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GM Shiris

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  1. GM Shiris

    Official Meiadrir Feedback Thread

    So a lot of people have been wondering about the thought process that went into the DEF decay change, and it's been interesting to see several of the explorations, proposals, and descriptions in recent pages mirror some of the various steps we went through in the design process. In light of that, and in the spirit of transparency, I'd like to share a bit more detail on what we started from, where we went, and things that were discarded or tweaked along the way. In addition to providing some context, hopefully it will also give some direction toward feedback and suggestions that align with the core goals. First, some expansion on the problem statement: High DEF as a game mechanic is over-centralizing to the point of hamstringing our ability to implement any reasonable future PvM content. To expand on that, exhibit A: This is the key metric to keep in mind when it comes to game balance of DEF. It's not how much single/burst damage you're taking, it's not what your effective DEF number is. Even expressions of other reduction sources pale in comparison to the expressiveness of this particular graph -- it's the defensive side of the "damage per second" graph. Specifically, how long you survive without needing to pay attention to other damage sources (like heavy burst damage). Steel Body sits at the "knee" of this curve, right before you start to hit a runaway condition. After that, the survivability curve goes asymptotic; that's a problem. It's a problem because as long as it's achievable, you cannot effectively do anything to enhance gameplay and add new and interesting content without making the problem progressively worse: You can't add interesting new monsters or encounters (crafted instances, etc.) -- they'll either be trivial for the super-DEF folks to steamroll, or will be too absolutely terrifying for anything that *doesn't* have a super-DEF build incorporated You can't add new items that do anything with DEF, plus or minus -- "plus" is just too good, and it doesn't solve the problem, only lowers the zeny barrier to clear that absurd difficulty eliminator No amount of expansive new dungeons or cute new monster sprites can account for the fact that the difficulty curve is just a binary choice: either impossibly hard or atrociously trivial Gravity knew this, and saw it coming -- their answer to it was renewal. Not new content, just completely rewriting the way the game works. Curves like this existed with ASPD, with cast time and cooldown, and with DEF, among other things. We opted not to go Gravity's route for renewal. We didn't believe it fit with the vision of the RO server we wanted to build, and a lot of the RO community seemed to share the sentiment, to the point of official servers offering "classic" servers. But that doesn't mean that the upper margins of the original RO game design do not have growth and expansion problems. And we're still stuck with them. So when we're looking ahead to what we want the server to be in the future, we have to ask some very tough questions: do we make a huge break from the classic RO mentality, changing the way the game works so fundamentally that players feel like they can't port over any of their RO knowledge from other servers? Do we add new content, knowing full well that it contributes toward a more and more centralized, highly-optimized endgame? Do we try to make an incremental break rather than a huge one, even if it doesn't fully solve the problem we see? Extreme DEF builds have been possible since the days of episode 10.4 (read: since before TalonRO was called TalonRO, some 10 years ago), but PvM was so easy (and honestly, ignored) that it wasn't quite worth it as anything more than a novelty. And the requirements were so onerous that it wasn't really feasible, either. But that slowly changed, and we've been aware of its benefits and drawbacks. RO itself is a complex system, though -- the point where we pull the trigger on "we need to do something" is going to be unpalatable when it happens, but the fact remains that it needs to happen if we want to continue to evolve. So, what do we do about it? We went through a lot of options, many of which have been suggested in here already. The first thing was detailing what the contributing factors were: A flawed mechanic that has asymptotic benefits A need to add game-freshening features that improve benefits We first looked at the second set of things. It's usually easiest to walk back an item change or two from a technical perspective. But ultimately, there are just too many sources -- "regular" items, zeny/resource creep (overupping), hidden enchants, customized major targets like Kris, Garm, Bris, etc. etc. "Compensation" is also a very dicey can of worms to open, and should be used as sparingly as possible -- because people who have derived advantages from things serious enough to merit change have so many intangible things related to their experience, and trying to compensate that fairly is much harder than making the numbers work out. At the end of the day, there was no combination of gear/benefit adjustments that we could agree to as a staff. And it also simply kicked the problem down the road -- the giant leaps beyond the knee were still there. So we had to look at the first bullet. There were several things that we looked at for said bullet: Redesign the offending system itself -- AKA "renewal for DEF" This is somewhat implicitly rejected by our rejection of renewal itself Plus, touching DEF itself would be a HUGE departure from RO This was pretty much a nonstarter Hard-cap the flawed part of the system This would very explicitly render gears and buildouts entirely useless Much like the item discussion, this doesn't provide much in the way of a vision for growth -- it's already no longer just one esoteric build that hits more-than-steel-body DEF, it's a growing plethora of progressively more palatable build options This left a pretty bad taste in our mouths, so off it went to the wastebin Adjust an aspect of the offending system to make it less offensive Again, there are too many sources for the raw DEF number itself VIT DEF is relatively negligible, thus not worth considering No other reduction gear provides that much of an impact (at the risk of spawning a GTB discussion, strictly physical damage sources here) But DEF does eventually decay...which flattens that asymptotic curve quite nicely And so DEF decay became the mechanic that attracted our attention. Why? It's something familiar that sits in the classic RO dynamic It is a clear foil for the identified issue The effects of adjusting it do not target a specific item or build -- but they do target overall strategies & structure, which is what we wanted Adjustments to it are parameterizable -- we can tweak the numbers based on simulations & feedback It gives us breathing room for introducing things that give rise to new builds & equipment loadouts Those last two features were what sold us on the concept. So, we set about parameterizing it. From here, we set our baselines: Steel Body has been the classical RO choice for an MVP tank and is already quite good (so anything greater than 90 DEF in these situations was undesirable, to answer one of azur's main questions) Pallies and LKs have typically been crowd control, secondary tanks, or "bloodbags" in these situations (to use azur's terminology) The great tankability of well-geared MVP parties in general has led to these being long-forgotten arts, incidentally also somewhat because of inflated DEF/HP/MDEF with our custom gears, but that's a bit of a tangent LKs & Pallies also tend to be mobbers & crowd managers in leveling parties, too; their movement plus Endure reduced the "number of mobs attacking" count pretty significantly, too So we wanted something that emphasized all 3 bullets. Simply making DEF decay start immediately still gave the 99 DEF build a lot of leverage over steel body, especially if you pull the slaves off (something many don't bother with these days, but is still a tactic that exists and something we may at some point be considering designing new monsters/encounters around). So we gave boss types & MVPs a stronger contribution in terms of the "number" of monsters they count as. But this was incredibly punitive, and also just meant that mobbing/crowd control would be even rougher than before. We wanted to add emphasis to that as well, so we damped the curve slightly in order to provide a sweetener to normal-monster mobbing, especially in light of all the other farming nerfs going around. It was not an unintended side effect -- it was a companion change that fit with the general thinking we were doing at the time. What that left us with was a system that works like the following graph (start from count of 1, add +1/2/3 per monster accordingly): With bosses & MVPs shifting the lines more aggressively accordingly. The ultimate impact on most of the survivability curve is negligible, even for the 80 DEF case, because remember: you're well behind the knee of that curve. Most importantly, this also gives us room to grow in terms of new items & monsters, without hitting a huge difficulty spike. It's a smoothing operation that flattens the benefit curve while neither chopping it off nor awkwardly jerking it around. It gives us room to tweak if we find serious problems with it, without repeatedly overhauling the game entirely. While it was designed explicitly to readjust MVP tanking to the Steel Body status-quo at the moment, it gives us the flexibility to adjust that balance in the future if we so desire. While we understand the attachment to heavy investments with very high guaranteed returns, we also cannot afford to fall into the rut of continually quantifying those if we hope to continue evolving this game. And make no mistake -- if the near 10 years of running here are not indication enough, we are committed to continuing to push the game further. There will be some roller coaster rides along the way -- especially if you're riding in the front seat! -- but we are not acting from a point of malice when we make changes. Please take that into account when making suggestions -- we spent a lot of time finding a framework that works here, so arguing to change, ditch, or compensate for that entire framework will be a much harder conversation to have than one that looks to improve the framework by better addressing the concerns that spawned it. We already have some of that here; please try to keep it on that path!
  2. GM Shiris

    One more little something!

    As the Halloween event continues, Stage 3 is now beginning! Head over to the event thread for the details~ As always, if you experience any major issues let us know with a Support Ticket right away. And if you're still having problems crashing, head on over to the Downloads page and grab the latest installers. Enjoy!
  3. It's baaaaaaack! As we enter the third stage of the battle for Verus, a certain mysterious switch has finally become functional! The Halloween Labyrinth has been shuffled around and returns again by popular demand! Grab 3 of your closest friends and snake your way through the many rooms of the Labyrinth in search of a viable exit, accomplishing a variety of challenges along the way! As always, we're rewarding the party of four with the fastest time, so that means that Competition #4 is now in progress: that brings the total number of grand prize winners up to 13! Keep in mind that one person may not win more than one grand prize, so if you feel like you're in the running for any of the previous 3 competitions, keep at it! The event will continue running for another week yet, likely ending sometime around or on US Thanksgiving. We'll update with the exact closing date and time when we get closer to the end. Feel free to post discoveries, boast about your clear times, or whatever else in here. The Labyrinth is quite expansive~ As before, good luck, and enjoy!
  4. We have compiled some new installers for those who have trouble patching. For those downloading the torrents, once you have downloaded the installers, kindly help us by seeding the torrents! All installers can be found on our downloads page. Downloads Page Thanks! After a rather heated confrontation with Flamel and his forces, we now present Stage 2 of the Halloween event, complete with a third Grand Prize competition for you all! Head on over to the thread for some of the details~ As always, if you find any major bugs or issues, let us know with a Support Ticket ASAP.
  5. With Flamel repelled, the remainder of Verus has been reclaimed! You'll notice a few new things have opened up: The Candyman Challenge has opened up! If you're looking for a way to earn Red Tickets outside of Blackjack, be sure to try out this game; you'll also earn a sizable amount of minigame points for success, to boot! You can now explore deeper inside the laboratory! Be warned, though -- the monsters inside will be quite difficult! A mysterious switch is located in the city...but it doesn't appear to do anything. ...Yet? Flamel's forces may have been pushed out from the main area of Verus, but don't expect them to remain gone for long! They will likely periodically continue to invade, stripping you of access to these new features! Of course, we'd like to reward those who help repel Flamel's forces, so that means that Competition #3 is now in progress: the top 3 people who can prove they've helped the most with stopping Flamel's invasions will receive a grand prize, along with the top 3 minigame point collectors and top 3 dungeon farmers. Invasion monsters will drop special tokens that can be redeemed for invasion-stopping credit (and tickets), with regular monsters counting for 1 point and MVPs counting for 50. The MVP tokens can be traded, so feel free to give them to the member of your party you feel deserves them most. Good luck, and there's more to come!
  6. GM Shiris

    Somewhere Over the Me

    Take care of yourself, and whatever you do, don't forget to maintain your average velocity wherever your journey may take you! We'll miss you~
  7. GM Shiris

    Halloween Event Grand Prizes!

    Apologies for the delay, whatwith it being a holiday week in the US and all, but here are the winners of the grand prizes for this year's Halloween event! In Geffen's event, the top 3 winners of Red Tickets are: #1 Mini Miny Me #2 Matheine #3 RoyMustang11 In Izlude's event, the top 3 winners of Green Tickets are: #1 Final Heaven #2 DeadlyLoki #3 Wise~ In Rachel's event, the top 3 winners of Blue Tickets are: #1 Carl #2 Thelonious #3 Eri Abriel And the fastest party through the Halloween Labyrinth this year was "geminggeming", with party members: Khaus Rurin Claiomh Varaporn All 13 winners, please send a mail to GM Shiris ingame from those characters with which prize you'd like (see the event topic if you need a reminder of the prize list). Hope you all enjoyed the event this year, and remember, Christmas is just around the corner!
  8. GM Shiris

    Halloween Event 2012!

    Five hours, but close enough. Exchanging *tokens* from the island will be closed at that time, so make sure to do that. Ticket exchanging and headgear creation are the only things that will remain possible afterward.
  9. GM Shiris

    Halloween Event 2012!

    The prize distributor will remain live for a good chunk of time after the event is over. As long as you do so in the next few days, you'll be fine.
  10. GM Shiris

    Halloween Event 2012!

    The Halloween Labyrinth is now open! Krispen's assault this year was very uncharacteristic of him, save for the first year of his appearance, but thanks to the brave efforts of adventurers, we've reached the final stage. With the Krispen army having been staved off and invasions happening less frequently, the celebrations across the land march on. But it appears that far away, a certain tree somewhere in the capital of the Scwharzwald Republic has loosened a mysterious switch.... And now the moment you've all been waiting for.... Competition #4 Party Labyrinth! After three prior years of providing tantalizing bits of information about the Krispen family history, you thought it wouldn't show up this year? No way! Last in our series of competitions this year, somewhere in the city of Yuno will be a Mysterious Tree that opens a dimensional warp to the Krispen Mansion's basement labyrinth. This activity requires a party of FOUR. No more. No less. Maneuver through this maze and complete the required tasks in each room that you encounter. Of course you will receive a prize at the end for completing it. What prize? Why has this little mini-quest returned again? Are we finally at the end of the Krispen era? Or is there still yet more to come? Well, that's all for you to find out. You should notice a few changes and a complete reshuffling of the returning rooms this year! The party that completes the labyrinth in the fastest time will win a grand prize for each member, as well! Do note that the prizes for this competition are the same as the other competitions. This will take brains, brawn, speed, and whatever else you can think of. If you don't succeed the first time, try again. There's always an easier way, you just have to figure it out! It's also worth noting that, like the carnival minigame competition, the labyrinth is relatively new-player-friendly (just remember what path you took, so you can avoid rooms that require difficult fights), so everyone should give it a try! It's like a bunch of minigames in one; if you've grown tired of the luck and competition in the carnival, try this activity for a taste of more cunning and cooperation! This competition will run until the end of the event, which is currently tentatively scheduled for sometime November 19th, server time.
  11. GM Shiris

    Halloween Event 2012!

    Monster AGI Up drastically increases a monster's Flee, as well~
  12. GM Shiris

    Halloween Event 2012!

    Updated the main post with information about the invasions! Looks like Dr. Krispen had something in mind, after all....but it's not quite the fun and games from the previous years. Also, some slight modifications to the Rachel minigames: -Whack-a-Ghostring --Significantly reduced the rate at which "whammies" (penalty Ghostrings) appear --Significantly increased the penalty for whacking a whammy --Reduced consolation prize requirement to 30 points --Set a requirement of 50 points to get a winning prize -Hide-and-Seek --Reduced consolation prize requirement to 5 Porings
  13. GM Shiris

    Halloween Event 2012!

    It's not; those two are both just flavor NPCs rather than the actual quest trick or treaters. Minor coordinate placement issue~ It'll be fixed soon, but the same NPCs exist in other towns so it's not really a big deal. The actual trick or treaters teleport every minute, anyway, so even if by some unlikely freak accident they end up in an odd location, they'll be somewhere else again in 60 seconds.
  14. GM Shiris

    Halloween Event 2012!

    Whenever you earn a ticket through participating in the events in a town (namely, by exchanging a rare token for a ticket on the island from Izlude, or by winning a carnival game in Rachel, or by getting quiz questions right in Geffen), the amount you earn is recorded for that town. Nothing else. It has nothing to do with what you do with the tickets afterward, or if you obtain tickets in any other way.
  15. GM Shiris

    Final Event: Round 2 Halloween Forum Event CLOSED

    Everyone else got to dress up as something of a different species. I just joined the theme!
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