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(12 replies, posted in Balancing)

I have to put a plug in here about harvesting since it shares many of the current issues with mining.  Again my exerience is pretty limited in the overall mechanics of the game but to illustrate my point I will relate with an experience I had.

I figured that I had seen enough of the combat(PvE)/skills mechanics and decided I would try my hand at Harvesting since it seemed so much easier than mining.  Well I go kill enough stuff to buy a decent harvester and head out to find some plant life.   

My first attempt I did not realize that I had somehow managed to shift my primary target to a patch of weeds next to the plant I was trying to harvest (I wonder if this was a result of the double-click primary targeting from another post).  It consumed my charges then flashed an message Error_PlantNotHarvestable.  Call me crazy but you would think if technology exists to build robots and turn me into a virtual lifeform that technology would exist that would identify the plant life as non-harvestable prior to actually using my charges.

Ok no big deal had I been paying attention I should have caught that.  So I start hervesting...after about 5 mins I decide I'll go grab a bite to eat.  I come back about 20minutes later... I still have 20 of 51 units left to harvest.  I figure I got some time so I go grab a book and start to read.

Eventually I remember I was harvesting and return to the computer...hmmmmm still 6/51 left.   I decide to wait it out ...


After doing this once it is unlikely that I would ever attempt to harvest again.  I have a hard time believing that a person who just shelled out some cash would be thrilled by the prospect of sitting and doing nothing but watch a computer screen with no interaction harvesting plants.

Again I am slowly working my way through the mechanics of the game and examining them independently but my initial experience makes me loathe to dig further into the mechanics of harvesting or waste additional NIC and EP to get a bigger better harvester.

As is the case with Mining the profitability compared to PvE not to mention the interaction need to be re-evaluated.  Or at least give me a mini-game to play like tetris, missle command, or something to entertain me while I harvest.

Eventually the truama will subside and I will give it another look, but for now it apears that if you seek interaction, PVE is the only way to go.  As I re-examine this further I will develope some recommendations, but at this point I think I need to evaluate mining now so I can speak with a decent knowledge of the big 3 aspects of the game.

After reading through this thread, I have to cast my vote to the side of "Player Made" items being the best quality.  However these items should be rightfully expensive, require rare/more materials to create, and have longer manufacture times. 

Rare drops from NPCs is good but I think mechanics which affect economey should always be player driven.  I have yet to truly explore industrial side of Perpetuum, so this comment is made from experiences in other similar games.

Just my 2 NIC,
~F

3

(5 replies, posted in Q & A)

First let me say thanks for the timely response.   This is the first indication of a good development team in getting information out and not letting conjecture hold sway.

DEV Zoom wrote:

Well I am not Megatron but I guess I'll do just as well smile

As a matter of fact I think the guys at EVE want to do the same thing for their tutorial roll (or they already do? it's been a while I was in there).

I  have been there recently and the tutorial does introduce you to three aspects of the game. However it lacks a natural flow and seems a bit forced, in the end the only reason a person would finish it is to get the free skill books or equipment. Even then it is easier to just go straight to whatever career you choose.

DEV Zoom wrote:

One thing I didn't get though is what role the character's age would play, that part is kinda fuzzy for me. Besides if you read the backstory you'll learn that Agents do not age, as they become purely virtual beings during the neurointegration process smile

I am presuming that you are referring to the 5th and 6th paragraphs of the "Conquest of Nia".  The age would only be applicable during the creation process.  As described corporation tours would occur prior to an agent going through the Neuro-integration process.  Thus a person who serves the corporation in a training status for a longer period of time would enter Nia with a bit more of a starting advantage.  But the key here is the introduction of risk.  If an agent dies in training there should be a penalty of some sort, such as the character slot being locked for 30 minutes or remove the risk of dying with severe injury no longer allows further training character retains bonuses to this point but suffers a random stat loss as the result of the injury.  Again locking the character slot for a period in a fashion similar to EVE. (Last I recall their timers are around 9 hours to recycle a character)

DEV Zoom wrote:

For the skill progression part: deteriorating extensions. Sounds like a nice idea at first, even so if you count the fact that players would be more encouraged to pay the subscription fee to "stay fit" skillwise $_$ lol

Very valid point, especially in the realm of casual vs hardcore gamers.  The counter argument would be that unless the skills were directly related to the school/specialty/corporation then it would make sense that the skills would decay over time (perhaps a long time) unless they are used.  Now not to the point that they would disappear but rather that they would require practical application to reset to the highest level previously held.  This ties in with the next topic.

DEV Zoom wrote:

The "skills get better when you use them"-concept came up already in another post, and I can only say the same: unfortunately it's just too damn easy to exploit. You get a friend (or a script), start doing the same thing all over again for some days and poof, you're the king of railguns/mining/whatever.

Again a very valid quote and unless Avatar Creations was looking to partner with a company that would develop a "Punk Buster" type program it would be too easy to exploit.  I know simply because that was a function of mine in previous beta tests to macro, mem edit, packet sniff, etc to find holes in the program that could be exploited.  A partial means of combating this is a required process scan that randomly checks what processes are running on the computer in conjunction with Perpetuum.  But again I can understand the financial and coding reasons for not going this route.

Again thank you for the quick response.  I do hope some of the ideas do influence you as you continue to develop the game.  The GUI is already well ahead of many games that I had beta tested at early stages.  Kudos to you all for that, that is no easy task.   The only recommendation I would make there is window snap and anchoring.  Such that a person resizing a window it will snap to grid or to the dimensions of another window to which it is anchored.  If I can still a page from the WAR MMORPG it would be nice to be able to stack windows and access them via tabs.  I have tried this but not had any luck.

Thanks you,
~F

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(5 replies, posted in Q & A)

I am a relatively new Tester and have had a couple of opportunities to go into Perpetuum and experience the interface and features. 

I must set my background so that my comments can be taken for what they are worth based on my experiences in beta testing.  I have beta tested nearly every big MMOG to come online, as well as some that had niche market shares, as well as many that never made it out of beta for one reason or another.  I have been an online gamer since the early days of MUDs, BBS, and early online multi-user environments such as TEN, Federation, and TSN.

The biggest problem I have found with any MMOG whether it was Meridian 59, EQ, EVE, or Warhammer is in the way experience is gained.  If I understand the intent of this endeavor, it is to provide a realistic simulation of what a planet may be like in the not so far future.  Thus, the removal of anything that can be compared to leveling in games like EQ, WAR, or the host of MMOG that seem to be popping up every month.
First the approach you have taken is novel in the sense that it uses a method similar to EVE but holds the points in a common pool that can be accessed by any of the characters on the account.  Next the character creation process goes beyond the simple pick a race and pick a class.

All this I believe is a good start but I hope that you will consider doing more.  The following are some comments on 2 topics I hope you will give serious thought to:
Character Creation:  Most people if given the choices in the flat black and white manner currently implemented will pay attention and Min/Max their statistics for the "class" or role that they believe they will want to pursue. Not that this is bad, but it truly lacks depth.  Imagine a system of character generation that merges elements of moral dilemmas (like Ultima) and career choices (similar to Mega Traveler) to establish the character one ends up playing in game.

How I would envision this playing out would be first the creation of the avatar, next a series of questions to which there are three answers provide.  The first question (of which there would be several versions that are randomly asked) would align the players values with a Megacorporation's value thus setting his allegiance and made know to the player.  Next a similar question (again having multiple random variants) would be asked that aligns a player's interest with a school.  At this point I would see only very basic extensions being provided, however stat modification would remain the same.  Next rather than picking a specialty, Players would answer a question (again multiple variants) that would align them to the equivalent specialty (again only basic extensions provided, stats mod as is).  Next the player is asked a question that aligns them to a corporation and they are given a career path to develop under that corporation (stat mod and extensions same as others.
This is where character creation would make a revolutionary break from other MMOGs. First characters age would have to be addressed as an added stat (using 18 as the starting age of all characters).  At this point people are given the option to re-enlist for 2 years at each re-enlistment the player receives a a choice random rewards.  Example of how this would work:

Player finishes the question part of the Char Dev.  They are offered the choice of re-enlisting for another tour of duty with their corp before deploying to Nia or proceed directly to Nia. If the player  chooses to immediately enter the game they start as a raw 18 year old recruit with the basic extensions and stats from the Char Dev.  All players are awarded a spark of their choice upon deployment to Nia.  If a player chooses to do another tour of service with the Corp, multiple possibilities occur. They see something along the lines of this:
You have completed your 1st tour of duty with Corp X.  During your tour your duties as a intelligence further honed your skills allowing you to increase your skills and you may pick ## (random number 1-5) of the below benefits (benefits should be random but in line with the characters School and specialty):
     Extension training in xxxxxxxxx
     2 points to attribute X
     2 points to attribute Y
     2 points to attribute Z

     250,000 NIC signing bonus
     XXXXX equipment for your service
.....XXXXXXX benefit

Hopefully you get the idea, given that initially this seems like a good deal there is also a potential down side.  An injury can occur (lowering stats) or a training accident can happen leaving the character dead and they can start again.  As a player increases in age the probability of injury or death becomes greater.  Likewise the benefits also become more valuable corresponding to the risk.  For those that want to hop right in, 9 templates that reflect the stat modification of  sparks, school, specialty, and Corp can be used to allow immediate access.

If further explanation or detail is required I can post this a subsequent post focused on Char Dev.

2.  Skill Progression.  Perpetuum takes a novel approach to this, however IMO it is selling the game short.  Think of how we learn things in real life.  While arguments may be made that we learn as we get older from experience there is much left out of that thought process.  Let me illustrate with skills that I have developed over the years.

I have the following real life skills:


  • Surfing (Basic)- Long Board, Fish (Specialization)

  • Ice Hockey (Basic)- Goalie, Rt Defenseman, Rt Wing Specialization)


  • Pilot-Airplane (Basic)-C152, C172, Archer (Specialization)

  • Skydiving A License (Basic)

  • Machine Gun Operation (Basic)- M60D, 240G, M50 (Specialization)

  • Track Vehicle Operation (Basic)- M60 Tank, AAV, M1A1 (specialization)

  • Supply and Logistics (Basic)- Using Unit Supply, Intermediate Supply, International Logistics, Commercial Supply (specialization)

Taking this list of skills it is obvious that some of these I didn't need any book knowledge to learn, I simply just practiced until I became proficient.  Others it is obvious that some sort of instruction occurred. some required formal instruction and certification/licensing was acquired.  Others I merely had the opportunity to learn On The Job.  How this applies to Perpetuum is merely a mater of considering a hybrid system of advancement.  Extension remain the same as does EP system, however there is something to be said for practice.

Every single one of the listed skills requires that I practice them to remain proficient and to advance my skills.  Those skills that are not my primary duties or are hobbies that I routinely engage in degenerate over time if not used.  This could apply to Perpetuum in the sense that EPs can be the equivalent of book learning a skill.  Just as in real life, continuous study of a subject can increase your proficiency.  In addition to this use of a specific skill should also provide some form of advancement in that specific skill (as it is in RL).

I apologize for the long post and it is very late here.  If Devs or anyone else is interested in continuing to develop these ideas I would be happy to discuss.  As a long time beta tester I have a thick skin and appreciate constructive criticism, discussion is how we make improvements.

Looking forward to seeing you in Nia.
~Ferrix