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Thread: Synergy is alpha, freedom is omega.

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    Prophet of Telara Mercury's Avatar
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    Default Synergy is alpha, freedom is omega.

    I bet a lot of people who gravitate towards this game do so because of the calling system, and the implied freedom of choice in character customization. Now, lately more and more 'limiting' factors have been creeping up like faction-only starters and the fact you only get 3 choices from the beginning. This is, although unfortunate - probably a design decision to make some souls, when aquired, "awe-inspiring" achievements (heroic souls). But, another thought has seriously got me worried looking at the souls available.

    Synergy.

    Typically, Damage over Time (DoT) style attacks collide with Crowd Control (CC) in pretty much every game I've played. Yet, the Warlock and the Dominator is in the same calling. That potentially means that this combo is a poor choice. In thinking about this, I get a feeling there may be more 'bad combos' like this. Now this game has a lot of potential for it's freedom of choice.

    If more and more slow realizations of options being taken away from players creep out from the Trion vault, I believe a proportional amount of players will go seeking different games.

    I think the things that really kill games aren't that they come out with what the developers promise and it turns out not to be enough - it's that they come out with unfulfilled promises.

    If someone discovers playing a Dominator/ Warlock combo isn't really viable, and it was the thing they were hyped for all along, they might be very disappointed and go elsewhere. Similarly, if they were gradually becoming worried as release crept up, they might not even try.

    I think synergy is a 100% definite must have. All souls need to be compatible with other souls in the same calling. And I hope Trion has thought about it. (If I did, they probably have too, so this is nothing more than to make sure )

  2. #2
    Rift Disciple Xilith's Avatar
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    So... we should increase player freedom by removing the Dominator, before even knowing its abilities?

    Also, do you have a reference for the '3 souls from the beginning' statement? I must have missed that.

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    Rift Master Azarine's Avatar
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    Actually, right now each faction has a choice of 2 souls from each calling in the beginning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercury View Post
    If someone discovers playing a Dominator/ Warlock combo isn't really viable, and it was the thing they were hyped for all along, they might be very disappointed and go elsewhere. Similarly, if they were gradually becoming worried as release crept up, they might not even try.

    I think synergy is a 100% definite must have. All souls need to be compatible with other souls in the same calling. And I hope Trion has thought about it. (If I did, they probably have too, so this is nothing more than to make sure )
    How much synergy were you hoping for? The devs keep saying that they want people to feel free to experiment with the system and find unexpected synergies, but that not every experiment will work. Hartsman flat-out said "In order for there to be choices at all, there has to be good choices and bad choices."

    So if a Warlock/Dominator build turns out to be one of the bad choices - "I keep breaking my own mezzes!" - so what? Wouldn't you just switch to a different build? That's two classes out of eight or more for each calling; there's likely to be another combo worth trying.

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    Rift Master armengar's Avatar
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    I am sure that some souls will clash, that will be up to us to find out for ourself (or others find out for us). Some may work well with some callings better than others. Trial and error will show us with time.

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    Rift Disciple forestwhitakereye's Avatar
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    I think we're going to find a lack of synergy between trees as a general rule. Take for example the Purifier, Sentinel and Warden. All three a healers, but their spells are Fire, (seemingly Life, hard to tell from text), and Water based. The Purifier and Warden have talents that buff Fire and Water spells respectively. The Warden has a talent that buffs heals over time. The Purifier has a heal over time as their 51 point ability.

    There are some synergies (Pyromancer and Elementalist, Shaman and Justicar, Ranger and Marksman presumably), but it seems more like there's limited options for choosing a second class to support your primary, instead of just choosing one to do something totally different.

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    Shadowlander Nalerian's Avatar
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    Warlock/Dominator might not be a bad choice though depending on how the person played it. If you could mez all but 1 target and then DoT them to the ground, what's the difference between that and mezzing all and nuking one down? Also, this might be a reaver ability, but one of the DoT'ing classes can push all the DoTs on a single target to nearby target, mezzing all, DoT'ing one a bunch, and then pushing those DoTs to everyone could be quite effective.

    But you're right, there could be bad choices, I hope they DON'T waste time on "making sure all souls in a calling have synergy with each other." A large part of the dynamism here is that you can make roles that work and are totally different from each other (and subsequently swap them out whenever you feel like it), just learn how to make ones that work!

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    Quote Originally Posted by forestwhitakereye View Post
    I think we're going to find a lack of synergy between trees as a general rule. Take for example the Purifier, Sentinel and Warden. All three a healers, but their spells are Fire, (seemingly Life, hard to tell from text), and Water based. The Purifier and Warden have talents that buff Fire and Water spells respectively. The Warden has a talent that buffs heals over time. The Purifier has a heal over time as their 51 point ability.

    There are some synergies (Pyromancer and Elementalist, Shaman and Justicar, Ranger and Marksman presumably), but it seems more like there's limited options for choosing a second class to support your primary, instead of just choosing one to do something totally different.
    'Sup?

    I was actually kind of surprised at how the three healy clerics were didn't look to synergize at all. Check out Sentinel-Inquisitor, though - you could boost mana regen and get a sky-high spell crit with a few Inquisitor talents, then blow the rest on healing. You could also toss six points in Purifier to get an extra 10% Wisdom, a reactive self-heal, a shield spell, and a health buff (oh, and a few redundant attacks and heals that you'll never cast). No idea how you'd set up something similar with a Purifier or Warden as the base, though, so we're not exactly drowning in synergistic options yet.

  9. #9
    Rift Chaser Scythras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercury View Post
    I bet a lot of people who gravitate towards this game do so because of the calling system, and the implied freedom of choice in character customization. Now, lately more and more 'limiting' factors have been creeping up like faction-only starters and the fact you only get 3 choices from the beginning. This is, although unfortunate - probably a design decision to make some souls, when aquired, "awe-inspiring" achievements (heroic souls). But, another thought has seriously got me worried looking at the souls available.

    Synergy.

    Typically, Damage over Time (DoT) style attacks collide with Crowd Control (CC) in pretty much every game I've played. Yet, the Warlock and the Dominator is in the same calling. That potentially means that this combo is a poor choice. In thinking about this, I get a feeling there may be more 'bad combos' like this. Now this game has a lot of potential for it's freedom of choice.

    If more and more slow realizations of options being taken away from players creep out from the Trion vault, I believe a proportional amount of players will go seeking different games.

    I think the things that really kill games aren't that they come out with what the developers promise and it turns out not to be enough - it's that they come out with unfulfilled promises.

    If someone discovers playing a Dominator/ Warlock combo isn't really viable, and it was the thing they were hyped for all along, they might be very disappointed and go elsewhere. Similarly, if they were gradually becoming worried as release crept up, they might not even try.

    I think synergy is a 100% definite must have. All souls need to be compatible with other souls in the same calling. And I hope Trion has thought about it. (If I did, they probably have too, so this is nothing more than to make sure )
    I understand your concerns but I don't think this is the case. Synergy will be an important part, for example, I already have builds planned out that combine 3 different souls from one calling that utilize all of the same type of magic, therefore having spells that increase X type of damage by 10%, in all three trees, or something like that, meaning that they will stack, but the thing I have noticed is that on their own, all three of those classes don't seem to be as good as other classes who have nothing in common with souls in their calling.

    For example, the Purifier uses fire mage to damage/heal. As far as I know there are no other souls in the cleric calling who use fire magic, HOWEVER, the purifier's skills seem to be more self-sufficient than say, souls that use life magic to damage/heal. This issue can be avoided altogether by just going further into a tree that has no real synergies with other trees. Using the purifier example again, if you go 51 points into purifier, ALL of your fire skills will be better because that's the only type of magic you will use, plus you will get access to "ultimate" abilities in the tree that you wouldn't get if you were to evenly distribute your points across three different trees that synergize together. In all honesty I think this issue balances itself out. It's a tradeoff. You can be really good at one soul with one particular type of magic or whatever, or you can have three souls who are really good at one particular type of magic but you only have access to the basic low level abilities that you access by only putting a few points into each tree.

    Also, yes, there will be bad builds in this game. There can be terrible ones. Why is that so bad? It's the player's choice what to spec their character and there is no freedom if you're not able to make good AND bad choices. If everything were perfectly balanced and there only WERE good choices, then how would that be freedom? They are giving you freedom to choose whatever you want, not freedom to choose whatever is best.
    Last edited by Scythras; 09-17-2010 at 04:06 AM.

  10. #10
    Prophet of Telara Mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scythras View Post
    Using the purifier example again, if you go 51 points into purifier, ALL of your fire skills will be better because that's the only type of magic you will use, plus you will get access to "ultimate" abilities in the tree that you wouldn't get if you were to evenly distribute your points across three different trees that synergize together.
    (edit: most) People didn't get attracted to this game to dump 51 points into 1 soul, trust me.

  11. #11
    Rift Disciple forestwhitakereye's Avatar
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    I think both extremes are a problem when it comes to talents. If all the choices are good, then what's the point (though there will still be a "best" build, even if it's only a 1% improvement). If some choices are good and some are obviously bad, then the trees build themselves and what's the fun in that.

    As an aside, that's what I think the problem is with WoW's post-Cataclysm talent trees. There's no choice. You want to skip a mediocre talent, but then in the next row there's an unhelpful PVP talent, forcing you back to the previous row. Those trees literally build themselves. 99/100 people I think would come up with exactly the same thing.

    Anyway, I think the solution is to have a good number of situational talents. Like Improved Hunter's Mark in WoW. For just yourself, it's weak. But if you know there's 3+ hunters in your raid, it benefits all and helps improve overall damage. Or the old Improved Shadow Bolt benefiting both Warlocks and Shadow Priests, but if you were by yourself maybe Fire Warlocking is a better way to go (it really wasn't viable at that time, but you get the idea).

    In other words, make all the talents be "good" or "decent" so that the person who wants to spend points can get by, but the people who really want to work together and synergize can do something better.

  12. #12
    Rift Chaser Scythras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercury View Post
    (edit: most) People didn't get attracted to this game to dump 51 points into 1 soul, trust me.
    Never said they did, I said you can choose to do whatever you want. Freedom. A build might be GOOD if you put 51 points into 1 soul but it's your choice whether you want to do that. If you want to mix fire and water healers, you are free to do that too. Whether or not they will work well together is a trade off you will have to make. I don't think synergies will make or break the game, but I also don't think people who want a game where they can make essentially whatever class they want with whatever skills they choose are going to create builds they hate just because the theoretical numbers are better due to synergies. If every soul in every calling worked perfectly with every other one, 1. there would be no bad builds, 2. everyone would be overpowered and 3. no souls would have their own identity. For clerics, they would be a holy healer, a different kind of holy healer, another kind of holy healer, one more holy healer, a holy DPSer, another holy DPSer, a holy buffer/debuffer, just for the **** of it, yet another holy healer! Yay, this game is fun! It wouldn't even make sense to have 8 different souls in each calling at that point, you might as well just mush them into the same soul and then the game would be the same as any other.

  13. #13
    Ascendant Elladar's Avatar
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    This guy said it right.
    Quote Originally Posted by armengar View Post
    Trial and error will show us with time.
    I think no matter how bad two souls dont mix, you still might pick them up just for that little bonus. Maybe Warlock and dominator will clash 100%, that doesnt mean that picking up a 5% spell power increase from one will hinder another soul.
    I don't need to "Get a life."! I'm a Gamer! I have loads of Lifes! - - - Necromancy - happiness is an army of unstoppable, loyal, killing machines.

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    Champion Slack's Avatar
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    Granted I've been drinking, but I don't understand the point your trying to make. We're given choices, but these choices may end up being poor or stupid ones? Isn't that half the point?

    Sure maybe mixing a dot class with a CC class is a bad idea, maybe it isn't. Dot, dot, fear works pretty well for locks in WoW. So does polymorph, nuke etc.

    There will be souls that work well together and some which may not compliment each other. I'm very much looking forward to playing around with them till I go cross eyed.

  15. #15
    Rift Chaser Grovak's Avatar
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    Some combinations work and some do not. It will be up to us to figure out what does and doesn't work for us. What doesn't work for you may work great for me. The great part is that you can swap out souls so you're not stuck if you choose something that doesn't work for you.

    I'm honestly surprised that people are worried about things that will kill the game for them when they haven't had a chance to try it. We need to give the game a chance and to not make assumptions on what the game will be like. The game is still in alpha. Get a chance to try it and feel free to make suggestions on what you think would make it better, but don't worry so much until after Trion has had a chance to work out all the bugs.

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