An outlandish angle on server balance.

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An outlandish angle on server balance.

Post by Ryuujin on Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:01 pm

I was thinking about taming times, difficulty levels and stat scaling. And a very outlandish train of thought occured to me, and how a rebalance could be achieved with the server parameters that could please people.



Tame times and pursuit of levels (But not happiness)

The first "problem" is that of dino levels, stat scaling and tame times;  these are directly linked. A high level dino takes exponentially longer to tame than a low level one. But there is good reason to tame a high level one due to how stat growth scales with level. A high level dinos stats can reach a point that they can take on an entire army of low level dinos.

The classic line of thinking is that difficulty has to be pumped way up, this so high level wild dinos might actually pose a threat to players. However the existance of these high level dinos, also mean people will inevitably try and tame them, leading to 8 hour tame times and demands to reduce taming durations to compensate.

In fact I believe I have the answer to multiple issues people've raised using the server tuning settings.


  • Fixing tamed dinosaur damage scaling.
  • Making taming less tedious
  • Making tame dinos less bullet-spongey
  • Reducing the material grind for building.
  • Making offline defences relevant



Killing 3 argentaavis with one slingshot

The first thing to recognise the entire problem of stats creep comes from the level system itself. Difficulty primarily effects the level range at which dinos spawn in. The assumption is that making dinosaurs dangerous requires making high level dinos spawn but in fact dino threat level can be adjusted by raising the dinosaur damage multipler.

If we take the totally opposite approach, and drop difficulty right back to 0.0, all wild dinosaurs spawn around level 1, and tame dinos hard cap at ~40ish. This has a number of very desirable consequences:

  • All tamed dinosaurs start roughly equal.
  • Taming phase is extremely fast
  • Emphasis on training your dinos to level them up (active gameplay), rather than obtaining them high initial levels (passive gameplay)
  • Stats scaling is kept to a minimum resulting in less ridiculous final stats


The wild dinosaurs are also less threatening now; but by fine tuning the dinosaur damage variable they can be MADE threatening. Even more threatening than 3.0 difficulty if desired.



Making combat more engaging

The next issue is the difference between mounted and on foot combat. On foot most dinos are already pretty dangerous; but once you mount up you're basiclly invulnerable.

This can in fact be addressed with the fine tuning options. By tuning down the dinosaur damage resistance multiplier, dinos become more vulnerable to attack and die faster. We can then tune down the player damage variable by the same ratio, so that Player Vs Dinosaur plays the same as it normally does, but dino Vs dino combat becomes more lethal. Tanking multiple dinos at a time becomes a risky proposition while smaller dinos (ie raptor Vs t-rex) need to consider fleeing larger dinos that could drop them in just a few hits.

Reducing the dino damage resistance also has the positive side effect of making auto-turrets and IEDs more effective Vs dinosaurs (Which are otherwise notoriously weak)



Making molehills out of mountains

Ever find it's weird that you need chop down 3 trees to get enough wood to make 1 spear, or chop up half a mountain to make a mortar; how about having to grind up a whole nest of scorpions just to make a glass jar?

While the value of these items could be reduced, they require individual editing. A more immersive solution is to scale up the harvestable resource hitpoint, and harvest resource amount by the same ratio. This causes nodes to take more chopping before they break down, and yield more resources over their lifetime. This also applies to bodies, yielding more meat, hide - and, importantly, keratin/chitin.

With each node yielding more resources players can more quickly a mass the resources needed to build an impressive base or fancy munitions. You don't have to strip mine entire forests to build a stack of arrows, and cement paste becomes marginally less tedious to make.



In summary, the server vars should look something like this, to achieve everyone's desires:

Difficulty: 0.0
All wild dinosaurs are now level 1. Dinosaur level only applies to tamed levels and since those levels are lower values, the stats scaling is kept reasonably sane.

Dinosaur Resistance: 0.5-0.6
Dinosaurs should take elevated damage, this means they will be less tanky in the face of turrets and other dinosaurs. This is offset however by...

Player damage: 0.5-0.6
By reducing the damage players deal by the same ratio, fighting dinos on foot FEELS the same. But dinos fighting each other now feels much more deadly, and high level dinos who eschew hitpoints are glassy.

Player Resistance 0.7-0.8
Reducing player resistance will help offset the player damage reduction in PvP, and help compensate for dinos being low level, by making them hit players on foot a little bit harder, in effect raising difficulty, without raising difficulty.

Harvestable hitpoints: 3.0 AND
Harvestable amount: 3.0:
Increasing harvestable hitpoints means resource and corpses nodes don't break so quickly, this combined with the amount variable means bodies (for chitin, keratin) and nodes (metal, oil, bushes, trees, rocks) provide more resources before they decay. This is both more immersive (A single tree can now supply enough wood for multiple spears), and practical, by speeding up resource aquisition for building.


I understanding the idea of neutering the concept of levels will no doubt make many people recoil in horror. But it fixes a TONNE of balance woes, and level now directly corresponds to how badass your dino is. 42 might not sound as badass as 160, but it'll actually MEAN something.

Ryuujin

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A Response

Post by J. Mourne on Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:18 pm

I do find this idea rather intriguing. Something that would be lost is the drive to find the "shiniest meat bicycle" - the perfect mount, with the interesting allocation of stats, the exact color scheme, the high level.

As mods now exist adding additional color schemes, that would be a potential trade-off. Very little to no variation in stats, but much more freedom to pick a dinosaur based on how pretty they are.

Though I do not look forward to what I feel is the building impetus toward PvP as more players reach the high-tier materials and begin stockpiling them, I also find myself agreeing with your rationale for increased resource availability. As fun as the game is, there are definitely aspects (taming, gathering cementing paste, gathering metal) that are clearly time-sinks rather than essential parts of gameplay.

Finding the correct values for damage modifiers are, of course, the part that is easier said than done. True, L42 as a maximum dino level doesn't sound so much, but when all their opposition is L01, the disparity ends up being more extreme than is currently in-game. An increased damage modifier might make player dinosaurs more vulnerable to damage, say; but will it be enough of a vulnerability to seriously provide a threat from wild dinos who are now, without any exception, weaker than tame dinos?

(A question to consider: is the damage modifier independent of torpor infliction? Would changing one change the other?)

I like this proposal, even though I know I will vehemently dislike some of the consequences. Some of us, like myself, would use cheaper resources as a chance to build our dream base with more ease. Others will, inevitably, use it to build sprawling monstrosities of scattered walls and spawn-disrupting litter across the map. Cheaper grenades makes it easier to deal with such nuisances, but also increases the odds of true warfare breaking out. Ultimately, I think, this proposal is worth considering despite this - because frankly such things will eventually happen even as the server is. The only difference is how much time it'll take. It might take nine times longer to gather resources under the current method, but that only provides you so much time before some fellow with far too much time and an itch to bother someone gets enough metal to cap off a resource deposit or some such nonsense. Unfortunately it's hard to tell how things would play out without actually trying.

My only concern is that perhaps it would lead to dinosaurs being treated as expendable, since they're all of the same level and all equally easy to tame. I think that should be avoided. Changing resource production so players can enjoy the game with a minimum of pointless grinding is good. Changing the game so that losses are without meaning is not.

Summary: tentatively agree.


Last edited by J. Mourne on Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:20 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added summary)

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Re: An outlandish angle on server balance.

Post by P70xy on Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:53 am

Difficulty: 0.0
I have no issue with this. I feel it would also give more meaning to each Dinos traits and characteristics making each species in their class feel unique again.
J. Mourne wrote:My only concern is that perhaps it would lead to dinosaurs being treated as expendable
My response to this is that they are even now. Our tribe has higher value Dinos like everyone else the differnce is these tend to be herbivores and are only there for their resources gathering talents. A Dinos *value* often only stems from number of Times leveled, Its Dino power, Base level and Time to tame. By removing two out of four values all your really doing is speeding up the process IMO.

Player Resistance 0.7-0.8
Player damage: 0.5-0.6
Dinosaur Resistance: 0.5-0.6

All self explanitory again i have no problem with this and feel its the required balance to of set dropping from 1.0 - 0.0. *Game difficulty* seems to be only affecting length of time taken. Tho tweeking may be nessicary.

Harvestable hitpoints: 3.0 AND
Harvestable amount: 3.0:

YES YES YES YES

Summary - The faster this is implemented the better.

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Re: An outlandish angle on server balance.

Post by hishumii on Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:28 am

I understand all the changes proposed and the balancing that has been concepted to keep things in line. I mostly agree.

I am however concerned for 2 things:

1. What happens to all our current dinos?
Some of which we have spent substantial time on and I am not prepared to throw that away.

2. I get sentimental over my few dinos and having them die due to my technical specs lagging me out (which currently is a worry but is low risk due to the levels and damage resist) is bullshit.

There are maybe more things I like about this proposal and some other issues to address in my opinion. But I am a reflector and will think this idea through more before providing further feedback.

Summary good but with a few large concerns for me.

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Re: An outlandish angle on server balance.

Post by hishumii on Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:54 am

Another potential problem is harvesting from other creatures.

This rebalance will make gathering prime, keratin and chitin a lot harder. Sure we will get more per kill but the risk of losing a levelled mount will be much higher.

Having all stats based on the time you have put in to level a Dino also makes them more valuable and less "throwaway". As that really is a true loss of time. Even more so than spending longer mining metal for example as at the end of that you have still gained resources. But when a Dino dies, that's the end.

Again I'm not against this idea at all. I find it very exciting.

Just as someone who is working full time + extra, wasting the time I do get to play is very unappealing.

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Re: An outlandish angle on server balance.

Post by CelestialBovine on Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:05 pm

What about high level dinos people have that are now far beyond the scope of the proposed changes?  Do they scale down, by chance, or do they stay the same?  Either way will be very difficult for some people to deal with during the transition.    

That said, I agree that the current stand off and offline raiding as the only PvP is skipping some of the most interesting aspects of the game.  I would not mind these changes, but caution that something must be done about left over now-impossible-to-get high level dinos (if that happens).

I want to point out that these changes alone may not jump start PvP and may lead to more offline base/dino killing. Please consider the changes for the sake of balance first, and what it may do for PvP second.

Thanks.

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Re: An outlandish angle on server balance.

Post by Ulitmateman on Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:14 pm

I rather much wait a bit the the game to balance itself instedd to try to make all those change i do think the ressourses change is a good change tho but not 3x maybe 1.5 max 2x i had make a 10 page texte about my opinion yesterday but i was on my cell and it bug out ending not sending my post and had to rewrite it all again and i dont feel like it i rather much stay the more as a offical server that why i joined your server at the first place jsut the 2x speed you have implemented seem to affect the game to much in my opinion maybe a 1.5x would be way more then enought

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Re: An outlandish angle on server balance.

Post by Kirin on Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:21 pm

Hey guys.  I haven't really chimed in yet because I want to see what everyone thinks, and how best to plan out the future direction of the server.  

While this isn't necessarily the exact gameplan, Ryuujin does hit on the right kind of server philosophy and gameplay we want to have for the "release" version of Arkfall.  I don't think we have quite all the admin tools we need yet to do things properly, but this is our general direction and we want people to offer feedback now rather than when it's too late.

However, I will make one definite statement:  We aren't going to take anyone's existing dinos away, no matter what we decide to do.  Smile
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