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Lost Feat

Lee Hammock
I Don't know if anyone is going to see this but Unbreakable feat is broken againsmile

The fix for Unbreakable is going live with EE5.

If you want to get Unbreakable working now, if you only capture 3 towers it should go back to normal. Basically Unbreakable was broken when your training level for settlements gets to 11 or higher.
So, it's not a problem because almost no-one is currently affected by it?

Well I'm sure that the actual intention of the game is that it last long enough for players to achieve "losable" levels.

What could possibly be more fun than having spent 2+ years building up a character only to have them nerf'd by things likely beyond your control. This is way different than adjusting a weapon that does too much/little for it's cost.

My entire argument is based on an economic one.

A MMO is not a board game that eats 1-4+hrours of your time and when played again starts fresh with everyone at their starting conditions.

Imagine if DDO said hey paying customers, we're going to wipe all or even half the TR's you spent so much time on with your character because we think that you're just to powerful, or we don't want it, or we don't care what you want?

What would happen? VIP's would stop paying. Many would quit and never come back (likely they would find some other MMO to play). Not many would have anything good to say (unless they lost little or nothing).

Wait until your settlement poof's away or you're booted from your company and your skills all vanish.

I work hard to earn my gaming money. Having a poor design decision rob me of the effort and work I put into playing a game steal that effort from me Sucks!

This is one idea that needs to be crushed and destroyed as the revenue de-enhancer it is.
Now. Not to just nay-say. Here's a solution.

Let the settlements/companies suffer not the players. Wimpy Settlements/companies are their own punishment.
Players keep access to the feats and skills they have acquired. How to train up higher ones is their concern.

For those concerned about players that become powerful dicks/sociopaths in the game.
I propose the following:
- 16,800Xp for each (non-sanctioned) player death.
You could even throw in 1 free NSPD a month (non-saveable), accidents happen.
(It has the added bonus of incentivizing jerks to spend money buying Xp to make up for being one)

It sure beats some tanner loosing access to 500,000+ worth of Xp!
Did the above character forget how to be a tanner? Isn't facility quality already part of the equation?

Ryan. You rightly said no-one would pay to play a character that had to rot in jail.
Who will pay to play a character that spent 2/3 of a year acquiring the above Xp, but cannot use the skills and on top of it has to possibly work his butt off to get access back?

If none of the above arguments sway GW or the community. Just ask yourselves this:

How do I advertise this in some positive, people should love to spend money on it, light?
Lincoln once said. "The surest way to repeal a bad law is fully implement it."
In that spirit. Lower everyone's top trained/trainable skills & feats to 2 and see how popular it is.

Off the soap box. My apologies to your eyes.
Ryan Dancey
Let's talk about cases.

Case 1: You join a PC Settlement and never leave

You will never be affected by this game mechanic.

Case 2: You never join a PC Settlement and stay in an NPC Settlement forever

You will never be affected by this game mechanic

Case 3: You leave a PC Settlement and before the cooldown expires you join another PC Settlement that supports your level of training

You will never be affected by this game mechanic

Case 4: You leave an NPC Settlement and join a PC Settlement

You will never be affected by this game mechanic

So when does this potentially affect you?

Case 5: Your Settlement is destroyed or you are voluntarily or involuntarily separated from it. The cooldown timer expires before you find a new home. You are at least a "neutral" reputation.

You are an incredibly valuable potential recruit for any PC Settlement. Assuming they have the requisite support structures for your Feats, the moment you join them you become a powerful and useful member of their community. "Old Vets" with lots of advanced training will be incredibly popular and will have no lack of opportunities to consider new homes.

Case 6: Same as Case 5, except you have negative reputation.

You will have a hard time finding a place to resettle. In fact, you may not be able to find any Settlement that can support your character's training. You'll find that your options are limited to either NPC Settlements, or to PC Settlements that have a policy of associating with folks regardless of their reputation. We assume, but are not mechanically enforcing, the idea that such groups will likely have problems building and supporting the facilities required to allow you to access your advanced training.

Case 7: Same as Cases 5 and 6, except you are a member of a Company that controls certain kinds of Holdings.

You will have access to some, but not all, of your advanced training as long as your Company maintains those Holdings. Even without a Settlement you will still be more powerful than the people who are NPC Settlers. You will occupy a middle ground between people who operate advanced Settlements and people with no social support at all.

At no time do you lose the XP you have invested in training. Every Feat you have ever trained remains on your character sheet. As soon as you have re-established links to a community that supports them, they become available to you again.

We think that most players will never really experience anything except Cases 1-4. We expect that Case 6 will be the eventual fate of players who cannot find a way to live in the game in a non-toxic way and it represents one of the powerful shocks to the system we intend to deliver to try and break people of bad habits and behaviors; if they refuse to change, they'll pay a real price for those choices.

Case 7 is something I think will occur more in theory than in practice. I think that people who are coehesive enough to run a Holding successfully will have no problems finding a Settlement that would like to accommodate them, but it's an interesting storytelling vehicle for a group that wants to maintain some kind of hands-off attitude towards Settlements. It's harmless, and interesting, and there may be some people who fall in love with the romance of it all and that's just fine with us.
Other than discouraging independence.

Your Kung Fu is reasonably good.

It only took 8 pages to get here. smile

Thus endeth the thread.
Ryan, this is going to be a highly critical post. I want to preface it by clearly stating I agree with the aims of the mechanic and completely respect the time and effort clearly invested into it. I'm thrilled with both the game mechanics and culture GoblinWorks has created so far. I still think this single mechanic is inherently flawed.

In general, any system that drastically reduces individual player ability or capability because of events well outside the realm of individual control is one that I believe should only be used as a last resort.

You've clearly described the intended consequences of the system, but what about the unintended or higher-order effects? How long will the grace period be? If it's too short, players don't have enough time to reasonably relocate, but if it's too long, it's ineffective. And what may be a reasonable deadline for some players may be ineffective for others.

Furthermore, the effectiveness of this grace period is directly tied to the length of its reset period, i.e. how long someone has to be part of a settlement before the grace period restarts. If the reset timer is too short (or non-existent), waiting for your reputation to recover sufficiently and joining a settlement, however briefly, gives another opportunity to exploit the lenience of the grace period. If the reset timer is too short, you're forcing players to stay in a settlement they don't enjoy simply to avoid being made useless.

I don't think there exist values for these timers that will be acceptable to a large enough majority of the player-base without also offering ample opportunity for exploitation. And a settlement full of well-behaving alts of poorly-behaving bandits is going to face no detriment from the system, and little social repercussion, since any other settlement that attracts their attention will be the target of substantially increased attacks. It would likely take a highly coordinated outside force to devote substantial resources just to destroy the offending settlement. And then they would resettle elsewhere.

To prevent the above scenario, limitation on switching settlements, or the grace period timers would have to be very restrictive and would limit otherwise healthy emergent behavior. (Merchants, nomadic/mercenary companies, bards, explorers, etc. I could all see as having very reasonable reasons to take advantage of opportunities to join & leave settlements frequently.) Whether GoblinWorks would take outside action in the above scenario would, itself, be a highly contentious issue. Particularly if said bandits weren't otherwise engaging in antisocial behavior, aside from banditry, itself. Would taking full advantage of grace periods to engage in reputation-harmful play without having significantly hindered characters be considered an exploit if the system as designed provides the opportunity to do just that?

The other major criticism I have is that this system clearly favors size of social network far more than engagement in social network. A character's power and security will both be directly tied to the size of the settlement. This means there will develop a small number of 'powerhouse' settlements to which nearby settlements align so as to avoid destruction, effectively forming kingdoms. Those large settlements will be nearly invulnerable (since warfare will rely directly upon player actions) and players seeking security will gravitate towards them. The mega-blocs of EVE null-sec are inevitable if size === power. Settlement diminishing returns along with the limitations on diversity of feat support in any single settlement will cause several adjacent settlements to form a megalopolis.

I'm all for larger settlements having more collective power (granting greater individual security), but tying individual power to settlement size means there eventually becomes only one path toward further character growth and that is settlement size. Mid-sized settlements will provide either high ranks of feats in a highly specialized area, or moderate ranks of feats in a more diverse set of abilities. Massive settlements provide high ranks in several specialized areas, and probably higher tertiary abilities. Once someone is a level 20 fighter, that fighter-only settlement starts to limit growth. Players abhor growth caps.

Lastly, I would argue Case 2 as directly inhibiting the player exactly as intended by the game mechanic.

Perhaps you have well construed responses to my above concerns. If so, that's fantastic and I would love to hear them. If not, I would ask you please consider them. I'm going to write a follow-up post to this arguing why I think economic stimuli are ultimately the best way to steer player behavior (which I suspect you believe, generally) and how I would suggest using them to deter antisocial behavior.
Ryan Dancey
Case 7: Same as Cases 5 and 6, except you are a member of a Company that controls certain kinds of Holdings.

You will have access to some, but not all, of your advanced training as long as your Company maintains those Holdings. Even without a Settlement you will still be more powerful than the people who are NPC Settlers. You will occupy a middle ground between people who operate advanced Settlements and people with no social support at all.

Ryan, I am still in the firm belief that players will *always* have to be part of a Settlement, be it a PC or NPC settlement. And that when they get ousted from their PC settlement, and the timer expires, they will default to an NPC settlement untill they find a new home.

Has this changed? I do remember that players could choose to not be part of any *Company*, but that settlement membership is a requirement(Pc or NPC).

I always thought a company(or members) that are not associated with a Settlement would defy the game's intention of accountability. When people choose to not be part of that, they default to an NPC settlement instead, suffering the lack of training and support they get there.
Regalo Harnoncourt, Leader of the River Kingdoms Trading Company, High Council of Callambea.
This is the character that I am playing almost 100% of the time. (Tyncale is my Sage/Mage)
I posit three base assumptions:

1) Until one side cedes, all wars are of attrition. The side suffering no losses doesn't surrender. In a game without permadeath (and with item destruction & a functioning economy), all attrition is ultimately economic.

2) Most players in MMOs act like dragons: they hoard, they're greedy, they're selfish; I think rightly so. This is a recreational activity, ultimately, one in which I'm investing substantial personal resource in, and so I want to have fun by playing the game primarily the way I enjoy it most. More economic resources gives me more freedom to pursue the activities I want, in game & out. If I'm going to engage in an activity I am less fond of, it's going to be for the sole purpose of generating more economic resources for myself (directly or indirectly), so I that I can better exercise that freedom (whether in practice or just in theory).

3) Players (humans) prefer making choices that provide benefit rather than remove or avoid penalty.

My understanding is that the 'support' mechanic is fundamentally designed to do two things: A) discourage antisocial behavior, and B) encourage players to leave the starter settlements and join player-run settlements (which may have arisen as a secondary benefit). The theory behind A is that, by tying character power to settlement development, players with low reputation scores will only be able to join settlements that have limited development capabilities, and thus have limited power. The theory behind B is that players want to advance and the starter settlements prohibit that.

I believe both of these goals can be better achieved through economic constraints than hard caps on player ability. I'm going to address B first, since it's the more straight-forward argument.

I propose disabling all economic functionality (refining, crafting, auctioning) related to Tier 2 or 3 equipment in starter settlements. This will prevent crafter alts from remaining in the safety of starter settlements indefinitely. I also propose limiting feat ranks offered by the trainers to Tier 1, regardless of settlement affiliation. This will ensure players can't merely head to the nearest NPC town to find training in lieu of having to interact with other player settlements. Lastly, I propose a progressive taxation rate that increases along with total character ability (as determined by some combination of max & total feat ranks & achievements). This will encourage new characters to move elsewhere since the results of their efforts will continually diminish. For the taxation to be effective, it needs to apply not only to coin/credit, but also to loot & gathered materials. The effect of the taxation also needs to be clearly displayed every time it occurs.

I believe the above three restrictions will offer enough of a 'stick' to ensure the 'carrot' of increased opportunities presented by player settlements is enticing enough to make players willing to engage with the frightening unknown that is unfamiliar player groups.

The second part of my proposal, how to better discourage antisocial behavior by limiting player power, is actually a very simple mechanic: Below a certain threshold, increasingly low reputation causes equipment threads to increasingly 'fail' upon death, randomly destroying items. I choose random increasing thread failure & item destruction over a simple reduction of available threads because it reduces player ability to compensate for the penalty, and causes feelings of powerlessness, which people generally try to avoid. This assumes non-threaded equipped items face a chance of destruction upon death. If that isn't the case, this penalty can cause that in addition or stead. Thus, players maintaining consistently-low reputation scores would have much greater equipment 'maintenance' costs over time.

At first glance, this penalty seem easy to avoid by supplying the penalized characters with equipment from alts. And that is an excellent short-term adaptation. However, because of the attrition mentioned above, this tactic becomes less feasible over time. Stockpiles will deplete, and while new items can be crafted, they require raw materials. Acquisition of raw materials requires either willing trade partners, time harvesting, or economically-motivated banditry. Settlements supporting known raiding groups are probably going to have difficulty finding trade partners, at least locally. Players spending time harvesting aren't spending time engaging in unwanted antisocial behavior. Players engaging in economically-motivated banditry are playing the game as intended.

There is a chance that players who have no desire to engage in the antisocial behavior would choose to economically support those who do. I strongly suspect this number would be negligible. However, I would expect that a settlement might choose to supply equipment to characters engaging in reputation-harmful activities if said activities are primarily directed at a rival settlement. This is emergent gameplay and anything-but antisocial. Mercenary shock troops have a long and sordid history in warfare; I see no reason why they shouldn't exist in PFO, so long as their expense is high enough to ensure they can't dominate warfare.

I don't wish to imply my ideas are prefect or will not have consequences I have not foreseen. However, I think the mechanics presented here offer far more flexibility in 'tuning' values to shape player behavior. I think these mechanics won't face the kind of intuitive blow-back that sparked this thread. Nor do I think they would be able to be as readily exploitable as the 'support' mechanic. Overall, I think they're a vast improvement and offer far more player freedom than the support mechanic.

Lastly, in lieu of a character's home settlement also limiting the max rank of feats available at a given trainer, I would suggest feat ranks be limited only by the 'level' of trainer in a given settlement, and feats, once learned, be always available, unless otherwise restricted (e.g. deity, faction, alignment, etc.). This a far more intuitive system and would create more 'trainer tourism', from which many opportunities could arise.
Quijenoth Starkiller
coming into this post late but wanted to address 2 questions…

on the Hard is fun statement…
- Who here plays FPS and RTS and other non MMO games like Tomb Raider, Diablo, Starcraft, Gauntlet, CoD, etc?
Of those who said "yes" who actually plays the game on easy or normal difficulty if the Hard option is available?

@Thod - The rollback was necessary from how Lee described its effects on the game in the PU podcast although your post was before that aired. If it had been left in the game would have become unplayable with camps of over 1000 mobs and may have even crashed the servers.

On the settlement mechanic, I am currently experiencing Case 1: and despite my best efforts I am stuck in Case 1.
Unless I abandon my friends I see no way of improving my character back to the level I was at prior to EE4. Now that is NOT FUN!!
Quijenoth Starkiller Viceroy of Callambea
Company Leader of Beyond the Grave -
Crafting Planner
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