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List of Concerns

Discussion in 'Project: Gorgon Discussion Hall' started by Sinistralis, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. Sinistralis

    Sinistralis Visitor

    Jul 2, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Alright, I am going to expand on combat analysis skills more in depth once I have messed around with them some more. (I need to do a bit more fletching, archery, pig, wolf, sword, alchemy and blacksmithing still)

    Until then, this is going to be a general list of concerns I have with the game. Feel free to discuss or add more.

    Affix Issues
    +Aggro and -Aggro, first off, is simply not potent enough. +Aggro especially needs to be a highly inflated stat. +Aggro is useless in its current form. It takes up an attribute (which lowers dps, thus lower aggro). The highest +aggro stat hardly competes with the lowest +damage stats. In addition, +Aggro really only has a benefit when other players run -aggro. This is simply because, as I just stated, it takes up a stat on gear. This entire concept needs looked at again.

    In addition to the above, there is a serious flaw with -Rage. You generate less rage, but it also means you kill stuff slower because once again, you sacrifice a dps stat to get it. The end result is.. pretty pointless.

    These both stem from the same problem. The affix system doesn't seem that well developed. There needs to be a well through out process in how items gain these affixes. Ideally, suffixes and prefixes should be exclusive. Each item can only get 1 of each, and one should be dedicated to offense/skills and one to defense/mitigation.

    As it stands right now, you have all sorts of stats competing with each other without any clear cut categories, and -aggro/+aggro as well as -rage is pointless under this system. Now, if these stats were fighting against defense, health, etc rather than damage, heals, proc effects, etc then it makes much more sense as a mechanic.

    This is a huge issue, and until this problem is resolved balancing affixes is going to be a nigh impossible task.

    First Impression
    The thing any new player is going to encounter in this game, the very first mob, is a mob that stuns. Stuns are the most frustrating mechanic in any game. Introducing a stun from mobs at the very beginning is a horrible financial decision, as this will cost you a lot of people.

    You can address this in one of two ways.

    Redefine what "stun" means in an MMORPG, or give these mobs a different Rage attack.

    To use an example from a Roguelike that I thought was brilliant, they defined "stun" as the following:

    -Stopped cooldowns from coming back during stun duration
    -Put random skills on cooldown (but not all of them)
    -Reduce outgoing healing by 50%
    -Reduce damage dealt by 75%
    -Snares by 75%

    What this does is that it severely cripples you, but you still have control over your character. You are backed into a corner, but you can still react a little bit. This option for stuns, to me, is FAR less frustrating of a mechanic and allows for much more strategy within the combat system itself. You can actually do something about it.

    Skinning needs to be moved
    This just doesn't make sense from a design perspective. You have to get strong enough to get past 2 tiers of skinning (shoddy and rough) before you can learn skinning, which forces you to backtrack to trivial content just to level skinning. This is just flat out boring. Rough I don't even mind much because those mobs give decent enough experience to level up a new skill with, but the shoddy part is one of the few parts in the game that just dragged on and on.

    I suggest putting a skinning teacher in Serbule. Keep leatherworking where it's at, but allow players to find skinning sooner!

    Also, there are skinning bonuses for spiders, yet we can't skin them. This seems odd.

    Battle Alchemy Has So Much Wrong With It

    Battle Alchemy is a concept I love, but it's hilarious how unbalanced it is. It is both useless AND overpowered at the same time.

    There are 2 issues with it. Golems and the fact it require an implement to use properly.

    Battle Alchemy, as it is currently designed, is meant to be a secondary skill. I know this because the cooldowns are simply too long for it to be anything but. This would be fine, except it requires an implement to use, so you have to supplement it with Mentalism, Psychology, or a gimped Unarmed to use. Forcing us to do something like this completely defeats the purpose of the game being a sandbox. Either address the cooldowns, or let us use the implement in the offhand.

    Now, golems in a solo situation are not that overpowered. They are a little bit, but nothing ludicrous. In a group scenario however, they are broken, broken, broken. Let me compare to Mentalism so make my point clear.

    Mentalism has awesome aura buffs. It is obviously meant to be a primary support skillset, and it does an awesome job at it. Mentalism is possibly one of the most balanced skill lines in the game. It has a clear defined purpose, and fills that purpose with flying colors. It also cannot be too overpowered, since you can only stack 3 auras of the same type at once. You can't abuse it to create an infinite healing chain with multiple people running it! Perfect!

    Now imagine the same scene with golems. You have 4 people, all with golems spamming healing potions. That is 160 health being healed, per person, every 2 seconds or so. This is LUDICROUS.

    Likewise, consider it with power potions, or damage potions. It just gets to obscene levels once multiple people get involved.

    The only fix for this that I can think of, without nerfing the solo aspect of it too much, is to make all the golem skills occur over a period of time, cap the number of effects that can exist at once (like mentalism).

    Then, you need to balance it around the fact that the golem does not use a cooldown like mentalism does. Golem skills need nerfed slightly, and mentalism needs buffed. (The +damage is honestly fine, but the heals don't even come close to the Golem. Not even close. A golem throws 1 potion every 2 seconds roughly, so you are looking at 80 heal per 4 vs mentalists 24 per 4. (Or worse 120/6 vs 24/6 for power).

    There are some serious issues here that need looked at. Mentalism heals need a bit more of a buff, Golem needs brought WAY down (again, because golem doesn't use a cooldown).

    Did I mention BC has an ae heal as well? Well it does, so that makes the issue even worse.

    I said this before, I'll say it again. Golems need to be their own, seperate skill tree. They need more skills, and add a module mechanic to them so you can add gears or chemicals to do things like add +damage, +speed, etc. (perhaps as a player skill) Golems are far too powerful to be combined with anything else in the same tree.

    Storage Space limitations limit creativity and hamper the sandbox feel

    This is a sandbox game. You are limiting inventory spaces. This doesn't make sense. It limits creativity. You seem to plan to have stats to counter elements, to counter creature types, you need gear for each possible build. Don't get me started on the fact EVERY ITEM has a purpose in this game.

    There simply isn't enough storage space. At all. I don't care if it is alpha, this is a game breaking, experience ruining issue. Storage space needs DRAMATICALLY expanded. (I am talking on the order of 10's, not 1's)

    Archery and Saws

    The main reason Archery isn't used right now is bag space issues. If you plan to have ammo, you better make ammo stack to ludicrous amounts or give us a way to store the ammo outside of the inventory. In addition to this, being unable to harvest wood while using archery (since bows and saws share the same slot) you are forcing us to make an additional 4 keystrokes (open bag, (possibly scroll down because the inventory has a scroll bar for some reason), click saw, click wood, click bow, close bag) every time we want to harvest a single log. This is a huge usability issue that needs addressed.

    Energy in its current form is stupid, pointless, and dumb

    You are already aware of this, I know. The goal you seem to have in mind needs to have a rage/momentum mechanic where basic attacks build up to more powerful attacks. This adds a lot more strategy, choice, and overall flow to combat without making it over-complicated. MMO's should NOT be combat-focused (in my opinion, which I believe you share), but they should have something more complex than "spam buttons until resource goes dry". Changing to this system would also solve a lot of issues the exist within the skill system itself, as it requires more basic attacks to be added, and more finishing attacks.

    An example:

    Sword Slash: Generates X momentum

    Parry: Consumes Y momentum

    Many Cuts: Consumes Y + Z momentum

    The above illustrates what I'm trying to say. Certain utility skills wouldn't cost much as you want to encourage people to use them rather than dish out damage which will consume a little bit more momentum (Many Cuts) where applicable. You don't want to punish people for using strategy under this system.

    Skill Involvement is minimal

    The skill system you are working on it great, to a point. There are a lot of combinations, but skills are pretty cut and dry themselves. You use them, they level up, you do more damage.

    That's it.

    IMO, it would help the game a lot to implement a system where each skill tree has a mini talent tree system, where you can do stuff like reduce costs of skills, increase damage, add effects, etc.

    Skills leveling up needs to do more than +damage, simply. It's just an exceptionally boring and bland system that is only hidden due to the fact that there are a lot of skills in the game right now to mix and match. Over time, this issue will become more and more apparent. (Gear helps hide this a lot as well)

    As I come accross more I will add them.
    #1 Sinistralis, Jul 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
    Helio likes this.
  2. Luka Melehan

    Luka Melehan Certifiable
    Professional Stratics Veteran Alumni Campaign Patron

    May 12, 2008
    Likes Received:
    I don't understand the details you explained but an easier solution it to not have stun on that first bunch of skellies.

    I agree!

    My solution is to put into play what we had to do in AC2: Multiple Mule characters. I have one for food and flowers, one for crystals and slabs, one for alchemy and bottles, one for stuff and one for carpentry and fletching. Of course the risk is that someone will find your spot while your stuffs on the ground. But it works. I get to keep stuff and have enough room in my pack for loot. But your right. To save the stuff we need, we need a butt load of storage.

    Been working on archery for a couple days. All I am carrying are regular arrows and bottle arrows. So there are some skills I am choosing not to use. I have taken them off the skill bar and placed the items saw and bow in their place. Doing so gives me a one click way to switch between saw and bow. It would be nice if they were on separate equip slots but this works.

    This brings to mind why I want a skill bar for inventory items. Switching weapons, and one clicking potions. Right now I do not even bother keeping potions cause I can't get to them while I am fighting. Keep the two skill bars where they are now on the left. Bring the misc. bar down to the right bottom and add a bar that only accepts inventory items. This will make me a happy cow.


  3. Citan

    Citan Project: Gorgon Developer

    Oct 23, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Thanks for the feedback! Lots of good stuff here. I'll add my comments just so you know what I'm thinking in these areas...

    Actually, I just pretty much stream-of-consciousness-ed my replies here, and I fear it will come across as being aggressive or defensive. I hope not. I'm very appreciative of the feedback, and even where I disagree with you, I'm not set in stone. I've already said one thing and ended up doing something totally different plenty of times! My goal with all this wall of text isn't to tell you how it's going to be, case closed ... it's just to tell you how I'm thinking about things right now.

    You've got a lot of good balance ideas, and I'm going to steal many of them! :) But in some cases you're thinking more narrowly about the problem than I'd like you to. What I mean is that balance is a holistic issue: when one element is out of whack, it can make other things seem out of whack even when they're not. In this case, I think Rage-reduction gear is generally really good, and when it isn't, it's because other things are broken: some Rage attacks are too weak, some ability combinations are insanely overpowered, making even potent Rage attacks meaningless, etc.

    Earlier in the pre-alpha, with these same monsters, -Rage gear was very compelling. The fact that you see it as not very compelling probably means other things are out of whack and need to be addressed first. (The Power-cost issues are probably the biggest balance-related thing I need to solve; a lot of other issues will change perspective when that's resolved better.) The point being that I try not to make a ton of changes all at once, especially while I'm still adding game systems. Of course, figuring out which piece of the puzzle needs most immediate fixing is usually really hard. My *guess* is that the most important thing to fix is the Power system. But that's proving to be very difficult.

    But to your more general point about treasure, it's already got a LOT of different restriction systems on it, so I don't think restricting stuff to suffixes/prefixes is necessary, the existing systems just need tweaking. In this case the most important restriction is slot-based: different buffs can only be found on certain slots. Rage-reduction gear generally comes on two slots, helmets and pants. On helmets, you can also find +All Damage boosts, which are so much better than anything else that you'll always take them. So I'll probably remove or heavily tone down +All Damage on helmets. Meanwhile, though, on pants, you can't find +All Damage, or even +Primary ability boosts. You can find +Auxiliary ability boosts (i.e. powers with long cooldowns) and Conditional Damage (e.g. +Damage if unarmored) and so on, but not pure unmitigated raw DPS boosts. When you put -Rage gear in amongst those options, it's very competitive IMO. Or can be.

    I'm still actually brainstorming different kinds of treasure abilities, based on what new tech I can make work each week, so I haven't tried to balance what shows up on each slot too much yet. Right now gloves are kind of boring because they're the only slot with +AoE gear, which is really a lot better than the other stuff you can find on gloves (+Max Power, Crit Chance, Vuln Boost, Pet Boost, a few others). So I might actually move some of the +All Damage boosting from heads to gloves, because helmets actually have lots of other interesting buff possibilities that are just being overshadowed right now: Rage-reduction, stunning, several others.

    But like I said above, as tempting as it is to try to work on treasure powers, I've been resisting, because treasure just augments other systems, so those other systems need to be better balanced first. But I'm totally with you that they will need adjustment in the future, I'm not of the mistaken belief that it's all good :)

    This is a tricky one because it needs to be very very annoying in order to teach players quickly. The point is that it's supposed to be teaching players "Damn, this sucks, how do I stop it, oh, here, I push this button."

    If the Rage attack is a minor effect, they won't bother to Parry. But if you Parry every time it comes up, you should be able to avoid most stuns. I just recently made Parry show up at sword level 1, so you'll get it right after killing the first two skeletons. Hopefully that will work better to teach people what to do... but obviously I'll just need to keep tweaking it until it works!

    I can always add a hundred little pop up tutorial boxes, but the more boxes I add, the fewer players will read. Ideally the system would teach you how to play without forcing you to read a tutorial. But maybe Rage is worthy of a pop up box.

    If we leave the tutorial area, though, it's true that stuns keep being annoying. But it's hard to justify making stuns less annoying when people are already thinking of Rage-reduction as unimportant! It needs to be important to manage Rage -- or at least to understand that Rage is happening so that you know that you're giving up something big by not being able to reduce Rage. It also gives me room to have counter-balancing gear -- stuff that removes the chance of being stunned is only worth having on gear if stuns are really irritating! Ideally a fire mage (who should get stunned a lot because they can't control Rage at all) should be more interested in gear that reduces stunning than a swordsman. But if stuns are just little minor debuffs, players will never consider that sort of gear worthwhile, and in fact the whole Rage mechanic is kind of stupid.

    That said, there are other kinds of really potent Rage abilities besides stuns. I use stuns at low level because they're very annoying, but they're NOT very deadly. At higher level, bears (which cut your current Health in half, bypassing armor) are definitely worth de-raging. But that can only work at higher level, because something that does a ton of damage at low level will just flat-out murder you instantly too often. Stuns just let monsters get a couple more attacks in. But they're also more annoying than just taking direct damage, so you're right that it's not a great fit for the newbie cave. I'm not sure of what else I can use in there though. It has to be easy to understand, very noticeably debilitating (even when you only have one or two ability buttons!), and not instantly fatal. If you have ideas I'm all ears!

    You can get skinning really early by doing a favor for Ivyn the farmer NPC. He gives you a skinning knife in exchange for a squash seedling. I'm guessing because Ivyn wanders around town, though, he's not the best person to have a gateway skill. I'll move it to some other NPC in the future.

    About spiders, the issue is that the bonuses are for all Arthropods, and you can skin some arthropods... just not spiders, which are the first ones you run into. I probably just shouldn't let you skin any arthropods at all...

    Yep, battle chemistry needs a lot of changes. It's intended to be a pet class, but with buffs and damage augments. The buffs are VERY powerful, the damage augments are very weak, and the pet is way too powerful in groups, you're right. Lots of it is tech-bound. What I mean is that it's slowly getting better as I get more tech available. Right now the golem does an AoE heal because his AI is too stupid to pick the most-damaged target and heal that person. But eventually I need to replace those AoE buffs with targeting buffs, or else it will never be balanceable.

    Moving the golem to a separate tree is interesting. I haven't thought about that much... I kind of would prefer to focus more on the programming elements, so you can hot-swap programs into your golem, that sort of thing. But then there's not a lot to buff with treasure.

    It might make more sense to leave the golem there, but instead remove the mutations from Battle Chemistry. So it'd just be the golem plus the AoE abilities. By removing the mutations, I can afford to make the AoE abilities more effective. Anyway, I'll keep thinking about that one, thanks!

    One problem is I don't want to take away something after I've given it out, at least not something as important as inventory! But I'm likely going to have to charge for extra carryable inventory slots if it's a F2P game. I can't do something unimportant like cosmetic items; that only works when you have hundreds of thousands of players so that the small number of paying players subsidize the others. If I'm aiming at, say, ten thousand active players, I will need a large percentage of those to pay at least a little bit each month. To do that I have to sell important stuff, and extra inventory slots are where it's at!

    That's distinct from storage slots that aren't on your character, though; those could be both purchased and found in-game.

    That said, there's already about 70 extra storage slots scattered around the world, if you get NPCs up to high enough Favor. (Which is only a partial solution, I know, because having your stuff scattered around the world is also very annoying.) But if 70 extra slots are far too little, adding even 30 more isn't going to fix it. I suspect this is the sort of game where storage will always be at a premium, because everything has a future use. I mean even the junk might have a use later. But I'm not ready to give out hundreds of extra slots. I'm still discovering the performance implications of the dozens of slots that are already scattered around.

    Anyway my short term goal is to make the bank have about a dozen more slots available for cheap, as soon as I work out some bug reports with storage vaults.

    Agreed, and these are on the list, thanks! I need new tech for them, which is why they haven't happened yet. Stacks can't go above 250 right now, and the saw has to be in-hand because of how the limiting code works. (Otherwise creatures without hands would be able to saw wood, just by having the saw in their inventory.) It's not a Herculean coding task to fix, but there's a ton of stuff to get to.

    Yep, I know :)

    I think your proposed system could be made to work fine, but I think the bigger problem is that this is a system that needs to be really tight. What I mean is, no matter what the mechanics are, it won't have interesting choices unless the numbers are perfect. If abilities are too cheap or too expensive, it's a flop. Every ability needs to have a carefully-thought-out cost. And getting those costs just right is actually very time consuming. (Even the current system would be fine if the costs were very carefully honed. Other systems are easier to make compelling, though.)

    What I've been trying to do is find a kind of short cut for now -- something that makes the Power system a bit more interesting, but skips the part where I spend 250 hours balancing spreadsheets to get the power costs just right, because I don't have the time to spare at the moment, and because it doesn't make sense to balance everything before all the abilities are implemented. But I haven't come up with any shortcuts yet...

    This one's tricky, because of a bunch of competing factors. I should probably do a blog post about it... hmm... but in short, yes, adding more diverse abilities would make leveling up more fun. However, treasure powers aren't "hiding" anything -- they're very *intentionally* overshadowing the leveled-up versions of powers, because that's where I chose to put the power-up!

    And unfortunately it's a bit of a zero-sum game: the more power abilities have, the less power treasure can have. That's because the game is relatively level-flat. If you got tons of new abilities AND tons of powerful new items, you'd get more powerful much more quickly, which would mean you'd need to switch to new monsters more often, and it would be harder to find a group of players to play with, because there'd be a more granular level of power fluctuations.

    Since I don't think I'm going to have WoW-like populations, I think the power curve needs to stay pretty linear, so that you can usefully group up with people who are, say, 10 levels above or below you. Ideally as much as 20 levels difference.

    In terms of why I put the power into the treasure system rather than abilities, it's best explained with the psychology concept of reward schedules. Treasure uses a random reward schedule, which is very compelling and fun. Leveling up uses a fixed reward schedule, which can feel more "grindy". You feel compelled to level up as fast as possible, because you can see the tantalizing carrot you'll get. But then you feel a tiny wave of depression when you get there and realize the NEXT carrot won't happen for five more levels (or whatever).

    I still use fixed reward schedules all through the game, obviously, but I prefer to put the majority of my "budget" of player power into treasure, because it's more random and more interesting, and less grindy. At least under ideal circumstances. The down side is that it's not at all predictable, which is why there's at least *some* amount of reward just for leveling up.
    #3 Citan, Jul 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
  4. Sinistralis

    Sinistralis Visitor

    Jul 2, 2013
    Likes Received:
    I too do most feedback stream of consciousness, which is why some of my bug reports or feedback involve multiple submits, which I apologize for. I'm afraid if I don't get it out quick enough, I will forget it. Then when I do get it out I realize or figure out other things and rethink it.

    A lot of the feedback I gave, I gave without any knowledge of what you had planned for the future. I knew this going into this post, and now that I have a response, I will likewise break it down and reply as needed.

    When I wrote up this section, I had a feeling you would retort with "Rage skills need re-evaluated" and I could not agree more. This makes you not want aggro, and it makes you care about defensive stats without having to force it on the system. That's all I wanted to hear.

    I would rather we evaluate current stats on gear before we add more. A lot of them are underpowered/overpowered. I have a million ideas on this front, but lets get a safe structure going first.

    A huge issue with this, is that Rage isn't explained what so ever. I had no clue what that bar even did for a few days until I finally realized these bears MAUL my face when that fist fills up, and realized it was some kind of limit break for mobs.

    I think the solution we both will agree on, is that Rage needs to be explained more, and made far more dangerous. The only mobs I care about controlling rage on is ****ing Mentalist Mantases and the goblin dungeon Bears. All the other rages are whatever. Boss creatures especially need to have overpowered rage skills.

    Nothing to say about this, apologies for thinking you didn't catch this yourself.

    You can do what you do with the deer. Have gear increase amount healed, damage dealt, health, armor, -rage, etc on the golem itself.

    That plus a programmable pet? **** yes. You want ideas for this little guy? Let me know.

    The reason I wanted to make game design a hobby is because I have so much inspiration and ideas over all the years of my life, and I have nowhere to put them. It's getting to the point that I'm going nuts, not having somewhere to implement and program these ideas.

    I had a feeling you would make inventory slots a buyable feature, which is fine. I feel inventory space is... more than adequate, I was more concerned about storage slots. I would suggest making inventory cheap, impulse buys similar to how the cellphone market works. That would work incredibly well for a game like this.

    Is there not a way to check if the current character is of a species with hands? Given the anatomy code I assume is in the game, I thought that sort of thing might be an option. Either way, I figured you knew and I figured 250 was the max stack size. This was just one of those things I wanted to bring up.

    Well, I offered to help and balancing skills is something that, like you, I find incredibly fun.

    Send me what I need to know when the time comes and I'll happily help you with this. Seriously.

    Well, as Diablo 2 has shown, this idea can be very successful. However, as Diablo 3 has shown, this idea can be disastrous.

    Currently, the system isn't that good. The only stat I have been caring about are stats that increase the potency of my spammable attack. Everything else, I could care less about. I'm demolishing content with this philosophy.

    I think what we can take out of this is that, Power and Affixes need some serious attention. I am a HUGE fan of fun, interesting proc effects. You have plenty that are fun, don't get me wrong. However, things need re-balanced terribly as these fun mechanics are overshadowed by the current roflstomp difficulty of the game. I personally would LOVE to put together a battle chemistry/mentalism support build using all these fun affixes and programming my pet to be a proper healer. That sounds STUPIDLY FUN to me, but right now it just isn't a reality.

    I want to help make a build like this not only viable, but encouraged. All I got out of this thread is

    1) You know what you are doing
    2) You need more people

    : )
    #4 Sinistralis, Jul 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013