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Poster: Mutant
Date Posted: 12 January 2015, 07:28am
Tweaks
I'm contemplating a couple of gameplay tweaks. Happy to take suggestions on others, but they need to be very easy to implement as I have minimal time to do them.

Edit: have added a couple more...

I'm posting these here to get some feedback. They're mostly based on suggestions from players.

1. Cap the extra daily turns at 250. This would discourage grinding to amass huge armies of characters and gold, and possibly more cooperation around building kingdoms.

2. Limit the number of mayors per party to a hard cap of 20. Again, this would encourage people to run kingdoms with participation from other players. There are not really the same limits on kingdoms.

3. [s]Put a limit on the number of characters a party can have of 150. If you exceed this max, characters will begin to leave (either to the recruitment market or to retire). They'll take all their equipment with them and you won't be remunerated.[/s]

(Rescinded - see below).

4. To counter-balance this nerf, the xp requirements will be lowered, and the level cap increased to 30. Levels 16-20 will be significantly quicker, Levels 21-25 will be roughly the same as they are now. Levels 26-30 will take a very long time (i.e. it will be very difficult, but not impossible, to reach 30). It's possible requirements below level 16 will also be reduced, but I'll have to review that.

The idea is to get some co-operation going amongst players (rather than just having 1 player run an entire kingdom), and eventually create some competition for resources which will probably lead to conflict (where the game gets really interesting). This is possible right now as there are more active players.. the game had been dying out, so the long-term players were mostly amusing themselves in amassing huge fortunes.

Anyway, I'd be interested to know what everyone thinks.
 
Poster: Kooho
Date Posted: 12 January 2015, 23:36pm
Re: Tweaks
Problem with limiting the turns at this point is that it slows down new players much more than it does the old ones.

20 is still lots of mayors, i've never had more than that i don't think. Seems like a good idea.
Although i've ran kingdoms pretty much solo in the past and what i did was have a core few towns and then every town i raided past that i just left it to an npc after i changed the allegiance. Builds a nice buffer if you're aggressive.

So maybe like 5 mayors max, make the towns with npc mayors not stick with any kingdom?

Just some cents.
 
Poster: Mutant
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 00:14am
Re: Tweaks
The turn cap would only apply to +turn gear bonuses, so it shouldn't affect new players.

The mayor limit could also include a change where NPC mayors change their kingdom allegiance a bit more randomly. If you keep them happy (which mostly involved keeping them connected to the capital) then they've got no reason to change allegiance, but maybe a bit more randomness could be introduced - i.e. rogue mayors. That would still allow some NPC mayors to be involved, but encourage a bit more use of other players for possible stability.
 
Poster: Girlinhat
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 00:56am
Re: Tweaks
I'd say to make the mayor cap scale up in hardness.  You need level 15 for a mayor.  2nd mayor needs 2x of level 20 characters.  3rd mayor needs 4x of level 20 characters.  4th mayor takes 8x of level 20 characters...  5 is 16, 6 is 32, 7 is 64, etc.  This gives some benefit to smaller players, as it's easy to get into, but older players slow their progression so as not to make them untouchable.

As for new suggestions, it might be interesting if the sage in cities could produce magic items on demand.  You pay gold, and get an item, perhaps being able to select one enchantment type to encourage, but it may not end up having that at all.  The more gold you pay, the more likely it is to have the chosen type and the better the quality.  In coding terms, this could be as simple as taking gold, converting the gold amount to a dungeon difficulty, and then generating a magic item of that difficulty level at random, so it could utilize functions that already exist elsewhere.

There's problems, of course.  If you could suggest a specific item type, then you could throw money at the problem and get exactly what you want, so older players profit more.  And it'd be more work to code in.  If it's pure random, then it could become a sort of super-expensive lottery, which again could benefit older players quite a bit more...  Though having a gold sink may just keep well-established players wasting their time while new players get themselves built up :P  And then, of course, the problem exists of being able to generate magic items unbalancing the economy of scarcity so it may be better to not add at all...

I also know this is a tad more than a 'tweak' but it's something I've been pondering over :P
 
Poster: Cipheron
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 01:08am
Re: Tweaks
I started getting into scribing scrolls. This is pretty time consuming if you e.g. want to make a lot of heal scrolls. I noticed some issues:

- do scrolls have a level based on the priest/mage who made them? It would be great if they were labelled "heal scroll level 5" or similar, so we know which are the good ones.

- scrolls should stack,. Can you make them work like arrows/bolts, and same-type scrolls all stack? And then the "use" interface could be more like the casting interface, listing which scroll to use and how many you have. Right now if I make 50 heal scrolls, i get a list longer than the screen when I want to use one.

- would it be possible to have another sub-menu in the scribing which asks how many to scribe. if possible vales were 1,5,10 then this would make the interface much better, and on the server end, you could just call the scribing function in a loop, rather than the player make 10 separate page requests.

===

Anotther tweak, and this is pretty small but will make shopping more fun, is that sometimes there's a pile of armor in a shop, and low-durability ones are on the top of the pile, so if you want a good one you have to buy the crap ones first, to get at the better ones. It would be nice if the game sorted weapons and armor stacks by durability, with the higest durability ones on top. Then, it would be simpler, because you could buy the best one first and then see what the 2nd one was like.
 
Poster: Mutant
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 01:13am
Re: Tweaks
Would be interested to know from the veteran players what they think of these, particularly 3&4.
 
Poster: Cipheron
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 01:26am
Re: Tweaks
For the mayor/character caps, the only players with > 20 mayors are both in Staberinde and the same for number of characters, they're the only people with > 150 characters.

Given the relative emptiness of the rest of world, the limiting factor doesn't seem to be domination of Starberinde, but that other factors prevent most players from even starting kingdoms.

One thing I notice is the vast number of "free citizens". Out of ~200 parties only about 10 are part of any kingdom. Most players should be encouraged to become part of a kingdom. There need to be real benefits to doing so, and/or penalties for not having a kingdom.

One idea I had was about standards/banners. Say, each kingdom can hand out 12 knights standards, this item gives an XP boost to the character carrying it, and a smaller XP bonus to the rest of the party. Maybe double XP for the character, 50% bonus for the rest. If you leave your kingdom, then you lose the item, and it shouldn't be able to be dropped or sold. The banners would be handed out to the 12 most senior parties in the country, if you leave or go inactive for a number of weeks, then your banner goes to the next in line. This would encourage everyone to join a kingdom, and encourage more kingdoms to exist. Since this might penalize new players for XP compared to established players, maybe new players should get a 50% XP boost in the first 20 days of playing similar to the 20 days watcher status.

===


I think for magical weapons upgrading, if you're going to do that - it might make more sense for the blacksmith to do this. Say, it's an option you only get for e.g. God-like blacksmiths. This would make more sense in the setting, because someone is making all those magical weapons, so who is it?

And it should require you to bring your item. Rather than a sage in any town conjuring up a weapon out of thin air, it would be much better for flavor to seek out a God-like blacksmith, hand him your item and he imbues it with some higher quality. Even better, maybe each God-like blacksmith specializes in one "power" that's randomly rolled when he hits God-like status. So, one blacksmith might be able to make things indestructible, one might be able to give things +fire attack, etc. This would prevent people just spamming magical items. I'd imagine the cap would be ~3 magical effects per item, too.

Also, the cost should be determined both by the base item value, and the number of magical effects it already has. So if you find a God-like blacksmith who can make things indestructible, and you want to e.g. make just an indestructible short sword from a normal one, this should be cheap (since those items are pretty cheap in the shops), but if you want to take your longbow +5AGI, +5 fire, and make that indestructible, that should be a lot more expensive.

Plus, this would encourage people working together and communicating, since no one player can explore every town to keep and eye out for every God-like blacksmith, it would reward cooperation and communication.
 
Poster: Mutant
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 02:58am
Re: Tweaks
Quote:
One thing I notice is the vast number of "free citizens". Out of ~200 parties only about 10 are part of any kingdom. Most players should be encouraged to become part of a kingdom. There need to be real benefits to doing so, and/or penalties for not having a kingdom.


There are benefits, and a good king/queen should be actively recruiting. However, it's not obvious to new parties how/why to join. Not sure what can be done about that (that's easy).

Quote:
other factors prevent most players from even starting kingdoms.


This is part of the reason for making it easier to get to level 20. It will allow players to get characters for mayors quicker.
 
Poster: Girlinhat
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 03:20am
Re: Tweaks
I admit I'm no veteran, but I do pick up on how rules work and abuse rather quickly.  I think lowering the character count, making levels quicker, and raising the level cap, will result in 'faster' gameplay.  It'll be easier to get parties up to level, make things a bit more even footing between old vs new players, and get a bit more cooperation between players.  You'd start to see more players fighting or claiming things, because they can get to the right level more easily, so the world in general would become 'more violent' which is probably a good thing.

The biggest problem I see with the game, is the... lack of living world?  I think that's the best way to say it.  There's blacksmiths and mayors and roving dungeons and such, but most of the stuff is going on in the background.  If leveling were easier and if things were painted on the map more visibly, then you'd see players starting to do things more.  Surely people ARE doing things, but it's just not visible under the current system.  You seem to be on the right track, wanting to get more players included in more activities, but there's two sides to that.  They need the means to get there, which you'd be helping by making leveling easier, and they need the motivation.  I think more map tools and an easier time making things visible would help a great deal, since you could actually see the effect you're having on the world, in real time.

Oh, there's a suggestion.  Make kingdom borders visible on the tile map, not just the minimap.  Colored lines between tiles could show where borders end.
 
Poster: Mutant
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 03:27am
Re: Tweaks
That's more or less the conclusion I've reached. The first part (making levelling easy) is relatively quick to implement. The second half (making it easier to see what is going on at various levels of play) is harder, and probably something I don't have time for right now.
 
Poster: Solemn Ranger
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 05:18am
Re: Tweaks
Hey Mutant,

I'm ok with all those changes, including #'s 3 and 4.  Especially if it makes the game better for more people.

If you increase the level cap to 30, would there be additional content (dungeon levels, encounters, equipment)?

I know your time is limited, just wondering if there would be much incentive to keep leveling after 25 without additional content.

Any thoughts of recruiting others to help update the game?  I personally know very little about programming but I am sure there are others out there knowledgeable about such things who would be willing to donate some time.

 
Poster: Cipheron
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 06:51am
Re: Tweaks
You're underestimating the ability for programmers - even good programmers - to break code that they don't know very well. Generally there are a lot of things in complex programs where you think "why's it coded like that? it'd be better if I change it like this". Your change will be good 10% of the time, but will have unforseen consequences the other 90% of the time, the original devs almost certainly already considered the improvement but worked out that it wasn't feasible.

Unless apps are very simple, the guy who originally wrote it is worth 100 other good programmers in terms of time and effectiveness.
 
Poster: Mutant
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 06:55am
Re: Tweaks
There wouldn't be extra content really, it would really just be something to allow you to keep characters levelling after 25 (although slowly).

I'm considering releasing the source code, which would allow people to attempt patches. I could then merge those and release them if I thought they were worthwhile. But I don't know if there would be much interest, and it would let people know quite a lot about the mechanics of the game. Still, people manage to figure out most of it, so maybe that's not such a big deal.
 
Poster: Cipheron
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 07:08am
Re: Tweaks
If you're going to hit level 30, can we have the first skill point start at level 1 rather than level 2, so that we can make it a round 10 points in 3 skills? it would be a bit weird if it goes 10,10,9. This could just be for new characters, but would be nicer if applied retroactively as a bonus skill point, and would achieve your goal of slightly faster leveling at low levels, without making a huge difference at high levels.
 
Poster: Mutant
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 07:18am
Re: Tweaks
That might be possible.
 
Poster: Cipheron
Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 08:25am
Re: Tweaks
I'd also like to see the races have more in-game effects:

Going over the character creation system, the races don't really make much difference, and when they do it's often contradictory to implied intent:

    [li] Level 1 Warrior (18 STR 18 CON, the rest in AGI). Human = 18/9/5/5/18, elf = 18/7/7/5/18, dwarf = 18/10/3/6/18. Dwarves make the best Warriors, but not because they're stronger and tougher, but because they're paradoxically more agile due to the character creation system. Optimized Elf fighters are the same in STR/CON, but they have lower AGI, lower DIV (for luck) and more uselss Int. [/li]
    [li] Level 1 Archer (18 AGI 18 CON, the rest in STR). Human 9/18/5/5/18, elf = 7/18/7/5/18, dwarf = 10/18/3/6/18. Dwarves are the best Archers, because they can carry more. Elves actually make the worst archers, because they're no better at it than humans or dwarves, while being able to carry less loot. [/li]
    [li] Level 1 Priest (18 DIV 18 CON, the rest split STR/AGI). Human = 7/7/5/18/18, elf = 6/6/7/18/18, dwarf = 8/8/3/18/18. Dwarves are best again at this role, and elf priests are the least agile / carry the least again. [/li]
    [li] Level 1 Mages, (18 INT 18 CON, the rest split STR/AGI). Human = 7/7/18/5/18, elf = 7/7/18/5/18, dwarf = 6/7/18/6/18. The races are pretty even here, but dwarves have 1 less point in STR, and one more in DIV. [/li] </ul>

    Dwarves are the clear best race in 3 of the classes, and very close on the 4th. This makes them a dominant choice in game theory terms, which means they're the "always win" button in the game, a choice you should almost always take, rendering the other races pointless.

    These are the fixes I'd propose:

      [li] The starting racial bonuses/penalties really need to be wider, this is especially the case since you get 3 extra stat points per level, so the existing differences are swamped by the upgrades. Maybe double all the penalties/bonuses so that dwarves get -4 on INT, -2 on AGI, +4 CON, +2 DIV, elves get -4 CON, -2 STR, +4 INT, +2 AGI, and apply the shift to maximums as well as minimums. [/li] </ul>

      With these changes, an elf could start with 20 Agility for an archer or 22 Int for a mage, whereas a dwarf could start with 22 Con or 20 Div. So, if they could make a tough-but non-agile priest, or a warrior with a lot of HP, at the expense of agility.
        [li] Tweak the level up formula so that races make a difference. Say if your race is below average at a stat you can only raise it 2 per level, average or better ones can go up 3 per level. You'd still get a total of 3 stat points per level, but it would constrain how you spend them based on race. So humans could raise anything by 3 points (this cements their position as the best all-rounder race). Dwarves would be allowed to put 3 points into CON or DIV, but only 2 of their points into AGI or INT. Elves would be the opposite, only raising 1 in STR/CON but being allowed to spend their full 3 points in 3 in AGI/INT. [/li]</ul>

         
        Poster: Falchion
        Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 18:25pm
        Re: Tweaks
        I'm against the caps for the numbers of majors and party members a player may have. For a beginning player 20 majors seems like a lot, but this would seriously reduce the choices I have in the game. Why fight, when you cannot take over a town as you are at the maximum number of majors? The game as long as I have played it has always been fought between 2-3 Kingdoms. With these new changes is it likely that new strategies will occur?  Also I don't see Staberinde crushing any of the other Kingdoms, so there is no monopoly going on, just a lack of people taking towns. Is this a reason to punish veteran players? I agree with many of the other suggestions. But players must be aware that any change that gives too much benefits to a weapon through payments to blacksmiths would give too many advantages to the rich long serving players of this game. That's my 2 cents worth anyways.
         
        Poster: Mutant
        Date Posted: 13 January 2015, 22:13pm
        Re: Tweaks
        The idea is to encourage people to transition away from grinding, into the more strategical parts of the game - i.e. building/defending a kingdom, possibly (although not necessarily) with other players... I don't want to prevent people from doing the dungeon grind indefinitely if they want to... just disincentivise them a bit...  (and also encourage others to try building kingdoms, even if they don't have hundreds of characters).
         
        Poster: Kooho
        Date Posted: 14 January 2015, 00:20am
        Re: Tweaks
        The wish is to make it harder for individuals to have such a large impact.
        If you start a kingdom on your own, you would have 20 towns maximum, if you want to expand your kingdom you would need another player.

        120 towns on the map. With cooperation with only a single human being, you could have a kingdom that controls a third of the map.
         
        Poster: Girlinhat
        Date Posted: 14 January 2015, 00:21am
        Re: Tweaks
        Mainly, make the city play something more interesting.  As it stands, it's 'neat' but one person can control the map.  Lower the mayor cap, and you've got to start getting help, recruiting other players, and making it an actual kingdom, instead of just one guy's hold.

        Another suggestion perhaps, to make a sort of potion dropped in level 4 dungeons that increases the max durability of an item by 1.
         
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