[.11] Oregon Playtest - Sept 21-23 - Thoughts and Musings

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
I think the value of Evocation is hard to gauge.

It’s less likely to KO someone than, say, a Prison or a Confine. But because of that, it’s also more likely to land. If someone soaks 80 Flame, they might still be in the fight, but they might now be close to dropping.

That being said, if you’re fighting BBGs with 500 Body, yeah, that took off a chunk, but it’s going to feel overshadowed (or even wasted), when someone Eviscerates it.

You know what I’d like? For Potency to augment Signature spells, but Signature Spells only. Double the effect for, say, five packets. Make Evocation -frightening-, but not for Storm spells (which still have sustained benefits with storm augments).
 

Krystina F

Artisan
Oregon Staff
As someone who doesn't like to be right in the thick of the fight, I had a blast with my evocation spells. I picked up archery, but I had a full 4 column as a Celestialist. I didn't feel any less effective with them than I do normally. Other than botching the Stone Bolt call a few times -- I kept wanting to say Stone Storm because I apparently wanted it to be alliterative -- I had no problems with the evocations. Heck I actually killed a few bad guys and I don't normally do that.

To me, I don't have a problem with them. Though as Evan says above, the amount of damage they do is minimal compared to some of the Fighters with lots of WPs and Slays, Eviscerates etc. So, I totally get the underwhelming feel to them that the high level players are getting right now. And as Evan says, having a way for Potency to augment would be super awesome. I'd be all over that!
 
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Alkalin3

Administrator
Chief Technology Officer
South Michigan Staff
Marshal
Isn't this the whole point of play testing? Why wait to fix it after it goes live. If it's an issue, let's work on fixing it now
Perfect is the enemy of progress. I think evocation is bad. It was bad in 1.3. It's better now but still not great.

2.0 solves a jillion other problems really well. Players who play it seem to love it. I enjoy personally running 2.0 much more, then I did 1.3.

So we could sit here and poke at it until it's perfect (it won't ever be). Or we can roll a significantly improved product out, and commit to improving the game more over time. As 2.0 rolls out the CMA will give us a lot of data we don't really have in 1.3.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
Also, let’s remember that Symposium is still a thing. That changes and tweaks can still happen, even post release.

This rollout has been exhausting on a National level. I do not think anyone wants to see a .12. I certainly don’t.
 

Gilwing

Baron
Alliance Logistics
Perfect is the enemy of progress. I think evocation is bad. It was bad in 1.3. It's better now but still not great.

2.0 solves a jillion other problems really well. Players who play it seem to love it. I enjoy personally running 2.0 much more, then I did 1.3.

So we could sit here and poke at it until it's perfect (it won't ever be). Or we can roll a significantly improved product out, and commit to improving the game more over time. As 2.0 rolls out the CMA will give us a lot of data we don't really have in 1.3.
I like the saying, only fools rush in (edit: I had a wink face but some how it didn't show) ;)
Again the point of play testing is to iron out the issues (if any exists).

Question, how does a 2.0 db give us more data than the 1.3 db?
 
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Krystina F

Artisan
Oregon Staff
Question, how does a 2.0 db give us more data than the 1.3 db?
I would imagine, based on the way it's designed, he is able to do a pull of data to compile what skills are being picked at any given time to see what it more favorable than others. Especially, what people are trying during the play tests and then dumped in favor of something different for the next play test.

It's appears to be a more dynamic system than what we have before. And as someone that deals in trackers all day, data pulls and data filtering is pure joy. (note this is a true and sarcastic statement at the same time)
 
Out of curiosity, what in particular makes you feel like evocation is a weak effect group?
 

Alkalin3

Administrator
Chief Technology Officer
South Michigan Staff
Marshal
I like the saying, only fools rush in
Again the point of play testing is to iron out the issues (if any exists).
I think we're certainly not rushing. Each version has been much better then the last. This has been a half decade process. People have a lot of different opinions and what views on what's important. Alliance voting forces compromises. The old game is much much worse in my opinion.

I would imagine, based on the way it's designed, he is able to do a pull of data to compile what skills are being picked at any given time to see what it more favorable than others. Especially, what people are trying during the play tests and then dumped in favor of something different for the next play test.

It's appears to be a more dynamic system than what we have before. And as someone that deals in trackers all day, data pulls and data filtering is pure joy. (note this is a true and sarcastic statement at the same time)
This was possible with the older one. But the tables were built kind of wonky (you'd have columns like skill41b), and because someone had to actually collect each of the database and merge them, and attempt to sort out duplicates (which is pretty hard, since I'm having to deal with that now). So it'd be hard to get a real clear picture of what characters were actually real or not. The old database had very few validations, so it was kind of the wild west for inputting data. Race names all had slight variations from database to database for example.

So really any kind of aggregate data was hard to get, especially on demand.

We could never make changes and see how the game responds easily either. Maybe some people think Mettle costs too much?
It's very easy to change the cost and see if that changes the purchase rate. Before that required updating and distributing to every chapter.
 
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Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
...nerds....

(I kid. I envy ya’all for that kind of knowledge.)
 

DiscOH

Artisan
Out of curiosity, what in particular makes you feel like evocation is a weak effect group?
I think evocation hitting for 5-45 per spell slot compares poorly to hitting for 10-20 at will with a bow. The gain in tempo isn't that large, the resource expenditure is significant, and monster defenses impact evocation way harder than weapon attacks.

Channeling, storm spells (especially with potency), and arcane archery (x2 signature damage as body) I think are way better approaches to what evocation should be.
 

Cedric

Rogue
Marshal
I'd love a destruction type spell/ritual that puts an effect on someone to take double damage from evocation. That way the way evocation works becomes more tactical.
 
@DiscOH That's basically what I expected as an answer. Not sure I agree that the damage needs a bump, because otherwise you have to make the argument that Healing/Necromancy need a bump, and I'd rather not have that can of worms open up. It's also a matter of that bow being able to be blocked by weapons and shields when the spell cannot (although an NPC is generally too busy with other people to effectively block arrows most of the time, PCs are typically not, so how much this distinction matters depends on who the thrower and target are).

@Cedric I do rather like the idea here, and think it might be interesting to modify Destruction to be split like Wither is, between Weapon Destruction and Spell Destruction, chosen at the time of hit? Both would simply cause you to take double the damage from Weapon or Spell attacks, respectively, although with the new Martial and Stealth skills, even that might not be quite enough of a boost to the spell side for some people.

It's also probably too late in the 2.0 playtest cycle to test it properly at this point, but it's a neat idea.
 

Tantarus

Squire
Honestly consider if you up evocation damage it makes it alot better against PCs. Getting hits with 30-40 damage is already rough for non fighter types.
 

Requiem

Newbie
I attended the Oregon game, playing a level 17 Selunari Adept with 3 Backstabs and a pyramid to 6th level Celestial. The rest of my build was designed to give me a broad experience with the new abilities.

IN GENERAL, I have 3 things to say about 2.0:

First, as a player of an Adept and a dyed-in-the-wool LARPer, I think that overall 2.0 is a significant improvement over 1.3. My character got more powerful and more interesting mechanically, and fights in general seem to be unfolding in more dynamic, interesting ways as a result of the new additions.

Second, looking at the intent of 2.0 from a global perspective, I'm much more divided. I'm fond of the question "What problem are you trying to solve?" and there is no answer I have ever received in respect to 2.0 that doesn't show very mixed success.
  • The spell incants are just as confusing as they've ever been - on top of being less in-character and more embarrassing to say for people who might be on the fence about starting up LARP
  • The simplification of defensive effects is already compromised by racial resists being an exception to the interaction between smart and dumb defenses
  • Several of the abilities that were removed as they existed in 1.3 because they were abusive have been re-added mostly intact via another vector
...and so on. It's not BAD, per se, it just feels like it was started with high hopes and has moved mostly laterally. DIFFERENT problems, as opposed to appreciably FEWER problems.

Third, I feel like we're asking for trouble not consolidating the rules into one place. The current changelist style was great for early spot checks, but at the point we're doing final playtests before adoption we badly need to set all the relevant prior rules, ARC rulings, and new rules on the same page. There will be points where they quarrel, I'd bet $100 on it.

IN SPECIFIC, let's see if I can hit the high points of my feedback...
  1. RE: Raw damage - As an Adept, I was swinging for 8s all the time from behind, and it felt... okay? About the same, really. The big stuff felt like it didn't care, the little stuff took a few swings before they went down. My overall opinion: Very similar to 1.3
  2. RE: Spell defenses - I encountered a massive pile of spell shields and other dumb defenses on NPCs, but once those were blown it seemed to be game on - I didn't see as many Cloaks as I've become accustomed to in 1.3, which felt like a better experience. It rewarded smart play and tactical use of takeouts rather than just counting "Well, we have 5 takeouts and the monster has 6 Phases, so that's that."
  3. RE: "Healed" calls - I'd like to +1 this request. I feel that both a "Healed" response and an "Altered" or "Reduced" response are vital feedback for the players as we throw packets of birdseed at things and pretend we are channeling the elemental forces of nature. If our target says "Taken", then we imagine them singed and pained, and feel we are accomplishing things. As our target is not physically changed by being thumped by a small lump of birdseed, we rely on the game to inform us that this mental image is wrong. We shouldn't be expected to stop pretending and lose character and battlefield momentum to ask "HEY, DID THAT HEAL YOU?"
  4. Expanded Enchantment leaving the meta meant the Life economy was BRUTALLY restrictive. The math on the number of Doom effects per gathering compared to the number of 9th level Earth spells the group is capable of casting from memory is bleak. Would it be possible to create a Ritual that is bound to a Limited Earth Circle that allows unlimited Life spells to be cast inside the circle with a 60 count, or something? It would keep epic battles feeling epic, but it would give the PCs a backstop so that one rogue can't just put someone through the circle because there isn't another life to give despite having 4 and a half minutes to stare at the body, and would make it so that Earth casters don't feel guilty for taking something other than all Life spells in their 9th level slots. Something similar to this happened at the Oregon game, and we watched someone go through the Earth circle for it.
  5. Recharge Prowess and Meditate felt really, really good. The restrictions on the former are appropriate to keep it in line, but I'm a little concerned at how much EVERYONE is going to want at least 1 of this ritual. The lowbies who benefit the most from it (on a "fun" metric) by getting their only Slay back to use again will struggle to get ahold of it without buying an LCO scroll. Positive game impact, tough logistical dilemma.
  6. Racial defenses are AMAZING now, due to the streamlining of effects. I will never not be sore about losing the Curse (for flavor reasons), but realizing I'm now able to shrug off Terminates was a pleasant surprise. Abilities like Weapon Paralysis and Weapon Sleep can be resisted by the appropriate race, in addition to the usual spell and alchemy delivery systems, and that's a significant bump in usefulness.
  7. Surprising Strike, on the other hand, is basically useless. If you are wielding a short weapon AND have an alchemy coating on it (preferably with Poison Trigger) then it's usable, but intensely expensive for what it does and how restricted it is. Also, it's worded poorly if the intent is for it to be able to work with "passive" damage boosting skills, because that's not how it currently reads.
  8. Flexible Casting, Enhanced Strike, and Opportunistic Attack were fantastic additions to my build. Between those and the new prerequisite system for character progression, playing an Adept was IMMEASURABLY more fun in 2.0 than 1.3.
  9. Traps... Oh man, traps. I am entirely unsatisfied with their performance in 2.0, top to bottom. In general, I like them and I like what they add to the game, but if the only options are to remove them or implement them as they are in 2.0, I would choose to remove them from Alliance entirely
    • Traps being single-target outside and room-target inside is confusing and negates a lot of the usefulness of traps in general
    • The Trap Avoidance ritual removes the threat of any singular trap, forcing multiple traps to be used in order to create a challenge, and...
    • Multiple traps outside destroy the flow of a combat, due to the hold that is required
      • One of the fights in Oregon involved standing on the field for about 7 minutes straight before the lines joined as the enemy walked through the killing field toward us. It went: *snap* HOLD! *Marshal jogs over, finds the trap, reads the tag* 50 Flame! *NPC* Resolute! *Marshal* Is there any reason for this hold to continue? ... 3, 2, 1, LAY ON! *2-3 steps later... snap* HOLD! (etc, repeated enough times that the everyone dropped out of character and was laughing at the ridiculousness) - It was effective, and hilarious the once, but it's the kind of thing that gets incredibly old very quickly.
      • This would be significantly improved if traps remained AOE - triggering/destroying nearby traps as well
    • Trap globes don't make sense from a narrative standpoint, and are mechanically redundant with Alchemy globes - there's no space for trap globes to be different or interesting, just confusing
    • The way the rules work now, trapping a door from the inside prevents anyone opening the door from the outside from taking damage, and placing the trap outside the door means only one person will suffer the effect. In addition, the effectiveness of hiding a trap that is placed outside is entirely dependent on the particulars of the site - often there is no cover available
  10. Why is spell ink still a thing? The only people inconvenienced are the brand new players, who are the last people you want to force to jump through hoops before they can have some fun.
  11. The changes to mixing Alchemy with food came up at the Oregon game - several times, actually - and were consistently clumsy and didn't make narrative sense. 1.3 implementation is superior to 2.0.
Those are my impressions coming from the playtest. If anyone has any questions, or would like me to elaborate on something I've said, I'd be happy to do so - I was trying to get through a lot of different impressions, so some of them probably need some more room to breathe.
 
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