[.11] Oregon | November 2-3 | Thoughts and musings

Durnic

Squire
Owner
Oregon Staff
Marshal
For the last Oregon playtest, I played a Celestial Spellsword. For this playtest, I played a full-on Earth scholar with a 7 column, 10 formal and pretty much everything else dumped into Channeling.

Aside from my previous comments from the last Oregon playtest (all of which remain true), I will point out the following:
  1. Earth Channeling is really good. The super short "5 Elemental Healing" incant cannot be understated. Granted, this was an undead-heavy event, but I felt like not a single point of my build put into Earth Channeling was wasted. There were numerous fights that had no undead in them at all, and I just used it as a pool to draw from to heal up my friends, or at least get them off of the ground. There is one fond memory of two other Earth scholars and I facing down a Big Bad Undead Evil Person during a fight on Friday and we just laid into them with "5 Elemental Healing" until it went down.
  2. Spell Swap is an amazing Ritual. I used both of my charges both days.
  3. Recharge Prowess is another amazing Ritual.
  4. Being able to be a scholar with 55 armor and 69 body was hilarious (and super useful!)
  5. Flex casting is an absolute must for the Earth scholar. It was fun and interesting for me to just drop, say, a Paralysis to a big heal instead. Or a Destroy Undead. Or a Destruction. Or a Purify, even; if that's what was needed at the time.
  6. Earth Channeling was really good. I know, I already said this. But seriously I was considering dropping another column for a bunch more Channeling by the end of the event. Part of this is probably that I am a really novice caster, but a lot of it is that I just enjoyed it that much. During our big fight night we had undead that would try to rift away with characters that were down or otherwise incapacitated. At one point I was walking toward one undead who was trying to rift someone out and I just advanced while throwing two Channeling bolts at the undead, a third at my friend to get them back up and another two at the undead to dust them. It made me feel viable and fun and useful.
  7. I know a lot of people won't like this, but there was a point where I had two Life spells left in memory and three people down in front of me who needed them.* I had to legit choose who got to resurrect. Luckily, we ended up finding someone who had another Life in a spell store from earlier, but I was sweating bullets deciding who got to go rez. I know a lot of people would hate that (and my character definitely did) but I couldn't remember a time in days past where we had run out of Lifes. It was really awesome, honestly.
  8. Corrupt is super scary and resource intensive to fix.
  9. I did an NPC'd shift as a creature with a lot of Intercepts and Parries, which was a fun combination.
*I should note that we had a couple of battlefield injuries that night, and both of those people who left the field were also Earth casters with Life spells in memory. If they hadn't tripped over stuff, we would have been fine.
 
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Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
You can’t flex a Turn Undead into healing; it’s a 1st level spell.

Additionally, I suspect that while your experience with running out of Life spells was because IG stressful situations can be fun, it only highlights to me that these situations will be common occurrences at our games, and characters will be forced to Rez purely because

1) They aren’t as popular as Player/Character B.

2) They’re new, so those “free resurrections” are going to be seen as less of a benefit for the difficulty curve and more of a “Let’s save Life spells” mechanic.

2) They’re low-level and seen as less valuable.

This is going to hurt new player retainment when it happens.
 
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Durnic

Squire
Owner
Oregon Staff
Marshal
You're right about Turn Undead, I meant Destroy Undead; post updated.

As for the lack of Lifes, this is precisely why I mentioned that we would have had another five or so Lifes on the field if two players hadn't OOG gotten injured. We were pressed, the fight was hard and it felt that way in part due to our limited ability to cast Life spells. I think that's okay.

I'll let @MaxIrons (Oregon's Head of Plot) talk more on the scaling of that particular fight, but we also had about a third of our group leave to go to bed before the fight started. We lost some Lifes there, too.
 
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MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
Yeah, so... about that scaling. There were three things that happened that caused more Life spells to be needed than were available:
1. Double hooking - 2.0 really does need a good NPC to PC ratio to work well. The idea is that you do more spawns and not stay on the field as long as a monster which is great, but to push PCs you need that ratio to do so. To give that super pressing Saturday night fight we split the field into an undead and a not-undead fight. The undead fight was second, and about 1/3 of the people who were on the undead fight just... went to bed... right before the fight without plot knowing. This meant that we had a 1 : 2 ratio on the field instead of the intended 1.5 : 1. Meant it was a little over-scaled. The NPCs (including double hooking NPCs) played it well and pulled back on their cards. I'm proud of them.
2. An NPC read their card wrong. Card had celestial only for their columns, player thought they had Earth columns. It was addressed after the fight. I'm glad there were enough Life spells as we didn't intend that many Corrupt effects on the field.
3. Two big healers hurt themselves OOG during the fight, one jumping off something, and another tripping and falling hard. It swung the fight on the field hard.

Here's the thing, even with all that, between NPCs understanding how you can scale a fight on the fly by _how_ you fight and PCs giving clever use of resources, they pulled through, again. This was a cascading system failure of the worst kind, and the system held. I think the concern of there not being enough Life spells is overblown, and to use a mantra that gets said a lot. "Trust your Plot team." If your plot team isn't deserving of that trust, then talk to your player reps/owner, because it's a bigger problem.

Now to my other personal observations:

- We asked players not to bring Monster Slayers to the game, and they complied. Man it made the game a lot more fun for everyone. NPCs didn't feel wasted, healers really were the go to folks to fight Undead, and Earth Channeling was awesome.
- PC cards with monster stackers (like all the Transform undead) are going to be a steep learning curve for plot. They are amazing as the type of cards that can stay on the field for a longer time, as PCs have a lot more in the way of defenses than monsters, but can synergize in unexpected ways.
- The national monster database needs to be more "spread out" to really be usable. Out here at least, plot tends to stick to one to three primary monster types for a campaign, which means that having any APL gaps of more than about 5, becomes tough to run. 1 - 6 - 11 is fine, so is 20 - 25 - 30. 6 - 15 - 30 is rough.
- I highly recommend plot teams run some PC class bad guys so the NPC teams learn how PC skills work under the new system.
- I had a huge number of people thrilled with mid-event crafting. All the crafters love it. I had concerns, but it actually seems to work _better_ than logistics, because it's not everyone all at once. Thank you to whoever made the crafting sheets, the system wouldn't work without them.

I'll likely come up with more, but that's what I can think of right now in my tired brain.
 

Tantarus

Squire
You can’t flex a Turn Undead into healing; it’s a 1st level spell.

Additionally, I suspect that while your experience with running out of Life spells was because IG stressful situations can be fun, it only highlights to me that these situations will be common occurrences at our games, and characters will be forced to Rez purely because

1) They aren’t as popular as Player/Character B.

2) They’re new, so those “free resurrections” are going to be seen as less of a benefit for the difficulty curve and more of a “Let’s save Life spells” mechanic.

2) They’re low-level and seen as less valuable.

This is going to hurt new player retainment when it happens.
I dont know that it hurts new players, Polare and I grew up in this era, and took deaths from lack of life spells. And honestly I fondly remember this era more then higher levels when life spells became a joke they are so common. Look at how popular games like Spite are in the NW, and the valley of ghosts campaign in seattle had nearly double the current player base.

Adversity builds character and stronger people.

And low levels are not seen as less valuable, they are less valuable. That is kinda the point of being low level. Also that is why you have free deaths...
 

Krystina F

Artisan
Oregon Staff
I was part of the Corrupted Fight on Saturday that was well, I felt was over scaled at first, we were way out numbered and were mostly lower level players to all the NPCs and mostly Highbie double hookers. It was super rough, and it felt that there were way too many defenses on the baddies and them not acknowledging calls (which were some of the new NPCs/new PCs double hooking/doing the not calling healed per the rules), and we were going down like freaking crazy, but we had healing and lives (we went before Rick and the Undead fight) which is probably why folks crashed, burned and went to bed for the Undead fight.
But I say this because we were pulling folks off the field for healing NO MATTER WHAT LEVEL THEY WERE. Some one went down and myself or someone else went in and grabbed them. It was a member of our community, so for my fight, your character's level had no meaning to whether or not you lived or died. You only died if we ran out and no one had first aid was left standing.

The community in our chapter is changing to be less of a popularity contest, and we are very much striving to keep it that way to help with new player retention.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
I dont know that it hurts new players, Polare and I grew up in this era, and took deaths from lack of life spells. And honestly I fondly remember this era more then higher levels when life spells became a joke they are so common. Look at how popular games like Spite are in the NW, and the valley of ghosts campaign in seattle had nearly double the current player base.

Adversity builds character and stronger people.

And low levels are not seen as less valuable, they are less valuable. That is kinda the point of being low level. Also that is why you have free deaths...
You grew up in an era where Life spells were rare for -everyone-, however. That’s different than Life spells only being rare for the new kids. Available Life via Enchantment rituals and high-level Earth casters mean that this environment will be skewed more into Haves and Have Nots.

Re: Spite

As an actual Spite player, I can actually inform you that the equivalent of Life exists in an item that was fairly plentiful and purchasable via money. It also exists as a skill, but that item was highly available. Also, -it isn’t Alliance and shouldn’t be compared to Alliance.-

While Oregon certainly strives to be a community that doesn’t view level as a reason to decide what resources you receive, I struggle to believe that this is the rule across the Alliance as a whole. Consider Tantarus’ last statement as evidence.

“you are less valuable”

“That is why you have free deaths...”

This is going to be an issue, and I’m certainly not alone in that opinion.
 

Krystina F

Artisan
Oregon Staff
While Oregon certainly strives to be a community that doesn’t view level as a reason to decide what resources you receive, I struggle to believe that this is the rule across the Alliance as a whole. Consider Tantarus’ last statement as evidence.

“you are less valuable”

“That is why you have free deaths...”

This is going to be an issue, and I’m certainly not alone in that opinion.
And this is also why we have the Diversity Committee, and why I am the lead of it. I aim to help change some of this mindset. It's not going to be an easy path, but, my team plans on making Alliance, nationally, a more diverse, inclusive game for as many people as humanly possible regardless of their IG and OOG abilities/level as a character and player. This is not the only thing we plan on trying to tackle. We have a lot of work cut out for us in a variety of a subject matters.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
And this is also why we have the Diversity Committee, and why I am the lead of it. I aim to help change some of this mindset. It's not going to be an easy path, but, my team plans on making Alliance, nationally, a more diverse, inclusive game for as many people as humanly possible regardless of their IG and OOG abilities/level as a character and player. This is not the only thing we plan on trying to tackle. We have a lot of work cut out for us in a variety of a subject matters.
I’m all in support of the Diversity committee’s goals, but while it’s one thing to encourage a more inclusive atmosphere, I am skeptical that you can influence playstyle and resource prioritization. Alliance is still a game, and there will always be gamer mentality.

At the end of the day, if Zeth has one Life spell and someone not important to him is in need of it, I’m going to have to make a choice that doesn’t look very good for them. Their level/familiarity to my character might not be the only factor in that decision....but it is a factor. There’s other factors, sure (how close to rememorizing are we? Do I have Life Enchantments available just in case?), but it’s still a pretty important one. I’m not going to change my playstyle to compensate for what I view as poor, and easily fixable, design.
 

Tantarus

Squire
“you are less valuable”

“That is why you have free deaths...”

This is going to be an issue, and I’m certainly not alone in that opinion.
It is just how it works in a world where you fight big evils. If 2 people are dead and one is a level 40 fighter and the other is level 2, and you need to take out the big bad you get the person that is most likely to lead to a victory.

I dont see why this is a problem.
 

Melimir

Newbie
Asheville Staff
I’m all in support of the Diversity committee’s goals, but while it’s one thing to encourage a more inclusive atmosphere, I am skeptical that you can influence playstyle and resource prioritization. Alliance is still a game, and there will always be gamer mentality.

At the end of the day, if Zeth has one Life spell and someone not important to him is in need of it, I’m going to have to make a choice that doesn’t look very good for them. Their level/familiarity to my character might not be the only factor in that decision....but it is a factor. There’s other factors, sure (how close to rememorizing are we? Do I have Life Enchantments available just in case?), but it’s still a pretty important one. I’m not going to change my playstyle to compensate for what I view as poor, and easily fixable, design.
As a relatively low level earth scholar who has relied heavily on MI life spells, I can say this will absolutely be a thing.
I do not know if its necessarily good or bad, but it will exist.
 

Tantarus

Squire
"You are less valuable" in terms of a combat situation is pretty clearly a fair reason to favor someone. I dont even understand how that is debatable or a bad thing, it just is.

Do we get up the guy that can spell parry 8 oblits and engage the big bad, or do we get up the guy to fight the 10/2 skeleton?

How many people do you save by making the smart choice and favoring the stronger adventurers?
 
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Inaryn

Knight
"You are less valuable" in terms of a combat situation is pretty clearly a fair reason to favor someone. I dont even understand how that is debatable or a bad thing, it just is.
The only thing I'd be mad about would be someone not grabbing my stuff and bringing it to the circle for me.
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
To get back on topic for the subject of this thread...

I played my tanky Lizardkin fighter for this Oregon PT just like in the former one. I did not change my build between the two (other than normal build growth giving me 1 more skill), explicitly so I could see how well the skills felt after having a chance to learn them and play with them a bit.

Overall, the ability to be a tanky fighter is amazing in 2.0 compared to 1.3. Lots of armor, interesting armor-effecting rituals, and lots of useful "defensive skills" combines to something really neat. Intercepts, Mettles, and a bunch of Armor Points let me keep several people up near me who would likely have otherwise gone down to big damage - I Intercepted a couple of 30 and 35 point Elemental blasts that would have taken other people down, but I could take them on my armor and basically shrug them off. Great feeling that reflects how I've wanted to play the character but (prior to 2.0) have never really been able to do.

The two Saturday night fights both felt very good to me - close for hte PCs but not overwhelming. In the second fight, where I PC'd, by the end of the fight I was about 60 seconds from just saying "screw it, we've lost, time to bail" - and then suddenly it was the last wave and we'd somehow held on. That's always a great feeling and I strongly suspect it will happen more organically in 2.0 than it does in 1.3.

There's a few quibbles I continue to have with 2.0, but hopefully those will be expressed well in feedback and we'll tweak them before going live. Overall, however, as a player I've had a very enjoyable time in the playtests I've attended, and I feel much more able to fulfill my vision of this character in 2.0 compared to 1.3.

-Bryan
 

Feldor

Scholar
If you have folks you could ask, I'd love to hear the feedback from folks playing at levels lower than 13. Especially casters or rogues.
 

Avaran

Baron
my team plans on making Alliance, nationally, a more diverse, inclusive game for as many people as humanly possible regardless of their IG and OOG abilities/level as a character and player.
I absolutely agree that this is a great goal to have, but it starts and ends with the Plot Team and the choices they make about the content they create for their chapter. And all of that starts with the Head of Plot.

Through the stories they write, the content they create, and the situations they foster, plot controls it all. What they can and cannot do also relies very heavily on the resources Plot has available to them - from the total number of Plot members, to NPC count, props and costuming available, whether or not they've taken the time to properly write monsters that can actually be scaled, and a whole lot of other factors.

Speaking from personal experience has Head of Plot in OR for Golden Horn and the first plot arc of Sedovia, it takes a great deal of time, effort, and energy to create a game for everyone - low levels, mid-level, high-level, and then everyone all together. It's hard to do, but ultimately worth it (imho).

You also have to consider that some Plot Teams in the past haven't wanted to deal with a lot of people - I can't hardly blame them, dealing with 100+ people per event takes a boatload of energy and time -- it burns you out faster than you really realize -- so these particular teams purposefully tailored their game toward having a smaller overall player base. Nothing necessarily wrong with that.

In the end though, we all can collectively talk on the Internet until we're all blue in the face about how things SHOULD be, but if we don't actually DO anything ourselves and take on that responsibility, that's all it's ever going to be - talk.

I would HIGHLY encourage anyone who wants to see things go a certain way to talk to Plot about joining up - don't assuming you get accepted; your goals may not align with the goals of HoP and that's okay - and see if you can't help foster the change you want to see.

See if they'll let you take over doing Plot for new and low-level players. Have a plan in mind, come in with a story that you want to tell that's ready to be co-created with the players you intend to run it for. Have fun, be creative, and mold your story to fit in with the World the Plot team has created. You will then be helping to get everyone involved, feeling useful, and having a good time. It's win-win.
 

norman b

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
As one of the 'big healers' I had 5 life's at the end of the night due to busting my knee. Had I not busted my knee, I probably would have used a few on the big bad guy.

I played an Earth Spellsword with a four column. I felt very useful with my mix offensive/defensive spell loadout. I was able to keep me and my wife's character up most of the night (except when she got prisoned, which resulted in me endowing her out of a rift and subsequently busting my knee).
 

Muir

Fighter
And low levels are not seen as less valuable, they are less valuable. That is kinda the point of being low level. Also that is why you have free deaths...
I just want to take a moment to call this out as uncomfortable from a customer service perspective, and possibly part of why the playerbase in general seems to be aging in many places as newbies don't stick.
 

Tantarus

Squire
I just want to take a moment to call this out as uncomfortable from a customer service perspective, and possibly part of why the playerbase in general seems to be aging in many places as newbies don't stick.
I could just as easily argue that the competition of larps that don't treat there playerbase with kid gloves is possibly the reason alliance has an aging player base.

Also I think, in the NW at least, events are like 80%+ newer players. We have very few old timers left these days.

I am not arguing we should slaughter new players. But many of these old timers where around in a time when death was a lot easier to happen and common. I played a character that ressed 3 times in my first 2 Nero events. And here I am 26 years later. Without danger things get boring.

If you are worried about customer service why not just create of “casual mode” characters that are permanently level fifteen, don’t gain xp, and have unlimited deaths.
 

Muir

Fighter
Seems good to me. Playing the game and having permission to take risks without having to worry if I've ingratiated myself sufficiently for the high level players to remember I'm on the field sounds great, in fact. So does not being tempted to pay-no-play other chapters to try and get more build on.

Where do I sign up? :D

On a more serious note, pre-loading difficulty at the low level and stacking deaths is how you don't get new high level characters. My old main, being a reckless fellow, had 7 in the bag when I retired him at level ~20. My current character is played much more cautiously, and as a result has far less deaths, because starting over is expensive, and I would probably quit rather than invest a few hundred bucks in new garb and gear at this point to start over. It sucks to have to metagame like that, but such is the nature of the thing.
 
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