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  1. #1
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    Default Character Progression Discussion

    This topic is so vast and it touches on so many related topics that we cannot possibly cover all bases in just one post. What we’re attempting here is to get the discussion started by giving some background, explaining our intentions, what we’ve identified as problems, what we’ve been doing to date, and what we intend to do short and long-term.

    In a nutshell: Our first goal was to give you a starting character which was useful on day one, and after a couple of months of having fun and learning to play the game, your character would become “viable”. After that, more character development, specialization, and high level content, but please allow us to save most of this last part for a subsequent discussion.

    The starting character: These are things we have talked about time and time again but they’re extremely important in order to understand the big picture, so please bear with us one more time:

    In Darkfall a starting character can attack and hit a veteran character and inflict enough damage to kill him after a few minutes if not challenged. In almost any other MMO this is impossible even for players that have played for a couple of months.

    In Darkfall a starting character can use any item in the game without restrictions. No level, ability, or quest restrictions. A starting character can access any area on the map, join a clan, group with any player he wants without penalties, participate in group PvE against any MOB in the game. A group of starting characters could fend off or even bring down a veteran character. A character straight out of the box can man a cannon, a warhulk, sail a ship, ride a mount, rez, loot, harvest, craft, destroy and repair buildings, capture a village, capture a city, capture a sea tower, can own a house – among many other things. A starting character can participate in all activities the game has to offer and he can be useful in many supporting roles.

    Which brings us to why we’re mentioning all this again: We start out with a grind-free philosophy. Everything we mention above, any other game would make you grind, claw, and fight for. Just the privilege of using various weapons could lead to months of effort. We could have easily done the same thing. We’re not trying to compare apples and oranges, but the point we’re trying to make here is that in Darkfall we can take these freedoms for granted, and they do carry over throughout your character’s lifespan.

    Let’s define what we mean by “viable” today: Timeframe: Approximately two months of a moderate time invested playing the game. Your character has most of the skills required for basic PvP combat, a decent supply of equipment in your bank, and you have approximately doubled your starting stats.

    After launch we identified several problems early on, on the way to becoming “viable” which we addressed by dramatically raising the gains while fighting monsters in both magic and melee, introducing changes in PvE, introducing auto-harvesting, added the Industry skill which reduces crafting time across the board, skill books and scrolls, attribute consumables, and last but not least we added newbie protection. We also added various time-saving measures including bag naming, auto stacking of items, and increasing ship speed. We feel that all these together help significantly improve the transition from starting to viable. There are several other things we’re working on which will help this even further. It made sense to us to focus on this first, it being the starting experience.

    Another concern for us is the transition from “viable” to “advanced”. By “advanced” we mean a character with high skills necessary for his preferred style of combat, a large supply of basic and intermediate gear, a fair amount of high end gear, and about triple his starting stats. Timeframe: 4-6 months of a moderate time invested playing the game. We believe that this is also a very important stage for a player. Most of the changes we implemented mentioned above during the starting to viable character transition also apply in this stage. One of our next measures will be implemented in our next patch: We are significantly changing the progression of hitpoints in a diminishing returns fashion. This is done to improve a character’s viability in PvP situations and to make players of all levels more competitive.

    Besides the hitpoint progression measure, we have been studying many other aspects of character development in our ongoing effort to address possible imbalances. We should also mention that we have decided to introduce temporary stat potion boosts in our next expansion scheduled for June 2010.

    While we’ve been addressing the starting and intermediate experience, we didn’t want to neglect the veteran players. We’ve been adding a lot of end-game content and a lot of new features in both our expansions and various patches in between. This is a topic for another discussion coming soon, during which you will discover that nothing is being done in a random fashion, and that everything we’ve been adding makes up a platform on which to build and improve on. We have been doing a lot of work on revamping many of these features and systems so that they can begin reaching their potential.

    A major feature on the way are the Prestige Classes. This is not a minor change, it will actually change the way Darkfall is played. They will take your preferred play-style to a new level and set you apart. These have been a long-term project that we’ve been working on for a while now. They will be a part of Darkfall 2010 launching sometime during Q4 2010.

    We are aware that there are many things to be said about the topic at hand and many arguments that can be raised. We do not pretend to have addressed the issue fully but we have the best intentions to do so over time. We are processing player feedback on this at a very high priority, and you deserve a lot of credit for it. It has taken over a year for us to get a handle on this massive system and during this time we have adjusted our thinking considerably. It's not our intention to sell you anything here, rather to give you a glimpse at the big picture as we see it. Our hope is that this can become the start of an on-going discussion on character progression issues. It may take a little time to process but we expect that we will come back with more food for thought based on the feedback we receive. In order for us to do this effectively, we will kindly ask you to please approach this subject with a spirit of good-will and cooperation, as we hope we have.


    Thank you
    Last edited by Tasos; 04-22-2010 at 21:43.

  2. #2
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    Thank you for another great update.

  3. #3
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    Vets shit on 6 month old players hard not because of skill but because of stats and gear that 6 month old players can't afford. Looks like you addressed the large scale fight issue but what about small scale?

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    thank you, this is all i wanted.


    for now

  5. #5
    11,000+ Death's Chill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
    Vets shit on 6 month old players hard not because of skill but because of stats and gear that 6 month old players can't afford. Looks like you addressed the large scale fight issue but what about small scale?
    As long as this remains an MMO, a vet will > a noob. It's just how it works. Even when skill comes in unless the newb has twice as much, literally (which never happens) it doesn't matter.

    Honestly the problem for a newb or average player is the lack thereof. There aren't enough newbs/normal players for one to go out and find decent PvP solo, because for the most part you'll only ever encounter vets.

    I'm definitely happy about this update, it's long and pretty thorough, and while not exactly what I had in mind with developer interaction (thinking along the lines of devs actually posting in threads), it's better than nothing.

    For the next topic of discussion I'd vote to know what you guys think of and plan to do about the economy and local banking.
    Last edited by Death's Chill; 04-22-2010 at 23:01.


    Yummy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Death's Chill View Post
    As long as this remains an MMO, a vet will > a noob. It's just how it works. Even when skill comes in unless the newb has twice as much, literally (which never happens) it doesn't matter.

    Honestly the problem for a newb or average player is the lack thereof. There aren't enough newbs/normal players for one to go out and find decent PvP solo, because for the most part you'll only ever encounter vets.
    Two normal characters could get a jump on a 75% hp "vet". That vet can, and probably will wipe the floor with them. I imagine even after just a handful of experiences like this many people just gave up.

    I get the fact that if I have lower stats and encounter someone with higher stats, I'm probably going to lose. It's the fact of not standing a chance whatsoever purely based on those stats is what drive people away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FatRednekk View Post
    I get the fact that if I have lower stats and encounter someone with higher stats, I'm probably going to lose. It's the fact of not standing a chance whatsoever purely based on those stats is what drive people away.
    combined with the ridiculous time investment required to get those stats....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yoda View Post
    combined with the ridiculous time investment required to get those stats....
    For sure, and we can cross are fingers (and toes) for some more increases in all stat area's.

  9. #9
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    good post tasos, i really liked this thing, very different from other software houses approach
    what is now keeping me away from df is not the grind, I really don't care about grinding in a game where player skill plays such an important role as it does in darkfall. I like the idea of understanding game's mechanics and use them, and trying to do it better than how my opponent does.
    what is really making me not paying for the game now is the fact that theres one single build everybody tries to reach, just like an asian mmo with only 1 toon where the difference beetwen players is only the level.
    prestige classes (aswell as cap) can solve this problem, but they can aswell introduce the infamous rock-paper-scissors gameplay that nobody really wants.
    so to me the real deal here is how to solve this problem, adding more skill-based combat mechanics (usefull parry/block, 2 secs counterspells etc) would surely help overall balance (aka "if you lose it's just cause you suck") and would mitigate the gap beetwen a skilled nub and a slowtard vet, but requires lagfree servers aswell as godlike skill creation powers. You will need to make every fight possibile, every toon viable, every player will have to know that he can win even the worst matchup if he knows what he's doing and trained well in using game mechanics (trained the player itslef, just like in an fps). another way to greatly raise the amount of skill df requires would be dramatically reduction of hp, making df a 3/4 hitko game where you think twice before open guard and swing a weapon. the more hits are required to kill someone the less the player will focus on dodge instead of just spamming swings counting on his better stats. of course this change would require magic to be less spam friendly, maybe with the introduction of that old never-implemented-feature that prevents the players to train opposing magic schools.
    dunno, that's what i can think now, i see the strenghtening of the skill-based element the only way to better face the problem and make the most playerbase happy, if you make a game where it's obvious that the best player wins then ppl will think twice before qquing about losing
    Last edited by tharon; 04-23-2010 at 00:08.
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    Look junior, I'm old enough that you could have been the load my son wished his girlfriend swallowed instead. I promise you, old people fight dirty and show no mercy.

  10. #10
    7000+ Kasmos's Avatar
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    I'm very glad to see the HP diminishing returns, but I hope it's "significant" enough and not a minor boost.

    But I wish you'd have gone further with the stat grind, as I don't think this is enough. Your "viable in 2 months" of moderate play must mean to you grinding your entire time and doing nothing else, all while trying to avoid the high end veterans. Ever wonder why new players leave after initially loving the game (hint, look at your own and other forums)?

    Either way, I hope you're adding in content that is going to make the grind not so atrocious for new players. Add PvP quests that can level up skills faster or as a reward, and add other things so that the grind is more bearable for everyone.


    As for prestige classes, I'm very excited to hear about them and I look forward for more information in the hopefully near future.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Death's Chill View Post

    I'm definitely happy about this update, it's long and pretty thorough, and while not exactly what I had in mind with developer interaction (thinking along the lines of devs actually posting in threads), it's better than nothing.
    the developers will participate in the discussion in an indirect way. We're collecting and sorting your feedback and some of your concerns and points will be addressed where applicable.

    They cannot participate directly for logistical reasons. The liaisons will provide basic information and may clarify certain points as needed.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
    Vets shit on 6 month old players hard not because of skill but because of stats and gear that 6 month old players can't afford. Looks like you addressed the large scale fight issue but what about small scale?
    You miss the part saying that HP scaling is going to be different?

    That's pretty much the major difference between new players and old ones.

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    Might want to think about hooking some of the defensive skills to HP in a similar diminishing fashion at some appropriate ratio.

    -Good post
    You are my God!

  14. #14
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    ''In Darkfall a starting character can attack and hit a veteran character and inflict enough damage to kill him after a few minutes if not challenged.''

    My favorite line from your thread, Tasos.
    ▀ị███████|▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀\

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spyridon_Rahl View Post
    You miss the part saying that HP scaling is going to be different?

    That's pretty much the major difference between new players and old ones.
    You forgot that new players do 12 damage and vets do 60.
    Last edited by L-C; 04-23-2010 at 03:01.
    DIE N00B

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