A Different way to deploy 'Paragons'

After reading the below what is your current thought on this idea?

  • Fully Against

    Votes: 29 60.4%
  • Partially Against - Would probably not use

    Votes: 5 10.4%
  • Partially in Favor - Might use, or know people you think would enjoy this

    Votes: 8 16.7%
  • Fully in Favor

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Don't Really Care, I just Hate Paragons in general so method doesn't apply/Matter to me

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I like/Love Paragons, but I very much dislike this method of delivery.

    Votes: 5 10.4%

  • Total voters
    48
  • Poll closed .
I had to think about this for a long time before choosing a side. One argument more than any stands out to me.

As this proposal stands, a character retains roughly the same power level when using this option, but is a lower level. That means that two characters of equal level are not roughly equal in power if one has a paragon path and one does not. That divide grows even worse if one has two paragon paths or more. I think that makes scaling for weekends and modules even more difficult, approaching down near impossible when the meaning two different level X characters of otherwise identical builds (other than paragon path) can potentially be miles apart in actual combat effectiveness.

I think searching for a means to allow for build to be reduced or for characters to make changes without a Spirit Forge is commendable. I have seen (and made) various proposals that I think approach this goal without the problematic downside that I see in this one. Heck, if your entire goal is to encourage players burn off XP, the most effective carrot would probably be to allow them to burn off a higher level character to give 1.5x the benefit to a lower level character (not surpassing the higher level character) or maybe equal benefit to two lower level characters.

The last bit there is just random theorycraft off the top of my head and not really relevant to my main point. While I love the goals here, I think the actual implementation is actively harmful to the game.

-MS
 

Avaran

Baron
Is there a cap on the number of Paragons you can buy? I ask because I have the following concerns.

For example: If these cost 50 XP, and cap out at 10 buys, it would "get rid of" 500 XP from a single character at most? Useful, surely, but only pushes the problem back and compounds the character power disparity for low-levels at low-levels? How do you scale for a group of 20 whose APL is 5, but 2 of them have spent 500 XP in Paragons, making them exponentially more powerful than their peers?

If there is no cap, what is to stop someone from going from Level 40 all the way down to Level 1, buying up as many of these as possible, then quick-building (Gobby/Pay-No-Play/Season Pass) their way back up another 50 XP (at the lower XP rate of their new-found Level 1) only to buy another "package" after two months of quick-building?

At 8 full weekend events and 12 monthly blankets per year, this could be done twice a year (source), but with the aforementioned quick XP gain options, it could happen every other month until the person buys up all of the Paragon skills, then levels up again normally.

Yes, their "APL" is going to drop and stay dropped, but only until they have all of the Paragon Packages, at which point they can start leveling up again as normal, but this time, they have all of the available Paragons.
 

Lurin

Duke
Sure, the XP is actually not complicated. Remember in 2.0 It's just straight Xp with a gain based on your current level and no complicated XP->Build point transition has to happen. So to apply this would only take as long as reducing a number in the XP column and adding the proper paragon entry to the card. After that the database's existing functionality will track the XP going further. In total entries this would take less overall effort than adding a new CO name to a database for a character and then purchasing it.

Aside from Permanent death there is no solution to build bloat. What this would do is take a person chasing a full paragon path multiple years of play to achieve, even more than that if they want more than one path, all while dramatically lessening their actual effective level compared to not participating in this version of the paragon system. This of course can be reduced by PCs playing many chapters and pay no playing, but the scale doesn't change.

As to the APL Scaling, again we'd have to deal with this the same way Multiple MIs, high production stocks, or any other of a dozen issues that already exist and scale them appropriately. So the real consideration is how much 'farther back' is a paragon purchasers compared to that same character with the same # of blankets devoted entirely to XP.

To be blunt, in my mind the APL scaling concern is not something that should be an issue as plot staffs are fully capable of adjusting for Paragon powered characters appropriately. (or will be after a learning curve)
 

Muir

Fighter
I am still concerned that it appears (if I am reading correctly) to make APL a weaker metric that effectively only refers to Body points given that any two '150 XP' characters might have 50 or more build worth of paragon skills on their card that 'don't count'. This right after we remove the vast majority of the MIs that presently keep APL as a relatively weak scale of character power.

Saephis : I think the huge card issue is very much a product of our current MI system, given that the vast majority of those characters would have a great many more resurrections on their cards were it not for the accessibility of MI-based defensives.
 

Saephis

Squire
I don't disagree, @Muir , that Magic Items are the prime culprit and in large need of more immediate resolution, however I feel its more the Offensive-route. We've touched on the defensive-vacant nature of most of the Martial character classes -- non-magic-users -- and the more I think on the defensives side, we'd see fewer and fewer Rogues, Scouts, and Fighters if even Cloaks and Banes went away, due to simply being prone to something as simple as a single-digit level character with a couple Laugh gasses and a dagger.

Tangent aside, I can't actually find anything concise in the 0.9 packet regarding the new build/experience/etc change, and the word 'experience' only occurs twice, while 'XP' only notes restrictions around Playtesting and the Magic Item Use chart. Without seeing a clear 'This is the new way your character advances", its difficult for me to say conclusively how easy or simple it is, as the forums have tended to be "Well, this is what I recall us talking about previously" rather than "The book/proposal says X".
 

Avaran

Baron
I think it would be interesting to do the math under both considerations to see what the 'setback' is between someone that drops 100xp 5 times at 150 down to 50, and someone who continues to level and where the Build stands 10, 20, 40 weekends after both players have the full set of a paragon path.
Okay, so I'm going to use this source post as a starting point.

So let's think about this.

Assuming a Weekend event is two blankets, there are 8 Blankets per month available, on average, via this source.
There is one Blanket available via Monthly Blanket.
You can now ALSO blanket a weekend for a second character for an additional fee, meaning you can build two characters at once, if you choose. But we'll keep this discussion to one character, not player, but be thinking about this point should someone be motivated to take advantage of this.

You can get 9 Blankets of XP per month. In a year, that comes to (12*9) 108 blankets.

Those 108 Blankets award differing amounts of XP depending on the level of the character. A level 1 gets more XP per blanket than a level 20, a level 30, and so on.

Methods:
The order in which items are added to your character in the current database matters (this is actually 1 reason to be very happy we are getting a new/update logistics database as I anticipate things like this will be going away). It matters if a Weekend Event is added to your character before or after a Monthly or Faire day is added, and it depends on your build, your total XP, your Loose XP, and some other factors.

To illustrate (using a copy of the current logistics database):
A Fresh level 1 character with 8 weekends followed by 12 monthlies added nets 87 Build (1538 XP)
A Fresh level 1 character with 12 Monthlies followed by 8 weekends added nets 88 total build (1573 XP)
A Fresh level 1 character with events and monthlies added in a more realistic scenario would be:
Event, monthly
Event, monthly
Event, monthly
Monthly
Event, Monthly
Monthly
Event, Monthly
Event, Monthly
Event, Monthly
Monthly
Event, Monthly
Monthly
This level 1 character nets: 87 Build (1540 XP)

You see that it's fairly close, but these differences add up over time as you level.

Given this, as I use a current logistics database to add events and blankets, I will be adding Events First, then Monthlies, following the more realistic scenario. Since I will be using copy of the current Logistics database it is important to note that this isn't a perfect translation of what things will look like in 2.0. It should give a general idea though.

I used an Excel Spreadsheet to plan out and keep track of events/monthlies.

I will note the time it takes to get to 50 Build, 100 Build, 150 Build, and 200 Build per scenario below.
I will note the Build acquisition at the end of each year as well.

I created a new level 1 character for each listed Scenario below to get the most accurate results.

I will be using 4 "scenarios" here, all are assuming non-concurrent weekends:
  • Playing in 1 chapter and gobbying another.
    • 1 event every other month per chapter, 12 Weekend Events, 12 Monthlies.
  • Playing in 1 chapter and gobbying 2 chapters.
    • 1 event every other month per chapter, 18 Weekend events, 12 monthlies.
  • Playing in 1 chapter and gobbying 3 chapters.
    • 2 weekends per month in total, 24 Weekend events per year, 12 monthlies.
  • A less realistic but still possible playing in 1 chapter, gobbying 4 chapters.
    • 1 event per weekend per month, 48 Weekend events, 12 monthlies.
Results

Playing in 1 chapter and gobbying another.
  • 50 Build - 4 Weekends, 3 Monthlies -- 3 months
  • 99 Build - 12 Weekends, 12 Monthlies -- 1 year
  • 100 Build - 13th weekend
  • 145 Build - 24 Weekends, 24 Monthlies -- 2 years.
  • 151 Build - 26 Weekends, 25 Monthlies
  • 182 Build - 36 Weekends, 36 Monthlies -- 3 years.
  • 200 Build - 43 Weekends, 42 Monthlies -- 3 years, six months.

Playing in 1 chapter and gobbying 2 chapters.
  • 50 Build - 4 Weekends, 2 monthlies -- 3 months
  • 102 Build - 14 Weekends, 9 monthlies -- 10 months
  • 118 Build - 18 Weekends, 12 monthlies -- 1 year
  • 150 Build - 28 Weekends, 18 monthlies -- 1 year, 6 months
  • 173 Build - 36 Weekends, 24 monthlies -- 2 years
  • 200 Build - 48 Weekends, 31 monthlies -- 2 years, 7 months

Playing in 1 chapter and gobbying 3 chapters.
  • 50 Build - 4 Weekends, 2 monthlies, 2 months
  • 102 Build - 15 Weekends, 7 monthlies, 7 months
  • 133 Build - 24 Weekends, 12 monthlies, 1 year
  • 151 Build - 30 Weekends, 14 monthlies, 1 year, 2 months
  • 195 Build - 48 Weekends, 24 monthlies, 2 years
  • 200 Build - 51 Weekends, 25 monthlies, 2 years, 1 month

A less realistic but still possible playing in 1 chapter, gobbying 4 chapters (1 event per weekend plus 1 monthly).
  • 52 Build - 5 Weekends, 1 monthly, 5 weeks.
  • 100 Build - 16 Weekends, 4 monthlies, 4 months
  • 151 Build - 34 Weekends, 8 monthlies, 8 months, 2 weeks
  • 184 Build - 48 Weekends, 12 monthlies, 1 year
  • 200 Build - 56 Weekends, 14 monthlies, 1 year, 2 months
  • 251 Build - 85 Weekends, 21 monthlies, 1 year, 9 months, 1 week
  • 268 Build - 96 Weekends, 24 monthlies, 2 years
These are the time frames you're looking at for build acquisition from level 1.

I will need to calculate values and time frames for higher level characters to compare between the two, but I will put this up first.
 
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If it helps any, here is some more math for you.

The precise formula for determining a blanket is:

current build total / ((x^2 +5x)/2) [where x = current level]

In the above equation, the current build total is always somewhere between 10x + 5 and 10x + 14 (inclusive).

Thus, on average, for any given level current build total is approximately 10 (x+1).

This creates the equation:

10 (x+1) / ((x^2 + 5x)/2)


Finally, as x increases towards infinity x+1 can be treated as just x with minimal loss of accuracy, resulting in a estimate formula of:

20 / (x+5) for the amount of build earned from a single blanket


From this, we can see that a blanket is approximately equal to 1 build at roughly level 15. It is approximately equal to 1/2 a build at roughly level 35. It is approximately equal to 1/3 of a build at roughly level 55... and so on.


Now, it is important to note that I included two approximations in order to simply the equation. So, I will take some time to show the effect of those approximations.

The range of build that can actually be earned by a level 1 character is 5 to 8 (15 build and 24 build respectively). The approximation I use estimates 3.33. This is because I changed x+1 to x, which has a massive effect on the equation.

The range of build that can actually be earned by a level 10 character is 1.4 to 1.52 (105 build and 114 build). The approximation I use estimates 1.33 (a little short, but close).

The range of build that can actually be earned by a level 20 character is 0.82 to 0.856 (205 build and 214 build). The approximation I use estimates 0.8, which is very close.

The range of build that can actually be earned by a level 30 character is 0.58 to 0.6 (305 build and 314 build). The approximation I use estimates 0.57 (off by less than 2% from the low and ~6% from the high).


The approximation will always be a little low, but it gets close enough by about level 20 to provide good estimates build per blanket with a very easy equation.

-MS
 

Lurin

Duke
So depending of if you Goblin 1 or two Chapters, Which I will assume is the general level of a power player without going too crazy. (Any simplified system will be designed to be very close to the existing with a slight bias towards slower leveling where rounding comes into play I expect)

Guy #1 - 1 Full paragon Path
3 Months to 50 Build/XP
1.5 Years to First Paragon Step, drops from 150 back to 50
4 more times for an additional 6 years - Now a fully fledge paragon with 50 Build. - Instead of a roughly 350-400 Build character (Entirely a guess)

So at just under 6 years of constantly player 8 Weekends a month, plus blanketing another Chapter, this 50 Build Muscle man has a load of Paragon tricks and starts refilling his Build. In another 5 years yes he'll be at full paragon and 350 build. (instead of 500ish build). Comparatively I'll argue that the roughly 150 build difference at that stage probably balances out those paragons quite decently. (With some classes obviously benefiting less from that 150 extra build than others)

Now if you goblin 2 chapters constantly for all that time (thanks for your support/donation buddy!) you can cut that time frame down but even at blanketing 4 weekends a month constantly (do-able, barely on average if you include the odd dragon blankets to help cover the winter occasional shortfall) Cutting that time down from 7.5 years to 5 years. That's still a massive investment in one character. They SHOULD be paragons with alot of extra umph. What flavor that power comes in (paragon or 150 build) doesn't change the fact that the character will still be higher, but I think that a relatively few unique bonuses are "Cooler" and more unique than 6 more columns of boom chuck. If you disagree the build option would still be there yes?

Secondary characters are far less of an issue since you can only blanket them on events you physically attend, far less (generally) than 3 weekends per month for all but a few outliers. At least I consider 2 a month reasonably hard core as an average.

Thoughts on that more direct comparison from a build bloat perspective? Is the Paragon 350 build supremely better than 500 build Joe Scout? How much does it depend on which class you play/how much diminishing returns hit you?
 

Avaran

Baron
If it helps any, here is some more math for you.
Thanks for this!

I will say though that for that post, I used an actual Logistics Database and applied blankets and monthlies roughly how they would be were they to be added in by an actual logistics team. This way I didn't need to know the approximate formula.
 

Avaran

Baron
1.5 Years to First Paragon Step, drops from 150 back to 50
It is more efficient for time/build to get to 115 build and drop back to level 1 (15 build), then build up again at the faster, low-level rate. If someone were going to do this, I would strongly advise them to go that route, simply because the build re-acquisition is faster (not by a lot, but time saved is time saved). So I would ask why would they build to 150 only to drop back to 50? They have all of the Paragon skills/abilities, so would they really necessarily need to buy additional skills if their goal is to get to Full Paragon as quickly as possible? They'd be playing the Lowbie game anyway, so they wouldn't necessarily NEED extra skills at level 1. I think if you're going to go for a Paragon Path, it is best to go full-out instead of gaining to an arbitrary XP number before deciding to drop back down again.

For the guy getting XP from 4 chapters (not unheard of), it's 14 months between Paragon buys. For 5 Paragon levels, that's 70 months.

I'll calculate the exact level differences between Guy1 who resets, and Dude1 who doesn't a bit later to see what the actual difference is.
 
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Avaran just nailed a second problem I have with this proposal. If two players play exactly the same events (ignoring goblin stamps) they are supposed to be exactly the same level. The problem with this system is that two players can play the same events, spend exactly the same amount on paragon paths, and still end up different levels. I can prove this without even pulling out the build calculator.

Player 1: Goes to level 15 (155 build), spends 50 build on PP, then goes to level 20 (205 build).
Player 2: Goes to level 20 (205 build), spends 50 build on PP, then goes to level 20 again (205 build).

Time for player 1: Time to level 15 is A events. Time from level 10 to 15 is B events. Time from level 15 to 20 is C events.
Time for player 2: Time to level 15 is A events. Time from level 15 to 20 is C events. Time from level 15 to 20 (again) is C events.

Player 1 time: A + B + C
Player 2 time: A + C + C

A and C cancel out. So the only question is whether B is greater than, less than, or equal to C. By the very definition of how our system works, B is fewer events than C. I could prove it with the build calculator or with my formula from above, but I shouldn't have to. We all know that a level 10 character gets build faster than a level 15 character.

Even ignoring the APL argument (which I think is sound), this disqualifies this proposal for me completely. Players shouldn't be required to have system mastery to maintain parity. Player 2 suffers here (suffering can be defined as simply has to spend more money on events to reach the same level) simply because player 2 didn't realize that it was optimal to drop build at the first available opportunity.

-MS
 

Muir

Fighter
It also begs a rather nasty question. What happens when said Paragon character Spirit Forges?

Do they suddenly go from leveling through 25-100 build two or three times at the faster rate to being 300 build?
 

Lurin

Duke
@Lurin How would this interact with Spirit Forge? Let's say I have 200 build. I drop 100 of that for Paragon related stuff. I Spirit Forge. What happens? Am I forced to take an equivalent amount of Paragon related stuff? Do I get my build back? Do I lose it forever? What happens if I Spirit Forge because I really genuinely dislike Paragons after trying them, and decide that they definitely aren't for me?
That's a good question, under this design, Paragon skills do not have requirements you must maintain, so you obviously wouldn't lose them. It definitely doesn't work to refund the XP for obvious reasons. So either you'd be stuck with them forever, or allow that in the case of a Spirit forge the paragon class ranks could be respent on a path you could take at the beginning of the Forge, or at the end of it. (So either based on what you are when Spirit forging, or at the end of that event after training)
It also begs a rather nasty question. What happens when said Paragon character Spirit Forges?

Do they suddenly go from leveling through 25-100 build two or three times at the faster rate to being 300 build?
As noted previously, no, you could change your paragon choices, but not remove them.
 

Lurin

Duke
So trying to reset the discussion a bit, Let's review the recent points.

1.) Logistics might take some strain doing this - I think this will be limited, but point taken, let's assume any proposal of this type takes this into account and has a functional solution.
2.) APL - What if Paragon Levels added a number to your APL (Say 2 per) so a 50 build character with 2 level of paragons would be counted as 'level 9'? Which means a fully paragon pathed PC is 10 levels about his raw build for purposes of stating/planning to reflect that fact?
3.) Spirit Forges would NOT allow paragon build to be re-added, only changed.
4.) Paragons Suck and are bum bad (in some people's eyes) This change wouldn't fix that.
5.) There is some concern about this ultimately adding power by buying a bunch of paragons then leveling normally. The math is still partially out on the actual functional effect here - Review would be good.
6.) The variance could make it hard to know how to maintain 'Parity' for evenly active players, as in this case one would drop behind for a time, then possibly be 'better' at some point in the future. This could arguable feel unfair to some.
 

Lurin

Duke
Avaran just nailed a second problem I have with this proposal. If two players play exactly the same events (ignoring goblin stamps) they are supposed to be exactly the same level. The problem with this system is that two players can play the same events, spend exactly the same amount on paragon paths, and still end up different levels. I can prove this without even pulling out the build calculator.

Player 1: Goes to level 15 (155 build), spends 50 build on PP, then goes to level 20 (205 build).
Player 2: Goes to level 20 (205 build), spends 50 build on PP, then goes to level 20 again (205 build).

Time for player 1: Time to level 15 is A events. Time from level 10 to 15 is B events. Time from level 15 to 20 is C events.
Time for player 2: Time to level 15 is A events. Time from level 15 to 20 is C events. Time from level 15 to 20 (again) is C events.

Player 1 time: A + B + C
Player 2 time: A + C + C

A and C cancel out. So the only question is whether B is greater than, less than, or equal to C. By the very definition of how our system works, B is fewer events than C. I could prove it with the build calculator or with my formula from above, but I shouldn't have to. We all know that a level 10 character gets build faster than a level 15 character.

Even ignoring the APL argument (which I think is sound), this disqualifies this proposal for me completely. Players shouldn't be required to have system mastery to maintain parity. Player 2 suffers here (suffering can be defined as simply has to spend more money on events to reach the same level) simply because player 2 didn't realize that it was optimal to drop build at the first available opportunity.

-MS
I find this is be a very interesting point. First I will note that system mastery already makes a massive impact on any desired parity of power. The fighter that thinks it's cool to pick up 3 earth spells "for emergencies' is significantly on a power disparity to a fighter that realizes he can pick up a few MIs/potions. Play styles are different for many players and I could absolutely see some players having a 'floor' they would no go under regards of what's most efficient 6 years later. Others prefer to red line the system for the max power over time but in doing so would have to play with fewer skills for an extended period of time. In a perfect world from my view there would be a split between PCs that wanted paragons and those that chased full build. That also means that those who wanted the most power might stick with raw build and be the big guy for 5 years, at which point the paragon players that wanted to be the big guy would then have their day in the sun.

So yes there would be one perceived 'Best path' to ultimate power that took a very long amount of play to achieve (during which time they have fun with a goal to work towards hopefully). I'm okay with that and I'm not sure where the real problem comes in. Everyone already isn't equal and while this adds more variance I don't see how it makes the problem worse. (I think it makes it better by keeping those power players closer to the mean for an extended period of time)

But that best path would require a very long commitment to achieve, even for current players sitting on a lot of build.
 

Avaran

Baron
I find this is be a very interesting point. First I will note that system mastery already makes a massive impact on any desired parity of power. The fighter that thinks it's cool to pick up 3 earth spells "for emergencies' is significantly on a power disparity to a fighter that realizes he can pick up a few MIs/potions. Play styles are different for many players and I could absolutely see some players having a 'floor' they would no go under regards of what's most efficient 6 years later. Others prefer to red line the system for the max power over time but in doing so would have to play with fewer skills for an extended period of time. In a perfect world from my view there would be a split between PCs that wanted paragons and those that chased full build. That also means that those who wanted the most power might stick with raw build and be the big guy for 5 years, at which point the paragon players that wanted to be the big guy would then have their day in the sun.

So yes there would be one perceived 'Best path' to ultimate power that took a very long amount of play to achieve (during which time they have fun with a goal to work towards hopefully). I'm okay with that and I'm not sure where the real problem comes in. Everyone already isn't equal and while this adds more variance I don't see how it makes the problem worse. (I think it makes it better by keeping those power players closer to the mean for an extended period of time)

But that best path would require a very long commitment to achieve, even for current players sitting on a lot of build.
Please see my thread here for my response since I thought it would get this thread off-topic.
 

Muir

Fighter
As noted previously, no, you could change your paragon choices, but not remove them.
That leaves me a bit colder as well, as it makes portions of the character that cannot be effectively re-written if someone buys into Paragon and discovers that none of it is compatible with their playstyle.
 

Cipher

Newbie
After all the explanations I have only one question - how do I change my vote from "Partially against" to "Fully against"?
 

Saephis

Squire
After all the explanations I have only one question - how do I change my vote from "Partially against" to "Fully against"?
There's a 'Change your Vote' button underneath the vote results, at least on Desktop. I'm unsure how the app displays it, unfortunately (if you use it).
 

Lurin

Duke
Thanks everyone for your responses.

Special thanks to those who dug into the numbers and came up with examples to look at.

I'm having a bit of trouble separating the general Paragon dislike from the specific method so if you'd like to help refine which portion is causing you the most trouble, I've added two additional poll options and set it to close in 2 weeks.

Thanks for your participation folks! Obviously feel free to continue to discuss but I'm going to take a break from the rules discussion forums for a bit having garnered the feedback I was looking for!
 
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