The New System is Here!

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The New System is Here!

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:57 pm

Welcome to the first day of Wanderlust beta, or Early Access as it's now called in the industry. On April 1st, we announced that we were creating a new system heavily inspired by Pony Tales and Living Legends - with the benefits of what we'd learned from working on LL for nearly two years. The new system would be extraordinarily balanced, more accessible, full of things we've never done before and be a lot less work for GMs.

At first we'd just planned to patch Living Legends, but we realized that we wanted to change so many things that it would give us more freedom to consider it an entirely separate project. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you your first look at the Wanderlust Adventurer's Guide. I just finished the current draft today, so there's bound to be a lot of room for improvement. We're looking to hearing your feedback, suggestions and more as we work to make the best system we can.

To make that easier, we're going to release the Combat Balance - Power Guidelines right away. If you're worried about combat balance, which is where the numbers matter most, here's your guide. If something seems significantly over or under these target numbers, let us know.


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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Xel Unknown on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:52 pm

That's cute... WHAT ABOUT A MONSTER BUILDING GUIDE? Without that your new maths is next to useless in my eyes.
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:55 pm

Calm down. The Adventuring Guide comes first. There will be a GM's Guide and support for building encounters as well. Heavy work on both those aspects is already being done.

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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Xel Unknown on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:57 pm

All I'm asking is just where it be... >.>

And how done is it? Going to take a day, a week, a month, or a year, before they're out? Just give me a ballpark here...
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Copper Rose on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:01 am

It's travelling to you at 2 furlongs per fortnight.  :maud: 
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:01 am

I thought you weren't planning on playing the new system. However, I can't determine how much time my work will take up. Since we do this work in our free time, and I've been lucky enough to get a lot of people wanting my to design games professionally, I can't predict when I'll have the rest done by. I hope it'll be soon.

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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Crystalite on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:29 am

Out of a Hat (1) – 5/Extended Rest
You may pull a rabbit out of any small object.

...This seems a bit random.

Granted, paired with Animal Speak it's nifty. But why limit it to rabbits? Why not make a talent that lets you choose a class of objects, al la the "Found It!" in Abilities?
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:37 am

Two reasons.

1) We wanted to make an ability that lets you pull a rabbit out of a hat. It's just supposed to be funny and something in flavor for magicians.

2) Versions that let you pull out small objects were way too complex and rules-difficult to work out in a balanced fashion. Especially when we just wanted to let you pull a rabbit out of a hat.

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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Crystalite on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:44 am

That's understandable. But that's why house rules are nice.

Because maybe what I really wanted was bees.
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:51 am

Absolutely. That's why we put the section on houseruling front and center. I houserule stuff in my games all the time.

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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Xel Unknown on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:53 am

Just one game that I knew wanted to shift over to the system I'm strongly advising against it, because of the fact that nobody will be able to make their characters feel like they once was... But that doesn't mean I don't wish to ever play and try out this system. I did say it looked neat. Do know of one or two games that are new enough that a changeover wouldn't be that big a loss for them.
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:57 am

While you should be able to represent almost any reasonable fantasy character concept in Wanderlust, it's still a new system with new content and one designed with more focused goals in mind (one of them being a significant attention to balance). While many old abilities and powers have equivalents in the new system, we couldn't replicate all of them without having many of the same problems we wanted to fix. That's why we didn't just replace the old system with an update, but rather added this as a new option - so existing campaigns wouldn't suffer at all.

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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  ZamuelNow on Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:47 am

Rough draft attempt of a Google Docs version of a character sheet for Wanderlust: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EEu_pNlj5YC19Rpin118Uq9xfi3sBBGAz9mDzZrY8yM

Sort of a half step between the Word doc version in the player's guide and the one currently being used for LL.  Suggestions and critiques encouraged.
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  A1C Bronymous on Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:20 am

Xel Unknown wrote:Just one game that I knew wanted to shift over to the system I'm strongly advising against it, because of the fact that nobody will be able to make their characters feel like they once was... But that doesn't mean I don't wish to ever play and try out this system. I did say it looked neat. Do know of one or two games that are new enough that a changeover wouldn't be that big a loss for them.

StairC wrote:That's why we didn't just replace the old system with an update, but rather added this as a new option - so existing campaigns wouldn't suffer at all.

But most existing campaigns rely on the old stuff still being relevant. I fully expected to switch to the new system when it came out- not something I was willing to do with any update- but after checking it over had to reconsider. Anything run in the old system just does not translate well to the new gameplay. Too much is different.

StairC wrote:While you should be able to represent almost any reasonable fantasy character concept in Wanderlust,

This probably relies on your definition of reasonable, but I've already had a character be unable to be adequately represented, so it isn't too much a stretch to believe other characters can't make the jump as well.
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:12 am

If new character's can't make the change initially, then simply going to the GM and start house-ruling.
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  A1C Bronymous on Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:10 pm

Also, going back to two points:

1) Houseruling- Houseruling is something only DMs who are comfortable with the game and mechanics should really try (or really just don't care), because its very hard to make something up that is balanced and effective the way you want it to be without intimate knowledge. Right now, no DM has that intimate knowledge to make those adjustments, and with the sheer volume of changes that would have to be made, a lot of games are going to crash when so many houseruled changes are attempted to be shoehorned in. Some of the more experienced DMs (ones with a lot of practice in several systems), might go for it, but those of us with only a single game or so would probably prefer to just keep things as is.

2) It may have not been designed for PbP, or for Ponies, but like it or not the majority of your "Beta testers" are going to be running Pony PbPs on this forum. It's more convenient for everyone then skype or real life, and more games can be played that way in less (perspective) time than in real time. As of now you have a system that does not lend itself to a Pony setting- at least, not one we're accustomed to. I agree the power curve needed to change, but now you have so much locked out from level one that so many people aren't going to get to see because of the nature of the games, and Pony or otherwise you're looking a at a flood of very VERY similar characters, all going to maybe level 2-3. And "The DM defines the level progression" isn't a palpable argument. My game has been playing for coming up on 2 years. They just got level 4 a month ago, and it is by no means because I'm spacing the level requirements too much. In game it's been less than 2 days. They've only had three real challenges, and have only finished two very minor side quests, and I've had to just give them levels because so much time has passed. Bottom line, most testing will be done on PbP, and most PbP characters will not be able to test most of the stuff.

I do like the ability tiers. I don't like the much narrower web of capabilities. You're going to see a lot of similar characters, and a lot of reused characters, as the options for unique builds are much smaller, and you aren't going to get a lot of useable feedback beyond your own Skype games.
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:21 pm

You know, I have to admit, Brony has a point. Currently, the amount of options at level 1 is extremely limited, especially the combat mechanics and builds. (No tank Abilities. Only 1 single feature), while I do understand and appreciate the idea for tiers, currently the tiers at level one, are simply much, much too restrictive. Because of this, I honestly think that you shouldn't of released it just yet. Instead, you should of worked on it more, getting out more content as a whole, because the options are quite frankly limited. Especially when it comes to Traits and Destinies... seriously. What is UP with all those X/Battle or X/Short Rest traits?

Additionally, if you are going to put such a emphasize on house-ruling to modifying the game. You should of waited until the GM's manual was ready, with a lot of advice and suggestions as to how to house rule using the system, and not breaking the power balance wide open forever more, perhaps with several, pre-fabricated scenario's and settings for the GM, which would open up very nicely, to a pony setting. Something that the forum will very much appreciate, I am sure.
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  ZamuelNow on Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:21 pm

Bronymous wrote:
StairC wrote:While you should be able to represent almost any reasonable fantasy character concept in Wanderlust,

This probably relies on your definition of reasonable

I think this might be the correct answer for the wrong question. I think that is less an argument of 'reasonable' and more one of 'fantasy'. Wanderlust feels like it's an excellent alternate to DnD or a more Lord of the Rings type fantasy. Far better pick and play factor and just overall cleaner system for when you just want of jump right in talking to dragons and punching elves. But for a more videogame, anime, or western cartoon style fantasy setting, it feels too limiting. Setting is really going to affect what the baseline is going to be for a fantasy world. Arguably, Wanderlust's non combat half would have great strength in settings with low amounts of magic and/or characters who are explicitly human but not superhuman.

I do say the new skills are far better but the old skills were constantly noted as being flawed.
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Zarhon on Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:26 pm

I think the best way to put into spotlight any of the potential issues of level 1 restrictions would be to actually make level 1 character archetypes / roles and see how well they perform, combat-wise and non-combat wise, with the newly-limited amount of stuff one gets from level 1.

For combat, we have the typical combat roles of:
- Tank / bruiser
- Healer / support
- Nuker / glass cannon
- Summoner
- Bleeder / Debuffer
- Gimmick / Combo / 'Special' damage dealer.

All of the above need to function well enough to win lvl 1 battles, and allow for growth later, when levels grant you the stuff needed to 'optimize' your combat strategy. Not to mention fit the roleplay/flavor of the characters.

For non-combat, most of the games seem to involve the following kinds of characters:
- A 'designated flyer' and/or Weather-crafter (limited to Pony Tales).
- A magic user / scholar / designated 'Spock'.
- A mechanic / machinist / tinker.
- A doctor or similar 'supportive pacifist'.
- A diplomancer / 'face' of the party.
- A dextrous and/or perceptive thief/scout/acrobat/sharpshooter.
- A strongman / intimidator.
- A loon / jester / crazy guy.

How many of these roles are viable or fun to roleplay with the options you get at level 1? How unique are they amongst each other? Can they achieve their roles reliably, or stand out in their role?
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:25 am

Zarhon wrote:I think the best way to put into spotlight any of the potential issues of level 1 restrictions would be to actually make level 1 character archetypes / roles and see how well they perform, combat-wise and non-combat wise, with the newly-limited amount of stuff one gets from level 1.

We did this from day 1, making a list of all the major high fantasy archetypes and focusing on designing content for them. That's where all our design work started. Let's see how we did.

- Tank / bruiser

Totally. There are two defensive features designed for different versions of these guys, I think one's even called Tank. There are also multiple defensive basic powers and a special move that's very useful for defenders.

- Healer / support

We've got a healing feature, a healing special move and lots of healing basic powers. Healing numbers are also bigger than equivilient numbers in dealing damage, so you get to roll bigger crit dice for equivalent costs - which is a nice way to let healers have cool style points. As for support, some of the things the warlord-style support characters do are WAY too cool for school. We've also got nifty ways to support allies in less traditional ways, such as certain Illusion abilities.

- Nuker / glass cannon

The Nova feature is ideal for nukers and AOE effects. You can also take multiple basic combat powers that hurt yourself for added gain - making you more fragile.

- Summoner
A feature that lets you start the battle with a companion, which can act as a permanent summon, as well as multiple ways to summon diverse conjurations with basic combat powers and a conjuration-focused feature. No conjuration special move, but that would be an unnecessarily complex special move. You can still take other special moves and work for the build just fine. Summoners should also be easier to play now because complexity in tracking conjurations is reduced and much harder to lose your investment in your conjurations early (because they can't get attacked).

- Bleeder / Debuffer
Multiple features, special move stuff and tons of basic powers that fit this description. I wish we could work in more debuffs, but design space is limited without wrecking balance - because many debuffs work differently depending on the monster they're affecting. Weakness does a lot of work though, and ongoing damage and lifedrain-style effects exist in more than enough quantities to fulfill your needs for the bleeder.

- Gimmick / Combo / 'Special' damage dealer.
Illusionist, Chaos Mage and Monk all play in very different ways from most builds. Also, you can even make an argument that Berserker and Spellblade do things in cool, unusual ways.

All of the above need to function well enough to win lvl 1 battles, and allow for growth later, when levels grant you the stuff needed to 'optimize' your combat strategy. Not to mention fit the roleplay/flavor of the characters.

It'd be a TON of analysis to go through all the level up options - but if we did it at level 1 it should definitely have support throughout the combat level-up system too. We were careful about that. Combat is very precisely balanced too, so unless you're doing obviously-silly things, like taking a Conjurer feature when you have no Conjuration powers, all these builds should be within at most 10% of the power of one another. Frankly, I'd expect far less variance than that overall. We were very careful to make sure that all build concepts were legitimately powerful and no optimized builds can make the others look weak by comparison.


- A 'designated flyer' and/or Weather-crafter (limited to Pony Tales).
Weathercrafting still exists and flying still exists. Flying no longer requires sinking in as many abilities to upgrade it, you just use normal stuff to move but you do it through the air with no penalties. Natural athleticism translates to flying now, which makes sense. And a clumsy guy that can fly is still clumsy in flight. If you really feel like you should be great at one type of movement and terrible at the other, that's a great thing to talk to you GM about. Weather-Crafter was always weird, but you can still Weather-Craft last I checked (maybe the ability was removed without my knowledge and I missed the update) and there are multiple abilities that you could flavor as being due to your weathercrafting prowess.

- A magic user / scholar / designated 'Spock'.

The magic ability section, even without illusion stuff, was the biggest section of all last I checked. Also, the general knowledge skill allows a lot of great miscellaneous trivia at a player's fingertips.

- A mechanic / machinist / tinker.

This isn't something we're actively trying to support, but you can reflavor almost any ability as being usable because you made a device for it.

- A doctor or similar 'supportive pacifist'.
Due to the afflicitons system, healing is more relevant than ever. There are also a significant number of healing and support abilities.

- A diplomancer / 'face' of the party.
Totally exists, but it's all roleplaying now. We took the "ignore roleplay, win with dice" tactic out of the system. There is an optional skill expansion to put diplomacy-style skills back in, but I think it hurts the roleplaying experience overall for a great, great many reasons I've gone into before. As a GM, I'd rather the system encourage talking by actually encouraging talking - not by encouraging skill checks that can bypass the roleplaying or take away weight from the words... Or single one character out as the face of the party, which discourages other characters from joining in on discussions if they want to stay optimal. I've gone into tons of reasons for this and I can repost if need be - but the point is this. The option still totally exists, but it's done in roleplaying - not on the character sheet.

- A dextrous and/or perceptive thief/scout/acrobat/sharpshooter.
We worked really hard to support these archetypes whenever possible. There are a notable number of abilities that support the concepts directly, in addition to general abilities that can help these concepts as well as other concepts. Sinking in lots of points into Skilled also lets you jack up your skill monkey points like crazy.

- A strongman / intimidator.
Like diplomacy, intimidation is a thing for roleplaying. However, we worked in every brawny ability we could think of. It's hard to support this archetype outside of combat, but we worked really hard to do so. If you can think of ideas we missed, let us know. We'd love to add them in. A lot of the defensive abilities also work for a big tough guy.

- A loon / jester / crazy guy.
This sounds mostly like roleplaying too. Lots of random combat stuff exists, but we aren't focusing on random ability stuff. There's lots of options for illusions and similar effects to add to a jester's performance - but it seems 'crazy' is fine to represent in roleplay rather than on a character sheet. We also don't want to actively encourage insane roleplay concepts - because they often annoy at least some of the other people at the table.

How many of these roles are viable or fun to roleplay with the options you get at level 1? How unique are they amongst each other? Can they achieve their roles reliably, or stand out in their role?

That's a lot of questions all at once. All of them should be completely viable at level 1 and have options as they level up - except for stuff meant to be done in roleplaying of course (which obviously will always have options if you play it that way). Strongman stuff has less direct support than other concepts, because of its inherently combat and skill focused nature, but you should still be able to fill your character sheet out with useful stuff that doesn't go against your concept. If a strongman runs out of relevant abilities and decides to take Nightwatch or a bonus to defense checks, that's fine. If the strongman is forced to take illusion abilities or something very off-concept, that's a problem. We should have enough concept-neutral abilities that you can fill in gaps and still gain in power, without having to stray off-concept. Still, I'd love to fill these gaps with more on-concept options whenever possible.

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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:53 am

Fury of the Tempest wrote:[color=#0033ff]You know, I have to admit, Brony has a point. Currently, the amount of options at level 1 is extremely limited, especially the combat mechanics and builds. (No tank Abilities. Only 1 single feature)

Ability options at level 1 are going to feel limited when compared to the old system, because of the ridiculous weight level 1 had (stemming from being a one-shot system originally with no leveling up at all). If we want to provide more exciting level-ups, and less complexity for new players, spreading things out more is great.

I recommend comparing what you can do outside of combat at level 1 in Wanderlust to other systems. Many have no or very few things you can do outside of your skills - unless you're a magic-style option. We're still providing 10 points worth of stuff.

As for tank, I'm confused. We seem to have an adequate amount of tank support. Two defensive features at level 1, a special move that's great for defense and multiple useful combat powers. There's even a whole destiny built around tanking later on, plus an entire mechanic called "Challenge". I don't see a lack of tank support. For abilities themselves, you can only do so much with the design space - but there are ways to improve your defenses and do better on those kind of checks.


While I do understand and appreciate the idea for tiers, currently the tiers at level one, are simply much, much too restrictive.

What specifically do you feel is missing at level 1? I'd be happy to try and add it, unless there's some other reason not to. For example, we haven't worked in shapeshifting concepts into abilities yet as much as I want to - we mean to add those in with an update. They're tricky enough that we want more time to work on them and for them to get more testing focus when they come out.

Because of this, I honestly think that you shouldn't of released it just yet. Instead, you should of worked on it more, getting out more content as a whole

Wanderlust has *tons* more content than Ponytales did when I put it up. Ponytales didn't even have anything past level 1, for example. Also, putting it up now is a great way to find out what people feel is missing, rather than try to keep guessing at it ourselves. We filled all the gaps we felt were feasible and necessary so far.

We also don't want there to be a huge glut of content in the system, we want to keep it to things that are well-designed as possible and things that don't create problems for GMs. We don't want the amount of options to be overwhelming at level 1. We want it to be rather simple, with options within a concept but not an extraordinary amount. If you want more options, you can always start a game above level 1. It's much easier to add complexity for veterans by saying, "Start above level 1" than to reduce complexity for beginners if even level 1 feels a bit overwhelming.

What is UP with all those X/Battle or X/Short Rest traits?
You'll have to live with them. They're both good to balance and are much better for gameplay than powers you can use an unlimited number of times - because optimization demands using those things as much as possible. Even X/Round things change heavily based on how long the fight is. Also, by reducing the number of uses we don't have powers cannibalize eachother as much - with you never being able to do all the things you want - and we get to make the cool factor on each power really high because the numbers can be much bigger and fancier. It can really feel like an awesome power, far above and beyond your basic ones. I know a lot of people don't like their consumable nature, but the design space for them is ginormous, the balance is precise and the actual gameplay over other options within that same design space comes with a ton of advantages. X/Battle is often going to be a thing. It's great on a lot of subtle levels. I could write a whole article about all the reasons why.


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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:19 am

Combat is my main problem, so I'm just going to focus on that for now. Once the discussion about that is done, I could go back and retalk about the other problems.

Though I will say one thing.

to find out what people feel is missing, rather than try to keep guessing at it ourselves

How about.... EVERYTHING

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:
- Tank / bruiser

Totally. There are two defensive features designed for different versions of these guys, I think one's even called Tank. There are also multiple defensive basic powers and a special move that's very useful for defenders.

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:As for tank, I'm confused. We seem to have an adequate amount of tank support. Two defensive features at level 1, a special move that's great for defense and multiple useful combat powers. There's even a whole destiny built around tanking later on, plus an entire mechanic called "Challenge". I don't see a lack of tank support. For abilities themselves, you can only do so much with the design space - but there are ways to improve your defenses and do better on those kind of checks.

... No.

Let me tell you, exactly. Why, the Tank's, are impossible to play. I am going to list, the combat powers, that allow you to play as a tank. Specifically, taking damage that your allies would of been taking:
The Tank Feature, which is limited to one ally, once per round.

... And that's it.

I cannot be a tank. Yes. I can be tough. Yes, I can be hard to kill. Yes, via the 'Challenge' mechanic, I can punish enemies for not attacking my. However. It. Is. IMPOSSIBLE. TO. PLAY. AS. A. TANK..

You have the Vengeance reaction. So, WHY don't you have the PROTECTION reaction?! Honestly. THAT reaction, THAT ability. Is basically ALL you need to make a tank possible to play. So why didn't you have it? Why did you overlook such an ESSENTIAL ability?

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:
- Summoner
A feature that lets you start the battle with a companion, which can act as a permanent summon, as well as multiple ways to summon diverse conjurations with basic combat powers and a conjuration-focused feature. No conjuration special move, but that would be an unnecessarily complex special move. You can still take other special moves and work for the build just fine. Summoners should also be easier to play now because complexity in tracking conjurations is reduced and much harder to lose your investment in your conjurations early (because they can't get attacked).

The bolded part is the important part here. Because the entire fact, that conjurations COULD get destroyed. That they DID have HP and PiPs. Was part of their charm, part of their power, that came with a risk! Okay, yet there was a complexity because of it. But the Conjurations added a strong element of depth to the battlefield (especially if the enemy conjured as well), without adding to much in terms of complexity. They were very elegant in design... and turning them into... THIS... it just.... ruins them. Completely and utterly.
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Zarhon on Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:31 am

@ Dan

Those all fit very well in theory, Dan, but putting the things together and actually trying to use them in battle is another. It really needs some specific examples that the combat roles work from lvl1 - that there aren't any inherent flaws in their role that actively make them clunky or pointless until rectified by traits, such as 'you-can-do-it-once-a-battle-and-that's-it' (due to the "x/battle/short rest" stuff). Same goes for the non-combat abilities - can you perform your role consistently at level 1, or just 'once', and then you're on equal terms with the rest of the party until your next extended rest?

It's important to note that there aren't any monster OR NPC level-progression examples either. NPCs that require opposing checks require stats for them, and it's not exactly simple to gauge 'how good' a NPC character is at any given task or defense, especially when it gets complicated by level progression (hence why most DMs just apply a flat DC to the player).

Is a common Ponyville citizen (e.g. Bon Bon) on equal terms as a lvl 1 character, or gets growth as the characters do? Does a door of a house in Ponyville, at level 1, have the same difficulty to unlock as that in another town, a few levels later? If NPCs are as limited as players are at lvl 1, then can they truly be considered as a challenge? Alternately, if they are outright better than the PCs, is there a justification for it?




@ Conjurations:

The old conjurations were either too risky, or a super-benefit by mere existence in a fight, depending on what encounters the DM posed against you.

For 1/battle conjurations, such as the conjurers pet, they were too risky. One strong AOE attack (a given if the DM wants to monsters to pose a challenge vs summoners), or a direct attack, and you lose it for good, along with any traits you invested into it (losing traits is a HUGE deal). It simply wasn't motivating to risk investing in a pet or weapon-summoned-conjuration, when you can get stronger/better traits with no risk, or 'disposable' conjurations for a pip cost.

For most other conjurations, they were a problem for the DM. The DM can only get rid of them by KOing the summoner and hoping the conjurations fail their 'vanish' roll before he gets revived (if a decent healer is present, unlikely), by attacking the conjuration directly (which means it's not attacking the players, a direct advantage that sometimes doesn't make sense with the RP/context of the fight), or by AOE-blasting it away (which may be unfair for the players, depending on its other abilities). Several conjurations even RELIED on being killed off, or were too big a threat to ignore (fire giant), creating a lose-lose situation the moment they're summoned.

There was also the pip problem - most of the conjurations had an ability that could only be used at second/third/fourth turn. Combat is generally short, so that sometimes doesn't happen, or the conjuration gets killed off. It's also pretty annoying to keep track of, and gives an annoying risk of wasting pips for a conjuration that doesn't get time to do its job.

The HP posed a risk, yes, but a bad/scrappy kind - the kind that discouraged specific builds (conjurer's pet), gave players a risk of losing their 'combat tempo' (wasted pips or conjuration potential), forced DMs into designing combat tactics to counter the conjurations, to keep combat a challenge (which could be bad/unfair for the players), or ignore them entirely (giving them a 'free benefit', limiting the conjurations that require things killing them, and likely putting a lot of pressure on the summoner him/herself), and made tracking of stats annoying, at best.

The new charges system means that DMs don't have to build monsters specifically to counter conjurations (AOEs and such), or have every battle turned in the PCs favor by their mere presence (forcing them to be killed off / ignored), that players have no risk in investing in said conjurations (they can't 'lose' them unwillingly or due to bad luck) via traits, that the conjuration doesn't last forever/can't be spammed (it's something like an extended weapon with charges), and that you don't risk wasting their pip cost, since they don't vanish if the player is KO'd, BUT you can't control them either during that time*.

The bit that they can't be targeted or affected by ANYTHING, though, seems like a balance issue - if a enemy monster uses conjurations, it basically gets a direct, impossible-to-counter advantage for its owner, and the same principle applies to the players. If a summoner's conjurations are un-counterable, yet 'too powerful' to 'ignore'...



*...Hang on, actually, I don't find it specified - how do conjurations act after their summoner is KO'd? Do they just stand idle, or have to roll to avoid vanishing, or simply vanish without a roll?

Additionally, I notice there's a lack of conjured weapons. What happened with those?
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:01 am

Conjured Weapons seem to have been rolled into the new shapeshifting/Aspect abilities. Though I don't think its 100% the same.
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Re: The New System is Here!

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:09 am

Fury of the Tempest wrote:
How about.... EVERYTHING

Doesn't sound constructive, but if you come up with a lot of great ideas - awesome. Let's hear them.

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Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:
- Tank / bruiser
I cannot be a tank. Yes. I can be tough. Yes, I can be hard to kill. Yes, via the 'Challenge' mechanic, I can punish enemies for not attacking my. However. It. Is. IMPOSSIBLE. TO. PLAY. AS. A. TANK..

Uh, I don't get it. A guy that's hard to kill and can punish enemies for not attacking you is kind of the definition of a Tank.


You have the Vengeance reaction. So, WHY don't you have the PROTECTION reaction?! Honestly. THAT reaction, THAT ability. Is basically ALL you need to make a tank possible to play. So why didn't you have it? Why did you overlook such an ESSENTIAL ability?

What do you mean by "protection"? Is it a combat talent for the old system (just did a ctrl+f for it and I can't find it)? If you mean a way to reduce damage, we do have that in Wanderlust as a reaction. It's called Shield.


The bolded part is the important part here. Because the entire fact, that conjurations COULD get destroyed. That they DID have HP and PiPs. Was part of their charm, part of their power, that came with a risk!

It was also part of their balance problems, part of their gameplay problems (by slowing down the game significantly due to tracking these variables and forcing you to use them early as possible for optimal value) and part of their GM problems by drastically altering the power of the GM's potential responses. I was sad to lose this way they felt like individual players, but it just wasn't feasible. I think if you looked at this design choice objectively, without the lens of comparing it to something you liked from the old system, you wouldn't feel as bad. The gameplay on them also runs really smoothly.

Actually, I'll let Zarhon answer this one.

The old conjurations were either too risky, or a super-benefit by mere existence in a fight, depending on what encounters the DM posed against you.

For 1/battle conjurations, such as the conjurers pet, they were too risky. One strong AOE attack (a given if the DM wants to monsters to pose a challenge vs summoners), or a direct attack, and you lose it for good, along with any traits you invested into it (losing traits is a HUGE deal). It simply wasn't motivating to risk investing in a pet or weapon-summoned-conjuration, when you can get stronger/better traits with no risk, or 'disposable' conjurations for a pip cost.

For most other conjurations, they were a problem for the DM. The DM can only get rid of them by KOing the summoner and hoping the conjurations fail their 'vanish' roll before he gets revived (if a decent healer is present, unlikely), by attacking the conjuration directly (which means it's not attacking the players, a direct advantage that sometimes doesn't make sense with the RP/context of the fight), or by AOE-blasting it away (which may be unfair for the players, depending on its other abilities). Several conjurations even RELIED on being killed off, or were too big a threat to ignore (fire giant), creating a lose-lose situation the moment they're summoned.

There was also the pip problem - most of the conjurations had an ability that could only be used at second/third/fourth turn. Combat is generally short, so that sometimes doesn't happen, or the conjuration gets killed off. It's also pretty annoying to keep track of, and gives an annoying risk of wasting pips for a conjuration that doesn't get time to do its job.

The HP posed a risk, yes, but a bad/scrappy kind - the kind that discouraged specific builds (conjurer's pet), gave players a risk of losing their 'combat tempo' (wasted pips or conjuration potential), forced DMs into designing combat tactics to counter the conjurations, to keep combat a challenge (which could be bad/unfair for the players), or ignore them entirely (giving them a 'free benefit', limiting the conjurations that require things killing them, and likely putting a lot of pressure on the summoner him/herself), and made tracking of stats annoying, at best.

The new charges system means that DMs don't have to build monsters specifically to counter conjurations (AOEs and such), or have every battle turned in the PCs favor by their mere presence (forcing them to be killed off / ignored), that players have no risk in investing in said conjurations (they can't 'lose' them unwillingly or due to bad luck) via traits, that the conjuration doesn't last forever/can't be spammed (it's something like an extended weapon with charges), and that you don't risk wasting their pip cost, since they don't vanish if the player is KO'd, BUT you can't control them either during that time*.

Very true and very well said.


The bit that they can't be targeted or affected by ANYTHING, though, seems like a balance issue - if a enemy monster uses conjurations, it basically gets a direct, impossible-to-counter advantage for its owner, and the same principle applies to the players. If a summoner's conjurations are un-counterable, yet 'too powerful' to 'ignore'...

This gives your GM a chance to be a jerk, yes, but if they do that you have larger problems. The whole GM concept gives the guy a chance to be a jerk. We're not going to advocate making impossible-to-counter super-advantages for enemies. However, ti's worth noting that you can counter the conjuration by taking down its owner. This can create some really interesting tactical situations for GMs to play with by including conjurations. It shouldn't be any more of a balance issue than the fact GMs can throw insanely overpowered enemies at you too if they want - or just make an enemy that's literally impossible to hurt. We won't be supporting invincible enemies as part of the core docs.

Those all fit very well in theory, Dan, but putting the things together and actually trying to use them in battle is another. It really needs some specific examples that the combat roles work from lvl1 - that there aren't any inherent flaws in their role that actively make them clunky or pointless until rectified by traits, such as 'you-can-do-it-once-a-battle-and-that's-it' (due to the "x/battle/short rest" stuff).

I sadly don't have the time to demonstrate builds for all of these, but the stress testing thus far, playtests and the theory we founded it on all points to it being entirely sound. It's certainly *much* improved over Pony Tales and Living Legends - there's no comparison in terms of relative balance. Why don't you make some characters like this and see if your worries are true? If so, we'll be happy to fix things. There's power guidelines and everything available for you to check if you're contributing what you should be or not.

What about conjured weapons?
While it was fun to steal these from GW2, they aren't actually important to our design goal - which is to represent story concepts in a smooth way, not make a system that's about mechanical character-building. The story concept we needed to represent was shapeshifting, which is a common fantasy trope. We chose to represent this as the default flavor. You can easily reflavor shapeshifting powers into conjured weapon powers if you like - they work nigh-identically. They just happen to be balanced now AND you don't get punished for using them later in the battle if you don't use them as early as possible.

Shapeshifters are the main underserved trope right now. They need more abilities and I'd like them to have more combat content. Solving them in a balanced way with great gameplay was one of the most complicated design and developmental challenges in Wanderlust, so it was left to the end. We want them to get testing focus too, s it made sense to release the system's early access beta with just enough content for you to do some stuff with them and test out their execution. If we're happy with how it works, we'll know we're on the right track. Seriously, just getting the combat side of shapeshifting to work, past all the balance and design problems inherent in it, took like 6 hours of templating alone - even without the design.

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