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Combat tweak that doesn't involve tweaking combat

Time and again our beleaguered staff has tried to hammer into our thick skulls the fact that physical statistics are not the most important factor in combat. Nonetheless, to me it looks as if a lot of combat-related complaints are, in fact, stat-related complaints. I think this is the reason.

As it stands now, players can obtain, and have obtained, astronomically high stats. This is especially true for cashers willing to pay Real World(tm) money for lots of extra rations, VIP, etc. to maximize training binges (which can be problematic in a game that really doesn't want to be Pay-to-Win). When players are walking around with hundreds and thousands of stat points, that does tend to outweigh other considerations. This, I think, is what is creating the impression that stats are the most important factor.

Trying to rejigger the entire combat system to handle these outliers is likely to be rather complicated. And, ultimately, I suspect it would prove unproductive--because sufficiently dedicated players can always eventually grind their stats high enough to outweigh everything else. Even if it were to take, say, over 10000 in each physical stat to guarantee a victory over any opponent of any Tier using any equipment at any skill level, then some player would be bound to train that much.

This brings me indirectly to one of my personal game-design annoyances: realism, or the lack thereof.

There have been some mild grumbles elsewhere about things that break reality, such as being able to head back to your Hotel Room in the middle of a mission to rest up for several segments before you return to catch the poor soul who's been suspended in mid-air falling off a collapsing staircase the whole time. This is another one that's been bugging me:

Why does training stats take no time at all?

This first occurred to me in the context of wondering why training 80% of a stat doesn't take any longer than training 5% of the stat. For that to happen, obviously, training 5% of a stat must take more than 0 units. Repairing items takes time. Space travel takes time. Even combat has a time limit. Why wouldn't training take time as well?

In addition to adding a touch more realism, having training take a bit of time--even just a few units--would, conveniently enough, also address what I believe to be the core issue underlying the combat-related complaints: the comparative ease with which a player can grind absurdly high stats. Players could still do it; it would just take longer. And for a lot of training, it would take a lot longer.

Right now, players can blow through 100 rations and train a stat 8000% in only a segment or so. That seems manifestly unreasonable. Doing that much of any activity, be it working out or reading or whatever, should take a reasonable amount of time. Not too long, but not nothing.

Example: If training 1% of a stat were to take just one unit, then a full (80%) workout for one stat would still require just one click, and take a little more than an old-Earth minute. Doing it 100 times, however, would take a half-dozen segments at least--and that's assuming a player were to sit at the screen, ready to swallow a ration and start a new training session as soon as the previous one ended. Training many hundreds or even thousands of times would take correspondingly even longer. A sort of natural gating mechanism.

What do you think, sirs?

Comments

  1. Why does training stats take no time at all?

    Because this game uses Focus as a proxy for time in many places.

    Repairing items takes time. Space travel takes time. Even combat has a time limit. Why wouldn't training take time as well

    You could ask the same question for all other things that use focus, including discreet work, mission checks, career tasks etc. And then you can't casually play for a few seconds in a break, it always becomes a few minutes to use your focus.

    Right now, players can blow through 100 rations and train a stat 8000% in only a segment or so. That seems manifestly unreasonable. Doing that much of any activity, be it working out or reading or whatever, should take a reasonable amount of time. Not too long, but not nothing.

    If you make it take, say, 10 segments to go through 100 rations, the result is that only the most hardcore players can do those training runs, setting them even further apart from the casual gamers.

    In addition, if you make training runs less feasible, this favors players who are always on VIP, increasing the pay-to-win criticism, not decreasing it.

    Right now, you can farm rations from L4T without VIP, and then do a training run and use one or three days of VIP with 99 bonds from a personal trainer -- something every player can afford at least once a cycle if they are parsimonious with bonds.

    When that stops being feasible, you can only compete when you're permanently on VIP, and I think only a handful of players manages that without investment of Real World[tm] Money.

    I appreciate the idea, but think it won't be the big equalizer that you hope it will be.

  2. I don't think this would be good to implement.

    With stat increase, what it really comes down to is time.

    When players train, they use focus and the corresponding stat. These two refill after 3-4 segments.

    Of course, this time can be shortened. Rations immediately refill these meters. VIP and university courses increases the regeneration rate. VIP also "shortens" the time by slightly more than a third, by increasing focus to 150% but not increasing the time it takes to refill. Personal trainer also does the same. Having both personal trainer and VIP simultaneously is multiplicative, so it "shortens" the time by slightly less than 60%.

    All of these: rations, VIP, university courses, personal trainers, cost in-game money, which comes from additional time playing. Credits have to be earned for university courses and buying rations off others, university courses take time to complete (and focus aka time training intelligence to decrease university course time). Bonds have to be earned for ration bribes, VIP packs, speeding up university courses by 50%, and personal trainers, but players only earn in-game bonds through careers (only after spending 30 days in the same career and spending the focus to gain experience) and tier increases (which also requires experience, and therefore focus and time).

    Increasing the time it takes for training would not solve the underlying issue of players having insanely high stats. In fact, it would further widen the divide between new players coming on or players with low stats and players who do have high stats, since the high stat players would have the advantage of previously training without such a limit. This makes it even more difficult (or rather, it would take more time) to catch up.

    Xierumeng

  3. Added to Trello.

    Xierumeng