[Dev] The stats problem

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[Dev] The stats problem

Postby maever » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:28 pm

Some of you have disliked the decision for us to remove the option to set stat points yourself.
I'd thought this would be the best place to have an open discussion about it.

Although this decision currently stands, there is of course room for changes in the future should a big part of the community support it.
Reasons for not allowing manually distributable stats.
  • As known the origins of this project stem from (amongst others) Ragnarok Online for one, although we liked their stat model, it wasn't a very good one, it had balancing issues.
    So it was either going to be an exact rip of the RO stat system or have our own attempt at it.
  • As we didn't have a system that increased the cost of stats per X levels, we couldn't control someone from going all-in towards 1 stat, causing balancing issues which would lead towards too easy or too hard monsters.
  • Manually setting stats is a "gimmick" that stems from (mostly older) single player RPGs, where the environment can be controlled around a single player and the impact of having an easy boss fight can be easily controlled or evenly left alone (it only impacts the one player), the same does not apply for an MMO and we would have no reliable form of feedback. Games like WoW realized this and thus have adapted.
  • No one benefits from brickable characters, if we would implement it again it would be in a form of class/based custom stats. ( From a game design perspective, it´s just silly to offer a stat, say INT to a Knight if his class in no way benefits from it)
  • I'd really like to be able to have some mechanisms in place for us (as developers) to balance areas without going for the trial & error approach.

So perhaps we can see a different method of stats rolled out in the future but for now this is our view on the matter.
Personally I do want to assure you that we want to make multiple builds on characters possible and viable, the method to which to achieve this can range from anything like custom stats to bonuses on equips.

Share your thoughts!
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Re: [Dev] The stats problem

Postby Akatsuki » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:19 pm

I could understand the balancing problem since players could easily build their character in a way things such as PvP and monster killing would become easy, though with that, they'd also be giving up most of their defensive stats. Anyhow, if it is just the balancing that seems to be a problem, would it be possible to make it so only a certain amount of stat points can be distributed to each stat as the player levels? that way they can't just spill all their points on a certain stat, but they'd have to think overall which stats deserves to go up depending on the build their going for.
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Re: [Dev] The stats problem

Postby Stirner » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:40 pm

As known the origins of this project stem from (amongst others) Ragnarok Online for one, although we liked their stat model, it wasn't a very good one, it had balancing issues.
So it was either going to be an exact rip of the RO stat system or have our own attempt at it.


However, own attempt doesn't mean absense of manual distribuition of stats. For example, Sagramore has 7 primary stats instead of 6. That's already some difference. One can make some stats connected. For example, if you continue to raise INT, VIT gets really hard penalty, even going down beyond initial value. There is always a room for experiment.

As we didn't have a system that increased the cost of stats per X levels, we couldn't control someone from going all-in towards 1 stat, causing balancing issues which would lead towards too easy or too hard monsters.


Isn't this for the good? If there be too easy and too hard monsters, one can start building a character that is able to kill monsters they would like to kill easier, and so avoid killing monsters they don't like. By the way, even though Ragnarok was increasing cost of going all-in, many players choose to do so nevertheless.

Manually setting stats is a "gimmick" that stems from (mostly older) single player RPGs, where the environment can be controlled around a single player and the impact of having an easy boss fight can be easily controlled or evenly left alone (it only impacts the one player), the same does not apply for an MMO and we would have no reliable form of feedback. Games like WoW realized this and thus have adapted.


But that's one of the points in manual stats, to find "loopholes" in game system, to create the very best build possible for some situation, to become more efficient. If you remove stats distribution, why would you show stats to users at all? They won't need the exact numbers, it's possible for equip to say simply it's "better for your build" or "worse for your build" etc. Damage to monsters starts to mean only relative dps and not absolute value. Also, why not remove skill choice? It'll be still easier for controlling environment, for balancing and better average player experience if they just choose predefined skill path, with stats automagically optimized for it. Of course, WoW is succesful. But it's a totally different game. I mean, if Sagramore was going in its steps, I wouldn't say a word. However, Sagramore (at current time) looks like it had different premises. I think there are some basic postulates that define RO-style and manual distribution of stats/skills in order to make character fit your playing manner and game objectives is one of them... Otherwise it's just becoming another game, for another niche.


No one benefits from brickable characters, if we would implement it again it would be in a form of class/based custom stats. ( From a game design perspective, it´s just silly to offer a stat, say INT to a Knight if his class in no way benefits from it)


So why not give an INT ability to the Knight so that it's possible to build him around this stat? Also, I think bonuses from certain class skills or equips ("common" items, not predefined sets) to non-primary stats like dps or heal are better than custom class-based stats because non-primary stats are universal, and this makes gameplay more deep than just saying "class X gets heal stat and class Y doesn't". For example, class Y character may still want to heal themself by small amounts.

I'd really like to be able to have some mechanisms in place for us (as developers) to balance areas without going for the trial & error approach.


Well, it's possible to have a list of general builds of characters and create areas as well as predefined paths according to it. This way people with predefined paths will have fun, and people with personalized builds will be able to farm/party/level with more efficiency because their builds will still be based around some common (or not so common) builds. They may even have problems with some monsters, like pests or aggros, because the monster population will be balanced for a typical player.

Personally I do want to assure you that we want to make multiple builds on characters possible and viable, the method to which to achieve this can range from anything like custom stats to bonuses on equips.


I think predefined paths and predefined equip sets should be based on an underlying gameplay freedom, to help new players get acquainted with the game, and not to hardcode what and where people should do...



I could understand the balancing problem since players could easily build their character in a way things such as PvP and monster killing would become easy


But that's the whole point in building a PvP-oriented or PvE-oriented character: to switch balance in your favor. If you remove this, you get anti-RO (in my opinion). How about making it easier to max character's level so that players can have characters of both types, instead of simplifying and fusing both in one? It also creates incentive for teamplay.
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Re: [Dev] The stats problem

Postby maever » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:32 pm

Now you're oversimplifying it a bit, of course I desire to challange people with Sagramore, it's just that when it comes to customizable stat it seems it's legacy is judging them somewhat unfitting for the type of game.
But don't get me wrong , I'm not steering towards making this game like progress quest.

I believe the message you are trying to bring is the one where "experimentation can be rewarded", although in RO this turned out fun, from a game design point of view it's a complete mess.

Now If you're willing to help 'crunch the numbers' towards something we can work with you're more then welcome to!
Just hit me up in IRC.

I'm not as worried about PvP and PvE, the game will put more focus on PvE in general but there will be PvP as well.

Back on topic I'm searching for the ideal path which both allows enough customization whilst keeping the game managable for a small staff to maintain and not risk unbalancing the game.
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Re: [Dev] The stats problem

Postby mr.makabar » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:09 pm

So I know I am late, but anyway.

The Stat points should stay as they are, with the option to have some masks(warrior etc.), I hope you know what I mean.
In the classic RPG, their are basicly three diffrent ways:
Warrior: Close Combat
Archer: Shots
Wizzard: Magic

Too assure that every type is as strong as the other one, you should use some very basic formulars, to make them equally strong, lets say:

Damage **2 * Range * 2 / ( Chance(to hit) * loading time ) = Skillpoints ** 3

Now you have to give warriors and archers benefits, because wizzards already can use special spells to help their friends. So I would give them other talents, like running, special hits, hide etc. These talents may be learned similar to magic from teachers.
The intressting thing has to be that every type has to combine his talents with weapons and skills. For example someone could level strength and hide, combine this to with an incredible strong, but slow weapon and become an assasin.

To make it simple at first talents come later. Maybe introduced in a have to do quest.

Another way, would be to give no skill points at all, no level ups. At least no directly, but points for a certain weapon/type. A guy who fights longer with one certain sword, fights better, with these sword, if he changes weapons, he will fight better with a sword, then lets say with a clube. So per killed monster you get points on the weapon or spell you used. Levels may be used to use certain weapons. If done well, it will be very intressting, because you have to decide, if you want to use a new stronger weapon or an old longer used one. Unfortunately I can't think of any game that does that one. So it will be hard to balance.
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Re: [Dev] The stats problem

Postby maever » Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:44 am

Ah we have a habit of replying late it seems ;p

I'm not sure i'm fully grasping what you're trying to say about the damage mechanics.
there's 3 basic forms of player damage
* Close (Melee)
* Ranged (Ranged)
* Magic

Depending on the build the player picks the damage will be balanced amongst them.
(A tank will always do less DPS then a wizard), this can be balanced in numerous ways.

Through skills, cast time, attack damage, cooldown, etc

"The way they are now", is already (at the moment of writing) without customisable stats?
It's a specific way of doing the stats mechanic, the choice to go on without it has already been made.
Although I don't completely rule out it making a comeback in some way or form later on.

Currently we aim to create a similar method of customisability using equipment, talents and various powerups & enchantments on items.
I do plan to offer some nice cool ways to "beat the system", I plan to do a big post somewhere in January announcing and elaborating some of the design choices.
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