Poster: Cipheron
Date Posted: 03 September 2015, 02:47am
Making it easier to reset skills
I ran some idea past Mutant about how to make it easier for players to reset skills, and he asked me to start a discussion about it in the forums to get feedback on the issue and ideas. Many players end up with characters with poorly-chosen skills, or we find characters we want in the recruitment office, but they have silly skills which don't match their character class or what we want to use them for. The problem is that the only sure-fire way to get characters we can customize is to hire or make level 1 characters, throw them into a level 10 barracks and wait for a couple of months, realtime. There are skill-reset books in level 4 dungeons, supposedly, but I've never even come across one of these. I hate to think how much dungeon grinding I'd have to do to find enough of these books to refit my main party, let alone a garrison or two!

This presents a big problem. What do we tell new players when they find they are hitting level 15-20 but chose their skills poorly? Start again with level 1 characters and don't be such a noob this time? What if they don't choose that well the second time? Do it again? This is not something that builds the player-base, and by having to start with fresh characters, players lose that connection they build with their initial characters. Characters become interchangeable because your first party is probably suckier than later parties. We want new players to have a strong bond with their initial characters and only change them out for a good reason, and not because they feel "stuck" with a character with useless skills.

I ran some ideas by mutant which should all be do-able without extra art assets or much coding. These are outlined below:

1) characters who get sent to the recruitment pool get "amnesia" and their skills reset, but we probably increase the price of recruits to take that into account, since they will be better than before. Personally I don't like this one. Even though it would be simplest, it would encourage character-churn rather than investing in building up your existing characters. And for the game to have more meaning, players should be encouraged to become more invested in their existing character's fate, rather than trading them in for new, better models.

2) Able to buy the skills-reset book from the sage, similar to Dragon's Blood, but for a suitably high price. It should definitely cost a lot more than outfitting a character with a fully upgraded weapon and armor. It needs to be high enough that it's not a decision made lightly. This idea is much better than #1 because it doesn't make it too easy and encourages players to still plan their skills properly and use the service sparingly.

3) Increase the drop-rate for the reset-books and make them appear in any dungeon, with equal chance. One problem now is that the books are so rare they basically have no economic value - they're priceless as only high-level players can find them, they're extremely unlikely to drop, and any player is better off using the book themselves than selling it to someone else. This suggests they are, in fact, much too rare for a multiplayer game. They should be common enough that players with very few characters who regularly dungeon-delve have extra books, yet rare enough that players with many characters always want more books, so the rate should be adjusted slowly, and re-adjusted if the books become too cheap.

If we go with idea #3 (which would be very easy to code), we could combine that with idea #2 to set a price-point for the books. Say the sage, or retail price for one of the books is 1 million GP but you don't get a whole lot for selling one at a shop, then the player-player price would naturally sit somewhere in the middle of those two prices.
Poster: Solemn Ranger
Date Posted: 03 September 2015, 20:45pm
Re: Making it easier to reset skills
I have probably found close to 15 Books of Past Lives since they were first added to the game.  And I have done almost no dungeon crawling for over a year. 
I have also on occasion found one for sale in an NPC merchant shop.

I am currently carrying around 3 of them that I am saving for later and I have probably close to 20-25 characters that could still use skill resets.

True, the books are rare, but they can be found.

Option #2 would be ok I guess, if the price was sufficiently high. 

What about having a wandering merchant that would randomly visit a different town each day and offer a limited number of them for a very high price?

Poster: Cipheron
Date Posted: 04 September 2015, 12:36pm
Re: Making it easier to reset skills
The wandering merchant is a cool idea, but would require more new coding than the ideas I outlined above. Also, I think the best solution is one that adds to the multiplayer aspects of the game. I think option 3 is the best, because it has the best opportunity to increase trade within the game.

As you noted, you've found the books by dungeon delving in level 4 dungeons (and rarely by other means), but they're very rare and unless you have a lot of time to dungeon-delve you have a more or less permanent shortage, so you hoard whatever books you find. So the existence of the books doesn't really add anything to the multiplayer experience. There is no trade for the books, there is no competition over the books.

So, what if the drop-rate was spread out over all levels of dungeon? The overall drop-rate doesn't have to really change either. Starting players tend to have more time and interest in dungeon-delving. They'd then end up finding quite a few of these books. They're more valuable to a high-level player however - high level players may not have as much time for dungeon-delving themselves, they have more high-level characters and they have more money to spend. So we then have a situation where new players end up with something of greater value to high-level players. Which fosters greater trade, cooperation and negotiation.

This is where setting a Sage price of e.g. 1 million gp would be beneficial. That price signifies to new players that the Book of Past Lives is a very valuable thing, just as the 50,000gp for Dragon's Blood sets a base "value" for the item. Without that 50000gp Sage price could you sell a Dragon's Blood potion to another player for 40000gp? probably not. But because they are priced at 50000gp at the sage, then 40000gp suddenly sounds like a bargain even if you just hoard it. So when new players chance upon a Book of Past Lives they will be aware that it's Sage-price is 1 million GP and will need to make a decision - the most important thing in game design - whether to use it, save it, or try and sell it. Which will involve finding people to offer a price, thus fostering communucation and competition.

One thing the game lacks is tradeable items of sufficient value to be worth trading. Indestructible weapons are common enough, but not worth enough. Setting a base-price for the Book of Past Lives of 1 million at the sage, and then spreading the drops evenly in all dungeon levels would become a great sink to take millions of gold out of the game, and also a wealth transfer from established players to new players, which also serves as a gold sink if they leave the game, but might give them a boost to keep playing longer.

So the combined Book of Past Lives at the Sage for 1 million GP (or whichever price works) plus changing the drops pattern would remove a LOT of gold from the game while also giving new players something to trade to the top players.
Poster: Mutant
Date Posted: 05 September 2015, 21:49pm
Re: Making it easier to reset skills
One way of fixing this would be to make different versions of the Book of Many Lives, which will only work on certain character levels. i.e. a book that has a max char level of 10 will only work on characters of level 10 and under. The drop rate of books with lower max levels will be substantially higher. Those books will then appear in low level dungeons. But books with max level of 30 will be rare.

An alternative would be to have it based on number of skill points it resets, but that would mean you could easily stack a few of those on a level 30 character. So max level would be better.

Should be relatively easy to code. Can also be purchasable from the sage at a premium.
Poster: Falchion
Date Posted: 11 September 2015, 05:01am
Re: Making it easier to reset skills
And what will happen to the old books of past lives?
Poster: Mutant
Date Posted: 12 September 2015, 23:27pm
Re: Making it easier to reset skills
They would be the same as book with a max level of 30 (which is effectively no max). i.e. any existing books would be unchanged
Poster: Mutant
Date Posted: 28 October 2015, 04:09am
Re: Making it easier to reset skills
OK, this has been implemented!

Happy to discuss tweaks to the pricing, let me know if you think it's fair.

(Yes, I do sometimes still do tweaks :) )
Poster: LiaLacatKap
Date Posted: 14 November 2015, 02:33am
Making it easier to reset skills
another thing that was forgoten is why are there sometimes tester with just 2-5 forum posts?because they are siting down with others and basicly giving out error files and feedback in a gigant package so the devs dont get spammed with thousend topics and feedback posts. Me, Chilliy Willy, leviathan, Pappnase,Dekaktus,Bungeelemming was one of the small groupse durring focus testing.and talking over teamspeak is easier for some than typing a wall of text on the forum that could be missunderstood.