v0.10 First impressions

Tevas

Scholar
Marshal
Playtest Community Manager
...be it Flurry or marshals actually enforcing the rules regarding clearly stating damage before striking...
I’m sorry you’re experiencing those issues locally. That doesn’t sound like much fun for anyone. From reading what you mentioned, I can’t help but think:

• There’s already a recognized rule in place to prevent this issue.
• Marshals don’t appear to be enforcing the rule.
• Creating a new rule won’t change anything, unless that new rule is learned and then subsequently enforced. Having a Flurry rule won’t matter if no one follows it either.
• If rules enforcement is the core issue, why make new rules instead of addressing the root cause?

The situation honestly sounds like it’s leaning more towards being a culture issue than a rules issue. Rules don’t change culture, unfortunately. Some of the biggest influencing factors on culture are awareness, and people visibly demonstrating positive, responsible player behavior. It feels like addressing these cultural issues would correct the shot spamming problems people may be experiencing, along with providing other collateral benefits. Hopefully that’s helpful!
 
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Muir

Fighter
I’m sorry you’re experiencing those issues locally. That doesn’t sound like much fun for anyone. From reading what you mentioned, I can’t help but think:

• There’s already a recognized rule in place to prevent this issue.
• Marshals don’t appear to be enforcing the rule.
• Creating a new rule won’t change anything, unless that new rule is learned and then subsequently enforced. Having a Flurry rule won’t matter if no one follows it either.
• If rules enforcement is the core issue, why make new rules instead of addressing the root cause?

The situation honestly sounds like it’s leaning more towards being a culture issue than a rules issue. Rules don’t change culture, unfortunately. Some of the biggest influencing factors on culture are awareness, and people visibly demonstrating positive, responsible player behavior. It feels like addressing these cultural issues would correct the shot spamming problems people may be experiencing, along with providing other collateral benefits.
It's not a local issue. I've played this game for coming up on 14 years across half a dozen chapters, both coasts and the midwest, and multiple national events at this point, and at every one as soon as people get stressed the fight speeds up and people stop paying attention to completing their attack verbals audibly. I have, in that time, seen someone get told to finish their verbals maybe a handful of times. It usually doesn't get corrected until it escalates to hitting too hard or or swinging wildly, because quite frankly I have yet to see a game consistently have a sufficient number of marshals to actually referee rather than playing the big bad of the encounter.

This is a systemic issue, and one that the flurry system was poised to work on because chapters flatly do not have the manpower to referee accurately, so we have to rely on people exerting self control. It is very, very easy to watch speed of combat escalate and verbals get sketchy as PCs and NPCs get frustrated with each other 'not taking hits'.

I highly recommend everyone take a moment at the next event they play. During the Saturday Night Fight, step back and watch, an hour or so in. Especially whoever's in melee on the big card, and rogues doing run-bys.
 
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Tevas

Scholar
Marshal
Playtest Community Manager
It's not a local issue. I've played this game for coming up on 14 years across half a dozen chapters, both coasts and the midwest, and multiple national events at this point, and at every one as soon as people get stressed the fight speeds up and people stop paying attention to completing their attack verbals audibly. I have, in that time, seen someone get told to finish their verbals twice. It usually doesn't get corrected until it escalates to hitting too hard or or swinging wildly, because quite frankly I have yet to see a game consistently have a sufficient number of marshals to actually referee rather than playing the big bad of the encounter.

This is a systemic issue, and one that the flurry system was poised to work on because chapters flatly do not have the manpower to referee accurately, so we have to rely on people exerting self control. It is very, very easy to watch speed of combat escalate and verbals get sketchy as PCs and NPCs get frustrated with each other 'not taking hits'.

I highly recommend everyone take a moment at the next event they play. During the Saturday Night Fight, step back and watch, an hour or so in.
I definitely agree that as the pressure builds, things tend to get sloppy in many places. When it comes to people exerting self control, do you feel there’s a particular benefit to changing the timing rule? Is it too difficult to manage in its current form? Adding Flurry would still require verbals to be fully completed before swings connected or packets were thrown, so it feels to me that we would just be layering yet another process that requires enforcement on top of the existing one. I’m curious to hear your thoughts?
 

Muir

Fighter
Flurry means that you don't just stand up, leaning in further and swinging faster. You have to reset. It breaks you out of the rhythm of 'nine ice nine ice nineice nineice nineicenineice nice nice nicenicenice'. I've been trying to use it more myself this last year, and it has definitely changed the way I fight.

The best cultural change I think we could push for is what I consider 'Conversational Combat'. Fighting at a speed where you can both clearly articulate your attacks, and clearly articulate responses to hits. Taking good shots, rather than trying to pull the shoulder-shin-shoulder-shin drumroll as fast as your arm can manage. The stated intent of 2.0 to reduce body bloat was positioned to help with that, as it would mean less beatings were necessary to be effective, but without Flurry and with the deep reduction in repeatable melee damage, I worry the packet as presented is going to make it worse rather than better.
 

Tevas

Scholar
Marshal
Playtest Community Manager
Great, thank you for your insights! I don’t necessarily agree with you on the Flurry portion, but I fully agree on Conversational Combat. I appreciate you sharing your perspectives!
 

Alavatar

Baron
During 0.9 there was discussion about having Fighter / Rogue damage scale with Skills similar to Wands. Was a proposal ever developed?

Prior discussions have asked what the design paradigm for Alliance is intended to be (i.e. Rock / Paper / Scissors class design, or Tank / DPS / Utility class design?). Was that ever answered? I feel like answering that would help create direction for how to design the classes holistically. I am not sure continuing with an AD&D Class philosophy (i.e. casters suck at low level, but are king at high level) is working out in a LARP.

Previously, I asked how much change is too much? Several people have commented that 2.0 does not feel like Alliance anymore. If that is the case, and the changes have reached the point of no return, why not go for broke? Redesign all of the classes from the ground up using some other concept as a template (i.e. similar skills among all classes, but different delivery methods, or create "trees" of abilites, or a classless system, etc.); there are many different options for how to design things.

I don't play a Fighter, but fighter feedback has been a constant topic of feedback through the various released packages. For those of you who do play Fighters, what would you do with the current 0.10e ruleset to make Fighters (or Rogues) viable?
 
I think a lot of what Adam said in his large post is pretty darn harsh (sorry, Adam, but the way your post reads it feels like you would be screaming at the top of your lungs if it were actually being spoken), but he makes one point that I think is absolutely spot on.

In my opinion, as currently written, Spell Parry is pretty much the best designed ritual in our game.

If every ritual was written similarly, we would have absolutely no need for ritual limits / magic item limits in the game. The ritual is literally self-limiting. Charges cost a times / day skill, which costs XP. Thus, there is a hard limit to how many times per day a character could use the ritual / magic item, no matter how many Spell Parries they had AND that limit increases with level.

Every ritual / magic item should be written in a similar way. Instead of carrying around "portable casters," imagine if you had a magic Sleep 3/day, but the cost to activate it was a 4th level slot or higher (a 2 level improvement seems about reasonable). A skill store Dodge 1/day might cost an Evade to activate. Etc.

In short, if every single ritual / magic item was tied into a skill that costs XP (maybe with some flexibility to spend a more expensive skill in the same category... like being allowed to burn a Riposte or a Parry to power a Spell Parry), we wouldn't need arbitrary maximums on magic item ritual levels and magic item bloat would basically disappear.

-MS

P.S. - And since I love stirring the pot, in my dream world, every magic item / ritual would be designed as a X / day charge mechanism, with the option to activate the magic item without spending the appropriate skill. But doing so would permanently deplete a charge, thus, effectively making it a times ever item / ritual.
 

Tulbor

Artisan
In my opinion, as currently written, Spell Parry is pretty much the best designed ritual in our game.
Just want to clarify. By "currently written" do you mean in 1.3?
 
For the most part I've refrained from posting about the new rules in the hope that eventually the play tests would reveal needed corrections, and that such corrections would be evident in newer versions as things moved along. That hasn't happened. My concerns have grown. Several folks have already pointed out the same concerns I have in stark detail. I'll try avoid too much redundancy.

In these efforts towards formulating a new rules system it is clear that we have lost our way.

Part of the problem seems to reflect a loss of understanding and/or respect for the evolution of the game's rule system. It took several decades to arrive at the rules we have in play today. Trial and error. Relative to what's being proposed, adjustments to our rules have been gradual, careful, proportional. A lot of ideas look great in the abstract but in practice, when scaled up to actual events, completely fall apart. That is what is happening here.

These proposals are radical, overly ambitious and throw all semblance of game balance out the window.

These are the observations I have to offer.

Class balance will evaporate. Our game's class balance is currently decent. That took a long time to achieve, by the way. Melee classes are clearly and painfully inferior in these new rules.

Character race will no longer primarily be chosen for RP purposes, but for the opportunity to power game. The option to play a race in which a player has little interest, but for whom the racial abilities offer too much will be too tempting for people. I'd rather have a game in which everyone chooses their character's race not because of the opportunity to have 10 dodges, but because they actually like playing that race.

Scaling will be impossible. How does one expect to scale any encounter effectively when you have no idea what your pcs will be swinging for damage (what they are even capable of swinging for that matter) or when you have no idea if folks are over casting (he just used 20 spell shields with a four column? I guess he can do that now)?

These rules, in totality, do nothing to simplify the game or make it more desirable for new players.

For those of you who don't know, when I was an owner, when all this started, that was the original purpose given to the ARC. Given the original mission that was sanctioned by the owners, I cannot comprehend how we arrived here. The only truly good thing I've seen in this proposal is limiting magic item rituals.

Mike, if you have any interest in keeping this game from receiving a critical blow, from which it might never recover, I implore you to apply the brakes, direct your crew to start over with the original intent of the rules change in mind.

I'm not writing all this to be mean or out of self interest, but because I really appreciate this game and many of the people I know who still enjoy playing it. Having been involved in this game for I don't know, like 18 years, and having been a staff member and owner, I know what this involves, the hours and brainpower it takes to work on rules changes. I respect what the ARC and owners are trying to do, but I also know how easy it is to get carried away. For those of you involved in this, if you have known me and respected my insights, please trust my insight now. As a group, you have overshot and lost your way.

Start over and narrow your goals.
 

Tulbor

Artisan
For those of you who do play Fighters, what would you do with the current 0.10e ruleset to make Fighters (or Rogues) viable?
Remove the meditate requirements from Spell Parry and Powerful Blow. Spell Parry no longer being tied to Parry was a great change, especially since there were no other viable spell defenses, this change kills any type of defense. If the worry is of overuse, then, hell, tie back to Parry. The way the skill structure is now, people will likely have more parries anyway.

The cost ramp up for Weapon Proficiency is extremely cost prohibitive. If you want to spend a huge load of xp to swing for 10, you can, but you're gimping everything else. With Body increase and Armor going up to the max of 62 (124 with the temporary armor), even at 10 you're rather ineffective as someone who's supposed to bring out the big damage.

There were two proposals to help with that, one was to start the cost of weapon profs at 3 crits (9 xp for fighters, all my math is from the fighter side, sorry rogues and scouts) and move up from there. This effectively saves you 48 xp to get to that 10 damage swing (156 xp vs 204 xp). This is also very helpful to new players. This stabilizes the early purchases, still increasing the cost but allowing you to improve (basically the first 5 weapon profs average out to 15 xp each and then the next one jumps to 24 xp). To me this sounds like an easy solution that actually works for both sides. This keeps (most, some will still be crazy and go for high numbers) players from going crazy on weapon profs, but still allows for a decent damage swing to be achieved.
The other proposal is certainly way harder to implement, and that was to get rid of weapon profs all together, and just increase static damage as more skills are purchased, like wands. That's probably a more elegant solution, but that will take way more work to re-balance the skills effected.

Mettle is a neat idea in design, but the 10 seconds requirement make it fairly useless, and you shouldn't have to spend 2 of a skill meant to be useful for combat to actually be useful in combat. Someone said that it's too cheap at 2 xp er use, while I don't agree with that at all (cause at 10 sec it's useless), 3 xp per use wouldn't be bad, while 4 would make it not desirable. But 3 xp per, and 3 seconds per use, makes it a much better skill, and worth purchasing.

Hearty at 5 xp per 5 (or more or less) is rather mediocre. I know this one has gone through changes, but it didn't end on the good side of "useful".

And personally, I think making Slays and Eviscerates single swing use is horrible.
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
As vitriolic as Avaran had been in part discussions... I can't argue with the logic here. As a C Caster that gets nothing but benefits in this version (even wand charges and damage go up due to 20 levels of craft scroll). It's just too much. It's to the point where (unpopular opinion warning) I would recommend wands and relics be removed except as a prop requirement for elemental burst / healer's resolve. I'd also make healer's resolve able to be packet delivered in that instance.

I cannot overstate how glad I am to see Paragon paths go away until they're much better balanced. As they were proposed, they were a mess. Furthermore, should capstone things come back, they should focus on fighters / rogues.

Thank you for the ritual cap.
 

Tulbor

Artisan
I would revert every single change made and see how the Magic Item changes affect things.
Thank you. I was about to write the same thing. Since Alavatar asked "fixes in .10", I stuck to .10. But really, this was mishandled from step 1. Drop Monster Slayer, and see how the balancing and damage reacts. Then drop other things and do the same. Everything in the rules set, very eloquently pointed out by Gary, just goes way to far.
 

Tantarus

Squire
I would revert every single change made and see how the Magic Item changes affect things.
Yeah I really feel like the magic item nerf hits fighters hard already. That alone might be able bring them in line with the wanted power level, No more pocket casters, no more cloaks and banes is a big hit to them. They can be taken out by spells much easier which will help fix the old paper rock scissors of fighter rogue scholar paradigm.

Just nerfing magic items are a huge impact on the game and I really think should be judged by themselves. Maybe some class changes will still be needed. But When you change magic items, classes and so much more. You really will not be able to tell what worked and what didnt every well. Making one big change at a time really keeps those variables down so we can narrow down what changes helped and what hurt.
 

Inaryn

Knight
For those of you saying that there are points you would make, but aren’t because they’ve already been said, I’d actually encourage you to include those points as brief bullets so that your voice can at least be seen and counted on those issues.

Just a side note for communications sake.
 

Tantarus

Squire
It occurs to me if they just did the magic item changes. Would there even need to be a character rebuild? It really seems like doing the magic item nerf and some minor quality of life changes could happen without causing a full character rebuild and be evaluated before making major system revisions.
 

Tulbor

Artisan
From what I heard, this died with only 4 or 5 owner votes, all were "No", and no votes were from the Owners who had supported the change.
I've been playing this game, and the same character, since 2000. There were a few years where I couldn't play due to scheduling or money or whatever, but I never had a point where I went "ok I'm done with it." I don't have an alt, I don't really want one since I have no real interest in being a caster or something else, I like my character and what he has grown (and still growing) to be able to do. I don't run around in a golem, I'm not bottled, I don't have 50 thousand magic items that allow me to walk through a mod and ignore everything, I don't come out swinging 30s with every shot. I have 75 build "wasted" in a profession that has seen absolutely no love from the rules over the last dozen years, to the point of it becoming a one trick pony. Through all the changes proposed I've kept on the side of "sure but can still do x "

"The beta rules packet is out, boy are they screwing fighters over!"
Me: "ok, but Paragon is neat as hell, and spell parry doesn't need parries, so at least it's workable. And you can have a better spread of skills, so that's cool."
"Oh, the paragons are being taken out cause after all this time they can't figure out how to balance them for ****."
"ok, Well, can do dwarf to get some resists, plus spell parry is still there, that will help with defense, plus other stuff."
"Oh, now you have to stop between every spell parry. But there's Mettle. But you have to stop every time you use it. Unless you use 2, then you only stop for 3 sec ...."

There are tons and tons of comments, complaints, suggestions, and other messages from an unhappy section of the customer base. Not only are all of those being ignored, the rules are being designed to even farther make it worse.

I love the game, I love the chapter that I play in and the chapters I get to visit. 18 years is a long time to do something that you don't love. But the organization as a whole seems to be hell bent on making it impossible for me to be able to play my character without changing to something that I don't want to play. So why should I continue to support it with my time and my money? Keep on pushing these, I'll either get some more free weekends to myself, or take my money to another system.
 
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