Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

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Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Timaeus » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:44 pm

Quted from thread in General Discussion:
Mask wrote: I generally balance character progression vs. RP experiences about 80% character progression and 20% RP. I really enjoy meaningful RP experiences which prompt me to flesh out the character and find depths to the character that I hadn't envisaged when I randomly threw some letters together to form a name.

The problem for me is finding RP opportunities that are meaningful and interesting. One of the best experiences I had as a young mortal was when I came across a powerful drow archmage in the Howling Peaks and thought he would just kill me with a word.
This is a similar balance to what I've encountered even though there would be ways to reduce the amount of pure character progression often referred to as grinding. The way FK is currently coded skills and spells require an investment of experience and coins to learn . These two things are a serious hindrance seperately and when combined they only lead to an ever increasing need to accumulate coins and experience (ie mindless grinding) just to train skills for your character to progress. To my knowledge table top DnD does require usually a coin and experience point investment as well BUT it is only a one time thing. Here in FK you must train your skills/spells several several times each to reach an apprentice skill level from a trainer. (Training one high level spell can drain nearly an entire level of experience from someone level 40+ based on various factors) which at levels 40+ is no small time investment. And then a character would need to spend an enormous effort to then progress the levels of those skills and spells through useage where table top is a yes/no proposition, either you know the skills/spells or you do not. All of this adds to what amounts to really an unecessary need to mindlessly grind out experience just to be an average version of your class. That wasted time could be spent in better pursuit of RP opportunities.

One way to address this is to remove the experience point cost for training multiple levels of skills from the trainers. Make it a coin investment and locating trainers investment only. Is there really any justification to making gaining skills/spells more costly in time investment (ie mindless grinding) away from roleplay opportunities? Players still would not be obtaining extremely high skill levels but might feel that they have accomplished more character progression. Tracking down trainers and gathering the coin needed to train up a few levels seems more than sufficient to me.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Elerian » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:02 pm

I cant agree more with you. How much more roleplay and interaction would be available if you didnt have to worry about the grind. People would be more prone to seek out and initiate RP rather than sacrificing hours spam training. I know whenever I log I have a general 4 hour window. In that 4 hours I have to split training and RPing. Honestly what is the purpose of having a skill/spell at GM or not? DnD doesnt use this system and I know its a throwback to the legacy muds, but if thats the only reason why even bother. Id be more in favor of restricting the trainers even more, and increasing the cost of learning coin wise. This will make some of those higher advanced questlines more lucrative as well as our PC teachers. This will allevaite the XP grind and the mindless training spent on magic missile to get it at a level where it works when you really neeed it. Im sorry but you dont see 12th Level Wizards (30 - 35 level in FK) practice casting Magic Missiles. Im in favor of one of two things, alleviate the grind requirements completely, or get rid of them all together so things like skill checks, concentration, and maybe skill points more in line with DnD can come into play.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Nylo » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:33 pm

I would definitely be in favor of this. Coins are hard enough to get in large quantities - exp for high level spells and skills is far worse. One way it could be done - have the trainer check the current skill level of the trainee - if it's nothing - charge the exp, and then charge nothing for inept or better. From what you were saying, this seems like it'd be closer to D&D. It could also be done with money. Or go all out - charge 20 plats, get it immediately up to apprentice.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Isolrem » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:22 am

I am of mixed opinions about this.

First, the monetary cost of training. Yes, training all your skills and spells costs a LOT of coins. However, it is also the only significant use of coinage I can name in the game. After all, how often do you spend all your savings on buying a good item - there really just aren't that many being sold which are worth buying. If we abolish training costs of skills, I fear coins will rapidly devalue into worthlessness, as they have already done on many other games I've seen, including MUDs. I do not believe that would be good for the game.

As for the experience cost, it is a fairly severe handicap at low levels, however you do not actually need that many skills or spells to get through the early game, and at higher levels the experience cost of lower level skills and spells become negligible. This introduces an interesting dynamic I've seen in the game which is that characters will only know a few skills of their own relative level and specialize on those, and as they advance they can go back to catch up on those they've missed. By the time you are level 50, any class has a pretty easy time to gaining experience (this is in my experience, apparently other people disagree) and the vast majority of available spells and skills you can learn cost nearly nothing in terms of exp so it is no longer an issue. Compare this to DnD where you immediately have access to every single skill as soon as you've leveled enough to acquire it, this is certainly different, but I wouldn't say necessarily worse.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Brar » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:27 am

I would be in total favor for this.

For a simple reason, less grinding time = more rolepay time.

Of course you can earn xp while roleplaying when adventuring but it is nowhere near enough to learn all your spells at level 50 (speaking of casters here, non casters don't have any problem with learning skills).

So if you don't like to mindlessly bash things then you're done for to learn spells.

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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Eltsac » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:40 pm

I'm all up for this too...
One other reason is the big difference to level up a caster and a non caster.

A non caster has a few skills to learn, some raising by themself because automatically used in fights.
Casters have much more many spells (that can't be spammed like skills) to learn that they spend a large amount of xp (quite some levels worth of xp) just to train their spells, thus leveling up much more slowly.

With all that spell training, a caster just often stick to learning basic spells to keep a decent level rate (so he is not stuck grinding the same area again and again, stuck as a certain level to earn the xp/money to train his spells)
plus if he often adventures as a group, he will prefer to stick levelling up on about the same rate than others, thus forgetting most spell training.

The fact casters have to level up much more slowly than non casters was true in D&D 2nd edition... it's no more true :p

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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Mask » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:52 pm

Hallo!

I've tried to compose a response to this thread a few times as I was unsure whether it was better to post an 'are you serious' post or just ignore it, but I have to say, I wondered if this was a joke when I first saw it.

The premise is: I could roleplay more if I didn't have to waste time learning spells. There are a number of recent posts which make similar claims: getting rid of scholar/teacher feats would unleash great floods of new roleplaying, getting rid of the meditation skill would open the flood gates to thousands of newbies, all playing wizards.

I'm all for suggestions to improve the game in whatever way we think it can be improved, and I'm definitely all for suggestions that come with a volunteer to make it happen, but seriously, I need something a bit more convincing then 'wont somebody please think of the <children|roleplay|newbies>'. If you want your suggestion to be implemented, it needs to be accompanied with an indication that you have thought about why it is the way it is, a cogent, reasoned, reasonable, sensible argument for why the status quo needs to change, a good suggestion for what the change should be, a good description of what good the change will bring etc.

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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Selveem » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:35 pm

Mask wrote:Hallo!

I've tried to compose a response to this thread a few times as I was unsure whether it was better to post an 'are you serious' post or just ignore it, but I have to say, I wondered if this was a joke when I first saw it.

The premise is: I could roleplay more if I didn't have to waste time learning spells. There are a number of recent posts which make similar claims: getting rid of scholar/teacher feats would unleash great floods of new roleplaying, getting rid of the meditation skill would open the flood gates to thousands of newbies, all playing wizards.

I'm all for suggestions to improve the game in whatever way we think it can be improved, and I'm definitely all for suggestions that come with a volunteer to make it happen, but seriously, I need something a bit more convincing then 'wont somebody please think of the <children|roleplay|newbies>'. If you want your suggestion to be implemented, it needs to be accompanied with an indication that you have thought about why it is the way it is, a cogent, reasoned, reasonable, sensible argument for why the status quo needs to change, a good suggestion for what the change should be, a good description of what good the change will bring etc.

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I suppose in some ways I agree with you. I don't feel the game should be _too_ easy or simple.

That said, I don't feel you really have the time or effort to put forth into the game as a normal player constrained by the normal, everyday mundane grinding and lackluster skill-up/leveling system that leaves you hoping for months. Perspectives may differ from just looking at the code (or, rather, knowing it by now) and actually playing live with it.

Things that are blatantly (and painfully) obvious to the average player that I feel should be tweaked that you may not agree with (such as the crafting system being offline and very, very horribly slow to increase). I'm not saying it as a slight or to be a prick or anything, but that's a bit how I feel sometimes when suggestions reach responses like this. As one of the people who have actually put forth the effort fairly recently (within the past few months) to test a complaint about wizard leveling progress, I've already posted my results of hours vs levels. They're warranted complaints.

Long term players aren't the only ones who notice the changes, they're just more inclined to stick around.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Isolrem » Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:09 pm

I honestly don't get the same impressions as everyone else that spell-casting classes level slower due to the experience cost associated with spell learning. You only need to learn maybe 3 or 4 spells as soon as they become available to train effectively. The rest you can wait until long after you've exceeded the required level. If you choose to learn all the spells as soon as they become available and thus severely handicap your training that is your choice but not a flaw of the game.

And as for the thought that experience to learn spells is still hard to obtain at lvl 50. Once you are lvl 50 really you shouldn't have trouble with these things anymore because
1. only lvl 8 and 9 spells will consume any amount of exp from you, and trainers for those are rare enough that you shouldn't have to really worry about these things. (My lvl 50 wizard, which some have told me is counted among one of the most powerful active ones in the game, has learned 0 of the 10 available lvl 9 spells).
2. getting a lvl's worth of exp at lvl 50 takes no time for me, with any class. Maybe those of you who are having trouble should look for better training locations? That is all the game mechanic I will discuss here.

As for crafting though, I must agree with Selveem. In the 5+ years I've played this game I've never once taken advantage of any trade, and I think it would help if they were made more accessible, and less painful to use.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Hrosskell » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:35 am

I for one believe the foundations for the removal of all skill levels are already in place. Base Attack Bonus, spells scaling to caster level, visible saves and checks, etc. are already there--why do we even need skill level anymore?

Proposed changes include:
Removing the "chance" of base attacks proc'ing
The way AC currently works drastically removes the need to check attacks per round going off. The high and likely is that even a level 50 character with a +2 weapon, 18 str, and the associated weapon foci will nearly never hit a 5th attack on a player character or challenging monster with 20+ AC (a low shot for nearly any plate-wearer or magically augmented character), and a 4th attack without the aforementioned offensive stats (the pinnacle of offensive stats if I'm correct) is about as bad. I do think this would require an overhaul of melee combat maneuvers to ensure that damage doesn't snowball or that gameplay doesn't get irritatingly boring. Maybe rounds should be slowed down on both sides so that players have time to take advantage of/understand what's going on in combat.

Increase spell damage across the board to maximum output modified (+/-) by caster level:
The foundation for this is laid, and it really poses minimum threat unless spells actually scale that considerably based off of skill level. It also counteracts the slight damage buff all melee classes/monsters would be receiving if base attacks fired off every round. A level 50 caster who doesn't have the time to go and spam things AND RP (as well as most of the good ones do) are still considerably talented. Spells that have different effects based on skill level can be more in line with DND (shapechange, I'm looking at you) and be level-based.

Ramp up experience/coin costs to level and train skills:
This would compensate for removing the heavy grinding necessary both to learn (initial) and train (post-training grinding) skills, and could also tune how it feels to be a level for a while. If you've got the skills you have access to, and you don't have to grind them for them to be useful, then you might be okay being level 25 for a few days longer. The skill cost could be increased significantly for a one-time training, but still reasonably cheaper than training a 5-platinum skill up to 8 times to hit apprentice. Cost (both coin and exp) could also scale relative to the power of the skill you're learning--strictly governed by IC means, not OOC knowledge that 4th level spell X is stronger than 4th level spell Y.

Modify DCs for certain non-combat skills to reflect a level-based scaling change:
Simple iron locks should be no problem for your level 50 master thief. Intricately designed deadbolt deathtraps should remain a challenge, but not a complete wall-off. Climbing? Swimming? Fixed checks once the skill is obtained with DCs modified by carryweight (makes the check harder) and the stat mod (str) only. Address these on a case-by-case basis and go with what makes sense.

The results include:
Little impact on the effort required to have a "powerful" character:
Grinding levels, finding the right items for your class, knowing how to use what spell when, etc. would still be required functions for players. The actual level grind might take a bit longer, but it would be so much more rewarding to gain a new level and gain access to a new skill/spell.

Streamlining the Grind:
The "grind" effectively becomes a level grind, and this grind can be extended/reduced/tuned to be the same as the admins and the playerbase see fit. As we have it now, there is both a level grind AND a skill grind, but neither of these require any actual thought to complete--press an alias, move a room, rinse and repeat. They're hardly rewarding except in knowing that you're somehow better than someone because they spent less time killing words.

Even the Playing Field:
A lot of people are going to be upset that the 1,000 hours they spent grinding Hrosskell to full GM skills no longer makes them better than anyone else (just an example, I didn't actually grind nor do I think I'm better than any of the fine people at FK--cooler may be a different story. ;D). They shouldn't, and they should never have had the advantage of time to begin with. Circumstance shouldn't make anyone's player character stronger than the other. In extreme cases, it would be pretty pissy if a fresh level 50 can suddenly contend with an age-old wizard. How to fix this is currently an idea out of my grasp, except all of a sudden you:

Open the game up to skill:
If everyone is on the same playing field, a lot more focus on how you use your abilities is mandate instead of hobby. The playing field that was levelled becomes an arena where skill and innovation becomes a necessary factor to succeed in both a PvE and PvP light. Spell schools, focuses, combat maneuvers, etc. could be looked at in new ways, and keeping secret your arsenal of powers could come into play, and having prepared counters for certain types of creatures/opponents could actually be important (as it stands now, I don't know how much resistances/saves/etc. actually come into play, even if they do work).


I know this is a bit disorganized and a major change to suggest, but I've had this in my head since BAB came into the game, and has only become a larger idea since caster level came into effect. We are a MUD that is about progressive change, and I really think that this change would bring as much progress as the "spell slot" movement did so long ago. It answers a ton of questions out there right now--such as how to make wizards effective with the spells they have at low levels, how to make fighters more interesting than just a massive grind, and how to balance out some major issues that cause uproar in the nigh-on-nonexistant PvP community here. There are probably some flaws or things I missed, but I'm very open to criticism of my ideas (constructive please!) and am willing to keep the brainstorm thundering.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Isolrem » Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:27 am

If the primary aim is to balance the playing field, I do not, in truth, see these changes having their intended effect. Based on my experience of PvP in the game, skill is already the foremost factor of determining the winner in a duel between spell-casters, with spell availability taking second place and skill levels at a distant third, so no fix is required. For a duel between fighters, currently it is heavily skill level dependent, however removing that it would mostly come down to equipment and luck. I do not know how much skill will ever become a factor. Sure there are a couple different combat maneuvers, but by and large the correct move is always obvious.

And yet, do old players not deserve the advantages of their experience? I'd rather have it as it is now then for every new character to quickly rival the legends of old. That would be a mistake I feel given that training to lvl 50 is already a trivial task for those familiar with the game. The point is that characters in FK are designed to last and be played forever, adopting a system where your character quickly runs out of room to improve is not conducive to that.

edit: As an aside if we were to implement your changes then we must have a skill point system thereby emulating DnD exactly. Having everything based on character level would just stifle character customization too much.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Hrosskell » Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:14 am

Thank you for stating the same facts as me and spinning them in a negative light. I do not see how this a worthy counter-argument to the points I raised. If skill level is already a distant third for spellcasters, be done with it. If skill level determines what makes a fighter best, and not his use of his abilities, be done with it, and make his abilities more useful/involved/meaningful by attaching a resource cost to them, a number of times they can be attempted per fight, some sort of timing to execute, or maybe even COMBOS(?!?!). If gear plays heavily in the development of a fighter, continue adding more ways for him to get it. Let age and experience actually mean something--that you've learned how to execute the skills of your class with deadly accuracy--instead of "I killed 500 mithril golems, 1800 pirates, and a gaggle of hill giants in my day, get on my level." The benefit of skill vs. grind is that you can never really become "the best you can conceivably be" in a skill-based environment--there's always room for improvement--whereas in grinding, once you hit GM, it is legitimately over.

As for the necessary devotion of skill points and your claim that "character customization" is hindered by level-based application.. well, all of that reads like hogwash to me. You already don't get to choose your skills, and your level 50 fighter is already exactly the same as mine (assuming you have one). You have your roleplay to distinguish your characters from other characters, and less time spent on smashing face against enemies that won't develop your character in the slightest frees up much more time for developing your character with other people. I really don't see what argument you're trying to make here--unless you're trying to say that bringing a skill-oriented, not-so-boring form of combat for fighters into the game is impossible, and that is a claim that I vehemently deny.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Selveem » Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:27 am

I'm staying out of the general premise of how this thread has changed because I don't know how I feel about a lot of it.. Especially the 'no skill levels' thing. Skill levels, in my opinion, do separate the legends from the upstarts. There are some things I'd like to address, though. Hrosskell, you know I love you, so please forgive the strong wordings as they are not directed against you, but my reaction to the ideas:
Hrosskell wrote:[...]If skill level determines what makes a fighter best, and not his use of his abilities, be done with it, and make his abilities more useful/involved/meaningful by attaching a resource cost to them, a number of times they can be attempted per fight, some sort of timing to execute, or maybe even COMBOS(?!?!).[...]
God, please.. no. Just no. I've already dealt with this in Achaea; it was annoying and boring. It only would encourage people to script fights (which can be done without triggers). I don't like that idea at all. Feats are in-game. I think we need more of them disseminate to various (OBVIOUS!) mobs as well as additional ones implemented. Perhaps tactical feat combinations can be added so that if you took FeatA and took FeatB, you can now perform FeatC for free. *shrug* As far as skills, the idea of only being able to use skills a number of times per fight, there are already some like that and I find it exceptionally annoying (and thus they end up rarely, if ever, being used). Bash is a prime example of this. Skills like bash rarely land and, even if they are not successful, cannot be used again. Adding more restrictions won't make it 'more interesting;' it will just make it more boring.
Hrosskell wrote:If gear plays heavily in the development of a fighter, continue adding more ways for him to get it.
I agree, but the problem comes in with how to implement this. If it's done, I feel it can't be done half-assed. I think you should be able to naturally evolve your favorite armors, weapons, rings, bracelets, circlets, etc.. over time. I don't mean glory stuff.
For example wrote:I really like the sexy faith armors in the Selunite church for Goreign. But, they aren't very great in the end (I think a lot of it is half plate at best and none is masterwork).
  • I take this armor to the blacksmith within the church who I can request to 'modify' the armor.
  • "What sort of modifications would you like?"
  • "I want to make it stronger."
  • "That will be 7 platinum, 3 gold."
  • <give money to blacksmith>
  • "Come back in one week. I give you my word it will be ready by then."
This could be done to make the armor 'lighter' too. It could be done to request a masterwork duplicate, also. Things like this would allow for greater customization. From there, enchanting trades enabled with feats could be added to the game for casters.
Hrosskell wrote:[...]You already don't get to choose your skills, and your level 50 fighter is already exactly the same as mine (assuming you have one).[...]
Except that, for Fighters, feats have always been the differentiator. Sure, some have ranks in ride and the like, but core combat comes from their feats. There are a few classes like this, like Rogues, but it greatly diversifies the Fighter class. I do agree melee double-penalty IS annoying; I've posted about it in the past, but most people don't seem to get how it works.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Isolrem » Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:57 am

edit: nvm
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Lathander » Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:39 pm

I'm not sure I completely follow the idea. It seems to have gotten a bit twisted as I read through the posts. That's more likely a reflection on my understanding. I agree that characters can be more/less powerful based on how they use their skills. However, I disagree with statements that insinuate that all fighters, for example, should have the same abilities and skill level. I think there should be differences between characters beyond just how their players choose to use common abilities. Not every fighter is the same, some have been around longer and should be better than a newer L50. It shouldn't just come down to equipment and combos. That GM skill with a non-magical longsword should even out, or even surpass, the younger fighter's expert skill and magical sword.

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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Rhangalas » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:20 pm

Isolrem wrote:2. Getting a levels worth of experience at level 50 takes no time for me, with any class. Maybe those of you who are having trouble should look for better training locations? That is all the game mechanic I will discuss here.
I have no trouble myself, with either coin or experience and just about all of my PCs are wizards.

It might be training in the wrong area, it might be a case of power-leveling. Players that speed to level 50 end up being too high of a level to gain experience off of mobiles that they can handle, yet, at the same time, are too weak to handle mobiles that would give experience.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Zorinar » Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:09 am

There is a "magic" level when the wizard experience turns from frustratingly annoying and difficult to steady and progressive without the coin or xp issues majorly hindering them. You just have to get to that point without bashing your computer in with a bat.

Honestly, you all should have seen what it was like when components lasted only a few casts..... Those were hard times coin wise. You guys have it good now.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Rhangalas » Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:31 am

Zorinar wrote:Honestly, you all should have seen what it was like when components lasted only a few casts..... Those were hard times coin wise. You guys have it good now.
:lol: I know right. I can't count how much platinum I spent on gem powder back then. Thousands at least.

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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Isolrem » Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:09 am

Thousands buying gems from PC miners and then grinding them yourself, which is several times cheaper than just buying them.
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Re: Gameplay - Training Costs (Experience/Coins)

Post by Nysan » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:00 pm

Isolrem wrote:Thousands buying gems from PC miners and then grinding them yourself, which is several times cheaper than just buying them.
The dedicated PC miners, good folks that saved casters many more thousands platinum that would have been eaten by NPC shops. Gilain was proud to supply folks over the years. :wink:
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