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Circuit Board Crafting: Random Chips Discussion

Discussion in 'WildStar General' started by CRB_Gortok, May 11, 2013.

  1. CRB_Gortok

    CRB_Gortok Carbine Econ Designer

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    This thread is generally in response to this discussion:
    http://wildstar-central.com/index.php?threads/random-stats-on-gear.3089/
    but I wanted to create a new thread to include more people and also not to sidetrack that thread.

    For those of you who havent yet read about Circuit Board Crafting yet, I suggest checking out my dev post on . It will give you a foundation to understand what we are talking about here.
    http://www.wildstar-online.com/en/news/econ_devblog_circuit_board_crafting.php

    This is a balancing issue. The balance is making the correct % of items rubbish. We want people to make choices about items. The chips on the items have value, too. The non-fused chips can be extracted. This means if an item drops with a really cool Strength+3 Critical chip, but the fused chips on the item have and Technology and Armor on them, then that item is either good for a tank or for extracting that Strength+crit chip. However, if the fused chips roll say Armor and Assault Power, then you still can extract the rare chip out of it and use that in something else. If neither of those is good, there is always salvaging or selling the item. Choices.

    I recently created some 40+ items for a dungeon that has 5 bosses. Assuming that each one has 2 locked random stats (which is not always true) and each of those stats can choose from about 10-30 stats (we'll average it at 20), this means that there are about 16,000 permutations of unique items that can exist. That is a mid level dungeon, btw. Are you suggesting that I create 3000 items per boss?

    Let me be frank about this. I have played a lot of games that I love that have systems that are really great, but have flaws. When I started working out the details of this system, I looked at random items and said "What are the flaws with this system and what are the strengths?" My goal is to highlight the strengths of random items, while minimizing the effects of flaws.

    Some of the strengths are:

    There is a ton of variation, obviously.
    There is practically no one "best in slot". (Sure there is a theoretical best, or an "on average best")
    You get those JACKPOT moments when the stars align just right.
    A given item can be good for different class/specs depending on how it rolls (potentially a weakness as well)
    There is always a reason to replay current tier content, and some previous tier content is still good.
    Because items aren't deterministic, you have to make choices instead of strictly follow guides.

    I look at that list and think that is a pretty strong list of strengths. The item hunt is what keeps a certain set of players playing games long passed when they have completed their content, and a lot of those reasons go straight into the item hunt.

    As several people have pointed out, I don't make the entire item locked in random, only a couple slots. This goes towards the minimizing of the flaws.

    I generally don't like to point to specific games when discussing our systems, because it makes me uncomfortable for whatever reason. When Diablo 3 came out, we played it extensively during our lunches and at home. The Diablo series is tremendously good. We knew immediately that the game felt different, and we identified the reason why: The Auction House.

    Diablo has always eschewed soulbound items, and with the Auction House, the speed of Item Inflation is hastened because the ease of trading makes players save more items. What ended up happening in Diablo 3, in my opinion, is that the Auction House actually made the game less fun for the 99%. The reason is because the way to upgrade your gear is to go to the Auction House. You don't get random good drops that are any better than anything you can find on the AH for 1000 gold. So the cycle of play was: Go grind gold, maybe get a good drop that is for a different class, and sell it, and then buy stuff on the AH until you can do harder content. Repeat. Where are the WOW moments? They were gone. Instead of having a smattering of 60-90% optimal gear, you go to the AH and buy the most cost-efficient 90-95% optimal gear (the 95-100% is not affordable).

    In the previous Diablos you were running around in gear that was 5-20 levels below you and when you found an upgrade it could be drastically better than what you had equipped. The rewards were very spiky. Sometimes you would get gear that was just slightly better, and rarely you would get something that was so good you would be using it for 20 levels. With the permanency of items in Diablo, what changed is that now when you replace that item, someone else can get it - at their level - with no effort at all because of the auction house. And in a level or two they can replace it with something else and pass that awesome item on again to someone else, who will use it for 2 levels and resell it. Buying phat loot is not as fun as getting it off a drop.

    So how does this link into our system? The distribution of power matters in WildStar. If you are a tank, for example, you want to equip a Weapon Attachment that only uses 20% of its power towards Assault Power, because that is not as useful of a stat for tanking. DPS want an Attachment that uses 40% of its power in Assault Power. Pants always (after a certain level) have at least 1 locked stat that is purely defensive in nature. None of these stats are great for DPS, but some are better than others, so DPS may prefer Health chips and a low % of their Power Distribution spent on it, whereas a tank may prefer Deflect and a high percent.

    Alright, so at this point this post is getting really long and I am starting to ramble. I could seriously write about 20 pages on this. I go to bed at night thinking about this issue and wake up in the morning with new ideas about how to make it better. This system is a little over a year and a half old, so I have had that much of a head start to think about it, and I get paid to think about it so I spend the day working on it. I am very pleased that you guys are starting to come across some of the more interesting dynamics of the system, and digging down into what the implications will be. Keep bringing your concerns up. It can only help us strengthen the design.
  2. TeoH

    TeoH Well-Known Cupcake

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    Really interesting to hear your thought process for these systems, i'd love more of this sort of thing.

    Although I don't entirely follow how you were addressing the problem you highlighted with Diablo there, were you mainly suggesting that the problem isn't as prominent because you have soulbound items? Or that the spread of stats and class requirements creates a min/max puzzle that prevents certain items just being objectively better than others in all circumstances?
    Khrusky likes this.
  3. herbalz

    herbalz Cupcake-About-Town

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    that's why I quit diablo 3...bein forced to go to the auction house

    also in comparison torchlight 2 has a much better customization system. I'm glad to see wildstar going for more variation
  4. hopscotch

    hopscotch Cupcake

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    Didn't think my thread would get this much info out of a dev. :)

    Thanks for the info, cant wait to see how the system works for myself.
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  5. Rumze

    Rumze "That" Cupcake

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    Very interesting and I can forsee a lot of folks continuing to farm dungeons just to get that perfect set of gear ( and by that I mean folks who wont raid because I assume raiders will continue farming raids for that perfect locked chip and so on ). It really does add a sense of progression.
    I figure that would tie into crafting in some way as well on top of the locked chips.

    Very neat way of doing things and I remember hearing about set chips to. I can forsee getting that perfect stat locked piece and extracting chips from what Im currently wearing and putting in that , although that would depend on the power allotment of the chip circuit ( i think ) and that would involve figuring out how to eke out everything from a piece of armor.

    A very interesting stat minigame .

    Also I love these random dev posts - they give as much info as some wildstar wednesdays!
  6. Hydros

    Hydros Cupcake

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    First of all thanks for such and informative post :). Personally I'd like to know if there are going to be "unique" items, for example a super rare trinket with a super nice proc, wich can only be obtained by defeating X boss, etc...
  7. Batzorig

    Batzorig Cupcake-About-Town

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    I like reading your posts, Gortok, and am insanely jealous you get to think about this sort of stuff all day.

    This is sort of a question, and sort of just thinking out loud, but do you think this system as a whole will affect how fights are balanced? I know it's not exactly your area of expertise but I'm trying to imagine the game world where where 'BiS' items are incredibly difficult to come across. The way I see it, there's two possible directions things could go.

    A) Fights are geared towards folks who do not have perfect gear. If a hypothetical guild had a raid or dungeon group that was decked out entirely in 'perfect' gear (For the sake of this post, perfect gear is gear that has all stats that are the very best for the class and role equipping them), they would actually be well over-geared for content of the level the items come from. This means that while it would take longer to get perfect gear, it will be entirely normal to see groups completing raids and dungeons with members wearing imperfect gear (the tank may have a couple pieces with assault power, DPS or healers have some defense rating or such).

    I think this is the scenario I prefer, though there are downsides. It may de-emphasize the gear carrot if the best stuff doesn't feel crucial to success. It also means that those who do focus on gear and get near perfect or perfect sets during a tier of content will have an easy time during the next tier (as their perfect gear would be on par with the expected imperfect gear of the higher tier). The other option I can think of is...

    B) Fights are aimed towards folks who put in the time and effort to find perfect gear. You can't afford to have assault power on your boots as a tank. You really have to work your butt off to gear up, with many ups and downs along the way. Sometimes you hit the jackpot, sometimes a great piece of gear has a terrible microchip and you have to scrap it. Content will take longer to get through as perfect gear will take time to get, and the difficulty to progress without it is high.

    This doesn't suffer from the downsides the other option did, but it has it's own. It can be frustrating to find good gear, and while it could come from anywhere, players may struggle with a loss of direction. It's easy to focus and go "Alright, I need those pants from <REDACTED> dungeon", but folks may have trouble when they need lots of gear, and don't have specific pieces in mind or know where to try and get it. Furthermore, any gear that can be purchased or made 'as is' (An assumption that such items exist, badge type gear, as well as crafted gear may be just as random) will be quite strong, even if it's of a slightly weaker nature item-level-wise.

    I think I'm just rambling aloud now. Anyways, I'll be interested to hear if you or anyone else has further thoughts on this, and seeing where this thread goes as a whole.
    kur1 likes this.
  8. Rumze

    Rumze "That" Cupcake

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    . It could be somewhere in between the two. A really skilled group,can work with what they have but as they get better items , it makes farming easier.
    It's very much the dilemma we faced where our tank wanted a shield to drop from the raid but it never did for him. We made do and still progressed. Sure it was a bit iffy at times but it was never not doable. Eventually he got a great shield from the next tier and it made farming old content easier but we still had the challenge of learning new content and rehearing all over.

    It's rare that progression fights are done with best in slot , I guess is what I'm saying.
  9. Batzorig

    Batzorig Cupcake-About-Town

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    I believe he was trying to reference two points (Correct me if I'm wrong)

    1) Always having good gear means that new gear isn't exciting, because it's always only a little better than the old gear you had. You have to have something old and busted on here and there to have those moments when you're new piece really shines. On top of that, new awesome pieces can last a bit longer, because it's unlikely you'll find such an awesome piece again soon, so when you do replace it, it'll be really old, and the cycle will start anew.

    2) Getting gear isn't the game, it's how you get gear. Diablo suffered because people could get great gear without having to invest their time and character into it. Having this robust item system in Wildstar should make great gear satisfying, because of the journey you took to get it (Getting it to drop, winning the roll/bid/whatever, finding the right microchips to switch in, tracking down an epic crafter to assist with it, etc.).

    At least, that's what I think he was implying...
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  10. Batzorig

    Batzorig Cupcake-About-Town

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    True, but it could skew it even further towards progression being done with poor gear, which would mean perfect gear is even more overgeared than in other MMOs. I'm curious how the potential discrepancy between the 'BiS' Raiders and Imperfect Raiders would play out. It depends on so many factors though, it's anyone's guess.
  11. Convicted

    Convicted Super Cupcake

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    The question should be, what is the percentage that the "perfect" item roll will happen. If its the same percentage as the Dragonspine Trophy from Gruul's Lair, then its safe to say your raid wont be decked out in perfect gear any time soon, and you can carry on as usual.
  12. Bainik

    Bainik Cupcake-About-Town

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    This is something I really like. As long as the total power of a given item is fixed so you can't get a bad roll value only a bad distribution (which will usually have an element worth using elsewhere) It still feels useful because you can pass a chip off to someone who needs a nice shiny chip. I also like the bit about legs always having a locked in defensive slot as it adds a sort of guiding hand to the randomness and can help curb really silly items from occurring.

    I think the biggest downside to random loot is one we've yet to see addressed by developer comments. The presence of random loot necessarily means there will be junk loot that just happens to roll a god awful set of stats that nobody in their right mind wants, this can be minimized by providing a guiding hand to the randomness, but it will still happen. Along with this comes the need to increase total drop rates on content that's meant to be rewarding, killing a raid boss and seeing loot that not only have you already gotten better than but that nobody in their right mind would have used to start with as your reward is far too frustrating and the volume helps smooth out the randomness. We see this in every ARPG that follows the random loot route and I suspect we'll see it show up to some extent in Wildstar as well. This gives rise to two issues.

    The first issue is, I think, the more obvious one. Since loot quantity is increased the odds of a player having average gear from whatever tier they are clearing in most or all slots goes up. By the same token most drops will be on par with or worse than what the player already has after a relatively short time sort of by the definition of average. As a result most items that drop will be marginal upgrades, sidegrades, or downgrades. This leads to a strange problem because, while random loot introduces the possibility of getting a "WOW" drop it also mandates that the vast majority of drops will be decidedly "meh." The problem gets worse once you have a decent set put together as the difference between the item that wastes 10% of stats and 11% of stats is at once small and unsatisfying, significant enough to make you feel the need to chase the perfect role, and rare enough to be hair pulingly frustrating and grindy. In deterministic systems you can lower the total quantity while assuring that all items are well distributed such that you never get quite the same level of "WOW" drop but you consistently get satisfying upgrades.

    The second problem is of a more subtle nature. It is akin to the problem multiple difficulties in raiding introduced in WoW. Let's say there is an item that has the potential to roll such that it is the true BiS weapon. In a deterministic system drop chances for all items are likely lower and I'd be drooling after it till the day I finally saw it drop and every time it drops thereafter until I can finally get my hands on it. But, randomness necessitates quantity and so I saw a "meh" roll of it drop already and won it. Now I still really want it to drop with a perfect roll, but I'm less bent on it because I already have the same weapon, and in some way that dilutes the satisfaction by giving me a bit of it up front. It's no longer the awesome weapon out of my reach waiting for me to catch a glimpse of it, but just a slightly shinier version of what's in my hands. And one day when I do see that perfect roll drop, I'm still happy about it, but the excitement just isn't there, much as the excitement of seeing a new raid isn't there when I've been clearing normal/LFR for weeks: it's new mechanics (rolls), but the same place (item).

    The first problem I feel can be fixed by careful tuning and adding a guiding hand to the randomness as well as discretizing the values that can be picked from so instead of picking from the continuous range [10%, 40%] you pick from {10%, 35%, 40%}. The second seems harder to address. I'd be extremely interested in hearing your thoughts on both issues and how you think they can be solved, or if you think I'm working on a faulty premise and they aren't issues to start with.
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  13. rivalcycle971

    rivalcycle971 Cupcake

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    Thanks for the great post. Glad to see you guys are working so hard on creating a good gear system for us. Very excited to try it out.
  14. Extatica

    Extatica Super Cupcake

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    I love it! Love the whole concept!

    Indeed, in other MMO's when i had the gear from a dungeon i kinda had no reason to come back again, instead mayby for some secondary currencie (like badges etc.)

    This way a dungeon lost it's ''oh i want it so bad!'' factor really fast, making the dungeon encounter more boring. And it gave me sometimes a ''i don't really care'' attitude. For example if i already had all loot, and someone rolled on something that wasn't really for his main specc and therefore another person didn't get it while he needed it, well i wasn't really bothered if i had all my gear already.

    But with this! you can still keep doing those dungeons in the hope to find that one ''perfect'' permutation for your class/role.
    It keeps a certain tension in the dungeon. Atleast it does for me!

    And don't forget those people who are so keen on the more solo content (some non-raiders).
    They don't always want to go the abvious road, like ''oh your a warrior dps so you'll need Str''.
    Since they are soloing they don't really ''NEED'' something if it doesn't suit their playstyle!
    Do they want a more ''tanky'' esper healer to solo content, well they now have a chance that some gear drops for an esper healer with even a tanking stat chip in it!

    Also it extends the periode it takes for people to get ''The best possible gear''.
    If i take WoW (Cata/WotlK), it was by far too easy to get the best gear and when you did....well lots of my former guildies (1st realmers + HC 25 mans) got the best gear and sometimes just didn't played WoW anymore for a few weeks. And later even stop playing at all.

    But now it can really take more time, and it becomes less boring.

    But that's just my opinion :D
  15. Batzorig

    Batzorig Cupcake-About-Town

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    I think the need to increase gear greatly depends on how much unusable gear there is. I have no doubt it will be a possible outcome, but in my mind, the odds of an item being useless for every class, every spec, and having no salvagable microchips that anyone wants is extremely low. Even if it was 20%, which seems really high to me, they'd only need to increase gear drops by 20% to balance it. That would mean a boss that drops 5 pieces of gear would instead drop 6. Even if those numbers were accurate, I don't think a change like that would set the world on fire.

    In reality, my guess is that useless items would be closer to a 1-2% chance, possibly even lower, as Carbine may do passes over loot items to make sure it's hard for a useless item to be created. Even if they just make sure a solid chip is always salvageable from every item, it gives them all a use.
  16. Convicted

    Convicted Super Cupcake

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    A 20 and 40 man guild, who are raiding "hard" raids, are going to be using lots and lots of drops for a long time. We are most likely going to be many months in before there are items going to waste at any noticeable amount.
  17. Batzorig

    Batzorig Cupcake-About-Town

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    Sounds about right. Especially if you consider that people may stockpile chips that are good for their class to use on future drops. Depending on how chips bind and whatnot, they may be a hot item in guild banks, or people who have the appropriate chips to immediately 'fix' and start using an item that just dropped may get preference on it. Of course, that's something for guilds to work out individually.
  18. Macheya

    Macheya New Cupcake

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    I'm curious to see how this type of loot system will work out. In WoW you had certain items to shoot for and sometimes had to deal with an atrocious wait to finally see it drop, let alone win it. In fact I never saw my Devout Shoulders because they never dropped from Father Flame (when the group could be bothered to do it).

    Is there a difference between the wait to get those Shoulders (or Prophecy, or Transcendence) and the gear from Wildstar? I realize it's a lot more customizable, but it seems like you're just trying to take away the final end goal by saying 'there's a chance for something even better if you keep at it!'

    In Wrath of the Lich King, people loved Ulduar, and in Burning Crusade they loved Karazhan. Shade of Aran was my favorite fight. Running those dungeons was fun, but by the time Cataclysm came out people were sick of Icecrown Citadel, and by the time Mists of Pandaria came out people were even more sick of Dragon Soul.

    Do you really think that there can't be a best-in-slot array of stats, or that the never-ending carrot will keep people coming back, even if they end up disliking or hating the dungeon itself?
  19. Outburstz

    Outburstz Cupcake-About-Town

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    Based on what is written I can see the majority of people simply doing their best to just level there butts off until cap. They would only spend time on making sure that they have a few key pieces of gear that they really want. Once they have that they will simply move on to the next layer of content and not really worry about getting the "perfect" gear for all the slots.

    For example a DPS warrior would make sure that he has a beast sword and gloves as perfect as he can get that have Attribute chip str with a Special Ability chip that gives a crit % bonus, but when it comes to defense he will just be happy with a schematic like plan Attribute chips with no random special effect that takes away from the limited amount of power chips a gear like helmets, pants or chest which most likely have Attribute chips Stamina (hp). That way he gets the mega DPS he wants and he can squeeze as much hp he can from his armor to live longer but is mostly a glass canon that kills things pretty fast.

    For the people who stay at a certain level and farm for the perfect gear for all of their slots before moving on it will be interesting to see just how much better they will be as well as how much time it will take to get perfect gear. You will no doubt have to communicate with other players to see if they maybe they have the perfect set up that you have been looking for. Using the DPS warrior as an example. They have their schematic geared toward Attribute chips str and special bonus for crit while their other armor sets like helmet, pants, chest have Attribute chips with Stamina with all three having the same Special Ability chip of that person's choosing. That will be extremely hard to obtain due to the random stats on the gear as well as possible locking of the stats on those gears then you need to hope that it has the special ability you want if any of those things miss then the gear is worthless to you and you have to sell, throw away, or extract the chips and move on.

    It will be interesting to see how many people are really committed to getting the perfect gear before moving on and if it is really worth the pay off of not level grinding like most people will.
  20. Galosha

    Galosha Cupcake

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    I see one big flaw - loot distribution (in raid as healer you get not only other healers as competitors but dps or even tanks). But if raid have some regulations like DKP then PUG-dungeon - need/greed system would be greatly affected -all group members would claim all loot some for base item and some for removable chip.

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