Build planner?

44 posts / 0 new
Last post
Pain
Pain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 11 hours ago
kickstarter
Joined: 10/04/2013 - 10:13
Build planner?

After recently rediscovering this forum I went on a stint making CoH builds on mids. Im wondering at what point in the process the devs are at in power creation and number balancing in CoT. When might we get a build planner or at least some numbers for ATs/powers/enhancements?

Obviously as ithe game's still has a ways to go in development there isnt anything concrete, but if some sort of planner was made, a la mids, perhaps that could help quicken the balancing process?

Task Forces and PvP
CoH vet from Easter 2004 to shutdown
Been in scrapperlock since 2012

Lothic
Lothic's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 57 min ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/02/2013 - 00:27
Somehow I doubt the MWM folks

Somehow I doubt the MWM folks will ever bother to create their own build planner, unless of course they ever get to a point when they basically have nothing else better to do. I don't see that happening for a very long time...

The build planners that existed for CoH (i.e. Mids') were third party efforts created by fellow players. I suspect eventually someone will create one for this new game, but it won't happen until somebody interested in doing that gets a good long look at how the game actually works via playing it. Somebody might get one up and running before launch (by using data they collect during the beta testing) but it's likely something as sophisticated as Mid's won't appear until some number of months -after- launch.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Cyclops
Cyclops's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 49 min ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 04/10/2015 - 17:24
Brute = Tank or Gladiator

Brute = Tank or Gladiator (scrapper) plus the Rage Tertiary power.

That is all the power planning I know. Gotta warn you, Aesthetic Decoupling can make power planning easier or a bit confusing so I'm guessing you will need to wait for Beta next year to really figure things out.

Lothic
Lothic's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 57 min ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/02/2013 - 00:27
Cyclops wrote:
Cyclops wrote:

Gotta warn you, Aesthetic Decoupling can make power planning easier or a bit confusing so I'm guessing you will need to wait for Beta next year to really figure things out.

This is a good point to consider: Will a given CoT build planner limit itself to the bare "numbers" data of powers or will these planners need to include the ability to account for all the Aesthetic Decoupling choices you could attach to the powers? I suppose an "all-inclusive" planner would allow you record all the details you'd need to let you effectively "re-create" a character from scratch if necessary.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Pain
Pain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 11 hours ago
kickstarter
Joined: 10/04/2013 - 10:13
I'm aware Mids was/is a thrid

I'm aware Mids was/is a thrid party planner, and an absolute masterpiece of one at that. If the data for powersets was released, ie damage, effects, activation times, accuracy, def/res, regen, and whatever other mechanics are included, it could really speed up the balancing process as an alpha and beta are released.

For example, using mids I can optimize a build every 10-15 minutes. It's fairly easy to then compare powersets in terms of survival and output, as well as find glaring flaws in specific powers. Like under CoH i24 mechanic changes a water blast blaster could hit another player for around 1200 damage after resistances with its t9 under ideal specs. I doubt something like that would be noticed or addressed for a good while after release if it couldn't be noticed on a build planner.

I think getting something out alongside a beta or even alpha would do a lot to help the devs with balancing sets (which I and I'm sure others would very much enjoy helping with), as well as giving a lot of hype about the game for those who enjoy working through the numbers behind it. I'm not a program designer or programmer, but if numbers and mechanics were released *at some point* perhaps someone with the know-how would be able to put something like mids together if MWM didn't itself.

Task Forces and PvP
CoH vet from Easter 2004 to shutdown
Been in scrapperlock since 2012

Empyrean
Empyrean's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 14 min ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 03/16/2014 - 07:51
I'm with Pain. I spent equal

I'm with Pain. I spent equal time screwing around with Mids (making builds for my mains and for my wife and son), screwing around with my look and story (on the CC and in the Bio window), and actually playing the game. I'd love a well thought out and integrated planning feature--though if it is a 3rd party macro so be it as long as it's good.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

Halae
Halae's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 53 min ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 09/17/2014 - 09:37
I'm willing to bet that a

I'm willing to bet that a 'build planner' like Mids would be broken into two parts - one for mechanical (which would be the primary point of the planner) and one for the aesthetic layer, with an option to turn the aesthetic layer off entirely.

Hopefully such a build planner would have a sharing function though, and realistically such a thing would have even more utility in the fanbase for CoT; back in CoH, a planned build left you with a single character, because of the nature of aesthetic decoupling. A build with Brawn/Solid Form would work for a Thing expy, a knight with a sword and shield, a big lizardman using a combination of his claws and teeth. It gets even more exotic and expansive when you get into energy attacks since DoT damage as per the Burning powerset can be caused by a huge variety of things (including bleeding attacks if you want to go there).

And then because the mechanics are the same regardless of what aesthetics you can apply to it, it makes the whole concept of becoming mechanically optimal while retaining your own identity a lot more meaningful. I'm sure a lot of players will agree that they went for whatever was cool (LIKE DUAL GUNS, MY GOD) versus what was actually effective, and this effectively removes the need to choose between them.

An infinite number of tries doesn't mean that any one of those tries will succeed. I could flip an infinite number of pennies an infinite number of times and, barring genuine randomness, they will never come up "Waffles".

Lothic
Lothic's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 57 min ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/02/2013 - 00:27
Pain wrote:
Pain wrote:

I think getting something out alongside a beta or even alpha would do a lot to help the devs with balancing sets (which I and I'm sure others would very much enjoy helping with), as well as giving a lot of hype about the game for those who enjoy working through the numbers behind it. I'm not a program designer or programmer, but if numbers and mechanics were released *at some point* perhaps someone with the know-how would be able to put something like mids together if MWM didn't itself.

Oh I'm not saying that having something like Mids' for CoT as soon as reasonably possible would not be useful to everyone (both players and Devs alike). I'm just pointing out that I wouldn't be too quick to assume we're going to have anything like that anytime soon.

I don't remember exactly when the build planners like Mids' (and SuckerPunch's) were released but I do know that CoH had been around for several YEARS before they became popular. It might not take literally years for someone to create an equivalent planner for CoT, but by the same token I'd say the chances of anyone getting anything like it out before the game launches is pretty slim. At best we may have some bare-bones "beta" version of a planner released roughly the same time the game goes live.

Also realize it's not like the Devs can easily provide everything related to all the powers as one big perfectly created, fixed-in-stone "data dump" like a year before launch that some other person could then use to whip up a planner. The numbers related to powers are going to be in-flux pretty much up until (and probably long after) launch. Again at best the powers data will be finalized during the beta testing and anyone trying to create a planner will be at the mercy of how quickly the game itself can be finalized. You can't really create a "planner" for a game like this before the game itself is close to be being finished.

As an alternative it's always possible MWM might create some version of a build planner themselves. But given the grassroots nature of this game's development that would likely be near the bottom of their list of priorities, especially when you consider some player (or group of players working together) will likely have far more time and desire to create one for the game themselves.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Lothic
Lothic's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 57 min ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/02/2013 - 00:27
Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

I'm with Pain. I spent equal time screwing around with Mids (making builds for my mains and for my wife and son), screwing around with my look and story (on the CC and in the Bio window), and actually playing the game. I'd love a well thought out and integrated planning feature--though if it is a 3rd party macro so be it as long as it's good.

As I said I'm not "anti-planner" here. I just question how quickly one will appear for CoT. I simply doubt it'll be "any time soon" no matter who creates it.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Tannim222
Tannim222's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 44 min ago
Developer11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 01/16/2013 - 12:47
As the person putting powers

As the person putting powers together working in conjunction with the rest of the game play team, I already have many of the numbers being referred to here. This includes an offense calc and protection calc.

This information is not primed for release however as we are still testing and refining values. We have a system which essentially builds powers, and much of it is not intuitive at first look. There are comversion from what the Power Designer provides to what the in-game value of the affect is. And as we work on Improvements (how those values are improved by buffs, augments, and refinements), things change.

As we simulate for pvp (which is a metric we use for pve bounds of performance), we have to adjust and at times take a look at things on the coding level.

Basically it is way too soon to give out this info. Heck we have yet to provide some key updates that deal with this subject just everyone will understand some of the types of effects we use, some of the underlying design that supports the combat mechanics, and how improving powers with Augments and Refinements actually works.

I have expressed the desire to make our own version as a plug-in which can auto-update your character as you leve up. But we don't have the resources to include something like that for launch nor the near future post launch.

We figured by the time we get to it, players will have built their own.


I don't use a nerf bat, I have a magic crowbar!
- Combat Mechanic -
Tech Team.
Lothic
Lothic's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 57 min ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/02/2013 - 00:27
Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

Basically it is way too soon to give out this info. Heck we have yet to provide some key updates that deal with this subject just everyone will understand some of the types of effects we use, some of the underlying design that supports the combat mechanics, and how improving powers with Augments and Refinements actually works.

I have expressed the desire to make our own version as a plug-in which can auto-update your character as you leve up. But we don't have the resources to include something like that for launch nor the near future post launch.

This is basically what I was expecting here. Again I have no doubt that eventually somebody (either MWM itself or a 3rd party) will recreate something like Mids' build planner. I simply have no real expectation of seeing anything like that finalized until well -after- launch.

Tannim222 wrote:

We figured by the time we get to it, players will have built their own.

This, in a nutshell.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Pain
Pain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 11 hours ago
kickstarter
Joined: 10/04/2013 - 10:13
The grassroots nature of the

The grassroots nature of the game is exactly why having a number crunching program out would be beneficial and possible. On one hand developers always have a huge problem/task in balancing powers, especially when secondary effects are put into play. On the other, designing a program to plan out the intricacies of a build requires a lot of data gathering. IIRC CoH didn't even implement a window to show the numbers and effects of powers til later (I could be wrong about that as I was young when I started playing and didn't pay much mind to those until later).

It seems to me that it would be of huge benefit to the developers to have a group of people working through the numbers behind powers and abilities to find things that are out-of-balance relatively quickly compared to the pain-staking process of beta testers building their characters, testing their powers, and having the community slowly realize what's overpowered. We're talking issues being discovered within hours/days rather than months.

If MWM was to at the very least provide data on powers and game mechanics, the community could be a huge asset to quicken the process. If the game is released out of balance, it is only a matter of time before people start building up the same type of overpowered character, and then are inevitably pissed off when the inequity is fixed and their characters are 'nerfed'.

Task Forces and PvP
CoH vet from Easter 2004 to shutdown
Been in scrapperlock since 2012

Lothic
Lothic's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 57 min ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/02/2013 - 00:27
Pain wrote:
Pain wrote:

The grassroots nature of the game is exactly why having a number crunching program out would be beneficial and possible. On one hand developers always have a huge problem/task in balancing powers, especially when secondary effects are put into play. On the other, designing a program to plan out the intricacies of a build requires a lot of data gathering. IIRC CoH didn't even implement a window to show the numbers and effects of powers til later (I could be wrong about that as I was young when I started playing and didn't pay much mind to those until later).
It seems to me that it would be of huge benefit to the developers to have a group of people working through the numbers behind powers and abilities to find things that are out-of-balance relatively quickly compared to the pain-staking process of beta testers building their characters, testing their powers, and having the community slowly realize what's overpowered. We're talking issues being discovered within hours/days rather than months.
If MWM was to at the very least provide data on powers and game mechanics, the community could be a huge asset to quicken the process. If the game is released out of balance, it is only a matter of time before people start building up the same type of overpowered character, and then are inevitably pissed off when the inequity is fixed and their characters are 'nerfed'.

The whole point of "beta testing" the game before release is to pretty much do everything you're saying they "ought" to do -before- the game is officially launched. You can't magically TEST the game before you actually TEST the game.

Having to do all that "pain staking work" to find problems and balance game mechanics is the reason games have beta tests to begin with. I'm not really sure what kind of advantage having a "planner" would be before you test when it would likely need to be re-built countless times to account for everything that's going to get changed in the beta. I really do think you have some sort of "chicken and the egg" logic problem going on here.

Look, I get the idea of the Devs trying to do everything they can to make things as balanced as quickly as possible. I'm quite sure the Devs of CoT will do everything they can to "pre-catch" problems ASAP. But honestly you do have to literally let people stumble into unpredictable scenarios while testing and you really can't do anything to prevent -all- of that from happening.

Bottomline you can't create/use a software tool (in this case a build planner) that's based on a delicately balanced game system to help you -create- that very same delicately balanced game system. It's almost like trying to build a car by first pre-building the car you're trying to build...

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Pain
Pain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 11 hours ago
kickstarter
Joined: 10/04/2013 - 10:13
I'm suggesting that a planner

I'm suggesting that a planner be released or the data available along with a beta test. You're right that it's impossible to know how things actually play without playing the game. However, people are constrained by time, which is my primary point in the difficulty of balancing. Beta testing is as much, if not more, about finding bugs in story lines, npc performance, map incongruities, etc as it is about stat/power modification. Once you understand how combat works generally, its much easier to mock-up 5 builds and hour, optimize them, and compare them in a program, than it is to have testers spend hours rolling, building up, and comparing actual game play of each class/AT/powerset.

I really don't think the issue you brought up of changing numbers that occur during a beta is an issue at all. It's just as easy to update a program with changes as it is to actually change the game itself - probably easier. If the developers made their own planner or worked with someone who did, it would be fairly seamless.

I'm sure the devs are putting in time and thought into powers, stats, etc, but with the variety people are expecting, and if an invention/recipe/slotting bonus system is present (which I believe is planned?), there's definitely going to be things that slip through the cracks. Players (myself included) are going to search out and find anything that'll be overpowered. I want to use this proclivity for 'good' in assisting the developers.

I'll admit that a big motivation for bringing this up is my own desire to toil over the numbers and game mechanics, yet I think there is good motivation for a planner to be created prior to release of the actual game.

Task Forces and PvP
CoH vet from Easter 2004 to shutdown
Been in scrapperlock since 2012

Lothic
Lothic's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 57 min ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/02/2013 - 00:27
Pain wrote:
Pain wrote:

I'm suggesting that a planner be released or the data available along with a beta test. You're right that it's impossible to know how things actually play without playing the game. However, people are constrained by time, which is my primary point in the difficulty of balancing. Beta testing is as much, if not more, about finding bugs in story lines, npc performance, map incongruities, etc as it is about stat/power modification. Once you understand how combat works generally, its much easier to mock-up 5 builds and hour, optimize them, and compare them in a program, than it is to have testers spend hours rolling, building up, and comparing actual game play of each class/AT/powerset.
I really don't think the issue you brought up of changing numbers that occur during a beta is an issue at all. It's just as easy to update a program with changes as it is to actually change the game itself - probably easier. If the developers made their own planner or worked with someone who did, it would be fairly seamless.
I'm sure the devs are putting in time and thought into powers, stats, etc, but with the variety people are expecting, and if an invention/recipe/slotting bonus system is present (which I believe is planned?), there's definitely going to be things that slip through the cracks. Players (myself included) are going to search out and find anything that'll be overpowered. I want to use this proclivity for 'good' in assisting the developers.
I'll admit that a big motivation for bringing this up is my own desire to toil over the numbers and game mechanics, yet I think there is good motivation for a planner to be created prior to release of the actual game.

Perhaps you're confusing the Devs' internal "master sheet" of how all the powers will be balanced and interact with each other with the presumed "third party character build planner tool" that's likely going to happen at some point. The Devs are NOT going to need something 100% identical to a GUI-based character planning tool in order to maintain the data they are going to use to ultimately balance this game.

The Devs will have all the data they need to organize and optimize their testing WITHOUT the need to have a pretty tool that makes it easy for players to organize their alts. Who's to say they won't have their own various internal "character building/tracking tools" that will never be released to us players yet may still serve many of the functions that something like a Mids' planner would ultimately provide?

I think you've taken for granted the existence of build planners for CoH and assumed they are "fundamental" to a game like this. Tannim himself has essentially already told us they are going to have their own systems for testing and are perfectly willing to let us players create third party Mids' clones for ourselves. Was that not enough of an answer for you on these issues?

For what it's worth I want there to be a Mids' equivalent for this game ASAP. I just think not only do they not need something like that as a "step one" for testing purposes but I think it would be nigh-impossible (or at least very impractical) to try to produce/maintain something like that during the earliest stages of testing. It's going to be the huge amounts of powers testing that will eventually generate the balanced numbers that such a tool will use. A tool like that won't help you CREATE that data - a tool like that will USE that data once it actually exists. Again this is a "chicken and the egg" scenario in software form.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Tannim222
Tannim222's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 44 min ago
Developer11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 01/16/2013 - 12:47
There is anreason the saying

There is anreason the saying exists of "too many cooks in the kitchen".

Even when players had info at hand and could accurately crunch numbers does not automatically result in a consensus om what is "balanced". Most often players tend to think in terms balance means "all thingd equal". Without considering the wide range that may actually require inparting to the metrics .

The numbers in a power like dps for an attack, or "optimal" attack chain are just one data point.

You also have to consider what the bounds of performance are, which js the real meaning of the term "balance". It is not all things equal all the time, but all things perform in these varying ways at these varying times.

This is a big part of why powers will experience changes over time, because of the number of variables involved.

It is also a large reason why out of the huge possible pool of people who would look at hard data there would only be a very small number of people who could accurately pin point where a problem may lie, and most often this comes with understanding how the power or efftcs of powers actually play in the game.

If say, we release the attack power set numbers, they are only good for looking at possible dps, dpa, dpe, and attack chains. And in each set there us a vairance of these performances based on different intents of how and when they are usefl. Without those data points, knowing the dpa of an attack chain is just one minor data point.

Mostly what would occur is people looking at which sets have the possible best of their preference and disagreeing on why they are balanced or not and still not have all the data available.

And giving a lot of this data for public scrutiny will happen - when the game beckmes available. Even at launch the full data is not in player hands because we launch with only the first 30 levels.

That power you are willing to ignore at tier 3 might suddently make a more of a difference at level 40 than it did at level 15 if you get caught up in looking at one piece of data.

Even then, when the entirety of the game is in player hands from level 1-50, not all the data is available to them. There are large chunks of megadata which would never make it to the hands of individual players which may affect the need to change a power's (or entire set's) performance.

One thing you will have is all the info on the power, we aren't going to hide a power's important data points from players. If you want to look at the fine details, that info will be made available to you.


I don't use a nerf bat, I have a magic crowbar!
- Combat Mechanic -
Tech Team.
Scott Jackson
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/20/2013 - 20:13
A planner is a helpful way to

A planner is a helpful way to visualize and manipulate the powers data; compare Mids' Planner to Red Tomax's City Of Data.

Pain's primary point (and a correct one, I believe) is that we as players and possible beta testers can provide faster, more accurate, and more comprehensive feedback if we have access to the powers data while testing in game. The more accessible that data is, the more helpful we can be.

For example, I might easily notice that "something is wrong" when playing a tank character and being unable to immobilize boss enemies with a high-tier immob power. However, I'd have difficultly diagnosing the problem further without the powers data because I'd need to make multiple tanks and other characters to explore the scope of the problem. With access to the powers data, we might rapidly discover that all classes have their own inherent immobilize effectiveness modifier, and the tank one was set unusually low... sparing Tannim & friends the effort of debugging the whole thing themselves based on 50 separate "this seems odd" bug reports.

If the devs just make sure the powers data is exposed in some reasonable format (xml, csv, ?) in the client files, that's probably the simplest approach, leaving us with the task of reading it in raw form or making a helpful planner.

Halae
Halae's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 53 min ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 09/17/2014 - 09:37
Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

we launch with only the first 30 levels.

Slight tangent here, but what's the explanation for this? It seems to me that a game that hits a certain level and stays there would be more stable long-term for balance purposes than not. and I've never heard of a game described as being a certain level but players only having access to a level below that before.

An infinite number of tries doesn't mean that any one of those tries will succeed. I could flip an infinite number of pennies an infinite number of times and, barring genuine randomness, they will never come up "Waffles".

Pyromantic
Pyromantic's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 44 min ago
Developer11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 11/14/2013 - 08:20
Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

One thing you will have is all the info on the power, we aren't going to hide a power's important data points from players. If you want to look at the fine details, that info will be made available to you.

This is good to read. I was just thinking about this today and asked about it in the question thread. Is it reasonable to also assume then that we'll get the details on how those numbers interact with the game mechanics? In City of Heroes for example knowing that a power provided 5% defense didn't mean much unless you also knew how to-hit checks worked (especially as one might assume 5% defense translated into 5% damage mitigation, though it absolutely did not.)

Fireheart
Fireheart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 6 hours ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/05/2013 - 13:45
Because the game from 30 to

Because the game from 30 to 50 is different from the lower-level game? You should remember that!

In the interests of a timely launch, it makes sense to limit the scope of Content that needs to be fully developed.

Be Well!
Fireheart

Scott Jackson
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/20/2013 - 20:13
I believe it's because they

I believe it's because they already have clear plans for 50 levels of content / zones / powers, but only enough developers (writers, 3D artists, map makers...) to focus on enough content and zones for the first 30 levels at launch. Also, since some complexity-adding systems like raids and augment "gear" with set bonuses might only exist within that 31-50 level band, integration and testing of those higher-level systems can be delayed until after launch, which helps keep the scope manageable for the coders too.

Halae
Halae's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 53 min ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 09/17/2014 - 09:37
Alright, thanks for

Alright, thanks for explaining that.

An infinite number of tries doesn't mean that any one of those tries will succeed. I could flip an infinite number of pennies an infinite number of times and, barring genuine randomness, they will never come up "Waffles".

Scott Jackson
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/20/2013 - 20:13
Pyromantic wrote:
Pyromantic wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

One thing you will have is all the info on the power, we aren't going to hide a power's important data points from players. If you want to look at the fine details, that info will be made available to you.

This is good to read. I was just thinking about this today and asked about it in the question thread. Is it reasonable to also assume then that we'll get the details on how those numbers interact with the game mechanics? In City of Heroes for example knowing that a power provided 5% defense didn't mean much unless you also knew how to-hit checks worked (especially as one might assume 5% defense translated into 5% damage mitigation, though it absolutely did not.)

Having a few key formulas posted for the beta would be a huge help. Having to work them out ourselves via statistical analysis would be less than ideal, and that's even assuming we get verbose combat logs.

Cobalt Azurean
Cobalt Azurean's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 hours 21 min ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/03/2013 - 16:39
I did enjoy me some Mids, and

I did enjoy me some Mids, and look forward to the day when there will be one available for CoT.

Pain
Pain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 11 hours ago
kickstarter
Joined: 10/04/2013 - 10:13
To Lothic:

To Lothic:

I am not implying that such a program would be fundamental to the game at all. Planners are extremely useful tools for players, however, and I believe having such a program available would enable players to test for things quickly and take a lot of onus off of the devs to test everything for balance. The problem becomes exacerbated when complex systems such as set bonuses are added into consideration. There are countless examples of things being released which are extremely unbalanced in build practice than in the systems of the game. Much of my number crunching experience in CoH was from a PvP perspective, which I know isn't the focus of this game, but provides several examples of unbalanced sets which were in fact unbalanced due to developer systems.

The CoH developers created systems which were designed to balance pvp attacks by using some sort of base damage multiplier which scaled with the activation time of the power in an attempt to create incentive for use of the 'bigger' attacks which had been overshadowed by faster, higher dps quick attacks. In theory, and presumably on their master sheets, this made sense. However, in actual builds and practice, when kinetic melee was released, its t9 had around 440ish base damage due to its large activation time, which made sense in their model (designed to manage activation time) but in practice, created the largest burst damage power in the game which could hit for over 1k damage and recharged in about 6-7 seconds on a good build. This took months to fix and ended with a nerf to the power.

As I mentioned, in the i24 planned release, there were changes made to procs which made their probability scale with the recharge time + activation time of a power. This, again, was to give incentive to using long recharge and long cast time powers over a player spamming a proc'd out quick attack for massive damage. The water blast t9 had a long recharge time and access to 4 procs, which means it could deal an additional 280 unresisted damage every time it was activated. When this was on a blaster and coupled with the gaussian chance for build up proc slotted in aim or BU, which by the same recharge scale would trigger every time, this attack, and a select few others, would hit hard enough to 1 shot blasters/controllers/defenders/corruptors/dominators. Additionally, blasters had access to the ghost widow hold, which also had a long recharge time and access to 4 procs and could deal around 900 damage after resistances and held long enough for a player to use another over 1k damaging attack. This would give blasters the ability to pretty much 2 shot every AT except for a strong tanker. Seem balanced? Well it fits within the balancing systems Paragon Studios came up with.

I'm sure there are more examples, but those are at the top of my mind at the moment. What this shows is that even though the devs may have systems in place designed to provide balance, yet they may not be sufficient to discover all the problems which can occur in a game with complex builds. If someone were to take the time to make a build for these, like I did to test i24 water blast, the problems would have become apparent immediately instead of requiring someone to learn the mechanics, build a character to exploit them, and then have others complain about it over a long period of time.

To Tannim:

The 'too many cooks in the kitchen' argument is sound. Most people will have a preference towards a set and if it isn't the best performing set for their style of play they will probably complain. Different powersets will play to different styles, I assume, thus one set will have strong aoe damage while another will focus more on single target damage.

The value I see in at least releasing data on powers, system mechanics, and enhancement equivalents is that it will allow people who look to exploit said mechanics to point out some of the more hidden exploits which are typically present in games and assist in the beta balancing process.

I also don't really understand the idea of not releasing game mechanics. We have seen in literally every MMO released that the players will grind to work out how they all work. Just look at Arcana, who created his/her own activation times, Arcana time, for powers which included a hidden delay. I don't see how having people testing these mechanics when they actually know what they are will be a problem, and moreover, it would serve to at least assist in the balancing of things like defense vs resistance vs regeneration and defense/resistance/regeneration vs defense debuffs/resistance debuffs/regeneration debuffs and tohit vs accuracy vs defense etc etc etc.

I think in the complexity that comes with developing a game, the devs will simply not have the man/processing power to work through all these relationships and how they can be exploited through things like procs, set bonuses, power interactions. This has been proven by the amount of overpowered/underpowered abilities that were present in CoH and most MMOs on the market. This dev team does have a large resource of people who would look into these things for free, but there's only so much that can be accomplished in the beta without the ability to really but these mechanics under intense scrutiny.

Task Forces and PvP
CoH vet from Easter 2004 to shutdown
Been in scrapperlock since 2012

Tannim222
Tannim222's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 44 min ago
Developer11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 01/16/2013 - 12:47
Pain, I understand what you

Pain, I understand what you are saying, but you have to understand how develoment works. Right now is too soon to release such data as there will be iterations of mechanics.

If players are scrunitizinf data ans says "this does isn't cool because of X", a dev might say that there is Y to consider which isn't finsihed working yet.

By the time all time all the data will be available, the game will be in Beta and even then, incomplete because the player facing end will be only to level 30.

And the available powers may have synergy with powers which come after 30 which is a cinsideration players won't have.

Arcana time came about because of how server ticks worked. Something that would not have been available until evaluating the game through play.

Which is part of what will happen even if you could see the data now...things will hange through live play. It is the nature of this beast.

Be assured, we already have taken into account the mistakes of CoH. And there will be mistakes along thr way.

Right now is simply too soon to release every bit if data for players to parse. And if we did, based on past experiences. It would only set us back from getting more work done because most people would need to be taught how to manage most of it and only a rare few would immediately grasp it. Meanwhile everyone would bicker over which means what, how, and why, and us devs would have to read through it all and try to settle everyone down just to get everyone on the same page.

All through text through forum posts. Which is incredibly slow way of actually getting work done. Again, this id based on actual past experience in working on this game.

I understand the desire for transparancy and players will find things devs have missed or did not intend. When that happens, things will get looked into. Again, it is the nature of the beast.

And as I said, even with the power data, players won't have all the data to consider when trying to "balance" a set. There are larger chunks of metadata which requires analysis. And foing that requires a specialized skill set that even fewer players will posess.

Also realize that we have been iterating our combat mechanics for multiple years at this point and it is still being refined.

Many things aren't even applicable at this point, such as procs and set bonuses. We've address pvp balance by using it as a core metric for pve.

Just releasing power set data isn't enough, we also have to release all the player character data, data on every type of pawn, our combat loop metrics, and a whole lot more.

There is stuff we would have to explain which takes time enough as it is to explain to one person joining the team, mich less entire groups of people at this point.

Kust explainkng how buffs numerically stack would take me a day to make sure rveryone understood the basjs of our power designer and hoe it uses something called Output and how that converts to the effect value based on a forumla.

There are things we will releae over time via updates. Eventually, by the time the whole of it is available for players to dig through is also the time players will be playing in beta.


I don't use a nerf bat, I have a magic crowbar!
- Combat Mechanic -
Tech Team.
Pain
Pain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 11 hours ago
kickstarter
Joined: 10/04/2013 - 10:13
Alright, cheers. Just wanted

Alright, cheers. Just wanted to give my two cents. As you can tell I'm very excited to see what you guys come up with. Looking forward to the day I can actually play the game and grind through some of the numbers myself!

Task Forces and PvP
CoH vet from Easter 2004 to shutdown
Been in scrapperlock since 2012

Tannim222
Tannim222's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 44 min ago
Developer11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 01/16/2013 - 12:47
Totally understanbible Pain.

Totally understanbible Pain. I can't wait to step away from the making the game and just play myself. I also look forward to working with players to solve all the problems that will probably crop up along the way.


I don't use a nerf bat, I have a magic crowbar!
- Combat Mechanic -
Tech Team.
Lin Chiao Feng
Lin Chiao Feng's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Developerkickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 11/02/2013 - 09:27
So, along these lines, I've

So, along these lines, I've got a question for you guys, our eventual players: how much of your character data are you okay with exposing to the great wide Internet?

A little background: going over what's been discussed in this thread already, one possible outcome at launch is that we'll point you at a static file in the game install with the various numbers you've been asking about. So from that you get at least most of the game mechanics numbers (and power lists and augment and refinements lists and restrictions on same etc etc). But that's only part of the story. That lets you write a build planner that pulls in that file (please don't load that from the web site on every launch; just check for updates every now and then) and design a character.

But that doesn't let you download your character's build so you can use it as a starting point, or for comparison to your new build, or whatever. And it doesn't let you upload your build plan to the game. So...

  • Would y'all want to do that at all?
  • Would you want it to work off files on your local game client, or work from our servers (effectively "the cloud")?
  • Would you eventually want to allow people to see your character build somewhere on the CoT web site? (Definitely won't be ready at launch.)

The formats of the files involved would, of course, be published, probably in an .rtf file installed with the game. The files themselves would probably be JSON. This also has the side effect of giving the various planners an interchange format.

Just spitballing ideas here; no intent to do any of those bullet points yet.

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

Pain
Pain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 11 hours ago
kickstarter
Joined: 10/04/2013 - 10:13
That sounds similar to what

That sounds similar to what Mids was - separate from the game, not able to be uploaded into the game. Ideally the planner would include enhancements and/or whatever other boosts are built into the build so uploading into the game wouldn't really make sense/be necessary

I've always worked on CoH builds offline on my laptop, but I have seen games where there is an online planner like I believe you're describing. Dark Souls I, II, III and Bloodborne have pretty effective tools on mugenmonkey.com. Although those games have simpler builds, I think it could work for CoT if you wanted to go that route. But again, a local version is just fine.

In terms of sharing, it'd be nice to have a builds section in the forum. Mids was able to be exported and pasted into the CoH forum, and although I never actually did that, I would/will probably browse through builds if they're posted. I could see people asking for help on their builds too as that was fairly common on the CoH forums.

Task Forces and PvP
CoH vet from Easter 2004 to shutdown
Been in scrapperlock since 2012

Pyromantic
Pyromantic's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 44 min ago
Developer11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 11/14/2013 - 08:20
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

So, along these lines, I've got a question for you guys, our eventual players: how much of your character data are you okay with exposing to the great wide Internet?
A little background: going over what's been discussed in this thread already, one possible outcome at launch is that we'll point you at a static file in the game install with the various numbers you've been asking about. So from that you get at least most of the game mechanics numbers (and power lists and augment and refinements lists and restrictions on same etc etc). But that's only part of the story. That lets you write a build planner that pulls in that file (please don't load that from the web site on every launch; just check for updates every now and then) and design a character.
But that doesn't let you download your character's build so you can use it as a starting point, or for comparison to your new build, or whatever. And it doesn't let you upload your build plan to the game. So...
Would y'all want to do that at all?
Would you want it to work off files on your local game client, or work from our servers (effectively "the cloud")?

Would you eventually want to allow people to see your character build somewhere on the CoT web site? (Definitely won't be ready at launch.)
The formats of the files involved would, of course, be published, probably in an .rtf file installed with the game. The files themselves would probably be JSON. This also has the side effect of giving the various planners an interchange format.
Just spitballing ideas here; no intent to do any of those bullet points yet.

My feeling is that making it convenient to pull your character info into a planner is nice, but low priority. I'm not sure I like the idea of being able to look up everyone else's build. CoH let you see someone's powers and set bonuses (which gave you a rough estimate of their build priorities and the value of the build, if you cared to know) if you were nearby and that was more than enough. I don't see much upside to making everyone's build public, but there is a potential downside of feeding into elitism. If people want help with their builds they will surely have the opportunity to make them public on the forums and find plenty of people happy to make suggestions.

Scott Jackson
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/20/2013 - 20:13
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

But that doesn't let you download your character's build so you can use it as a starting point, or for comparison to your new build, or whatever. And it doesn't let you upload your build plan to the game. So...

?: Would y'all want to do that at all?
The ability to save a build file from within the game would be nice (but not necessary). I'm thinking it may be best to set certain basic standards (JSON, etc), then wait until a particular build planner becomes widely adopted, then MWM can work with its developer to make the game's "output build X" function create the same file content as the build planner outputs, so they are 100% interchangeable and both can be shared on forums. Then if an "upload desired build" feature is ever added to the game, the planner will be mostly ready to work with it.

?: Would you want it to work off files on your local game client, or work from our servers (effectively "the cloud")?
Local, or an option to choose. However, I'd understand if MWM was also the creator of that build planner and designed the whole system to greatly benefit from server-stored files only.

?: Would you eventually want to allow people to see your character build somewhere on the CoT web site? (Definitely won't be ready at launch.)
Personally, probably not. At most I'd email files to friends, or post on a forum.

Tannim222
Tannim222's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 44 min ago
Developer11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 01/16/2013 - 12:47
Some of us on the game play

Some of us on the game play team had discussed this in the past. Our intent was ro provide detailed info on character powers within the game in a selectable tab. This could be set up as a collated info sheet of the enitre charaxtsr with minimal work and made downloadable.

It is entirely possible players can make their own builder and pull info from that file to at least upload their own build and tweak itt to their desire on their own without being on line .

The build planner I wanted us to make would be able to do both pull data and upload so you can premake your build when leveling up. And then include the capability to plug the buildsr into an account app we plan to make which will have all kinds of other features.

I agree that players should choose when and where to share build data.


I don't use a nerf bat, I have a magic crowbar!
- Combat Mechanic -
Tech Team.
Impulse King
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 38 min ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/05/2013 - 18:55
I'm going to give a different

I'm going to give a different opinion in that I'm not positive that numbers being available throughout ALL of beta (most of it sure, but not all) is the strongest idea for a beta test. Allow me to admit I have no developer qualifications aside from being an equally passionate fan, but I feel there may be something to be said for wild and mindless experimentation without concern of efficiency that numbers may bring. Or restated, my concern is that the availability of numbers may lead to less diversity in testing which could increase the chance of bugs going undiscovered.

Although rare on these forums, there were players in CoH like myself, that never really worried about IOs or sets. I just wanted to speak on behalf of those folks briefly as we need to beta test for them as well.

Cyclops
Cyclops's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 49 min ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 04/10/2015 - 17:24
Impulse, don't plan on Beta

Impulse, don't plan on Beta numbers to be the same as live numbers. count on nothing until the game is live.
It might be good enough to test a planner, but be prepared to go back to square one at any moment

Fireheart
Fireheart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 6 hours ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/05/2013 - 13:45
What I would most like, in a

What I would most like, in a Build Planner/Game, is to, Yes, export my character/build to serve as a starting point. In the other direction, I'd be happy to import a planned build and apply it to a character, or to have the imported build as an in-game map/model that I could follow as I level up.

Be Well!
Fireheart

Lin Chiao Feng
Lin Chiao Feng's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Developerkickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 11/02/2013 - 09:27
The purpose of "cloud"

The purpose of "cloud" storage would be to make your builds available on all your devices, not just when you're logged into the game. I don't know where it is on the schedule, but a standalone avatar builder that ran on mobile devices has been mentioned, and well, if we have that, then with some extra effort we can have it edit builds, too.

Yes, we will at the least add a builds category to the forums, when we actually have builds to discuss. I was thinking it would be cool to have a more purpose-built section for voluntary sharing, too, but that'll have to stay in the musings bucket until later. At least until we have a build file format nailed down and you can dump your builds from the game.

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

Redlynne
Redlynne's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/28/2013 - 21:15
I'm going to place a Marker

I'm going to place a Marker on this.

There is already general agreement that a Powerhouse functionality is desired for City of Titans, where you can "test drive" Powers to get a feel for them before you commit to them. Basic model is Try Before You Buy.

There is also already general agreement that an Avatar Builder functionality is desired (STRONGLY!) for City of Titans, where you can "test drive" costume compositions to get a good look for them before you commit to them. Basic model is Try Before You Buy.

Any Build Planner that will exist (and at least one WILL EXIST) is intended to allow you to test combinations of investment decisions so that you know "what you need and when" to organize your build. Basic model is Try Before You Buy.

To be honest, I'm having a hard time understanding why a Reinvent The Wheel approach of using 3rd Party software would be superior for the functionality of a Build Planner at this point. The game (client and server) itself will have all of the up to date information on how Powers "work" and calculate their game mechanics. Why build a completely different piece of software for someone else to maintain and update to track changes (although there are people who'll do that anyway)?

An Avatar Builder allows you to Try Before You Buy the APPEARANCE of your character's avatar.
A Powerhouse allows you to Try Before You Buy the APPEARANCE of your character's Power Effects.
A Build Planner allows you to Try Before You Buy the Game Mechanical Performance of your character.

These three functions are all things which, when combined, yield the Overall Experience of playing YOUR CHARACTER as a "totality" vision.

To answer Lin Chiao Feng's question, I personally would want the "cloud" based structure, where you log into your account to bring up the info on whatever client you're working on (either the City of Titans game proper, or a standalone builder application made by MWM that uses the game's coding) with two options to export the data of whatever settings you're using ... Hash Code and Plain Text. Set things up with an option to import/export via both methods so people can post "links" to their creations in Forums if they so choose.

To get a "complete picture" of any one specific character build, you'd need all three reports from the Avatar Builder (costume look), the Powerhouse (powers look) and the Build Planner (game mechanical structuring).

That way, you achieve full Aesthetic Decoupling while also being able to share the most important "bits" of any one character to other Players to allow creativity to flourish and cross-pollinate.


Verbogeny is one of many pleasurettes afforded a creatific thinkerizer.
Scott Jackson
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/20/2013 - 20:13
I support that vision of

I support that vision of having the game (or its MWM-provided accessories) provide all aspects of try-before-you-buy, but in fairness I think having that at launch is asking for more than what's been promised.

A 3rd party build planner isn't superior in a functionality sense, but it is one less thing for MWM to do - that's the only argument I've seen here for it being superior in a general sense. I'll add one other advantage, though I don't think it's a critical one... sometimes that 3rd party is quite creative, motivated, and a good developer in their own right. Their involvement can help build a community of modders, give the game's dev team valuable input from outside, or even lead to getting hired based on their work.

Anyway, either MWM has time and interest in creating one by launch (or beta?), or not. From Tannim's posts, I gathered that it's not part of the current schedule. Therefore someone (or several someones) may get it done first. As long as MWM is willing and sets upfront standards, that 3rd party can work closely with - or even become part of - the MWM team. We get a build planner as soon as possible, and MWM can eventually integrate it into the game's systems to whatever degree they want, for the benefits you describe.

Cyclops
Cyclops's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 49 min ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 04/10/2015 - 17:24
A build planner may not be a

A build planner may not be a priority for COT. I would rather not delay the game for such a development.
3rd parties are generally the way for these things.

Lin Chiao Feng
Lin Chiao Feng's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Developerkickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 11/02/2013 - 09:27
If you want to make a

If you want to make a powerhouse, you spawn an instance with a simple little boxy room, temporarily tweak player powers, and let them go to town. When they're done, bring them back to the open world and mark the instance for garbage collection. This is not too different from instanced mission mechanics.

If you want to make an avatar builder, you take the code in the game that lets you build an avatar and port it to a mobile platform. IIRC UE4 makes this less than daunting.

If you want to make a build planner... You know, aside from the raw data table dumps, there's no UI to be salvaged. The whole UI is new.

To clarify a bit: Those who remember City of Heroes may remember the respec process. You start the respec and it takes over your screen, and the only way out is to cancel. You have to first pick powers and slots, level by level, using pretty much the same interface used in the level-up trainer screen. Then you have to go through all the enhancements that popped out of the old build and re-slot them. Then you're finally done. This used UI that was mostly recycled from existing parts of the game.

Compare to Mids, which let you hop back and forth between assigning powers and slots, and slotting enhancements. And it let you rip out powers and replace them without removing every power and slot after that. And it let you do A/B comparisons. And gave you bar charts comparing builds. And so much more, none of which existed in the game UI. With a tool like that, nobody wanted to plan a build using the CoH respec UI.

This would be a major feature for MWM to develop and support, when the only required part we have to have in it is the data tables. It's not 80% existing stuff reworked a bit; it's 1% existing and 99% new. It's just not paying off, and MWM locking people into an official tool locks out other tools that might be better. Maybe people want to work their builds online. Maybe offline. Maybe on mobile. Maybe they want to build a tool that takes a set of builds and runs Monte Carlo statistics on them. Who knows?

Besides, the real point of the whole game is for the players to show us what they can do, not so much the other way around.

So yes, Redlynne, you've identified that "try before you buy" is a common bullet point between these features. But that's all it is; there's no commonality in the effort involved. It's like the F-35: sure, you've got the same drawing for a wing spar, but one customer wants it made out of aluminum and the other wants titanium, and the fabrication processes are different for those materials, and the quartermasters have to treat them as completely separate items, so there's no bonus to them having the same shape.

That said, there is one feature that is a significant benefit for a relatively low amount of development: allowing the player to load a build plan for a character. With that, when a player levels up, we can preload the level-up screen with the settings from the build plan. This way you don't have to drop the task force to find your build worksheet so you know what to slot and you won't have your level frozen until you do.

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

ThunderCAP
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 41 min ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 09/13/2013 - 01:24
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

That said, there is one feature that is a significant benefit for a relatively low amount of development: allowing the player to load a build plan for a character. With that, when a player levels up, we can preload the level-up screen with the settings from the build plan. This way you don't have to drop the task force to find your build worksheet so you know what to slot and you won't have your level frozen until you do.

That would be a nice addition, not essential but it would be surely helpful for all the players who decide the builds in advance (and not level per level).

Personally I usually skip the heavy planning for the first char (which is more based on role play and testing of the game, I acquire the game's data with the first char and the major fun for the surprise effect usually) but all the successive characters I create by deciding the whole build in advance and I'd like the feature to preload them.

Cinnder
Cinnder's picture
Offline
Last seen: 52 min 59 sec ago
Gunterkickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 08/26/2013 - 16:24
I'd say another advantage of

I'd say another advantage of leaving a build planner to 3rd parties is that it removes any chance that MWM could ever, either by direct intent or design creep, make using it a requirement. It's a great thing to have for players that like that sort of thing, but not everyone wants to know the numbers behind the powers, much less plan them out ahead of time.

Spurn all ye kindle.

Empyrean
Empyrean's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 14 min ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 03/16/2014 - 07:51
Long as I get one from

Long as I get one from somewhere before too long it doesn't matter to me where it comes from. It'd be nifty if it were part of the game, but not a big deal if not.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)