Monday, April 22, 2013

Suggestion for a new skill

Name Options: (Meld/Connect/Merge)

Use: Connect <object 1> <object 2>

What it would do: This skill would be take two spellcomps gotten either from the thief tinkering skill (or even any elemental  and make a higher level and possibly more stable (think longer timer or no timer at all) higher level.  The level iwincrease could be similar to that of soulforge for soulstones: Two level 40 comps wouldn't make a level 80, probably closer to 45..  Their could either be generic items given out (like soulstones) or we could have recipes using only thief tinkering comps (More of a PITA to do, but bigger potential gain down the road).

Why we need this skill:  Thieves generally need multiple grenades in order to take down any mob worth going through the resource expense and time effort of constructing grenades.  This leads to the immediate thwacker kicking in to make items available via shopkeeper difficult to nigh impossible to shoplift.  While builders are trying to add more, and invariably higher level, spellcomps in their areas, the spellcomps will inevitably become a victim of the thwacker control in place.  This skill would allow for thieves to stock up on
spellcomps and be able to forge higher level comps similar to what necros are able to do with soulstones via the soulforge spell.  It should alleviate some of the difficulties for lower level thieves to acquire worthwhile grenade spellcomps as well. In addition, quests requiring completion of recipes could be instituted.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Ever want to know what spell or skill is unlocked at a certain level?

One of the great things Dentin has recently implemented is notifying you when a new skill is unlocked.  This feature is great for newbies and veterans alike.  In fact, I enjoy this feature so much that I asked myself, "What if a player didn't want to wait until the skill is actually unlocked to find out what's available soon?"
You could walk to a trainer and type slist, but what if there was a command that let you do it without making the hike?  Since Dentin hasn't implemented this idea yet, and I'm fairly adept with aliasing, I decided to make a hackjob alias that could clone this. Enter previewsk (preview skill) and previewsp (preview spell)!

Simply type alias start previewsk and copy/paste this code into the editor:

if $1 == "thief"  skills $1 || grep --   --   $2   --   --  --    ## thief two digit
 if $1 == "thief"  skills $1 || grep --   --    $2   --   --  --   ## thief single digit
 if $1 == "cleric" skills $1 || grep --   $2   --   --   --  --    ## cleric two digit
 if $1 == "mage"   skills $1 || grep $2   --   --   --   --  --    ## mage any digit
 if $1 == "warr"   skills $1 || grep --   --   --   $2   --  --    ## warrior two digit
 if $1 == "warr"   skills $1 || grep --   --   --    $2   --  --   ## warrior single digit
 if $1 == "necro"  skills $1 || grep --   --   --   --   $2  --    ## necro two digit
 if $1 == "necro"  skills $1 || grep --   --   --   --    $2  --   ## necro single digit

When you've done that, type /done or @ <enter> twice.
Note: The double pipes "|" are intentional because of how the editor handles pipes.

 Here's the code for previewsp:

 if $1 == "warr"   lec There are currently no spells for the warrior class. Bitch at Dentin. ## warrior any digit
 if $1 == "mage"   spells $1 || grep  $2   --   --   --   --  --  ## mage any digit (bugged for one digit inputs)
 if $1 == "cleric" spells $1 || grep --    $2   --   --   --  --  ## cleric one digit
 if $1 == "cleric" spells $1 || grep --   $2   --   --   --  --   ## cleric two digit
 if $1 == "thief"  spells $1 || grep --   --   $2   --   --  --   ## thief two digit
 if $1 == "necro"  spells $1 || grep --   --   --   --    $2  --  ## necro one digit
 if $1 == "necro"  spells $1 || grep --   --   --   --   $2  --   ## necro two digit

1. I wasn't able to figure out how to properly handle mage spells or skills under level 10.
    The game will output the available skills, it just will output some that are higher level as well.

2.  The usage is in this form: previewsk <class> <level> or previewsp <class> <level>
Note that since parsing isn't available for aliases (or if it is, I haven't figured it out yet) the class names must be entered exactly as this:
Necromancer = necro
Warrior = warr
Mage = mage
Cleric = cleric
Thief = thief

I put in an easter egg for previewsp warrior. Try it out.

Improvements to the alias are welcomed.  I hope you enjoy using these. :)

- Taran

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Let me preface this by saying I totally back Dentin profiting (or at the least, offsetting the expenses of hosting and maintaining the game) off of his game.  I have no problems with this at all.  I have no problems with players donating for cool things that provide zero or negligible advantages; they want to support the game and they should get something cool for supporting the game. Personally, I draw the line at Weightlesses.  They are useful enough to be worth donating for, but they can for the most part be cloned through the Tensor's Floating Disc spell. Anything past a weightless is basically pay-to-win, and extremely lame.

Which brings me to today's topic which is Deathcards.  A little history first.  Deathcards were introduced during the advent gift period (December 2012).  Basically, if you would have died, you're instead transported instantly back to recall.  They were extremely rare and also non-transferable,as well as non-purchasable, so gameplay balance wasn't affected all that much.

Dentin then added Deathcards to the purchase list via credits. After this, several people chimed in and said that Deathcards were bad idea.  Three points were brought up: That players were basically able to buy experience via the cards, as well as skill loss prevention, and being able to skirt around what should have been a mob death.

Dentin's response was swift: He proclaimed death counts to be a bad metric and removed them from finger.  Going further, he also removed them from the brag command. 'Brag death' now proclaims how many deathcards you possess.  You can however, view deaths on whoami.  Note that Dentin didn't remove the deathcounts to enhance profiting off of deathcard sales: He has in the past threatened to remove deaths from finger.

This was not entirely unexpected: There is a market for the cards, and Dentin has been earning revenue off them.  Dentin simply was not going to remove the option to purchase the cards.  He claimed deathcounts were removed because of drama over deathcounts.

Any stat, by itself, is a bad metric, deathcounts included.   But, when used in the conjunction with other stats, deathcounts can offer a glimpse into how efficient a player is.  For instance, a level 2 player with 30 mob deaths probably has an iq well under room temperature, while 600 deaths at 1000+ fame can be explained.

We have leaderboards.  Players like to see how they stack up to other players, and strive to better how they play the mud.  Dentin said mob deaths are a negative score that can only increase and the only one other than exp lost that fits that category.  While this is true, you can increase everything else, which will in turn make your make deaths look better comparatively. Dentin's argument is like removing strikeouts from a batters statsheet.  4 strikeouts by batter in a game is almost always horrible, but 4 strikeouts in a 400+ at-bat  season would be an epic accomplishment.

I thereby offer this three-part compromise:
1) Deathcards stay purchasable.
2) Deaths being reinstated on finger/show/brag, and removed from whoami (it's spammy enough as it is)
3) Deathcards be changed to this: The player is killed, but the gods, in addition to renewing your lease on life, also prevent any skill or experience lost, but you still earn a death.

This compromise makes sense on many levels, and I hope Dentin takes this blog article into consideration.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Global Experience Thwacking

As those of you that pay attention to channel bovine are probably aware, there are several checks and balances that keep experience earnings in check from floating too high or low.  This is, in general, a Good Thing.

Most of the checks make sense.  A lot of the skill-based experience is handed out based on your level, the difficulty of completing the goal using the skill (that is, disarming a high strength and dexterity mob, roaring a high level mob, stealing an item from a highly dexterous mob, brewing a high level poison, etc.), or how often you have recently used the skill or spell.

You also have checks on mob death experience.  One of the checks the game makes is how often you've killed the mob in question recently.  That makes sense.  Each mob should have it's own unique fighting style, and you can only learn so much from fighting against the same tactics.  This also encourages people to have a  rotation of more than a few areas, which is basically a Good Thing as well.

A check that I don't quite understand why Dentin uses it is the Global Area Thwacker.  Basically this means, if a lot of other people have run the area recently the experience you will get less experience for running that area. I can't make any rationalization for this happening. Not one.  I don't even understand why it's in place. I have no idea why other people running an area should affect the effect a player gets.

Edit: Dentin posted a really good response here:

Thanks goes out to Dentin for the quick and informative response.