Thoughts on changes

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nils
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Thoughts on changes

Post by nils » 29 Aug 2019 04:13

In 2017 I left Genesis for the n’th time. Without going into the reasons as to why, I declared my n’th return here, on this very forum, a couple months ago. Some things were the same, others had changed. I had to re-learn a lot of mundane details, but certain things had changed drastically. I want to discuss these changes, their de facto impact and how to move on.

First, Genesis has, and always will be a difficult game. A steep learning curve in addition to the lack of graphics is enough to turn away even the most hardcore of gamers. If reaching mortal level myth is a measurement of successful mastery, we’re looking at a year, maybe two, of hard work and dedication. We who master it tend to under communicate this fact. We banter and say things as “nubs will be nubs” and sponsor them with a platinum coin while we forget that we were once nubs too.

There are two main changes that I have specific issues with, let’s take the least complicated one first

Guild experience and how it is gained.

When I returned I quickly learned that guild experience, or guild stat, is now gained independently from your brute variable. In other words, it doesn’t matter if your brute is pacifistic or violent, the pace of advancement, in a guild which relies on said parameter, stays the same.

I’m quite sure this change was introduced due to a number of players' anger towards more experienced players being able to simply die over and over and quickly regain lost experience while quickly gaining max guild power. I can relate to those that voiced their anger.

However. Shouldn’t said “mastery” have its benefits? Shouldn’t knowledge of mechanics pay off? Does the administration view it as their duty to make sure experienced players can’t use, in all fairness, their well-earned short cuts? Pick up a controller and play any game of quality and you’ll see that short cuts are part of the experience. Nobody likes repetition. Why is this not true for Genesis?

Now say my character, Nils, suddenly wants to leave his guild and join a guild that offers sword skill. Naturally, Blademasters would be a pretty viable option. And until this change, it was, but right now – it’s not. If you “died down” it was possible to gain max guild power by dying down to veteran, and even upon reaching myth you’d still be miles away from the coveted 10 links. This even made some players die down a second time. Imagine that! Hours, days, even months!

Now I haven’t tried this myself since the change, but having already done the deed I feel it’s doubly punitive to force me to gain guild stat at a snail’s pace just because of some odd sense of fairness.

Having said that, I do understand why the change was made and in a way, I support it. The problem is, and will be with the next issue as well, how the change was implemented. Hindsight may be 20/20, but the “proper” way would be to set the path to max guild power lower in all the guilds affected prior to enforcing the change. Right now, Blademasters and a couple other options are no longer viable due to the truly unbearable work necessary to reach full power. The path is simply too long to repeat at an even slower pace.

Now over to the biggest shot from the hip ever in Genesis history

Foreversaving items

Since returning I’ve learned that this change was implemented some time ago. Promises were made on the forum that items that did not dull were to be changed swiftly, ensuring that –nothing- could be kept indefinitely.

Anyone who’s attended school and paid attention to their teacher’s feedback on handed in works knows that after the positive comes the criticism, so here goes.

I love the change. I am able to log in, wield my weapon, wear my armours, buy food, a lamp, a couple flasks of oil and a bottle of my booze of choice and be ready to grind within 2 minutes. Hell, I can even quit on the battlefield and when I log back in, my items are ready for action. Is it convenient? Definitely. Does it make casual play easier? Undisputable.

However - Was it wise? Was there a debate? Was there even a meeting? If Genesis was a business the administration would do both their own internal and hire external people to do a “risk and vulnerability analysis” prior to implementing such a monumental change. The goal of these analysis is to try and foresee all outcomes, and then decide whether it’s a go-ahead or a flat out no.

It’s said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, right?

I log on after about two years of absence and I see players with every available slot occupied by an imbued item. Obviously their weapon is of the undulling kind and probably has an intense damage or stat-modifying stone on it. They now wield doubly the power than before the change, and they don’t even have to store it in a rack.

Genesis combat mechanics is pretty limited. One person takes the hits and for everyone else, all imbued items can be worn without risk of wear, and since the weapon is also indestructible it’s rock and roll without pause, cost or need for relief. The reality is that the gap has increased. Those “within the know” have accumulated equipment basically unobtainable by the ones said change was supposed to benefit – the new players.

These new players voiced the cognitive dissonance they had with the 20+ year old formula that was Genesis – the need for racks, a guild, friends and teamwork. It was all dropped at the whim of a millennial child threatening to leave if his or her will wasn’t surrendered to. With their limited experience and knowledge of the very difficult game they just sat foot in, and harboring an inherent need for instant gratification; whining was heard by the immortals – changes needed to happen, fast. These are our future players damnit!

These new players, post having their whims catered to, will never know the joy of obtaining an undull weapon, fully aware that it will be lost post-Armageddon. They will never know how adding an imbuement stone to it was viewed as very costly, and once you did pay the price you’d ignore your ever growing hemorrhoids and push on to the break of dawn in order to get the most bang for your buck – naturally.

These new players will never know the importance of keeping racks stocked, and subsequently the joy of finding his or her favorite death dealer lying in the racks for the taking. They may never know the joys of teaming up to get some legendary item on a regular basis. Once is enough – it’s kept forever, right?

The old ones knew how to manipulate the system. Before the change there were ironstones. Highly coveted because they could make an item of your choosing indestructible if the stone was of the glittering kind. People even paid upwards of 500 real life euros to buy said stone. Some had one or two, and right after the change they imbued the best body suit of armour in the game with it, and have, since the then, tanked the crap out of everything, every day, for almost two years now.

Would you believe that these suits of armour were even duplicated in certain racks that took years to get fixed? Different story, sorry. Had to be said.


Pointing at a problem and yelling at the ones responsible isn’t a productive way of moving forwards. But before I make suggestions I urge the administration to please, please admit to your higher power, yourself and us mortals that you too are human. Being human implies imperfection, mistaken at times, and that you are by no means perfect. Can we agree that the switch to foreversaving was a shot from the hip and not fully thought through?

If so, here are my suggestions, and remember – that’s precisely what they are, suggestions. Not a command, not a request. Up for debate, dissection etc.

1. Return guild stat gain to the old way. Let the experienced ones enjoy the fact that they’ve already done the work and relish in knowing that the next time around it’ll be much easier, not harder. Harder is contrary to good game design, hell - even life itself.

2. Make changes to all guilds that rely on guild stat for power, quickly. Shorten “the grind” to something that is obtainable within a month or two.

3. Purge - I’ve suggested this before as a one-time thing, just to make the items that wasn’t supposed to exist due to ironstones and duping, disappear. It basically meant that for one Armageddon, NO items glow. I now suggest purging as a regular event. Frequency of purges is up for debate. Personally I’d like to see bi-monthly.

4. Hard reset - No foreversaving items, back to basics. The guild must matter. The hunt for EQ must matter. The sense of teamwork, belonging and friendship must matter. The worth of racks as a concept must matter. Contribution, trust, worth. Important to the feeling of accomplishment. It must matter! Genesis is a hard game. This is why most try it and leave, while some stay – the equivalent of “for life”.


Jonas, The Nils’ drunken puppeteer.


TL;DR - New guildstat gain bad. Foreversaving items bad. Let’s fix it.
Lesser guilds deserve their suffering, you feel unjustly nerfed and want to be restored to your rightful glory... huh. I guess you're Genesis Hitler then. It feels so sweet to say this.. Fuck you, Hitler.
-Drazson, 21.07.2019

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Dhez
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Re: Thoughts on changes

Post by Dhez » 29 Aug 2019 13:25

I never understood why the gstat changes were made nor what purpose does it serve. Dying down and regrinding back up was grindy enough as it was and it kept the interest of players alive who wanted to switch guilds. Putting the carrot so far ahead that it's impossible to reach isn't really an incentive.
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Draugor
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Re: Thoughts on changes

Post by Draugor » 29 Aug 2019 13:39

The gstat chance is fine if it's at a level that's not completely insane, like blademasters, the current system makes joining blademasters into a REALLY horrid idea :P

Gearchanges, make stuff save ONE, everything saves ONCE, non dulling or not, that will give it the ability to last an arma unless you piss it up

Kvator
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Re: Thoughts on changes

Post by Kvator » 29 Aug 2019 15:06

Gstat - the real issue is with blademasters here it seems and already at 8 links they are decent layman option. Adding last two links just put a cherry on top. Pretty reasonable change overall.

Items - very good change with just one issue - bazookas are once again privileged in this game (when dmg is already a king here). This is something that should be addressed imho.

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Arman
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Re: Thoughts on changes

Post by Arman » 30 Aug 2019 12:01

nils wrote:
29 Aug 2019 04:13
Guild experience and how it is gained.

When I returned I quickly learned that guild experience, or guild stat, is now gained independently from your brute variable. In other words, it doesn’t matter if your brute is pacifistic or violent, the pace of advancement, in a guild which relies on said parameter, stays the same.

I’m quite sure this change was introduced due to a number of players' anger towards more experienced players being able to simply die over and over and quickly regain lost experience while quickly gaining max guild power. I can relate to those that voiced their anger.

However. Shouldn’t said “mastery” have its benefits? Shouldn’t knowledge of mechanics pay off? Does the administration view it as their duty to make sure experienced players can’t use, in all fairness, their well-earned short cuts? Pick up a controller and play any game of quality and you’ll see that short cuts are part of the experience. Nobody likes repetition. Why is this not true for Genesis?

Now say my character, Nils, suddenly wants to leave his guild and join a guild that offers sword skill. Naturally, Blademasters would be a pretty viable option. And until this change, it was, but right now – it’s not. If you “died down” it was possible to gain max guild power by dying down to veteran, and even upon reaching myth you’d still be miles away from the coveted 10 links. This even made some players die down a second time. Imagine that! Hours, days, even months!

Now I haven’t tried this myself since the change, but having already done the deed I feel it’s doubly punitive to force me to gain guild stat at a snail’s pace just because of some odd sense of fairness.

Having said that, I do understand why the change was made and in a way, I support it. The problem is, and will be with the next issue as well, how the change was implemented. Hindsight may be 20/20, but the “proper” way would be to set the path to max guild power lower in all the guilds affected prior to enforcing the change. Right now, Blademasters and a couple other options are no longer viable due to the truly unbearable work necessary to reach full power. The path is simply too long to repeat at an even slower pace.
If you really wanted to look into the history of the changes to guild stat, you have to go waay back into the 90s. Back then, the experience in your guild stat was counted towards your brutality... as guild stat didn't decrease with death that meant that, over time, every death you took inflated your brutality until it would reach a point where you would need to leave your guild to reset your brute. So that was changed... loyalty to a guild we thought was valuable and shouldn't be punished by death. Total experience that determined brute was decoupled from guild stats.

From that point guild stat worked fine until the introduction of death recovery. Mortals could game guild stat. It wasn't really highlighted as a big problem as most guilds powers weren't necessarily linked to guild stat. That was until SoHM were opened, and members were able to max title and abilities within 24 hours through death mechanics. That definitely wasn't part of the design intent of the guild, and definitely wasn't how we wanted guild stats to work. While from a combat point of view guild stat didn't play a huge role in most guilds, it did play a role in guild titles - and titles are viewed as a measure of guild loyalty.

In the past that was a big deal. Meeting a 'Mighty Rockfriend' at one point actually meant you had met a dwarf who had been a dwarf a loooong time. For a long time there were only two of them (one being Fireforge, the other I think Bullroarer). Being an Exalted member of Caliana's guard wasn't a common thing except with the long-serving members. Guild levels had gravitas.

So guild stat was decoupled from brute again... progressing 'guild stat' now is static at around very brutal... which is pretty reasonable in most situations.

I think your beef really is with the Blademasters. Not the guild stat mechanics.

I can understand your issue with the Blademasters. The guildstat required to get the 10th link you essentially need to reach a 'supreme' layman stat with a small % of your experience going towards guild stat (via a lowish guild tax). So it is set at a very high (unrealistic?) level to achieve. It will take time to max out.

Having said that, what is the quantum of disadvantage based on guild stat for this guild? We know the Blademaster special attack is linked to the number of chain links. Looking at it, a newly minted Blademaster with 5 chain links gets about 50% of the max caid benefit, which progressively improves with guild stat, which is very loosely articulated to players through chain links... at 6 links we are talking about 60% of the caid benefit, 7 links around 70% of the benefit... and so on.

From a balance perspective, where do they sit comparatively to other layman guilds? At about 6 links its monk level benefit... 8 links you are comparable to layman AA, militia and Templars, and once you crack 9 links you are one of the best layman options for melee. 10 links makes you the cream of the melee crop.

Now the guildstat for 8 links is very gettable with the current system. There are plenty examples of newly minted players who are there. 10 links will take work, no doubt... but doesn't make the guild a less competitive option if you haven't maxxed it out. If anything it rewards dedication and loyalty, which was ultimately the aim of the original creator before death recovery allowed it to be gamed.
nils wrote:
29 Aug 2019 04:13
Now over to the biggest shot from the hip ever in Genesis history

Foreversaving items

Since returning I’ve learned that this change was implemented some time ago. Promises were made on the forum that items that did not dull were to be changed swiftly, ensuring that –nothing- could be kept indefinitely.
Gorboth is working on implementing the system that will remove perma-non-dulls as well as change how gear wears. Be patient. This change was always going to be iterative. And while it would be really easy to get rid of all no-dulls, after consultation with players it was decided we'd wait until Gorboth's new code.
nils wrote:
29 Aug 2019 04:13
1. Return guild stat gain to the old way. Let the experienced ones enjoy the fact that they’ve already done the work and relish in knowing that the next time around it’ll be much easier, not harder. Harder is contrary to good game design, hell - even life itself.

2. Make changes to all guilds that rely on guild stat for power, quickly. Shorten “the grind” to something that is obtainable within a month or two.

3. Purge - I’ve suggested this before as a one-time thing, just to make the items that wasn’t supposed to exist due to ironstones and duping, disappear. It basically meant that for one Armageddon, NO items glow. I now suggest purging as a regular event. Frequency of purges is up for debate. Personally I’d like to see bi-monthly.

4. Hard reset - No foreversaving items, back to basics. The guild must matter. The hunt for EQ must matter. The sense of teamwork, belonging and friendship must matter. The worth of racks as a concept must matter. Contribution, trust, worth. Important to the feeling of accomplishment. It must matter! Genesis is a hard game. This is why most try it and leave, while some stay – the equivalent of “for life”.
1. As outlined, I don't think guild stat is a problem. It is working closer to its intended state following unintended consequences introduced through death recovery.

2. Happy to take players views on this, where they feel the progression is too slow for the benefit. I've already flagged my thinking around the Blademasters, but happy to discuss further. People with issues with the progression within OotS will fall on deaf ears... I deliberately made progression hard with that guild, although provided the most beneficial spells early. Deliberate design decision.

3 and 4. Based on what I have seen of Gorboth's proposed changes, i think the new system will result in a similar outcome to what you propose.

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Mim
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Re: Thoughts on changes

Post by Mim » 30 Aug 2019 13:26

I know for certain that there was one dwarf with the top Rockfriend title before both FF and Bullroarer.
Only my modesty keeps me from saying who. :)

When Mercade changed the title system, Gundif, a strange character as he was dwarf/Calian, gained the top spot in Rockfriends first.

There was another change (both to make it harder to reach mighty) and yet again my modesty stops me from saying who reached the top spot first.

When the Rockfriend guild opened there was a competition to find a good name for the guild.
Winner was an old Gladiator (4th active Gladiator) Gunter, who came up with the name, but that is a complete different thing.
As an explorer, you have done enough to retire.

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Arman
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Re: Thoughts on changes

Post by Arman » 30 Aug 2019 14:23

Mim wrote:
30 Aug 2019 13:26
I know for certain that there was one dwarf with the top Rockfriend title before both FF and Bullroarer.
Only my modesty keeps me from saying who. :)

When Mercade changed the title system, Gundif, a strange character as he was dwarf/Calian, gained the top spot in Rockfriends first.

There was another change (both to make it harder to reach mighty) and yet again my modesty stops me from saying who reached the top spot first.

When the Rockfriend guild opened there was a competition to find a good name for the guild.
Winner was an old Gladiator (4th active Gladiator) Gunter, who came up with the name, but that is a complete different thing.
Ahah! The first dwarf I recall meeting was Spawn (the original), who was either Ruling Undead of the Prime Planes or Undead Master of the Nether Planes... can't remember which one. But he wasn't a Rockfriend. I recall Mim back then as a gladiator / bloodguard? Was that right?

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Cherek
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Re: Thoughts on changes

Post by Cherek » 30 Aug 2019 15:19

Nils: I was not directly part of making the perma-saving change, however I was definitely involved in the discussion about it so I can at least let you know that there were a lot of discussion about it, and not a change made on a whim. It was discussed here on this forum several times, and we also talked a lot about it upstairs. I also had several private discussions with Gorboth about it, and I am pretty sure I was not the only one he talked to. Many different ideas were suggested on the forums, and potential issues were voiced.

That said, yes, obviously there are some less than ideal side-effects we are now dealing me. And yes, they could have been prevented. Was it a mistake to implement it? In hindsight, you could definitely argue that. And I definitely agree that having a solution already in place for ironstones, unbreakable items, imbuements, non-tankers, etc, would have been preferable. Also, as with any change, some things you can foresee and expect, and other things won't be discovered until you actually put it to the test live in the game. But yes, in a perfect world there would have been a solution in place for all the issues we are facing now.

On the other hand, would it have been better to do nothing at all until we had a near-perfect solution? Even if it would take many months, or even years? I am not so sure about that. If I had to pick between the old system exactly as it was, and the new system exactly as it is, I would pick the new system, despite the flaws. And the reason for that is because I think the new flaws are less critical than the old flaws in terms of growing the playerbase. I was AoP when we had our first major influx of new players in a long time (thanks to the Chrome Store app), and I can tell you with 100% certainty that the biggest complaint from new players was "Why did I lose my stuff?" This was not only a "a few noobs" complaining. It was a big deal, and it caused a lot of new players, who we finally had managed to attract, to quit the game way too quickly.

At the time (before the perma-saving change), we were also expecting a PC Gamer article to be published, which was likely to cause another influx of new players. A big one? A small one? None at all? We had no idea. It could be tens, or tens of thousands of new players. Should we risk keeping the number-one flaw for new players in the game, or implement a change that would make a lot more sense to our new players, but that also could mean dealing with other consequences later? In hindsight, the amount of new players from the article was not overwhelming, but that was hard to know at the time, and had there been a massive influx of new players, it would have turned out to be a big mistake to NOT fix that flaw and lose a much larger portion of them to it. And, both the links from PC Gamer's site, and the Chrome Store still attract new players to our game, and will continue to do so, and those players will no longer have to ask "Where did my EQ go?" and quit the game due to it. Which is a very good thing.

So, was it the right decision? At the time, with the knowledge we had then, yes, I think so. With the knowledge we have now? Well, then it's more debatable, obviously, but I still think it was the right thing to do, and in the long run I think it will turn out to be an even better decision - even if the fixes to the side-effects takes a bit longer than what would have been ideal.

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Mim
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Re: Thoughts on changes

Post by Mim » 30 Aug 2019 15:49

Arman wrote:
30 Aug 2019 14:23
Ahah! The first dwarf I recall meeting was Spawn (the original), who was either Ruling Undead of the Prime Planes or Undead Master of the Nether Planes... can't remember which one. But he wasn't a Rockfriend. I recall Mim back then as a gladiator / bloodguard? Was that right?
Spawn, with I think Baldric and Serena were top Vampires if memory serves me.
Most nasty were Render and Vicky.
The last two could kill anyone walking peacefully on the Sparkle docks, for just beeing there.
Dangerous days those, but also fun fun with a LOT of fights all over.

We were quite a few Gladiators that did join the 'new' hot Layman guild, Bloodguards.
Had a powerful damage special, had the possibility to share blood with a Vampire if he/she lost life.
(The other way was as far I remember not possible)
Specials did not stop when stunned or plexed which angered many Kahedan monks.

Back to topic.
Beeing Minstrel myself I find reaching August Doctor of Music, beeing very very hard.
No idea if ten links is worse, but it takes a long time nowadays to get to the top ranks in Minstrels.
So far Mim has not, but hasn't been very active to do so.
As an explorer, you have done enough to retire.

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