Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:47 pm
Introduction: Creation System General Changes
This version of the creation system revamp differs in a few ways both conceptually and in available skills and spells to every class in the game. There is an overhaul to weapons (that is detailed in section one), a completely overhauled default system (explained soon), new options for some classes (many mundane shifts and a few important, in section two), a change in point values for most available options for every class (streamlines the creation points… sort of, per class category) and a new creation point to TNL conversion formula that simplifies most of the process (all in the final section).
First, you may not have ever had a chance to look at the entirety of the current system (what classes get what, for what cost and what is and isn’t available, for no reason at all), so you may want to look here. Cells in red aren’t available to a class, cells in light blue are no cost abilities for the class, and green squares are included in the classes default. I include a breakdown of creation points at the bottom, and give some rough estimates on a potential cost/benefit on races for some classes.
In terms of broad realizations, most classes are realistically only a few common spells apart. Very few unique abilities separate many classes (and the usefulness of a number of abilities are debatable), showing that we have a solid core group of abilities and very little meaningful differences between the classes. Mechanically, most magic classes have a damage ability that hits a specific vuln, and very little flavor past that. Many classes get next to no truly unique skills, and in the current system, many of their unique skills fail to be included in the defaults, so new players don’t even get to experience how their class should work.
From a high level, I had several goals with changing this system. First and foremost, I wanted to fix class defaults to not produce awful, subpar characters. Telling newbies all their hard work is wasted because their characters are missing core skills and spells only hurts us in the long run (how many people have stopped playing at or shortly after that point?).
In order to accomplish this, I’ve created a new type of default that will need to be associated with all characters that choose not to customize their character (or, more, we can 100% eliminate the question “Do you want to customize your character?” and force everyone to go through the process - it just needs a better set of help files and some basic UI/display work). This is a fairly basic set of spells and abilities that ALL characters need to be successful, and are applied evenly to all characters. These will include your initial weapon group, dodge and parry, fast healing and meditation, some form of detections, protective magic and transportation magics. On top of this, there is a straight 15% reduction on the costs of the abilities if taken through the default group.
Secondly, the grind associated with leveling some classes is frankly too damn high. Why are some characters 30,000 and some 75,000? There is absolutely no reason to make a game like this THAT grindy, especially for no real benefit. This has mainly been accomplished by re-balancing the costs associated with spell and skill groups (with costs that are built to reflect how ‘easy’ it would be for a class to master said skill or spell). Weapon based characters should have increased costs on spells with decreased costs on physical abilities, spell based characters are the opposite, and blended classes are somewhere in between.
In addition to this, class defaults have been reworked to pick up many of the specialized abilities that make a class what it is. This class of default also refunds 15% of the total creation point cost. Given the consideration on a high level that we for the most part have a ‘core’ system, many of the default combinations will cover most of the spells a class has, with ‘non critical’ abilities being left for customizing players to pick up. Future developments will help flesh this system out over time and leads me to my next point.
Thirdly, I wanted to establish a new and equalized base case for us to build on going forward into the future. Putting everything on some sort of even footing for comparison helps us build out and assign appropriate values to anything that is new or rebuilt within a class in order to provide new flavor all around. We have had suggestions on how to update classes here and there but without creating an actual scale to peg improvements to it becomes very difficult to measure what it can do compared to another class.
This may all end up sounding a little confusing right now, but I hope to give a detailed enough walkthrough of the thought processes I’ve had to explain the proposed changes thoroughly. I apologize for the overall length of this write up, but I’ve meddled in too many things all at once to have a brief summary.
Section One: Weapon Skill Creation Changes
There are many changes to the basic weapon systems inside Dark Risings. First of all, hand to hand weapons will be removed from all class availabilities outside of monk. This will allow for specific monk based tweaks, and will act as a BUFF to the disarm skill (as well as wither limb) - if you’re disarmed you will not be able to trust in the hand to hand skill to maintain any sort of damage output. [After thought edit: Possibly add Hand to Hand to weapon master, or add a buff to Rage/Battle Focus to the ability for this skill OR increase their UNARMED damage by a large amount, but prevent them from wearing knuckles to keep them unique to a monk.]
This change also makes weapon groupings easier as it reduces the total number of weapons in the system to 9, allowing for three neat groups of weapons to exist. They are (names can change, these are just working names):
- Simple - Including Sword, Dagger and Staff
Medium - Including Mace, Flail and Whip
Heavy - Polearm, Spear, Axe (Need to have a vorpal option created)
Each class will receive one skill group included in their class default for a cost of 13 points, based on their current ‘0’ cost weapon (default to the class). From here, there will be a giant divergence to the current weapon system.
Caster classes (Necro,Mage, Wildmage, Psi), will not be able to pick a further weapon class. It makes no sense that a Mage knows how to use more weapons than a Rogue (as our current system allows), as well as provides a melee nerf to casters provided there are future changes that buff melee skills for other classes.
Blended classes (Templar, Warlock, Bard, Cleric, Rogue, Druid) will be allowed to pick one of the two remaining weapon classes at a cost of 15 points. Blended classes are expected to have a better overall grasp of weapon skills, but this comes at an increased cost to the class.
Melee classes (Ranger, Monk, Barbarian, Warrior) are an odd case. Three of the classes have special circumstances for their weapon skills already: Warriors and Barbarians get weaponmaster for 20 points, which will give them access to the remaining two weapon groups outside of their default for a significant savings. Weapon master is held in a special class of its own due to the pending ideas about giving these two classes access to proc based abilities based on the weapons they wield (truly proving a ‘master’ bonus!). Monks are in their own class as they cannot use any weapon outside of hand to hand, and will remain unchanged in this section.
Rangers will still be able to pick either of the remaining two weapon classes individually, if they don’t want total access, or they can pick their own ability similar to weaponmaster, but without the same bonuses (gives access to all weapons, but doesn’t provide proc bonuses, as dual wield provides its own advantages), and it will cost 25 points vs weapon masters 20.
This leads to the following adjustment to creation point totals, as well as skill totals for classes.
Rangers are the only class to experience an increase in creation points, but with the new calculation system being planned as a linear system instead of an exponential system, this isn’t terrible. Additionally, 13 points of their 38 will be included in their class default, which will mean there is a round about cost savings (as class defaults will provide more points than their cost, as they do now).
When you consider the future weapon ideas of “Modify the parry percentage based on if you have a weapon or not”, you give melee classes advantages over the other classes, and give blended classes the POTENTIAL to have advantages/disadvantages, depending on what the second class they take is. It adds a new facet to PK considerations down the road.
Section Two: New Options Available
In terms of process, I went ability by ability based on the skill universe chart above and tried to figure out just where it needed to fit. There’ve always been skills and abilities that seemed to be arbitrarily missed for many classes, so I’ve detailed any new additions or deletions when appropriate.
There are no changes to the availability of the avoidance skills, however dodge and parry are included in every character default, while shield block is included in class defaults if a class can use the ability. Parry and Shield Block were oddly enough not in a default each, but that’s been addressed.
Regeneration abilities had some very peculiar decisions made within the old systems. Meditation was a 0 cost ability for Psi’s (and only Psi’s), while neither meditation nor fast healing were included in any defaults, though they’re widely considered a core, necessary skill by most (all?) players I’ve spoken with. The point total of the two abilities have been equalized (and removed from the Psi 0 cost list), and included in every character default. I would expect regeneration to be an area that may get some TLC down the road.
- All classes with second and third attack have the ability included in their class defaults while rangers second attack point value has been reduced as it is the only melee class to actually have to pay for it. All point values for second, third and fourth attacks have been normalized given class type considerations.
Enhanced damage has been included in every class default that has the ability, much like it was, as was critical strike. There is a difference in critical strike costs due to a variation in the code (warriors have a higher rate of triggering the ability than barbarians, so it is slightly more expensive).
Trip is included in class defaults IF the class doesn’t have a direct alternative (rangers with entangle, warriors with bash and templars with harrow). The cost increases for the various hybrids compared to melee classes.
Kick has been included in every class default that granted the bruising effect, which has recently been changed to include bards and clerics, and has been made cheaper for melee compared to hybrids.
Rescue is a useful skill in my opinion, but given the… lack of ability options for melee, it has not been included in any class defaults. Hopefully forcing people to customize their characters will give people enough of the option to take this skill, but if people feel it should be made default, it’s a very easy fix to add.
Classes with either get maledictions by default, or dirt kick. Not both. Due to this, dirt kick has been removed from Bard’s class defaults. The point band for the ability has been normalized.
Disarm and dislodge are NOT default, given the split in opinion on usefulness. While whirlwind has been included in barbarian’s class default, but excluded from warriors. If the warrior whirlwind ever becomes useful, it may need to be reconsidered.
Haggle has not been included in any class defaults as it is one of the true neutral class abilities. Rogues and bards have a reduced point cost, due to the nature of the general roles.
Hide has been included as a default for rogues, and has been added as a creation option for Monks, Warriors and Wildmages. Sneak has been made default for Rogues and Warriors, but removed from the Barbarian default. Shadowform is default for Warlock and Psis, while added as an option for Necromancers and Wildmages.
Heightened senses has been eliminated as a stand alone skill (this change only affects Psis), and instead they have been given the detect spell group like literally every other caster. In addition, it has been fully rolled into fighter detects along with locate object with the recent change.
Battle Focus has been made default for all classes that get it. Divine Focus has been made default for both Templars and Monks as well. I feel that Rogues should get it, but so far have held off as they’re one of the more expensive classes anyway, and there should be a balance discussion on it.
Peek and pick lock, while available to Bards, is only a default skill for rogues.
- Detection and fighter detects has been made a default on their respective classes.
Enhancement spell shave been made default for all casters (either enhancement or psychic enhancement).
Illusion isn’t a default group for anyone, and has been added as an option for Bards.
Maledictions are default for all classes that have access, as are protection (or psychic protection) and transportation.
Creation have been removed from any class defaults, but have been added as an option to mages and wild mages.
Healing is a default for templars, clerics and druids, but has been removed entirely from warriors. As a whole, warriors need more help than a low powered heal can offer, so the points will be better spent elsewhere down the line.
Weather is a default for wildmages, mages and druids, while the option to pick it up has been added to nceros and bards. It has been REMOVED from rangers, but any functionality of a chain lightning, etc, could be returned via arrows.
Beguiling is a default for any class that can get it.
Combat is a default for Mages/Wildmages, and will be removed from warriors down the line to make room for actual abilities in the future. For the time being it is still an optional group warriors can select.
Benedictions are a default for everyone that has it, and will remain unchanged unless templars don’t get bless/frenzy from class abilities. If it doesn’t get them, it will be added.
All class specific abilities, out of enchantment for mages (as it is more akin to a class based trade than anything), have been added to all class defaults.
I have attempted to streamline the point costs where I can so there is some sort of either balance, logic or both between all of the classes. As I stated in the introduction and in section one, I broke all fourteen classes out into three groups: Melee, Blended and Caster. These splits have implications far more reaching than just what weapons are available to them. More or less every creation point value for every option to every class has been touched and changed in some way, so I won’t detail them out, and more just say this - it’s ALL different.
For the most part, Melee classes benefit from a larger, cheaper assortment of combat skills to be mixed in with their class abilities. This is offset by a generally more restricted list of spells, and what they do have costs more creation points than what a caster would require. Casters benefit from a wider array of cheaper magics and have a shorter list of more expensive combat skills. There are certainly significant breaks in what these two sides have when compared directly to each other, and will be looked at further down the line in order to turn these differences into more discernible strengths and weaknesses.
The blended classes as a whole are in a weird spot - They have the largest smattering of everything available to them, but their point values are far more ‘middle of the road’ than either extreme. Because of the mid level cost and large list of available abilities, they tend to be a bit more expensive as a whole (thus benefitting slightly more from the 15% reductions in class and character defaults than other classes), but you won’t find the system scaling out in quite the same way as it did before.
The old formula to turn creation points into the experience needed per level is far more complex than what I turned it into. Prior to the changes, your first 40 Creation Points would equal out to 1000 XP/Level. The next 20 Creation Points were were 50 XP/Level, the next 20 are worth 100 XP/Level and the NEXT 20 are worth 200 XP/Level. This scales up to the point where 181 Creation Points and above are 6400 XP each. Add this in with the way the old weapon system worked and it just turns into an expensive nightmare for no real reason.
On top of these costs, your race has a hidden Creation Point cost (Kine started at 0 points to the most expensive race being Lich that cost 6), and each race and class combination has a straight percentage modifier to your total. When you read the help files and it says “x race makes a bad y class” (think about how expensive Ogre Mages get), the percentage modifier gets big. REALLY big. Some of the “This race does not take this class” (like a Gith Cleric) have penalties as high as 400%. Normally, these modifiers are between 0-5% (for a good combination race) and 30%. For the time being, that system seemed to be one of the better thought out parts of the system, so I left it alone.
Races also get certain abilities for cheap/free as racial bonuses. My rebuilt default system makes many of these benefits moot as they’re included at a reduced price within your default, so I feel that racial bonuses need to be a system that gets a deeper look sooner rather than later.
Because of this, I’ve decided to turn the entire system into something far simpler. Races no longer have a creation point cost associated with them, and the entire cost works out in the percentage modifier at the end of the formula. The Creation Point to XP/Level calc has also been vastly simplified. It’s now: ((5000 + (Creation Point Total * 80) * Racial Modifier). The system as a whole can be adjusted simply by changing the Creation Point multiplier, but as it stands I don’t see why characters should be prohibitively expensive for the sake of it and nothing more. As new abilities are added to supplement classes and the available creation choices increase, the modifier may change in order to keep the system as a whole balanced.
Conclusion: What do you mean you’re not done YET? Sheesh!
So, now what?
Old characters on dark risings will more than likely get updated to catch the newly available skills, if their class has something significant added. However, they are NOT slated to LOSE abilities no longer offered to their class (more than likely this will be the hand to hand skill). If you took the time to level a 60,000xp+ per level character, and took every skill and weapon and spell, then you’ll still have everything, and will be an exception to the system. If you decide to recreate, you WILL lose these benefits. There will need to be some way to reconcile the intended buff to monks via their weapon, and there still being some availability of the skill in legacy characters, but this is a necessary evil of the system as I see it.
Many of the changes tip-toe along the “I hope we don’t need a pwipe” line in my head, and I’ve worked to ensure that one of those DOES NOT HAPPEN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. I don’t want it, I don’t want to consider it (I have as much to lose as everyone else), and I won’t mention it again.
I also want feedback on the entire thing. As of the time I'm posting this thread Kiirion has agreed to everything proposed as is (I still need to talk to Kes to make sure there's nothing crazy from his side), and it is ready to implement (I would assume in chunks at best given how much it changes). However, it’s too big of a change that is too important to the continued health of the game to just create in a vacuum and throw in. I have HOPES that most people will be happy with the changes that are slated for all NEW characters in the future (combine this with the 50% change and I hope to see the time it takes to get a new character functional drop dramatically). However, I am open to questions, comments and concerns about any part of this. If significant fault lines in the system become apparent, I will work to correct them as reasonably as I can.
Submitted for the approval of, everyone that reads this, I present to you:
Creation System 2.0