An idea for active vs. idle progression

  • I found this game at PAX West yesterday and pretty much HAD to buy it right away, it looks like it has great potential and I love the ideas behind it. I have only played about an hour of the game so far and by no means do I think I know what's what already :P. That being said, I feel like the skill point system is a great idea but could be expanded on. Historically, any game where I have to stop playing to wait for a timer is a major turn-off. Maybe consider adding an active half to the timer? Something like a more traditional xp system, where I take level 1 in logging using my skill point, but then the subsequent levels are gained by cutting down trees, the speed at which they are gained being determined similarly by your diet. I feel like it might also encourage specialization and cooperation, as logically, if you need wood, the fastest way is to ask the guy who IS the fastest, because he is "experienced" with cutting down trees.

  • The idea of skill evolution by completing an action has been brought up many times and from memory the main reason the devs don't want to go down this path is that players may start to over do certain actions just to get the skill points but not actually be using said materials there for wasting the stuff in the first place and potentially exhausting something the has a finite amount on the server making it impossible for other players to advance or build what they need to build and also perhaps cause server performance issues.

    E.g.. if someone wanted a high logging skill they could essentially just run around and cut down every tree on the server and that would cause major lag on the server

    Or perhaps they want a high hunting skill so they go and kill almost every animal they can see potentially wiping out an entire species just to get the hunting skill points

    However in saying all this I believe there should perhaps be a system that encourages active players perhaps if all you do is login and eat then logoff again you should get the full skill points for a certain amount of hours say 6-12 hours then after that it halfs the amount of skill points you earn
    Or even do it the opposite way if your online and playing for 3 hours you get a small buff in skill point earning if your online and playing for 6 hours you get another buff in skill points.

    But I see a problem with that system that players will just stay logged in and go and do something else just to get the extra skill points but not actually be doing anything on the server potentially again causing server lag because so many people are logged into the server

  • @emmeck Those are both very good points... Maybe one way to combat the "overuse" of a skill would maybe be to buff the xp gain if you perform an action that aligns with a profession you chose, but hard-cap how much you could earn in a certain amount of time? So I proclaim myself a lumberjack, and receive much better experience while chopping, replanting, maybe even basic woodworking receives the buff. But in exchange.... Every attempt I make at cooking meat starts a forest fire and I just can't work out what I'm doing wrong >:( (cooking is more difficult and receives less experience). It would at least encourage a degree of specialization that I don't see harming the game. Thanks for replying though! I love it when someone shows me flaws with my logic! :)

    @Mog I can also see your point as well, and it was that first "forced afk" that annoyed me.... Maybe you're right and I'm overthinking... :P

    Edit: One thing I've experienced in idle games is that they usually track the mouse and keyboard and while something is moving or being pressed you get the "active" bonus... Of course someone could just install macroes to "play" the game for them.

    Also I'm looking for servers, does your's have a fairly active/good community? Maybe I'm missing something, but I only ever see 3 or 4 online total across all the visible servers while looking through the client

  • I'm not a fan of the idle progression either. But I think adding other element to it have more potential to make it worse than better. Any solutions we might come with will always be flawed and/or boring, because they are artificial mechanics aimed at preventing the player to do all he want to do.

    There already is an active progression in the game. It's the house you built, it's your stockpiles full of mats, it's the roads to your neighbours.
    I feel like right now there is moments where you are cornered into afking. And that's bad. But I think it can be solved by simply adding content and tweeking numbers.

    Also the idea behind the idle progression is to allow the more casual players to catch up, and to force specialization. A grindy progression don't really add much to the deal. An online waiting game either.

  • Thanks for visiting us at PAX - it was a lot of fun for all of us and now we're working to polish the latest into a more stable and releasable state.

    One of the more important aspects of the game to us is allowing players who cannot play nearly as much as others to still contribute in a meaningful way to the server's progression. The main gate to this is the skill point system and even then it doesn't function perfectly. Players who play more will still manage to get better food and therefore better skillrates than those who play less (although they'll also have to eat more food) - I've always seen this as a sort of compromise between the allowing more active players to get ahead while still allowing other players to remain relevant.

    We have some planned systems that are aimed at taking the burden off of skillrate as the sole determining factor in a player's feeling of progression and to give players more to do to keep them active while their skills accrue.

    That all said, this is suggested enough that it may make it in as a server setting that is disabled by default (but probably not for a while). I'm sure there are some communities that would appreciate the flexibility.

  • I think all progression on doing action would be a bad idea. There is so much to do with this game while waiting. I played 2 weeks none stop 12 to 16 hours a day (wife is mad about that game) and always had something to do. I find it too easy to concentrate in many skills, I think the progression should be even slower to get more people to work together and/or use the stores to buy something from another player to complete. We are 3 active players on my server, and we are at day 12 and managed to almost get everything. There is only one book left (Computer Science). While this is done, I keep getting points and specializing in more aspects of the game. (Cooking, Agriculture, Carpentry, survival wood-mine etc, stone mason) And I still get more points coming and LVL5 in everything... So its too fast paste, I should not be able to specialize in so many things with only 2 other persons. Anyways, depends always of the developpers where they want to bring this game, but server admins should have maybe the liberty to set this easily.

  • I have been think idea of Endurance, to working/using actions, totally separate from Calories.
    When calories tell skill rate per day, equal to all players, what ever they idle or work.
    and you spend endurance with actions (not forcing you to eat every 2-5 minutes) but make endurance to "regen" slowly if eat healthy foods,

    at moment if you are not cooker/baker and all those you cant actually work hard in smith/miner/ or almost any areas without low Skill points rate.

    that mean you get easily 200 skill points per day just logging out, but 20-50 skill points per day if you work hard.

  • @Miisa said:

    at moment if you are not cooker/baker and all those you cant actually work hard in smith/miner/ or almost any areas without low Skill points rate.

    On my server, I am the cook, and some guys that arrived in day 4 or 5 were buying my food instead of being cooked. They sell me meat (for the butcher) and get credits to buy food and work. They can sell stone, ore, or everything else now, so no need to lose points in that skill. This is how I think the game should work. But I agree, if you start a server (day1) and not many people connects, you have to focus a minimum on food to get calories, maybe there should be something to work on for that.

  • @Poknutsaurus said:

    They sell me meat (for the butcher) and get credits to buy food and work. They can sell stone, ore, or everything else now, so no need to lose points in that skill.

    Now where money come from ?... or how long it get money into economy. in first place.
    Week?, two?.. with new skill scale system Months.

  • 1st was exchange then money, on the 4th day, we had our mint.

  • @Poknutsaurus said:

    1st was exchange then money, on the 4th day, we had our mint.

    Right, and you gave all free foods for gold miners? that they can eat every half minute. (there is my point)

  • This is a very challenging area to balance properly, if you make active work contribute to skills you incentivize grind, and reduce the potential for low-time players.

    One solution I believe we will add is a 'difficulty setting' which basically is a multiplier for how fast you get skill points. A server that will have a lot of players, and lots of people specializing, can set this high and they will have to make heavy use of the economy and trade to succeed. A server with few people, or even single player, can set this low and have their skills go up rapidly so they could basically play continuously. I see this as necessary because trying to balance the specialization for a server of 100 people vs a server of 1 people without some sliding scale is pretty impossible.

    However we'll want to make some kind of presentation on this difficulty so that higher difficulty is more prestigious, so people dont just turn it to minimum by default and totally remove the point of skills/specialization/collaboration/the economy.

    Also the idea behind the idle progression is to allow the more casual players to catch up, and to force specialization. A grindy progression don't really add much to the deal. An online waiting game either.

    As Mog pointed out its not good to have 'nothing to do', and that should never be the case, there should always be resources to collect, buildings and roads to construct, trades to make, government tasks to participate in, etc. There should be a tempo to the game, where you're never blocked because there are always things to do, but then you do get level ups and suddenly you're a lot more powerful. Ideas to help ensure that's the case are much appreciated.

    Thanks for the feedback awesome stuff.

  • Here's an idea for the evolving skill increase problem. Like what was stated before, a lumberjack cutting down trees and leaving the mess simply to acquire the extra skill points involved does create several problems but I think it's still a viable option with a couple tweaks to the idea. First of all, let's not give them the skill points right off the bat. Instead, only give them the skill points AFTER they clean up all the wood pulp and the stump and store the logs in a stockpile. Doing this should give them incentive to not waste what they used purely for skill points and even if they do just plop a stockpile down and chop down every tree in sight and gain all those skill points just to have them, it should be a fairly small amount. That half is geared towards preventing server performance issues caused by this particular mechanic. The next half should help allot with players draining the resources from the planet entirely. For lumberjacks the biggest problem would be the lack of trees left to cut down after everyone has gone around leveling the Amazon lol. To help alleviate this, they should be awarded with a substantial skill bonus to the relevant skills for replenishing the resources they used. For example, logging will give you a minor bonus for cutting down trees and cleaning up the mess but a hefty bonus for replanting trees. It should encourage players to replenish what they may or may not have used to advance in whatever specialization they chose. Just a couple of thoughts on the idea. Let me know what you think. I find that in this game you need to find a way to encourage the players or give them some kind of incentive to do something without unbalancing the whole ecosystem.

    Edit: Doing this may actually encourage carpenters and lumberjacks to grow tree farms to support their skills and be better for the environment while possibly leaving the majority of the naturally generated forests on the map mostly untouched. For this I would suggest making the drop rates on tree seeds a little higher though.

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