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Author Group Xp Changes
Pulse
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Posted on Mar 21 2011 01:24
As mentioned in game, we are in the process of finalising some tweaks to the logic of how xp are calculated. The main purpose is to allow a better control over the way that experience points vary for different group sizes, ie how much xp decrease for larger groups.

To this end we are replacing the standard fdiminishing returns xp calculation that is used to date with a tier and - if needed - area specific 'curve-point' approach. The specifics for the curve points that will be used are currently under review, but below an indication of the intent:

Percentage of mob-base xp received by each groupie:

group size . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7 . 8...12...20
current. % 100. 60. 40. 30. 25. 20. 17. 15...10...6
hero ... % 100. 86. 80. 75. 70. 60. 50. 40...10...5
lord/eha % 100. 92. 85. 80. 77. 75. 73. 70...50...30




From these figures it can be seen that the main drive is to significantly reduce the experience point penalty for taking additional groupies along. In combination with the low-hero bonus forming larger parties could in effect increase the xp - even if disregarding the positive effect that additional groupies can bring through activity.

For EHA this change in penalising larger groups will go hand in hand with a reduction of the blanket xp-bonus that is currently in place - this blanket bonus was added to ensure that larger groups earn sufficient xp. This can now be achieved in a different form, and the un-intentional side effect of the previous implmentation (massive xp for soloing) can be removed.

Similar. for Lowmort the introduction of the higher xp gains for groups will be balanced by reducing the blanket xp-multiplier that has been in place since 2007-ish.

In addition to these tier specific group-xp-curves it will be possible to give individual areas their own group-xp-curving, thus responding to the difficulty of the area and a theoretical 'design'-group size. Temporary changes for quests are also possible.

We expect to roll this change out in a phased way to ensure that a good balance is found: following and in parallel to checking of the basic system and values on test-ports, specific areas will be set to use the new xp-curve approach on the live mud.

Please respond or ask here if there are concerns or questions.
Cheers, ps
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Kerdor
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Posted on Mar 21 2011 02:19
TBH, i'd leave lowmort blanket xp-multiplier as is; and let the new scaling XP go in on top of that.

As it is; there aren't too many lowmort groups (save true newbies on occasion, and multiday); so I dont see a reason to lower lowmort solo XP closer to that of pre-2007.

Beyond that, changes look good I think.
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Takayuchi
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Posted on Mar 21 2011 05:20
I agree that the main reason lowmort groups do not form is simply because the population is not there. I believe if you are more than 7? levels apart both people receive zero xp, so, that is another key limiting factor. The last time I grouped lowmorts, for a quest run by Zahri, we got zilch xpwise even though we were a group of 2 killing difficult mobs, precisely for this reason.
Edited by Takayuchi on Mar 21 2011 05:20
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
WinterRose
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Posted on Mar 21 2011 07:58
The xp goes zerowise after 10 or more levels of difference. But this is irrelevant since the main problem is lack of lowmort population. Reducing XP on lowmort areas will indirectly give rise to the lowmort numbers (simply by making it harder to level to hero) but I feel this is an artificial way to promote this.

I wouldn't touch the lowmort XP bonus except to give lowmorts even more XP as proposed (both with changes to lowmort groups and the blanket bonus remaining in place), since the sooner you bring the lowmorts to hero, the sooner they become 'productive' members of the community and actually start having contact with other players.
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Neyne
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Posted on Mar 21 2011 11:19
I always thought the lowmort XP bonus was silly and unneeded. It seems like it's biggest at low levels when it is least needed because nothing can kill you anyways (unless you're a Vbt). I say it's overdue to be scrapped.
Edited by Neyne on Mar 21 2011 11:19
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Llanor
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Posted on Mar 21 2011 17:10
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the way I'm reading this you're promoting larger group sizes?
Going by the table above:
If I can get 9,000 xp with a 5 man hero group currently, in a non-eha area, I'm doing this at a reduced xp rate of 25%. The suggested rate, however, for the new situation at hero level would change this rate from 25% to 70% and I would be receiving 9,000 * 70 / 25 = 25,200 xp per run.

I assume I'm misinterpreting these numbers in some way, because I've been regularly running said 9k runs with 5 man groups and I don't think you want me to get 25k xp each run.
Edited by Llanor on Mar 21 2011 17:47
MooNFisH1985 moonfish@gmail.com
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Riviat
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Posted on Mar 22 2011 13:16
The existing lowmort xp bonus is already a significant factor in the lowmort population being low as it means that potential groupmates quickly level out of the level ranges in which they will get xp when grouped with other lowmorts.
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Valth
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Posted on Mar 22 2011 20:11
I don't think this really addresses the bigger problem at hero tier, which is that the optimal hero groups involve balancing the number of archers you bring so as not to not overkill the mob. As per Llanor's math, the exp/run would be increased to ridiculous levels, and he/she doesn't REALLY have any reason to bring another groupie except to "be nice," since the experience per person still decreases. I'd suggest instead to add in a diversity bonus to group experience, much like leadership currently has. In this way, a group with a warrior/monk/cleric/mage/rogue might be able to compete, experience earing wise, with a group composed of a bzk and 2 arcs.

There still exists the problem of someone abusing this by bringing a party of say, bzk/arc/fus, but anything that gives casters and clerics a better chance at getting groups is a good change imo.

I dunno how this will effect EHA since I'm not sure how the blanket bonus works.
Edited by Valth on Mar 22 2011 20:21
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
laazarus
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Posted on Mar 23 2011 16:21
i like the idea of changing to curve points specific to tier and with options to go specific to area and for quests, it seems it will be more flexible.

as to low morts: i think it's currently too easy to rip through to hero 1, particularly at the early levels. only the 40s are really a challenge, even solo. maybe if low morts could not use spell bots or something, but as it is i think dropping the post-2007 xp bonus for low mort would be ok.

for lord, it's so dangerous that there is already incentive for large groups, i think it would be nice if small (xp run) groups got a bit of a boost. sometimes there aren't many lords online so a small group is all you might get, so any incentive for people to risk that would be good. and/or: mob difficulty within a given lord area could scale based on the number of players in the area. it would be nice to encourage exploring with smaller groups, so as not to have to wait around for large groups which usually just do gear runs.

i agree with an earlier comment that the real problem is hero groups. also, to encourage diversity of class within groups, although i'm not sure how easy/practical that would be to implement. i think the proposed xp chart seems a bit high - where currently a five person hero group would get 50xp each for killing a 200xp mob, in the new system they would get 140xp each?

though looking at the changes from adding more group members i think the intent is there and looks good. however, whereas in the current system with a hero group going from 2 members to 4 would cut per person xp by 50% in the proposed system it would only cut by about 13%. currently going from 4 to 6 cuts by 33% whereas in the proposed system it would cut by 20%. so the scaling seems to be going the opposite way in the new system, with the percent cut for adding members getting higher the more groupies there are, whereas in the current system it gets lower; i'm not sure how that will affect people wanting to add groupies. perhaps if there's a diversity bonus it could off-set that for larger groups.

just some initial thoughts..
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Izanagi
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Posted on Mar 23 2011 20:15
If the intent is to promote grouping - this could be done by fixing the optimum xp gain at a certain group size - for example 4. In a group of 4, all players earn base xp - say 100xp for a whatever level mob. In a group of three or five, players would instead get 75xp, thenwith two or six, they get 50xp, and solo or in a group of seven they get 25xp.

If this is being planned to be tailorable for individual areas, for quests, and global switching around for global HoG type events, then the exact optimum number could change, so that some areas would be best run with 5 members, while some would be best solo.

I'd guess that if something like this option were persued, it would have to be looked at very carefully in regard to solo xp though, as it could easily nerf levelling opportunities for people who log on briefly, grab 10 mins of xp and log off again, or who mud in short bursts from work etc...
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Llanor
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Posted on Mar 24 2011 08:48
Casters will never have a place in groups as long as it remains possible to kill mobs in a single round of combat. When targeting a mob at the right time, the entire group doubles their effective damage output by all hitting the mob before the start of a single damage round. Casters can also target their physical attacks but if the goal is to kill each mob in a single round of combat, they will never be able to contribute to the group's efforts with what they do best. They will either be able to cast only once, and after that miss the chance to target the next mob, or they will simply sit there and not hit anything at all because the mob is dead before they can target their spells.

A caster will always be a fraction less useful than a hitter, because of the fact that most of their damage is dealt in between rounds and brings with it heaps of lag. The only effective fix for this is to let said spell lag end instantly when the group leaves combat.


That said, the original post's xp system would really work well for casters. They could duo, trio or better for seriously nice xp but it would still be nowhere near 25k per run.
MooNFisH1985 moonfish@gmail.com
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Xaos
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Posted on Mar 26 2011 06:49
Regarding lowmort grouping and exp: currently people just rush through lowmort to get to hero and join real groups. I wouldn't even consider it a tier (most think it's a nuisance). This is in part because lowmort is frustrating for many classes (e.g. healer) because they rely on groups which are difficult to find. Also, gear changes so quickly at lowmort that by the time you've collected a set, it's already out dated. I have a suggestion that would increase the number of people forming groups substantially.
Create a chance of "transformation" on leveling at the lowmort tier, in which a race has a small chance (0.05%) to transform into its remort option (e.g. Drw to HiE or Gar to Gol). I think that it's an interesting way to promote lowmort leveling and give people an opportunity to have access to remorts without 1000 monotonous levels at hero (same areas over and over). There are many awesome lowmort areas that are never explored, and it's a shame!
Just a thought...
Edited by Xaos on Mar 26 2011 06:50
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Aptychi
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Posted on Mar 26 2011 16:18
None of the following necessarily reflects any official staff opinion. The following opinions are entirely my own as a player and not a staff member.
=====
I think Llanor has sufficiently analyzed the impact to normal hero groups assuming that base, non-EHA experience remains constant (which is probably an important feature for a number of our players).

TL;DR: Changing lowmort xp bonus will probably only hurt the tier.
Commentary on hero after the lowmort segment.


====Lowmort
The posts centering around lowmort largely agree on the facts: groups found at lowmort are rare and cannot be relied upon. This, of course, drastically increases the difficulty of lowmort (particularly L[40,51)) since that tier is designed with groups in mind after L15 or so. The lack of groups has largely been offset by the near-constant availability of bots providing spellups.

I don't think bots are the problem here: insufficient lowmort density was noticed well before bots were legal; experienced players merely had friends drop spells on their baby characters. In fact, bots democratize this process and thus make the game less frustrating for truly new characters while removing the ubiquitous channel spam asking for spell ups or spell trades.

The hypothesis that removing the lowmort xp bonus will increase grouping is one that I do not believe to be true. For it to be true, the density of lowmorts would need to increase as well as their willingness to group. Anecdata: as I'm typing this note, there are three lowmorts on, all of whom are in grouping range. Two of them are soloing in the same area.

While lowering the xp gained may decrease the outflow rate (graduation to hero) it will also decrease the inflow rate (with lowmort being more difficult, there is a greater "expense" in creating a new character and more frustration applied to truly new characters). Not knowing what the current 'graduation rate' is, I'm speculating without data: it's still a relatively small fraction of the created lowmorts . I'd be surprised if the new hero rate was more than 10% of the new character rate. The current creation/40-50 level data support this argument: 133 new characters and 132 levels gained for characters between L41 and 50. That's a maximum of 13 characters completing the 40s.

Making lowmort longer also goes against the trend of giving players more control over which tiers they play at: changing morph to H300, troika to L100, config -automorph, and descend all allow players more control over their tier.

In the end, it will primarily hurt new players unless experienced players group them, which wasn't happening before the xp bonus.
====end lowmort

As far as the brute v. caster balance goes, hero is clearly weighted in favor of the brutes while lord is weighted in favor of the fire power. Giving casters the same utility to a group as a melee type (at least in terms of pace) would likely require substantial and probably unpopular changes to nearly everything. Even if hero fights were more like lord in terms of duration, the casters wouldn't have the mana pools to last very long without dramatically changing the mana/damage calculation.

As far as healing casters go, the relatively crazy hit points at high hero, the presence of the bots, the sheer number of 2x pots, and the incredible availability of heal brandishes make them a relic of a past era in many ways (aside: yes, I still group clerics, but I'm not a power runner).

The decreased proposed penalties for larger groups would actually allow for some of that re-balancing to occur, but it'd probably take some work on the builder/retro/tester staff to make sure stupidly hard or stupidly easy areas weren't suddenly created out of normal ones. I have no opinion on whether that would be a good thing or a bad thing, or if new areas should/could be designed to encourage mixed grouping.

Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Zen
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Posted on Mar 26 2011 17:37
Ok, I guess I will chime in with my quick thoughts.

Hero:
Regarding Llanor's comments about the proposed changes not really encouraging a change in group makeup at hero... I disagree somewhat. Sure, in the situation where there are always enough arc-types around you will probably still only take them if you are optimizing for exp. However, there is quite a variety of combinations of casters and other hitters that can make up for an archer in hero hitting so in the situation that you aren't making the archer count you desire, the proposed exp curve is far more friendly to taking a combination of other classes to make up for that compared to the way exp currently works.

Lowmort:
My opinion about lowmort is that the lack of grouping has more to do with the penalties associated with level differential (which only get worse over time given the way the exp split seems to favor more exp to the higher level), with a general lack of lowmort population, and with the fact that lowmort is not set up as a tier in the way hero and lord are (sublevel based). Frankly I agree with Xaos that it is more of a nuisance than anything, although I think his remort race proposal would just encourage extremely annoying and abusive behavior. So I guess in the end I think that removing the bonus exp from lowmort will probably hurt more than help.

EHA:
The proposed changes here look good, it will just take a tweaking of the baseline exp to keep eha running desirable but not too out of control when compared to normal running. However, as someone who doesn't do any of the eha soloing, I would like to address Pulse's comment removing the side effect of "massive exp for soloing" eha. The exp those guys get isn't really all that massive compared to normal running and tends to require a whole lot more setup, it just tends to get a lot of attention because of the nature of getting a huge amount of exp at once (and thus multiple levels), even though downtime is longer between mobs. I would like to get rid of the combination of lowmort bonus+eha solo though, since that seems like a somewhat abusive way to take a level 50 and turn it instantly into hero 7ish.

Lord:
Similar to EHA, will just take some tweaking of baselines possibly. I don't think it sufficiently addresses the problems that smaller lord groups have though, which mostly has to do with shift mechanics (the single biggest barrier to small group running at lord is surviving a shift).

-Zen
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Casual
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Posted on Mar 26 2011 18:41
Well, first off, I would assume that any changes will take into account the radical change in exp gain so we don't have to worry about 25k xp runs. That would be a tad silly, so let's proceed under the assumption that total xp gain will either remain similar or be slight to mildly increased for my usual group of, say, four.

What the proposed changes would mean to me as a 'power runner' is this: I could group a caster of some sort to keep my hitters sanced/frenzied and cast ports, toss the occasional heal and so on. I already group as many hitters as I need to one-round mobs (one more is unnecessary) and the reasons for not grouping a caster are:

- they cannot cast a for a full run
- they do not always get their cast in before the first round
- and if they do get their cast in, likely won't be able to attack/cast for the next mob

Given all that, the hero caster as the game is designed now is not really a hitter in any sense of the word. They cannot substitute for an arc or brute hitter (at the risk of stating the obvious here), so they will always be a fifth wheel and drain experience from an efficient run. Now if they only reduce experience by 5%, on the other hand, they would be a worthwhile addition to a group in terms of utility and general convenience. That's the bottom line for me.

Anyway, that's just my take on what these changes will mean to me personally. Heck, I won't even group an extra arc/warrior if I can avoid it atm because of the drastic impact a 5th group member has on xp.
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Llanor
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Posted on Apr 01 2011 10:07
Based on the above table, some ratios that will make the information more insightful:
group size ... 1 .. 2 ....3 .. 4 ... 5 .. 6 .. 7 .... 8 .. 12 .. 20
old/new ratio. 1 . 1.43 . 2 . 2.5 . 2.8 . 3 . 2.94 . 2.67 . 1 . 0.83



These are the proportions in which the suggested changes boost xp gains for certain group sizes. Most stimulation is towards 6 man groups and nothing is done for soloing. In my experience, current gains for these group sizes are along the lines of:
xp estimates . 6k . 7k .. 8k . 8k .. 9k . 7k . 6k ... ???



These numbers are estimates based on vague recollections. These will be affected by the changes as follows:
new xp estim . 6k .10k . 16k .20k . 25k .21k .18k ... ???




The scale on which the xp grows as the group size grows is a lot more intense in the new situation than it is in the old. Larger groups will be more popular than smaller ones, for sure. This increases the work a tank has to perform (more groupies means faster mob deaths, and therefore more coordination). Tanking will become an even more difficult and intense task, while hitting will be even more laid-back than it used to be. After all, hitters won't get hurt as much if mobs die faster.

This entire post is based entirely on the way groups are formed right now, and the areas used right now, as an attempt to analyze the side effects of improving groupability.
I would suggest altering the above xp gain estimates to what you perceive as more accurate and base your conclusions on that, instead of on the conclusions I'm drawing. This may or may not make you reconsider the OP's proposal.
MooNFisH1985 moonfish@gmail.com
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Pulse
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Posted on Apr 02 2011 21:02
Thanks for the feedback. I agree that the numbers given are probably a bit high for a medium sized hero group - tweakable.

In addition though, I am now looking into a group diversity aspect to merge into the group size modification. My current implementation version considers rating each class on the four base-types (melee, sneaky, caster, healer). That would get around the issue of 'false' diversity of a pure melee group composed of fus,arc, bzk, bod, war.
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Llanor
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Posted on Apr 03 2011 12:30
Sounds great. A minor suggestion in regards to stimulating diversity: Leave the leader out of the comparision. That way:
* All tanks will be equal, putting aside certain in-class skills. This stops people from telling casters/healers to tank if they want a group.
* Warrior types that tank will be different from warrior types that hit.
* Monk/shf tanks can bring warrior types with them and still add to their versatility.
* The versatility bonus starts at groups of size 3.

Also, if you could carefully consider the option of (slightly) penalizing groups with many of the same types in it? Along with an overall xp boost for larger groups, this shouldn't put anyone at a disadvantage. There are downsides to this idea but I can't come to a conclusion on the balance of the pros and cons. Maybe you can.

Thanks for the time you're all putting into this, hopefully the outcome will be as good as the intention.
MooNFisH1985 moonfish@gmail.com
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
laazarus
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Posted on Apr 03 2011 18:28
which of those four types is a mon? or a shf? (melee, sneaky, caster, healer). maybe melee & sneaky respectively? or if it goes by prime stat, maybe both are sneaky.. but then asn would be a caster, so i doubt it works that way


Edited by laazarus on Apr 03 2011 18:28
Author RE: Group Xp Changes
Kerdor
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Posted on Apr 03 2011 18:50
If it does physical damage via normal attacks -> Melee
If it Stabs/VS's and/or skills as primary physical damage -> Sneaky
Caster and healer are self-explantory.

IMO of course.
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