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New Races, Balance, and Lore

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New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Brian » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:50 am

This is inspired by WorkerDrone's post on the Staff Queries board but meant to travel as broadly as necessary over these topics as there have been some discussions about it in other threads as well.

I'm curious to find out what people expect and hope for with the implementation of new races and what they're looking for in terms of their balance and how they are represented in the code, both in stat boosts and, as was the case in WorkerDrone's post, in equipment.

For me, I understand that Tolkien's world, as written, is not an equal world in terms of the gifts that are offered to its various inhabitants. Elves are more resistant to hurt and disease, have greater control over their physical body and its movement, and have a greater strength against things in the unseen world (willpower). Dwarves are resistant to hurt and fire, can bear large loads over long distances without trouble, and are amazing craftsmen. The Dunedain live longer, have greater strength of will, and have vastly more lore at their disposal than common Men.

Personally, I want these differences to translate into the gameworld, but the question is to what degree? I already said in a different thread that I don't think a race like the Noldor should be playable, because for them to be represented as they are in the lore the stat bonuses applied would have to be very large. However, for the races that it looks like we have upcoming, Mirkwood Elves, Dwarves, Dunedain on the human side, Wargs and perhaps some others that I don't know of on the dark side, I think that boosts that don't totally throw off the game balance are possible.

I guess the question is are people upset that these races will be statistically better than the common races? If a Dwarf has a +1 str, +2 con, and +2 dexterity (I don't know if this is what is planned it's just something close to how I would envision the translation of their attributes into our stat system) are people behind that or are they not in favor of it?

The second question goes back to WorkerDrone's post on gear. Do people believe that the other races should have their own racial gear? If you do, do people think that a Dwarf coming into the game should be wearing oiled leather or bog-iron chain armor with the possibility to later craft dwarven specific armors, or should they be able to commence with it?

My stance is that these other races should absolutely have their own equpiment; however, as Icarus posted, that doesn't mean that it will be better than what is craftable in game. He stated that elf gear will not be as strong as what can be crafted by PCs which makes sense to me; these are rustic, woodland elves, not the Noldor who made the finest mail. I think there's no getting around the fact that the dwarves would make better gear than men are able to, however.

Better can be a matter of degrees though. I think its reasonable to create the dwarven high end armor so that it's only a single step better than what is craftable by the best smiths of Men, so if the best steel mail made by Men does -6 damage, perhaps that dwarven mail does -7? I don't know enough about code and the way it works to say if that is reasonable, but that's how I think I'd want it to be.

As for whether an RPP race can come in with something that's better than what's craftable...it sounds like this would only really be an issue for dwarves in the way that I conceive it. I would say they shouldn't be able to, but I think it'd be reasonable for them to come in with something like chain iron of quality iron, not the bog iron. They'd still then be required to build up the requisite skill, just like any other crafter, to smith the absolute top end dwarf stuff.

Interested to hear what others think, please discuss!
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby ThinkTwice » Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:00 pm

I believe that there should absolutely be a noted, key difference between any of the RPP races and something else. They shouldn't be invincible (hence agreement on being sans Noldo Elf), but should be noticeably more powerful with noticeably better equipment, as I am spending RPP on them. Unlike a role where, when this guy dies I can just roll another one, I am losing all of the reward I've earned from my previous character for this new one. I'd like it to be legit, in both terms of lore-given/plot-specific information and more codey things.

There have been events in game that felt like they only happened because a certain RPP race was there, and I approved of that. It's part of what gives the world flavor, grinds you into the setting -- elves interacting with things will be different than a Man interacting with things.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby radioactivejesus » Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:05 pm

RPP races should not be allowed to become the unstoppable superheroes that they were in the old SOI. I'm strongly against RPP races getting gear that is superior to that of the lesser races. However, I wouldn't be against them getting higher end gear that suits their race. For example, if a dwarf warrior entered the game, they should enter with an exceptional quality hauberk, gauntlets and leggings of refined iron. It's still craftable by any armourer, so people can match the dwarves equipment given enough time, but it's still very high end.
Similarly for elves, a suit of exceptional quality forest-green dyed oiled leather would be cool, but entering with gear several AC points higher than what can be crafted is a bit unbalancing
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Melkor » Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:17 pm

radioactivejesus wrote:RPP races should not be allowed to become the unstoppable superheroes that they were in the old SOI. I'm strongly against RPP races getting gear that is superior to that of the lesser races. However, I wouldn't be against them getting higher end gear that suits their race. For example, if a dwarf warrior entered the game, they should enter with an exceptional quality hauberk, gauntlets and leggings of refined iron. It's still craftable by any armourer, so people can match the dwarves equipment given enough time, but it's still very high end.
Similarly for elves, a suit of exceptional quality forest-green dyed oiled leather would be cool, but entering with gear several AC points higher than what can be crafted is a bit unbalancing


Agree with this.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby radioactivejesus » Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:53 pm

I feel the same way about stat and skill boosts as I feel about armour. Massive stat boosts = bad, because it makes you into a god. Race appropriate skill boosts = good, because anyone would be able to catch up to you if they had enough time. Rather than a dwarf getting +1 str, +2 con, and +2 dexterity, I'd rather see them with just +1 con and maybe +1 dex, and commence with a free +20 points to metalcraft, stonecraft, dwarven-writing and artistry(it's used to create high end weapons/armour, as well as metal jewelry)
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby ThinkTwice » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:05 pm

That's one of the major themes of Tolkien's world, though; the races are not equal. The other races are just better than Men at certain things, specifically crafting and fighting. Watching a human warrior defeat an Elf warrior or a Dwarf warrior in single combat should be immersion breaking.

I understand that this is a playability (as people hate being lesser) vs realism (as this is what the canon says) issue, but realism should win out here.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby tehkory » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:07 pm

Concept One: As an RPI, is the imperative first and foremost to create the full diversity of characters and races in a manner true to canon, to the point where some races (or roles) will be grossly overpowered against other players? In that case, should PVP no longer be considered a core concept of that game, on the case of fairness?

Concept Two: Or, as an RPI is still a game at its core, with standardized systems, is the imperative first and foremost to make certain that all playable races and characters are relatively balanced, so that any player has the ability to climb to similar levels of functionality as all other players, regardless of RPP?

Per Songweaver.

What is 'gamebreakingly strong' very much depends on the game, Brian. Whether these special roles/races are 'gamebreakingly strong' depends on the skills and stats. It's not the 'lore' description of Mirkwood Elves that matters, it's their coded power.

for me, not having them portrayed with a certain level of capability would be immersion breaking.

Per Myself/Brian.

Coded power imbalances the game, and lore imbalances the setting. And either way, with special roles and special races have an incredibly hard-to-discern effect on the game.

Gimli managed over twenty kills at Helm's Deep against strong Isengard Uruk-Hai. Even if PC dwarves are only half as strong as Gimli and PC uruks somehow twice as strong as canon Uruks, that's still killing 5 before going down (presumably in a series of 1 v 1s, not in a single 5 v 1 epic tankfest). I don't see how to get around that, except to realize that the game isn't merely a mechanical system that we players use to measure e-peens at each other, such that it would be 'unfair' if more effort doesn't equal better results.

Per Grommit.
Outnumbered over 10-to-1, the Elves, Dwarves, and Men won a solid victory at the Battle of Five Armies. Mostly because of around a hundred great eagles and a shapeshifter. This doesn't mean one elf should kill ten or even five or even four or three goblins. Tolkien wasn't written for the perspective of an enemy. Keep that in mind; we've got two spheres to care for, and players' happiness on either side. It's not just about 'e-peen,' it's about balancing a game so that it's sustainable. It's not about 'getting rid' of Tolkien. How much an Elf or Dwarf feels like Tolkien isn't solely about their coded power. It's not even MOSTLY about their coded power. It's about how people PLAY them.

Firstly, gear is flavor. We like to add it in with new races. Both dwarves and elves will no doubt have some. High rpphumams will as well, no doubt. That said, it is not designed to be ABSOLUTELY better than what can be crafted IG. I can speak with authority that the elven gear, for example, will be balanced to be worse than specific craftable stuff.

Per Icarus.
Will, or is? Either way, great to hear.

And, one final time: the problem with special roles and races is a lack of standardization. Less than, what, five people can tell you what an Elf in this game is actually like?
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Grommit » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:53 pm

ThinkTwice wrote:That's one of the major themes of Tolkien's world, though; the races are not equal. The other races are just better than Men at certain things, specifically crafting and fighting. Watching a human warrior defeat an Elf warrior or a Dwarf warrior in single combat should be immersion breaking.

I understand that this is a playability (as people hate being lesser) vs realism (as this is what the canon says) issue, but realism should win out here.


As I posted in the stats thread, we had some PCs get very, very long-lived. Lots of people were at their max skills for combat, and that's when it became clear that starting a number of points ahead a la radioactivejesus didn't matter since everyone caught up, and the immersion breaking stuff was happening. Now that we're starting to talk about it, I'm remembering the answer to my own question of why we implemented power.

tehkory wrote:Outnumbered over 10-to-1, the Elves, Dwarves, and Men won a solid victory at the Battle of Five Armies. Mostly because of around a hundred great eagles and a shapeshifter. This doesn't mean one elf should kill ten or even five or even four or three goblins. Tolkien wasn't written for the perspective of an enemy. Keep that in mind; we've got two spheres to care for, and players' happiness on either side. It's not just about 'e-peen,' it's about balancing a game so that it's sustainable. It's not about 'getting rid' of Tolkien. How much an Elf or Dwarf feels like Tolkien isn't solely about their coded power. It's not even MOSTLY about their coded power. It's about how people PLAY them.


If I'm understanding you correctly, tehkory, I think this is where I would differ. It sounds like you're saying we have to give the better Team Good races a big nerf compared to what the lore would suggest in order to make Team Bad not feel like weaklings that are therefore boring to play. I was gone for a while, so I'm not sure what the imbalance of OldSOI is, whether people are talking about Moria vs Angost or what. I was barely around for that part, so I might be missing out on the important lessons you folks learned then. Can anyone enlighten me with an example of what things were like that was really annoying and you wouldn't want to go back to?

Re: how you play: if you mean that RP > code I totally agree, but unless you play a total pacifist you are eventually going to get your higher RPP race into coded combat, and if you and a regular human or regular orc both put in the same amount of training, it may be fair for the outcome to be 50/50 for a spar or real fight, but there are only so many times you can come up with an RP excuse for why YOUR char is the world's crappiest Dunadan swordsman, among the Dunedain who take up swords at all, that is.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby tehkory » Sun Feb 22, 2015 4:46 pm

You're misunderstanding that I think that it must be Dwarf=Elf=Man in coded power. I just think watching a PC come out of moderate-to-major PVP after 'tanking' 3-4 other combatants, only to take small/minor wounds, is a failure in creating appropriate balance. If you're happy that, say, a Mirkwood Elf sits at that power level, by all means. But it's pretending to assume that we're anywhere near the danger of 'man that Dunadan is 50/50 equal with all other Men at best.' We're passed the point where Mirkwood Elves are fitting where Mirkwood Elves should be, given what I've seen, and we're very far past where this game's balance should be.

If I may: there is a spectrum. There is a spectrum over which lore is balanced, and lore is unbalanced. Players will start playing or quit playing at different points on that spectrum. There is a point at which the game is balanced and the game is unbalanced, and players will play and quit at different points on that spectrum. Those two spectrums MOSTLY overlap, in my opinion, with 'balanced to lore' being 'unbalanced against equality of play,' and 'balanced to equality of play' being 'unbalanced against lore.'

The game is on the far right of both 'proper balance of lore' and 'proper balance of game.' Right now we're at(with my minimal understanding of the special races/items/roles) what is 'very unbalanced game' and 'moderately unbalanced lore.' These races just -don't- match Tolkien, however they're played, and they don't match a good game. Maybe they will at some point in the future.

People who haven't played a PC in YEARS also have difficulty judging this, which is why I've not really ever liked the 'Admins are banned from playing the game' policy SoI took up. If that's been removed sometime and somewhere, though, awesome. People that haven't often played as a 0RPP PC and built up from the bottom recently also have difficult judging the 'coded balance' of the game.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Brian » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:34 pm

tehkory wrote:The game is on the far right of both 'proper balance of lore' and 'proper balance of game.' Right now we're at(with my minimal understanding of the special races/items/roles) what is 'very unbalanced game' and 'moderately unbalanced lore.' These races just -don't- match Tolkien, however they're played, and they don't match a good game. Maybe they will at some point in the future.


I'm curious to know what has happened or what's going on that the game seems "very unbalanced" to you and the lore seems "moderately unbalanced"? What is out of balance in the game for those of us who aren't aware? Could you also expand upon what you believe the proper balance of the lore is in your view? Without these points of reference it's difficult to put your statements into context.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby WorkerDrone » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:45 pm

Another problem presented with the whole, "Admins are NOT allowed to play PCs!" policy though Kory, is that even if they were allowed to, most admins didn't play combat PCs, so the most input they could glean from regularly playing a PC is an understanding of the economy, if they don't just go full social play-style, simply because they don't have the time to waste on crafting or training up a combat PC.

Admins just aren't in the best position to figure out how the code works from a PLAYER'S perspective. And typically they don't account for early on just how much something will skew the balance in anyone's favor, because they don't know the final destination of certain applications or certain equipment until it's entered circulation.

To the Admins I can say:

The way to avoid that trainwreck is typically to standardize to a degree, but make exceptions and allowances for lore. If that means making RPP races a little better or a lot better, and you're leaning towards "a lot better" to account for lore, then make them "a lot better" in just one way, and don't make it equipment.

Equipment just doesn't work like anyone thinks it does. I have an intimate understanding of how the combat engine works, and there's still shit that either doesn't work how you'd think it would getting in the way of be giving a perfect rundown of it, or things that only work under very specific circumstances, like for example, distribution, but also hard values. If you make the best armor in the game g-quality with an AC of X and hidden values of Y, then the best weapon in the game has to an S-quality sword with a bonus of X specifically designed to be able to damage the person wearing it.

Oh, and everyone should be able to craft it, once they've obtained the skill for it.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Melkor » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:06 pm

tehkory wrote:People who haven't played a PC in YEARS also have difficulty judging this, which is why I've not really ever liked the 'Admins are banned from playing the game' policy SoI took up. If that's been removed sometime and somewhere, though, awesome. People that haven't often played as a 0RPP PC and built up from the bottom recently also have difficult judging the 'coded balance' of the game.



I think this policy should be changed to allow admins to play 0 rpp characters. Kory's right that it would definitely add some perspective.

Granted, they probably wouldn't have time to play them all that much, but it would certainly help.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby tehkory » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:10 pm

Brian wrote:
tehkory wrote:The game is on the far right of both 'proper balance of lore' and 'proper balance of game.' Right now we're at(with my minimal understanding of the special races/items/roles) what is 'very unbalanced game' and 'moderately unbalanced lore.' These races just -don't- match Tolkien, however they're played, and they don't match a good game. Maybe they will at some point in the future.


I'm curious to know what has happened or what's going on that the game seems "very unbalanced" to you and the lore seems "moderately unbalanced"? What is out of balance in the game for those of us who aren't aware? Could you also expand upon what you believe the proper balance of the lore is in your view? Without these points of reference it's difficult to put your statements into context.


I think I posted enough of a reference to current IC events, sorry. Any more and I'd expect Nimrod to ask me to remove it/ Picking the exact thing that's out-of-balance? Could be boosts, or it could be armor, or it could be skills(it's one of the former, from what I could guess). Could be one and all.

...but it's impossible to be sure without Staff posting EXACTLY what they're willing to give for RPP, races, roles, and armor. And a fair amount of it might be changed with what Icarus/Grommit are doing.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby WorkerDrone » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:13 pm

tehkory wrote:And a fair amount of it might be changed with what Icarus/Grommit are doing.


This is almost exactly what is happening if you take them both literally.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Brian » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:28 pm

tehkory wrote:I think I posted enough of a reference to current IC events, sorry. Any more and I'd expect Nimrod to ask me to remove it/ Picking the exact thing that's out-of-balance? Could be boosts, or it could be armor, or it could be skills(it's one of the former, from what I could guess). Could be one and all.

...but it's impossible to be sure without Staff posting EXACTLY what they're willing to give for RPP, races, roles, and armor. And a fair amount of it might be changed with what Icarus/Grommit are doing.


Ok, if you can't get into any more detail on specifics, what do you think the balance should be, especially as to how you think the lore elements like dwarves and elves and dunedain should fit into what we have here? It's all just hypotheticals after all but I'm curious to see where the pbase stands.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Grommit » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:06 pm

Re: the elf event. The gear was way, way too strong. As soon as it happened, I talked with the people involved, looked at the logs, and discovered it. WorkerDrone is correct that a lot of the people who make great RPAs didn't play combat characters. I did. The gear was simply misconfigured to be too high because there isn't a clear understanding of how you can go from "well this is supposed to be good so I'll just increase these values" to what those actual values do in game. Icarus and I are working on tools to make it so that this won't happen. If the gear were correct, the Elf would have had to have run very early in that fight against the powerful Uruk leader with his great skills. It is rare that canon would be happy with a Mirkwood elf having to turn from an orc, but seeing as this orc was a powerful war chief of sorts, that result would fit comfortably in my lore/playability curve.

The gear is leather and is supposed to be better leathers than your typical human can make, since it is after all elvish make. However the way the math worked out, it was better than old school steel plate. It's getting a huge nerf. Frigga publicly apologized today for not knowing the code well enough and setting the gear to be way higher than was intended: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2152#p25942

This type of leather gear, which is birch-oil tanned leather was planned to be made into crafts for humans, except the descriptions will be less elfy. Both elf and human versions will be nerfed to be really good leathers but NOT better than metal chain for protection against sharp things. Suppose the elf gear might enjoy some stealth perks over basic human craftable stuff, but no more than say 5% - 10% better at those traits, how would that sit with you all? And/or another possible boost is we could make it weigh a little less due to superior manufacturing or some such)

And I know enough about the code to make it actually 5-10% in outcome, not in some naive variable that unfortunately has a much greater sway.

Requiring the elf-gear to be identical to a human-made version with no small boosts at all would be too far on the non-lore side of things for my tastes.

Please understand no one is saying that Lore is OK with that leather gear that functioned as good as mithril plate.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby tehkory » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:20 pm

And I know enough about the code to make it actually 5-10% in outcome, not in some naive variable that unfortunately has a much greater sway.

Yes, yes. Give all gear variable construction(but maybe not so variable), but make Elf/Dwarf gear that creates the same AC-gear, but with higher HP(meaning less massive/unrepeairable damage) and slightly higher bonuses/lower maluses inherent to the gear itself. This means it's better, in observable ways.

Requiring the elf-gear to be identical to a human-made version with no small boosts at all would be too far on the non-lore side of things for my tastes.

Agreed.

Brian wrote:Ok, if you can't get into any more detail on specifics, what do you think the balance should be, especially as to how you think the lore elements like dwarves and elves and dunedain should fit into what we have here? It's all just hypotheticals after all but I'm curious to see where the pbase stands.


WHAT I WANT TO SEE FROM RPP ROLES:
No + to stats higher than 2. Spread them out how you want, but nothing higher than +2(unless we add trolls. Don't add trolls). I want an elf and a dwarf and a man and an orc, with equal gear and skills, to be maybe have no more than 60-65% variance in direct combat. The orc/man wins against the Dwarf/elf 35-40% of the time, bare minimum, WITH the same gear, no inputted commands, and the same skills. I want the stats to matter in making a Dwarf/Elf/what-have-you -generally- better, but not always UNACHIEVABLY better. -Most- Elves you roll, you put strength and size first? You get superhuman strength. You put X first, you can achieve superhuman, if you're not unlucky. Not higher than 2 points, no matter what stat or how many stats you give them to. Also, show people what the races get.

WHAT I WANT TO SEE FROM ROLES:
That's -if- skills are equal. Of course these roles should give people boosts up, but not unachievable ones. Ideally not over adroit/talented, especially not talented for DEFENSIVE skills. They should really just give Dwarves and Elves and whatever a large VARIETY of talents. Artistry/education/literacy, of course. Some sort of craft. Also, show people what the roles get.

WHAT I WANT TO SEE FROM ITEMS:
Race craft-trees that mimic the other human craft-trees for DAMAGE and ARMOR, but not for the minor bonuses nor HP. Craftsmanship should obviously be higher, but the items themselves should not, under 'compare,' be objectively different. LOOK different? EVALUATE different? EXAMINE different? Weigh less, take damage more resiliently, have that little wow-factor and pizzazz people pay gold for? Yes, yes, yes. Armor's already standardized. Follow those.

As-is, what I saw? It gives a good coded player an unassailable position, even if they play nicely. But above all?
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby WorkerDrone » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:28 pm

I agree with Kory on most if not every point.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby krelm » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:44 pm

I don't, at the moment, have time to read through this thread in full, so forgive me if I say something someone's already said.

At any rate, I feel like RPP races, especially races you SPEND RPP on, as opposed to just REQUIRING the RPP, should be cross-balanced between themselves. What do I mean by this?

Say dwarves are a 3 RPP race, they get something like +2 con and +1 strength and come IG with some high-quality (though still craftable) armor. Joe spends his 3 RPP and comes in with a vague leg-up on John, who just rolled up a 0 RPP goblin, has no bonuses to stats, and no bonuses to gear.

However, John gets his third RPP that day, so he retires his goblin and rolls up a warg, and let's say this is in the future and wargs cost 3 RPP. Now, if John the warg and Joe the dwarf run into each other in the woods, who should win?

Theoretically, in my perfect world that I'm creating in my head, they would be neck-and-neck. Neither of them should have the upper hand, because both players have just as much at stake (3 RPP).

Now should either of these players run into Jack the 1 RPP orc who also rolled at the same time, who should win that fight? In my opinion, the odds should be stacked against the 1 RPP character-- not ridiculously so, however. Jack should be able to reach the levels of Joe or John through some amount of playtime.

So what, in all this rambling, is Krelm proposing? Essentially, that RPP roles should come in at a higher level than non-RPP roles, but they should never, EVER, be at levels unobtainable to non-RPP roles.

Sure, Tolkien says that elves are superwtfbbqsauceawesome and one of them can kill a bajillion orcs by himself, but sit back and ask yourself-- what if you were playing that orc? Why would you even log in again if some elf rocked into a room and one-shot you?
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby radioactivejesus » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:55 pm

Grommit wrote: Icarus and I are working on tools to make it so that this won't happen.

I'm really glad to hear this. Seeing impossibly overpowered equipment like this leads to a lot of anger and feelings of staff favouritism, and really has the potential to ruin the game for some people. I know a lot of us are already cynical about such matters due to the massive coded advantages some high RPP characters saw during the old SOI, but I believe staff when they say this was just a massive screwup, rather than intentionally turning someone into a god, and that it's not going to happen again with Grommit's new changes.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Grommit » Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:08 pm

I wouldn't want to play if the game differs too much from what Tolkien says, though.

I personally wouldn't look to the RPP cost to balance the races. I would balance the races based on Tolkien and then I would set the RPP cost based on difficulty of play and desired rarity of seeing that race in-game given the setting.

But I understand RPP are viewed as a kind of currency. I totally agree with automating roles and skill boosts to try to make things as fair as possible.

One thing we did with skill boosts before was limit them to +2 per RPP of the race, net. However I think there's a greater understanding now of how much a single point can do, so I think it's generally the case that +1 per RPP is the aim point.

As someone who labored on the staff forums in the 2009 - 2010 period, I can tell you that a lot of what can be seen as favoritism is really just ignorance. A lot of the code is pages and pages long and we get new staff, and although I wrote giant treatises on how different stats worked, it was unreasonable for RPAs to be experts in setting various values. But it was also unreasonable to make them defer to senior staff since that would just clog everyone down. Apparently Frigga has been wanting automated roles back for some time, and I will be making it a top coding priority.

And in these roles everyone would be treated the same. E.g. 1 RPP = 20 skill points to spread, but combat maxed at 50 for chargen. Race/BG appropriate gear that might be uncraftable if your race doesn't have craftsmen IG, but would be within limits (e.g. a master dwarf smith might be able to make better chain than a human, but I doubt he could make it more than 20% lighter for the same strength, or more than 20% stronger for the same weight) Maybe each gear tier requires an RPP as well.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby shezzarine » Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:10 pm

Several people posted while I was typing this, so it's a little late, but I'm posting it because damnit it took me like forty minutes >.>

While I wholly understand restraint in regard to game balance, I'm not sure how comfortable I am with what feels to be pretty limiting for players rolling into those races.

Like, you've got an Elf, right? So he's either lived however long you've wanted to; I'll use a young (relatively) 300 years for an example. Despite still being a "young" Elf, he's lived like ten times longer or thereabouts than most Men who are going to be rolled into the game, and in all that time he's done nothing to advance himself, accidental or purposeful, beyond the level they have. That's like 240 more years of practice, all worth a grand total of a meager handful of skill points or a couple more skills, either of which can be acquired somewhat simply by players in-game over a period of time much less than 240 years.

So now, conceptually, you either have to ham-hand your character into being a really, really, really young Elf or an Elf who's spent all that time not paying attention or doing anything, has the worst case of amnesia ever, did a little bit of everything but very little of any thing, or is comically incompetent with his hands (or hand!). Only the jack-of-all-trades explanation is the only one which approaches fair to me, even though it's still limiting to the character.

I mean I understand limits on characters; otherwise we'd have a bunch of beautiful, half-Elven, heterochromatic, horse-girthed heroes with two scimitars, one being fire and the other being ice. But at the same time, I'd consider it unacceptable and incompatible with the setting to not have Elves or Dwarves be exactly what they were: unarguably better in their respective areas. Sure, let's ignore that Legolas walked on top of the snow on Caradhras and let's ignore that every time someone ends up with a Dwarven-made thing it was a meaningful and necessarily mentioned event.

So you can have an incompetent or skill-less - or whatever rationalization for the handicap you want, really - Dwarf or Elf or an incredibly young one for the sake of the game. And I mean I guess the only people who'd be playing either of those races are far more creative, imaginative, and better at role play than I am so they'd be better with justification and could perhaps make it work well.

But honestly I'd rather just make anything beyond Men and Orcs unplayable if the other option is sacrificing an integral component of the setting in the name of game balance. That solves gear, too, because there'd be no one but Men and Orcs crafting. Go big or go home. Or maybe only playable with a significantly higher RPP gate, so that way the forums clammer about elitism and favoritism or whatever rather than not having a reasonably shiny sword.

And all of this discussion is assuming RPP is handled in a more fair and consistent and transparent manner than old SoI. I haven't played in the current one yet, but as an example of the old one: I received four RPP in five months, yet not a single in the preceding six nor the following eight, and I didn't know why I even had four until this morning when I read the pfile notes from my old account.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Brian » Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:12 pm

radioactivejesus wrote:
Grommit wrote: Icarus and I are working on tools to make it so that this won't happen.

I'm really glad to hear this. Seeing impossibly overpowered equipment like this leads to a lot of anger and feelings of staff favouritism, and really has the potential to ruin the game for some people. I know a lot of us are already cynical about such matters due to the massive coded advantages some high RPP characters saw during the old SOI, but I believe staff when they say this was just a massive screwup, rather than intentionally turning someone into a god, and that it's not going to happen again with Grommit's new changes.


The transparency of the staff in all of this stuff is already a million light years ahead of old SoI. Not just in this but in just about every communication between staff and players I've been consistently impressed with the levels of disclosure. Keeping that secrecy just makes people think there really is something sinister to hide. I think this kind of disclosure really helps keep the pbase and staff from developing an adversarial relationship!
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Brian » Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:17 pm

Wow, two people posted while I was doing my last post as well!

That said, I'm also definitely much more in the camp of Shezzarine. I love Tolkien, I'm a purist and I want things to be the way that I (and it would seem, Shezzarine at least <3) envision them. I'm fine with an unbalance of power because I want to play in that world where there are beings of extraordinary gifts and talents, a world where magic is real and it isn't all equal. I don't know why someone would want to play a Tolkien themed RPI if they didn't want to play in Tolkien's world as written?
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby WorkerDrone » Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:25 pm

krelm wrote:Sure, Tolkien says that elves are superwtfbbqsauceawesome and one of them can kill a bajillion orcs by himself, but sit back and ask yourself-- what if you were playing that orc? Why would you even log in again if some elf rocked into a room and one-shot you?


This is why, Brian. It's about playability. That's like you, or Shezzarine then saying, "Then I'd rather it just be that orcs/evil races aren't made playable." Sure you would prefer that, but many, including myself would prefer them both being playable and that game balance be respected essentially across the board. What makes your opinion of lore being translated into the game point for point in exacting specifications of "overpowered" more valid than my opinion that it would be a steaming pile of...

You get the point.
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Brian wrote:See, the thing that I admire about WorkerDrone is that he's an optimist!

:lol:
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