Author Topic: Stalker and Archery.  (Read 5085 times)

ShaiHulud

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Stalker and Archery.
« on: March 10, 2019, 03:21:42 AM »
I miss rangers, and think it is really sucky not to give Stalkers, master archery. Any support?
The problem with leadership is inevitably: Who will play God? -Muad'Dib

So let's all go focus on our own roleplay before anyone picks up a stone to throw. -Sanvean

Delirium

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2019, 03:36:50 AM »
Old ranger is smack-dab in between Scout and Stalker.

Which you choose depends on what you want to focus on more: exploration & utility, or killing stuff.
"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends." - Schmendrick

ShaiHulud

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2019, 04:10:24 AM »
Yeah you may be right, but I think a ranger is actually better than both. Very little gained, much lost.
The problem with leadership is inevitably: Who will play God? -Muad'Dib

So let's all go focus on our own roleplay before anyone picks up a stone to throw. -Sanvean

Hauwke

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2019, 04:37:01 AM »
So far as I know, the reason is the same as miscreant not getting master backstab. Staff wanted to dilute the ability to literally dissappear combined with the ability to stab a guy.

Brokkr

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2019, 03:25:40 PM »
It is just a step away from end all be all.

Archery is sort of like backstab.  You  have stealth/poisoning/archery.

Before, rangers were the end all be all of that combination.  Now, you have a choice.  Do I slay at archery (and melee, if someone closes), at the cost of not being as good at stealth and lacking poisoning?  Or do I rely more on stealth/poisoning for the kill with archery merely being the delivery method, rather than how I necessarily do the most damage?  Or do I split the middle?

X-D

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2019, 07:10:34 PM »
It is not often that I agree with Brokkr on these things, but on this point I do.

Neither class is as good as ranger...true enough...So, unlike with ranger where you have one class and can decide style you get to pick one of two classes with the style chosen for them. Less flexible, less powerful.
A gaunt, yellow-skinned gith shrieks in fear, and hauls ass.
Lizzie:
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Riev

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2019, 11:19:00 AM »
PvP vs PvE, generally.

You want to rain arrows onto hoards of gith or take out the anakore in the distance? Go for archery.
You want to maximize your chances to kill one single thing/person? Go stealth.

I miss warriors with branched weapons. I miss elkrosians. I miss full magickers. Game doesn't have them, so go with the 'next best thing'.
Masks are the Armageddon equivalent of Ed Hardy shirts.

Vex

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2019, 02:34:19 PM »
Running an very near max stalker, atm... and from a balance point of view, I would not give stalker additional tools, or make the current tools more powerful.

I've found it to be quite well balanced, though extremely slow to train compared to their miscreant counterpart. Happy with it, overall.
"Mortals do drown so."

ShaiHulud

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2019, 12:09:44 AM »
All good comments. Thank you. Losing my last ever ranger has me in a spin.  I'll find the right role/class combo again, just want to state again, I miss rangers.
The problem with leadership is inevitably: Who will play God? -Muad'Dib

So let's all go focus on our own roleplay before anyone picks up a stone to throw. -Sanvean

Cind

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2019, 02:21:22 AM »
This thread makes me want to try a scout.

I usually pick a merchant-style class, but I usually end up using what little outdoor utility I have and wear that out pretty thin. You know, in the kind of roles I plan to keep, not the wild thiefy ones with attitude to spare.
Playing something new could be just what you need!

Jihelu

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2019, 02:23:00 PM »
Ya'll keep making me one to play outdoor characters.


Stop.

Armaddict

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2019, 03:29:39 PM »
When looking over the classes when they arrived, I honestly didn't have much of a problem with the ranger split.

The only reason I was in a hubbub over miscreant was because the nature of the criminal skill tree meant they were preferable in every situation over the infiltrator, which I still stand by now.

Both stalker and scout looked good to me, I think Ranger was just -too- good at -everything- the moment you were outside the gates.
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Delirium

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2019, 03:38:29 PM »
Don't forget weapon skill caps got raised, too. So an advanced cap on weapons is probably close to what used to be master.
"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends." - Schmendrick

Brokkr

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2019, 05:34:15 PM »
So.....

The reason weapon skills got raised.

Warrior's four basic weapon skills had a lower cap than their advanced weapon skills.  But with the changes Nergal made to incorporate offense/defense into how weapon skills raise, it was extremely unlikely folks were ever going to get to an advanced weapon skill cap.

In the new classes the old "basic" weapon skills for heavy combat got bumped to a max that equated to the max the old "advanced" weapons had (that no one ever got to), thus folks not loosing out on potential.  This, incidentally, made light combat be equivalent in their capped weapon skills to old warrior.  And played a part in the reasoning to not include advanced weapons currently in the skill listings.

Jihelu

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2019, 05:59:57 PM »
Sweet.

So that means light combat advanced is 'beat an old warriors ass' level.

X-D

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2019, 07:01:01 PM »
Heh, I will take on your light combat maxed PC with my last warrior and put real money on the outcome. ;)

Still, good to know the reasoning behind raising the weapon skill caps. And totally true, I bet that nobody ever maxed an advanced weapon skill.

I once branched one at 6 days played, and worked that skill for the next 50 days played, I think I got it just inside JM.
A gaunt, yellow-skinned gith shrieks in fear, and hauls ass.
Lizzie:
If you -want- me to think that your character is a hybrid of a black kryl and a white push-broom shaped like a penis, then you've done a great job

Greve

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2019, 09:07:14 AM »
Quote
But with the changes Nergal made to incorporate offense/defense into how weapon skills raise

About that. Sorry, this isn't really about stalkers and archery, but since you brought it up and the topic has already drifted there...

This change feels really bad in practice, Brokkr. I think it should be changed so that it compares your weapon skill to the target's defense, not your offense. As it stands, you can totally get stuck if you let your offense get too high, moreso than in the past where you could at least use "tricks" to generate misses. We all understand the reason behind the change, but the result is a situation where raising offense is the last thing you want, and switching to a different weapon skill halfway through a character's life is basically out of the question.

Let's say Amos has trained his sword-arm in the Byn for two years. Suddenly he finds a steel-tipped spear in the sewers and holy crap, time to learn spears! But he can't, because in the process of training swords for two years, his offense got so high that almost nothing qualifies for weapon gains anymore. He's pretty much stuck at the starting level for spears unless somebody in the clan happens to raise their defense even higher than where his offense plateaued. In that unlikely event, he'd be able to learn a little bit of spears before his offense caught up again.

In the past, while it would still be harder for Amos to train spears due to his offense making it harder to miss, there were still ways. He might spar sitting (in responsible moderation!), or a particularly agile elf might join the clan. He could experiment with blindfighting on those rare occasions where the opportunity presents itself. He'd get the occasional unlucky miss from low-rolling even against middling opponents. There was hope for Amos and his spear if he was patient and creative.

Now it seems that you pick one weapon skill from the start and that's the one you're stuck with forever. Letting your offense go up without that weapon skill going up in tandem is a really bad thing because that offense gain eats into future gains in the chosen weapon skill. Amos might even feel tempted to have gate duty every time there's unarmed training, lest he let his offense go up without a corresponding gain in his favored weapon skill. It's a tough choice. Do you do what's right, at significant cost to your character's coded faculties, all because of a weird mechanic that honestly doesn't even feel like it represents realism? Or do you do the dodgy thing because it helps you accomplish your goals?

It has just created a really weird dynamic where offense skill is your enemy. There's now this mad rush to raise weapon skills as high as possible before offense gets too high to qualify for gains against the things you normally fight. It's very easy to raise offense--just get misses, any kind of misses. But now, not every miss is desirable. I've even caught myself wondering if there are ways to hinder offense gains, like fighting drunk, so I don't get stuck on journeyman weapons for the third consecutive character. Naturally, I slapped myself across the face and said a few Hail Marys when I saw the error of my ways.

It's a very counter-intuitive bit of code, because when you think about it, having high offense (i.e. general combat experience) should make it easier to learn a new weapon skill, not harder. The way it currently works does not feel realistic at all, it's a very gamey mechanic that exists purely for the OOC purpose of stopping people from mastering weapons in gortok dens. That part is fair enough, but in the process of stopping that, it also stops a lot of legitimate training methods and warranted character advancement.

There's always been a bit of a problem with weapon skills. Even before this change, you stopped getting misses against almost anything long before it felt fair to plateau. You can barely hit journeyman doing reasonable things like hunting. People used to use stilt lizards or bags of rocks to help things along, but these questionable methods have been steadily patched out of the game. Now we're at the point where the one and only way to raise a weapon skill beyond the doldrums of mediocrity is to spar regularly with someone who has quite high defense, and there's frankly only two clans in the game where this is a realistic expectation. And even there, it often won't actually be available. I venture that there are seasons where the number of characters with over 50 defense who are available for training on a regular basis is dangerously close to 0.

From my experience, once you've hit journeyman, there's basically nothing in the game that will dodge your attacks except for long-lived fighters, who have an understandable tendency to stop sparring regularly, and things like silt-horrors that you can't just go out and fight. Even some of the supposedly dangerous things like dujat worms and rantarri will stop dodging you long before you can begin to hope to see <advanced> show up on your skill sheet. And while one could argue that if things stop dodging your attacks, maybe you don't need to get any better, the fact remains that anyone with master parry and shield use - which is trivial to get for the classes that can - will parry and block over 75% of your attacks if you've got low journeyman in your weapon skill, so you don't exactly feel like you're as good as you have any reason to get.

In the end, this system comes to feel nothing like reality. It doesn't make much sense that the vast majority of career soldiers and mercenaries top out at mediocrity. It seems like the entire second half of the combat skill progression scale is tucked away behind a door with a sign that reads "only truly exceptional and uniquely gifted heroes allowed." In reality, anyone with years of combat training should be near the peak of human prowess, and the truly gifted would be a little better than that. In the game, it's more like you never get better than okay unless by pure dumb luck there's a high-defense fighter in your clan who spars regularly during the hours where you play, and for most characters, that's just not something that they get to have. Instead they learn a good deal for the first year of their career and then pretty much stop learning altogether once they're alright at fighting.

In short, it feels like the system is designed such that the "point of exceptionalism" is situated at mid-journeyman rather than the threshold to mastery. Why are two out of five skill levels gated behind prohibitive code and unrealistic obstacles? We all know that this part of the code in no way matches up to realism, and generally feels like shit to work with. It always did, and now it's worse than before.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 10:05:50 AM by Greve »

Brokkr

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2019, 11:36:28 AM »
Thanks for the theorycrafting.

You may have noted that only one class even branches anything from weapon skills, and that was intentionally designed to be really hard.

So after that, you have to ask yourself, "If I am actually hitting everything with my weapon skill where it is, what does it really matter where it is?"

If you are just playing to see (master) I have no sympathy.  In order for a Lan or a Rand to exist, most folks can't get to the top end of skill.  So yes, it is designed so that most folks don't get to the top end of skill.  That would not be desirable from a staff perspective, as players are on the same scale as our NPCs.  It gets really, really hard to even create a challenge for truly great combatants without doing stuff that players might not consider fair.

Greve

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2019, 01:13:38 PM »
I'm disappointed that you resort to these copy-paste arguments when I went so far out of my way to pre-emptively address them, knowing that they would be the default responses if I didn't. And for all my trouble, that's still all you offered, complete with a rude dose of "thanks for the theorycrafting" snark. All the same, let me try to clarify, and excuse me if I employ the same tone that you afforded me:

Quote
You may have noted that only one class even branches anything from weapon skills, and that was intentionally designed to be really hard.

It's not all about branching, but if we're going to delve into that topic, I feel compelled to point out how silly it is for enforcers to branch a class-defining skill in a manner that's intentionally designed to be borderline impossible. Doubly so when you can bypass this obstacle by simply taking a subclass that grants the skill from the start. This would not have passed the most cursory test in any other line of gaming.

This class begins with a higher offense than any other starting option ever before, making it even harder to raise weapon skills. Enforcers start out barely able to get a miss off of anything that's safe to fight alone, i.e. scrabs, raptors and just about any humanoid NPC. By your own admission in previous threads, enforcers need to get a ways into advanced in order to branch those skills. Yet it's difficult to hit journeyman at all, let alone bypass it.

This class isn't worth playing without backstab/sap. It's raw garbage if you don't have them. If you thought master backstab/sap on a heavy combat class was so problematic, you shouldn't have set it up that way in the first place. That's just bad game design. We're down to such a small number of clans offering real combat training these days, and they're largely incompatible with the kinds of roles that the enforcer class lends itself to.

Quote
So after that, you have to ask yourself, "If I am actually hitting everything with my weapon skill where it is, what does it really matter where it is?"

Here it bears mentioning that combat does not consist of just two outcomes called "hit" and "miss." When fighting anything but animals, parry and block comes into play. That's the main problem that I tried to bring up, but you didn't seem to notice. If you're stuck at low journeyman weapon skill because nothing will dodge you anymore after you reach it, anything with high parry and/or block will effortlessly avoid most of your attacks. Because, you know, you've got like 30% slashing or whatever is the point where missing becomes nearly impossible, and they've got maxed parry and shield use. It's a fundamentally broken system.

We're looking at a game where the equivalent of lions and rhinos become sitting ducks against you at level where you're nowhere near overcoming a month's worth of parry training. You stop missing so early in your skill progression that you're not even halfway to mastery when you reach the point where all sparring becomes a pointless series of blocks and parries. Progression stops long before you can even begin to talk about achieving anything skill-wise. Are we to accept that low journeyman is the reasonable limit for the vast majority of Zalanthans, and that anything past this is exceptionalism?

Again, I went very far out of my way to emphasize that we're not talking strictly about <master> here, we're talking about a point so low that it feels like one has made next to no progress from where one began. Yet you see fit to ignore this say that you have no sympathy if one just plays to see <master>. That's the actual textbook definition of a strawman argument.

We're working with a combat skill system designed to stall you before the halfway point. Further progress comes down entirely to whether or not there happens to be a long-lived fighter willing to spar and available during your playtimes. In a game that struggles to reach 50 players at peak hours, that does not feel reasonable. It ends up being so random and arbitrary that one character can stall out at low journeyman and another can approach master based on nothing more than the total happenstance of someone with high enough defense matching your playtimes.

There are not enough alternatives to that. You can spend ten in-game years fighting gith and mantis and tarantulas and end up at the same skill level as someone who spends half an in-game year training half-assedly in a clan where there happens to be one dude who's been around long enough to work up a solid defense skill. This puts such a huge limitation on the variety of worthwhile character concepts.

Before this change to the offense/defense dynamic, players used questionable methods to overcome these design flaws; but instead of addressing the flaws, those methods were simply patched out. Now we're left with a game where in order to make any impression combat-wise, you must have time served in one of the few remaining sparring clans. This means that any character concept for which this is not suitable is forever limited to combat mediocrity.

Yes, certainly, you should not be able to hit MASTER SUPREME BEING by fighting scrabs. Nobody ever said that should be possible. But the fact of the matter is that right now, there is absolutely no way to become better than okay in any way except for a long-term training regimen with one of the woefully few characters that actually have high defense and availability for sparring. You can do things that should be considered among the most dangerous things in the world, like tackling gith warbands and hunting bahamets, and it won't get you anywhere because of the way the code works. They just will not dodge your attacks once you've got decent weapon skill and offense. Not high. Decent. Mediocre. The level that a month of sparring gets you to. And that's not reasonable.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 02:16:39 AM by Greve »

Namino

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2019, 01:52:04 PM »
Greve is correct. This topic has been beaten half to death about one-hundred other times. Ultimately, the origin of all this pain is that the mechanism for skill increase in Armageddon -- namely that it is tied to failure -- is horrifically ill-conceived and is probably one of the greatest warts that the game has. This tends to conflate with the subtle but incredibly offhanded manner in which achievement based players are dismissed by various off-the cuff (or as stated in the previous post, copy-paste) arguments. Achievers comprise 25% of Bartle's Taxonomy yet anyone seriously focusing on achievement in Armageddon is not only going to be seriously let down by the anemic system in place, they're going to be openly criticized by staff for being an achiever at all.

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You seem very, very, very fixated on codedly "improving" your PC.  Ultimately, the game isn't really about that - and we don't have any aspirations of making it so.


Why bother fixing a broken system when you can just blame the people pointing the cracks out to you?  :-*
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 01:57:08 PM by Namino »

Jihelu

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2019, 02:59:46 PM »
Why are combat skills so heavily designed to be stupid difficult to get to master?

Stealth skills are easily obtainable at master (...usually). Crafting skills are easily master-able.

Why combat? Why does every other skill in the game have no problem mastering but with combat there seems to be this desire to keep a weird bellcurve.

Brytta Léofa

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2019, 03:06:26 PM »
guys this is get so heated.

I want to highlight a good point Greve made: an offense plateau should not prevent you from skilling up a second weapon skill at least up to the level of your first weapon skill.

I want to contest Greve's assessment of enforcer: even without backstab, you've got an easy-to-train warrior with sneak + hide + climb (plus your subguild, of course). This is objectively not a bad skillset even if you never branch backstab.
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Namino

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2019, 03:16:14 PM »
a weird bellcurve.

It's even worse than that, as it's not a bell curve, but a decaying asymptote more tightly described as logarithmic. This isn't bad per se, as many games have skill caps based on logarithms. The issue is that the limit of this particular logarithm is defined not by the potential maximum of skills, but is actually far far below that threshold. This is because your ability to grow is defined by how well opponents dodge, which is decoupled from the maximum of the skill. Hence, the asymptote decays far underneath the ceiling and mastery becomes unrealistic and unenjoyable.

Crafting and other skills don't suffer as grievously from this as they're not locked to your opponent's dodges.

I recognize that when Armageddon was founded game design was still in its infancy in a myriad of ways, which explains this holdover. But the stubborn refusal to fix what is a very simple problem continues to boggle me.

Riev

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2019, 04:13:36 PM »
Six months later, still no good customer-facing skills.
Quote
If you are just playing to see (master) I have no sympathy.  In order for a Lan or a Rand to exist, most folks can't get to the top end of skill.  So yes, it is designed so that most folks don't get to the top end of skill.  That would not be desirable from a staff perspective, as players are on the same scale as our NPCs.  It gets really, really hard to even create a challenge for truly great combatants without doing stuff that players might not consider fair.

In theory, I would agree. If everyone can have 90/100 Slashing skill, then what is the point of having the 5-89 other than to be "less than"?

In reality, though, some people DO want to see that they are a master, because unfortunately the way the combat code is designed, they're still going to get wtfpwned by a random gith even if they're better than their PC cohort.

And if your official reasoning for "We don't like high skill" is because "Its hard to create a good challenge", then to use your own words... I have no sympathy. If you can't figure it out, find someone who can.
Masks are the Armageddon equivalent of Ed Hardy shirts.

Veselka

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Re: Stalker and Archery.
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2019, 04:22:24 PM »
Hmm. I think branching off weapons skills is an interesting challenge. I'm not certain where it branches off...I'm guessing near advanced/max like most skills.

I agree with Bryetta...I think Enforcer is one of the more fun classes, even if you never branch sap/backstab. It's a versatile skill set that's not as amazing utility wise as some other ones, but I think it suits certain concepts very well.

Do I wish Sap/Backstab branched in the middle of the skills, and was more accessible? Sure. But if it's that important, like it was pointed out, you can get a sub guild to have it out of the gates.

I sort of agree with Brokkr too about 'combat difficulty'. It's honestly difficult to hit the sweet spot of 'how many NPCs to face vs how many PCs there are', particularly if any half-giants are present. If there are 4-8 combat-proficient PCs...A ridiculous amount of NPCs have to be thrown at you in order to constitute a danger or threat. Not to mention if one of the PCs is very combat proficient, disarming weapons that fly out of the room, bashing with 80% accuracy, and so on.

I don't mind the challenge, personally. But that's just me. I can also see how it's frustrating, based on skills only raising when there are fails. I do appreciate the marked improvement of 'if facing a much more skilled opponent/spar buddy, you get more skill'. I've noticed it and it's a big improvement.
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