The Folly of Specialisation

FalaeronFalaeron JolteonMember Posts: 1,648 Transcendent

As many of you involved in the combat scene know, there is currently an agenda being pushed forward to de-homogenise the classes. The problem proposed is that since the overhaul, classes have become more homogeneous and they don’t really have class identities anymore. I posit that not only is this whole plan simply too ambitious to successfully implement, it isn’t even necessarily a problem that needs to be fixed in the first place. Before I go on, I will make it very clear that this piece will be critical. Do not read it if you are easily offended.

Let me start with the reasons why I don’t think there is even a problem in the first place. The main argument for these changes is that classes are too homogeneous. This works off the assumption that the degree of homogeneousness in Lusternia is a problem. Often people bring up how warriors are “supposed” to be tanks, or mages are “supposed” to be damage dealers. These are nothing more than assumptions brought over from gaming culture in general. In most genres with classes, including the more popular ones such as MOBAs, like League of Legends, or MMORPGs, like World of Warcraft. Classes, or characters, in these genres have distinctive roles and this works to their advantage. It is perhaps easy to believe that since these design patterns for other genres, it would make sense for MUDs, or even just Lusternia specifically, to also work with these design patterns. But let us examine some of the differences between these the competitive level of these types of games against that of Lusternia. I will be using the generic term ‘class’ to include the various terms games use such as heroes and champions to keep things simple.

Number of participants: In all games that have a competitive scene that is even somewhat balanced, teams consist of a fixed number of players on each side. 3v3, 5v5, 10v10, 20v20. It doesn’t matter how many, but the simple fact is that one side can’t just turn up with five extra players and expect them to be able to participate as well. Lusternia is not like this at all. If a domoth    happens then both sides will bring whoever they can. It doesn’t matter if it’s already 10v5. If people wanted to come, they could make it 15v5. Competitive 3v3 wargames come twice a year. Lusternia’s biggest competitive event of the year, final ascension, still falls under the ‘bring whoever you want’ category.

Accessibility of classes: In most of these other games, every player of every team has the exact same choice of classes or characters going into each game. It’s ok to have certain classes in Dota being stronger than others because both team A and team B can either ban or pick them, which might leave other really strong classes open to the other team. In Lusternia, the classes that you even have available to you is pretty much determined by which organisation your character is in. Furthermore, there is a significant monetary cost to learning extra classes. Many people will just show up as their class simply because they have no other option.

Class strengths and weaknesses: In most competitive games with classes, each will have their strengths and their weaknesses. A tank will often be nothing more than a damage sponge, doing very little damage of their own. A dedicated damage dealer will often be very easy to kill if caught out and are often known as glass cannons. This is fine, because as a whole, the teams will probably still be balanced . A team might have a tank, a disabler, a healer, and two damage dealers. What weaknesses each class has will be made up for by the strengths of another.  Because of the accessibility issue, often you won’t be able to fill the gaps in your team composition. This has already been a big problem in the past. The difference between having a melder and not having a melder when the other side has one is often too difficult to overcome. Think about all of the nerf that melds have received in the past two years - is the game better or worse because we are now less reliant on having one particular class?

1v1/Groups: All of the big competitive games are balanced for either 1v1 (e.g. Starcraft) or multiple v multiple (e.g. League of Legends). People who play 2v2 Starcraft, or 3v3 League of Legends, have to go in knowing that the experience was not tailored for them and that there are likely really overpowered strategies that probably won’t be addressed as it works perfectly in the main scene. One of the biggest problems with Lusternia’s balance is that it tries to cater to both. My views on 1v1 in this game are well known, but the truth is that every envoy report is argued from both angles. 

And now we get to one of the biggest reasons why I am against this whole ‘de-homogenisation’ overhaul. Simply put, what people want isn’t de-homogenisation. What people are actually trying to push under the guise of de-homogenisation is for the game to be more imbalanced. They want the haves to be even better than the don’t-haves. After all, if classes became more and more distinct, then those who can afford to switch more often will be able to have an advantage over those who don’t. What if we specialise so much that we have a situation where warriors become too OP? Great for those who can afford to switch to warrior. Sucks to be those who can only afford to be a bard who find themselves really weak now.

Furthermore, it’s not that they want warriors to become tanks. It’s that they want warriors to become tankier, while still being able to kill people themselves. In Lusternia, there is a baseline expectation that most people have which is that their class should be able to viably kill people. In League of Legends, nobody expects a tank (who is actually building and playing to be a tank) to be able to viably kill people. They had to give up their killing power to get that tankiness. People don’t want that in Lusternia.

The vitals report that was concocted had a problem statement that said something about everyone having 11k vitals. You often can’t get 11k vitals in anything other than the one your class gives a bonus to unless you actually have the artifact rune, and even then it requires a lot more investment to reach and maintain the maximum levels. What the whole vitals report would have actually done is create an even larger gap between the haves and don’t-haves.

The other big reason why I am against all of this is that I don’t even think the game is too homogeneous to begin with. One of the biggest complaints I often have about the north’s pk scene is that we are always lacking in at least one vital class. Classes already fill different niches and there is no need to forcibly make it even more crucial to have at least one of every class in every fight.

By the way, was it really the overhaul that made the classes too same-y? I don’t think so. What made the classes too same-y is the giant elephant in the room that the admins will not address because it is above most of their paygrades. It is artifacts. Artifacts are the biggest contributing factor to why classes may feel same-y. People complain every time a class skill is turned into an artifact. The vitals ‘issue’ came about because runes were upgraded from 3/13 to 5/13 at the highest level, making it all too easy to reach 13/13 for vitals that your class doesn’t give a bonus to. Nothing will change because artifacts will continue to exist and come out.

Finally, let’s be honest. Despite what we may all like to think, none of the admins or players are good enough at game design to be able to see this game through yet another overhaul. The previous overhaul isn’t even complete, because many issues have just been swept under the rug. Some skillsets are plain useless (hello, Telepathy) and we haven’t even got all six monk classes out yet, with what is essentially a mandate for there to be yet another archetype being released in the not too distant future. How about we focus on actually finishing and making the most of what we have now instead of trying to go back to the drawing board once again.

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Comments

  • CyndarinCyndarin used Flamethrower! It was super effective. Member Posts: 4,470 Transcendent
    Mostly agree, but man I never felt the game was overly homogenized (why do we keep using this word). Sure, vitals have leveled out across the board but I don't know what unique interest fat mana pools on your prompt brings to mage classes in the first place.

    Shadowdancer didn't play anything like Pyromancer which didn't play anything like Harbinger. I guess I don't get where the "We're all the same!" argument came from. 
    image
  • YarithYarith Member Posts: 957 Fabled
    edited August 8
    I think our classes are already exceptionally diverse, even within archetypes. The only class which I could see as being radically similar are warriors/the two wiccans, even the bard archetypes are wildly different.

    Honestly, an iota of concrete direction for the future of the game would go a long way. It's not hard to just sit down and say 'this is how we want to balance' and cater towards that outcome instead of trying to please literally everyone ie: current envoy system.
    == Professional Girl Gamer == 
    Yes I play games
    Yes I'm a girl
    get over it
  • FalaeronFalaeron Jolteon Member Posts: 1,648 Transcendent
    Cyndarin said:
    Mostly agree, but man I never felt the game was overly homogenized (why do we keep using this word). Sure, vitals have leveled out across the board but I don't know what unique interest fat mana pools on your prompt brings to mage classes in the first place.

    Shadowdancer didn't play anything like Pyromancer which didn't play anything like Harbinger. I guess I don't get where the "We're all the same!" argument came from. 
    Yeah, I didn't really explicitly say this, but I agree, all of the classes do play differently, which is why they have different strengths and weaknesses. In fact, I think we actually have too many classes which is why we have so many arguments about balance. 
  • AramelAramel Member Posts: 199 Fabled
    I would actually argue that the tank/dps/aoe class as they're traditionally played in online pvp games have no place in Lusternia group pvp at all, simply because of targeting.

    If I'm playing HOTS and being a glass cannon, I stand behind my tank and spam damage on the other side and they usually can't get to me to damage me because my team's tank is in the way. Lusternia has no mechanism like that: when I was a Moondancer spamming succumb, I would get targetted, and it didn't matter if I had 3 allied warriors in the room with me, they couldn't step between me and the blows I'm taking. There's no counterplay my group can do to protect me because I have to be in the room to do stuff, and if I'm in the room I can be targetted. The one exception to this rule I can think of is mages and standing a room away to point staff, and mages can attest to how boring that is. Generally, in Lusternia combat, the only person you can tank for is yourself. 
    (clan): Falmiis says, "Aramelise, verb, 1. adorn with many flowers."
  • VivetVivet , of Cows and Crystals Member Posts: 2,179 Transcendent
    Cyndarin said:
    Mostly agree, but man I never felt the game was overly homogenized (why do we keep using this word). Sure, vitals have leveled out across the board but I don't know what unique interest fat mana pools on your prompt brings to mage classes in the first place.

    Shadowdancer didn't play anything like Pyromancer which didn't play anything like Harbinger. I guess I don't get where the "We're all the same!" argument came from. 
    I agree with this, but also want to point out something else bothersome.

    This whole business with balancing out the vitals to be more similar was one of the key objectives of the overhaul going into it! This wasn't a mistake, or an accident that came along with the overtuning of other things. This was intentional.

    I thought it was a change for the better then, and I still think we're in a good place with it now.

    I'll also emphasize that before, when we first switched over to this system, the vitals runes were 1/11, 2/12, and 3/13 respectively.

    At some point there was discussion on what to do with regen runes, since they didn't feel worthwhile. No one bothered to get them. When they retuned regen a bit, they also adjusted the 2nd and 3rd tier to be 3/12 and 5/13. This actually made them worthwhile!

    And then, for whatever reason, we went and applied the same buff to the vitals and resistance runes. These didn't really need the buff. People were already buying them and while it definitely did accentuate and enhance the feel of homogeneity, we got used to it. It was a buff everyone could enjoy. Why not?

    This shift to the 3rd level of the vitals runes being 5/13 instead of 3/13 really and truly is the culprit point. Goop candies didn't exist yet either, and the only other vital buff that came even close was faithful congregation, which requires a cult, and while it can get to be sizable with enough people it is still limited to being X/8. Outside of goop candies, there is no other vitals buff in the game that is better than X/8.

    If goop candies and vitals runes are adjusted accordingly to return us to that state, then we instantly come to a point where only warriors can achieve 13/13 health, and the best anyone else can claim is 11/13 (though more likely 9-10/13). This pretty much instantly gets us more of a gap without going too wild, or putting us into a position where we're going to have to start going back over -everything- an rebalancing anew.

    If people are this bothered by everyone being 11K in health, mana, and ego, then that's all we need to do. Making the scaling different at all levels now that mob damage already got retuned for our status quo seems like a massive waste of time and resources.

  • VivetVivet , of Cows and Crystals Member Posts: 2,179 Transcendent
    A final tidbit while I am still freshly annoyed:

    If you have 8/10 in the current system, you are at 9800. This is the most you can achieve without a 5/10 guild skill buff unless you're eating 3/13 goop candies to inflate your stats or own an appropriate vitals rune. I feel like spelling that out simply and plainly helps to further emphasize the point.

  • YarithYarith Member Posts: 957 Fabled
    edited August 8
    For someone who 'missed the point', he has a lot of people agreeing with him.
    == Professional Girl Gamer == 
    Yes I play games
    Yes I'm a girl
    get over it
  • YarithYarith Member Posts: 957 Fabled
    edited August 8
    Considering the population of the game, I'd settle with that number being a lot.

    Let's not discount the status of the people who are agreeing with him versus those that oppose. Lmao.

    EDIT: I don't know why people are flagging this as abuse. I'm 100% certain the opinions of people such as Kaimanahi, Cyndarin, Lerad, and Falaeron are worth more than the majority of "noncoms" raising their 2c. By and large, at least one of those two groups actually understands the paradigms of combat.
    Post edited by Yarith on
    == Professional Girl Gamer == 
    Yes I play games
    Yes I'm a girl
    get over it
  • RidetaRideta Member Posts: 85 Master
    Your salt-mining persona is showing, Yarith.
    (Magnagora): Thax says, "My truest favour to the soldier that brings me the weave of Neos."
  • VersaleanVersalean Member Posts: 751 Mythical
    Falaeron said:

    Finally, let’s be honest. Despite what we may all like to think, none of the admins or players are good enough at game design to be able to see this game through yet another overhaul. The previous overhaul isn’t even complete, because many issues have just been swept under the rug. Some skillsets are plain useless (hello, Telepathy) and we haven’t even got all six monk classes out yet, with what is essentially a mandate for there to be yet another archetype being released in the not too distant future. How about we focus on actually finishing and making the most of what we have now instead of trying to go back to the drawing board once again.

    I thought better of you than this. Shame on you.
  • XenthosXenthos Shadow Lord Member Posts: 5,785 Transcendent
    Did you read Lerad's post differently than I did, or did you only read the first paragraph?  Down near the end he says he supports dehomogenization, as long as it is done smartly (with respects to Lusternia's design and limitations).
    image
  • VersaleanVersalean Member Posts: 751 Mythical
    edited August 8
    Yarith said:

    Considering the population of the game, I'd settle with that number being a lot.

    Let's not discount the status of the people who are agreeing with him versus those that oppose. Lmao [emphasis added].

    EDIT: I don't know why people are flagging this as abuse. I'm 100% certain the opinions of people such as Kaimanahi, Cyndarin, Lerad, and Falaeron are worth more than the majority of "noncoms" raising their 2c. By and large, at least one of those two groups actually understands the paradigms of combat.
    I'll tell you why this is silly, @Yarith. If he only wanted the opinions of people who "actually [understand] the paradigms of combat]", then where should the original rantthread have gone?

    By putting the complaint on forums rather than, say, Envoys, he is literally inviting the 2c of every noncom with a keyboard. For you to come along after the fact and decide whose opinion is worth what is ad hominems with the dismissive tone bordering on toxic, and distinctly counterproductive.

    Ad hominems attacks are an explicit violation of the forums rules.

    I hope that serves to disambiguate my flags in this thread.
  • YarithYarith Member Posts: 957 Fabled
    edited August 8
    I don't think it's ad hominem to have more value in the opinion of an accountant in an issue of marketing/banking* than someone who flirtatiously reads the newspaper headlines for stock trends. If you felt attacked that's your prerogative. In any case, you're derailing from the thread's topic.

    EDIT: Regarding Lerad, he still shared his sentiments on several points and meaningfully contributed to the discussion.
    == Professional Girl Gamer == 
    Yes I play games
    Yes I'm a girl
    get over it
  • VersaleanVersalean Member Posts: 751 Mythical
    edited August 8
    Yarith said:
    I don't think it's ad hominem to have more value in the opinion of an accountant in an issue of politics than someone who flirtatiously reads the newspaper headlines for stock trends. If you felt attacked that's your prerogative. In any case, you're derailing from the thread's topic.
    Accountants in politics. What? ETA: Aight. You fixed that. Let's move on.

    Err, anyway. "No", but it would be ad hominems to invite the opinion of the flirtatious reader and then dismiss it because you don't like it and, by the way, they're not qualified to have an opinion in the first place. Of course I don't feel attacked, but if you want to add random strawmanning to your repertoire, be my guest. I'm just calling it like I see it and responding to the issue you raised. Again... if you didn't want to know why you were being flagged, I'm confused about why you raised it.
  • WobouWobou Member Posts: 131 Capable
    edited August 8
    @Falaeron, I agree with you on several points but you shot yourself in the foot real hard with your last paragraph. For one thing, you're a player too, so if we take your statement to it's logical extreme you're not qualified by your own statement to talk about game design.

    That said I'll do you the service of ignoring that last paragraph and responding to the rest:

    * I agree with you that as convenient as it might be we cannot just port over MOBA balancing to Lusternia. The comparison of class availability and number of players are legitimate things to point out. One other difference we have is range. In MOBAs things like move speed and attack ranges are tweaked to very specific amounts to control how escape/kite-y someone is. In MUDs we just have room ranges so we don't have that granularity (although we could nerf/dehomogenize celerity to move closer to this, don't kill me).

    * I disagree with the idea that these ideas brought over from gaming culture can essentially be ignored. A new person playing this game will expect a warrior to be tankier than a bard (which used to be true) and you pay a slight tax when those expectations are broken. I'm not saying that DnD stereotypes must dominate but I do think that if you violate those expectations it should be done for a good purpose which I don't think there is one behind bard tankiness or plate on mages.

    * I agree with your point about artifacts. As long as guild skills are farmed out as artifacts by definition you are homogenizing things. Every year it feels like the things that are truly unique to a skill or class gets carved away by artifacts. I have no idea what the solution to this is that still makes sense with IRE's business model but it's an accurate critique.

    * I think that @Veyils point is correct, part of the issue these changes are supposed to address are a different kind of balancing where it feels like certain guilds/archetypes can do everything at once  and others cannot. I seem to recall this exact complaint from you when overhauled monks were first released, that they were the best at everything.

    Edit: I apparently think Lusternia is called league.
  • VeyilsVeyils Member Posts: 1,442 Mythical

    Yarith said:
    For someone who 'missed the point', he has a lot of people agreeing with him.

    Oh thats because the points presented didn't really reflect fully what was going on in the envoy meetings and the planning posts. Its a big old disjointed essay that doesnt reflect a lot of the work going on in the back ground by the admin or envoys. By him missing the point I ment he was missing a bunch of points covered in a number of meetings/conversations/pages of envoy wiki stuff. So its not really fair to expect folks to know whats going on based upon his post.

    I tried to recap it earlier but to go over it again with a little bit more info:

    Every class is getting given an overall direction for us to focus on building them into. Some of these are still pending and not decided upon. Bards were first on the list.  Part of the issue with bards is that folks were not really sure what they are ment to be. Are they ment to be the super good control class locking an enemy in the room or were they ment to be the top damage kill class etc etc. Basically ask ourselves "What should this class be good at."

    Bards right now have top damage, top mobility, top afflictions, top tankyness and top lock down right now. They bring everything and the kitchen sink to the table for solo or group combat. The overall suggested route for them is to make them the top burst class and tone down the other areas. So that their lockdown and afflictions are not top of the tables as well.

    The entire thing is about giving classes a direction to balance them around essentially. Theres a general concept and not every class is 100% decided upon and there is some overlap.

    Hopefully that little summary explains whats going on a bit more succinctly than above.

  • VeyilsVeyils Member Posts: 1,442 Mythical
    edited August 8
    Like the whole moba point/comparison doesnt work with this game and no ones trying to do that. So I think fal is either misunderstanding the direction or misrepresenting whats going on in the background because well that point was brought up before and explained already. And like I said theres logs of him to go back and read the envoy meetings if he wants to refresh his memory on those points.
     
  • FalaeronFalaeron Jolteon Member Posts: 1,648 Transcendent
    edited August 8
    I didn't say that we the admins and players are incapable. I also didn't say that this will take away all of the admin resources that could be used elsewhere. I said that we, as a whole, simply don't have it in us to work through yet another overhaul and ensure that what we get on the other side will be more balanced and, perhaps even more importantly, more fun. 

    I said this to Ianir on envoys, but many people simply don't want another massive overhaul. The learning curve for combat in Lusternia is a steep mountain. For more invested PKers, which many of the envoys are, major changes to the combat climate are a challenge to perhaps look forward to. For the more casual PKers out there, the ones who get excited at being able to simply contribute to a kill, massive changes are things to be worried about. It's hard enough to learn combat once and now they will have to learn it all over again. When I told people about what was happening, the first reaction was generally "again?"

    I want to address this part to the admins directly. When players criticise an idea or an aspect of the game, don't take it so personally. It is solely because players disagree with what they perceive to be presented to them, and not because they think the people presenting it are bad people or anything.

    I've praised the efforts put in by the admin team for the many things that they do, combat-related or otherwise, on many occasions. Speaking specifically about combat, the game is absolutely in a much better state now compared to when I first started. Combat is generally quite fun when both sides can bring the numbers to do it. Specialisation will only make the smaller fights less fun when teams don't have access to all of the tools they need. I don't want to see us going back to square one because we want to make another massive, ambitious change to everything.

    Edit: If anyone did feel insulted by my last paragraph, then I apologise for it. I hope this post explains my point better.
  • VeyilsVeyils Member Posts: 1,442 Mythical
    edited August 9

    Hopefully once people understand whats happening their view will be positive on it.  Your original post on the situation just didn't really explain the situation accurately at all. Now that we've cleared things up hopefully we can move forwards with it without any more misleading posts.




  • ShedrinShedrin Member Posts: 905 Transcendent
    edited August 9
    I disagree with the original post. I feel like if I don't post a page long screed I'll be ignored, but whatever. I'll make a few points.

    Arguing from an opposite point, it's bad when classes are overly similar, and can do everything. Artifacts are the biggest point here, and every month we get some new thing that slowly creeps up the power and utility ceiling. But even without artifacts, some classes do too much, and some classes don't have a strong enough selling point.

    I think we all agreed to those points when it was originally raised, including you @Falaeron, and to work on reducing that. The issue as always is in the execution, and secondarily in communication, both between all the envoys and the playerbase in general.

    The project is still largely contained to using envoy reports in a more directed manner, which is much smaller in scope I think than this post implies, with two exceptions so far. The proposed vitals change was thrown out there without full consideration of how it'd effect everyone. And there's been some cool mage/druid ideas that are more significant, but I think would've happened regardless of this project.
    Post edited by Shedrin on
  • AnnickAnnick Member Posts: 234 Adept
    edited August 9
    I we saying classes as in harbinger, caco, cantor, minstrel ? Or saying archetypes i.e. Bard? Because archetype wise not all entities contained within an archetype are good at everything.... 

    or or is it going off the assumption that if person a picks class b they will pick tertiary c?
  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 1,687 Mythical
    Annick said:
    I we saying classes as in harbinger, caco, cantor, minstrel ? Or saying archetypes i.e. Bard? Because archetype wise not all entities contained within an archetype are good at everything.... 

    or or is it going off the assumption that if person a picks class b they will pick tertiary c?
    Looks like it's bard/melders/warriors/etc.

    Still really uncertain about the plan for each though. Like, are we going to have the holy trinity of tank, dps, and healer/support?

    And if they are, would certain terts make them more effective at their role while others sacrifice effectiveness for strength outside their role.
    Like if you said Wiccans are supports/healers, healing enhances that, while hexes sacrifices that so they can contribute more to offense or w/e.

    Though, I'm also still confused as to why there are comparisons to MOBAs when MMOs are the closer comparison given smaller selection of kits with a wider group of available skills and which have a wide variety of pvp modes that can be used as examples that range from 1v1 up to potentially hundreds of combatants.
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  • YehnYehn Member Posts: 282 Master
    Saran said:
    Though, I'm also still confused as to why there are comparisons to MOBAs when MMOs are the closer comparison given smaller selection of kits with a wider group of available skills and which have a wide variety of pvp modes that can be used as examples that range from 1v1 up to potentially hundreds of combatants.
    My takeaway from the comparison... was exactly that Lusternia is not like them, and so shouldn't be trying to copy their paradigms.
    beep
  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 1,687 Mythical
    Yehn said:
    Saran said:
    Though, I'm also still confused as to why there are comparisons to MOBAs when MMOs are the closer comparison given smaller selection of kits with a wider group of available skills and which have a wide variety of pvp modes that can be used as examples that range from 1v1 up to potentially hundreds of combatants.
    My takeaway from the comparison... was exactly that Lusternia is not like them, and so shouldn't be trying to copy their paradigms.
    The only real thing I've heard about this is that Bards are going to be a "burst dps with minor support" class which is a description that fits in an MMO (rdm in xiv comes to mind) and that we're comparing ourselves to MOBAs.

    Maybe it's based on conversations happening elsewhere, but kinda feels saying we shouldn't try to balance ourselves like an FPS. *shrug*
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