The Mad Priest

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Goblin Squad Member. 76 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Goblin Squad Member

Way too early (for me) to make any final call on the touch based "assisting" healing / buffing (as opposed to self healing / buffing), but at least in PvP it does have a few challenges to overcome (I have no doubt that it will have its uses for certain PvE encounters):

  • exposing the healer and target to AoE damage
  • exposing the healer to friendly fire
  • relatively weak (spammable) heals (at least so far)

In practice this may mean that in most cases trying to use a touch based heal / buff on someone in PvP "in the thick of things" is simply an inferior choice to e.g. doing straight DPS to the opposition.

This is not an easy issue to solve as the outcome tends to be that healing/buffing is either so good that they are a "must have" or not good enough to be worthwhile (at least for the min-maxers among us).

I would be interested in seeing how the formations work, though, before making any drastic changes to the current system, as clerics seem pretty well equipped to stand in the frontlines toe to toe with the fighters.

Goblin Squad Member

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1) What you'd say if you could only say one, honest, thing to try to get someone to try PFO

This is a rare opportunity to participate at a very early stage in the development of an MMORPG, where a developer of a tradional fantasy RPG world has joined forces with some MMO industry veterans in an attempt to create a game that would be built around player interaction while all the time facilitating direct feedback from the players.

2) What you'd say if you could only say one honest thing to try to stop someone from trying PFO

What Goblinworks has ready today is nowhere near a product, which would in content or quality match what is available elsewhere (or even representative of their own vision). It is a much safer bet to wait a year (or two or three or whatever it takes) to see if Goblinworks can deliver the game they envisioned.

Goblin Squad Member

KOTC Huran wrote:
I feel like this war of towers is starting to look like not an option for PvP but rather a tool to force it.

Based on the mechanics alone it does indeed appear to be a 365 days a year battle royal (for 6 months or longer), where if you want to advance your character your only choice would eventually be to be part of one of the most powerful PvP powerhouses. In theory this should indeed lead to the elimination of all but few of the most powerful settlements. Whether (and why) this is Goblinworks' goal (or just potential unfortunate collateral damage from the PvP stop gap solution) I have no idea.

But that is only the mechanics. This is supposed to be a sandbox. Eventually it is the players (and by players I mean the major powers) who are going to decide how the War of Towers is going to play out.

Goblin Squad Member

Some (not so) private (at least anymore) thoughts on the character progression:

  • though not quite as bad as some "stat gear" heavy system, it is still a gear centric system so it is less character development and more getting a license to wear more powerful gear (which is not really my personal cup of tea)
  • it being such early days in the development of this game it is very hard to try to reliably predict how things are going to work down the road (like what actual roles need to be filled within settlements, POIs and the like)
  • unless you have a clear vision of wanting to be the best miner, smelter, weaponship or wizard (or whatever with a very limited scope) it seems like a pretty big gamble to make a large investment in anything at this point in time
  • so in the EE we may end up with two main categories of characters: those who are "all in" in what they want to be and those who are just banking XP with minimum investment allowing they to do something useful in game

No actual point this time, just some rambling.

Goblin Squad Member

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Stage 1 (focus: player influence on the game)

"We wanted to start small..."

[show the intial Alpha map, with a fly over of one of the intial three starting towns]

"...but our players had none of it."

[show how hexes are rapidly added to form the current map with a fly over of Thornkeep and maybe over a few hexes to highlight how big they really are]

"The first battle was for popularity..."

[quickly flash the weekly landrush leaderboards, maybe highlighting some of the significant weekly up / down moves with green / red arrows]

"...and the winners claimed their prizes and named their lands."

[show final landrush leaderboard in one corner, then highlight the winners from the final list starting from TEO and start dropping the settlement names on the map from the leaderboard starting with Brighthaven (making a clear connection from the guild to the name), slowly at first and then increasing in speed (as much as needed) so that we get the current map with all player chosen names]

Stage 2 (focus: collective success)

"But now the real battle begins."

"Who will have the crafters and be able to secure the resources needed to supply their troops?"

[show some characters "gearing up" near some fancy building from the starter rags and club to some fine pieces of armors and weapons]

"Who will be strong enough to protect their settlement against fearsome monsters threatening to take over the land?"

[some escalation footage, in some solo / duo players with starter rags getting their behinds handed to them, in others finely equipped large groups successfully rolling through hordes of mobs and downing bosses]

"But most importantly..."

"...who will be able to defend their land against others wishing the claim it theirs?"

[show some tower capturing / fighting footage, many good ideas for different angles above, with a map showing how control of towers changes hands between neighboring settlements]

"Will you have what it takes to make it in the River Kingdoms?"

"Pathfinder Online: War of Towers. Coming soon."

Goblin Squad Member

Though I am neither a lady nor a gentleman...

The state of the game.

We are getting close to actually having a game here. Due to the (in my opinion too) heavy push for EE GW currently has their hands full of with getting the many features that are already in game working in a somewhat sensible manner. Some of the most significant challenges relate to the inability to reliably manage character related data which is (at least for me) a big concern.

The direction of the game.

The direction is fine. It is true to the original vision. If anything I wish that some of the side tours (such as WoT) would have been avoided and that time would have been spent implementing final features such as feuds.

What you feel are positives and negatives of the game.

Positives

GW has showed the ability to roll out a lot of "world" which while not blowing anyone's mind is more then adequate for its purpose.

Resource diversification means that location and distance will matter.

There is a wide enough variety of escalations to ensure we actually have to stay on the ball and cannot ignore them for extended periods without consequences.

Negatives

Though a lot improvement (from my perspective at least) came to the character responsiveness/UI feedback relating to combat with Alpha 11.0, I am still not overly impressed. For example some conditional effects are applied with 100 % reliability. Some practically never. I have no clue why. Is it broken or working as intended? Had GW stuck with the original plan to fine tune the basic combat with pit fight this game might look a lot different than it is today.

Uncertainty as to when/if certain things will be fixed mean it is very difficult with good conscience to start hyping the game to anyone. That includes my own company.

Too much of the design seems to be driven by the technical side of systems and too little attention seems to be paid to the user experience. For example the decision to design the first iteration of the auction house without at least a "hide unavailable" or similar toggle seems mind boggling for anyone who has actually tried to use it.

How you feel about the process of Alpha to EE.

I believe there are enough features / systems. Maybe even more than we would actually need.

Way too much stuff is too badly broken right now. I would prefer GW to let everyone if the staff breathe for a moment and push EE somewhere in the beginning of next year with the confidence that by that time the current features would by fully up and running. Provided of course that financials would allow this.

Suggestions for the game.

Reputation systems needs to be adjusted so that you will not ruin your reputation by accidentally hitting your friends. Either turn of reputation loss for hitting party (and preferably "raid”) members or provide a toggle which allows the same or provide the possibility to "forgive" reputation loss. A toggle would probably be best solution long term (IMO).

Time lines for what you feel should be added.

Announce a clear and realistic timeline when you know you will have the game ready (whatever it is). No more last day delays or putting things indefinitely on hold with a go-live with two days notice.

Anything pressing about the game that you feel needs to be addressed.

Major bugs and reputation loss for friendly fire must go.

What you feel is MVP.

For me personally MVP would have included basic player controlled settlements and points of interest along with some kind of ability for player groups to initiate hostilities against each other (i.e. feuds and wars). I know it is not going happen and I am over it but that would have been the true MVP for me.

What you feel ins't MVP.

What we have today. Fix the bugs and reputation and I can live with it.

Goblin Squad Member

A few comments based on my own experiments with the Ripping Chains escalation, which can be found aplenty in the SE region of the map. This is maybe the weakest escalation I have seen (only some 26,000 at 100 %, mostly white mobs, some yellow, nothing red, the most challinging pulls consist of 4+ casters with extras) and my experiments were within a hex that had only 1-2 supporting hexes.

  • the last time I tested a staff based build (all +0 gear) solo, I was able to reduce this escalation by roughly 5 % per 30 minutes by indiscriminately slaughtering the local population (many goblins were harmed during this test) and completing the escalation objectives when they popped up on the mini map (usually in the same pattern)

  • if that speed would scale, you could completely defeat this specific escalation (under these specific circumstances) solo in around 10 hours (assuming you have unlimited patience -and ammo, once implemented, gear lost do deaths would be more than compensated by mob drops)

  • based on what I have seen so far I do not have any reason to suspect that escalations would become any kind of an issue in any fairly organized neighborhood, but may well run wild on less populated parts of the map, since they only seem to become a real issue when they have numerous other infected hexes feeding them

  • more players does not seem to mean that it would be proportinately faster to reduce the escalation as having to be careful with / limits the use of AOE slows things down significantly

I fully agree that friendly fire ruining reputation needs to go before EE as it is in fundamental conflict with the design goals of the game (i.e. encouraging group play). Whether caused by AOE, targeting mistakes or whatever.

Goblin Squad Member

I agree with Xeen and Bluddwolf.

To me the basic user experience simply is not up to par even for a "paid beta" and I fear that starting to charge a monthly fee at this point will permanently damage the game's reputation. I would only push this game into early enrollment in its current state if there is no other alternative.

I am not expecting a polished product at this time. Just basic UI to manage the currently implemented systems which gives useful feedback and in general is not a pain in behind to interact with. A character that responds to commands I give or gives some indication as to why it cannot. For example a charge ability that either moves me to my target (provided that I have line of sight and are not interrupted) or tells me why it cannot (LOS is blocked, I am out of range, interrupted, rooted, dazed or whatever).

Simple stuff that GW should be able to fix in a couple of months.

Goblin Squad Member

Agreed, though I am a bit pessimistic if two weeks is going to be enough.

The major bugs that plague the game right now need to be squashed before any new complexity is added to the code, no matter how long it takes.

Goblin Squad Member

I believe that the threat of consequential (for all parties involved) PvP is a vital component to building an interesting virtual world.

I have no interest in economic games or initiating PvP on random players. The act of PvP combat itself does not create great emotions for me (win, lose or draw). When PvP combat serves some greater purpose it feels rewarding (irrespective of the outcome).

I am looking forward to playing my role in the front lines trying to help build and protect a community which hopefully can provide a safe haven of sorts for those who would like to be part of this virtual world but for whatever reason dislike the prospect of combat against other players.

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Fully agreed that the manner in which friendly fire affects reputation needs to be solved before EE begins (either with a permanent solution or any of the multiple stopgaps available).

The fact that playing with other friendly players has a significant chance to ruin the reputation of your friends, yourself or both is currently a major deterrent towards grouping.

Goblin Squad Member

Caldeathe Baequiannia wrote:
Throughout all of this, both EE and OE, the settlement will have a daily window in which anyone in the settlement will be open to attack. No one will be able to tear your walls down without a lot of prep, but they will be able to launch PvP attacks against your members every day of the year.

As Proxima pointed out (and provided I have not completely fallen of the loop as well as the wagon) the planned settlement vulnerability window (often somewhat misleadingly referred to as "PvP window") was indeed supposed to be a certain time of the day during which the NPC guards of the settlement are their weakest and thus the settlement is at its most vulnerable to be conquered.

The settlement vulnerability window (as far as I know) has never been intended to make any region of the map consequence free for PvP (though I can understand how this misunderstanding could easily arise from the design of the War of the Towers).

And of course there is nothing mechanically preventing anyone from attacking any of us anywhere anytime (whether a war/feud/whatever mechanic is used or not to negate/mitigate the consequences of such attack), so we all need to be ready for PvP whenever we log in (at least in the sense that we are not frustrated when it inevitably happens to us at an inconvenient time).

Goblin Squad Member

The Alpha map has extended to Keeper's Pass!

The unrivaled ingeniousness of our engineers has allowed us to have unique floating crafting stations as well as a strategically buried Auction House! There is no way any bandit will be able to rob your wares now when you shop with us. The only kink we still need to work out is how to access this underground facility ourselves, but I am sure we will be able to solve that in no time.

If you wish to see this marvel of engineering yourself now is the time! No doubt Mike & the crew will soon find a way to bring our buildings back to level ground so soon our glorious floating sawmills and smelters will be nothing more than a wonderful memory.

Goblin Squad Member

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Merkaile wrote:
Achievements are grindy. I'd vote for a gold (training fee) gate for abilities over anything else. Does that mean people buying and then selling goblin balls could gain an advantage? Sure.

How about giving characters not fulfilling the achievement requirement the option to use in game money (possibly acquired through the use of Goblin Balls) to bypass the achievement requirement to buy skills that would otherwise be gated behind an achievement?

Personally I would not be against removing achievements as a gating mechanism altogether, but if some gating needs to remain, the more options the better.

Goblin Squad Member

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I do not believe it to be highly relevant how long it will take for a character to "max out" in power for the reasons stated above (just highlighting a few here):

  • very few players will ever reach that "max power level"
  • due to the heavy impact gear is going to have on character power there is never going to be any real parity between characters anyway (except maybe for prearranged duels)
  • this game is (well, for those involved in the settlement game at least) not about power at the individual character level but power on a company, settlement, nation and alliance level so in the grand scheme of things individual powerful characters are going to be largely irrelevant

What would be interesting to know regarding the new player perspective would be how fast the power currently "ramps up" for new players, assuming that they take advantage from the best possible gear available to them. I have a gut feeling that the amount of power available for 1-2 month old characters might surprise a few people (me included), as a lot of power is going to come from higher tier gear becoming available.

Personally I have no problem with it theoretically taking several years for me to max out my character. If anything it will hopefully motivate me to keep my subscription going during the inevitable lulls in interest. If my character would be maxed in effectiveness after 6, 12, 24 or whatever months it would be much easier to decide just to put to sub on hold and (maybe) return later. I do not believe this is the type of behavior GW would like to encourage.

Goblin Squad Member

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My personal take on Goblinwork's vision for Pathfinder Online (and we obviously are not talking about the MVP here):

Persistent virtual world in the spirit of Pathfinder built by the players for the players by forming social bonds allowing them to claim and defend land and to build settlements, points of interest and other structures, towards which the players can feel a genuine sense of ownership, while at the same time carving their own unique story in the dangerous and violent River Kingdoms.

Goblin Squad Member

Thank you for all your hard work. From a player's perspective the decision to delay EE was definitely the correct one.

When things get hectic try to remember that it is not a sprint but a marathon. Make sure you all take enough time off to look after yourself and your families while pouring your hearts and souls to this game.

Goblin Squad Member

I do not believe that the reputation system itself is broken in any way (well, except maybe how it currently treats friendly fire), but I do agree with Andius that it is difficult to understand the current numbers.

While the current recovery rate may make sense for Alpha, it is difficult to see how anything good could come out of it if the same recovery rate would be used when EE starts. Moderate (I would actually prefer fast in the beginning and slower when you get closer to the bottom) decline and slow recovery would indeed seem to be the way to go in the long run.

Goblin Squad Member

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Guurzak wrote:
If you don't like the training support idea, you need to come up with another way to deal with Bad Actor. Unless character power is tied to settlement quality in some ongoing way, a "fully trained" character (whatever that may mean to the player in question) is immune to the consequences of the reputation system.

The simplest solution would seem to be to give all characters falling below a certain minimum reputation threshold a debuff which would discourage falling below the said threshold. Minus outgoing damage, plus incoming damage, minus hitpoints, minus incoming healing... You get the idea.

Could be as harsh or lenient as the good of the game requires. Should be very easy to implement and adjust. Would give clear and immediately feedback to the "Bad Actors".

There are other grounds which can be used to argue for the training support concept, but necessity arising out of need to enforce the reputation system is not it (in my opnion at least).

Goblin Squad Member

Great interview.

If I had to pick one aspect of PFO I am confident is going to be an asset to this game it would have to be the crafting. Everything just seems to make sense, gets great support from other systems and, quite importantly, seems to be largely implemented already (bells and whistles notwithstanding).

And this is coming from someone who in general has little to no interest in crafting himself.

Goblin Squad Member

Stephen Cheney wrote:

The crafted campsites currently on the engineering recipes list are not persistent. They're essentially a group Power-restoration consumable glossed as camping out for the night (in the same way that you'd make camp to sleep and recover your dailies and spells in tabletop). They'll last for a short period (long enough for several people to use them) and then despawn. Higher level ones may have more amenities TBD, in addition to the Power regen, but their main use is that they give you more Power back.

Base camps will be significantly more persistent, which allows them to also serve as a storage location in a way that doesn't make sense for the engineering camps. It's TBD which crafted items will give you field storage, but a buried chest type of item is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

Ryan Dancey wrote:
We use the same definition that the general consensus of the MMO community uses: pay to win means purchasing a meaningful mechanical advantage not otherwise available via in-game mechanics.

For me personally the "pay to win" discussion has been a dead horse since Goblin Balls were revealed for all to see. It would however be difficult for me to see how "in the wilds" storage would not be a "meaningful mechanical advantage" in an open world PvP game with significant item loss upon death.

I hope that Ryan stays true to his word and that there will not be advantageous game mechanics only available from the cash store.

Goblin Squad Member

Based on theory alone light armored warriors should make pretty mean mage killers. Loin cloth for the win!

Ranged heavy/medium armored "turret" fighters might also be pretty effective machines of destruction (though obviously would struggle finishing anything and even to keep up with a fast moving group).

How to make heavy / medium armor work for melee in general without an abundance of gap closers / roots remains to be seen. It is very hard to try to come up with any solution which would work outside formations without swinging the balance too much the other way.

Armor / encumbrance affecting movement speed is really going to a tough thing to make work both in and outside combat.

Goblin Squad Member

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The only way I could see something like this working would be if

    * the core game would already have been implemented (i.e. all core systems which hopefully one day will make PFO a complete sandbox experience have already been implemented) in order to not endanger the development of the core product
    * you can come up with the necessary funding (or significant part thereof) for a new system / feature upfront, i.e. can "show the money" to the developer before opening the dialogue
    * you are willing to accept that the result of that dialogue would be that the developer will retain the eventual control over the system / feature and that it will eventually become part of the core game (potentially after an initial period during which the newly developed system / feature would be behind a pay wall to justify the initial investment / share the spoils between the developer and investors)

Please note that I do not believe the "monster play" approach in and by itself is flawed, at least as long as it is not confused with the character development. I actually believe that it could be a huge asset for GW to put some development resources to creating a general monster play system (not limited to any specific monster type) because it could solve the potential issue with lack of (meaningful) content, which we may encounter due to the various negative consequences imposed on starting and/or losing fights with PC characters as long as there would be some incentives for player to participate in the monster play. An easy way to add some "lycanthrope" flavor to such a generic system would be for example to make lycanthropes playable only during a certain phase of the lunar cycle.

Goblin Squad Member

The (Philosophy of) War needs YOU!

We are Keepers of Light dedicated to protecting others. We bring the healing Light to the front lines. We protect those that cannot protect themselves. We sacrifice ourselves so that others could survive and continue to fight for those that cannot fight for themselves.

We hold the Non-Aggression principle as our code of honor but we do not yield if fight is thrust upon us. We do not wish for war but if war is unavoidable we do not shy away from the challenge.

If you would like to contribute to this cause, please consider joining our fight to ensure that the Light of hope never fades.

Yours faithfully,

Fruben, Keeper of Light, Oracle of War

Join Keepers of the Circle

Ring of Light Charter

[And yes, that is the actual title bestowed upon me by the Guardian of Light Leonidas Wahrheit. Not quite the Oracle of Heavy Metal, but pretty close.]

Goblin Squad Member

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Just to be clear, we are a bunch of tolerant folks who do not judge people based on their personal preferences as to months, days or years.

You know, individual freedom and all... ;-)

Goblin Squad Member

The Guardian of Light Leonidas Wahrheit wrote:

Mission Statement of the Ring of Light: To better ourselves through the betterment of others.

This Ring, our Holy Ring, asks a great deal from its members. It requests from them their unending dedication and compassion; their knowledge and their love; their virtues and their purity. To join the Ring of Light is to leave behind the petty differences and malice which corrupt the heart and to grant the healing grace of Light entrance into the individual's soul. We, the members of this Holy Ring, do not desire wealth or power within this virtual landscape, rather we desire nothing but the best for this Ring, this Guild, and the community at large.

Beyond this, however, the Holy Ring of Light welcomes its members with open arms. We are a family of brothers and sisters who would defend the honor and livelihood of our fellow members for as a family, we always stay united. If anything has remained true within this glorious Guild, one thing is absolutely for certain:

Unity binds us all.

-Leo

If you are interested, please have a look.

Together with our friends in the Roseblood Accord we will work to ensure that no matter in which timezone you may reside, you will always have friends closeby with whom to share this wonderful journey.

Goblin Squad Member

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This is one of those blogs that leaves me deeply conflicted.

On one hand it is impossible not to see the huge potential for meaningful, persistent gameplay where the players can actually create a unique and evolving virtual world.

On the other hand it gives another stark reminder of just how many core game mechanics must to be successfully implemented for this game to nothing more than an empty shell.

Please stay the course and focus on getting those core systems up and running. The polish, variety, fluff and quality of life features can wait.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Characters pursue martial abilities to be better at killing, and divine spell casting to be better at healing. Mix to taste.

I hope I am not reading things that are not there but this does sound extremely promising.

Separating generic martial (and other generic) abilities from class specific abilities would seem like an excellent way to allow players to truly customize their characters while at the same time eliminating the need to fill every class' skill tree with basically the same damaging abilities.

Goblin Squad Member

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An excellent article which pretty well sums up why I am currently not playing any MMO but looking forward to what PFO may be able to offer.

The one particular issue plaguing MMOs I would like to highlight is the lack of depth. What MMO developers need (in my opinion) to realize is that not all game mechanics need to have a unique graphical representation in the virtual world. Sometimes just being able to see the numbers somewhere is quite enough. Of course if you are going to have a 3D world and avatar based movement/combat system, those need to be implemented at a certain minimum level.

As a side note, today one of the top sellers on Steam was a single player city building game, which had (apparently) been developed by a team consisting of one person. Now imagine how immersive the kingdom/settlement building aspects of a sandbox MMO could be, if even half of the algorithms used in such a game could be incorporated to an MMO (even if almost exclusively on the level of numbers only)?

Goblin Squad Member

My personal preferences would be:

  • a granular enough "persona non grata" system allowing a settlement to control who can lawfully access hexes controlled by the respective settlement on settlement, company and individual level

  • a granular enough PvP consequence system with varying levels of consequences attached to different actions depending on how desirable GW deems them to be, thus funneling player behavior towards desired direction while at the same time staying true to the core alignment / reputation mechanics (i.e. as few as possible or preferably no loopholes)

    As an example, the reputation / alignment consequences (if any) for attacking a harvesting camp set up in the wilderness (with or without a prior declaration of intent) would depend on whether GW wants to encourage or discourage this type of behavior.

    Personally I would rather see significantly lowered consequences for “less undesirable” but still not “fully encouraged” actions than removing those consequences altogether, as this would allow the aggregation of repeated player actions to be more meaningfully represented by the reputation / alignment scores.

  • Goblin Squad Member

    I fully agree with HalfOrc's points and desire to make health/HP a meaningful resource alongside power.

    On the other hand I do agree with Stephen that some form of out of combat health regeneration (also in the wilds) is probably a necessity to avoid the frustrations of having to (always) procure a healer before venturing on an adventure.

    Some additional concerns with quick / instant out of combat health regeneration, particularly if combined with expensive (i.e. costing a finite resource, which does not replenish out in the wilds, and which could be used for other purposes) or ineffective active in combat healing:

    • getting out of combat, quickly fully healing, and re-entering combat is likely to become the most efficient way of "healing", where possible
    • ability to use out of combat healing may have a significant impact on the general flow of big battles, putting front line characters at a significant disadvantage compared to those with a more convenient opportunity to make use of this mechanic

    Personally I would prefer an old school approach of having to set up a camp to (significantly) regenerate out of combat, having the recovery rate (while camped) being determined by the highest healing skill in the group and exposing the camped characters to surprise attacks, which would interrupt the regeneration (and camp in general). Having the setting up of the camp take e.g. 1 minute and full recovery from 1 % to 100 % around 0,5-2 minutes with clear visual clues of a the camp being set up might also mitigate some of the (ab)use of this mechanic in large battles.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Ryan Dancey wrote:
    Andius wrote:
    I think this game needs to intentionally design it so there are almost never battles so pivotal that people are getting calls at 3 am to come fight them.
    If you can flatten the world, let me know - we'll get rich together.

    One possible solution to the time zone issue (striking the balance between the right of the defenders to choose when the pivotal fight is to take place by means of letting them control the vulnerability window and allowing the attackers a chance to attack at a moment that is convenient to them) could be e.g.

    • instead of forcing the top tier settlements to have 24/7 vulnerability allow them to set the maximum vulnerability around 30 % of every 24 hour cycle , which could result in around 8-9 hours of vulnerability every 24 hour cycle

    • instead of having one large vulnerability window, force the settlement to split that vulnerability time equally between e.g. 3 segments of 8 hours each (creating e.g. 3 separate vulnerability windows of 3 hours each within each 24 hour cycle)

    Coupled with mechanics requiring e.g. setting up a siege camp and battering the settlement walls for a certain minimum amount of time to reduce their integrity to zero (for top tier siege versus low tier walls e.g. a little over 24 hours, longer for more advanced defense structures or lower tier siege engines) before an attempt to capture the capital building could be made with a chance for the defenders to interrupt the siege (e.g. during the same settlement vulnerability times) everyone should have a possibility to contribute at reasonably convenient hours without the 3 AM calls.

    Goblin Squad Member

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    PFO is going to be an open world PvP game where anyone can be attacked anywhere. What the opening post suggests is not an "opt-in PvP" but an "opt-out of PvP consequences" flag, with additional incentives (mechanical benefits) to get as many people as possible to opt-out of the PvP consequence system.

    In my opinion the only consequence free PvP (outside the various forms of "meaningful" PvP, as determined by Ryan and Co arising out of wars, feuds etc.) could and probably should be a "training ground" (or to begin with maybe an instanced training barn) settlement improvement where consenting River Kingdomians could enter for a friendly bout of fisticuffs or swordplay without reputation or alignment concerns.

    I actually believe that the basic consequence system as proposed by GW is pretty clever in all its simplicity:

    • it attaches certain desirable/undesirable consequences to certain alignments/reputation levels
    • it attaches certain alignment/reputation impacts in the range of 0-max to certain actions, which GW wishes to limit/increase

    This system alone, without any flags, factions or other shenanigans, should be flexible enough to facilitate a FFA PvP game, virtual PvE game or something in between (which is what I suppose a lot of as are hoping to get). All GW needs to do is to set the consequences/impact on the level on which the average player experience is consistent with what GW is targeting.

    Goblin Squad Member

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    In my opinion it is currently fairly pointless to base any discussion regarding how SAD is going to work on earlier information regarding this mechanic due to couple of fairly major re-alignments in design concepts:

    • SAD is no longer tied to the "Outlaw" flag. Being forced to make a meaningful choice to flag yourself for consequence free PvP not only made a lot of sense as a trade off for being able to force consequence free PvP onto others but also took care of many of the collateral issues which have been discussed lately (for example the right of bystanders to intervene).

    • Reputation has since changed meaning. If reputation (as told by Ryan as of late) is supposed to reflect the "altruism" of a character as compared to "selfishness" (which should be indicated by a low reputation score), it would make little sense to allow someone who SADs everyone they meet (and kills a significant portion of those) to retain high reputation scores.

    This does not mean that SAD cannot make the game better. It just has to be adjusted in a manner which makes some sense (for example flag the SADer as a criminal, if the local laws prohibit armed robbery, and lower the reputation hit instead of removing it entirely in case of unsuccessful SADs resulting in killing the victim).

    Goblin Squad Member

    While not ”roleplaying support” per se (in my opinion), here is something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue which chould be a fairly good fit to Ryan' criteria:

    Restless and wild

    Concept

    It has been hinted that settlements will have ”unrest” value, which could be determined (at least partly) by how restless the common folk (i.e. NPCs) feel themselves. If the ”unrest” value would comprise of the individual ”unrest” values of particular NPCs, why not allow player characters to use social skills (in addition to whips, swords, stealing and such) to impact how restless the common folk feel (in the hex they are inhabiting)?

    Implementation

    Implement a ”social” skill tree, which contains at least skills, which allow you to

    • calm down citizens within the sphere of influence, i.e. decreasing their unrest value
    • rile up citizens within the sphere of influence, i.e. increasing their unrest value

    Calming down or riling up citizens should be an action, which would

    • be easily recognizable (e.g. character waves hands in front of a bunch of NPC, who respond by generic cheers, boos and such)
    • be easily interrupted (e.g. take a fairly long time such as one minute or more to perform)
    • not be spammable (e.g. long cooldown such as ten minutes per use or a local debuff disallowing use within the same hex within certain period, could make for a pretty good “situational” skill)
    • be easily detectable (e.g. a mark of the use of skill to the NPCs affected for a fairly long period)
    • be visible to the settlement leadership via a subtle change in the (preferably hex specific) settlement unrest value

    It would seem logical if such social skills would be charisma based, but preferably open to all players wanting to learn them (and meeting any prerequisites).

    Curveballs

    It might be preferable that he use of such a skill would not be totally predictable. Possible outcomes could be

    • critical success causing a significant shift to the desired direction
    • normal success: minor shift to the desired direction
    • normal failure: no impact
    • critical failure causing the NPCs to become aggressive towards the attempting player

    Once the unrest value of an NPC (or several NPCs within certain distance of each other) reaches a critical level this could start an “angry mob” escalation, wherein the respective NPC(s) starting the escalation would start running around “riling up” more NPCs to join the “angry mob” resulting in loss of production in the affected area (and eventually, if not dealt with, the “angry mob” marching to the settlement / kingdom capital to give the powers that be a piece of their mind).

    Why?

    In my opinion this type of functionality would warrant the development resources needed because:

    • it would enhance the game systems (unrest), which would be implemented in any case
    • it should not require a lot of development resources at least in the art department
    • it would allow players at a micro level to impact the game world at a macro level in a meaningful and persistent way
    • it would allow an alternative way for players to meaningfully contribute to the success of their settlement other than participating in PvP, PvE or crafting
    • it would scale extremely well (impact of one skill by one player use can be adjusted to the right level to make each skill use meaningful but not overpowered)
    • it could be used either to boost your own settlement or hamper that of your foe (or hamper your own settlement and boost your foe, if that tickles your fancy) making it a meaninful part of at least the "domination" pillar
    • it would be compatible with both group and solo gameplay as traveling politicians/preachers would usually be much better of with some protection on their side (but if you are willing to take your chances, can go solo too)
    • it could result in interesting situations particularly when used against your own settlement, for example in case part of the settlement membership would not be happy with the current leadership
    • it would make for some interesting choices: do you want to (literally) kill the dissent as soon as possible and ensure minimum hit on the production or allow try to limit its impact by using your social specialists to try to contain and hopefully dissolve the angry mob without turning to violence

    Goblin Squad Member

    randomwalker wrote:

    Essentially this is what we'll likely get,

    I fully agree that we are unlikely to see a character development system which would place hard limits on allowed character builds. Which is more than most games can say.

    However, whether anything else than a limited number of "pure" builds (as determined by the developers) will actually be viable in competitive gameplay is likely to be ultimately determined by how much synergy will be built into those pure builds (via class feats, dedication bonuses and general skill synergy).

    Goblin Squad Member

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    My personal opinion regarding what minimum game mechanics are needed to support roleplaying (and meaningful player interaction in general):

    * speech bubbles: the basis of all interraction is (hopefully) speech and it is very easy to lose meaningful interaction in a fast rolling chat window, having speech bubbles makes (to me at least) a major difference in coversations / speeches (and should not require a significant amount of development recourses as it should be just one feature of the GUI)

    * one generic text emote (with no artwork whatsoever): we need to able to express what our characters are doing by means other than running around and bashing other peoples' faces, should not require huge amount of effort to implement

    * in-game bulletin boards: we need to have means to communicate, preferably locally (separately for each settlement/hideout), in free format (i.e. not just be means of placing hits and putting out contracts) with players who do not happen to be online at the same time as we are

    As far as I understand all of the above should have a very limited need for development resouces and would likely to be used by most players (either actively or passively).

    Goblin Squad Member

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    Thank you for the information, Tork. It is much appreciated.

    Having said that, character development is one of the areas where I am most concerned as to whether you guys have found the right formula for success. This is partly due to lack of information and partly having seen most developers eventually abandon their original plans in favor of predetermined classes and predetermined roles/builds within those classes leaving very little actual choice (that would make some sense) for the players.

    I hope you guys are able deliver something different. Something where I could decide what kind of character I want to create and how to play it. One example of how such freedom could be achieved while staying true to the design principles disclosed so far:

    * separate general skills and class skills

    * general skills could include for example
    - weapons skills like one-handed weapons, two-handed weapons, shields etc.; specializations such as swords, knives, axes, hammers etc.
    - armor skills for light, medium and heavy armor
    - physical training and prowess like "hit points"/health and stamina
    - utility skills like perception

    * class skills including various “roles” or “callings” for each class (e.g. for fighter separate skill trees for single target damage abilities, damage absorption/avoidance, mobility etc.)
    - including all kinds of skills/talents that passively improve your general/class skills, can be used to actively replace e.g. one of your weapon skills, unlock access to certain (tiers) of implements etc.

    If I want to be the greatest crafter and abandon all survival skills I should be able to do so. If I want to be a two-handed axe wielding wizard I should be able to do so. If I want to play a fighter specialized solely in bows I should be able to do so. Give me real, significant choices, but with the possibility to remedy my mistakes with (paid training) time healing all wounds (and gaps in character build).

    Might be exactly what you are currently up to. Might not even be in the same ballpark.

    Goblin Squad Member

    As far as I understand, the current plan for spellcasters would consist of:

    * spellcasters being granted the same two mundane weapons as everyone else resulting in total 12 available "weapon skills" (considering weapon changes)

    * spellcasters being granted the same two implements as others, which can be used for "spellcasting implements" resulting in total 12 available "spells" (considering implement changes)

    * each spell implement could be used only once per combat

    * there would be a "significant" global cooldowns affecting spells only, which would make it impossible (or at least not very optimal) for anyone to rely solely on spells in combat as this could result in significant downtime waiting for the global cooldown to expire

    * use of spells would also be limited by the amount of remaining power, which could only be recovered in certain locations (like settlements and points of interest) or to limited extent by using consumables such as food

    * no news on whether "cantrips" are still part of the design (technically there is no reason why there could not be regular spells with 0 power requirement, but they would seem likely to eat one of the 12 available spell slots each, which power and implement capacity permitting could be used for a much more powerful spell)

    What I like about this system is the old school feeling and the fact that it would be very much a change compared to how spellcasting has been handled in recent MMOs (aside from DDO). I have no issues with mages and priest being encouraged to learn also mundane weapon skills and not only shoot lightning and thunder at their foes. Depending on how other aspects of character development are handled, the skills you decide to train could easily impact also your weapon skills (not meaning extremes such as turning your staff into an infinite source of fireballs, but more along the lines of e.g. hits of your weapons causing certain special effect(s) based on your character build).

    I am not yet totally sold on the global spell cooldown and "only once per combat irrespective of how much power you have" spell slots. This type of design would seem to have the potential to result in very boring spellbooks / holy items containing only 1-3 bread and butter spells. So the worst case would indeed seem to be that the spellcasters would only have a couple of spells which to spam whenever the global cooldown is up (at least if maximum contribution is required).

    Goblin Squad Member

    Although there is no timetable for any kind of pet mechanics and Ryan has not exactly been keen on seeing necromancers running around with hordes of pets, I would argue it worthwhile to consider implementing just the "animate dead" part of necromancy. This would mean that a mage (or a priest) with the appropriate skills could animate a corpse but would have no means of controlling it once the deed is done resulting in the former corpse turning into a newly fledged mob for the joy and merriment of the neighborhood.

    Such a feature could have the following merits:

    * should not require a huge amount of development resources as you could utilize the same (undead) mob models and AI you were planning to develop in any case

    * would promote meaningful player interaction in a variety of ways: undead would need to be dealt with, members of a settlement might be interested to find out who is raising undead to create havoc around their holdings, the animator would gain a heinous flag, to animate anything you first need a corpse and so on

    Goblin Squad Member

    Magic and mundane in maneuvers

    I do not think we need to make fighters, rogues, aristocrats and experts (among others) "mini-mages" to implement the implements. As long as we keep high end reality altering stuff like invisibility, teleportation and total immunities outside the scope of maneuvers, it should be possible to come up with fitting description for maneuvers without the need to resort to the "it's a kinda magic" -explanation. Some examples:

    * fighter's self buffing: memories of a long fallen hero/vicious warcry inspiring you to [whatever]

    * rogue's bag of tricks: actual poisons and alchemical and mechanical tricks allowing you to [whatever]

    * aristocrat's banner/warhorn buffs: actual banner/warhorn the sight/hearing of which improves your companions' [whatever]

    * experts toolkit: an actual toolkit allowing you to fix / damage [whatever]

    * commoner's holdout weapon: an actual weapon allowing you to [whatever]

    Spells overpowering maneuvers

    If spellcasting is going to be a viable career choice it would seem likely that a some point in the power curve the spells would need to become significantly more powerful than the maneuvers. The logic behind this would be the following:

    * for fighters and rogues' maneuvers are "extras", i.e. something on top of their standard capabilities
    * for spellcasters spells [are expected to] require significant opportunity costs, which [should] make spellcasters significantly weaker compared to the the more mundane roles without their spells
    * hence if spells are not significantly stronger than maneuvers, spellcasters will never be able to contribute on the same level as fighters and rogues

    The easiest way to ensure that this while at the same time ensuring that everyone would (at least for several years) not roll with spellcaster implements would seem to be to:

    * have different power curves for maneuvers and spells: whereas maneuvers would have a declining power curve (meaning that "higher tier" maneuvers would only be slightly better than lower tier maneuvers), spells would start out as relatively weak but have an increasing power curve (meaning that in higher tiers they would be significantly more powerful than maneuvers)
    * make the ability to use an implement dependent on the investment to the role, to which it relates, meaning that high level spells would only be usable by those having focused on training the specific role, to which the implement relates (meaning that if you would like to have the option to e.g. freely choose any implement you want, you would need to train all roles near to the max level, which would take many, many years -and bring an ton of money to Goblinworks)

    As a side effect this type of a ower curve (mundane classes stronger at low levels) should encourage players to start with training the mundane roles (as they would be stronger the lower levels which would hopefully result in more mundane than magical roles in the battlefields.

    Goblin Squad Member

    A couple of comments/concerns:

    * while I understand why the streamlining has been done, it does seem to move us to the direction where every character plays more or less the same, some are just a little more effective in certain aspects of the game

    * this would of course be great for balancing (and efficient use of development resources), but at the same time has the potential to render character development choices largely meaningless (I hope this is not the case and that this impression is only due to lack of visibility to the elements which make the character development system tick and allow for meaningful player choices)

    * I hope that character development does not become a [insert whatever drop you are looking for] grind or a quest for Goblin Balls to avoid the grind (to get the coin needed to purchase what you want from the market)

    Goblin Squad Member

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    Ryan Dancey wrote:
    If things develop as I expect, the PvE people will be 2nd class citizens (much as they are in EVE, for the same reasons they are in EVE) who will be told what to make and where to work and expected to forgo most profits to keep feeding the military forces of the host Settlement.

    If anyone ever finds themselves being part of a community, which treats them as "2nd class citizens" due to their affinity to PvP, PvE, crafting, exploring or any other legitimate in game interest, I hope that such people have the courage to leave their current community and seek one, which treats them with the respect and dignity they deserve.

    If no such community can survive within PFO, Ryan and Co have (in my opinion) failed in designing a game being able to fulfill their mission statement and/or we (and by we I mean myself and anyone else who may share somewhat similar base values) have failed as players.

    Goblin Squad Member

    I would be strongly in favor of building one large continuously expanding open map, where it is possible to traverse from one corner of the map to another without the need to use artificial portals. From the immersion perspective there is nothing worse than having the "world" consist of totally isolated zones, which have little connection to each other. LOTRO pre Mines of Moria would be a near perfect example of how to build a seamless world.

    Having said that, I do understand that somewhere down the line a single map may become too large or new map may be desirable for other reasons such as to allow for totally different types of landscape being introduced.

    If it becomes necessary to cover great distances, such as traveling to an actual island or to a far away land, I would like to see this type of traveling being handled primarily by (simulated) boats, caravans and another mundane means. Add the risk of being attacked by pirates or bandits during the transit (controlled by either AI or players, e.g. in an instance popping up while an arrow on the map moves towards your destination à la Indiana Jones) and you would have a pretty awesome long distance traveling system.

    Of course you would need to large enough (relatively) "safe zones" at each end of any such traveling system to minimize gate camping.

    Goblin Squad Member

    AvenaOats wrote:
    @Fruben generally that seems so but how do you apportion rep/alignment without recourse to in this case or context a SAD?

    Alignment: I do not see any real difference between declaring your intent to maim and rob someone beforehand and letting your victim know this is your intent by committing the deed. In my opinion the laws of the land should dictate whether there is any hit on the law-chaotic axle. GW needs to decide whether attacking/killing/robbing someone merits a shift in the good-evil axle. Of course, no alignment hit if you get what you wanted without spilling blood.

    Reputation: Until it is clearly defined what reputation should measure, I cannot really comment on this. Ryan's latest comments once again suggest that reputation could simply be a "non-aggression" measurement (in which case it would be difficult to see why imposing your will with the threat of immediate bodily harm should increase you “non-aggression” rating). If reputation is supposed to measure something completely different (such as active "meaningful player interaction" participation), this would of course be a different story (but in this scenario the bandits should have reputation in abundance and should be able to afford to miss a little by not beating their surrendering victim to a pulp).

    In general I am very skeptical of creating any game mechanic that would by a press of a couple of buttons turn otherwise "not encouraged" action into "encouraged" (I am assuming here that seemingly random killing of strangers would be "not encouraged"). Does not seem to make much sense to me (but then again, I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer).

    Goblin Squad Member

    I would argue that the current incarnation of SAD (or any similar "threatening") mechanic would be a waste of development resources for the following reasons:

    * as long as there are some sort of chat channels (say, whisper), the threatening/negotiating can be handled by the players involved without any separate system being developed

    * if some sort of "appraising" or "evaluation" skill is going to be developed, it should be usable whenever you have sufficient time to rummage through the goods of another player (uninterrupted), so no separate mechanic would need to be developed

    * as long as there are means to carry out a trade between the players (such as a generic trade window), no separate mechanic needs to be delivered to turn over the agreed goods

    * if you are successful in SAD (or threatening), you get what you want, which should be enough of a reward on its own

    * if you are not, you can either carry out your threat or go about your merry ways (with the latter carrying no mechanic consequences); you would only suffer (mechanic) consequences in case you would actually do something, which according to the “laws of the game” would warrant such consequences

    * developing an automated system to handle such a threatening would arguably reduce the amount of "meaningful player interaction" as it would automatize something, which would otherwise be carried out by players actually interacting with each other (you know, like talking to each other...)

    Goblin Squad Member

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    Now, if this was my game, this is probably what I would do as the game developer regarding the actual character naming conventions:

    Language

    Make it clear that the official language for the game is English and that character names (as well as all open communication in public chat channel(s), if any) are evaluated on that basis. Reserve the right to make case by case exceptions, primarily to be able to ban / change names, which are inappropriate in another significant language when they pop up.

    Player Instructions

    Make it clear that the names actually matter.

    Give the players clear guidelines as to what kind names are categorically prohibited (offensive etc., the usual stuff).

    Give the players as clear guidelines as possible as to what types of names are generally used within the world. The good people at Paizo probably have this already.

    Name Generator

    If you could include a reasonable name generator, it could save a lot of players a lot of grief in trying to come up with original but lore fitting names.

    Pre-approval

    As Ryan has already proposed, have a GM / team member quickly review all names created at least during the early enrollment. Let the players know this review will take place and that inappropriate name may lead to name change or worse.

    Retroactive Control

    Allow players easy means to report inappropriate names and keep an all-time / weekly / daily "high score" of the most reported ones (not yet dealt with) to allow GMs to quickly take action against the clearest violators.

    If abuse of reporting option is detected, allow GMs to ignore reports from players found to be abusing the reporting system (e.g. three strikes within six months and out for six months).

    Goblin Squad Member

    Some thoughts on what might work well and be doable for early enrollment.

    Quickbar set up: The Secret World, full freedom to choose among the skills you have trained, 10-12 abilities (per weapon). Let the players decide how they want to play their character.

    "Auto-attack": Guild War 2, if there is going to be spammable attack(s), let each player choose if and which ability they want to spam once attacking has been initiated.

    Skill queue: Rift, let the players choose if they want to use a skill queue and how long a skill queue they want to use.

    Movement & ability use: Dungeon and Dragons Online, if my memory servers me correctly, you could move while executing an ability with a cast time, but movement would only be at half the normal speed and with the casting speed reduced to half.

    A lot of cool stuff like the fellowship maneuvers from LOTRO and combo attacks from Guild Wars 2 are probably outside the reasonable scope for the open enrollment.

    Overall I just hope that however the combat system is implemented, it is fairly smooth and allows us to fight our opponents instead of the UI.

    Goblin Squad Member

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    As far as the basic naming mechanics go, to me The Secret World probably has come up with the system most suitable for any MMORPG that is actually concerned about the RPG aspects (such as PFO). The set up is roughly the following:

    Nickname: Unique identificator for the character

    * single name with n (e.g. 16) basic ASCII characters, no numbers, no spaces, no special characters etc.
    * use of capitals allowed for visual effect but irrelevant for character identification (e.g. my nickname could be "DeadMeat" but for identification purposes this is the same as deadmeat, DEADmeat etc.)
    * allows for easy character identification
    * can be used for roleplaying purposes or independently (I personally would not require lore appropriate nicks, just the normal racial slurs etc. taken out)
    * must be unique (e.g. only one "deadmeat" allowed)

    Real name: Character's true name
    * first name (mandatory) + last name (optional, i.e. can be left blank)
    * each field has n characters (e.g. 16), no limitations as to what characters can be used (i.e. have at it with whatever weird characters you can come up with as long as they pass the next requirement)
    * must be "appropriate" (whatever that means, Ryan has explained this a few times)
    * although neither of the true names (or actually name fields) needs to be unique by themselves, I would personally prefer not to allow anyone to use exactly the same first and last name combo as has been previously registered (i.e. if I name my character "John Dough", there can be many Johns but only one with the Dough surname)

    The best part about a hybrid system like this would be that it should be fairly easy to allow players to choose on the client side how they want names to be presented (for themselves).

    Goblin Squad Member

    Really impressive, for me at least the art style seems spot on. The lighting looks really good and if GW can launch with a proper day-night cycle, this will do wonders in maintaining the feel of being part of a living and breathing world instead of a static "zone". Now, only the weather effects to go...

    Keep up the good work and thank you!

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