Author Topic: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting  (Read 2548 times)

Offline x4000

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Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« on: December 06, 2011, 08:07:14 PM »
This idea is based on a combination of Keith's original ideas that I chopped up to make the tier replacement #2, and on some belated ideas that came from a number of us in that same thread.

DIFFERENCES FROM CURRENT MODEL
--------------------------------------------

1. The current form of crafting will go away, commodities and rare commodities useless for the time being.  Something else could be thought up to do with them, but let's get to that if we actually decide to do something with this general model first.  Raw gems will remain (see below).

2. Rather than having the Spellgem Crafting Workbench organized by raw gem and then by commodity, it would be organized by usage category (defensive, melee-range, long-range offensive, powerful-offensive, logistical, etc).

3. When in the Spellgem Loadout screen, you'll also see your "available capacity" in each category.  You'll only be able to carry so much melee-range power with you at any given time, for instance.  If your current Melee-Range capacity is 400, and Fire Touch and Ice Cross both use 200 of that capacity, then you can carry two of fire touch, or one of each, or whatever.  If Death Touch uses 400 capacity of that, you can only carry that spell out of all the Melee-Range options.

4. Most likely there would be ways for you to increase your carrying capacity in the given categories, but only by so much.  Probably these effects would be per-player, and probably you could only apply so many of the effects to yourself at once.  So if you had something like 40 upgrade points total to ever use, you could choose if you want more melee capacity, more long-range capacity, or whatever.  This is essentially design-your-own-class.  These might start out pre-allocated at generic values, to make it easy on new players, and then become something you can customize later.  Some spells might require more than the default capacity of a given category, for instance, so if you wanted the really awesome melee-range spells you have to give up something else.

5. Raw gems will still be found in underground gem veins, but in much greater quantities.  They will also be found in stashes in midsize quanties, and scattered in buildings, like dust currently is, in singles.  Each spell that you craft would cost some number of these gems in one or more colors, and the costs might be really inexpensive or really steep depending on how good the spell was.  But most will cost multiple gems, making them more currency-like.

6. You're perfectly free to drop items in order to make room for more capacity to craft something new.  That won't destroy the gem or anything like that, so eventually you will run into a situation where you've crafted everything but all your stuff is scattered about in bags because you'll not be able to carry it all to one central location.  So you'll wind up crafting more copies of stuff you might have used in the past simply for convenience as you get to having a lot of continents.

7. As was already planned, there will be level gating for the spellgems, so it's not like everything is available right from the start.  But this would replace any form of gating that you're currently getting from rare commodities or other crafting materials.

8. Every time any player picks up a raw gem, every other player on the server (connected or not) get a copy of that gem without having to go pick it up themselves.

9. To prevent hoarding, there will be a finite cap as to how many raw gems of each color you can have in your inventory at once.  Perhaps 999 per color, something like that.  Anything that goes over that cap is simply wasted.  This is for all the same reasons that there are resource caps in AI War.  It needs to be a fairly high cap so that you're not constantly bumping into it, but it also needs to be low enough that you're not just grinding gems at the start of the game in order to get ahead.

10. Likewise, the game might just keep track of how many raw gems have been collected at each chunk level, and have the prevalence of gems really drop a lot after something like 100 gems total (regardless of color) have been collected at that level.  Thus creating an inventive to play up in levels if you want more gems than you've been able to get just at the lower levels.

11. Oh, almost forgot: tiers would go away entirely, as in the other two models.  So you build a "fireball" spellgem and that's that.  It works as it does forever, until you drop it and need a replacement because you forgot where you put it, or until you stop using it because you like Mega-Fireball (or whatever) better.

Benefits:

1. There are quite a few opportunity costs any time you want to change your loadout.

2. Changing your loadout is not that difficult to do, especially early in the game when you only have one settlement in which to drop stuff.

3. Hoarding is thwarted, actually kind of doubly so.

4. Overall the model is pretty familiar to people who have played a variety of capacity-based loadout games in the FPS genre or otherwise.  And it should be easier to navigate the crafting screens in this model than it is in the current model.

5. There isn't degradation of goods, so there's not a treadmill-like effect in any form; instead there's a convenience cost since there's difficulty transporting goods between distant locales if I haven't needed a given spellgem for a while.

6. This is extremely multiplayer-safe, because if you've ever been on the server but aren't currently there, you keep getting the goods that everyone else is picking up.  So it's easy to keep on with either your current (fully functional) loadout, or you can craft a bunch of stuff with the gems that others gathered for you in your absence.  But of course if you stay away for TOO long at a time, you'll find yourself at the caps on raw gems in your inventory and thus losing out on some of the bulk volume of cool new stuff that the others were getting.  Which makes sense to me, anyhow.

7. Quite by accident, this introduces a sort of custom class system, which strikes me as really cool.  Despite that meaning one more menu screen, I think that's well worth the benefit it creates.

8. This continues to work well with things like wooden platforms and other non-magic goods that players will collect (as now), since it doesn't require global inventory limitations or anything like that.

Negatives:

1. Crafting is in some respects dumbed-down.  But in other respects the whole system is made smarter because it makes you make more choices despite the actual act of crafting becoming simpler.

2. We will need to figure out something new and compelling to do with rare commodities and commodities.

3. In general, this is cutting yet a lot more of the stuff that players are currently exploring to find.  So we'll have to figure out some other reason for them to explore for this stuff, or some other purpose to use the existing stuff for as noted in #2.  Missions will take a lot of the focus off of un-led exploration anyhow, but still we'd like that to be compelling.  That said, this could be treated as a separate issue if the actual solution to the crafting/tiers is something that we really like.



All of these ideas about replacing tiers have sounded good to me at first, and then I've started seeing the cracks in the design.  Anyway, right now I'm feeling really good about this one and not seeing any major cracks.  But what do others think?
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Offline Toll

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2011, 08:24:41 PM »
The biggest crack I can see is that, eventually, you'll have created all the spellgems and will never have to recreate them (unless you misplace them), but seeing how you already addressed that... Depending on the cost of the spellgems, it sounds like a very interesting idea. I'm assuming that some of the more powerful spellgems will cost several hundreds of the gems, so that creating all spellgems would cost a fair bit more than 999 of each gem?

Offline x4000

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2011, 08:33:21 PM »
The biggest crack I can see is that, eventually, you'll have created all the spellgems and will never have to recreate them (unless you misplace them), but seeing how you already addressed that...

Yep, there is that.  But with the volume I plan to have of spellgems, I think that misplacement and the transport problem in general will become such that you'll wind up doing ongoing crafting.  And we are planning to add new stuff on an ongoing basis, too, so there's crafting for that also.  But in terms of missions, the main draw is figuring out exactly how to solve them, and choosing your loadout.  If you're doing that from crafting or from existing stores... I'm starting to think that's really not all that much as different as it could have been in a different non-mission-based model.

Depending on the cost of the spellgems, it sounds like a very interesting idea. I'm assuming that some of the more powerful spellgems will cost several hundreds of the gems, so that creating all spellgems would cost a fair bit more than 999 of each gem?

Oh yeah, for sure.  I'm envisioning that most of the middling spellgems on up would be three figures, and that something basic like fire touch might be like 10 gems.  But something like ice cross might be 75 blue or something.  All that would have to be figured out exactly, and of course some spellgems would cost multiple colors of gem, but even so that's the general scale of costs relative to the cap that I'm thinking of.
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Offline Toll

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2011, 08:40:46 PM »
Hard to say exactly how it'll turn out before it's tried, of course, but it certainly sounds like a very interesting solution which solves plenty of problems!

Something that might be worth considering is if half-finished spellgems would be allowed? If so, it'd open up the realm of possibility for a "Falling Sky" spell that costs 2000 of each gem color :P

Offline wyvern83

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2011, 08:52:48 PM »
Something that might be worth considering is if half-finished spellgems would be allowed? If so, it'd open up the realm of possibility for a "Falling Sky" spell that costs 2000 of each gem color :P

I was thinking along similar lines, though I'm not familiar with Falling Sky. Making spell components, for large/powerful spells, that aren't complete spells in and of themselves could be interesting and would introduce some longer-term planning. My concerns would be that it'd take too long and has the risk of redundant components being made by mistake. A subset problem of it taking too long to complete would be the protracted lose of useable inventory/spell slot space while you are trying to complete it but it could be an interesting opportunity cost/trade-off to some.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 08:54:37 PM by wyvern83 »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2011, 10:26:22 PM »
I like the make-your-own-class stuff, though I'm more inclined to something more coarse like eRe4s3r's suggestion here: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9502.msg88155.html#msg88155 . The granularity provided by the points system is attractive from a min/max perspective but feels a lot more complex than just having a certain number of categories (some of "normal" spellgems, some of enchants, etc) each with a certain number of slots, whereas the slots are more intuitive and allow for more multi-choice complexity (if desired) in the form of synergy and stuff that takes multiple slots to achieve (which I guess is just a longer way of saying "synergy").  It would also be easier that way to roll some of this stuff (like capacity/slot-count "upgrades") into the loot stuff we were talking about before.

And I certainly like getting rid of the treadmill.

Some/all of these have already been mentioned, but the negatives in my view:

1) Rare commodities are fun bits of "stuff to go for" and will need to go away or worked into something else.

2) Crafting UI has to be redone again (to organize by category instead of raw-gem-then-commodity).

3) A new UI is needed for loadout.  I agree that having a "customizable class" feature is worth that (if there's time) but I don't think it's a necessary part of meeting the goals of the tier system that is going away.

4) It does not actually do anything to motivate a player who's found "these are the spells I want to use for the rest of the game" to do anything to either maintain that power or change its composition.  I don't want the treadmill stuff either, so not having to do anything to maintain it is fine, but honestly the simpler thing to achieve that is just remove tiers and done.  But I don't want to do only that as I want the system to move from "the game is forcing you to do something fairly straightforward just to maintain a decision you've already made" to "the game is forcing you to make a new set of decisions".  Making important decisions is something our players like doing.  There are many ways to give them that, of course.

5) It would be possible to have all the different spellgems crafted and the only cost (if one is not in a no-warp-zone or whatever "is free to travel" comes to mean in the future) to switch to any of them would be the wall-clock time of going back to whatever continent & settlement you left it at.  That cost goes up if you're not particularly organized about where you craft stuff and where you leave stuff but unless I'm missing something it's a pure "player realtime cost" which we typically avoid.  If that cost is removed then it's effectively a "no obsolescence at all" model, and it would be better to just do that and save the trouble.

6) It involves resource caps.  That's not a big negative but I think it's nice to avoid if we can.

7)
Quote
Likewise, the game might just keep track of how many raw gems have been collected at each chunk level, and have the prevalence of gems really drop a lot after something like 100 gems total (regardless of color) have been collected at that level.  Thus creating an inventive to play up in levels if you want more gems than you've been able to get just at the lower levels.
Wouldn't that also incentivize keeping track of and working through regions of each _specific_ level?  In that thoroughly scrounging through a level 9 region, a level 10 region, a level 11 region, and a level 12 region would net significantly more gems than just a level 10 and a level 15?  Not a big deal, just thinking that it might need more nuance to avoid encouraging "odd" player behavior (not that they require the encouragement), and that thus something that doesn't need that kind of rule (if X,change drop percent) is preferable.

8 )
Quote
There are quite a few opportunity costs any time you want to change your loadout.
It seems this would discourage experimentation (there's a cost just for switching, even if you "know" both spells already or have in the past), though I suppose that can be said for most of the tier-replacement models and even the current one in that trying a new spell costs crafting materials.  It's possible to encourage experimentation in other ways, but that's in the other thread.

9)
Quote
Changing your loadout is not that difficult to do, especially early in the game when you only have one settlement in which to drop stuff.
Just checking again: leaving aside "player realtime cost", is there anything that makes it harder later in the game?

10)
Quote
Hoarding is thwarted, actually kind of doubly so.
Will something (other than realtime cost) stop them from picking a settlement and crafting all of their gems there and doing all their loadout switching there?  Would that not be their "hoard"?


And some more general not-negatives stuff (I can actually be something other than negative!)

Quote
Every time any player picks up a raw gem, every other player on the server (connected or not) get a copy of that gem without having to go pick it up themselves.
Would the game keep track of the total and grant newly created player accounts an equivalent amount (up to the cap)?

Quote
This is extremely multiplayer-safe, because if you've ever been on the server but aren't currently there, you keep getting the goods that everyone else is picking up.
The new player case isn't clear to me, but I agree that it would be pretty quick to catch up at least.  There's nothing fundamentally different from a longtime player switching to another layout to a new player "switching to" their first one, except that they're doing it all at once (and not even that if they start with some stuff).

Quote
Quite by accident, this introduces a sort of custom class system, which strikes me as really cool.  Despite that meaning one more menu screen, I think that's well worth the benefit it creates.
Yes, that's a good thing, but not really necessary towards the goals the tier system was for.  Not that either of us is content with meeting only those goals, of course.  Some form of customization like that would be great to have regardless of what we do instead of tiers.

Quote
This continues to work well with things like wooden platforms and other non-magic goods that players will collect (as now), since it doesn't require global inventory limitations or anything like that.
Yea, I'm guessing platforms would not require capacity points :)
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Offline Gallant Dragon

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2011, 10:42:26 PM »
1) Rare commodities are fun bits of "stuff to go for" and will need to go away or worked into something else.

This. ^^^

I tend to enjoy rare commodity tower runs...  :-\
It's just carriers all the way down!

Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2011, 12:00:15 AM »
Quote
When in the Spellgem Loadout screen, you'll also see your "available capacity" in each category.  You'll only be able to carry so much melee-range power with you at any given time, for instance.  If your current Melee-Range capacity is 400, and Fire Touch and Ice Cross both use 200 of that capacity, then you can carry two of fire touch, or one of each, or whatever.  If Death Touch uses 400 capacity of that, you can only carry that spell out of all the Melee-Range options.

I really don't care for this aspect of this proposed system --- I like being able to give up melee in favor of extra logistical spells, or whatever.  I'd prefer having an elemental cap or something like that.

Offline Dizzard

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2011, 02:01:59 AM »
6. You're perfectly free to drop items in order to make room for more capacity to craft something new.  That won't destroy the gem or anything like that, so eventually you will run into a situation where you've crafted everything but all your stuff is scattered about in bags because you'll not be able to carry it all to one central location.  So you'll wind up crafting more copies of stuff you might have used in the past simply for convenience as you get to having a lot of continents.

Am I the only person hopelessly irritated by the prospect of things just lying around?

Whatever happened to safes or chests for keeping all your things?

Offline Toll

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2011, 02:54:14 AM »
Something that might be worth considering is if half-finished spellgems would be allowed? If so, it'd open up the realm of possibility for a "Falling Sky" spell that costs 2000 of each gem color :P

I was thinking along similar lines, though I'm not familiar with Falling Sky. Making spell components, for large/powerful spells, that aren't complete spells in and of themselves could be interesting and would introduce some longer-term planning. My concerns would be that it'd take too long and has the risk of redundant components being made by mistake. A subset problem of it taking too long to complete would be the protracted lose of useable inventory/spell slot space while you are trying to complete it but it could be an interesting opportunity cost/trade-off to some.
Oh, just to clarify: Falling Sky was just a random powerful-sounding spell name I came up with. I didn't think of any specific currently-existing spell or game with it. Sorry for any confusion!

Offline zebramatt

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2011, 05:45:57 AM »
There's a lot up there already but addressing a couple of the points down the bottom here:

Quote
When in the Spellgem Loadout screen, you'll also see your "available capacity" in each category.  You'll only be able to carry so much melee-range power with you at any given time, for instance.  If your current Melee-Range capacity is 400, and Fire Touch and Ice Cross both use 200 of that capacity, then you can carry two of fire touch, or one of each, or whatever.  If Death Touch uses 400 capacity of that, you can only carry that spell out of all the Melee-Range options.

I really don't care for this aspect of this proposed system --- I like being able to give up melee in favor of extra logistical spells, or whatever.  I'd prefer having an elemental cap or something like that.

I agree with the sentiment here. I think that an all-melee 'class' should be just as valid as a mixed class; or a ranged or buffs or whatever class. If a capacity-based system is the way to go, 'specialising' could be implemented by, for example, enabling you to go over your limit in one area by diminishing some/all other capacities by some rapidly-increasing amount. (In fact, it also makes sense for non-magical forms of defence/attack - traps, crates, platforms, throwing-class weapons - to  fit in a similar scheme; such that those who go over capacity for those shorts of things become less able to wield the most powerful magics.)

I also agree that we need to get a storage system into the game - nothing flashy, just a box you can drop stuff in and a little GUI which lets you take it back out again ("nothing flashy" he says, but that don't make it trivial, huh?) would do a lot towards making dropping things feel a lot more legit! (Indeed, you might even simply add a little underground cave-room to every settlement which has a nice bit space for dropping stuff on the ground and a sign by the entrace telling you it's your stash cave.)

Offline wyvern83

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2011, 06:53:00 AM »
Something that might be worth considering is if half-finished spellgems would be allowed? If so, it'd open up the realm of possibility for a "Falling Sky" spell that costs 2000 of each gem color :P

I was thinking along similar lines, though I'm not familiar with Falling Sky. Making spell components, for large/powerful spells, that aren't complete spells in and of themselves could be interesting and would introduce some longer-term planning. My concerns would be that it'd take too long and has the risk of redundant components being made by mistake. A subset problem of it taking too long to complete would be the protracted lose of useable inventory/spell slot space while you are trying to complete it but it could be an interesting opportunity cost/trade-off to some.
Oh, just to clarify: Falling Sky was just a random powerful-sounding spell name I came up with. I didn't think of any specific currently-existing spell or game with it. Sorry for any confusion!

Ack, I see that now. I guess I was much more tired than I thought I was when I read that, finals week and all. No harm done though, don't worry about it.

Offline x4000

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2011, 09:20:45 AM »
A few notes before I get to Keith's big post:

1. In terms of wanting to be "all melee" or similar, that's actually not precluded by the model I have above, sorry for being unclear.  The idea is that the general values (400 points or whatever) noted above are the default loadout.  But the idea is that you can give back all (or nearly all) your standard-ranged points to get more melee points, or something along those lines.

2. Having limits per-element doesn't really make a lot of sense to me, because overall you generally want to be using multiple elements, but at the same time there are a few things from various elements that are simply non-optional as non-combat carry-alongs.  You'd always have a lesser white combat capacity because of carrying around light spells of some form, etc.

3. Sure, I know we need some sort of storage system in general.  That's actually been in mantis since before the private alpha, it's just not been anything that was important enough to do yet.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2011, 09:47:46 AM »
I like the make-your-own-class stuff, though I'm more inclined to something more coarse like eRe4s3r's suggestion here: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9502.msg88155.html#msg88155 . The granularity provided by the points system is attractive from a min/max perspective but feels a lot more complex than just having a certain number of categories (some of "normal" spellgems, some of enchants, etc) each with a certain number of slots, whereas the slots are more intuitive and allow for more multi-choice complexity (if desired) in the form of synergy and stuff that takes multiple slots to achieve (which I guess is just a longer way of saying "synergy").  It would also be easier that way to roll some of this stuff (like capacity/slot-count "upgrades") into the loot stuff we were talking about before.

Well, the thing is that if you have it too broad, then people are picking their Ultra Spells to go in their limited spots and lesser stuff gets left behind.  It's the exact reason why I think global ship caps are a horrible idea in RTS games.  In AOE3 I'd just build Chevaliers and Musketeers, and nothing else, because those were the key combo that I could use to trash whatever opposing forces with if used skillfully.  All the other units never got used because, while they would have had some specific uses, they were never useful enough in the general case to warrant giving up my critical mass of the core two units.

Or in FF6, I'd wind up going on with almost all my party having nothing but two gold earrings as accessories, and then Cyan with the gengi gloves and that other one who's name I can't remember, so that he'd get 8 attacks per attack.  These killer combos emerge in the later game that nothing else can compare to, and it's impossible to rebalance around that without completely nerfing those items into oblivion by the sheer nature of the simplicity of the system.  I think that's a big part of why FF7 did the materia system instead of the two accessory slots, and that was a much better system.  It's also why FFTA has the various equipment types (5 I think) which then have their modifiers on them that affect seemingly-unrelated stats.  You get interesting opportunity costs without it being so simple as some of those other too-simple systems.

1) Rare commodities are fun bits of "stuff to go for" and will need to go away or worked into something else.

2) Crafting UI has to be redone again (to organize by category instead of raw-gem-then-commodity).

Sure, but both of those are true in #2 and #3 (well, in quite a lot of the variants of #2 that's true).  It is definitely a drawback.

3) A new UI is needed for loadout.  I agree that having a "customizable class" feature is worth that (if there's time) but I don't think it's a necessary part of meeting the goals of the tier system that is going away.

I disagree, the existing inventory screen would work well enough for this.  All we need is a little set of bars to the right of the inventory when it is open, which shows the capacity and the current usage of points in each category.  Then as you drop items, you see stuff get freed up.  Hover over an item to see what its capacity cost is, for planning.  Then in the crafting screen, just have each item again show what its capacity cost is, and show the current capacity usage and caps in a new little section on this screen, too.  With the removal of the commodities at the bottom of the screen, there would be plenty of room to have that plus the current gem values.

4) It does not actually do anything to motivate a player who's found "these are the spells I want to use for the rest of the game" to do anything to either maintain that power or change its composition.  I don't want the treadmill stuff either, so not having to do anything to maintain it is fine, but honestly the simpler thing to achieve that is just remove tiers and done.  But I don't want to do only that as I want the system to move from "the game is forcing you to do something fairly straightforward just to maintain a decision you've already made" to "the game is forcing you to make a new set of decisions".  Making important decisions is something our players like doing.  There are many ways to give them that, of course.

One system can't do everything.  I think that the job of the missions is to make it so that players can guess at what their equipment loadout needs will be (perhaps seeing boss stats in advance of actually accepting the mission, for example), and then they need to prepare for that mission and take it on.  Historically, I've seen crafting as being more about self-expression and customizing to your specific tastes when possible, same as the crests stuff is.  Recently I lost sight of that, but I'm coming back to that idea again.

The thing is, if the crafting system itself is trying to force the players to make different choices for arbitrary reasons, I think that is really not going to go over well.  Don't make me choose something different.  Make me want to choose something different, and make me feel clever for making the different choice.  Give me a mission that I'm ill-equipped to beat, and let me figure out what equipment I need in order to beat it.

5) It would be possible to have all the different spellgems crafted and the only cost (if one is not in a no-warp-zone or whatever "is free to travel" comes to mean in the future) to switch to any of them would be the wall-clock time of going back to whatever continent & settlement you left it at.  That cost goes up if you're not particularly organized about where you craft stuff and where you leave stuff but unless I'm missing something it's a pure "player realtime cost" which we typically avoid.  If that cost is removed then it's effectively a "no obsolescence at all" model, and it would be better to just do that and save the trouble.

Yep, that part of this one does really suck.  I'm not sure what to do about that.  It's tempting to just go whole-hog with your "there is no crafting, there is only loadout" type of idea.  So any spellgems you drop are just destroyed, and you can craft anything that you've previously unlocked for free.  If we did that, then actually we could keep the rare commodities and other things of that nature for the purposes of unlocking the new spells for the first time.

That wouldn't help with players eventually no longer needing to craft new spells, but it would get rid of all the annoyances and if the mission design was sharp enough then it really would still require players to adjust their loadout as they went.

If we went with a model of this sort, then actually the crafting screen could remain almost identical to what it was, except that it would now be the "unlock screen" or something along those lines.  And then we'd have a new loadout screen that was for actually choosing and changing your loadout at any given time.

6) It involves resource caps.  That's not a big negative but I think it's nice to avoid if we can.

I used to think so, too, but nowadays I think that limitations are actually what helps to define the boundaries for players.  If there's not a line over which the ball is considered out of bounds, then players can just run anywhere on the field, right?  I think that resource caps need to be handled tactfully, but at the same time I think that giving players a choice of "here's your limited amount of resources to use, what do you want to do?" is a really good thing.  So long as those choices don't feel paralyzingly long-term.  If I switch my loadout and am stuck with that until the next mission, or the next continent, that's really bad.  If I unlock a spell that I turn out not to like, and I can't get another spell for another 5 hours, I'm going to savescum.  Etc.

I think that there has to be opportunity cost in the short-term activities (what do I bring with me?), but not so much that is completely irreversible in the long-term.


7)
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Likewise, the game might just keep track of how many raw gems have been collected at each chunk level, and have the prevalence of gems really drop a lot after something like 100 gems total (regardless of color) have been collected at that level.  Thus creating an inventive to play up in levels if you want more gems than you've been able to get just at the lower levels.

Wouldn't that also incentivize keeping track of and working through regions of each _specific_ level?  In that thoroughly scrounging through a level 9 region, a level 10 region, a level 11 region, and a level 12 region would net significantly more gems than just a level 10 and a level 15?  Not a big deal, just thinking that it might need more nuance to avoid encouraging "odd" player behavior (not that they require the encouragement), and that thus something that doesn't need that kind of rule (if X,change drop percent) is preferable.

That's true, that one's not fully baked.  We could leave it out and see what it does, or do something else.


8 )
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There are quite a few opportunity costs any time you want to change your loadout.
It seems this would discourage experimentation (there's a cost just for switching, even if you "know" both spells already or have in the past), though I suppose that can be said for most of the tier-replacement models and even the current one in that trying a new spell costs crafting materials.  It's possible to encourage experimentation in other ways, but that's in the other thread.

Yeah, you're very right.  The unlock needs to happen once, and we need to get rid of the transport costs, and we need to have the actual loadout choices be really straightforward to adjust if you wind up not liking what you chose.

9)
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Changing your loadout is not that difficult to do, especially early in the game when you only have one settlement in which to drop stuff.
Just checking again: leaving aside "player realtime cost", is there anything that makes it harder later in the game?

Nope, but after reading your above thoughts on the realtime cost, it would wind up being the same in both cases anyhow.

10)
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Hoarding is thwarted, actually kind of doubly so.
Will something (other than realtime cost) stop them from picking a settlement and crafting all of their gems there and doing all their loadout switching there?  Would that not be their "hoard"?

Yep, that wouldn't work well, you're right.  So hence the spellgems dissolving on drop again, and just making them free to choose in your loadout after unlock would solve this, too.


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Every time any player picks up a raw gem, every other player on the server (connected or not) get a copy of that gem without having to go pick it up themselves.
Would the game keep track of the total and grant newly created player accounts an equivalent amount (up to the cap)?

That was my thought, yeah.  But actually, if we change to the model above without the transport costs, then really what we need is central inventory on the existing commodities and all that.  I will write up a new version with my revised thoughts on that.

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This is extremely multiplayer-safe, because if you've ever been on the server but aren't currently there, you keep getting the goods that everyone else is picking up.
The new player case isn't clear to me, but I agree that it would be pretty quick to catch up at least.  There's nothing fundamentally different from a longtime player switching to another layout to a new player "switching to" their first one, except that they're doing it all at once (and not even that if they start with some stuff).

Yep, for sure.

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Quite by accident, this introduces a sort of custom class system, which strikes me as really cool.  Despite that meaning one more menu screen, I think that's well worth the benefit it creates.
Yes, that's a good thing, but not really necessary towards the goals the tier system was for.  Not that either of us is content with meeting only those goals, of course.  Some form of customization like that would be great to have regardless of what we do instead of tiers.

Yeah, it's really a side thing.  But I view the tiers/crafting stuff and the ongoing thoughts about inventory as being really related, and the "class system" is specifically aimed at controlling both and making inventory more limited in terms of spell loadouts without making inventory in general really finite.

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This continues to work well with things like wooden platforms and other non-magic goods that players will collect (as now), since it doesn't require global inventory limitations or anything like that.
Yea, I'm guessing platforms would not require capacity points :)

Well, yeah, anything that's not craftable wouldn't be part of this system.  The system I was talking about is just for spellgems only.  There might be some need to integrate crests or whatever with that, but I'm not entirely sure.  But I intend to have lots of traps and other objects that players can collect out in the world, like they currently can with the platforms, and all of that stuff would just work as it does now (it's already tierless anyway).
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  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
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Re: Tier Replacement #3: Capacity-Based Crafting
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2011, 09:52:44 AM »
Just for archival purposes, here's the original idea #3 that we were talking about.  I'm about to majorly rewrite it to include the latest thoughts, so thought I'd save the original to avoid confusion:

DIFFERENCES FROM CURRENT MODEL
--------------------------------------------

1. The current form of crafting will go away, commodities and rare commodities useless for the time being.  Something else could be thought up to do with them, but let's get to that if we actually decide to do something with this general model first.  Raw gems will remain (see below).

2. Rather than having the Spellgem Crafting Workbench organized by raw gem and then by commodity, it would be organized by usage category (defensive, melee-range, long-range offensive, powerful-offensive, logistical, etc).

3. When in the Spellgem Loadout screen, you'll also see your "available capacity" in each category.  You'll only be able to carry so much melee-range power with you at any given time, for instance.  If your current Melee-Range capacity is 400, and Fire Touch and Ice Cross both use 200 of that capacity, then you can carry two of fire touch, or one of each, or whatever.  If Death Touch uses 400 capacity of that, you can only carry that spell out of all the Melee-Range options.

4. Most likely there would be ways for you to increase your carrying capacity in the given categories, but only by so much.  Probably these effects would be per-player, and probably you could only apply so many of the effects to yourself at once.  So if you had something like 40 upgrade points total to ever use, you could choose if you want more melee capacity, more long-range capacity, or whatever.  This is essentially design-your-own-class.  These might start out pre-allocated at generic values, to make it easy on new players, and then become something you can customize later.  Some spells might require more than the default capacity of a given category, for instance, so if you wanted the really awesome melee-range spells you have to give up something else.

5. Raw gems will still be found in underground gem veins, but in much greater quantities.  They will also be found in stashes in midsize quanties, and scattered in buildings, like dust currently is, in singles.  Each spell that you craft would cost some number of these gems in one or more colors, and the costs might be really inexpensive or really steep depending on how good the spell was.  But most will cost multiple gems, making them more currency-like.

6. You're perfectly free to drop items in order to make room for more capacity to craft something new.  That won't destroy the gem or anything like that, so eventually you will run into a situation where you've crafted everything but all your stuff is scattered about in bags because you'll not be able to carry it all to one central location.  So you'll wind up crafting more copies of stuff you might have used in the past simply for convenience as you get to having a lot of continents.

7. As was already planned, there will be level gating for the spellgems, so it's not like everything is available right from the start.  But this would replace any form of gating that you're currently getting from rare commodities or other crafting materials.

8. Every time any player picks up a raw gem, every other player on the server (connected or not) get a copy of that gem without having to go pick it up themselves.

9. To prevent hoarding, there will be a finite cap as to how many raw gems of each color you can have in your inventory at once.  Perhaps 999 per color, something like that.  Anything that goes over that cap is simply wasted.  This is for all the same reasons that there are resource caps in AI War.  It needs to be a fairly high cap so that you're not constantly bumping into it, but it also needs to be low enough that you're not just grinding gems at the start of the game in order to get ahead.

10. Likewise, the game might just keep track of how many raw gems have been collected at each chunk level, and have the prevalence of gems really drop a lot after something like 100 gems total (regardless of color) have been collected at that level.  Thus creating an inventive to play up in levels if you want more gems than you've been able to get just at the lower levels.

11. Oh, almost forgot: tiers would go away entirely, as in the other two models.  So you build a "fireball" spellgem and that's that.  It works as it does forever, until you drop it and need a replacement because you forgot where you put it, or until you stop using it because you like Mega-Fireball (or whatever) better.

Benefits:

1. There are quite a few opportunity costs any time you want to change your loadout.

2. Changing your loadout is not that difficult to do, especially early in the game when you only have one settlement in which to drop stuff.

3. Hoarding is thwarted, actually kind of doubly so.

4. Overall the model is pretty familiar to people who have played a variety of capacity-based loadout games in the FPS genre or otherwise.  And it should be easier to navigate the crafting screens in this model than it is in the current model.

5. There isn't degradation of goods, so there's not a treadmill-like effect in any form; instead there's a convenience cost since there's difficulty transporting goods between distant locales if I haven't needed a given spellgem for a while.

6. This is extremely multiplayer-safe, because if you've ever been on the server but aren't currently there, you keep getting the goods that everyone else is picking up.  So it's easy to keep on with either your current (fully functional) loadout, or you can craft a bunch of stuff with the gems that others gathered for you in your absence.  But of course if you stay away for TOO long at a time, you'll find yourself at the caps on raw gems in your inventory and thus losing out on some of the bulk volume of cool new stuff that the others were getting.  Which makes sense to me, anyhow.

7. Quite by accident, this introduces a sort of custom class system, which strikes me as really cool.  Despite that meaning one more menu screen, I think that's well worth the benefit it creates.

8. This continues to work well with things like wooden platforms and other non-magic goods that players will collect (as now), since it doesn't require global inventory limitations or anything like that.

Negatives:

1. Crafting is in some respects dumbed-down.  But in other respects the whole system is made smarter because it makes you make more choices despite the actual act of crafting becoming simpler.

2. We will need to figure out something new and compelling to do with rare commodities and commodities.

3. In general, this is cutting yet a lot more of the stuff that players are currently exploring to find.  So we'll have to figure out some other reason for them to explore for this stuff, or some other purpose to use the existing stuff for as noted in #2.  Missions will take a lot of the focus off of un-led exploration anyhow, but still we'd like that to be compelling.  That said, this could be treated as a separate issue if the actual solution to the crafting/tiers is something that we really like.
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