Artifact powersets to counter power stacking

ElrynGreythaneElrynGreythane Member Posts: 51 Apprentice
edited October 2018 in Ideas
Despite knowing the likely response this kind of suggestion will get, I still want to propose a change to the 'stacking' or purchased enhancements and upgrades to your character. Please feel free to disagree entirely, but if you agree at least that the underlying problem could be addressed in a different way, I'd love to hear some alternative approaches!

So first let me try and define the problem as I see it. 

Problem

Artifacts, wonderitems and the like are entirely cumulative, meaning that the advantage you gain scales somewhat linearly with how many upgrades you can obtain.

This means that I can (and often do) purchase multiple utility skills from other archetypes for me to use, defensive upgrades that make it harder to pin me down or kill me, wealth generating upgrades that make my character a better crafter and trader or simply able to pump out more free upgrades for myself, offensive upgrades that make me do more damage, or extra hindering, or faster afflicting. And all of them combine with each other (sometimes literally stacking on top of each other). There's no tradeoff I have to consider in upgrading myself - every time I get a new artifact power I will be slightly better than someone else without them.

Other Suggestions

Some ways to address this escalating power discrepancy between have and have-not included the below ideas:

- Nerf some artifacts to be less useful. While this does act to undermine the benefit provided by specific, 'overpowered' upgrades, it doesn't really address the underlying issue in general. It's also likely to cause major headaches for the company, because the value of real money purchases (in some cases, probably not the majority) will be deliberately lowered. As a result, I don't think this is a good long-term solution, it's only going to need to be repeated again every time something comes out that is considered too strong in combination.

Let players ''rent" or otherwise borrow artifacts for no real world cost. While I do like the democratisation aspects this approach has, it's effectively ceding the argument that artifacts are required to be competitive. Worse, by making certain artifacts available to everyone for a little bit of in-game time, you are still reducing the value of those artifacts purchased for real-world money to the equivalent number of minutes of in-game effort it would take to hire them. I don't necessarily disagree with this solution if it were made prohibitively expensive in terms of in-game effort for a short loan, but by doing so that would counteract the intent.

My Proposal

I'd like to suggest a different option that may have been considered before, but I haven't heard about it yet if so.

Give players a slot-limited 'artifact set' to setup wherein only a certain number of purchased upgrades can be active at any one time.

This would take the form of every player having a certain number of 'upgrade points', let's say 50 points for the sake of an arbitrary example. You would then be able to:
POWERSET <setname> CREATE
POWERSET <setname> ADD <artifact power>
POWERSET <setname> REMOVE <artifacts power>
POWERSET <setname> INFO
POWERSET <setnams> ACTIVATE

Artifacts powers would be specific upgrades that provide a character boost, for example 'celerity_1' or 'custom_beast' or 'wonderpipe_resist_2'. Some upgrades would be exempted as always-on if they would make no sense to include in the character advantage system, for example non-decay, customisations, manse (but not aethership) upgrades, etc.

Any artifacts you own that aren't in your currently active powerset would be considered dormant, and you would not have access to the associated verbs. They still retain most of their value though - they work at full strength if you choose to activate them.

Having an active powerset with fewer points used than the full amount available would provide a scaling decrease on experience loss at death and experience gain, down to nearly zero loss for having no artifacts enabled.

This is intended to provide a bit of a counterbalance mechanic for those who either don't yet have artifacts, or would like to show their skill by competing without them.

Artifact powers would have a weighted number of points, based on how much advantage they provide.

Boxes that provide instant escape might have a weighting of 8. Health runes might have a weighting of 3 per level. I don't actually know enough about the current meta to know what are the most powerful artifacts or wonderitems powers, but this is just to illustrate the idea.

I know this is going to take a bit of work, but I think it provides a happy medium between nerfing and unlimited gains - it puts control and strategy in the hands of players to decide what layout they want to take into each conflict, and it seems to me the least terrible way of devaluing existing customer purchases.

The system is flexible enough that you could add further restrictions or options as necessary - for example making powerset changes have a cool down of X minutes/hours to prevent rapid switching, or adding a maximum point penalty for wealth generating artifact usage (which I'm not sure about, to be honest).

Anyway, any thoughts? Not necessary? Better options?
Post edited by ElrynGreythane on

Comments

  • VersaleanVersalean Member Posts: 1,109 Transcendent
    edited October 2018
    I'll make two observations that have very little to do with this (very constructive) idea, but hopefully you'll see that making them is an attempt to facilitate the discussion:

    1) Don't take the role of 'the outsider'. The very fact that you have 'p2w' in the title of this thread virtually guarantees that it won't make it past page 3 without being closed. The term is too loaded to be useful and is just going to get people's backs up. Whether or not you're trying to be antagonistic, you're downplaying the role of skill in combat, and that will piss people off who have artefacts and yet are skilled pvpers.

    2) Note that Pandora's Box is open. If we were designing a new game I'd say your idea was fantastic. But there is simply no feasible way that the Godmin can roll this thing back. I mean, seriously, what are they going to do for people who are already past the artefact cap? Give them back an assload of credits that they now have literally no use for? Again, I'm not saying it's a bad idea for the game - mechanics wise - in the long run, but for a business it would be suicide.
  • AnitaAnita Member Posts: 891 Transcendent
    edited October 2018
    I would rather that they look at "nerfing" or at least adjusting the current artifacts/powers of wonderitems etc. of the game, rather than start restricting their use or how many can be used at once.

    Edit: re-read and saw you put some exempt things in. I'm still unsure of the restriction, and would rather what I said above, still.
  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 2,132 Transcendent
    edited October 2018
    It seems like the reason to have more artifacts is because the theoretical ideal would be that you're actively encouraged to have multiple builds. (Even within a class you could have a PvE build, a basic class build, and then variations that adapt to different fights)

    You could also include exclusivity, preventing combos of artifacts that are too powerful together, enabling the ability to create artifacts that would be problematic in combination with others but it's fine because they can't be used together.

    Another potential method is the equipment slot method, which reduces flexibility a bit further than the point method with it's own benefits and detriments.
    Post edited by Saran on
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  • ElrynGreythaneElrynGreythane Member Posts: 51 Apprentice
    @Versalean - Good points!

    On the first one, I definitely wasn't trying to be antagonistic, but you were right that 'P2W' is too loaded a term, so I have removed it. I wouldn't want to downplay the talent required to succeed in PvP quite independently of equipment, class and so on - I can admire it precisely because I don't possess those skills as a player!

    On your second point, you may be right, but that applies equally to the other solutions I can think of. Reworking artifacts to be less powerful also means likely crediting back the value to the player, as does making them free in game. When I think about how I'd want to have my (perhaps minor) investment in upgrades handled, I think I'd vastly prefer having the option to use them fully in sets that I can swap in and out as I prioritise their usefulness to my gameplay, as opposed to having their effect reduced permanently (like the effective devaluing of critical hit artifacts, I guess?).

    @Anita - that's fair. Downgrading the artifacts we already have wouldn't be my preference (partly because I suspect it would focus exclusively on PvP balance, which isn't a race I'm in myself), but I'd probably take the opportunity to get credit/refunds for lots of things if I could. As I said above, I don't think it addresses the underlying problem, and won't really give me the choice of how to manage the downgrade across my existing artifacts, but it's still a reasonable bandaid that might still have a positive effect on reputation.

    @Saran - Yep! There are lots of variations that might be possible (and I'm sure you can come up with some clever ones!). I look at it as having multiple benefits - you're not discouraging sales significantly I hope (more options or that perfect power combination can still be enticing), plus you're giving us players an interesting set of strategic choices to layer on top of our gameplay (do I max out my defense, or pick up extra utility skills from other classes, or choose powers that complement my favourite attacks).
  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 2,132 Transcendent
    @Saran - Yep! There are lots of variations that might be possible (and I'm sure you can come up with some clever ones!). I look at it as having multiple benefits - you're not discouraging sales significantly I hope (more options or that perfect power combination can still be enticing), plus you're giving us players an interesting set of strategic choices to layer on top of our gameplay (do I max out my defense, or pick up extra utility skills from other classes, or choose powers that complement my favourite attacks).
     Oh, I think something like this might even direct sales.

    Like promos selling good sets of artifacts for different classes and you have an ability to go more powerful in some aspects because there's areas where you're going to be weaker in.
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  • LuceLuce Fox Populi Member Posts: 2,520 Transcendent
    Saran said:
    You could also include exclusivity, preventing combos of artifacts that are too powerful together, enabling the ability to artifacts that would be problematic in combination with others but it's fine because they can't be used together.
    I had a podcast I listen to use a really good analogy for this situation: "If 'balanced' is $1, this class is about $1.10 in pennies."

    For the sake of argument (and this is not aimed just at Saran but her question/point above is what spawned this question), what are some categories/combos that might be considered for this?

    I know during the live discussion we had multiple x/mo revives stacking with one another as an example that nickel and dime their way to being $1.20, and I know there are others too (all of the various rooting buffs making it essentially impossible for a non-artied person to move someone without being Igasho comes to mind as well, especially in situations like a p5-deathsong or uprooting  a wildnode where the only real way to do it is to gust the aggressor off.)
  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 2,132 Transcendent
    Luce said:
    Saran said:
    You could also include exclusivity, preventing combos of artifacts that are too powerful together, enabling the ability to artifacts that would be problematic in combination with others but it's fine because they can't be used together.
    I had a podcast I listen to use a really good analogy for this situation: "If 'balanced' is $1, this class is about $1.10 in pennies."

    For the sake of argument (and this is not aimed just at Saran but her question/point above is what spawned this question), what are some categories/combos that might be considered for this?

    I know during the live discussion we had multiple x/mo revives stacking with one another as an example that nickel and dime their way to being $1.20, and I know there are others too (all of the various rooting buffs making it essentially impossible for a non-artied person to move someone without being Igasho comes to mind as well, especially in situations like a p5-deathsong or uprooting  a wildnode where the only real way to do it is to gust the aggressor off.)
    May not be considered an issue but one that kept rattling around in my head was the comparison to the D&D/Pathfinder attribute buffing belts and headbands.

    You could say, for example, that there's one damage buff rune slot, you could put one of the current ones in there but there could also be a series of runes with two damage types but that give less of a buff to either.
    With that restriction (potentially something similar for defense) I imagine you'd probably have situations where you'd want to switch around what's in that slot.
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  • ElrynGreythaneElrynGreythane Member Posts: 51 Apprentice
    @Estarra - I'm wondering if you had any comments about this kind of approach? Do you think the IRE overlords would be receptive to some variation on this theme?
  • EstarraEstarra Administrator, Moderator Posts: 1,069 Creator
    I think it's interesting. There would be a lot to consider, especially in terms of rebates for those people who get artifacts that replace or supplant artifacts already owned (or those who don't like the system and want to opt out by full refunding artifacts they have). It's also something once committed that would be hard to undo. Maybe start with something small to see how it goes (like rooting?). Anyway, I really am undecided about it. I do note the armour system was meant to have slots that you can customize the armour effects but never seemed to get that much traction.
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  • BairlochBairloch Member Posts: 184 Adept
    Well, gamers do have a tendency to identify the "optimum" loadout and then various builds with multiple, hot-swappable loadouts go out the window. Still, the idea has merit.
  • AyisdraAyisdra Member Posts: 1,094 Mythical
    Back when the bodyscan system first started, artifact runes were 1/11, 2/12, and 3/13. It was decided that they were too weak for their cost and thus raised to their current values.
    Even looking at the Enhancements to Armor Estarra talked about. Most of them are not going to be used (the damage resist and influence, and perhaps even prestige) because the buff is too small and you can get better buffs elsewhere and use your armor slots on Quickening, Mass, and/or Weatherproofing.

    This is a problem you are going to run into with this kind of thing. Nerf things and you have the high risk of people not spending money on the next promo because they might not be able to use it. I think it might be too late to nerf or limit artifacts to this scale. I would rather see other ways of earning credits instead.
  • ElrynGreythaneElrynGreythane Member Posts: 51 Apprentice
    Estarra said:
    It's also something once committed that would be hard to undo. Maybe start with something small to see how it goes (like rooting?). Anyway, I really am undecided about it. I do note the armour system was meant to have slots that you can customize the armour effects but never seemed to get that much traction.
    Thanks for answering!  :smile:

    I understand wanting to start with a smaller change to see the effects, but I'd suggest one of the dangers of compartmentalizing this too much (for example, you can only have 2 rooting artifacts active at once) means that the value of those artifacts to those who have them already above the limit becomes almost nothing.

    Instead, I'd prefer having a choice between maxing out my rooting with all my rooting artifacts, even though that means I have almost no points left to spend on other upgrades being active. That means I can still use my artifacts and they have only depreciated slightly in most cases, but I might choose to swap them out for others depending on what I need most in a particular scenario.

    To be clear - I'm not suggesting hard limits on specific artifact powers that replicate the buff weighting system, I think that's a very difficult thing to get right. I'm suggesting a larger overall cap that just means it's not possible to be enhanced in every conceivable way at the same time.
  • SnaldSnald Member Posts: 92 Capable
    Also you sort of play with the trust of the players imo. If they start killing artis, that could lead to people having thoughts like "well they nerfed X into oblivion, why would I spend money on Y?" At the end of the day Lusternia/IRE is a business and they have to make money to continue running. I do agree that huge purchases ($300 crates) could dissuade some new players because "holy shit, I have to spend THAT MUCH to get some cool stuff?!"
  • ElrynGreythaneElrynGreythane Member Posts: 51 Apprentice
    Yendor said:
    Also you sort of play with the trust of the players imo. If they start killing artis, that could lead to people having thoughts like "well they nerfed X into oblivion, why would I spend money on Y?" 
    I don't disagree with you here. Absolutely true.

    I'd also add there's an equal danger in making artifacts far cheaper, or more easily obtained with in-game time investment. If I have spent $200 on something, and then the game decides you can get the equivalent by bashing for a few hours instead or sells it for a tenth of the cost a few months later, I'm going to feel like I was taken advantage of by spending real money, and I'd seriously question doing it again.
  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 2,132 Transcendent
    Yendor said:
    Also you sort of play with the trust of the players imo. If they start killing artis, that could lead to people having thoughts like "well they nerfed X into oblivion, why would I spend money on Y?" At the end of the day Lusternia/IRE is a business and they have to make money to continue running. I do agree that huge purchases ($300 crates) could dissuade some new players because "holy shit, I have to spend THAT MUCH to get some cool stuff?!"
    Whether or not something like this costs a business trust is also basically all on said business.

    Particularly in a case like this because doing something about the complaints provides a  positive experience or at least resolves a negative one.
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  • XenthosXenthos Shadow Lord Member Posts: 6,545 Transcendent
    Saran said:
    Yendor said:
    Also you sort of play with the trust of the players imo. If they start killing artis, that could lead to people having thoughts like "well they nerfed X into oblivion, why would I spend money on Y?" At the end of the day Lusternia/IRE is a business and they have to make money to continue running. I do agree that huge purchases ($300 crates) could dissuade some new players because "holy shit, I have to spend THAT MUCH to get some cool stuff?!"
    Whether or not something like this costs a business trust is also basically all on said business.

    Particularly in a case like this because doing something about the complaints provides a  positive experience or at least resolves a negative one.
    I have somewhere around a thousand or so artifacts and curios on my various lists.  I can't see how anything like this would be positive for me in any way; huge amounts of time trying to set any kind of a powerset up and zero incentive to add anything else because then I have to rework existing sets (or just not buy it because it doesn't work in anything).  I'm not a huge spender these days, but I'd envision needing to drop Elite, personally, and just ignore all future promotions.  It would be all around a negative as far as I'm concerned (and as far as Lusternia making any income from me at all is concerned, too).

    Also who is going to go through and assign a weight to all that junk?  That's going to be a huge effort (and nobody's going to appreciate the weightings set, "That should be higher!" "No, it should be lower!").

    IMO the best you could do is make it an opt-in system that provides some kind of bonus for enabling it, so people aren't forced to give up what they've got, but if they want to get whatever the bonus is they can toggle it on.  As long as it is "nice" but not "required," would seem okay (you want new people to feel like they can spend past the weight cap too if they want to flip it off), but the question is coming up with what that could even be.  Default it to on for people under whatever the end cap is, off for people over that, and go from there.
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  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 2,132 Transcendent
    Xenthos said:
    I have somewhere around a thousand or so artifacts and curios on my various lists.  I can't see how anything like this would be positive for me in any way; huge amounts of time trying to set any kind of a powerset up and zero incentive to add anything else because then I have to rework existing sets (or just not buy it because it doesn't work in anything).  I'm not a huge spender these days, but I'd envision needing to drop Elite, personally, and just ignore all future promotions.  It would be all around a negative as far as I'm concerned (and as far as Lusternia making any income from me at all is concerned, too).
    The complaints about artifact power have been unresolved for quite some time now, there is a reasonable expectation that this will have cost the game players as well as money from active  players. This is coming up in relation to population, if it's a reason players are leaving, making the few with a large volume of artifacts happy is potentially coming at the expense of getting new players invested and spending money on the artifacts we already have.

    Xenthos said:
    IMO the best you could do is make it an opt-in system that provides some kind of bonus for enabling it, so people aren't forced to give up what they've got, but if they want to get whatever the bonus is they can toggle it on.  As long as it is "nice" but not "required," would seem okay (you want new people to feel like they can spend past the weight cap too if they want to flip it off), but the question is coming up with what that could even be.  Default it to on for people under whatever the end cap is, off for people over that, and go from there.
    That would effectively achieve nothing towards the issue the suggestion is trying to resolve because the issue isn't really the people who'd benefit from your suggestion, the issue is the people that would flip it off.
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  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 2,132 Transcendent
    Also, not having to assign the weight values is a benefit of the slot method.

    You'd start out by coming up with your slots, domoths seem appropriate. Then you group artifacts together, maybe all damage enhancements go into the War slot, maybe vitals enhancers go into life, but potentially supportive type artifacts (like the trueheal stuff mentioned) might also go into life. 

    Once you're done you then just apply the groupings en masse to the artifacts. You can also enable exceptions to the system by marking them as slotless, or even introduce the ability for some artifacts to be both slotless and slotted with different functionality for each. You could also, in limited cases, likely consider having artifacts that could go in multiple slots or maybe some that are so powerful they take up multiple slots.

    You could even consider class slots as a way to limit class specific artifacts and/or to allow a specific class access to certain artifacts that have another slot. 


    No need to worry about points, similarly no need to worry if the upgrade path on an artifact increases it's point value.
    Easy to sort through because you just add a feature to search artifact lists by slot.
    And having the empty slot there can provide a prompting to players to find an artifact to use in said slot.
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  • ElrynGreythaneElrynGreythane Member Posts: 51 Apprentice
    @Xenthos - I'm sorry to hear that. I get what you're saying about making it opt-in so that no-one is affected by it, and I'm open to ways of adjusting the proposal so it has less of a negative impact, but I'm not sure that particular approach would achieve anything.

    Imagine if we said that skill changes were an opt-in system - so that you didn't have to be limited to the current flow restrictions if you didn't want to (ah, the crazy old days!). I suspect everyone would just choose to ignore the restrictions, and there would be no net impact.

    If I try to think about scenarios anyway, my immediate thought would be that opt-in allows competing in various event types, plus gives a significant boost to in-game rewards of all types, but I suspect that would contravene your 'required' proviso. It also seems to punish players who don't opt-in, which is not something I really want to do.

    Would there be any potential bonus in this kind of a capped set system that *would* be of interest to you? I'm guessing experience gain/loss probably doesn't mean much to you at this point, nor would battle leagues or anything (which doesn't to me either, but is possible if we can choose what upgrades are active). Is there another way that swapping in and out the other-class skills, artifact buffs and curio powers you can access might be made into more of a 'game' that has some sort of engaging strategy to it?

    If not, do you have any alternative ideas that might help to make Lusternia more of an attractive investment for players who may not be able to accumulate quite so many upgrades but still want to eventually hit an equivalent level where the veteran players are at? How would you try to solve that immediate impression of literally thousands of dollars being necessary to come near the in-game power levels of veteran players (even if that isn't actually the reality)?
  • XenthosXenthos Shadow Lord Member Posts: 6,545 Transcendent
    edited October 2018
    IRE Elite gives 5 lessons a day just for logging on.  We've occasionally had lesson promotions where the whole game gets something like that (if you're logged on 10 minutes you get some lessons).  This is small, but it could be a nice thing-- I've done a few skillsets just off of the passive lesson gain from Elite at this point.  Should be roughly a year of playing the game to transcend a single skill, so I can't imagine it would affect credit/lesson sales TOO much if this just got enabled for everyone as a permanent feature, and it is at least a "Hey, if you keep playing the game you'll keep progressing a bit at a time."
    Numbers could be tweaked, like requiring a certain amount of time logged in on Prime instead of in a manse or something.  Could do it on its own, or with a "powersets" thing (once you're over a certain threshold you don't qualify any more; that would be a good time to look into investing in Elite anyways if you want to keep getting them).

    Would this appeal to me?  Not really.  I did specifically say that a bonus would be a difficult thing to identify, I don't have any really great ideas for something that I'd want more than I want access to the things that I have actually invested in.  I mean, there's always "This is a battle-tournament-thing and to participate you must activate a powerset and limit yourself," but I'm not going to participate.  I am not hugely into PvP and don't really care about seeing my name on PvP "leaderboards" or anything like that.  You could set up certain challenges like death/influencing world games that require a powerset active (when you turn it off you don't get points).  That might make a slightly more level playing field, but I suspect people would use friends to work around limitations.

    My personal preference, however, would be to find ways to make newer players feel welcome and that they are progressing, even if it's just a little bit at a time.  I don't really think that telling long-term established people to stop spending does that as well as you're thinking it will... because some of those new players may also be spenders.  I know there are other people in Lusternia with retirement values approaching / surpassing mine.  I even know that there are people who have been playing for a much shorter period of time (some even under a year!) who meet that criterion.  I can't imagine they would have invested like they did if they couldn't use what they bought either.  Now, do people like us need more incentives / bonuses?  Not really.  But the other new players who started around the same time and didn't have the means to invest like that?  I feel like they could have used something more to pull them in and make them feel like "No matter what" they are at least getting towards their goals.

    Hm, something else I just thought of.  Goop.  It's a resource that you need to invest real money into in order to start generating it, but it has caps (50 per day at the "accelerated" rate, everything past that is just 1 goop per use).  It can be used to buy artifacts... a pretty decent number of them at this point.  What about an in-game way for people to earn 10-20 goop a day?  Counts towards the cap (so if you are already maxed out otherwise, you'd just get 1 goop from this).  But you could leverage it into other artifacts, maybe some ur'traps for increased production (I think they got converted to goop?  If not, perhaps they should be).

    Anyone who has invested seriously is already getting 50 per day, why not give newer players a taste of it, get them in the door, and give them a means towards (long-term) acquiring a number of useful things?  Yes, I realize that this is kind of the opposite of what you're going for with the thread, but like I said... I think people should be incentivized to grow & play, vs. knowing that there's an effective cap beyond which there's no real point in trying to strive.  And the good thing about that is that it wouldn't even increase the power growth of people "at the top" because they're already at their goop caps, so putting in the work to get it would be... just one more goop.
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  • LuceLuce Fox Populi Member Posts: 2,520 Transcendent
    edited October 2018
    Part of the issue, I think, is that Lusternia (and most of IRE, really) doesn't really have any sort of catch up mechanic except dropping a couple thousand dollars during very specific windows or relying on charity from more established players. The ceiling keeps going up to keep older players interested without anything to really help newer players (or hell, even just new characters that aren't fully established yet) compete. 
    Sure, if you laser target for a specific aspect of the game you can get really close to competence with little investment for that aspect. Maybe even competitive if that aspect isn't PvP or debating. Until you start trying to branch into two or three interesting things. 
    Want to bash? Leveling credits will get you most of the skills you need at a baseline, and no brainier packages get you the rest. Want to bash competitively? You need tritrans, virtuoso in four other skills, an aethersuit, a gnomish weapon with full gears, a transportation artifact, a pyramid, and either having natural access to pathways and tracking or a wonderbrazier, plus you'll probably want a level 3 health rune, RoA, at least one artifact pipe and vial, some of the goop-made trades items, kirigami, a bashing beast, artifacts to increase celerity, reduce balance times, and grant sprint if you don't have environment high enough yet, a critical hit rune, and rune(s) to enhance your chosen element(s). And I'm probably forgetting something because there's a metric junkload that goes into it.
    Influencing? You can get to transcendant influence without to much trouble, maybe stretch to get trsnscendant dramatics and netzach/whatever-color-that-is. Competitive influencing needs runes for ego, charity and empowering, one or more jars of mist unless you're in a village during a revolt, a pyramid, celerity stuff, a nose to make sure you aren't about to get debated out, a goblet to clear that if you do, a beast with ego regen, charity and empowerment boosts, a scarecrow hat and cloak to hide the billion peices of jewellery you have some of those runes on, a set of tawdry items and runes to prevent them from decaying (or just drop 25cr each to no-decay them), a set of really high prestige items, and probably a few wonder items I'm forgetting.
    And again, while it's hyperbole to say you need every artifact ever to be a realistic threat in combat, you do at least need tritrans, four more virtuoso skills for the vitals buffs so you don't pop like a pinata, a fair few lessons in environment to be able to escape pits and manoeuvre through rubble/briars/walls, ways to improve your own rooting, and a bunch of class specific things like the demesne rune and dominion rune for mages, dominion rune and tinkering stuff for bards, or whatever it is that warriors need these days short of a miracle. Plus a few things that at least one person on the team needs, like a censer, a cubix or bubblix for offensive raids or domoths, some form of scent, a way to stop fliers, and a way to put up/take down trees/illusory terrain faster than the other team can take down/put up theirs.

    EDIT: lost my train of thought. Established players have the advantage of having had years to accumulate a lot of the things that put the entry bars where they are. To pick on Xenthos, your retirement value is high because you've been on Elite for years, you've dropped quite a bit of money over time even outside of elite, and you had at least a few avenues of wealth generation that have either been closed or capped since. Whereas someone newer who is close to your retirement value can only do that by dropping a boatload of real life cash all in one go, and still will be a little short thanks to guiding/mortal reviewing/Bardic rewards. Nevermind missed opportunities like the OG stockings and commodity mines that aren't available but either directly or indirectly contribute to your stockpile of gold, and by extension credits from the market. 
    Post edited by Luce on
  • ElrynGreythaneElrynGreythane Member Posts: 51 Apprentice
    Xenthos said:
    My personal preference, however, would be to find ways to make newer players feel welcome and that they are progressing, even if it's just a little bit at a time.  I don't really think that telling long-term established people to stop spending does that as well as you're thinking it will... because some of those new players may also be spenders.  I know there are other people in Lusternia with retirement values approaching / surpassing mine.  I even know that there are people who have been playing for a much shorter period of time (some even under a year!) who meet that criterion.  I can't imagine they would have invested like they did if they couldn't use what they bought either. 
    First, I'm not trying to say 'stop spending'. Just like putting limits on combat skill combinations doesn't stop people from fighting, putting limits on how character upgrades have cumulative effects with each other at the same time shouldn't mean most people give up on wanting more of them.

    Is it possible that it might not be the preference of some players? Absolutely. But again, has that ever stopped a combat balancing change from going through? I look at this more as a game-balancing change, that is eventually going to be necessary unless it is decided that the status quo is fine, and we just leave the game to continue in the same direction.

    I may be wrong, but I suspect externally to the wonderful current playerbase we have, Lusternia both has a reputation for being a cash-grab, as well as profoundly affected by many years of accumulating artifacts and wonderitems and curios and so on directly impacting the game systems and mechanics that you can participate in. Want to craft? You'll be at a disadvantage unless you buy a few hundred dollars worth of trade artifacts. Want to fight competitively? You'll have to work a bit harder on your strategies to overcome the missing runes and purchaseable utility skills until you can spend up to catch up. And so on. 

    Does that mean if artifacts had some sort of balancing limits in place it would be more attractive to new players? I don't know. I suspect it would, but that's just a guess. Honestly, I think that the endless theorycrafting on the hypothetical mindset of a newbie can be well over-done and used to justify pretty much anything. I do think there are some clear trends that should be visible from the rest of the game industry that we could learn from though. A game that gets a reputation for being more concerned with commodifying otherwise carefully tuned mechanics tends to attract a smaller audience willing to stick with it long-term and look past being seen as revenue sources rather than players.

    Now, do people like us need more incentives / bonuses?  Not really.  But the other new players who started around the same time and didn't have the means to invest like that?  I feel like they could have used something more to pull them in and make them feel like "No matter what" they are at least getting towards their goals.
    So personally, I am probably well over several thousand real-world dollars invested in Lusternia myself by this point, and I haven't scratched the surface of what character upgrades are available in comparison to some of the players like yourself and others. Partly that might be due to not choosing the right investments (a lot of that was before the things you can buy that generate goop/artifacts/etc), but I know when I jump onto an alt I start to notice the conveniences I am missing. Recently, I have been most focused on buying in primarily to achieve the self-generating items, because it seems like that's the only real value to be found - buying any actual upgrades with real money will eventually be seen as a poor decision compared to the amazing new wonderitem of the month, or become trivially acquired anyway if you just let those passive generators get you there eventually.

    Anyway, even having bought in to this degree, I quite often feel that Lusternia is a bad investment going forward. I don't see a point where I would ever feel 'caught up' and that I could focus on mastering in-game rewards and systems because the item shop didn't have anything left to appeal to me. I don't see the current concentration of power dynamics changing - it is a bit like knowing that instead of a fixed level 100 being the goal, with every new upgrade item released the level cap is growing by a couple more each time, and unless you can find a way to spend enough to keep up, you're never going to improve your character to parity with those who can. And if I tell friends that I have spent hundreds of dollars a month on a game and still feel like I'm behind, the reactions are not usually encouraging.

    Now, absolutely there's an aspect of mindset and perspective there. I can (and do try!) to give up on mechanical equivalence or in-game capability, and instead focus on the systems that are not linked to real-world purchases: there's nothing stopping anyone from being the most notable RP-consistent character in the game, or from becoming known and immortalised for the political influence or descriptive eloquence they have. But I suspect that is an 'end-game' that appeals to only a small subset of players who are going to choose an intricately complex PvP MUD to spend their time in. 

    Again, this suggestion doesn't even say that you won't still be able to purchase any number of upgrades that significantly affect in-game systems. It just says that eventually, you will reach a limit on how many of those upgrades can be active at one time, so you might have to choose which of them you take into each conflict.
    Hm, something else I just thought of.  Goop.  It's a resource that you need to invest real money into in order to start generating it, but it has caps (50 per day at the "accelerated" rate, everything past that is just 1 goop per use).  It can be used to buy artifacts... a pretty decent number of them at this point.  What about an in-game way for people to earn 10-20 goop a day?  Counts towards the cap (so if you are already maxed out otherwise, you'd just get 1 goop from this).  But you could leverage it into other artifacts, maybe some ur'traps for increased production (I think they got converted to goop?  If not, perhaps they should be).

    Anyone who has invested seriously is already getting 50 per day, why not give newer players a taste of it, get them in the door, and give them a means towards (long-term) acquiring a number of useful things?  Yes, I realize that this is kind of the opposite of what you're going for with the thread, but like I said... I think people should be incentivized to grow & play, vs. knowing that there's an effective cap beyond which there's no real point in trying to strive.  And the good thing about that is that it wouldn't even increase the power growth of people "at the top" because they're already at their goop caps, so putting in the work to get it would be... just one more goop.
    Is this the drug-dealer approach?  Give them a tiny taste so they become good customers? :p But seriously, I'm not against trying that if you think it will actually make a difference.

    I know in my case it wouldn't, and I don't really see how it affects the endlessly growing cumulative power stacking issue at the heart of the problem. I don't think it's about people feeling locked out from the lower end of investment - it's easy enough for anyone to buy a small promo package occasionally - the issue is at the other end, where there just isn't any ceiling to the escalating upgrades some are able to achieve.
  • BairlochBairloch Member Posts: 184 Adept
    wait... what's an ur'trap and how does it generate goop?
  • ElrynGreythaneElrynGreythane Member Posts: 51 Apprentice
    edited October 2018
    Bairloch said:
    wait... what's an ur'trap and how does it generate goop?
    A self-generating artifact bought with goop that you can bait and set every x hours (depending on how many times it is upgraded). It catches a creature that gives a few goop plus either a consumable bonus cookie or a wheel coin. I think you can only have a certain amount of them active at once?

    But yeah... there are so many things like this that I still hear about and never knew existed.
  • BairlochBairloch Member Posts: 184 Adept
    ok... where do I get some? :)
  • ElrynGreythaneElrynGreythane Member Posts: 51 Apprentice
    @Bairloch - I think the guy who sells them is on the lower part of the road up Avechna's peak. He tries to hock his wares to you when you walk past him.
  • AnitaAnita Member Posts: 891 Transcendent
    @Bairloch - I think the guy who sells them is on the lower part of the road up Avechna's peak. He tries to hock his wares to you when you walk past him.
    At the start of the Path of Nature, right outside Kiakoda Nature Reserve. Korue is who you're looking for.
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