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shinobi801

Talent question

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I'm currently working on an indie mmorpg. I've been designing it and fleshing it out more and more. I took a break today from coding to work on talent trees and stats for classes. I worked out a beautiful balanced stat progression, moved on to talents and just about blew my brains out. so I thought I would come on here for some advice. How it works: 4 archetypes, similar to AoC I guess. Each archetype (Warrior, Rogue, Wizard, Priest) has a set stat progression of stats gaining 1 point per level and 3 stats gaining .5 per level. Then each of the 3 classes in each archetype gains 1 point in 2 stats per level based upon their most used weapon setups. Then each class can be subbed any other class from any archetype and receives half the stat bonuses per level up to half the max level of the main archetype. This is all combined with the talent trees which move at 1 point for each class per level. So the main class would have 100 points when max level and the sub would have 50 points to spend. Which is when I began trying to plan out the talents for all 12 classes and went crazy. Every time I would come up with a talent tree for a class and compare it to another, one would blow the other out of the water. Is there some kind of rule of thumb, or concept you guys follow? Should I wait until I have the game near Closed Beta before I even worry about this stuff? Or is this a typical thing online games suffer? Any input is greatly appreciated. Note: Should have read the "before you post sticky". So for sake of argument this is all theoretical.

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When you develop a game, you plan out a set of features. As I read your story, you took a set of features from other games and use them to enrich your own game.

Generally this is accepted for an indie game, since you are probably not planning for releasing it for commercial purposes.
When using other game's feature sets and then customize them to your likings, you still need to be careful. You could probably plan stuff you never get to.

Provided that you have completed your game engine and you are now working on the gameplay part, I suggest the following:

List a set a basic features you definitely want to build into your game. I would categorise these first (like basic set game play, basic set for character advancement, basic set for end game to-do things, etc.).

After this listing is done, keep at them! Don't add anymore 'cool'-things to this! When you think of other 'cool'-things write them down on the list for a later patch update.

This basic list of features is your first goal to design and build for your first release (going through the alpha/beta stages if you like).


Maintaining this workflow, you have a much better overview on your game, you can more easily share it with possible developers and above all, it keeps you motivated because there is a defined end to your first work. If you don't got an end, you will lose oversight; things will clutter and mix up: you end up with a mess, which will most likely result into dumbing all your hard work before it ever reached alpha stage...

It is up to you if you want include talent trees in your basic set of features. If you want talent trees to support more character customisation, I suggest to postpone this to a later date (maybe the next (content-)patch). You will notice it will be hard enough to get the first game play going :).

Good luck!

Regards,

Xeile

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Personally I feel there is no need for absolute balanced classes, because if all classes are totally balanced they will probably be boring as hell. For my personal RPG project here is a simple step by step approach in class creation.

First have a general background or feel for each class. Paladins are supposed to be 'good' wearing plate armor saving and protecting the weak with some healing spells. Rogues are thieves or sneaky characters that generally don't like to be seen by people.

After that find the area of expertise for each class. Paladins are good in combat, not bad in healing and some basic offensive spells. Rogues are very good in sneaking, very good in one-shot attacks from sneaking, bad in combat, bad in spells.. etc.

Now hammer out skills, spells, talents... Paladin gets ability to wear plate armor so on and so forth. One thing to remember, more does not mean better. If fireball is simply another way of doing 1D6 damage, don't bother since magic arrow works as good, but if your game has elemental damage where certain monsters take extra damage from that fireball, put it in.

Then assign the numbers, grand sounding skills should get higher numbers :) Skills should fit into the relevant categories. For example, sneak must be useful to a rogue in his role as a sneaker.

The last step is testing out characters, test out your characters to make sure they fit the way they are supposed to work, not balanced.

Play testing may shows that paladins are killing rogues in 2 of 3 combats, but this is to be expected since rogues are supposed to sneak up on a paladin and give him a few critical blows killing him before he can respond, not trading blows with him. Clerics may lose every single combat with a paladin, but with the tons of protective and healing spells a good cleric can probably last close to forever.

My 2 cents .. Hope that helps :)

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Quote:
Original post by Xeile
When you develop a game, you plan out a set of features. As I read your story, you took a set of features from other games and use them to enrich your own game.

Generally this is accepted for an indie game, since you are probably not planning for releasing it for commercial purposes.
When using other game's feature sets and then customize them to your likings, you still need to be careful. You could probably plan stuff you never get to.


See now this is a big problem that I'm worrying about. After I have a working demo of them game, I will be getting funding to make it a complete micro-transaction game, with a better engine and a professional server to run it off of.

Now I'm worried about copyright infringement and the like.

So basically the things I'm taking from other gmes are.
Trading system from SrO, with a massive overhaul, making it a part of the living economy. Breaking the names into Merchant, Bandit, and Guard. With each in-game nation producing a certain resource and needing the resources of the other nations.

Guild Cities/Castles from AO, AoC, .hack series. This is basically, the same concept except you have to gather the materials that each nation produces in order to build your City. So it can be done though opening orders, that a Merchant from a specific town will be able to fill, or through stealing it from other nation's traders. (Security system is being designed so this can't be exploited, but this has now been put on the content patch list.

Softlock and skill system of Exteel. Merely to bring more dynamics to fighting and doing away with the monotony of hack and slash. The 3rd person soft lock would light up when enemy is in range comparative to weapons equipped. Bringing not just better builds always decide the winner but a bit of strategy to overcome a stronger opponent. Skills are to counter those annoying people who heal themselves faster than you can dish out damage. Locking the attacker and victim into an animation that eliminates outside influence. Balance is still being worked out tho, to avoid spamming and exploits.

Sub-class/class change system from FFXI. I really don't want to have people remake characters over and over again to try what they want. This would allow versatility to builds as well. For instance, there is no paladin class but a defender from the warrior archetype with a sub class of cleric from the priest archetype would make an paladin with good healing abilities, while at the same time a Defender with a Templar sub from priest archetype would make a paladin rigged towards undead killing/dark element targets. This is me trying to bring a strange balance system to the table.

Those are the concepts I implemented from other games. Do they violate copyright laws? I figured since I basically took similar principles and added my own touch to them, I was clear but I'm starting to get worried because you aren't the first person to mention this.

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Those are the concepts I implemented from other games. Do they violate copyright laws? I figured since I basically took similar principles and added my own touch to them, I was clear but I'm starting to get worried because you aren't the first person to mention this.


Do some research.

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Well, if it indeed becomes a commercial game, you should indeed be aware of copyright infringement, but not in the way you think.

When you copy names, symbols or other stuff that very specifically identify an existing game, you can get in trouble with that.

You don't have to worry about this stuff when you pick-up a featuring (sub-)concept from one or multiple existing games. You see, you can't really copyright a feature like for an example guild house/hold/castle building, because it is so loosely defined.
If you however completely copy all the features one single game and just change/add a few minor details and all of its names and specific trademarks, this is an entirely different matter (but normal person with common sense wouldn't do this anyway).

Now something entirely different: Is there a specific reason why there isn't much originality behind the entire character thingy? It just looks like you hopped on the bandwagon like everyone else does who wants to make a MMO(RPG).

When I read: 'Classes' I think of (playstyle-)limitations!
When I read: 'Levelling up' I think of a system that prevents you from experiencing content with your friends the same way as they do (it only separates you from your friends who level up much faster/slower or are ahead/behind you in the process).

Watch what you are using is the only advise I can give you. Using other ones ideas can be good sometimes, but there is a limit even to that regarding the succes of the game you are producing...

Regards,

Xeile

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Quote:
Original post by Xeile

Now something entirely different: Is there a specific reason why there isn't much originality behind the entire character thingy? It just looks like you hopped on the bandwagon like everyone else does who wants to make a MMO(RPG).

When I read: 'Classes' I think of (playstyle-)limitations!
When I read: 'Levelling up' I think of a system that prevents you from experiencing content with your friends the same way as they do (it only separates you from your friends who level up much faster/slower or are ahead/behind you in the process).



Thank you very much for all the info on copyright, but I thought I'd address the above statements.

My team and I discussed the class system when we decided to start working on the project. A few of our main concerns were what you stated above. We worked through a training system, Skill sytem, free build system; which no matter how we looked at it equated to "grinding", or time spent = superiority. Then of course we tried to abolish level systems entirely, but found there were too many flaws and balance issues inherent with it.

So we decided to readjust the class system, so that picking a class was more about picking a direction the player felt he/she enjoyed more, ie. Ranged, Melee, Magic, Healing. Then we decided to bring out the sub class system from FFXI. So a player could be level 100 in a main class and level 50 in a sub class, being awarded additional stat points and skills to benefit their main character class. This system came up with alot of different combinations for playstyle. From a paladin setup, to a heavy hitting cleric, or a Thief who cripples his targets with debuffs before moving in for the kill. Then by using a soft-lock system, we are able to target a primary and secondary targeting system for spells. For instance the F keys being able to target party members for heals/buffs, and the tab key (current direction we are going) cycling through close enemies for offensive magic/debuffs.

Then to adress, friends joining, and not being able to play with them, or wanting to try some new combo. We put in the free change system like in FFXI. At which you are able to change classes, and save all your class data at any point in time. This would also allow you to make sub parties with friends or be able to play with random guildies during the day. Running to town, changing to a class you have leveled to their appropriate level and be off to play with them. So with 12 classes (currently) though, which adds up to a combined 1200 levels, we are trying to gear it towards casual gamers. 2-3 hours a night for 10 weeks, getting a single job to 100 is currently what we are going to have the experience system revolve around.

Then we set up a base set of skills for all archetypes, so you don't have to have a defender main to provoke, or a cleric main to heal. Each archetype would be able to do certain things and then have specific directions to go to (classes), such as protection buffs, debuffs, attack speed buffs, etc. The good thing about my team, is many of them have played MMORPGs as long as I have and have dealt with alot of traps that these genre of games is riddled with.

Our biggest problem is figuring out a talent system. But as recommended, we may save it for a later patch. Our main goal is to keep it from making a player have their character restricted to a specific path. We want the player to be able break the mold a bit. But after reading these forums. I think I'm gonna wait until we get our CB up (Hopefully within the next 9-12 months) and test out the PvP.

Everything looked so awesome on paper 7 months ago when started but in the last 2 months everything has changed drastically.

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Ah I am getting hints of you guys designing in some pretty professional kind of way!

Anyway as long as you really spend time in these designs and decisions are based upon strong arguments, you can do whatever you thing is right. When you just copy features from other games, just because the worked out there is not the way to go :).

Also those statements I made in my last post where just meant to be eye-openers, but your eyes were opened already, so don't mind those statements.

They are true however, but it is just the way how I experience them. In my life only played 2 MMO's (World of Warcraft and Eve-Online) and and tried out a few smaller ones.

WoW and Eve are both my favorite ones without hesitation (but currently I only play WoW due to time commitments). Both games have their up- and down sides still.

WoW's playability is very high, its very accessible and you can easily spend only 30 minutes or 6 hours straight when ever you want. On the downside, WoW's class and level systems is definitely one of them. However these systems are so heavily integrated into the game design (and in almost every Blizzard game if you ask me ;) ), you won't see this changing any time soon.

Eve's character progression system is excellent, everyone progresses just as fast as you do, but more time spend = more freedom of choice. Its downside is only that you need to spend a few hours would you be wanting to do anything significant on top of this is still is pretty much impossible to compete with the players who play from the beginning.

Would you be able to combine the best parts for both games in medieval-fantasy setting, then you definitely have my attention :P.

Good luck Shinobi801!

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I agree that balance will never fully be achieved, and that it doesn't need to be. Give each class its own niche to fill, make each class useful, and each class viable in a roughly equal amount of situations. But if you get into PvP, things can get tricky as each class should probably be viable in a pvp situation. No one wants to be the class that serves as a punching bag.

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I was talking about WoW with a friend of mine, and we were on the topic of balance, and I was explaining my distaste for the warlock, which IMHO is quite overpowered in several ways. I said something like "how can they willingly make something out of balance like that", and my friends reply was "so all the people who just want to play to win have a class to play".

Not everyone enjoys perfect balance, in fact, some people might absolutely loath it. You might consider that those are the people you might not want playing anyway, but in the context of a MMORPG, each player is a small set of $'s.

When it comes to the part of testing out balance, I wouldnt really compare talent trees to each other until they're all finished. Likewise, when Im designing sets of skills, i use a rating for damage instead of the literal damage things will do, and that is changed over after all the skills/skill sets are created. Unless you look at the whole picture at once, you're going to spend alot of time balancing an less time thinking up spiffy skills.

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