PlanetSide Universe - View Single Post - Meaningful Customization & Balance via Tradeoff Decisions
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Click here to go to the next VIP post in this thread.   Old 2011-08-03, 05:31 PM   [Ignore Me] #27
PlanetSide 2
Game Designer
Re: Meaningful Customization & Balance via Tradeoff Decisions

Originally Posted by Raymac View Post
How many times do the devs need to say "a brand new player will be able to stand toe to toe with a long time veteran" before I stop seeing this arguement?
For low values of t (time) I'm sure their design and their statements are consistent. It is not true as t increases. So the argument will go away when their design is consistent with their statement.

More importantly I'm concerned with how the game scales. Think release + 1 year and they have a content expansion. Many players have converged and have most of the same skillsets providing the same passive power bonuses. There is no longer differentiation between players. What will they do? Well they already started down the path of power over time so they'll very likely continue down that path and expand and add more power bonuses. Just like EVE started with "not that big of a difference" it becomes a big difference and discourages new players.

The immediate feedback I got from my outfit mates on the skill system was the "never catch up" problem EVE has with new players. It is not a good system. Player specialization and customization decreases over time as everyone obtains the same set of bonuses, and it only widens the gap between new players and veterans. 2-3 years down the line you have new players who would need to invest an enormous amount of real-world time to just get to where the vets are, and by the time they do the game will have new certs and things exposed. It never stops, and the longer it goes on the worse it gets for new players. Now is the time to change that course and pick a system that scales with additional content without upsetting power balance. I propose one based on other games with similar systems (including PS1 and EVE - use their ship customization model instead of their skill gain model).

The game can still have unlocks over time just like games like BFBC2 have and very early on expose options to new players that give them some tradeoffs. they might not be "the best" possible tradeoff option for what they want to do, but its competitive and its something and they can work towards the bonuses important to them and have them in short order.

Originally Posted by CutterJohn View Post
All of your hooks trade power for time too. Every single one.
No, what I propose does not trade power for time. It trades power for power, with time unlocking additional tradeoff (power for power) options.

What they do different is make you choose where you will be gimped. Force you to shoehorn yourself into a particular playstyle. I disapprove of this. If I must spend time unlocking things, and I will be since theres no way they won't add progression, I do not want to be denied access to the things I unlocked.
OK I understand now. I think there's a misunderstanding. Nothing that I proposed is permanent. In my vision I expect anyone to change their specializations as easily as they could change implants in PS1.

There's also different types of unlocks. Vehicle and weapon upgrades cost resources and are on a different system, but bonuses that apply to your character's abilities and skills effectively work like implants. So you work up the cert tree and for simplicity lets say it only has 10 unlocks. You might have to make an implant-like decision and choose 3 of those 10 to run at any given time. If you want to change your style, go to a special terminal and change them.

It can be a lot more complex than that with mutliple categories and different types of agumentations. As I described in an earlier post on this thread I think it could even end up looking like the sort of rich customization you have with an EVE Ship. You have some constraints, but you have complete freedom to tailor the character within those constraints with whatever augmentations you have unlocked. The expectation is that those augmentations are different but ultimately lead to about the same "power", just with different scopes and maginitudes and some may have tradeoffs built into them just like EVE ship modules do.

The key observation is that instead of having small meaningless augmentations that everyone and anyone can have at all times you pick and choose much more meaningful augmentations that cater to your preferred playstyle. You can change them whenever you want, but there is some small inconvenience in doing so (going to a special terminal). The inconvienience exists only to make the specialization a quasi-stable decision just like implants are a quasi-stable decision.

If I cert a tank, and want to switch to infantry, I expect to go to the appropriate terminal for the gear and get it. Not make a side trip to a third terminal so I can change up what certs I'm accessing at the moment.
Definitely some mistunderstanding here - I'm not suggesting any change to the class system. If you are in the "tank driver role then you can drive a tank.

I'm suggesting another layer where you choose the power bonuses. Those power bonuses are significant and meaningful and because of the limited number and the decisions you must make, that will differentiate you from other players who will make different decisions.

Example, suppose you like assault rifles and choose to have an assault rifle damage bonus as one of your power augments. Whether you are a tank driver or a light assault infantry you get that bonus. If you occasional hop into a max suit or infiltrator then it won't be that useful to you, but if you do that with any regularity then you might have some differnet bonuses for those roles.

Its no different than if you were swapping implants. Some implants are more or less useful in certain roles. "Surge" for example is not a very useful implant for a MAX, but if you don't spend a lot of time in a max or while you are flying aircraft, but you may feel it is a worthwhile implant for the times you don't. Same deal.

Basically customization would have multiple levels.

Tier 1: Cert tree - unlocks OPTIONS
Class options, vehicle & equipment options, implant options, upgrade options, augment options

Tier 2: Implants - set of activatable abilities
Limited number, player chooses which activatable abilities they want. Darklight, audio amp, surge, etc

Tier 3: Augments - passive player bonuses (this is what I am proposing)
Limite dnumbe,r player chooses which augments they want. wide range of possibilities here to customize core character aspects. Rate of fire, movement speed, vehicle handling, etc. These can be significant bonuses.

Tier 4: Class - controls the set of equipment and vehicles to which a player has access

Tier 5: Equipment/vehicle upgrades - augments player equipment
Consumes resources to augment vehicles and equipment. Add gun sights, expanded magazine, more tank armor, etc.

As you move up the tiers you have increased levels of flexibility. Cert tree choices are the most permanent choices. Once you make them you can't go back and re-make them. Implants and Augments can be changed at certain places. Class can be changed very frequently, and equipment presumably moreso.

The only thing the player gains over time is the cert tree, which is options. There is no direct power, and all such power gains are player decisions - which implant to use, which class to play, which augments to run, and which equipment/vehicle upgrades to buy.

The main difference between what I have above and what we know of the game thus far is Tiers 1 and 3. Tier 3 doesn't exist to my knowledge at all and instead those agumentt bonuses are tied to cert tree decisions and are also very small, so small in fact that they aren't overly significant. I would like them to be not tied direclty to the cert tree and increased in magnitude, however to go along with that they would be limited in number so things stay competitive and to make those augment decisions meaningful, like implant decisions.

Edit: Rbstr, I'm intentionally not responding to your EVE comments because it's semantics at this point and the EVE system is way off topic for this. The point is that there is a perception issue and a set of time before a new player is competitive. The former is bad for the game, the latter terrible for the game.

Last edited by Malorn; 2011-08-03 at 05:34 PM.
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