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Goblinworks Blog: Your Pathfinder Online Character


Pathfinder Online

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Paizo Employee Paizo Glitterati Robot

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Added discussion thread for Goblinworks Blog: Your Pathfinder Online Character.

Goblin Squad Member

Chris Lambertz wrote:
Added discussion thread for Goblinworks Blog: Your Pathfinder Online Character.

Brilliant, thank you.

Goblin Squad Member

I like what I've read. Alot.

Goblin Squad Member

and he says EVE is complex...

edit: too late to think. will sleep this over.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

Leveling without having to play every day?

I'm for it.

Goblin Squad Member

Absolutely awesome, the archetypes sound sweet, the progression sounds like it can be smooth, good options, less demand for work.

I 100% back these concepts


Ryan Dancey wrote:
In terms of sheer time, I'd like to see the first 20th-level characters emerge around two-and-a-half-years after launch.

let's just hope it'll take longer than 3 months for the first 20th level char.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

This sounds like a pretty sweet system to both address the needs of an MMO and keep the flavor of the tabletop game. I'm also happy to see that all 11 core base classes will be supported at launch. (plus it sounds like multiple Expert NPC class paths). Will all 7 core races be there as well? It would be cool if there are race specific skills and abilities in the game as well

Goblin Squad Member

Having read the blog, most of the theory sounds great.
But theory doesn't always get the theoretical results you expect.
That and it is still a living document, so changes will likely happen.

I am also wondering about how much visual character variety there will be?
Will the character meshes have mesh morphing or vertex deformation like the Characters in Skyrim, or Age of Conan to increase the variety of appearances.
Though I would prefer it, if character stats were reflected in there appearance (like in the Fable game series) and could use sheldon's body types to assist in this part.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Leveling without having to play every day?

I'm for it.

Until you realize that you will always be behind the first players and if you miss setting skills to train you have "lost" skill points. Anyone who play's EVE knows this. While it is good to a point, I'd be even happier if there were ways in game to *grind* to current max of skill points. That way both new players, people who stop playing for a while, and people who just goof on setting skills to train while on vacation can catch back up with various amounts of chair time.

All it takes is a rolling max cap based on when the first players get to keep skill points and done.

Other then that I have no objection to an EVE style skill accumulation system. In many ways it really does helps even out "Hardcore" vs "Casual" disparity a bit. Although in EVE, Gear/Loot and ISK grinding cause its own disparity. Casual players who don't grind for ISK or can't handle playing the in-game player driven market get frozen out of the good/fun ships.

This is partly why I'm being quite vocal and aggressive about the need to protect people pursuing just/mostly PvE. While Skills accrue automatically, equipment need to actually complete and continue to participate in PvP does not. PvP in EVE is an asset losing affair, you lose ISK by participating. And as mostly casual PvE sometimes PvPing carebear it feels like getting crushed under sizable brass spheres trying to claw one's way back from PvP induced ISK hole. Especially when the fastest ways back can and do get interrupted by even more PvP. Not. Fun. And benefits the "Hardcore" way more then the "Casual."

Goblin Squad Member

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Massively impressed. Simple but very interesting. I've always loved achievements and badges, yet hated them for just being a goal unto themselves. Merging these into acquiring abilities/prestige classes and in incorporating the 20 levels from the tabletop is a really nice touch.

Roll on 2 weeks so we can learn more.


I love the details I just read, although I have to second the concern that EVE has a system where it is very difficult to address the skill point disparity between old and new players. I'm not really concerned about the idea of 'catching' the current king pins ahead of everyone else... they got where they did (hopefully) through honest play.

My issue has always been with more personal gaps, like between my wife and myself. We play a number of online games together and she'll never play EVE with me because my character is a lot older and the gap is really obvious... not only that, but it will only widen over time, if not stay arbitrarily large.

I've always thought it would be great to have a mentoring system where I could deliberately sacrifice some of my skill-point growth to speed up hers... in a pathfinder context, somewhat like a lvl 20 warrior spending time to teach young warriors. Given the alternate progression systems you are providing as well perhaps it would also contribute to something like a 'teacher' merit badge, providing a status incentive.

Osirion

varka wrote:
I've always thought it would be great to have a mentoring system where I could deliberately sacrifice some of my skill-point growth to speed up hers... in a pathfinder context, somewhat like a lvl 20 warrior spending time to teach young warriors.

'Mentoring' in City of Heroes works differently, but is a very cool thing, allowing a higher level character to speed up the progression of lower level friends.

WoW had something similar, where you could link some lower level characters to a specific higher level character, and when the higher level character (who might be so high level as to not even get XP anymore, normally) killed stuff or did quests, a percentage of the XP they gained went instead to the linked 'trainees.'

Of course, the least palatable 'solution' would be to just make sure to create your new character on the most recently opened up server, so that you'll be roughly in-line with everyone else, but that prevents you from gaming with your friends, which can be a downer in a social MMO...

As a 'casual' player, the two and a half years to capstone thing seems daunting. Most of my guildmates are a bit more hardcore, and tend to game nightly, and raid at least weekly, usually having characters at or near the 'level cap' within two weeks of game launch. (There have been some games that they 'finished' during Beta, and ended up not playing at all, because they'd gotten bored with it before the game even launched...) I usually take a year to straggle along, barring power-leveling (which I avoid, because I like to do all the questlines, even if they greyed out ages ago), before reaching max level and being able to raid, occasionally doing some dungeons with the guildmates second, third or, in some cases, *sixth* groups of 'alts,' but two and a half years sounds like a long slog, even for the great and powerful turtle...

(And, honestly, 90% of my plodding pace is the result of my terminal case of alt-itis. I've got six 20th level Age of Conan characters, a dozen Champions characters, forty or so City of Heroes / Villains characters, etc. etc. I'm constantly agonizing over who I have to delete to make room to try something new...)


varka wrote:

I love the details I just read, although I have to second the concern that EVE has a system where it is very difficult to address the skill point disparity between old and new players. I'm not really concerned about the idea of 'catching' the current king pins ahead of everyone else... they got where they did (hopefully) through honest play.

My issue has always been with more personal gaps, like between my wife and myself. We play a number of online games together and she'll never play EVE with me because my character is a lot older and the gap is really obvious... not only that, but it will only widen over time, if not stay arbitrarily large.

I'm sorry, but I find this absolutely false. Yes you will always be "ahead." Yes it might take 3-6 months to get in a T2 fit battleship with all the other appropriate support skills, but that's all you need for any PvE in the game. In PvP you can go Rifter Hero on day 1. You can always use more tackle. The beauty of the skill system in Eve is it takes 5-8 times longer to reach 100% effectiveness then it does to reach 80%. And that 100% can be as little as 10% more damage versus 8% more. In the long run the gap can only close, especially now that they've gotten rid of learning skills, and you can plan out remaps to optimize your learning plans. And even beyond that there is an absolute cap to what skills will benefit you in any given situation. My T2 frigate, and missile skills don't do me any good in my Machariel, and my T2 autocannons don't do me much good if I'm in a Drake.

So while a newer player will always have x less skill points, the older players can't maintain their lead as a ratio to newer players' skills.

That said:

Quote:
I've always thought it would be great to have a mentoring system where I could deliberately sacrifice some of my skill-point growth to speed up hers... in a pathfinder context, somewhat like a lvl 20 warrior spending time to teach young warriors. Given the alternate progression systems you are providing as well perhaps it would also contribute to something like a 'teacher' merit badge, providing a status incentive.

I support this completely.

Goblin Squad Member

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The post looks pretty interesting to me and I look forward to seeing the actual implementation of it in the future.

One thing that I didn't like in there though was how the capstone would be handled. Two characters with all the fighter badges both have one cleric skill, but one of them gets a capstone because one took the cleric skill early on and the second only took it after achieving the capstone. It doesn't really sit nice and good with me.

I would much rather have it so that you could only have one capstone ability, that way you can't collect all of them within one character, but a player isn't punished for deviating slightly away from an archetype's path.

If someone has to spend two and a half years, minimum, to achieve the capstone when they are only focusing on that archetypes skills, I think just having a character who chooses other archetype powers along the way be forced to wait longer until they achieve the capstone is preferable.

Andoran Goblin Squad Member

I'm most immediately concerned with attributes driving the speed at which skills are learned.

EVE at first had some skills that raised attributes, and many people raised those up first to affect all other training. Second, EVE eventually went the route of allowing players to occasionally remap their attributes in order to speed up some skill training. Finally, after all this time, EVE tossed away the concept of attributes affecting skill training (at least as I understand it - maybe they just took away the skills that increased your attributes, but their value still affects skill training speed as if you had fully advanced the attribute increase skills).

I'd hate to see PFO become a "raise all your attributes first before doing anything else" game.

Goblin Squad Member

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one thing i have problem with:
Cap-stone ability exclusivity
as it's proposed, it's "now or never". you either go for it, or it's gone forever. i know myself, i'm jack-of-all-trades, which means i'm at disadvantage in such system. if i don't go for cap-stone, i can never get there. if i go for cap-stone, i'm not enjoying myself because of being forced to play certain way.

or, look at the different way. cap-stone is a choice that isn't a choice. if you don't go for it right from the start, you can never have it. but someone who goes for it, can always diversify later. it's obvious that former is of less value, even if required time is very long.

a better way would be to allow everyone who meets requirement to be able to have cap-stone ability, but only one at any given time. for example, if someone is Mage 20/Ranger 20, they can only choose benefit of one cap-stone ability. this gives option to people to either specialize and go all the way, or diversify but still have goals for some later time.

Osirion

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Blazej wrote:
One thing that I didn't like in there though was how the capstone would be handled. Two characters with all the fighter badges both have one cleric skill, but one of them gets a capstone because one took the cleric skill early on and the second only took it after achieving the capstone. It doesn't really sit nice and good with me.

Rewarding players for sticking with it and staying focused in their class is one of the core points of distinction between pathfinder and D&D. Your exact unhappiness is the same that a George a Fighter 19/ Cleric 1 feels when he looks over at his Fighter 20 friend named Elmer.

Gorge: "Hey man, need a hit from my Cure Light Wounds wand?"
Elmer: "Nah. Got two crits on the first round and killed the monster before it could make a full attack."

My concern is that EVE required players to have multiple accounts if they wanted to train multiple characters to any level of competence (yes I know all about limited use hauler alts and stuff but that's not what I'm talking about). I do want to train up a Figer and a Mage and possibly an Alchemist when it gets implemented. And I don't really want to wait two and a half years to hit level 20 fighting before I get in the mood to toss around a magic missile. It would be especially silly to make me get several free accounts just to train up multiple combat worthy guys.

Pygon wrote:
I'd hate to see PFO become a "raise all your attributes first before doing anything else" game.

Currently in EVE stats do effect your speed of learning skills. The skills that raise stats ('learning skills') were removed and those points refunded. You can still remap skills once after character creation and then once each year for free.

Its highly doubtful 'learning skills' will make a reappearance in PFO as their removal was much lauded.

Jagga Spikes wrote:

one thing i have problem with:

Cap-stone ability exclusivity
as it's proposed, it's "now or never". you either go for it, or it's gone forever. i know myself, i'm jack-of-all-trades, which means i'm at disadvantage in such system. if i don't go for cap-stone, i can never get there. if i go for cap-stone, i'm not enjoying myself because of being forced to play certain way.

Do you also feel bad when you've made a Fighter 5/ Monk 5/ Wizard 5/ Bard 5 and playing Pathfinder? Every time you multiclass you choose to make yourself less good at what your original class was doing. No one is saying you can't play a character like that. But you should be aware that the first time you take a level outside of your first class you are giving up the ability to ever get the capstone ability for your any class. Sometimes that trade is worth it - A friend of mine just became a Ranger 15 / Fighter 1 in the game I run and that says to me that the ranger capstone probably isn't good enough.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

In principle, the systems sounds quite good, but I'd like to join in in the chorus of requests for changes with the capstone ability. Now-or-never isn't really a fun way of handling it, and it's working against a number of playstyles (dabbling in other professions a bit, completionists who want to ultimately have a character with all skills maxed, …). I'd be much happier if the conditions under which a capstone ability is reached were a bit more lenient.

Goblin Squad Member

I loved the old West End Games Star Wars RPG D6 system. My first character died so I brought in a new character, which had less skill points than anyone else. But, I was able to find a skill no one else had maxed out, put my starting skills in there, and still contribute to the game. Despite having less skills than my friends, I always had my tag skill, and was able to invest in enough secondary skills to keep myself alive.

To translate to PF, a character should start with several months worth of skill points, which you can dump in an area none of your friends have yet. Then if the experienced players want to catch you, it'll take them months. Of course, you'll never overtake them in their speciality either unless you dedicate even longer, but that's the point. Only the longest running characters should be better at everything than a first level and they'd want to be horribly multi-classed to do that too.

The other thing D6 had was the XP system. Higher skills would cost more to take up. This encouraged knocking up smaller skills and rounding the character, but never so much that you wanted to give up on your best skill.

I think it would be great to slow progression as you get more powerful, just a bit. It'd be a real hard choice whether to go for a 20th level single class or a 15/15 multiclass if they both took the same time.

Goblin Squad Member

Matthew Trent wrote:

...

Jagga Spikes wrote:

one thing i have problem with:

Cap-stone ability exclusivity
as it's proposed, it's "now or never". you either go for it, or it's gone forever. i know myself, i'm jack-of-all-trades, which means i'm at disadvantage in such system. if i don't go for cap-stone, i can never get there. if i go for cap-stone, i'm not enjoying myself because of being forced to play certain way.

Do you also feel bad when you've made a Fighter 5/ Monk 5/ Wizard 5/ Bard 5 and playing Pathfinder? Every time you multiclass you choose to make yourself less good at what your original class was doing. No one is saying you can't play a character like that. But you should be aware that the first time you take a level outside of your first class you are giving up the ability to ever get the capstone ability for your any class. Sometimes that trade is worth it - A friend of mine just became a Ranger 15 / Fighter 1 in the game I run and that says to me that the ranger capstone probably isn't good enough.

note that in Pathfinder Online, skill system will be open-ended. so, in 2.5 years, i become Ranger 10/Fighter 10, and you become Fighter 20. you get cap-stone ability. 2.5 years later, i become Ranger 10/Fighter 20, and you become Ranger 10/Fighter 20. i don't get cap-stone ability.

doesn't that strike you as odd?

Goblin Squad Member

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Matthew Trent wrote:
Blazej wrote:
One thing that I didn't like in there though was how the capstone would be handled. Two characters with all the fighter badges both have one cleric skill, but one of them gets a capstone because one took the cleric skill early on and the second only took it after achieving the capstone. It doesn't really sit nice and good with me.

Rewarding players for sticking with it and staying focused in their class is one of the core points of distinction between pathfinder and D&D. Your exact unhappiness is the same that a George a Fighter 19/ Cleric 1 feels when he looks over at his Fighter 20 friend named Elmer.

Gorge: "Hey man, need a hit from my Cure Light Wounds wand?"
Elmer: "Nah. Got two crits on the first round and killed the monster before it could make a full attack."

But that isn't my problem with the proposed system.

While I agree that rewarding players for sticking with it is part of Pathfinder this seem less like rewarding the dedicated than punishing those who play different, this isn't about George with a Fighter 19/Cleric 1 looking over at Elmer's Fighter 20.

This is about George with a Fighter 19/Cleric 2 looking at Elmer's Fighter 20/Cleric 1.

Despite being a very similar character, both with the same ability to do healing with that wand, George is forever barred from a capstone because of the order he did things while Elmer will always be able to get what George can do.

In Pathfinder, it makes sense in that there are (pretty much) only those 20 levels and after that you don't continue choosing other classes to keep leveling. In Pathfinder, to really get that capstone, you couldn't just say "I'll take cleric levels after I get the capstone," you had to never take levels in another class. If we were to draw that reward/cost into Pathfinder Online, then getting a capstone would mean that you would no longer even have the option to train any other archetype's skill again.

In fact, the scenario you mention is exactly why I don't like this design. It has one character lag behind forever for no good reason.


GunnerX169 wrote:
I'm sorry, but I find this absolutely false. Yes you will always be "ahead." Yes it might take 3-6 months to get in a T2 fit battleship with all the other appropriate support skills, but that's all you need for any PvE in the game. In PvP you can go Rifter Hero on day 1. You can always use more tackle.

I agree with most of what you are saying, and generally speaking I love the EVE skill system. I'm excited that PFO is going in this direction, and I look forward to it making a @#$%-hot game as a result.

In the context of the original comments though your own response is proof enough of my point (and the blog post acknowledges it too). The skill-point system in EVE causes a gap that effects game uptake amongst some users, even with friends in the game... my example being my wife. PVP is of no interest to her, and telling her to wait 3-6 months before we can enjoy the same sort of content is a good recipe to sleep on the couch. Especially when you factor in that any EVE player that hung around for longer term play (my wife included, past say a 3-6 month MMO burn-out period) would probably want to start diversifying and reach that point of realisation where they know they will never, ever catch up with older players, or even just me.

If I was talking about my workmates or other gaming friends where I enjoy a pseudo-competitive friendship then I think they (and I) would argue in favour of the same points you make, but with my wife I would love to see there's at least a slow option to close the gap when parties on both side make the deliberate choice. EVE doesn't offer this, short of saying "Oh, I'll stop growing my main until she catches up"... not an attractive choice.

Goblin Squad Member

another note:
requirements for item use - is there any chance to not have requirements for items? is there possibility to let anyone use any item, but have attributes/skills/abilities enhance such use?

i'm fine with special abilities having requirements for use, but a sword is a sword. if i can pick it up i should be able to use it, even if only as thrown item.


Jagga Spikes wrote:

note that in Pathfinder Online, skill system will be open-ended. so, in 2.5 years, i become Ranger 10/Fighter 10, and you become Fighter 20. you get cap-stone ability. 2.5 years later, i become Ranger 10/Fighter 20, and you become Ranger 10/Fighter 20. i don't get cap-stone ability.

doesn't that strike you as odd?

You know, I was in favour of the proposed system until I read your post, now I'm convinced it needs tweaking... someone with 5 years of play time (although I think your numbers are off, 5 years = 40 levels not 30... assuming linear progression for the sake of comparison) is hardly 'gaming' the system to want a crack at another capstone, or 3-4 years of play time with diverse skill choices wanting their first.

What if the rate at which you accrue skill points towards a capstone is inversely proportional to your total 'level' of archetypal merit badges... with a hefty hit from levels 20 to 21 and a sliding scale beyond.

So a character that goes straight to Fighter 20 gets their capstone faster then a character that takes even a single side-step along the way. Because of the way your total skill point pool would be effected by slower progression, characters get a meaningful choice.

* Higher pool total and faster skill growth = stay with one class.
* Lower pool total and slower skill growth = feel free to spread out.

And the theory extends to a 5 year old character who is 20/20 and wants a crack at a second capstone... with stupidly slow skill-point accrual. At the end he may well be the first guy on the server with this setup, so its a tempting offer.

Describing a system like this sounds ridiculous in a table-top setting, but an MMO this would be trivial.

Osirion

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Jagga Spikes wrote:

note that in Pathfinder Online, skill system will be open-ended. so, in 2.5 years, i become Ranger 10/Fighter 10, and you become Fighter 20. you get cap-stone ability. 2.5 years later, i become Ranger 10/Fighter 20, and you become Ranger 10/Fighter 20. i don't get cap-stone ability.

doesn't that strike you as odd?

In eve each skill has five levels (designated in roman numerals I - V). Your character gains a set number of skill points per unit time biased on attributes.

Training a skill to level I costs 250 skill points. For our example lets assume this takes an hour.

Training a skill to level II costs 1414 skill points. This would take 4.6 hours (your skill points don't reset so you already had 250). 5.6 hours total.

Training a skill to level III costs 8000 skill points. This would take 26.3 hours or just over 1 day. 36 hours total.

Training a skill to level IV costs 45255 skill points. This takes 149 hours or just over six more days. 181 hours total.

Training a skill to level V costs 25600 skill points. In our example thats 843 more hours or 35 additional days. 1024 hours total (42.6 days).

IF training to the acquisition of merit badges that represent class levels follows a simular pattern then achieving Fighter 10 could be approximately as long as level III of a skill in eve compared to the level V skill of a level 20 fighter. This is a gross simplification and only a bit of a straw man since neither of know the details of how things will turn out.

IF that is true then the 2.5 year number that Ryan tossed out would give the whole system I outlined a multiplier of ~20. I do think that the effort of focusing your craft for 2.5 years is significantly greater than achieving level III in two skills (which would take approximately two months) and deserving of significantly greater recognition.

Goblin Squad Member

that's not the point. numbers were for example. point is that two players spend equal time and effort, yet get different result.

effect will be that everyone will suggest new player to stick to one class and get cap-stone, regardless of how new player would want to play otherwise. to get something after 2.5 years, that might or not benefit them then.

learning skills in EVE were removed for exact same reason. they became mandatory. question was not whether to learn them, only how soon. and fact that people didn't even bother to play the game during training made it worse.

Osirion

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Most people won't play for 2.5 years. The class I want to specialize in won't even be available at launch.

Do you really think that a Fighter 5/ Bard 5/ Paladin 5/ Ranger 5 is equal to a Paladin 20?

Do you think that all characters in eve with 20 million skill points are equally good?

Goblin Squad Member

Matthew Trent wrote:

Most people won't play for 2.5 years. The class I want to specialize in won't even be available at launch.

Do you really think that a Fighter 5/ Bard 5/ Paladin 5/ Ranger 5 is equal to a Paladin 20?

no. i'm saying that Ranger 5/Fighter 10 is equal to Ranger 5/Fighter 10, and therefore Ranger 10/Fighter 20 SHOULD be equal to Ranger 10/Fighter 20.

Quote:


Do you think that all characters in eve with 20 million skill points are equally good?

if they have same skills/levels, regardless of order they trained them, yes.

Goblin Squad Member

have to admit I am really liking what I am hearing. It's a very different approach to leveling and I'm curious to see how it evolves once you guys work out the full system

Goblin Squad Member

it all sounds great to me other than how the capstones work, if new classes are added at a later date I would not want to have to start a new character just to be able to get their capstone. if the system let you have the first capstone you became eligible for instead then you could work on raising skills until the class you wanted was released.

Goblin Squad Member

I have to throw my hat in with Jagga here, punishing players for not going on a 'pure' build is going to create problems, least of all will be every 'Class' will be minimal variations of the same build.

I play WoW and get that. No thanks.

Capstones should (hopefully) be available no matter in what order you get the skills. A person who plays Fighter 6/Bard 6 and a person who plays Fighter 12 are different characters. Fighter/Bard will never have the attack bonus, hit-points or feat-selection of the Pure Fighter, but will have access to spellcasting, more rounded saves and a much larger skill-pool that Pure Fighter ever will.

Now take those two again at level 26 (Again, for example, I know 'levels' don't exist per-se in Pathfinder Online) both players have ended up with Fighter 20/Bard 6.

Should the Pure Fighter be rewarded for playing the way he enjoyed, then starting a new 'class'? Hell yes. But why should the Fighter/Bard be punished for playing the way he enjoyed? Both characters have the same theoretical 'level', both have likely played just as long, both are equal in terms of player power, so why should the Capstone be denied to the person who took the 'longer' path to it?

EDIT:

Hell, if I get into the game and make my order Barbarian with a side of Horse-Breeder Crafter-class, why should I be punished for making a character that contributes to other players by supplying a source of transport when the other Barbarians just go "Hooray Cleave!" and provide nothing more than shredded Elves *cough* I mean Bandits?

That's another problem I see with the Capstones. Why would you make a PC to level as a Crafter or Merchant, as Goblinworks has stated they want a player-driven Economy, where we make everything from shoes and belt-buckles to weapons, armor and even housing, if you will be denied the 'best' or 'capstone' ability for not automatically picking the 'straight' path?

Goblin Squad Member

I have no problem that a F1 / C1 / F19 is worse than an F20 / C1 because, as it has been said in the blog, the ramifications will be explained and if I am intent on gimping my char I will have to click "yes" and then life by it.

I just think that if the capstone abilities seem rather powerful and multiclssing will not then there will not be alot of multiclassing.

Alternatively the complete opposite may be possible: if the capstones are meh and single classing very prohibitive then we will see many multi-classers.

Finally all of this could change before or in the game at any time.

Goblin Squad Member

Actually thinking about it, yeah that does sound like an issue if it is that way, what if rather then the multiclassing being what stops the capstone, maybe just make it so that taking a capstone blocks it out, that or just throw a hard cap on the total number of skills. Personally I am in favor of specialization is better at that specialty then a multiclass should be, but I also agree that it makes absolutely no sense that 2 characters who are fighter 20/Rogue 5, but one took his level of rogue at 14, and the other took it as his 21st, there should not be large variances.

If the total number of skills were to be capped, that I would be fine with. say you rewarded specialization by say making only 25 levels total available, or even say making it so that after 20 levels it takes 2x longer to level all skills etc...

Goblin Squad Member

HalfOrcHeavyMetal wrote:

...

That's another problem I see with the Capstones. Why would you make a PC to level as a Crafter or Merchant, as Goblinworks has stated they want a player-driven Economy, where we make everything from shoes and belt-buckles to weapons, armor and even housing, if you will be denied the 'best' or 'capstone' ability for not automatically picking the 'straight' path?

RAW, i'd say Crafter and Merchant will be class with their own cap-abilities (pun!).

or crafter and merchant skills will not be considered archetype skills, therefore not preventing you from getting caps.

Lantern Lodge

I love how the developers seem to take a different approach instead of building a stereotype MMO without passion, I really think that this game will be successful. :)

A little question I've never seen anyone ask yet: will there be playable Prestige Classes in the game? I may have missed it, but I don't think Goblinworks has brought up that thing in their blog.

EDIT: Thanks Micman!

Goblin Squad Member

Goblinworks Blog wrote:
...in time we intend to add additional development paths to simulate prestige classes.

Qadira Goblin Squad Member

The thing that bothers me about the progression model is that archetypes (as defined by PFRPG) are not going to be in the game at the beginning. So if I want to play a Magician Bard (for example), will I be able to make my existing Bard a Magician with no major penalties when the archetype is implemented? Or will I have "missed my chance?"

I'm also not a fan of the use of the term "archetype" to define the core classes in PFO. It leaves me wondering what the PFRPG archetypes will be called. (See the overuse of "level" in PFRPG.)


Great post, thanks for the detailed information on the game development and please keep it coming!

My main concern also relates to the capstone abilities, but not just the order in which they are received. I'm more concerned with whether they really fit with this design at all. It seems counter to the design goal of letting late comers participate in a meaningful way to have an ability that requires 2.5 years to learn. Either it's a powerful ability, in which new players are out-of-luck for the first 2.5 years; or it's a trivial ability, and then you wonder why you spent all that time learning it.

I'd much rather favor a system where specialization costs exponential time and gives linear rewards. So, any important ability to being a Fighter should be something you can learn fairly early. Additional time would make you a (slightly) better fighter, not a different one.

Goblin Squad Member

You're definitely going down the right path here, with skills being prerequisites for levels. I have always despised how generic "xp" points lead to leveling, it's a boring system that leaves little room for improvement and makes leveling characters of any class exactly the same experience. Making skills the primary goal makes classes play styles distinctly unique and makes for a much more flavorful game.

I'm not a huge fan of setting a level cap of 20 and having that goal be in 2 1/2 years for the "hardcore". I understand you're probably shooting for making some unique ability for each of the 20 levels and each level mean something important so in that case 20 is enough, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary. I would rather see you hand out the unique abilities where you see fit on the level progression and give some other "cookies" for leveling, not stuff that takes a lot of development time (improved stats for instance). Then you could "soft cap" the levels, essentially no cap but with increased difficulty and eventually skills won't be able to progress high enough to gain the level. You could still do capstone-like abilities at level X for single-progression line players. No hard caps, no end game, would be what I would shoot for in this game, you've got the core ideas for it.


I guess what strikes me most about the capstone abilities is this line from the blog: "Capstone-level characters should be unique, powerful individuals not commonly encountered."

You can't have that in an MMO. If something makes you unique and powerful, then everyone will eventually get it. Then they're no longer unique, and they're not powerful in relation to each other. They're only powerful in relation to new players who don't yet have it.

What must make you unique and powerful is you as a player, not your character. Your experience, your dedication and knowledge, your social network and allegiances, and your intelligence. Character development should facilitate this, but it should not replace it.


I really like the fact that they're aware of the power creep present in games such as DDO, because of how players interact with both "regular" enemies and cosmic threats which get increasingly more "epic".

Sure, have dragons for an example in the game - but never make it so that nothing less than a large group of players will be able to deal with one.

No Gods, no god-avatars, no major demons, no angels, etc.

Goblin Squad Member

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Matthew Trent wrote:
Blazej wrote:
One thing that I didn't like in there though was how the capstone would be handled. Two characters with all the fighter badges both have one cleric skill, but one of them gets a capstone because one took the cleric skill early on and the second only took it after achieving the capstone. It doesn't really sit nice and good with me.

Rewarding players for sticking with it and staying focused in their class is one of the core points of distinction between pathfinder and D&D. Your exact unhappiness is the same that a George a Fighter 19/ Cleric 1 feels when he looks over at his Fighter 20 friend named Elmer.

Gorge: "Hey man, need a hit from my Cure Light Wounds wand?"
Elmer: "Nah. Got two crits on the first round and killed the monster before it could make a full attack."

The problem with this thought is that there isn't an actual level cap. So while George doesn't have the fighter capstone and Elmer does, at their 21st level, George takes Fighter 20 (Now Fighter 20/Cleric 1), and Elmer takes Bard 1 (Now Fighter 20/Bard 1).

In Pathfinder, they both now have the Fighter keystone, even though George got it a level later. In PFO, George loses out permanently, because he didn't wait that extra amount of time.

As others have said, either the keystone abilities will be amazingly powerful and people will play an un-fun build to get it ("I really want to have a bit of magic with my fighter, but I can't do it until I finally make it to level 20, or I'll miss out on being able to use Uberdeath."), or it'll be mediocre/trivial and people won't care about it. The middle road of "It's useful, but not broken" can't happen when it's possible to permanently give it up, because of the polarizing effect of the opportunity cost. When my choices are "Spend 3 months working towards level 20 in fighter" or "Spend 3 months gaining 5 levels of wizard", that single ability needs to be equivalent utility to 5 levels of wizard. Or bard. Or cleric. Or barbarian. And it's impossible to be equivalent to all of those, unless things are overly generic. So either it's good enough to be worth it, or it isn't.

By making it so you get the capstone at level 20 regardless of what else you've done, it becomes a reward for reaching that level rather than a comparison to what else you could do. Yes, you might decide that right now 5 levels of barbarian will help you more, but after that it'll be worth getting that 20th level.

----------------

Some other possible ways to implement the same concept in a more friendly manner:

  • You only get the capstone for the first class you reach 20 in. You could go from Fighter 19 to Fighter 19/Cleric 20, get the cleric capstone, then go to Fighter 20/Cleric 20 and still only have the cleric capstone.
  • You get all the capstones, but can only use one at a time, and possibly have to spend some small amount of skill-time on switching, or can only switch between learning skills. Basically, you have them all, but you have to make a choice between them that you can't trivially change.
  • You get the most recent capstone. If you go from Fighter 19/Cleric 20, to Fighter 20/Cleric 20, you permanently lose the cleric capstone and gain the fighter one. This would lead most people to only get one class to 20.
  • You just get all the capstones, and can use them as much as you're able to. No restrictions based on multiclassing.

    Personally, I like #1 the best, although I could go for #2.


  • varka wrote:
    GunnerX169 wrote:
    I'm sorry, but I find this absolutely false. Yes you will always be "ahead." Yes it might take 3-6 months to get in a T2 fit battleship with all the other appropriate support skills, but that's all you need for any PvE in the game. In PvP you can go Rifter Hero on day 1. You can always use more tackle.

    I agree with most of what you are saying, and generally speaking I love the EVE skill system. I'm excited that PFO is going in this direction, and I look forward to it making a @#$%-hot game as a result.

    In the context of the original comments though your own response is proof enough of my point (and the blog post acknowledges it too). The skill-point system in EVE causes a gap that effects game uptake amongst some users, even with friends in the game... my example being my wife. PVP is of no interest to her, and telling her to wait 3-6 months before we can enjoy the same sort of content is a good recipe to sleep on the couch. Especially when you factor in that any EVE player that hung around for longer term play (my wife included, past say a 3-6 month MMO burn-out period) would probably want to start diversifying and reach that point of realisation where they know they will never, ever catch up with older players, or even just me.

    If I was talking about my workmates or other gaming friends where I enjoy a pseudo-competitive friendship then I think they (and I) would argue in favour of the same points you make, but with my wife I would love to see there's at least a slow option to close the gap when parties on both side make the deliberate choice. EVE doesn't offer this, short of saying "Oh, I'll stop growing my main until she catches up"... not an attractive choice.

    Well, you could jump in a frigate and run L1s with her in the meantime couldn't you? So she can't join you in an incursion fleet, yet. How much real difference is there between her not playing while you run incursions, and her not playing while you run incursions and her character is training to catch up? It's like saying I'll never catch up to that guy in WoW because as soon as I get to level 80 he will have trained a second character to 80, as soon as I get tier x gear they will have tier x+1 gear. Yep they can do more stuff better then you, but they have to get in a different ship, or log in another character in WoW, to do that other stuff. And then 80% the ability in 20% of the time.

    My real point is the illusion of the gap is a much greater barrier then the actual gap.

    I'm sorry to belabor this, but it's an absolute BS argument and I must crush it whenever I see it.

    -----

    Other things I wanted to comment on.

    I too am concerned with the capstones. I'm not entirely happy with the archetypes for that matter. Classes are my second biggest complaint with DnD (after not having a sexy bellcurve, D20 should have been 2d10, or better yet 3d6). It always bothered me, for instance, that I couldn't really play a gentrified educated knight without a pile of useless and/or out of character abilities. Yeah I can play a paladin to get the Knowledge: Nobility, and Diplomacy skills I should have for politicking, but I don't want to be a Holy warrior of righteousness. I can multiclass rogue for the extra skillpoints, but why does my mounted combat focused, full plate wearing character have sneak attack and uncanny dodge? The only path that kind of worked was 2 levels of fighter 1 of bard, where at least the inspire type abilities were moderately in character. The spells, even if they weren't completely out of character RP-wise, were almost completely useless in my full plate.

    I was really hoping for a step back from the "core classes" into some more generalized skill groups. I was hoping we would be able to create our own mix and match archetypes. Why does every paladin have to be the same? Why can't I make a Templar (Ret-spec?) while he makes a Hospitaller (holy-spec?)? Why does paladin (Fighter/Cleric) get to be "core" in the first place when the Magicknight (Fighter/Mage or even the elf from way back in basic), and Shadowblade (Rogue/Mage) don't?

    I was hoping they would try an overcome these limits rather then embracing them as a core part of the game. C'est la vie.

    Goblinworks Executive Founder

    Belafon wrote:


    I'm also not a fan of the use of the term "archetype" to define the core classes in PFO. It leaves me wondering what the PFRPG archetypes will be called. (See the overuse of "level" in PFRPG.)

    Base Class not Core. You make a good point as then there would need to be a new term for variations on those "Base" archetypes.

    Perhaps if we do a bit of bastardization and call them Core Archetypes? There can be other Archetypes that are slight modifications of the Core Archetype.

    Although in the end even the Core base classes are just the most common Archtypes on a theme. Lets take the odd ball that is the Magus, in a Class based game building a holistic Gish is hard without certain abilites. In a more open skill based system that is simply blinding Warrior and Caster skills with certain supporting abilities. Get the ones that follow the pre-defined path that is the Magus and thus you are a Magus, and can eventually reach the Magus Capstone.

    I'll agree with others, "deviate and lose all chance at a capstone" is not a good idea. It is especially bad when new "Classes" from the P&P game get added or even new Archtypes in P&P sense. If I understand the logic GoblinWorks doesn't want to see a Double Dip of what would be a Barbarian 20/Fighter 20 getting the cap-stone pre-reques for both very quickly after each other.

    I have a suggestion that may sound a bit like Learning Skills but could be a possible solution. Make Core Archtypes a selectable switch. For example I pick Barbarian as my Core Archtype. It accrues Skill Points at a rate equivalent to that of the character. Effectively an Archtype is Double the Skill Points of all needed skills. Thus to achieve a Cap Stone in the 2.5 (still seems too long) years someone who focuses nothing but Barbarian. Gets there the fastest. Someone who goes Fighter who then wants to become a Barabarian must now "fill" the Barbarian Archtype which will take a base 2.5 years to fill even with most of the same prereque skills they still won't arrive at it any faster.

    Now take that Ranger 5 / Fighter 10 and his twin sister Ranger 10 / Fighter 5. Each has changed their Core Archtype (and thus gained access to "feats" and "class" abilities) Over time. In the end, over 5 years they will both reach Ranger 20/Fighter 20.

    That Fighter 20 vs Fighter 19/Cleric 1 can still even out. Just the Fighter 20 gets to the Capstone first.

    Does that possibly solve the issue? You could even tie more potent "class" abilities to those. That way a Bard couldn't suddenly jump track and pickup mid-level Magus powers. Dispite how closely related they are.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Overall, I like what I read, and it mirrors ideas I had of what would be good for a Pathfinder-type MMO. However, while I liked the concept of EVE-style skill training, one thing that always grated on my nerves is the lack of control I had over it. It frustrated me when I was willing to put in the time and effort to improve my skills, but was unable to do so. That's my main complaint about that system.

    However, I like Varka's idea of higher-skill players being able to "donate" their skill points or whatever to newer players to help them get up closer to their "level".

    Regarding the capstone, I think players should not be limited to just the one, but able to get all of them by getting 20 merits in each archetype. However, only one capstone power/ability should be active at any time. The player can then switch capstones (either for free or for a cost).

    Goblinworks Executive Founder

    I would like to echo the concerns of the folks who have issue with losing out on capstone abilities. If 20 levels are gained for a certain archetype then the capstone for that archetype should be gained, regardless of whether or not the character "multiclassed". If you get a masters degree one year before someone else, your degree is not better then theirs, you just got it sooner because they spent a year doing something else.


    Hi all, first off I'd like to say I like the article quite a bit but the discussion on here has inspired me to respond a bit.

    First of the usual "I'm a newbie to the forums but my pedigree is", played dozens of MMO's (including EVE, WOW, LOTRO and most recently SWTOR) and have been serving under the RPG yoke for almost 3 decades.

    Lots of people are talking about more than 20 class levels and the interaction capstone abilities will have when you get more than 20 class levels.
    Now, my take on the article is this, you won't ever get more than 20 class levels.
    PFRPG limits you to 20 class levels and I suspect the MMO will do likewise.
    "surely this will limit progression immensely I hear you cry"..
    "Of course not" is my response. Why?

    Well it all hinges on what Ryan was saying when he started talking about the reversal of level/skill relationship.
    I envision the following.

    You build up some of your skills to a point where you qualify to choose a class "feature" based on the skill levels you currently possess. This is the archetype badge that is mentioned.
    If your skills allow it and you choose to do so, at this point you can choose a merit badge for the archetype you want.
    You continue to build skills and reach your second milestone, you get to pick a second archetype merit badge.
    All of this is already covered in what's been said before.

    I suspect, and this is what diverges from teh arguments put forward thus far, is that you will only "ever" get to pick 20 of these archetype merit badges (prestige class implementation not withstanding).

    Once you hit 20 merit badges you will be unable to achieve any more "class" merit badges and by association you will not get any more "class" abilities.

    Nothing will stop you getting higher "skills", but as the skills in PFRPG are nothing to do with the various class' abilities (fighting, spellcasting, divine healing etc.) this is absolutely fine and does not restrict choice.

    Therefore taking 20 merit badges as fighter "will" give you the capstone for fighter where taking 18 fighter and 2 cleric will "not".
    But conversely the 20 merit badge fighter will never be able to learn "any" Cleric class abilities.
    They can't get any more archetype merit badges!

    This is going to be a very real choice for your character and, as a core element of the games basic design, will have a real and permanent affect on what you will be able to do.

    This is of course "all" supposition and prediction and is no less "right" than anyone else opinion.

    Regards
    JohnC


    Can someone give me a recap of what was said? I can't access the blog from work.

    Goblinworks Executive Founder

    I understand where your coming from JohnC and I had a similar thought myself, but then there would be no point in traing any archetype skills after achieving 20 merit badges.

    The blog entry specifically says that skills will provide no direct benefits to your character. They only provide access to merit badges which grant abilities.

    Later in the entry it says that after you get the capstone ability you will be able to continue progressing in another archetype. This implies that you will continue earing merit badges beyond the 20th.

    Permanently removing the option for a capstone is a punishment for lack of focus from my point of view.

    For those who cannot acces the site directly, you can add the blog feed here: http://page2rss.com/3bd4af8597c272f050dac73f683d9357

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