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Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

So after reading probably 80% of all of the posts in this thread I just felt like adding my two cents to the discussion:

First, and just because this is the type of thing that sometimes irks me:

Kakafika wrote:


I would not like to close the player off from class abilities choices based on the armor they wear. What is it about plate armor that keeps me from launching a fireball? Nobody knows. From wielding a bow? In a fantasy setting with lightweight metals and magically enchanted armor, I think we could find a way around this (magical elven lightweight mithril plate armor)

-snipped-

The reason full plate keeps you from launching a fireball is not "nobody knows" it's "the somantic components of the fireball spell are too complex to be performed with 100% accuracy when wearing armor that limits mobility". And that is exactly why masterwork/enchanted mithral armor decreases arcane spell failure, and exists in both the 3.5 and pathfinder systems.

In regards to plate armor +con or +str bonuses, I believe this goes against the spirit of pathfinder as a system where equipment, even magically enchanted equipment, gives you stat bonuses. In my opinion that should be the realm of wondrous items and spells alone. Leave the armor to enchantments like fortification, or glamour, or energy resistance.

Now in regards to another major topic of this thread:

Nihimon wrote:


Should that character be limited to 12 "active" abilities? Or should that character be able to utilize any of his known skills (assuming he has the right tools equipped, etc.)? How would a Rogue go about "preparing" Pick Locks such that he no longer had access to Backstab?

On a fundamental level I agree with you that it makes no sort of sense that a rogue who has spent years studying anatomy and combat to learn how to backstab to the highest effect would spontaneously be unable to do so because he has 16 other things he knows how to do 'prepared'.

That said, I can understand from a logistics perspective the desire to put an arbitrary cap on how many active abilities a character can have.

However, as long as the arbitrary cap is at least based on an in-game statistic and functions in a way that can be agreed is 'realistic', I would not object to it.

Now, you have talked about bleed specced rogues and burst specced rogues, as well as learning all the abilities of an archetype over a span of up to 25 years. Let me paint for you the following picture if I may:

A rogue, low in level and immature in spirit, unsure of what type of terrible painful death he wants to inflict upon his enemies, learns from his master the basics of every type of roguish fighting style there is.

In all circumstances, it is taken for granted that this young rogue would be less skilled at backstabbing than a rogue who decided to specialize in that skill.

What if however, instead of this lessened ability being based solely upon his lack of specialization, it was instead also a result of the breadth of his experience at the expense of dedicated training.

What I mean by this is that this young rogue, who has just learned how to do 10 different things, is going to have a harder time doing those 10 things as well as he should given his level of training in them.

What's happening here is not that he cannot equip all 10 of those skills he learned, but rather by learning more abilities than appropriate for his level/intelligence, he is less effective at each of them.

Now, this same rogue, decides he wants to become like his master, and continues training diligently in all 10 skills at the same time, for the rest of his life.

At some point, the amount of practice he gains with each of those skills will eventually enable him to perform all of them just as well as someone who specialized (although it will obviously have taken him longer to get there).

Now that he is older, better trained, and has spent more time practicing (perhaps increased his intelligence score along the way?), he is able to easily keep all 10 of those skill sets in his mind.

If on the other hand, while he trained in each of those 10 skills, he also began training in 10 other skills belonging to a different archetype, there reaches a point where you do not have the time or mental faculties to train all of your skills equally.

In the Pathfinder P&P game, different classes had a different amount of skill points available to them. Nothing was STOPPING them from putting one rank into every skill in the list, except that if they tried to do so the ranks of every skill would be lower than if they had chosen to just learn 5 or 6 of them.

What I propose is that rather than a hardcoded limit on how many skills you are able to have in an active hotbar at one time, you are instead given a soft limit that when you go beyond, begins incurring penalties for trying to keep too many things in your mind at once.

This limit would be based on what 'level' you are, your intelligence score(possibly), as well as how practiced you are at each ability.

In this situation, a rogue who has learned to backstab will always be able to backstab, but if he stops mentally anticipating strikes that he needs to parry because he knows he's going to be sneaking around invisible instead of fighting in the open, he can focus more of his attention on those abilities he DOES have in his metaphorical hotbar.

Additionally, in my mind, regular use of an ability would keep it from suffering the penalties for over-filling a hotbar. I think of it along the lines of a 'temporary merit badge'. If you've used backstab more than a certain number of times in the last week, then you've kept up on your training in that ability and can therefore use it at it's full potential regardless of the penalties other abilities take. You can also have different tiers of these merit badges which award varying levels of penalty reduction based on how often that ability is used.

This takes the pre-battle strategy of "Which 16 abilities should I select for this outing" and turns it into, "Do I think there's enough of a chance that I'll need to disarm traps that I should be prepared to do so at the possible expense of being less good at hiding in shadows?"

At the same time, if you have a repertoire of abilities that you use regularly, you can keep them equipped at all times without fear of them being drastically weakened by having too many active abilities.

I think this makes sense both from a balance perspective as well as a realism perspective.

If you're trying to think of too many things at once, and you don't regularly practice ALL of them, you're going to be less effective than if you focus instead on using the skills you do practice.

TL;DR - Don't limit how many active ability slots a character can have at once. Instead, impose a penalty for going over that limit based on the intelligence and experience of that character. This penalty could be mitigated by temporary merit badges based on frequent use of an ability.

Goblin Squad Member

Karthas077 wrote:
However, as long as the arbitrary cap is at least based on an in-game statistic and functions in a way that can be agreed is 'realistic', I would not object to it.

If it's "based on an in-game statistic and functions in a way that can be agreed is 'realistic'", then it's not "arbitrary" :)

In case it's not clear, I am 100% comfortable with Goblinworks deciding that they don't want to encumber players with more than X number of abilities they might need to use in combat.

However, I seriously doubt they will make that decision. For one thing, it would be very difficult to have organic (non-arbitrary) limitations in place and still allow open multi-classing.

At any rate, I'm fine with the game system imposing realistic limits. I'm adamantly opposed to arbitrary limits.

Goblin Squad Member

Karthas077 wrote:
TL;DR - Don't limit how many active ability slots a character can have at once. Instead, impose a penalty for going over that limit based on the intelligence and experience of that character. This penalty could be mitigated by temporary merit badges based on frequent use of an ability.

How is that superior to letting the character decide how many different abilities they want to have available, and dividing their available training time among them?

If we assume that PFO will work by allowing us to gain any ability we want, and equip all the abilities we've learned, then there's an inherent limit based on how much you can train. If I try to train up 20 different abilities at once, and you only train 5 or 6, you will be more skilled at those 5 or 6 than I am at those 20. There's no need for an additional limitation.

Goblin Squad Member

The key is making every possible build have strengths ans weaknesses. The biggest use for ability caps is to limit utility. There should be actions such as equipment switching that either cannot be done in combat, or open you up to heavy damage. This is easy to do with classes that use weapons, but very hard to balance with classes that use spells, there either needs to be a limit to what they can have active or equipment that determines what they have active(staff/wand/tome).

Goblin Squad Member

@Valkenr, I'm all for the traditional limits such as not being able to cast spells while wearing heavy armor, etc. I'm just extremely skeptical of arbitrary limits.

Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:


How is that superior to letting the character decide how many different abilities they want to have available, and dividing their available training time among them?

If we assume that PFO will work by allowing us to gain any ability we want, and equip all the abilities we've learned, then there's an inherent limit based on how much you can train. If I try to train up 20 different abilities at once, and you only train 5 or 6, you will be more skilled at those 5 or 6 than I am at those 20. There's no need for an additional limitation.

Because if you have 2 characters, both Rogue20/Fighter20

And in terms of abilities learned they are identical, I think it makes a decent amount of sense for the one who, in game, uses certain abilities more often would be better practiced with them.

It gives players who are otherwise equal, an incentive to have their 'infinitely trainable' character specialize and not just have 100's of abilities on your bar all at once.

Because like I said, while it's realistic for a character to always know how to do everything he's ever learned, the one that knows how to do 100 things, and practices them all equally, is going to be less skilled than one that knows 100 things and practices 20 of them diligently.

Goblin Squad Member

@Karthas077, it sounds like you want to add an additional use-based training system on top of the skill-training system that's already been described. Is that accurate?

As a general principle, I don't object. In fact, in the game I've been designing in my head for about 30 years, I wanted to require a certain amount of skill training to maintain skills at peak performance, but that they would gradually atrophy without that deliberate training. For example, I could spend my training points on Backstab to keep it at 120% effectiveness, or I could stop actively training it to let it fall back to 100% effectiveness. This would require me to focus on the particular abilities that I wanted to train to peak effectiveness.

To me, that's an example of an organic limitation, rather than an arbitrary limitation.

Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
@Karthas077, it sounds like you want to add an additional use-based training system on top of the skill-training system that's already been described. Is that accurate?

While not technically correct, that statement is nonetheless accurate. I would only clarify it by saying the ability-use wouldn't 'train' the ability or improve it. I was merely attempting to provide an alternative to the two extremes of "maximum number of active abilities" and "no maximum number of active abilities" that had enough of a foundation in reality that it might be accepted.

Even if this system still resembles 'use-based training' too much for it to be implemented, it's purpose and premise still remains and I hope will be taken into consideration when deciding how to set up ability hotbars.

Goblin Squad Member

Marou_ wrote:
Misere wrote:

"Average player reaction to losing in a standard MMO against an opponent further along in progression: No lifer, mom's basement, grumble grumble.

Average player reaction to losing in a normal game vs a great player: Wow, that guy was really good. I need to practice some more so I can be that good."

A NORMAL game? What is that, in your opinion?

A game where players can compete against each other that by design facilitates fair play. Most any multi-player game that comes out that doesn't have glaring balance issues, from racing to fighting to fps qualifies.

I call them normal because in a standard game, whether it's Monopoly, Chess, Soul Caliber, or Quake; everyone begins the game with the same tools and options. You don't reward the guy with the most play time additional gameplay advantages to ensure his victory. In fact, if you're good at a fighting game and you're against a new player you'll usually turn on a heavy handicap to make the matches more fun.

If monopoly was an MMO a "high level" player would get 2 dice mulligans every go round the board and start with 25X more money and 6 properties vs someone just starting out.

In a PvP based MMO until you get to a median level of power the core feature of the game (PvP) isn't fun, because often the gameplay, controls, and level of player skill is too shallow to allow a chance of newbie victory.

In a time based advancement system with a standard RNG laden MMO combat system that experience is comparable to playing a Magic The Gathering starter deck against Tournament Decks. Even if the game has attempted to flatten the curve by equalizing damage and hps there are no realistic chances at victory due to customized builds, versatility, and synergies.

But the alternative is equally as risky (and frustrating). Let's say you spend 5 years in an MMO playing the game and advancing your character. Should some new player day 1 be a threat to you? With no investment of time. No effort. Just some twitch skills and being in the right place at the right time? What about day 30? Or even day 300? Where is that line drawn?

Now I'm not saying, he with the most grind time uber alles. But I do think there's a balance between rewarding those who have invested in the game and making entry to play engaging and fun. Without that there is little incentive to invest that time.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:

@Karthas077, it sounds like you want to add an additional use-based training system on top of the skill-training system that's already been described. Is that accurate?

As a general principle, I don't object. In fact, in the game I've been designing in my head for about 30 years, I wanted to require a certain amount of skill training to maintain skills at peak performance, but that they would gradually atrophy without that deliberate training. For example, I could spend my training points on Backstab to keep it at 120% effectiveness, or I could stop actively training it to let it fall back to 100% effectiveness. This would require me to focus on the particular abilities that I wanted to train to peak effectiveness.

To me, that's an example of an organic limitation, rather than an arbitrary limitation.

I disagree. Strongly.

Ability decay IS arbitrary. The rate of the decay is just picked out of the air. Why should I lose 1% effectiveness after one day, or 10 days, or 100 days? Or 10% effectiveness, or 20%.

Why should a player with 5 years played who takes 2 months off for RL issues come back to a game effectively gimped relative to players who are 2 weeks old but been playing like maniacs for those 2 weeks?

I think accomplishments in character advancement NEED to be tangible, and sustained. To not have that in place diminishes the accomplishments in the first place. And with diminished goals, why bother achieving?

Editing to add: As far as other game mechanics you label as "arbitrary" I'd suggest they're just sound game design.

There NEEDS to be cost/benefit applied to all game structures. Player abilities are one of those structures. And without upper bounds as to what you can and cannot learn and use there would be no feasable means of applying a fair and balanced cost.

Re Armor & Casting for instance. There are LOTS of RP reasons for this that have arisen over the years but the fact is in the begining it was just a cost/benefit equation. Armor gave higher defenses necessary to be engaged in melee combat. Casting allowed for higher upper end power and required a physical weakness to offset that power advantage. Hence, high ACs for casters (high being bad back in the day).

I'm all for out of the box thinking when it comes to character design and class choices, but "hybrid" classes and the things that arise with NO limitations building are often VERY VERY problematic in game design. And one must tread very carefully when opening those doors.

Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

Thane9 wrote:


I disagree. Strongly.

Ability decay IS arbitrary. The rate of the decay is just picked out of the air. Why should I lose 1% effectiveness after one day, or 10 days, or 100 days? Or 10% effectiveness, or 20%.

Why should a player with 5 years played who takes 2 months off for RL issues come back to a game effectively gimped relative to players who are 2 weeks old but been playing like maniacs for those 2 weeks?

I think accomplishments in character advancement NEED to be tangible, and sustained. To not have that in place diminishes the accomplishments in the first place. And with diminished goals, why bother achieving?

While I did not specify it, I think it is fair to assume that ability decay would be based on a percentage of a time spent playing rather than how much time passed IRL. So unless he was logged in and afk for those 2 months that wouldn't happen.

(Just like you train new abilities while logged out, it would be assumed that you are training all current abilities equally while logged out preventing the decay)

Goblin Squad Member

ability decay is a strong disincentive to play after any break in gameplay at all, and I can't see how it advances enjoyment at all. Knowing that I have to constantly spend points on things that I might only want minor to moderate skillset in just to keep them static, and knowing that this is ultimately an opportunity cost on my specializations would be a bummer. It also doesn't really have a grounding in the thematics of Pathfinder, nor really a lot of solid ground in the real world.

I haven't touched the seat of a bicycle with my posterior in something like 3-4 years, and yet I'm not any more likely to dive into a yardsale of chains, tires and knee skin should I hop on one than the last time I rode a bike. I go months driving my automatic, and have no issues with taking the wheel in my girlfriend's manual transmission.

Goblin Squad Member

@Nihimon. Take the amount of resentment you have for "arbitrary limitations." Add in how much hatred you would have for a musical version of Twilight starring Justin Beiber and Miley Cyrus if you were forced to watch it. Multiply that times a thousand.

That is about how I feel about the idea of ability decay. My character should be continually advancing. Every day he should get better. Limiting how many roles and abilities I can use at a time is fine. It's like the EVE Analogy. You can train to fly a heavy assault cruiser and a logistics ship. You can't do both at the same time. Taking abilities away permanently or forcing me to re-train them is NOT ok though.

I simply will not partake in a game that has me redundantly re-training my skills over and over and over or putting all my advancement points into maintaining skills I already have. That is one of the biggest reasons you almost never hear me talk about Xsyon even though I was there when it went live. They promised skill decay. That game is now dead to me.

Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

Apparently MANY people are just outright not understanding the system I proposed.

Gruffling wrote:
ability decay is a strong disincentive to play after any break in gameplay at all

I just finished explaining that breaks in gameplay would not have any sort of decay involved. Only time spent actually LOGGED IN, would count towards the amount of time needed to spend working on a skill.

Furthermore, I have never mentioned anything about 'retraining' or having to spend points on any such activity. I also never said that the abilities themselves would decay.

What I said was actively using an ability would keep you from being penalized while equipping 'too many' abilities.

You could not use a sword for a whole month of playtime, choosing instead to use a mace and a shield. What that would mean is.

'equipping' your sword-based ability by default operates at the same power it always has. No decay has occurred.

Equipping your sword based ability at the same time as 20 other shield based abilities that you have made constant use of, would cause all shield based abilities to operate at full power, but your sword based ability would be hindered by going over the limit placed by int/character level(or it's abstraction)

This allows a rogue to go into combat specced for bleed, discover that the dungeon he's walked into is full of things immune to bleed, and next time he's out of combat change his spec entirely for burst (something he hasn't done in a while).

As long as he doesn't try to keep his bleed build equipped at the same time, his burst abilities will be just as powerful as they have always been, regardless of how long it's been since he's used them.

At the same time, that rogue PRIOR to entering the dungeon, might equip both his bleed and his burst abilities. Because he uses bleed abilities regularly they operate at full strength, but if he happens to run into something immune to bleed, at least he has other abilities to work with (even if they operate at 80% because he went over the 16 ability limit)

Furthermore, I would imagine that the penalty for 'overequipping' abilities would never go beyond 40% or so, and they would lift extremely quickly.
A character should be able to completely reset what ability sets count as 'trained' for the purposes of preventing over-equipped penalties in 8 in game hours (2 real life hours).

It might seem like a lot, but completely reseting an ability set to me would be changing from 16 abilities to 16 different abilities.
And the % reduction would change on a logarithmic curve. Using the abilities to kill 10 enemies might reduce the penalty by 15%. Then 10 more might be 10%. then 5%. etc.

Additionally, as what I've said might have hinted at, you could have all relevant abilities clustered into 'trees' that train together for the purposes of preventing the over-equipped penalty. For example "shield abilities" or "sword abilities" or "dual wield abilities".

Goblin Squad Member

Thane9 wrote:
Why should a player with 5 years played who takes 2 months off for RL issues come back to a game effectively gimped relative to players who are 2 weeks old but been playing like maniacs for those 2 weeks?

They shouldn't, certainly. I would not support any system that resulted in this situation.

Gruffling wrote:
I haven't touched the seat of a bicycle with my posterior in something like 3-4 years, and yet I'm not any more likely to dive into a yardsale of chains, tires and knee skin should I hop on one than the last time I rode a bike.

I might mention you're operating at 100% effectiveness, instead of the 120% effectiveness you might be operating at if you'd been deliberately training for the last 3 months...

Andius wrote:
Add in how much hatred you would have for a musical version of Twilight starring Justin Beiber and Miley Cyrus if you were forced to watch it.

You don't know me that well yet, but you will. I actually liked Baby, and I'm a huge fan of musicals in general...

Andius wrote:
That is about how I feel about the idea of ability decay. My character should be continually advancing. Every day he should get better. Limiting how many roles and abilities I can use at a time is fine. It's like the EVE Analogy. You can train to fly a heavy assault cruiser and a logistics ship. You can't do both at the same time. Taking abilities away permanently or forcing me to re-train them is NOT ok though.

What I'm really talking about is reducing your ability to 100% effectiveness from the "peak" of 120% effectiveness unless you're actively training a particular ability.

But I can accept that this is not acceptable.

Finally, @Karthas077, why haven't you yet applied with The Seventh Veil? Seriously, we want you, and people like you.

Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
Finally, @Karthas077, why haven't you yet applied with The Seventh Veil? Seriously, we want you, and people like you.

I've been meaning to... I just keep forgetting to actually go and do it. DX

Goblin Squad Member

I guess i see 120% and just assume that will be considered the "actual" 100%. Peak being max... max being 100%. Maybe that's min/max'y of me, but I suspect that sort of mentality would become prevalent

As to Karthas' system, I suppose I didn't really understand what you're going for. A little more clear to me, but this system doesn't seem to mesh intuitively with the EVE style skill system. Also, I'm curious what benefit this system imparts. Is the idea to force people into a "style" based system, or up certain "trees" of focus? Is the idea simply put to punish people for trying out different methods?

Example, I start out a wizard, tool around and find its just not my style. I don't want to pay for another character slot, or I'm on the free to play account or whatever, and I decide I'd rather be a raging barbarian axe-fiend and i mess with this for a while. If I understand your system, once I decide wading into combat and killing things with my face is silly, and my initial impulse to be a wizard was awesome. I "switch" my skills and find they are 40% less than when I last used them. As a player, how does this system feel fair to me, how is my enjoyment of the game enriched, and how does this encourage me to try new things?

Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

Gruffling wrote:


Example, I start out a wizard, tool around and find its just not my style. I don't want to pay for another character slot, or I'm on the free to play account or whatever, and I decide I'd rather be a raging barbarian axe-fiend and i mess with this for a while. If I understand your system, once I decide wading into combat and killing things with my face is silly, and my initial impulse to be a wizard was awesome. I "switch" my skills and find they are 40% less than when I last used them. As a player, how does this system feel fair to me, how is my enjoyment of the game enriched, and how does this encourage me to try new things?

The only reason your wizard abilities would be 40% less would be if you were trying to keep your barbarian abilities 'equipped' at the same time.

As long as you didn't go over the ability hotbar 'limit' (whatever it may be) all of your wizard spells would still function at 100%.

The system simply creates a less arbitrary cap for how many abilities you can have at once by making it a soft cap rather than a hard limit. Furthermore, it prevents a character who has reached the capstone in several trees from being able to operate at 100% effectiveness all the time without pausing between combat to switch out his skill selection. If he wanted EVERY ability he ever learned available all at once, he'd be taking penalties for going over the cap.

More concrete example using made up numbers:

Cleric 10/ Fighter 10/ Paladin 10. The goal is to be a holy warrior.

If the ability cap is 8 for someone of his 'level' and intelligence, he might equip:

1-Smite
2-Cleave
3-Cure moderate wounds
4-Charge
5-Shield slam
6-Restoration
7-Lay on Hands
8-Righteous Might

All of those abilities, regardless of how long it has been since he used them, would operate at full capacity.

If on the other hand he proceeded to add:

9-Divine Favor*
10-Cure Light wounds*
11-Remove Curse*
12-Control Undead*
13-Power Attack*

All of the abilities that he hadn't spent time using in game would operate at decreased effectiveness dependent upon how far over the limit he went, and how long it had been since he used them.

For simplicities sake let's say his 1-8 abilities are his core that he uses all the time.

This allows him to cycle out slots 9-13 for ANY 5 abilities, without regard to how recently he practiced them, and only take say a 10% penalty on those 5. The other 8 (due to frequent use) would remain 100%.

If on the other hand, he groups up with a barbarian, and decides to be less of a tank and more of a healer, he can drop Cleave, Power Attack, Charge, Shield Slam, and Smite.

His new ability list:
1-Cure moderate wounds
2-Restoration
3-Lay on Hands
4-Righteous Might
5-Divine Favor*
6-Cure Light wounds*
7-Remove Curse*
8-Control Undead*

His abilities Divine Favor, Cure Light Wounds, Remove Curse, and Control Undead are still 'unpracticed' but because he has not gone over his 8 ability limit, they operate at 100% rather than 90%.

Goblin Squad Member

ah so, the system you're presenting here is actually more of an ability tax for Intelligence. either that or just accepting that if you want to utilize more than your "allowance" those abilities will be less effective.

Even if unhinged from intelligence (perhaps its a skill trained on its own, Mutlitasking or somesuch) I still don't understand the underlying design goal. Rather than explain how it will work, can you elucidate why this system has advantages over not using it?

Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

Well, as far as underlying design goal, people were arguing over two options.

A Hard limit of how many abilities you could have equipped. Changing equipped abilities required leaving combat or going back to town.

In either case, the objection was brought up that from a realism perspective that mechanic didn't make sense. How did equipping 8 other abilities suddenly make you 'forget' how to pick locks?

One solution to that would be to simply have all utility abilities available at all times, and simply limit combat abilities.

The other position was that all abilities ever learned should always be available, with the argument that your character couldn't 'forget' to use something by 'not equipping it'.

This system, from a design position, is intended to deliver the sort of 'balance' that a hard-limit is intended to enforce, while still maintaining a sense of realism and freedom from a no-limit system.

It also incentivizes players carefully evaluating their ability choices. If you're about to walk into a cave, and you have no clue what will be inside, how many abilities should you equip? What things should you be prepared for?

In summary, the goal of the system is to provide balance and freedom without sacrificing realism.

Goblin Squad Member

For the record, when I talk about skills "decaying" I only ever imagined them decaying back to 100% (normal maximum) effectiveness. You could train up to 120% (peak maximum) effectiveness the same way boxers and bikers train right before a major event. However, you would never decay below your normal 100% effectiveness once you mastered a skill, and there wouldn't be any decay at all before then.

@Karthas077, I am on board with your proposal as long as it's not based on how many abilities I have "equipped". If it is based on that, then it seems just as unrealistic that I'm suddenly much less effective at something I could be much more effective at if I "forgot" how to Backstab, for example. The reason I mentioned skill decay is because I saw this as a possible way to implement your proposal. Of course, for my plan to work, PFO would have to allow us to distribute our training points among several simultaneous channels. I'm not sure they're open to that idea.

Goblin Squad Member

Thane9 wrote:
Marou_ wrote:
Misere wrote:

"Average player reaction to losing in a standard MMO against an opponent further along in progression: No lifer, mom's basement, grumble grumble.

Average player reaction to losing in a normal game vs a great player: Wow, that guy was really good. I need to practice some more so I can be that good."

A NORMAL game? What is that, in your opinion?

A game where players can compete against each other that by design facilitates fair play. Most any multi-player game that comes out that doesn't have glaring balance issues, from racing to fighting to fps qualifies.

I call them normal because in a standard game, whether it's Monopoly, Chess, Soul Caliber, or Quake; everyone begins the game with the same tools and options. You don't reward the guy with the most play time additional gameplay advantages to ensure his victory. In fact, if you're good at a fighting game and you're against a new player you'll usually turn on a heavy handicap to make the matches more fun.

If monopoly was an MMO a "high level" player would get 2 dice mulligans every go round the board and start with 25X more money and 6 properties vs someone just starting out.

In a PvP based MMO until you get to a median level of power the core feature of the game (PvP) isn't fun, because often the gameplay, controls, and level of player skill is too shallow to allow a chance of newbie victory.

In a time based advancement system with a standard RNG laden MMO combat system that experience is comparable to playing a Magic The Gathering starter deck against Tournament Decks. Even if the game has attempted to flatten the curve by equalizing damage and hps there are no realistic chances at victory due to customized builds, versatility, and synergies.

But the alternative is equally as risky (and frustrating). Let's say you spend 5 years in an MMO playing the game and advancing your character. Should some new player day 1 be a threat to you? With no investment of time. No effort. Just...

This is where they disconnect comes between different PLAYER types.... players who don't fall into the "Achiever" type category (which admitedly includes the largest portion of a typical Themepark MMO) don't see thier time spent as an "investment in building the power of thier character" they see thier time spent as having FUN doing the things they enjoy doing in the game. So for them, yeah no problem with a day 1 character being a threat to them....in fact that's a DESIRABLE thing because it increases the number of players they can HAVE FUN playing with.

For those of us who aren't heavly focused on advancement....it's just not a big deal that a Day 1 character might have the same numbers that we do.

Note also that there are all sorts of different aspects of "advancement" within a game. The number in the field where it says Level or Attack Power is just one type....

- There is Player Knowledge.... I know more about the intracicies of the game, game environment and how it's played. That gives me an advantage over the day 1 player.

- There is Player Familiarity.... I've logged a thousand hours with this specific character, even if a brand new player has access to all the knowledge that I do, I'm just more practiced at executing that knowledge with my character then the new player is.

- There is Player Reputation.... I've been playing the game for 5 years, other players KNOW ME. I've established bonds with them, I'm a member of a dozen organizations. I can call upon all sorts of resources to assist me that the new player can't.

PFO is targted toward a pretty diverse audience, and a very different audience then typical Themepark MMO's are.... so it's going to have to balance alot of different competeing interests.

The Dev's have already mentioned that they plan to have a meaningfull advancement system....so I wouldn't worry about that, and I think it's a good decision based upon the type of game they want to make. However, the power curve ON AN INDIVIDUAL level is going to be alot different then mosy Themepark players are used to.....A fairly new player IS going to be a threat to a 5 year veteran to some degree....and that is a good decision as well IMO, but for practical purposes it won't be anything approaching an even fight.

Goblin Squad Member

Gruffling wrote:
I guess i see 120% and just assume that will be considered the "actual" 100%. Peak being max... max being 100%.

There is no such thing as 120% effectiveness. Let's all just agree to drop that terminology. It's not just what people would "think" it's reality.

Maximum effectiveness is 100%. If you go beyond that, that new number becomes 100%. Period. No other way to look at the math.

It's my suggestion that by using 120% and then talking about decay only affecting that last 20% there's a somewhat deceptive implication that decay is not "real". But in fact it is.

---

I hear what Nihimon is saying. I just disagree. Below maximum is below 100%. It's functionally decay.

I'm not in favour of the idea that anyone can do anything independant of any of their previous choices. Once you go down a path so far I think the character really shouldn't be able to "un-do" those learnings in exchange for other learnings. But that's my opinion.../shrug

To Mel:

I agree with most of your points, but there's one time where they break down. And that's in the PvP part of the game. When people are face to face in direct competition VERY little matters beyond those "Attack Power" things. The intangible advantages that come with experience melt away and the pure stats really start to come into play.

I'm not saying make the pure stats the end all be all...but I am saying it's something to consider when the issue of ability decay comes into play.

There are common practices in some MMOs that exacerbate this issue because they reward the "current" play heavier than the net play. I'd just warn against things that reward new players at the expense of people who have been around and played for a long time.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

Thane9 wrote:

I agree with most of your points, but there's one time where they break down. And that's in the PvP part of the game. When people are face to face in direct competition VERY little matters beyond those "Attack Power" things. The intangible advantages that come with experience melt away and the pure stats really start to come into play.

Connections equal numbers. If I've played for years, and I get jumped, I can call up a few folks to help out. And 4v1 odds are nasty for anyone. Second, if you buy a character on Ebay, you'll have less of an idea of what to do with it than someone who earned their way up. That is also an intangible that affects PvP.

Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

Thane9 wrote:

There is no such thing as 120% effectiveness. Let's all just agree to drop that terminology. It's not just what people would "think" it's reality.

Maximum effectiveness is 100%. If you go beyond that, that new number becomes 100%. Period. No other way to look at the math.

No offense but you obviously don't understand math then.

Statements involving percentiles beyond 100 are only applicable when making comparisons.

eg.- "12 is 120% of 10"
"I made a return of 120% my original investment"

Saying a trained ability is operating at 120% effectiveness means it is 20% more effective than the untrained ability.

There's a huge distinction between a lack of a bonus, and a penalty. If you were to rephrase this comparison to make the trained ability 100%, players would only be operating at 83% effectiveness if they didn't train. It's a much more 'positive' perspective to say you're being rewarded for training rather than being punished for not training.

Nihimon wrote:
@Karthas077, I am on board with your proposal as long as it's not based on how many abilities I have "equipped". If it is based on that, then it seems just as unrealistic that I'm suddenly much less effective at something I could be much more effective at if I "forgot" how to Backstab, for example. The reason I mentioned skill decay is because I saw this as a possible way to implement your proposal. Of course, for my plan to work, PFO would have to allow us to distribute our training points among several simultaneous channels. I'm not sure they're open to that idea.

Obviously the system isn't perfect, because nothing can truly emulate how people retain physical skill training in real life, but this solution is ultimately more realistic than both the 'hard cap' and 'no-limit' systems.

All three have aspects that 'aren't realistic', but this one, in my opinion, minimizes those discrepancies.

Even if this system isn't put into the game, I hope that it will at least make the developers put more consideration into making ability caps make sense and appear 'realistic'.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

If 100% is max, then any new record becomes the new 100%. If 100% is baseline, than any improvement over baseline is over 100%.

That said, the highest easily attainable value needs to be the baseline, and anything over baseline needs to be nontrivial to attain.

Goblin Squad Member

Thane9 wrote:

There is no such thing as 120% effectiveness...

Maximum effectiveness is 100%. If you go beyond that, that new number becomes 100%. Period. No other way to look at the math.

So, in order to ever talk about anything in terms of percentages, we first have to consider the full set of all possible buffs to that thing, and count that as 100%, and then work backwards?

That seems cumbersome.

It seems perfectly reasonable to discuss things in terms of 120% of normal effectiveness.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Nihimon wrote:
Thane9 wrote:

There is no such thing as 120% effectiveness...

Maximum effectiveness is 100%. If you go beyond that, that new number becomes 100%. Period. No other way to look at the math.

So, in order to ever talk about anything in terms of percentages, we first have to consider the full set of all possible buffs to that thing, and count that as 100%, and then work backwards?

That seems cumbersome.

It seems perfectly reasonable to discuss things in terms of 120% of normal effectiveness.

Right, but 'normal' effectiveness is WITH all of the 'normal' buffs.

Goblin Squad Member

I just hope that the game doesn't make new players feel useless. Like my experience with eve.

Goblin Squad Member

JakBlitz wrote:
I just hope that the game doesn't make new players feel useless. Like my experience with eve.

Define useful. Eve happens to be one of few games in which you can engage in PvP almost immediately as a tackler etc. It is one of few games in which you can choose your career and begin making an external difference to the game almost immediately. You can start crafting and selling your wears immediately, buy and sell on the markets and start earning isk running missions. Other games might allow your character to immediately appear more powerful in your chosen tasks, yet the core utility you acquire in terms of being useful in a mass multiplayer game

In a similar perspective, in other themepark games, beyond gaining experience and levels which is a largely insular task, you're practically useless in that you're a slave to experience grinding repeatable content whilst you're character levels up; end game raid content and arena PvP is practically the only 'useful' thing you can do in the game beyond your own personal progression. Eve allows you to influence the wider world almost immediately; most other MMORPGs? not so much.

Again, it depends how you define useful. I wouldn't define useful as being able to kill things or craft epic stuff, they are outcomes of singleplayer games. I would define useful as someone who can immediately start causing externalities through these tasks of crafting, PvP or PvM. Eve online allows this from the get go whilst most other games never even give you a chance, despite perhaps making you feel somewhat more 'powerful' in the most meaningless ways.

Goblin Squad Member

Coldman wrote:
JakBlitz wrote:
I just hope that the game doesn't make new players feel useless. Like my experience with eve.

Define useful.

Again, it depends how you define useful..

1. Power progression of avatar stats is often too wide a difference in mmorpgs: Leads to level partition of player base and/or no competency in pvp ie gods stepping on ants.

2. Most mmorpgs are keen for classes to have all their skills available sooner than later so this tails of ceiling of options and relies on 1.

3. Social progression is often absent; earning respect/trust/history of contacts etc is another form of progression

4. Most challenging to add: Player skill/experience of playing progression.

So Pathfinder can resolve these 1. Minimise 2. Maximise 3. Include 4. Eg teamwork, timing, tactics, etc

Goblin Squad Member

AvenaOats wrote:


1. Power progression of avatar stats is often too wide a difference in mmorpgs: Leads to level partition of player base and/or no competency in pvp ie gods stepping on ants.

2. Most mmorpgs are keen for classes to have all their skills available sooner than later so this tails of ceiling of options and relies on 1.

3. Social progression is often absent; earning respect/trust/history of contacts etc is another form of progression

4. Most challenging to add: Player skill/experience of playing progression.

So Pathfinder can resolve these 1. Minimise 2. Maximise 3. Include 4. Eg teamwork, timing, tactics, etc

I say thats a pretty good way of defining it.

Goblin Squad Member

AvenaOats wrote:
Coldman wrote:
JakBlitz wrote:
I just hope that the game doesn't make new players feel useless. Like my experience with eve.

Define useful.

Again, it depends how you define useful..

1. Power progression of avatar stats is often too wide a difference in mmorpgs: Leads to level partition of player base and/or no competency in pvp ie gods stepping on ants.

An inherent cancer of themepark MMORPGs. I'm assuming we're going the way of Ultima Online/Eve; few skills trained to become competitive/useful, rest for diversity.

2. Most mmorpgs are keen for classes to have all their skills available sooner than later so this tails of ceiling of options and relies on 1.

Character progression is the name of the game in themepark games; progression in sandboxes/skill based games is often simply a pre-requisite or barrier to achieving a certain task. MMORPGs deploying a skill based system are often said to start once you've finished training your core skills so, I anticipate these to come relatively quickly.

3. Social progression is often absent; earning respect/trust/history of contacts etc is another form of progression

May this come in spades.

4. Most challenging to add: Player skill/experience of playing progression.

This, ironically, can come from the very feeling of not being useful and links heavily with #2. Making a working knowledge of the game and it's world a barrier of entry is a sure way to create a very unique and enjoyable experience; in equal measure, this initial alienation = feeling useless. It pays off in the end.

Goblin Squad Member

If I may make an assumption regarding JakBlitz's comment and say, I think term sought after is Impactful, not Useful. Whilst its quite true that almost immediately in EVE you can hit the ground running and being useful, the sense of impact a new player has is fairly insignificant. Now, I'd imagine a lot of that has to do with a wide variety of things, ranging from the high complexity of the game itself, to the somewhat overwhelming UI, to a general lack of knowledge about the game. A new EVE player can't be expected to even know what a tackler is, by example. I think the real barrier to understanding could be as simple as the abstraction layer between character and ship. They do what they can, but in essence you "Play" a ship, and all that entails.

With PFO's inclusion of theme-park style elements, I would hope this type of content will be used to provide at least some sort of guided intro into the game. I think a new player should be quickly deposited into the world, with at least some tools to guide them on their way.

Regarding Percentage of effectiveness / ability decay; I was making some base assumptions that we were referencing skill effectiveness, and not sum total buffs, short and long term. I think for the sake of clarity regarding any ability/skill decay, its best to think of it in such narrow terms. If a snapshot of a character's inherent stats (abilities/skill/equipment) in axes results in a max potential damage of 30, than it can be said 30 is 100% of that character's potential. If you quaff a bucket of rage potion and bump that up to 36 damage, perhaps this is the elusive 120%. Without any such temporary buff is a cleaner way of comparing ideas.

As to the design intent behind temporary skill decay, call it more of a skill debuff really, I really don't see any advantage as a gameplay mechanic vs simply allowing someone's unused skills to languish in a state of stasis. The goal of "realism" is often one where one person's expectations of reality simply do not mesh with another's. Depending on how strict you wish to be, it could be said that ability stats for humans will never go past "X", where X is a reasonably measurable metric. That is not a good basis for game design, in my opinion. It also isn't representative of a world of magic and monsters, or heroes performing exceptional feats of daring and bravery. Having a decay (or unused debuff) mechanic in an MMO could also be made so trivial as to have nearly no impact at all, as Karthas has described a situation where a constant cycling of abilities would maintain a 5% debuff to effectiveness, hardly worth noting.

One of the premises of an MMO (and as a proxy for RPGs), particularly a skill based one, is that once you achieve some level of power, you will rarely if ever be reduced in that capacity, and that any reduction is temporary. Around the my table, nothing freaks out my Pathfinder players quite like Negative Levels, and nothing quite angers them like losing expensive gear. The expectation is one of ever growing power. Having a temporary debuff on skills you don't use will feel more and more like punishment, and more and more like "The game is telling me how to play".

And my final point is in regards to comparative power. Using my Barbarian/Wizard example with some hypotheticals: My Wizard skill at magical Pew Pew results in a force blast of say 10 points. I then switch to Barbarian, skill up for some time, and get out into the wilds, where with my Axe skill of Brutally Awesome, I'm felling Orcs and waging war, consistently able to hit the 50 pt mark. My expectations of effectiveness out in the world are somewhat dependent on my being able to hit that 50 point mark per hit, or that Orc is going to bash in my face. When I decide to switch back to Wizardly Pew Pew, I'm already looking at a significant deficit in comparative effectiveness. I need to spend some time getting my force blast able to KO a dire rat or 3 for a while. Once I feel comfortable in hitting 40pts regularly, I'll feel much better about my chances against that damnable Hex filled with Orcs.

Obviously, my example revolves around some massive over-simplification, but the basic illustration is there. As a design intent, I'm just not seeing the advantages of including a complicated system that throws up barriers to gameplay. or put another way " Non-essential parts left off, do not break, and cause no problems."

Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

Meh. It was worth a shot, but if people think it's too complicated or just don't like it...
I guess if it came down to it them I'd rather have access to all my abilities all the time than have any sort of hard cap.

I dislike the idea of only being able to have 8 or 16 or whatever magic number is decided upon abilities at once.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Kakafika wrote:
Rather than giving a class certain abilities that are so strong they immediately become 'core' abilities for you from then on, forcing you into the niche role they have designed for your class, you get 6 strong abilities, and you choose for yourself which of these strong abilities you want to utilize, if any. You can make these choices on an encounter-by-encounter basis if you so choose. In this way, you can stick to a particular niche that you developed with your choices of skill training, which reflect the character concept you have in mind or the things you enjoy doing/ are proficient in (at a player, not character, level).

That sounds very much like how Blizzard approached things in Diablo 3. You get six abilities (ultimately) primary/secondary attack and 4 utility/crowd control spells that you can respec via runes at will with a short delay. (making it a 'tween battles option)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Nihimon wrote:
Kakafika wrote:
There is nothing wrong with role-playing a rogue that uses a set of 30 abilities out of 80 (indeed, you could choose any 30 skills to rotate through your hotbar, and still always be viable!), just don't impose this restriction with the game system.

It's statements like that that leave me confused about what you're trying to achieve.

Kakafika wrote:
This seems to function similarly to a WoW talent tree, only there is no way to respec...

PFO is 100% opposite of WoW Talent Trees because of the simple fact that, if I change my mind on how I want to spec after a year, [b]I still keep every skill I've already trained, plus all the new ones I train[b], rather than having to give up the old skills in order to make room for the new.

You're somewhat out of date. WOW no longer operates that way. In fact skills are no longer based on talents or your spec at all. Once you train a class skill, it's yours for life.

Goblin Squad Member

LazarX wrote:
You're somewhat out of date. WOW no longer operates that way. In fact skills are no longer based on talents or your spec at all. Once you train a class skill, it's yours for life.

Unless you're trying to say they've completely redesigned WoW after releasing Cataclysm, then I think you are seriously misunderstanding me.

In WoW, there are certain abilities that I gain by choosing certain talents. If I respec, and no longer have that talent, then I no longer have that ability.

That I call these abilities "skills" here doesn't mean I'm comparing them to Skills like Tailoring and Enchanting in WoW.

Goblin Squad Member

Comparing the skills/abilities of WoW to anything like a skill based system likely used for PFO is like comparing donuts to oranges. Both are round.


Hrrr. I'm quite nervous about the prospect of an EVE like game for PFO if it encourages the same sort of gameplay: pretty much directed at PVP, enormous time devotion, and the general stratification of players as a bunch of sociopaths where the goal is to make someone else have as bad of a day as possible.

I really liked the structure and gameplay of EVE, the market system and so on. All the people were terrible though, and I didn't exactly have a great experience in the couple of years I played it. A whole bunch of politics, backstabbing, and the game ran around schadenfreude. The notion of PFO being a schadenfreude game sounds just awful.

Goblin Squad Member

Dezakin wrote:

Hrrr. I'm quite nervous about the prospect of an EVE like game for PFO if it encourages the same sort of gameplay: pretty much directed at PVP, enormous time devotion, and the general stratification of players as a bunch of sociopaths where the goal is to make someone else have as bad of a day as possible.

I really liked the structure and gameplay of EVE, the market system and so on. All the people were terrible though, and I didn't exactly have a great experience in the couple of years I played it. A whole bunch of politics, backstabbing, and the game ran around schadenfreude. The notion of PFO being a schadenfreude game sounds just awful.

Eve's greatest flaw was obvious; it was in space. Create an MMORPG in the open seas and pirates will dog you from shore to shore. Beyond being docked in a station, you could technically die anywhere and it was not all that expensive for experienced players to grief you of your time and your belongings.

I think PFO can only grow from everything that Eve did right, take out it's elitist PvP elements, dilute the griefing and fill the gaps with a fantasy setting and a hint of tabletop character and charm.

Goblin Squad Member

Dezakin wrote:

Hrrr. I'm quite nervous about the prospect of an EVE like game for PFO if it encourages the same sort of gameplay: pretty much directed at PVP, enormous time devotion, and the general stratification of players as a bunch of sociopaths where the goal is to make someone else have as bad of a day as possible.

I really liked the structure and gameplay of EVE, the market system and so on. All the people were terrible though, and I didn't exactly have a great experience in the couple of years I played it. A whole bunch of politics, backstabbing, and the game ran around schadenfreude. The notion of PFO being a schadenfreude game sounds just awful.

Well it sounds like none of the things you had a problem with in eve were the game itself. Merely the community it drew, and the mindset the players wanted the game to be in. On top of that you continued playing for "a couple of years", which is far more than most MMO's ever retain of any player. It is hard to properly convey dislike for a game, while mentioning you played it for years, it obviously had some draw and something it did very right even if there were parts you didn't like about it. That's like a restaurant review talking about how bad food has always been, and mentioning you've eaten there twice a month for a year.

That being said, there are 2 aspects that I see with PFO that will lessen the issues you have.

1. The contract system looks very much like their goals are to make scamming very difficult, and GW seems to have a tone that they have the absolute opposite view as CCP on the terms on controlling the difficulty of scamming within the game world (Namely CCP seems to literally cheer and publicly approve of major scam, while GW seems to show a strong interest in both discouraging many types of scamming, potentially with taking action against the guilty, and making the mechanics themselves harder to scam in). GW's contract system seems far more designed to be very transparent compared to eve's system, plus the alignment system etc... makes repeat offending significantly harder.

Every time in eve a scam or what could be viewed as griefing, goes large enough to reach public news, CCP makes a general comment along the lines of "this is great for the game". Including things like,
the burn jita event in which the main trading hub was shut down, and one corporation investment scam which gained the equivelent of 50k USD (based on the money to plex to ISK conversion).

2. The initial community being a primarily invite only, and likely a large chunk of it will be pathfinder type fans. Judging by the current posts etc... Few to none of the current list of players are openly desiring to be direct psychopaths in their plans. The first wave of players will likely strongly influence and teach the 2nd wave of players, so on and so forth. The tone the first wave of players set the game to, will permanently set the games tone for the rest of the games history.

And yeah as coldman also said, the space environment also allows for far more dehumanizing. As well as just plain guns tend to shift peoples minds more towards FPS/Dogfight games. A characters face goes a much longer way in how you see someone, vs a big hunk of metal.


No I had no problem with the game itself. The people playing EVE were awful though. I enjoyed the corp I was in, but the elitist, psychopathic overall community that had the maturity of youtube comment writers really got on my nerve. The restaurant review would be that the food was awesome, but you got really tired of the crowd.

I loved the structure of the market and resource management and the scope, but it was incredibly disheartening to participate in a corp that was continually taken advantage of an manipulated by larger alliances "for the lulz." I hated having to always be aware of politics, and I hated the whole killboard system where if you weren't a sociopath griefer who scored lots of kills against newbies or ganking ratters/miners you got blackballed by the larger alliances as being useless as allies.

I hated being assured by the alliance we were renting from that we had security, then watching them warp a titan in to pop all our ships when we were trying to defend our system from a couple of ratter hunters so they could pad their killboards.

I didn't like the whole concept of merc corps. I hated how you had to vet people in corps because people would actually lie about their allegiance to get access to corp intelligence to do social engineering with people. It encouraged seriously creepy behavior in something that's supposed to be a game.

And I hated that the measure of players was is how much damage they caused to other players in the community as a whole. It just wasn't fun anymore, and the whole laugh while drinking care bear tears mindset that was endemic among players was just creepy to me. When I got popped trying to move about 200m ISK of junk from lowsec to market, taking a stupid risk, I was in a funk already about it and decided, naw I'm not happy in this game and went back to playing DDO.

I love pathfinder, and I love the structure of EVE, but if the community evolves into something like that, I'll stick with theme park games and write off sandbox games as someplace where psychopaths can play be the bigger bastard; Which sucks, because I really like the idea of sandbox games.

So yeah, I hope it works, because I really like the idea of a EVE like pathfinder game that's not a bunch of sociopaths playing gank the weak for the lulz and better killboard stats.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

Dezakin wrote:
So yeah, I hope it works, because I really like the idea of a EVE like pathfinder game that's not a bunch of sociopaths playing gank the weak for the lulz and better killboard stats.

Good day, sir!

Might I interest you in joining the Great Legionaires, whose goal is to promote a healthy community? We aim to shape the game as it launches, to discourage bad behavior, and aid all those who build up community rather than tear it down. If you are interested, talk to myself or Andius, the leader of the company.

Swift travels and profitable ventures to you!

Alexander Damocles,
Holy Librarian of Abadar

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