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New Races, Balance, and Lore

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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Grommit » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:43 am

krelm wrote:
Grommit wrote:I don't see why the core protectiveness is a sacred cow.


There's a quote from the Venture Brothers that goes something like: "If you throw a rock, the Guild throws a knife. If you throw a knife, the Guild kills your family."

If you start giving someone armor that has a higher AC, you're going to have to give someone else a weapon with a higher damage output to compensate-- of course, this is assuming you want a game with PvP, and want PvP to be balanced. But then, because you have a guy a sword, you have to give more guys better armor, and then, shit just escalates.

This is pretty much exactly how SoI ended up the way it was, with everyone walking around in super-steel-mithril-whatever armor with crazy weapons. Someone upped the ante on one end, so someone else had to up the ante elsewhere. Of course, another contributing factor was that there was no standardization, and no policing, but when you look at your proposal, "add more AC to a piece of armor and give it to a dwarf," that, right there, is already throwing standardization out the window. Sure, it may be standardized from a coding perspective, but the point still remains that a dwarf has the most protective piece of armor in the entire game, and no one else does, and also no one has weapons that can do any damage to it.



Ah, I see. I wasn't quite grasping what was being said about nothing better than the best earlier. Right. But that would assume that the top gear is already balanced and therefore now should be set in stone. It's not. The never-ending bump the armor, bump the weapons war is a symptom of doing "let's see how this plays out in game" style "research" for setting values. Icarus and I will be using graphs that analyze the probability of each type of wound down to the single hitpoint and will "right-size" the gear so that maintaining lore like "dwarf chain is the best chain" doesn't mean we have to keep tweaking other things to try to balance it. We'd balance it all in one go, and then, yes, after that not any anything higher since there would be no new races left who still need accommodating whose lore requires their gear be better. "But what if it's a really really pimp dwarf?" Same gear, just Master-crafted quality, but everyone can get that IC from a Master-level armorsmith. Except orcs, because dwarves are better smiths and you can't rival them in Lore. But like I said earlier, if I adjusted AC, my preference would be that the dwarven gear, either made by a Master dwarf PC or offscreen master Dwarf for new chars loading up with the BG for it, would be no more than, say 20% more protective. And that would be 20% final wounds suffered, not 20% more AC points, which can actually make a huge difference in final wounds, which is why it was so hard to set that Elf gear right absent tools for running the probabilities.

I take it I lose some people's support when I say "Sorry, team Dark, point-for-point your armorers can be as good as human armorers, but when it comes to a dwarf making metal gear, everyone else isn't going to be able to reach their level. But we won't make it crazily better, just 20%". I assume the problem isn't the 20%, but maybe it is? Would 15% sit better? 10%? 5%? Or must it be 0%?
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby WorkerDrone » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:46 am

It must be 0%, or you must provide deterrents or advantages to the "bad guys" in which they are able to cause harm and life-threatening wounds to the guys wearing the 20%, oh so better, kick your asses dwarf chain.

Yeah, that seems awfully black or white, but the reason we're dealing in absolutes is because the way the combat code works, you cannot just give side X even 1 point of AC higher than side Y unless you also give side Y a sword or mace or hammer with exactly enough damage dice to threaten side X.

That is just how the combat engine works.

ETA, and less seriously:

It's like no one understands what I'm repeatedly trying to get across when it comes to the combat engine. Like I understand how someone who doesn't pay attention to the smaller nuances wouldn't understand what providing X to Y would do to Z, because that's a lot of variables and possibilities to consider.

But at the end of the day, when you simplify the terms to: "If you give an X of +1 to Y, but do not give Z a stabby-stabby that does +whateverittakestohurt, you are basically satan to an entire sphere."

I'm joking, but how hard is it to consider playability over what would make an admittedly INCREMENTAL PORTION OF THE PLAYERBASE happy, the portion who actually gets to appreciate that coded advantage, compared to the big nasty chunk that doesn't?

As long as you level the playing field in SOME manner, not necessarily by making sure everyone has the same access to the same things, but perhaps the ability to respond to another person's advantages in a manner of speaking in a way that they can appreciate, then you are doing right by everyone who partakes in player-versus-player conflict.

If you do not, you are sowing the seeds of discord, pure and simple.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby shezzarine » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:17 am

Yes, let's tell Grommit and Icarus more about how the combat engine works. I'm absolutely certain they need to know as they have literally know idea and don't spend significantly more time elbow deep in code than just about anyone involved in this discussion.

But I mean, hey? Isn't an inherent imbalance for the evil side just like, you know, playing a female warg? It's just another hurdle to overcome for that portion of the player base? It's alright because they'll know what they'd be getting into going into the role? It's okay for "established" lore of that clan to supersede fairness?
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby WorkerDrone » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:24 am

Yes, I'm entirely sure those two things are exactly the same in every respect. How did it never once ever occur to me? Clearly I have been enlightened by this exchange of information.

ETA:

No, okay, I'll actually try on this one. Nothing is stopping someone from roleplaying against documentation or what is a baseline "average" in terms of lore. No matter what anyone says, anyone can play a character however they want, as long as they remain in character, for the most part.

You can't do jackshit in response to what numbers someone plugs into the backend.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby shezzarine » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:57 am

Yeah, you can. You don't go swimming while wearing full plate and carrying two sacks full of stones. You don't try to skin a boar when you've got a deer.

Could you say I'm oversimplifying the issues at hand to the point of meaninglessness? I'm not the first.

There's so many variables with combat and the game world as a whole that a simple "+1 to one side requires a +1 to the other" approach probably won't work. That's what Grommit just went through, that's what Krelm just went through; doing that will only cause power creep as more of the effects of the changes become evident and people respond in turn.

And there's obviously not only a small portion of the player base against your argument, given the response in this thread. It's almost as if a game specifically about Tolkien's world, set in Tolkien's world, would draw people who love Tolkien's world and don't want to see it changed in hysterical reaction to an issue which can be resolved otherwise.

To be constructive: in Tolkien's setting, the advantages the bad guys have aren't limited to overwhelming force and scary make-up; they've repeatedly show a willingness to go to lengths the good guys won't (see: Boromir vs. Faramir vs. Denethor - in the books, not the movies) and they've got a subtlety the good guys don't. It's not always combat and slashy slashy; I'm pretty sure Sauron tricked everyone into wearing those rings without using a single 'hit' command.

Is there anything else? How can we take inspiration from that and put it into the game? We know NPCs aren't really a viable option without massive rework; so is there another way?

Or should we just slap +1 on all the jagged, saw-toothed swords and all the Dwarf mail and call it a day?
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby WorkerDrone » Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:06 am

Or! Or.

We could stop +1ing. Standarization. It's worked in the past. It works now. Oh, but Grommit said, "that's boring".


But you know, how do you make a game not boring?

Interesting plots?

Plots at all?

Interesting characters?

Mysteries in the game world waiting to be discovered?

Edited by Frigga : Let's not start calling out names.

ETA:

Nah, let's just hand out high skills and AC 11 sneakchain to people who haven't contributed a goddamn thing to the game in months for no reason and essentially run ramshod over the people who have, vigorously, attempted to make it better.
Last edited by WorkerDrone on Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby shezzarine » Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:37 am

I...I'm not entirely certain but I think you and I just agreed. Like, if you turn your head sideways and squint we're saying the same thing at the core and have similar grievances but from different sides.

But back to super awesome Dwarf mail, I think with this being an RPI, the code exists to support the role play, right? We have the base of that role play established: Tolkien's setting. In Tolkien's setting the Dwarves make good armor and the Elves can like stupidly far. Yet the bad guys have their dumb advantages, too; if they didn't, the Lord of the Rings wouldn't have ever been written and we'd all be having this argument on Black Sands' or Armageddon's or Haven's forums.

Just what are those bonuses? What makes the evil so powerful it fish-slaps the good for a few years here and there despite the Elves and Dwarves being what they are? Was it that they had super sharp swords to cut the Dwarf mail, or a physical equivalent to Dwarves with which to counter the miniature menace? Not really.

And concessions will need to be made, I know, but not in such a fashion they take away from what's supposed to be there as a core feature of a race.

What are alternative ways to balance? I'll recognize that I'm a nitpicking lore purist, but I'd argue the solution here doesn't require any defense of the lore's purity; rather it's an opportunity to embrace it further and all have more fun along the way.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby WorkerDrone » Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:48 am

I'm not trying to be particularly adversarial. I'm just being belligerent. The kind of shit that you would be okay with is the kind of shit I'm just...patently not. And working around what you would suggest as a "good idea" would not only be more difficult than just avoiding this altogether, but something that likely won't happen anyway. But the problem here is, in spite of a solution for the other side being implemented not being likely, that could hope to deal with a problem like, "good guys merit good gear", the admins still want to give "good guys merit good gear" a go, probably without actually solving the problem inherent in doing so.

I'll just refer back to the whole "confirmation bias!" catchphrase here, it may seem like in the past, having dealt with certain issues has painted my lens, so to speak, but it really isn't so much my lens being painted as the whole goddamn canvas is smeared by it in the first place, with the artist attempting, time and again, all the way to this day, to suggest that it's a beautiful work of art.

When it's just a smear, dude.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Grommit » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:06 am

WorkerDrone wrote:Or! Or.

We could stop +1ing. Standarization. It's worked in the past. It works now. Oh, but Grommit said, "that's boring".


But you know, how do you make a game not boring?

Interesting plots?

Plots at all?

Interesting characters?

Mysteries in the game world waiting to be discovered?



Standardization means when you have fifteen types of helms, they are sorted into quality tiers and their pricing, materials, skill levels to create, etc all make sense. It doesn't mean all helms are identical. It means when new gear is created, it is analyzed properly to determine that its intended quality is achieved by its numbers, instead of being accidentally OP (or UP).

I'm 100% for standardization. It's essential when we have a lot of builders making great things but without much to go on for picking the backend values.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Frigga » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:37 am

I apologized for the AC on items, Workerdrone. And we are addressing the items and balancing code. So short of offering to quit to appear even more contrite over being temporarily dumb, not sure what else I could say.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby WorkerDrone » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:50 am

I don't want you to quit, I just want to be heard. Everybody wants to be somebody, man.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Songweaver » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:36 am

Icarus wrote:Also Song is right. We do need to balance the higher end gears here ASAP and make them craftable. Which, my god, is what I did last time I was active... so you can probably anticipate that happening here soon.

Also, the way we are going to do stats... elves will be scared of trolls. And you will be able to play one of three varieties of trolls. And orcs will have special races too. And there will be hobbits. And no the hobbits will not have a racial pipeweed craft. And no, we will not do hobbit pregnancy rolls. And yes the trolls will have log-weapons. And by fudging god there will be Wozes who will beat the hell out of all of you.



EDITED: I don't think my early morning post came across as being productive. I hadn't had coffee yet, or my first cigarette of the day. I should know better than to argue before those two things happen. :p

In short:

1) When you implement one thing without implementing other things that balance it, your game goes out of whack. That's why I designed the armor/weapons/mob patch list to go along with the balancing I did for you guys back at the end of month one of SOI3. It's a really useful tool. In the same vein, I think that it's important that when an RPP race is opened to one sphere, its same-RPP equivalent race is opened to the other sphere. I also think it's best to work from the bottom (1RPP races) up (to 5RPP races), though we've already strayed from that route.

2) I don't like the idea of playable trolls or Hobbits. Trolls, because they're just more physically powerful than what I'd consider to be balanced for this combat system; I'd rather see them as boss-type mobs run by RPAs. They're also not really known to be living in Mirkwood at this time. Hobbits, for the above reason; there's no evidence of any Hobbits being in the region until Bilbo shows up in a few years -- and he was certainly an exception to the rule.

We can do better than races that worked for previous SOI. And they should be balanced and released in a proper order, like everything else, so that none of them break the game.

ETA2: Why does balance matter so much on a roleplay-oriented game? Because it's a game. Because RPIs have permanent death, and specific combat systems that are attractive players who like intensive roleplay AND dangerous combat. And those are the players who are voicing their concern in this thread. This isn't a 'dark side' vs' light side' argument; it's a 'combat players' vs 'less combat-oriented players' argument. And SOI needs combat players. It's lost many of them over the years, and over the past year. Without them, there's really no reason to be an RPI, instead of a MUSH.
Last edited by Songweaver on Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Frigga » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:17 am

Crafting is really no fun on a MUSH either.

If you want to suggest some different RPP races for consideration, feel free. But again, as I suggested in other posts "I don't agree with something" and "you didn't put any thought into it" aren't neccessarily congruent.

As has been pointed out, we toe a line between fun, playability, and canon.

And I'm not sure I see people rolling lower Maiar such as Boldogs neccessarily a better idea than Trolls or more likely to be around in great numbers. Or that what exactly is a Mewlip is readily defined.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Brian » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:38 am

Can I also entreat a less adversarial tone to further postings? I like the passion but I want to feel like, despite differences of opinion, we are working towards something together. Frustration seems to be mounting but remember that we're all on the same side here.

I said this before somewhere, but the best compromise is likely to leave both "sides" of the argument somewhat unhappy. Let's not turn the potential of that unhappiness caused by not getting exactly what we want against each other or against the admin staff. I fear that when things get like this it's exactly what causes admins and players both to throw up their hands and say "What's the point?" and walk away. We can do better in our communication. I know we're on the internet where sarcasm and snark is king, where it's too easy to add the little negative zingers we would be less quick to in real conversation, but let's try and do better than that?
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Bones » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:45 am

Edited by Bones:

You're right of course, Brian. I'll leave this thread to wither on its own.
Last edited by Bones on Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Brian » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:54 am

So...yeah, could we not snipe each other and make personal accusations?
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Songweaver » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:58 am

Re: Bones

Edited: You've redacted your post. No need for me to defend myself against you.

------

Re: Frigga+Bones

Suggestions. I can do that.

The boldog suggestion was hyperbole. My goal was to hint at how rare 5RPP races and players are/should be. I can count on my left hand the number of players that I've ever known that I would consider to be 5RPP players.

Off of the top of my head, if I were to create a list of RPP races, here's what I'd do (note that more than one suggestion per line indicates multiple good choices, not that I would include all of the listed choices):

Good Side:
0RPP Mirkwood Human
1RPP Hillmen/Gondorian Exiles/Men of Rohan
2RPP Beornings
3RPP Dwarves
4RPP Mirkwood Elves
5RPP Magic Users/Lesser Maiar

Bad Side:
0RPP Orcs
1RPP Easterlings
2RPP Great Spiders/Mewlips
3RPP Wargs
4RPP Black Uruks/Mewlips
5RPP Magic Users/Lesser Maiar

The great advantage for the Evil side, in terms of design, is that Tolkien didn't really define a lot of those races with great specificity. That's okay. We all have imaginations, and can extrapolate from canon to add more depth to our lore and gameworld (such as what Krelm+Wolfsong did with Wargs, what I did with Spiders, and what could be done with Mewlips). We should be doing that. The other great advantage is that we know from canon (The Hobbit) that Sauron was beginning to draw his forces together in Mirkwood at this time in such a way that seemingly independent races began working together, united by being slaves to his Will.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Frigga » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:36 am

Hmm. I think we agree more than we disagree and our sticking point might be a few specifics.

For example, no Men show up in the service of Sauron to the Battle of the Five Armies, so I think having them being a 1 RPP race would be a bit much.

But also, IMHO, once you introduce human races as a major factor in an otherwise Orc dominated area, RP becomes more human than Orcish, and you slide into "I'm going to get taken a prisoner in purpose" "Stockholm syndrome love affair" RP, which not only is really non-canonical but leads to OOC concerns.

Also, IMO, it would put a serious dent in our attempt to be more culturally and racially inclusive for humans for us to have a fully supported evil human race. It would foster an atmosphere of distrust I'm not sure would be conducive to positive community building feeling.

I'll just agree to disagree that disseminating about Mewlips or another magical beastie with little background makes more sense than imagining a Hobbit merchant in Laketown. If Hobbits were so rare or unusual why was no one particularly bothered by Bilbos presence? Do they realize what he is? Do they care?

Also, I'm not sure introducing magic users as a collective thing might not be equally unbalancing as other concerns.

As for Spiders, would dividing the "evil" PB into another interrelated but self-serving group be an issue? Would be having most of the evil PB not have thumbs be a problem?
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Songweaver » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:50 am

Hmm. I think we agree more than we disagree and our sticking point might be a few specifics.

For example, no Men show up in the service of Sauron to the Battle of the Five Armies, so I think having them being a 1 RPP race would be a bit much.

But also, IMHO, once you introduce human races as a major factor in an otherwise Orc dominated area, RP becomes more human than Orcish, and you slide into "I'm going to get taken a prisoner in purpose" "Stockholm syndrome love affair" RP, which not only is really non-canonical but leads to OOC concerns.

Also, IMO, it would put a serious dent in our attempt to be more culturally and racially inclusive for humans for us to have a fully supported evil human race. It would foster an atmosphere of distrust I'm not sure would be conducive to positive community building feeling.


I mean, the Easterlings are out there. They're close. Just as we don't know why all of the old Beornings died (in detail) before The Hobbit began, we don't know why the Easterlings didn't become involved with the Battle of the Five Armies. The true reason is that Tolkien hadn't really fully conceived of the Easterlings (or many things later conceived) when he wrote The Hobbit. So, as a counter-point, what if you considered SOI3 to be the chance to tell the Untold Stories of the region that fall between the gaps left by The Hobbit? Perhaps there's a good story worth telling of why the Easterlings didn't fall in during the Battle of the Five Armies like they typically did with Sauron's efforts.

Additionally, I don't think that having evil humans is somehow bad for the community. I really, really strongly disagree with that sentiment, which I know that you know. We've talked about it many times before.

I'll just agree to disagree that disseminating about Mewlips or another magical beastie with little background makes more sense than imagining a Hobbit merchant in Laketown. If Hobbits were so rare or unusual why was no one particularly bothered by Bilbos presence? Do they realize what he is? Do they care?


It makes more sense, to me, because we know that those lesser known races were located in this region. I think that the people of Laketown probably weren't worried about a furry-footed midget, when it became evident that the King of the Dwarves had shown up and offered to make them all rich. Part of Bilbo's usefulness was just how unassuming he appeared to be.

As for Spiders, would dividing the "evil" PB into another interrelated but self-serving group be an issue? Would be having most of the evil PB not have thumbs be a problem?


Nah, I don't think it's a problem at all.

Something that I would suggest implementing is a cap on all RPP races. The cap would lock down how many active characters (you'd have to define active for yourselves) of each race/RPP level would be allowed into the gameworld at one time. That's the best way to make sure that the population skews in a way that you'd like it to, while still offering role/race variations to increase the game's replayability.

Also, I'm not sure introducing magic users as a collective thing might not be equally unbalancing as other concerns.


Games have been balancing magic vs melee vs archery systems since the 1970s. Totally doable, and worth doing. IMO.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Frigga » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:18 pm

I'm not sure magic missle is exactly what we are looking for though. ;)

Nor probably most of the Psionics as we used to have. (Which I think most were removed from this code anyways.)

Really, if we really pursued something along those lines in the future (there's clearly more work to do before we are ready for that kind of thing) I'd say the thing to pursue is our idea of Presence or the concept of "the Voice" the ability to be influential and forceful in a preternatural way that isn't DPS magic mages.

But, I'm not sure we are at that point quite yet, given other things that need addressing first, but we could reexamine later.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Songweaver » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:23 pm

Most definitely. Magic is really an entire other conversation. I just meant it as an example of what sort of characters one might expect from a 5RPP player, with my belief that there are probably less than five players of that caliber in the current community all-together.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby tehkory » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:26 pm

Part of the 'adversarial tone' and general brusque nature we can have with each other on these forums/in these games is that a lot of us just simply...know each other. And have experience with eachother. We can take shortcuts with how we might say things to otherwise strangers. And sometimes we take shortcuts to how we say things to other people because...we're just used to it. None of that changes that we all really do care about this game, and even each other!

Frigga:Nobody wants you to quit. I've made worse mistakes playing these games than the ones you made adminning, I'm sure. You're brave as hell publicly admitting which were yours and we're all grateful and pretty wowed. You're a good Admin. Really. We appreciate you, and do not desire you to quit. We're discussing what happened because we love this game as strongly as you do, and we have FIERCE opinions. That's all.

Everyone else:I ain't mad. E>.

More on-topic:

I've said my piece. I'll believe in an Elf/Dwarf/Warg in-game when I see:

Relevant crafts for the race
Free skills that fit the race(regardless of boosts)
The removal of random maximum stat totals that make RPP boosts irrelevant

To take wargs:
Hunting crafts/butchering crafts for food. Track/butchering for free as a rule. Boosts to make them combat-viable and scary rather than pushovers.
To take Dwarves:
Literacy, artistry, and one craftskill for free, ontop of RPP skillboosts. Crafts for metal armor only they can branch.
To take Elves:
Literacy, artistry, and one craftskill for free, ontop of RPP skillboosts boosts. Crafts for leather armor only they can branch.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Frigga » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:32 pm

And a good Dwarf ale craft.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby tehkory » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:42 pm

Frigga wrote:And a good Dwarf ale craft.

Yus. I'd say there's a fair reason to give them 2-3 crafting skills and maybe the singing/music craft for free. There are ways to make these races fit canon and be 'more powerful' naturally, without making them insurmountably powerful. Letting them have the obvious crafts/skills all the creatures of their race seemed to have is one of them. Every one of the Dwarves in the Hobbit could sing/play, and they are Aule's children. While the Mirkwood Elves aren't the Noldor...singing? Sure. Of course literate. A craft or two and artistry? Absolutely.
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Re: New Races, Balance, and Lore

Postby Brian » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:08 pm

tehkory wrote:Part of the 'adversarial tone' and general brusque nature we can have with each other on these forums/in these games is that a lot of us just simply...know each other. And have experience with eachother. We can take shortcuts with how we might say things to otherwise strangers. And sometimes we take shortcuts to how we say things to other people because...we're just used to it. None of that changes that we all really do care about this game, and even each other!


True story, though I remain concerned for Joe Newbie, whose input on these topics is just as relevant as the old timers, walking in without that familiarity and thinking, "Wow, this is heated, I don't want to get involved in this!" and then not sharing what could be a ground breaking idea or opinion!
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