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Lisa Chau



Joined: 2003.06.02 00:00:00
Messages: 590
Location: Kalaheo, Kauai, HI
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I'm starting a new thread because the last one is too long!

It seems to me that what Sascha and Michael are trying to achieve is noble: help out the newbies. But their proposal penalizes the players who are experienced or clever and who've done a good job of building up characters with the strengths the player wants them to have (and the weaknesses which are implied by those strengths! That's the trade off.)

Here's a different suggestion. Why don't guild members (or members of other voluntary groups such as the mob or the free blades) pool together to assist younger characters who are interested in joining their group? Here's how I'd do it.

The group, say the free blades, would buy a house, stock it with con and int and other types of eq, and, when a newbie says they're interested in joining the free blades or being a free blade ally -- the free blades could choose their own, you know, criteria -- then the free blades would add that newbie to the ACL of the house. Whenever that character is ready to level they'd just scoot off to the free blade house, borrow the eq they need, level up, then return the eq.

I think this completely solves the issue you raise (that some characters have more access to eq than others) and does it without higher-level characters having to be online 24 hours.

I hate the other suggestions because they put ceilings on the way players develop their characters! I think this doesn't!

Chiensha, Moorea, Vicodin, Xanax, Zoloft.
Lisa Chau



Joined: 2003.06.02 00:00:00
Messages: 590
Location: Kalaheo, Kauai, HI
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Thinking about it, the partisans of Good, Evil and Neutral might also want to do something similar. Good helping to build Luz's army by strengthening Good warriors at level-up.

Chiensha, Moorea, Vicodin, Xanax, Zoloft.
Sascha Lecours



Joined: 2003.10.24 00:00:00
Messages: 446
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Well, for starters, the Freeblades already do that. Second, there are sometimes no tradeoffs under the current system (most of my characters have had no problems achieving both ridiculous energy AND a tremendous surplus of practices, even with a 1 intelligence at creation), and even if there ARE tradeoffs, they are the abscence of a bonus, not the presence of a penalty: translation, this tradeoff can occur with no trading at all; a character wearing neither ruby nor cobalt suffers a double penalty. one with less cobalt then another suffers a lessened penalty. These are not tradeoffs in the sense that some advantage is being exchanged for weakness. Furthermore, this plan forces all new players to join a guild or work their way to success through three or four characters, neither of which seems very appealing to newbies. It is true that if the system were changed now we 'old money' characters would have to adjust, but since the game is still beta, I don't think that's a reason to eschew that measure. I think the current system makes items too much of a necessity (not to mention an incredible hassle) come levelup time to not merit at least a firm tweaking. (I like the term firm tweaking... sounds obscene.)

as for ceilings on character growth, well, I think being permanently weakened by not getting smatipants is quite a ceiling in itself! Not everyone is about amassing hoards of jewelry and squeezing into it before bowing to the king. a more flexible system would prevent the massive imbalances that have already occurred, and ensure that characters' power matches their level and not their popularity.
Sascha Lecours



Joined: 2003.10.24 00:00:00
Messages: 446
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I do like the idea of similar alignments helping each other out, but then again - if every person of the same alignment got the same equipment, mightn't that lead to all of the characters becoming homogenous? Sure they could choose to favour practices over energy, but the variation would be pretty slim if practices were managed properly. I think most people would end up with more than enough practices to enjoy their top four skills, and then tons of energy.
Lisa Chau



Joined: 2003.06.02 00:00:00
Messages: 590
Location: Kalaheo, Kauai, HI
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First, characters are not 'broken' because other characters, whether similar level/role or not, have higher energy or health. As I noted someplace back there my level 17 Thief has only 290 health/energy and he's a great character. I have a level 15 Thief with much higher energy. Neither of them is 'broken'. I just have to play them differently.

Second, 'permanently weakened' is silly. It seems to me you've got some ideal notion of what characters at particular levels are 'supposed' to be like and you're arguing that if other characters don't reach that ideal there's something wrong with them. IMO that's the opposite of character development.

Third, hoards are unnecessary. Again my level 17 Thief owns practically nothing, carries it all in one daypack. He doesn't belong to any secret societies and he's largely a lone wolf type, meaning nobody helps him out. And he's awesome. I would do things differently if I could do it over again because I've learned a lot from experience. That's fine!

So anyway it looks like we're in total disagreement!

Chiensha, Moorea, Vicodin, Xanax, Zoloft.
Sascha Lecours



Joined: 2003.10.24 00:00:00
Messages: 446
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Well, regarding your thief example, yes your two thieves have different energy totals - but energy is secondary to thieves. How would you feel if one of them had almost no skills? Skills are much more important. likewise, energy is key to warriors, Rangers, and especially healers and malopaths, all of whom fundamentally rely on massive energy totals to do their jobs effectively. Take the warrior example; if one of my warriors had four times the energy of another and they were same level, I wouldn't just think it was a matter of 'playing them differently' ... it would be a matter of forgetting about using one of them as a warrior and sticking to role-playing. I don't think that that should be the case. Also, you can fit a hoard in a backpack; to a new character, amassing a full suit of ruby or cobalt is daunting in the extreme, especially since they are unlikely to even know that it is necessary. And permently weakened seems like a good term to me - it's energy that could have been gained that can never be gained after the levelup.

And regarding customization, well, all non-thieves want energy. they need cobalt. if they don't get it, they'll fall behind. and after several levels, thier energy total (i.e. their strength) might be a small fraction of another character of that level. I wouldn't say I support a 'perfect ideal' for a character's strength at each level, but the current imbalances are just ridiculous - when kaga has 1000 energy and rithor has 397, and rithor is higher level and has always worn the best coblat he could find, that's not development, IMO.
Mark Phillips


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Joined: 1969.12.31 00:00:00
Messages: 2199
Location: Watsonville, CA
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I deleted a reply to this message because the BBS was messed up. The author field said it was written by me, but, it wasn't.

The point of the message was to note that Kaga and certain other players have distorted attributes because they were able to get ahold of items they shouldn't have had access to. This was through bugs or features which have since been changed. The moral being that you shouldn't measure attributes of other characters to Kaga's.

I'll add another note for context. The world is only 8500 rooms of 100,000+ to be. It's hard to make good judgements about balance without more world. In future there'll be far more opportunities to make Dinars; more items; and more players. I think that'll probably change most of the strategy talk which has been exchanged in these threads.

Hope this makes sense!

--Mark

Bartle quotiet: E80, A67, S47, K7. TriadCity characters: Mark, Poobah, Occam, Abelard.
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Michael Rathbun



Joined: 2003.10.28 00:00:00
Messages: 63
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Well, that's not entirely true - Rithor used a fair number of INT items to get his practices up, so he didn't really always wear cobalt. At the time, I don't think the Freeblades had a full set of just cobalt - they had a mixture of cobalt and ruby items.
Sascha Lecours



Joined: 2003.10.24 00:00:00
Messages: 446
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Right, I won't compare Rithor to Kaga then, but any number of other warriors o flesser levels could easily dwarf him in energy. What I'm really trying to say is, people having the money to buy the necessary items doesn't mean that they still ought to be necessary. I think that setting a double levelup standard for the rich and the poor is fundamentally unbalanced, even if we forget about the extreme cases like Kaga and Luciano. I just think that a levelup system more closely resembling that found in other successful RPGs would help keep certain characters from falling behind. I'm fine with people choosing energy over practices or vice-versa... but there has to be a better way to do it than the current 'backpack full of jewelry' system! I have to say, back when I was new to TC, I was really crushed when, after finally reaching level 10, I found out that since I hadn't been wearing much cobalt at levelups I had lost hundreds of energy points instead of improving my character. Since then I've started over with new characters and slowly amassed a few pieces of cobalt gear, but imagine how many new players are alienated by that occurrence.
Mark Phillips


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Joined: 1969.12.31 00:00:00
Messages: 2199
Location: Watsonville, CA
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Just FYI the level system which makes energy and health increases dynamic depending on attributes at the moment of level -- which means including eq -- comes directly from the DikuMUD/CircleMUD tradition on which TC's command syntax and certain other features are also based. Those were pretty successful RPGs!

Bartle quotiet: E80, A67, S47, K7. TriadCity characters: Mark, Poobah, Occam, Abelard.
[Email] [WWW]
Sascha Lecours



Joined: 2003.10.24 00:00:00
Messages: 446
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Ooh, good point. TC is my one and only MUD, so I guess I have more of a background in other types of RPG. Well then, why not break the mold? ; )

What I'm really trying to say here is that the current system is really hard on self-reliant players who are making it the hard way, like a few new characters I could think of - how about something a little easier on the new, the poor, and the socially awkward? (come on people, I'm not the only one! ; )
Mark Phillips


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Joined: 1969.12.31 00:00:00
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Location: Watsonville, CA
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Well, for my two cents, I think you're dead right. It's too hard to be an isolated character. IMO, too hard in general.

So between you and me we're raising the question which I think is the right one to focus on. Will these problems of balance work themsevels out as the game world grows? Or should there be some fundamental rethinking of just how much difficulty we intend to put players through, especially newbies?

Until reading your posts I've been thinking that the imbalances we're experiencing are, you know, basically artifacts of being too small. That the challenges which exist imply a larger game world which doesn't exist. So that over time it'll all work out.

But maybe that's the wrong approach? Maybe there should be more thinking about balancing the game world at each particular period of its growth? I dunno!

Also FYI we're intending to focus the next period of growth on the game world, so you'll probably see more new rooms going in than new code. At least for a while. So maybe experience will help us to answer these questions fairly soon. Again, I dunno.

I guess the really hard thing is that there's no benchmark for how to balance a game world like this one. Far as I know nobody's ever tried to build a game world like this one. So we're all making it up as we go along.

OK enough thinking out loud. Lisa! Michael! Your turn.

--Mark

Bartle quotiet: E80, A67, S47, K7. TriadCity characters: Mark, Poobah, Occam, Abelard.
[Email] [WWW]
Michael Rathbun



Joined: 2003.10.28 00:00:00
Messages: 63
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I would say you are correct when you say that the problem is an artifact of being too small - with more players, new players would hopefully be informed of how important equipment is (perhaps we should have more information given to them regarding it?) and perhaps lent some.

This seems impossible to do for all new players though and I can't help but think that even then some will slip through the cracks. Perhaps we could we could implement something that would lessen the impact of not of having equipment, while retaining game balance, at least for the lower levels? (I guess this is why Sascha's idea initially came up. I'm sure something else that offered a solution would be welcomed.)

I'm not sure that attempting to balance the game at each stage is feasible. Certainly, the things that are obvious need dealt with and they are. Of course, if balance could be achieved at each stage, that might increase players and popularity, etc.
 
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