I'd also posit, with no time, energy or forethought to back that position, that Filth-Ridden Serfs: The Grit RPG (awesome btw) and Mythic rules are not absolutes to be diametrically opposed. With enough creativity, and most importantly Player Buy-in, there's plenty of value that could be gleaned from mythic stuff to cram into the gritty rusty-nail in the boot kinda game. Granted, it would be a lot of work, and require an evolved mature gaming group, but the two concepts (at least in my dementia) are not so estranged.
My first stop in this book was straight to Chapter 4; Running a Mythic game. I don't care what the powers are, how awesome spells become, or how easy it becomes to Throw an Ankylosaurus At a T-Rex. I wanted advice to accommodate the scope and scale of how to run a Mythic game where the capabilities and powers of the Players would slide even more into their favor than the base game assumptions.
A couple things I immediately thought of when I landed on this thread and saw the general complaints of "too much power makes trivial things trivial" and "Broken CR is Broken".
The OP constantly references the Rare scope (Mythic Heroes in a Mundane World) of his desire for the game, when right next to it is the Limited scope. Don't like how powerful the players end up being in a mundane world? Take that power away. Do it with the power of Plot, but change the scale to the Limited Scope and you'll likely find that the chances for abusing that power are lessened. If you want there to be an economy to the Mythic Power, go with the suggestion (pg. 118) that you impose an economy to it.
Secondly, sidebar pg. 120 The Importance of Failure. check it out. Also known as, When Winning isn't Victory.
Thirdly, the structure to the ideas is very much based on the ideas of the classic Herculean mythos, but you have to accept that its going to be implemented by a bunch of gamers who at our best are like as not to grab the ring of power and put it on, instead of toss it into the fires of Mt. Doom. At our worst, we're munchkin trash looking to stuff every item of any perceived value (gold, jewels, 4'x6' Paintings of Obscure Chelish Nobles, Corpses of our closest friends still dripping with magic items) into one of our 5-9 bags of holding so we can plop it all down and ruin the local economy of the nearest capital city. Point is, if you give power out, you have to be prepared for that power to be used. You can't complain when that power is used irresponsibly.
Part of my base assumption to running a Mythic game, which I very much want to do, is to change the inherent context of running a "normal" game and scale it up to something that would be unforgivably ridiculous for a non-mythic campaign. Hercules strangled 2 deadly asps with his bare hands, while still naked in the crib. How will I use that example to fuel the gaming of my 4-6 Players is in part what this book/ruleset is supposed to answer. I think it provides fine guidelines for just that. Its not gonna run the game for you, but it will help provide you with a new idea of how the scope is meant to be drawn.
And Finally , I would HIGHLY recommend when going from any of the playtest rules to the finished product that any DM should take it upon themselves to provide some sort of reset to their game, either a reboot or a good ol' fashioned sit down Meta conversation with the players about what the plans are and how to adjust everything to meet whatever kind of expectations there are. This coming from a guy that tried (and somewhat succeeded) in running the original RotRL (in 3.5 o' vision) with the PF Beta rules, and transitioned into the final product, with never less than 5 players.
You seem to have concerns that the game has gone a bit too 'Shadowrun-ey", and it seems rightly so to a certain degree. Unfortunately, and in my experience, Pathfinder players in general have neither the mentality or the toolset to deal with that all consuming level of conspiracy. I find its fine to ramp up the paranoia, but only if I have a "release valve" for that.
In this case, if I were in your position (and as I recall this is how I ran the faceless stalker event a million years ago), I chose to go with the "snap back" idea and show the players that the obviously dead Aldern/Iesha were in fact horrible monsters beyond their reckoning. Also, body horror (even displaced to NPCs) is fun. While my run through that engagement didn't have such complications with Ironbriar, kudos to your handling by the way, I'd recommend going with a "snap" solution. As it stands, the rules are ambiguous at best on this one, so in the face of such ambiguity I try to choose the path that will better facilitate the gameplay. If you want your players to go full on vigilante and now have a 2 fronted (or even 3) conflict between them, the Guards, & the Cult, you've got the set up you need. If you'd like to get the party a little bit more on the Path, have the Faceless melt back into their real forms, exonerating them of the immediate threat of imprisonment.
You have the unique chance to preserve the role of Ironbriar as confidante and ultimate betrayer as well. The party seems to have built a minor but relevant relationship with him, and you can keep the paranoia aspect going, as well as give them more direct encounters with him, enabling them more of a chance to detect his deception, etc.
Fantastic customizations all around. I'm 2/3 through Wake, and am kicking myself that I didn't reinforce more narratives as you have from the outset.
One thing I did have the foresight to do is include a reoccurring villain figure from very nearly the outset. A Halfling Ninja/Illusionist (specialized in disguises) apprentice to Auren Vrood, "gifted" by the WW into undeath as a JuJu zombie. "Vrood's Child" has made appearances as follows;
I started in book 1 with him sneakily stealing up all the Whispering Way related books in the Lorrimor household (while living in the attic and listening in on all their conversations), and the first glance of them they had was as he rode hellbent out of town with all the books (he'd also deathgagged Kendra, should be an interesting twist for later, i had her move to Caliphas after book 1). The Next event for the Halfling was en route to Ascanor Lodge, where he ambushed them with a Mohrg infested Zokar (the party's favorite NPC in Ravengro, really driving up the emotional stakes and grimdark here). They pounded my villain hard, and yet he escaped. Next event was At Ascanor itself, right as the wolf spirit pounced, once again ramping up the tension and driving home his presence. Lastly he made an appearance at the climactic battle with Vrood, where he effectively garnered the hate of at least 4/6 of my group due to the all consuming hatred they have for him by this point. Once again, he gets pounded and yet escapes, only this time with Vrood dead setting up his inevitable return and the iconic payoff phrase...
"You killed my master..." *queue cheesy martial arts flick sound*
I level him up to match the group at each stage, so he doesn't get totally gibbed, and has the chance to do what he's built to do, escape and return later to further annoy. He's not deadly, but he did give the group something tangible to hate about the Whispering Way, since they're not particularly not adroit at investigation games, and I wanted the name Vrood to stand out early and often.
As it comes to XP and all that, I like to use the larger group size as an opportunity to flex my design chops, and to break up some of the themes of each book. If I don't design a slightly off path area with neat creepy monsters, I'll simply add something Big And Scary to each major or poignent encounter spot (Like a Bloody Flaming Hill Giant Skeleton with a Greatclub) and occasionally max the HP of a fun monster, to preserve it into round 3. My Players aren't real good at investigations, but they murder up baddies real fast.
Good luck with your campaign!
Piccolo, you might point out that many of the items are got in the course of the adventure, and that from an in-character perspective, 50% of 100gp is still 50gp for free. I personally don't worry too much about low level wealth by equations, as I believe its immersion breaking and takes away from the Role Playing if everyone is checking the chart every time they get a bag of coin. Additionally, nothing will be lost or suffer if you add more treasure (simplest is a hidden bag of gems/coins) in the first 2 books. An AP is more than anything a framework to hang a game on, not a strict codified lesson writ in stone.
My PCs spent very little time investigating before they hooked onto the Prison as a place to go to check into the death of the professor. While it was quite dangerous, and I was on edge the whole time as I anticipated them diving into a TPK around every corner, I found they managed to play relatively smart (maybe the last time in this campaign :P ) and only ventured through a few of the creepier but not deadly encounters. Early entry into the Prison XP combined with Pharismin Cache, a lonely zombie or 2, investigation XP and so on, and I felt like things went ok in getting the group to level 2.
On a side note, I do everything I can without breaking immersion to get the PCs to level 2 in all my campaigns. When at the lower levels in particular, if they're planning on going someplace too dangerous and still only a few hundred XP short of a level, I jump them up with either a creepy but easy encounter or some flavor/RP bonuses. The level 1 to 2 jump is one of the biggest leaps in survivability, from a purely mechanical perspective, and everyone feels better about it after words.
This is one of most flawed assumptions, and one that's endemic in this thread. The only way this could possibly be true is if you completely eliminate the entirety of the process of getting to that end assumption (aka playing the game for well nigh 4-5 years). If you dip, at any point, from one path to another, you change the equation. You gain access to abilities outside of the scope of the path, and you gain what is arguably the most defining quality of characters in PFO, and that's versatility. If process A is different from process B, the equations are not equal, even if the result appears the same (and even then only by the most reductionist, un-nuanced logic)
Put into another light, there's really no reason two Lawful Good organizations can't fight over who's got the rights to a certain section of the map, once all diplomacy and negotiations have failed. Neither is Evil, or even necessarily in the wrong. Neither would be griefing.
Conflict, and supplying others with opposition and adversity will be one of the primary "things players do". if that extends to the manipulation of "higher scale" mechanics like alignment, all the better. If any organization with proper resources and dedicated talent is capable of manipulating some huge engine of war, be it a dragon, angel, demon or elemental, then that would be triple awesome.
This is exactly the kind of rational, non-binary semi-nuanced thinking I've been advocating for this thread.
Random: Yea, I was thinking about warfighting, not banditry. I would hope there are economic and logistic reasons why it would only be cost effective to use artillery against high value targets in war, not in banditry PvP.
Nothing says "Stand & Deliver ye Goods" like 4 ballista pointing down the road at your caravan. The comedy of it aside, if a bandit group has the resources, I think it should be an option. Perhaps a ridiculous risk moderate reward option, but still one that's viable.
It was my impression that all of those things were on the wishlist, but my opinion that some of them will have to be incorporated in somewhat unrealistic ways. Cover and Concealment based on natural terrain/foliage/etc could end up being a fairly complicated bit or work. And as discussed in the fabled and long dead invisibility thread; There's very little way to reliably prevent players from knowing the location of other players. Maybe one unit will be noticed or viewable, but not targetable in some way...? just brainstorming a bit off the cuff...
I see many of the strategic concerns that Grumpy cites (logistics/combat intel points in particular) as being something that is primarily handled out of the actual game interface, or offline between players. As Knowing your enemies is the path to victory, so offline research will dominate that level of intel (Co. Composition and make up being high value information). With the prevalence of offline tools/addons/etc I suspect it will be an interesting challenge to manage both tactical on site concealment, as well as strategic force composition obfuscation.
brainstorming on the direct/indirect fire possibilities:
I am kind of getting the feeling that if GoblinWorks proposes it's own Jar Jar or midichlorians you will either hold your tongue or tell them it's a great idea. That may or may not be true but that certainly is the impression I get when the main point of your argument seems to be "Don't take that tone with them!!!" and I'm not even aiming to be offencive.
This very well may be the most offensive thing anyone on the internet as ever directed my way, :P.
One of the huge problems i have with the reasoning presented has been this sort of black/white absolutism. If one person is "rewarded" the other is "punished!!!!" zomguh! oh noe... except, you're looking at it only from the end goal back. Neither character will be "identical" to any other, unless the pathing is literally identical. We can't know if that's the case, but even then... even in the far off future, at the end of a long slow journey, both have not had the same experiences, even if in some theoretical universe they did exactly the same things. One would enjoy whatever potential benefits/penalties from multi-classing, and the other would enjoy whatever potential benefits/penalties from single-pathing. By the very core of this whole discussion, the two are inherently different. Thusly, Its not ABC = ABC. The process matters in this regard.
As to the use of language, there's a significant difference between the opinion that a) we don't have enough data to make a valid choice, and b) the basics of what they've proposed seem ok and kissing GW ass and acting like a benevolent fanboy without a single bad thing to say. You want to disregard my statements, and go with veiled ad hominem attacks, that's fine, its your logical fallacy to carry around. Its one thing to not like an idea, and express that, and entirely another to belabor the point, once others have decided not to agree with you. Rewarding one choice over another, even if in some theoretical mechanical fuzzy logic space they end up "the same" is simply. not. punishment. Its the consequences for choices made.
Hitomi, I think you're missing my point entirely. It isn't punishment to force consequences for choices, particularly if there's little difference between option A and option B.
So "preserve" wasn't the best choice of term, since we're so focused on being precise, I'll rephrase. The design choice to gift a dedicated path vs a non-dedicated path is not punishment . You are allowed to do either, and accept the consequences of that choice. One results in slightly less options at the conclusion of nearly 5 years of gameplay. By slightly, we really are talking about at most 2-4 options, based on the still as of yet un-detailed limits on capstones.
I'm sorry if you think you're going to feel punished by that, but in the grander scheme of things, i take issue with a generalization using such language. If you're forced to make a choice, and you think your preference would be served by not having to make that choice, its simply not punishment. Its just a design choice. Punishment would be taking away an earned thing. Punishment is not limiting potential by fractional difference.
My personal view, the difference between the two options is minimal, and easily ameliorated by having an alt character. I realize that's not a perfect solution for everyone, but for me it would be fine. I also can't really state if its an important choice or not, as the details that are so crucial to this judgement call haven't even been put to paper yet.
To Support Grumpy's comment, and paraphrased from the Thornkeep book;
Advancement at the table: You gain a level and then spells/abilities/skills pop into your head.
Adv. in PFO: you train skills, and at the completion of the proper array, you gain a merit badge (roughly equivalent to a level)
Just this paradigm shift alone is enough to make your head spin, and of course generates more questions than answers, but that's to be expected at this stage of development.
I think Onishi is referencing the impression that at post-Beta launch there will be less than a complete feature set, including limited archetype paths, limited resources, small # of monsters etc. I'm not sure if this impression is supported by GW or just a conclusion derived from conversations on the forums.
Point of fact, you will not be "punished". You will have made a choice, and one that limits your options. Just like every other choice. If after 5 years of hopefully meaningful and enjoyable game play, you're worried about not having 2 abilities that someone else has.... really? At the end of the day, that's simply a choice. Particularly if the ability sits closer the the Hair on Fire side of the scale. Its just not really worth debating without details.
A good researcher knows to suspend judgement or conclusion in the face of an incomplete data sample.
Now, if you don't think its good game design to preserve something "special" for people who dedicate their characters to a very specific goal path, that's fine. That's a valid opinion. The counterpoint to that is, if everyone can have everything, then no one is special. Also an ok and valid opinion. If the designers of the game, who stake their names, lives, goals, hopes, dreams, and waking lives on one option over the other, you will not have been punished by that decision. Maybe it won't be the choice you would have liked, but not getting what you want shouldn't be equated to punishment.
Why would you want to play a stereotype?
Because you want to. Maybe there's too much focus on a massively incomplete level of mechanical detail, and not enough consideration for someone that simply isn't interested in branching out beyond a single "class" tree. If all i want to do is play a raging half orc barbarian, then that's all i should be encouraged to do, regardless of how some people might think a 4 hour training dip into cleric would be "so much better". If at the end of my merit badges, there's a neat ability that lets me vorpal whirlwind for 10 seconds, great. If at the end of it my rage causes my hair to catch on fire, awesome. Point is, I've played the character archetype I wanted to play. If someone else has played a Wizzie-Rogue/Fighter-Cleric i sincerely hope they've enjoyed their time as much as me, even if they don't get to set their head on fire.
Really, there are literally no details to drive any comparison between multi-path and single path. There can be no real discussion about optimization beyond the broadest possible strokes. These details probably haven't even been written for the MMO, so what you're really arguing about is whether or not its "funner" to cross class or not. The answer is, Yes. Both will be fun.
In a perfect game, neither will be "optimal".
@Onishi; thanks for the contextual back up
@Xein; While I agree, those are all awesome moments, but as described they're all very single player or small game concepts. All of those spell or ability descriptions feel epic, partly because of the long slow road of accomplishment that comes with a level 20 player, but also because it puts the epic into the hands of each of at most 5-6 players. Once you introduce the idea of a multiple thousand (or 10s of thousands) players, immediately you'll find that what seems epic to a group around the table, feels like the norm, or even underpowered in a MMO. By keeping the scale of things MORE limited, the choices made can be more impressive than the raw explosion of numbers. Take WoW for example; with the most recent expac, the numbers are settling down into the multiple hundreds of thousands, whereas before any expansions the numbers barely broke into the thousands... at some point its not more impressive, its just adding on a few zeros and calling it the new epic.
There's also the issue of persistence. Say there's the Colossal Red Dragon Smaag (>.>) and you and your friends run up the mountain and drop a can of whoopass on him, ending his reign of terror. In a theme-park MMO, that pesky Red is right back in his vault, all his minions are chillin , and you guys have to even unlock the front door again. In PFO, if you have a similar success, Smaag is dead. He won't be back next week. Or ever. That dungeon you cleared every last corner of, it might be empty for some time, you might have the option of plundering its depths for all the natural resources, you might even have the option of setting up a fortress, and ruling over the now grateful populace.
Which of those two seems more epic? Dropping huge numbers on ultimately useless opponents, or using teamwork and whatever skills are at hand to literally change the face of the game.
Also consider this simple question; What Next? So you've taken over a fortress, and this is a boon for you and your Company of mercs, but suddenly you now have a massive strategic advantage over other companies of players. Do they sit around and allow you to clean up the fortress? Or is it in their interests to subvert your efforts with economic sanctions, guerrilla attacks, and an eventual siege? Maybe you make best efforts and secure some allegiances, but are forced into battle with others? Your company is clearly well designed to kill dragons, but they aren't very good on the mass combat, so you have to enlist the aid of another company of hired soldiers.
All this is the type of multilayered, complex system that has been described by the blogs, and throughout these forums. One basic aspect of this is the assumption that instead of driving the "numbers" higher, players will instead be given more and more options as they progress through the game. Becoming an epic fighter isn't about comparing how your PFO character's stats and underlying math will compare to your table top fighter's stats/math, it will be about what you've done, and how much of an impact you've had on the whole of the game world.
I'd bet that 9/10 times someone has a sincere and dramatic aversion to non-consensual PvP, its based in the "ganked" by a much higher level character with almost no hope of competition. Just a hunch...
I expect the parity between long and short time players will be a lot closer than in any themepark game. I also expect that any 1v1 fight will (or should) be quite rare.
That phrase in particular has the very specific intent of setting up a VS relationship, wether intended or not. We're here to work with the Devs, suggest our preferences, devise ways of advancing a common goal, provide feedback for a thing not yet even fully conceived. Language and how we use it is important.
Personally I'm interested in seeing Capstones as a unique but not overpowering ability. Perhaps the easiest solution would be to allow a capstone to unlock when the required 20 merit badges have been earned, but only N of consecutive merit badges (eg. levels). However its done, I'll reiterate that it has to be very clear for the Player that if they go "off archetype" or "multi-class" (or whatever phrase is in vogue), that they be well informed of the impact this may have. Particularly since the capstone may be months off in the future, effectively disassociated from whenever the divergence occurred.
I am fine with material components for some high level spells. For example, the PnP spell Stoneskin . Very useful spell, but it costs a bit of diamond dust to cast. I am fine with certain spells needing certain components to cast. A high end blade for a fighter might require some rare resources, so a high level spell for a wizard might need some rare components.
The way i see this sort of thing working out well, is if some spells are centered around limited use/rechargeable items. Since we're already certain not every spell is going to get mapped from the PnP to the MMO, there's much more freedom for design. Example spell of stonskin; Maybe its a trinket or amulet that requires a commodity (such as a pinch of diamond dust) to charge up, and the relative payoff of the on use ability is fairly high (perhaps teirs of items, 1-5 times per charge). In this way we promote the economy with a high end item, promote the economy with a recharge resource, and we don't penalize someone for having a Refresh type ability with an additional cost.
A little bit more on this thinking; Its good to keep in mind that just as we won't really be seeing the teensy level 1 wizards in fear of a healthy sized housecat, we also might not be seeing epic masters of arcane, bending reality with a whim as we see in the PnP game. With no levels, many many many mechanics aren't going to mesh up (no caster level, no access to overtly redonkulous spells, etc). Its been stated many moons ago that the targeted region of "relative" power is in the level 6-10 range. Perhaps for flavor and fun we'll see powered down versions of Meteor Swarm or Earthwave, but to expect level 18-20 style Wizard power just doesn't strike me as meshing with the design goals.
I think at this point Mbando has the best answer; barring specific details about this beyond "could be cool" but "maybe not that super cool" we can't really do more than debate the possibilities. Basically, its gotta be a hard choice, and more importantly, the devs need to accurately and succinctly provide players with the proper information to make this choice. Its about communication really.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves in all the internets, and it is endemic of forums about games. I'm sorry to call you out Andius, but they're your words...
No player is getting "slapped in the face" and they never will by a game, or by its Devs. I know its a popular turn of the phrase, but frankly, its exactly the wrong tone of Dev vs Players that i believe has no place in any constructive discussion. Its not an insult if they decide to do "that thing" regardless what that is. Its their game, and we're lucky to have such a level of influence as has been presented to us now. There's absolutely no place for this type of language.
I still play a fair bit of WoW, and have been thinking about how many useful skills/spells/abilities are "fun". I realize we're looking at an inherently different animal with PFO, but at the same time I think I've got a couple good points to dredge out of my gameplay. Yes, WoW is a dinosaur with wings and steampowered bionic tentacles (old, and bloated with spells and balance issues), but I still find it as fun as a theme park can be.
While I initially held a similar opinion as Nihimon, allow me as much or as little abilities as can fit on as many bars as i like. But then I really started concentrating on what I was actually doing, how many meaningful choices my spells gave me, and how many were actually lesser utility spells, that saw minimal use in any given combat, and how many spells fit into the pure utility, non-combat, or generally calm usage. One of the things that began to frustrate me almost immediately was how many spells begun to compete with each other for my attention in order to fully maximize my efficacy. Then, the 2nd tier of abilities needed to be maintained, rather than providing me with a lot fun options, it was like changing the oil once a minute; maintenance, necessary but kind of excessive. And then i also realized, most of the other spells either had no value to my gameplay, or really didn't "need" a spot on a hotbar (could just as easily be referenced in a menu, etc). It basically boiled down to 3-6 abilities that were prime, and a few more that were also essential but lower priority. All of this was in raiding level PvE, and with many of the other hoops to jump through, over and around, at the end of the day, this all seemed like just about 1-2 things too much, and lots of things too similar.
Now I also enjoy PvP, but in this regard, the equation boils down even further. At most i find i manage to work through only a couple of attacks, and a few utility spells or survival abilities, and most spend the time running around after away or in circles through my allies and foes alike. There simply isn't a lot of time based on the heartbeat of the game, and the wide variety of potential types of tactics that could be used against me, there is a natural streamlining of choices. Somethings are just not going to apply.
As I read over the discussion, I think having a hard 6 (or as many as 9, i like to use my numpad) "weapon" based abilities will be fine, as long as these abilities are distinct from each other and don't "compete" for my attention. What I mean by that is (just by example, clearly not hard set choices here), If i've got 3 damage based abilities, 1 should do some damage, 1 would do less, but apply some debuff, and 1 should cost a lot of stamina/time and drop a hunk of damage on my foes. 2 shouldn't do comparable amounts of damage, for no relavent difference in costs.
Not believing the gods exist in Pathfinder is like not believing in a forest if you live in the desert (or vice versa). Just because you've never seen a tree, doesn't mean there aren't millions of acres of em. More likely the "atheist/agnostic" would simply not devote their lives (souls, etc) to the worship of any deity and take their chances in the after life.
From a mechanical point of view, for PFO, i can imagine such a person would garner no boons and suffer no prejudices from various religions. So far, I've expected the official canon religions to be primarily NPC organizations, providing threads of PvE content. If this proves to be a valid expectation, I imagine an atheist would maintain a neutral stance with the various religious factions.
...great stuff as always...
we seem to be on the same page for action(read: stamina/refresh/weapon speed) economy, but i think a 6 second server sync isn't an accurate way to look at it. the server should be syncing much more rapidly, but then that's a technical question best left off the boards for the moment, imo.
I believe the "Role-switching" that goes with swapping a sword and shield for a greatsword or a long bow should cost the same (in terms of action econ) as a swap to a magic staff or wand, however the end result may be quite different. If one is wearing heavy plate mail (assumed to have high damage reduction, purely for theoretical purposes here) then magic of an arcane variety might have a much more dramatic stam/refresh cost, or simply fail outright (perhaps % based, much like the PnP, perhaps just disallowed). The downside, a complex system is more difficult to master, and "low level" (read: new, little to no skill time spent) characters that go off-archetype might get mired in sub-optimal traps of mismatching gear and intention, and the upside is a "high level" character will be able to access a wider variety of their earned skills.
Obviously the devil is always in the actual details, and amusingly enough as we get a peek into basic architecture of the system, we immediately start asking if we can get nice carpets and gold inlay and filigree on the furniture. Suffice to say, we're still pretty ravenous for details!
Thanks to Ryan and now Lee to taking the moments out of hard development to drop us a dime of detail every now and then :D
This was also my impression, and frankly i find it somewhat worrying in regard to the pacing. I think the impression is of a slower than 1 second 'heartbeat" of the combat system is what turns me off. To me, with the immediacy that comes with PvP and the Humanoid modeling might be severely impacted by a slow heartbeat. Granted without detailed specifics regarding the time/stam/action cost of various abilities we can't really make a lot of judgement calls on that sort of thing, but it was an immediate concern.
If at the fastest we have daggers (or wands or other light small weapons) that can push right up against the heartbeat, and great axes (greatswords, big spells, etc) eat a larger chunk of stamina (thusly less frequent) I think that offers significant choices for flavor as well as mechanical differences. Harder to balance across all scales/methods of doing damage but still a great way to go. The logical conclusion of this is slower = larger, but I'm not sure that's really a concern, or even a paradigm that needs to be adhered to. What I would very much NOT want to see is someone with a dagger limited to the same frequency of attacks as a dude with a maul. While that more closely adheres to the PnP, its a part of that abstraction that i think won't translate very well at all to a MMO.
I feel compelled to point out (as per my reading anyway) that this is still a simultaneous real time system, and any allusions to the PnP are for reference only. The 6 second stamina timeline is a somewhat arbitrary but necessary time frame for such a mechanic. Its not indicative of any sort of "turn-based" tactical system from the PnP.
Gruffling casts ignore edit button; its super effective!
A "Use Case" for my described game play came to mind, and goes as follows:
Perhaps you're hunting resource heavy NPCs with a Longbow (your PvE weapon of choice) and *gasp* you're attacked by the Dread Bandit Robbie. You know from intel he's a bad dude, but you've got some backup weapons, and your pack is half full of good stuff and you don't wanna loose the time, so you decide to battle it out. Drop Bow, retreat and pull out Battle axe (your PvP weapon of choice). D.B.R. goes... well, look at this, i can get in a fight with a dude with an axe, or just grab this longbow and scamper. Maybe its a big fight for your life, maybe its a back and forth, centered around who can get to that long bow first, or maybe you run off and he gets your stuff, and maybe one or the other dies and then gets some bonus loot or what not.
I guess the point of a use case is not how it will happen, but to look at the options and gameplay a given system may inspire. To me, that's a lot of options out of a simple mechanic, and that increases the potential for long term enjoyment, imo.
couple of quick PnP details, not that i think they will actually have a direct impact; drawing a weapon is more or less a time free action and something from your pack/bag is generally an act taking no longer than 3 seconds, particularly at the range of 6-7 with the prevalence of bags of holding, etc. Dropping a weapon to switch modes can be quite prevalent, and yet almost never does someone go for the weapon on the ground, because of the vulnerability this act opens (in terms of Attacks of Opportunities)
how this might translate to the MMO: i could see "drop weapon" as an option that tosses the weapon to the ground, and becomes lootable by anyone, but that the act of looting the weapon (or item, etc) takes a small amount of time, in which you are more vulnerable to attacks (perhaps something similar can be used to loot a player, Search Check on Body or whatever).
as a sidenote: i've often felt it was important to remember the scale and scope of the MMO players to the PnP as more in that nebulous 6-7 range as described many months ago. I expect a minute 1 player will perhaps need to go through some sort of "tutorial" area that Ryan has mentioned from time to time, and that player might be closer to a level 3 player in a PnP game. As much as we can love the hectic panic of playing a level 1 player than can die from a housecat, that sort of "balance" is exactly the kind of tomfoolery that won't fly with an MMO.
To follow up on the "first come, most powerful" topic; This is somewhat avoided by skills deeper in the skill trees costing more time, and naturally slowing down older characters as they specialize more and more.
Additionally, as per the EVE model, there are significant tiers or plateaus of efficacy. Once you've been in game a little while, feet properly wet, you should be able to have a couple of combat capable moves available to you, and not just compete with your own age group, but also take that one good skill (spear thrust, dagger tosses, etc) By 3 months training, you should be more than capable of working a 2-5 move set of combos to fight and so on. A 6 month character might have 8 combos, or 3 combos that work great in PvP, and 5 that kick ass in PvE content. Or 1 killer combo devoted to a surprise attack, 4 to rapidly retreat, and a couple to loot fallen foes faster. Or being able to harvest and process 3 common but disparate resources (metal, wood, faerie dust) and efficiently move these resources to market, and barely be able to swing a mace at someone else's head....
Anyway, hypothetical examples aside, I have faith that I'll lose fights to newer characters and to older ones, and that i'll be effective and efficient in my wins. I'd like to believe I'll win more than I lose, based on my own skills and ability to coordinate with my team, but chances are I'll get tanked into the floor as well.
There still seems to be a concern that the description of the guidelines actually ARE the guidelines. To me, (as I read both the lines, and whats between them) it seems the easier path to assume that this environment won't live in a vacuum, and within any given populace, the types of serious transgressions described would either A) work themselves out organically via the player base via exclusion, or B) elevate the concerns to the Mods where they follow their internal guidelines to decide on a proper course of action. When GW tells us they won't be explicit about those processes, that doesn't mean we can interpret the process via a short list describing it.
Allow me an analogy; A Car is a shapely box on wheels, that moves at greater than walking speed. By not describing the inner workings of an alternator, fuel pump, driveshaft, and wheel bearings, are you less capable of learning what A Car does? Goblinworks has said their policy is "Don't be a bad person, and think you can get away with it." Do you really need to have that parsed out in 50 ways to know that if you act like a racist misogynist dooshwaffle that you're gonna have to deal with consequences.
Why does the Noob get a faster rate of training? Just because he knows someone with more time in the game? How do you prevent that Longterm player from just using that longtime character to train his alternates faster?
The big problem with this system is the sort of logical analogy between time spent training, and XP gained in other systems. In other systems, its huge perk and a gateway to rapid advancement in levels, which allows you to compete in "end-game" stuff and compete in PvP more effectively. A very basic level of training should allow players in PFO to compete, so there's less of a power gap found in XP/Level based systems. Arbitrarily advancing some people due to some arbitrary relationship just doesn't seem like a good mechanic.
Everyone in this type of system should have a static rate of advance. Time. For every minute spent on a skill training, you should earn a minute of a skill. I don't see the advantages for the overall populace if some people advance faster, solely on some social structure.
In the place of more rapid advancement, I'm in favor of a system more like EVEs where access to new skills is gated by those capable of training them. This might translate to; to train past Basic Melee 4 into Great Axes (which requires bm4 maxed), you need a training manual to even get started on Great Axes 1. And so, Someone has to write that manual, and it thusly becomes a commodity to be traded or sold. In this way, social structures can build up allowing the teacher/apprentice, and you also get some extra economic pressures on the markets (trust me, a good thing).
I'd also like to point out that saying cloaks, helms and the like aren't subject to the same rigors as arms/armor isn't really accurate. If one gets fireballed or backstabbed, its not like the fire or the dagger ignores the worn items.... cloaks burn, metal rings/amulets melt or are chipped by an errant blade, etc. And that's just looking at it from a purely simulationist point of view, to speak nothing of the inherent choice to make these items less durable or consumables as a method of applying economic pressure.
@Ryan - another very well reasoned approach, I like it a lot. It makes me curious about the potential of "Best Arms/Armor" decaying over time, due to use and abuse, a death = repair penalty, or any of the other typical tropes we see in MMOs (remarkably absent from the table top as well). I've always felt the BA/A durability should decay at a predictable and inexorable rate; That steel longsword will be replaced someday, no matter what. Maybe repair delays this, or consumables, or whatever. Any (further) thoughts on the matter?
If it sounds like it, its because you are encouraging that type of warfare. Along with everyone else who understands that the other players are the core of the content. This will absolutely be a PvP game, although only limited looting of other players (no equipped items, only partial inventory looting) will not really be a reliable source of equipment gains. Additionally this limited loot system, and the expectation of PvP should really prevent people from thinking about combat as griefing. If you're nuked by a roving army because you're solo... well, you probably should have avoided that army. Finding out the movements of large forces and locations of wars, how to slip by such forces, and how to make swift silent profit from such events are all going to be pretty useful skills for solo players.
I'll freely admit that (particularly when tired or hungry, both common MMO states) that I can have serious anger issues. Its pretty simple for me, I yell and lambast my monitor with spittle and rage. I can't be bothered to type out the sailor's speech, and so its not an issue. I honestly don't care, nor do I somehow expect my rage at a video game to have any significant impact on the people pissing me off (they're likely trolls or racist pigs anyway), so the act of typing out a tirade into a public chat is even more useless than getting angry in the first place. I know the people I'm pissed at will just laugh.
This is really really really simple. Anti-corporation paranoia, and previous disappointments regarding "false promises" in all honesty shouldn't prevent you from having a good time in a game where the very basic ground rule of "Don't be D!ck" is in effect. Claiming somehow that a thousand negative experiences with previous games (made by different people, with far different community priorities, with different tech, under different design goals) will set the expectations of a new MMO is just silly.
I'll restate my previous post's basica premise. Dropping an f-bomb out of the context of a loss or momentary frustration probably isn't going to get anyone's attention, much like walking down a crowded street and seeing someone stub their toe and cry out an expletive in pain isn't going to get more than a sour look. Attacking anyone with language, of any kind, will get someone ban-hammered as quick as a process will allow. The basic guidelines of not using commonly understood slurs and hostile language (as have been printed in the blog, and in Ryan's post, and copied about a dozen times) should be pretty damn simple.
And Finally, and this is also telling, @baalbamoth:
Why do you find the proposition of these rules so hard to swallow, when by the very act of arguing against them you are following them. The rules proposed for PFO communications are essentially no different than the rules of these Forums, that you are required to use to argue that the rules are not to your liking. Think on that for a few...
In what way do you 'train with a master'. Is that grouping with them? Providing them with payments for some abstract service? Is it just a matter of contracting with someone who has a "Master's Merit Badge"? How does the first person get the requisite skill level, if you have to train with a master to get the skill (chicken/egg paradox)? Can you train more than one person? Is it abuse or expected behavior to have effectively exclusionary and "pyramid scheme" style mechanics?
See, lots of problems to be resolved there.
@TerraNova - Dropping the F-bomb due to a frustrating loss doesn't equal the type of "sexual reference" i believe GW will react strongly to. Think more along the lines of abusive sexual innuendo and misogyny as the type of thing that'll bring down the Banhammer.
Although they've not stated explicitly, I seriously doubt the process of oiling up and delivering said Banhammer isn't going to involve at least one set of real eyes, and probably several. Also, we're talking about public channels, perhaps analogous to City-wide, Hex-wide, Trade chat, etc. If you're in a chat channel devoted to only your company, and you type in some f-bombs in context of a frustrated loss (and not in reference to another person, action, or so on) I seriously doubt you'll hear a 2nd word on the matter, provided your Co doesn't have a problem with it (intra-company reporting as an issue).
Now, that said, calling someone a racial slur, implying any sort of sexual act, or laying down some hate-speech is very very likely to earn someone a 3 day vacation.
Just my 2 cents on the matter of "draconian" enforcement.
I'm somewhat concerned by this proposal. Seems rife for abuse, and at the same time putting later players in a much better position to advance than early adopters. If there's one thing I think should be as consistent as possible, its the speed with which people train skills. I see this "teaching" as being more of a social consolidator rather than an interaction maximizer. Quickly aggregating people to specific "teachers" for a skill bump...
Also, I'm not sure if this jives or how it would interact with the (preliminary, subject to change, etc) reveal by Ryan that stats more or less only affect the rate of training. Essentially; High STR, faster rate of training STR based skills. If I can piggy back my low STR player via "teaching" to someone else's high STR player, doesn't that somewhat muddle the whole point in the choosing in the first place?
This type of late entry favored status mechanic also has an unintended consequence of giving early adopters a sense of being punished. Maybe not a rational opinion, but if you spent 10 days training to be Awesome 1, and someone else only has to train 4 (and its an off-stat training on top of that) its not going to feel fair, no matter how you skin it as Apprentice/Master.
It does generate the question, how much customization will be available outside of the "use Defined" idea (reminds me a bit of GTA: San Andreas). Will we have the option of fattening or shortening our avatars? it seems a pretty standard practice to allow some customization beyond race, so we can generate a bit more of a sense of ownership over the character.
Clearly I'm a fan of as much freedom as possible within the bounds of each form factor of race. Hopefully when i load up on day one i won't run out the front door and smack into 50 identical faces.
now this is significantly less arbitrary an idea... i'm still not totally stoked on not having the freedom to define outside of expected norms, but at least this has a causal effect associated with it.
/offtopic: there's no way in the seven hells Bruce Lee only had a STR of 11-12. I'd reckon a 16, min. but then he also wasn't going off of a point buy system, and likely had some pretty sick rolls.
once again, ignoring the charisma debate (for now), forcing players into an even more narrow form factor than just a race is just bad game design. it limits the creativity to imply a very narrow expectation of skills/capabilities vs appearance. A yoked dude that is huge "must" have a high str, and can't possibly be dexterous. This isn't immersion supporting or breaking, its just stereotyping. Yes it would make it easier to scan a field of characters and pick out who does what, but that expectation not really even based in reality, much less in anything other than very stereotypical archetypes. I am more interested in seeing a MMO that has as much freedom to design a character as the tabletop. There is no rule saying STR requires a robust form factor. if it were so, a halfing could never compete with any of the other base races for pure strength. As the rules are written, they can actually achieve similar levels of strength, despite having at most a third the body mass of a generic human. A half-orc can have 20 STR & 18 CON, and still be a beanpole, wiry and unbreakable. A noble fop can have dirt for CHA and still desire to wear the most desirable and elaborately expensive clothes he can pay for.
Its about freedom to the player. Its not about argumentative reductionism and absolutes, like arguing an elf can dial in the appearance of a dwarf. No one is arguing that, and to suggest it is quite disingenuous to the discussion.
Now to the CHA debacle (an argument as old and as stale as alignment IMHO): There's nothing saying a low CHA person need be limited in anyway in fashion or appearance. the second this person opens their mouth in a social situation, they're likely to show off a terrible ability to communicate, or convince others of his sense of self worth. This person can be gorgeous to behold, and completely incapable of a convincing lie, intimidation, or any sort of social interaction. Obviously this is designed as an abstraction. Most gamers are not accomplished politicians or diplomats, capable of persuading 9 of 10 enemies to lay down arms for a reasonable discussion. Many gamers have decided they want to play that kind of character, so the rules abstractions of CHA have been used to prevent awkward bumbling communicators from having to embarrass themselves in front of a table full of other gamers.
In the MMO space, there can't really be an easy way to convince other players that YOU the player are any more or less charismatic than the avatar you're piloting. You the player are completely in charge of all the aspect of communications that will dictate how other players react to you. Your avatar might have sway with NPCs, but even this sort of mechanic won't translate well from the table to the MMO.