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 Post subject: Civility, Transparency, End Game
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:10 pm 
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Civility

I don't know why I always let this happen, but it seems like whenever I get into the game again, I invariably find myself on the forums, then sucked into some steaming pile in GD. Then I feel guilt and shame. I didn't come out of a blissful retirement to not have fun, and GD isn't really fun, so I'm not going to go there anymore for a while. If you're interested in having a civil, mature discussion about the game, I'm down with that, and I guess Gameplay is the place for it. (But after this post, I'm going to try really hard to spend my limited time online, building and randomly RPing with unsuspecting victims, which is reliably fun.)

Transparency

I'm sympathetic to calls for transparency, and I wouldn't mind seeing the small group of diehards we have left rewarded for their immense investment of time over the years by being consulted about the direction of the game and generally kept in the loop. But D, whose game this has always been, does not really support this idea. He's been very clear that this is not a democracy, and none of the players are entitled to know how exactly how everything works, nor must they be privy to every change, nor must they even be consulted. So it's a fine line. You have ideas, and some of them are good. Many of your good ideas have been implemented or put on the road map or at least discussed on the IMM distro. Otherwise good ideas may not line up with D's vision and are dismissed out of hand. Heck, D dismisses my ideas all the time. The point the staff keeps making in various ways is that if you want your good ideas to receive serious consideration, make a compelling case in a respectful, constructive way. And if they're rejected, take it in stride. For my part, I'm all for improving communication, but when there's a huge QQfest any time any aspect of the game changes, however tiny, well, I become a little more sympathetic to D's point of view.

End Game

So here's what I can tell you about the comprehensive efforts to audit all gear across the mud. There are 3 primary goals:

1) Enforce a more consistent and steeper risk/reward system for gear strength.

2) Reevaluate the utility of gear in light of the enchantment changes. (Way overdue.)

3) Create real challenges for PvE end gamers, with real rewards.

The goal is NOT to implement an "easy" button. The goal is NOT for every player to be able to obtain any piece of gear with a minimum of inconvenience. Casual players will have access to solid, not great, gear with a minimum of fuss. Elite players will be rewarded for their eliteness. You can whine about how hard it is to put together the sort of group you need to fetch some of the absolute best stuff in the game now, but for many players, challenge is fun and challenge is memorable. If that's not for you? Fine.

Here are some details:

1) We've codified the risk/reward numerically. I can't tell you what the algorithm is, but I can say that fort/ref/will/ap are weighted heavily, as are the levels of spells cast by object scripts. We have a pretty good idea of the kind of gear players like the best, and we think you should have to put in more effort to get the best gear.

2) D doesn't want there to be an abundance of fort/ref/will/ap gear in the game. It's as simple as that. There will still be some awesome fort/ref/will/ap gear, but it'll be rare and hard to get. At the same time, we're going through the huge pile of mp gear and varying it. Some of it is ending up with ap, particularly in places where, thematically, it would make sense to have smiths who know how to embue gear with ap. (HINT.) If this means that chars with "I win" spells will become overpowered, start a new thread to discuss that. I can tell you now that the solution will not be to reintroduce tons of easy to acquire fort/ref/will gear.

3) Mundufisen has a point. I haven't run any groups in end-game areas for ages. I'm a fossil, after all. But the staff has sat in on many of these trips, and we're making tweaks to end game areas with these first-hand observations in mind. The portable portal objects allow a level of circumvention of challenges in end-game areas which was never intended when the portal creators thought to themselves "ooh, what if we made a door objects with a wear_take flag? that'd be neat!" So these objects are being nerfed. (As an aside, if your decision to return to the game or not is dependent on one piece of kit, I have to say, I think you're doing it wrong. But that's just my opinion.) At the same time, a huge pile of gear has already been buffed in just the last week or two, and efforts are ongoing. We also noticed that most of the coolest gear in the game is evil-only, so we're rectifying that by adding even more cool good-only gear via an end-game area expansion. Already in the game, but it may be a while before a typically-newb lightie party figures out how to get it. That's ok.

So this is the direction we're going with the gear audit. The audit was needed, but I wish we'd been able to effect these changes uniformly instead of piecemeal. Now we're making up for lost time, and the promised buffs are happening, rapidly.

As with every change, we'll see how things shake out for a while, then make adjustments as necessary. I'm sure you've already noticed that I re-buffed some of the gear I nerfed in Taslamar, buffed a few things and added some new stuff, too. It's a fluid process, but by the time the mud dies, we'll have it right where we want it. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Civility, Transparency, End Game
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:21 pm 
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<POST REMOVED FOR FLAMING OUTSIDE OF GENERAL DISCUSSION>

Ahhh, just kidding.

So, you want the few players left who are savvy enough to piece together a kit from the easily obtained stuff (like, I don't know, the 500000 +4 willpower necklace in menegroth), to risk kits of eq in the hopes that you guys aren't trolling and actually have a decent concept of what stuff warrants what level of enchants/scripts? History says that players will be horribly disappointed when they do inevitably obtain this stuff.

Key question here. Is the +5 enchant limit rule still in effect?

Are you guys going to tweak the end game areas? Some of them, like the Nightmare Realm, have [REDACTED] auto-kill scripts with no clues anywhere as how to get past them, and things like that are the reason the portal rings have historically been -almost- required for these trips. There's also the Iron Citadel, where, the hardest part of the entire place is just...getting inside because of the way it's designed and roaming NPCs. It's not fun to make all the effort/prep for a trip like that and have 0 safeguard against wiping in the first room due to random luck.

If it's not being worked on already, these areas all need to be scaled down in difficulty to reflect the shrinking playerbase, and honestly, need massive overhauls. There's reasons only that, over the years, the same handful of people have run these trips across various characters. It requires too much OOC experience/information.


Last edited by Syn on Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Civility, Transparency, End Game
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:23 pm 
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Very interesting read. I can appreciate that an algorithm exists, and I can respect why we might not need to see the actual formula.

One thing that has caused me concern, however, in a model of risk/reward is... let's see, how do I say it...

Over time, this will (appropriately) create a gradient of gearscores, to use a WoW term, that is correlated to if not predicted by a product of player availability and ability. That's probably exactly as it should be.

What happens when we take this delicately calibrated machine and throw PvP into the mix? Here's my worry:

Suppose a top tier player gets top tier gear and then decides to PvP. Under this system, players become more significant challenges to one another in the sense that "prep time" might creep up as another disparaging factor in terms of middle-tier players who can and who cannot "handle" being targeted by a pro in a holistic sense of both victory and re-equipment.

Has this, or something akin to it, been considered? Can you share anything about feelings on this matter by those engaged in the audit and framing the changes?


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 Post subject: Re: Civility, Transparency, End Game
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:29 pm 
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Syn wrote:
So, you want the few players left who are savvy enough to piece together a kit from the easily obtained stuff (like, I don't know, the 500000 +4 willpower necklace in menegroth), to risk kits of eq in the hopes that you guys aren't trolling and actually have a decent concept of what stuff warrants what level of enchants/scripts? History says that players will be horribly disappointed when they do inevitably obtain this stuff.


I can't promise you won't be disappointed. Only that we're putting in an honest effort.

Syn wrote:
Key question here. Is the +5 enchant limit rule still in effect?


Innate? Yes. We don't have any wiggle room with that.

Syn wrote:
Are you guys going to tweak the end game areas? Some of them, like the Nightmare Realm, have [REMOVED] auto-kill scripts with no clues anywhere as how to get past them, and things like that are the reason the portal rings have historically been -almost- required for these trips. There's also the Iron Citadel, where, the hardest part of the entire place is just...getting inside because of the way it's designed and roaming NPCs. It's not fun to make all the effort/prep for a trip like that and have 0 safeguard against wiping in the first room due to random luck.


I'll bring this to the attention of the staffer who now owns these areas and is actively working on them, thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Civility, Transparency, End Game
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:37 pm 
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Do people need to have their entire current inventory identified to check for changes on enchantments?

Will sacred equipment be subject to these same risk/reward rules? Some sacred armor is in the heart of the Necropolis, Outer Planes, or Infernal outlands. Some is in Teron, Taslamar Palace, etc.


Last edited by Syn on Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Civility, Transparency, End Game
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:40 pm 
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grep wrote:
Suppose a top tier player gets top tier gear and then decides to PvP. Under this system, players become more significant challenges to one another in the sense that "prep time" might creep up as another disparaging factor in terms of middle-tier players who can and who cannot "handle" being targeted by a pro in a holistic sense of both victory and re-equipment.


Let me see if I'm following. Are you asking about increased stratification due to elite (active/knowledgeable) players increasingly being the only ones with elite gear? If so, then yes. But I guess I'm ok with elite players willing to risk their necks being the ones with the elite gear. I'm not sure how much that already-existing advantage increases. I guess we'll see.


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 Post subject: Re: Civility, Transparency, End Game
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:41 pm 
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Nashira wrote:
grep wrote:
Suppose a top tier player gets top tier gear and then decides to PvP. Under this system, players become more significant challenges to one another in the sense that "prep time" might creep up as another disparaging factor in terms of middle-tier players who can and who cannot "handle" being targeted by a pro in a holistic sense of both victory and re-equipment.


Let me see if I'm following. Are you asking about increased stratification due to elite (active/knowledgeable) players increasingly being the only ones with elite gear? If so, then yes. But I guess I'm ok with elite players willing to risk their necks being the ones with the elite gear. I'm not sure how much that already-existing advantage increases. I guess we'll see.


That does seem like a silly concern as it's already in effect, bad grep.


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 Post subject: Re: Civility, Transparency, End Game
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:45 pm 
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Syn wrote:
Do people need to have their entire current inventory identified to check for changes on enchantments?


Not a bad idea.

Syn wrote:
Will sacred equipment be subject to these same risk/reward rules? Some sacred armor is in the heart of the Necropolis, Outer Planes, or Infernal outlands. Some is in Teron, Taslamar Palace, etc.


Yes. We've had plans in place for quite a while to make all of the easy-to-fetch sacred gear more consistent with the harder-to-fetch. Implementation so far has been spotty, due to the complication that IMMs tend to be responsible for building efforts related to sacred gear in religions for which they're personally responsible, which isn't a perfect overlap with the IMMs who're currently responsible for the audit. This is additionally complicated by IMM turnover. I made the Nashiran quest much more annoying last year (and the gear much less annoying, I think). I'll remind the others to deal with the rest, thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Civility, Transparency, End Game
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:49 pm 
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Nashira wrote:
grep wrote:
Suppose a top tier player gets top tier gear and then decides to PvP. Under this system, players become more significant challenges to one another in the sense that "prep time" might creep up as another disparaging factor in terms of middle-tier players who can and who cannot "handle" being targeted by a pro in a holistic sense of both victory and re-equipment.


Let me see if I'm following. Are you asking about increased stratification due to elite (active/knowledgeable) players increasingly being the only ones with elite gear? If so, then yes. But I guess I'm ok with elite players willing to risk their necks being the ones with the elite gear. I'm not sure how much that already-existing advantage increases. I guess we'll see.


I think where I'm trying to get at is the fact that this system reduces risk for a top tier character running off to crush the skulls of tribunal kids. If gear is limited like it has been, and the crafting system never gets above the +3 ceiling, then I see risk for the system to make it more difficult for the top tier to gain new members outside of nepotism-driven initiation.


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 Post subject: Re: Civility, Transparency, End Game
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:57 pm 
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grep wrote:
I think where I'm trying to get at is the fact that this system reduces risk for a top tier character running off to crush the skulls of tribunal kids. If gear is limited like it has been, and the crafting system never gets above the +3 ceiling, then I see risk for the system to make it more difficult for the top tier to gain new members outside of nepotism-driven initiation.


Ok, I see your point. I'd counter that with a dwindling pbase, we're absolutely swimming in great gear. There's more gear available everywhere, and particularly in end-game areas, than there ever was "back in the day". But you're correct that newbs won't be able to get at it as easily as before. I'd like to think mid-tier players can get into some good gear with an appropriate level of effort. If it's a matter of knowledge transfer, there's other steps we can take to edumacate which might circumvent nepotism-related bottlenecks.


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