X because that would be dumb".

    Looking at new world as an example, the system is complete junk. As a tank, you are holding down right click for more than 50% of your time. Healers are required to dps to lvl their healing talents (which is stupid) and the way to heal is completely janky and weird. Even after adjusting the settings to make it more of a comfortable thing, it still sucked and was not fun. Hopefully Intrepid figures it out and doesn't release the game with all these different secondary options that are really just fancy/simple changes to the core class itself. This would be ass.


    Agreed with each archtype being able to play more than one role.
    And that tanking in NW is boring AF

    But
    I will defend one aspect of new worlds healing, I kind of enjoy the skill shot healing with the life staffs basic attacks. I think it would be an interesting ranger/cleric as a healer playstyle to play like Ana from overwatch, where you have to shoot your allies with healing shots.
  • bigepeenbigepeen Member
    edited October 8
    I agree about the 1v1 balance, and how that could potentially be a huge issue. In open world PvP, 1v1 could occur fairly frequently, as I think the majority of people solo farm. Solo farming is always the most common farming method in MMOs. I'd estimate solo farming accounts for something like 95% of everyone farming at any given time. This percentage might be lower for a game like Ashes where there is more risk, but even with the corruption system, I can't really imagine that it would be too much lower than that.

    Since the majority of people will be solo farming, there should be a lot of instances when two players are farming next to each other, and one player decides to attack the other. This would obviously be a 1v1 scenario. I think that this could occur quite frequently.

    So if 1v1 is totally imbalanced, most players would feel that the combat in the game is generally totally imbalanced, as 1v1s will probably be commonly fought. This would result in the players either feeling that they should just give up and not fight if a certain class attacks them, or that they should attack a certain class because it's basically a guaranteed free kill.

    For combat, I feel that tab target and action combat comes down to player preference. Tab target can appeal to people who like a more chill experience without a fine motor control requirement, and action combat is more favored by those that enjoy using fine motor skills and precision. Tab target is easier because it is literally auto-aim, so it increases the skill cap by requiring more abilities to use, so you end up with situations like having to hit ctrl-shift 9 when hit by obscure glaive of doom for example.

    I enjoy ranged action combat in games because I like the fine motor skill of aiming and headshots just feel more rewarding and skillful than auto-aim, but I won't use it if the hybrid system doesn't give this a reasonable advantage over auto-aim. I think that Intrepid has already moved away from hitscan or projectile action combat though, and I'm not sure if they'll ever consider adding it back. It's too bad, because I think a lot of the initial success of New World is because the combat can be like a shooter. There are downsides as you've mentioned, but if they can make it as performant as planetside 2 with battles that you can find on youtube with 600+ players using hitscan, then I think it would be worth it.
  • .

    My guess? We'll probably see a TON of Summoners, once the game goes live. The wiki currently specifically states that they are intended to be able to fill any of the 3 primary role archetypes, when making groups.

    I'm all for them being capable of filling any role. But they shouldn't be able to switch between the roles easily. They should have to have different gear sets, different secondary archtype selected, different skill point distribution to be able to play as a different role.

    Same with any of the other "alt" role combinations... A tank/DPS should not be able to deal as much DPS as a dps/dps unless he has a different set of gear specifically for that and respecs his skill points. I would love the flexibility but you should still have to work for it.
  • Uncommon SenseUncommon Sense Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    The tank should be able to soak damage and push back the front lines with sustained pressure.
    DPS does damage but without protection or healing be unable to provide a longterm damage output.
    healers/support should be able to sustain an effort but needs protection to ramp out support benefits.

    To use basic generalizations. Tanks beat melee dps. melee dps beat ranged and ranged beat tanks. Standard old school format.

    magic casters are usually weak against melee but stong against tanks.
    and summoned minions are strong against melee but week against tanks and ranged...

    Self support hybrid builds a typically not strong or week in any respect but typically weak to burst and strong in sustain/attrition.

    1v1 is not the primary focus of the game. The systems are in place to emphasize grouping up. I understand people like to solo and that's fine but it's not in an MMO's best interest.
  • No TL:DR? :p
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    daveywavey wrote: »
    No TL:DR? :p
    @daveywavey

    Having an economy with no earning cap may be bad.
    The game may not have enough tanks and healers.
    All classes using mana seems weird to the OP.
    OP doesn't like hybrid combat - specifically the tab part of it.
    Not balancing 1v1 will suck for 1v1.
  • KesthelyKesthely Member
    edited October 8
    Noaani wrote: »
    daveywavey wrote: »
    No TL:DR? :p
    @daveywavey

    Having an economy with no earning cap may be bad.

    But how would they implement it. You can always save up tokens and ore to sell off at a later time, or trade it with others or use an alt to sell it. You can artificially impose a cap of the first 500 (or any arbitrary number) of kills / nodes per time period give you rewards, but what prevents a player to use an alt, whether or not on the same or a different account to continue making an income.

    I think that the fact that repairing your gear requires materials other then money already guarantees that the "just buy all the end game gear" will be unfeasable. All you have to do is lower the drop rate of the legendary materials enough so people don't want to sell off their legendary items / materials.


  • Further, gameplay with mana tends to involve getting full mana, spending all of your mana, and then taking a break to get full mana again. Why do we need to take a break?

    1. Its great for socializing.


    In WoW classic you would meet up with people --> fight alongside those people.

    After each fight/after every couple of fights you needed (often both) to sit down to drink for like 30 seconds.

    What did people do in thise 30 seconds?
    They socialized.
    They formed bonds.
    They formed friendships.

    Its a great system.

    I hope they use it in AoC.

    2. It made people think more and avoid bad pulls because if you ''bit more than your healer's mana could chew'' the whole raid was going to die.

    3. It gave casters and healers a much needed vulnerability in team fights and especially large team fights which are going to be a very common sight in this game.

    What do you want, a group of casters using their aoe-s to lock down an area 24/7 for the whole game? That would be a really bad mechanic for team fights.

    Same goes for healers. In larger pvp scenarios the team that took the greater amount of unnecesarry damage would lose eventually because their healers wouldn't get to keep up. Otherwise the fights just wouldn't ever end, for example in Alterac Valley in WoW classic.

    4. I just find it more realistic than the energy/rage mechanics.

    Fighting is exhausiting.
    One of my favorite, most realistic game in this regards in Battle Brothers where a Fatigue system exists, taking everything in account from the gear the fighter has equipped, to his every action, to his morale to his buffs/debuffs.

    Having an energy based rogue or a rage based warrior who never ''run out of juice'' is just.... it just breaks the immersion for anyone who has ever even attempted a sport or knows anything about actual combat.

    It just doesn't make sense.
    Much better design, in my opinion, is to have a resource that ramps up quickly and then quickly depletes

    As you said you can do this with mana.

    I'm not against making the game diverse and classes distinct at all it's just that as pointed out I find a lot of virtues in the mana system's favor.






  • JustVineJustVine Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    .

    My guess? We'll probably see a TON of Summoners, once the game goes live. The wiki currently specifically states that they are intended to be able to fill any of the 3 primary role archetypes, when making groups.

    I'm all for them being capable of filling any role. But they shouldn't be able to switch between the roles easily. They should have to have different gear sets, different secondary archtype selected, different skill point distribution to be able to play as a different role.

    Hard disagree with this perspective if you were reffering to summoner. There are a few different types of summoner their gear and spec should determine this, their role should be tiltable by subjob, but they absolutely should have access to all three trinity roles and abilities via their summons regardless of spec or tilt. Their role in combat wouldn't be possible without access to that.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    Kesthely wrote: »
    Noaani wrote: »
    daveywavey wrote: »
    No TL:DR? :p
    @daveywavey

    Having an economy with no earning cap may be bad.

    But how would they implement it. You can always save up tokens and ore to sell off at a later time, or trade it with others or use an alt to sell it. You can artificially impose a cap of the first 500 (or any arbitrary number) of kills / nodes per time period give you rewards, but what prevents a player to use an alt, whether or not on the same or a different account to continue making an income.

    I think that the fact that repairing your gear requires materials other then money already guarantees that the "just buy all the end game gear" will be unfeasable. All you have to do is lower the drop rate of the legendary materials enough so people don't want to sell off their legendary items / materials.

    There are ways they can limit it.

    They can add in an account-wide resource that accumulates over time, and turning in a certificate (or other income generating activities) uses an amount of this resource.

    While this won't stop people with multiple accounts, the game can only really look at things on an account level, and this would place a limit at the account level.

    I'm not saying this is what they will do, nor even what they should do. I'm just saying it is one way they could place a limit on it.

    The point about resources could be a way to slow down the buying and selling of top end gear - but in an economy focused game rather than an itemization focused game, you should be able to buy the best gear in the game if you have the coin. it is a very different beast to a game where you have to be present for the kill in order to get the item.

    The fact that you can save up coin and use it to buy that top end gear is actually a specific design decision of this game, and a kind of necessary one since PvP doesn't reward gear. This means PvP players are basically limited to gear they can buy.
  • beaushinklebeaushinkle Member
    edited October 8
    daveywavey wrote: »
    No TL:DR? :p

    1) There is a concern that because of the emphasis on economic specialization, as well as the notion that you can buy all of the gear, that players will spend the bulk of their play time doing whatever economic activity they specialize in, earning money in their lane and eventually spending it for best-in-slot equipment. This lacks novelty.

    2) There is a concern that because dungeons require particular archetypes, friend groups might have to spend a long time advertising for those archetypes. There is a potential that because you don't typically want two of the same archetype in the same small friend group, this causes friction down the road.

    3) There is a concern that either the server has enough tanks to support the raiding scene, but not the dungeon scene, or the other way around, and you have role shortage problems.

    4) There is a concern that in all of the classes using mana, that we end up with classes that have a slowly dwindling, slowly replenishing resource that doesn't actually create dynamic gameplay except on a "this is how I play for short fights, this is how I play for long fights" level. As opposed to a quickly spent, quickly regenerated resource, that creates moment-to-moment decision pressure like "do i spend my resource on damage, defense, or utility?". Do we want to be forced to wait on tank / healer / dps mana, or is it more fun to chain-pull with momentum?

    5) There is a concern that the process of figuring out which button to press in a combat situation is not an intellectually stimulating puzzle, and that once you know which button you want to press, actually pressing the buttons is not physically stimulating (it would make for a boring guitar hero song).

    6) There is a concern that there will be a large number of small-scale skirmishes that are heavily incentivized and intentionally imbalanced. Two folks fighting over a farming spot, or killing someone else on the road to take their certs / gathering materials. Same thing with 2-4 v 2-4. There is a further concern that large-scale battles will be insanely imbalanced (meaning the best compositions for 250-man teams will be wildly better than average compositions), despite assurances otherwise.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • Ironhope wrote: »
    In WoW classic you would meet up with people --> fight alongside those people.

    After each fight/after every couple of fights you needed (often both) to sit down to drink for like 30 seconds.

    What did people do in thise 30 seconds?
    They socialized.
    They formed bonds.
    They formed friendships.

    Its a great system.
    I've drank to refill my mana bar literally thousands of times. For every time I had a chat, socialized and formed bonds and friendships while drinking for mana in WoW, there were hundreds of times where I didn't do that. Costs and benefits.
    Ironhope wrote: »
    2. It made people think more and avoid bad pulls because if you ''bit more than your healer's mana could chew'' the whole raid was going to die.
    What made the pulls bad? Was it because the healers had low mana? That's the concept I want to get rid of! If the pull was bad because it included a patrol or it was a double pull or something, then you need to wait regardless, mana or not.
    Ironhope wrote: »
    3. It gave casters and healers a much needed vulnerability in team fights and especially large team fights which are going to be a very common sight in this game.

    What do you want, a group of casters using their aoe-s to lock down an area 24/7 for the whole game? That would be a really bad mechanic for team fights.
    Find other ways to solve this problem. I don't want indefinite aoe lockdowns either, but this also happens in mana games. Same goes for the healing problem. I don't want the win condition for 2 dps 1 healer vs 2 dps 1 healer to be "run the other healer out of mana". There should be ways to win with more finesse, or make it so that the damage outpaces the healing, or players are able to apply mortal-strike (healing reduction) effects.
    Ironhope wrote: »
    I just find it more realistic than the energy/rage mechanics.
    I've never understood appeals to realism
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • beaushinklebeaushinkle Member
    edited October 8
    Noaani wrote: »
    Editing in a section about combat, as I missed it.

    I think you have a fairly narrow opinion of what tab target is, and what it can be.

    I have seen tab target combat where the player has to time individual attacks in between auto attack hits in order to achieve even reasonable effectiveness. These auto attack hits happen every 0..3 seconds, and the player needs to get in an ability between each attack. Not only that, but they need to get roughly the right ability (getting "an" ability is better than no ability, but getting the right ability is best). Further, if they are even a fraction of a second late, they will disrupt their auto attacks, lowering their effectiveness.

    I have seen tab target combat where players have multiple seconds to cast an ability, but casting the correct ability is paramount. A rotation doesn't work, as cooldown times are somewhat dynamic, an ability that has a 3 minute cooldown one time may have a 90 second cooldown the next - these alterations are player driven, but not entirely predictable. Further, there will be times where you want to hold off casting some abilities in order to cast them with others that are still on cooldown in order to gain a synergetic bonus (casting two large cold spells while you have a massive cold debuff on the target, as an example). However, since all spells are somewhat dynamic in terms of cooldown times, you have to always be assessing every ability you have, what it's cooldown is, what synergies you can make use of, and what the best thing to do in you specific, unique to just you in just that moment situation is. You are never able to know what you are going to cast any further ahead than the next two or three spells.

    So, you have tab combat that is almost purely rhythm based. Positioning matters, getting the right ability matters, but rhythm is king. Then you have the second tab target combat where selecting the correct ability is all that matters, positioning sometimes matters - depending on what abilities you are going to cast, but observing and constantly making decisions is what makes you successful here.

    The thing with these two examples is that they are from the same game. Two classes in tab target that play totally differently, feel totally different, use completely different player skills, yet both use tab target combat.

    I don't think I, in any way, shape, or form, have anywhere near a narrow opinion of what tab target is or what it can be. I think if you were willing to read any of the resources I link it would really help. I discussed that tab target is strictly a mechanism for hit resolution, and then talked about how a lot of people perceive tab target games as being slower. There is absolutely nothing stopping tab target games from playing extremely quickly, implementing fighting game concepts like yomi, implementing motion sequences, implementing timing and rhythm, etc, as I mention in the blog posts.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • beaushinklebeaushinkle Member
    edited October 8
    @beaushinkle
    The extreme example of economy could potentially work to encourage players to explore their options to get those bonuses for farming, but it also encourages players to grind certain aspect of the game more. I get where you're coming from but players do not really need that bonus especially if they just around to collect all the bonuses once a month like a daily quest/chore. Sure, the normal grind can be tedious as well but the other method create economy issues with inflation and saturated markets.

    That 10x thing was strictly to illustrate a point. It seemed like you made the claim "this is how economic systems work", ie: "in economic games, players will do their specialty over and over for gold". I provided an example of how you can still have an economic game, but now players are incentivized to do other stuff.

    Does it come with other, disastrous downsides? Yeah, of course. But! It proves the point. Hopefully, that puts your head in the right "finding the solution" space, and then we can iterate toward a solution that makes sure that "the optimal way to earn enough wealth to get all the best stuff involves doing a lot of different fun activities while simultaneously making sure that we're not creating oversaturated markets or high inflation". Is this difficult? For sure. Is this possible? Yeah. It's the sort of work that professional mechanism designers do.

    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • I've drank to refill my mana bar literally thousands of times. For every time I had a chat, socialized and formed bonds and friendships while drinking for mana in WoW, there were hundreds of times where I didn't do that. Costs and benefits.

    I think the benefits are greater.

    Optionally they could make drinkng only for max level (regardless of expansion and level cap) faster.
    What made the pulls bad? Was it because the healers had low mana?

    Yes thats what I meant.

    I wouldn't even say this makes the content harder.... it just asks you to have some basic attention, socialization and common sense.

    So it makes you have to not be austistic.

    Today's wow removed that and a billion other such ''don't be autistic'' requirements and now the game is ultra autistic (some people like it this way, personally I don't and I think wow's huge decrease in numbers showed that most people don't, even if they don't realize it).
    Find other ways to solve this problem. I don't want indefinite aoe lockdowns either, but this also happens in mana games.

    Then the game stopped respecting it's ''mana design'' alltogether and lost control of it's balance.
    So the problem isn't that it uses a mana system, it's that it poorly managed the mana system.

    Yeah I agree, if another solution is found and that solution is better, let's go for it.
    But what could such a solution be?
    There should be ways to win with more finesse, or make it so that the damage outpaces the healing, or players are able to apply mortal-strike (healing reduction) effects.

    WoW also did these things at a time or another and games would still last for infinity (2v2s, 3v3s even world pvp)
    Ironhope wrote: »
    I've never understood appeals to realism

    I've never understood why some people think that because it's a fantasy game or fantasy story suddenly it's okay for nothing to make sense anymore.

    Immersion is rooted in the way one understands things.
    If so many things stop making sense, most people won't understand most of what is presented.
    Then no immersion can take place.

    Just because we have White Walkers (undead) in the movie doesn't mean John Snow can fall off a dragon going at 200 kms an hour and walk away with not one broken bone.



  • beaushinklebeaushinkle Member
    edited October 8
    Ironhope wrote: »
    I've never understood why some people think that because it's a fantasy game or fantasy story suddenly it's okay for nothing to make sense anymore.
    Sure. We want game mechanics because they make for fun games, not because they accurately model reality. In the same way that I hope you don't advocate for your character to have a RNG chance to randomly trip while walking, or for your character to have to poop (where does all the food go? what happened to realism?), we're allowed to not include mechanics from real life that aren't fun, for the sake of making a better game.

    I think appeals to immersion are great. Being inspired by real life to make a fun game mechanic is great. Appeals to realism in and of itself are pretty nonsense

    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • or for your character to have to poop (where does all the food go? what happened to realism?)

    The magic of Verra teleports it from inside our bodies and down into the filthy mangy sewers, otherwise known as the Underrealm.
  • I'm all for them being capable of filling any role. But they shouldn't be able to switch between the roles easily. They should have to have different gear sets, different secondary archtype selected, different skill point distribution to be able to play as a different role.

    Same with any of the other "alt" role combinations... A tank/DPS should not be able to deal as much DPS as a dps/dps unless he has a different set of gear specifically for that and respecs his skill points. I would love the flexibility but you should still have to work for it.

    I dunno.... Maybe it would be better to let them switch freely and often. Kind of depends on how the roles balance out, in the population; If the need is there, Summoners might end up being good people to know.

    It definitely raises the question of gearing, as you point out. Is it better to focus on some side-system, like possibly losing/re-gaining control of powerful summons in combat and having the summoned creatures a standard strength, or alternatively augment the creatures themselves - or even have the Summoner's personal gear determine the strength of a summoned Tank/DPS/Healing creature?

    While yours truly has no intention of playing Summoner right away, it's definitely piqued my interest in what direction they'll end up taking it!



  • beaushinklebeaushinkle Member
    edited October 8
    Ironhope wrote: »
    I wouldn't even say this makes the content harder.... it just asks you to have some basic attention, socialization and common sense.

    So it makes you have to not be austistic.

    Consider this: In my classic speedrunning guild, we bought multiple accounts with a max level mage whose sole purpose was to craft thousands of max level water hours before raids started and hand those out. There was a quirk in the way that drinking worked in classic wow where your mana would go up on the 1-second server tick. Once you learned the timing for the server tick, you would drink until the tick happened, and then run for 1 second, and then sit down and drink again, until you got your tick. This resulted in the healers / casters perpetually being full mana at the cost of going through hundreds of water per raid night.

    Degens gonna degen



    Part of why I mentioned all of the stuff I did in my background section is that I don't have the gaming experiences that average folks have. I'm at the very tippy top of gameplay. When I hop on to melee unranked (via slippi), I'll win hundreds of games in a row. I have 98%+ win percentages on the main characters I play. When I play MMOs, the same thing happens, and so naturally, my gameplay tends to look different, and my gameplay experience tends to look different from the average player's.

    You could have gone your whole life, or your whole classic experience not knowing the meta as a caster is to have a mage deposit hundreds of water into your bags each time you log on so you can abuse the server ticks to drink while moving. We knew, and so that's what we did.

    I have bias! I want to make sure that when folks like me play the game, we have a good time. I want to make sure that when people try to play the game efficiently, it still works. This is different than trying to design the game to be played casually, where players just do normal stuff. Efficient players will sacrifice their own fun for performance. I hate it when I have to do that. Good design makes playing efficiently also fun.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
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