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Mana/Willpower/Endurance Drain in AB Files

TaelTael Member Posts: 1,197 @ - Epic Achaean
Can we get a line in every ab file that states clearly whether abilities have a willpower/endurance/mana drain?

Right now, it's incredibly, frustratingly inconsistent. Some ability descriptions say that they have a drain, others don't say anything.

Now that the AB files are actually formatted, could we get a line between "Syntax" and "Details" that just indicates the cost per second/tick/whatever?

In fact, could we maybe just get a line in there that has the cost of using it or of maintaining it? This doesn't seem like information worth hiding from players. Presumably this could be extracted from the ability code rather than having to do it by hand for every skill.
SenaAodfionnRohaiShirszaeFlorentinoXithNimEldBluefErnam

Comments

  • TaelTael Member Posts: 1,197 @ - Epic Achaean
    In order of preference:
    1. Put in a line for every ability that says the HMEW cost of abilities, especially the ongoing cost (Cost: 60 mana, 10 willpower ongoing).
    2. Put in a line for every ability that says the amount of constant drain (Ongoing Drain: 10 willpower).
    3. Put in a line for every ability that just says whether they have a constant drain at all - even if they don't say what the drain is (Drain: Willpower).
    BadeFlorentinoNim
  • XithXith Member Posts: 2,602 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    In general provide more of the math stuff so people can spend less cumulative time metagaming to test every ability. This may even help newbie retention by lessening the learning curve for combat.

    +1 to ab files pulling HMEW costs from the code. I've got a spreadsheet workbook with a page for each skill I've tested. It'd be nice to have an easy reference table on the wiki too but at least making the obvious stuff available would make it easier for players to manage their own tables.
    I like my steak like I like my Magic cards: mythic rare.
    TaelNimShirszae
  • TaelTael Member Posts: 1,197 @ - Epic Achaean
    edited November 2014
    Xith said:
    In general provide more of the math stuff so people can spend less cumulative time metagaming to test every ability. This may even help newbie retention by lessening the learning curve for combat.
    I think there is a lot to be said for this.

    The current attitude seems to be that putting the numbers in is too metagamey - but I don't think that ends up being true in practice. In practice, it just means that people have to spend more time testing things in a decidedly metagamey way. For any immersion that is saved by not having the numbers in the ab files, ten times that amount is lost from having to spend hours testing things with people in a way that all but entirely precludes RP.

    And given how combat in the game is a lot more analytic than in most games, I think there's a lot to be said for how hard the obfuscation makes things on newbies. Combat in Achaea is not like a lot of other games. You aren't just trying to whittle their health down faster than they whittle yours down - winning as most classes requires absolute precision. You can't just throw venoms onto someone and hope to overwhelm them, you need to put the venoms on in very precise orders and you need to be very precise in prepping limbs so you can break them all at once (particularly now that everyone has a curing system).

    I understand that there is a certain degree to which formulas are kept secret to force people to learn things on their own, but it should probably be recognised that that learning means huge time investment just to reinvent the wheel that can be really discouraging to newbies, and it means huge time investment in an activity that has to involve a tremendous amount of metagaming rather than interacting in-character.

    In an ideal world, AB files would read a lot more like WoW tooltips. It's not like that makes learning combat too easy because the difficulty of combat should be in learning strategies, not in spending hours and hours in the arena trying to figure out the specifics of what your abilities actually do. Having the actual duration of voidfist in the AB file doesn't make it immediately obvious how to use it effectively. And, perhaps more importantly, talking about strategies can be done in-character - you can have an in-character discussion of venom locks (for comparison: you largely cannot have an in-game discussion of measuring ability drain or damage numbers or many of the other things that people are constantly forced to test out themselves as a prerequisite for developing strategies).

    While I'm sure that there are people who like the fact that combat knowledge requires such an investment to learn the basic facts of what your abilities actually do, I think those people are almost entirely people who already have that knowledge, and, while I do think there's something kind of neat about that, I really don't think it's at all worth making the bulk of the game's mechanics so unapproachable.
    NimSeifurAradorFlorentino
  • NimNim Member Posts: 2,015 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2014
    I think I once IDEA'd for this but for balance/equilibrium costs/requirements, and was told exactly that: it'd break immersion.

    I think that line of thinking is completely backwards for reasons @Tael has already wrote paragraphs on, so I am glad there is a thread where people can press agree buttons and maybe show the admins that line of reasoning is not really positive or even necessarily correct.

    I mean really, as a similar but unrelated example, how is going and breaking about fifty bajillion peoples' arms in various stances in order to learn how limb breaking works in a usable fashion at all immersive? Is it immersive if I look for people with certain health brackets, when HP isn't even supposed to be an IC quantity? Where is the immersion?
    SynestArador
  • XithXith Member Posts: 2,602 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I think Achaea's "learning" time should be spent more on the lore and RP, not the mechanics.
    And I'm going to compare to League of Legends, which makes skill ratios and damage values readily available for every single champion (currently 121). Achaea's combat system is already complex enough without also being 'hard to learn'. 

    There are about 130 afflictions to understand, and that doesn't include the differences in skills that can deliver them, how each of those skills is stopped, or the dozens of skills that do things not pertaining to afflictions. 
    The first step to being anywhere near a decent combatant is understanding every skill you have on an intimate level.
    The second step is understanding how those skills work in tandem and developing your tactics.
    The third step is understanding every other class's skills on an intimate level so you don't lose.

    The 3rd item is part of why I suggest making things available on the wiki. In LoL, you can check the moves another champion has so you know what they can do to you and what you can't do to them. The difference is they only have 5 skills. Achaean classes have 120+, so you're up against a lot more while also being unable to research it.
    Combine that with rapidly scrolling text and you get newbies asking 'What happened, how did I die, what do I do?'
    New players can arm themselves a good deal faster with the numbers than they'll be able to without. Making the skills seem qualitative when the numbers are what matters is just confusing.
    I like my steak like I like my Magic cards: mythic rare.
    NimTael
  • NimNim Member Posts: 2,015 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    It's not just LoL, it's basically every game ever.

    Like, City of Heroes tried to not include that information, I think for the same reasons. In fairness, I don't think roleplay was a selling point of CoH, but still, a superhero MMO definitely would benefit from immersion).

    They stopped doing that, and made things very transparent.

    Nethack hides this information in the game itself, as a counter-example, but nethack is open source and has pretty good FAQs and wikis explaining every detail.

    In short, I think Achaea can definitely leave this information out of the AB files if they had wikis and FAQs and such explaining it all, but the only resource they have is a forum, and forums are... not really the best place for information exchange, given the ease of which misinformation can enter.

    Worse yet is when people go "yeah everyone in this thread is basically wrong about a lot of things, but I'm not going to correct them."
    JacenXith
  • TaelTael Member Posts: 1,197 @ - Epic Achaean
    edited November 2014
    Creating pages for it on the wiki seems very unlikely to solve the issue.

    In any competitive environment, there is huge incentive for the people who know the details in question to keep them secret. Once you've put the time in to test all of these abilities, keeping quiet means you don't just have to be better than everyone at combat to beat them (come up with better strategies, employ them better, adapt better, etc.), you can leverage the fact that other people just don't have the patience to do the grunt-work.

    So I certainly don't blame anyone for not wanting to give out information in the forums.

    The only time crowd-sourcing the information works is when you have a large enough population of knowledgeable people that a few of them are willing to sacrifice their advantage (and their time) to create those resources. Achaea's population of very knowledgeable combatants is relatively small.

    On top of that, Achaea has at least an order of magnitude more abilities in the game than just about any other. Finding people willing to put in the time to document them all (much less maintain them - which has always been a problem with the wiki) seems like a very unrealistic hope.

    I think the primary issue is that the AB files are very dated. The format used to seem reasonable, but in-game documentation in other games has come a long way since they were first added. I don't think "immsersion" is a good excuse for keeping them like this when it entails metagaming with other people to gather the necessary information.

    Consistent documentation of HMEW drains would be a nice first step. But really, the best solution would probably be to just split the files into two sections: (1) Flavour text (2) Mechanical details akin to a LoL or WoW tooltip or even a D&D power description. The new card format of them already makes a split like that more sensible.

    But at the very least, more consistent documentation of HMEW drains would be nice. They're already mentioned in several abilities, so I can't imagine that they're objectionable from an immersion-breaking perspective - they just need to be made more consistent.
  • AntoniusAntonius Member Posts: 4,771 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2014
    Xith said:
     It'd be nice to have an easy reference table on the wiki too but at least making the obvious stuff available would make it easier for players to manage their own tables.
    You can edit the Wiki. I see this a lot; people say it would be nice if the Wiki included such and such information, and they either don't realise that they can or don't want to put the information on there themselves.
    Nim said:
    In short, I think Achaea can definitely leave this information out of the AB files if they had wikis and FAQs and such explaining it all, but the only resource they have is a forum, and forums are... not really the best place for information exchange, given the ease of which misinformation can enter.
    That's not true. There's a wiki and players can edit it, but on the whole it's just not used. People either don't know it exists, don't care about updating it, or don't know that they can (like I said above).

    ----

    Given previous discussions about the state of Achaea's code base, it may not be easy (or even possible) to pull the necessary information directly from the code and update the AB files. It would be great for that information to be made readily available without players having to expend any effort. However, a lot of this information is already known or can be found out relatively easily, and there seems to be far more players who  think this would be of benefit than there are coders for Achaea. There's a wiki, and (for the third time) you can edit it, so go nuts.
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    There's definitely no way to pull that info from the code with a help file. They're just flat files. There's not even a way in the code to query the eq/balance time for an ability outside of the ability itself (as it's never needed). Balance/eq is simply a routine that's called with a couple variables passed to it, that every ability that uses balance or eq calls within the routine that is the verb itself. 

    Personally I agree that it'd be nice to have more informative ab files, but it's also a ton of work and we're busy with many things.

    There was an effort started at one point to document combat generally, class by class, but I think only one person followed through (@Daeir who started in on Blademaster and got a nice summary of it there, though that's not nearly as detailed as ability by ability of course).

    http://wiki.achaea.com/Combat:Blademaster

    A bunch of other classes have stubbed pages, but the idea was to document each class as fully as possible under Combat:<class>


    RohaiAchimrstMorsul
  • BluefBluef DelosMember Posts: 2,176 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2014
    Antonius said:
    That's not true. There's a wiki and players can edit it, but on the whole it's just not used. People either don't know it exists, don't care about updating it, or don't know that they can (like I said above).

    The wiki.achaea.com site used to be regularly updated by players, who volunteered their time to do so and were called the Chroniclers of Lore. I think we even had a clan, and our group used to be headed by Nissa, the Head Archivist of the Lucretian Athenaeum.

    Anyway, the chroniclers eventually created a general template for each page and the wiki used to be updated as soon as a new skill, event, divine, item, etc. came about IC. Every page was carefully crafted not to give away secrets or mirror IC text, including unnecessary information (such as things that should be in AB files), etc.

    For whatever reason, the Garden discontinued the "Chroniclers of Lore" though favouring instead to encourage everyone to access and edit the wiki. The people who put a lot of work (for RL years) into the wiki prior were given a curt thank you and a silver staff for their efforts (which decayed like a month later). I think that this swift end to the Chroniclers program may have contributed to future editing/usage of the wiki or lack thereof at least in part.

    @Halos may be the only one consistently editing it these days apart from the few people who happen across the ability to do so and vandalize a page or two.
  • AchimrstAchimrst NatureMember Posts: 3,608 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Bluef said:
    Antonius said:
    That's not true. There's a wiki and players can edit it, but on the whole it's just not used. People either don't know it exists, don't care about updating it, or don't know that they can (like I said above).

    The wiki.achaea.com site used to be regularly updated by players, who volunteered their time to do so and were called the Chroniclers of Lore. I think we even had a clan, and our group used to be headed by Nissa, the Head Archivist of the Lucretian Athenaeum.

    Anyway, the chroniclers eventually created a general template for each page and the wiki used to be updated as soon as a new skill, event, divine, item, etc. came about IC. Every page was carefully crafted not to give away secrets or mirror IC text, including unnecessary information (such as things that should be in AB files), etc.

    For whatever reason, the Garden discontinued the "Chroniclers of Lore" though favouring instead to encourage everyone to access and edit the wiki. The people who put a lot of work (for RL years) into the wiki prior were given a curt thank you and a silver staff for their efforts (which decayed like a month later). I think that this swift end to the Chroniclers program may have contributed to future editing/usage of the wiki or lack thereof at least in part.

    @Halos may be the only one consistently editing it these days apart from the few people who happen across the ability to do so and vandalize a page or two.
    So, you're telling me I can go to the wiki page and write whatever I want in there and actually update the things that made me stop going there in the past even if I have little to no information on whether that is actually the case?

    Because if so, I am at least changing the stuff I USED to read in there!
  • XithXith Member Posts: 2,602 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I got a good way into the Jester page, but that was also before a lot of the changes that came in since I class changed. Definitely something to revisit. I think a good table template to put on every class or skillset page with columns for the costs and maybe approximate damage. I'm no wiki expert so if someone else can build something including
    Ability Name, costs: (Health, Mana, Willpower, Endurance, Balance, Equilibrium, Skill Balance, Skill Resource) Requirements, Effect. The cost columns would be fairly narrow, limited to 1-4 digits, with Reqs 'N Effect  containing more information.
    I like my steak like I like my Magic cards: mythic rare.
  • ErnamErnam Member Posts: 2,416 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean

    Would simply suggest adding a line to Status for drains, and adding it to the SHOW command.

    Making the AB files more consistent would be really good though.

    "Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future."


          Manda  |  Godzilla  |  SLC
      1. TaelTael Member Posts: 1,197 @ - Epic Achaean
        edited November 2014
        Sarapis said:
        There's definitely no way to pull that info from the code with a help file. They're just flat files. There's not even a way in the code to query the eq/balance time for an ability outside of the ability itself (as it's never needed). Balance/eq is simply a routine that's called with a couple variables passed to it, that every ability that uses balance or eq calls within the routine that is the verb itself. 
        I should have been clearer - I didn't mean for the ab files to actually pull the information whenever a player issues the ab command, I just meant that something like grabbing the HMEW drain (or balance/eq) from each ability and writing it to the flat ab files could probably be automated by just grepping the code for every ability (as opposed to writing detailed tooltip-style ab files for every ability, which would have to be done by hand for every ability individually).

        Ernam's idea would work too, but I don't know whether the engine is actually explicitly tracking the source of each drain - if it is, that might be easier.

        Also, if better ab files are actually a thing IRE would be open to, but require too much work, maybe it would be a good idea to crowd-source them. Crowd-sourcing them "unofficially" is probably a doomed effort, but just asking the ACC if they'd be willing to help write what would become actual ab files seems like it might work?
      2. ErnamErnam Member Posts: 2,416 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
        edited November 2014

        I think between myself, @Mizik, @Jovolo, and @Sena, we could probably list every drain in the game in about 5 minutes.

        That said, I think this would be a really easy client-side project - and in fact, SVO already kindof does it (although, not entirely accurately) by displaying abilities with mana drains in blue.


        If there's enough support for it, I'd be happy to incorporate the actual equations for a small script/mini-system to track drains and provide an output function and SVO prompt tag.  Would probably take about 24-48 hours, not including pestering Sena for data.

        Personally, I just use a prompt tag function that inserts [ I | H | M ]  into my prompt, for Inspiration, Heresey, and Metawake.  Red if disabled, green if enabled.  The same functionality would be very simple to add for virtually any defense, particularly if you're using SVO.  I also have a few similar prompt tags for other important things, like when I have various alternate curing prios selected, or mana conservation enabled, etc.

        Here's the code I used:  (what it looks like)

        priest_tag = function()
        	local insp = "<a_darkred>"
        	local her = "<a_darkred>"
        	local met = "<a_darkred>"
        	--local burst = "<red>burst"
        	if svo.defc.inspiration then insp = "<green>" end
        	if svo.defc.heresy then her = "<green>" end
        	if svo.defc.metawake then met = "<cyan>" end
        	--if svo.defc.starburst then burst = "" end
        	return "<DarkSlateGray>["..insp.."I<DarkSlateGray>|"..her.."H<DarkSlateGray>|"..met.."M<DarkSlateGray>]"
        end
        svo.adddefinition("@priest_tag", "priest_tag()")
        
        

        "Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future."


              Manda  |  Godzilla  |  SLC
          1. XithXith Member Posts: 2,602 @@ - Legendary Achaean
            @Vadimuses should make a standard tag(s) that shows drains, gray if no drain, scaling in color up to red for a high approximate drain. Or y'know, somebody make that, including all defs/abilities, and then put it with Svo standard.
            I like my steak like I like my Magic cards: mythic rare.
          2. CooperCooper IowaMember Posts: 4,868 @@ - Legendary Achaean
            Sarapis said:
            There's definitely no way to pull that info from the code with a help file. They're just flat files. There's not even a way in the code to query the eq/balance time for an ability outside of the ability itself (as it's never needed). Balance/eq is simply a routine that's called with a couple variables passed to it, that every ability that uses balance or eq calls within the routine that is the verb itself. 

            Personally I agree that it'd be nice to have more informative ab files, but it's also a ton of work and we're busy with many things.

            There was an effort started at one point to document combat generally, class by class, but I think only one person followed through (@Daeir who started in on Blademaster and got a nice summary of it there, though that's not nearly as detailed as ability by ability of course).

            http://wiki.achaea.com/Combat:Blademaster

            A bunch of other classes have stubbed pages, but the idea was to document each class as fully as possible under Combat:<class>


            @Sarapis

            This is something that you could source to the player base. It would probably only take us a week to write new AB files that are more descriptive and accurate and helpful than the current ones. Give us strict parameters of what information you want, the format you want it in, etc. and you'd just have to proof read them.

            MelodieFlorentinoBluefTael
          3. VadimusesVadimuses Member Posts: 1,104 @ - Epic Achaean
            The system does organise defences into ones that use a lot of mana and little mana drain. If any ones need updating, let me know.
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