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All posts created by Bob

Bob
Caldeathe Baequiannia
Bob
I'll add a feature request for this if there isn't one already, since it's definitely a problem. As a workaround, you can very briefly put the heavy goods in your inventory up for sale (which takes the goods out of the inventory and effectively stores them in the auction house), then immediately cancel the sale (which moves the goods into your personal vault).
Is there still a listing fee to be deducted from that?

As long as you keep your price per unit under 28 cp, there's no listing fee. Hurray for rounding down!

Of course, that might mean that you need to cancel the sale super fast.
Bob
I'll add a feature request for this if there isn't one already, since it's definitely a problem. As a workaround, you can very briefly put the heavy goods in your inventory up for sale (which takes the goods out of the inventory and effectively stores them in the auction house), then immediately cancel the sale (which moves the goods into your personal vault).
Bob
As a side-note, a separate change that was already going in for EE8 removes the natural strength drop from the mini-escalations. The other strength adjustments should make player effort count more overall, but it will now be only player effort bringing down those source hexes. As a result, leaving them at a guaranteed 1 Victory Marker per party member and boosting everything else isn't all that out of line.
Bob
Tinkerton
So 1 marker for Mini, 2 markers for T1, 3 markers for T2?

There will be some 1.5's and 2.5's mixed in there for those that fall a bit in-between, but that's the basic idea.
Bob
After some internal and external discussions, I'm going to bump the Victory Markers from .5-2.5 to 1-3, which will continue to guarantee 1 Victory Marker per party member for mini-escalations.
Bob
One of the things that I have noticed is that the event creatures killed don't reduce the strength unless the whole event is completed. When it is only one or two creatures in the event mob, it isn't much of a problem. But when you have to take out 100 Strikeforce members (all purples and reds), it doesn't really pay to do the event, as it appears that you can reduce the strength faster by killing other smaller groups (still purples and reds, but less of them in each group).

That's part of what my fix will balance out. Basically, there's a bug making it such that the monsters with special event names don't give strength credit on kills, because they're spawned in slightly differently than the others. Until the code gets fixed, I'll give all that credit retroactively when the event is completed, which is the only time I can currently do so. The downside is that the credit will be lost if the event isn't completed.

Once the code gets fixed, I'll remove the extra strength credits, since you'll get the credit on each kill instead.
Bob
I'm going to try to get a couple changes in before EE8 that should help a bit.

The first one is to adjust the Victory Marker rewards to make them a little more appropriate to the difficulty of the escalation. For the mini-escalations, that will mean that each party member will have a 50% chance of getting a Victory Marker. For the tougher T2 escalations, each party member will get at least 2 Victory Markers and have about a 50% chance of getting a third one. The rewards for the escalations between those two extremes will be scaled appropriately. This change should at least help balance out the incentives a little bit, though it's still an important player choice to decide between pursuing Victory Markers and making sure that the nearest monster hexes aren't getting out of control. I've already gone ahead and made this change, so there shouldn't be any problem getting it in for EE8, and the exact numbers can be tweaked further as we see the results.

The second change will be to make some adjustments to the amount of strength reduced when events are finished and monsters are killed. The first part of this change will be to rebalance each escalation to give more credit for monsters and less credit for events. That paves the way for a more substantial change, which is to bump up the event credit to take into account the monsters killed along the way that don't properly give kill credit. You'll still miss out on the kill credits if you don't finish the event in time, but it's the best I can do until we get the full code fix in. These changes will take longer to make, so I may not get to all of the escalations in time. On the plus side, I've already done them for the Ustalav Invaders and should be able to get to most of the tougher escalations before EE8. I can finish up any remaining ones for EE9.

I'll go ahead and adjust the fallow times while I'm editing the escalations anyway, but those adjustments will have very little effect until the underlying code is fixed. The only notable difference will be that clearing a mini-escalation early in the day will make that hex fallow straight through to the next downtime, instead of the current setting that could still allow it to get reinfected later that day.
Bob
There is an exception where they can spread faster than expected, and without any warning to players. If one of the neighboring hexes was previously in the process of being infected by the same escalation, then it may already have a fair number of points toward hitting the infection threshold. This is most likely to happen if the source hex had the same escalation recently.

As a quick example of a T2 escalation, the Ustalav Invaders start out at 20,000 strength. Every hour, they have 75% chance of sending .1% of their strength to each neighbor. That means they start out sending at most 20 strength points an hour to each neighbor . They grow in strength naturally each hour if left alone (80 points per hour, plus roughly 200 points each time one of the 6-hour events fails), but it should take about 18 days for them to hit max strength at 80,000. At that point they can send their maximum of 80 points per hour to each neighbor. At that rate of growth, it should take roughly 10 days before the first neighbor gets infected. All the other T2 escalations use pretty similar growth rates.

Of course, if there's some residual Ustalav strength in the area, this gets thrown way off, especially if there are orphaned hexes at a very high level of strength. Those hexes would get re-acquired, and then they'd be able to reinforce the source an extra 80 points per hour, allowing it to hit its maximum in about half the time. That hex would also be attacking its neighbors, spreading to them in just a few days.

The mini-escalations are a big exception to this, since they spread pretty rapidly, but they're only allowed to spread to 4 hexes and they never get stronger than their starting strength of 5000. Once targeted, they're pretty easy to take down.

If anyone knows of any escalations that seem to be spreading faster than expected, let me know and I can double-check the numbers. I can also run them in a test environment that doesn't do the failed events, but at least lets me verify their natural growth and infection rates are functioning properly.
Bob
Should be fixed in EE8.
Bob
One thing that seems apparent here is that everyone is feeling a lot of pressure to keep the monster/home hexes near them cleared of escalations. Certainly, the fact that they're respawning so quickly adds to that pressure, and I think once the bug is fixed that I should increase the fallow times to more like 24 hours for Mini-Escalations, 48 hours for T1 escalations and 72 hours for T2 escalations. The downside to that will be increasing the odds that you'll log in and find no escalations nearby, particularly in the populated areas, but perhaps it will also allow some breathing room for players from more populated areas to tackle escalations further afield.

That said, the growth rates for all the escalations were drastically lowered quite a while ago, and it should generally take several days for each escalation to rise to full strength, and often more than a week for it to spread to a neighboring hex. There are exceptions to this if there are neighboring hexes that are either partially infected with that escalation, or are orphans just waiting to be reacquired (that's particularly a problem for home hexes, since they just keep running the same escalation). And the Bonedancers with their mega-footprint have been a particular problem, though that should be getting better since the orphan-multiplier was added.

But all-in-all, most escalations should be spreading pretty slowly at the moment. Most settlements have roughly 3 monster/home hexes nearby, and I would think that cycling through those hexes, perhaps always clearing hex A between Monday and Wednesday, hex B between Thursday and Friday, and hex C between Saturday and Sunday, would keep each hex from ever being around long enough to become too much of a problem. Priorities would need to shift when an escalation shows up that has orphans or partially-infected hexes to take advantage of, or otherwise has something special about it requiring immediate attention, but otherwise such a pattern should work.

On top of that, each nearby escalation should also be near 1-2 other settlements. Arrangements could be made to work together taking down shared escalations, splitting the Victory Markers when the job's done. Or if cooperation is problematic, perhaps just an agreement to trade off weeks taking down the shared escalation. And for those escalations that the nearby settlements can't handle on their own, arrangements could probably be made with some larger settlements to drop by occasionally to clean things out. A visit every 1-2 weeks should be sufficient to keep the nearby monster hexes under control.

Do the escalations really seem to be spreading so quickly that they have to be taken down almost as soon as they start up, or are there other reasons everyone's feeling the pressure to take them down so quickly (such as wanting to get the Victory Markers before someone else claims them)?