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Comprehensive Feedback List
#1
First, while I generally agree with the mantra of bring a solution not a problem, I reserve the right to have no idea how to fix a problem, especially if it pertains to some controversial balancing issues.

Second, I have nothing but complete respect for all of those involved in bringing this server to life. Anyone dedicating as much time as the staff has to a project like this deserves praise, period. To that end, all my feedback is meant to be constructive, and none of it comes from a place of negativity. I also freely admit that many things are from my perspective, are opinionated, and I could absolutely be wrong. However, I will try to support as many of my claims with examples as I can.

Third, I recognize this is a beta, and while I am not expecting polish, I am still going to point out polishing issues or minor issues where I see them.

Animal taming

Problem: I believe there need to be some more powerful creatures in the 90-100 range, perhaps even lower. 100+ Seems pretty bloated comparatively speaking. Please see the below chart for an example of this.


Creature - Min taming Req

Aegis Rat - 55
Aegis Mongbat - 65
Aegis Slime - 75
Wolfhound - 80
Blood Ape - 85
Skulker - 90
Aegis Imp - 95
Bloodwolf - 100
Aegis Scorpion - 100
Aegis Whelp - 105
Aegis Asp - 105
Aegis Leech - 110
Blood Scorpion - 110
Blood Drake - 110
Blood Courser - 115
Blood Serpent - 115
Blood Hunter - 115
Bloodworm - 120
Blood Dragon - 120


In addition, I don't feel that skills should be balanced around the expectation of reaching 120. This is very much subjective, but I believe any skill in the 120 range, especially those that are already difficult, should feel overpowered. Currently, I don't believe many of the high end tames match the reward someone might expect from 120 taming/lore.

While I understand that a few people have the opinion that PVM should not be dominated by tamers, I believe Outlands has addressed this with a myriad of strong PVE templates that incorporate previously unused skills to bolster them.

Potential Solutions:
  • Add or rebalance some creatures to appropriately require sub 101 taming.
  • Change the control slot system to involve decimals (nothing crazy, but say a normal dragon requiring 2.5 slots instead of 3, etc.) or change the system to be 0-10 to allow for more balancing leeway. The difference in a 2 and 3 control slot creature is massive and limiting in a 0-5 system.
  • Add a bigger bonus for 101+ taming required creatures, or add some sort of passive bonus to any pets controlled by a 120 tamer. Currently a phoenix (120 taming, 4 control slots) has only slightly more HP than a primordial (55 taming, 1 control slot).

Problem: Pets are really squishy.

I currently believe there are a few things that are "double dipping" to make taming feel weaker. AOE abilities are doing excessive damage to followers, while at the same time prohibiting veterinary from serving its purpose. For example, the gem elemental on the first floor of Mount Petram, while it is intended to be strong, will solo a level 10 swamp dragon (115 taming) and level 10 swamp drake (105 taming). It's AOE is also strong enough that you can't stay in to bandage the pets. When you combine this with pets that are already taking a hard defense hit once tamed, you are left with some really squishy tamables. Another issue is that there are very few pets that have higher than usual defense stats, and if they do, are likely high in control slot usage. 

I understand that the philosophy here is that pets should not be able to "afk farm" and that taming should require an active role outside of saying "all kill". I don't disagree with this but the excessive AOE damage in many ways is also prohibiting involvement. I also think things like herding are helping to play a role here in terms of being 'active'.

Potential Solutions:
  • I think scripted abilities as an overall factor may be overtuned, but AOE damage on pets seems pretty crazy specifically. I think regardless of other changes, the damage and ability effects should probably be toned down. Monsters can be interesting without randomly turning ultra lethal and without also being normal ogres. There is a middle ground that I think we aren't to yet.
  • Change inscription to also give a % benefit to the potency of feeble mind, clumsy, weakness, protection, and bless. You debuff the monsters you are fighting while buffing your own. Realistically, I am not sure of how much a benefit bless would be on pets, but there may be room for expansion here.
  • Add more traits that reduce damage but also include interaction with the economy in some way, without being tedious.
  • Add traits that interact with the economy but also provide more substantial bonuses. This is in line with how taming works via investment and payoff.
Positive feedback:
  • The sheer number of customized monsters and tamables is pretty crazy, hats off to the staff.
  • Dungeons and more specifically creatures are much more engaging and interesting than what is typically expected from Ultima.
  • The ability system for pets is really neat, and while some things may not see a lot of practical use, still add flavor and atmosphere.
  • You will see more templates and more diverse templates on this server than any other due to all of the interesting ways 'useless' skills have been reworked (See: herding).

Problem:

Pet traits are occasionally off the mark in terms of how they fit into your template. Level 6 for dragons specifically has a choice between making the dragon have a "taunt" effect, or receiving a bonus from camping. There is a significant chance you don't want to choose either of these.

Potential Solution:
  • I don't think I removing skill based traits is the right move, however balancing every trait level on every pet while still having 2 compelling and interesting options regardless of template is probably not realistic or possible. Instead, have all traits have a 3rd option that allows you to allocate more skill points. Most likely not as many skill points as odd levels gain, but some.
Positive Feedback:
  • Things like feeding your pets explosive pots to increase their damage is really really cool. Anything that encourages interaction with the economy (rather than punishing inaction) is a huge plus. I think some traits could be cycled out and have more interesting traits like this in their place.
  • Pet leveling is interesting, and is in line with how taming is structured as a whole. Time + activity (investment) = power gain (payoff).
Crafting

With the reliance end game items, normal hunting/durability loss, a reduction in magic items, and other factors, I believe crafting is setup to be pretty strong in Outlands. Despite this, I believe crafting here is missing a big element that is present in dungeon crawling.

Problem: Crafting does not have exciting moments

While most servers address this with crafting slayer weapons at GM+ crafting skill, I don't know that is an appropriate route on Outlands given all of the custom creatures. There is no reason that harvesting resources or crafting needs to be boring. Sure, it will be hard to replicate finding a rare on a monster in a dungeon, but there is a middle ground.

Potential Solutions:

  • Any town smith will tell you about a weapon they once crafted that was beyond exceptional. The locals knew all about it, because the weapon maker tells the same story to every newcomer who rolls into town. Starting at 50, but scaling to GM+ crafting, you unlock an ability to craft exceptional weapons with an arms lore bonus that also scales based on material used. IE, a GM smith has a higher chance to craft one than a 50 smith, and a valorite weapon provides a higher arms lore bonus than iron. The overall chance is relatively low, as it should be a rewarding experience. There is no overlap with this mechanic and magical weapons as nothing gives bonus to arms lore.
  • Smelting basic level (iron/regular boards/hide) made goods will occasionally yield a small amount of colored resources. Rarity and amount dependent on appropriate harvesting skill.
  • I don't have more ideas, but I think more is needed here.
Positive feedback:
  • The new menu's are pretty slick.
  • I think combining carp and bowcrafting was, in hindsight, a really obvious and good choice.
  • The new recycle feature is a million times better and should have existed ages ago.
Problem: colored resources are too rare (at least ore)

Out of about 4,000 ingots, only 250 of them were something other than iron at GM mining. That may not sound like a terrible ratio at first, but remember that 250 is then broken down into 7 (well 6 because I did not find any valorite) different categories. For half of this test, I was also using an exceptional agapite pick, and in those tests did not see an increase in ore found.

I think part of the problem is that when a vein spawns, it is determined at random what it will be. Therefor the veins are ever-changing and you cannot pinpoint where to mine. The reason this is a negative is because you cannot target the ore you want, but also because even if you have the minimum skill to mine an ore, the success is still low.

Potential solutions:
  • Increase the actual success chance of harvesting colored resources once you meet the minimum skill (again, I found 0 valorite).
  • Increase the benefits of using a crafted high end resource gathering tool
  • Instead of having the specialized "ore maps" spawn from creature loot, put them as a rare drops from harvesting (IE, finding an old dusty treasure map in a cave, finding a bound scroll hidden in the nook of a tree). I think these maps should not require skills such as cartography but should be treated as an exciting moment from time spent harvesting. Appropriate harvesting skills should be utilized to "dig up the treasure" or "clear away the brush around it". Once the treasure is found, creatures spawn with better loot that average, with a high chance to be skinned for special hides (IE, crafter keeps the colored ingots he finds in the chest, friend who kills the monsters gets the hides/better loot from the spawned monsters)
Positive feedback:
  • Target self harvesting is spammy, but a godsend compared to finding that "right" place to click on a mountain.

Some other random crafting feedback:
  • Logs aren't heavy, which is nice, but ore still is. LJ is totally possible, although not entirely efficient to do without the use of a pack animal. Mining is very much still relegated to using a pack animal. This disparity might actually make a difference what people choose to start with on launch.
  • Last 10 crafted menu is probably needed
  • The difference between an exceptional iron weapon and an exceptional valorite weapon is only 8% damage, which seems kind of small given the rarity of valorite. If valorite becomes significantly more common, perhaps this is okay. I believe Luthius plans to increase their durability also, but I am not sure if that will make them worth it.

Lockpicking

So far my only experience with lockpicking is with paragon chests, however I believe there are a few critical issues.

Problem: Paragon chests will absolutely not be opened for awhile

Even a lesser paragon chest is classified as difficulty 6 which require 105 lockpicking. Normal chests require 115, and greater 125 (you can get a small bump in skill from colored lockpicks). Now, I believe the true end game of lockpicking is chests behind boss spawns, and high end paragon chests. The problem right now is even a paragon chest off a normal lich can drop as normal, which requires 115 LP. Given this remains, Paragons will remain pretty disappointing as the chests stack up in peoples bank for a long time until someone gets enough skill scrolls.

Potential solution:
  • The level of chest needs to scale (differently if it already does) based on the difficulty of the creature rather than simply if its a "lesser paragon chest". A regular paragon chest off a lich sounds like about a 80s range LP to open, maybe slightly higher if LP is pretty easy to raise. 
Problem: Lockpicking and remove trap become very tedious very quickly.

While there is a cool new menu and more interaction than before with these abilities, they do devolve into simply spam clicking (assuming you dont trigger a trap and have to heal). While it was nice testing out the new mechanics, once I started succeeding at removing the trap off a normal paragon chest (120 skill), it was still only a 12.5% success and a super low chance to trigger.

Potential solution:
  • I think the chance to remove the trap/pick the lock initially is fine, I believe the success chance needs to start ramping up the more progress you make. Having 80% progress and spam clicking on a 12.5% success rate isn't super interesting.

Positive feedback:
  • Remove traps is now more interesting than getting your friend to double click on a chest once and then ressing him!
  • The progress mechanics make the template/skills far more interactive.
  • The trap variance is neat, and a little scary.
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#2
i agree with "don't believe many of the high end tames match the reward someone might expect from 120 taming/lore." there is probably some monsters that 120 pets deal with better than lower level pets, like aoe monsters and high burst ones but when you can pick up 60taming pets, level them up for a while and then go kill 600gold monsters with higer dps than most highend taming pets why bother getting 120.
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#3
I have received quite a bit of feedback about this post in Discord. There is a lot of agreement from those who tested tamers to move to a 10 control slot system to allow for more balancing within the slot value of creatures. For instance, wisps generally seem to be overvalued at 3 slots, but may be undervalued at 2 slots. Currently you are unable to have 2 wisps, and having 2 does not seem overpowered in current testing.

A new system would allow for, in this example, wisps to be 5 control slots out of 10. There are currently quite a few creatures that are 2 and 3 slots that seem overvalued for what they bring. While I feel the low level creatures are in a good place balance wise, some of the higher end tames do not feel more powerful until they are leveled up quite high. Also through my testing, leveling the high end creatures is going to take an exorbitant amount of time, and level 10 blood dragons seem like they are going to be super rare. Adding the leveling portion of pets as part of the effort that taming historically entails is a great move (although achieving level 1 needs to be made considerably faster at the top end). The problem is achieving the goal of a high level end game pet seems to not be substantially rewarded relative to other creatures or the time investment.

I do understand that taming is being reeled in some to not be the end-all-be-all PVM experience, but the prize needs to match the effort. I also do not believe, with current boss and mini boss mechanics, that you will see tamers soloing or even dominating in representation. In the testing I have seen and done, pets are quite fragile and even multiple tamers would not necessarily benefit a group due to the large AOE mechanics. With an already well-defined PVP system wherein there are flat % reductions in both damage and abilities, I don't see taming becoming out of control in those environments, and if so, the flat % reductions could simply be increased relative to creature level.
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#4
(04-01-2018, 09:19 PM)Stormay Wrote: I think part of the problem is that when a vein spawns, it is determined at random what it will be. Therefor the veins are ever-changing and you cannot pinpoint where to mine. The reason this is a negative is because you cannot target the ore you want, but also because even if you have the minimum skill to mine an ore, the success is still low.

Whaaat?!  I haven't tested mining yet, but this is no bueno.  Part of the joy of being a miner is exploring the map and finding a good run of mountains that has high tier ores.
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#5
(04-19-2018, 10:00 PM)Grish\Nakh Wrote:
(04-01-2018, 09:19 PM)Stormay Wrote: I think part of the problem is that when a vein spawns, it is determined at random what it will be. Therefor the veins are ever-changing and you cannot pinpoint where to mine. The reason this is a negative is because you cannot target the ore you want, but also because even if you have the minimum skill to mine an ore, the success is still low.

Whaaat?!  I haven't tested mining yet, but this is no bueno.  Part of the joy of being a miner is exploring the map and finding a good run of mountains that has high tier ores.

All gathering is random, no valorite veins, no valowood trees. It is skill based...and tool based. However with how strong say GM valo gear is, I understand why the system is like it is.
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