Discuss 2021 Roadmap information Mentioned

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by majoria70, Jan 12, 2021 at 3:27 AM.

  1. majoria70

    majoria70 Avatar

    Messages:
    9,919
    Likes Received:
    24,118
    Trophy Points:
    153
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    United States
    Hello Fellow Avatars. I'm obliged to discuss the possible roadmap focus mentioned for this upcoming year. I know we could possibly get many things we are all wanting but I am not in agreement to all of the focus I've heard mentioned as most important. So here goes. Please post and discuss your thoughts as well in a kindly constructive manner. Happy New Year to all.

    So what I hear will be the focus for 2021 are:
    Bugs, performance, and balance and whatever else makes it in.

    Ok now performance and bugs should be ongoing as is possible. Total combat balance I disagree with and here is why.

    So most of us have played many games of many types. Most have combat and are completed games except some may have an expansion once in a while, but many do not and we still play them if we like them. So here is my complaint on balance as a focus:

    1-Constant balancing is a ton of work that takes away from many missing things getting fixed or added to this game and it upsets players who are used to working with what we have.

    -As in most games there is no perfect balance to combat or anything else and we learn to work with what we have.
    - We for example might get different armor, or drink potions, try different weapons, or try different strategies the game offers. Its part of the challenge and can be a lot of fun to some.
    - We do not say lets change it. We work with it.

    *** I have a big complaint with combat being the focus of upcoming work for this game. We don't need to keep working on it. Let's move on and occasionally tweak if absolutely necessary but let us as players strategize and learn to play our game and characters as is without constant changes. It is disturbing.

    **** Complaining about this and that constant changes to combat balance is perhaps one group of players who play the game with combat as their main focus.

    That is not all of us.
    ***WE JUST DON'T CARE AS MUCH. We want more to our game that is still not getting done because of this focus.

    What about the recipe book that won't sort and makes you have to go to a table to sort to find out what is needed in it? That saga has gone on forever.

    What about the lack of achievements for everything we do?

    What about the measly amount of quests on what was suppose to be a nice story game also?

    We need more than combat tweaks to make an enjoyable game. For many of us we are missing goals, quests, reason to play that is interesting and that DOES NOT INVOLVE JUST COMBAT.

    When did this game decide to be a everything is centered around COMBAT game? I don't say to not have combat but it should not be all that counts or even the main thing that counts. Let us work it out with what we have in regards to combat. Stop messing with it so much.

    Where are the pvp quests that help you to earn points towards your pvp gear, titles that give buffs, and trophies?

    Where are the the crafting quests that give crafting supplies, recipes, or gear such as a cooks hat or apron that gives cooking bonuses and that doesn't involve combat?

    Where is the battle grounds to call to arms to do capture flag, battle ground quests, and a timed event that pops up on screen to teleport to? If not enough players form 2 factions or groups Have NPCs fight with you and make up the balance.

    What about our basics to fill all the areas of the game with things to do that involve adding quests and surprises to them so we want to visit. Plus an achievement system to taste every food, climb every mountain, cook every food, fight so many battles, craft everything and on and on?

    Now I know I have one opinion on focus and truly I want the whole game to succeed I really do. All aspects not just one. So join me in letting the devs know we have spoken. I am a player who has been with the game since the beginning waiting on so many things. Let us speak up and put our foot down if necessary.

    OK so Cheers everyone. Feel free to have your own thoughts and remember I want to be a something for everyone game but as it stands I don't hear much about the "everyone" included in upcoming plans.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Pictures are examples of more of some fun stuff missing but coming one day. Here's hoping. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021 at 3:34 AM
  2. oplek

    oplek Avatar

    Messages:
    1,149
    Likes Received:
    2,792
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    I tend to think this is not the right approach. They need to figure out what their core game is and focus on completing and polishing it. I can only really speak in these abstractions, but for anyone who's played a clear-versioned well-polished game, versus ones who aren't, should know what I mean. The premise of them trying to add in every little feature people ask for, is why we're where we are, among other things.

    They should axe whatever plans they had for the future, sit down and totally re-evaluate their direction.

    Do we really want them to add in naval battles or whatever, only for it to turn out like dungeons - an empty husk of a pointless mechanic that was developed only long enough to get store purchases, as it's primary goal? We were waiting on Lua integration so we could try to fix the game's outstanding problems... and how many years have we been waiting for it to be pushed past its most rudimentary level of integration, allowing for nothing more than stats mods?

    The line needs to be drawn in the sand to complete what's already here... to think about how it all works together, so the game can be greater than the sum of its parts, and not, somehow, less.
     
    arcdevil likes this.
  3. majoria70

    majoria70 Avatar

    Messages:
    9,919
    Likes Received:
    24,118
    Trophy Points:
    153
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    United States
    Yes I hear you. An achievement system was said to be coming in years ago. More basic Reasons to play this game never happened. Questers who followed Richard Garriott games never saw a game rich with lore and story. It was a stretched out disconnected game that doesn't tie it all altogether but yet will we see that happening anytime soon or ever? Is it even possible? So I'm not disagreeing with you and maybe we have some similar thoughts but I just want to see the game fill in the missing basics. Quests,dailies, achievements for all we do, and reason to visit every scene that is interesting and not all about combat and a new wave battle. Of course I mention popular systems because if the game sticks around for years it will probably get boating and treasure hunting which would be a huge draw to check out the game. Where it goes from there who knows. The games track record has not been to complete.
     
  4. oplek

    oplek Avatar

    Messages:
    1,149
    Likes Received:
    2,792
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    This is one of the things that the SOTA development is up against. It has a lot of competition, even on a per-theme basis.

    If I'm looking for an ocean-exploration game, there's Subnautica, which did it very well. If I'm in the mood for open-world zombie survival, there's 7 Days to Die (both of these are on Unity, I believe). If I'm in the mood for open-seas sailing and treasure maps, there's other games out there that have done it better (once SOTA has it). Not many people are in the mood to go to a restaurant that has 1000 mediocre food options, instead of 10 good ones.

    I compare dungeons to Mario Maker. Smart people over at Nintendo had to sit down, and think about what it was they were making, and how to see it through, to maximize its potential, to the point it resonated with people. That's difficult to do. Most attempts at games fail, but at least they try. It isn't about checking off an item on a list. Dungeons as they stand, sound like someone's fever dream, which they spent a few days working on, then moved onto something else. Like someone had an idea for a restaurant, and what we got was - you come in, sit down, and there's a pile of single-serve cereal boxes on a picnic table in middle of the room. There's a clip-on utility lamp clamped to the table so people can see what they're doing. And that's it. Successful restaurants are the ones who fussed over every detail of the patron's experience, and understood why they'd be there.

    So the question becomes, what will SOTA be good at, that you'd come here, instead of elsewhere?
     
  5. kaeshiva

    kaeshiva Avatar

    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    10,879
    Trophy Points:
    153
    Gender:
    Female
    I would just like clarity on what appears to be, Sota's identity crisis.
    Early on, it seemed that Sota was a game focused on building communities, thus the robust housing/decorating features, player towns, et cetera. We had recipe discovery and cooperation and sharing. With the changes to recipes (being obtained from combat) and the introduction of artifacts (being obtained from combat) and the changing, nerfing, whatevering of crafting to make it a non-viable gold-faucet, forcing crafters to rely again on combat, we've seen a slow migration toward combat as the end-all, do-all.

    Early on, that wasn't a big deal - nobody was "super high level" and it felt like you could go pretty much anywhere and get a reasonable return for your effort/time in terms of materials/loot acquirable. Nowadays, 90% of the game is a ghost town of "not worth visiting" and with the lack of lore, achievements, meaningful quests, etc. it has crossed the line into "not even worth exploring." The outskirts are a decent example of this - they were added and geared toward new players, however a lot of the repeatable collection quests were worth it for more seasoned players to go do to make coin - they are by far some of the most story rich areas and you can tell that they are designed with a purpose, to explore/participate in a narrative. But of course, it wouldn't do to let people make coin doing something casual and easy and fun - enter the nerfbat. Same thing happened to a lot of the cooperative crafting that was going on where you could actually make a few pennies per combine by processing goods! Oh no, can't have that! Its printing money!

    Bit by bit, we've seen all the activities of the game dilute down into there is 1 lucrative activity, and that is killing things - either mass killing trivial stuff for coin drops, or spamkillling/spawncamping bosses for raredrops. Even that was palatable for a while, when you saw your exp bar going up and your charater continuing to develop. Specializations curtailed that extensively, removing all 'lateral advancement', and the sheer expense of gearing a build with the millions of gold in combined artifacts required to keep up with the difficulty curve has further exacerbated this.

    Based on the changes I've seen in the last year, I'd have to say, Sota's identity is its a "combat game" that has some leftover housing/decorating stuff from its early days, and a few other half-finished systems like dungeons. As combat games go, I would say it is okay. The deck system is interesting, but balance is nonexistent - we see this with the same handful of effective builds over and over again despite years of adjustments. When you only have a few viable 'builds' you're no longer a classless system - you're a class system without labels plus a bunch of passive prereqs in other trees.

    In the beginning, Sota didn't feel like a 'combat game'. Killing stuff was something you could do for particular resources, but I spent far more time harvesting, crafting, decorating, doing social things, writing books, running events, roleplaying, acquiring stuff, organizing, completing quests, and exploring different scenes to see what was there. I spent a lot of time trying to find the best places to pick up deco (stealing props) or even stealing produce that was useful. Now half that stuff's been locked down and the rest has roving guards who stop you doing it. Why? What did that add to the player experience? Why was this necessary?

    Sota started out feeling like a sandbox, and every scene had something to offer, or at least, a reason to check it out and see what was there. Maybe you'd find some cool props you could pick up, at the very least. Or maybe you could relax and mine some ore to make some stuff - but we've seen that change too, with viable low level mining areas (such as owl's nest) being completely nerfed and new mines being added that have more monsters than nodes. Adjustments to respawns have made this even worse. You simply cannot play Sota anymore without worrying about 'fighting' - which points again to - this is a combat game. But the biggest irony is that for a combat game, killing stuff is pretty unrewarding and loot is probably the biggest disappointment of any MMO I've played in the last 20 years.

    Personally, I think we have enough combat. We have enough places to go fight things. We have enough systems too, that can be developed and fleshed out to a polished state. Crafting needs an absolute logic pass - half the recipes feel like they were made up on the spot with no thought whatsoever to material acquisition or relative rarity. While sure, treasure maps and naval battles and all that would be nice, lets fix the things we sorta have - like expanding the dungeon system to allow single mob placement perhaps of types other than the basic 4 lich/troll/kobold/elf. Let's get that NPC dialogue quest script / journal integration working. Maybe even link it to publishing books/papers that can start quests. These will allow players to create content for other players. Let's get the crafting UI and vendor interaction UI and journal UI looking like something a bit less 15-yrs ago. Let's get maps working and fluid and consider minimaps like you know, nearly every game has. Expand existing systems, particularly those that are part of the functional infrastructure of the game.

    Games have to evolve with their playerbases. We've seen a lot of older games from 10, 15 years ago modify systems to adapt to dwindling, more spread out, more casual populations with the influx of so many choices in the MMO market. Sota seems stuck on some unwavering absolutes that simply aren't suitable to a playerbase our size - such as a market system with vendors spread out in hundreds of locations, 90% of them abandoned, empty, or selling the same desperate piles of bric-a-brack. That would work if we had thousands of players, or if there weren't long, tedious scene transitions, it doesn't work with a few hundred. You simply cannot find anything you need. Players have come a long way toward circumventing this with market towns, but even with these shopping is a horrible chore. If 'economy' is meant to be one of the game's focuses, the buying-and-selling-of-goods experience should be a priority.

    Lastly - performance. Despite performance improvements being touted in the patch notes, I know the case for myself and for many is that it has been a slow and steady decline over the past years. Longer load screens, longer times to open containers, open vendors, access bank. Hitching and stuttering. One of the original computers we played Sota on in the early days wont even run the game at all anymore. I know a lot of this is down to limitations in Unity and there's only so much that can be done, but performance is probably THE most significant issue with player retention these days. Staring at load screens, or at slideshows is not fun, waiting for lots to load, waiting for items to load, tediously waiting for vendor to load over and over while you add items 1 at a time, etc. Add this to all of the 'waiting' built into gameplay (such as respawn times, progress bars, etc. etc.) and you realize that you've been playing a game for 4 hours and 3.5 of that you were sat waiting for something to happen.

    I personally, am glad that the focus of the roadmap is performance and fixes. It is sorely needed. Expanding half finished systems is sorely needed. I don't need to go kill another color of dragon that is bigger than the last one in another scene with a slightly different layout. I have enough places to kill things.
     
    arcdevil, Nick, Cirsee and 7 others like this.
  6. Bayard

    Bayard Bug Hunter

    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    1,510
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maryland
    I agree with most of Kaeshiva's post, but especially,
     
    Cirsee, Cordelayne, Scanphor and 3 others like this.
  7. GMDavros

    GMDavros Avatar

    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    386
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Agreed. However, instead we have Chris focusing on allowing PoT owners to change their biome. Probably an interesting thing to look at from his perspective, but why not instead bite the bullet and dig into revamping whatever structure exists for loot distribution. I'm sure it won't be fun (i've done it before for a game I ran years ago), but if you don't even attempt to address the rewards players get for their time you will continue to see your players spend their time elsewhere.

    Fenris
     
    macnlos, Cirsee, Luno and 1 other person like this.
  8. Sorgin Txakal

    Sorgin Txakal Avatar

    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    366
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Feel free to add or ammend your requests here:

    https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/2021-player-priorities.166815/

    Items will put put up for vote in early February after the next release, and hopefully spur some back and forth between people on what they think priorities should be for the devs as the votes continue.

    My goal is to create a Ranked list of the top player priorities for the devs to reference as they plan out their resource allocation for the rest of the year and beyond.

    As you can see from the post, there are more differences in priorities than available devs, I believe. I see forward progress being made with every patch and release, but unfortunately the reality is that dev time is limited and many people, including myself, keep arguing for more this or different that without a common community consensus on if that will make a large group of people, and incoming people, happy.
     
  9. Cirsee

    Cirsee Avatar

    Messages:
    446
    Likes Received:
    967
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Female
    I can agree with your statement, but I think people see your thread and are putting what they don't see already on the list rather than a top abbreviated 5 issues.
     
  10. Sorgin Txakal

    Sorgin Txakal Avatar

    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    366
    Trophy Points:
    18
    That's fine, the post I made is just an idea board and for general brainstorming. The good stuff will be when I turn it all into a poll that people can change their votes on for two weeks and then we can discuss (hopefully civilly) why some items should be a higher priority for the devs than others as people make up their minds and make compelling arguments. :oops:
     
  11. Superbitsandbob

    Superbitsandbob Avatar

    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    624
    Trophy Points:
    28
    The problem is that the combat is in the same place as the other mechanics you mention and needs as much work. I agree with your list of things you suggest for an update but apart from the deck system, pretty much every other combat system and mechanic needs a ton of work. If people are fed up of all the work on combat and feel it is getting all of the dev time then I'd like to know where all that work is going.

    Lack of reward is a big thing but there is also:

    A lack of interesting level design to promote interesting combat situations (with the exception of Myrkur maybe).

    Mob placement and mixture in scenes that make no sense and promote no tactical gameplay or interesting dungeon crawls.

    Mob design and placement in scenes purely because a lack of player power control means they cannot balance zones correctly. Scaling scenes would seem an open goal solution but this is another system that is slow to implement and unfinished for whatever reason. Some players have reached a point now though that it seems ridiculous zombies on steroids or plopping a Dragon on top of a load of other high level mobs that behave with no logic are seen as the answer to challenging content.

    A lack of logic in how the mechanics behave. What are the spawn timers? Do I have any idea how these mobs will logically behave if I try to pull and split them up to make the encounter easier. Do I have any abilities that will let me approach a group of mobs and allow me to control how many my group gets or have some control over the fight. Unfortunately the answer is generally no, just AOE everything down as quickly as possible. This is something that classic Everquest mastered 21 years ago.

    Wherever the focus is at the moment it doesn't seem to be helping the popularity of the game (although I would argue this is because whatever is getting implemented is generally unfinished rather than where the work is focused). A change of direction must have meant that where the development time was focused before also wasn't working and so I am not sure concentrating more time on the sim life stuff will help either. Maybe it will keep the people currently left happier? A Quest UI update is something that needs attention but will saying "We've updated our quest UI" attract new players?

    Rock and a hard place I guess. There are systems that need a rework but if that takes all of the resources for the next year with little to no work elsewhere then I don't see the game being better off this time next year. I guess tings like UI work could be outsourced to someone experienced in that area but is there any money for it?
     
  12. kaeshiva

    kaeshiva Avatar

    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    10,879
    Trophy Points:
    153
    Gender:
    Female

    Oh, I completely agree that the combat systems are in an equal state - and you do a great job of explaining some of the issues.
    But this isn't where we're seeing the work going.
    We aren't seeing logic added to mob behavior, or cleanup of random scattergun mobs in scenes, or pathing improvements, or any of that. Instead, we are seeing a constant pendulum of nerf and renerf of abilities that has done nothing to fundamentally change the optimal builds for scene clearing. There has been some scene uncloning, and some new scenes built, but they still suffer from the same strange let's-fight-undead-and-bears-and-spiders-and-wolves-and-more-undead-and-OH-howabout-a-random-group-of-elves. Players continue to sit at Eastreach gap which has the highest spawn rate and density and thus the highest exp return.

    I guess that despite all the problems with combat, it is at least, functionally complete. You can learn skills, you can equip abilities, you can kill things, and they die and have loot tables (albeit questionable ones) and reward experience (albeit with no sort of balance or plan in the values). And there are literally hundreds of places to go and do this. There are some weird mob behaviors and leashing and stuff, or getting cover from a blade of grass, that sort of thing, but I don't see some of the problems I see in other unity games - i.e. mobs standing there immortal, mobs randomly disappearing, loot not dropping, etc. The actual skill executions, while some are pointless or dubious, all seem to be functional - press button, execution animation, effect applied. It "works."

    This is what I mean by Sota's identity crisis.
    If Sota wants to be a combat game, there's plenty of work it can do to improve and streamline combat. The improvements to underutilised skills and skill trees would take months (years). I'm absolutely not disputing that.

    But as a combat game, Sota just isn't that special. It used to be completely free and classless with endless lateral growth, which was cool, but with all the skill use concurrency limitations, and the addition of specializations which essentially function as classes - after you play a while you realize there's only a half dozen viable setups - so you choose one of those and grind it, then grind/buy millions in gold to afford all the artifacts so it can function in new areas. We could spend the next several years trying to make combat better from a functional, aesthetic, and balance point of view, and coming up with mob mechanics that aren't completely game-able by outrunning the animation and so on and so forth...but as a main selling point to play the game, I don't think combat is the answer.

    I think where Sota offers something unique that you can't get elsewhere are in systems outside combat. In almost every game ever I can level up, get gear, and kill bigger things. In most games, its much better done. That can be down to various reasons - engine used, available budget, etc. - I think what Sota has managed to achieve with unity and a small team is actually pretty impressive. But comparing that to what's out there, combat simply is not the key selling point.

    If it were me, I'd say, put a pin in it for a bit - keep an eye on emerging trends outright exploits and yes, by all means buff underutilised skills. This is changing-a-value not complete-rework activity. But other than that, leave it, and concentrate on expanding some of the systems that other games don't offer at all or don't offer as well. At the moment we're focusing on building an "okayish" combat game and trying to pay for it by selling clothes and decorations and stuff to players who, quite often, have little interest in combat and resent that every activity in the game must be funded by it or is designed to support it.
     
    Elwyn, Anpu, Cordelayne and 2 others like this.
  13. Superbitsandbob

    Superbitsandbob Avatar

    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    624
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I think a big issue is that in comparison to other similar games, this ones non combat features are tied too closely to the cash shop. Why can we chop wood and mine ore but not build a house? We get a free one, but why not build it. Why can we make certain items but not others. Why can I tame a horse as a mount but not breed them. If we ever see boats will they be buildable or buyable.

    SOTA has a couple of competitors that far outstretch it on the detail in the sim life non combat feature front. They are more focused on time investment but with a opt in/out subscription service and in game currency sales where SOTA is focused on the deep pockets of a limited player base.
     
    arcdevil and Cordelayne like this.