What's new
Embers Adrift

This is a sample guest message. Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

March 11-13 Weekend Testing Feedback

Pelirow

Active Member
A couple caveats: This was my first time testing in months, so some of the suggestions or ideas put forth may already have been vetted by SHS. Apologies. Second, my mindset will frequently try to compare the current game state to the original design goals/intents as a point of reference.

Initial impressions: It's still early and still in the "new car smell" phase, but I had a blast this weekend, mainly because grouping was regular and exp was slow and steady. I played way more than I had any business playing this weekend and made it to 11, and that was after managing to get a couple levels last Wednesday as well. Exp pacing and gain seems good so far.

Dying Matters?
Death isn't really punitive (yet), and I know a "scary" world was one of the original goals where dying should suck and be something you avoid. So far this hasn't been an issue with bag recovery. Now that the game has shifted away from the a la carte mastery system, have the devs circled back to whether dying should now cause exp loss to some degree? There's a lot of ways to make this flexible, such as dying once gives you a one hour debuff, and if you die again with that debuff only then do you lose exp. The exp loss can be made modest rather than significant, so it at least stings without getting to EQ/P99 levels of loss. 10% loss on death usually only means 5-10 mobs to grind on to recover, but it's still a drawback. Another option is to make it so that instanced dungeon areas are the only places that have exp penalties, but also give them an exp bonus (the penalty should outstrip the gains from the bonus). Fear can be an effective gameplay element, as it creates exteme excitement when you get that exp and ding without dying, and the frustration of dying a lot and losing exp will make players play more intelligently.

Crafting Intricacy?
The initial pass crafting system looks good, mostly working other than that =0 bug that even I got while only crafting 1-2 items. Didn't notice at first when it happened, I only know I crafted a single small mace bronze head and it showed a stack of 0. I was wondering if it may be caused by something in the crafting code thinking that "this is something that can fail" similar to how crafting ingots will sometimes result in scrap metal instead.

Is the plan still to eventually have crafting be a big part of the game with Vanguard/SWG-like crafting mechanics and steps? This was one of the big initial draws to the game for me, and can really give the game a noticeable identity. Right now crafting is the same old thing as any other mmo, even with the option to vary the materials used.

If Vanguard/SWG crafting system is no more, then I suggest trying to add more flavor to crafting by having crafters be able to provide modest set bonuses to gear. There are various ways this could be done but I won't elaborate on this unless asked. My main point is, crafting has some nice flexibility with different combinations allowed, but still could use a bit more cowbell. IIRC there was mention in the last beta update notes that SHS intends to refactor and reduce the defensive and offensive stat options; I would ask that y'all make sure that's absolutely certain because while it clutters up item descriptions, having those things to tweak how we like gives crafters and end users more freedom of choice, or at least the illusion of choice.

I'm a big fan of the weight system so far, it is absolutely creating forced choices for me as a tank.

Adventuring
Is leashing a permanent thing? I don't recall leashes being a thing, or if they were, being so short. It's pretty easy right now to run past aggro or run out of aggro range, so I suggest more loose leashing or double the leash lengths. Goes back to the fear of dying thing; the world doesn't feel scary right now. The POI discovery method of unfogging a map was a nice touch, if a bit annoying. There were two parts on the western side of NNH that I could not find a POI and unfog; unsure if that wasn't implemented or I just failed. Also, ember ring in Ravenrock camp didn't show up on my map.

Defender/Marshal
The class felt pretty good, my biggest suggestion is to make a non-attack animation for Halt and to give it an icon over its head similar to the stun ZZZ that Archer? spec gets. Halt root was broken so many times because people couldn't tell something was rooted and since it's the tank doing the rooting, dps stuck on the "tank hit I hit" mentality of hitting whatever I hit because Halt has an attack animation. A simple two hands forward animation (or 1 with shield) should be enough.

Pursuit felt the most useless of all my abilities, it was only ever "working as intended" when dealing with archers trying to get the distance on me; more often it was used as a getaway tool to slow down the chasing mob until unleashed. It would be nice if the debuff gave a attack speed slow and buffed me with a haste if we don't move, then convert the cooldown into a combat movement debuff/buff if we move. That would reward positioning and timely use of the pursuit skill. Another option is to make it so that the pursuit buff that gets placed on the Marshall can instead be placed on a defensive target if one is selected. That way I could at least help a dps more quickly get into position if they need to move. Both suggestions could also be something tweaked with reagents!

The "Disadvantage" aspect of the level 10 ability whose name escapes me was often dropped on animals after 1-2 seconds and rarely lasted the whole debuff duration on humans. I assume this is something that will happen less and less as the levels go up. Otherwise the secondary effect didn't seem very useful. I ended up treating it as extra dps and nothing more, which feels more like a Jugg thing to do.

Reagents
Reagents are cool, and I hope they continue to get expanded. I think there will be eternal tension over "needed" vs "useful" but I currently feel SHS should be operating on the mindset that players will highly desire and want reagents to the point they treat reagents as a "need." I hope more abilities, if not all abilities, get reagent use. I think one way to use reagents for more abilities without saturating the world with hundreds of reagent drops is to make the loot drops a "base" reagent and then have a faction-based alchemist that can convert base reagents into useful ones. As way of example: let's say instead of "smug/exile tar flask" drop it'll just be "smug/exile flask" that drops for Marshal specs. Recall above for Pursuit I suggested maybe a reagent that makes pursuit provide a haste debuff on mobs and a haste on self instead of combat movement. Take the base flask to the faction alchemist and with enough faction rep and some coin, the alchemist can make either Tar flasks for Halt that already exists, or make a Dulling Flask reagent that applies to Pursuit. Now you can likewise expand this to other Marshall abilities that lean towards CC tools, and likewise make bear piss have variations that apply to the aggro/damage tools, and a third reagent for defensive skills. 1 drop that could be converted into multiple different uses will drastically clean up loot pools while allowing for a wide range of uses, including even having the ability to make reagents even more nuanced the higher your faction is (such as bear piss that can do more damage but less threat instead of the current bear piss numbers). The end result is this type of system would: again provide player freedom choice because with the limited reagent drops, they need to choose which useful reagent they want, gives meaningful timesink for players since they'd have to get faction rep and also travel to their alchemist (each class should have different alchemists at different locations), and a money sink by having a fee for the alchemist.

I think there's enormous potential with reagents to give class identity; and I'd be happy to help spitball reagent options if there's a Reagents suggestion thread created. This could be a very nice option for player identity and choice.

I also agree with other comments I've seen that the reagents bar needs a lot more customization, my recommendations, in addition to an "on/off" toggle: make it so that each reagent slot can have conditions set to that spot based on number of reagent, mob color, and mob difficulty. So you can set "do not use if less than ##," or "do not use if mob is [color] or less," or "do not use if mob is 2^ or less," etc. On the opposite side: "only use if: mob is orange and 3^." I think if SHS can have those sort of conditions tied to the reagent slots, that'll make for very happy players.

Other thoughts/comments
Are the dps calculations for weapons still ongoing? I noticed my sword always had a higher dps average number in the tooltip over a maul levels 1-10. Would stand to reason that the big 2h weapon should have more dps, especially since it swings at 8/9 seconds compared to 4/5s for swords. I noticed that when using sword or maul level 1-10, the numbers didn't seem different so sword felt significantly better. At 10 with 38% lvl 19 tin maul, I finally felt a noticeable difference in the damage output against a sword. At the same time, the avg. dps number on my maul vs my sword still said the sword was better dps.

I noticed some strange auto attack cooldown timer clipping when swapping mid-combat between maul and sword/board; it looks like if I swap from a higher to a lower cooldown weapon the cooldown doesn't reset. So if I have a maul counting down from auto attack 9s, use an ability, and I swap over to sword/board the sword board seems to count the seconds used by the maul towards it's own cooldown (so it'd be at cooldown of 1 or 2 seconds if the maul was down to 6 or 7 seconds). It had similar issues the other way around; I will test this further next weekend.

Aggro management was an afterthought levels 1-8. After 8 I noticed I finally needed to fight for aggro a bit but it still was very easy compared to pre-alpha testing that I last engaged in. Not sure if aggro becomes a bigger and bigger issue as levels go up.

I haven't made alts yet, but I have contrasting concerns about how with 3 toons people can be quasi-omni crafters, and at the same time have concerns that shared bank space is too small. It both penalizes players who play multiple toons even without being crafters, and disincentivizes collecting unique gear which can be a hallmark of slow grindy games like this. It'll suck to collect some cool named and then... junk it. Not sure what the solution is since if bank space is opened up, crafters will have even more advantage, yet everyone else suffers for different reasons. Special bank vaults for named items or non-crafting items based on faction might be a solution

The big enchilada from this weekend
Now for my BIG suggestion based on a weekend of playtesting: I think there may be a way for Undone to have his cake and eat it too with regards to assigning players abilities and a la carte abilities: why not make the abilities in a given range available at each of the current levels, but let the players choose which skill they get? So for levels 6-18, you have 5 ability choice moments: 6, 8, 10, 14, 18. Keep the same abilities that exist in that range, but let the players choose which one they want at each ability choice moment. That way it's still the abilities you set up and nothing changes with the abilities themselves, but players can choose during the timeframe of that ability pool. Once at 18, everyone playing a given class will be the "same" again, but they at least got to choose within that ability pool. It's somewhat an illusion of choice, but at least players truly do get to choose and pick preferred abilities within that pool to use sooner rather than later. You could do the same for 20-40, assuming there will actually be more than just 1 ability available... and I sure as hell hope there would be at least 10-15 more abilities per class for the 20-50 range!

As another possible option in addition to the above proposal, SHS could perhaps have special "divergent" ability unlocks that would allow specs to choose one ability from the other 2 specs, with some limits. So if there aren't that many abilities planned for levels 20-50, perhaps an option for broadening the player tool kits is to allow a choice at level 30 where a player can choose one of the 6-18 abilities for the other 2 specs, excluding the "best" ability of that spec in that range, and the chosen "divergent" ability will cap its numbers at "X levels behind my class level." So say I'm Marshall and I hit 30, I get to choose a "divergent" ability. My choice would be from a pool of 8 options: the 4 Jugg skills from 6-18 and the 4 Knight skills from 6-18 excluding best Jugg dps skill and best Knight defensive skill, for 8 options but can only choose one, and it should always be "X levels behind" my Marshall skills. So if I choose the Jugg taunt skill, at level 50 it should have the effect as if it was level 40. This could be a nice way to allow very minor crossover, limited to 1 choice, and really promote player identity. Can perhaps do this again at 50, choosing from the level 10-49 skills, again excluding the "iconic" skills integral to the specs. This would be something pretty cool if tied behind a major questliine.
 
Last edited:

Rev

Well-Known Member
Death isn't really punitive (yet), and I know a "scary" world was one of the original goals where dying should suck and be something you avoid. So far this hasn't been an issue with bag recovery
Heh, I died 3x yesterday in the western side of NNH. I would get interrupted so I would just sit down wherever I was at collecting at the time. A few times something must have strolled by and whacked me while I was afk. A short minute or two later I would have my bag back and be on my way. Unless I am down in the dungeon, dying doesn't mean too much, just the loss of a few minutes while I go get my bag back.
 

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
Heya @Pelirow glad to have you back and thanks for the detailed writeup! I'll try and address a few points below:

Dying Matters?
Death isn't really punitive (yet), and I know a "scary" world was one of the original goals where dying should suck and be something you avoid. So far this hasn't been an issue with bag recovery. Now that the game has shifted away from the a la carte mastery system, have the devs circled back to whether dying should now cause exp loss to some degree? There's a lot of ways to make this flexible, such as dying once gives you a one hour debuff, and if you die again with that debuff only then do you lose exp. The exp loss can be made modest rather than significant, so it at least stings without getting to EQ/P99 levels of loss. 10% loss on death usually only means 5-10 mobs to grind on to recover, but it's still a drawback. Another option is to make it so that instanced dungeon areas are the only places that have exp penalties, but also give them an exp bonus (the penalty should outstrip the gains from the bonus). Fear can be an effective gameplay element, as it creates exteme excitement when you get that exp and ding without dying, and the frustration of dying a lot and losing exp will make players play more intelligently.
I personally think our current death mechanic is fair and appropriate. To explain why, let's first outline the penalties associated with releasing in Embers Adrift:
  • 15% health wounds (5% for getting knocked unconscious, 10% for giving up)
  • 10% durability hit
  • until your bag is recovered:
    • all items in your bag are inaccessible
    • all money in your bag is inaccessible
    • all interactions are locked. this includes gathering, crafting, looting, repair, buying/selling, trading, swapping gear, etc.
On the surface this may not seem like much. But it accomplishes three main goals:
i) Wounds impose a "time-sink" penalty which requires you to sit around an Ember Ring to recover. However, you may choose to ignore this penalty and venture out anyway. This is important as it provides the player with a choice based on their "time budget" for the game. Wounds can accumulate pretty quickly if you are not careful and can require significant time to heal. This penalty is most analogous to your debuff suggestion.
ii) Locking interactions provides the direct motivation to recover your belongings. In games like EQ being naked was that motivation. In Embers Adrift you are still fully equipped so you theoretically have the means to get back to your body unless you were careless in your journeys. You can also choose to forfeit your bag+contents and start anew. Choices....
iii) Provides a money sink (in the form of a repair bill) that grows with the player. As the player acquires and equips more gear their repair bill for giving up will become an increasingly expensive deterrent.
This For me, I find this balance reasonable. We impose a time penalty that is consistent yet can be ignored at your own risk. We provide motivation to retrieve your goods and the ability to throw them out. And a reasonable money sink that grows with character power.

Experience penalties provide nothing but a negative experience in my opinion. The last thing we want to do as game designers is push people away from our game. If we impose a debuff that says "you get less XP for X amount of time" people will just sit around afk (or log off entirely) until the buff wears off. If we impose XP loss then people will rage quit. Any loss of experience is typically a loss of time already spent in the game which leaves a negative flavor in people's mouth. We are essentially taking something away from you that you have already done - which is not a positive experience. Death in MMOs should teach you about what went wrong, not take away the time you've already spent in the game.

Crafting Intricacy?
The initial pass crafting system looks good, mostly working other than that =0 bug that even I got while only crafting 1-2 items. Didn't notice at first when it happened, I only know I crafted a single small mace bronze head and it showed a stack of 0. I was wondering if it may be caused by something in the crafting code thinking that "this is something that can fail" similar to how crafting ingots will sometimes result in scrap metal instead.

Is the plan still to eventually have crafting be a big part of the game with Vanguard/SWG-like crafting mechanics and steps? This was one of the big initial draws to the game for me, and can really give the game a noticeable identity. Right now crafting is the same old thing as any other mmo, even with the option to vary the materials used.

If Vanguard/SWG crafting system is no more, then I suggest trying to add more flavor to crafting by having crafters be able to provide modest set bonuses to gear. There are various ways this could be done but I won't elaborate on this unless asked. My main point is, crafting has some nice flexibility with different combinations allowed, but still could use a bit more cowbell. IIRC there was mention in the last beta update notes that SHS intends to refactor and reduce the defensive and offensive stat options; I would ask that y'all make sure that's absolutely certain because while it clutters up item descriptions, having those things to tweak how we like gives crafters and end users more freedom of choice, or at least the illusion of choice.
The raw materials changing the properties of items is wholly inspired by the SWG crafting system. We have some issues we are working through where using different raw materials does not always produce something with different stats - but we are working on that. I would be curious to how you view crafting as "the same old thing" as other MMOs? Using different raw materials to make the same item with the same recipe is quite different in my opinion.

I'm a big fan of the weight system so far, it is absolutely creating forced choices for me as a tank.
Excellent! We certainly need some more UI work to make things a bit clearer.

Adventuring
Is leashing a permanent thing? I don't recall leashes being a thing, or if they were, being so short. It's pretty easy right now to run past aggro or run out of aggro range, so I suggest more loose leashing or double the leash lengths. Goes back to the fear of dying thing; the world doesn't feel scary right now.
Different creatures leash at different distances. It's not a "leash" in the traditional sense though. Each NPC has a set of sensors with different lengths and angles. If you are outside of their sensors for a given amount of time they drop you as a target - at which point you observe them "leashing". So it entirely depends on the creature's sensor ranges and how much time you spend in/out of them.

The POI discovery method of unfogging a map was a nice touch, if a bit annoying. There were two parts on the western side of NNH that I could not find a POI and unfog; unsure if that wasn't implemented or I just failed. Also, ember ring in Ravenrock camp didn't show up on my map.
The POIs, discovery regions, etc, are all major works in progress and are likely to change considerably. One thing I will probably do is decouple the individual POIs from the "area" discoveries - that will just take some time.

Reagents
Reagents are cool, and I hope they continue to get expanded. I think there will be eternal tension over "needed" vs "useful" but I currently feel SHS should be operating on the mindset that players will highly desire and want reagents to the point they treat reagents as a "need." I hope more abilities, if not all abilities, get reagent use. I think one way to use reagents for more abilities without saturating the world with hundreds of reagent drops is to make the loot drops a "base" reagent and then have a faction-based alchemist that can convert base reagents into useful ones. As way of example: let's say instead of "smug/exile tar flask" drop it'll just be "smug/exile flask" that drops for Marshal specs. Recall above for Pursuit I suggested maybe a reagent that makes pursuit provide a haste debuff on mobs and a haste on self instead of combat movement. Take the base flask to the faction alchemist and with enough faction rep and some coin, the alchemist can make either Tar flasks for Halt that already exists, or make a Dulling Flask reagent that applies to Pursuit. Now you can likewise expand this to other Marshall abilities that lean towards CC tools, and likewise make bear piss have variations that apply to the aggro/damage tools, and a third reagent for defensive skills. 1 drop that could be converted into multiple different uses will drastically clean up loot pools while allowing for a wide range of uses, including even having the ability to make reagents even more nuanced the higher your faction is (such as bear piss that can do more damage but less threat instead of the current bear piss numbers). The end result is this type of system would: again provide player freedom choice because with the limited reagent drops, they need to choose which useful reagent they want, gives meaningful timesink for players since they'd have to get faction rep and also travel to their alchemist (each class should have different alchemists at different locations), and a money sink by having a fee for the alchemist.

I think there's enormous potential with reagents to give class identity; and I'd be happy to help spitball reagent options if there's a Reagents suggestion thread created. This could be a very nice option for player identity and choice.
This sounds almost identical to what we are already planning via Ember Essence upgrades. See the "WIP" section of the recent patch notes for a more detailed explanation. But for a quick summary - creatures influenced by ember will drop a sort of "ember essence" that will be distributed similar to currency when the npc dies. Each character will carry around an ember stone that has a max capacity (can be upgraded later) that you fill up. You can then spend that ember essence to upgrade reagents to more powerful versions, or variant versions of said reagent.

I also agree with other comments I've seen that the reagents bar needs a lot more customization, my recommendations, in addition to an "on/off" toggle: make it so that each reagent slot can have conditions set to that spot based on number of reagent, mob color, and mob difficulty. So you can set "do not use if less than ##," or "do not use if mob is [color] or less," or "do not use if mob is 2^ or less," etc. On the opposite side: "only use if: mob is orange and 3^." I think if SHS can have those sort of conditions tied to the reagent slots, that'll make for very happy players.
This type of filtering is far more complex and would take a great amount of time. I like the idea in general, but would require some significant engineering time. I'll stick it in the queue.

Other thoughts/comments
Are the dps calculations for weapons still ongoing? I noticed my sword always had a higher dps average number in the tooltip over a maul levels 1-10. Would stand to reason that the big 2h weapon should have more dps, especially since it swings at 8/9 seconds compared to 4/5s for swords. I noticed that when using sword or maul level 1-10, the numbers didn't seem different so sword felt significantly better. At 10 with 38% lvl 19 tin maul, I finally felt a noticeable difference in the damage output against a sword. At the same time, the avg. dps number on my maul vs my sword still said the sword was better dps.
The value shown on your weapon is an "average" calculation and your actual results may vary. There are lots of variables on the back end that could cause something to do more/less damage compared to the DPS values (hit rolls, armor rolls, etc). Long cooldown weapons tend to be more bursty, while shorter delayed weapons tend to be more sustained damage. However, do not discount the positional bonuses from the different weapon types as those can make a considerable difference (also is another variable thrown into the equation).

I noticed some strange auto attack cooldown timer clipping when swapping mid-combat between maul and sword/board; it looks like if I swap from a higher to a lower cooldown weapon the cooldown doesn't reset. So if I have a maul counting down from auto attack 9s, use an ability, and I swap over to sword/board the sword board seems to count the seconds used by the maul towards it's own cooldown (so it'd be at cooldown of 1 or 2 seconds if the maul was down to 6 or 7 seconds). It had similar issues the other way around; I will test this further next weekend.
Yes please report back to me on that one. It's likely just using the cooldown from the first weapon - and honestly it's not a big deal unless there is some significant advantage to swapping back and forth. It just sounds like that would be an annoying thing to have to do to gain a minor advantage.

I haven't made alts yet, but I have contrasting concerns about how with 3 toons people can be quasi-omni crafters,
I too have concerns with folks becoming quasi-omni crafters. But it's something I have learned to live with. Folks like alts and want more than 3. If we had it my way I'd only allow you to have a single character. But, I understand that my play style is not the play style of everyone else. If folks want to put in the time and effort to work on 3 characters just for crafting then more power to them. Who am I to stop them? They still need the mats, the time, and the effort. There's not a great solution here either. Allowing everyone to do all of the crafting professions just lessens the reason for anyone NOT to take a specific crafting/gathering profession - which is also something we don't want. At the end of the day all we can do is provide a disincentive for picking up multiple professions - and the only one that makes any sense is limiting how many each character can take.

and at the same time have concerns that shared bank space is too small. It both penalizes players who play multiple toons even without being crafters, and disincentivizes collecting unique gear which can be a hallmark of slow grindy games like this. It'll suck to collect some cool named and then... junk it. Not sure what the solution is since if bank space is opened up, crafters will have even more advantage, yet everyone else suffers for different reasons. Special bank vaults for named items or non-crafting items based on faction might be a solution
I mean that's part of the decision process no? Player's will always want more bank space regardless of how much we give them. Right now your bank is expandable to 36 slots. This is something we can easily change but right now it seems reasonable.

The big enchilada from this weekend
Now for my BIG suggestion based on a weekend of playtesting: I think there may be a way for Undone to have his cake and eat it too with regards to assigning players abilities and a la carte abilities: why not make the abilities in a given range available at each of the current levels, but let the players choose which skill they get? So for levels 6-18, you have 5 ability choice moments: 6, 8, 10, 14, 18. Keep the same abilities that exist in that range, but let the players choose which one they want at each ability choice moment. That way it's still the abilities you set up and nothing changes with the abilities themselves, but players can choose during the timeframe of that ability pool. Once at 18, everyone playing a given class will be the "same" again, but they at least got to choose within that ability pool. It's somewhat an illusion of choice, but at least players truly do get to choose and pick preferred abilities within that pool to use sooner rather than later. You could do the same for 20-40, assuming there will actually be more than just 1 ability available... and I sure as hell hope there would be at least 10-15 more abilities per class for the 20-50 range!

As another possible option in addition to the above proposal, SHS could perhaps have special "divergent" ability unlocks that would allow specs to choose one ability from the other 2 specs, with some limits. So if there aren't that many abilities planned for levels 20-50, perhaps an option for broadening the player tool kits is to allow a choice at level 30 where a player can choose one of the 6-18 abilities for the other 2 specs, excluding the "best" ability of that spec in that range, and the chosen "divergent" ability will cap its numbers at "X levels behind my class level." So say I'm Marshall and I hit 30, I get to choose a "divergent" ability. My choice would be from a pool of 8 options: the 4 Jugg skills from 6-18 and the 4 Knight skills from 6-18 excluding best Jugg dps skill and best Knight defensive skill, for 8 options but can only choose one, and it should always be "X levels behind" my Marshall skills. So if I choose the Jugg taunt skill, at level 50 it should have the effect as if it was level 40. This could be a nice way to allow very minor crossover, limited to 1 choice, and really promote player identity. Can perhaps do this again at 50, choosing from the level 10-49 skills, again excluding the "iconic" skills integral to the specs. This would be something pretty cool if tied behind a major questliine.
These abilities are designed to increase the player's power level gradually. Allowing the player to pick out of a pool kind of removes that aspect of the design and in the end doesn't really provide that meaningful of a decision at the end of the day IMO. In doing something along these lines we would have to provide a way for players to change their mind, which then opens the door for players respeccing to the most effective "set" of abilities for a given encounter. And none of this touches on the additional UI work that would be required to implement something like this. There's just a lot of unintended consequences that would surface from a change like this.
 

Pelirow

Active Member
The raw materials changing the properties of items is wholly inspired by the SWG crafting system. We have some issues we are working through where using different raw materials does not always produce something with different stats - but we are working on that. I would be curious to how you view crafting as "the same old thing" as other MMOs? Using different raw materials to make the same item with the same recipe is quite different in my opinion.

I mean the "pick mats push button" crafting. I probably should have emphasized I was more talking about the Vanguard-style crafting, which was essentially playing a game within the game. Being good as a crafter mattered and essentially had its own skills and timing requirements and had failure chance and risk of losing mats, but also the chance for improved items.

The SWG/ESO style materials properties is indeed really nice and encourages players to mix and match to see what the outputs are, it's just simply pushing a button to get that outcome that is different from what I recall from the original design goals for crafting. I'm guessing Vanguard crafting style system is no go.

The value shown on your weapon is an "average" calculation and your actual results may vary. There are lots of variables on the back end that could cause something to do more/less damage compared to the DPS values (hit rolls, armor rolls, etc). Long cooldown weapons tend to be more bursty, while shorter delayed weapons tend to be more sustained damage. However, do not discount the positional bonuses from the different weapon types as those can make a considerable difference (also is another variable thrown into the equation).

If that's the case, then I imagine during any tutorial or in-game guides, the "avg. dps" tooltip will be very carefully explained. I'd wonder if it's better to just remove completely as it may be a bit misleading to casual players. It confused me even as someone who's only halfway stupid.

Yes please report back to me on that one. It's likely just using the cooldown from the first weapon - and honestly it's not a big deal unless there is some significant advantage to swapping back and forth. It just sounds like that would be an annoying thing to have to do to gain a minor advantage.

This is actually what I was trying to test, swapping weapon sets to try to optimize ability damage with 2h maul but auto attack damage with sword while benefiting from shield protection. Not sure if it even provides advantage but was trying to test "stance dancing" so to speak. I'll mess with it more.
These abilities are designed to increase the player's power level gradually. Allowing the player to pick out of a pool kind of removes that aspect of the design and in the end doesn't really provide that meaningful of a decision at the end of the day IMO. In doing something along these lines we would have to provide a way for players to change their mind, which then opens the door for players respeccing to the most effective "set" of abilities for a given encounter. And none of this touches on the additional UI work that would be required to implement something like this. There's just a lot of unintended consequences that would surface from a change like this.

I would argue it's a meaningful decision in getting an ability you like sooner. It took me 2 days to get from 6-11 and I can imagine going from 11 to 14 and then 14 to 18 will continue to take progressively longer, so there's real value in using the ability options to build more in alignment with what I hope to do rather than have the order of fairly even abilities imposed on me like any other mmo. I would have thought long and hard about what skill I really wanted after Halt, and I think other people would too. The ability power level increase is already gradual, are you saying there would be too much imbalance if a skill listed at level 18 was instead available at level 6? Didn't seem that way for me, but I have only looked at Marshal. I would also think that the goal wasn't a power level increase in the sense of "stronger" abilities but rather more and varied abilities. What you'd simply be doing is allowing players to pick which of that pool of evenly valued abilities they want sooner, as it may take days and weeks to get the next ones. If some abilities are significantly better than all others, I wonder if that's a slight design flaw. I do understand that maybe "iconic" abilities should be locked, but I still think allowing a given range of abilities to be a pool rather than imposed on players would open up player freedom. I'll have to eyeball the striker and supporter specs next weekend to see if I feel the power curve is an issue, but I felt the 6, 8, 10, 14, and 18 abilities for Marshal could arguably be chosen in whatever order the player preferred without one being noticeably more powerful. In fact you could argue the level 6 Halt is the strongest of the lot and it's given out first, but perhaps another marshal would really like the dodge ability first, and I don't see that as messing up the power level graduation.

I wouldn't let players change their mind; if they regret picking an ability, it's not a terrible negative because eventually they will get all of the abilities. No respec should be allowed, just a warning "are you sure!?" before picking from your ability pool. This would lead to some "recommended" order of picking abilities, but so what? FOMO is gonna exist no matter what so the FOMO folks get their "maximized" linear progression while the rest of us can choose the abilities that fit what we want a little earlier than others. Perhaps it would be "helpful" to have certain abilities at earlier levels for certain content, but conversely, the player gives up on a different ability that would arguably be as useful in a different area. There's enough content spread around that I would hope one ability that's currently listed at level 18 wouldn't break the difficulty of doing Exile fort behind Ravenrock at level 6-10.

I don't see how the UI would have to change. Just have the icons shown in the UI as they currently are available, except only allow the level 6-18 abilities to be selectable at 6, 8, 10, 14, and 18, then grey them out once one has been selected until all of them have been chosen. Then for the next set of abilities from 20-50, have those separated by a line from the 6-18 abilities so it's clear what abilities are in what group.

I appreciate you taking out the time to respond to my wall of text! A lot of helpful comments so I didn't respond to everything, only the two items I thought warranted it.
 

Pelirow

Active Member
This type of filtering is far more complex and would take a great amount of time. I like the idea in general, but would require some significant engineering time. I'll stick it in the queue.

I missed this one. Can I propose you bring this up as a discussion topic in the next patch notes to gather feedback? I feel based on my discussions in-game that this is a feature that people would really like with reagent use and you may get more useful thoughts if other people comment and perhaps make it more of a priority. I wish it wasn't as time consuming to code but I think it would be a big boon to the reagent system and alleviate some of the frustrations.
 

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
I mean the "pick mats push button" crafting. I probably should have emphasized I was more talking about the Vanguard-style crafting, which was essentially playing a game within the game. Being good as a crafter mattered and essentially had its own skills and timing requirements and had failure chance and risk of losing mats, but also the chance for improved items.

The SWG/ESO style materials properties is indeed really nice and encourages players to mix and match to see what the outputs are, it's just simply pushing a button to get that outcome that is different from what I recall from the original design goals for crafting. I'm guessing Vanguard crafting style system is no go.
Ideally yes, we would have some sort of mini-game to determine the output quality. We have some design ides for how this might work, but due to limited manpower and time it was shelved until a later date.

If that's the case, then I imagine during any tutorial or in-game guides, the "avg. dps" tooltip will be very carefully explained. I'd wonder if it's better to just remove completely as it may be a bit misleading to casual players. It confused me even as someone who's only halfway stupid.
I think the average DPS gives you a quick at-a-glance comparison between different weapons. It just shouldn't be taken as gospel given all of the variables involved.

I would argue it's a meaningful decision in getting an ability you like sooner. It took me 2 days to get from 6-11 and I can imagine going from 11 to 14 and then 14 to 18 will continue to take progressively longer, so there's real value in using the ability options to build more in alignment with what I hope to do rather than have the order of fairly even abilities imposed on me like any other mmo. I would have thought long and hard about what skill I really wanted after Halt, and I think other people would too.
This could very easily lead to an increased lack of excitement in unlocking new skills for the player. Naturally, each player is going to end up picking the "coolest" abilities first, and leaving the "less interesting" ones for later on. Meaning that you get an immediate "cool!" when you pick your first one, and then with each subsequent unlock the "cool" factor would diminish considerably (obviously this would differ for every player). I would argue that giving this choice would result in players having even less to be excited about when they level because the only remaining unlocks are the ones they weren't very excited about in the first place. And then once you reach the last "unlock" all of your previous decisions make no difference because you have them all anyway.

The ability power level increase is already gradual, are you saying there would be too much imbalance if a skill listed at level 18 was instead available at level 6? Didn't seem that way for me, but I have only looked at Marshal. I would also think that the goal wasn't a power level increase in the sense of "stronger" abilities but rather more and varied abilities. What you'd simply be doing is allowing players to pick which of that pool of evenly valued abilities they want sooner, as it may take days and weeks to get the next ones. If some abilities are significantly better than all others, I wonder if that's a slight design flaw. I do understand that maybe "iconic" abilities should be locked, but I still think allowing a given range of abilities to be a pool rather than imposed on players would open up player freedom. I'll have to eyeball the striker and supporter specs next weekend to see if I feel the power curve is an issue, but I felt the 6, 8, 10, 14, and 18 abilities for Marshal could arguably be chosen in whatever order the player preferred without one being noticeably more powerful. In fact you could argue the level 6 Halt is the strongest of the lot and it's given out first, but perhaps another marshal would really like the dodge ability first, and I don't see that as messing up the power level graduation.
There is a mix of stronger, more varied, utility, etc in there. Each role ability is set at a specific level for a reason. Knowing what skills a group should have going into an encounter can dictate how we design said encounter.

I wouldn't let players change their mind; if they regret picking an ability, it's not a terrible negative because eventually they will get all of the abilities. No respec should be allowed, just a warning "are you sure!?" before picking from your ability pool. This would lead to some "recommended" order of picking abilities, but so what? FOMO is gonna exist no matter what so the FOMO folks get their "maximized" linear progression while the rest of us can choose the abilities that fit what we want a little earlier than others. Perhaps it would be "helpful" to have certain abilities at earlier levels for certain content, but conversely, the player gives up on a different ability that would arguably be as useful in a different area. There's enough content spread around that I would hope one ability that's currently listed at level 18 wouldn't break the difficulty of doing Exile fort behind Ravenrock at level 6-10.
As a design philosophy we try to always allow the player to change their mind. We don't like forcing the player to make a final decision about their character when they maybe have no idea what sort of consequences that decision might have. If we implement any system where you pick one thing and it locks out another - there has to be a way for the player to change their mind.

I don't see how the UI would have to change. Just have the icons shown in the UI as they currently are available, except only allow the level 6-18 abilities to be selectable at 6, 8, 10, 14, and 18, then grey them out once one has been selected until all of them have been chosen. Then for the next set of abilities from 20-50, have those separated by a line from the 6-18 abilities so it's clear what abilities are in what group.
The presentation of the UI may not have to change - but the implementation of how the UI works on the backend would absolutely require changes. UI programming is a royal pain in the neck and requires a significant amount of time.

Speaking of which - all of this really comes back to how do we spend our engineering time? We have very limited resources, a small team, and an ever shrinking amount of time to make the game work as a whole. Everything is an iterative process where we are constantly improving one thing a little bit, moving on to improve another thing a little bit, then rinse and repeat. At the end of the day these are interesting ideas that we are happy to explore - but even if they were to be adopted their priority would be far lower than the many other tasks we have in our todo list.
 

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
I missed this one. Can I propose you bring this up as a discussion topic in the next patch notes to gather feedback? I feel based on my discussions in-game that this is a feature that people would really like with reagent use and you may get more useful thoughts if other people comment and perhaps make it more of a priority. I wish it wasn't as time consuming to code but I think it would be a big boon to the reagent system and alleviate some of the frustrations.
I'm not sure what would need to be discussed? I recognize that it would be a cool thing to have - but referring to my most recent post - we have to be very careful how we prioritize our time. Dedicating time to a complex system such as this that involves UI, client, server, etc would take a significant amount of time away from other areas of the game that desperately need attention. Again - I am not saying that this isn't a good idea, or that we don't want to implement something like that, I'm just saying that other things are currently much higher on the totem pole of priorities.
 

Pelirow

Active Member
I'm not sure what would need to be discussed? I recognize that it would be a cool thing to have - but referring to my most recent post - we have to be very careful how we prioritize our time. Dedicating time to a complex system such as this that involves UI, client, server, etc would take a significant amount of time away from other areas of the game that desperately need attention. Again - I am not saying that this isn't a good idea, or that we don't want to implement something like that, I'm just saying that other things are currently much higher on the totem pole of priorities.

You mentioned you'd put it in the queue. I may have taken that a little too literally; my request was so that if you discover a lot of people agreeing with the proposal and clamoring for this change, you'd bump it higher up the queue, is all. :)

Thanks for the thoughtful responses in the previous post as well; going forward I'll advocate my suggestions regarding ability pool and choice only when appropriate. I'll continue to lean towards player choice and options as previously stated, but I totally understand the concerns you articulated above (even if I don't agree with the degree or severity :p) and will try to always keep in mind manpower hours available vs time necessary to implement something.
 

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
You mentioned you'd put it in the queue. I may have taken that a little too literally; my request was so that if you discover a lot of people agreeing with the proposal and clamoring for this change, you'd bump it higher up the queue, is all. :)

Thanks for the thoughtful responses in the previous post as well; going forward I'll advocate my suggestions regarding ability pool and choice only when appropriate. I'll continue to lean towards player choice and options as previously stated, but I totally understand the concerns you articulated above (even if I don't agree with the degree or severity :p) and will try to always keep in mind manpower hours available vs time necessary to implement something.
It's certainly a challenge we face as a small studio. We have a ton of great ideas, the community has a ton of great ideas - but there just isn't enough time in the day to implement all of them :(. The good thing about an MMO however is that development really never stops and we can always come back and make improvements.
 

Kaeolin

Well-Known Member
mean the "pick mats push button" crafting. I probably should have emphasized I was more talking about the Vanguard-style crafting, which was essentially playing a game within the game. Being good as a crafter mattered and essentially had its own skills and timing requirements and had failure chance and risk of losing mats, but also the chance for improved items.

The SWG/ESO style materials properties is indeed really nice and encourages players to mix and match to see what the outputs are, it's just simply pushing a button to get that outcome that is different from what I recall from the original design goals for crafting. I'm guessing Vanguard crafting style system is no go.
I like the EQ2 style of crafting. You had to interact with it or you failed.