White hits and teleportation, 6 months later.

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nils
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White hits and teleportation, 6 months later.

Post by nils » 18 Sep 2021 15:00

On March 6th the Arch of Balance gave notice and explanation of upcoming changes to melee, particularly white hits, with emphasis on his intention to even out the differences between casters and fighters. An upcoming change to caster guilds and magic in general has been announced without an ETA. I was struck with a sense of urgency as I think it's important that this debate happens prior to the rollout of the new system.

Half a year has passed since the change, and I must assume most, if not all, have grown accustomed to and comfortable with the new reality. A couple consequences worth highlighting are:

•Myths have gone from above a set wimpy to death in single swats
•Guilds that were previously known to do little to no damage are now much more playable/enjoyable
•Avoiding hits has become significantly more effective than (attempts at) soaking them
•The rate of experience gain has increased

Special attacks
My understanding of the current system is that for the last six months we’ve enjoyed a total of 100 combat aid from our occupational guild and 100 combat aid from our white hits. Or said more sensibly: Our distribution of help in combat is now 50% from special attack (offensive and/or defensive) and 50% from normal hits with a weapon (not counting layman guilds for simplicity).

Logical. Sensible. Sounds like balance, yes? I think so too.

I honestly think there are more positive outcomes than bad ones, but I’ve also never really been able to shake one particular observation made by a few in the thread that followed, namely the diminished relevance (see also attractiveness or relative effectiveness) of the various guilds’ special attacks and I think it’s worth discussing now, six months later.

Purists will say you choose your guild solely on how it speaks to you from a character building perspective and whatever identity you wish upon your character and that the power of the special attack plays second violin. This was lauded to the point of hilarity among the roleplay oriented guilds which (by sheer coincidence?) just happened to be the most effective of all pre March 6th. I think the purists’ claim holds more true post March 6th, but I also think we are poorer because of it.

Dude, roleplay got you into the “OP” guilds prior! The power provided became a clear incentive to actually play a character and challenge yourself. The sense of achievement upon success and the subsequent efficacy (see special attack) could be enjoyed with a clear conscience.
- “I worked my ass off for this! Yeah! #winning!”

From a min-maxer’s perspective, the difference between your typical melee fighter guilds with little to no roleplay requirements (well, at least not forced) has become negligible since the pot from which to draw actual guild power has shrunk globally relative to white hits. Now I don’t know the actual numbers, but based on the kind of experience you only get with age I’d say that the distribution was more in “70-80% guild and 20-30% white hits”-range before.

While the 50/50-model makes the actual balancing act easier for the ones in charge of bringing it to fruition (see also math, coding, logic), it’s simultaneously also a helluvalot easier to communicate with a broad appeal to the masses through rhetoric utilizing logic, fairness and equality. Perfect, right?

Well, shit.. *wields broad pen* - This rule-bound framework severely limits guilds to stand out! Be it as “apex” or “elite”, “overpowered” with globally unknown restrictions to justify said “OP-ness” or what have you - the previous system had much more room for variation, asymmetry, uniqueness, attractiveness, efficacy and specialization. It was probably excessively harder to balance within, but the difference in “grind speed” between otherwise fairly similar guilds would in most cases boil down to intentional or design-forced “combat aid leaks” or obsolescent defensive abilities after reaching a certain size.

It was probably a bigger nightmare to both create and balance within, but damn some guilds really were much, much cooler (more attractive?) pre March 6th. We were richer!

Do we really want a bunch of equal or close to equal guilds? Really? Is that a goal?

Anyway, before I touch on the current growth rates, it boils down to:
Can we at least discuss what other balancing models would look like? How about 60% guild/40% white hits? 70/30? What are the pros and cons to said options? Are there other models worth exploring? Are we willing to tolerate more imbalance if it also means that our guilds become.. special again?

Growth rate
As mentioned above the increased overall damage, while obviously part of a bigger plan to bring global balance across the disciplines, has manifested in player sizes entering the “too big to fail”-category. Objectively, an effort to slow down growth should be made, but a reduction in actual killing speed, even though it hits everyone equally, would effectively feel exactly like a nerf – nobody likes those.

Alternate options then? Well, I’m sorry but I've got to touch upon teleports again. While I still hold firm that “team teleport to chosen destination” is still ruining the fun for many on a daily basis, I have an admission to make: I use teleports too! All the time!

I’ve grown so attached to it that I now depend on it to the degree that ANY layman guild that, even though I find it cool, awesome, inspiring, more befitting my character, synergizes better with my occupational or what have you, I won’t leave my layman guild because of my “portal home”-spell.

Why? Well, it vastly increases my efficacy to the point where it makes me properly annoyed at team mates who don’t have it because they slow down me and the rest of the team. It's gotten so bad that I've considered ending whatever relations we have just to not sit through one more unneccessary boat ride again. I’ve ended up forcing people off the team or, in utter relief, celebrated their departure from it. I’ve looked down and laughed at people who choose masochism (boat rides) over comfort and the effortless blitz back to “the hub”. This "addiction" is making me a shitty person. Help me kick it?

Semi-serious jokes aside - it is to me self evident that the complete removal of all manner of guild provided teleportation abilities (occupational and layman)is beneficial to the game as a whole because it will have the following consequences:

Most importantly
•Reduced growth rate in the player base and thereby reducing the scale (or even need) of “nerf” to damage/hit points increase globally
•Eliminate scenarios (I swear innocent keyboards, mice and screens have suffered irreparable damage as a direct result of this scenario) where one travels for what feels like an eternity only to find the equipment-bearing mob dead after fighting one’s way through the guards that were omitted entirely by whoever teleported behind them a few minutes prior.

But also
•Re-introduce the “feeling of distance” that those damn ships are meant to provide
•Re-launch boat rides as a social arena simply by tapping into their nature; facilitating actual conversation
•It would make me (and likely others in the same situation) a better person

Lastly, take any conspiratorial accusations to Flames - I’ll tear you a new one there instead. Serious replies welcome. Thank you!


TL;DR
Can we discuss another distribution between guild provided caid and white hits?
Can we discuss the complete removal of all things teleportation as part of or the solution to the growth rate issue?

Nils’ player.
Nil Mortifi Sine Lucre

Budwise
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Re: White hits and teleportation, 6 months later.

Post by Budwise » 18 Sep 2021 20:18

I agree on both your main points. Well put.

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Arman
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Re: White hits and teleportation, 6 months later.

Post by Arman » 19 Sep 2021 08:28

Can we discuss another distribution between guild provided caid and white hits?

We can discuss it...

Right now guild specials provide 60% of combat benefit to players (don't forget your layman benefit), so the ratio is 40 / 40 / 20.

Tweaking down the effectiveness of white hits has the problem of tweaking down the effectiveness of npcs. Pre-white hit change, damage was king and no one had to worry about damage mitigation. Now it is something players need to factor in when choosing their play/guild style... which I think is good. It also meant guilds with weak or no special attacks were significantly disadvantaged (aka rangers).

Your primary observation that "I honestly think there are more positive outcomes than bad ones, but I’ve also never really been able to shake one particular observation made by a few in the thread that followed, namely the diminished relevance (see also attractiveness or relative effectiveness) of the various guilds’ special attacks" is one that others also have raised. And it is a fair observation.

So how do we address it?

I don't think it is a changing of the 40 / 40 / 20 ratio... that could be done, but we'd also need to tweak npcs again.

Should occupational melee special attacks potentially be codeable to toggle the combat benefit of white hits? So let's say special attacks like swarm may be hard set so that the attackers white damage aid gets reduced to, say, 20 (so halved)... with swarm doing 60 of the 100 possible benefit? So the mix would be 20 / 60 / 20? It would purely be cosmetic... overall there is no additional benefit to the Calian... but swarm would "feel" more powerful?

Anyway happy to spitball ideas.

Can we discuss the complete removal of all things teleportation as part of or the solution to the growth rate issue?
All things teleportation includes things like MM winged steed, dragon steeds, zodiac gems, some quests, and newbie pin home teleports. Complete removal is too far down the extreme path.

Carnak has been working on a new teleportation system which is going to focus on the issue you have outlined. It is practically done, it just needs to be rolled out. And I feel we'll start tightening up on what we'll allow travel abilities to do.

Drazson
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Re: White hits and teleportation, 6 months later.

Post by Drazson » 19 Sep 2021 09:48

Are mounts that allow you to traverse huge areas practically without any fatigue costs considered a problem as well? Or ships that allow you to row around instantly?

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Arman
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Re: White hits and teleportation, 6 months later.

Post by Arman » 19 Sep 2021 11:35

Drazson wrote:
19 Sep 2021 09:48
Are mounts that allow you to traverse huge areas practically without any fatigue costs considered a problem as well? Or ships that allow you to row around instantly?
Neither are considered teleporting. Both are impacted by fatigue. Unless you are part of a sailing guild you can't sail without a sailing delay as well.

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Re: White hits and teleportation, 6 months later.

Post by Drazson » 19 Sep 2021 11:55

I did not say it's considered teleporting, I am simply seeing intense similarities.

I get from grey havens to shaws with 0 fatigue by typing <aliasName>. Doesn't cost anything in components or mana either, only have to have my mount. Get a mount yourself, they are awesome!

As for the sailing bit... In the same way that being in a sailing guild (which is mind-boggingly simpler and less involved a path) gives you infinite speed between some locations, being in specific caster guilds gives you infinite speed for some locations. At least teleporting has a casting time and costs mana and components, maybe buff it actually?

P.S. By the way, I have team teleport and have used it 1 or 2 times. It's cool. Cannot abuse it as freely as it seems to be talked about, but in any case remove it from the face of the Donut, remove it yesterday. Just curious if we're really sensible here or not.

Thalric
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Re: White hits and teleportation, 6 months later.

Post by Thalric » 19 Sep 2021 21:45

In relation to white hits and damage, I would like to add in another factor. The one of increased factors of damage, increasing the damage exponentially.. also in white hits.

Melee people, as it stands, gain damage factors based on 7 factors.
Stats, skills, weapons, damage imbuements, stat imbuements, skill imbuements and haste.
If those factors are just added together, with a silly idea of 2 per factor, the result is 14.

Magic people gain damage based on 5 factors.
Stats, skills, stat imbuements, skill imbuements and haste.
Which means that melee factor result is 10.

But damage isn't counted with addition, but with multiplications.
Which makes the melee damage add up to a lot more than that of magic.
2^7 = 128 for melee vs 2^5 = 32 for magic.
I know the difference isn't that big, but it shows how multiple factors increase severely the more there are.

Beside that, melee people gain the added damage now increased from white hits.
Which all results in melee being able to make a whole lot more damage than magic, even if they pay the same tax.


In relation to teleportation, I think it would be fair to consider the difference between layman guild provided teleport and occupational guild teleport.
They are not the same, and shouldn't be the same.
I am quite sure that different amounts of tax are paid for each, and so they shouldn't all just become equal.


You also mention growth rate, and I agree that it should be slowed down.
I have, among others, been considering a method that would increase the effect of brutality based on player average.
My thought is that it should begin effect around the size of 6x supremes, when stats are even.

And my idea is that your effective brute is multiplied by your stat average / 100.
So a character with... say 250 (if that works), would have to have 2,5 times as much progress to gain one level of progress.
That way the "soft wall" would become a lot steeper and harder to climb.
Which again might lead to what you want, more time spent talking. Because gaining progress is so much harder.
It would also mean that smaller players have a lot easier with catching up.

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Redblade
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Re: White hits and teleportation, 6 months later.

Post by Redblade » 25 Sep 2021 14:58

nils wrote:
18 Sep 2021 15:00
Purists will say you choose your guild solely on how it speaks to you from a character building perspective and whatever identity you wish upon your character and that the power of the special attack plays second violin. This was lauded to the point of hilarity among the roleplay oriented guilds which (by sheer coincidence?) just happened to be the most effective of all pre March 6th. I think the purists’ claim holds more true post March 6th, but I also think we are poorer because of it.

Dude, roleplay got you into the “OP” guilds prior! The power provided became a clear incentive to actually play a character and challenge yourself. The sense of achievement upon success and the subsequent efficacy (see special attack) could be enjoyed with a clear conscience.
- “I worked my ass off for this! Yeah! #winning!”

...

Are we willing to tolerate more imbalance if it also means that our guilds become.. special again?
These two parts caught my attention. As to the first one, I can frankly say some of the greatest... purists, you call it... I know, are and were part of the Ranger's guild. We didn't get into the guild to become OP. We played the character we created.
- "I worked my ass off for this! It is barely play-able, but I love the roleplay!" #Ranger-pre-Whitehits
I think you are possibly wrong about who most heralded the "choose your guild for roleplay". But that's my opinion :) As this part is not interesting and would likely belong into flames (where it could have gone right away, imho), I'll drop the topic.

Instead! I really like the other question. Are we willing to tolerate imbalance if it means that guilds become special again? It is a good question indeed.

I play several characters in the Realms, of various combinations of melee/magic/stealth guilds. If there is something in general I can say about the change: it did balance the chars more. If they were same size, pre-change some would be stronger than others. Now the stronger got weaker and weaker got stronger, perhaps. In this sense, the guilds are more "balanced". But I don't feel that they stopped being special. Each of the characters has quite a different playstyle. Totally different routines, totally different combat style or hunting style. There are quite a few things that separate guilds and set them apart as special. I think that guilds should be special - yet I don't think that the change took that from the guilds :)

Just to poke - even teleportation is a specialty of some guilds. Are you willing to tolerate this... imbalance... if it means that the guild stays special? ;)
Auta i lómë, Aurë entuluva!
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Zhar
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Re: White hits and teleportation, 6 months later.

Post by Zhar » 23 Oct 2021 12:48

I think that instead of removing teleportation we should simply add travel time to it so it's more like a dragon ride rather than being instant (this can take longer than a boat). Then it's still convenient but not broken in my opinion.

Right now it's just *poof*, when you should be presented with some nice descriptions of how you move between dimensions/through the shadow realm etc. etc.

Edit: Just a random idea but maybe it would be cool to also add inter-dimensional encounters? Where you can get randomly attacked by some Hounds of Tindalos or whatever when teleporting :twisted:
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