Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

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Klandal
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Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Klandal » Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:39 pm

Shevarash, Eilistraee, et all,

The recent post about adding more reward options to Tiamat concerns me as to the item distribution policy here, if any. My concern is that the top items continue to be consolidated into only a handful of zones; this makes older zones obsolete and therefore vacant outside of the occasional quest item seeker (we'll get to this later). This leads people to only doing a small portion of the content Toril has to offer and people get bored more quickly.

Why isn't this avoided? With 16 different equipment slots per class, each class should be required to do at least a dozen zones to be outfitted with the best gear. With at least 4 main class types (not even including bard/psionicist/ranger extras) this would extend that dozen to over 64 zones needed to be done before somebody would have the best gear for each of those 4 classe types. This is far more zone options than are currently considered worthwhile. The problem is that a single zone like Tiamat can yield a 25% of the total best items (and more if extras are added).

Proposal: Each of the high-end zones should yield one top class-type slot item. This isn't to say that other great items aren't offered, but at least one TOP item for a class's slot should be attainable. For the hardest/longest of zones (Magma/Jot Invasion/etc) you could have as many as one top item per class-type, but this should be the exception rather than the rule. From a zonewriter's perspective you would know what slots for classes were lacking and choose to make one of those your top item.

Let's say the top rogue boots are from Magma at ac8 3/2 pff, then the rogue boots slot is taken. Zonewriters should generally avoid trying to 1-up rogue boots in future zones until other class slots are topped out. There is a difference in providing different options, however. Let's say there were priest leggings that were ac8 20hp -5svsp. Somebody shouldn't make ac10 21hp -6svsp leggings, but could offer a different sv as an option, unless the previous leggings were turned in to make the better leggings with the same modifiers; this would preserve their value.

Lastly in regards to quests, it seems quest rewards have taken a beating over the years in relation to zone rewards. There are few quests not written by greater gods that are worth completing with respect to zone rewards. From a standpoint of longevity it makes sense to reward somebody more that completes numerous zones/aspects of Toril than completes a single zone. Although it used to be true, in general quests that take great time/effort no longer generate rewards better than single zones.

If you agree that a quest that involves multiple zones/encounters/etc should yield a better reward than a single one of those zones then why isn't this generally the case? I think one of the lingering factors was the broken quest point calculator. If you turned in 3 items, the quest couldn't even yield the same 3 items back. I understand diminishing returns, but if I turn in a dagger, cloak, and ring with plenty of additional items, I should at least get those items with slightly better stats back. Quest rewards need to be looked at again with respect to their zone counterparts. I don't advocate just upgrading every item people question is worth it, but if other items aren't downgraded then this seems to be the option.

I do advocate even epic quests being held to similar standards I talked about with zones. Each epic quest should count as its own zone with respect to yielding at least one top class-type slot item, more if it is truly epic in nature. They should require previous top slot items if they are outright better than zone top items (same attributes but higher).

Thoughts, pros, concerns?
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Gormal » Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:52 pm

Epic quest rewards are generally pretty bad with the time they take compared to doing a zone and winning a roll. CM/FK are probably the best example of this where minimal upgrades are the best that you can hope for, while simply re-statting the items to incorporate different saves and effects they could be better. That said, most epic quest items are pretty sad for the effort involved in acquiring them, and I think that the blame for this is twofold: not enough points given to quests, and not enough creativity on the part of zone creators when it comes to statting items.

As for zones giving too much good gear, I'd say that SPOB used to be the best example of this, but now even it has been 1-upped quite a few times. Tiamat gear is obviously ridiculously good, and I'd rather see new gear with equal power go into a quest reward or heaven forbid, a new endgame zone that maybe allows only 15 people to do it but has a great deal of challenge.
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Shevarash » Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:05 pm

I agree in principle that all of the best gear shouldn't be consolidated in one zone. I wouldn't read too much policy into my post today - there's some leftover Tia items that were originally intended to go with the zone, and we're getting around to finishing them up and putting them in. They make sense within the context of equipment that are already there, and aren't going to significantly change the eq output of Tia. So, it's intended as a minor bonus to Tia, but not indicative of our greater item distribution policy.
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Klandal » Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:07 pm

Shev, thanks for the response. I have no problem with Tiamat rewards being crazy good. My problem lies that there are 4+ crazy not-even-compared-to GREAT items for EACH class-type, with more on the way. It is already a problem with the current output imho. Any thoughts on quest rewards with respect to zone rewards?

Gormal, I agree with spreading the love of one of those items to each epic quest. I also agree that a single zone shouldn't yield full sets of gear for classes, even if they're only good instead of TOP. SPOB was a perfect example.

Encourage exploring the entire realms and giving each high-end zone and epic quest something to offer.

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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Zoldren » Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:45 pm

bring back the rules that are already inplaced but not enforced... like the area writers doc... 30 point system.....00..
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Thrand » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:05 pm

I don't think it is a good idea at all for there to be
a de facto 'best' item for a slot and then discourage
people from making an item for that slot. If that is what
you are suggesting?

I take your example of the magma boots.
If you already have a good hit roll the boots
frankly are no use to you. There are +3 dam boots
out there and there are boots with better +stats and 2 dam.
It depends what you need for a slot. I prefer max dam on rogue items.
Others i'm sure don't.

When on average only one zone is done a real life day in any one time zone, the problem
old zones don't get done in any particular boot is a fact of life.

If you add a must have item to an old zone so it gets done
then a new zone won't get done that boot. With 70 hrs to a boot
thats three real life days give or take so maybe 4 or 5 zones
get done that need a full group.
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Eilistraee » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:13 pm

I've only recently really looked at trying to get involved with evaluation of areas and equipment. It's not a task that's been given to me in any capacity, so bear with me.

I agree as well that the ideal is to ensure that in order to compile a good 'kit', a diverse adventuring portfolio is preferred. Fancy speak for saying, get good stuff from a variety of different zones. It's a policy that holds a lot more water in the environment which we find ourselves in now, with five years of accumulation and a dwindling player base that tends to focus that accumulation more and more on specific players.

It goes against the theory that was behind the much lamented equipment changes. I don't mean the restatting, which most of us are dissatisfied with, but rather the concept of a tiered approach. A burgeoning player would build up their kit with zones from one tier to enable them to engage the next. SG and ET would lead to Jot and Brass would lead to upwards and upwards tiers of equipment. In a pwipe type world, I think that approach is laudible but obviously it doesn't hold water today.

There was a brief initiative to re-assign quality equipment to different zones. It began and ended with the combat boots originally from Izan's that wound up in Bronze Citadel. It was a theory that, again, I rather personally like but I'm not as fond of from a design point of view. There was a reason for the boots in Izan's, not so much of one in Bronze Citadel other than just loot reassignment.

That said, aiming top tier equipment to be spread around, and not super-concentrated is something I'd like to do if I'm to continue trying to assess zones. Like I said, I'm kind of doing it unofficially right now. Reorienting the top end gear we have currently though is not a project I'm terribly interested in.

WRT quest equipment, I do believe that quest equipment should result in something superior to what you have to put in for it. This refers to both time and equipment accumulation. It's part of why I'd like to review Comarian Mines, and have detailed conversation logs from people who have completed the epic(s) there. And going forward, it's a policy that certainly can and should be applied to quests.

Tiamat is rather an exception. For anything new coming in, so long as I'm involved with the review process I intend to apply my preferences to the end result of the zones. Restatting the existing rewards though, it's a desire but I really question the time available I could apply to such a project.
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Ragorn » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:38 pm

It's hard to balance between putting all your loot in one basket, and having two dozen zones that each have one good item and a bunch of trash.
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Klandal » Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:13 am

Lopi, with regards to a 'best' item I gave an example of allowing different choices with different attributes but avoiding using the same attributes with one being higher (ac8 20hp -5svsp vs ac10 21hp -6svsp) without requiring the first to turn into the higher one. Also, you saying giving a good item to an old zone will make the new zone undone isn't correct with a long view. The new zone will still have a sought item, so both zones will want to be done eventually. This will also lessen the call for reboots due to the fact that it will take longer to do all the zones with worthwhile items. The counter to this would be if quests that required at-boot-rares actually got good rewards people would want reboots to check them.

Eilistraee, a tiered approach would be great in theory to make low-middle content worthwhile. The problem with implementing that on this MUD is that those low-middle zones still wouldn't be necessary unless items were restricted to those characters who acquired them. I also think most quests would need review, although epic quests need it hardcore. In response to moving good equipment to harder zones without good returns, instead of moving stuff, an item already in the zone should be upped. Ideally pick different class-slot items to upgrade in each of the high-end zones/quests if my original idea was followed.

Ragorn, each high-end zone would have a top item. The rest of the items wouldn't be trash, they'd be good, just have a better counterpart in another high-end zone. You could still have a decent set but you'd have to do a lot more zones to get to the level we've been getting to recently with just a few.

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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Cap'n Touk » Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:54 am

The equipment system was built with a tiered intention, but without the WoW implementation to FORCE people to complete bottom tiers everyone just jumps up to the top and bypasses the idea.

I fully agree that a good solution would be to put a "best" item in every zone to inspire doing all the different zones.

I do not think Tiamat should "break the rules" or be special in any way. It's not the end-all of zones, in fact some are considerably harder and have a better chance of irretrievable corpses.. it's just a big.. epic zone with game breaking (although extremely fun) equipment.

I agree the quest reward implementation was less then stellar. Problem seems to be time investment.. how exactly do you convert that to stats?

Touk
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Thilindel » Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:46 am

I'd soo love to see zones where you take on demi gods, outright. Or even lesser gods. Not too sure on greater gods, since they'd just smite your ass on a platter from what I remember of D&D.
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Klandal » Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:05 am

Touk, I think time investment required is important in combination with difficulty of encounters. I also think that the way original quest reward points were calculated needed adjustment, but since the point calc'er doesn't seem to be strictly adhered to anymore I'll address the time question first in terms of the original calc'er.

There are multiple ways time works itself into the equation: time in zones, poppable rares, locatable and non locatable rares. Time in zones is tied to zone points. Poppable rares are tied to mob(s) points * rarity. Non-locatable rares tied to mob(s) points required to check the rare. Locatable rares and rare mobs in general have their points * rarity. Other time investments could entail people simply running from one area to another, although I imagine that wouldn't really yield points past lower level quests. Is this what you had in mind, Touk?

Regarding calc'er treatment of quest rewards: I vaguely remember there being a diminishing scale where the highest point item turned in got full value and subsequent items took a point hit for contribution. The problem with this is that a quest couldn't yield even the items turned in as a reward, which doesn't make much sense and seemed to particularly hurt epic quests where multiple rewards were generated. A simple fix would have been to allow the number of rewards for the quest as the number of items turned in that got their full value. Not sure if this matters anymore but thought I'd add it.

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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Gormal » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:03 am

At boot rares should be abolished for almost everything except zone items, clouds is a good example. Many zones need their twinkability factory fixed, muspel invasion is a good example.
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Klandal » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:30 am

To be honest, unless it is completely against the zonewriter's wishes, I like the option of highly-skilled fully-decked players being able to complete an encounter with less than the brute force of a full group.
It's often higher risk and more time involved. Why not allow a badass or few to show their skills instead of forcing them to do something the normal boring way? Ironically, there has been a call for these types of smaller, yet hard encounters but when people show skill in twinking things most can only do with full groups others get pissed. People shouldn't bitch for things to be both ways at the same time.

In regards to boot-time rares, agreed.

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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Gormal » Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:21 pm

Whats skillful about spelling up a rogue who does runs at an entire zone? Granted it takes a modicum of skill on the rogues part, but really its not too difficult with the appropriate macros. That's what I mean by twinking, not a small skilled group.

Edit: Sorry for the derail. It does show though how something like a zone that can be done by 2 people in a minimal amount of time yields better rewards than most epic quests.
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Klandal » Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:43 pm

What's skillful about 15 people spelling up and doing runs? I don't think it takes more/less skill, just more/less people to do the same tactic.

I agree that your example shows a blatant gap between zone and quest rewards.

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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Gormal » Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:46 pm

15man groups are dumbed down for sure, but its simply because of a complete lack of creativity in zones. If boss fights all had special procs that required people to do different things, at least it would be more than mashing your inferno button, or hitting afire and togging a wimpy. I think that the way toril works really hampers a zone-writer's ability to do this, but there are definitely ways to make fights more interesting. Targets changing midfight because the guy just summoned a bomb that will blow if you don't kill it, mobs picking targets and proccing some huge damage on them over and over and healers have to keep them alive, mobs that need to be tanked by non-war/pal/anti or they do something mean so tanks don't just have rescue triggers.

Thats another tangent you've sent me on you bastard.
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Dalar » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:05 am

I really hope Shev and Eilistraee take these comments to heart. Areas is pretty much what ruined the game for me.
It will be fixed in Toril 2.0.
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby flib » Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:53 pm

Klandal wrote:To be honest, unless it is completely against the zonewriter's wishes, I like the option of highly-skilled fully-decked players being able to complete an encounter with less than the brute force of a full group.
It's often higher risk and more time involved. Why not allow a badass or few to show their skills instead of forcing them to do something the normal boring way? Ironically, there has been a call for these types of smaller, yet hard encounters but when people show skill in twinking things most can only do with full groups others get pissed. People shouldn't bitch for things to be both ways at the same time.


but this leads to more imbalance with eq, the people who have it get more of it and the people who don't never get it because the people who already have it got it. If you were on the other side of the glass you'd see things differently I think. I agree that good small zones are cool Ie. Fk is pretty fun minus the quest stuff but that zone is built to be a small group thing, as musp invasion is built as a large group zone, as one of my favorites it dissapoints me that it gets cheesed by the people that already have everything each time it pops.
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Cap'n Touk » Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:16 pm

That actually is how we used time as I recall. Multiplier for rarity, time in zones didn't really count because that went into the item from the zone, and then the item translated directly to the quest. Obviously the way we valued rarity or time or whatever was off and the end result wasn't optimal. The problem with time was - how do you reward someone for sitting around waiting on pops, or running to GC every boot, combined with the difficulty of doing it. If you can solo a mob should it be worth a big value? Originally we said no, but lately I think that should be less important then finding said mob, ie - rarity.

And yes the best item was taken into account and then all secondary items would add to the quest value with diminishing returns. Another way to look at it is more powerful items are worth logarithmically more. Again this is something that could be looked at - back when +2 was the end all for +hit/+dam equipment +3 was orgasmic. Now +3's around.. +4.. +5 wouldn't mean much, just another "+1" to your total value. How the exact #s go is what we're discussing and I don't have a solution for that, but I do feel that 1 +3 item is worth more then 2 +2 items, ie.. some kind of diminishing returns are in order.

T
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Re: Tiamat, Item Distribution, Quests

Postby Delmair Aamoren » Sun Jun 22, 2008 5:39 am

Although my opinion could be considered that of an antiquated player that is not up on all of the mud politics at the moment, i'm going to give it anyhow. I think that the original idea mentioned above is absolutely fantastic. I think that it encourages all higher level zones to be visited. For example i don't think the best mage footwear should come from a zone like elementalist tower or brass, but from one of the high level zones that is level appropriate. Thats not to say that two zones cant have very similar items with slightly different stats for flavor, just not one-upping the last zone as each new one comes out. Invasion loads should have a couple of the top end pieces, global quests should have some top end pieces, etc. One example is the dscale robes. Based on the difficulty dragons are supposed to have, this should be a damn nice piece of gear. There are better examples of underpowered items, but i'm too old and have forgotten most of them. I do remember the items required for the conquest armor tho, and i must say after the eq revamp i was sorely disappointed at the stats based on the eq needed for the quest. So lets look at making the mud a more diverse and reward appropriate system.

Del

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