[.11] Seattle | November 9-11 | Thoughts and musings

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
Good evening folks!

I'm exhausted and sore but had a great game. Thank you to all the PCs and NPCs who made it possible!

As with other threads here, please post up your thoughts and experiences based on the Seattle 2.0 playtest and how you felt the 2.0 rules worked. I need a day or two of rest before I can formulate my own thoughts well enough, but I'll definitely post up my thoughts here after recuperating :)

Thanks!
-Bryan Gregory
Alliance Seattle Head of Rules
ARC Chair
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
United Blow is AMAZING. Sneaking behind enemy lines and dumping over 1500 body damage into the undead bad guy alone (finally did the calculations) was great. If I had been smarter and taken out the undead healer... that fight would have gone an entirely different way. The weird part about it, is no single strike is crazy, like Eviscerating blow, so no single attack feels like it's a bummer if parried. I felt like an absolute badass, and if everything stays the same, Kel the Celestial blender will become my new build. Then I'll just use mid-day crafting with Scrolls to make up for my loss of spell punch. I haven't been super excited about my future builds as I felt the loss of free wand damage hard (even as I knew as a player that it was better for the game with them gone). Now though, I have a build that makes me excited and looking forwards to the upcoming change.

I'd like to see elementals and elementally attuned creatures get the body/armor split that undead get, so there is something that is very much designed for celestialists to fight the way that undead are for earth casters.

Threshold 10 is absurd in the new system. I think there was one person on the field who could get over it with a standard attack. Maybe that is intended, but man was it rough.

A 2-handed static damage build is still good. Hearing 20s from that longbow all day shocked me when I first heard it, but it was brutally effective. It was down from the 40s the player used to put out, and that's a good thing.

Poison Trigger + Potion Coating = I can buy fights if I run out of spells. I think I'm going to put that and Spell Store (to use battle magic scrolls) on my staff and become a spell striking crazy dynamo.

I found even 4 minute meditation difficult because plot was awesome and something was always going on. As a Sylvanborn... guess I'm going with 30 craftsman instead of 20 for my Jack of All Trades. :)
 
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Ragnarok

Scout
Marshal
Poison Trigger + Potion Coating = I can buy fights if I run out of spells. I think I'm going to put that and Spell Store (to use battle magic scrolls) on my staff and become a spell striking crazy dynamo.
I was JUST about to ask if you meant Spell Store. I do believe that Warriors Incantation allows you to spell strike memory spells as well.
 

Tantarus

Squire
Man, what a game. It was great. 2.0 felt so good I kinda dont want to play events until it is the law of the land.

This is the first time I walked around without a stack of defense spells all the time. Even slept without a ward for the first time in like 8 years.

Fights where fun, and didn't feel like a different game. I really like 2.0 over all. The flow of battle is nice, I feel like I got alot more melee options. Though I think strikes maybe a bit too common, taking out alot of the skill part of boffer fighting.

I am of mixed feelings on oversized shields, they really make that person get owned by casters but they are annoying to fight against, making having a dozen or so disarm/shatter strikes feel like a requirement for a fighter.

I think weapon strike and spell strike maybe too close a call, I had to clarify it repeatedly when doing them and taking them. But that could just be newness of it.

Also slays need the word "Slay" in them so people know they got hit with something big. Nearly half the time I popped someone with 100 silver, I had to point it out to them to get it to register.

Cause Disease is really ugly of an effect. Healers are going to have to learn to check for it when people are down.

No slayers is a great call. They are lame against undead. I am glad most people honored plots ask to not bring them.

Wither Needs to be reworked, it is very clunky, not a fan.

Mettle was amazing. It needs to work on Stun Limb though. And maybe be 10 or 15 body so that hybrids can use it better.

Fighter felt so much better in 2.0. I am excited to be a hobling fighter.


I do worry if plots over use doom and corrupt there will be alot of ressing cause of so much fewer life spells.

These are my first ramblings about the event, I am sure I will come up with more.
 
I really like many of the directions 2.0 went.

Areas of Attention:
  • Strike - I think it needs to not be a thing or if it is significantly more rare and not part of any standard PC character ability. With the addition of Mediation it makes needing those strikes largely irrelevant. They are too frequent even at lower levels since those characters don't have a drove of defenses and even to higher level characters having 1 or 2 strikes on a monster can blow through all of your defenses during a wave or town battle without even taking into account elites or boss monsters.
    • Surprising Strike - is fine to leave in BECAUSE it does not have additional skills attached.
  • Mend Armor - I don't think I saw it once and the general feeling I heard was that it lacked the use to stand against other spells in its level. I think that to make it worth while it should refit an entire suit of armor and should work on at least magical phys-repped armor. Even if the spell gets bumped up in level it would be fine. But as it is, the 10 points of armor it returns, is simply not competitive. Armor is not equitable with Body but the spell is designed as if it was raw Body healing.
  • Necromancy Incant - I think it would have better symmetry with Earth if it was "I call upon Necromancy to..." but it is not in a terrible state.
  • Meditate - Is an awesome ability but Enhanced Meditate with is 3 build cost is a bit too high. It is an ability that greatly helps new players but as players become more accustomed to the game and their skills it loses its usefulness as they lose less abilities to mistakes. But if they bought it early they still have a 9 build sink in their build. Since the ability is largely on par with an RP skill it feel better if it was 1 build or even 2 like merchant. But it does not have the usability or power to be equal with a production skill, high magic, or other 3 build game skills.
  • Oathsworn - I personally don't like their change. Having another Celestial hating races I don't think is needed and from what I saw one of the primary draws of Barbarians was that they were a low barrier to playing a "Combat Heavy" race without getting into make-up and prosthetic.
  • Frail - Previously when elves had the body reduction it was mostly a non-issue since it was just a single point. But now that it occurs every 10 Body AND effects the purchase or Hardy these "frail" races are being double penalized, especially if they want to play a combat fantasy. In most fantasy game systems if a creature has a drawback to its health, constitution, vitality, etc that is made up with an increase in its evasive ability or offensive ability. I think something needs to be added to adjust frail or it needs to be pulled.
  • Channeling - It has been a long time needed that Earth casters finally get their Relic. That being said the cost for the channeling pool for Scholars is not quite right. I think that the cost per purchase needs to be reduced to 2 build per purchase or left at 3 build and increased to 50 points in the pool per purchase. But 25/3 is not the right value
  • Crafting (Except Scroll Craft) - Each of the Crafting skills feel like they lack a capstone (master) ability, especially when measured against Scroll Craft. Scrolls have the added bonus of not being level restricted in your use AND being able to use them in the dark. The next best is Blacksmith being able to refit in 30 secs and that is mitigated by the abundance on new ways to reduce armor refit time. It might be time to add some weight to the other crafts or trim the prime off of Scroll Craft.

While I understand that we may not be looking to "add" things I imagine there will be at least a 2.1 give how most new systems sit.

Hopeful Additions:
  • High Crafting/Master Schema - Similar to High Magic and Rituals this could be a great RP opportunity and allow for Artisan to really feel like a true class opposed to simply Page bait.
  • Human Racials - In almost every fantasy game humans have some kind of perk, normally based around flexibility or adaptability. It has always stuck me as odd that in almost all Alliance settings Humans are named the most populace but often the least represented in player choice. It is hard to not draw a line between their lack of mechanical support and their thin population.
 

Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff
I do worry if plots over use doom and corrupt there will be alot of ressing cause of so much fewer life spells.
FWIW, I memorized two Life/Corrupts per day, and only ever used one of them, in that eternal battle with the General Dragonface McBoney where everybody and their dog (but mostly Kel) was getting Corrupts thrown at them.

EDIT: It was a Life, I used it as a Life, that was ambiguous phrasing wasn't it oops
 
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I might have been in one of the early paytests and not made it into the 2.0 test. I still assert that, traditionally, a hit to your health metric is often mixed with a boost in evasive or offensive ability.
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
OK, here's some comments from the "running the event" side of things:

- Overall, I felt that the 2.0 rules let us run an event that we couldn't have run the same way in 1.3. All of the big fights had some fun "bodyguard" mechanics that let us have the giant monsters WAY less statted than they would have been previously. As an example, the Lava Elemental and Undead Drake General would each have had somewhere in the realm of 3k - 5k Body Points alone in 1.3 to keep up with the damage bloat, not to mention the 25+ "nope" defenses like Resists and Dodges they would have had to have to put up a decent fight. Instead, at the 2.0 playtest event, each one had a combined total of about 1k in Body and Natural Armor, and very few "nope" defenses. The ability to have useful bodyguards and additional abilities like Intercept, Resolute, and Mettle made for what I think was much more interesting fights than what we've traditionally seen for similar things in the past. From the PC side, I'd much rather throw a Confine and hear "Mettle" than "Resist" or "Dodge" or "No Effect", which is pretty much always what would have happened before.

- Scaling in general felt good. We had a LOT less cards on the field with over 100 Body Points than in 1.3, where "mid range" monsters will often need that much. The threshold has definitely been changed for which monsters have that much to count.

- PCs used a LOT more production at the event than I'm used to seeing in 1.3 (in many cases due to Poison Trigger / Poison Cache / Potion Coating combinations, in addition to the "come in with no precasts" change). In general, I believe that's a good thing for the game moving forward. I don't know how much was due to the 500 pp gobby/purchase limit, though.

- I definitely noticed that people walked around without precasts a LOT more than they would in 1.3, where it felt like you virtually ALWAYS saw people needing to be double-tapped with anything to take them out. Again - once Plot gets used to this in their scaling - this feels like a really good thing for the game moving forward.

- There's a few items already on my list from prior playtests that need tweaking - Trap Avoidance, Retribution, Slayers, Riposte, for a few examples - but honestly I didn't see anything new come up in the playtest that seemed like a huge "red flag". I did get a better perspective on some of these items from the NPC/Plot side, which was very helpful.

- We tried to wrap mid-event crafting into a lot of our mods and I felt we were fairly successful in doing so. It feels much more rewarding to be able to have a mod where you can reward a PC for having crafting skills available. For example, we had a mod where PCs came upon a Goblin who had slipped some Enslavements to a group of Ogres. One of the things we allowed in the mod was for anyone with at least 5 pp of Alchemy unspent to use it to scrape up the bits of alchemy left on the plates and create a Charm globe for no additional cost. It's a minor thing, but helps reward crafters in ways that 1.3 doesn't support nearly as elegantly.

- In general, 2.0 felt like it was helping me run a cool Alliance event more than 1.3 did, which is really what the rules are supposed to be doing at the end of the day. There's still tweaks to be made (that's why we're having playtests!) but in general I was highly satisfied running a 2.0 event. The rules already felt "ready" (as ready as 1.3 ever was, honestly), and by the time we update things from playtest feedback I think we'll have a great product to run on moving forward.

-Bryan
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
Here we go:

Ultimately, I think 2.0 is vastly superior to 1.3, though it lacks 1.3's polish. I genuinely believe that once playtesting is completed, a completely independent group of Marshals are allowed to comb through the compiled book for discussion and forward concerns to ARC for editing. The RAW needs to reflect the RAI as much as possible, and I believe leveraging experienced Marshals is the most advantageous way of ensuring that the finished product is as high-quality as our players deserve.

I did a 10-column/5 Formal caster for this event (341 build). I originally wasn't going to get Enhanced Meditate 3, but man am I glad I shelled out for it. I memorized 1 Cure/Cause spell per level above 3rd for Counterspell (I had Flex Casting, but I suspect that Counterspell wouldn't work with FC). I really liked the Meditate and Enhanced Meditate skills, though the pacing of the event was pretty quick. If I had more downtime on the regular, I'd feel like EM 3 would be wasted build.

Flex Casting was pretty dope, because I specifically did not memorize as a healer. Being able to Swap to a Lesser Earth Storm or Earth Storm to heal fighters (or even my mod group) felt really good.

I did not memorize more than 4 Life spells (1 locked away for Rebirth). That felt good for the event, but I also did not see any Doom spells thrown. In 1.3, I see plenty of Death spells thrown. Ergo, while we felt like we had enough Life spells to cover those who died, I suspect that this was actually coincidence and not because 2.0 is better. Plenty of people stored Friday mem'd Life spells into Saturday in order to have more available. I suspect this will be highly common. The Life mechanic is going to be problematic.

Channeling - I bought one pick of Channel, and I used 10 points for the first Logistics period and never used it the second. I'd probably still buy a pick for live play, but it's a waste beyond a single purchase, regardless of how useful the Elemental qualifier is. This playtest seemed to confirm that spell defenses aren't so numerous as to spend significant build on insufficient volume. The fact that it provides multiple packets is great and all, but the value of that is mostly gone the moment you can memorize a Storm spell. Once you can Augment and/or Potency that Storm, the value of Channeling no longer exists, outside of as an NPC ability.

"Block": I like it. I much prefer Spell/Poison/etc Block over Resist <whatever>. Against lower level characters, it needs to be carefully statted, but against higher-level characters, it gives a purpose for niche spells (burning dem Blocks!) while allowing us to still enjoy our more potent follow-ups, which usually just hit Resists in 1.3. I did fight a Big Bad that had numerous Resists, and THAAAT sucked...but that was the exception, not the rule, and I’m okay with Big Bosses not dying hella fast.

Doom- I really liked it. It feels like a 9th level spell. Which leads me to

Paralysis- Still useless against most monsters. Since Cleanse is a low-level thing, now, I’d like to backpeddle on my earlier stance and recommend that Paralysis gets the Doom treatment. It’s competing with Purify and I think it’s losing pretty handily. I dropped Paralysis except for 1 to feed Counterspell on Saturday night and swapped to Purify. I considered up-memming Destruction until I remembered we were going to be fighting a ton of Undead. Without that knowledge, I would have gone Destruction or Confines. If I’m choosing 7ths over Paralysis, I think that warrants a concern.

Slow/Repel: These need to be non-rippable. Otherwise, they’re less useful than Pin. Alternatively, make them 1st level spells, because that aligns them with their degree of power.

Slayers/Reavers: These need to go away and stay gone. There’s no reason to keep them and we don’t need to invent new effects at this stage of implementation.

Natural Armor on NPCs - Solid! Also, as a minion skeleton with 10/10 Body/NA, it was cool to just drop to the ground and roleplay “fixing my bones” in front of PCs. They immediately were confused and it was fun. I think strategic NPCs will use refitting NA as a way to sustain their presence without need for respawns, and I love that.

Defenses deleting: I actually hate this. Production is getting a serious bump in power and I worry that getting rid of these is going to make the IG economy tooo expensive for people. I don’t think carryover defenses really bloat anything, so I’m not a big fan of getting rid of them. Plus, it gives people with the funds to Gobbie pre-casts an edge that feels....unfair to those without. As a staff member, I can afford this, but I also know that plenty can’t.

Spell Stores deleting: No issues here with it.

Damage: Felt good!

Trap Avoidance: I hate it. It has no requirements and gives player a cheap out to avoid traps, which take a fair amount of resources and effort to set up. I think it needs to require an expended Dodge to keep it Stealth-focused.
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
Flex Casting was pretty dope, because I specifically did not memorize as a healer. Being able to Swap to a Lesser Earth Storm or Earth Storm to heal fighters (or even my mod group) felt really good.
Flex casting doesn't let you go to a Storm, as those aren't signature spells.

Trap Avoidance: I hate it. It has no requirements and gives player a cheap out to avoid traps, which take a fair amount of resources and effort to set up. I think it needs to require an expended Dodge to keep it Stealth-focused.
This. It keeps it in line with the rest, like Spell Parry. I'd even be okay with it being an Evade, but it should be something.

Defenses deleting: I actually hate this. Production is getting a serious bump in power and I worry that getting rid of these is going to make the IG economy tooo expensive for people. I don’t think carryover defenses really bloat anything, so I’m not a big fan of getting rid of them. Plus, it gives people with the funds to Gobbie pre-casts an edge that feels....unfair to those without. As a staff member, I can afford this, but I also know that plenty can’t.
I disagree. I found the lower amount of PC defenses being good both as a PC and an NPC. In general, I found that I didn't want/need precast defenses the same way as I did in 1.3.

Slayers/Reavers: These need to go away and stay gone. There’s no reason to keep them and we don’t need to invent new effects at this stage of implementation.
Super agreed.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
Swap was capital S because I used Spell Swap. >.>

Also, I really like Spell Swap.
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
I did not memorize more than 4 Life spells (1 locked away for Rebirth). That felt good for the event, but I also did not see any Doom spells thrown. In 1.3, I see plenty of Death spells thrown. Ergo, while we felt like we had enough Life spells to cover those who died, I suspect that this was actually coincidence and not because 2.0 is better.
I know we are likely to disagree on this topic, and if you want to talk about it further it should be moved to the other thread talking about it. I did want to talk specifically about scaling at this event in regards to Doom and Corrupt.

There were a few Dooms thrown (I played a "red" Undead on one mod that had a Spell Strike Doom) and a few Corrupts. Overall, throughout the entire (busy) weekend including two big puppet monster Big Bosses, we probably sent out less than 20 combined Dooms and Corrupts for a relatively high APL event. Based on what I anecdotally heard, players still felt reasonably threatened during the "big fights" without needing any more Dooms or Corrupts.

This is entirely intentional, and completely in line with what ARC has explicitly recommended to Plot teams and the Monster DB committee. From my perspective, you should expect what you saw this weekend to be the rule, not the exception, if teams follow our recommendations.

The 1.3 "Death all the time because that's all that threatens the PCs" mode of thought should be taken out back, shot, and thrown in the trash bin. Going into 2.0 with that expectation - either from the PC side or the NPC side - will lead players astray.

-Bryan Gregory
ARC Committee Chair
 

Feldor

Scholar
Marshal
This is entirely intentional, and completely in line with what ARC has explicitly recommended to Plot teams and the Monster DB committee. From my perspective, you should expect what you saw this weekend to be the rule, not the exception, if teams follow our recommendations.

The 1.3 "Death all the time because that's all that threatens the PCs" mode of thought should be taken out back, shot, and thrown in the trash bin. Going into 2.0 with that expectation - either from the PC side or the NPC side - will lead players astray.

-Bryan Gregory
ARC Committee Chair
This is awesome, and I'm glad to see it said somewhere where PCs like me can see it.
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
Swap was capital S because I used Spell Swap. >.>

Also, I really like Spell Swap.
*thumbs up* Got confused because it was under the same bullet as Flex Casting. All good.
 

Muir

Fighter
OK, here's some comments from the "running the event" side of things:
<snip>

-Bryan
Bryan, what about Trap Avoidance seemed off? It's something I'm very interested in, and if it has issues, I'd love to hear about them in advance.

I don't really see it as an 'easy way out' of traps, given that the current status quo with them is 'have the guy in rendered armor/arcane hand off his breakables and go kick it', but as a way for a trap user to use room traps to great effect while being able to keep his targets clueless up until the hit because he's in the room with them. Since there's no rules equivalent of 'I know the safe spot to stand in here because I set it'.


Note to crafting rules team: Make the Trap Master ability 'immune to own traps'.
 

Alkalin3

Administrator
Chief Technology Officer
South Michigan Staff
Marshal
Bryan, what about Trap Avoidance seemed off? It's something I'm very interested in, and if it has issues, I'd love to hear about them in advance.

I don't really see it as an 'easy way out' of traps, given that the current status quo with them is 'have the guy in rendered armor/arcane hand off his breakables and go kick it', but as a way for a trap user to use room traps to great effect while being able to keep his targets clueless up until the hit because he's in the room with them. Since there's no rules equivalent of 'I know the safe spot to stand in here because I set it'.


Note to crafting rules team: Make the Trap Master ability 'immune to own traps'.
Given that it's a free defense and traps are a huge investment to setup. It's going to force plot teams to either setup a ton of traps to make them have any effect, or to never have traps on mods (since everyone will call defenses all the same). The later will likely become true. It's self defeating, eventually it'll become useless because traps will become pc only.


Powering it by a dodge or evade at least means there's a cost and not every character has access to the defense.
 
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Muir

Fighter
Given that it's a ritual effect (although someone with the DB will have to confirm how many components per charge we're talking), I don't really see it being that common.

Although it's high on my list of things to get, as I play a trap-user.
 

Alkalin3

Administrator
Chief Technology Officer
South Michigan Staff
Marshal
Given that it's a ritual effect (although someone with the DB will have to confirm how many components per charge we're talking), I don't really see it being that common.

Although it's high on my list of things to get, as I play a trap-user.
Almost every pc at the 3 games we ran had at least one charge of it. Several had 2 - 3 effectively making them immune to npc traps.

Very few things are so clearly good for every build in the 2.0 magic item system. This is one of them.

I don't want it to go away. It's a cool and unique power. I want it powered by something. If you're playing a trap user buy whatever skill will hopefully power it.
 
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