The Current State of Bashing

ZoeZoe Member Posts: 19
Late last year I made a thread about the detrimental effect of the introduction of crits on the state of Starmourn's bashing (https://forums.starmourn.com/discussion/1274/bashing-after-crits). This post is not intended to revisit that but an attempt to address the multitude of other problems in bashing currently. (Just to get it out of the way, the game wasn't designed with crits in mind but we know they won't be removed, so there's no point going back over that.)

Alright, on to the ethically-sourced noodles meat of the issue. Before level 75 one bashes to gain extra stat points, lessons, and bound credits. Once one reaches level 75, they instead work towards talent points. The problem with talent points as they currently exist is primarily two-fold. The first and more complicated of the two major problems is that talent points only serve to increase the acquisition of further talent points, marks and bound (daily) credits. So effectively we can reduce it to 'talent points only major effect is to effectively increase marks and credit gain. Crits mean faster per mob kill time, DamageResistance, Dodge and SecondWind all mean less downtime lost to death/healing, the rest continue this trend of killing faster and having less downtime. (DR is an outlier in that its effect assists in PvP too, I should note). So the first problem is that endgame bashing is rather narrowly focused on what can be gained.

The second problem is that none of the above actually matters at all, because bashing cannot compare to credit and marks generation from incursions. Just some very basic math to illustrate this point - Victory Rush without the artefact and Speedup give a 2.16s balance time. In unrealistically optimal conditions (no downtime on either effect, always killing a mob with one attack, always having a new mob to kill (that is, queueing attacks so there's literally zero downtime) you could kill 100 mobs in just over 3.5 minutes. So just over 35 minutes to kill 1000 mobs, the same 10 credits gained from doing a a full hard incursion (50 space mobs). Obviously you're not going to kill even close to 1k mobs per 35 minutes and even if you did I doubt you'd reach the 45k marks profit (not gross payout) I average from doing incursions suboptimally.

A separate problem from the above material ones, but one I'm also going to bring up here rather than make a separate topic for, is that endgame bashing is, put bluntly, fucking boring. One of the major features of Starmourn was the ability to use most (though not all) abilities in PvE as well as PvP. Without crits (at the point effectively meaning before reaching level 75 and 20 talent points) the TTK for mobs is long enough that various strategies could be used, diversity of builds is more acceptable/less crippling, etc. Critical hits in their current state obviate any of that, as applying a condition that increases the damage of another attack becomes severely suboptimal compared to potentially killing the mob with one attack. Beyond the effect of critical hits, though, there has been an active move away from build diversity. For example, the presence of the frozen condition previously increased damage from Nanotech abilities, leading to freeze->swarm having once been an acceptable method of killing mobs. The change to Nanotech abilities scaling to mind subsystem, though, makes doing anything other than freeze on repeat pointless, a move away from engaging PvE. (I expect it to be correctly pointed out that many people automate their bashing and don't care about engagement. Those people's feelings on the matter should frankly not be taken into consideration, because by use of automation they have opted out of that side of the game. As someone who opts out of PvP, I don't try to influence PvP decisions and would hope that my thoughts on an aspect of the game I ignore wouldn't be taken into consideration.)

So, now that I've dropped a massive wall of text about what I see as the problems of bashing, I suppose I should at least try to propose solutions to keep this from being a wholly useless, negative post. An expansion of talent points to address things other than marks/credit generation directly and/or indirectly would be massively beneficial to the game. That's something I pushed for when talents were previewed before their release, because I don't consider increased marks generation alone (this was before daily credits) to be a reason to continue the activity. I'm wary of suggesting more things that mechanically benefit PvE or PvP, but I think there's room for a number of other things to be unlocked. Exclusive customizations are one thing - hair/skin colour, etc. Or even beyond character customizations, ship customizations. There are honestly a lot of places we could go with an expanded talent system and I'm hoping this thread will generate ideas. I'm honestly a bit brain dead after typing all of the above.
Poet

Comments

  • PoetPoet Member Posts: 122 ✭✭✭
    edited August 7
    I will say that I think freeze *swarm* scaling to mind is an improvement in PvP, though it's admittedly subtle. I've wished for more synergy between freeze *swarm* and something for a long time(for PvE that is), cause the default "spam freeze" is boring. 
    [Cassandra]: Poet will be unsurprised to learn that she has unread news.
  • ZoeZoe Member Posts: 19
    I was just using that as an example because it's the one I'm most affected by as someone who mains Nanoseer. That being said, whether or not it was a good change for PvP, I don't think it took PvE into consideration. And since a larger percentage of the game engage in PvE than PvP, I unabashedly advocate focusing on PvE with PvP as an afterthought.
  • Pink_CandyflossPink_Candyfloss Member Posts: 56 ✭✭✭
    I am a little confused with what direction you want to take bashing here. You say bashing is boring, yet that will always be the case when you have to slay thousands of enemies as fast as you can to receive the maximum rewards from the activity. You don't want any activity that requires such an investment of time and attention to be such a long, grindy slog of an affair. The bonuses for bashing is that you really don't need to pay much attention, just walk into a room, press a button, watch as you kill everything efficiently and smoothly.

    If each enemy was like a pvp battle in complexity, that would just alienate those who aren't interested in such systems. Progress would be reduced to those who can code in more complex combat systems.

    I've said before about making additional content for those who want a more complex and challenging form of PvE content, I still have a xenoslayers pipedream thread up. Those are supposed to be your challenges that require more thought and effort.

    Talents are there as a bonus to your endgame, you've hit 75, you've maxed out your stats, now here's some extras to reward you for continuing to bash, either through making bashing more efficient, or making it more rewarding in the form of additional drops.

    If anything, bashing needs to be more rewarding, because the amount of time you have to sink into it to reach the old cap of 20 credits is several hours, and that only yields a maximum of 60k marks or so, which is an hour of 'work' in space.
  • IndiIndi Member Posts: 213 ✭✭✭
    edited August 7
    I am a little confused with what direction you want to take bashing here. You say bashing is boring, yet that will always be the case when you have to slay thousands of enemies as fast as you can to receive the maximum rewards from the activity. You don't want any activity that requires such an investment of time and attention to be such a long, grindy slog of an affair. The bonuses for bashing is that you really don't need to pay much attention, just walk into a room, press a button, watch as you kill everything efficiently and smoothly.
    You're replying under the assumption that some people didn't find some enjoyment in pre-talent bashing, that they have lost after crits. 
    Zoe specifically points out that the talent rewards are all about marks and that there is a far better way to get those marks. So anyone bashing post-75 is:

    1. doing it because they enjoy pvp for pve sake
    2. getting their 20 crit for the occasions when pve does matter (rp, pvp-pve mixed scenarios, events, helping pre75 characters hunt etc)
    3. getting their 10 points in damage resistance
    4. hates ship stuff so much they're stuck with ground stuff for marks generation
    5. loves numbers and has to be #1
    (2-3) don't matter. So long as these players get those 30pts so they can never bash again as quickly as possible, they are happy.
    (4) doesn't care so long as they can hit their junk cap asap each day, so they don't matter either
    (5) also doesn't care. Maybe they are also (1) but so long as they can do something repetitively more than everyone else, they are happy

    All of that goes to prove that (1) are the only opinions that count in PVE discussions. Everyone else is happy so long as their marks and/or talent point generation rate is not slower.

    In before Morgan points out that she (and others) like the feeling of crits killing stuff in 1-2 shots. Morgan is (1) and her opinion DOES count and HAS been considered in the other threads and discord discussions. The general gist is that we should have some much tougher mobs that can soak crits and therefore have longer TTKs that re-enable more complex pve strategies, without removing existing mobs that can be mowed down.

    I'm not sure why Zoe posted NOW, except maybe just to poke at the dev team?

    Edit: I do see why. Zoe didn't want to revisit the crits discussion, but to discuss more/alternative talent points that are not just about marks generation. A new reason to grind talents for anyone interested. 
  • ZoeZoe Member Posts: 19
    Yes, as Indi said, I enjoy the process of bashing outside crits. On my first character, playing for about the first year, I never bothered to get into incursions or other ship stuff because I made a sufficient amount of marks bashing. I wasn't making amazing marks, obviously, but after hitting 75 I made 'enough' marks and found it engaging enough to do for a few hours a day. With the introduction of crits, building for complexity (for example, the old tech 'seer build) became more penalized/further from optimal.

    But, again, I didn't write this post to go off about crits again because that discussion has been had, both on the forums and on Discord, and it's well established that we're not going back to a world free of crits. My thread from last year was an attempt at discussing how to balance new PvE content with crits to allow room for more complex/engaging PvE.

    This one, on the other hand, is meant to address current problems I see with bashing and brainstorm potential solutions to them. I was sleep deprived and rambling so it's kind of all over the place, but the problems are 1) bashing marks/credit generation are a small fraction of what incursions give and 2) because current talents only serve to bridge the huge gap of 1, talent acquisition is largely meaningless after a certain point.

    I spend a lot (too much) time on Starmourn currently. Most of what keeps me engaged is RP which means that most of my time is spent with Starmourn in the background because RP relevant to my character is not available all the time I'm on. I can go out for half an hour a day and get 50k from an incursion, spending 5k in batteries. I don't enjoy incursions enough to do more than that, though. If bashing either 1) was engaging in the way that pre-75/pre-crits bashing is (or ideally, more engaging) or 2) allowing me to work to talents that have an appeal outside of what there currently is, I would absolutely bash more. (For reference, when I was playing Achaea last year before coming back to Starmourn, I manually bashed 10+ hours a day on my days off work because it was moderately engaging and I felt like I had a concrete goal to work towards).

    So, yea, my point is not just 'this thing is bad,' it's 'this thing is bad but I believe it has a lot of potential, how do we get there?' 
  • Pink_CandyflossPink_Candyfloss Member Posts: 56 ✭✭✭
    Except you can choose to play without crits, if you're so masochistic, but I did the hard grind and now I enjoy how effortless and fluid all my bashing upgrades and talent choices have made things.

    I don't see how bashing pre-crits was any more entertaining for people. You still pressed one button and watched your scripts figure out what was optimal given the data presented to it. Nothing about it was dynamic and you never did anything different. Even back when I didn't have a system during the initial grind to 75 and only a handful of skills because I hadn't put any money into the game, I still made every press of F1 do an ability I needed. The fights were just 40 seconds long and I needed to heal to full and pause between each fight. That's just tedious, not engaging.

    Again, if you want more engaging PvE content, get changes to xenos like I suggested in my other thread, leaving bashing as it is.
  • ZoeZoe Member Posts: 19
    You either didn't actually read what I wrote or you're willfully disregarding it, so I'm going to point out exactly how that's the case.

    "You still pressed one button and watched your scripts figure out what was optimal given the data presented to it."
    "I expect it to be correctly pointed out that many people automate their bashing and don't care about engagement. Those people's feelings on the matter should frankly not be taken into consideration, because by use of automation they have opted out of that side of the game."

    You chose not to engage in the system and project that onto me. I did no such thing, I've never in 20 years of playing IRE games automated my bashing. I have maintained the entire time that "If I wanted to watch automated combat I would go play a DikuMUD."
  • IndiIndi Member Posts: 213 ✭✭✭
    Except you can choose to play without crits, if you're so masochistic, but I did the hard grind and now I enjoy how effortless and fluid all my bashing upgrades and talent choices have made things.

    I don't see how bashing pre-crits was any more entertaining for people. You still pressed one button and watched your scripts figure out what was optimal given the data presented to it. Nothing about it was dynamic and you never did anything different. Even back when I didn't have a system during the initial grind to 75 and only a handful of skills because I hadn't put any money into the game, I still made every press of F1 do an ability I needed. The fights were just 40 seconds long and I needed to heal to full and pause between each fight. That's just tedious, not engaging.

    Again, if you want more engaging PvE content, get changes to xenos like I suggested in my other thread, leaving bashing as it is.
    One day you'll read what is being said.
    Back in that other thread and in numerous discord discussions, you (and others) said you like crits. We then agreed they need to stay, and to do something on the side so we get the best of both worlds.

    It'd be nice if you offered the same courtesy in return. The same thing you like has the opposite effect for some others. It doesn't matter that you don't understand the enjoyment someone else gets from something. I don't understand the enjoyment from crits: but you obviously feel it and that is valid and important. 

    But also, this thread isn't even about crits. Zoe already made another thread about that. I know it's easy to miss the actual purpose of the thread (I did initially also) but it is supposed to be about suggesting additional new talent points that have nothing to do with improving pve, but still desirable to grind for.

  • SqueakumsSqueakums Member Posts: 229 ✭✭✭
    Indi said:


    But also, this thread isn't even about crits. Zoe already made another thread about that. I know it's easy to miss the actual purpose of the thread (I did initially also) but it is supposed to be about suggesting additional new talent points that have nothing to do with improving pve, but still desirable to grind for.

    I may be going against the point of the thread here somewhat, but I get the impression proposing new talent points is just one of the proposed solutions to the problems presented here.
    Zoe said:
    So the first problem is that endgame bashing is rather narrowly focused on what can be gained.

    The second problem is that none of the above actually matters at all, because bashing cannot compare to credit and marks generation from incursions.

    A separate problem from the above material ones, but one I'm also going to bring up here rather than make a separate topic for, is that endgame bashing is, put bluntly, fucking boring.

    New, non PvE/PvP related talent point options addresses #1.

    For problem #2, I think the intent is that it represents a bit of a risk:reward. Incursions require a lot more attention and have a higher chance for something to go catastrophically wrong, I think. I haven't done them in a Destroyer so I don't know if it makes it a cakewalk. But hard incursions on a corvette can be scary, much more than endgame bashing. Is it just the opportunity cost of "I'm not spending this time doing incursions" that makes #2 a problem? Instead of bashing marks being made better, if incursion marks were brought to equal levels, would that make bashing more appealing? Personally, it wouldn't for me, but I'm curious if the stance is more of a "this activity doesn't feel worthwhile in a vacuum" vs. "this activity doesn't feel worthwhile because it's only the second most efficient form of marks generation".

    For problem #3, the general consensus is "crits are here to stay". Suppose there's a new area with mobs that have insanely high resistances (and we're ignoring gaussfield for now). Like 90% damage reduction. Or gigantic health pools. Or they don't take HP damage at all and require a subsystem-based kill. This would take a lot more time, and involve finding the optimal way to push subsystems down fast instead. (there's a precedent for this with the Gnomon event). Would such an area be engaging? Somebody that wants to just bash and slaughter hordes of mobs like in Diablo can avoid that area and stick to our current Ixsei / New Dikamazi / etc. Somebody that wants a more "involved" experience can focus on the new areas. Figure out the equivalent "marks and experience per second" of regular bashing and convert these to be equally rewarding, so it's a style choice rather than an efficiency one. Would something like that be a step in the right direction?
  • ZoeZoe Member Posts: 19
    edited August 8
    Squeakums said:

    For problem #2, I think the intent is that it represents a bit of a risk:reward. Incursions require a lot more attention and have a higher chance for something to go catastrophically wrong, I think. I haven't done them in a Destroyer so I don't know if it makes it a cakewalk. But hard incursions on a corvette can be scary, much more than endgame bashing. Is it just the opportunity cost of "I'm not spending this time doing incursions" that makes #2 a problem? Instead of bashing marks being made better, if incursion marks were brought to equal levels, would that make bashing more appealing? Personally, it wouldn't for me, but I'm curious if the stance is more of a "this activity doesn't feel worthwhile in a vacuum" vs. "this activity doesn't feel worthwhile because it's only the second most efficient form of marks generation".
    I was talking about this recently and when someone said that incursions had a higher risk than bashing I was absolutely baffled. Granted, I have very minimal experience doing incursions in a corvette because I had that mad idea to mine my way to freighter and didn't start doing incursions until I had a destroyer, but I've only had my ship blow up once on Zoe (excepting the times we were testing some stuff that required my interceptor be blown up). I wouldn't even say I'm particularly good at space PvE but when two volleys from my two large and one medium cannons (I don't even bother activate the small ones) destroy enemies, I feel zero risk in incursions. I've thought about the marks investment of obtaining a destroyer as a balancing factor, but after six hard incursions it's paid for itself.


    For problem #3, the general consensus is "crits are here to stay". Suppose there's a new area with mobs that have insanely high resistances (and we're ignoring gaussfield for now). Like 90% damage reduction. Or gigantic health pools. Or they don't take HP damage at all and require a subsystem-based kill. This would take a lot more time, and involve finding the optimal way to push subsystems down fast instead. (there's a precedent for this with the Gnomon event). Would such an area be engaging? Somebody that wants to just bash and slaughter hordes of mobs like in Diablo can avoid that area and stick to our current Ixsei / New Dikamazi / etc. Somebody that wants a more "involved" experience can focus on the new areas. Figure out the equivalent "marks and experience per second" of regular bashing and convert these to be equally rewarding, so it's a style choice rather than an efficiency one. Would something like that be a step in the right direction?
    This is exactly what I've advocated in the past when I've complained about crits (as in the thread I linked at the beginning). My specific idea there was scaling health pool, experience gain and marks generation per mob so that the increased TTK on mobs in new areas designed for endgame is comparable to existing ones. I really like the idea of pushing subsystems, though, props on that. Despite my vocal disdain for them, I recognize that my opinion is not universally shared and don't want to have things changed for my enjoyment at the expense of others'. (Further, places like ND and Ixsei are used by those below L75 to finish their leveling and changing existing areas would unfairly fuck them over, something I super do not want.

    Edit because I left out a word that render a sentence incomprehensible.
  • IndiIndi Member Posts: 213 ✭✭✭
    Squeakums said:

    For problem #3, the general consensus is "crits are here to stay". Suppose there's a new area with mobs that have insanely high resistances (and we're ignoring gaussfield for now). Like 90% damage reduction. Or gigantic health pools. Or they don't take HP damage at all and require a subsystem-based kill. This would take a lot more time, and involve finding the optimal way to push subsystems down fast instead. 
    Essentially, there is a lack of endgame PvE. There are L75 areas that get incredibly easy as crit rates go high. And because they get easy (i.e. faster TTK = higher exp/hr) they kind of double as endgame pve. Or rather, they are adequate experience sources for the talent point grind, at the expense of what sets SM pve apart.

    If crits are here to stay (which they need to as they make a substantial number of players happy) then I'd like crits to enable new areas/mobs. If a mob has 30000hp instead of 3000hp, along with 10x the exp, junk drops and item/chip drops, then both camps are happy. The exp and marks generation doesn't change - but I get to feel like my strategising has paid off and I'm able to kill creatures most people can't, while Morgan/Zarrach etc get to mow down Selassians with consecutive headshots and feel like Clint Eastwood (or whatever it is they feel like). We all play out our personal fantasies while earning at the same rate (and hopefully never have to have this argument again =) .)

    They are still working on an eventual project where there will be mobs with classes like ours, but that's a separate thing again. I don't think waiting for that should be the only solution. We have an existing pve system that is pretty good as far as pve in muds goes. 
    Zoe
  • SqueakumsSqueakums Member Posts: 229 ✭✭✭
    Indi said:
    I'd like crits to enable new areas/mobs. If a mob has 30000hp instead of 3000hp, along with 10x the exp, junk drops and item/chip drops, then both camps are happy. The exp and marks generation doesn't change
    I love love love this idea. I think I've said so in the past, but I think it's important (especially with new developers taking the reigns) to show support and remind the Powers That Be that this is definitely an area worth expanding towards and that there are many of us (I hope) that want to see this.

    Very important though (and I think this is the main thing that would set these apart from Fantom) is that I don't care for these 10x hp mobs to also do tremendous damage to players. Keep the incoming damage consistent with existing mobs, so the thing that's changing is our offensive strategy (not having to crash out or fly every other balance, which I don't think is terribly fun. Engaging, in the sense that I gotta be very attentive, but not fun). 
    Zoe
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