You have been taken by the Mists

Author Topic: Plans for implementing a more mundane or low-"powercreep" server in the future?  (Read 595 times)

GoldenEars

  • New to the Mists
  • *
  • Posts: 22
I really love PotM's theme and custom mechanics, especially with regards to death, roleplaying a ghost, the rental mechanics, the books, the lore, etc but there have been things I've wished were different with regards to how powerful a character can become compared to when that character was created, forcing the need to encourage high level characters separate themselves from lower level characters due to such drastic power levels.
Namely with regards to powerful buffs to classes, feats, to crafted gears, and from magical items to the point that it becomes a bit much for me.

Not to say this game has to be ultra realistic, but for example, in PotM, the Barbarian by level 20 can instantly gain +8 Str, +8 Con, +12 Will and +4 reflex saving throws 8 times a day, lasting up to 5 rounds + 1 round per new Constitution modifier via custom feats like "Mighty Rage", "Channeled Rage", etc.
That's just one class of many with feats allowing such drastic ability score fluctuations, damage resistance fluctuations or whatever else.
It's pretty insane when you think about that in combination with all the other boosts available via crafting, magic items, spells, etc.
Now this may be more of a personal opinion, but I frankly find that it defeats the general idea of D&D characters. To me, a D&D character's total ability scores should largely represent where that character's innate talents lie such as how they were born or what they worked hard on through their life.
Were they born exceptionally gifted in intellect and have grown to start as a character with 16 intelligence, or have they always struggled to learn and reason well, starting with only 8 intelligence?

My point is that I imagine small fluctuations of these ability scores are meant to represent huge differences in a character's ability, from one character to another, so it becomes a bit silly to me when a barbarian character, for example, reaches levels of Hulk strength the instant he or she gets angry enough. +8 strength (among other buffs) isn't just someone getting angry to me. It's enough to become literally twice as strong as he just was a second ago if that character was only an 8 strength character to begin with (which isn't unusual to be slightly below average strength.)

So I guess what I'm asking is: are there any plans to develop a secondary server for players who might want more of a "down to Earth" fantasy roleplaying experience in PotM such that buffs and boosts are minimized to only increase ability scores by +4 or less perhaps, balancing the game around that kind of minimal buff concept?

BraveSirRobin

  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 2217
  • "Common sense is not so common." - Voltaire
I don't think there's a plan for that, but I think personally that PoTM should abandon trying to spread people out over a period of years, and instead embrace the leveling curve of other PWs and make being between levels 15-20 the general expectation, rather than the exception. We're already playing characters that outpower the PnP Dark Lords by a mile at that point, and the DMs buff the Dark Lords and permit aMPCs/MPCs with like, 8+ECL to be level 20 characters even though non-Monstrous races are prevented from achieving max level in order to outpower characters of a same level.

When we played the Civil War plotline in Dementlieu, pretty much every single soldier in the Convenant's military was competent enough to kill level 20 characters with Wizards and Sorcerers in their ranks that were casting 7th-9th level spells. Falkovnian Hexenmeisters drop Time Stop with relative regularity in the the Falkovnian events in my experience, that sense of power scale is already tilted in the direction that being level 20 here doesn't mean what it means in PnP.

Reducing the time-to-grind to level 20 would encourage more character turnover (a massive part of the sunken cost fallacy that keeps people from closuring characters, is spending over a year to get to level 20), and get rid of the constant dialogue about the disharmony of year-old level 15+ characters breathing the same air as their low-level counterparts who still have a long ways to go.

Skelni

  • Society of the Erudite
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 1158
  • You can always contact me
Low-magic, more realistic statlines and mechanics and stuff are things I like. But I think perhaps you might be missing a couple points about all of this.

For a Barbarian, in your example, to get that far, requires them to reach level 20. That's... That's a lot of time (irl and in-story) to get to. And that's at the end of their potential. And that strength they get lasts only for X amount of time. Not infinitely or anything. Their entire being was trained around such a capability, hence why a Barbarian can't read (anything at the start) scrolls or some such. Or use lockpicks very well etc. Their class has determined such. It would be something else if he could cast all the slew of spells out there in addition to his other benefits. But he can't.

Most certainly everyone becomes close to a demigod in their life span if the player keeps to it long enough. But it's about the mid levels that a lot of people teter out anyways and begin anew or just never fully advance. Compared to a lot of other servers/settings out there, we're pretty restricted in the grand scheme of things, especially when it comes to the pacing of such.

apeppertoo

  • Dark Lord
  • *****
  • Posts: 878
There should never be an effort made to divide the player base more than it already is. Efforts should be made in the other direction - toward greater consolidation.
Mariah Parsons

GoldenEars

  • New to the Mists
  • *
  • Posts: 22
There should never be an effort made to divide the player base more than it already is. Efforts should be made in the other direction - toward greater consolidation.
I agree that the amount of people playing NWN persistent worlds in general is already WAY too low, but don't completely rule out the possibility of players who are turned off by drastic powercreep mechanics beginning to play NWN for the first time or returning to play for a low-power server who are not currently playing.
Then again, I may be overestimating the demand for a server like this, and then it would result in the PotM having wasted way too many resources on a second server for little to no player interest.
Meh.. who knows..

zDark Shadowz

  • Dark Lord
  • *****
  • Posts: 804
What's funny is the barbarian example is quite tame compared to other class abilities.

8 str boils down to 4 AB/damage, the bard is giving that like candy to everyone as an AoE much sooner. Divine favor gives +3 AB/damage, as a lv 1 spell. (At lv 9+ cleric).

PotM hosts New Character Events from time to time which allow people the chance to play in Barovia at a low level by locking out all existing characters out of the entire west Barovia region. If a low level Ravenloft experience is what you're after, that's as good a time as any to enjoy it.

Nemesis 24

  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 1458
Its been stated before, if there was a ship to take to make the server lower level, more controlled in level cap and gear, and with a different sort of game design - it sailed more than a decade ago.  Short of scrapping everything, most domains, most dungeons, and more than fifteen years of work to start all over again, it isn't happening.  You have to work with what you have.

apeppertoo

  • Dark Lord
  • *****
  • Posts: 878
I agree that the amount of people playing NWN persistent worlds in general is already WAY too low, but don't completely rule out the possibility of players who are turned off by drastic powercreep mechanics beginning to play NWN for the first time or returning to play for a low-power server who are not currently playing.

A quick way to eyeball the level of relative power to expect from a server is to simply look at the level range. POTM is 1-20. I used that information when I decided to play here. I'm dubious that people come here and get surprised about the relative level of power available, given that information.
Mariah Parsons

William Roberts

  • Society of the Erudite
  • Dark Lord
  • *****
  • Posts: 723
  • Thrown a kettle over a pub...what have you done?
Well of course *some* people are surprised. People are even surprised who played here years ago, took a long break, and came back. Moreover, there is nothing inherently superior about consolidating the player base versus segmenting it. The RP on the server was quite fine with half the number of regular players versus current numbers. The greater the numbers "forced" to play together, the less the server can accommodate personal preferences and styles of RP.

That said, giving multiple groups of players their druthers requires adequate staff and resources. The short answer to the OP, then, is no. The single POTM "ship" (to use Nemesis's metaphor) is likely to remain something of a compromise between the desires and directions the beleaguered Team (crew) would like to take it, the providential wind to fill its sales, and the most vocal grumblings of the players (passengers).


Beauty like a tightened bow, a kind that is not natural in an age like this.

myrddraal

  • Dark Lord
  • *****
  • Posts: 953
The only way you are going to rebalance power to to have a scale of danger that slides up drastically for higher level characters in DM plots.  The higher level they are the higher the probability they have items that have been taken out of the loot pool for years, like HiPS amulets, that there frankly is no bridging the gap in the tools available to new characters.  Cycling out old characters to let fresh blood run things is the only way you’ll address high levels sniping bounties on lower level characters, essentially running plots with little room for others, etc.  The magic level for horror where everything is still threatening is like levels 1-13.  After that people start getting nuts, especially enchanted which is a massive power boost.

The enchanting grind, while not entirely necessary, tacks on easily another 6 months to a year to the path to level 20 from what would otherwise be like a year and a half or so of consistently very active play.

MAB77

  • Developers
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 6618
This is not something the Dev team is considering at this time. Beyond the issues related to splitting the playerbase, would come the need of stretching our resources thin to oversee the servers. It would also be difficult to maintain different timelines to account for the various story arcs and the impacts they have on each respective servers.

In the end, storytelling remains the main focus and it's preferable to keep the playerbase together to achieve that. It's a simple equation. More people together = more interactions and chance of RP. Ultimately, the current setup is a compromise to accommodate a wide range of playstyles. It has its pros and cons, but it does not prevent anyone to play it as they like. If you prefer it grittier and low level (as I do myself), you do not have to seek out all the best items nor need to level-up beyond a certain threshold. We must  simply accept that others are not bound by our preferences.
Best Regards!
MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

HM01

  • Undead Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 386
  • The Department of Gnomeland Security
In the end, storytelling remains the main focus and it's preferable to keep the playerbase together to achieve that. It's a simple equation. More people together = more interactions and chance of RP. Ultimately, the current setup is a compromise to accommodate a wide range of playstyles.

I know this is the overall philosophy, and Nemesis is right that the proverbial ship has likely sailed far away - but I would bet money that you would be pleasantly surprised at how much of the player base would be interested in a an even heavier storytelling environment. Even if the level cap was reduced and it was Barovia only, I bet the handful of players that would prefer that experience would not be insignificant.

In the end, it is what it is. I don't see it changing. Currently it currently exists where there is likely something for everyone, and thats the design. Everyone can sort of carve a niche away from what they do not like and towards what they prefer.

I personally like it the way it is, and think the developers do incredible work. However I'd totally play a hardcore story module with all the assets we have.

myrddraal

  • Dark Lord
  • *****
  • Posts: 953
Boosting lower level dungeons won’t really power creep low levels because it also just gives higher levels more easy targets to farm for items too.  Power really needs to be cut from the top down if you want lower level characters to be on more even footing.

Avarice

  • Red Vardo Traders Front
  • New to the Mists
  • *
  • Posts: 46
I don't think there's a plan for that, but I think personally that PoTM should abandon trying to spread people out over a period of years, and instead embrace the leveling curve of other PWs and make being between levels 15-20 the general expectation, rather than the exception. We're already playing characters that outpower the PnP Dark Lords by a mile at that point, and the DMs buff the Dark Lords and permit aMPCs/MPCs with like, 8+ECL to be level 20 characters even though non-Monstrous races are prevented from achieving max level in order to outpower characters of a same level.

When we played the Civil War plotline in Dementlieu, pretty much every single soldier in the Convenant's military was competent enough to kill level 20 characters with Wizards and Sorcerers in their ranks that were casting 7th-9th level spells. Falkovnian Hexenmeisters drop Time Stop with relative regularity in the the Falkovnian events in my experience, that sense of power scale is already tilted in the direction that being level 20 here doesn't mean what it means in PnP.

Reducing the time-to-grind to level 20 would encourage more character turnover (a massive part of the sunken cost fallacy that keeps people from closuring characters, is spending over a year to get to level 20), and get rid of the constant dialogue about the disharmony of year-old level 15+ characters breathing the same air as their low-level counterparts who still have a long ways to go.

I would like to state my opinion on playing a single character for a span of multiple years with the preface of the Case Book of Sherlock Holmes.  Most of it is applicable to the situation, not all, but it is so beautifully worded that omitting the irrelevant pieces to the situation is unflattering to the memory of the author.


Preface

I fear that Mr. Sherlock Holmes may become like one of those popular tenors who, having outlived their time, are still tempted to make repeated farewell bows to their indulgent audiences. This must cease and he must go the way of all flesh, material or imaginary. One likes to think that there is some fantastic limbo for the children of imagination, some strange, impossible place where the beaux of Fielding may still make love to the belles of Richardson, where Scott’s heroes still may strut, Dickens’s delightful Cockneys still raise a laugh, and Thackeray’s worldlings continue to carry on their reprehensible careers. Perhaps in some humble corner of such a Valhalla, Sherlock and his Watson may for a time find a place, while some more astute sleuth with some even less astute comrade may fill the stage which they have vacated.

His career has been a long one—though it is possible to exaggerate it; decrepit gentlemen who approach me and declare that his adventures formed the reading of their boyhood do not meet the response from me which they seem to expect. One is not anxious to have one’s personal dates handled so unkindly. As a matter of cold fact, Holmes made his debut in A Study in Scarlet and in The Sign of Four, two small booklets which appeared between 1887 and 1889. It was in 1891 that “A Scandal in Bohemia,” the first of the long series of short stories, appeared in The Strand Magazine. The public seemed appreciative and desirous of more, so that from that date, thirty-nine years ago, they have been produced in a broken series which now contains no fewer than fifty-six stories, republished in The Adventures, The Memoirs, The Return, and His Last Bow. And there remain these twelve published during the last few years which are here produced under the title of The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. He began his adventures in the very heart of the later Victorian era, carried it through the all-too-short reign of Edward, and has managed to hold his own little niche even in these feverish days. Thus it would be true to say that those who first read of him, as young men, have lived to see their own grown-up children following the same adventures in the same magazine. It is a striking example of the patience and loyalty of the British public.

I had fully determined at the conclusion of The Memoirs to bring Holmes to an end, as I felt that my literary energies should not be directed too much into one channel. That pale, clear-cut face and loose-limbed figure were taking up an undue share of my imagination. I did the deed, but fortunately no coroner had pronounced upon the remains, and so, after a long interval, it was not difficult for me to respond to the flattering demand and to explain my rash act away. I have never regretted it, for I have not in actual practice found that these lighter sketches have prevented me from exploring and finding my limitations in such varied branches of literature as history, poetry, historical novels, psychic research, and the drama. Had Holmes never existed I could not have done more, though he may perhaps have stood a little in the way of the recognition of my more serious literary work.

And so, reader, farewell to Sherlock Holmes! I thank you for your past constancy, and can but hope that some return has been made in the shape of that distraction from the worries of life and stimulating change of thought which can only be found in the fairy kingdom of romance.


Arthur Conan Doyle