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Thread: What makes PT fun and how to return there

  1. #1
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    Default What makes PT fun and how to return there

    This is going to be a longer rant that addresses a few things, that in my mind stem from core design issues along with bandaids sprinkled into the system to make it more forgiving but subsequently destroying other parts of the game as a result.

    I realize that much, maybe nothing, will ever come of this. Likewise I'm aware that some suggestions will be reluctant to even be considered due to many veterans are around. Bear in mind that I'm not arguing efficiency as much as I'm trying to argue to make PT a more fun experience end-to-end than it currently is.

    EXP Curve:

    This is major culprit I've identified for many things gone awry over the years. PT originally was a ARPG grinder with basic content. At that time a lot of games stretched themselves artificially with exponential XP cruves in order to buy time for additional content and gating it controlled into the game as a whole. PT has only been one of many games that used this approach around its time.

    Fast forward: You're now with a game that's an ARPG which most commonly offer 'OP' characters that mass murder screens to gain XP. This holds true to PT as well. It however all falls apart when a lot of dead weight was added over the years that nowadays serves literally zero purpose in the way they exist. Most notably that is the adventure that is getting from 8x to somewhere that's relevant again: 108+. I'll talk more indepth about this below.

    The EXP has been addressed over the years by:

    1. Upping the baseline experience
    2. Offering additional EXP events (such as right now)
    3. Offering special mobs (Minis)
    4. Manually altering specific maps/monsters' EXP.
    (5. Cash Shop items to supplement EXP gain) (nothing to discuss here)

    What apparently has not been considered once however, was to simply flatten the EXP curve. A byproduct of course would be, that level ABC would turn to XYZ depending on how drastic the re-scaling would be but overall it would cause a smoother and more fun experience overall for everyone.

    Would anyone be upset, hurt or find it tremendously unreasonable if today's level 100 would be tomorrow's 105/108?

    I personally would not but opinions may drastically differ on this subject. Most of us have paid their fair dues when leveling at 7x took weeks already. Time's have changed and don't wish our misery onto everyone

    The Event problems:

    All events of EXP nature must crave to a specific audience - most notably those of us with a real life but still want a level up every other blue moon.

    Mini Boss Event:

    Mini Boss Events are the savior of this game as it stands today. They are what allows you to get anywhere in realistic amount of time without going overboard. I've a few things to say about them, though, and none of them are nice things:

    1. Mini Events only cater to specific user group (notably 80+)
    2. Mini Events completely break the game for those knowing how to use them
    3. Mini Events, simply put, are not fun.

    Specific Group:

    Most minis cannot realistically be touched by 6x or 7x due to stat differences. As a result I consider the events to cater to only the 'high' levels of PT. That ultimately completely ignored lowbies/newbies though, which is never a good thing.

    Game Breaking:

    Last week's x4 + Mini Event would've allowed me to make a new level 100 character a day, or more than that, from scratch. By having a tank available, a handful of Boss Crystals and an EXP pot you magically make large portions of this game redundant and further, only highlight its more glaring issues once you've risen to the 'heights' of 9x/10x.

    Not Fun:

    Bold statement, I know - and I absolutely don't mean to be spiteful for any event this games receives. The game hasn't received jack for its first 5 to 7 years or so.

    Honestly though: Is it fun to mindlessly slaughter a bazillion Mini Midrandas for 6 to 18 hours a day with a bunch of character idling up a rock? I am not arguing its efficiency. I'm not arguing how there's little wiggle room to otherwise overcome the game's short-coming between 9x and 108 in a realistic fashion.

    I am bluntly stating however, that it's not innately fun outside of seeing the %'s fly.

    Rather I'd have a game however, in which I could gradually see the %'s rise other than sleeping on PT from Mini Event to Mini Event.

    PT's deadweight

    From a personal oppinion I'd say that PT lives off of steady incremental and progress of one's character. May be in terms of level ups or gear to equip. This overall, in my opinion, holds well into the game. Up about 80 and Iron 2. Past Iron 2 (Heart Of Perum) the game falls apart rapidly and steep. The reasons are of historical nature but never seemd to have been addressed.

    PT always consisted of two large parts:

    1.) ARPG mass grind fest to gain EXP and Stats.

    2.) The hunting, often times 1-on-1 in top level maps.

    In time the scaling between gear, maps and monster broke however. I see it breaking point most notably with 80 and further with the scaling jump between Iron 2, the Ice Maps and every other map from there on onward. Additionally every map between Iron 2 and SL has been kept a 1-on-1 map in terms of design and scaling.

    Gear:

    With 80 you reach the pinnacle of gearing for the first time truly. From 75 gear you can immediately jump into 80d and by 85 that gear can even be fairly decently aged. The downside being however that this gear doesn't really carry you beyond what Iron 2 throws at you. Arguably 80d unless very high aged could be considered barely sufficient for Iron 2. Of course I know that back then things were a lot harder even, but again, I'm talking about fun and not the hell many of went through 10 years ago. I'm only portraying actual 80d and ignoring Santa shenanigans.

    By the mid 80s many classes also obtain their new T5 AoE skills (Archers, Priests, Shamans, Mages, etc.) only to soar on them during their Iron 2 stay to then notice it's suddenly utter garbage in Ice1/2 onwards. Suddenly you realize that Iron 2 is going to be your home until level 100 only to then realize that things don't get better whatsoever but only worse.

    Further there's a 20 level gap between upgrades. That's royally unfun.

    Maps:

    I'd daresay that Iron 2 is the last enjoyable map outside of grinding Minis for your average PT player/veteran. Everything between Iron 2 and Secret Lab is absolutely atrocious to deal with and most importantly unfun.

    The reason it is unfun is because the game drastically changes in its nature as to how it is being played beyond that point.

    Ice/Ice2

    Monsters deal too much damage for gear one can realistically obtain at those levels. Monsters have far too much health. Monsters give crap EXP save for the flying mana sucker and monster can freeze you.

    Having a 113 at my disposal to mass clear any map of my liking: Ice1/2 event at 113 with decently maxed gear is slower(!) than Iron 2.

    I'd suggest the following steps:

    1. Rescale monsters HP/ABS/Damage to be more in line (but higher, i.e 5~7%) than Iron 2s. I'd arguably also downscale Iron Fists themselves already, as the 'big bad map guy' have no purpose anymore today but only did when the map was the highest hunting place available. Biggest offender here is Devil Bird.

    2. Remove the freeze. I suspect the freeze slows you down by 80% or so. That makes you 80% less efficient XP'ing there as you're likely permanently frozen in a decently large spawn. Further there are no means to protect yourself against freeze.

    3. Remove CC's anti summon/pet/crystal functionality. Know the only regular mob that puts decently damage into a boss crystal? Eyup, it's her. That was fine 12 years ago but today it serves no realistic purpose. The glory days of CC are over.

    4. Remove the mana drain (CC / Succubus? (ice 2 witches anyway)) - Mana drain is never fun to deal with and only makes specifics maps 'no go' zones if anything.

    Ice1/2 doesn't have be hard or challenging anymore. It should be fun. Additionally also be able to be enjoyed by people that have the maps' level.

    LoC/LT/ET/IM

    These maps boil down to a bunch of simple questions.

    1. Are you a knight?
    2. Are there knights playing you can party?
    3. Do you have a knight yourself?

    Unless you answer at least one of those with yes, these maps are telling you go screw yourself.

    Here I'd again propose the same things as with the maps. In fact these are the changes I propose for all maps between Iron 2 and SL (maybe even AW): Degrade them into managable grind zones for everyone. Change the way they're being played. These maps currently serve zero purpose as hunting maps outside of potential boss spawns, yet they're to be played as one. Their glory days are in the past and fun should reign where once hard work was done.

    I know that some of those maps received manual EXP increases to make them more attractive and while that is one way to go about things I'd find it more enjoyable if I could run into the HS with a decently/reasonable equipped character for that area and just mow everything down - not godmode style but we all know what happens to a fresh 100 walzing into a LT HS - and it's not even a fight.

    I'm all for putting highend / endgame content behind a decent grind wall so that some sense accomplishment/work can be had by everyone but having hurdle as large as everything 90 to 108 is just borderline insane. Realistically all of us veterans skip that dry period by abusing mini and EXP events. Outside of that I doubt many, if any of us are playing their alts regularly or ever touched them in a serious fashion.

    80E:

    Make this finally droppable. Make it level 90 and make it regular drops in Ice1 and beyond. It serves as stepping stone for the dry period between 80 and 100 in terms of gear progression.

    TL;DR:

    1. Flatten EXP curve.

    2. Scale down maps between Iron (2) and SL so they can function as mass grinding maps for all players. That would serve smoother map and gear progression. Bosses (Valento, Mokova, Devil's Shy) should not be affected, of course. Grinding Iron 2 from 85 to 100 is not fun but ultimately the best thing you can do. Unless there are minis going on, of course.

    3. Introduce 80E gear as level 90 gear dropping in ice1 onwards.

    4. Keep the highest maps/gear behind a reasonable grind wall but make the journey there more enjoyable for everyone. Make the game fun outside of living from XP to XP event, or outside of Mini to Mini events for that matter. Make the game fun again past Iron 2.

    Of course some of these changes would mean that the nature and frequency of certain events could/should/must be reconsidered. It also leaves room for new/other kind of events in their stead.

    That about sums it up, I guess.

    I for one would love to actually play some of my 'lesser characters' or grind other places than i2 and minis on my killing machine, I however myself in the position that these characters cannot do anything reasonable past i2 by themselves.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
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    Default

    TL;TL;DR for above's post: The game changes the way it's being played starting with ice1. Every map from Ice1 onwards caters to PT's old 'hunting map style' of gameplay even though the maps offer nothing of substance today. Degrading them to mass grinding maps would at least make them useful and potentially fun to play. Only upping spawns and monster's EXP is nice but ultimately does nothing to supplement actual gameplay.

    Here's another list of QoL changes that sprung into my face. Most are of consistency nature. Note that they base on the best of my knowledge and I may be wrong in some cases (feel free to correct me on them).

    Remove Magic Forces

    The sole existence of magic forces seems to imply that PT differentiates between 'base damage' and 'bonus damage'. Base damage is used to specific things whilst Base + Bonus is used for other things (i.e AoE vs. SingleTarget).

    Ultimately Magic Forces are a hack to circumvent a certain game behavior.

    Make regular forces apply to every ability or rather, use the paper damage (character screen) as base numbers for everything skill related at all times. Magic Forces further introduced 'Magic Sheltoms' that are dummy items with no purpose but to be turned into forces. They have no stats, cannot be equipped, cannot be used to gemming or aging. Plus the system is overall nonsensical and absolutely unintuitive.

    Make paper damage baseline for everything you do in the game.

    This is not limited to forces but also buffs (i.e FoN, Valhalla, Mech Stuff, etc.)

    Are AoE abilities supposed to crit?

    As of now (and forever) AoE abilities were unable to critically hit and deal bonus damage. Now there's a skill, Perforation, a linear, AoE, archer skill that adds bonus crit. Either this is being a mistranslation or a skill that's designed around AoE crit has been put into a game in which AoE skills cannot crit. The latter would scream eployee of the month award, evidently.

    Regardless of Perforation's special case I'd pose the question if there would be any harm in having AoE skills crit like any other ability. Them not criting is neither obvious nor explained anywhere. In fact skills such as Perforation are highly misleading if anything.

    I personally would want to see AoE abilities to crit.

    EXP boosts applied in parties

    To my knowledge EXP increases do not work in parties. They might work in the instance you deal the actual killing blow but the shared EXP by party members seems to not be affected.

    First and foremost this makes these items useless to pick up when partying (potentially reducing revenue) and further make people hesistant to party to begin with. It doesn't encourage party play whatsoever. Further it's also not evident or obvious that these items would not work in party.

    The general gist should be that EXP boosts should be applied to all kinds of incoming EXP save for quests. The EXP source shouldn't matter otherwise.

    Overall that would bring some consistency into the game removing large parts of its hidden convolution. Generally speaking it's a refactoring job which in my mind will also drastically improve maintainability down the road.

    Fix actual issues and remove the bandaids

    The un-mix NPC has been disabled. For good reason from what I've seen, given the nature of the exploit it offered. Yet it removes a fundemental feature of the game which has been unaddressed since.

    Have this exploit taken care of elsewhere (client/server side, item validity check - since you know what's been thrown in you should know what should come out) and re-enable temporarily disabled features.

    Remove unneeded features

    Things like smelting and recipes are useless these days. Might as well remove them altogether as they server no purpose anymore. Alternatively expand on them by adding relevant stones/recipes/items, etc.

    Don't be hung up on KPT

    While KPT is the official version of PT certain things should be considered for the sake of ePT (and PT) overall, simply to make it a better, more enjoyable game. This may include mechanical differentiation where they make sense (i.e as proposed above) as well as making necessary balancing calls for this particular version of PT (i.e proposing changes to skills regardless of how they may function in KPT).

    Cheers
    Last edited by Erbse; January 1st, 2018 at 09:15 AM.

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