The Grind Cycle

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by redfish, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    A lot of people have started discussions about grinding lately, and what would reduce the feeling that the game is overly grindy, or make grinding more tolerable.

    One of the things that have made the discussions always frustrating for me is that I think people are always blaming the wrong things, and are often suggesting things that will make the game more grindy, not less grindy in the end. Part of this is because we're all as players coming to different expectations of how the game should work, comparing to other games we think work better, or holding grievances about things in the game that annoy us.

    But I've thought it might be useful if we could actually break down what's happening gameplay to its different parts, so we could discuss them better, and discuss their effect on grinding.

    This is a basic model of the 'grind cycle' --

    [​IMG]

    First, to define the terms used here.

    GOAL.
    This is the initial goal that the player has. This can be really broad and open-ended, but can include things like,
    - Complete a quest,
    - Craft a piece of gear,
    - Get to a certain level of game-play,
    - Get to a certain level of competitiveness.

    REQUIREMENT.
    This is what is needed to complete the goal. It can include things like,
    - Complete the quest chain,
    - Collect the crafting ingredients,
    - Achieve a certain level of XP.

    ACTIVITY.
    This is a single activity that has the incentives to complete the requirement. It can include things like,
    - Go through a series of conversations,
    - Go to a scene and farm ingredients,
    - Go to a scene and farm XP.

    INCENTIVES.
    These are the incentives the activity gives to complete the requirement. It can include things like,
    - High raw material yield,
    - High yield in gear and consumables as rewards,
    - High XP yield.

    PROCESS.
    This is the process of the activity. This may involve,
    - Fighting,
    - Harvesting,
    - Crafting,
    - Exploring,
    - Solving puzzles.

    LIMITERS.
    These are things that limit your ability to engage in or repeat the activity in some way. It would include things like,
    - Needs to repair gear,
    - XP attenuation,
    - Weight carry limitations,
    - Food requirements,
    - Healing requirements,
    - Gear requirements like arrows, reagents,
    - Difficulty of combat and penalty to repeatedly dying,
    - Spawn times,
    - Activity time requirements,
    - Travel requirements.

    Now, in the actual course of game-play, the limiters might become goals themselves, which have their own requirements, so a cycle of game-play might look like this --

    [​IMG]

    To analyze the effect on making a grindy game and ways on ways to reduce this, lets go through each category one by one.

    GOAL.
    This has an effect on grinding to the extent that goals that require a lot of activity seem arbitrarily forced by game-play, rather than a product of freedom and choice.

    So, if you have to be at a certain level of game-play to enjoy content, this forces you into the activity of grinding to get to that level so you can enjoy the game. So, for example, if basic-level quests require you to kill Tier-5 monsters to move on with the story, or if group content in multiplayer seems to force you to go into a Tier-5 zone to find good party activities, or if harvesting for basic crafting requires you to put yourself at risk in a Tier-5 zone. That basically says you have to "grind to continue."

    REQUIREMENT.
    This has an effect on grinding if the requirements are too onerous for the benefits of what you're trying to achieve, but not if they're a perfect challenge for those benefits.

    So, for instance, if you want to craft a sword, and it requires 500 ingots. Or if you want to keep a house, and it has an upkeep of 1,000 gold per day. The amount of the requirement is not a problem if its reasonable for the goal, and this varies for the goal. So, farming a whole field of cotton should be a pain in the butt, but you shouldn't be required to farm a whole field of cotton just to make a cloth hood; you should need to farm a whole field of cotton if you want to make 1,000 cloth hoods. Also, gathering a lot of granite for a town wall isn't a big deal, because a town wall only needs to be completed once, and the need for materials actually creates new goals for you, and more game-play for you. While gathering a lot of ore for a sword is a big deal, because swords have durability and you need to create them over and over when they break.

    To the degree that a game might exaggerate the importance of adventurer level, skill level, or gear level, this might also feel like an onerous requirement game-play, although its proper that they do have some importance, because that helps create game-play.

    ACTIVITY.
    This has an effect on grinding if the activity is very limited in nature, because to the extent that you feel you need to repeat it, you feel you're doing the same thing over and over again.

    So, small scenes might feel a lot more limited than big scenes because they're extremely confined, and scenes where enemies are easy picking, like picking fruit off the ground, feel a lot more limited than scenes where you have to make some effort to seek out enemies, like picking fruit off a tree.

    INCENTIVES.
    This has an effect on grinding if the incentives are very limited to a single activity and not to many activities.

    So, for example, if one scene is 100x better for earning XP, or 100x better for harvesting wood, than every other scene, you feel forced into the same scene over and over. Ideally, you should have at least more than one scene to go to, and basic (not exotic) goals should be achievable for everyone within their region of the map, so they don't feel they have to trot across the map to get XP or wood. Some regions might be better than others in achieving the basic goals, but as long as its balanced so that staying in the region is advantageous over traveling and going to get a marginally better output, its all fine in the end, because one scene isn't overly incentivized.

    With more exotic goals, on the other hand, its good that there might be some travel or may be limited to a fewer amount of scenes -- since this might be balanced by participating in the player economy, because playing the economic game after all is an alternative activity to harvesting things yourself, or by PvP, because that's also an alternative activity. The player also shouldn't feel forced into feeling that going out and farming things is necessarily the best and only desirable way to achieve a goal.

    With this in mind, mechanics for the player-to-player economy could also be improved to increase economic cooperation and a lot of things are good to that end. Regional economies are good for this end. So is encouraging player specialization, because it means there are blacksmiths, bowyers, etc., instead of just "junk vendors" that sell random items. What you want the game to function like is that if you can't find a certain shield you want, you can stop by a player blacksmith, and drop him a note asking him to make you that shield for you. The next time your shield breaks and you stop by, he might even have this shield prepared for you, so you don't have to ask him. Shop advertisement through things like functional bulletin board systems would also help. The point is that making the player-to-player economy function in that worked for the needs of the game-play would reduce the feeling that you have to engage in one activity -- harvesting. It also has the advantage of decreasing the need that you might feel "forced" into going into a PvP zone, might there ever be special things in PvP zones.

    It would also be good if there were more areas which incentivized grouping between high-level and low-level players. This is a big part of the reason why people like Upper Tears, not necessarily because of the yield or because how fast the res-pawns are. This gives you more options for different types of activities.

    PvP content that mattered to the game world and yielding things you could get through other means such as farming or playing the market, would also create another activity to achieve the same incentives.

    PROCESS.
    This has an effect on grinding if the process is either mindless and boring, or too punishingly difficult.

    Double-clicking nodes, mobs, or UI repetitively is mindless and boring, and having to scrape your way back from death after jumping 0.5s too late and having your pinky toe touch some lava is too punishingly difficult.

    Mini-games or some type of interactive game process are preferable to double-clicking nodes, needing tactics in combat are better than just building up skills and mashing keys or double-clicking enemies, seeking out enemies is better than having them just pop up everywhere in front of you, and traps and such that can be managed and avoided with realistic expectations are better than "gotcha" traps that you can't escape from.

    LIMITERS.
    These have a negative effect on grinding only if they're more repetitive and more onerous than the activity you're participating in. Otherwise, they can have a positive effect by breaking up repetitive and mindless behavior and creating more variety and options in game-play.

    An example of a negative effect is if you have to go to town every 5 minutes to repair gear or drop off loot, because that becomes tedious and onerous. But if you have to go to town every 30 to 60 minutes, that actually can get you out of farming the same scene for 2 hours or more, and create more variety in game-play and more interesting game-play.

    The negative effect is further mitigated and the positive effect is further increased if there are ways to plan ahead and prepare for your game session. So, for example, if you carry a repair kit, it delays the time you need to go to town, or if you carry more than one piece of food, it delays the time you feel you need to go to town. This is good both because it gives you an extra margin of error for your personal needs, but also the aspect of planning and preparation is an interesting aspect of game-play on its own right, rather than being mindless.

    As far as things that generally slow down farming time, whether it means needing to return to town, or waiting for re-spawns, stress should go on how much more enjoyable it is to go around in a scene and explore it, or go to multiple scenes, if you can; and how whenever one player gets a high yield or spawn time, all the other players also have it, so you end up competing with every other player. This drives prices down, crafting requirements up, increases requirements to compete with players all around. It creates endless pressures to enter more grind cycles, it makes them harder and more tedious because the requirements are higher, and makes the benefits of doing the grind feel smaller. It also removes all incentives to go and do other things, rather than stay in the same scene for two hours. So when people ask for things to be faster, replenish quicker, and to have less player limits, it ends up making the game more grindy, not less grindy. More tedious, not less tedious.

    I have to stress this, because its often a scapegoat for games being grindy, and I feel its a red herring in so far as improving game design goes, because the effects of what people are asking for are counter-intuitive to what they want.

    That's not to say these things never are a problem. So, yes, I admitted if they're more too repetitive or onerous than the primary activity, they become a problem. However, they rarely are. You can travel the map in a few minutes, you can fill your backpack with ore for two hours, you can fill your backpack with near weightless repair kits, so you don't have to go back to repair your gear, you can avoid eating food or carrying potions or using reagents all together. And in fact, one of the problems I feel is going on is that they're too optional and easy, which avoids the positive effects from these limiters on grindiness.

    Of course, there are other problems -- all described above -- which do make the game grindy, and increase the degree that people might feel annoyed by these limiters. You might feel you need to gather ore for 2 hours because its necessary to make a simple sword, or grind for XP days on end just to compete with other players, or might feel there's only a single scene, across the map from where you live, that is suitable for some basic need, or might find it impossible to find some piece of gear from a player vendor so have to grind it out and create it yourself. However, rather than scapegoating these role-playing limitations and focusing attention on things that make the game more varied, more complex, and more interesting, we should fix the actual problems that make the game grindy in the first place.
     
  2. Fauxpas

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    good job putting that together!

    your conclusion escaped me though.
     
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  3. SmokerKGB

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    I don't understand it either, but it is well written...

    I would rather see something more simple, a straighter line of progression... Right now, you only gain exp when the critter dies, and you use exp for each swing of your weapon, often times using far more exp than gained (that's why the pool is always depleting and you need a 10k boost)... I think you should gain exp with each swing/kill and when a threshold is reached. you get a skill gain (which uses X amount of exp, progressing as the scenes progress)... Not an exponent of X, but a percentage increase, I that alone would cut grinding a great deal... Also someone needs to figure an algorithm, so that a bell curve is created, so High level players don't just stay in lower scenes or they don't shoot right into upper scenes... Players may want to find the sweet spot and ride the top to a faster progression...

    All the scenes aren't equal, all tier 3 aren't equal to other tier 3, I think this happened because all the scenes weren't created all at the same time, and as such the newer scenes were created with newest ideas, and the older scenes haven't been revisited... Each tier scene should have more difficulty and have more rewards than the previous scene... I haven't seen getting any more loot/resources (at least not to any great degree) progressing to the next more difficult scene, I think there should be a great increase to both loot/resources possibly 2x, 3x, 4x 5x as much... The only things I've seen are loot bundles/artifacts which are random, the base loot is all the same...

    I think if they applied this theory, it might cut out a lot of the grind...
     
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  4. KuBaTRiZeS

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    What makes a game grindy is not the difficulty in completing a task, but the fact that you need to perform that task many times to achieve an specific goal, be it personal or game specific.

    Reducing difficulty or limiters presence in tasks wouldn't make the game less grindy but actually increase the grindyness since you'd require less time to complete a task, thus performing more cycles during a game session.

    What's needed to make the game less grindy is to diversify the limiters and incentives so they actually build into the gameplay experience instead of being entirely optional and/or too gamey. In the same way, processes should be reworked so they're more engaging instead of repetitively simple.
     
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  5. Toadster

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    is it fun?

    that is my only question and only expectation out of a game. Right now once you reach a certain level the content does not support multiple paths for accomplishing additional advancement. Therefore you have the one and only scene right now being used for advancement. this too me is the grind, constantly doing the same scene in order to advance your characters because there are no alternatives that can reward players in the same manner.

    For crafting the grind comes from the astronomical resource costs to create items. this is compounded by the slow gains to advance resulting in hours of tedious gather for small steps through the skill.

    My answer would be to lower resource costs for production, and increase the number of scenes similar to the current. most popular scene. give alternatives to mining and gathering through raiding certain NPC areas and stealing the ore/resources from kobolds or elves.
     
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  6. Stundorn

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    Because it feels so repetetive i dont grind, although i like the Combat System, but fighting for 2 hours in circles is enough for me.
    What annoys me is that to play like i want to play i need to be competetive.
    Therefore i like the Sea of Thieves concept so much, i know it's not comparable or a real MMORPG, but a even playing field pvp sandbox. Great, but also there i dont grind , i'm far away of level 50/50/50 (3 factions) to become a Pirate Legend, but it doesnt matter, i can compete and play there from day one with those who played quadrilions of hours, it's just horizontal progression.
    What you grind is cosmetics , what is cool and sure an incentive to do. What i dont mind grinding is materials or reputation things that dont effect my RPvP style to play MMORPG's
    UO, SWG, Legends of Aria is a grind to the max or the 600 or 700 points (depends on Server , iirc it's 600 and 700 for the Legends of Ultima community Server) and thats it, you then grind mats, grind rep, grind for having restock when you was looted....
    If this is made the way thst to be prepared to do something in this pvp sandbox doesnt take longer than to have the fun part it's all good.
    Vanilla Darkfall was wrong about this.
    To be prepared and have enough restock for dying and beeing looted it took many hours to just have a set of scale armor.
    It took me a week to be well prepared to do a Siege and if it goes bad you lost all within 5 Minutes. Fun was over, restock of a week was gone. Maybe a little bit exxagerated here, but that was the feeling i remember from it.
    It should be the other way round.
    Grind 2 hours to be well prepared to have 5hours of fun while doing a Siege.
    If you loose, you had 2 hours of "effort " for 5 hours of fun.
    Because it's a game and not work.

    Dont know how it say's in english:
    I dont live to work, i work to live.
     
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  7. Barugon

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    I don't grind either. I also don't PvP in SotA. With that said, though, I might engage in some of the new PvP scenes where they're implementing no-loot and level caps.
     
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  8. Stundorn

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    i believe i'm heavily misunderstood in many cases because few RP'ers do PVP, most think RP= non-PVP at all, IF SotA would be pure PvE and would not have any PVP Scenes what are also important to RP because of Lore (you know Ruins and Shardfalls) i would be somewhat calmer and just find some people to fit with aka people like in @Time Lord group of self restricting Roleplayers, who self restrict to have a deeper RP Syytem.
    Why we have that, yeah because what we have is a little bit anti RP, but great for progress and min maxing players - said without any rating.
    Thing is i allways believed and many poeple still say @Lord British is the man for RP-PVP like it was in Ultima!
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
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  9. Barugon

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    Perhaps they'll make it so that you can set your PvP town or basement to use the new no loot and/or level cap rules. That would definitely open up a lot of possibilities.
     
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  10. FrostII

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    I agree 100% @Toadster ;)
     
  11. Jefe

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    So on the mini-games front, you have to think long term. While introduction of a mini-game for crafting/harvesting may bring something that appears new and exciting to the table, how long will the player view it as new and exciting?

    Example, right now mining ore/gems/ash/granite/clay is an automated whack of the pick axe. If they introduced a Mini-game where it popped you into a first person view where you had to swing at cleavage points with a strength meter (speed of meter growth and swing adjusted by mining speed) and size of cleavage points controlled by base mining skill. Meticulous, when it occurred, would pop up new cleavage points when the originals were handled. Chances are it would slow down acquisition as you would have to aim at random elements on a harvestable node with probably obtaining the same yield as before. So while it might be cool to need to target and whack ore nodes at a specific location in almost quick time event fashion, would it become tedious when you've done that the 10,000th time?

    I'd assume a similar game for forestry. Just "weak points" at the sides of the trees.

    Foraging would be interesting because it will need to accommodate the harvest plants skill as well and affect agriculture. Maybe a whack-a-mole game where cotton, corn, whatever instances pop up. Should they go away after a while, thus introducing missed opportunities? Would that cause too much frustration, especially since it made agriculture a bit more difficult?

    Field dressing might be a click and drag game where you click and drag to cut with the knife. Problem is, you'd probably want, but not have haptic feedback available providing resistance as the knife cuts your harvest source. Basically resulting in performing click and drag in I beam shapes. If you go too fast then the knife skips and you need to start over (harvest speed affecting max knife cutting speed). Almost becoming like a game of operation.

    So, think about what a mini-game might be for each instance, think about if you wanna do that 10,000 times at the same node yield, and still consider it fun.
     
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  12. kaeshiva

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    @Jefe
    Have to agree here. While I think a mini-game might be applicable to say, the active gear crafting process whereby the player could influence the outcome (maybe as an alternative to the RNG!), adding whack-a-mole to harvesting would just add a layer of annoyance and tedium that we really don't need. The only way I can stomach mining/harvesting the immense amount of crap you need is because its fairly mindless and I can do it while playing another game in another window or watching netflix. If we are going to make me whackamole cleavage points every node, I'd expect to get about 50 times as much ore out of each one. Bear in mind also that even with the current mining speed of 8 seconds per node you will often get interrupted by respawning creatures, making mini-gaming them even less viable.

    And if this becomes something that is 'timed' or requires 'buttonmash skill' then yeah, even less interested, I'm afraid.
     
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  13. kaeshiva

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    @redfish
    Interesting write up and analysis.
    I think one key to the whole grind problem is the identification of goals, as depending on what your goal is, this has a large influence on the 'grindiness quotient'.

    For example:
    My Goal: To just enjoy the game, making incremental progress as I do stuff / get stuff / meet new people.
    For me, there's nothing that's really 'grindy' - I don't have a target "level" I'm trying to get to, I just do my thing, and slowly over time, I get better and faster at it. I think I got nearly to level ..97?98? almost exclusively from killing things that attacked me while I was trying to mine ore for <100k xp per hour. I didn't discover monkey room, control points, etc. until much later because I didn't really have any reason to 'grind' adventure level, it wasn't necessary for me to do what I was doing and honestly, having done so now doesn't make me -that- much better at it.

    Most of these last double-times I've been in tears not because I care about the exp but because I'm helping others who do, who are lower level and for whom that xp infusion makes a much more noticeable difference. I had over 100 million adventure XP sitting unassigned because there is nowhere that XP could go that would make my character noticeably better.

    I continue to enjoy the game because I continue to see progress, both in my character's capabilities (at very very small increments, now), as well as my accumulated wealth/real estate. As there's no limit to either of these things (although the character development is effectively at the brick-wall point) I can continue to do this perpetually.

    If I had a set goal of "get 1 million gold pieces" or "get adventure level 120" then yes, you can plug that into your formula and apply your mitigators and limiters and incentives and yes, absolutely repetitive iterations apply. But I never really felt that Shroud was so goal-orientated; in a game with a level cap of 50 your natural goal is to hit level 50. Here, I find its not so important to me as to just be part of the world. I don't enjoy 'grinding' - so I don't do it, or do it only if its also a group/social thing. I haven't felt that I've missed out on anything important as a result.

    Another example is, lets say my goal is to make bone armor leggings. For this I need a dragon neck bone.
    Now, I could go two routes with this: 1) I could set a sub-goal to "being able to solo the dragon" and work toward that, or I have the other option of 2) "raise the gold to buy the item". I find for me, option 2 is a lot easier/more enjoyaable - I have no problem going out and farming cash or mining ore to sell for a couple hours. I get bored out of my mind doing bosses and standing around waiting for them to respawn and being repeatedly disappointed by the loot. I've spent 10 hours before killing that dragon trying to get a neck bone when really I could have spent 1-2 hours farming money and just bought one, so I choose that route instead. Either scenario I'm grinding for a goal I just have a choice about how I go about it. But I feel these are short term, temporary goals, like "get a set of gear" - and yeah, you'll need to go acquire resources for that gear (route 1) or money to buy said resources/finished gear (route 2) if that is your goal.

    The gear grind could easily be adjusted by fixing exceptional chances and RNG at beyond-GM levels to create a bit more reliability in the outputs which would considerably reduce the immense waste in the inputs..
    The level grind can be mitigated by adjusting the base XP rate or adding additional scenes that are more lucrative, if we feel that the amount of necessary grind is "too much."

    But how much is too much?
    This is the core of the problem in that this answer differs from player to player.
    Some players have said that even a month of "levelling up time" is more than they want to invest in order to be competitive in pvp, for example.
    Others like myself are content to play and enjoy the game for years without worrying about being the 'top' or 'best' as long as I can get done what I want to get done.

    At any rate - I think that grinding - or "work" - to achieve goals is important. If we could all just load up the item spawner and give ourselves stuff we wanted with no effort, or if we all maxed out after a few weeks of play, I think we'd tire of the game quickly and have no sense of accomplishment. I don't think the game feels "too grindy" because for me my goal is to play, to enjoy the time with my friends, and acquire ever-growing piles of stuff for various uses or to sell if I want stuff that I can't get myself due to my build choice.

    The benefits of "grind" taper off at the high end, where a hundred million XP will get me 4 points of attunement (maybe, depending where I put it) which doesn't even up my damage by 1 point. So I just dont' worry about it. XP will come in as I do stuff and eventually I'll invest it somewhere that it will do some good. If I set a goal of "get all skills to 120, ALL OF THEM" and then systematically set off to work on it, then yeah, that's a job. SO I just don't do that to myself lol.
     
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  14. redfish

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    @kaeshiva

    Yea, I think I mentioned most of your points though...

    I mentioned Upper Tears under "incentives", and how people really go there because its a way to group across different levels, not necessarily because of the XP yield. This is important, so people don't feel stuck grinding in order to get to the level where they can party with other players. I mentioned the crafting vs. buying problem issue also under "incentives", since having different ways of completing an activity also helps reduce the grindy feeling. The amount required to complete something for the benefit is a serious issue also, which I mentioned under "requirements."

    Also I mentioned the lack variety of scenes to achieve the activity that others have brought up.

    So I agree with you and some of the other people responding here a lot :D But the point is to try to break down what actually makes things grindy so to get people focused and honed in on the right issues and not the wrong issues :>
     
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  15. FrostII

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    I think I agree with everything you said in this specific post, redfish ! ;)
     
  16. the Lacedaemonian

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    Reposted from another thread. I just finalized through edits.

    https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/f...-specialization-is-doing.135336/#post-1099576

    It would be nice to see more statistics on your paperdoll. I know that this is counter to LB's core tenants of what makes a good game. That's a shame, because when Ultima Online finally expanded the displayed core statistics, it brought a nice amount of detail to an otherwise overly-simplistic presentation of the core statistics. I felt then, as I would now, that being able to see actual, effective numbers for things like Critical Hit Chance presented as an actual, accurate modifier. Not a loose calculation that we don't understand the efficacy of or not. As it is currently believed to be implemented, Critical Hit Chance (total cumulative) is designed in a way that the maximum attainable with skills at 120 and equipment crafted, is not good, and certainly NOT effective at designing an entire build around. Not only does that seem wrong, it seems poorly designed. Why kneecap any type of build before it even APPROACHES an overpowered state? So what if someone can hit you with a critical hit exactly 50% of the time, that's the way magic spells critical hit ME from other players and monsters, why can't I have equal opportunity as a swordsman or archer? Not ranting, just being direct and realistic. The "balances" which we tend to see as a "fix" is often worse of an implementation, clearly not "fixed" as true intention would indicate..

    I think the problem with this "nerfing" or "move from one extreme to the other" is an aspect of the balancing coming from someone not in touch with playing a non-God-mode character, or, from testing a specific issue from a very narrow context. I believe strongly that the best play testers are those that start from zero experience and level up through the natural curve. If you do not experience that process, you cannot make measured changes that maintain game balance. Rather, you end up worsening an already broken situation. Just my thoughts. Some other statistics that I personally would LOVE to see in a more simplistic and intuitively displayed fashion ON THE PAPERDOLL would be:

    (This is obviously not an exhaustive list, just some of the ones that I believe would REALLY ADD to a players experience, brand new, or level 150.)

    Dodge, presented as a chance or modifier as well, as opposed to adding up a number that doesn't mean anything to anyone who can't see the code for calculating Dodge Chance.

    Similarly, I think the opportunity to Miss an attack should be brought back into the realm of reliability. This could possibly be an alteration or straight up, renaming of Dodge to Hit Chance. Someone can now have a reliable and consistent idea of how likely they are to hit a target, challenging or not, regardless. I would never fight a dragon if I knew the cold hard fact that I have only 10% of a chance to dodge a dragon's attack of ANY sort, however... If I had a 50% chance to dodge every single type of attack... Then I would at least TRY to solo that thing. Hit Chance should be a thing that I can gauge instead of spending 3 hours trying to kill something that I will never have a chance to kill.

    Combine Attunement and Resist into one statistic. Calculate with the same number. Simplify. One number relates to both resist and attack efficacy for Each Circle. Call it Attunement if you like, but have one number for both aspects, resisting and attacking/casting a spell. The character sheet could display just the short name of the Circle and have the number behind it, possibly represented as an integer bounded by (-100,100). That seems like an easier calculation to work with after the fact, if/when new spells are implemented in the future.

    I want to see a larger range of primary stats, also. As it stands last I played, practically everyone seasoned was between 500 and 1000 Health, with some obvious high-end outliers, but very few. There should NOT, IMHO, be so much emphasis on equipment, and so LITTLE contribution from skills to things like Focus and Health. The way it is now, items are king of determination of a character's play style and capability. So much more-so than skills are deterministic of the same measure. I feel that the perfect scenario is that they are reversed in importance, so that skill development carries the majority of determination of base statistics and other such things, and items remain significant, yet, not primarily so. Say a 66-33 split in favor of skills. I feel this could and would address the "issue" of everyone having the same skills, simply using them differently. That may be categorically "classless" but it is not remotely indicative of "fun" after you hit level 100. Something needs to change in order to MAINTAIN replayability for any amount of time spent on the same character, past level 100. I see there being a significant improvement to the Game if a high end player could legitimately skill and equip for less health and more focus and find success with such a build.

    I think the same of someone choosing to Minimize 2 of the 3 Base Statistics and Maximize the third Base Stat (300/50/50) for some actual benefit over a balanced approach of Maximizing 2 Base Stats (200/200/50), or Balancing All 3 (100/100/100, per se). I think there should be layers of decision-making required to design a play style. This would create a demand and a purpose for multiple characters. Trust me, I'm right.

    Since I don't want to drone on forever, there will be just one more idea. I want to stimulate a USEFUL REACTION to these ideas, not vitriol or flat-out being ignored:

    I'd like to see the implementation of a new statistic, and this is going to seem stupid or ingenious, depending on you as an individual who reads this: I want to see Character Age implemented as the STAT-IEST STAT OF THEM ALL!!

    Let me explain. It will be worth your time to consider it.

    Player Age will get calculated in New Britannia Years from the time the character was created. Can be figured easily for the entire character database from creation and then set in stone. Why would anyone care or be interested in this seemingly pointless aspect of our character? Well, I'll tell you. Everyone will care about their Character's Age if they can only live to be 100 New Britannian Years old. Avatar's aren't immortal, they are time travellers. They still age in their base timeline. I'm not going to go down that rabbit hole, however.

    The gameplay aspects and considerations would possibly entail, when a character is no longer playable and a new one must replace it. Call it the New Britannian version of "New Game Plus" mode that you may have seen in other games. Let's say you get to carryover something from your previous character, to JUMPSTART development of a new one. Something that is UNIQUE and UNOBTAINABLE through any other means, short of retiring a 100-year-old Character.

    A possibly superior alternative to When Character Created would be using existing Player Level. So when a character hits Player Level 100, they are forced to reincarnate.

    Think of it as reincarnation where you retain aspects of your "past life". This is important to consider because it will further add to the replayability and perpetuity of players. If you can, let us say, retire your old character, and start the new one with 10% of your accumulated experience from before AND (more important) carryover the Total Virtue Score, doesn't THAT seem like a FASCINATING reason to play INDEFINITE ITERATIONS of this 100-New-Britannian-year lifecycle?

    Then you could enjoy the fruits of tuning your Overall Virtue Alignment to exactly as you envision roleplaying your character. The consequences of your "past life" follow you forever as you "reincarnate", and you have to work even harder to change them if you wish to. Starting a new character would be a reprieve from the monotony of endless GRINDING and give a semi-rewarding reason to DO SO.

    I'm about tapped out of ideas at the moment, heatstroke is a sonovabitch.

    Please seriously consider at least SOME input from this missive, @DarkStarr @Lord British @Chris @Chaox @Undone @Cerus @Portalarium

    I've been in love with Ultima since I was 7 and my Dad played Ultima 6 as one of his very first PC Gaming experiences. Ultima and I have shared a nostalgia and a fondness that is only (arguably) eclipsed by the early adventure games of Sierra text-parsers and point-and-clicks. Nothing else I have ever played has been as transformative for me as the Ultima series, far be it from me to dwell on the efforts of a long-dead and soulless studio like Sierra.

    We can do this. It's not over.
     
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  17. StrangerDiamond

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  18. Gix

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    The issue is much simpler:
    • The quests: The game starts you off with main quest objectives and, as you complete them, you’ll eventually come across a combat-related barrier... a barrier you can’t overcome unless you get stronger. There are not enough (side) quests available to compensate for that shortcoming.
    • The skill system: Upon gaining XP (from a quest), you still have to participate in (more) combat activities to train your skills... regardless if it’s from attacking a target dummy or slaughtering mobs.
    The way scenes are set up with mob placement and difficulty, you cannot effectively train skills while you attempt to overcome the “questing barriers”... the mobs don’t get progressively stronger, they simply ARE stronger. Attempting to train while you quest will result you in multiple deaths which makes you lose XP.

    So you’re spending more time on the grinder... even before you reach end-game.

    The game is considered grindy because every game mechanic/design is steering you towards killing more and more mobs for XP; the activities that don’t are player-driven.