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Capstones... Why?


Pathfinder Online

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Goblinworks Executive Founder

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.

The analogy breaks down at some point, because there are mutually exclusive choices in life and you say that there shouldn't be mutually exclusive choices in PFO.

You CAN go back to college and still have four years of athletic eligibility, provided that you didn't play college football the first time.

Also, without getting too deep into the political sphere: It is widely believed that taking a year or two off (e.g. for childraising) precludes top-tier advancement in professional career fields.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
... you say that there shouldn't be mutually exclusive choices in PFO.

Not at all! I'm saying that there aren't, in many cases. That's really the whole thing I'm trying to get across.

The examples you provide are valid for real life, but they are not consistent with what is already known about PFO, where I absolutely can pursue any new career once I cap my first - as long as I haven't dabbled in it previously.

In PFO, it's not the fact that I took two years off to raise children that precludes me from top-tier advancement in a professional career, it's the fact that I dabbled in that career prior to taking those two years off. In the PFO world, if I hadn't dabbled in that career first, I absolutely would be able to achieve the top-tier in that professional career.

Goblin Squad Member

I don’t mind the idea of capstone abilities per se. However, I’m not a fan of having to acquire 20 consecutive merit badges in an archetype to qualify for a capstone. I’d much rather be limited to only be allowed 1 capstone ability ever and qualifying for it when 20 merit badges are acquired (including non-consecutively) rather than being able to acquire any number of merit badges as long as I conform and play a set way.

Another possibility is to ensure capstone abilities require a meaningful choice is to only allow one to be slotted at a time, perhaps by adding the capstone ability to one of the passive (or other meaningful) ability slots.

My preference is only ever gain 1 capstone ability ever, and to link a unique title with it, such as Archmage. Overall I'm content to wait for further info from the dev's.


Another idea would be that you can have one capstone at any given time - and in order to switch capstones, you have to do the 20th merit badge again. So you dabble with fighter and ranger, and eventually capstone Fighter. Then, you capstone Ranger. You decide you liked the Fighter capstone better - you have to get rid of your Ranger capstone, and then earn the 20th fighter badge again.

*shrugs* just a thought of how to make a 'single capstone at a time that you can change' be significantly hard to change without being impossible.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Nihimon wrote:
DeciusBrutus wrote:
... you say that there shouldn't be mutually exclusive choices in PFO.

Not at all! I'm saying that there aren't, in many cases. That's really the whole thing I'm trying to get across.

The examples you provide are valid for real life, but they are not consistent with what is already known about PFO, where I absolutely can pursue any new career once I cap my first - as long as I haven't dabbled in it previously.

In PFO, it's not the fact that I took two years off to raise children that precludes me from top-tier advancement in a professional career, it's the fact that I dabbled in that career prior to taking those two years off. In the PFO world, if I hadn't dabbled in that career first, I absolutely would be able to achieve the top-tier in that professional career.

In the real world, taking two years 'off' (working in a different field, or not working) in the middle has larger negative career effects than starting in the field two years later (with or without unrelated experience).

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:
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.

Are you assuming that taking shapeshifting as a barb, or bardic music as a cleric will still give you access to those capstones?

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

I can see capstones as the only 'archetype exclusive', but there will be skills like shape-shifting, magic use, and favored enemy that is 'archetype specific', in that they are related to an archetype.

Looking over everything again, the way I'm seeing the capstone system functioning is that once you take a 'archetype specific' skill you begin your path to a capstone, and if you take a skill specific to another archetype you lose that capstone.

For example, my first skill I train is 'Favored Enemy: Golbin', i am now on the path to the ranger capstone. I decide to train in 'Bardic Music' next, now I am disqualified from getting the ranger capstone.

---

On another note, have we ever had conformation of multiple capstones. I don't think we have seen a designation between 'taken in sequence' and 'taken at all'. For instance: would starting with a druid skill disqualify you from all other archetype's capstones?

I know we have all said it tons of times and not been corrected, but I don't define absence of evidence as proof.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
In the real world, taking two years 'off' (working in a different field, or not working) in the middle has larger negative career effects than starting in the field two years later (with or without unrelated experience).

First, we should point out that the whole Capstone issue is being looked at by Ryan and the devs, and everything we "know" about it could change completely.

That said, in the PFO world, taking time off from one profession to pursue another will always have a negative impact on the former. Are you suggesting that this is generally the way things work in the real world? Every time I try to think of an example, I can't. The way I see the world, prior experience in a field is never a detriment.

Goblin Squad Member

Valkenr wrote:
On another note, have we ever had conformation of multiple capstones.

Yes. From Goblinworks Blog: Your Pathfinder Online Character:

Ryan Dancey wrote:
I guess the question of "can you have more than one capstone" is "yes", you just have to do 20 levels in series instead of parallel in more than one archetype.

But it's worth pointing out that this whole system is being looked at by Ryan and the devs and everything we know about it could change completely.

Goblin Squad Member

Sparrow wrote:
But the limit with time is as long as the game is around.

sounds like you are stuck in 3,5 with XP penalty for multiclassing, where the 20% penalty was still hurting you at level 15 for dipping at 2nd level.

The time penalty doesn't bother you (as much) if you put the cost for extra time once at each turn you take.

2,5Years = 30 months -> 1,5Months for each "level" (linear to keep it simple)

so if you train for "Fighter 5" it takes 7,5 Months

then you decide to train for Rogue, it's a new role so training
for "Fighter 5/Rogue 1" takes 2.25 months (0,75 months longer)

as long as you continnue with Rogue it takes another 1,5 months for each levelup

till Fighter5Rogue5 it will take 15,75 Months
then you might go back to fighter training, change of role so the next level is 0,75 Months longer

this puts you one full level behind your alter ego which trained for streight Fighter, Rogue, or whatever

- you pay the cost once when you chose to multiclass
- you are open to all the options everyone else is
- you are in no disadvantage as there should be plenty people who start a game after you
- all you have to ask yourself is: Is the diversity I get NOW worth the time spent NOW for extra training.

all Fighter20/Rogue20 with the same design will be the same,
no matter if the player went
Fighter20/Rogue20
Fighter10/Rogue10/Fighter10/Rogue10
or whatever obscure path they took
only difference is: the more streight you go the faster you get there.
The more synergy you want to scoop by alternating, the more time you need doing it.

from a programming perspective:
it's just one variable that can be adjusted whenever

if after one year the administration notices that the synergy is more (or less) empowering than previously thought: it's easy to change the time penalty.
There will be no need to touch that holy golden carrot of a capstone that will enrage whoever feels they should have made a different choice; about 50% of the players ;-)

Goblin Squad Member

DropBearHunter wrote:


sounds like you are stuck in 3,5 with XP penalty for multiclassing, where the 20% penalty was still hurting you at level 15 for dipping at 2nd level.

No, I am not 'stuck' in anything.

I am talking about this game.

2.5 years after launch someone has a capstone and someone else has 'diversity'.

2.5 years after that they both have diversity but only one of them has a capstone(s).

If the capstone provides real power, then one of those characters is gimped.

Run that out to 10 years and the discrepancy between people with capstones and people without grows even larger, because more people will have more capstones.

Goblin Squad Member

Sparrow wrote:
DropBearHunter wrote:


sounds like you are stuck in 3,5 with XP penalty for multiclassing, where the 20% penalty was still hurting you at level 15 for dipping at 2nd level.

No, I am not 'stuck' in anything.

You where talking about the time penalty I suggested as if it hurt a character in a similar way the ongoing, accumulating XP penalty from 3,5 did. Thus my assumption about where your thinking about multi-tasking penalty is stuck.

Sparrow wrote:

2.5 years after launch someone has a capstone and someone else has 'diversity'.

2.5 years after that they both have diversity but only one of them has a capstone(s).

If the capstone provides real power, then one of those characters is gimped.

Run that out to 10 years and the discrepancy between people with capstones and people without grows even larger, because more people will have more capstones.

bravo, I agree 100%

if you bother to read past the first lines of my last post, you might see a feasable solution to this.

Goblin Squad Member

DropBearHunter wrote:

if after one year the administration notices that the synergy is more (or less) empowering than previously thought: it's easy to change the time penalty.

I had full agreement with you, up till this. IMO a synergy being overpowered is a longterm problem that raises the max potential power, which is a mistake that while better not to make in the first place, has to actually be reballanced. If say a rogue/ranger's skills over synergize to the point that it is a de-facto role that everyone goes for, than that is a longterm balance issue that is not going to be fixed by an increase in time, but may require a reballancing of skills, or a nerf to the way the skills synergize.

As I said, this isn't an endorsement of half heartedly throwing in skills under the assumption that if it fails no big deal just nerf, but more of a spend more time thinking of what synergies are probable to work well, and anticipate, but if a major mistake is made, increasing the time for how long it takes a player to reach the bolstered increased power cap,

IMO time is only a balancing factor, in the event that what you take time to earn can also be destroyed, (IE I consider time a perfectly valid balancing factor for an extremely powerful magic item, or say training a dragon to attack etc.... Under the condition that when you use said high powered item, the right players, or even monsters, could destroy that advantage. While if that advantage can never be removed from your character, no amount of time can ever balance this.

Goblin Squad Member

Onishi* wrote:
DropBearHunter wrote:

if after one year the administration notices that the synergy is more (or less) empowering than previously thought: it's easy to change the time penalty.

I had full agreement with you, up till this. IMO a synergy being overpowered is a longterm problem that raises the max potential power, which is a mistake that while better not to make in the first place, has to actually be reballanced. If say a rogue/ranger's skills over synergize to the point that it is a de-facto role that everyone goes for, than that is a longterm balance issue that is not going to be fixed by an increase in time,

there will always be some players at it 24/7 (figuratively speaking)

Are you going to hit them with something as well for getting to Fighter 20 in maybe 1,5 years rather than 2,5 years?
because at any one point whoever plays most will be more powerful (potentially and practically) than someone who only has 1h/day to spare, or someone who starts a year later, or whatever.

Do you want every single player to be balanced with every other player?
aint gonna happen, the best you can hope for is to slow the addicts and munchkins down, and possibly to balance them to the toughest game challange available.

Onishi wrote:
If say a rogue/ranger's skills over synergize to the point that it is a de-facto role that everyone goes for, than that is a longterm balance issue that is not going to be fixed by an increase in time, but may require a reballancing of skills, or a nerf to the way the skills synergize.

There already is a limit to synergy: the amount of skills you can access by hotkey.

Here, already, the price for diversity is time: time to re-arrange the key assignment.

I say keep up the theme: diversity costs time; in training and re-arrangement of keyboard assignment.

The topic is Capstons and by their nature of showing up after 2,5 years the won't fix anything.
_________

what is the base premise of this game?
Sandbox RPG with player build community?
Does anyone really think that DIY everything persona are going to abound so much, they will be a problem to the overall enjointment of the community?

Whatever perfect build of synergy skill monkey, they will never be as powerful in a single task as an expert and I doubt that even a zoo full of skill monkeys will be a match to a balanced group of experts.

* my italics and bold

Goblin Squad Member

DropBearHunter wrote:
Are you going to hit them with something as well for getting to Fighter 20 in maybe 1,5 years rather than 2,5 years?

That shouldn't happen. Remember, all Skill Training is based on Real Time, so grinding in-game won't speed it up. And Ryan's been clear that the 2.5 year target is what they want it to take when people are single-minded about getting there as fast as they can, so it really should be a minimum. I think many people will take more like 4-5 years to reach 20.

Not that I'm arguing with anything else you said :)

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
DropBearHunter wrote:
Are you going to hit them with something as well for getting to Fighter 20 in maybe 1,5 years rather than 2,5 years?
That shouldn't happen. Remember, all Skill Training is based on Real Time, so grinding in-game won't speed it up. And Ryan's been clear that the 2.5 year target is what they want it to take when people are single-minded about getting there as fast as they can, so it really should be a minimum. I think many people will take more like 4-5 years to reach 20.

oh, slipped my mind

I'll cancel my subscription to 1 pond of chocklate coated coffee beans per week then ;-)

Lantern Lodge

Personally I don't see why people want permanent decisions, in other games it's fine because you can go back and restart to try all the things you missed but that's not possible in this game, the time frame is just too long. 27.5 years just for the base 11 roles, that doesn't include all the additional stuff to be earned and all the stuff that will come out in that 27 years.

Goblin Squad Member

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Personally I don't see why people want permanent decisions, in other games it's fine because you can go back and restart to try all the things you missed but that's not possible in this game, the time frame is just too long. 27.5 years just for the base 11 roles, that doesn't include all the additional stuff to be earned and all the stuff that will come out in that 27 years.

Not quite true. You will have access to multiple character slots, you just can't train them at the same time. (Well unless you buy a second account.)

So you could have a theorycrafting character you spend a few weeks on to get a feel for multi-classing, without wasting the possibility on your main. That would be something I think a few people would try, especially if you wanted to try early multi-class combinations.

Yes it would be harsh to have to start over on a toon that is 1+ years old, but come on, you have had 1+ years to think about it. Surely you can come to a conclusion long before you get to that kind of time frame?

Goblin Squad Member

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Personally I don't see why people want permanent decisions, in other games it's fine because you can go back and restart to try all the things you missed but that's not possible in this game, the time frame is just too long. 27.5 years just for the base 11 roles, that doesn't include all the additional stuff to be earned and all the stuff that will come out in that 27 years.

Doesn't it stem from the fundamental skill-training in real-time decision, which is about solving the problem of grinding for xp and evening out in-game/out-game activity to level, as well as ensuring the game has scope for longevity? Because as far as I understand 1sec real-time = 1sec skill-training time. As time can only be spent and not saved (well it can be bought and traded but "someone has to spend it eventually"), that means you can't undo training time by conversion back to money; in fact players become more vested because of the time spent and therefore the decision made are therefore meaningful. I mean there is no "trade-in" for skill-training which converts time trained on a character to say a discount on time taken to train up another skill instead: That would throw everything out the window.

I think that's why it's more about permanent decisions, off that basis than preferential bias of players: It's "systemic" that skill-training is a permanent choice and therefore by default a meaningful choice. Am I right in thinking along these lines about how it all fits together; and assume it's a similar deal in EvE??

Goblin Squad Member

AvenaOats wrote:
Am I right in thinking along these lines about how it all fits together...?

You're right that (so far) once you train a skill, there's no going back, so it's a permanent choice with consequences. However, that's not really the permanent choice with consequences that people are concerned about.

I don't think anyone's concerned that, once they spend 6 weeks training A, they can't ever get that 6 weeks back. In general, it's not a big deal because we can always decide later to spend another 6 weeks training B.

I think what we are concerned about is that, once we spend 6 weeks training A, that forever takes away our ability to train B.


Increased training time previously mentioned seems like a fair trade off to me.

Those focused on one path will reach capstone in 2.5 years or 5.0 for two.

Those who branch may still reach capstone but it will take 3.75 or 7.5 for both.

You still have incentive for singular roles, while not penalizing diversity.

It would hopefully scale per level and not blanket the entire arc of both paths. So for a 5 fighter that wants 1 rogue for a low level stealth ability, they may suffer the 50% increased time for that level.

Goblin Squad Member

Izzlyn wrote:

Increased training time previously mentioned seems like a fair trade off to me.

Those focused on one path will reach capstone in 2.5 years or 5.0 for two.

Those who branch may still reach capstone but it will take 3.75 or 7.5 for both.

You still have incentive for singular roles, while not penalizing diversity.

It would hopefully scale per level and not blanket the entire arc of both paths. So for a 5 fighter that wants 1 rogue for a low level stealth ability, they may suffer the 50% increased time for that level.

How does this help anything?

The people that choose to level a single class at a time will still achieve diversity while also getting capstones, but those that choose only diversity will suffer from slower training time.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
I think what we are concerned about is that, once we spend 6 weeks training A, that forever takes away our ability to train B.

Lost sight of that. I agree, I don't think that is a good solution, given how long it takes to skill-train and in the case of capstones, how long it is before it is usable.

No, the whole point is ideally you can multi-class or single-class and any combination of the 2. :) Andius provides a simple yet solid solution in the other thread, I quite like the look of for capstone + slots.

Izzlyn wrote:
Increased training time previously mentioned seems like a fair trade off to me.

Maybe for Wizards that multiclass: Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards :p

I'm not sure, it starts getting real complicated and Decius provided an example in this or the other thread about linear or exponential series increase in required xp at each level then added to modifiers for multi-classing! Brain meltdown.


Sparrow wrote:

How does this help anything?

The people that choose to level a single class at a time will still achieve diversity while also getting capstones, but those that choose only diversity will suffer from slower training time.

Maybe you missed something there.

Currently: capstone + diversity later or diversity now + nothing.

Proposed: capstone + diversity later or diversity now + capstone later at a lessened rate.

The choice should be when you achieve one or the other not if you can at all. Because as it stands, it is a non-choice to many.

@AvenaOats: complicated and tricky indeed, will leave that to the number guru's tho. Plenty of solid ideas coming from this and the other thread from all sides tho.

Goblin Squad Member

Izzlyn wrote:
Sparrow wrote:

How does this help anything?

The people that choose to level a single class at a time will still achieve diversity while also getting capstones, but those that choose only diversity will suffer from slower training time.

Maybe you missed something there.

Currently: capstone + diversity later or diversity now + nothing.

Proposed: capstone + diversity later or diversity now + capstone later at a lessened rate.

The choice should be when you achieve one or the other not if you can at all. Because as it stands, it is a non-choice to many.

No, I didn't miss that.

I know that if capstones offer power then it is nothing but a bad choice to multiclass.

But under your system, single-classers are still the only good choice.
Maybe some multiclasser can get some little something diversity-wise faster, but the single-classers end up with their capstones and greater diversity faster.

If it takes 2.5 years to hit 20, then you are making a person that multiclasses through two classes wait until 7.5 years have passed to get those classes maxxed.
The single classer did it in 5 years.

If they are all going to end up in the same place (capstones and diversity), then why shouldn't they get there at the same time?

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

If capstones will be off-limits to a character that multiclasses mid-training (and this is what was posted in the blog, though it may not be carved in stone), then I do not think that they can offer any power.

Then if someone wants diversity now they can have it, but what they lose is nothing but fluff and thus not a big deal.
They may think later on that they 'should' have delayed diversity in order to get the capstones, but they will still not be missing any power.

A group will not care whether you are capstoned in a class or not because it won't make things any easier if you are.

If capstones do provide power, then I think that the simplest and easiest way to do things would be to just open them up to anyone once they get to level 20 in a class.

No need to slow down multiclass training because their pursuit of diversity and whatever advantages that it offers directly delay the time that it takes for them to get the power that they recieve from the capstones.


There needs to be a + and - trade off to both.

There is already a down side to choosing a single class. They are heavily back loaded and take 2.5 years to reach capstone and can then work on synergy. If the payoff is knowing your single minded focus gets you there ahead of the rest, incentive is there and will still be rewarding enough.

Multi-class are heavily front loaded, they see added benefit of synergy from a larger tool set as they level making them the heavily favored choice. If there is no downside, or increased time to reach cap, then the problem isn't resolved, and the original intent of giving incentive to single class is defeated.

Both being able to reach capstone at a + or - rate achieves both goals. My numbers being arbitrary, an added 2.5 years my be a bit steep of a trade. But, no penalty, as well as never reaching capstone power, only shifts the problem from one foot to the other, making one or the other the only choice or a non-choice.

I will agree to the point that it may not be the best solution, but it seems quite fair to me.

And, this all assumes that capstones offer any type of mechanical, or power based beneficial factors.

And it also assumes that capstones are not something to keep multi-classing to a minimum in the games infancy to allow easier balancing and as the game progresses open up the multi-class possibilities. The Rift balancing fiasco from opening up to much too soon comes to mind. In which case its fine as is, and I am fine with it provided the previously discussed precautions are in place to either warn, or undo the currently irrevocable choice.

Goblin Squad Member

Izzlyn wrote:
If there is no downside, or increased time to reach cap...

Do you mean other than the "increased time to reach cap" that will already result from multi-classing?

If you spend time training Skills that don't move you closer to your Capstone, then it will take you longer to reach your Capstone. This will hold true whether you're dabbling in another Role's Skills, or becoming a Harvester or Crafter, etc.

Goblin Squad Member

I wonder how this will actualy shake out. In the PnP ruleset, where everything you get is dependent upon level, it's a pretty simple matter to count up the total number of levels you have in any of your classes and calculate your effective level from there. With PFO where they've got the reverse situation applied I wonder if...

A) They'll even go with a system that considers the total number of skills you've earned when calculating training time or simply go with a flat system where the training time for any given ranking in a skill is not dependent upon the amount of other skills you learned. If it's the latter, which I suspect it will be, then it'll probably be pretty easy/quick to pick up your initial rankings in each skill.

B) If they do go with some system of totaling up your skill ratings from other skills to determine your training time to learn new skills will they weight it at all? Will learning to use a sword count as much as learning to raise chickens?

C) Given that many skills AREN'T neccessarly dependant upon class level, how much it will ACTUALY MATTER...potently rendering alot of this discussion moot. For example if you can take Sword Level 10 and Conjuration Magic Level 10 with out taking a single class merit badge (e.g. you are a 0 level commoner)... then I wonder to what extent our discussion here about class levels and speed of advancement and capstones and balancing actualy matters? Could we be effectively 85% of 10/10 Fighter/Wizard without ever taking a single class level...and what does that do to the discussion?

It's kinda a fascinating topic, as turning the class system on it's head has alot of strange, non-obvious permutations.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
Izzlyn wrote:
If there is no downside, or increased time to reach cap...

Do you mean other than the "increased time to reach cap" that will already result from multi-classing?

If you spend time training Skills that don't move you closer to your Capstone, then it will take you longer to reach your Capstone. This will hold true whether you're dabbling in another Role's Skills, or becoming a Harvester or Crafter, etc.

I'm at least assuming the main thing he's pointing out is as in most games, later skills take longer than earlier skills is pretty much a universal expectancy in game design. Much like in eve, the lower skills training time is calculated in hours, higher ones in months. With the general concept that characters of low levels are still expected to be in the same league as higher skilled characters, that means there is only so much stronger higher skills will be than low ones, if at all.

So it would be reasonable to assume, at least based on most skill based MMO's, getting 2 merit badges in say, fighter+wizard+rogue+monk will probably take a comperable amount of time, to getting 4 or 5 merit badges in straight wizard. IE essentially the multiclass character, gains badges at double the rate as a single class character.

Now the plausible solutions.

1. the first and 20th merit badges take equal amount of time to get... This IMO is very highly flawed. Namely because that is a month and a half to get your 1st role merit badge... Generally early on in a game, people don't have the patience to spend that long as a newbie.

2. High level skills are significantly stronger than low level skills by a large margain.
my opinion: The larger you make that gap, the worse you make PVP for low level characters, and need clear finite level ranges (IE a lowbie zone, a 5 merit badge zone etc...), those traits IMO segregate the game in ways I am not a huge fan of, as well as outright takes pvp off the table for characters under a certain point.

3. Cripple synergy any and everywhere possible, ensure that to get evasion, you need to be in rogue gear etc...
My opinion: Could work, it's a bit of a grey area on that, quite a few wouldn't be happy, but it does the job.

4. The capstone system.
My opinion: Personally the main flaw I see in that system, is by nature, it sounds like a dippers dream. Pick your 3 favorite classes, set them aside, take 2-3 merit badges in all the ones you don't care much on for the quanity of skills, Then take the 3 you like in order.

5. Have higher level badges grant MORE abilities, rather than stronger ones.

Goblin Squad Member

Onishi wrote:

So it would be reasonable to assume, at least based on most skill based MMO's, getting 2 merit badges in say, fighter+wizard+rogue+monk will probably take a comperable amount of time, to getting 4 or 5 merit badges in straight wizard. IE essentially the multiclass character, gains badges at double the rate as a single class character.

Now the plausible solution ...

Has already been put forth by the devs. Merit badges grant no power and the abilities you DO get must be slotted. Having more abilities than slots grants no power. This game will be about the quality of abilities, not the quantity.

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:
Onishi wrote:

So it would be reasonable to assume, at least based on most skill based MMO's, getting 2 merit badges in say, fighter+wizard+rogue+monk will probably take a comperable amount of time, to getting 4 or 5 merit badges in straight wizard. IE essentially the multiclass character, gains badges at double the rate as a single class character.

Now the plausible solution ...

Has already been put forth by the devs. Merit badges grant no power and the abilities you DO get must be slotted. Having more abilities than slots grants no power. This game will be about the quality of abilities, not the quantity.

That is under of course the assumption that every class has enough better skills to fill every bar. IE if one of the better mellee attacks, 6 seperate classes bread and butter skill could quite possibly beat out 1 classes bread and butter skill with filler skills. (I really do hope there aren't filler skills, but that is probably the most common trap I know of from 75% of games.

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:


Has already been put forth by the devs. Merit badges grant no power...

I think that's wrong. Merit badges do have mechanical benefits, and some of them give abilities.

Goblin Squad Member

I believe it's the Skills that grant no power...

Lantern Lodge

Heard conflicting info on badges, though I suspect it was intended that "class" badges would have no effect except for as requisites. Not sure though, it would be weird to have each role as a "skill".

Goblin Squad Member

I was thinking class levels instead of merit badges for some reason.

I can't say for sure on them granting direct power or not. What we do know is the skills likely to grant more raw power will not be linked to specific classes

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancy wrote:
The design we're working on does assume that the role-based merit badges you earn will have some mechanical benefits or be perquisites for some mechanical advantage. These are all things that are tightly coupled to the role - we're not talking about basic combat stats but about things that characters following a Role would naturally benefit from - an example might be abilities that modify a Barbarian's Rage, for example.
Thornkeep Sourcebook wrote:
Merit badges are a combination of measuring the progression of your character (like first-person shooters in Battlefield 3) and recognizing that the character has done something notable (like the achievements in World of Warcraft). Most merit badges require that you first finish training in a specific skill or set of skills, or that you achieve some extraordinary feat while performing these skills. Some also require you to do something in-game, such as harvesting a certain amount of resources, slaying a certain monster, or exploring a certain portion of the map. When you’ve completed the requirements, you receive the merit badge, and will sometimes also receive a new ability associated with that badge.

Looks like the current plan involves merit badges granting direct power.

Goblin Squad Member

I don't see gaining benefits from merit badges as a bad thing. Just another form of progression.

Goblin Squad Member

Mbando wrote:
Looks like the current plan involves merit badges granting direct power.

Mechanical benefits and abilities do not mean direct power. When I mean direct power I mean higher stats. More abilities to select from =/= higher stats.

Like I said, when I said they won't grant power I was saying merit badges and thinking class levels. Based on Ryan's statements we can be pretty sure class levels won't give direct power, just access to skills and then merit badges. Not sure if merit badges will grand direct power or not. There is no hard statement either way that I have seen.

Lantern Lodge

I never questioned the badges in general, just the role focused badges.
I was appearently remembering the part after the "or."

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:
Mbando wrote:
Looks like the current plan involves merit badges granting direct power.

Mechanical benefits and abilities do not mean direct power. When I mean direct power I mean higher stats. More abilities to select from =/= higher stats.

Like I said, when I said they won't grant power I was saying merit badges and thinking class levels. Based on Ryan's statements we can be pretty sure class levels won't give direct power, just access to skills and then merit badges. Not sure if merit badges will grand direct power or not. There is no hard statement either way that I have seen.

Where did you get this idea about "stats" from?

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:
Mbando wrote:
Looks like the current plan involves merit badges granting direct power.

Mechanical benefits and abilities do not mean direct power. When I mean direct power I mean higher stats. More abilities to select from =/= higher stats.

Like I said, when I said they won't grant power I was saying merit badges and thinking class levels. Based on Ryan's statements we can be pretty sure class levels won't give direct power, just access to skills and then merit badges. Not sure if merit badges will grand direct power or not. There is no hard statement either way that I have seen.

Andius, I think part of the issue is that we have very different definitions of "direct power". To me "direct power" is ANYTHING the character can access on thier own which improves thier chances of achieving success within a given field.

For example I'd say that a character that had sword skill 5 and 30 hit points and Barbarian Rage Abilities was significantly more powerfull then a character that had sword skill 5 and 30 hit points and no barbarian rage abilities.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think part of your basic assumption comes down to the concept that whatever choices of abilities to slot a player has from going outside class will be worse (in terms of achieving that classes core functions) then the selection the character has from staying within class. There are 4 basic issues I have with that assumption....

1) While it's pretty sound in theory, in practice I've NEVER seen a game that allows multi-classing and has as significant a number of archtypes and abilities as PFO is likely to have achieve it. When you get down to the nuts and bolts of implimentation, it's just darn hard to do it.

2) It kinda works against the concept that the designers of PFO are trying to achieve with group interdependance. Namely they want Class X to provide a bonus the Class Y beyond what Y could achieve on thier own. Tough to prevent that from happening when X and Y are combined in one player.

3) One of the goals of a more skill based system is to allow players to come up with thier own builds which are effective and interesting.

4) One of the designers, Stephen Chenney, indicated in the other thread indicated that would be unlikely be the case when he talked about the basis for awarding Caps in PFO.

On the other hand, if something like 80-85 percent of a characters "power" comes from abilities unrelated to class levels in PFO (I have no idea if that will be the case, but it's certainly possible), then I think the issue itself may just not be all that important one way or another.

My my main personal concerns for advancement in PFO are that if the player choses a particular role/function that they want to pursue for a career in PFO then the choice of abilities they pursue to become relatively competitive in that is relatively intuitive for the player and don't include things that are badly out of type. In other words, if a player really wants to be a stand-up melee fighter then they might be tasked with making choices about whether they want to wield 2 handed weapons, sword and board, dual wield...whether they want to concentrate on speed and light armor...or durability and heavy armor..etc. What they shouldn't have to do is have to look up on some Wiki that the way to really build an effective stand-up melee fighter is to take 2 ranks of "Basket Weaving" at Level 2 and 4 Ranks of "Improvisational Dance" at Level 4.

Tying abilities directly to a simple (and exclusive) role choice is a way of simplfying that for both the player and designer but I don't think it's neccesarly the ONLY way to do that.... it just makes things easier to impliment .

Lantern Lodge

it doesn't make it easier to implement, just easier to reference and since most people stick close to archtypes it's a trade, less versatility in exchange for easier to build.

when wants truly unique choices is where such a system falls apart and since sandbox is all about open choice, class system can be considered themepark,and open multiclassing a comprimise between sandbox and themepark.

Goblin Squad Member

GrumpyMel wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think part of your basic assumption comes down to the concept that whatever choices of abilities to slot a player has from going outside class will be worse (in terms of achieving that classes core functions) then the selection the character has from staying within class.

Not necessarily worse but not significantly better, and if it is it will get nerfed.

Lets put it this way. Say wizards have a spell that makes whoever they cast it on larger, giving some major benefits and light drawbacks to melee characters. So a barbarian may splash wizard to get this spell. Likely a full wizard has passive abilities and gear bonuses that really enhance the effect of their spell that a melee focused barbarian does not have. But let's say this ability is STILL super powerful on a barbarian who splashes wizard for it. If this ability makes that barbarian drastically more powerful than a regular barbarian than it is likely to get nerfed. Perhaps not in a way that would hurt a barbarian and wizard working together as separate characters. It could easily have a condition added so you can't cast it on yourself, or have less bonus/penalties if you do.

Now they can't easily balance every combination of every skill before any broken combos can be found and used, but remember there are no power-levelers in this game. Whatever build you use you will be working on for months or years. By the time you train a "flavor of the month" build it will have long since been nerfed if it is truly overpowered. So any major advantage people get from broken class combinations will not be widespread, and be VERY temporary in terms of training time investment vs. return.

Goblin Squad Member

@Andius, I think GW should officially announce the principle that they're trying to adhere to when it comes to this kind of balance, so that players can plan according to the principle rather than any temporary deviations from it, with the trust that those deviations will eventually be corrected.

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