Author Topic: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek  (Read 4918 times)

Nergal

  • Producer
  • Posts: 757
Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« on: April 27, 2017, 06:48:42 PM »
One of the main projects I'm working on is the guild revamp. It's at a place where I feel pretty comfortable with sharing a few details, since it's gone beyond the conceptual point into something that's potentially workable.

The Concept
First of all, guilds will be called "classes" and subguilds will be called "subclasses". This is to help newbies understand what these entities are. We often get character applications from new players that will say something like "Amos joined the local assassin's guild" so clearly there is some confusion about that which we could easily eliminate.

Secondly, the new classes being created will be replacing the current classes - this isn't an addition to the system, but an overhaul of the system.

Thirdly, we want to differentiate between individual classes and groups of classes. Basically, the point of the class system is for each PC to have a discrete set of skills, such that significant overlap doesn't easily happen, and a certain type of PC is required for a certain type of task. Many MMORPGs do this with the "Holy Trinity" of DPS, Tank, and Healer characters. Since we are a roleplaying game, the variation between classes needs to be underneath a different structure. What I went with is a matrix representing a spread of different classes:



From left to right is what I'm tentatively calling the "home advantage". Basically: is the class built for city play, wilderness play, or general play? City classes get skills suitable to playing in the city, wilderness classes get skills suitable to playing in the wilderness, and general classes get some basic observational skills.

From top to bottom is what I'm calling "competency". It represents a gradient between combat skill superiority and mercantile skill superiority, which is also tied to survival skill superiority. To better explain what I'm talking about, here's some definitions:

Combat skills: Skills listed under "Combat skills" and "Weapon skills" when you type 'skills'
Mercantile skills: Skills listed under "Craft skills" and "Barter skills"
Survival skills: Skills listed under "Stealth skills", "Manipulation skills", and "Perception skills"

Heavy combat classes have top-notch combat skills, starting out and maxing out at high levels. However, they have very little in the way of mercantile skills and they have weak survival skills. On the flip side, heavy mercantile classes have top-notch mercantile skills and poor combat and survival skills. Mixed classes have the best survival skills, but cannot reach the same level of skill in combat and mercantile skills as their heavy counterparts. The light classes are a blend between the mixed class type and their respective heavy class types.

In this revamp, we're taking the time to address some issues seen in our demographics and player patterns. Basically, the playerbase is becoming older and more casual. We want to address that with higher starting levels for skills. Formulas have been used to balance out starting skills so that no one class feels gimped in comparison to the others. At the same time, players sometimes trend towards playing alone. We wanted to create classes in such a way that no one class can do everything by itself, like the ranger and merchant skills would. The goal here is to ensure that the new classes have a positive effect on roleplay.

The Result
The end result of that concept, once the final tweaks are made, is a group of fifteen distinct classes. While there are some similarities between classes (for example, shared skills), each class is capable in a specific role.

Some lessons were learned from the subguild revamp, namely that players want more input in major game changes. We want player input, and while we consider players' feelings on matters, the most valuable input to staff is informed input. That's why there will be an organized beta test for the new classes, where volunteers can make a new PC with one of the new classes and help us playtest them before they become selectable to the playerbase at large.

Beta testing will likely go for a few months before helpfiles on the classes are pushed out. The class help files will include some flavor text for the class as well as the class's skill tree, complete with information on skill levels, similar to what the current subguild helpfiles present now.

The Conclusion
Classes and the game's code are still being prepared for the beta, and players will be able to apply to be beta testers as soon as they're fully ready.

Feel free to ask questions related to this post here, or hold them for the upcoming player-staff meeting announced here: http://gdb.armageddon.org/index.php/topic,52421.0.html
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 08:37:15 PM by Nergal »
  

Akaramu

  • Posts: 6296
    • Anathema Web Serial
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2017, 06:53:21 PM »
Sounds interesting! Thanks for sharing.

I admit to having been confused by the guild / class distinction as a newbie.  ;D

Feco

  • Posts: 1778
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2017, 07:01:41 PM »
Sounds awesome, and +100 for changing "guild" to "class."

I'm curious how magick and psionics are going to fit in.  Subclasses only?
Quote
Sunshine all the time makes a desert.
Vote at TMS
Vote at TMC

BadSkeelz

  • Posts: 8243
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2017, 07:15:21 PM »

In this revamp, we're taking the time to address some issues seen in our demographics and player patterns. Basically, the playerbase is becoming older and more casual. We want to address that with higher starting levels for skills. Formulas have been used to balance out starting skills so that no one class feels gimped in comparison to the others. At the same time, players sometimes trend towards playing alone. We wanted to create classes in such a way that no one class can do everything by itself, like the ranger and merchant skills would. The goal here is to ensure that the new classes have a positive effect on roleplay.

I see this change likely to generate some push-back. I suspect the trend of casual play and solo play are related to each other, as it's a lot easier to do the former with the latter. I imagine a frequent argument will be that people go in to solo or self-sufficient play because they just don't have the time to form symbiotic relationships with other characters (of other classes). Making it harder to do things for the sake of roleplay isn't going to help casual players do whatever it is they want to do.

Quote
The Result
The end result of that concept, once the final tweaks are made, is a group of fifteen distinct classes. While there are some similarities between classes (for example, shared skills), each class is capable in a specific role.


I'm also a little leery of just how many guilds classes we're going to have, especially if they're "distinct" and meant for "specific roles." I played a Human Warrior Thug for three years. He could swing a sword OK and subdue people for torture but couldn't ride, couldn't track, couldn't spot, couldn't climb, couldn't navigate. This all became challenging when he was tasked with arresting Stealthies or leading a cavalry unit through sandstorms or down a 6 room drop. It left me wishing we had more generalist classes, so that we could do more things if we wanted without having to plan for that from character generation.

Maybe the mixed classes will provide what I'm looking for.

We're still going to use the existing subguilds, right? Extended and normal? Because those have been a big help in allowing niche classes (Warriors and Assassins, primarily) to play outside their stereotypical roles.
Quote from: janeshephard
You really think BadSkeelz understands the concept of Wine In Front of me? This guy shot me as a townie when he felt threatened. The man's a neandrathal.

Persona for GDB use only. Results in game may vary.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 7450
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2017, 07:52:49 PM »
I brought up a concept in Discord, that might work with this kind of new skill breakout. It's how it worked in a MOO I played/staffed in a long time ago so obviously the code would be completely different. But here's the general idea anyway:

Everyone gets "x" number of points to spend on skills.
Everyone is "allowed" to spend those points on any non-secret non-karma skills. Karma classes open up the appropriate options.
Everyone has to pick one of a multitude of specific template options.
Skills specific to the template you chose, cost the least, and skills not specific to the template you chose, cost the most. Certain utility skills would be of marginal cost to everyone, though certain classes would be able to improve while others might always be "adequate" at best.
A "tick" in the below example is a skill level. So from 0-the top end of Novice is one tick. The lowest point of apprentice to the last point of apprentice is a second tick. And so on.

So here's an example:
I pick ranger as my class.
Archery, dual wield, riding, spears, would all cost me 4 points per "tick" up to jman. I can start at novice and earn my way up to jman, or I could start at jman but it'd cost extra points that can't then be spent on other things), and each of those can improve to mastery over time.
Two-handed, backstabbing, clothworking, would all cost me 10 points per "tick" of proficiency, and none of them would ever get past a high "apprentice" level of competency.
My ranger would automatically get scan, hunt, desert navigation, hide, sneak, skinning all capable of mastering, and it would automatically deduct 2 points for each.
Contact would come with the class, no cost. Barrier would come with it at no cost, but it'd max out at journeyman unless I want to spend 5 points to give it a mastery capacity. Expel would be changed to branch if someone has barrier at journeyman, instead of mastery.
All other skills would cost 10 points per tick to get to jman, and never anything beyond that.

I can allot my points however I want. I could end up with 6 dozen skills, none of them ever becoming very good, but I'd be a jack of all trades, master at none - which can be totally useful and serviceable and survivable and interesting.

Or I could specialize in BEING that ranger, and become an uber ranger - but then only be able to be moderately useful with non-rangerly things, and even then - only a limited number of rangerly things since I'd run out of points if I try to spread it too thin.

Natural offense and defense would also be chooseable skills, that everyone would start out with. Combat-oriented characters would come with a higher natural offense, and could allocate points to match that with defense. Non-com could come with a higher defense, and could allocate points to natural offense. So you'd have to decide - do I want to be superman who can't skin a rat to save his life? Or do I want to be everyone's buddy but no one's minion? Or do I want to play moderate, be pretty damned useful with a particular set of skills - and somewhat serviceable with a few more? Or something inbetween. It could be totally customizable.

The costs of the warrior's skills would be different - their main weapon skills would be dirt cheap, their stealth skills would be ridiculously expensive, so would their crafting skills. But they would still be able to select those skills and add them to their skills list right from the start, as long as they don't run out of points to spend.

The same would be true for all classes. Each class would have most skills on the list, but the costs to select those skills would be different based on the class.
Talia said: Notice to all: Do not mess with Lizzie's GDB. She will cut you.
Delirium said: Notice to all: do not mess with Lizzie's soap. She will cut you.

Akaramu

  • Posts: 6296
    • Anathema Web Serial
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2017, 08:03:05 PM »
A skill point buy system would be the awesomest thing ever.

The Lonely Hunter

  • Posts: 756
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2017, 08:07:18 PM »
Wow, this sounds awesome! Thank you for taking on such a big task.

However, I have a very serious concern. I play offpeak hours and often tend towards roles that are selfsustaining, partly because the way I must play (frequent afk, log without notice). I love playing my mostly-solo rangers. I interact with others but I can also play casually alone when I have to because of ooc constraints.

What I read here is that classes will be designed to force people to come together and will make playing for me very difficult.

I would ask that you please keep this in mind when making your changes.

Thank you.
"People survive by climbing over anyone who gets in their way, by cheating, stealing, killing, swindling, or otherwise taking advantage of others."
-Ginka

"Don't do this. I can't believe I have to write this post."
-Rathustra

Molten Heart

  • Posts: 1840
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2017, 08:11:45 PM »

In this revamp, we're taking the time to address some issues seen in our demographics and player patterns. Basically, the playerbase is becoming older and more casual. We want to address that with higher starting levels for skills. Formulas have been used to balance out starting skills so that no one class feels gimped in comparison to the others. At the same time, players sometimes trend towards playing alone. We wanted to create classes in such a way that no one class can do everything by itself, like the ranger and merchant skills would. The goal here is to ensure that the new classes have a positive effect on roleplay.

I see this change likely to generate some push-back. I suspect the trend of casual play and solo play are related to each other, as it's a lot easier to do the former with the latter. I imagine a frequent argument will be that people go in to solo or self-sufficient play because they just don't have the time to form symbiotic relationships with other characters (of other classes). Making it harder to do things for the sake of roleplay isn't going to help casual players do whatever it is they want to do.

Quote
The Result
The end result of that concept, once the final tweaks are made, is a group of fifteen distinct classes. While there are some similarities between classes (for example, shared skills), each class is capable in a specific role.


I'm also a little leery of just how many guilds classes we're going to have, especially if they're "distinct" and meant for "specific roles." I played a Human Warrior Thug for three years. He could swing a sword OK and subdue people for torture but couldn't ride, couldn't track, couldn't spot, couldn't climb, couldn't navigate. This all became challenging when he was tasked with arresting Stealthies or leading a cavalry unit through sandstorms or down a 6 room drop. It left me wishing we had more generalist classes, so that we could do more things if we wanted without having to plan for that from character generation.

Maybe the mixed classes will provide what I'm looking for.

We're still going to use the existing subguilds, right? Extended and normal? Because those have been a big help in allowing niche classes (Warriors and Assassins, primarily) to play outside their stereotypical roles.

I think it'd be cool if classes got one (or maybe more depending on the class) learnable skill slot (maybe only certain skills would be available here) where they could learn/get a skill on their skill sheet after character generation. Just spitballing here, but it's an idea and maybe it's useful.

Barsook

  • Posts: 7896
    • The Sense of Openness
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2017, 08:16:36 PM »
A skill point buy system would be the awesomest thing ever.

Delirium

  • Helper
  • Posts: 11448
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2017, 08:17:00 PM »
Wow, this sounds awesome! Thank you for taking on such a big task.

However, I have a very serious concern. I play offpeak hours and often tend towards roles that are selfsustaining, partly because the way I must play (frequent afk, log without notice). I love playing my mostly-solo rangers. I interact with others but I can also play casually alone when I have to because of ooc constraints.

What I read here is that classes will be designed to force people to come together and will make playing for me very difficult.

I would ask that you please keep this in mind when making your changes.

Thank you.

Agreed completely, and not just for offpeak reasons - sometimes you need a break from interaction or playtimes are limited.
"Our whole lives are just stories." - Vikings

I get wherever I'm going, I get whatever I need
while my blood's still flowing and my heart still beats

Lizzie

  • Posts: 7450
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2017, 08:19:26 PM »
Also agree with TLH and Delirium. It doesn't affect how I play, but it would affect a lot of people I play with - which would result in affecting how I play :)
Talia said: Notice to all: Do not mess with Lizzie's GDB. She will cut you.
Delirium said: Notice to all: do not mess with Lizzie's soap. She will cut you.

Nergal

  • Producer
  • Posts: 757
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2017, 08:20:08 PM »
Sounds awesome, and +100 for changing "guild" to "class."

I'm curious how magick and psionics are going to fit in.  Subclasses only?

Magick is and always will be subclass-only.

Psionics... we'll touch on that at another time.

Quote from: Badskeelz
Making it harder to do things for the sake of roleplay isn't going to help casual players do whatever it is they want to do.

...

It left me wishing we had more generalist classes, so that we could do more things if we wanted without having to plan for that from character generation.

Maybe the mixed classes will provide what I'm looking for.

...

We're still going to use the existing subguilds, right? Extended and normal? Because those have been a big help in allowing niche classes (Warriors and Assassins, primarily) to play outside their stereotypical roles.

I suppose a better way to say the sentence you bolded would be "We wanted to create classes in such a way that no one class can do everything masterfully by itself, like the ranger and merchant classes would." These classes are going to be able to do other things, but primarily they're going to be able to do a few things particularly well. For combat classes, this is coombat. For mercantile classes, this is crafting and bartering. For mixed classes, this is the skills in the survival group.

The generalist classes are the mixed and light classes, and are strong in their own ways.

We are still going to use the existing subguilds, and they are very well suited to combining with these classes to form a "complete" character.
  

Nergal

  • Producer
  • Posts: 757
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2017, 08:27:13 PM »
Wow, this sounds awesome! Thank you for taking on such a big task.

However, I have a very serious concern. I play offpeak hours and often tend towards roles that are selfsustaining, partly because the way I must play (frequent afk, log without notice). I love playing my mostly-solo rangers. I interact with others but I can also play casually alone when I have to because of ooc constraints.

What I read here is that classes will be designed to force people to come together and will make playing for me very difficult.

I would ask that you please keep this in mind when making your changes.

Thank you.

Agreed completely, and not just for offpeak reasons - sometimes you need a break from interaction or playtimes are limited.

The class system always intended to force people to come together by making some classes stronger or weaker than others. In my opinion, it didn't really succeed at that. Some classes were designed to work alone, to the point that other PCs being along can actually be a hindrance (ranger, burglar). Some classes were designed to depend on other characters to exist and did not do well alone at all (pick-pocket).

This class system's intent isn't to force people to come together - it's to allow for the design of characters that are competent at what they do, but need to work with others to accomplish things out of the range of their class's skills. You could still roll the mixed/wilderness class with a crafting subclass and get a similar experience as a ranger with a crafting subguild, for example. But you're not going to be able to do combat with the ability of a warrior which is what rangers can currently do, for the most part.

The main takeaway is that the new classes are designed to have strengths and weaknesses. They are all viable in solo RP but they make group RP more worthwhile.

Does that help allay concerns?
  

th3kaiser

  • Helper
  • Posts: 368
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2017, 08:30:26 PM »
Just gonna have to wait and see. I'm one of those players that plays almost exclusively on their own outside. So, hopefully this works just fine for that.

Delirium

  • Helper
  • Posts: 11448
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2017, 08:38:53 PM »
I for one am convinced.

Will beta testers run their test PCs on a separate server?

Or will beta testers be testing "live", so to speak?
"Our whole lives are just stories." - Vikings

I get wherever I'm going, I get whatever I need
while my blood's still flowing and my heart still beats

Melkor

  • Posts: 816
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2017, 08:39:48 PM »
A skill point buy system would be the awesomest thing ever.
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

Nergal

  • Producer
  • Posts: 757
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2017, 08:44:04 PM »
I for one am convinced.

Will beta testers run their test PCs on a separate server?

Or will beta testers be testing "live", so to speak?

The current plan is to test live. That may change as planning proceeds, but I prefer live testing because I want to see how characters will play with one another and on their own, and it's harder to do that without injecting them into current events.
  

Pretentious

  • Posts: 75
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2017, 08:48:50 PM »
But you're not going to be able to do combat with the ability of a warrior which is what rangers can currently do, for the most part.

Based on my experience, the gap between warrior and ranger is significant when it comes to melee combat. There is some overlap, but the difference between having some skills and not, and where skills cap really does make a difference. They have different domains, and can be shifted closer to each other through subguilds, but I really do feel that there's a distinct gap in combat ability between them. Unless you're looking from the envious perspective of an assassin ;).

I'm not saying rangers aren't awesome in combat, they certainly can be. But warriors have a really distinct edge even without getting into certain things they branch that rangers dream of enviously.

Akaramu

  • Posts: 6296
    • Anathema Web Serial
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2017, 09:05:45 PM »
I wish Feco hadn't asked that question.  :'(

Or that I hadn't seen the answer to it.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 09:29:25 PM by Akaramu »

The Lonely Hunter

  • Posts: 756
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2017, 09:51:38 PM »
Thanks for clarifying, Nergal. Just please keep us people in mind that have to play somewhat solo a portion of the time if we wish to play at all. :)
"People survive by climbing over anyone who gets in their way, by cheating, stealing, killing, swindling, or otherwise taking advantage of others."
-Ginka

"Don't do this. I can't believe I have to write this post."
-Rathustra

Nergal

  • Producer
  • Posts: 757
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2017, 09:52:16 PM »
Thanks for clarifying, Nergal. Just please keep us people in mind that have to play somewhat solo a portion of the time if we wish to play at all. :)

Definitely!
  

John

  • Posts: 4035
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2017, 07:30:47 AM »
About damn time on the class/guild rename. Also great to see a revamp of the classes in game. It's been a long time coming, and I look forward to seeing how staff approach fixing certain longstanding problems.

However, to discuss something Nergal said unrelated to the primary announcement:
Magick is and always will be subclass-only.
It's disappointing to hear in a thread where you acknowledge that players want greater input to the game to then have staff turn around and say "No input on controversial and relatively recent change X will ever be taken into consideration and lead to us reassessing how X is represented in this game." It's your game and you can do whatever you want. But it is disappointing to see staff have this attitude.

Psionics... we'll touch on that at another time.
Given staff stance on Magick and the lack of willingness to talk on this subject, I fear that staff are seriously considering whether to gut the Psionicist out of the game. Yet another (relatively) uniquely Zalanthan class, just as the Drovian, Elkrosian and Nilazi classes were uniquely Zalanthan.

Now, back to the main announcement:
The current plan is to test live. That may change as planning proceeds, but I prefer live testing because I want to see how characters will play with one another and on their own, and it's harder to do that without injecting them into current events.
Will there be options to beta test a new class without killing or storing our current character? Given the average lifespan of my characters it's not really an issue for me, although I'm sure I'm not the only one who anticipates their current character would be a good fit for a theorized new class and would like the opportunity to provide informed feedback without losing their character. Even if it meant a skill reset and/or using up a special application to do so.

Also: Is gladiator one of the new fifteen classes?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 07:32:43 AM by John »
Quote from: RogueGunslinger
On Zalanthas most sweat would evaporate instantly and cool you easier, because there is no humidity. The extra air-flow of a kilt would also keep things dry.

Nergal

  • Producer
  • Posts: 757
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2017, 07:41:35 AM »
In a game where the main classes are used to provide characters with a reasonable set of mundane skills that a normal person in Zalanthas would have (and in the case of magickers, skills that the PC had pre-manifestation), it does not make any sense to provide players with classes that just contain magick spells + cooking.  It makes far more sense to make the magick subclasses work perfectly, even if that means additional tweaks in the future to make them play more like main class elementalists. I am not dismissing players' concerns about magick subclasses - however, I personally think that bringing back main guild elementalists is a giant step backwards for character creation and roleplay, because main guild elementalists completely disregard the fact that PCs are people with abilities before they manifest. It's just not the topic of this particular thread, and that is the last time I'm going to address it here.

Staff are not considering removing psionicists. Again, it's just not really the topic of this particular thread.

Right now, the plan is to have beta test characters be players' primary characters. That means players will need to not have a character, or be willing to store their current PC. Considering typical PC turnaround and the likely length of the beta test, this isn't likely to be a problem. It is a bit of a gamble to abandon a perfectly good character for a beta test character, so we'll likely encourage people to stay with their current character as long as they're enjoying it. The beta test plans are still extremely preliminary, so things about the process can change in the future.

Gladiators are separate from the new class system.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 07:47:22 AM by Nergal »
  

Hauwke

  • Posts: 1165
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2017, 08:04:14 AM »
So once the change goes in, will we need to switch to a class rather than a guild? Is that whats going on, or is it going to be more like what happened with mages, you will be left with a rare handful of full mages for a time, then eventually everyone will just be these new classes?

Nergal

  • Producer
  • Posts: 757
Re: Guild Revamp - Sneak Peek
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2017, 08:06:50 AM »
The current plan after the beta test is done is to let living characters at the time remain with the old classes, but new characters will not be able to select those classes. Over time as those old characters die out/store, everyone will eventually have one of the new classes.