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Avoiding the Cookie Cutter...Follow

#1 Sep 01 2009 at 3:47 PM Rating: Default
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Reading over all the different posts, on this site as well as others, It seems one of the biggest threats to FFXIV, or any future MMO for that matter, is the birthing of cookie cutter jobs/weapons/gear.

For the longest time in FFXI, everyone and his brother had on an SH or SH+1. I still, to this day, see people camping Lizzy for her boots(and have yet to get my hands on some for my newest character because of this:/) Casually flip through the job forums, and you're almost guaranteed to see Joyeuse in a thread title. /Nin will forever be whined about by those who are poor, and forever be expected by any serious HNMLS.

This is the state of MMOs today, and probably always has been and, unfortunately, may always be the case.

I was sitting here, drooling over pics of FFXIV(taking a break from lvling my DNC/COR and COR/DNC...slooooow as a turtle's pace, but dernit if I don't have like 5 bazillion bst seals in my moghouse;)...but I digress. I was sitting here trying to wrap my mind around a way to avoid the Cookie Cutter on an MMO. I was trying to think of a way to spare an MMO that unsightly monotony(because 30 days after FFXIV launches, I really will be depressed if I see everyone in my party wearing the same gear as me, using the same spells/ws as they did in the last pt I was in 3 hours prior...you get the picture).

What I came up with may have been mentioned before, but I'm not a bookworm, and sifting through every bit of knowledge on Alla or any other site is too time-consuming for me. I'm trying to launch a career as a **** star, for gosh sakes! Anyway, this was my idea:

The Majority Penalty/Minority Privelege.

FFXI is able to tell me via 'sea all ???' what jobs are on my server, how many tarus are on my server, who just drank a pepsi in the bottle on my server(way cooler than the aluminum can), who has dust mites under their bronze bed, etc.

What if the game actually penalized players for being cookie cutter and, conversely, awarded them for being unique? Just like we have our daily conquest tallies, what if the game awarded EXP boosts/loot-gil drops based on uniqueness??

In this example, all of those Joyeuse-wielding /Nins would receive a penalty for falling too deeply into the cookie cutter mold, whereas the people wielding butter knives and subbing /drg would receive a bonus to EXP/loot-gil drops.

This would also lend to stabilization of the in-game market, as their wouldn't be a huge demand for a handful of items like there is now.

An additional bonus to a system like this: RMT would be so confused about how to make a profit that they'd never be able to make much profit outside the game in RL currency. Yes, you'll still have your spoiled rich kid in Manhattan or wherever the heck 90210 is a zip code for(Beverly Hills, that's right) who feels it's better to just buy gearz and pre-developed characters rather than play the game, but I think you'd see a lot less of that with a system that runs similar to this.

It's probably wouldn't work great in application, but I felt it was a theory to bring to you all, to see what your opinions were.

I'm just dreading the parties where I'm ridiculed for not having a specific piece of gear or because I popped a sushi instead of a limp biscuit. I don't mind the correction when I need to rethink gear or food, but I hate when someone lambastes me for not having "gotten there yet". Sorry, even after all these years, I'm sometimes still a newbie.

Thanks for your time, and thank you in advance for any responses(unless you're a capital D and respond with things like 'L2P' or 'Roflcopterz' or whatever the kids are saying these days;)

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#2 Sep 01 2009 at 3:59 PM Rating: Good
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Interesting idea, but so long as there is stats attached to gear there will be someone out to line up the best combonation. Thankfully games that don't have the levels and classes/jobs, like XI and WOW do, tend to have more forgiving player attitudes.
#3 Sep 01 2009 at 4:07 PM Rating: Excellent
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That system won't really solve the problem because it doesn't address the issue of "why" people choose the cookie-cutter builds. Which is: To be the best.

The system you propose will just take away decisions from the player as much as a 'cookie-cutter' system. In both situations the player is forced into a specific play style because it is the best. In your system the player who wants to be the best will be forced to choose whatever is currently less-popular at the time.

The real answer is to offer more player customization for being "the best."
#4 Sep 01 2009 at 4:12 PM Rating: Decent
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It is indeed a very interesting idea, and certain elements of it I think are salvageable, but overall I wouldn't approve of it.

If I were to implement a system like this, I would probably base it on equipment, jobs, etc., being manifestations of certain powers/spirits. The more people who are channeling these powers by using these traits, the more taxed the source becomes and therefor the weaker their power is. It's a workable canon, but the gameplay may leave something to be desired.

The main problem with the idea is that you'll inevitably end up with what I'll call ***** drama. Basically, people will resent other people who do things the way they do them (she wore the same dress as me, onoez wut a *****). They won't be striving to be unique-- they'll be trying to avoid being the same. Same effect, different mentality, and mentality is key to the quality of a game, which depends almost solely on player psychology.

Overall, there are just far simpler, more practical, and more effective solutions to the problems you're describing, and I've gone over them a hundred times before. You didn't read them, and that's fair enough, but I don't feel like going over them, which should also be fair enough (if you ask really nice, maybe).

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the idea of rewarding uniqueness, though. There are a number of mechanics that could potentially do that and work out just fine. Whether or not it's practical from a programming standpoint would probably be the issue.
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#5 Sep 01 2009 at 4:32 PM Rating: Decent
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chemicalpenguin wrote:
That system won't really solve the problem because it doesn't address the issue of "why" people choose the cookie-cutter builds. Which is: To be the best.

The system you propose will just take away decisions from the player as much as a 'cookie-cutter' system. In both situations the player is forced into a specific play style because it is the best. In your system the player who wants to be the best will be forced to choose whatever is currently less-popular at the time.

The real answer is to offer more player customization for being "the best."


Pretty much this.

Offering more ways for a player to achieve success within their role is a better solution. It is also a harder one to put in practice due to balance. Balancing between classes is hard enough, but imagine balancing between different roles within a class and then between classes. With creativity it can be accomplished.

In the end, I can't see this idea being executed well. Why reward players who are unique? Just because? Some people really like playing their "cookie cutter" builds but they would be getting screwed over just because of their choice? That doesn't sound all that fair. Just playing devil's advocate here, but I think you can see how an MMO might not be the best environment for this kind of system.

Let us know how that **** career goes.
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#6 Sep 01 2009 at 4:34 PM Rating: Good
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Just because you're unique doesn't mean you're useful. I'd take a cookie cutter build over someone trying to be unique ten out of nine times.
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#7 Sep 01 2009 at 4:38 PM Rating: Good
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The way you phrased your reply made me seriously rethink my original idea.

I loved the part about 'wearing the same dress as me, onoez' ;)

I just fondly remember(and hopefully I won't get blasted for this) the good old days of Star Wars Galaxies(when it first started, before the CU and NGE and all that junk). Yes, there were FOTM profession combos in that game, but they didn't permeate society so much as they seem to in every other MMO(one of the things that actually keeps me coming back to FFXI, actually...player diversity, aside from the usual /nin, 'don't invite the drg, invite the ??? instead, why did you just eat that <instert name of 5-minute food that improves one stat slightly over the 6-hour food that costs less and...well...lasts 6 hours>.

You'll get the 'know-it-alls' in every game, MMO, FPS, RPG, UGLY(You ain't got no alibi)...whatever the case. It's just that some of the 'know-it-alls' are good leaders, too. They know how to help others learn rather than just debase them for their choices. They don't read a post and correct grammaxctical errors rather than respond to the concern of the OP(I know, some OPs are azzhats too and it's just so hard to resist the urge to do anything you can to set them off, even correct their grammerz-crackers).

I guess my ideal notion of what an MMO could be is the same ideal notion I hold for life in general. Simple to theorize, but difficult, if impossible, to apply. In RL I feel for the plight of the needy, yet I want to drop-kick the beggar standing outside the liquor store asking for a buck...and commend the beggar standing outside the health food store for at least being ingenious enough to not stand by the real mob he's camping(booze).

Yes, I'd probably still want the 1337 gear(did I spell that right? ;) and you're most definitely correct. I'd moan about the guy who came to the PT wearing the same gear as me, because I'd know he's the reason my EXP bonus was reduced this week;)

Maybe a random lottery, similar to the randomness of the current Kupowers would be cool. Every Tuesday at 4am(whatever time the servers exist in. I know it's not my time, because their off-hours/downtime seem to coincide with my gaming time) the server rolls a different weapon skill/job class/food/etc that provides a greater bonus for that week, provided the character doesn't unequip the thing that provides that bonus for the duration of the week. That would be kinda neat. Then, all those players that stood by their javelin the previous week, even though everyone else was using a toothpick because it had less delay, would get a nice <<congratulations!>> for their dedication;)
#8 Sep 01 2009 at 4:39 PM Rating: Default
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I'm currently only starring in my own mind. Probably best to keep it that way;)

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#9 Sep 01 2009 at 4:44 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Just because you're unique doesn't mean you're useful. I'd take a cookie cutter build over someone trying to be unique ten out of nine times.


Sometimes, I like to have fun, too, though. And sometimes, being useful in the "cookie-cutter" sense isn't that.

I'm not saying it's not good to /nin sometimes for the betterment of the PT or your friends, and I'm not saying it's sometimes ridiculous to think that butter knife+1 would outdamage or out-proc' that Joyeuse...

I'm just saying that sometimes people like to not reply as nicely as others;)

2<<insert Cents symbol here>>

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#10 Sep 01 2009 at 4:49 PM Rating: Decent
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#11 Sep 01 2009 at 5:18 PM Rating: Decent
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[quoteQuoted Text]no[/quote]

I'm going to give you the 2-year-old reply, because you only cared enough to give the "disconnected parent" reply to my OP:

Why?

Not that I disagree with you, but at least Zurinadrg and Kachi were respectful enough to reply kindly and give some positive, critical feedback. A "No" is merely a negative, unproductive response.

Be kind and just help. I mean, wouldn't the DC universe be way more boring if everyone had Superman's powers and no one had Green Lantern's ring? I'm sorry, but 5 Supermans is far more tedious to me than say 1 Superman, 1 Batman, 1 Aquaman(WTF), 1 Green Lantern, and 1 Robocop(Okay, he wasn't DC universe, but Peter Weller rocked in 'Naked Lunch').

I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel or anything. I'm just looking at ways to improve upon the genre. I suggested an idea. You suggested 2 whole letters from a 26-letter alphabet.

So, pardon me if I think you're response was unnecessary. I was raised in the school of "If you don't have anything nice to say..."

Thank you again to the posters who had actual responses. It's nice to see the flaws in my own ideas and get criticism that helps to work toward something better. And I'm sincere when I say that. It's childish to merely say "no", however as if your opinion could stand on its own face value.

"Well, obviously the answer is 'no' because I deem it as such and my 'no' has the power of a thousand explanations" << You could have said that, and it would have been just as condescending.

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#12 Sep 01 2009 at 5:44 PM Rating: Decent
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Wouldn't it just be best to adjust the mechanics so there are many various ways to be effective thereby eliminating the need for cookie cutter builds?

I mean...chopping off your good leg to match your peg leg isn't a very good idea.
#13 Sep 01 2009 at 7:08 PM Rating: Good
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GuardianFaith wrote:
no
I'm sorry, but I have to agree with guardian here, the system you're promoting just seems incredibly annoying, besides you're not curing cookie cutters, you're just changing the cutter each week or w/e.

The best way (IMO) to encourage variety in player equipment is to make an overabundance of sidegrades and offer a crafting/enhancement system with lots of diversity/customization. I feel SWG and L2 both did this vary well, L2 by offering weapons/gear with the same stats but different models, and (old) SWG with the intricate crafting system.
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#14 Sep 01 2009 at 8:49 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Wouldn't it just be best to adjust the mechanics so there are many various ways to be effective thereby eliminating the need for cookie cutter builds?

I mean...chopping off your good leg to match your peg leg isn't a very good idea.


I have to agree with Yog I think a better balance of skills vrs gear is a better solution, if being who you want to be doesn't make you ineffective in the role you want to play then it won't be a big deal.
#15 Sep 02 2009 at 10:49 AM Rating: Decent
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The easiest way to avoid cookie cutters is simple in principle, difficult in application: balance.

If all options yield the same effectiveness within their respective realm (ie DD, Healing, Tanking and the ever tough to balance hybrid) then there will never be cookie cutters since in terms of effectiveness there is no benifit to not doing what you want to do.

As another poster has said, forcing creativity in your scenario only makes the cookie cutter rotate each week or w/e.

Ex.

I want to be a tank. Say i have 5 abilities to chose from to allocate from armor or w/e. I only have room for 3 abilities. If all 5 of those abilities were equally good and none needed on their own (but requiring 3 to function properly) then there are no cookie cutters.


Like i said, easy in principle - make everything equatable in their respective realms. And like i said, difficult in application because it requires diligence in many areas of the game (ie. gear balancing and introductions, mob weaknesses and behavioral mechanisms and class synergistics).
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#16 Sep 02 2009 at 11:14 AM Rating: Decent
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1. armor with customizable stats
2. armor with customizable appearance

the solution is more options, not less.
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#17 Sep 02 2009 at 12:19 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
1. armor with customizable stats
2. armor with customizable appearance


Customizable stats does not really solve this issue since people will simply pump their stats into their most benificial one according to some spreadsheet or min / maxer.

Customizable appearance is nice though. At least if everyone is built the same way but looks different it gives some form of uniqueness.

Quote:
the solution is more options, not less.


More options bring about massive balancing issues. I would rather have less things to chose from but those being very balanced things than having 100x more things to chose from and 90% of that being considered useless and certain combinations of the last 10% being considered mandatory.
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#18 Sep 02 2009 at 12:31 PM Rating: Decent
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There's nothing wrong with customizable stats. Even if they end up being cookie cutter stat configurations, as long as there are some limitations imposed on the degree to which you can customize, there's no real downside that isn't present in virtually any other game.

As for more options and balance, it's actually easier to make balance adjustments with more options. There's more to do from a programming standpoint, but it's a lot easier to safely adjust the balance without ******* off people and "ruining the game [balance]."

Consider, for example, a job like Samurai in FFXI. An ability like Meditate is one of the only defining abilities for that job. As a result, tweaking it is far more dangerous to game balance. If it were only one of many defining abilities, it wouldn't cripple the job to remove it entirely, let alone make adjustments.
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#19 Sep 02 2009 at 1:05 PM Rating: Decent
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There's nothing wrong with customizable stats. Even if they end up being cookie cutter stat configurations, as long as there are some limitations imposed on the degree to which you can customize, there's no real downside that isn't present in virtually any other game.


The point of this thread is about avoiding cookie cutters :P

Quote:
As for more options and balance, it's actually easier to make balance adjustments with more options. There's more to do from a programming standpoint, but it's a lot easier to safely adjust the balance without ******* off people and "ruining the game [balance]."


I disagree. Having more options is much more detrimental to balance. Now, i do not mean keeping things on the order of 2-3 abilities per class with a limit of like 3 classes. I mean keeping things on the order of 10 abilities or so for like 10 classes.

Going for quantity over quality in terms of options does not bring about balance. What you tend to get is a certain % of options that are considered "mandatory" and others that are considered useless. When you have so many options, unless each one is exactly the same and equivacable (at which point why have so many?) there will be imbalances.

Quote:
Consider, for example, a job like Samurai in FFXI. An ability like Meditate is one of the only defining abilities for that job. As a result, tweaking it is far more dangerous to game balance. If it were only one of many defining abilities, it wouldn't cripple the job to remove it entirely, let alone make adjustments.


If i were to bring a ffxi comparision in, i would not use an ability (because alot of classes have a very small amount of abilities to use in comparision to other mmo's). Rather i would look at it in terms of jobs.

Let's say you take that samurai and adjust them to be better dps. Now the other (random #) 8 dps jobs are being outpaced - an imbalance. Let's say you give that samurai better survivabilty instead, now the other 8 dps classes are being killed easier than the samurai - another imbalance.

That is the issue - when you deal with such a large amount of classes, having all of them be viable and effective is difficult when you have so many combinations. Adjusting a sam's dps might on paper be fine but when combined with another class in a party it becomes overpowered. Likewise, adjusting any utlity (say an acc buff) needs to be considered accross every single job and subjob combination.

My point, i believe, is proven by the fact that there are job stigmas and views in the community. Certain classes are viewed as ineffective or unwanted. Certain classes are seen as mandatory for certain events. Certain subjobs are required by certain jobs, others are viewed as wtf?

As i said before in another thread - if the multitude of jobs were balanced in this game, why is it that only 5 (or 6?) of all the jobs are shown in the SE AV kill video?
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#20 Sep 02 2009 at 2:09 PM Rating: Good
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KacesofCaitsith wrote:
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There's nothing wrong with customizable stats. Even if they end up being cookie cutter stat configurations, as long as there are some limitations imposed on the degree to which you can customize, there's no real downside that isn't present in virtually any other game.


The point of this thread is about avoiding cookie cutters :P


true, but the fact remains, there will always be a "best way" to do anything in a world governed by strict mathematics. the challenge is how to provide players with the feeling that they are making unique, meaningful choices, while still allowing them to get as close to that "best way" as possible.

Kachi wrote:
As for more options and balance, it's actually easier to make balance adjustments with more options. There's more to do from a programming standpoint, but it's a lot easier to safely adjust the balance without ******* off people and "ruining the game [balance]."


KacesofCaitsith wrote:

I disagree. Having more options is much more detrimental to balance. Now, i do not mean keeping things on the order of 2-3 abilities per class with a limit of like 3 classes. I mean keeping things on the order of 10 abilities or so for like 10 classes.

Going for quantity over quality in terms of options does not bring about balance. What you tend to get is a certain % of options that are considered "mandatory" and others that are considered useless. When you have so many options, unless each one is exactly the same and equivacable (at which point why have so many?) there will be imbalances.


let's hold on a second before we get ahead of ourselves. let's leave abilities out of the picture and focus on gear, which is really the source of the cookie-cutter issue. SE has already shown that providing players with a wide variety of sidegrades can help solve this problem.

They have also shown that they can provide both quality (augments like haste, acc, mdb, etc) and quantity in terms of gear options. i'd bet that a lot of this sidegrade philosophy will make it into 14, not to mention some version of the augment system.


KacesofCaitsith wrote:

That is the issue - when you deal with such a large amount of classes, having all of them be viable and effective is difficult when you have so many combinations. ... Likewise, adjusting any utlity (say an acc buff) needs to be considered accross every single job and subjob combination.


All true, but what you forget is that SE is actually (deep breath, prayer for my soul) really good at this. It's just a shame it has taken them 8 years to figure it out. The fact remains, the jobs are much more balanced than most people think.

KacesofCaitsith wrote:

My point, i believe, is proven by the fact that there are job stigmas and views in the community. Certain classes are viewed as ineffective or unwanted. Certain classes are seen as mandatory for certain events. Certain subjobs are required by certain jobs, others are viewed as wtf?


Just like the cookie cutter problem, this is the kind of thing that is unavoidable. Certain classes will always be better at certain tasks than others. That's the point of having different classes. The game would be boring as **** if every class could do everything equally well.

14 is admirably choosing not to combat this issue, rather it seems that the players will have more options in terms of class utility. only time will tell how successfully this will be implemented.

KacesofCaitsith wrote:

As i said before in another thread - if the multitude of jobs were balanced in this game, why is it that only 5 (or 6?) of all the jobs are shown in the SE AV kill video?


i'd hesitate to use the AV video as proof of anything other than the fact that the devs are either brilliant sadists or twisted psychologists performing social experiments on us.
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#21 Sep 02 2009 at 3:00 PM Rating: Decent
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Well, a way to lessen the cookie cutter effect would be to enhance the monster and field variety.

- Mix out monsters types instead of keeping the same ones together in a small area (meaning that you can't camp only one type of mob).

- Force fights with multiple ennemies.

- Have a good and complex monster AI, and make monster act really different from each other.

- Have mobs develop resistance to a certain weapon / ability in the course of a fight if overused.

- Make fields largers and have mob respawn time longer would force people to travel and fight different types of mobs (not good if mages need to rest to regen mp like in FFXI tho).

Some of these concepts are taken directly from traditionnal FFs, where you had random encounters between various mobs, and they weren't alone most of the time. It's the repetitive things that make cookie cutters (since they're situational).

They could also put more emphasis on combos between various classes, encouraging classes variety in parties.

I think that this weapon switching system will also lessen the cookie cutter builds. At least for a couple months ... until you're required to have "x weapon" and "y weapon" leveled to be useful ...

Edited, Sep 2nd 2009 7:00pm by ChinookFFXIV
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#22 Sep 02 2009 at 3:47 PM Rating: Good
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Yea, but that gets into class ballance issues. However, they could just make a "hook". I don't know about the rest of you but I plan to be a DD primarily. However, that being said, I do not have to be the best type of DD. Now for the type I am, I should try to be the best DD I can be of course. What I mean is that I would be perfectly fine not being the best DD type in the game, as long as I am useful. So maybe make up the difference with an ability like Angon? The trick is for SE to make the "hook" of different class categories not so situational. Also, it would be a useless gesture, if the benefits of being the best type of DD in the game out weighed the gains made from a "hook". They could do this with other class categories too, I was just using DD as an example. I guess te key is that every job has something incredibly useful or in demand for any group situation?
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#23 Sep 02 2009 at 4:01 PM Rating: Decent
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Relocated from the wrong thread :P

The closest system I have played to what they are talking about for XIV is UO, and while there were alot of cookycutter templates in UO alot of that was becuase of the over abundance of freedom and lack of balancing for some skills.. ie magery :P
Even then, though, there was only a sence of elitism for the templates in PvP. From the most part no one would try to tell you what skills you should be useing unless you asked, and no one was to worried about what weapons and armor you were using.. maybe it was just that comunity but there was alot of friendlyness and as much privacy as you wanted.

Balancewise the Armory system has the possability to be better than UO's open skill system, by haveing the skills part of weapons they can keep mages from haveing both nukeing power and heavy defence. They can completely eliminate the skill set minimaxing but keep it open enough that you still get to be what you want. From there it is just a matter of keeping gear from over complicating the system, something that later expansions of UO ruined.

It is my hope that a Steel Longsword will still be a viable tool of death from the day you pick it up till the day you retire, perhaps not the best weapon but it still gets the job done.
If this ends up being the case there should be far less gear based prejudice in the game.
#24 Sep 02 2009 at 4:08 PM Rating: Decent
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true, but the fact remains, there will always be a "best way" to do anything in a world governed by strict mathematics. the challenge is how to provide players with the feeling that they are making unique, meaningful choices, while still allowing them to get as close to that "best way" as possible.


I disagree. In a game "governed by strict mathematics" it is exceptionally easy to maintain balance as opposed to a subjective system.

If you have a bunch of healing classes, having them all do <x> hps (just with different mechanics to them) is easily done.

If you have a bunch of dps classes, having them all do <y> dps (just with different mechanics to them) is easily done.

Likewise for tanking and hybrid type classes. In a game of mathmatics it is easy to have everyone do about the same in terms of effectiveness.

Quote:
let's hold on a second before we get ahead of ourselves. let's leave abilities out of the picture and focus on gear, which is really the source of the cookie-cutter issue. SE has already shown that providing players with a wide variety of sidegrades can help solve this problem.

They have also shown that they can provide both quality (augments like haste, acc, mdb, etc) and quantity in terms of gear options. i'd bet that a lot of this sidegrade philosophy will make it into 14, not to mention some version of the augment system.


Gear is something that i am on the fence about - kinda split between liking the customization that can occur but not wanting a ton of additional stats to juggle.

So, i guess i will just leave it like that - we kind of agree, we kind of don't. Im sorry but i don't think i can make a good case for either way when it comes to gear at this point.

Quote:
All true, but what you forget is that SE is actually (deep breath, prayer for my soul) really good at this. It's just a shame it has taken them 8 years to figure it out. The fact remains, the jobs are much more balanced than most people think.


Sorry to repeat but:
Quote:
As i said before in another thread - if the multitude of jobs were balanced in this game, why is it that only 5 (or 6?) of all the jobs are shown in the SE AV kill video?


Likewise, why do pet classes recieve such slights (summoner still being defined by its subjob for most of its playstyle more than its main job, bsts not having as much scalability as other classes, etc)? Why is it that a rdm/nin can solo **** near anything in the game? Why is /nin so overused in endgame?

Don't get me wrong, it is better than before. But it is not balanced.

Quote:
Just like the cookie cutter problem, this is the kind of thing that is unavoidable. Certain classes will always be better at certain tasks than others. That's the point of having different classes. The game would be boring as sh*t if every class could do everything equally well.

14 is admirably choosing not to combat this issue, rather it seems that the players will have more options in terms of class utility. only time will tell how successfully this will be implemented.


I disagree, completely. What should attract ppl to a dps class is not that it is the best dps class, but because the mechanics to that class are the most fitting for them.

Lets say we had a mnk, drg and drk - they all did the same dps. What is the point of each of them when they both do the same damage? Their mechanics and playstyle is defines them and is the reason they exist.

The mnk uses pure physical damage in a dot like fashion. The drg does physical damage with a reactive pet. The drk does physical damage with supplemental black magic damage.

Just because they do the same damage, does not mean they are the same class. The mechanics which bring them to that damage are different and attract different players.

I think the game would be worlds more fun if your effectiveness in an encounter is not determined by your class but rather player skill. I think the game would be much more fun if people could play whatever class they wanted to play, rather than whatever class their linkshell needed them to play for the event.



Edited, Sep 2nd 2009 8:09pm by KacesofCaitsith
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#25 Sep 02 2009 at 4:41 PM Rating: Default
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KacesofCaitsith wrote:


I disagree. In a game "governed by strict mathematics" it is exceptionally easy to maintain balance as opposed to a subjective system.

If you have a bunch of healing classes, having them all do <x> hps (just with different mechanics to them) is easily done.

If you have a bunch of dps classes, having them all do <y> dps (just with different mechanics to them) is easily done.

Likewise for tanking and hybrid type classes. In a game of mathmatics it is easy to have everyone do about the same in terms of effectiveness.


I'm not sure why you disagree because you are arguing my point here. Except for the part about balance being easy to maintain. Sure it is, the hard part is maintaining balance while also maintaining FUN.


Quote:
Gear is something that i am on the fence about - kinda split between liking the customization that can occur but not wanting a ton of additional stats to juggle.

So, i guess i will just leave it like that - we kind of agree, we kind of don't. Im sorry but i don't think i can make a good case for either way when it comes to gear at this point.


it's my assertion that gear IS the customization in FFXI. as well as the source of cookie-cutter complaints. But whether you like it or not, gear is how players min/max and gear is where players are (or should be) given choices.

I've also heard more than a few people voice concerns about everyone in 14 running around at endgame or whenever in identical gear which is why i hope to see SE expanding upon the augment system as well as offering different cosmetic choices for the same set of stats.


Quote:

Sorry to repeat but:
Quote:
As i said before in another thread - if the multitude of jobs were balanced in this game, why is it that only 5 (or 6?) of all the jobs are shown in the SE AV kill video?


until the mystery of the AV video is solved, i don't think you can use that as a valid argument.

Quote:

Likewise, why do pet classes recieve such slights (summoner still being defined by its subjob for most of its playstyle more than its main job, bsts not having as much scalability as other classes, etc)? Why is it that a rdm/nin can solo **** near anything in the game? Why is /nin so overused in endgame?

Don't get me wrong, it is better than before. But it is not balanced.


yeah smn seems sort of perma-boned although let's not forget smn-burns! I joke, and that is an extreme example, but every job has a niche or two that no other job can fill. That may not sound like balance but it in fact is.

It does seem that SE is pretty inept when it comes to pet jobs, though, i'll give you that. as for rdm. i think it should be able to solo hard sh*t. it's @#%^ing rdm. and its not like that stuff is easy to solo. the guys that post videos of their extreme rdm solos are freaking insane fanatic human weapons who make use of the "player skill" you mention later in your post. Give me a fully equipped rdm, set me down in front of genbu or ash dragon or whatever rdms are soloing now, and i will promptly die.

as for /nin, it's used a lot because it's an effective tool. i don't see it as such a problem.

I wrote:
Just like the cookie cutter problem, this is the kind of thing that is unavoidable. Certain classes will always be better at certain tasks than others. That's the point of having different classes. The game would be boring as sh*t if every class could do everything equally well.

14 is admirably choosing not to combat this issue, rather it seems that the players will have more options in terms of class utility. only time will tell how successfully this will be implemented.



Quote:

I disagree, completely. What should attract ppl to a dps class is not that it is the best dps class, but because the mechanics to that class are the most fitting for them.

Lets say we had a mnk, drg and drk - they all did the same dps. What is the point of each of them when they both do the same damage? Their mechanics and playstyle is defines them and is the reason they exist.

The mnk uses pure physical damage in a dot like fashion. The drg does physical damage with a reactive pet. The drk does physical damage with supplemental black magic damage.

Just because they do the same damage, does not mean they are the same class. The mechanics which bring them to that damage are different and attract different players.


again you are arguing my point that different classes do things differently, and hence the game is more balanced. the point of having several dps classes that deal damage in different ways is to give the player meaningful choices. "Do i want to do spike damage with big dumb swords or do I want to punch stuff?" isn't a very meaningful choice though. Which is where you and i may agree. I think that the differences from job to job should be even more than they are.

player skill comes in now, because that is one way to make a player feel more unique. giving us more control over our characters and taking some of the "strict mathematics" out of the equation (ha) could result in more fun gameplay. of course, that brings all new balancing issues to the table.


Quote:

I think the game would be worlds more fun if your effectiveness in an encounter is not determined by your class but rather player skill. I think the game would be much more fun if people could play whatever class they wanted to play, rather than whatever class their linkshell needed them to play for the event.


i mostly agree with this and SE seems to be on the same page with some of the features of 14. we'll see.



edited for all kinds of typo crap
Edited, Sep 2nd 2009 8:43pm by Llester

Edited, Sep 2nd 2009 8:45pm by Llester
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#26 Sep 02 2009 at 4:48 PM Rating: Excellent
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Llester wrote:
until the mystery of the AV video is solved, i don't think you can use that as a valid argument.
There isn't any mystery. It was fake. SE created it to keep the player's interest in the monster, when in reality said monster was never meant to be defeated.
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#27 Sep 02 2009 at 4:57 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
I'm not sure why you disagree because you are arguing my point here. Except for the part about balance being easy to maintain. Sure it is, the hard part is maintaining balance while also maintaining FUN.


You said:

Quote:
the fact remains, there will always be a "best way" to do anything in a world governed by strict mathematics


And i said there does not have to be a best way when all the numbers are the same.

Quote:
it's my assertion that gear IS the customization in FFXI. as well as the source of cookie-cutter complaints. But whether you like it or not, gear is how players min/max and gear is where players are (or should be) given choices.

I've also heard more than a few people voice concerns about everyone in 14 running around at endgame or whenever in identical gear which is why i hope to see SE expanding upon the augment system as well as offering different cosmetic choices for the same set of stats.


I would say that in terms of ffxi, you job / subjob combination as well as merit build have just as much validity in the scope of a cookie cutter discussion. Likewise, party and encounter setups.

Quote:
until the mystery of the AV video is solved, i don't think you can use that as a valid argument.


Why? SE are the ones who made the encounter, the game. Surely if there was balance amoung the classes you would see a bigger spread of the classes represented there. I mean, they are being played by people who made the game afterall, if they did not feel like beating the encounter with a proper class distribution why should we be expected to do the same?

Quote:
yeah smn seems sort of perma-boned although let's not forget smn-burns! I joke, and that is an extreme example, but every job has a niche or two that no other job can fill. That may not sound like balance but it in fact is.


Niches are not really balance. They are specialized occurances which must occur for a class to perform adequately. Any other time and the class is useless.

"Sorry, your niche isnt in this encounter - you get to sit out" Is not balance.

Quote:
It does seem that SE is pretty inept when it comes to pet jobs, though, i'll give you that. as for rdm. i think it should be able to solo hard sh*t. it's @#%^ing rdm. and its not like that stuff is easy to solo. the guys that post videos of their extreme rdm solos are freaking insane fanatic human weapons who make use of the "player skill" you mention later in your post. Give me a fully equipped rdm, set me down in front of genbu or ash dragon or whatever rdms are soloing now, and i will promptly die.


To take your niche arguement a step further - why are bsts and pups not able to solo nearly as many things as a rdm? I mean, they are the designed solo classes.

And likewise, a single person taking on raid content is the epitome of imbalance in a class. I don't care if they are good - one person should not be able to do what a party can do, let alone a raid.

Quote:
as for /nin, it's used a lot because it's an effective tool. i don't see it as such a problem.


If it is used to the exclusion of other subjobs, then there is an imbalance. The fact that it is used more often than others is self explanatory of this.

Quote:
again you are arguing my point that different classes do things differently, and hence the game is more balanced


No - you believe that there should be a "best" at things (the post i quoted earlier). I believe that to be a flawed game design - rather there should never be a "best" at anything.

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#28 Sep 02 2009 at 5:28 PM Rating: Decent
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#29 Sep 02 2009 at 5:34 PM Rating: Decent
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KacesofCaitsith wrote:

You said:

Quote:
the fact remains, there will always be a "best way" to do anything in a world governed by strict mathematics


And i said there does not have to be a best way when all the numbers are the same.


i don't know what you mean by "all the numbers are the same". My point is that people are going to min/max to strive for that ultimate best setup, and they do this via gear choices more than anything.

Quote:
I would say that in terms of ffxi, you job / subjob combination as well as merit build have just as much validity in the scope of a cookie cutter discussion. Likewise, party and encounter setups.


i disagree, it is gear choices that players use to achieve cookie-cutter(read:"best way" or "most effective") status more than anything else. yes merits come into play but not nearly as much.



I wrote:
until the mystery of the AV video is solved, i don't think you can use that as a valid argument.


you wrote:

Why? SE are the ones who made the encounter, the game. Surely if there was balance amoung the classes you would see a bigger spread of the classes represented there. I mean, they are being played by people who made the game afterall, if they did not feel like beating the encounter with a proper class distribution why should we be expected to do the same?


you're missing my point. You have no idea why they made the job/gear choices they did for the AV fight. Therefore making assumptions about game design issues based off of that is unhelpful.

Quote:

Niches are not really balance. They are specialized occurances which must occur for a class to perform adequately. Any other time and the class is useless.

"Sorry, your niche isnt in this encounter - you get to sit out" Is not balance.


to me, balance is not about making every job interchangeable so no one gets left out. to me, that is boring.
balance is about offering the player choices. if I want to solo genbu, i have the choice to level rdm and develop the requisite skills. I can't do that with dragoon for instance, but I can go solo sea puks with dragoon. can't do it with rdm. there are countless examples of this sort of thing.

I do see your point, I just have a hard time seeing how it can be implemented and still be fun. Your idea of balance is sounding more like the cookie-cutter model, and I know that's not what you are intending.


Quote:

And likewise, a single person taking on raid content is the epitome of imbalance in a class. I don't care if they are good - one person should not be able to do what a party can do, let alone a raid.


well, the truth is several jobs(including monk) can and have soloed genbu. i also disagree with the assertion that one person should not be able to do what a party can. If a guy wants to spend a couple hours letting genbu chase him around while he whittles him down with DoTs or chi blast, i don't really see the problem. to me it makes the game more interesting. and it's the great thing about the job system. if you want to do something cool that you saw a rdm do, you can level rdm and do it too.

it occurs to me that we may be arguing about balance when we probably don't even agree on what defines balance in this context. haha oh well.

I wrote:
as for /nin, it's used a lot because it's an effective tool. i don't see it as such a problem.


Quote:

If it is used to the exclusion of other subjobs, then there is an imbalance. The fact that it is used more often than others is self explanatory of this.


i'm just not sure this statement has any legs. especially now that /sam and /dnc are around. it's a tool box. you use the tools that work. some work better in certain situations. Are there too many situations where /nin is best? possibly. I mostly played mnk, so i do feel you there. I was always /nin outside of soloing, when i would go /dnc or /thf.

My problem with your statement is that /nin is used so much because well... /nin is really useful. and fun!

edit:
rereading this, i do see where you are coming from more. you are probably asking yourself "well, WHY did the devs make /NIN so useful?" my answer of course would be that the devs had no idea wtf monster they were creating with utsusemi and didn't plan for any of this.

however, i like that i have options now for damage mitigation. and it changes based on my main job. /nin or /dnc is usually the best for monk, but often /rdm or /blu is best for drg. the subs don't work at all in the same way but they accomplish similar tasks. that to me is good balance.

I wrote:
again you are arguing my point that different classes do things differently, and hence the game is more balanced


Quote:

No - you believe that there should be a "best" at things (the post i quoted earlier). I believe that to be a flawed game design - rather there should never be a "best" at anything.


don't misquote me, and don't tell me what I believe. I said that in a mathematical system, there IS a best way. I don't necessarily think there SHOULD BE. SE agrees, since they are moving towards giving the player more direct control (player skill) in combat. or at least that's what i am led to believe from the vids.

I'd like to see a system that combines all the math with game mechanics that require more skill than auto-attacking and pressing macros. I guess I'm saying I want more action and less dice-rolling behind the scenes.

edit: i also want to point out that a job system where no class is able to outperform any other class at ANYTHING is sort of pointless. Why have classes then? if no one is the best, is everyone the worst? I mean, i like the idea of moving completely away from "best" and "worst" altogether, but at this point i don't think it's realistic.


in conclusion i offer this hypothesis and corollaries:

There is more than one way to do anything
-but there is always a best way to do it
-however the difference between the best way and the second best way is usually negligible




Edited, Sep 2nd 2009 9:41pm by Llester

Edited, Sep 2nd 2009 9:45pm by Llester
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#30 Sep 02 2009 at 5:55 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
There is more than one way to do anything
-but there is always a best way to do it
-however the difference between the best way and the second best way is usually negligible


The sad truth about this is that in games like WoW and XI second best doesn't end up meaning good, it ends up meaning first looser to the "End Game" crowd.
#31 Sep 02 2009 at 6:27 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
i don't know what you mean by "all the numbers are the same". My point is that people are going to min/max to strive for that ultimate best setup, and they do this via gear choices more than anything.


If i was unclear, ill lay it out in numbers:

Say you have a mnk and a drk (or w/e their equivalent is in xiv). The mnk does 100 dps, the drk does 100 dps - this is with "starter gear". With endgame gear, the gear setup and class scalability is setup so that the mnk does 150 dps and the drk does 150 dps.

Having the classes do the same amount of damage, just through different mechanics encompasses scaling as well as base design. One general rule of mmo's is that if it does not scale, it eventually becomes obsolete.

So yes, they can customize through gear. But that customization should not lead to better classes, only different play styles.

Quote:

i disagree, it is gear choices that players use to achieve cookie-cutter(read:"best way" or "most effective") status more than anything else. yes merits come into play but not nearly as much.


Technically, with xiv's system, gear and class are intertwined so i think both arguements are valid :P

Quote:
you're missing my point. You have no idea why they made the job/gear choices they did for the AV fight. Therefore making assumptions about game design issues based off of that is unhelpful.


It was an example, and a very good one. If the developers need to use 4 classes out of 20 to beat a boss there is a balance issue.

This carries over into many things, especially over the course of ffxi's life. I remember back shortly after the ps2 release where the mantra of "no problem in vanadiel cannot be solved by throwing more rangers at it" was common. Sure, they have fixed things, but do not claim that the game is balanced when you yourself have said that certain classes get botched (pet classes in your post).


Quote:
to me, balance is not about making every job interchangeable so no one gets left out. to me, that is boring.
balance is about offering the player choices. if I want to solo genbu, i have the choice to level rdm and develop the requisite skills. I can't do that with dragoon for instance, but I can go solo sea puks with dragoon. can't do it with rdm. there are countless examples of this sort of thing.

I do see your point, I just have a hard time seeing how it can be implemented and still be fun. Your idea of balance is sounding more like the cookie-cutter model, and I know that's not what you are intending.


Why is it boring to be able to play the class you want to play and not be passed over for a "better dps / healer / tank"? If you love pali, why shouldnt you be able to play it for all the encounters and scenarios?

Seriously, how many times do people need to level new jobs just so that they can see certain encounters because their prefered job is just not effective in it?

Quote:
it occurs to me that we may be arguing about balance when we probably don't even agree on what defines balance in this context. haha oh well.


yeah, i think we just have different definitions of balance.

Quote:
rereading this, i do see where you are coming from more. you are probably asking yourself "well, WHY did the devs make /NIN so useful?" my answer of course would be that the devs had no idea wtf monster they were creating with utsusemi and didn't plan for any of this.

however, i like that i have options now for damage mitigation. and it changes based on my main job. /nin or /dnc is usually the best for monk, but often /rdm or /blu is best for drg. the subs don't work at all in the same way but they accomplish similar tasks. that to me is good balance.


Yeah, my point with /nin was the sheer game change that occured with the introduction of it.

Quote:
don't misquote me, and don't tell me what I believe. I said that in a mathematical system, there IS a best way. I don't necessarily think there SHOULD BE. SE agrees, since they are moving towards giving the player more direct control (player skill) in combat. or at least that's what i am led to believe from the vids.


Class A: 100 dps
Class B: 100 dps
Armor setup x adds 25 dps
Armor setup y adds 25 dps

Sure, if you do something completely wrong with your gear you get a poor result, but doing things right with your armor (in this case adding dps stats) yeild the same net gain.

Hence, there is no best way to do it. Class A with armor x is the same as Class B with armor y and so on.

Quote:
edit: i also want to point out that a job system where no class is able to outperform any other class at ANYTHING is sort of pointless. Why have classes then? if no one is the best, is everyone the worst? I mean, i like the idea of moving completely away from "best" and "worst" altogether, but at this point i don't think it's realistic.


Easy - playstyles and mechanics. There are people who like classes purely on the basis of them being the "best". There are also people who like classes because of the mechanics to them. Dancer was like that for me, the mechanics of the class were extremely interesting to me. Just because i liked dnc does not mean i like whm or brd or anything which can be comparable to it. Infact, i hated whm and brd.

That is the point - playstyles and mechanics. Having all the dps just auto attack to the same numbers IS boring. Having one dps use a conjuction of physical skills and black magic as opposed to a dps who uses a selective pet to carry most of their damage is worlds different in terms of playstyle, mechanics and class definition.

Quote:

in conclusion i offer this hypothesis and corollaries:

There is more than one way to do anything
-but there is always a best way to do it
-however the difference between the best way and the second best way is usually negligible


Quote:
The sad truth about this is that in games like WoW and XI second best doesn't end up meaning good, it ends up meaning first looser to the "End Game" crowd.


He said it best.
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#32 Sep 02 2009 at 7:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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Busy, so this is all I'm responding to for now:


Quote:
The point of this thread is about avoiding cookie cutters :P


Yes, but the point of avoiding cookie cutters is generally more for roleplaying uniqueness, not statistical uniqueness. Most people who dislike cookie cutters simply dislike looking the same as everyone else.

Quote:

I disagree. Having more options is much more detrimental to balance. Now, i do not mean keeping things on the order of 2-3 abilities per class with a limit of like 3 classes. I mean keeping things on the order of 10 abilities or so for like 10 classes.

Going for quantity over quality in terms of options does not bring about balance. What you tend to get is a certain % of options that are considered "mandatory" and others that are considered useless. When you have so many options, unless each one is exactly the same and equivacable (at which point why have so many?) there will be imbalances.


Counterpoint: I disagree with this.

First of all, I need to point out that you're working under several assumptions about the schematics of a game that I'm blowing right past, and I might not be able to adequately explain to you why this is wrong without discussing a lot of game fundamentals that I'm really not willing to.

Having said that, more options absolutely, unequivocally makes game balance easier when options are more fluid and freeform rather than rigidly applied. If you have useless options, you simply improve them and add them to the pool. Overpowered ones, you weaken. And yes, you want there to be some measure of equivalence, but they don't have to be linearly equivalent. Meaning some of them are going to be better when coupled with others, and it becomes important to weigh their value in light of a number of factors rather than just being able to say, "Oh, this one has a multiplier of 9, but this one has a multiplier of 10, so it's better."

As a practical example, strategy card games. There are certainly cards that are better than others, but you can't just throw all the best cards in a deck and call it a winner. You have to have a coherent strategy in mind. And then the worst you get is a few archtypes, which is inevitable mainly because balance can't be adjusted in a card game like it can a video game.

Anyway, to answer your last question, why have so many if they're all so equivalent, I would hope the answer is as plain as the nose on your face. Because it solves the problem of cookie cutters. Even if it means that some person uses wind magic and the other uses fire, but the only difference is cosmetic, it's a step towards solving that problem.

Quote:
My point, i believe, is proven by the fact that there are job stigmas and views in the community. Certain classes are viewed as ineffective or unwanted. Certain classes are seen as mandatory for certain events. Certain subjobs are required by certain jobs, others are viewed as wtf?


Blowing past some more stuff. Jobs are easily stigmatized because they are rigid and unbalanced. I'm sorry, but SE did a pretty awful job with balance, primarily by doing an awful job of subjob balance, among other things (gear and merits, for example). If anything this observation supports my point. Classes can be so easily stigmatized because the game is so rigid and offers so little in the way of uniqueness. The best subs are fairly obvious. The best gear is fairly obvious. The best merits are fairly obvious. When you can identify the highest caliber of a single job so easily, comparing them is also easy as well as inevitable. All you really have to do is ask what's unrealistic in terms of the ideal and subtract that.

Enemies all being relatively similar is another huge part of this problem. There generally aren't enough situational benefits and even the ones that are present (like damage types) aren't represented equally or randomly enough.

Anyway, it's important to note that just because SE was pretty awful with balancing these things, that doesn't mean it's hard to do. Other games make multiple major adjustments within a week of finding imbalances.

Quote:
As i said before in another thread - if the multitude of jobs were balanced in this game, why is it that only 5 (or 6?) of all the jobs are shown in the SE AV kill video?


I don't see how that tells us anything until we know how to beat AV. It's not as if we can beat him if we use those jobs. But yes, I think it's pretty obvious that the jobs are not balanced. I think players have started to adjust their definition of balance more than SE has actually adjusted balance.

Edited, Sep 2nd 2009 8:13pm by Kachi
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#33 Sep 02 2009 at 7:15 PM Rating: Decent
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If you have a bunch of healing classes, having them all do <x> hps (just with different mechanics to them) is easily done.

If you have a bunch of dps classes, having them all do <y> dps (just with different mechanics to them) is easily done.
wait, I thought we were trying thing of ways to -not- make cookie cutters jobs? Player style, skill, practicality, and the inability to read the developer's mind for intention (or vice versa, devs not thinking of as many possibilities as players) are going to **** up this balance anyways. It's better to make certain classes/jobs/skills/armor/whatever situationally better while providing lots of opportunities (and rewards) for each to niche to excel in.
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#34 Sep 02 2009 at 7:18 PM Rating: Good
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Kind of a +1, but to be quick: Exactly.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#35 Sep 02 2009 at 7:26 PM Rating: Decent
Kachi wrote:
Kind of a +1, but to be quick: Exactly.
who?
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#36 Sep 02 2009 at 7:40 PM Rating: Good
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I always thought it would be neat to have certain stat/ job ability boosting holidays for job/or races. or even a combo for the two. Like one day, give Red Mages A++ in sword, and the next, All people from a certain nation get a certain amount of refresh or regen (probably percent based to keep it from sucking). Maybe some days go all out. I think It would help curtail some X/X job is broken/ over used arguments, because one day a month or so, you have your job/ your race/ your nation and it is out shining the others, regardless of what you picked.
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#37 Sep 02 2009 at 8:04 PM Rating: Good
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Just because you're unique doesn't mean you're useful. I'd take a cookie cutter build over someone trying to be unique ten out of nine times.
Screenshot
Been wanting to use that picture forever...


Anyway, the real problem here has to do with the very nature of a multi-player game, when you have to consider not only your own performance but how it will effect the people you group with.

Something is always going to be better then everything else unfortunately and there's very little that can change that.

It's really the same with most games, on line and off, but of course in single player games it doesn't matter nearly as much. It's less to do with game design and more to do with the people playing it. Not saying wanting to be the best is a bad thing, but that's the way it is.
#38 Sep 02 2009 at 8:15 PM Rating: Decent
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Yes, but the point of avoiding cookie cutters is generally more for roleplaying uniqueness, not statistical uniqueness. Most people who dislike cookie cutters simply dislike looking the same as everyone else.


I think the reason ppl dislike the fact that they looked the same as everyone else only highlighted the fact that they were exactly the same as everyone else. This ofcourse is augmented by the limited character customization present in ffxi - running into your twin was common. Running into your twin with exactly the same setup as you also happened.

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First of all, I need to point out that you're working under several assumptions about the schematics of a game that I'm blowing right past, and I might not be able to adequately explain to you why this is wrong without discussing a lot of game fundamentals that I'm really not willing to.


That's fine.

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Having said that, more options absolutely, unequivocally makes game balance easier when options are more fluid and freeform rather than rigidly applied. If you have useless options, you simply improve them and add them to the pool. Overpowered ones, you weaken. And yes, you want there to be some measure of equivalence, but they don't have to be linearly equivalent. Meaning some of them are going to be better when coupled with others, and it becomes important to weigh their value in light of a number of factors rather than just being able to say, "Oh, this one has a multiplier of 9, but this one has a multiplier of 10, so it's better."


So, 50 jobs with 100 abilities each is easier to balance than 10 jobs with 50 abilities each? Not to mention, with the notion of situational usefulness that you use later on, ensuring that each class has a use and function? And each ability is useful?

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Anyway, to answer your last question, why have so many if they're all so equivalent, I would hope the answer is as plain as the nose on your face. Because it solves the problem of cookie cutters. Even if it means that some person uses wind magic and the other uses fire, but the only difference is cosmetic, it's a step towards solving that problem.


If the difference is cosmetic, then it follows along the line of the gear skinning. I really do not see much a problem with cosmetic changes, never claimed to have one. My discussion is about core mechanics and abilities. Not swapping animiations or art work to give the feeling (albiet superficial since it is literally only skin deep) of uniqueness.

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Blowing past some more stuff. Jobs are easily stigmatized because they are rigid and unbalanced. I'm sorry, but SE did a pretty awful job with balance, primarily by doing an awful job of subjob balance, among other things (gear and merits, for example). If anything this observation supports my point. Classes can be so easily stigmatized because the game is so rigid and offers so little in the way of uniqueness. The best subs are fairly obvious. The best gear is fairly obvious. The best merits are fairly obvious. When you can identify the highest caliber of a single job so easily, comparing them is also easy as well as inevitable. All you really have to do is ask what's unrealistic in terms of the ideal and subtract that.


We agree i suppose.

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Enemies all being relatively similar is another huge part of this problem. There generally aren't enough situational benefits and even the ones that are present (like damage types) aren't represented equally or randomly enough.


I think i would rather have universal utility and effectiveness rather than relying on situational encounters to have a class be effective. One reason is the one you stated - unless it is evenly distributed these classes get left in the sidelines.

The other reason is because it leads to sidelining good players because they are not the class that is gimmicked into the encounter.

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Anyway, it's important to note that just because SE was pretty awful with balancing these things, that doesn't mean it's hard to do. Other games make multiple major adjustments within a week of finding imbalances.


Yes, but this is unfortunatly SE's game and i do not see them changing their gameplan a whole lot from ffxi's.

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I don't see how that tells us anything until we know how to beat AV. It's not as if we can beat him if we use those jobs. But yes, I think it's pretty obvious that the jobs are not balanced. I think players have started to adjust their definition of balance more than SE has actually adjusted balance.


It is like i said before - take the hardest boss in the game. The developers know it's weaknesses and how to beat it. They also model their encounters around niche filling (or should i say the oclusion of other classes - where are my pets to charm as a bst in these encounters for example). It is a reasonable inferance to make then, that the setup that they perscribe as being optimal, if not mandatory for the encounter is their setup. I think this is further proven by the "adjustments" that they have done to the encounter when players come up with strats which do not use their setup.


Personally, I have seen this many times on this forum and i never really understood it. Why is the notion of class balance so reliant on "niche" filling or having things be the "best" at things? When i say classes should be equivalent, ppl get up in arms because "whats the point of having different classes at that point".

Playstyle and mechanics. What should seperate a drk from a drg for example is not that a drg does more dmg against birds or that a drk generally does more dmg (w/e) but rather that the drg has a reactive PET and that the drk utilizes black magic along with physical attacks.

I do not know why that is so hard to accept here.

Edited, Sep 3rd 2009 12:16am by KacesofCaitsith
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#39 Sep 03 2009 at 3:14 AM Rating: Good
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I think most of your questions/arguments can be clarified by the things I was blowing past, so I'll just throw them out there and if there's something that still doesn't fit, feel free to point it out, because I'm going to forget some things I'm sure.

I am not a fan of classes in general, because they impose rigidity on the players. I've many times over advocated for a more fluid character customization system that allows players to choose their own abilities and stat configurations, with limitations.

I wouldn't call it "niche" as that's far too strong a word for what I'm describing. It's more like situational ideals. Niche to me implies a more mandatory place for the "job".

I think I already said this, but diversity and randomization are very important here as well. Let's say you're going to raid the uber dragon, and you know what works best for the uber dragon. Well, if the uber dragon is not exactly the same every time, then you really don't. And if you're forced to fight randomized and/or diverse battles with the uber dragon's minions en route to or during the battle, then it makes it that much harder to rely on optimal planning. You -should- end up having to rely on the individual strategy and teamwork of the players who show up, not the party assembly process that ends up being all on the leader.

My point there being that relatively predictable battles/raids are a huge part of the problem.
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#40 Sep 03 2009 at 7:38 AM Rating: Good
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drk utilizes black magic along with physical attacks.
looooool
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#41 Sep 03 2009 at 7:51 AM Rating: Good
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My point there being that relatively predictable battles/raids are a huge part of the problem.


Do any games have random battle mechanics at this point though? Serious question, because part of the... lack of appeal at times for pve tends to be the predictabilty of the encounters. Even ones that mix it up abit still are not truely random.

Quote:
I am not a fan of classes in general, because they impose rigidity on the players. I've many times over advocated for a more fluid character customization system that allows players to choose their own abilities and stat configurations, with limitations.


My mmo experience so far has always been through some form of class system. I personally like it, but let's be honest i like it because it is familiar. Who knows how i will react with a classless system so i will leave it at that.

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I wouldn't call it "niche" as that's far too strong a word for what I'm describing. It's more like situational ideals. Niche to me implies a more mandatory place for the "job".


The problem in terms of ffxi is that often every encounter has a situational ideal (be it through encounter mechanics, mob type or other factors). When there is always an ideal for an encounter it moves past a situational ideal and into niche territory because the pervious definition of "useless" comes back into play. Afterall, if there is no normal encounter where no-one has an advantage then those who are at a disadvantage are at a larger disadvantage than normal.

This problem spirals out of control once you have a multitude of classes / jobs and specializations between them. If there are 20 encounters and say class <x> is only "ideal" for 2 of them how is that fair? Especially because not only will there be times where the class is not "ideal" but also detrimental to the encounter (either through being at such a disadvantage or through simple game play mechanic limitations).

It is like i said before, why is there so much resistance to the notion of being able to play what type of class you want and not be restricted by encounter mechanics of ls pressure to play something that is valid in the encounter?

ffxi lets you swap jobs. It is in my opinion a bandaid fix to balance - your class doesnt work, switch to another - since people are sometimes required to play / level jobs they do not like. Ffxiv seems to have a similar system and i hope that players do not accept having to level every single skill inorder to see content.

And really, if everyone is required to have the same skill set, is anyone unique?
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#42 Sep 03 2009 at 7:52 AM Rating: Good
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looooool


great concept, craptastic implementation. It was also a concept discussion, not a practical ffxi implementation.
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#43 Sep 03 2009 at 8:59 AM Rating: Decent
Kachi wrote:
I think I already said this, but diversity and randomization are very important here as well. Let's say you're going to raid the uber dragon, and you know what works best for the uber dragon. Well, if the uber dragon is not exactly the same every time, then you really don't. And if you're forced to fight randomized and/or diverse battles with the uber dragon's minions en route to or during the battle, then it makes it that much harder to rely on optimal planning. You -should- end up having to rely on the individual strategy and teamwork of the players who show up, not the party assembly process that ends up being all on the leader.
I have to disagree with this one as a way to combat cookiecutter setups, randomized/diverse battles just tend to favor the "hybrid" cookiecutter who can do everything ok but nothing well in order to avoid getting screwed by having niche/ideal jobs in the wrong niche/situation. (take SJs in nyz for example)

Kaceso wrote:
The developers know it's weaknesses and how to beat it. They also model their encounters around niche filling (or should i say the oclusion of other classes
I want to point out that the developers beat it by cheating (multiple 2hrs from the same chars). Just because they didn't show/play as certain jobs doesn't mean that what they picked was "ideal" much less the only way to get it done (if you pay attention to their gear it's pretty obvious having "ideal" characters wasn't on their mind). Assuming 2hr usage is somehow related to "locking" or w/e, AV could actually be a good example of the developers reaching out to jobs that aren't as common in endgame HNM situations.
Kaceso wrote:
Shinta wrote:
looooool
great concept, craptastic implementation. It was also a concept discussion, not a practical ffxi implementation.
DRK in FFXI is a great example of how it's impossible for devs to "balance" classes in the way you discribe because they don't see things the same way players do though. DRK (crap magic) and DRG (silly wyvern) may be "balanced" (both multihit WS, high dmg/delay weapons, 2handers, similar subs, +Xdmg from jumps vs +X dmg spread out from LR/SE) in the developer's eyes against some hypothetical situation(s) against X mob/HNM/event, but when the players start get a hold of the class, ignore DRK's magic (for the most part) and abuse things like haste/multihits, all the careful ability "balancing" goes out the window. There will always be a class that the player base perceives as strongest for a certain event, true balancing just involves not making that class the strongest for every event and every class at least somewhat useful for every event (note: not ness same strat for every event, which is where a lot of players are close minded).
Kaceso wrote:
Say you have a mnk and a drk (or w/e their equivalent is in xiv). The mnk does 100 dps, the drk does 100 dps - this is with "starter gear". With endgame gear, the gear setup and class scalability is setup so that the mnk does 150 dps and the drk does 150 dps.
This is about as boring/cookiecutter as it gets, and requires all events in the game to be straight forward and blandly designed to keep that "balance"
Kaceso wrote:
ffxi lets you swap jobs. It is in my opinion a bandaid fix to balance - your class doesnt work, switch to another - since people are sometimes required to play / level jobs they do not like. Ffxiv seems to have a similar system and i hope that players do not accept having to level every single skill inorder to see content.
I think you're taking this to a much bigger extreme than actually exists. There are certainly some jobs (coughBSTcough) that don't get a lot of love in endgame events (although they can do them perfectly fine as several all-BST LS have shown), but there are very few situations where using a particular job is outright detrimental/impossible. Even then, having one other "type" of job is enough in any situation I can think of. You don't need to have more than 2-3 jobs leveled to fully experience all the content in FFXI, not every skill/job available, and even that is mostly because of player neophobia and not developer intent. Unless players/leaders are extremely picky about what jobs they "like" (and that's not the dev's fault) it is easy to get by only playing what you enjoy.

edit: added quotes to differentiate your definition of "balance" and my definition of balance

Edited, Sep 3rd 2009 2:41pm by shintasama

Edited, Sep 3rd 2009 3:04pm by shintasama
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#44 Sep 03 2009 at 9:22 AM Rating: Good
KacesofCaitsith wrote:
Quote:
My point there being that relatively predictable battles/raids are a huge part of the problem.


Do any games have random battle mechanics at this point though? Serious question, because part of the... lack of appeal at times for pve tends to be the predictabilty of the encounters. Even ones that mix it up abit still are not truely random.


Developers learned a while ago that random mechanics are usually pretty lame, especially the kind that can wipe your group in a heartbeat for no other reason than...oops...random.

I've played games where encounters are largely "scripted" in the sense that enemy abilities have cooldowns and/or things happen sequentially and enough of a random aspect has been included to keep you on your toes (ie. Bossguy has a 20 second cooldown on his Uberdoom ability but that doesn't mean he uses it every 20 seconds...it just means that after he uses it you know you're safe from it for 20 seconds.)

Something that used to bother me in FFXI was the unforgiving nature of some of the "end-game" fights coupled with their random components. Having an alliance wipe to Kirin's Astral Flow sucked. You had no way to predict when it was going to happen, there was no way to predict which element would be the source of the damage, and it was a pretty safe bet that if you had enough people in the radius of it when it was used, you were in serious, serious trouble.

Quote:
Quote:
I wouldn't call it "niche" as that's far too strong a word for what I'm describing. It's more like situational ideals. Niche to me implies a more mandatory place for the "job".


The problem in terms of ffxi is that often every encounter has a situational ideal (be it through encounter mechanics, mob type or other factors). When there is always an ideal for an encounter it moves past a situational ideal and into niche territory because the pervious definition of "useless" comes back into play. Afterall, if there is no normal encounter where no-one has an advantage then those who are at a disadvantage are at a larger disadvantage than normal.


I think that FFXI is a bad example to use to drive home a point about class balancing and eliminating the cookie cutter shenanigan. A while back in another thread I asked for someone to present to me the practical benefit of the combined (and refined) understanding of FFXI theorycrafting to the point of being able to say, "Using <boss X> as an example, in order to kill said boss before <bad thing happens> you need a combined raid dps of <y> and you tend to need healers capable of <amount> hps to deal through all of the incoming damage or you have no chance." That my request for that information went ignored suggested to me that the FFXI theorycrafters had not yet evolved their understanding to that point, or I was asking the wrong person for the information.

Without that kind of information, I place no weight on the opinions of FFXI players who label a particular class as useless for a particular encounter. As you pointed out, if you've got an encounter that doesn't favor any particular class, chances are there will still be classes that are "penalized" in their performance and therefore be potentially non-viable as contributors.

In the discussion about cookie-cutters, I'm not even going to touch the cosmetic aspect of the game. That has never really been such a vital component of my enjoyment of an MMO that I'm going to feel disappointed if I see my twin running at me. I appreciate that other people find it to be important, but when I hear "cookie cutter" I don't automatically think appearances...I think about things like, "If you are <x> job of <y> level, you should be using items <a, b, c, etc.> because they are clearly the best. You should be using <subjob> for <role> without exception because it is clearly the best. You should also have <subjob>, <subjob> and <subjob> leveled for different situations."

That, to me, is the cookie cutter mentality rearing its ugly head, and to a certain extent it is unavoidable. Even with the potential for diversity SE seems to be building into FFXIV, it's only going to be a matter of time before players start working out which is the "best" for a particular situation and start to create the expectation in the community at large that if you want to contribute in those situations, you need to be duplicating that setup.

The idea is not to homogenize everything. The idea is to ideally create a certain degree of balance taking into account class, available gear, and the nature of encounters and tune the game in such a way that at no point does a particular encounter relegate a particular class non-viable. In every MMO will be found the cluster of narrow-minded simpletons who will label anything that is not optimal as useless, ignoring the enormous gray area that exists between "best" and "non-viable". My hope is that SE tunes things in such a way as to make it so that if you are truly non-viable with your particular class, it's because you don't know what you're doing with that class and not because the coded mechanics mean that no amount of skill and/or understanding will enable you to contribute in a significant way.
#45 Sep 06 2009 at 9:21 AM Rating: Decent
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you say have monk do 100dps from just physical and drk do 100 dps from a combined physical and magical (so hypothetical 80/20 split) and so they are balanced.

however this can only remain true so long as everything you fight has no weaknesses or strengths. if its resistant to magic boom monk just became the cookie cutter against that group. yes this can be partially solved by having mobs be in groups with different mobs in the same groups but not all areas would have the same dispersal of mobs.

and as we have seen with ffxi over the years, the players move to camp where they can have it the most controlled, predictable, easy, and for the most gain.

there's also the skill needed to achieve your dps to consider.

if all dps jobs did the same dps to all mobs so that they are the same but different mechanically, then i would be inclined to invite the job with the least complicated involved way of doing that dps.

ex if monk just auto attacks and uses a skill every 30 seconds and a drk has to use a spell every 20 seconds a skill 10 seconds after that spell 10 seconds after that and then skill again 20 seconds later, then that leaves a much smaller margin of error for drk to maintain the dps like the monk.

if to balance it you simply make it so each class must do the skill at the same rate then you essentially are playing the exact same jobs just with different aesthetics. almost like dat mods in ffxi. looks different but it really isnt.



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#46 Sep 06 2009 at 9:29 AM Rating: Decent
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The idea is not to homogenize everything. The idea is to ideally create a certain degree of balance taking into account class, available gear, and the nature of encounters and tune the game in such a way that at no point does a particular encounter relegate a particular class non-viable. In every MMO will be found the cluster of narrow-minded simpletons who will label anything that is not optimal as useless, ignoring the enormous gray area that exists between "best" and "non-viable". My hope is that SE tunes things in such a way as to make it so that if you are truly non-viable with your particular class, it's because you don't know what you're doing with that class and not because the coded mechanics mean that no amount of skill and/or understanding will enable you to contribute in a significant way.


i wholeheartedly agree with this. when i first started ffxi i was a monk and didnt have anything else lvled to switch to for events like bcnms. when we would do worms turn and everyone is switching to rangers and sams to fire from long range to do the most damage one could do in there with the least danger all i could do was go monk.

obviously the cookie cutter for that fight is rng and while monk was not good in it i was still able to do it and add a lot of damage, it just meant we required more healing.

so the biggest hurdle will be other players allowing you to play how you wish. because when you play with them its no longer just your time, its also theirs. and for those who dont want to change for the groups sake that is why they have solo guildleves.


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#47 Sep 07 2009 at 8:48 PM Rating: Good
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Do any games have random battle mechanics at this point though? Serious question, because part of the... lack of appeal at times for pve tends to be the predictabilty of the encounters. Even ones that mix it up abit still are not truely random.


Nyzul in FFXI, but that's really an extreme example. I don't use that as an example of how it should be done, but to demonstrate that it -can- be done from a technical standpoint.

Quote:
And really, if everyone is required to have the same skill set, is anyone unique?


Probably something else I blew past, but I like jobs to be flexible, but not in the way that they are in FFXI (or necessarily will be in XIV). Think of merits, for example. You can't change them very easily-- you have to put some thought into them. But if merits were the entirety of your ability set, then people would obviously come up with very different combinations. Balance is easier to achieve in a system like this, because if an ability is overpowered, you just increase the cost of access to it at the expense of other abilities (or reduce the cost of others).

Quote:
I have to disagree with this one as a way to combat cookiecutter setups, randomized/diverse battles just tend to favor the "hybrid" cookiecutter who can do everything ok but nothing well in order to avoid getting screwed by having niche/ideal jobs in the wrong niche/situation. (take SJs in nyz for example)


Frankly it goes far beyond combating cookie cutters to the point where it is necessary to preserve the entertainment of the game. If people don't have to think on the fly, then the challenge evaporates quickly as certain strategies are normalized. Regardless, it will combat cookiecutters. It would have to be horribly designed for there to be common situations where a certain configuration could do nothing well.

As a grossly simplified example, it would be like saying that giving random damage type weaknesses (blunt/slash/pierce) to monsters would create rampant hybrids. No, it would just reduce concern over whether you brought DRGs or MNKs. Not a perfect example in that damage type balance isn't much concern in XI, but it should get my point across.

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Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#48 Sep 07 2009 at 8:55 PM Rating: Decent
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I will make a character that I enjoy playing the most. Period. It would be stupid to penalize me if I happen to be the best. Also, to avoid cookie cutter gear, the game should focus more on achieving different levels of statistics, and then give a huge variety of gear to choose from, so that there is a multitude of ways to achieve value in the eyes of your peers and fellow party members.
#49 Sep 07 2009 at 9:20 PM Rating: Good
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As a grossly simplified example, it would be like saying that giving random damage type weaknesses (blunt/slash/pierce) to monsters would create rampant hybrids. No, it would just reduce concern over whether you brought DRGs or MNKs.
Orrrrrrr it would make people more likely to bring jobs like WAR, PLD, and SAM who have access to piercing, blunt and slashing; and less likely to bring MNK, RNG, and DRG who only have access to 1-2 of the three.
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#50 Sep 07 2009 at 11:12 PM Rating: Good
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Well yes, that's one of the reasons I said that FFXI was not a perfect example. There are plenty of workarounds for that problem as well. Off the top of my head, if you force people to choose one type, problem solved. A better system would probably allow people to choose the degree to which they want to emphasize various types.

The most important thing in any aspect of game design is that when one of your great new ideas creates a problem, you don't just throw it out. You find new ways to deal with that problem. When that solution inevitably creates new problems, you deal with those. Eventually all of those problems start to define themselves as normal game limitations that the developers and players can accept. After all, if you only implement simple features with few problems, you sacrifice the depth and complexity that long-term games thrive upon.

Balance issues are not a sign of a poor idea. They're an inevitability that you can't be prepared to halfass.

Anyway, randomization is a way to reduce predictability and increase dependency on real time strategy. It's essential to an MMO that aims to be strategy-centered regardless of the impact it has on cookie cutters. Personally I can think of several ways in which it would reduce cookie cutters, but it's certainly not the only way, and ultimately whether it does or doesn't is unimportant.
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
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