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View Full Version : Allow Hireling Avatars from your Character Sheet



TeacherSyn
09-26-2014, 11:44 AM
This might have been suggested before, so bear with me.

As an optional hireling option, allow players to hire their own characters as hirelings from the character sheet on their server.

The hireling AI algorithms would work as they usually would. You'd be able (using the new U23 revisions) to select two common effects or attacks they would use. You'd use the same hireling control bar.

The hireling avatar could use the equipped gear, and any buffs that persist on logout, and would look the same in terms of any cosmetic effects. They would not gain experience, but would gain certain hireling effects (weapons and equipment would be immune from damage, as would any inventory items).

As with other hirelings, you can't switch out gear on the avatar in that mode.

If implemented as a F2P, you cannot use an avatar greater than your character level, and may require you to unlock Favor to gain the ability (perhaps 600 total Favor). A Premium or VIP must also unlock the ability with Favor and could use a character up to 2 levels higher, like a Gold Seal. Anyone could also buy the ability from the DDO Store.

To keep the implementation simple, only hireling classes existing in-game could be used. (Sadly, no Monks.) A multiclassed character could be used (provided any of its classes are also hireling classes) but may be less effective as the hireling AI may only use the traits of the dominant class.

Hireling rules still apply. You can't bring your other selves into raids or solo quests.

You may only use one character avatar at a time, but can use regular and Gold Seal hirelings with an avatar.

Most importantly, playing (literally) with a version of yourself permanently removes your right to b!+@# about how "crappy" your hireling is on the forums. :)

What do you think, sirs? #MST3K

schelsullivan
09-26-2014, 12:26 PM
/Signed, I like this idea a lot. Cant see it happening though, but we can hope.

Uska
09-26-2014, 01:31 PM
Umm no I think enough dev time has been spent on hirelings already

droid327
09-26-2014, 02:54 PM
I've had the idea occur to me before, but I shot it down myself for the following reasons:

-A fully-geared PC is immensely more powerful than a Hireling, even taking into account the shoddy AI. More gear slots and way better gear...way better spell selection...way better attack skills...way better stats. A PC hire could easily solo a Normal or probably even a Hard mission. You'd have to figure out some way to handicap your character, but then that defeats your "simple implementation" because trying to figure out how to properly handicap every possible PC build is a daunting task...

-There *are* hirelings like Rogues and Rangers, but they're Gold Seal or Epic-only. Letting you bring in your Rogue alt essentially means everyone can have access to trapping skills; or same with Clerics and heals. Also, I don't think there's any non-magical Ranged hires, so I'm not sure what'd happen if you had a bow equipped.

-You'd essentially be encouraging everyone to dual-box, which I realize isn't illegal, but its at least discouraged. People would build characters deliberately to *be* hires. Buffbots with Extend that you can call and dismiss at the start of quests (one Bard, one Wiz, one Cleric, one Druid, one Arti - run with every buff in the game!). Full-stupid Healbot clerics. Full-stupid Rogue trappers. Full-stupid Intim tank meatshields that totally sacrifice DPS. Basically, characters that normally would be specialized to the point of inviability as standalone PCs, but transfer their abilities by proxy to your actual play characters. It'd make actually playing those classes obsolete, because you could get all the advantages of them just by pulling hires out, while keeping all the advantages of your native class(es).

You might as well just move to a "Sword of the New World" or old-school "Xeen" style game where every player controls a small party, not just one character.

TeacherSyn
09-26-2014, 02:54 PM
Umm no I think enough dev time has been spent on hirelings already

Sure. I suggest the devs haven't spent enough time on the better ones. ;)

TeacherSyn
09-26-2014, 03:10 PM
I've had the idea occur to me before, but I shot it down myself for the following reasons:

-A fully-geared PC is immensely more powerful than a Hireling, even taking into account the shoddy AI. More gear slots and way better gear...way better spell selection...way better attack skills...way better stats. A PC hire could easily solo a Normal or probably even a Hard mission. You'd have to figure out some way to handicap your character, but then that defeats your "simple implementation" because trying to figure out how to properly handicap every possible PC build is a daunting task...

-There *are* hirelings like Rogues and Rangers, but they're Gold Seal or Epic-only. Letting you bring in your Rogue alt essentially means everyone can have access to trapping skills; or same with Clerics and heals. Also, I don't think there's any non-magical Ranged hires, so I'm not sure what'd happen if you had a bow equipped.

-You'd essentially be encouraging everyone to dual-box, which I realize isn't illegal, but its at least discouraged. People would build characters deliberately to *be* hires. Buffbots with Extend that you can call and dismiss at the start of quests (one Bard, one Wiz, one Cleric, one Druid, one Arti - run with every buff in the game!). Full-stupid Healbot clerics. Full-stupid Rogue trappers. Full-stupid Intim tank meatshields that totally sacrifice DPS. Basically, characters that normally would be specialized to the point of inviability as standalone PCs, but transfer those abilities by proxy to your actual play characters.

Good points, but let me see if I can shoot down a few of what you've shot down before with my limited knowledge.

While the PC hireling would have greater power, it lacks one thing; the player's ability to directly command every facet. Let's pretend that someone wants to pull in their Artificer. The hireling toolbar only allows a tiny number of anything, spells, attacks or other abilities. They may have a few good buffs (like Deadly Weapons) and could be dismissed. You could make PC hirelings whose job is only to buff.

But that's no different than using current hireling abilities and then dismissing them. You noted the Rogue Gold Seals; they, too, give trapping power right now. A PC hireling would simply have greater powers here. And you'd also be able to use Sneak (a limited feature only on some hirelings) and a few other features not found on any hireling. If memory serves, the Ranger hirelings are Tempest-only. An archer Ranger might be more interesting.

Unlike the standard type, you need to spend time (and resources) in making that PC hireling useful. Else it's no better (or is even worse) than a standard one.

I guess the primary advantage in the PC hireling is being stronger and more programmable, but still with a very limited skill set. The hireling toolbar simply doesn't allow the dynamic adjustments of player-controllable enhancements and gear.

Hirelings are already "dual-box." You're one player commanding one (or more) AIs now. The source of them isn't that different except a more fortified and trained version. Unfortunately, you could see your other selves do the same stupid things because of the AI limits. And many of us already use the current hirelings for much of what you describe.

That said, and what I didn't mention before, is that a PC hireling also adds a role-play flavor. I know that's not sought-after by many. But with the right picks, it could stand to be a fun variation to play if you're able to coordinate your own characters, right down to having a stronger party, even if fewer players are online.

droid327
09-26-2014, 06:05 PM
Countershots:

-In U24, you can rearrange their toolbar on the fly, which still gives you full access to your whole spellbook for "buffbot" hires. Also, the 'palette' of buffs available from hires is much more limited than a full player spellbook, and you'd need to carry around a whole suite of contracts to use them all - and each contract starts ticking once you use it the first time, meaning you'd run through them all prohibitively quickly.

-Even with only 4 active abilities to choose from for their toolbar, the selection of possible options for PCs is way more powerful than for existing hires. I could easily roll my Repeater Arti main up with Sniper Shot, Cocoon, Pin and Consecration as his four slotted/AI-activated abilities and he'd blow most missions away. Heck, any melee alt can just drop into LD, slot Blitz, and you can pretty much just pike and toss a Cocoon on him as needed. Or, alternatively, slot up your Cleric with Heal, True Res, Aura and Burst or Cocoon - that's way more powerful healing than any off-the-rack hire can achieve right now.

-You cant compare your PC hires to Gold Seal hires, unless you want to suggest that PC hires should all be Gold Seal level - ie, you pay TP for the temporary ability to call them. But I don't think that many people would be willing to pay the high TP cost to summon one of their alts. Gold Seals are purposefully more powerful (ie Rogues in Heroic) because they cost way more than just a smattering of plat.

-Hires don't have top-line gear or enhancements/destinies. You could, ie, build a Swashbuckler alt who - even just with autoattack - would have supremely good DPS, and the ability to slot things like Guardbreaker on a shield, or Paralyzing weapons in Heroic, or Blurry/Ghostly items, that would give them dimensions way beyond anything traditional hires can achieve. There's a reason that Druid and Arti pets only have two equippable slots and not a full array like PCs get.

Again, you'd have to devise some serious handicaps to counteract all those sources of power I've described - and I don't think that's something that can be solved easily or only addressed flippantly.