MANY ideas on: Skill gaining variables / professions (check the TL;DR section for a summarized version)


  • WARNING: I present various ideas that some of them came up while writing this. Check the bottom for a summarized, short version!

    **

    • The Great Imbalance: Chefs & the rest of professions.**

    They way I see it, there is a big issue with the skill progression of the game so far.

    As many non-new players probably have noticed so far, food is very, very important. The difference from t2 to t3 food is ~ 100 points/day, while from t3 to t4 is ~ 140p/day.

    Food is need for (A) fuel for laboring and (B) skill gain. So, anyone that wants to do some labor, needs to eat a lot of food (even with skills related to efficiency, you'll still need to eat 2, 3 or 4x more food that someone that does not do any labor.

    So, as you can understand, food has a HUGE value in the game, since it's an everyday, highly valuable, consumable item.

    So, unlike all other professions, a chef literally controls the markets, and the only way to break this power is either via competition (more people entering this profession) or via trade embargo (force him to drop prices or else have zero access to other people's craftsmanship), which it's very, very hard to enforce, for obvious reasons.

    To better comprehend such differences, let me use a simple example:

    Tom eats t2 food and has 150 points/day. BIlly eats t4 food and has 370p/day. After 3 days, Tom will have gained 450p, while Billy will have 1100p. Tom is bound to become obsolete as the tech of their servers evolves, since he'll simply won't have enough points to be really relevant to the end-game phase of the game (where you skills costs are very high due to exponential growth). So, Tom has either trade stuff with Billy for food, or give him materials to prepare him some good food.

    BUT, the problem is that no profession (as far as I know) has such a high demand for consumable products, so, eventually, no matter what Tom has to sell to Billy,** Billy eventually will nothing that he needs from Tom**. Meaning, Tom will be able to get food via trading the raw food required for the high tier food preparation, meaning he'll partially have to change profession (mostly invest into gathering skills in order to harvest more food units per foraging/hunting action), meaning less points to spend into high tech skills AND** less time to focus on other products** (since you have to do the foraging / laboring tasks).

    And this is the without taking into consideration that the Billy (the chef) might want to abuse his power and raise prices to an abnormal lvl.

    In the end, Tom, in order to be able to keep up with the high tier tech / projects, he must either become a laborer (= work for others / partially work as a forager to be able to afford his daily high tier food, which, consequently will lead to more laboring/foraging, since laboring consumes calories, thus in need of more food consumed per day.

    What are my problems with this?

    1. It's unrealistic. Chefs never held such power in any part of human history.
    2. It's imbalances the game too much.

    Although I understand that this problem can be solved through the forces of the market (Supply / Demand), meaning if a chef is too expensive, other chefs will pop up to steal a % of the other chef via reduced prices, it still does not solve the main problem, which is the nature of cooking products, meaning (A) **high value **and (B) daily demand, combined with the fact that all other professions do not have such a guaranteed demand for their craftsmanship. (as I explained in my initial example).

    Communities will find a way to work around this, but this does not make it any less bad.

    - SUGGESTIONS IN GENERAL:

    1.Add more functions to the other professions so that they can keep being relevant in the long run.

    1. Add other variables to affect the skill gain ratio apart from food.

    For example: Add furniture that affect it, like, let's say a bed or a painting or the material of structure of your house (maybe upgrading from logs to mort stone or bricks will provide better heat insulation, which increased your personal prosperity, thus it should affect your skill gain ratio ((perhaps you can simple not change the whole wall, but just upgrade the blocks of each material into "insulated status")). Which it makes sense: Your personal prosperity & health are not only related to the quality of the food you consume. I can feed high quality food a homeless person but he'll still be miserable and have a chance to get sick / die due to exposure to bad weather (cold / heat, rain/snow, etc). You could also add attrition as another variable. Roads, tools, machines always need maintenance and / or repairing. That will mean provide professions with more regular demand for their services.

    Lastly, we could add a health variable. The more healthy you are, the better you'll function. How I define being "Healthy"? One idea that just came up with:

    Food poisoning: If pollution gets too bad in your ecosystem, not only animals will start to die eventually, but you might also eat something that has been poisoned by the pollution, thus making you sick. Once you receive the status "Food Poisoned", you can perhaps get a** % penalty** in the skill gaining ratio or other types of penalties, such as % penalty in your movement speed / % penalty in your max calorie storing capabilities (let's say that from 3000 calories max it falls to 1000 max calories, so this way it'll be harder for you do do any laboring, which makes sense, since sick people tend to be weak).

    As you can imagine, this leads to a creation of** A NEW PROFESSION: Doctors!**

    It should be a profession that starts are something like a botanist, who can create simple botanic medicine, then later evolve into a doctor, who will be able to use more complicated medical machinery (= more demand for various crafting professions).
    Again, as you can imagine, this creates another concept: The usage of plants not only as food but also for other reasons, whether it's medical or any other idea we can come up with.

    TL;DR VERSION HERE:
    List of other suggested ideas / changes:

    more variables related to skill gaining ratio:
    - PHYSICAL PROSPERITY: bedroom & personal furniture, insulation of bedrooms
    - MENTAL PROSPERITY: Aesthetic items such as paintings etc, or luxurious clothing items.
    - HEALTH / MEDICINE / DOCTORS
    - MORE FUNCTIONS FOR MOST PROFESSION
    - REPEATABILITY OF CERTAIN SERVICES

    That's it for now. :) Discuss and share any potential improvements to my initial ideas and/or post your own suggestions!


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  • @Ixidon

    how skills are gained been a common talked about theme

    http://ecoforum.strangeloopgames.com/topic/1199/feedback-current-skill-system-does-not-promote-co-operation/2

    http://ecoforum.strangeloopgames.com/topic/1141/alpha-5-can-not-harvest-these-things-any-more-needed-for-research/9

    http://ecoforum.strangeloopgames.com:4567/topic/905/skill-leveling/29

    there few people who want to keep system where you just stuff your face and that makes you good at stuff, and other people want some type of system that rewards people for doing activates in the game.

    I always liked idea of combination,

    Food = energy
    Health system = energy
    Energy = being able to do things actively
    doing things actively = skill makes you better at it.



  • The skill point generation is definitely something that comes up a lot.

    The goal is to push the other professions into line with cooking so that they're all (roughly) equally useful to a community. Everyone should be able to produce something other people need/want doing whatever job they find the most appealing. While this certainly isn't the case currently, the chef does provide an extreme example of this. We're looking into adding similar useful consumable items (or just used in consumable crafting) to push the rest of the professions up a bit.

    The "labor using calories -> eating more" problem is likely going to be addressed with a new skill changes; namely buffing the calorie reduction skills. We've always wanted there to be a sort of divide between the specializations and if a chef wants to go out and build a new house, it should be cheaper (from a material/'value') to pay someone else to do it.

    On a side note, I really like the idea of personal property affecting a player's skills/etc.

    • Ecoylent is not intended to replace every meal, but it can replace any meal


  • @craig.jong It's good to see that these issues are being noticed and marked for change.

    Moreover, another idea I had about the calorie consumption issues, is to add a new mechanism: EXHAUSTION

    What it'll do: If you over do it with labor (read calorie consumption), then your body will get exhausted, which will lead to some kind of penalty. Perhaps it's like a significant increase in calorie consumption rate for every action (let's say +50%, meaning any action you do from now on until this effect expires, will cost +50% calories). Or, it could affect your skill gaining ratio (let's say, due to exhaustion, for the next 12 hours you gain skills with a -20% penalty).

    This will help in 2 ways:

    1. Give more power to "laborers", since now their spending points in high tier of laboring will matter, since they are the ones that can actually do a lot of work around without getting exhausted really fast.

    2. It will stop the "grinders" (which obviously exist in Eco too, just like all games). I'm referring to the people that will prefer to collect all needed materials on their own and not ask for any help / trade. Usually it's the "Jack-of-all-Trades" types in-game, which of course is harming the potential for cooperation among players.


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