Attunement is a good idea gone terribly wrong.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Aetrion, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. Aetrion

    Aetrion Avatar

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    Attunement is a system that really bothers me in Shroud, because it's a great idea in theory, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

    The general idea behind attunement is pretty good, if you dedicate yourself to a form of magic and study it in depth you become better at it than someone who just cherrypicks abilities from all over. I like that part, because I like the idea of characters following a career path instead of just being mary sues who are blandly competent at everything.

    The reality of attunement is very different though. You can't actually reach a particularly high attunement through training. The exponential XP cost and having to raise 10 whole skills to pull natural attunement up makes it prohibitively time consuming to raise natural attunement past 120, or 140 with spec. Some people might be able to pull it off, but that's an extreme minority, and not the rule. Some magic schools have spells that raise attunement, which let you climb a bit higher if you keep them active. Ultimately though, it's only through gear that you can reach a particularly high attunement. That takes the identity of a character away and turns it into just another outfit, which as far as I'm concerned is a deadly sin of RPG design.

    What's worse is that the biggest bonuses to attunement are always tied to the exact same items. Every character that is supposed to be specialized in any particular form of magic has to use the exact set of artifacts that go with it or be second rate. This goes back to something else I've written a thread about (Some Artifacts are way too rare for how build defining they are.), artifacts are being used to define builds rather than just letting people build the character they want from the actual skill trees.

    In a game that should be all about freedom to build the character you want to play you're instead forced into picking a single school of magic, and equipping a predetermined set of gear to make your character good at it. This is a massive failure of letting people be who they want to be in the game. Dedication isn't rewarded, a big wardrobe is. Unique builds aren't encouraged, using a single school with a cookie cutter loadout is.

    One of the biggest weaknesses of this game is that character building in Shroud is boring. At first glance it looks like a very interesting system with tons of opportunities to build a unique and interesting character, but you very quickly realize that the skill system does very little to define characters, and constantly pushes you toward generalization through the exponential cost of individual skills as opposed to overall advancement. Meanwhile the gear system is what determines what any character is actually good at at any given time, but gear can be swapped out with a single button, and even there you're not really allowed to make choices, but end up having to just follow a list of best in slot items if you don't want to be second rate.

    The specialization system also fails to alleviate this problem, because it doesn't encourage people to make a character that combines two different skill trees. That would produce a multiplicative effect where people would pick two of the 16 primary skill groups and would wind up with 240 possible character combinations. Instead you pick one of the primary skill groups and use the second specialization on whatever compliments it the best, which often ends up being a strategy group. Missed opportunity for something cool.

    Attunement is in a similar place, it could be a system that encourages people to go deep into a tree, actually dedicate themselves, and reap the rewards, but instead it's very easy to get all attunements to 80-100, so the amount of attunement you get for dedicating yourself to a tree isn't all that high.

    It's fine to have equipment that increases the power of spells, but equipment shouldn't be the primary determinant of what spells you're actually able to use. Artifacts shouldn't constantly butt in and replace character building, depriving us of interesting choices and actual identities for our characters. Attunement should be a pool of points that allows you to weight different schools of magic to set what your character is proficient with. Artifacts could still exist to change the weighting, in case you want to play a generalist who uses focus items to adapt to their current needs, but it should be perfectly possible to be a natural specialist who can use whatever equipment they want to cast their chosen schools of magic.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
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  2. Barugon

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    While I very much agree that equipment plays way to critical of a roll in this game, I just want to point out that my air attunement is 160 without any special gear and I certainly don't consider myself an outlier.
     
  3. Aetrion

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    If that's your attunement with Shield of Air that's not unusual, you're right. But if that's your attunement without shield of air that would mean you've spent in the neighborhood of a billion XP on air magic. Air magic also seems to be the cheapest of all magic schools to raise for some reason, with all of its skills only being a 1x and all of its innates only being a 2x.
     
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  4. Barugon

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    All shield spells give a like attunement bonus.
     
  5. Aetrion

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    Not all magic schools have a shield spell.
     
  6. Barugon

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    I didn't say they did. Just pointing out that to say getting 140 attunement is only for the "extreme minority" is not really true. If there's a specific magic tree that you want to point out then do so and don't generalize.
     
  7. Ken Parallax

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    1) Being second rate is ok.
    2) When I think of powerful wizards I think of crazy old men who have devoted a lifetime to their practice
    3) If you aren't cut out for it you might want to study tactics
     
  8. Vladamir Begemot

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    Terribly wrong, I think is perhaps exxagerated.

    A bit flat seems more appropriate.

    Does attunement get anyone super excited? Probably not.

    Does it spawn great debates on how to best use it? I haven't seen those.

    Is it something (before the warding skill) that one had a choice to not have in PvP? No. I'm not sure how well Warding is working, but that might still be the case.

    It seems like it is a thing on a thing. Not very exciting, but something you need to pile on higher to keep getting bigger.

    In the early days, wasn't attunement an either or thing? You couldn't be attunened as both life and death.

    I wonder why that was yanked? From an interesting choices persepective, that is a win.

    Anyway, I have no answers to this one, but as with all things game related, increase interactivity and choice, and you are going in the right direction.
     
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  9. Girlsname

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    https://sotacalc.com/pages/sota_attunement_optimizer.php

    (Sotacalc.com was created by @Mimner its a wonderful tool):)

    Oh yeah, Gust is .5 —

    TIL: Air is the cheapest tree, while death is the highest!
     
  10. the Lacedaemonian

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    Attunement needs a rework in some aspect, possibly even tangential (tweak the formulas to allow for a higher-target maximum attunement achievable with current equipment and skills). I say this, not out of blanket agreement with any one other person's opinions on the matter, rather, the system of attunement has always felt rather secondary when it could become one of the most important attributes a player-character possesses.

    What I mean by this, is to offer the idea that Attunement can be a second form of "specialization", or rather, a second tier to specialization. One that is the "true" specialization. Attunement can be reworked to allow/provide-for exactly ONE tree of magic to become 300-ish attunement at extreme cost. Lessened effectiveness in other circles, would be a bad idea in PVP where you currently need to be very flexible, and would require only 2x experience to level. This would be a good idea so that leveling beyond 120 is not so painful that it is untenable to expect to achieve 140, or beyond. This new skill should have an interesting secondary effect, possibly a negative aspect as well while active. It should have a middling time of duration, say 5 minutes at 100 skill. This would permit you to opt for using it and not be burdened by recasting too frequently. This would allow a player-character to be "specialized" if they so choose.

    Player classes means something in RPGs, NOT being able to do a certain task is the hallmark feature of Role Playing Games. Being able to do EVERYTHING YOURSELF in an MMO is just poor vision, if implemented. And we all know that is what we have, an MMO, not a singleplayer game, bereft of intelligent vision. It isn't too late to correct that. Hindsight is 20/20, so they say.
     
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  11. Barugon

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    It also turns out that Gust is super useful.
     
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  12. Barugon

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    I think that specialization should contribute more to attunement and gear should contribute less.
     
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  13. Superbitsandbob

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    Can you detail what issues in the game this is causing you? I think the game has many problems, especially if you are an adventurer with no interest in crafting and fairy wings, but I don't recognise the issue you are having through actual gameplay.

    As an experiment I just did a UT run and nerfed my attunement to 137, basically no attunement equipment. Int was 165. 100 Life attunement with no spec to keep myself alive. My deck was a mix of 4 different skill trees. I went through it as normal except for the fact that it took a bit longer, and it was mostly noticeable on the last wave. I also visited the Tartarus zombies and the result was mostly the same, effective but slower. This seems to debunk your theory, which you seem to have a bit of an obsession with, about how defining artifacts are to a build and also how important attunement is past a certain point.

    The majority of the game currently isn't built around the power of the artifacts, but getting yourself to around a 120+ attunement as a mage. There are some tough encounters and they seem to be adding a couple more but this is still the minority.

    I think at this point I would ask you to provide some numbers to back up your theory.
     
  14. Steevodeevo

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    Would it help if attunement boosted damage dealing in that tree incrementally, as a separate bonus from specialisation as you raise it? If so multiple schools and levels of attunement become relevant to builds. To explain but keeping it basic (for my sake) ... lets say I am basically a melee build but I have, over time, increased my Earth attunement from 50 to 100. If this were to increase my Earth school damage dealing glyphs incrementally by several percentage points (relating to a 50% increase over time of my earth attunement it would raise my awareness and interest in attunement.

    I may be wrong but my understanding is Specialisation (only) increases damage dealing or duration of effects in that tree (and reduces in the opposite tree). And of course we can only have one learning and one maintaining. I understand (again I could be wrong) that Attunement only improves resists against mobs using that school against you.

    As a result I find looking at my attunement levels and considering nurturing them uninspiring. If attunement did apply a multiplier to dps in its respective class as it grows, I would seriously consider experimenting with other hybrid builds and seeing what I could do with reaisngf attunements in a more focused way.

    More to the point anyway, I do agree that there is too much focus on gear as a means of increasing attunement rather than character 'learning' which then brings into question the lack of ranges and types of gear available to do it (crafted vs artefact, armour, weapons, jewellery, backslot, belt) as @Aetrion says.
     
  15. Aetrion

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    I was specifically talking about natural attunement, unmodified by any spells or equipment. I even mentioned the attunement boosting spells creating an exception to the number in the sentence directly after the one with the 140 figure. If you think someone made a mistake ask them to clarify before lecturing them. It lets them look better if they made a mistake, and it lets you look better if you made a mistake.

    Well, that's exactly why it bothers me that how you dress is more important than how much you practice in SOTA.

    I was thinking about something along those lines, but you shouldn't have to confine yourself to a single school. You should at least be able to have two so that by the multiplicative property you get a huge number of possible combinations. It also kind of puts actual mages into question, because when you look at, an archer for example, they wouldn't bat an eyelid at ditching all other magic to get a +100 dex Air's Embrace. On the other hand an actual air mage would feel the weight of having all their other spells reduced.

    I do like the idea of attunement being a limited resource you need to allocate, But there needs to be a way to actually build a useful mage character too. That doesn't necessarily mean being able to cast all the spells, but robes and staves need to have a point.

    I don't see how you're debunking anything. Yes, it's relatively easy in SOTA to make a character that can outheal most encounters by themselves, and consequently win even if their damage is extremely low. Only the bosses tend to have a built in DPS check in the form of heavy regeneration. The real question you should be asking isn't whether or not it's possible to slowroll any given encounter, it's: Is this fun, quality gameplay?

    A fight you can't lose because you can permanently kite/outheal all incoming damage combined with bullet sponge enemies that take a long time to go down if your damage isn't super jacked sounds like weapons grade boredomium to me.

    Also if you PvP with middling damage you will simply not pass the DPS check players present.

    Specialization gives you a small bonus to your attunement and unlocks a mastery effect on active skills that improves them in some way (For example, the more Life Specialization you have the lower the cast time of healing spells becomes.). Attunement actually does increase the damage of spells, and is the most significant factor in how much damage they deal. It does provide resistance as well, but it basically functions as any given magic school's weapon skill. With low attunement your damage is unimpressive, with extreme attunements your damage can become absurd. You basically have to have high attunement to do damage that isn't sleep inducingly low as a mage, and stand any chance of outdamaging people's healing with magic in PvP.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
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  16. Superbitsandbob

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    Well now you are arguing something else.

    Your point was that artifacts contribute too much to a players attunement and this is provably false unless you absolutely have to solo everything. You state a character is only second rate until you add attunement increasing artifacts and this is provably false. You state that you can't actually reach a particularly high attunement through training and that is provably false for the majority of content in the game. Your attunement without artifacts is fine. You talk about having to confine yourself to a single school and this is provably false. This may become an issue as harder content is added and then yes, they will need to find a way for the average player to do more damage.

    As for whether it's fun. Well removing the artifacts from the game wouldn't make it any more fun. It didn't for me, just slower. Kiting is pretty much a tactic in some form in most MMO's and most RPG'S for that matter.

    Your post is theory at best and bitter crafter or I want all the best stuff but can't get it at worst unless you can provide some data to back up your posts.
     
  17. Aetrion

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    You haven't proven anything false, you've just asserted your own criteria by which to judge if attunement is fine, concluded that it is (by your own criteria), and then declared you've somehow proven your point. All you've actually done is state an opinion. It's fine if your opinion is different than mine, but neither of us have actually proven anything, nor can we. I'm just giving feedback about my subjective experience with the game and what could be changed to make it more enjoyable. You can say you already find it enjoyable as it is, but you can't prove to me that I'm actually having fun when I'm not, any more than I can prove to you that you're not having fun when you are.

    I'm simply stating that I would have more fun with the game if I could inflict more damage as a mage without having to rely on a specific set of artifacts to boost attunement to a specific school. I don't like overdependence on gear, I don't like the being pigeonholed into specific equipment, and I don't like how much less damage you do if you choose not to run that equipment.

    You can't prove me wrong on those things. You can say you don't see an issue with any of it, OK, I can't prove you wrong on that either. What I can do is say that if the devs want keep more players in the game they can learn more from people who are telling them what they don't find fun than from people who are already having fun.
     
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  18. kaeshiva

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    Its always bothered me that as a mage, you can only really dedicate to one element, and its almost impossible to make a dynamic deck out of a single element due to insufficient glyphs, even with specialisation. This is because most of your attunement comes from gear.

    My naked earth attunement is 148.
    Geared earth attunement is 227.1 (using standard crafted ring, could get more from arti)
    Geared/buffed is 256.2.

    My other specialization is sitting at 152 (+10 of this is from warlock chain).
    At 152 attunement, anything cast from that tree is pretty unimpressive.
    Splitting the attunement from gear across both schools doesn't really work, just makes everything more mediocre.

    If every magical school had a couple more low cost spells (like the fist/arrow type) it would alleviate this somewhat (since you could dedicate to a single element) but I don't see that on the horizon. So, you have to mix in non-optimized spells to meet minimum deck size.
    Unless we can start putting multiple gems in gear, there's simply no way to get two different magic schools to an effective level.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
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  19. Superbitsandbob

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    Well I have gone into the game and given you actual data and proven that you don't need expensive artifacts to build a good character. You have said artifacts give you too much attunement in comparison to what your character can achieve, which is definitely false, not only from just playing the game and testing but also that most of my fire attunement from items comes from player made wands. None of this is an opinion, it's comes from real world gameplay that anyone can test. I have a total of 20 attunement from artifacts out of a total of 208.

    You can have an opinion on how much damage you think you should be doing or want to do, that's your opinion, but it is provable just from a bit of testing in the game that you do not need a specific set of artifacts to do enough damage to do most of the current content.

    Honestly it seems as though you just have an unfounded issue with artifacts and are unhappy with the damage you are doing.
     
  20. Aetrion

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    Do you understand that "a good character" is entirely subjective? What you find to be a good character other people might consider a tedious snorefest. The fact that you can complete content with a tedious snorefest character does not somehow make it fun for those people to play one.
     
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