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Capstones... Why?


Pathfinder Online

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Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.
MicMan wrote:


even though both chars may be exactly the same.

This is one of most flawed assumptions, and one that's endemic in this thread. The only way this could possibly be true is if you completely eliminate the entirety of the process of getting to that end assumption (aka playing the game for well nigh 4-5 years). If you dip, at any point, from one path to another, you change the equation. You gain access to abilities outside of the scope of the path, and you gain what is arguably the most defining quality of characters in PFO, and that's versatility. If process A is different from process B, the equations are not equal, even if the result appears the same (and even then only by the most reductionist, un-nuanced logic)

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:


Nothing has been said either way about age effects just yet. I'm not endorsing the idea, just pointing out that total training time might be finite.

I don't think I want any of that. lol

Goblin Squad Member

Chuck Wright wrote:
How about simply limiting the capstone system to one per character? The one you master first is the one in which you excel.

I suggested that earlier myself.

I think that it would be a way to offer powerful capstones because no one would ever be cut out.

Whichever class you get to 20 first is the one that you get your capstone in. Simple.

Xein wrote:
Because if I put forth the effort to max out an archetype the way they want, I want that capstone too.

So if there is only one capstone available, then pick that one that you want most and get it.

Every other class that you take skills in would still be allowing you to diversify, and everyone will get there eventually, whether they go straight to 20 in their preferred class or take a bunch of detours along the way.

Gruffling wrote:


This is one of most flawed assumptions, and one that's endemic in this thread. The only way this could possibly be true is if you completely eliminate the entirety of the process of getting to that end assumption (aka playing the game for well nigh 4-5 years). If you dip, at any point, from one path to another, you change the equation. You gain access to abilities outside of the scope of the path, and you gain what is arguably the most defining quality of characters in PFO, and that's versatility. If process A is different from process B, the equations are not equal, even if the result appears the same (and even then only by the most reductionist, un-nuanced logic)

I support capstones.

I posted as much multiple times in this thread.

I just wanted to get that out of the way first for the sake of clarification.

And while it is true that 1A+5B+19A is not identical in every respect to 20A+5B, they do both add up the same.

And that is why I have been saying that capstones need to be a whole lot of nothing unless multiclassers can get them.

That diversity that someone gets now is going to give them some flexibility but if it cuts them off from a capstone that offers real power, and the characters that get the capstone can get that same flexibility later, then later on the people that multiclassed early are going to start lagging behind.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So now I am back where I started:

1) If they include capstones that are just so much cosmetic fluff (animations, FX, titles, etc) then you can enjoy your diversification early and know that you aren't gimped later, but I don't want to hear anyone crying about not getting the shiny version of some ability that the people that did without those extra options early will have.

2) If they include capstones that are powerful, then everyone should have access.

First class you get to 20 would make any individual capstone more rare, and you can grab flexibility now if you want to, but it lengthens the amount of time that it will take you to get the capstone power.

In the end it's a wash. 1A+5B+19A and 20A+5B will both have the same amount of power and flexibility, but the first character will have gotten flexibility earlier, while the second will have gotten the capstone power a little earlier. :-)

Goblin Squad Member

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Just cross-posting as it's been said in another thread.

Ryan Dancey wrote:
I think that the "capstone" thing is way over-discussed at this point. Since there's no design for them and we have nothing other than a vague idea to have them, I'm not going to be able to tell you much about any capstone.

Lantern Lodge

That's why we should be giving them ideas instead of argueing over it. Give them a good enough idea and they might go with it.

A suggestion,
You can only have 1 capstone, but when become eligible for a another one, then can see what it is and decide to lose your current one for the new one. This not only let's there be capstones for single classes, but also prestige classes and common mixes, so if you get a lot of sorcerer/fighter then they might make a capstone for those with 20/20.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:


(( Let me know when the light bulb goes off. ))

Ahh condescension, how I've missed you, I'll leave this thread since it's now devolving to pettiness.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's been mentioned that multiclassing a character will create a more powerful character than a single classed character. This may be true in PnP, but it doesn't have to be true in a game that they're designing from the ground up.

Since PFO has total control of the relative power levels of archetype and multi-archetyped characters, it's up to them to fix this balance issue.

There also seems to be a split in the player base over those who'd prefer a classless(archetype-less?) systems to those favor the flavour of classes as implemented via the different archetypes.

Personally I don't like the idea of the capstones and even if they implement it (which seems likely) I'll be ignoring it in favour of playing the type of character concept I have designed for this game.

I like the suggestion of characters only ever getting 1 capstone ability, which they would get from gaining 20 merit badges in a archetype. If that was implemented, I would suggest that players would get the capstone when the get 20 merit badges in a archetype, regardless of whether they multi-classed or not.

Goblin Squad Member

@Southraven, sorry - again - for letting my frustration show.

Having people repeatedly accuse me of being "silly", of "setting up strawman arguments" and of generally being dense, while obviously putting no effort whatsoever into hearing what I was saying was a bit much for this (very) flawed human being to endure with aplomb.

I apologize to you and to GrumpyMel for my condescension.

Goblin Squad Member

"Approximation". ;)

Goblin Squad Member

I want to apologize to everyone else too.

I've made the excuse before that I'm fairly new to forums. I'm still struggling to learn the self-control necessary to remain civil while also being extremely vocal.

I was struggling to put my thoughts to words, and I allowed my frustration at being unable to do so - and my frustration that no one was able to divine my meaning without my being able to do so - to get the better of me.

I'm not always a condescending a-hole.

Goblin Squad Member

No worries Nihimon, your posts are v lucid; which in my book dispels any notion of rudeness. I think crossed-wires happens in discussions all the time, I think you were simply not overt enough (I assumed that was deliberate to allow discussion tbh?). The idea for game is attempting to simulate by "approximation" the opportunity cost of training, one way or another, that means being economical with the logic of reality! The best simulation games I've experienced, do a great job of this.

No surprise capstone skills are a topic of interest (reading about them for the 1st time in Mbando's other thread).

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:

I want to apologize to everyone else too.

I've made the excuse before that I'm fairly new to forums. I'm still struggling to learn the self-control necessary to remain civil while also being extremely vocal.

I was struggling to put my thoughts to words, and I allowed my frustration at being unable to do so - and my frustration that no one was able to divine my meaning without my being able to do so - to get the better of me.

I'm not always a condescending a-hole.

Forgiven mate. For the most part I admire your enthusiasm, you've been a consistent poster with interesting views. This has been a weird thread and I stand by the fact that I won't contribute to the discussion anymore because people are getting heated.

I suppose it's a good sign for GW though really, people really do care about this game and what it looks like they're trying to achieve.

Goblin Squad Member

Look guys, there is clearly a design reason why the capstone concept was introducded. Which Stephen (Dev) so kindly came into this thread to confirm. So rather then beating each other up, if you dislike the "capstone" concept...lets look at that design concept and see if there is another way to achieve the same desired end.

Edit: In case anyone didn't feel like going back an rereading the thread. It's expected that Multi-Class characters under PFO's design WILL have an easier time of it (due to synergies and diversification) so the designers wanted to put something in to counter-balance that for dedicaded single class characters.

Goblin Squad Member

GrumpyMel wrote:

Look guys, there is clearly a design reason why the capstone concept was introducded. Which Stephen (Dev) so kindly came into this thread to confirm. So rather then beating each other up, if you dislike the "capstone" concept...lets look at that design concept and see if there is another way to achieve the same desired end.

Edit: In case anyone didn't feel like going back an rereading the thread. It's expected that Multi-Class characters under PFO's design WILL have an easier time of it (due to synergies and diversification) so the designers wanted to put something in to counter-balance that for dedicaded single class characters.

Personally I think they need to put some thought into the system they are designing when it comes to build synergies. They have also confirmed that a player who trains multiple classes will be behind players who train a single class in terms of raw power, if only a bit.

I would like to have them consider that if they make multiclass synergies so powerful that single class characters are behind to the extent they need a permanent reward unavailable to multiclass characters to stay single class... multi capstone characters will be overpowered, and any multi classer that doesn't find synergies so broken they make them MORE effective than a single class character of similar level will be underpowered. That is really all there is to it.

I would personally like to see them balance things so that a multi class and a single class character are on a par when it comes to how powerful they are in terms of abilities available to them at any one given level.

They've already confirmed 90% of what they need to make such a system work. Limited ability slots. All they need to do for the rest of the 10% is give each class some in-class synergy, and nerf the synergy of any multi class build that would make the character much more effective than a single class build. For instance is monk/fighters who use kamas are overpowered, make one of the properties of the kama weapon be "Fighter skills do 20% less damage." And the monk and fighter will each have abilities meant to combo effectively with other abilities within that class so that trading off abilities in the main class for abilities in other classes means they are trading one synergy for another.

People would still play multiclass characters for the same reason people train to fly multiple ship types on EVE. You can go home, switch up your build, and play a different role if needed.

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:
GrumpyMel wrote:

Look guys, there is clearly a design reason why the capstone concept was introducded. Which Stephen (Dev) so kindly came into this thread to confirm. So rather then beating each other up, if you dislike the "capstone" concept...lets look at that design concept and see if there is another way to achieve the same desired end.

Edit: In case anyone didn't feel like going back an rereading the thread. It's expected that Multi-Class characters under PFO's design WILL have an easier time of it (due to synergies and diversification) so the designers wanted to put something in to counter-balance that for dedicaded single class characters.

Personally I think they need to put some thought into the system they are designing when it comes to build synergies. They have also confirmed that a player who trains multiple classes will be behind players who train a single class in terms of raw power, if only a bit.

I would like to have them consider that if they make multiclass synergies so powerful that single class characters are behind to the extent they need a permanent reward unavailable to multiclass characters to stay single class... multi capstone characters will be overpowered, and any multi classer that doesn't find synergies so broken they make them MORE effective than a single class character of similar level will be underpowered. That is really all there is to it.

I would personally like to see them balance things so that a multi class and a single class character are on a par when it comes to how powerful they are in terms of abilities available to them at any one given level.

They've already confirmed 90% of what they need to make such a system work. Limited ability slots. All they need to do for the rest of the 10% is give each class some in-class synergy, and nerf the synergy of any multi class build that would make the character much more effective than a single class build. For instance is monk/fighters who use kamas are overpowered, make one of the properties of...

I agree completely. Multi-archetyped characters are only more powerful than single archetyped characters if they (the dev's) design them that way.

The capstone system seems to only reward characters who play a single archetype. Therefore this will preclude people from gaining prestige classes as well.

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

Are Prestige Classes a confirmed part of the game?

Goblin Squad Member

Chuck Wright wrote:
Are Prestige Classes a confirmed part of the game?

I know they have mentioned them but I don't remember exactly what they said or where they said it. Nihimon probably knows. That guy has a source for everything the devs have ever said.

CEO, Goblinworks

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think there are two entirely different conversations being had in this thread.

1: Should people who choose to do one thing exclusive to other things be rewarded for that focus?

We decided yes, not for simulationist reasons, not due to any real-world aspect of anything, but just because it's one of the very notable features Pathfinder added to stock D20 sword & sorcery fantasy roleplaying.

It's one of those things we can point at and say "this is a way that Pathfinder Online is like Pathfinder tabletop".

2: How will multiclassing work?

This is to me a much more interesting question. In a game without classes, it would be best to discard all assumptions about how multiclassing works in the tabletop and just start with a fresh sheet of paper.

For example: In the way we currently envision roles working, the skills you train to advance a role and the merit badges you earn are focused on things you do while pursuing that role.

On the tabletop, you get a package of stuff that makes you better at doing a class - a to-hit bonus, maybe some feats, perhaps a class feature or two.

In Pathfinder Online, we recognize that you have become better by rewarding you with a merit badge.

You won't get to-hit bonuses, feats or class features when you earn a new role merit badge.

Those things might be perquisites for that merit badge (or maybe not). Such important things can't be limited to roles, or we'll end up with having to have all sorts of minute (and confusing) variations for each role.

A person on the Fighter path will have a better chance to hit, a wide selection of armor options, and feats related to killing other things because the player has trained those skills and earned those merit badges, unlocking those abilities. But someone on the Wizard path may have done exactly the same thing. Of course, the Fighter will be moving through the Fighter role more quickly than the Wizard through the Wizard role, because the Wizard will also have to have done a bunch of Wizard stuff.

In other words, it's more than possible that the Fighter and the Wizard could gear up for melee combat and be effectively equal.

In exchange for advancing as a Wizard much more slowly, the Wizard character will have Wizard capabilities as well; but the character will be an older character and the player will have invested more play time on that Wizard character. The flexibility of being both Wizardly and Fighterly is time (and time means money).

What we want to avoid is the condition where two characters of the same age become unequal when doing the same thing due to synergies. In other words, if, after the same length of time, the Wizard who pursued melee combat activities happens to be a better Fighter than the character who pursued melee combat activities because of synergies with Wizardly abilities, then that would deviate from the objective of the design.

It is likely that such things will happen with so many potential character development options so I'm not going to obsess about places where this occurs. Instead, I would like the designers to avoid the condition where possible and revert it to the objective as soon as reasonably possible.

In other words, you might find that there's a certain age of character where being a Wizard makes you a better Fighter - but that should not persist for the lifetime of the character; it should be a limited-duration effect and reasonably quickly as the character ages the advantage should disappear.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:

I think there are two entirely different conversations being had in this thread.

1: Should people who choose to do one thing exclusive to other things be rewarded for that focus?

We decided yes, not for simulationist reasons, not due to any real-world aspect of anything, but just because it's one of the very notable features Pathfinder added to stock D20 sword & sorcery fantasy roleplaying.

It's one of those things we can point at and say "this is a way that Pathfinder Online is like Pathfinder tabletop".

2: How will multiclassing work?

This is to me a much more interesting question. In a game without classes, it would be best to discard all assumptions about how multiclassing works in the tabletop and just start with a fresh sheet of paper.

For example: In the way we currently envision roles working, the skills you train to advance a role and the merit badges you earn are focused on things you do while pursuing that role.

On the tabletop, you get a package of stuff that makes you better at doing a class - a to-hit bonus, maybe some feats, perhaps a class feature or two.

In Pathfinder Online, we recognize that you have become better by rewarding you with a merit badge.

You won't get to-hit bonuses, feats or class features when you earn a new role merit badge.

Those things might be perquisites for that merit badge (or maybe not). Such important things can't be limited to roles, or we'll end up with having to have all sorts of minute (and confusing) variations for each role.

A person on the Fighter path will have a better chance to hit, a wide selection of armor options, and feats related to killing other things because the player has trained those skills and earned those merit badges, unlocking those abilities. But someone on the Wizard path may have done exactly the same thing. Of course, the Fighter will be moving through the Fighter role more quickly than the Wizard through the Wizard role, because the Wizard will also have to have done a...

WOW! Awesome post. Thanks Ryan.

Goblin Squad Member

A few questions.

1. Are you saying that wizard training melee skills can do so without going outside the wizard class, and will still be eligible for a capstone?

2. Outside capstones are there any abilities that will require you to take levels in a class to train, such as druid's wildshape or paladin's smite? Or can I take wildshape or smite for my fighter if I spend the time to train it?

3. What your plan is to deal with the tabletop concept of different hit die, base attacks, and numbers of spells? How will those concepts translate into PFO?

Goblin Squad Member

Thanks Ryan, that was a very helpful post.

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:
Chuck Wright wrote:
Are Prestige Classes a confirmed part of the game?
I know they have mentioned them but I don't remember exactly what they said or where they said it. Nihimon probably knows. That guy has a source for everything the devs have ever said.

I'm not the only one! *points at Onishi*

But, as far as I know, they haven't said anything about Prestige Classes other than "it would be neat" or something to that effect, and I may be making that part up..

Andius wrote:
1. Are you saying that wizard training melee skills can do so without going outside the wizard class, and will still be eligible for a capstone?

That's always been my understanding.

To get Fighter 1, you'll have to first earn prerequisite Skills, and those will probably allow you to learn specific Abilities that you can use prior to earning Fighter 1. If you simply forego learning Fighter 1, you should be able to use those Abilities.

I expect, though, that most of the "cool" Fighter Abilities will require Fighter 1 or higher as a prerequisite.

Goblin Squad Member

Mbando said something in another thread that prompted this thought.

It seems to me that the main objection that people have to Capstone abilities is that, if you make a mistake - and regardless of how good the devs are at explaining it and warning us, someone will make the mistake - then you can't ever recover from that mistake on that character.

It's also not really fair to allow a character to benefit from the synergies of multi-classing for a while, and then simply throw away those skills in order to make themselves eligible for a Capstone.

What do y'all think of letting a character train off their skills, but devoting paid training time to unlearn them? This way, the more training you take in another class, the longer it takes you to undo it. Losing that training time - and really, you're losing that training time twice - seems like a significant penalty.

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

At some point, though, after you've tried everything else, you just have to tell some people "Tough Noogies".

CEO, Goblinworks

Andius wrote:
1. Are you saying that wizard training melee skills can do so without going outside the wizard class, and will still be eligible for a capstone?

I'm saying that earning abilities to hit better, do more damage, wear various types of armor, etc. are not "Fighter Role" exclusive things.

Quote:
2. Outside capstones are there any abilities that will require you to take levels in a class to train, such as druid's wildshape or paladin's smite? Or can I take wildshape or smite for my fighter if I spend the time to train it?

My opinion is that Role merit badges should not be perquisites for anything. They're a recognition of accomplishment, not a way to help you keep accomplishing.

The former is Pathfinder Online. The latter is Pathfinder Tabletop.

Quote:
3. What your plan is to deal with the tabletop concept of different hit die, base attacks, and numbers of spells? How will those concepts translate into PFO?

No clue. As we've said before the combat system is the most critical game aspect that as yet has little beyond some objectives and 10,000 foot overviews. It's what Lee and Stephen have been working on nearly non-stop for more than a month, and why we're starting to get Dev Blogs about it. But it's still very much a squishy, open-book, brainstorming stage of development.

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Andius wrote:

Quote:
2. Outside capstones are there any abilities that will require you to take levels in a class to train, such as druid's wildshape or paladin's smite? Or can I take wildshape or smite for my fighter if I spend the time to train it?
My opinion is that Role merit badges should not be perquisites for anything. They're a recognition of accomplishment, not a way to help you keep accomplishing.

So to put it another way, Role Merit badges are a way to verify to other people what you've accomplished as well as an in-game acknowledgement?

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
My opinion is that Role merit badges should not be perquisites for anything.

Very interesting. This makes it sound like it might be possible to learn all the Skills that would let you gain Fighter 5 without ever even gaining Fighter 1. If that's true, then it would seem to argue against Capstones existing to counterbalance multi-class synergy, since you'll be able to get the synergy without losing the Capstone.

CEO, Goblinworks

@Nihimon - I've never been a fan of capstones balancing anything. The less "good" they are mechanically the happier I'll be.

Goblin Squad Member

I am also puzzled as to how they account for a character being able to train up whatever they need to to get to a class capstone and then just start training up other stuff while heading towards a new capstone.

What is the difference between a character that went straight fighter to 20 and then straight wizard to 20 and one that mixed the two classes up as they advanced?

The 'purist' will have capstones, whatever form those take in the end, but how will the 'multiclasser' be more diverse when they get to that point?

I know how they will be more diverse along the way, but unless I am misunderstanding how the skill system will work in relation to classes, I do not see how they will be more diverse after the other character has capped the same two classes.

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

I would personally be happy with titles gained based on certain criteria. Perhaps one title is gained by getting the 20th Merit badge and if you've not gained Merit badges in other Adventuring Roles you get an additional, optional, title.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
@Nihimon - I've never been a fan of capstones balancing anything. The less "good" they are mechanically the happier I'll be.

Honestly, that's the impression I've had for quite a while. I never really bought into the argument that Capstones were "intended" to counterbalance multi-class synergies, and to "encourage players to forego multiclassing". I always saw Capstones as being something flashy you could do to show off, but that didn't really have a significant mechanical effect.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
@Nihimon - I've never been a fan of capstones balancing anything. The less "good" they are mechanically the happier I'll be.

I was about to ask the same question Nihimon did after reading your response, and that is very comforting to know.

Really I'm very happy about your answer in general. That if I want to be a barbarian who can shift into a wolf, or a cleric who can use music to inspire people, that I can achieve those goals without having to take levels in druid or bard.

That should really make for some very interesting characters in this game that don't fit into the box of the traditional classes.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

What kinds of abilities, if any, do you think will be role-exclusive? It seems obvious that fighters, rogues, barbarians, and monks shouldn't get any spell casting while other roles should; each of the pure martial roles should get something that paladins and rangers don't.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
What kinds of abilities, if any, do you think will be role-exclusive? It seems obvious that fighters, rogues, barbarians, and monks shouldn't get any spell casting while other roles should; each of the pure martial roles should get something that paladins and rangers don't.
Ryan Dancey wrote:
Andius wrote:
2. Outside capstones are there any abilities that will require you to take levels in a class to train, such as druid's wildshape or paladin's smite? Or can I take wildshape or smite for my fighter if I spend the time to train it?

My opinion is that Role merit badges should not be perquisites for anything. They're a recognition of accomplishment, not a way to help you keep accomplishing.

The former is Pathfinder Online. The latter is Pathfinder Tabletop.

I would take this to mean nothing but capstones are role exclusive, or at least that is how Ryan currently envisions it.

It actually makes sense if you think of classes less as classes and more like certifications in EVE.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
@Nihimon - I've never been a fan of capstones balancing anything. The less "good" they are mechanically the happier I'll be.

If capstones aren't meaningful, won't they end up meaningless? If capstones are things like bards have extraordinarily broad, floppy-brimmed hats, or "Or at 20th level the Paladin's connection with good is physically visible: forever after, their skin sparkles in sunlight," then wouldn't someone achieving a capstone be epiphenominal to playing?

Goblin Squad Member

(( epiphenomenal just means "by-product", or "side effect" ))

@Mbando, I'm not sure I understand your question.

Mbando wrote:
... at 20th level the Paladin's connection with good is physically visible: forever after, their skin sparkles in sunlight...

That's exactly the kind of thing I had in mind. It won't be a side-effect of playing, though. It will be a side-effect of playing Paladin straight through, without dabbling in other roles. That seems perfect to me.

Goblin Squad Member

Stephen Cheney wrote:
But we're completely open to discussion on how big that reward should be and whether that's even the best way to incentivize such behavior.

well,

to sum up my peeve with a capstone:

- do you have an in game explanation for it happening? ("cuz we say so" is rather lame)

- once it's in the code it's fixed and you have to wait 2,5 years to see how the effects go with the players

- good luck trying to balance it with the synergy effects from going multi role

one thing I'd say is a universally limited recource with all players is time.
So if you give single role players an advantage in lerning (synergy for training single mindedly) you can compensate the synergy from the different stuff learned.

People can chose to go fast in a straight line
or go a bit slower and take more turns.

If anywhere in the 2,5 years you think the faster increase in power from going straight doesn't compensate enough(or too much) the faster increase in power from diverification - you can just tweak the time bonus.
Very litte effort in (re-)programming terms I guess.

Goblin Squad Member

There are a couple different ways this could be approached...

1) Archetypes are essentialy "Window Dressing". They do nothing practical for you mechanicaly. They are just a recognition of what you've achieved in terms of the skills you've taken. You basicaly have a pure skill based system.

2) Archtypes are "Semi-Meaningfull". They aren't a pre-requisite for learning most of the core combat things, but they, in themselves give a specific set of bonuses that are meaningfull to the core of what that archtype is supposed to be all about. Those bonuses help set the character who has pursued the archtype apart from one who hasn't in the core areas of focus for the archtype.

3) Archtypes are the "Prime Mechanism" of advancement for the character. Not only does advancing them give a specific set of bonuses for the character but they are a pre-requisite for earning and opening the skills one needs to advance the character in that area of focus.

............................

I hadn't really known what GW intent was for PFO in regards those options but from the discussions that were had so far...I had kinda suspected it was option #2.... Ryan's post seems to be hinting it's option #1.

If it is option #1, there are a few design based implications that I would like to see addressed.

- Something that has zero mechanical implication is a bit of a wasted effort. I don't see any reason why a character would pursue a Merit Badge in a class that required any effort over pursuing a Merit Badge in an ability that provided some mechanical benefit to them, especialy since the game provides open ended advancement. Therefore, unless the requirements for achieving each Level in an Archetype are so trivial (both in terms of line-ing up the pre-requisite skills to open up the Merit Badge and the task of completing the Merit Badge itself) that they require almost no effort from the player, I'm not sure what will motivate players to pursue them...as a player diverting any effort toward completing a Merit Badge in a Archtype will almost always be worse of then one who focuses that effort on something which provides a mechanical advantage. Whats the point of having them then? Why would I want to earn Fighter Level Merit badges then simply advertise myself as a "Fighter" and earn merit badges that provide my the most mechanical benefits?

- One of the problems with pure skill based systems (part of the reason why class based systems exist) is that pretty much every character and up looking like mud.... due to synergies and complexities of design it's almost always better to cherry pick a set of abilities skills that provides the player optimal functionalty in combat situations that have very little to do with what one would intuitively expect from an Archtype. Alot of this has to do (as I think Stephen nentioned before) with the desire to setup situations where a group of characters can mutualy benefit each other (e.g. The spell-caster "buffing" the Fighter, the Fighter "protecting" the spell-caster). However with in pure skill based systems what will often happen is each character will often cherry pick the optimal set of abilities from each role to output combat abilities on thier own and thus you lose that codependancy since everyone provides thier own optimal buffing and you lose all sense of role definition/specialization. Is the design intention therefore for everyone to be a archtype independant generalist that cherry picks the optimal set of abilties to boost thier combat independance? If not, will you constantly be playing whack-a-mole and nerfing/buffing of abilities to try to prevent optimal self-generated combat independance across Archtypes?

- What do you do about characters that don't want to delve too deeply into the excel spreadsheet work of figuring the optimal set of abilities to perform a desired role and still remain compentent in that role? One of the advantages of pure class based systems (although they certainly have many other disadvantages) is that players can make a very simple decision of saying... I want to be a Wizard (or Fighter or Cleric, etc) and be assured that they can be relatively compentent in that role as they advance. They may sometimes be asked to choose from a limited set of sub-specializations, most of which are fairly intuitive in selection of skill to achieve a desired and (e.g. Do I want to use 2-handed weapons or fight with sword and shield) and even if they choose poorly there, they still are assured some level of competence from thier base class selection alone. Is the intent to say to players in effect... "If you aren't willing to break out a spreadsheet, expect to not be compentent in whatever core role you want to perform?". If I want to be compentent/competitive in the role of Fighter...can I just select the "Fighter" Archtype and follow the pre-requisites set out by the designers to advance it...or do I have to know that I need to also take learn some "Monk" type skills so I can slot "Kai Strike" and some "Bard" type skills so I can slot "Improved Morale" and learn some "Wizard" type skills so I can "Bulls Strength" myself before a fight?

In other words, there are inherint and well recognized downsides to pure skill based systems is the intention to simply live with those downsides for PFO or to try to design ways to mitigate them?...and if so how do you achieve that without attaching some mechanical signifigance to the players pursuit of Archtypes themselves?

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:

(( epiphenomenal just means "by-product", or "side effect" ))

@Mbando, I'm not sure I understand your question.

Mbando wrote:
... at 20th level the Paladin's connection with good is physically visible: forever after, their skin sparkles in sunlight...
That's exactly the kind of thing I had in mind. It won't be a side-effect of playing, though. It will be a side-effect of playing Paladin straight through, without dabbling in other roles. That seems perfect to me.

Yes, Nihimon: if capstones are have no effect, then while it is possible that someone will get one, it will be purely as a by-product of other considerations--the presence/absence of capstones won't present players with a meaningful choice.

That's at the heart of what you just posted--you're quite happy if capstones are something like sparkles, because you are free to ignore meaningless side-effects. If you don't have to account for capstones, then there's no meaningful choice. Whereas if capstones are effective in some way--if you have make meaningful choice, that's something you've argued quite passionately against.

It's not capstones per se that I'm interested in, but rather meaningful choices. That could be achieved in multiple ways--for example, instead of the Pathfinder TT solution of giving an ability (like Wild Shape at Will), maybe PFO might make entrance to certain factions a capstone. Maybe the capstone ability of clerics and paladins is access to factional NPCs clergy/vendors of the corresponding alignment. That would present players with interesting, meaningful choices, unlike say, sparkles, or very, very nice hats.

Goblin Squad Member

Mbando wrote:
Ryan Dancey wrote:
@Nihimon - I've never been a fan of capstones balancing anything. The less "good" they are mechanically the happier I'll be.
If capstones aren't meaningful, won't they end up meaningless? If capstones are things like bards have extraordinarily broad, floppy-brimmed hats, or "Or at 20th level the Paladin's connection with good is physically visible: forever after, their skin sparkles in sunlight," then wouldn't someone achieving a capstone be epiphenominal to playing?

More importantly...do the Archtypes themselves become meaningless and ephemeral to play?

Why would I bother to pursue 20 levels of Fighter (or insert any other Arctype) Archtype if it provides absolutely no mechanical advantage whatsoever?

Is not the guy who is ignoring Archtypes and rather spending his time cherry-picking the optimal set of abilities to pursue a given function (which may not actualy match the designers intent of the requirements for an Archtype) far better off then the person dilligently expending his time to pursue an Archtype?

What implications does it have for the game?

Won't being a Level 0 No Class be the optimal way to perform the "Fighter" role then someone who is actualy a "20th Level Fighter"?

THESE are the things that concern me as a player...as pure skill based systems have some very well established downsides.

There are reasons why people DON'T play EvE....there are reasons why fantasy characters don't neccessarly function the same way as spaceships?

Is there really an intent here to make this EvE but the spaceship is skinned as an Elf instead? I forsee ALOT of problems if that's the intent.... and I can't forsee how that would even remotely reflect the spirit of the PnP ruleset (and thus neccesarly have any attraction for fans of said ruleset).

I haven't thought that has been the design intent....but the post here by Ryan makes me wonder if I am wrong about that?

Goblin Squad Member

@Mbando, I guess this is the part I don't understand.

I totally get that, in the real world, if I choose to pursue a career as a theoretical physicist, then I'm effectively choosing to not pursue my career as a professional football player.

But in PFO, I would be able to pursue that professional football career after winning my Nobel Prize in Physics.

What I don't understand is why my - in essence - pursuing a football career in High School, and then switching to study Physics in college, should forever bar me from excelling in a professional football career, when I would not be barred if I had never started that career in High School.

It's not that I don't think there should be meaningful choices. It's that I don't understand how that is a meaningful choice.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

As proposed, you could be a professional football player with an interrupted career, you just wouldn't be able to win all Heisman trophy if you spent the last two years of college studying at the particle accelerator.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon, my point is that if football didn't have rewards that were meaningful: if there weren't scholarships, prestige, special accommodations, and finally multimillion dollar contracts, you would have a lot less people pursue a career as a professional player.

You might have folks splash in a couple merit-badges here and there, but not too many taking 20 merit badges.

Goblin Squad Member

Stephen Cheney wrote:
But we're completely open to discussion on how big that reward should be and whether that's even the best way to incentivize such behavior.
DropBearHunter wrote:

well,

to sum up my peeve with a capstone:

- do you have an in game explanation for it happening? ("cuz we say so" is rather lame)

- once it's in the code it's fixed and you have to wait 2,5 years to see how the effects go with the players

- good luck trying to balance it with the synergy effects from going multi role

one thing I'd say is a universally limited recource with all players is time.
So if you give single role players an advantage in lerning (synergy for training single mindedly) you can compensate the synergy from the different stuff learned.

People can chose to go fast in a straight line
or go a bit slower and take more turns.

If anywhere in the 2,5 years you think the faster increase in power from going straight doesn't compensate enough(or too much) the faster increase in power from diverification - you can just tweak the time bonus.
Very litte effort in (re-)programming terms I guess.

But the limit with time is as long as the game is around.

Everyone throws out the 2.5 years, but you can still advance your character beyond that time.

So yeah, after 2.5 years character 'A' has diversity and character 'B' has a capstone.

But after 5 years, character 'A' can finish pushing the two classes they they have dabbled in up to 20 and player 'B' can get their capstone in that second class.

Now if capstones provided power, the early jump on flexibility that character 'A' had is forgotten as they are now and forever left behind because they lack that power.

Maybe the 'pure' paladin will have an option to glow with goodness.
Maybe the 'pure' cleric will have a giant glowing holy symbol appear when they turn undead.
Maybe the 'pure' wizard and sorcerer will have unique non-combat 'familiars' that can follow them around.

Maybe any of the 'pure' classes will earn a special title.

You might think that those are not good enough to keep you from looking for flexibility right now, but that is the point, isn't it?

A choice isn't a choice if there is only one reasonable decision to make.
Do you want to diversify or get a title? Do you want flexibility now or some little something later?

Because everyone can have flexibility later.

Goblin Squad Member

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DeciusBrutus wrote:
As proposed, you could be a professional football player with an interrupted career, you just wouldn't be able to win all Heisman trophy if you spent the last two years of college studying at the particle accelerator.

But the thing I'm keying on is that I would be able to win a Heisman trophy, even after spending the last two years of college studying at the particle accelerator, as long as I had never played before.

I'm hesitant to keep rephrasing it, but it concerns me that no one seems to be addressing this point.

I play High School Football. I then go to College and study Physics. I spend 20 years pursuing a career as a Theoretical Physicist. I win the Nobel Prize in Physics. That's my Physics Capstone.

Now, after having done all that, I can start a new career as an Olympic Gymnast. I spend another 20 years pursuing that career. I eventually earn multiple Gold medals at the Olympics. That's my Gymnastics Capstone.

Why is it a "meaningful choice" to decide to quit pursuing Football when I go to College? The fact that I didn't start pursuing Gymnastics right away was obviously not a meaningful choice.

Goblin Squad Member

My personal preference here. I would rather see a hybrid system where advancement of Archtype is linked to some meaningfull bonus in that Archtypes core function ON TOP of the abilities you get from learning pure skills. I think that leads to a design which is alot more ACHIEVABLE to get without needing to worry so much about constantly adjusting for the synergy effects (which have thier own downsides)....and I'm not sure why folks are so allergic to the concept of Archtypes having functional importance?

It still allows Multi-Classes the advantage of versatility without layering on the advantage of raw effectiveness in a given specialization.

If Fighters get a bonus for some function(s) that's important to thier effectivenes as Fighters...then it helps offset the impact of any synergey effects... but doesn't deny the Multi-Classer the versatility to have impact in situations which call for multiple disciplines.

Lets say we allow the Fighter Archtype to have something like a .2 per level boost to attacking/defending with a favored weapon.

The guy who has 10 levels of Fighter Archtype has a 10 (skills) + 2 (archtype) = 12 rating to attack/defend with thier favored weapon.

The guy who has 8/2 Fighter/Wizard Archtype has a 8 + 1.6 = 9.6 rating to attack/defend with thier favored weapon. That leaves room to ALLOW 1 or 2 points of synergy effects and thier still not better at being a "fighter" then the single-class guy. On top of that the get the ability to do some basic functions as a Wizard when it's needed.

Just have it set so that you can only have 20 levels of Archtype bonus running at any given time...and you pick the levels you want....just like the actionbar stuff...but maybe a little more restrictive in when you can do the switch.

DLH suggested a very functional system along these same lines (IMO). Do that and capstone really doesn't need to by anymore then fluff.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
DeciusBrutus wrote:
As proposed, you could be a professional football player with an interrupted career, you just wouldn't be able to win all Heisman trophy if you spent the last two years of college studying at the particle accelerator.

But the thing I'm keying on is that I would be able to win a Heisman trophy, even after spending the last two years of college studying at the particle accelerator, as long as I had never played before.

I'm hesitant to keep rephrasing it, but it concerns me that no one seems to be addressing this point.

I play High School Football. I then go to College and study Physics. I spend 20 years pursuing a career as a Theoretical Physicist. I win the Nobel Prize in Physics. That's my Physics Capstone.

Now, after having done all that, I can start a new career as an Olympic Gymnast. I spend another 20 years pursuing that career. I eventually earn multiple Gold medals at the Olympics. That's my Gymnastics Capstone.

Why is it a "meaningful choice" to decide to quit pursuing Football when I go to College? The fact that I didn't start pursuing Gymnastics right away was obviously not a meaningful choice.

I agree completely. However this post from Ryan makes it clear that they are listening and nothing is written in stone.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
DeciusBrutus wrote:
As proposed, you could be a professional football player with an interrupted career, you just wouldn't be able to win all Heisman trophy if you spent the last two years of college studying at the particle accelerator.

But the thing I'm keying on is that I would be able to win a Heisman trophy, even after spending the last two years of college studying at the particle accelerator, as long as I had never played before.

I'm hesitant to keep rephrasing it, but it concerns me that no one seems to be addressing this point.

I play High School Football. I then go to College and study Physics. I spend 20 years pursuing a career as a Theoretical Physicist. I win the Nobel Prize in Physics. That's my Physics Capstone.

Now, after having done all that, I can start a new career as an Olympic Gymnast. I spend another 20 years pursuing that career. I eventually earn multiple Gold medals at the Olympics. That's my Gymnastics Capstone.

Why is it a "meaningful choice" to decide to quit pursuing Football when I go to College? The fact that I didn't start pursuing Gymnastics right away was obviously not a meaningful choice.

Would the dynamic change if they made the simple change of either:

A) Only your first 20 levels count toward earning the cap.

- or -

B) You can only ever earn 1 cap ever. Your choice of when you go for it, but you need 20 consecutive levels.

Note: At this point I'm a little less worried as to how capstones work compared to whether the Archtypes have any mechanical benefits themselves whatsoever. I had expected the lion's share of a characters functionality to be keyed off of skill learning....but it really caught me off guard with the concept that Archtype might have ZERO mechanical benefit. (IMO) that's a much more fundemental (and to me disturbing) dynamic.

Goblin Squad Member

@Ravening,

Yeah, I just saw that thread too. I'm glad they're taking a second look at it. I'm not terribly concerned about it either way, though.

If Capstones are pure fluff, that's fine. If they're the most powerful abilities a particular role can have, that's fine too. Personally, it's not going to make any difference to me, because I plan on pursuing them regardless.

Ideally, I would like to be able to pursue any path with my character. That's one of the things that most appeals to me about PFO. I have no problem whatsoever having to work to advance my character through that path. And I don't have a problem if I have to work to correct the mistakes I made previously in order to unlock that path. But if I'm completely barred from a path (unless I create a new character) then that kinda sucks.

Goblin Squad Member

@GrumpyMel,

The only thing I'm trying to point out is the inconsistency between being able to pursue a new career and attain the Capstone, but not being able to resume a career and attain the Capstone.

I have no objection whatsoever to either of the cases you present, or to the case that Andius presents where you choose which Capstone is "active". (( Other than my general objection to having to "equip" abilities. ))

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