|Alexander_Damocles Goblin Squad Member|
|Misere Goblin Squad Member|
Time does equal power or it wouldn't be an RPG. If you are unlocking new abilities and near tiers of equipment time = power. The only question is how much power. If you are fighting someone just as good at you at the game (player skillcap) even a 10% difference is insurmountable unless the RNG gods smite a particular player.
At equal levels of resources (XP/Time/Gear) PvP in MMO's is fun. It's like a cross between magic the gathering (character skillset + RNG) and reflexes (FPS). At unequal levels of resources with the impossibility of ever competing equally, much of that fun goes away.
So, you want to be just as good as the guy who specialized, but also have extra abilities? If you want to be the very best PvP player, then sure, focus on your combat skills. If you want to be a hybrid, then that is a *choice* you make. The only way to make the game you want work is to make leveling be quicker and have a level cap, both of which are not what Goblin Works is doing. I can want Jedi and Timelords in my Pathfinder Online all day long, but at the end of the day, that isn't the game they are making.
Time does equal power or it wouldn't be an RPG.
In Eve, isn't it true that you can "max out" your skills with, for example, Frigates? From that point on, isn't it true that no amount of additional training will ever make you "better" at Frigates?
And is there a reason you're ignoring my question in this post?
@Nihimon, depending on what area of PvP you want to focus in, you can max out relevant skills in a relatively short period of time.
For example, if you want to be a Tackler (pin down enemy ships, prevent them from escaping), then there really isn't that many skills you need to train, and training them to maximum won't take too long. You need to be able to use Interceptors (Tech 2 Frigates), and a few modules really well.
I answered it way back, and I think you missed it. Eve's epic fleet battles always held marginal interest for me. I enjoy skirmishes between smaller groups of players more than zerg battles with ultra-specialized roles.
If you want general purpose small scale (3-4) players in Eve you probably don't want to cap your Frigate skills, unless you're the designated tackler, everyone else is probably in a tech 2 larger ship. I'm assuming players won't be able to "warp out" in PFO and there will be far less specialization in battle.
The game isn't PvP in nature, it's MMO in nature. The people that are heavily PvPing will either be criminals, or bounty hunters, working within the law, outside of safe areas, or through totally legitimate channels. The game is focused on economy and adventuring, not attacking everyone you see.
I wouldn't expect 'PvP skills', i would expect 'Combat Skills' which everyone is training. I hate when games separate PvE and PvP skill sets.
I'll say it again:
Time = Options
and I'll add:
Options != Power
That has been made clear to us by GW. If you are losing to someone who is ahead of you, it is because they are better than you or you just started the game and ran off into the wild with no equipment. Nothing in nature is equal to anything else in nature, equality is a theory and nothing more.
RPG stands for: Role Playing Game
RPG does not entail advancement.
GW has made it clear that they aren't interested in a power advancement system, and don't want players to feel gimped just because they haven't been in the game since day 1. We know there will be a period of 'catch up' time, but you will soon be able to play with the general population.
And no matter how a game is designed options = power. If you just gained the "option" to sleep 5 people, that's a ton of power in PvP. Likewise if you just gained the "option" to heal yourself, or the "option" to perform a 3 second stun attack. Or, the "option" to do a knockdown. Or, track someone...well, you get the idea.
Exactly and "sandbox" means play around and do what you will. The flaw of Eve's specific skill system within Eve's sandbox is that every possible activity you could engage in is a skill. Needing backhoes level 3 to harvest a higher dollar value type of cabbage is insanity.
Perhaps if there were plenty of economically viable activities that had no skill/time requirements to do Eve would have alot more players. It's why they are introducing gameplay systems that fall into that category with World of Darkness and calling them "Coffeeshop Elements".
If PFO is doing that same thing I'm gold. I can specialize for PvP combat, be decent at PvE combat, and have a variety of economically viable activities to engage in that don't require huge time sinks for those times when my regular group isn't on and I don't feel like fighting.
I know at least for me it would be. The Spartan type soldier raised to do nothing but fight from birth is the exception to the rule, not the rule. But in gaming where PVP is dominated by min-maxers it is the rule. Forcing them to diversify a bit and thus making non min-maxers competitive is good.
Sorry I missed it. Would you mind just answering it again, so I don't have to try to parse through 200 posts?
Would it be acceptable to you if everyone was forced to diversify a little bit, by spending maybe 10% of their training time training something outside of their archetype? That way, you could spend 10% of your time training other stuff, but wouldn't feel like you were missing out on your archetype training because you couldn't spend that time training your archetype skills anyway.
It's worth noting that in the early parts of Eve beta the only content that was time gated was manufacturing, ship class, and module classes. The only ship types in the game were frigates and cruisers.
Minerals took less time to harvest if you had higher grades of mining lasers, but it went fairly fast regardless and there was no limit to what type of stuff you could harvest with even starter lasers.
There were no dedicated mining ships, since only those 2 classes of ship were in the game. A dedicated mining ship would be the cruiser with the biggest hold (we had 4 frigates and 2 cruisers per race) loaded with mining equipment, not one specifically specialized for mining. All minerals also took up the same amount of space in the hold, so you could make immense amounts of money very quickly if you got hold of something good. Scouting and hunting for rich deposits of rare minerals in dangerous space was the best way to turn a profit.
There also weren't time gates on trading aspects or contract creation, and since everyone was in similarly capable ships making a profit trading was about spotting good deals and moving quickly on them.
At that early stage of beta, in spite of all the bugs, the game was fundamentally more fun, and arguably much more of a sandbox; than it is today.
/edit: Oh, and clones and insurance weren't in the game. Dying was made less harsh only by the fact that getting back on your feet was pretty reasonable.
Nihimon, here ya go:
What I really don't get is how some of you use the argument: "Real-time training systems allow me to keep up with my friends, even if they play more than I do..." then go on to state that time does not equal power.
Even so, I still find it incredulous to state that more options does not equate to power. Unless "leveling up" provides a series of redundant abilities (I think it's pretty obvious to say that I find this quite unlikely..), then options do indeed equate to power.
Marou, coming from a tabletop background, RPG means something different than coming from a video game background.
And it is entirely possible to develop a game with no perfect strategy, making perfect player skill literally mathematically impossible. RPS, with one player winning on ties, is the trivial example.
I agree with you. I think that with an immense amount of theory-craft and play-testing; in a turn based system that splits time into finite chunks such as 6 seconds, where players are choosing their actions at the beginning of a turn, and there is a large buffer of time for people to make decisions on the optimal course of action within that six seconds. Aiming and avoidance of course being pure RNG.---------------------------------------
Real time combat is much more messy, factors like lag and reflexes enter the equation. Snap judgement, battlefield awareness, line of sight, kiting, interrupts, massively reduced usefulness of skills with "cast times". All things that don't come into play at all in turn based systems, or play vastly differently than they do in real-time. In real time games utility and controlling effects become the most powerful abilities. Controlling the fight means much more than raw damage because 10 seconds of control could insure victory. In turn based games this isn't the same, because members of the party can use abilities to remove negative effects with one of their actions; instead of having to be hyper aware in realtime. Also, fights probably last much longer than 12-18 seconds.
It's much more exciting and player skill means more in a real-time system, but it's impossible to balance perfectly. Instead it's reasonable to aim for "good enough, we'll buff and nerf as needed". Class based systems being far easier to balance than skill based piecemeal ones. Goblinworks has a huge task ahead in that one that I don't envy at all.
I'd be curious to see how they will handle nerfed templates where real months were invested, but that's too far in the future to speculate on.
One way to help players to be able to diversify skills while still being competent fighters/ mages would be to make the merit badge to gain your new ability take long enough that one would be able to train a few side skills without sacrificing much archetype skill leveling time. For example your last skill to be a 15 merit fighter is swordsmanship skill rank 4, training to rank 4 swordsmanship takes 2 weeks and the merit badge requirement say kill 1000 targets while using a sword would take days or weeks to complete, during which you could raise your fletching to be able to produce up to +1 arrows which takes less time, say 3 days to raise, this could be trained while the player is out in the game world in between finishing his archetype skill training and actually earning his archetype merit badges. While dedicated crafters whom are going for craft only skills would be on +5 arrows and be diversifying by training to make better and better longbows, crossbows or adding the fiery ability to their crafted items. In a system that’s going to take 2.5 years to reach capstone I believe there could be plenty of time to add a side skill or two at a competitive level without making pure crafting players suffer. The only part that would slow you down is actually stopping to make a few arrows, I believe that the amount of time required could be similar to what would be need in a skill through usage system. This is as was already said all about pacing and there’s no reason to think that skilling only straight class skills or crafting is even going to be a slightly efficient way to go.
@Nonexistent, I think that's a great way to make it work. I've often wondered whether or not we'd be blocked from learning the next rank of a skill if there was a Merit Badge associated with the prior rank. If that's true, and if it also applies to Archetypes as a whole, so that I can't train any Archetype skills while I'm working on my Archetype Merit Badge, that would definitely open up the free time to diversify. And it would also create a very strong sense that there was something in-game that players could be doing to advance their character. I hope you're right about this because I'm really not happy with my multi-channel solution.
@Valkenr, there actually was a bit of a hint in the blog that some Merit Badges would only require a particular skill to be trained.
Most merit badges require that you first finish training a specific skill or skills. Some also require that you do something in-game...
Most merit badges require that you first finish training a specific skill or skills. Some also require that you do something in-game, such as harvest a certain amount of resources, or slay a certain number of monsters, or explore a portion of the map.
I read that in the blogs as:
- Some (most) merit badges are related to progressing in skills, and require that you first finish training a specific skill.
- Some merit badges require multiple skills as precursors to earning the badge in game.
- Some merit badges are not related to skills, but recognize players for notable achievements. These badges recognize combat, exploration, harvesting, and other achievement.
But yes, there might be room for merit badges that only require skill training time, and no action in game. I'm not sure, but I thought something was said in the forums that all merit badges would require some in-game action.
Okay I have not been able to read all 200 posts so forgive me if I missed something but here is my opinion on the issues and way some are valid/invalid or pointless. as well as why I want use to learn instead of time to learn. spoilers just go more in depth if you dont get my point.
use to learn doesnt mean firing spells at the sky( though that happens with poor design)
1. the blog states that use to learn results in players doing funny things like swinging swords at nothing, this can be prevented by using the mabinogi system of skills, which requires certain things to be done a number of times, ie swords
hit enemy 15 times
as you can see swinging at open air is not going to help level anything
didnt someone say that a lvl 5 would be a useful ally to a lvl 20 and not a liability that will die in one hit?
2. They state that it keeps players on an even playing field however this is not really applicable for 2 reasons, first they stated that a lvl5 player would be useful enough for lvl 20 players to want to play with lvl 5s and second with the exception of the first few groups people will be joining at various times and thus be at different lvls regardless of using any particular system.
why would I care about being a few lvls behind if I am still a valuable ally to my friends? what about friends I met in game who started long before me and would be higher lvl anyway? people who spend more time playing are no different then people who joined up before me.
when most everyone starts at different times then why keep an "even" playing field based on when you started?
3. how many players are going to play mostly with friends that joined at the same time? they are the only ones who would notice a growing difference of lvls
which could be lessened by using a "mentor" system where the lower lvl char gets more of whatever increases lvls(exp, time, etc) while being mentored.
if I am not required for lvl up of my char(in at least one aspect, ie skill lvl) then why include it at all? why not badges alone? or start at max?
4. time based also means that my character gets better regardless of what I do, so since my actions are pointless in achieving anything and all fun comes from doing other things, then why not start me off at max and let me do any of the other things? or at least not require anything other then the badges.
really should be part of 3 but, how is a player with 1 yr of game time balanced with a player of only 3 mo of game time and how does that differ from a casual(once a week) vs hardcore(hrs a day) player?
Someone at rencon gave the following advice, reward players for achieving the goal, if the goal is to have rp then reward that, dont allow mechanics to limit it no matter how make sense they might be.
so is the goal of the game to have fun or to wait?
note the goal of the game is to be fun whatever the sub-goals, the goal of making money is of the company and any smart man only needs an amazing product(ie game) to render complicated business plans moot.(though an adequate one is always good)
lastly(for now) the blog mentioned that time based avoids dead end builds but use to learn also avoids dead end builds, or can at least.
short version is that the time based doesn't meet stated goals except in limited cases, other aspects render stated goals almost moot, and use to learn avoids the recognized downfalls.
Time based is really a good system that I will be happy to see. What I really DON'T want to see is a cut and paste of EVE's system.
I think the main upsides to a time based system vs. a skill use system is that:
1.It doesn't give a HUGE advantage to people with no responsibilities and social lives that do nothing but sit and play the game ALL day long.
2. It allows a player to enjoy their time more. In a usage = skill game, someone who wants to be a warrior will feel forced to go out and fight things to further this goal. Every minute spent doing something like role-playing, exploring, talking in taverns etc. is considered "Lost XP." Having the pressure of XP gains lifted from your shoulders really allows you to stop, smell the roses, and enjoy the game a lot more.
3. While it doesn't balance a party of players who all started at different times it DOES balance out players who all join at the same time and devote an equal amount of time to training their combat skills.
The downsides are:
1. It makes meaningless any activity that you aren't already nearly 100% proficient at. There is no point mining copper and making crappy daggers when you can slay dragons and sell their skin and their horde of treasure for enough money to make ten thousand copper daggers. It tends to lead to super specialized characters with no variety in gameplay. Especially since people can buy a 2nd account and easily train two characters at the same time. Having a single character in a game like EVE dooms you to specialize entirely to keep up with the pure combat alts, or be a weak hybrid who gets stomped by them. They already have the advantage of having more skills an being able to run a 2nd computer in the background where one character is harvesting while the other is playing. Seriously one of my friends has 4-5 accounts on EVE and runs mining operations on his own complete with a combat character to cover the rest.
2. If a player DOES start behind his friends, short of his friends stopping their skill training to wait for him to catch up there is no way they will EVER get as strong as their buddies. There is this feeling of despair in EVE when you realize "No matter how long I play, the people who have been here longer will always have more support skills and be able to fly more powerful ships."
The fix is:
1. Give class progression rather than skill progression. Where you level your main class and then invest the points into the skills you want including crafting skills. OR give free or practically free unskilled labor skills. Either way it is important to a game like this to allow a fighter some crafting skills or you are handing an advantage so huge to people with two or more accounts that you will lose a massive amount of the people who only want to play one.
2. Make the level 20 "capstone" the strongest a combat character will ever get. All training after that should promote variety in what we can do. We should not be able to walk out the door with all the full powered abilities of multiple classes at the same time. Just because we start first does not mean we should be the gods of this game who will forever dominate the peons who dare start later.
@andius #2 downsides
I think that's already the general idea. I have a feeling the system is going to be a very complicated one where you have to memorize a web of intertwining abilities and requirements to use those abilities, if you are going to be branching out alot.
Simply making the 20th badge the 'highest power' isn't enough, and i get the general feeling that that will not be the case with this game. Ryan has told us that the 'catch up' time will be relatively short for new players, and that he doesn't want people being more powerful simply because they have more skills trained. I take this as meaning that if i start a ranger, I will be able to get my archery up to a competitive level with other players. They will have, say, more techniques that i do, but each of these techniques aren't more powerful, they are balanced to the 'general' technique by advantages and disadvantages.
If you look at global agenda, one month after launch, it was the most balanced game i have ever played. As you progressed in level, you were given more equipment options, the new equipment wasn't better, it was simply a new way to play. The imbalance started to show when people had farmed PVE missions enough to build mods and start getting 21% bonus' to certain stats. If it wasn't for the mods, the game was perfectly balanced. It is entirely possible to make a system where the character is given a 'general' ability, and is then given more options adding to some aspects and taking away from others.
Back to the ranger example: I start with proficiency in medium range/tension bow at 'bow rank 1', which takes 5 minutes to train in RT. The next rank gives me access to a short bow, which has increased accuracy, but shorter max distance. The next rank gives me access to a longbow, which gives me increased distance, but lower accuracy. The next rank and following ranks give me access to bows that tweak the stats, such as a higher tension bow that has a higher usage-cost but slightly increased stats. As the ranks progress the usage for the bow becomes more and more specialized. The starting bow can do everything, but if you have a specific bow for a specific situation you are able to handle that situation much quicker. Everything ends up being a hot mess of range, accuracy, and cost relationship equations resulting, hopefully, in balanced combat.
Now people just need to get this idea of power progression out of their minds. A balanced playing field is the first step in a great pvp system. MOBA's are doing very well because everyone is basically on the same 'power level' during end game. DCUO tried to do something similar, but failed to create a game with enough content to hold a player's attention, and there was too much alternate 'leveling' after max level through things like gear progression and achievements. And since a game like PFO starts in the end game, balance has to be throughout progression.
One lasts example: Wizard Fire Spell progression
It would be nice if PFO would break the mold and make a game that is fun to play, and doesn't focus on a players need to constantly gain more power. The MOBA genre is growing with this idea, let PFO make the jump to MMO.
It would be nice if PFO would break the mold and make a game that is fun to play, and doesn't focus on a players need to constantly gain more power. The MOBA genre is growing with this idea, let PFO make the jump to MMO.
If that is what they are going for it would be pretty awesome. I've believed in the idea of grindless MMOs for a long time but there are just too many people who believe that drastic power imbalances between players as a result of grinding is what keeps people playing games, and if skilled noobs can beat unskilled vets that nobody will want to play.
Not sure a D&D based game would be the best game to challenge that, but if it is, and it is even halfway decent, they'll have my sub, and many of my friends subs for a very long time.
D&D is probably a better setting than most. It already has a foundation of story and social interaction. You just swap 'getting more powerful' with 'getting more'
I don't think "grindless" will ever exist, there has to be some cost to improving your character. Handing people everything at the start is a good way to get bored players, there has to be something to work for, but it doesn't always have to be power. Depending on how often GW releases new skills, there could be no finite 'end' to the progression.
Handing people everything at the start is a good way to get bored players, there has to be something to work for, but it doesn't always have to be power.
By grindless MMO's I mean your character never increases seriously in combat capability. It can be done because Freelancer kept me engaged for five years when I could max my combat capability in five hours. I still had to trade for money that I used to reload missiles, and quite extensively in diplomatic bribes and the trade of systems.
It was the complete freedom, and interesting diplomacy, and second to none combat system that kept me playing.
Something like this could keep me playing for years even I started in the best armor in the game with full stats.
However the reason I say that is not good for D&D is D&D is about rising from a nobody commoner to a powerful warrior. It is about exploring for rare and exciting magical items with interesting properties.
This game needs progression in order to stay true to the Pathfinder format at all. I don't mind a curve that makes it so you gain your initial strength quickly, and there is little progression in power after that, but there needs to be the feel of striving to get stronger and a reason to delve into ancient ruins in search of powerful artifacts.
Not EVERY game needs that though.
But there's a psychology argument to be made on the other side as well: When I sit down to play my game, I want to have fun. Making 100 Copper Swords is not fun. It's tedious, and I hate it. It doesn't matter whether I click "Make All" and walk away to watch something on TV a la LOTRO or WoW, or whether I have to actively participate and respond to challenges a la Vanguard. Either was is maddeningly frustrating, and directly interferes with my ability to play the game.
You don't HAVE to do something that is not fun. Go on and do your own fun thing and let the ones that DO care to develop those skills or trees, etc., do them. If everyone can log off and become a master crafter by doing nothing but stacking abilities to train offline, there will be no value in becoming a master crafter. Imo, not everyone should be able to do everything right this minute. Becoming good at something should require some effort even if its just going out and farming parts in hostile territory. Same with combat stuffs. Those that care to put in the effort and TIME should be better at it. Even if its not a great lot better. The dedication should give them an edge.
If everyone can log off and become a master crafter by doing nothing but stacking abilities to train offline, there will be no value in becoming a master crafter.
I think this is fundamentally wrong.
First, the same argument could be made about any Adventuring class: "If you can't hack the mindless tedium associated with getting better at being a Wizard, then don't bother - leave it to the people who are willing to pay that price."
That's just silly. I'm paying to play the game because I want to play a Wizard. If the game makes it mindlessly boring to get better at a Wizard, that's not going to make me decide to play a Fighter instead, it's going to make me not play the game. Likewise, I want to play a Crafter. Why should I have to forego something I want to do because somebody else is willing to put up with more mindless tedium than I am?
Personally, I think this whole "cap in 2.5 years" idea is problematic. One of my favorite things in D&D consists of experimentation. I enjoy trying new builds out, mixing up play styles, etc.
Basically, imagine how appalling it would feel if you cap'd your barbarian and got bored of playing him. Hey, just 2.5 more years until you can play a wizard of equal level. Or imagine wanting to become a blacksmith only to find out that playing as a level 20 barbarian will net you so much more, that playing as a blacksmith feels seriously counter-productive. Finally, real-time training coupled with the 2.5 years mentality are a rather large incentive to have more than one account, which to me is a rather perverse move by the developer.
Nothing will stop you from experimenting.
I would find it extremely problematic if there were a mechanic that let me get my Capstone in Wizard really fast if I'd already gotten my Capstone in Barbarian.
Don't go in expecting to reach "cap" in two weeks. Don't even worry about reaching "cap". Just play the game.
Comments mainly to the Orignial Topic:The ability to actually *do* things is not given by skills but by merit badges. Training (ie time) opens up more badges to achieve, but they are achieved by playing the game (see Urman's quote).
I would call this 'through usage', to differentiate from systems where I can increase my spellcraft skill by stabbing goblins until i level up and get skill points).
Limiting skills by RL time is essentially a sliding level cap. Yes, people who start later cannot fully catch up, but neither can the early starters increase their lead and this keeps the playing field level, especially with the staggered start GW proposes.
Finally, limiting progression by RL time allows GW to launch and start making money before the high-lvl game is polished. The timelines for when to introduce what is highly predictable. Result: the whole lauches much faster, and devs focus is only two steps ahead of us (which gives much better/faster dev response to how the game evolves).
There is no 'cap' and i have a feeling that after people are hitting the 20th badge, GW will open up the next 10 badges. Also, you will not stop training once you hit a 20th badge, you still have 30+ years of training time until you 'cap' assuming no new content is released.
What I mean by caping the barb is reaching the end of the barbarian's progression (getting the capstone badge). This system's success depends so much on Goblinworks' implementation of their vision on power progression (time = options ≠ power). Guess we will have to wait for more details to reach adequate and reasonable conclusions.
I'll be surprised if they increase the level limit beyond 20. I imagine there will be plenty to do without worrying about getting 10 more levels.
One thing to keep in mind is this:
I'd like to see the first 20th-level characters emerge around two-and-a-half-years after launch.
That sounds to me like the hardcore min-maxers who totally dedicate themselves to getting the capstone as quickly as possible will get it after 30 months. I imagine there will be a lot of characters who don't have their capstone even after 60 months.
There will definitely be players who choose to diversify into Crafting and Adventuring on the same character.
There will almost certainly be a significant number of non-Adventuring, non-Crafting skills that players might choose to advance, even though they might not contribute towards reaching a capstone.
There's also a possibility that the requirements to get your Capstone won't actually include maxing out every skill in your Archetype, so there's a possibility that players will choose to max out some Archetype skills even though they're not required for the Capstone.
For my part, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that Ryan and Vic have already told us flat out that there's not going to be a significant power level difference between a "level 10" and a "level 30". Any argument that starts with the assumption that this statement is false doesn't carry much weight with me.
options=power only when you select wisely!
In your first class, time=power directly. A higher level fighter simply hits more often, hits harder, and can take more beating.
At least that's the idea.
There may be powerful cases of stacking abilities like Ftr/Rog/Monk flurry of sneak attacks, Ran/Dru/Summoner wandering zoos, invisible flying Wiz/Rog/Ranger archers, etc etc. In any case, barbarian health and monk evasion and ranger perception will make any wizard more powerful even without affecting his spells. But i trust GW will keep their eyes open for clear breaches of the "options, not power" policy.
Multiclassing before reaching the capstone, though, is something you do because you want versatility/variation, not to min/max.
We disagree then, but the difference is maybe in what we define as significantly less powerful.I don't believe the power level difference will be anywhere like in WoW (or in PnP play for that matter), but I do believe a Ftr20 will beat a Ftr10 (or a Ftr15 for that matter) on otherwise equal(*) terms every time. On the other hand, I expect the Ftr20 player actually may need to pay attention to win, and that two Ftr10s cooperating might be able to challenge a Ftr20.
Whether you regard that as a significant power difference or not depends on where you come from.
Anyway, my statement just means that comparing Ftr 20 vs Ftr 10 is a case of apples and apples, with the higher level being the better fighter.
(*) equal terms includes comparable equipment, buffs, player skill, hardware, lag, number of screaming kids/parents and caffeine/sleep deprivation levels.
W/L for a high skilled character vs a low skilled character will be a function of:
1: Player skill
It won't be anything as simple as x% or y%.
It would be also be good to stop thinking in terms of levels. A character with a few levels of Fighter who happens to be freaking awesome with the unique gear accumulated over many adventures but who has not sought to pursue an archtypical adventuring path might significantly outclass a character with lots of Fighter levels but little useful gear, and a player who doesn't know how to make use of the skills the character does have.
Likewise, a Fighter that has specialized in being awesome at killing aberrations might suck at killing humanoids - due to skills, gear, and player ability. A player who focuses on PvP might develop a character that sucks as an adventuring companion but be exactly the person you want guarding you when assassins appear.
The Pathfinder tabletop game has a very narrow band of character types. You need to think of the Pathfinder Online game as being a fractal explosion compared to the thin blade of grass of the tabletop game.
Ryan Dancey wrote:
Will there be any random factor in the resolution of battle? If so, how much random variance can be expected between the 5th and 95th percentile, across a typical battle (i.e. What is the difference between "There is only a 5% chance that you could have this bad or worse of an outcome" and "There is a 95% chance that you could have had this good or worse an outcome".)? Assume that all deterministic factors are constant and as equally balanced as would typically be the case during deliberate testing.
Ryan Dancey wrote:
It won't be anything as simple as x% or y%.
It's obviously not going to be a function of x% or y%, but it's indisputable that there will be a win/loss record after the fact for battles between characters with varying numbers of Archetype Merit Badges. That's what I was referring to.