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Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:25 am

Real wrote:ETA: I'm not convinced that entering the game an amateur constitutes a difficult RP situation, or that it's even jarring. I like the idea of established characters being good and new characters not being - It makes sense, IC and OOC.

OOC sense? Sure.

IC? A game-opening PC has been in Utterby about 6 months longer than one rolled yesterday. That should be a significant advantage in familiarity with the area, I grant. In skill levels, though? That depends on where they lived before, what they were doing there, and how long they'd been doing it.

Were they a guard or lumberjack in Aldoth with its 'constant threat' of 'warg and spider raids'? Or are they a city kid from Lake-town? I don't necessarily mind if we want to gloss over these questions in the name of fairness, fun, or both, but claiming it makes 'IC sense' strikes me as a step too far.

Jeshin wrote:If you avoid fighting you'll likely live vs fighting stuff and hoping you can handle it.

This has also been my experience, incidentally, although I don't exactly have a ton of it, and I might have done some twinkishly blithe dog-paddling through 'rapids' rooms.

It'd be even more true if foraging didn't consistently break hide. (Why does forage break hide so much more often than track does, anyway? Chopping a tree should, sure, but looking at one? Every time?)
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby Throttle » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:29 am

There's really no way to balance the game around the notion of PCs starting with the skill levels that their backgrounds, ages and careers would warrant. It has always been a gameplay compromise. I really don't think it's something that needs to be fixed all of a sudden, both because I don't see the big deal and because there is no known solution that works.

The issue was that skills start unusually low and the game had no reliable way of training combat skills with the kind of regularity required to develop a fighting PC in a reasonable amount of time. One or the other needed to be changed, and now there's a solution to the latter.

I don't think skills need to start any higher than the lowest point of familiar at the very most, and I have no particular issue with amateur skills, though getting novice dual-wield at five skillpicks and with great agility was a bit of a downer.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:35 am

Yeah, I'm not expecting a change, and I didn't even mean to comment directly on the starting skill levels, just on whether or not six months' experience in Utterby ought (ICly) to make a dramatic difference [for most/all character concepts].

It was very much a minor tangent from the original thread topic.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby Jeshin » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:01 am

There is 1 known solution to starting game skills... If anyone has ever played WoD (pen and paper) or Warhammer 40k (Dark heresy or one of the spin offs) then you know exactly the solution I am talking about.

The solution is that as a newb you have a 15-25% chance of success doing an activity as simple as swinging a sword at someone or hacking a computer. Then as a super veteran leet you have a 40-50% chance of sucess of doing the same thing. The odds of you leaving to the super veteran leet around about 2% :P

This way everyone gets to have their skills be appropriate for their experience but the world just sucks and the odds are against you. We could try it!
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby LuckyV » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:27 am

Gotta say I just love the idea of making the gameworld suck.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby someguy » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:16 am

[quote="EltanimRasWhy does forage break hide so much more often than track does, anyway?[/quote]

Iron.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:38 am

someguy wrote:
EltanimRas wrote:Why does forage break hide so much more often than track does, anyway?

Iron.

I don't know about the code, but I see the actual actions involved in collecting bog iron the same way I do those involved in logging.

Looking for an oily film on the surface of the water, like looking for a good tree, shouldn't break hide, unless you're unlucky or unskilled. Cutting and pulling back a layer of peat, like chopping down a tree, should.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby someguy » Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:01 am

Because gathering the most precious current IG resource with no risk was deemed to be game breaking, probably, like it was in Atonement Beta when the code was changed to make forage reveal a hiding person.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:41 am

someguy wrote:Because gathering the most precious current IG resource with no risk was deemed to be game breaking, probably, like it was in Atonement Beta when the code was changed to make forage reveal a hiding person.

EltanimRas wrote:Cutting and pulling back a layer of peat, like chopping down a tree, should [break hide].

Honestly, I'd say about 80% of forage is plant-lore. 10% is general observation skills (once scan/search, now int). And the remaining 10% -- picking up pieces of wood, cutting peat -- is general labor. (I have no idea how picking up enough pieces of firewood is eventually supposed to make PCs realize which mushrooms are poisonous and which aren't.)

Now, you could argue that cutting peat and retrieving bog iron is a skill; I just don't see where it has anything at all to do with berry-picking, except insofar as both would be challenging for blind PCs.

TL;DR: Make forage roll vs. hide like any other skill. Bring back the search skill (which should also roll vs. hide); make revealing bog-iron sites (and gathering firewood) use it, not forage. Make harvesting bog-iron, once it's found and pointed out, doable by anyone with the appropriate tools (possibly on a roll vs. str?), but not doable while hidden.

... And I'm way off-topic for the thread. Oops.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby Ava » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:01 pm

someguy wrote:Because gathering the most precious current IG resource with no risk was deemed to be game breaking, probably, like it was in Atonement Beta when the code was changed to make forage reveal a hiding person.


Maybe it could be made more scarce/difficult with something other than mechanical harm? Maybe it's just harder to find? Maybe it takes a number of people with certain skills? I don't know. Can there be kinds of game balancers other than a beat stick?
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby krelm » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:06 pm

Make forage roll vs. hide like any other skill.


The only time hide gets rolled against is when there's something in the room to see you, like an ungrouped N/PC. The only skill that forcibly breaks hide for you is forage - everything else you can stay hidden 100% of the time as long as there's no one around to break your hide.

Maybe it could be made more scarce/difficult with something other than mechanical harm? Maybe it's just harder to find? Maybe it takes a number of people with certain skills? I don't know. Can there be kinds of game balancers other than a beat stick?


These suggestions actually play right into how it's handled now-- currently, iron is found in the 'uncommon' slot on the forage table, so that means you need at least familiar forage (I believe) to find it. Not every PC takes forage, so that makes it pretty harder to find, already. Not quite sure how that qualifies as a beat stick.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:17 pm

krelm wrote:The only time hide gets rolled against is when there's something in the room to see you, like an ungrouped N/PC. The only skill that forcibly breaks hide for you is forage - everything else you can stay hidden 100% of the time as long as there's no one around to break your hide.

I've been told hmote rolls vs. hide even without [potential] witnesses.

Edit: By Songweaver, here.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby Ava » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:17 pm

The beat stick was in reference to Someguy saying that collecting the most precious resource without risk was deemed game breaking.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby krelm » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:29 pm

I've been told hmote rolls vs. hide even without [potential] witnesses.


Ah, right. Well, it does, but it doesn't break hide when used unless there's someone in the room. Also, it's not a skill.

Incidentally, and further off topic, I figured out yesterday that the command 'evaluate' also breaks hide if you use it in a room with an ungrouped N/PC. Interesting!

The beat stick was in reference to Someguy saying that collecting the most precious resource without risk was deemed game breaking.


Well the original reason that forage was made to break hide was because, in Atonement BETA, people were stealth-moding to high-value scavving areas, alone, and making off like bandits with absolutely 0 risk. The clans only needed like one or two scavvers with at least familiar hide, and they could get heaps of useful materials with basically no effort.

I can only assume that the mechanics were kept as they are for the same reason. Where would the challenge (see: fun) be if the most dangerous corner of the map was rendered pointless? You could just send out one or two guys to scavenge the entire bog, then have them wait for an hour and do it again, all day. Seeing as how daytime IG lasts for 4 hours, you can scavenge each room once an hour, and there are 8 rooms (I think) that you can find iron in, that means a single PC with familiar hide and forage could, potentially, gather 32 hunks of iron with minimal risk. So, about ten ingots a day - which seems a little game-breaking, if someone were that determined. (Said people exist. I'd probably do it, not gonna lie.)

And, since all other resources can be found within each sphere's 'safe' zones, this would render going outside in any form of group more or less pointless, unless you just wanted to see how far east/west you could go to try and penetrate the other sphere's safe zone and kick off some PVP.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby Raukran » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:30 pm

I believe even OOC has a chance to break hide.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:37 pm

krelm wrote:Incidentally, and further off topic, I figured out yesterday that the command 'evaluate' also breaks hide if you use it in a room with an ungrouped N/PC. Interesting!

I've also seen this one:
> stop
"You're not fighting anyone right now!"
"...By the way, you're not hidden anymore either."

Otherwise, I think collecting bog iron should require digging, which should be impossible while hidden. I don't think it should require any kind of plant-lore.

[I also think most skill use when hidden should have a chance of revealing you to mobs within a one-room radius, just for general excitement, but that's a coding project, and neither here nor there for the present derail.]
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby Matt » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:39 pm

EltanimRas wrote:
krelm wrote:Incidentally, and further off topic, I figured out yesterday that the command 'evaluate' also breaks hide if you use it in a room with an ungrouped N/PC. Interesting!

I've also seen this one:
> stop
"You're not fighting anyone right now!"
"...By the way, you're not hidden anymore either."

Otherwise, I think collecting bog iron should require digging, which should be impossible while hidden. I don't think it should require any kind of plant-lore.

[I also think most skill use when hidden should have a chance of revealing you to mobs within a one-room radius, just for general excitement, but that's a coding project, and neither here nor there for the present derail.]


The skill is forage, not plant-lore. It's for foraging useful materials from nature. If you make it so anyone with a shovel can get ore and it's a craft you'll quickly have 100000 ore in game.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby Throttle » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:41 pm

Forage was made to break hide back on Atonement because anyone with the skill could otherwise just go and clear out entire zones in relative safety. Since hide only breaks when something is in the room (and not in your group), it's fairly easy to simply avoid any mobs along the way and make sure never to do anything in a room with a mob in it. Hidden mobs aside, this made it trivial to go anywhere and forage without being in any real danger.

The big issue with forage is that anyone can just do a blind forage, even without the skill, and have about a 50% chance to find a random object on the list. If there's only one obejct on the list, you always get that. This was why people were able to go out and find dozens of chunks of ore per trip until the list was padded out with other things to lessen the chance of hitting the bog-iron ore object with a blind forage. Even then, you can only cram so much into the forage lists.

Sneak and hide are pretty overpowered in this codebase, to be honest. The fact that they automatically succeed if nobody is around just makes it too easy to get around in safety. It's also feasible that the act of foraging requires too much physical activity to remain hidden, so it's not a glaring issue. Since the only hidden mobs currently in the game are deer, the odds of getting revealed when sneaking about are really low and there needs to be something preventing people from just effortlessly farming the swamp.

Some day, the game will need more intelligent wildlife and a more dynamic stealth code to make it harder and less binary. It's a bit too primitive right now, though functional enough for alpha. I think an overhaul to the stealth code has been needed for years.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:03 pm

Matt wrote:The skill is forage, not plant-lore. It's for foraging useful materials from nature.

EltanimRas wrote:Honestly, I'd say about 80% of forage is plant-lore. 10% is general observation skills (once scan/search, now int). And the remaining 10% -- picking up pieces of wood, cutting peat -- is general labor.

I'm aware that the skill currently combines some rather disparate activities and areas of expertise; that's a large part of what bothers me about it. If we want collecting bog iron to be a skilled activity (for game balance or for IC logic), I'd rather see it under metalworking than forage. Or search, if we had a search skill. (Make search cost a skill pick in chargen if you want; eavesdrop does.)

Throttle wrote:The big issue with forage is that anyone can just do a blind forage, even without the skill, and have about a 50% chance to find a random object on the list.

That and the way it makes whole groves of trees magically appear out of thin air.

Throttle wrote:Sneak and hide are pretty overpowered in this codebase, to be honest. The fact that they automatically succeed if nobody is around just makes it too easy to get around in safety.

No argument.

Throttle wrote:It's also feasible that the act of foraging requires too much physical activity to remain hidden, so it's not a glaring issue.

I'm actually okay[-ish] with this so long as it affects track too.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby Rivean » Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:12 pm

Matt wrote:The skill is forage, not plant-lore. It's for foraging useful materials from nature.


verb
1.
(of a person or animal) search widely for food or provisions.
"the birds forage for aquatic invertebrates, insects, and seeds"

P.S. Your definition of 'useful materials from nature' would also include lumber from trees and meat from wildlife. I guess hunters and lumberjacks really just need forage then.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby Matt » Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:24 pm

What...? The definition you posted is the same thing I said. Foraging does allow you to pick out trees. Why would it allow you to chop it down? If you want to forage dead animals out of bushes, sure do that. Seems like you're just trying to start an argument or be snarky for the hell of it.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby Songweaver » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:56 pm

Couple things.

Hmote will kick you out of hide if you fail a hide check, even if it's just you and your party in the room. That's why I don't use it.

If you stripped down the "hard" combat area of the game to make it easy for casual folks who don't want a fight to roll around there and forage, you'd lose the combat-oriented players of this community very quickly, IMO. That's probably half or more of the community. Let's remember that just because you don't want there to be a risk of your character dying doesn't mean that that's what most people want; this is an RPI. Permanent Death is a core feature of this game and this community. If you want to avoid death, you can do the same things that you'd do in real life.

1) I would never go solo-logging for trees in the Brazilian Rain Forest. I don't want to die.

2) I would never go to steal diamonds from tribal village in Africa that was run by militiamen engaged in the drug-trade. I don't want to die.

3) I would never go flower-picking in the Southside of Chicago at 3am carrying all of my most valuable items with me. I don't want to die.

In short, if you don't want to risk your character's death, or your character wouldn't risk their life, don't go to places that are going to potentially kill you. You need bog-iron for crafting, but don't want to die? Then, just like if I was a jeweler in America, and I wouldn't go to Africa to mine Blood Diamonds myself for fear of being killed, I'd pay someone else to do it for me.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:33 pm

"A character with hide should have a better chance of picking flowers (whether in Chicago or three rooms from the Utterby gate) unmolested than one without" doesn't mean "There should be no hard areas, and no one should ever die."

It doesn't mean you should be ninja-invis while picking flowers. It doesn't mean you should be able to hide while digging ore out of a bog. And it doesn't mean there aren't limitations to the way hide is currently coded that might make this difficult to implement and balance.

As things stand, though, you can't see a tree without breaking hide (unless someone else has already seen it, in which case everything's fine), but you can spend all day shaking nuts out of it and no wolf will ever notice.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby Songweaver » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:44 pm

EltanimRas wrote:"A character with hide should have a better chance of picking flowers (whether in Chicago or three rooms from the Utterby gate) unmolested than one without" doesn't mean "There should be no hard areas, and no one should ever die."

It doesn't mean you should be able to hide while digging ore out of a bog. And it doesn't mean there aren't limitations to the way hide is currently coded that might make this difficult to balance.

As things stand, you can't see a tree without breaking hide (unless someone else has already seen it, in which case everything's fine), but you can spend all day shaking nuts out of it and no wolf will ever notice.


Oh, I wasn't talking about the hide conversation. Sorry if it seemed that way. I think forage should roll vs hide like all other skills (perhaps with an increasing difficulty depending on the rarity of the item you are foraging).

The current forage code was really conceived with the idea of scavenging useful materials from the ruins of a derelict space ship that had been invaded by genetically-modified hive-brain symbiotes looking to wipe out humanity. Quite a different functionality. I don't personally have a problem with it acting as a sort of catch-all in this setting, and that may because I'm unlikely to ever play a crafter. I can, however, see where (like with gun/bow code) code specifically designed for Atonement is awkward in this setting.

In brief: sure, forage could be revamped and various skills could be given their own forage for specific objects. However, in thinking of terms' of what I would consider the best use of my precious fix/improve/build/code time as an admin with the current potential to-do list, such a thing would be low priority for me.

And all of that means absolutely nothing. :p I'm not an admin.
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Re: Starting skill levels & combat skillgains

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:49 pm

Songweaver wrote:And all of that means absolutely nothing. :p

Well, I'm mollified, for whatever that's worth. ;)

(And I do agree that asking "Which things irk EltanimRas?" isn't the best way to pick high-priority code projects!)
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