Forums » Crafting

Community Request: The plan for non-combat gameplay

    • 1432 posts
    December 3, 2019 8:30 AM PST

    Note:  I know there's a thread in the General Discussion forum that is partially about this.  However, we have a Crafting section on these forums for a reason, and I think this request belongs here for that same reason.  This is also posted on Pantheon Crafters in the Editorials section.

    Recently we learned that Corey "Ceythos" LeFever, the designer who was working on Pantheon's crafting and gathering systems, left the team in October.  I wanted to take a moment to talk about some of the concerns that this has raised for many people, as well as myself.

    My goal with this post is to explain the concerns that I think many people have, and ask VR to try and address those concerns in the new year.  I want to be clear that we all still believe in the work the team is doing and have high hopes for Pantheon, but it's very hard for us not to question where things go from here.  Hopefully, the team will be able to give us more information over the next few months and put our fears to rest - or at least, engage us in a conversation about these parts of the game that are so important to us.

    Like many of Pantheon's supporters, I believe that non-combat gameplay such as crafting is critically important to the success of the game for a number of reasons.  Including these gameplay spheres speaks to the ultimate vision of presenting a world rather than just a game.  Crafting and non-combat gameplay enable more socialization, deepen immersion, expand the world and its lore, introduce additional things for players to do, and ultimately increase subscriber retention.  Not supporting these modes of play would, in the eyes of myself as well as many others, prevent Pantheon from fulfilling the collective vision that we all have bought into.

    In any software project, resources are finite.  Games are no exception.  Features and functionality have to be prioritized, and some things simply never make it to the launch of a product simply because there wasn't time to do them. With the departure of Ceythos, as well as other changes on the VR team over the past few months, many of us within the community are concerned that crafting and gathering systems will potentially be scaled back dramatically from what we are hoping for, or pushed off as post-launch features.

    In addition to the crafting and gathering system themselves, many of us are also concerned about tuning for those systems and the economy in general.  Game economies are a very tricky thing to manage and it's easy for mistakes made early in the life of a game to become massive problems later on.  At the very least, many of us feel that there needs to be a person on the team who is closely watching these aspects both during testing and after launch, taking feedback, and making changes as needed.  For an MMORPG of the scope and scale of Pantheon, that's not a small time commitment.  With Chris "Joppa" Perkins already handling class design and combat systems design as well, we're worried that he simply won't have the time to give the non-combat areas of the game the attention they need in order to succeed.

    As I mentioned at the start, this post is a request for the team at Visionary Realms to talk with the community more openly about the non-combat side of the game and what they have planned at this point.  We have heard a lot about classes and races and combat and adventuring gameplay, and all of those plans sound great and have us excited.  I think all of us would really like to start hearing more specifics about crafting, gathering, the economy, and the vision that the team has for the non-combat side of the game once things are back in full swing for the team after the upcoming holidays.  Not only would that give everyone in the community a chance to provide direct feedback and ask for changes we feel are needed before launch, but it would also very clearly show us that non-combat gameplay isn't just going to be a side game or a forgotten ideal in Pantheon like it has been in so many other MMORPGs.

    On a personal note, this was a difficult post to write.  Over the past few years, I have gotten to know many members of the VR team as people and fellow gamers and I am very sure that they want the absolute best for Pantheon.  However, as an advocate for non-combat gameplay and editor/administrator for Pantheon Crafters, I can't ignore the things that everyone is worried about, especially since I'm worried about those same things myself as well.  I took a few days to post this because I was getting feedback from several other community members on what I'd written.  The primary thing that I hope we all see is greater communication from VR around their non-combat systems, and a recognition that non-combat gameplay is a core and integral part of the Pantheon experience as well.

    • 1711 posts
    December 3, 2019 8:53 AM PST

    Nephele,

    I second your motion that VR come forward to address our concerns because I, like you, do feel that the non-combat parts of this game are critical to its overall success.  A game without a vibrant, engaging and broad tradeskill/crafting sphere just isn't a quality game.  And as you pointed out, tradeskills/crafting is intimately linked to a working, stable economy.  Get it wrong and the domino effect cannot be stopped.

    VR has a huge opportunity here to promote and captitalize on what Corey accomplished.  Even without getting into very specific details, VR can tell us the overall goals of his work, what he accomplished, how it has benefited the overall development and actually how the end of his contract really is not that big of a deal.  People want to hear that VR has reach milestones, that goals are reached.  Why go into silent mode on such a rare opportunity?

    • 1197 posts
    December 3, 2019 11:43 AM PST

    Good intentions, hope to see an official response.  I posted my opinionated ramblings in the parent thread.

    • 212 posts
    December 3, 2019 11:48 AM PST

    I third the motion. The community does have valid concerns and I dont want any part of the community to think their feelings are invalidated. We need to stress speaking in this manner however and being forward in this style. Im confident this will illicit the quickest and least guarded responses to our inquirys from those who actually have information to give us. I believe that all the unchecked negative theory crafting in forums is responsible (at least in part) for a lot of the "keeping the cards close" defensive posture VR is forced to maintain. Id like to see the community push beyond this period, and Id like the development to help us in doing so. Now is the time.

     

    Development has my full and unsolicited support. I suggest employing a go between, who is deeply imbedded in the community with their finger on the pulse of all the hot topics. Someone who can also communicate to the team effectivly and create cohesion in the midst of chaos among the membership. Someone who cares so much that they are willing to do the job for free. Someone who cares so much, that outside of being hired to do the job, just takes the job up and does it.

     

    I suggest employing Nephele. This person is a true leader in our community.

     

    -Malkiyah

    • 973 posts
    December 3, 2019 12:00 PM PST

    Nephele, thank you for writing the post.  As always you are the most eloquent and even toned of us. (I can’t spell my way out of a wet paper bag and have a tendency to externally process terrible ideas before thinking them all the way through).

    Many of the round and round discussions that have become less than friendly on these boards have been mostly focused on non-combat design philosophy.  Without any clear direction or communication from VR we are left to speculate and irritate each other.  Beyond that we come up with some really great ideas that are undoubtedly far beyond scope for Pantheon.  These dashed hopes tend to bring down moral so more realistic expectations would be helpful.

    It is a shame that Corey was not able to reveal his work to us but as someone who has personally switched jobs mid project I know that sometimes that’s just how it goes.

    So I will third the motion to get at least a few burning questions answered on crafted items relative power level, the structure of crafting progression, item removal from the economy, time limited or material limited crafting grinding, in game social tools (grouping, communicating, raiding, guilding, company making, family making, commerce) and from the appearance thread player customization options both visually and mechanically.

    Trasak

    • 347 posts
    December 4, 2019 10:58 PM PST

    I don't have a reason to think that these aspects of a world would not be implemented in their vision. 

    I'm very hungry for news relating to harvesting, crafting and economy management. 

    As we've encountered only just recently, not everything goes according to the 'assumed' plan that the community has in mind or even that VR has in mind. 

    It's to be expected that as the streamingprogram takes shape and as the development is still progressing, more and more of this content will be explained. 

    As it is right now, the game is still in PA and like many already stated, even for the none combat side of things, the devs have no obligations to release more information.

    Personally, I look for crafting intel in every newsletter and that's not going to change until the game launches for real.

    With such design emphasis on social/community connection in Pantheon, it would be very questionable that the none-combat side of the game would take a back seat at launch. That said, there is still room for additional content in expansions of course. 

    As a community, we can only stand behind the dev's as they roll out their choices and call for feedback when they feel it's the correct time for it. So that they don't waste time or resources processing feedback of a project that is not finished to their desired stage of development. For that I can not blame them. This implicates that many things will remain hidden from community view, even when seats are changed within the company. But as they officially mentioned on multiple occassions already, the team in general is a team wearing many hats at different times. As a community member supporting this game, I can only bring understanding, support when called upon and patience to the table. 

    I like the suggestion about having the occassional burning question relating none-combat. And a suggestion it remains.

     


    This post was edited by Barin999 at December 4, 2019 11:02 PM PST
    • 246 posts
    December 5, 2019 1:58 AM PST
    "I would like to see more communication from VR too"
    • 53 posts
    December 5, 2019 5:51 PM PST

    Very nice post Nephelle, agree with all you said.

    • 77 posts
    December 5, 2019 8:50 PM PST

    Hi Nephele and all. 

    Although Corey has moved on to other projects, he left us with a very healthy chunk of design docs and implementation. More than we were even anticipating for at this stage of development. That left us in a good spot because when we are ready to head back into Crafting and Harvesting we'll have a leg up.

    We are a small team and as you noted that means resources ARE finite. At this stage of dev, there's simply no way we would be able to give any one system full time attention from any one of our developers, be it crafting, economy, combat, perception or any other system. But we also don't need to right now. What we are focused on is getting the base systems in. Once these systems and tools are in then we can focus more on fleshing them out and tuning. We're just not at that stage of development yet, is all. But it's coming. (Also, the basic crafting and harvesting systems are in as planned for this milestone).

    There's really no reason for us to believe that any of this is going to be cut for launch.

    And quickly on economy: this is one of those things that we are thinking about with everything we do. Just like exploration or creating social opportunities, or depth of the world, or longevity so we don't get bored after a month - we think about these things every step of the way. It's an ingrained way of thinking rather than a one-person job.

    • 77 posts
    December 5, 2019 9:00 PM PST
    To clarify that last point: it’s more than a one person job. That doesn’t mean we don’t or won’t have resources directly working on it.
    • 1432 posts
    December 5, 2019 9:01 PM PST

    Really appreciate the followup Ben, thank you :)

    We would love to hear more about where things are headed as you all get the base systems done.  I think all of us are united in wanting Pantheon to succeed not just at its launch but long-term.  Let us know how and when we can help.

     

     

    • 3 posts
    December 5, 2019 9:33 PM PST
    Thank you for posting Ben! I can't say I'm surprised that Corey left such a good amount of foundational work / documents - the entire team shows that you are continuing to think ahead. ..but it's good to hear about it too.

    I appreciate the multiple hats that you'ns are wearing and the way you have to keep so many important aspects of the world in mind when developing any one part. I comprendo (both your original statement and your clarification) that foundational things like economy balance can't be limited to one person's responsibility, because so many other design choices will affect it.

    Happy to be here and watch this baby grow. :) keep up the good work.
    • 246 posts
    December 5, 2019 11:55 PM PST

    BenD said:

    We are a small team and as you noted that means resources ARE finite. At this stage of dev, there's simply no way we would be able to give any one system full time attention from any one of our developers, be it crafting, economy, combat, perception or any other system. But we also don't need to right now. What we are focused on is getting the base systems in. Once these systems and tools are in then we can focus more on fleshing them out and tuning. We're just not at that stage of development yet, is all. But it's coming.

    First off, I would like to thank you for taking the time to post/respond. However, this has me wondering where you are in development, is it close or far away from PA5? What are the minmum base systems required to proceed forward? Which systems are not done yet? Which systems are done? Which systems are getting axed? What is the timeline looking like? These are the answers we want, less of the public relations jargon. We know it's a small team, we hear about it in every stream & forum post. The amount of donations that will flood in from being post-PA5 will be monumental, it just seems like that breaking point keeps getting catapulted further and futher away.

    Obviously I am super passionate about this game and it's development, everyone reading these forums is - and have paid to be here. I talk to my wife so much about Pantheon she is getting sick of it, and if I try to talk to my friends about it - they just tell me it's vaporware at this point (obviously I don't side with them). I am really optimistic (and excited) for the December 12th stream, we just want to see and play the game as much as possible and as fast as possible. At this point I think we are ready for our first substantial meal of beans and I am starving.

    P.S. I tried not to be mean, but I am sure I will catch a lot of flak for this post.


    This post was edited by Fragile at December 6, 2019 12:11 AM PST
    • 212 posts
    December 6, 2019 4:52 AM PST

    Fragile said:

     

    P.S. I tried not to be mean, but I am sure I will catch a lot of flak for this post.

     

     

    No one ever gets flak for being forward, to the point and respectable in these forums. Flak just started being given to those who would just attack and demean without ANY evidence other than conclusions one has ASSUMED/DRAWN, and often just say rude stuff for the sake of making others feel like they do (pathetic). Thanks for taking note. This thread is an example of how we can better use our energies to communicate with the team with EFFECT. Thanks for posting here and considering the words you used, its been truly helpful.

    • 973 posts
    December 6, 2019 7:45 AM PST

    @BenD

    Thank you for making the time to respond.  We look forward to seeing and hearing more and needless to say would happily be involved in any testing or brainstorming of non-adventuring content.

    • 1197 posts
    December 6, 2019 8:12 AM PST

    BenD said:

    Hi Nephele and all. 

    Although Corey has moved on to other projects, he left us with a very healthy chunk of design docs and implementation. More than we were even anticipating for at this stage of development. That left us in a good spot because when we are ready to head back into Crafting and Harvesting we'll have a leg up.

    We are a small team and as you noted that means resources ARE finite. At this stage of dev, there's simply no way we would be able to give any one system full time attention from any one of our developers, be it crafting, economy, combat, perception or any other system. But we also don't need to right now. What we are focused on is getting the base systems in. Once these systems and tools are in then we can focus more on fleshing them out and tuning. We're just not at that stage of development yet, is all. But it's coming. (Also, the basic crafting and harvesting systems are in as planned for this milestone).

    There's really no reason for us to believe that any of this is going to be cut for launch.

    And quickly on economy: this is one of those things that we are thinking about with everything we do. Just like exploration or creating social opportunities, or depth of the world, or longevity so we don't get bored after a month - we think about these things every step of the way. It's an ingrained way of thinking rather than a one-person job.

    Ben, thanks for the response.

    Will the entirety of what Corey implemented be in place and demonstrated with the first public video showing off in-game play testing of Project Faerthale, or will it be a subset of what he implemented?

    • 77 posts
    December 6, 2019 3:02 PM PST

    Fragile, those are all fair questions. I'll try to answer as much as I can in the next Producer's letter this month. We won't be able to give you all the answers, but we should be able to get through a good bit of them. Thanks for the feedback!

    • 212 posts
    December 6, 2019 3:37 PM PST

    BenD said:

    Fragile, those are all fair questions. I'll try to answer as much as I can in the next Producer's letter this month. We won't be able to give you all the answers, but we should be able to get through a good bit of them. Thanks for the feedback!

     

    This is awesome!

    • 38 posts
    December 6, 2019 6:15 PM PST

    BenD said:

    Hi Nephele and all. 

    Although Corey has moved on to other projects, he left us with a very healthy chunk of design docs and implementation. More than we were even anticipating for at this stage of development. That left us in a good spot because when we are ready to head back into Crafting and Harvesting we'll have a leg up.

    We are a small team and as you noted that means resources ARE finite. At this stage of dev, there's simply no way we would be able to give any one system full time attention from any one of our developers, be it crafting, economy, combat, perception or any other system. But we also don't need to right now. What we are focused on is getting the base systems in. Once these systems and tools are in then we can focus more on fleshing them out and tuning. We're just not at that stage of development yet, is all. But it's coming. (Also, the basic crafting and harvesting systems are in as planned for this milestone).

    There's really no reason for us to believe that any of this is going to be cut for launch.

    And quickly on economy: this is one of those things that we are thinking about with everything we do. Just like exploration or creating social opportunities, or depth of the world, or longevity so we don't get bored after a month - we think about these things every step of the way. It's an ingrained way of thinking rather than a one-person job.

    I do appreciate you taking the time to respond Ben, but these types of answers sometimes breed even more questions. We've been told numerous times that you guys have enough funding to make it to launch. However, you state here that your resources ARE finite and apparently means you need to cut people you can't afford. So the funding aspect really is hard to gauge in that you have funding to make it to launch, but not to pay everyone to stay on board. If you can't pay people, then that pushes out the release date further, which then means you still have to pay the developers still there up until that point. Which also leads to you running out of money due to it taking even longer. While I don't expect you to divulge your financial information, this sort of walk back is concerning.

    Secondly, we've been hearing about all the base systems needing to go in before you move forward. While I do agree this is the right way to approach it, it seems this drum has been beat to death in it's length. We're getting to the point where we need to SEE some things and have less PR speak as Fragile pointed out. I realize you guys want to hold stuff back to a degree and that's understandable, but there comes a point in time where you need to show what you've been doing with pledgers money for them to be less anxious about the project.

    Here's a quote from an article that was released following the failed KS:

    "Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is being developed for Mac and Windows PC. The game's launch is slated for January 2017; Visionary Realms has not yet announced if the Kickstarter's results will impact that date."

    While I realize the KS failed and many things have changed since then, we're still almost 3 years passed that release date and we can't even get concrete info on when PA5 will be, let alone Alpha itself. The last PA was over a year ago. This game sometimes feels further out of reach 6 years later. I sure do hope for Brad's memory that this makes it to release and is as good as we and he hoped. I'm just hopeful that it's in time before people either lose interest or something eles beats you to the punch.

    This isn't meant to be rude, so apologies if it comes across wrong. I've been following this project since prior to the KS when it was revealed that Brad had registered for the domain, so my wait has been about as long as anybody's. I'm super hyped to play this game and I want it to succeed more than anything, I just think it's time to pull the curtain back a little more, especially for those who've been around for the past almost 6 years. Thanks again and good luck!

    • 246 posts
    December 6, 2019 9:00 PM PST

    BenD said:

    Fragile, those are all fair questions. I'll try to answer as much as I can in the next Producer's letter this month. We won't be able to give you all the answers, but we should be able to get through a good bit of them. Thanks for the feedback!

    Thank you for the response, it is much appreciated. Looking forward to reading it, onward and upward!