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> How would you make guilds work?
korexus
post Mar 13 2019, 09:00 PM
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As some of you will have seen, I'm on and off making an online RPG, inspired by Mordor.

I'm currently looking at the guild system, and am trying to decide the best way to implement it. I'm not reaching any real conclusions, so I thought I'd try a bit of crowdsourcing for inspiration!


There are some things I like about Mordor's guild system:
* Different guilds give different strengths at different stages of the game. - This is a lot more flexible than a traditional class system, where each class needs to be viable throughout the game.
* A player can join multiple guilds. - Multiclass characters exist in other games, but again the flexibility of Making a fighter with enough thief to cast charm of opening, then adding some spell damage later is great.
* Guilds have different requirements to join. - Sure, you want to join the wizards guild to get your hands on some spells, but you can't. You're too stupid. Next!

There are some things I'm less keen on:
* The way stats from different guilds are combined is not intuitive. However, I think this may be a bug, rather than a design choice.
* The order that you go advance levels matters. - There shouldn't be an optimal leveling route for HP. A player with the same guild stats has learned the same things. It may be faster one way than another, as skills from X help level up Y, but you should get to the same point.
* Apart from time, there's nothing to stop you maxing out all guilds (that are available to your race and alignment).

This last point is quite a big one for me. I like the idea that anyone can pick some magic, but it also seems reasonable that you won't get to archmage status if you're also training as a warrior.


The model I have at the moment has more guilds than Mordor, but with some of them only becoming available after you've progressed in another. (For example, there are base guilds of nomad, fighter, rogue and adept; only adepts can join the mage or cleric guilds; only mages can join the sorceror, wizard and illusionist guilds.) The earlier guilds can teach more things, to a lower level, higher tier guilds specialise. (Adepts can learn any spell book up to spell level 5; Mages learn Fire, Cold, Electicity, etc. while Clerics learn Heal, Banish, Resist, etc. up to spell level 15; later guilds specialise further.)

Combined with this, I've taken out the automatic advancement when leveling up, and replaced it with gaining skill points, which can be spent to learn any of the skills taught by any of the guilds you are a member of. This allows you to tune your character much more precisely, by focussing solely on backstab if that is what you want, instead of having to level up a guild that gives backstab but has high EXP costs because it also teaches other things.

Finally, to discourage people from joining every guild, I've replaced the joining fee with an ongoing cost. Every base level guild will take 1% of your earnings in perpetuity, every second tier guild will take 2%, etc. With the guilds I've currently defined, that will result in 99% of your gained gold going to the guild tax if you join every one of them. (I did wonder about making some guilds unavailable after you've joined others, but that seemed too harsh.)


As you can probably tell, this is a system I've put a fair amount of thought into, but I'm still not very happy with it. It models fairly closely what I want to happen, but is complicated to describe and doesn't feel particularly true to life (whatever that means in a game where you can learn to case fireball). Hence this post. - What would you want in a guild system? Starting from a baseline of Mordor, what would you keep, what would you get rid of, and what would you add?


Answers on a postcard please!

korexus.
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Mordion
post Mar 14 2019, 12:38 AM
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Here's some questions to ponder...

  • Why even have guilds/classes? Why not one big round skill tree (where you start in the center) that's impossible/impractical to develop in opposite directions.
  • Do you want a limit on how powerful a character can get? Modor has limits before lvl 999 in every guild. There's max extra swings and max att/def. Also you mention time being a limit. Mordor has a second time limit... how much you can level before your character dies of old age.
  • Do you want this limit to be obvious like a level cap or somewhat hidden like Mordor?
  • What is the optimum number of guilds to join and what are the game mechanics to encourage this?
  • Do you want to encourage investment in one character/party or do you want the player to have different characters for different roles? (and how can you use the guild system to encourage this.)
  • Similarly, do you want a Swiss army knife character to be viable? What about a craft hammer? (It can hammer and pull small nails and there's a crappy screwdriver hidden in the handle.)



Here are some games to study:

Magic the Gathering has an effective system for limiting "multi classing" via resources. Having a 3 color deck is impractical without a large number of dual lands. If you try more than three you'll be resource strapped and ineffective but there's nothing actually stopping you.

Diablo 2's class/skill tree system encouraged you to make a number of specialty build characters.

Path of Exile has a mega skill tree. Your "class" is where you start.

Original World of Warcraft didn't give you enough skill points to max two trees. You could spend your 50 skill points 40/10 to get an ultimate skill or 25/25 and have an interesting hybrid build.
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korexus
post Mar 14 2019, 08:47 PM
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Thanks Mordion.

Why even have guilds/classes?
It's reasonable that you need to go somewhere to learn a skill, and the concept of a guild is appropriate to the fantasy setting. It also allows for some common skills to be taught (at least to some level) along many or all paths, so different variations are more likely to be viable.

Why not one big round skill tree?
One of the diagrams I've drawn actually looks quite a bit like this. Still using guilds, but with multiple pre-requisites for some of them (so a paladin must have levels in warrior and cleric, for example) This allows for a nice single / dual class approach, and it would be possible to block access to some guilds after others have been joined (no paladin thieves for example). It does work, but was even more complicated, which is why I scaled back a bit.

Do you want a limit on how powerful a character can get? / Do you want this limit to be obvious?
I think really I want to model it as becoming harder to advance a high skill. - If it's twice as hard to add every point in <insert skill here> many people will pick up a bit, some people will focus enough on it to be good at it, but only a few will be masters. So no hard limit, but a practical point at which it stops being worthwhile improving a skill.

What is the optimum number of guilds to join?
I don't know, and I don't really want there to be an obvious best choice. I'd like several different strategies to be viable to make playing new characters interesting.

Do you want to encourage investment in one character/party
My play style tends to focus around a single character, so I'll definitely be supporting that. But I do allow people to make and play multiple characters (one at a time, parties are made up of multiple players with one character each.)
If someone has the time to make a warrior character and a mage character and to play them both, I have no issue with that, but I'd expect people to have one primary character at any given time.

Do you want a Swiss army knife character to be viable? What about a craft hammer?
Both, but therein lies the rub. If the Swiss Army Knife is almost as good as the craft hammer at craft hammer things, and has other capabilities, no one will pick the craft hammer. A Jack of all trades is a fine character choice, especially for a solo character. A dedicated <class choice> should also be viable, perhaps relying a bit on working within a group for missing skills, but outshining Jack in the specialised area.


Hmm, so it sounds like I'm actually concerned about many skills getting to high. Perhaps if the cost to advance any skill was somewhat increased by the total skills already learned, not just the level of the skill to advance. That could work, and is justifiable as a mechanic, as it's hard to know lots of information about lots of things.


Magic the Gathering
Is a bit far removed from what I'm doing. - You have to make a deck with a limited number of cards, which is why balancing resources is hard. Unless I randomly restrict which skills the player can "remember" how to use it would be hard to implement the same sort of limitations.

Diablo 2 / Path of Exile
I'd rather stick with the guild system than a true skill tree. I'm not convinced many of the skills I have really have a pre-requisite, but it's easy enough to apply pre-requisites to guilds, and use that to stop a skill being levelled further.

Original World of Warcraft
This is sort of what I'm aiming at, but in a system with many more paths you can go down, and no real limit to the total skill points you can obtain.


Thanks for the thoughts, it's certainly helped me refine my current model, but I still can't help feeling like I'm missing a simpler system...

korexus.
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Mordion
post Mar 15 2019, 03:30 AM
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What if XP requirements for the next level in the current guild are based on your combined guild levels?
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Technomancer
post Mar 15 2019, 03:56 AM
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I'm not sure if it would accomplish what you're looking for, but a super simple solution is, instead of having each guild be able to reach max level, you have a max TOTAL character level (say 999, keeping with Mordor tradition). Each guild gets a piece of that 999, but all added together can never go above that. You could take one guild to 999, 2 guilds to 500/499, 3 guilds to 333/333/333, 8 guilds to 500/200/100/100/50/25/20/4, etc.

At that rate, you could set breakpoints/max effective levels for guilds, like 250, 334, 500, etc. This way, no single character can have 250 level ability with more than 3 guild, or no more than 2 with 334 level ability, or no more than 1 guild with 500 level ability. You could even have a special easter egg or special boost at 999 for each guild, but only as a chase goal for the most dedicated diehards. All those numbers could be scaled down to 1-99 of course.
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korexus
post Mar 16 2019, 10:21 PM
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QUOTE (Mordion @ Mar 15 2019, 03:30 AM) *
What if XP requirements for the next level in the current guild are based on your combined guild levels?


I'm liking this more and more. Although I think I'll swap it around a bit.

The cost to advance can remain constant (which will make life easier for users knowing what their target is) but the rate at which XP is accumulated will drop off based on how many guilds you're in.

Come to think of it, I have a feeling Mordor does something similar to this. DA was quite good at this game design stuff cool.gif


The more general question is still open though. What do people like and dislike about Mordor's guild system? I'd hate to spend time reproducing something everyone hates! (Questmaster?)


korexus.
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Mordion
post Mar 17 2019, 12:05 AM
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QUOTE (korexus @ Mar 16 2019, 06:21 PM) *
Come to think of it, I have a feeling Mordor does something similar to this. DA was quite good at this game design stuff cool.gif


Demise does this but I can't remember if M2 does. Mordor doesn't. One 'bug' in Demise's implementation is that it calculates total XP needed for the next level vs total accumulated in current guild. So when you gain a number of levels in a second guild, instead of increasing the cost of the next level in the original guild by, say, 10% it increases the cost of the next level and all previously earned levels by 10% putting you in what they call "XP Debt".
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Roland
post Mar 18 2019, 01:49 AM
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Since you asked about the Questmaster . . . I think quests should be retained, but there should be a couple of restrictions to keep the Questmaster from abusing his power:

1. He should not be able to quest you two levels in a row.
2. He should not be able to quest you for a monster or an item that is not yet listed in the library.

More generally, I don't think the archetypal guilds make as much sense in Mordor as they did in Avatar. In Avatar, a character can access the abilities of only one guild at a time - e.g., he can't cast Charm of Opening or Leprosy while leveling in Warrior. Therefore, an Avatar character levels in only one guild after reaching level 30 in Nomad. This is designed to encourage/necessitate cooperation with other players. But Mordor players have found that the ability to multi-class makes some guilds are fairly useless. There is little reason to level in Scavenger if you can level in Warrior and Thief. An Osiri might level in Scavenger just for the extra swing, but the fact that he has to expend so much effort for one skill is a sign of bad design. If a character can access the skills of multiple guilds, I think each guild should teach a tight cluster of related skills, making for less overlap between guild profiles.
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BLauritson
post Mar 18 2019, 09:41 AM
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I must say I like all of the ideas presented thus far, and Roland's thoughts on the Questmaster have got me thinking.

Currently the Questmaster presents challenges where there is no extra reward for success (only the ability to do something you would have done anyway without the quest - level up) and a penalty for failure. Why not turn this around?

Quests in most RPGs offer rewards for their success, so why not re-design the Questmaster such that completing the quest is optional, but if you do achieve it within that level then you get some sort of reward for it? Whether it's a material reward such as gold or perhaps an EXP-boost towards your next level? The quest could only be valid until levelling up so that if you do complete it in time then you win the reward, but if you try to level up without completing the quest then you simply forfeit the reward as though the quest was never assigned in the first place.

There's no denying the Questmaster in Mordor can be a nasty inconvenience at times but I think there's no reason why it couldn't be changed into a positive occurrence instead, if you did choose to retain that feature.


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korexus
post Mar 18 2019, 08:53 PM
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QUOTE (Roland @ Mar 18 2019, 01:49 AM) *
More generally, I don't think the archetypal guilds make as much sense in Mordor as they did in Avatar. In Avatar, a character can access the abilities of only one guild at a time - e.g., he can't cast Charm of Opening or Leprosy while leveling in Warrior. Therefore, an Avatar character levels in only one guild after reaching level 30 in Nomad. This is designed to encourage/necessitate cooperation with other players. But Mordor players have found that the ability to multi-class makes some guilds are fairly useless. There is little reason to level in Scavenger if you can level in Warrior and Thief. An Osiri might level in Scavenger just for the extra swing, but the fact that he has to expend so much effort for one skill is a sign of bad design. If a character can access the skills of multiple guilds, I think each guild should teach a tight cluster of related skills, making for less overlap between guild profiles.


I've come across that one-class at a time restriction elsewhere, and I've never really got on with it. It just doesn't seem to make sense that I can learn some skills, then be unable to use them. In some very specific cases it might make sense (I am training as a cleric, my order forbids the use of non-clerical magic, so I can't cast spells that I haven't learned through the cleric guild) but in general it seems a bit silly. I know how to disarm that trap, but I'm going to blow it up in my face, because currently I'm learning to be a warrior. - Yes, perhaps the warrior's equipment makes disarming traps harder, but then put the penalty on the equipment, not the class.

On the other hand, you're right that having some guilds that offer nothing to almost any character is also bad. I'm trying to make each guild the best in at least one skill, while also providing a handful of other skills. I have a spreadsheet dedicated to breaking this one down!



QUOTE (BLauritson @ Mar 18 2019, 09:41 AM) *
Quests in most RPGs offer rewards for their success, so why not re-design the Questmaster such that completing the quest is optional, but if you do achieve it within that level then you get some sort of reward for it? Whether it's a material reward such as gold or perhaps an EXP-boost towards your next level? The quest could only be valid until levelling up so that if you do complete it in time then you win the reward, but if you try to level up without completing the quest then you simply forfeit the reward as though the quest was never assigned in the first place.


I've got something a little bit like that in my Town Hall.

https://pasteboard.co/I62quCW.png

Basically, when a monster kills a player, That monster becomes "deadly". - It gets its own name, and a bounty is placed on it. The higher the level of the monster, and the more players it has killed, the bigger the bounty.
Currently completing the quest is entirely optional, and not related to levelling up, but if guilds were offering the bounties instead, this could tie in to your suggestion quite neatly.

Of course, these are quests to kill a specific monster, not any instance of one, but you do also get told where it is. As an optional quest, that seems fair.

It wouldn't be hard to extend this idea to replacing stolen / destroyed items too, once I've implemented those mechanics...



Thanks,
korexus.
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Danjen
post Mar 21 2019, 05:04 PM
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Depending on your tastes, I think it's a good idea to have different XP rates. A lot of mechanics in Mordor feel like they're loosely based off AD&D 2e, which I love. For example, in that ruleset, you could only get +1/+2 bonus HP from having high CON, unless you were a Fighter. If you had 16+ in your primary stat for a class, you'd get a 10% experience boost. Fighters and Rogues had low experience requirements, while casters had a much higher requirement. This made classes uneven, and some better and some worse at different points in the game (eg Fighter was strong early but would taper off without spell support eg haste, while Wizards would shine midgame when they start to get Level 3 spells, and the party's total damage per round would be maximized by buffing the physical classes).

It also makes solo play more interesting. smile.gif

QUOTE (Roland @ Mar 17 2019, 09:49 PM) *
Since you asked about the Questmaster . . . I think quests should be retained, but there should be a couple of restrictions to keep the Questmaster from abusing his power:

1. He should not be able to quest you two levels in a row.
2. He should not be able to quest you for a monster or an item that is not yet listed in the library.


I think the QM should assign stuff that can be found on the deepest floor the character is on; maybe 10% of the time have it be 1 floor deeper, regardless if it's been discovered or not. By having him randomly give you a thing you've never heard of, you get those "That exists?!" moments, which you don't see as much of in games these days (mostly due to the prevalence of YT and wikis)
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Roland
post Mar 21 2019, 10:49 PM
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QUOTE (Danjen @ Mar 21 2019, 01:04 PM) *
I think the QM should assign stuff that can be found on the deepest floor the character is on; maybe 10% of the time have it be 1 floor deeper, regardless if it's been discovered or not. By having him randomly give you a thing you've never heard of, you get those "That exists?!" moments, which you don't see as much of in games these days (mostly due to the prevalence of YT and wikis)

If a monster has never been logged in the library, how woud the Questmaster even know that such a thing exists? If he does know about a monster, the guild should require him to share that knowledge with the librarian.
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korexus
post Mar 22 2019, 09:44 PM
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QUOTE (Roland @ Mar 21 2019, 10:49 PM) *
If a monster has never been logged in the library, how woud the Questmaster even know that such a thing exists? If he does know about a monster, the guild should require him to share that knowledge with the librarian.


Perhaps there are legends of monsters and items? If it didn't happen too often, that could make for quite an interesting quest: "Go out and find a dragon that is more dangerous than a pelagon".
The monsters are arranged in families, so any of the undiscovered monsters from the appropriate group could count for completing the quest.

Alternatively, the library could have partial information and the quest could be to fill in the gaps.
For monsters that would mean finding the monster and interacting with it enough to increase the ID level.
For items, if the library were only updated with what a guild member has personally carried, then the quest could be to own a fully identified <item> which is currently only partially identified in the library.

For my game I'd have to figure out how that interacts with the multi-tennanted nature, so I probably won't go down that route, but it's a nice idea!


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Roland
post Jul 10 2019, 06:33 PM
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A suggestion for a new spell for thieving guilds: In addition to Charm of Opening, which simply unlocks boxes, you could add a high-level spell, Disarm Trap. It should be costly enough that a Thief can't cast it on every trap, but it should be available for use on, say, a box from a level-15 encounter with a slime or teleport trap. This spell would make a nice artifact or wand for rogues.

Avatar appears to have added this sort of spell at some point after DA cloned the Avatar data for Mordor.
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korexus
post Jul 29 2019, 08:31 PM
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I've been working on a different game recently, but might get back to this at some point!

I've actually done something a bit similar with charm of opening anyway. There are no magically locked chests, instead CoO reduces the difficulty of a chest so the character has a better chance of opening it.

Of course, that does mean there isn't a new spell for thieves. Maybe they should get access to sight veil or something?
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post Oct 31 2019, 03:25 PM
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I realize I'm super late and behind on posting here, so in all likelihood you aren't even working on this anymore (or if you are then this part is set in stone enough to not favor much redesign). That said, this discussion got my game design gears turning, and I can't *not* give my two cents on it.

The ability to level in every guild, to max it out, and the only restriction is time... I both like and dislike it. On one hand, artificial level limits bother me - what, you're barring my progress just because I did too much other stuff? If I was theoretically immortal, having infinite time and money, I could do whatever I wanted to, and in a world setting like Mordor wherein your inherent characteristics (see: stats) can be increased through potions, study or the like, then there isn't any physical barrier to leveling. The only barrier, then, is time and money.
That said, I understand the problem here. If there is an optimal path (which, let's be honest, there will be. Every mixed leveling problem becomes an algorithm with an eventual correct answer), then that will become the gold standard, the thing that every "hardcore" player does once they know it, unless they are deliberately NOT doing it for the sake of self-imposed challenge. The Mordor OLR works in this way, at least for HP, and some understanding of minimum spell costs, required level for items or cutoff points for A/D or extra swings creates the endgame "goals" for a class. You can take them beyond that, sure, but you aren't going to be *earning* much of anything, outside of maybe higher spell damage or chance to crit/backstab/disarm trap, at a rate which basically becomes negligible.

I like the idea of a guild system. Not only does a character need to learn their skills somewhere, but it also then implements other built-in game mechanics. Mordor handled your "guild debt" with money required for level-up, and a Quest Master who required things of you. The QM adds a few other key features to Mordor that are important (albeit not the best handled), but I'll get to that later.
While the individualistic ideal of "My character goes out into the world and just learns all the skills I want them to learn" is attractive, it's rather isolating, and comes with a handful of its own logical issues. It's the same problem I have with certain game systems like Pathfinder which let you put skill points into non-combat skills when you level up. "Hey, I want to become the greatest lute-player ever! Time to go kill some dragons!" blink.gif If you are at least putting in effort, having to come back to a guild or the like every once in a while, then you have some built-in logic for where your skills are coming from.
Maybe I should try to implement that sort of guild-hub system in my next D&D campaign... think.gif

---
Separating this because it's gonna be a long post.

Anyway, from a gameplay perspective, the QM provides two important features, one more important than the other.
1. It forces players to break out of their comfort zone and push the limits of what their character can do.
2. It is a soft balance system in class exp difference - fighter classes level faster but get more quests and pay more money, while spellcasting classes level slower but aren't required as many quests or as much money.

The second point is exchangeable - you can try to balance the leveling issue in a myriad of ways, and the Quest% one is more a stick than a carrot. The first point, however, is the most important one. It helps avoid what I call the South Park dilemma - can you reach the highest level by ONLY doing low-level tasks? Made famous by the South Park episode where the group literally killed level 1 boars for months straight until they hit level cap. Now, obviously no player in their right mind would do this - they'd probably quit from boredom before they even got close to level cap - but the fact of the matter is they *CAN.* Most other games implement an exp gain ceiling, where you can only gain exp from mobs within a certain level of your own. Mordor has a soft version of this, reducing the exp given by monsters who are lower level than you by a fairly significant amount. When paired with increasing exp costs per level, the limit eventually forces players deeper.

That said, this "eventually" still means that most players can play in almost complete safety for most of their play period. Early levels of Mordor can kill you in your first encounter, but once you have a couple of levels under your belt you can sweep through the first few floors without taking a hit. And because of a few deeper-dropping monsters on those floors, like the Dwarven Lord on 4 dropping Dwarven Hammers, it gives the player a feeling of "I shouldn't go deeper until I can use this great loot, because deeper floors are obviously going to have even higher level requirements for items." It's perfectly reasonable for a character in Mordor to get stuck leveling around floor 7 for a significant period of time, especially because of high-priority monsters like the Butcher.

Enter the Quest Master. The game knows how strong a character of a particular level *should* be, and it theoretically has a limited number of key monsters that it keeps track of - ideally targets that are either very noticeable when you first encounter them, or rare enough to cause you to adjust your search pattern to find them. By sending you against a monster that is of a deep enough level that your character has to push themselves to find one, the game forces you to experience challenge again. The most fun, tense and interesting experiences in a dungeon crawler come when your character is off-balance, lost, or just struggling to push forward, but for some reason can't or shouldn't just turn back right away. When you have to break out your high level spells, use your consumable items, or really ask yourself the question "What do I do now?" The *ideal* of the QM system pushes the player toward this level of engagement with the game by forcing them into difficulty where their character will be threatened, but not totally overwhelmed.

That said, as we all know by now, the QM falls short of this "ideal" quite a bit. A rare low-level mob quest for a high level character causes us to search the confinement before even thinking about scouring the easy levels for their quarry. Item-return quests feel out of place, their only value over straight monster quests being that they teach players to pay attention to what drops what. The QM caps its quest level at a certain dungeon level, which works for Mordor because the deepest floors are programmed to be lethal even to the most experienced adventurers, but means that for the highest-level characters getting quested is just a tedium they don't really engage with anymore. If a monster is *too* rare then a player might never find one, causing nothing but frustration. If a monster is too common, then the quest feels entirely pointless. Giving fighter classes more quests than mages only balances their leveling if they actually forfeit quests, meaning that instead of both progressing forward at a different but balanced rate, the fighters are "balanced" via expected backsliding. And ultimately, NOBODY likes losing progress, so the QM is just a gigantic middle-finger to the player more often than not.

I agree that back-to-back quests are annoying. I had 4 quests in a row on my Paladin, and the likelihood of that happening would be even higher to ninjas. While I agree that in a system that differentiated the guilds more, having a more specialty guild being more quest-focused for progression makes sense, and could prove to be quite interesting. That said, the quests would need to make sense, and not just be "hey dude we need you to find and defeat *another* Namana. Yes, I know you've proven you can do it. Just trust us, you need to prove you can do it again."

---

QM rant over, I personally *LOVE* the idea of joining more specialty guilds as you get higher level. This provides incentive to dedicate yourself to a craft to master it. The only caveat I have around it is the age-old question, "Is it worth it?" For a fighting guild, for instance, what would a tier-3 warrior guild look like that's different than a tier 1 or 2? Would you limit guilds like Ninja to tier 3, and really focus them on giving more swings? Would you give them just better stats? Spellcasting guilds make perfect sense, but even they ask questions. Are you sticking to a Mordor formula for minimum spell cost based on learn level, or are you mixing that up so that more advanced guilds get spells for even cheaper? How deep would you have to go to reach the "best" spells? Are these "best" spells even useful? The theoretically best Kill spell in the game for Mordor is Field of Death, but because nothing outside of Piranhas and *maybe* Zbrats come in groups of more than 14 then it becomes pointlessly excessive.

Just some other things to think about. I love discussions like this and I'm sad that I haven't been digging through this side of the forum to find them!

This post has been edited by MythrilZenith: Oct 31 2019, 03:25 PM


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Just an average nomad trying to figure out how Mordor really works.

I've also taken the liberty of recording some videos of Mordor: Depths of Dejenol!

Classics are classic, but never mistake nostalgia for superiority. When older is better, it's because it truly is, not just because our perception of it makes it so.
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korexus
post Nov 3 2019, 09:05 PM
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Thanks, MythrilZenith.

Your timing could be quite good actually. The game I was working on in July is just about finished now, so I'll shortly start circling back to one of my other projects, you might influence that decision.

There's quite a lot in your post, so it may take a while to absorb it, and align it with what I was doing (after I've remembered what that was!) but I appreciate you taking the time to write it all.


korexus.
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MythrilZenith
post Nov 5 2019, 04:42 PM
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QUOTE (korexus @ Nov 3 2019, 02:05 PM) *
Thanks, MythrilZenith.

Your timing could be quite good actually. The game I was working on in July is just about finished now, so I'll shortly start circling back to one of my other projects, you might influence that decision.

There's quite a lot in your post, so it may take a while to absorb it, and align it with what I was doing (after I've remembered what that was!) but I appreciate you taking the time to write it all.


korexus.



Yeah no worries. Sorry about the length - when I get passionate about something I kind of just start going off about it, and length can get away from me unsure.gif

Most of that was just talking about the efficacy of the Quest Master. My other comments still stand, though - if there's an optimal path, players will strive to it innately after learning about it. If there's any point where more improvement is too much work for the benefit it gives, players will look for a different way. Balancing top-tier guilds, then, would be an important task. You want to reward players for their dedication to the guild, but you don't necessarily want them to be so good that no other build is viable.

An example of Mordor, the A/D given by fighting guilds slows down over time, and inevitably caps. Once you reach max AD and the most extra swings, there is only small bonuses to that guild's "fighting skill," such as critical hit chance, that you get from leveling up. Spellcasters don't get A/D or fight skill, so once you hit minimum spell cost for your favorite spells the only thing you get from leveling is higher damage - which caps at spell level 255, or guild level 509. After that there's almost no benefit to leveling up, outside of some weird interactions with monster guild level vs guild level rolls.
Thieves still gain thief skill as they level up (and backstab), so even though there is no "Here's your high-level soft/hard cap" for them, each individual level beyond minimum cost or item req. still gives something, even if the benefit is so small to be intangible.
This is probably why Ninja is one of the best classes to take to endgame - you are building crit, backstab AND thief skill even after you hit max A/D, and the fourth extra swing at 585 gives them a higher "target level" than any other class in the game. ph34r.gif Scavengers are also surprisingly worthwhile to level beyond extra swing, as they also get crit, backstab and thief skill from leveling. I mean, you'd get higher backstab, crit and thief by leveling both Warrior and Thief, but taking two separate classes to that high of a level would be incredibly tedious.

Another idea - Maybe you've played around with the idea of letting players join most or all tier 1 guilds, a handful of tier 2 guilds, and then only 1 or 2 tier 3 (assuming a 3-tier structure). That way you can clearly make tier 3 guilds the focal point, but you aren't leaving out the possibility of a dual-class (or more) character who spends most of their career trying new things, and only later on specializes into a particular path. That would also mean that a tier-3 guild that gives multiple benefits, for example a Ninja, would be a competitive option even if there were other tier-3 specialist guilds, like Thief, who did one particular thing better.

Just an idea. Glad to see you're continuing to think on this project!

This post has been edited by MythrilZenith: Nov 5 2019, 04:52 PM


--------------------
Just an average nomad trying to figure out how Mordor really works.

I've also taken the liberty of recording some videos of Mordor: Depths of Dejenol!

Classics are classic, but never mistake nostalgia for superiority. When older is better, it's because it truly is, not just because our perception of it makes it so.
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korexus
post Nov 5 2019, 10:24 PM
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QUOTE (MythrilZenith @ Nov 5 2019, 05:42 PM) *
Another idea - Maybe you've played around with the idea of letting players join most or all tier 1 guilds, a handful of tier 2 guilds, and then only 1 or 2 tier 3 (assuming a 3-tier structure). That way you can clearly make tier 3 guilds the focal point, but you aren't leaving out the possibility of a dual-class (or more) character who spends most of their career trying new things, and only later on specializes into a particular path. That would also mean that a tier-3 guild that gives multiple benefits, for example a Ninja, would be a competitive option even if there were other tier-3 specialist guilds, like Thief, who did one particular thing better.


This is exactly the sort of thing I've been trying to get to, but can never quite get it to reconcile.

As a zoomed out picture, I see concentric rings.
  • Nomad is at the centre, everyone can join this, and it teaches a bit of every skill, but not efficiently. - Either the rate of advancement is slow, or there is a cap early on, or a micture of both.
  • The next ring contains guild archetypes. Fighter; Rogue; Adept. These specialise a in a certain skillset.
  • The next ring either specialises in one of those skill bases, or combines two. Something like:
    • Paladin (adept/fighter)
    • Warrior (pure fighter)
    • Ninja (fighter/rogue)
    • Thief (pure rogue)
    • Illusionist (rogue/adept)
    • Wizard (pure adept)


Players might only be able to join two of the 2nd tier guilds, and one of the 3rd tier, which would require appropiate 2nd tier prerequisites.

Because everyone has some access to skills from the lower tiers, you're not completely locked out. (A paladin can have some thieveing ability, it will just be hard to build, and detract from earning paladin skills.).
This feels nice at the first pass, although I have a few worries about punishing people too much for making a bad choice early on - hence the rambling about how many guilds you should join.
It starts to break down a bit though, when you zoom in and consider what skills each guild should give. Pretty much all the learnable skills are magical really. I do intend to add some new skills to make other bonuses (e.g. A/D) explicit, and I like the idea of a merchant skill to get better prices when buying and selling, but would you trade all the spellbooks for those bonuses?
Then I wonder if the spellcasters should be split into mages and clerics. That fits with the fantasy theme, and is fairly easy to do, but the circles above work because there are three base classes. Life gets more compicated with four, especially with two of them being pretty similar.

korexus.
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MythrilZenith
post Nov 7 2019, 04:53 PM
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I think that sort of structure makes sense. It's a bit of an over-simplification of the classes, as you lose out on things like unique spells for unique guilds (and then there's the confusion of if "Paladin" is the right term or if you should be saying "Mystic Knight" or some other such thing), but functionally it works.

Is alignment (and alignment restriction) going to be a thing? In that case, you will want to make sure that classes like Paladin make sense for that system. I like the Mordor system (in theory) because it allows every class to stand out, to have a niche, and to also have me give up something because I'm choosing that class. Becoming a paladin? Well I'd better be Good. Want to be a full-class Healer? Gotta be neutral, buddy. I can create other interesting characters, but my characters become defined at least as much by what they CAN'T do as by what they can. It's also the only thing preventing a human from just joining up with literally every guild - even as someone with theoretically limitless potential, there are some things they just can't bring themselves to do because of their nature.


That said, I think that arbitrary limits (like Alignment) only work if there are meaningful choices. If I want to be a Paladin, I am precluding myself from being a Healer, Thief or Villain. If I'm a Thief, I can't ALSO be a ninja. These choices should ideally be hard - there should be important things I am both getting and giving up because of them. Mordor does this... alright. Outside of Ninja (which most races can't access anyway), you really aren't missing out on much by being Neutral, but if you are actively good or evil then you're missing out on both the best healing AND the best thievery, which feels like almost too severe of a punishment in my opinion.


And on the idea of "punishing people from making a bad choice early on," that's just part of the game. I'd rather have a reason to actively make a new character (or a diverse party, if you're allowing party-up) than feel like I am not making meaningful choices with my character. And if people realize they might be going down a path that isn't what they want, often they'll just make a new character. Tons of games do this, and it's something of a strength - it's not just about the build you end up with, but it's about the path you get there. I'm not going to really change my mind too much about what I want a character to be able to do once I get the idea in my head. And oftentimes, if it's my first character I kind of expect it to get bricked at some point because I like to poke around and try stuff out. Reaching a wall isn't necessarily a bad thing - you just want players to realize they're going to hit a wall early enough so that they don't feel like the last X hours of play were totally wasted.

Perfect example from a totally different game - in Dark Souls, if I don't make good use of my early level-ups to hit the stat requirements for the items/spells I want to use, then it's going to be a long road to fix that. I can still do it with enough grinding, but if I've messed up enough with my points then I might get stuck in a situation where I literally feel like I'm better off making a new character with a different focus right from the start. In every dark souls game except 3, I didn't beat the game with my first character. I explored a bit, messed around until I found what mechanics seemed to work best for me, and then made a character to focus on those.

In Mordor as well my early characters (see: every character I made during my first 10 years of playing the game) all got bricked from my own bad decisions, but that mostly came from a lack of understanding of underlying game mechanics.

This post has been edited by MythrilZenith: Nov 7 2019, 04:59 PM


--------------------
Just an average nomad trying to figure out how Mordor really works.

I've also taken the liberty of recording some videos of Mordor: Depths of Dejenol!

Classics are classic, but never mistake nostalgia for superiority. When older is better, it's because it truly is, not just because our perception of it makes it so.
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