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View Full Version : An example of why the tiered/gated system is bad using Kensai tree, with remedy



hit_fido
04-13-2013, 11:28 AM
Take the Lama Kensai tree as another example. See screenshot below which I will reference:

http://i.imgur.com/9KcbSLG.png

Let's say I wanted to build an axe wielding monk to take advantage of One With The Blade, which *sounds* like a cool new possibility, a good idea. But I have to unlock that top tier right? I selected all the enhancements wanted and needed just to reach the next to top tier, and spent 26 AP. I didn't really want Reed in the Wind mind you but you made me take it just so I could unlock stuff in the next tier up. So I'm already down 3 AP wasted. But that top tier requires 40 AP spent in this tree. So you're forcing to me to waste another 14 AP in stuff I don't want to get to the fun stuff that I do want.

And you know the idea of an axe monk may be silly so lets even skip OWTB and say I just wanted the crit rang enhancer, Keen Edge. Same problem! I still am short 14 AP just to unlock the damn thing. But my build may not want tactics, or dodge, or critical accuracy, and so on. Tactics and dodge are not inherently bad enhancements for all builds - other builds may want them, but mine doesn't. Yet I still have to waste AP on stuff I don't value for this build because you gated the top tier at 40 AP. Those enhancements aren't even the capstone! The capstone is on the bottom row available only to Fighter level 20.

How this should work:

Get rid of AP/Tier gating. If you feel One With the Blade or Keen Edge are so powerful that I must be a higher level character to use them, then give them a Character Level requirement in addition to the long prerequisite line already in place. Make me be level 15, 18, I don't care. But don't make me waste up to 14 AP on things that don't look fun to me, so that I can use them in a different tree on fun stuff for my goofy axe monk. Character Level is a perfectly good way to gate power while keeping the build process across multiple trees flexible and fun the way it is on Live.

What does AP/Tier gating do for this system that Character Level, Enhancement and Feat prerequisites can't achieve, other than needlessly constrict build variety through wasted AP as well as add complexity?

Vestriel
04-13-2013, 01:23 PM
How this should work:

Get rid of AP/Tier gating. If you feel One With the Blade or Keen Edge are so powerful that I must be a higher level character to use them, then give them a Character Level requirement in addition to the long prerequisite line already in place. Make me be level 15, 18, I don't care. But don't make me waste up to 14 AP on things that don't look fun to me, so that I can use them in a different tree on fun stuff for my goofy axe monk. Character Level is a perfectly good way to gate power while keeping the build process across multiple trees flexible and fun the way it is on Live.

What does AP/Tier gating do for this system that Character Level, Enhancement and Feat prerequisites can't achieve, other than needlessly constrict build variety through wasted AP as well as add complexity?

Needlessly restricting build variety is very bad. This is why the new enhancement system is so worrying.

Getting rid of AP/Tier gating is one solution.
Another would be to have another tree per class to hold all the general enhancements, and have points spent in the general tree apply toward all the specific gates in the specialized trees.

Fixing this problem would change the new enhancement system from being greatly inferior to the existing system, to actually being an improvement over it.

orakio
04-13-2013, 01:38 PM
The reason AP/Tier gating exists is because Level gating is largely gone. At most you need 5 levels in a class to access all of the enhancements in a class tree, this is far from the case on live. Total points spent makes sense as a possible way of balancing what enhancements are accessible, although the overall values (particularly for rank 5) might need some adjusting.

The largest restrictions that need to go are the "arrow" restrictions imo, the restriction of needing to invest in a large chain of enhancements you don't want to access ones you do. There should be almost no instances of chained enhancements in the trees in my opinion unless the enhancement directly requires an ability unlocked within that tree.

All getting rid of all Ap/Tier restrictions for enhancements does is give a massive advantage to multiclass characters by increasing the number of relevant enhancements that are accessible.

Taojeff
04-13-2013, 02:15 PM
100% not signed.

The tiered gated system needs to be there so people cannot just pick and choose the best abilities from the trees. You SHOULD have to invest in a tree to get the best abilities. Otherwise we are going to see a system with rampant balance issues. Just about every game that uses the tree system has this feature.

What needs to be tweaked
Some of the garbage enhancements need to be thrown out.

Cetus
04-13-2013, 02:24 PM
Needlessly restricting build variety is very bad. This is why the new enhancement system is so worrying.

Getting rid of AP/Tier gating is one solution.
Another would be to have another tree per class to hold all the general enhancements, and have points spent in the general tree apply toward all the specific gates in the specialized trees.

Fixing this problem would change the new enhancement system from being greatly inferior to the existing system, to actually being an improvement over it.

I like the solution of creating another tree with general enhancements whose AP's spent count toward all the other PrE gates.

But, in order to make that work well - the devs need to use some of their imagination and creativity (I can help with TONS of suggestion, along with many of us) to load up the panels with more choices of enhancements, because separating an already starved panel into two will make them look even more empty.

eonfreon
04-13-2013, 02:31 PM
100% not signed.

The tiered gated system needs to be there so people cannot just pick and choose the best abilities from the trees. You SHOULD have to invest in a tree to get the best abilities. Otherwise we are going to see a system with rampant balance issues. Just about every game that uses the tree system has this feature.

What needs to be tweaked
Some of the garbage enhancements need to be thrown out.

And here you one of the crux of the current lama system; garbage enhancements.

In the Live version there are many garbage enhancements, but you largely don't have to take them. PrE's make you take some garbage enhancements and that was bad enough, but this whole system is built around making us waste points on stuff we never would have before to access the stuff we always had.

Turbine, you don't fix garbage enhancements by shoving them down our throats. You fix them by actually making them desirable. Or you just finally get rid of them so they're not clogging up the panel and acting as a trap for someone who doesn't know better.

I really can't believe you guys have decided to re-invent the wheel at this late stage in the game. Instead of trying to create "spiffy, new abilities" the enhnancement pass should have cleaned up some of the useless garbage and should have re-evaluated some costs, and finished up the PrE's that have been dribbling out over the years.

What we needed was a scalpel. Some fine-tuning and adding in the missing PrE's. Not a complete redesigning of an already existing PrE!!

Take Stalwart Defender. After years of this game just about completely ignoring the shield you now want to make an entire PrE that requires the shield to always be equipped to even function. At this point in the game? Really? And how did you think that would be fun? Unequip a one-handed weapon just so that you can just throw an axe and you lose all the benefits? What are you thinking?

At this point in the game you should be refining things, not completely re-designing things.

eonfreon
04-13-2013, 02:34 PM
I like the solution of creating another tree with general enhancements whose AP's spent count toward all the other PrE gates.

But, in order to make that work well - the devs need to use some of their imagination and creativity (I can help with TONS of suggestion, along with many of us) to load up the panels with more choices of enhancements, because separating an already starved panel into two will make them look even more empty.

So the art now dictates function? Because it'll "look bad" because a panel is largely "empty" they should create even more enhancements? To make them useful and balanced (input from us, right like that'll happen) it'll require even more thought and coding. If they don't make them useful then they're just there to do what? Occupy space so that the interface looks "pretty"?

I think that's a large problem with this interface. It's all about style over substance.

hit_fido
04-13-2013, 02:47 PM
The tiered gated system needs to be there so people cannot just pick and choose the best abilities from the trees. You SHOULD have to invest in a tree to get the best abilities. Otherwise we are going to see a system with rampant balance issues. Just about every game that uses the tree system has this feature.

This was already addressed by using Character Level and Enhancement/Feat requirements in place of AP gating. Those provide a means for Turbine to restrict higher tier abilities to builds that have invested in relevant enhancement chains instead of irrelevant enhancement selections that waste AP. I don't mind that Keen Edge is at the end of a long chain of related enhancements. I don't mind that I may have to be Level 18 to take Keen Edge. I do mind that to take Keen Edge I may have to take tactics and dodge which have no relation to the point of Keen Edge.

Again: What does AP/Tier gating do for this system that Character Level, Enhancement and Feat prerequisites can't achieve, other than needlessly constrict build variety through wasted AP as well as add complexity?

hit_fido
04-13-2013, 03:00 PM
All getting rid of all Ap/Tier restrictions for enhancements does is give a massive advantage to multiclass characters by increasing the number of relevant enhancements that are accessible.

What is the actual difference between pure and multi? If you want to make purer classing more attractive, then you should support removing AP gating, because your 20 level fighter will still have access to only 4 trees, the same as any multiclass character, and you'll still face the same challenge as you attempt to get the most value out of those trees. If you build a stalwart focused fighter now and still want Keen Edge you're faced with exactly the problem I described - you're going to waste AP on stuff like dodge enhancements that likely do your plate/shield toting fighter build no good at all.

The way to make more levels in a single class attractive is to make the enhancement line at the bottom actual autogrants gated by class level. That means a pure Fighter ends up with a number of potentially useful enhancements for FREE, but if I splash 6 fighter levels, I only get the first couple autogranted. So by multiclassing I'd give up the core pre enhancements that your pure fighter would get for free.

Cetus
04-13-2013, 03:15 PM
So the art now dictates function? Because it'll "look bad" because a panel is largely "empty" they should create even more enhancements? To make them useful and balanced (input from us, right like that'll happen) it'll require even more thought and coding. If they don't make them useful then they're just there to do what? Occupy space so that the interface looks "pretty"?

I think that's a large problem with this interface. It's all about style over substance.

Looks like I need to elaborate:

Nowhere in my post did it even suggest that art dictates function.

Heres the bottomline: If I'm shopping in a Prestige tree, I want variety. Moving enhancements out of the current trees along with some that may be missing into a new core class enhancement tree will make the PrE tree look starved with abilities.

As a result, all of the people who pursue the same PrE will have an identical enhancement list because of how small the variety is.

There's no art anywhere here. Its ALL function - THATS the point.

Ape_Man
04-13-2013, 03:18 PM
The amount of garbage Enhancements needed to be bought currently on live is miniscule compared to what needs to be spent on Lamania.

The Point Per Tree insanity is the cause.

MindSpecter
04-13-2013, 04:14 PM
I think the biggest problem with taking the "junk" enhancements is that they cost so much to take. I don't mind having to take a couple things I wont use, we already do that in live, but cmon.

eonfreon
04-13-2013, 05:17 PM
Looks like I need to elaborate:

Nowhere in my post did it even suggest that art dictates function.

Heres the bottomline: If I'm shopping in a Prestige tree, I want variety. Moving enhancements out of the current trees along with some that may be missing into a new core class enhancement tree will make the PrE tree look starved with abilities.

As a result, all of the people who pursue the same PrE will have an identical enhancement list because of how small the variety is.

There's no art anywhere here. Its ALL function - THATS the point.

Right. Which is how it is currently. If you pursue a PrE, you have identical enhancements to someone else. However, it's the general abilities that may vary from person to person. The fact that a PrE looks "starved" doesn't matter since the general enhancements are "filled". That's where the variety is currently, in general enhancements, not in the PrE.

So to keep the "tree look" and to keep from making the PrE look bare or starved of options (because they are in the general enhancements), enhancements that used to be "general" are now grouped under PrEs. The art design is absolutely tied into the function. You would have to ignore everything old as you look at the new to not realize that.

Take Paladin for example. Before if I got Toughness, I took "Paladin Toughness enhancements" for more hp. If I wanted more healing spellpower, I took "Paladin Devotion". Now if I want that equivalent I have to spend points in Defender tree even if I have no desire to be a Defender. The Trees should have been Class based with small tiers of PrE, like it is currently. But I'm pretty sure it fell about just like you initially suggested. The Devs wanted this design because they like it since they actually have a hand in creating it with EDs and they want to populate it.

In this case the art is already dictating the function. And you're already swayed by it because you're already thinking "hey, options need to be in the PrE tree otherwise everyone in a PrE will have identical enhancements", ignoring the fact that there were never any PrE trees to begin with until now, and people won't have the same enhancements because they'll branch out into the General tree, like they do now. As it is now, people will possibly have to level up a PrE they don't want and possibly miss out on abilities in a PrE that they do want, because that's the only way to get the General enhancements they used to have.

Thrudh
04-14-2013, 01:21 PM
And here you one of the crux of the current lama system; garbage enhancements.

In the Live version there are many garbage enhancements, but you largely don't have to take them. PrE's make you take some garbage enhancements and that was bad enough, but this whole system is built around making us waste points on stuff we never would have before to access the stuff we always had.

I don't like all the "arrows" in the new enhancement system... Turbine, note that there are very few "arrows" in the current game... Many PrEs make you take a couple of garbage ranks in Tumble or something, but usually you're only wasting 3-6 APs on that stuff... Almost everything else is wide open, and you can skip the stuff you don't want and get the stuff you do want...

But this new system seems very pre-req heavy.

I do appreciate you are opening up the level splits... No longer will the 12/6/2 and 18/2 and 18/1/1 and 20 builds make up 95% of the builds out there... and that "could" make things more interesting...

But you're making enhancements a lot more restricted, and for many builds, enhancements is a big part of the reason you splashed a couple levels of fighter or rogue.

I'm not sure yet if the new system is more restrictive than the old system... but my gut feeling is that I don't like all the "arrows"

RedHost
04-14-2013, 01:50 PM
100% not signed.

The tiered gated system needs to be there so people cannot just pick and choose the best abilities from the trees. You SHOULD have to invest in a tree to get the best abilities. Otherwise we are going to see a system with rampant balance issues. Just about every game that uses the tree system has this feature.

What needs to be tweaked
Some of the garbage enhancements need to be thrown out.

This is true, but many of the lower tier abilities are ones that seem fairly basic to the class, not just those focused in that tree. The current system already uses a 0/5/10/20/40 progression rate. What would happen if the lower end of that were tweaked a bit? Perhaps 0/3/6/15/40? This way, the cherry picking of top tier abilities is still restricted, and people can also grab core-class abilities that have been relocated in their off tree more easily.


Again: What does AP/Tier gating do for this system that Character Level, Enhancement and Feat prerequisites can't achieve, other than needlessly constrict build variety through wasted AP as well as add complexity?
It keeps people from achieving maximum rank in multiple PrEs. Which would be rather silly.

But as I stated, the only hard requirement for that is the fifth tier being 40. Perhaps some flexibility at the lower levels would help with some of these 'forced' decisions?

hit_fido
04-14-2013, 02:45 PM
It keeps people from achieving maximum rank in multiple PrEs. Which would be rather silly.

But so would a combination of prerequisite enhancement chains, character/class levels and feat requirements. Applying those to the most powerful "top tier" enhancements achieves the same power gating but eliminates the wasted AP problem.


But as I stated, the only hard requirement for that is the fifth tier being 40. Perhaps some flexibility at the lower levels would help with some of these 'forced' decisions?

Reducing the AP required per tier helps but doesn't go as far as simply removing the AP gating altogether. If you remove that, then it no longer matters that there is only room for five enhancements at each "tier" that push up other enhancements that were formerly available to builds early and without spent AP requirements. In other words, an enhancement could sit on the current "third tier" and still be selectable at level one (dwarven spell defense is a prime example of this issue), while an enhancement at the top tier that is deemed "powerful" could require a four enhancement prerequisite chain plus a character level, and even a class level if necessary.

Or make that top tier enhancement cost 6 or 8 or 10 AP if it's really that valuable, right? If it's not valuable enough to cost at 6 or 8 or 10 AP on it's own then why argue for AP gating that forces people to waste 6 or 8 or 10 AP just to unlock it?

RedHost
04-14-2013, 03:09 PM
But so would a combination of prerequisite enhancement chains, character/class levels and feat requirements. Applying those to the most powerful "top tier" enhancements achieves the same power gating but eliminates the wasted AP problem.
I think that I am being dense and not seeing something here. How would 'arrow' type enhancement chains, level requirements, and feat requirements stop people from being able to take the top of both, for example, Kensii and Stalwart Defender?

Right now the 40 AP prerequisite is specifically there to limit someone from getting multiple Tree caps like this, but I am not following why people would not be able to grab those very powerful abilities from the top of every one of their trees in this system.

voodoogroves
04-14-2013, 03:23 PM
Needlessly restricting build variety is very bad. This is why the new enhancement system is so worrying.

Getting rid of AP/Tier gating is one solution.
Another would be to have another tree per class to hold all the general enhancements, and have points spent in the general tree apply toward all the specific gates in the specialized trees.

Fixing this problem would change the new enhancement system from being greatly inferior to the existing system, to actually being an improvement over it.

Better is to have one class "page" period, with the multiple things displayed - general and specific.

3 pages, one for each class.

Races can swap one page, though the individual requirements may mean the can't take most of things on that page. Elves could swap in the Ranger class one - but would only get AA related items.

hit_fido
04-14-2013, 03:28 PM
I think that I am being dense and not seeing something here. How would 'arrow' type enhancement chains, level requirements, and feat requirements stop people from being able to take the top of both, for example, Kensii and Stalwart Defender?

Right now the 40 AP prerequisite is specifically there to limit someone from getting multiple Tree caps like this, but I am not following why people would not be able to grab those very powerful abilities from the top of every one of their trees in this system.

If it's Turbine's intent that a character only access the "top tier" abilities in a single tree, then we do not need AP gating to accomplish that; just saw a fantastic suggestion here that I support:


3, Tier 5 in any tree locks out tier 5 from every other tree. This is clearly and obviously a mechanic you guys balanced around, being that it has a "40 AP spent in tree" requirement. The elegance of "only 1 tree can go to tier 5" just by virtue of the 40 AP in tree prereq is game-breaking and unnecessary. Simply have tier 5 lock out all other trees' tier 5 and balance is restored while you're allowed to tweak.

Again, that's a simple, uncomplicated mechanic and doesn't require any AP gating at all.

Personally I don't see those top tier enhancements similar to capstones. Kensai has four enhancements in the top tier. Are those all so powerful that a character should only have one? If not, then why shouldn't a character be able to have one from Kensai and one from Stalwart assuming they meet all the other chain/feat/class/character requirements? But I grant if it's Turbine's intent that only one tree permits "top tier" enhancements then the lock out mechanic described above is a more elegant solution that obviates the need for AP gating.

Viisari
04-14-2013, 03:56 PM
Just make everything check points spent total instead of points spent in the tree and you're already halfway through to fixing this problem.

hit_fido
04-14-2013, 04:22 PM
Just make everything check points spent total instead of points spent in the tree and you're already halfway through to fixing this problem.

Sure, and there are a number of quarter and half steps that could be taken; many of those including total AP spend vs tree AP spend have been brought up without a lot of people saying they're bad ideas, and I also don't disgaree with that suggestion. This is about identifying a set of the best ideas that work within the basic framework seen so far (which whether you like it or not, realistically has a very small chance of being significantly altered the way some have called for) and close all the gaps that will limit build variety, build viability, potential for replayability, and (least important of these) balance, so that it results in the largest number of players enjoying DDO for another 1-2-3 years.

Total AP spend instead tree AP spend would be an improvement made within the existing framework and I'll take it if that's all that Turbine does. But eliminating AP gating entirely and incorporating other great suggestions within the existing framework means it is not part of the set of best ideas.

Cetus
04-15-2013, 02:28 PM
Sure, and there are a number of quarter and half steps that could be taken; many of those including total AP spend vs tree AP spend have been brought up without a lot of people saying they're bad ideas, and I also don't disgaree with that suggestion. This is about identifying a set of the best ideas that work within the basic framework seen so far (which whether you like it or not, realistically has a very small chance of being significantly altered the way some have called for) and close all the gaps that will limit build variety, build viability, potential for replayability, and (least important of these) balance, so that it results in the largest number of players enjoying DDO for another 1-2-3 years.

Total AP spend instead tree AP spend would be an improvement made within the existing framework and I'll take it if that's all that Turbine does. But eliminating AP gating entirely and incorporating other great suggestions within the existing framework means it is not part of the set of best ideas.

Removing action point gates entirely > Current horrendous incarnation

Dagolar
04-15-2013, 05:16 PM
3, Tier 5 in any tree locks out tier 5 from every other tree. This is clearly and obviously a mechanic you guys balanced around, being that it has a "40 AP spent in tree" requirement. The elegance of "only 1 tree can go to tier 5" just by virtue of the 40 AP in tree prereq is game-breaking and unnecessary. Simply have tier 5 lock out all other trees' tier 5 and balance is restored while you're allowed to tweak.

That's definitely an idea with potential, and it's by far the most simple and direct way to respond to it.
Either way- and keeping in mind the devs noted the alpha builds were PURPOSEFULLY over-restricted so as to allow room to decide where to loosen it up at- the trees do need a fair deal more versatility of access.

Obviously, assigning more level-based restrictions to the formula, as the OP suggested, does NOT do that, and is bound to ruin/lock-out even more builds than the AP-restriction.

hit_fido
04-15-2013, 05:54 PM
Removing action point gates entirely > Current horrendous incarnation

Yes, agreed, removing AP gating would be a net positive.


That's definitely an idea with potential, and it's by far the most simple and direct way to respond to it.
Either way- and keeping in mind the devs noted the alpha builds were PURPOSEFULLY over-restricted so as to allow room to decide where to loosen it up at- the trees do need a fair deal more versatility of access.

Obviously, assigning more level-based restrictions to the formula, as the OP suggested, does NOT do that, and is bound to ruin/lock-out even more builds than the AP-restriction.

AP gating is limiting versatility of access. I appreciate that you don't like character level as a means to gate power and that is fine, but that's only one of the alternatives suggested; overall the point stands that a combination of those alternatives including ideas like the top tier lockout I linked to obviate the need for any AP gating at all, assuming (and I have yet to see it offered up) that someone can come up with an ill side effect that AP gating solves that said combination does not.

SealedInSong
04-15-2013, 06:48 PM
100% not signed.

The tiered gated system needs to be there so people cannot just pick and choose the best abilities from the trees. You SHOULD have to invest in a tree to get the best abilities. Otherwise we are going to see a system with rampant balance issues. Just about every game that uses the tree system has this feature.

What needs to be tweaked
Some of the garbage enhancements need to be thrown out.

Who's going to decide which are the most useful enhancements? They'll poll everyone playing the game and then drop the ones people like least? That would just end up punishing the minority that had no problem with or found a use for the "least useful" enhancements at the time.

I agree there are some enhancements that, at the moment, I would not train and would prefer to replace, but the point of the OP is that at least if the gating were less restrictive, we have the choice to skip the enhancements we consider junk at the time. Who knows? Later they might become more valuable and then you can train those and skip the ones you took before.

As it stands, everyone's going to be training the same junk enhancements to take the same best enhancements, and that's not good for anyone.

Engoril
04-16-2013, 09:02 AM
Just make everything check points spent total instead of points spent in the tree and you're already halfway through to fixing this problem.

Indeed I too think this is the way to go.

Maybe also increase the total spend needed to open up the top tier, for example a total of 60 AP spent to open all tier 5 enhancements. This would address a concern I have about how the new system lets you reach tier 5 in a tree by level 12 whereas the old system doesn't let you reach the top level PRE abilities until level 18. If you needed at least 60 AP spent, then you would have an implicit restriction of needing to be character level 16 before you could get access to them, without having to explicitly state an additional level restriction.

The devs then use the arrow restrictions as their sole mechanism for forcing picks within the same tree to get access to higher tier abilities.

I would also like to see ALL core abilities be auto-granted according to points spent in that tree. If a core ability requires that a choice be taken, then the pop up for taking that choice needs to appear as that ability is granted, even if this means you get two choice pops happening one after the other ie Kensai weapon focus choice pops up after you pick your first Kensai tree enhancement.

Darkrok
04-16-2013, 09:50 AM
100% not signed.

The tiered gated system needs to be there so people cannot just pick and choose the best abilities from the trees. You SHOULD have to invest in a tree to get the best abilities. Otherwise we are going to see a system with rampant balance issues. Just about every game that uses the tree system has this feature.

What needs to be tweaked
Some of the garbage enhancements need to be thrown out.

Agree. The two abilities that the OP pointed out either don't exist in the current game (centered w/ any weapon) or require an insane 'gate' requirement (level 18 kensei III fighter for +1 crit). If anything, the 'gate' cost is being reduced here - you 'only' have to spend 42 total AP to get either of them, and 44 total AP for both. Yes, you're now very limited in other AP options - you can't take another top-tier from another tree now for example. However, in this one case I see this as much more flexible rather than less. On one hand you have 42AP + 5 fighter levels...on the other hand you have 22AP (Attack Boost III + Crit Accuracy III + Kensei I-III) + 18 fighter levels. And honestly, 12 of the 22AP in the current system could use thrown out but we've always accepted this as part of the baked in cost of kensei.

Now, there's a lot I don't like about the new system. But in this one case I'd argue that at worst we've got different flexibility and at best this specific example is more flexible. I can take 5 fighter levels (probably take 6 just for the extra feat but that's irrelevant here) and have a centered fighter weapon with 1 extra crit range for 44AP. Yes, I've now greatly limited my other trees. But I've gained the majority of the abilities from Kensei and still have 15 levels I can take elsewhere.

I think that before we can really decide which system is more flexible we'll need to see all of the trees and have quite a bit of time for the great builders in the DDO community to really wrap their heads around it. My initial thought is that we'll have much more flexibility but much less ability to go 'all-out' on something. You might have to settle for Tier I of something, be it human/monk healing amp, action boosts, whatever, rather than go for a higher tier. You won't see as many 'max healing amp' or 'max action boost' or max anything characters.

But I think the creative builders will be making some very interesting characters using the new trees. Honestly, I've got a great character I'm thinking I can build based around monks, kensei, and heavy picks that I'm waiting on the monk trees to flesh out. I agree that what needs to happen is that there needs to be much less 'dead weight' in the new system. In the old you either ignored the dead weight or you considered it baked into the cost of a PrE. In the new system each enhancement really should stand on its own. Only then do you go from cookie cutter to 'holy ****...so many choices, all of them valid, what do I do with this toon?

Darkrok
04-16-2013, 09:55 AM
Oh, one other thought with people talking about 'gating':

What also is lacking from the trees in a lot of cases is an ability to boost one of two stats that's present in every single epic destiny. That seriously mitigated the cost of abilities being useless to your build. Most of the time you can make use of a stat boost even if you can't make use of the abilities. Add a stat boost to one of two stats applicable to that tree at each tier and you reduce the need to take the same 'junk' abilities at lower tiers if you don't want to and allow people to clean up their uneven stats to boot.

cforce
04-16-2013, 10:15 AM
100% not signed.

The tiered gated system needs to be there so people cannot just pick and choose the best abilities from the trees. You SHOULD have to invest in a tree to get the best abilities. Otherwise we are going to see a system with rampant balance issues. Just about every game that uses the tree system has this feature.

What needs to be tweaked
Some of the garbage enhancements need to be thrown out.

Pretty much agree here. Removing class level gating opens up fun possibilities like "I'm Fighter 6/Monk 14, but I go deep in Kensai and shallow in Henshin". The problem isn't the system, it's too much garbage and not enough quality in some of the lower tiers of some PrEs.

That being said: OP, "I tried to make a build I can't even do today, and it was hard to make the enhancements work" isn't as compelling a case as, "I tried to do something I already do today, and I lost a lot of power because of wasted enhancements". I'd pick a different example to try to make more of a slam-dunk case.

hit_fido
04-16-2013, 12:48 PM
Pretty much agree here. Removing class level gating opens up fun possibilities like "I'm Fighter 6/Monk 14, but I go deep in Kensai and shallow in Henshin". The problem isn't the system, it's too much garbage and not enough quality in some of the lower tiers of some PrEs.

That being said: OP, "I tried to make a build I can't even do today, and it was hard to make the enhancements work" isn't as compelling a case as, "I tried to do something I already do today, and I lost a lot of power because of wasted enhancements". I'd pick a different example to try to make more of a slam-dunk case.

Fair enough, this kind of issue exists in Dwarf tree, there's a thread about Human Amp III requiring a 22 AP spend by virtue of it being on the fourth tier, and I've seen similar complaints motivating requests to change from AP-spent-per-tree to AP-spent-in-total, which would be a fine change too, although I think it should be removed altogether. My guess is we'll have more examples as more classes are revealed.

Bad on me for using class level as an example which seems to have rattled some cages but I thought I made it pretty clear that is just one tool that could be used among others. The crit range enhancement already sits at the end of a lengthy prereq chain. Isn't spending up that chain enough, particularly if there is a lock out mechanism that prevents "top tier" enhancements in other trees once you enter the top tier in one? What would be gamebreaking about accessing +1 crit range in the single digit levels, afterall? I think people are taking for granted that the enhancements at the top are very powerful when in truth when you look at them they're not any where close the kinds of amazing capabilities granted by epic destinies, none of them come off as "win buttons" during heroic content. Some of those top tier enhancements get stronger the higher you level as a consequence of natural scaling anyway, and crit range is like that to me - my crits are weaker at levels 1-5 versus 5-10 versus ... so if I take that enhancement earlier it is not overpowering in the lower levels anyway.

Fighter 6/Monk 14 with a broad/deep focus in Kensai and minor/shallow focus in Henshin, sure thats a great new possibility, I don't argue against that. But so is a Fighter 14/Monk 6 with a very narrow/deep focus in Kensai (only picking up One With The Blade and it's current pre-requisites, that's a 28 AP cost) and a very broad/shallow focus spreading the other 52 AP across the Henshin, Shintao, and Human trees. There's no reason we can't have both new possibilities - except for the AP gating that is thwarting the latter.

EllisDee37
04-16-2013, 02:01 PM
AP gating is limiting versatility of access.No, it doesn't. "Points spent in tree" is what limits versatility. When you lump all AP gating together as being the same mechanic you findamentally misunderstand how they work:

"Arrow" gating is fundamentally restrictive. It requires tons and tons of wasted AP, it removes player choice, and vastly reduces build diversity. There isn't one single thing about arrow gating that isn't horribly bad.

"Character Level" gating is fine. It's restrictive in terms of multiclassing builds, but not terribly so. On live, character level gating is used extensively, which is why 6, 12 and 18 are "magic" numbers for splashing levels. The only downside to character level gating is that it doesn't actually do anything. (See below.)

"AP Spent in Tree" gating is the end times. It couldn't possibly be more restrictive, utterly destroying build diversity and player choice while hamstringing us into roles. It's the worst thing imaginable in every way, and every aspect of it is worse than the next.

"Total AP Spent" gating is the holy grail. It elegantly and effortless reserves higher power enhancements to higher levels, allows flexible multiclassing, gives freedom to players in terms of build diversity, and has zero wasted AP. Everything about "total AP spent" gating is perfect; every aspect of it is better than the next.



On a conceptual level, when designing games the core principle is that you have more lower power things and fewer higher power things. This is utterly unachievable without AP gating no matter how you slice it. Consider class level. What happens if we put in class level 12 gating on tier 4 enhancements? As soon as you hit level 12 you reset your enhancements and spend ALL your AP on level 4 enhancements only. And if we solve this via arrows? Now we've locked players into wasting AP on stuff they don't want, and worse, we've forced them to waste their AP on rigidly defined developer-chosen enhancements that nobody can deviate from. Reduced choice, increased wasted AP.

"Total AP spent" gating is literally the only workable option.

Taojeff
04-16-2013, 02:09 PM
Agree. The two abilities that the OP pointed out either don't exist in the current game (centered w/ any weapon) or require an insane 'gate' requirement (level 18 kensei III fighter for +1 crit). If anything, the 'gate' cost is being reduced here - you 'only' have to spend 42 total AP to get either of them, and 44 total AP for both. Yes, you're now very limited in other AP options - you can't take another top-tier from another tree now for example. However, in this one case I see this as much more flexible rather than less. On one hand you have 42AP + 5 fighter levels...on the other hand you have 22AP (Attack Boost III + Crit Accuracy III + Kensei I-III) + 18 fighter levels. And honestly, 12 of the 22AP in the current system could use thrown out but we've always accepted this as part of the baked in cost of kensei.

Now, there's a lot I don't like about the new system. But in this one case I'd argue that at worst we've got different flexibility and at best this specific example is more flexible. I can take 5 fighter levels (probably take 6 just for the extra feat but that's irrelevant here) and have a centered fighter weapon with 1 extra crit range for 44AP. Yes, I've now greatly limited my other trees. But I've gained the majority of the abilities from Kensei and still have 15 levels I can take elsewhere.

I think that before we can really decide which system is more flexible we'll need to see all of the trees and have quite a bit of time for the great builders in the DDO community to really wrap their heads around it. My initial thought is that we'll have much more flexibility but much less ability to go 'all-out' on something. You might have to settle for Tier I of something, be it human/monk healing amp, action boosts, whatever, rather than go for a higher tier. You won't see as many 'max healing amp' or 'max action boost' or max anything characters.

But I think the creative builders will be making some very interesting characters using the new trees. Honestly, I've got a great character I'm thinking I can build based around monks, kensei, and heavy picks that I'm waiting on the monk trees to flesh out. I agree that what needs to happen is that there needs to be much less 'dead weight' in the new system. In the old you either ignored the dead weight or you considered it baked into the cost of a PrE. In the new system each enhancement really should stand on its own. Only then do you go from cookie cutter to 'holy ****...so many choices, all of them valid, what do I do with this toon?

I 100% agree. I think a good deal of people are wasting there breadth asking for the gates to be removed. They are there for a reason, removing them would completely unbalance the system. A better avenue would be to expand each tree to 6 rows and put more stuff in people are willing to spend. The issue is not everyone wants the same stuff but everyone seems to want the capstones.

Peoples time would be better spent coming up with different ability ideas for the devs to make the trees wider.

cforce
04-16-2013, 02:13 PM
First, quick aside: I agree that some of the worst problems are in the race trees, and it seems like they could really be compressed quite a bit across the board, and a lot of the "bad" enhancements removed/replaced. But I'm more interested in the discussion of the PrE trees.



Fighter 6/Monk 14 with a broad/deep focus in Kensai and minor/shallow focus in Henshin, sure thats a great new possibility, I don't argue against that. But so is a Fighter 14/Monk 6 with a very narrow/deep focus in Kensai (only picking up One With The Blade and it's current pre-requisites, that's a 28 AP cost) and a very broad/shallow focus spreading the other 52 AP across the Henshin, Shintao, and Human trees. There's no reason we can't have both new possibilities - except for the AP gating that is thwarting the latter.

Just to make sure we're talking the same language, I'm assuming you agree that the implied design goal of "make sure no character can use two tier 5 abilities from different trees" is A Good Idea. You (the game designer) get a spot to put your most powerful abilities, which guarantees that (a) you don't have a possible power creep when people min-max to go "all deep, no broad", (b) you force players to make interesting decisions.

If you don't agree that "only one PrE at tier 5" is a good design restriction, I won't bother taking the discussion any further...

If you're on board with accepting that the system can't allow characters who take Tier 5 stuff from 3 different PrEs, then I'd ask what you suggest as an alternative that:

(a) Prevents you from getting Tier 5 enhancements from multiple PrEs
(b) Doesn't class level gate to keep the possibility of independent class depth and PrE depth decisions
(c) Is still simple enough that it can be explained in one or two sentences

Class level gating *is* simple enough, and fulfills (a) and (c), but then it's just a question of "which gating do you like more, class level or AP total". I'll take AP total over class level; it's more interesting.

You say people are jumping on class level, when that wasn't your point. Did you suggest an alternative that still satisfies the main design goals? (Not a rhetorical question -- I'm prepared to eat crow if you did and I just missed it :) )

EllisDee37
04-16-2013, 02:22 PM
If you're on board with accepting that the system can't allow characters who take Tier 5 stuff from 3 different PrEs, then I'd ask what you suggest as an alternative that:

(a) Prevents you from getting Tier 5 enhancements from multiple PrEs
(b) Doesn't class level gate to keep the possibility of independent class depth and PrE depth decisions
(c) Is still simple enough that it can be explained in one or two sentences

Class level gating *is* simple enough, and fulfills (a) and (c), but then it's just a question of "which gating do you like more, class level or AP total". I'll take AP total over class level; it's more interesting. No, class level gating doesn't do anything. Because the moment you reach that class level you reset enhancements and ditch every low power enhancement you had to take while leveling.

rest
04-16-2013, 02:24 PM
At most you need 5 levels in a class to access all of the enhancements in a class tree, this is far from the case on live.

What about the bottom row of abilities? Those still have a class level requirement (12 fighter to access power surge, for example).

So no, you need more than 5 levels to access all of the enhancements in a class tree.

EllisDee37
04-16-2013, 02:28 PM
I 100% agree. I think a good deal of people are wasting there breadth asking for the gates to be removed. They are there for a reason, removing them would completely unbalance the system. A better avenue would be to expand each tree to 6 rows and put more stuff in people are willing to spend. The issue is not everyone wants the same stuff but everyone seems to want the capstones.

Peoples time would be better spent coming up with different ability ideas for the devs to make the trees wider.The gating needs to be there, it just needs to be "total AP spent" like on live instead of diversity-killing "points spent in tree."

If "points spent in tree" is retained, nothing else matters. It's all just rearranging deckchairs on the titanic.

cforce
04-16-2013, 02:29 PM
"AP Spent in Tree" gating is the end times. It couldn't possibly be more restrictive, utterly destroying build diversity and player choice while hamstringing us into roles. It's the worst thing imaginable in every way, and every aspect of it is worse than the next.


Hyperbole aside :), it only destroys PrE diversity, and then only to the degree to which "AP spent in tree" is not much higher than "AP available in tree". Right now, when 40 AP is the gate, many people who choose Tier 5 of a particular PrE must take a majority of the enhancements in that tree. I agree this limits the diversity of the Tier 5's. That being said, I pretty strongly disagree with "hamstringing into roles". My Tier 5 Kensai could still be a Level 15 FvS, for example. Tier 5 in one PrE could be combined with Tier 4 in 20(?) other PrEs, or two other Tier 3's in 400 other two-PrE combinations.



"Total AP Spent" gating is the holy grail. It elegantly and effortless reserves higher power enhancements to higher levels, allows flexible multiclassing, gives freedom to players in terms of build diversity, and has zero wasted AP. Everything about "total AP spent" gating is perfect; every aspect of it is better than the next.


It's possible you disagree with the statement I made a few posts up that giving folks access to the top tier in every PrE is a Bad Idea -- in which case, I'll not bother discussing the matter further. But, perhaps I'm just missing something -- how does this proposal keep someone from cherrypicking "the top abilities" from multiple PrEs?

cforce
04-16-2013, 02:33 PM
No, class level gating doesn't do anything. Because the moment you reach that class level you reset enhancements and ditch every low power enhancement you had to take while leveling.

<Fry>Not sure if missing your point or you missing my point.</Fry>

Um, the point of class level gating is preventing people from combining two enhancements of different PrEs when both are above a certain power level. If something is level 12 gated, it can't be combined with a level 12-gated enhancement of a different class, ever. It's one possible method of satisfying "you can't take the most powerful enhancements from more than one PrE".

Are you debating a different point from the one I'm debating?

EllisDee37
04-16-2013, 02:34 PM
how does this proposal keep someone from cherrypicking "the top abilities" from multiple PrEs?1) Choosing a tier 5 in any tree should lock out all other trees' tier 5s.

2) "AP Spent in Tree" gets changed to "Total AP Spent" for all trees. Those tiered AP requirements upped from 0/5/10/20/40 to 0/7/15/30/60

3) Greatly reduce the arrow prereqs.

4) Core Abilities require "points spent in tree", as in on alpha. (EDIT: Forgot this one, edited it in. It's kind of crucial.) Ideally they'd become autogrants to match ED mechanic.

(#1 was posted earlier in the this thread.)


Are you debating a different point from the one I'm debating?Yes, I'm debating the point of the OP, which is that AP gating should be removed altogether and that the "you must go broad to go deep" mechanic should instead be handled via character level gates and arrow prereqs. Character level gates do nothing whatsoever to, for example, prevent a ranger from taking all (and only) the Tempest, AA and Deepwood Stalker tier 4s.

Seikojin
04-16-2013, 03:15 PM
What if you had 20-25 extra ap, could you make it (with the same ap requirements for each tier)?

So far, it is looking like removing the core ability ap cost and reducing the costs of some abilities and per rank amounts yields about that much ap to use.

Seikojin
04-16-2013, 03:19 PM
1) Choosing a tier 5 in any tree should lock out all other trees' tier 5s.

2) "AP Spent in Tree" gets changed to "Total AP Spent" for all trees. Those tiered AP requirements upped from 0/5/10/20/40 to 0/7/15/30/60

3) Greatly reduce the arrow prereqs.

4) Core Abilities require "points spent in tree", as in on alpha. (EDIT: Forgot this one, edited it in. It's kind of crucial.) Ideally they'd become autogrants to match ED mechanic.

(#1 was posted earlier in the this thread.)

Yes, I'm debating the point of the OP, which is that AP gating should be removed altogether and that the "you must go broad to go deep" mechanic should instead be handled via character level gates and arrow prereqs. Character level gates do nothing whatsoever to, for example, prevent a ranger from taking all (and only) the Tempest, AA and Deepwood Stalker tier 4s.

Just to focus on gating point 2. Everyone spends 60 ap. So making that a pre-req would still allow players to multi tier 4 tree's, which is the entire reason of making it 40 in that tree. It would be like ED allowing you to twist tier 5. Too OP.

I do agree with point 4. That would free up 6 or more AP depending on how far you invest in a class.

I don't mind the arrow pre-req's. They make sense. I just think the per rank stuff needs to be tweaked to give players more overall AP to spend. They are giving us more abilities to choose from, so it makes logical sense to allow our 80 points go further.

cforce
04-16-2013, 03:46 PM
1) Choosing a tier 5 in any tree should lock out all other trees' tier 5s.

2) "AP Spent in Tree" gets changed to "Total AP Spent" for all trees. Those tiered AP requirements upped from 0/5/10/20/40 to 0/7/15/30/60

3) Greatly reduce the arrow prereqs.

4) Core Abilities require "points spent in tree", as in on alpha. (EDIT: Forgot this one, edited it in. It's kind of crucial.) Ideally they'd become autogrants to match ED mechanic.


OK, I can respect this as a consistent system that fulfills all of the goals I stated before. I'd have two main criticisms, focusing in just on (1) and (2) for a moment. (I'd probably agree with 3 independently of the final system.)

(A) Incrementally harder to explain, and would likely come with a lot of nasty surprises for less "forum-savvy, heavy research players" when they discovered the one "extra rule" about tier 5 enhancements after they'd already leveled a character up through 15 levels. This runs a bit counter to one of the stated Turbine goals. Not necessarily a showstopper, but I'd be more behind the proposal if you didn't have to make tier 5 behave differently than all other tiers.

(B) In some cases, it's far better to have the tier 5 available early in the character's lifetime. I'll take one of the Kensai "signature" tier 5's as an example, the ability to stay centered with a weapon of choice. If I'm going to build, say, a Warhammer-specialized dwarven monk, it ain't a whole lot of fun spending 75% of the character's lifetime *not* playing that way. Heck, I probably only get 1 out of every 5 characters I roll past level 15!

Point being, I think there's value to having enhancements that are specialized enough to consider exclusive available earlier in a character's lifetime. I'd rather not see that particular baby thrown out with the bathwater.

Gremmlynn
04-16-2013, 03:56 PM
So the art now dictates function? Because it'll "look bad" because a panel is largely "empty" they should create even more enhancements? To make them useful and balanced (input from us, right like that'll happen) it'll require even more thought and coding. If they don't make them useful then they're just there to do what? Occupy space so that the interface looks "pretty"?

I think that's a large problem with this interface. It's all about style over substance.I think style is a big point of this whole pass. I imagine the complexity of the enhancement system (as well as other character build systems) is a big reason a lot of players who try out the game don't stick around. I know for a fact there are players who do stick around who don't understand a lot of it. It just seems there are players who like trees with arrows to show them what to take next and from the popularity of games that use them there are a lot of such players.

Gremmlynn
04-16-2013, 04:06 PM
What is the actual difference between pure and multi? If you want to make purer classing more attractive, then you should support removing AP gating, because your 20 level fighter will still have access to only 4 trees, the same as any multiclass character, and you'll still face the same challenge as you attempt to get the most value out of those trees. If you build a stalwart focused fighter now and still want Keen Edge you're faced with exactly the problem I described - you're going to waste AP on stuff like dodge enhancements that likely do your plate/shield toting fighter build no good at all.

The way to make more levels in a single class attractive is to make the enhancement line at the bottom actual autogrants gated by class level. That means a pure Fighter ends up with a number of potentially useful enhancements for FREE, but if I splash 6 fighter levels, I only get the first couple autogranted. So by multiclassing I'd give up the core pre enhancements that your pure fighter would get for free.A better system would be to make a panel using just those bottom row abilities, match them to the current PREs and have them paid for by a new currency of "points spent in class". With a second panel with all the class enhancements. That way for every AP spent on any class enhancement a point is added to the classes PRE pool to be spent on PRE levels. Set the levels to 10+11+20 for tiers 1-3 and it prevents multiple tier 3 PREs if that's an issue.

Gremmlynn
04-16-2013, 04:25 PM
It keeps people from achieving maximum rank in multiple PrEs. Which would be rather silly.
Wouldn't simply greying others out when one is chosen take care of the problem without adding all the silliness of placing former tier 2/3/4/5 enhancements at tier 5 with 3 ranks (or former tier 1/2/3/4 now being 3 ranks all at tier 1)? Many with ridiculous prereqs that make you waste APs on getting a full 3 ranks in every step of the chains they are placed at the end of?

EllisDee37
04-16-2013, 04:48 PM
Just to focus on gating point 2. Everyone spends 60 ap. So making that a pre-req would still allow players to multi tier 4 tree's, which is the entire reason of making it 40 in that tree.Tier 4 gating is 20 AP, not 40, and the alpha system, the system currently on live, and my proposed system all allow taking multiple (equivalent of) "tier 4s."

If you're talking about tier 5, that's covered by point 1: Taking any tier 5 ability locks out all other trees' tier 5s.


I don't mind the arrow pre-req's. They make sense. I just think the per rank stuff needs to be tweaked to give players more overall AP to spend. They are giving us more abilities to choose from, so it makes logical sense to allow our 80 points go further.Despite making sense and being easy to understand, they are extremely limiting and restrictive.

There is zero chance we'll get more than 80 AP. It's just not happening. Period. (Confirmed by dev.)



(A) Incrementally harder to explain, and would likely come with a lot of nasty surprises for less "forum-savvy, heavy research players" when they discovered the one "extra rule" about tier 5 enhancements after they'd already leveled a character up through 15 levels. This runs a bit counter to one of the stated Turbine goals. Not necessarily a showstopper, but I'd be more behind the proposal if you didn't have to make tier 5 behave differently than all other tiers.The one thing that kills the system the devs came up with is not allowing themselves a separate mechanic to lock out multiple tier 5s. If this is a dealbreaker, all hope is lost. We're doomed to DDO: NGE.


(B) In some cases, it's far better to have the tier 5 available early in the character's lifetime. I'll take one of the Kensai "signature" tier 5's as an example, the ability to stay centered with a weapon of choice. If I'm going to build, say, a Warhammer-specialized dwarven monk, it ain't a whole lot of fun spending 75% of the character's lifetime *not* playing that way. Heck, I probably only get 1 out of every 5 characters I roll past level 15!That's a very minor difference. Right now, it requires 42 points to get your first tier 5, so it's not like you're getting it at level 5 anyway. If you get anything in the racial tree (or any other class tree) you likely won't get that special monk ability before level 15 anyway.

In any case, the specific numbers of what the gates would be for total AP spent gates doesn't really matter. If they moved to such a gating system, I would have no basis to complain about whatever they chose since then they'd have the ability to deliberately and thoughtfully balance the game. In the current system, with "points spent in tree", they aren't balancing (outside of making tier 5s lock each other out) but instead are simply giving us very few hardcoded paths to choose from.

For other examples of "total AP spent" gates, consider:

0/10/30/50/70

This is probably a better progression than 0/7/15/30/60. It would mean:

- You only get 10 AP total to spend on tier 5, making you pick and choose between the highest power enhancements. This is a good thing, increasing diversity and better mirroring what we have on live. Thing of epic destinies, where you only get 4 points to spend on tier 5 and every tier 5 has at least 8 points worth of stuff to take.

- Since you're pretty much guaranteed to spend all 10 points allowed on tier 5s, that leaves you 20 spoints to spend on tier 4. Now we're talking. Take ANY tier 4 you want in any tree, no prereqs at all, but you only get 20 points to spend. That's player choice. That's build diversity.

etc...


EDIT: The surprise "gotcha!" of tier 5s locking each other out can be handled simply and elegantly by including that note at the bottom of the tooltip for every tier 5 ability. Even a brand new player would then know exactly what they were in for.

dunklezhan
04-16-2013, 05:00 PM
I haven't read the rest of the thread, but might one solution to the problem of build complexity choices vs 'pick and choose' cherry picking be to allow selection of any enhancement which currently 'requires' two lines or more of prereqs (which I shall henceforth call nexus enhancements) to only require 1 line to be filled in?

You could actually put in more prereqs for other enhancements, providing there's always two ways to get there, and those prereqs can be prereqs for other abilities in turn. This would make all the abilities more accessible (because of there being lots of different ways and different prereq lines to get to them), but still provide an amount of restriction.

E.g. in the screenie at the top of the thread, there is an ability in kensai on the top rank that requires two lines of enhancements to be filled to get it. If only one was required, that's still either a 4 or 5 point investment which is significant - and it can still have a minimum level restriction - but you don't have to take two lines of enhancements which you may not want. Neither may be ideal, but i would imagine they all must complement the top level enhancement in some way so they can't be totally useless.

They could even add to the power of 'nexus' enhancements based on the number of 'threads' filled in to get to them (at it's simplest, if a 'nexus' enhancement normally it gives you +1, maybe it gives you another +1 if another line has been filled in too. Better would be adding whole new special effects, but that might be asking a bit much). This would lead to even tougher and more complex build choices as people hunt for the most efficient ways to get maximum bang for buck out of those gated abilities.

I just want to see complexity and options, not something which amounts to a series of predetermined mini-builds.

EllisDee37
04-16-2013, 05:05 PM
Not really. The "pretermined mini-builds" effect is largely created by the "points spent in tree" structure, not the arrow prereqs. The arrow prereqs are a big issue too, but if we have to spend points in a tree to unlock a tier, arrow prereqs end up largely irrelevant.

Right now on alpha, when constructing a build, nobody is having trouble meeting arrow requirements. Most of the time they're throwing away random points in the tree just to meet the "points in tree" prereqs well after they've satisfied all the arrows they need.

Deadlock
04-16-2013, 06:40 PM
1) Choosing a tier 5 in any tree should lock out all other trees' tier 5s.


Isn't an easy way to implement this just to make the Tier 5 restricted to 12 levels of a given class? It's not a million miles away from what we currently have. Sure it means someone with a 7/7/6 build doesn't get access to the tier 5 stuff, but so what, they don't get access to any Prestige II enhancement at the moment either.

Having banged my head off this for the past few days, I'm gradually coming round to thinking that we need to come up with solutions that are doable. Not yours, but many of the other suggestions I've saw are just too far out there and no way they're deliverable, never mind desirable. Simple solutions with positive suggestions on additional and alternative enhancement options are much more likely to get us somewhere.

hit_fido
04-17-2013, 07:41 AM
Just to make sure we're talking the same language, I'm assuming you agree that the implied design goal of "make sure no character can use two tier 5 abilities from different trees" is A Good Idea.

Although I don't think the "top tier" enhancements seen thus far are all that powerful, I am fine with Turbine limiting a build to top tier enhancements from only one class tree.


If you're on board with accepting that the system can't allow characters who take Tier 5 stuff from 3 different PrEs, then I'd ask what you suggest as an alternative that:

(a) Prevents you from getting Tier 5 enhancements from multiple PrEs
(b) Doesn't class level gate to keep the possibility of independent class depth and PrE depth decisions
(c) Is still simple enough that it can be explained in one or two sentences

Class level gating *is* simple enough, and fulfills (a) and (c), but then it's just a question of "which gating do you like more, class level or AP total". I'll take AP total over class level; it's more interesting.

You say people are jumping on class level, when that wasn't your point. Did you suggest an alternative that still satisfies the main design goals? (Not a rhetorical question -- I'm prepared to eat crow if you did and I just missed it :) )

a) is solved by a lock out mechanism that would more or less fade or gray the top tiers of every other class tree once you invest points in one class tree's top tier. That's a little bit of new logic to the interface which probably makes this a less likely change to see integrated, but it's so far the best and simplest idea for limiting these "top tier" enhancements - it doesn't require AP gating of any kind. The existing UI can make it clear by dimming other tree top tiers, and the tooltips can even note "spending points in this enhancement will lock out the top tier of every other tree". It's not any more complicated than understanding the net effect of having to spend 40 AP to reach the top tier now, which implies a lock out but actually doesn't make it explicit. If that is Turbine's intent, lets just make it an explicit and obvious lock out.

b) Take a step back from "class" level for a moment. In the current system, AP gating implies level gating! A 20 AP spend requirement to unlock Tier 4 enhancements implies I have to be at least level 6 before I can spend any points there. A 40 AP spend requirement implies I must be at least level 11 before I can spend any points on a top tier enhancement. Now this is a critical part of my disagreement with AP-spent-in-total: upping the tier AP requirements to 0/7/15/30/60 simply means you're boosting the implied level requirements; in that scenario, you must be at least level 8 to spend points on any tier 4 enhancement and at least level 16 (!!) to spend points on any top tier enhancements.

It doesn't matter that it's in tree or total; if you're telling me I must spend X AP to unlock Tier Y, you're telling what level I need to be as well. By advocating for AP gating of any kind, you are advocating for fixed level requirements at every tier! Personally, I do not want to wait until level 16 to take any single top tier enhancement, nor do I think it would be overpowering to do so. With AP-spent-in-tree I only have to wait until level 11 which is less restrictive but still a blanket limit where it may not always make any sense.

To answer you more directly then: by removing AP gating we're also removing implied level requirements. But what I've said is that Turbine could still apply as necessary any combination of specific character level, class level, feat, and enhancement prereqs in order to accurately cost any given enhancement. They currently require class level 5 for the top tier enhancements. Does that make sense? Maybe, I'm not arguing against it but it's there in the current system as an explicit class level based restriction. Perhaps some enhancements should have a higher class level requirement, some should have none at all? We could adjust those limits without AP gating, which just forces an implied character level requirement across the board.

Let's test the two ideas: Take the critical range enhancement as it appears now - it requires Fighter level 5; four enhancement prereqs; 3-4 feat requirements; and at least 40 AP spent in tree (implying character level 11). If we remove AP gating, what is the consequence? I see more flexibility - the opportunity to take this earlier in a build's life - without allowing an overpowered build because other (arguably sensible) limits are in place - you may even argue those other limits can be toned down as well, that's fine, but it's clear to me AP gating isn't needed here. If we switch to AP-gating-in-total and lift the AP requirement to 60 AP (implying character level 16 is necessary in addition to everything else)? I see less flexibility and a longer wait to buy an interesting enhancement.

c) Removing AP gating from the user perspective just removes complexity. The UI can drop the "Requires X points in tree" stuff that's in every enhancement now. And we would no longer have implied level requirements that aren't explicitly laid out for the player.

hit_fido
04-17-2013, 08:16 AM
On a conceptual level, when designing games the core principle is that you have more lower power things and fewer higher power things. This is utterly unachievable without AP gating no matter how you slice it. Consider class level. What happens if we put in class level 12 gating on tier 4 enhancements? As soon as you hit level 12 you reset your enhancements and spend ALL your AP on level 4 enhancements only. And if we solve this via arrows? Now we've locked players into wasting AP on stuff they don't want, and worse, we've forced them to waste their AP on rigidly defined developer-chosen enhancements that nobody can deviate from. Reduced choice, increased wasted AP.

First, I'm still not sure if you've changed your mind now about tier 4 enhancements, because here you seem to imply there really is no concern with being able to buy many of them at once:


This is what's known as a strawman, and here's why: You're completely making way OP tier 4 abilities that don't exist -- nothing in tier 4 approaches the examples you've given -- and thus you conclude that being able to easily take tier 4s without "points spent in tree" gating would be OP. Well, yeah, of course; when your fictional example of super double-plus powerful tier 4 abilities that don't exist, that would definitely be the case!

But that's not the situation, and that's not the case. Any tier 4 ability that is so powerful that it would unbalance the game if you could pick and choose tier 4s should be moved to tier 5. Problem solved, no fuss no muss.

What happens if we put in character level 8 gating on tier 4 enhancements which is the net result of the proposed 30 AP-spent-in-total? As soon as I hit character level 8 I spend all my remaining AP (50 points) on tier 4 (and 5) enhancements. I'm only required to spend 30 on low level requirements, and I only have to spend them in one tree. I could buy exclusively tier 4 enhancements in every other tree without spending for lower level enhancements in any of those other trees! So if you want a system that forces you to take more lower level enhancements and fewer high level enhancements, your proposal falls quite short of - both overall and in any given tree - doesn't it?

You really can't achieve what you want unless you utilize a combination of - preferably logical and thematic - enhancement prereqs, feat requirements, class level, and character level requirements. It's true that we must have AP gating if we don't use any of those other mechanisms - and it's also shown above that AP gating by itself falls short! But if we do utilize those other mechanisms to limit power then we can do away with AP gating and suffer no ill effects (that have been brought to light).

Not every enhancement needs every kind of requirement. But enhancement prereqs in my mind are a good way to do that so we're simply at odds there. Sensible enhancement prereqs never struck me as a poor aspect of the existing system on Live, with a few notable exceptions like requiring one or two ranks of those skill point enhancements to unlock some PRE. In fact the nature of this new UI is actually a plus in this case - in the old system you had PRE's with a few different enhancement prereqs/chains connecting into them; in large part what I see in the new system so far are only single chains; One with the Blade is fed by two chains. Given the UI layour you actually can't have more than three prereqs period. I'd say that's actually an improvement over the old system.

cru121
04-17-2013, 12:04 PM
How about:
1) (EllisDee) Choosing a tier 5 in any tree should lock out all other trees' tier 5s.
2) (New) Decrease the AP spent in tree to 0/4/8/15/30
3) (New) Optionally add minimum character level requirement to tiers if you don't want lvl 8 characters with prestige capstones.

Bzzzt
04-17-2013, 01:28 PM
Just make everything check points spent total instead of points spent in the tree and you're already halfway through to fixing this problem.

^This

Or (I believe I saw this already stated somewhere but it requires restating) swap the majority of the AP gating for character/class level gating (as the current system is based upon).

Or better yet, squish the two together in an artful way. Have the main tree unlock based on total points spent and character levels (5 tiers, 1/6/9/15/18) with the cool core abilities locked by class level and several prerequisites in the trees.

FOR EXAMPLE (Because examples are important) under my proposed system:
Core Ability: Tempest: Prerequisites: Ranger 6, Whirling Blades I/II and Improved Mobility I
You gain +20% chance to make off-hand attacks when dual wielding. While you are dual wielding, you can use your dexterity modifier to hit with light melee weapons. You now treat Scimitars as if they were light melee weapons.

Each of those prerequisites would have a character level gate and an AP spent gate.

(This is basically the live system applied to the alpha trees).

EllisDee37
04-17-2013, 01:37 PM
NOTE: I broke up my novel-length reponses into the next 4 posts to make them easier to digest. I would encourage reading all four before responding to any one of them.



Isn't an easy way to implement this just to make the Tier 5 restricted to 12 levels of a given class?No, because that does not prevent you from taking tier 5 enhancements from multiple class trees for the class where you have 12 levels. (12 ranger would get tier 5 tempest, tier 5 AA, and tier 5 DS.)

EllisDee37
04-17-2013, 01:51 PM
upping the tier AP requirements to 0/7/15/30/60 simply means you're boosting the implied level requirements; in that scenario, you must be at least level 8 to spend points on any tier 4 enhancement and at least level 16 (!!) to spend points on any top tier enhancements.And that makes it good. Higher power enhancements should require higher levels.


Personally, I do not want to wait until level 16 to take any single top tier enhancementHigher power enhancements being available at lower levels is unbalancing and poor game design. Lots of high power enhancements in the current system on live (not alpha) have very high level requirements, either by progression, class level requirements, or both. And that's as it should be. That's good game design.


Turbine could still apply as necessary any combination of specific character level, class level, feat, and enhancement prereqs in order to accurately cost any given enhancement.This misses a second fundamental aspect of balance: All these listed mechanics do nothing to require lower power enhancements at all. Character level and class level do nothing to prevent a level 20 character from reseting enhancements and just taking ALL tier 4s for all three trees and the one set of tier 5s they want. That's unbalancing. You need to introduce a mechanic that requires AT LEAST an equal number of tier 3s as tier 4s, tier 2s as tier 3s, and tier 1s as tier 2s.

The only mechanism in your proposal that addresses this is arrow prereqs. That would be unimaginably restrictive. You'd essentially need 20 points worth of arrow prereqs on every tier, with tier 5s being "arrowed" all the way down to tier 1. It would be the pinnacle of players having no choice.


critical range enhancement [...] If we remove AP gating, what is the consequence? I see more flexibility - the opportunity to take this earlier in a build's lifeAnd that is bad. Giving lower level characters higher power enhancements is bad game design. AP gating is clearly needed to prevent this exact effect.


I see [...] a longer wait to buy an interesting enhancementYES!!! That's what good game design does.

EllisDee37
04-17-2013, 02:08 PM
What happens if we put in character level 8 gating on tier 4 enhancements which is the net result of the proposed 30 AP-spent-in-total? As soon as I hit character level 8 I spend all my remaining AP (50 points) on tier 4 (and 5) enhancements.Agreed that that's a problem, which is why I proposed the alternate 0/10/30/50/70 structure. This solves the problem, but more to the point, the mechanic itself allows the problem the be solved by tweaking the specific values. (Since abilities cost 2, 3 or 6 points each for full ranks, a factor of 12 may be preferable; something like 0/10/30/44/68.)


So if you want a system that forces you to take more lower level enhancements and fewer high level enhancements, your proposal falls quite short of - both overall and in any given tree - doesn't it?No, because you're focusing on specific value instead of the mechanic itself.


You really can't achieve what you want unless you utilize a combination of - preferably logical and thematic - enhancement prereqs, feat requirements, class level, and character level requirements.Again, and I can't stress this enough, this combination does nothing to address it outside of arrow prereqs, and to enforce this via arrow prereqs would be the ultimate in removing player choice.


Not every enhancement needs every kind of requirement. But enhancement prereqs in my mind are a good way to do that so we're simply at odds there.We are indeed. Arrow prereqs are the absolute worst possible way to do it. Bar none. It completely and utterly removes player choice.

Do me a favor: Pick any class tree you like and set up your arrow system however you like so that it ensures that a level 20 character who resets his enhancements is forced to spend at least as many points in every tier as the tier above it. I don't think you'll understand the implications of what you're advocating until you do this.

EllisDee37
04-17-2013, 02:31 PM
Do me a favor: Pick any class tree you like and set up your arrow system however you like so that it ensures that a level 20 character who resets his enhancements is forced to spend at least as many points in every tier as the tier above it. I don't think you'll understand the implications of what you're advocating until you do this.The first thing you'll notice if you do this is that your arrow prereq system quickly devolves into "points spent in tree." In order to get, say, 3 different tier 4s in one tree, arrows will force you to spend a bunch of points in tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 for that specific tree.

My system does not do this. It allows you to spend your tier 1 points on ANY of the four trees you have access to. Maybe you like the racial tree tier 1s, and your "secondary class tree" (a tree frm your primary class but not the one you want tier 5s from), but only one of your "main" tree (the one you're taking to tier 5) has anything interesting in tier 1, so you only take that one.

Now you've unlocked all tier 2s in all your trees. Maybe this time the racial tree has nothing you want (for this specific build, remember!) but your "main" tree has a ton of stuff in tier 2 you want, so you go heavy in your main tree on tier 2.

Now that tier 3s are unlocked, that 3-level splash you did comes into its own. You splashed it specifically for its tier 3s, and here you go super heavy on the "splash" tree's tier 3s, with almost no tier 3s in any other tree.

Tier 4s are unlocked, and from here on out you go heavy in your "main" tree.


See all the character choice/customization that AP gating allows? Do you see how stifling an arrow prereq system would be by comparison?

hit_fido
04-17-2013, 08:23 PM
Agreed that that's a problem, which is why I proposed the alternate 0/10/30/50/70 structure. This solves the problem, but more to the point, the mechanic itself allows the problem the be solved by tweaking the specific values. (Since abilities cost 2, 3 or 6 points each for full ranks, a factor of 12 may be preferable; something like 0/10/30/44/68.)

It still falls short because whats to stop me from spending 10 AP in one tree to unlock tier 2, another 20 to unlock tier 3, 20 more to unlock tier 4, and the spending my remaining AP on tier 4 enhancements? My spread in each tier is 10, 20, 20, and 30? That still doesn't achieve what you want, which is ensuring that "a level 20 character who resets his enhancements is forced to spend at least as many points in every tier as the tier above it." If falls short even harder when you realize that I could take 30 points in my racial tree, and then buy only tier 3, 4, and 5 enhancements across the Kensai and Henshin trees. That doesn't that bother you?


The first thing you'll notice if you do this is that your arrow prereq system quickly devolves into "points spent in tree." In order to get, say, 3 different tier 4s in one tree, arrows will force you to spend a bunch of points in tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 for that specific tree.

But that's almost exactly what you claim to want here!


You need to introduce a mechanic that requires AT LEAST an equal number of tier 3s as tier 4s, tier 2s as tier 3s, and tier 1s as tier 2s.

It seems to me you're actually arguing harder for AP-spent-in-tree, at least if you feel it's critical to game balance that I spend on lower tier enhancements more than I spend on upper tier enhancements.


Character level and class level do nothing to prevent a level 20 character from reseting enhancements and just taking ALL tier 4s for all three trees and the one set of tier 5s they want.

Which is why we have enhancements and feat requirements as another mechanism. I get it - you want no enhancement prereqs at all, I think they're fine where they make thematic/logical sense. We wont get past butting heads on that.

This is the crux: it's apparently ok in your system that I can bulk up on Tier 3 and 4 enhancements in a couple class trees (and tier 5 in one of those) without spending any AP at all on lower tier enhancements in those trees, and only take enough Tier 1 and 2 enhancements in a single tree to unlock tier 3 across the board - inspite of everything else you've argued about balance, you don't seem to think that's an issue. So I am not swayed when you argue that a system that ditches AP gating altogether and uses sensible enhancement prereqs - which would necessitate me spending at least some AP in tier 1/2 in each tree due to chained enhancements - would be a worse situation. The latter system actually does a better job of solving your stated problem, which is getting me to spend on lower tier enhancements before I take the higher tier ones!

My understanding of your position currently: you hate enhancement prereqs so much that you're ok letting me skip tier 1 and 2 entirely in three out of the four trees, but you evidently don't consider that to be an issue for balance or contrary to your goal that players are "forced to spend at least as many points in every tier as the tier above it".

My current position: (a) you're not actually solving the problems you're citing. (b) for me personally, limiting the top tier enhancements to character level 18+ is dead on arrival. There's already a steep class level requirement for the "core enhancement row". I'm way more interested in increased variety and flexibility than marginal differences in balance.

Will have to digest the recent changes Turbine is rolling out and take this up in a couple days again.

EllisDee37
04-18-2013, 12:22 AM
It still falls short because whats to stop me from spending 10 AP in one tree to unlock tier 2, another 20 to unlock tier 3, 20 more to unlock tier 4, and the spending my remaining AP on tier 4 enhancements? My spread in each tier is 10, 20, 20, and 30?Yes, that spread would be fine. I find it odd your example doesn't take a single tier 5; assuming you maxed your tier 5s (like most people would want to) you'd end up with 10, 20, 20, 18, 12, which is pretty much perfect.


If falls short even harder when you realize that I could take 30 points in my racial tree, and then buy only tier 3, 4, and 5 enhancements across the Kensai and Henshin trees. That doesn't that bother you?Bother me? That's exactly what I want. That's how it works on live.


I get it - you want no enhancement prereqs at all, I think they're fine where they make thematic/logical sense. We wont get past butting heads on that.No, I think enhancement prereqs are fine, as you do, where they make thematic/logical sense. Absolutely. A few here and there is perfectly fine. That's how it is on live.


This is the crux: it's apparently ok in your system that I can bulk up on Tier 3 and 4 enhancements in a couple lass trees (and tier 5 in one of those) without spending any AP at all on lower tier enhancements in those trees, and only take enough Tier 1 and 2 enhancements in a single tree to unlock tier 3 across the board Yes, exactly! That's the whole point.


inspite of everything else you've argued about balance, you don't seem to think that's an issue.Why in the world would I think 10, 20, 20, 18, 12 is imbalanced? It's pretty much perfectly balanced.


So I am not swayed when you argue that a system that ditches AP gating altogether and uses sensible enhancement prereqs - which would necessitate me spending at least some AP in tier 1/2 in each tree due to chained enhancements - would be a worse situation.Infinitely worse. You still haven't proposed any example of how it would work to limit a player from spending way more on higher tiers than lower tiers and not lock them into the same tree.

The whole point is that basic class enhancements are being almost randomly thrown into specific trees. Favored Enemy doesn't belong in any tree, which is why points from any tree should unlock it. There are countless more examples.


The latter system actually does a better job of solving your stated problem, which is getting me to spend on lower tier enhancements before I take the higher tier ones!The only way it can do the job would have the side effect of locking us into spending points in that tree. That's more restrictive.


My understanding of your position currently: you hate enhancement prereqs so much that you're ok letting me skip tier 1 and 2 entirely in three out of the four trees, but you evidently don't consider that to be an issue for balance or contrary to your goal that players are "forced to spend at least as many points in every tier as the tier above it".Yes, exactly. Spending 10 points in ANY tier 1, 20 points in ANY tier 2, 20 points in ANY tier 3, 18 points in ANY tier 4, and 12 points in ANY (one) tier 5 is balanced. That's how it works on live, and that's how it should continue to work. Some amount of arrow prereqs (where it makes sense) of course is fine.


My current position: (a) you're not actually solving the problems you're citing. (b) for me personally, limiting the top tier enhancements to character level 18+ is dead on arrival. There's already a steep class level requirement for the "core enhancement row". I'm way more interested in increased variety and flexibility than marginal differences in balance.Your proposal is functionally equivalent to "points spent in tree" gating. Come up with an example. Just use one tree, any tree. You'll see as soon as you do that you've created "points spent in tree" by another name.

Don't even use an actual tree. Make one up that has no abilities, just "Tier 1 Ability 1", "Tier 1 Ability 2", etc... Put pen to paper and flesh out a single tree (and we'll pretend that's how all trees are set up) and make it so that the balance of low power to high power at least resembles the 10, 20, 20, 18, 12 of my proposal.

hit_fido
04-19-2013, 06:52 AM
The only way it can do the job would have the side effect of locking us into spending points in that tree. That's more restrictive.

Honestly I'm starting to not really understand where you're coming from. If you want to buy enhancements in a tree then you are by definition "locked into" spending points in that tree. If you want less restrictive, then dumping AP gating entirely gets us there more completely and with less complexity.


Your proposal is functionally equivalent to "points spent in tree" gating. Come up with an example. Just use one tree, any tree. You'll see as soon as you do that you've created "points spent in tree" by another name.

How in the world is dumping AP gating entirely equivalent to "points in tree" gating? I just think we need a rest because that makes no logical sense at all.


Don't even use an actual tree. Make one up that has no abilities, just "Tier 1 Ability 1", "Tier 1 Ability 2", etc... Put pen to paper and flesh out a single tree (and we'll pretend that's how all trees are set up) and make it so that the balance of low power to high power at least resembles the 10, 20, 20, 18, 12 of my proposal.

On Lama Kensai tree which is at least back to the topic I started, if we did nothing more than dump AP gating, I can spend 5 AP at tier 1, 4 AP at tier 2, 3 AP at tier 3, 2 AP at tier 4 and 3 AP at tier 5 for a total spend of 17 AP in the tree for a Kensai splash that gets me a build that can be centered with khopeshes. I'd still need to be fighter level 5 and character level 12 to do it and well as have the four required feats. To me, that is a reasonable cost for a flavor build that may only be marginally better, if at all, than just using handwraps.

Feel free to explain why that is bad for the game and how your proposal corrects any deficiency in that example.