After playing for 10 days and getting a feeling of the decay rate of item and of the general impact that these new changes had on the players, I would like to offer the following feedback.
First of all, a summary of the current situation:
The game right now has an itemization based on 3 levels for armors (primitive, non primitive, set) and 2 levels for weapons (primitive and non primitive).
We have 3 levels of enchantments. Respectively called tier 1, 2 and 3.
Durability is set as follows: all primitive items have 200 durability. Non primitive bows, wooden shields, wooden weapons and mage weapons have 300, metal weapons and metal shields have 400, Non primitive armors have 200 durability on cloth, 250 on leather, 300 on hide, 350 on metal. Set armors have 50 more durability over the non primitive version.
Masteries in crafting go from 0 to 4. Each mastery increases the durability of the items crafted by 50%.
Good and neutral players drop no gear on death. Red players drop almost always all the gear
Now let's see how easy or hard it is to achieve that (note: this post will not talk about the recipes which are already discussed in many other places, I will assume that the recipes are available):
Crafting any primitive item is trivial
Crafting a non primitive hide or cloth armor is easy with common materials, but requires some effort if you want to get some rare material.
The same is true for leather armors, with the caveat that you have to tan the leather first, which adds a bit more effort to the total.
Crafting a non primitive metal armor takes a lot of time and resources
Crafting non primitive wooden weapons or shields is trivial, even when using rare woods.
Crafting non primitive metal weapons takes some effort but is easy enough.
Crafting set armors is like crafting a non set version but with the addition of some PvE drop which can be extremely hard in some cases, like the 5 dragon souls of an hunter set.
Enchanting at t1 level is much harder than in the previous tests due to a "nerf" of the properties of the reagents, but still reasonably doable for anyone (and as a personal note: quite fun)
Enchanting at t2 level requires some very specific reagent combinations which usually are not common. Doable but not something you do on throw away items.
Enchanting at t3 is mostly a guild level effort
Now let's see how much this stuff will last:
A weapon used regularly (archer or warrior) loses around 40 durability per day.
A weapon used by a caster class will mostly not lose durability
An armor used by a ranged class will mostly not lose durability
An armor used by a melee class will lose around 10 per day.
Gear drop rules have some impact on this, but mostly negligible. Items which require effort only change hands, don't get destroyed.
Finally, before going into the discussion of this, let's see which was the reaction of players to this system:
Having a sort of gear progression which requires a certain amount of effort has been very well received by mostly all players.
The non gear drop for good and neutral was very badly received by red players.
The increased durability of items was well received by many players, but there is an underlying fear of how the economy will shape out.
With all that said, these are my thoughts on it, what I like and what I don't like:
My first reaction to this system was very negative. No gear drops and progress through gear definitely did not felt like this they aligned with how I expected this game to be. By playing and talking with other players though, I cannot ignore the fact that some of those changes were very well received. In particular the new gear system. Players like to have to work toward obtaining a certain gear and not having to replace it every other day due to it breaking, and honestly Arboreus would not really work without mechanics like this. Additionally, I feel that this amount of progress is mild enough that you can definitely perceive it, but it doesn't turn the game into a gear check or a world of "have" and "have not". You can still run in mostly primitive gear and achieve about the same stuff, just harder. As such, I'm willing to accept this as a part of Fractured. It doesn't 100% align with what I had in mind but it's not a deal breaker, and since the majority likes it, I could be fine with it too. It can be a fine compromise.
Talking about the gear drops though, this isn't really working well. Having items which require this level of effort to obtain automatically prevents any form of full gear drop in the game. While this may fine on a world like Arboreus, this warps some underlying mechanics and interaction on which Syndesia is based. Syndesia is a PvX world. PvP is half of it, and reds are part of this PvP system. They are meant to be a niche, to have disadvantages, and that the good guys should not be bothered too much by them. But this system has now gone too far in that direction. Playing a red in this system is impossibly punishing. What should the red penalties achieve? Those penalties ideally should prevent the creation of any large red figthing group, due to imposing them severe logistic restrictions, which makes them act more as solo robbers of carts and lone predators of PvE hotspots.
The current level of such restrictions do indeed manage that, but they manage to be so punishing that even solo actions are carried out only through petty tricks or borderline exploits which allows reds to act safely, because the level of risk is simply unbearable otherwise. Also, stuff like this should NEVER exist https://forum.fracturedmmo.com/topic/15019/player-spawn-locations-during-pvp-combat-is-a-big-issue . Player throwing themselves at the enemy knowing that they risk nothing is bad, no matter how you look at it. There must be some form of penalty at all times.
At the same time though, it is having very positive impacts too. Trades have picked up, acquiring an item is a safer investment. Players form groups to go around and look for rare resources. This is nice, and I would like this to continue, so scrapping this new system altogether would be a step in the wrong direction. Despite my initial reaction I believe that this system is proving to have better potential than the old one, so I would like to tune and find the right compromises on this one, rather than going back to the previous one.
Talking about durability instead, I honestly smell a disaster incoming. The economy will collapse. I would like everyone to understand that this game economy can work only if every week the amount of resources destroyed through durability is exactly equal to the amount of resources gathered. With the current durability this will simply not happen, and one of the the curprit of this are the masteries.
Like with the item progression, I do not like having a craft progression through grind and repetition, but I do understand that many like it, so I will accept that part too. In their current incarnation though, masteries are a terrible element of the game. While in this system gear progression players in different levels of gear can coexist, fight with and against each other with the same rules and varying degrees of advantage/disadvantage, this does not happen with masteries. A player with 4/4 in an item and one with 1/4 simply cannot coexist in the same economy.
This is a difficult concept to grasp, but durability is a very important stat. Many frown upon masteries because they "only increase durability, but no stats", but durability in a system where you can't repair and can't be looted is a HUGE element of value.
Even if enchantments were not in the game, a sword made with someone in 0/4 would be worth only 1/3 of one one built by someone in 4/4, because the latter has 3 times the durability. It will give me the advantages of that item for 3 times longer, so it is worth 3 times as much. Simple as that. These 2 items are made from the same materials, and simply cannot co exist. There is no competition on town position or price which can bridge that gap of value.
This is made even worse by the cost of enchants. Since higher level enchants have an high cost associated, the value of an item with higher durability is further incremented by being a better recipe for higher enchants. Enchants put on a higher durability item offer a bigger return of investment for the same resources. In the end the item from a 4/4 is impossibly more valuable than a 0/4. This means that you are either 4/4 or you don't craft, because the price of raw materials will be based on a 4/4 craft. This will 100% require a change.
The second critical flaw of this system is that as highlighted previously, some items simply do not degrade. The armor and jewels of any ranged character is almost eternal. The weapons of mages too. This is not good. Items have to get destroyed for all the economic system of Fractured to work.
In summary, the issues I currently perceive with the game are:
- Too heavy penalties for Red
- Not enough penalties for good and neutral
- Excessive progression of item value granted by masteries
- Items not breaking often enough to have a good economy
- Wood items are too easy to make
Based on that, I would propose the following changes:
Should we bring back gear drop for good players?
I'm mostly convinced that the answer is NO.
Not having them drop gear has had too many good impacts on the game. That should stay, and we should look elsewhere for a solution.
So, how we give them penalties for dying? How we rebalance a bit the huge disadvantage of red toward good players?
I would say that we should look back to the last time the system worked. For that we look at the last alpha, were we had goods drop 2, neutral drop 4, red drop all. This was also with an average value of the items which was drastically lower. So I guess that we can start just by rescaling this.
The items have an higher value, so to inflict the same value of penalty you need less gear to drop. I like zero drops on good players, so let's move from there. Good zero, neutral one, reds 1-2 depending on Karma. Reds should drop 1 when under -2000 (killing is -2500, so this red only stole a cart or similar levels of crime), 2 when under this value (they killed someone). Dropping all items is too much of a penalty. Losing only 2 I feel is bearable.
Why not zero on neutral? Hmm, I'm in doubt between zero and one. Because neutral players are the core of the PvP of Syndesia and they must feel confident in engaging in as much as activity as they want. After all any possible target is willingly participating. But at the same time it feels wrong... I feel like one would be better.
So, how would this solve the fact that blue are actually unaffected by any penalty for dying and can charge head first into a fight while risking only bandages? I would tie this with our current issue with durability, and simply apply this:
Every time you get purple health, you suffer an amount of durability damage on all your items equal to the 2/3 of the percentage of health lost. When you get executed, it counts as suffering all the remaining red health as purple health. What this translates to, is a 10 durability damage on your items when you get knocked down, and a total of 66 when you get killed, no matter how many times you were knocked down before that. You can get knocked once and lose 10 then be executed for the remaining 55, or get knocked 6 times for 6 and then be executed for 6.
In the end a full life lost is always 66.
This is a good deterrent to throwing away your life, and introduces a decent degrade on items, which affects even those which normally wouldn't suffer damage.
This though would not introduce a "reward" for reds killing them. And I think that it is fine. On Syndesia reds should go after good players to rob them of their loot and their carts, not to take their equipment. It would be too severe of an impact.
With this system, blue will most of the times go around with their best or close to best equipment, which is what most of them want. Reds will be able to run around in non primitive gear with t1 and t2 enchants, because it is reasonably possible to replace them if you lose only one or two. Neutral players too will mostly fight in non primitive t2 enchanted and bring out the sets only for the best occasions. This is a decently fair fight. You can fight against good equip using t1/t2 non primitive gear, and imposes that gear disadvantage on reds which is what is expected for Syndesia.
This should in my opinion solve the issue of reds, blue and item degradation.
Next issue, masteries. The +50% per level has to go. I would prefer an increase of stats to it, and many players would consider it more natural. So I propose that the 4 mastery levels become: first level +5% durability, second level +5% damage/armor, third level +5% durability, fourth level +5% damage/armor. This is more natural and gives someone at 4/4 a significant advantage of 10% in stats and 10% in durability over someone in 0/4. This is a big advantage but not big enough to completely put anyone else out of business.
Last issue, wood items. Currently with one yew tree you can make something like 10 yew bows. Definitely too easy. Wooden items will never have a value like this. They would have to require something like 10 times the current logs to give them a worth. Personally the best solution would be to give wooden item creation a bit more depth, introducing the kilns, long time curing like leather and so on. This though would require a major effort from the devs, which right now look very busy with that roadmap. So I would say that for now the easiest solution is that high quality trees only drop 1 log of their specific material, and all the other logs that they produce are simply light wood and hard wood. After all only some specific parts of a tree are good for crafting.
With that said, this was my wall of text and I would like everyone to drop in and contribute to finding the right compromise.