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Posted: Mon May 03, 2021 1:12 am
by Arsicas
So, with the current conflict, a lot of people seem to be getting frustrated over a few different things. And it’s gotten to the point where a lot of people have said they’d rather not play than continue getting steamrolled by a currently heavily weighted evil side. Just thought I’d start a thread where people can voice their concerns.

For me, my frustration is that the good side doesn’t really have a way to strike back at the evils. We can take down the earth elementals or close the tower of pain, but they just get flipped right back. So it’s more a symbolic effort than anything that has a real impact.

And with the wide spread of playtimes of the current good chars, it’s hard to get a group together to try taking on the evil PCs or to try a larger assault. The evils have attacked Arborea repeatedly, and most of the PCs that try to defend it get killed pretty quickly, either because they lack the strength or the numbers or the united force.

Also, Arborea seems to need some mechanical reinforcement cause the guards just don’t seem to be working correctly (not coming when called, not using the defenses and tactics that are supposedly there). It also has three different gates, and two of them have only two guards guarding them, which is a pretty laughable defense. So breaking into Arborea takes hardly any effort on the evils’ part, whereas breaking into Asador takes a huge force. I think breaking into any city should require a significant group effort.

I would totally be up for engaging in the conflict, but I seem to 1) lack people who play at the same time I do who are also willing to engage, and 2) lack targets that have an impact that don’t just seem like wasted effort. I can try going after evil PCs if they are around and if I can actually find them. But like tonight it would have been me and Lauriert vs. 3 darkelf Sathos. And maybe we could convince a couple Asralites to join too, but they both just died, so I don’t know how much they felt like engaging again (and I couldn’t team with them anyway since I’m a Gwennie).

Anyway, don’t really want to make this a venting thread, but if anyone has any ideas for fixing the imbalances or making conflict more fun for both sides...

Re: Conflict

Posted: Mon May 03, 2021 1:47 am
by Lauriert
I've been a pretty vocal critic about how pvp is balanced. And I think what you're describing now is a conflict with the design philosophy of "evils should be more individually strong because there are more goodies around to compensate".

Not only does this ruin 1v1 experiences, but just because the goodies have more people, doesn't mean they can coordinate. Time zones are quite an issue and everything. And over time, it doesn't seem like evils are outnumbered at all. There actually seems to be quite a lot of them at this point. Honestly, most of the issue has already been expressed in the opening post. I'll just give my support to this being addressed.

Re: Conflict

Posted: Mon May 03, 2021 2:18 am
by Delia
One of the big problems is that everyone else save evil are very fractured.

Taniels and Crusaders could just be merged into one guild.
Rangers and druids could be merged into one strong nature guild.

Gwen and Asral could go kissy kissy and make up, making Arborea the domain of the two gods.

Suddenly you would have a lot more players coordinating atleast.

Not sure how it would help when fights tend to be over in an instant at high levels. That too is really discouraging.

Re: Conflict

Posted: Mon May 03, 2021 10:30 am
by ceinna
Balance is and has been off for a long time. It is not something new or unique to the game. It is something that is CONSISTENTLY discussed here and in other locations.

Without a complete overhaul of it all, which is asking a lot from our amazing wizards who work for free and have stuck around enough to give us the game we all do love (bugginess and all), unfortunately the depth of how to handle it falls onto us as players.

However, that said... Mechanical things that could help (so I feel like I am offering things rather than just venting):
-Add a gate to the cities that actually work (poBrand actually has an idea written out for this which is awesome)
-Add permanent light source to the city gates (this makes sense. If darkness overcame any entrance to the city, the guards would immediately go after a light source. There is nothing good that can come from them being blinded. This just makes sense).
-Add a general board to the inn at the crossing. Not one like in the shop there where you post looking for things, but somewhere notices can be left by all the factions in order to hopefully avoid this "Im breaking into the city because I can to leave notes telling you to screw off"
-Give the various factions matching "guardians". I would love to see the Taniels have a deva type guardian miracle and the Asrals have a valkrye. This would help balance the Rev/Undead but still not be overpowering as have each cleric only allowed to call one at a time. (poBrand and I have thought out on this and have ideas if wizards are interested)
-Put a cap on the amount of undead any one cleric can raise at a time OR have it hold some form of a cost to continue to keep them "alive".

Player things that can help:
-Be open OOC about conflict. This means not hiding your eventual goals to the point no one can figure it out and people getting frustrated because all they see is steamrolling and no RP
-Hold to help fairplay and help rules. This means actively thinking about whether or not what you are doing is good for the GAME at large rather than just for you as a player
-Don't just kill someone because you can.
-Focus on PvP being more about "equal" things. Yes you might be able to steamroll everything, but keep in mind that words and such are the same power across the board. Those sort of exchanges mean the newbie crusader can have as much fun as the 8 year old darkelf.
-Have something other than just "we will continue to steamroll until we get our way" being the only solution
-Remember that if people stop playing everyone loses.

I shall now await my punishment for the things I am suggesting.

Re: Conflict

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 10:12 pm
by Delmon
We can take down the earth elementals or close the tower of pain, but they just get flipped right back. So it’s more a symbolic effort than anything that has a real impact.
Every thing the evils do is a symbolic effort... the cities reset quickly. Conflicts flow with the players working off each other's interactions.

There is really a deep rooted perception problem of balance for a number of players, fueled over and over again and complained about within the forum and extensively on the Discord channel, including:

Armor design, including light armor being too strong
Sathos ability to raise proxy undead
Cities being too weak or too strong
Specials such as salto being overpowered
Dwarves being bad
Magic being overpowered (things like webbing)
Certain weapons being stronger than others
Agility as a stat being way too strong
Missile being overpowered
Evil guilds being overpowered

Wizards/Admin really to need to address the balance perception. Unless the current playerbase can come to accept the current state of the game mechanics and work within the current system, I don't really see anyone enjoying conflicts (which to me has always been the central part of the fun of the game). It's not fun for either side for a conflict to devolve into OOC pointing to the imbalances all the time, or pointing a player and how they should have done this or that.

Re: Conflict

Posted: Wed May 05, 2021 5:14 am
by Delia
While I am sure there are individual imbalances out there, most biggest problem is permanent static nature of things. We have permanent conflict, permanent enemies, everything setup to constantly and permanently be at someone's throat. I think we could do with less of that. Or atleast give people the chance to opt out from PvP. Some sort of PvP-safezone might not be a bad idea either.

A fun way to spice things up could be to make the darkelf ritual change be reversible with the Taniel ritual and make it so you can flip back to dark and even then again back to light again. Permanence just stacks up on one side, little by little. By giving pieces the freedom to move within the set you would instantly have more dynamic balance too. Also more silly TV-drama which could be fun.

Guilds should lose the concept of permanent enemies completely too. Let players figure it out. Let them make alliance and enemies depending on the situations at hand. Currently everything has been decided like ten RL years ago with no possibility of change.

Guilds do not require heavy balancing as such, IMHO. The world set pieces need some tweaking. Cities need better and working defences. Being able to rally behind a guild orb would be nice and would bring players together. Cities should signal LOUDLY when outlaws or worse attacks. Like when insects attack. It is nice. Runecircles and Tower of Pain should have a cooldown periods until they can be flipped again. It would be more meaningful that way. Atleast you could savour your win for a day or so and in the case of the Tower, people could explore the tundra without the undead menace for a little while atleast.

Most mechanical perceptions of imbalance stir from the fact that knowledge of internal game mechanics is scarce and obscure by intent. Some players know how to optimize very effective builds, some have absolutely no idea and struggle with everything.

Some important stuff changes from time to time too without any announcement which also affects player perceptions. More transparency in that regard would be nice and would work to alleviate player misconceptions.

Re: Conflict

Posted: Wed May 05, 2021 10:47 am
by Aslak

I agree that in the current state and environment, any kind of conflict is not only moot, but only adds to enough frustration to simply throw roleplaying out of the window and just ignore the other sides actions.

This boils basically down to three problems that stack up on each other.

1) World problems
The world of GEAS is not balanced in it self. Some areas are very open and friendly to you, others are very harsh. Mobs do not react the same to everyone, attacking only certain people and sparing others. Currently the south is extremely open, wide fields, no chokepoints, and barely anything that can threaten a player. There aren't powerful guard critters all over the place that make sure honor is kept. The city looks the same, it is mostly undefended, uncoordinated and frankly, impossible to defend. If you look up to the far north, there is a perfectly defendable chokepoint as a main entry way, undeads that usually spawn everywhere and only hinder some chars while ignoring others. The city perfectly defended, requiring a huge team to breach its defences and a high risk to those who try, even if no player is whatsoever involved in the defence. Withhin that realm, far out of the normal places lie protected hunting ground for the evils that are mostly sealed off to the good side to patrol them to catch evils unprepared. This means by default, the evil side will almost always be on the offense, as there is no good place to strike at that does not require a huge effort.
The world is static, and nothing changes. This one is not easy to fix I am not even sure it should be fixed completely, but it would be nice if there were more changes possible like the tower of pain that would also have a longer lasting effect. Currently, whenever you flip something, it usually takes not even hours for it to flip back. Have some minor fortress out in the wild that can be stormed and manned by your own men/undeads for a while. Once flipped, the defences should be strong enough to prevent an easy flipback, but slowly decay over time to require less and less effort to storm it.

2) General balance problems
Delmon already mentioned quite a few here, and they do exist after chars reach certain levels of powers. There are scaling problems that damage scales much faster then damage absorbing mechanics like Hitpoints, armours, etc. For PVE, many of these things play only a minor problem, as things work out "good enough" there still. Mobs do not scale as characters do. In PVP, it means battles that once lasted about a minute, going forth and back, with healing and tactic involved, not last a mere second and the very first hit decide the outcome of the entire fight.
There is no simple solution to this I fear, but it would require a huge effort in redo many of the scaling mechanics of GEAS.

3) Guild imbalances
There currently exists a huge gap in how powerful different guilds feel and most likely are. This is true for both PVP as well as PVE content.
There are abilities like darkness/darkvision, curse, fear, berserk that can turn even very hard PVE encounters irrelevant, easy or skippable as the AI of NPCs is unable to react to these abilities or there sometimes not even being any way even a player could react other then full retreat. You can split up groups of enemies by darkness or fear, have them fight each other with berserk, turning everything into a trival grind.
The quality of equipment, weight and volume, how it interacts with deflect, adds up to this and is vastly different between guilds.
Some guilds can (very effectively) kill people while not even be logged in anymore, lay traps that last for days with minimum effort. Some guilds have the ability at least to control vision at some places, some guilds have all this combined while most guilds have nothing like this.
This remote proxy power changes the way how conflicts can we fought in massive ways, you do not even have to see an foe anymore to win a war and make it risky to go out playing the game.

Currently, on top of that, is added up that the evil side has much stronger chars XP wise. That is not their fault, or needs to be changed, it just makes a hopeless situation for one side even worse.

I know many of this comes from a history where it (might) have been needed to prevent the dark side from being steamrolled by pure numbers, but these numbers do not exist anymore, and imbalances on individual power and comfort of play ultimately ALWAYS lead to an shift of players towards that side, completely nullifying the numbers advantage. (Which in case of Arborea/Asral was never there, a single small guild is that part of the world)

I hope some of these things can be addressed in the future, I am aware it will not happen swiftly or over night, but a slow and constant improvement until a point is reached where it becomes fun again to engage each other.
On the lower end of the scale, this leads to guilds that feel like the training ground for wannabe evils who just go there to grab some skills and jump to the next guild before they turn evil.

Re: Conflict

Posted: Wed May 05, 2021 2:16 pm
by Delmon
The perception is still the problem. Unfortunately, the perception of imbalances, (alot of which are exaggerated in my opinion), just fuels the idea that the game is rigged against a certain character/player. Arguing whether they exist or their value to a players' strength is not healthy to the game play and distracts from the quality of interactions, but that's exactly what happens after every PVP interaction. OOC complaining is happening all the time, whether IG OOC, or on the Discord (where deaths are announced and players' actions judged).

It's becoming clearer to me that the outcome of every Player Fighting interaction between evils and anyone else fuels OOC frustration and disengagement for the majority of the playerbase. Players with strength leverage, the evils right now, currently risk OOC condemnation (or told the game is rigged for them to win a fight), and are incentivized to walk on egg shells when retaking the tower of pain, destroying watchtowers, or engaging in fighting.

So, this could be solved with actual changes to the game, but before this I would love to hear the wizards/admin perspective on current balance and some of the frustrations of the playerbase.

In the meantime, the playerbase can accept the challenges of the current system and its players' actions, or the game can devolve into "non-fighting", where the interactions can be more of a philosophical bent, discussions alongside forays into quests and to the NPC grind zone (together?). At least in this case the perceived balance infractions are hidden nd out of sight. Maybe there is a middle ground somewhere, but I know I'm still searching for this elusive sweet spot.

Re: Conflict

Posted: Wed May 05, 2021 8:02 pm
by Arsicas
Delmon wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 2:16 pm It's becoming clearer to me that the outcome of every Player Fighting interaction between evils and anyone else fuels OOC frustration and disengagement for the majority of the playerbase. Players with strength leverage, the evils right now, currently risk OOC condemnation (or told the game is rigged for them to win a fight), and are incentivized to walk on egg shells when retaking the tower of pain, destroying watchtowers, or engaging in fighting.
This is what I’m seeing, that people just don’t want to engage with big evils around or when fights get ended in 2 seconds with a big hit. I am still up for putting up a defense, but it seems like a lot of people just don’t want to be involved. Which is why I’d like to find a way to make the conflict more fun so people do want to engage without feeling like they’re going to just get steamrolled. (It was pretty fun when I came to help two little Crusaders who were trying to fight off Delmon, hehe. Though he probably could have stomped them pretty easily, so I don’t know how much holding back was involved.)

Maybe there needs to be a limit on damage so that fights aren’t over in 2 seconds when huge characters are involved? Or, like some have suggested, have armour scale similarly. But then you might still run into the problem of smaller chars just not standing a chance without grinding to the extent some people do. I know there will always be bigger chars and smaller chars though. But maybe if there’s a way to make the huge chars not impossibly difficult to reach. And I’m not sure what the fighting balance is like exactly. I’ve heard of and seen people die in a matter of seconds to big chars, but I’ve also managed to fight off and nearly kill chars that are bigger than me too (but that’s relying on spells rather than pure fighting skills vs. fighting skills). It seems like it’s the 2-second fights that tend to frustrate people the most though cause there’s no way for them to react or respond in that amount of time and they just end up back in recovery mode.