Although this news may make a few of you nervous because it provides an alternate means of acquiring objects beyond the existing harvesting/crafting loop, we think it will make more of you excited for the same reason. We are trying to strike a balance that will allow players to shortcut this process without undermining the dedicated crafters.
Was ist ein Belohungsgegenstände-Zyklus?
Crowfall’s initial work implementing combat, siege battle, harvesting and crafting systems gave us some great insights that will be valuable as we turn our focus to how we reward players in-game. We’re now to the point where that reward system is going to come online, so I thought we should reveal our vision so that we can get your input and adjust it based on your feedback.
Soooo, what IS an item reward cycle? As the name implies, it is the system by which players are rewarded with items for performing certain activities and achievements during gameplay. In most RPG’s, the item reward cycle is a key part of the overall gameplay loop. This can be outlined simply as Kill Stuff → Get Loot → Increase Power → Find Stronger Stuff to Kill → Repeat.
In a traditional MMO, the Increase Power step is significant, as the “stuff” you kill is only monsters, and the monsters are set up on a curve so that the numerical increases feel significant. This is all a question of scale. If you have a weapon that does 10-to-20 damage, it feels impactful to jump to 20-to-40 damage. This is a bit of an illusion, though; if the next round of monsters has double the health, nothing has really changed.
In Crowfall, we’ve set a goal to make the power curve more shallow, meaning that the power gains are set on a diminishing returns curve - i.e. the more you advance, the less you are getting for that advancement. The reason is that we want a player’s skills to matter more than itemization.
(Before I continue, let me pause because I know a few of you are probably shouting at your screen right now, “BUT IT ISN’T SHALLOW ENOUGH!” and you’re right, the current tables aren’t shallow enough. We’re making another balance pass right now, and I’m sure we will have to do it again a few more times between now and launch. It’s easy for things to quickly get out of whack as more systems and content come online. The important thing is for you to know that our goal hasn’t changed.)
As you can see, a traditional MMORPG power curve, which looks like a stairstep pattern if you graph it, would be in direct contradiction to this goal. This is a balance that we need to strike.
Wie man das erreicht
We want players to feel excited by the rewards they receive as they advance, but we need to make sure we don’t undermine our primary goal of a shallow level curve.
Well, how do we get there?
Back in the 5.8 implementation cycle, we really started focusing on loot and creating fun and interesting things for players to find on the NPCs, through harvesting or even in some random treasure chests. The items we came up with not only have snippets of lore that reinforce the Crowfall story, but they also interface with the current item system, enhancing the crafting system in some way or another, from new ingredient slots to new recipes entirely.
Here is an example of one of those items made for 5.8, the Trammel of Archimedes, that allows a player to craft a magical quiver that decreases the amount of time it takes Rangers to charge up their attacks.
While the crafting enhancement items are great because they create more synergy between crafters and combatants, we felt we needed more instant rewards available on the NPCs to offset the difficulty of obtaining these types of items and to ensure that players are motivated to keep playing. This ensures that players do not feel overly challenged or get frustrated if there are gaps in armor and weapon availability as they are progressing through the pre-alpha game.
In our next big release (Pre-Alpha 5.100), we’ll introduce randomized loot that approximates but doesn’t quite match the effects that can be placed on an item via crafting. The system allows an item to have effects that can modify the stats of the item or the wearer. Initially, this will be limited to weapons and armor, but will eventually be extended to other items as well.
Schuhe der Klarheit
These examples will give you a clearer sense of the benefits of this system.
Here is a set of “baseline” magic boots. Even without anything special, the boots apply two effects, Out of Combat Regeneration and Armor.
The next set of boots rolled a prefix of Valkyn’s, which adds the stat Anti-Critical Strike to the boots. (This reduces your chance to be critically hit by others.)
Our next set of boots rolled a prefix (Valkyn’s) and a named core attribute (Precise). Precise adds a +11 gain to the attribute Dexterity. (Since we give players three attribute points per each level up, you can see this is a pretty significant gain.) Attributes are significant in Crowfall as they generally have multiple children or attached statistics that increase with them. (For example, increasing the Strength attribute for a Knight also increases their Attack Power and Final Damage Modifier.)
This set of boots rolled prefix (Valkyn’s) and a suffix (of the Glorious). In this case, the suffix adds an increase to the armor value of the item.
Our final set of boots rolled all three types of affixes possible. A prefix (Valkyn’s), a named core attribute (Mighty) and a suffix (of Shielding).
In most cases, the stat and durability values used on a loot item are about 70-80% of the possible maximum values if made by a skilled crafter who landed good experimentation rolls and used the reroll option when crafting, which is often done on the damage values for crafted weapons. In this way, we are trying to ensure that crafted equipment has a slight advantage in value over looted items. Additionally, crafters have the added advantage of choosing the stats placed on their crafts, allowing them to customize items to a player’s particular needs versus a random loot value.
We have already added some refinements through early testing to ensure that affixes are a logical fit, such as making smart affix packages where. For example, you won’t see Nature Damage Bonus on a slashing weapon because while the stats aren’t custom, as they would be from a crafter, the affixes should always add value to the items.
Die großartige Vielfalt
As you can see, this is going to open up a wide variety in the loot game. This offers benefits across the board for new players (who can’t afford the works of the master crafters), for the crafters (who aren’t interested in making low-end gear) and for players without a crafter in their guild. (We are trying to ensure that players are not disadvantaged by being prevented from progressing because what they need isn’t available to purchase.) Even if you have no use for these items as equipment, they can be sold for gold to vendors or sacrificed to the gods for experience.
We plan to continue developing items for the weapon and armor loot. In the next phase of implementation, players will be able to salvage the loot and turn it into resources, subcomponents and limited-use recipes. This should create another player-to-player loop where those who have trained skills in Salvaging will want to obtain as many of these loot items as possible in order to salvage them for even greater rewards.
Stürtze Dich rasch ins Gefecht
One of our goals for Crowfall is to make item equipment easy come/easy go so that players who want to jump into the fray quickly have a way to do that without being dependent on other players to keep them armed and equipped. To this end, random loot (weapons and armor) will provide players a way to quickly stockpile items that shortcut the need to be completely reliant on a pipeline of harvesters and crafters. This loot can have a wide variety of stats and attributes on it, furthering our goal to offer players a plethora of character builds to create and experiment with.