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Character Archiving


Pathfinder Online

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Plenty of MMOs allow you to rebuild a character, usually by paying a few real-world dollars or within certain other limits. However, I feel that a very real and very cool opportunity to use the continuity of a character has been missed.

To the best of my knowledge, no game has ever let you save a character at different points in his or her career and use these copies without replaying the whole game. (Admittedly, this is the first time I've given a damn about an MMO in a very long time.)

I believe allowing players to instance an older copy of a character - who is unalterable and "finalized", would be a huge benefit to a great number of players. Suppose Alan plays with his friend Barbara. Every few levels, a "finalized" version of those characters is saved and set aside for Alan and Barb to break out when they want to use them. What's the added value for Alan and Barb?

Scenario 1
Barb goes to law school/has a baby/has a medical crisis, etc. She still loves the game, but she drops it. Then, when her schedule lightens, she wants to play. Alan has continued leveling, but can use his older character to play with Barb until she catches up.

Scenario 2
The devs come up with an awesome new content for characters of a level Alan and Barb passed a long time ago, but much higher level than new characters. By breaking out the "old" version of their characters, Barb and Alan can experience that content without leveling new characters again.

Scenario 3
Clyde, Barb and Alan's friend, is a casual player. The three have fun together, but Charlie cannot/won't spend as much time playing. Alan and Barb can use their lower-level selves when playing with Clyde.

Scenario 4
Having smoked some content for their level, Alan and Barb want a challenge, so they resolve to try it again with a weaker version of themselves.

What's the value for the devs?

New content doesn't have to be end game content for old hands to see it.
Improved social dynamics for the players.
More "bang" and utility for content in the mid-game since it can be revisited.

What do you folks think?

Goblin Squad Member

I do not support any respec option...to me it is absurd to have a respec option when there are no limits to what you decide to go train next.

I think the option you present here is interesting, as long as the archived character stays on your account (to avoid making a market for archived versions of high powered characters)...I have no problem at all with it. Of course, I think it might go against the "persistence" design priority.

Personally I do not see a need for it though, if you want to play with someone who is "level x" and you are too high level, go play with a skill that is near level x. For instance, I might be a master with swords, but my hatchet skill or illusions spells might only be x...nerfing is a concept that will be foreign to this games character development system.

Goblin Squad Member

I dont support a respec option in this game where you have the potential to learn anything just by spending alittle time working at it.

Goblin Squad Member

MordecaiManes wrote:
I dont support a respec option in this game where you have the potential to learn anything just by spending alittle time working at it.

Umm... did anyone actually read the post before replying? His suggestion is actually entirely without respecing, his idea is more or less a rewind with your chosen traits automatically chosen in the way it was done before.

More or less the idea of playing a 10th level barbarian being able to revert himself back to a 5th level barbarian to play older content.

It isn't a bad concept at all, but I think in PFO it is less necessary or valuble than in a normal game. Mainly because at least the devs have implied a drastically less significant difference in characters of different levels, the content itself isn't static, and I don't think there is going to be a large degree of stuff you can't play as a barb with 10 merit badges that you could with 5.

Also considering skills etc... are time based rather than experience based, when teaming up with your friend who hadn't been playing in a while, there is 0 risk of harming her XP gain. The rewards from running things will more or less be entirely wealth/resources/reputation.

So yeah factoring in the actual leveling system the game will have.

Scenerio 1. Well assuming she dropped her subscription entirely, there is still nothing hindering you from working together, playing together etc... The difference in power will not likely be cripplingly different to the point where she isn't contributing when teaming up with you, and since XP is time based, she won't lose any XP by hanging with you.

Scenerio 2. Well content isn't really static either, actually finding that content etc.. may not really be plausible no matter what, but even so I highly doubt there will be much reason that you can't run it as your current self, using lesser equipment or your earlier skills, or a side class that you may have leveled.

Scenerio 3. again to the leveling as time based, as long as the casual player logs on every couple of days to set his next skill, he's going to be equally far along with the exception of his equipment being pretty crappy, but if his friends want to chip in, or loan him a decent set, he'll be more or less equal.

Scenerio 4. Well you got me, again I'm doubting that level will really be that much of a difference. With the exception of modules, I don't really see most content as repeatable... you clear out a dungeon, the dungeon is gone, for good. A new one will appear but it could be harder or easier then the one you smoked. That being said there will always be ways to self impose a challenge on yourself.

DDO had naked temple spire runs
WoW had all druid onyxia fights (I believe an all priest one happened as well).

Sorry for the criticism, I do actually like the idea, in a theme park game with static content and huge differences in level. I would say it is one of the best ideas I have ever heard. But in PFO, I think it is solving an almost pre-solved problem, and somewhat hurts the immersion that the sandbox game allows for.

Goblin Squad Member

Onishi wrote:
MordecaiManes wrote:
I dont support a respec option in this game where you have the potential to learn anything just by spending alittle time working at it.
Umm... did anyone actually read the post before replying?

I did...

The Doc CC wrote:

Plenty of MMOs allow you to rebuild a character, usually by paying a few real-world dollars or within certain other limits. However, I feel that a very real and very cool opportunity to use the continuity of a character has been missed.

To the best of my knowledge, no game has ever let you save a character at different points in his or her career and use these copies without replaying the whole game. (Admittedly, this is the first time I've given a damn about an MMO in a very long time.)

I just took the opportunity to address the first point he mentioned as well. To his proposal (and you and I seem to agree):

Forencith wrote:

I think the option you present here is interesting, as long as the archived character stays on your account (to avoid making a market for archived versions of high powered characters)...I have no problem at all with it. Of course, I think it might go against the "persistence" design priority.

Personally I do not see a need for it though, if you want to play with someone who is "level x" and you are too high level, go play with a skill that is near level x. For instance, I might be a master with swords, but my hatchet skill or illusions spells might only be x...nerfing is a concept that will be foreign to this games character development system.

I think MordecaiManes was agreeing with my assessment of the initial point.

Goblin Squad Member

Two problems in the OP:

1. You refer to 'levels'

2. 'End Game' is the entire game. The term 'End game' describes the big pile of festering crap that themepark MSORPGS award you with after you trudge through all the little piles of crap.

The game is based around play-time not being a huge factor in your ability, so this is not an issue that needs attention. PFO is NOT the typical MMO, there is no need to revert you self so you can play with lower players, because there is no leveling system. The game has to function this way or the entire launch philosophy goes under and a small group that stuck with the game from the start would be the most successful players no matter what.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Valkenr wrote:

Two problems in the OP:

1. You refer to 'levels'

2. 'End Game' is the entire game. The term 'End game' describes the big pile of festering crap that themepark MSORPGS award you with after you trudge through all the little piles of crap.

The game is based around play-time not being a huge factor in your ability, so this is not an issue that needs attention. PFO is NOT the typical MMO, there is no need to revert you self so you can play with lower players, because there is no leveling system. The game has to function this way or the entire launch philosophy goes under and a small group that stuck with the game from the start would be the most successful players no matter what.

In response.

1) This is a case of insistent terminology. Regardless of what metric is used to measure the relative progress of characters, "level" is standing in for it. "Has-trained-in-more-skills-and-unlocked-more-badges character" is clumsy non-English. "Veteran" character somewhat captures the point, but since that hasn't entered common use, "level" it is.

I rather like the term "veteran character," for a situation where one character might be more skillful than most, but not much more powerful (like, say, CoC). But everyone understands "high-level character" even in games without a class-and-level system.

Not to mention GW uses the term level-20-capstone ability and we have not yet seen what the actual power curve looks like. GW hasn't said explicitly how steep or shallow it will be. Actually capturing the feel of a PF world argues for one where there certainly is a decent difference between character power (what's a good word for different points in a sliding scale of ranks?) to make the difference between fighting an orc, an ogre, and a giant matter.

2) Play time not being a huge factor is not the same thing at all as play time being a non-factor. "Level" being less of a factor is not the same thing as level being -no- factor. Even something pure-twitch like CoD has implemented systems that unbalance the game systematically (via improved perks and gear) toward long-term players.

Your response was essentially, "This design makes that less of a factor." That's fine. I see no reason to not implement a feature which mitigates it when it is a factor. I see an opportunity to institute an extremely useful feature which has no more difficulty than simply creating a saved clone of a character which cannot be edited saved remotely. I fail to see either a case of this feature being hard to implement nor of no use to players.

Even if it's of less use in PFO than it would be in that thing Blizzard does, that is not the same as it failing to add value to both players and devs.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Onishi wrote:


Scenerio 1. Well assuming she dropped her subscription entirely, there is still nothing hindering you from working together, playing together etc... The difference in power will not likely be cripplingly different to the point where she isn't contributing when teaming up with you, and since XP is time based, she won't lose any XP by hanging with you.

Scenerio 2. Well content isn't really static either, actually finding that content etc.. may not really be plausible no matter what, but even so I highly doubt there will be much reason that you can't run it as your current self, using lesser equipment or your earlier skills, or a side class that you may have leveled.

Scenerio 3. again to the leveling as time based, as long as the casual player logs on every couple of days to set his next skill, he's going to be equally far along with the exception of his equipment being pretty crappy, but if his friends want to chip in, or loan him a decent set, he'll be more or less equal.

I appreciate your comments, though I do not necessarily agree with all of them.

In Scenario 1, Barb would in a subscription model be paying for a good she can't enjoy, and I chose examples where her funds are probably tight. If you edited it to say, "Barb graduated law school and is putting in ninety hours a week at her big Manhattan firm, Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe, I'd agree entirely. But if you are paying for video games, you're not in a financial crisis or your priorities are out of order.

Scenario 2, think of the possibilities for content and special events. There's a reason something like We Be Goblins is hilarious fun after retiring a high level character.

Scenario 3, ok, fair, but suppose Clyde is a -new- casual player who wants to hang out with Alan and Barb, who are hardcore? Feel free to call me out on moving the goalposts.

Which I just did.

Ahem, Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe.

Goblin Squad Member

This sounds like a pretty unusual mechanic for an MMO. I have to wonder if there's any middleware out there that can even do this. If not, this whole debate is moot, is it not?

Goblin Squad Member

Onishi wrote:


Scenerio 1. Well assuming she dropped her subscription entirely, there is still nothing hindering you from working together, playing together etc... The difference in power will not likely be cripplingly different to the point where she isn't contributing when teaming up with you, and since XP is time based, she won't lose any XP by hanging with you.
The Doc CC wrote:


In Scenario 1, Barb would in a subscription model be paying for a good she can't enjoy, and I chose examples where her funds are probably tight. If you edited it to say, "Barb graduated law school and is putting in ninety hours a week at her big Manhattan firm, Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe, I'd agree entirely. But if you are paying for video games, you're not in a financial crisis or your priorities are out of order.

Where in my response to that scenerio did you pick up the assumption that she is paying while she isn't playing? My 2 points were

1. The power level difference is not likely going to be large. The devs have pretty much been stating that in PFO the difference between someone with 30+ archtype badges, and someone with 10, is going to be more about versatility and less on raw power.

2. Because XP is time based, even if she did contribute significantly less when she works with you, she still gets the same benefits as if she was the same level. The main issue in normal games, is that say in WoW, if a level 20 teams up with a level 40-50, the 20 winds up getting virtually no experience, In PFO since experience isn't a factor when killing, Basically there is no harm to either character in say someone with 4 archtype levels, teaming up with someone with 90 archtype levels, the 4 will level at the same pace as if he solod or went with friends his level, and the 90 will get a slight boost to killing speed, as the damage of someone with 4 levels is still greater than zero.

Quote:

Scenario 2, think of the possibilities for content and special events. There's a reason something like We Be Goblins is hilarious fun after retiring a high level character.

Again I think you are assuming a much larger power level varience based on character level, than the devs have implied. We are talking a game in which at level 5, a character may very well be getting caught up in a battle in which other participants are 20+, and that level 5 is going to be expected to be able to make some contribution to the fight, meaning the difference in power between a 5 and a 20, is not going to be a huge irreconcilable difference.

Quote:


Scenario 3, ok, fair, but suppose Clyde is a -new- casual player who wants to hang out with Alan and Barb, who are hardcore? Feel free to call me out on moving the goalposts.

Which I just did.

Ahem, Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe.

No problem on moving the goalpost, though it is covered in the answers I've been giving at both round one, and this round of the discussion. Even in casual play, and having a late start, the largest differece between Clyde, and A&B is going to be their gear and what consumables they will be able to afford. The "level" difference will likely be smaller than you are expecting. Gear and wealth will be a bigger factor than level, and A&B could chip in and buy better gear for Clyde and greatly reduce that flaw. Especially since as Clyde plays less, he will also be wearing through his armor and weapons much slower, so when A&B buy him some nice gear, it will last far longer then what they are wearing.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Onishi wrote:
Onishi wrote:


Scenerio 1. Well assuming she dropped her subscription entirely...
Where in my response to that scenerio did you pick up the assumption that she is paying while she isn't playing?

Fair enough. There's a question here whether or not her data should be saved after she cancels her subscription. So far, most services I can think of says, "No." This seems like an unquestioned assumption. Why doesn't a company realize that saving that data in a file could be a carrot to help lure folks back.

"Gear and wealth will be a different factor than level..." - level can be a stand-in for any given source of power. If the difference between two characters is that one character has ground and has a weapon that does 2x the damage of the other, it is from a game-play standpoint the same as if the better-geared character had ground instead until their level did this. (The freebie points of old-school WoD games come to mind; maybe you put them in raw attributes, or maybe you put them in just being rich. They're both sources of power.)

Saying, "Oh, level doesn't matter because characters gain power by getting better gear over time," is pure sleight of hand. Check the ME3 multiplayer for how two characters of the same level can be vastly different in effectiveness in their raw power, and how you can "level with better gear," until you're not in the same league as another player with the same character level.

As I said, we disagree on a few points and frankly until there is a product to test, it does become a theoretical debate. It also side-tracks us from the original question; is this a useful potential feature? Saying, "It has some limited use," still admits it has use and would be a nice bonus, even if it would be far more useful in another game.

Finn's simple question, "Is there a middleware that does this?" is a very good question. I know of none. Is it at all a difficult feature to implement? I doubt it, but as my moniker implies, my skills are with squishy systems, not coding.

Goblin Squad Member

The Doc CC wrote:


Saying, "Oh, level doesn't matter because characters gain power by getting better gear over time," is pure sleight of hand. Check the ME3 multiplayer for how two characters of the same level can be vastly different in effectiveness in their raw power, and how you can "level with better gear," until you're not in the same league as another player with the same character level.

Well the key difference is... gear is easilly transferable, unless PFO impliments some sort of theme park esq "binding" system then you can share and give gear, the rich player can buy gear for his poorer friend to instantly boost him etc... As well the rich could hang onto his old set to de-power himself.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Onishi wrote:
The Doc CC wrote:


Saying, "Oh, level doesn't matter because characters gain power by getting better gear over time," is pure sleight of hand. Check the ME3 multiplayer for how two characters of the same level can be vastly different in effectiveness in their raw power, and how you can "level with better gear," until you're not in the same league as another player with the same character level.
Well the key difference is... gear is easilly transferable, unless PFO impliments some sort of theme park esq "binding" system then you can share and give gear, the rich player can buy gear for his poorer friend to instantly boost him etc... As well the rich could hang onto his old set to de-power himself.

"Rich guy gives his buddy gear way stronger than he has a right to," left a bad taste in my mouth that I haven't been able to get rid of since Diablo I. Just my $0.02.

Of course, the duped gear was a bigger problem, but that's not the point.

Goblin Squad Member

I kind of feel like this is a solution in search of a problem, based on the arguments so far. Nothing will really prevent a 1 month player (regardless of a start/stop/restart) from partying up with a 6 - 12 month player if they know each other, and/or the longer played character is willing to contribute either monetarily or equipment wise.

Where I see this feature really having value added for players is in the capacity to revise a "pure" class build (ie in search of a capstone ability). Some problems I foresee; If the higher level character is able to maintain his character with more training, then this person is effectively getting the "archived" level of training for free (A barbarian with 6 months, and a new free character with 1 month preloaded). Alternately, if only one character is allowed to exist, then the longer lived/trained character is forced to sacrifice training time to revert back to its earlier version.

Goblin Squad Member

The Doc CC wrote:


"Rich guy gives his buddy gear way stronger than he has a right to," left a bad taste in my mouth that I haven't been able to get rid of since Diablo I. Just my $0.02.

Of course, the duped gear was a bigger problem, but that's not the point.

To an extent... but it also is a fact of MMO's, the only way that isn't going to happen, is if anything worth having binds... and well if everything worth having binds, then you can rapidly say goodbye to anything resembling a player driven economy.

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