Can we overcome the weaknesses of "the power level"?

25

The purpose of this thread is to raise a little concern and hopefully stimulate a little debate regarding the power level system and one if it's pitfalls. Let me start by stating a few facts

  • Power levels within Tier 1 - Will contain loot of the same tables. This is fact. 
  • Tier's we have been told will include 10-20 power levels within various sub sectors
  • We therefore will be grinding a new gear set to move from power level to power level

Obviously for anyone who has seen the power level video there are some clear strengths to this system in that players of the same Tier can easily play together as they all have comparable gear. Once the mission modifier is applied equally to everyone (by the host) everyone will have the same experience. 

What I want to ask is what factors do you think the hosts can use to try and make this process more enjoyable? The slight amount of power creep or damage increase we will experience will be coming from skill and attribute points. Due to the power level system the next power level will not be giving you more damage, at least not via the gear. Thus far my thoughts are.

  • Having some perks tied to sectors or power levels - a notable incentive for a player to want to hit that next planet and start building towards a new style of play. It would make sense to tie a new power level to a new perk because likely a different set of gear might be needed to optimise and build around a specific perk.
  • Different missions - while it's not perhaps ideal, having a different mission type gradually introduced to us as we progress through the levels might keep it from becoming a little stale. It could also be argued to have all mission types be made available and randomised to repetition never becomes an issue, but I also like the idea of seeing a mission type in the next area that you haven't tried yet and look forward to.
  • New skins or perhaps weapon blueprints - By knowing the next power level has a specific blueprint that you want to get your hands on.. It's something you might want to work for or aim to add into your collection. 
  • New maps - Obviously a new power level will be a new planet - Ergo changing the potential map. I respect that it's impossible to have 200 different map types of course. But having one planet use a specific shader varient of a map over another might still be enough to make it feel "new". 

What I can conclude from the above though is that the system does worry me a little. I really respect how myself and my friends will be able to play together and how the power level will really make community interaction far easier. But i'm also hopeful there are some other ideas as to how this system can keep a player interested in what is essentially repeating the same thing 10-20 times. 


Hydra o/



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Can we overcome the weaknesses of "the power level"?
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1 year 133 days ago
+2

I'd personally like to see difficulty added or expanded with the higher power levels within a Tier, as it stands once you start to acquire a higher power level the content doesn't provide as much of a challenge as I would like.


Perhaps by moving up in power levels the enemies we face also increase and unlock new ability sets, attack speed increases, reinforcement mechanics be in the form of physical or psychic shields, squad reinforcements or upgraded weaponry, I dont just want to face identical enemies of higher hit points but those enemies with different or 'smarter' abilities would be great to see imo.


But also indeed a reward for the player is required to entice, could come in the form of gear/weapon skins both craftable and found, specific relic items only found in certain tiers and sectors.


Higher tiers should also unlock certain abilities and perhaps set items within the inqisitor  ability examples could include 3rd and 4th weapon loadouts, reduced global cooldowns or even alternate global abilities like deployable squad or vehicle/dreadnought reinforcement or simple modifiers to existing ones, flamer, plasma or rocket tarantulas for example.


Not only could it give incentives but also create diversity among the inquisitor builds.

1 year 134 days ago
+2

I really wish there was a way to PM each other. Since I have your attention, I have some questions. I'm a few purple drops away from power lvl 2 on both my characters. I'm curious to know, currently, what happens when a character gets there ? Currently, what happens if you hit PL 2 on Attack, but are stiil 1 on Defense ? My assumption is that in both cases it only effects the challenge handicaps in the higher lvl star systems.

This comment was edited 1 year 134 days ago by ctiger
1 year 134 days ago
+2

Why not break it down to how power level is defined as a lingual construct for an established medium of communication and then compare that to the current state. If things change in 3.0 then the thread can always be revisited, that is what is nice about polite discourse.


Power can be influence, strength, other physical prowess, belongings, etc.

Levels are a way of demarcating difference in power.

In the case of Martyr they already influence systems and the "power level" system is correlated directly to your gear and that is all.


It's a number stuck on a weapon that does as much damage as any other, but because my Loyalty Impl--Err, bionic Implant was rewarded back in Schola Gitgudium for giving the Inquisitor an apple it for some reason does 25% less damage. When that brain implant is replaced with something newer though my power level raises to 2 and I no longer suffer the damage reduction against other power level 2's.

So far it makes some sense to me and provides progression in a way where I can fight more difficult maps. Constantly needing to get stronger gear to do more difficult areas is a big thing in many ARPGs so I'm with it so far..


If you need mostly purples, artificer items, to get to that next power level then it means you'll be replacing old artificer with better artificer.. makes sense so far to me.

Only real problem I see is the fact it is called power level when it doesn't take in anything else you've accumulated. If it is specifically for ONLY rating gear, then I would like it to be more intuitive with how it is named.

1 year 133 days ago
+1
ctiger

Well we know that investigations are getting a large overhaul but honestly we know nothing about this. 


As for seasons - I'd expect 1x season to be 1x new Tier. Which would mean 1x New faction and some new mission variants alongside a few new quests / story and appropriate weapons. While this is just my speculation, i'd be pretty confident in it. 


As for your comments regarding open world - This is why I did the old video to challenge them on their use of the terms open world and sandbox. Thing is technically you can travel anywhere in space (in a pre defined area) and go into various instances. You also have some fair freedom in how you play and do this. So I see where the words came from, but you are right it's a far cry form what people expect. 

This comment was edited 1 year 133 days ago by Airsick Hydra
1 year 134 days ago
+1
Airsick Hydra

Thx. I did watch the video, but it brought up some additional questions/clarifications. So, once my character is P2, is there currently a path towards P3 ? If there is, how does it work ? Does the purple gear continue to increase in Att/Def strength, or does something else happen ?

1 year 134 days ago
+1
awoodenchair

Really good point regarding the naming. The term power level is certainly a bit of a misnomer given its more tied to a difficulty setting / mission modifier system rather than any actual numeric increase in your capability.


It's an odd situation to find yourself in. - You are farming something that doesn't inherently make you any stronger (gear sets) in order to gain experience at a faster rate which will end up making you stronger. To be honest when you put it that way it actually makes more sense with a 40k universe xD - just not as motivating as chasing a forever growing axe size.

Also agree with your point regarding the natural progress of an ARPG, typically you get better gear to fight bigger and badder things. The pitfall though is that the power level system has been designed in a way in that all characters have the capacity to be equal within a range of different power levels (in terms of gear)




1 year 134 days ago
+1
Posted by Airsick Hydra 1 year 134 days ago

The power levels are identical in sorts. Once you get to P2 the weapons that drop will have a naturally higher attack rating which will slowly push you towards the next power level and so on. 


Basically you have access to the new loot table now. Which is identical, but just so happens to have more attack power than the last one. Congrats, you now have to repeat what you just did to get to P3. Then another 10+ times! :D


If that sounds a little - demotivating, that's the purpose of this thread :D

Ok, got it. Final question for now. Once a character hits P2 is it locked in ? What I mean is, if I used an it to get there, that I don't want to continue using, will I lose P2 if I go back to the other item ?

1 year 134 days ago
+1
Airsick Hydra

I would really like to start discussing this "Tier" system(end game ?) and it's potential effect on the persistent open world, but I think that might to going to far off topic here.

1 year 133 days ago
+1

Problem with current system is that it strictly requires you to get a full set of purple gear to advance to next level, with well rolled ratings to boot. Which means you have very low chance of getting gear that suits your play style or your build. If your build requires very specific enchants, then... welcome to grinding hell. You'll either have to wait for eternity to get your perfect purple set with which you'll farm your next perfect purple set, or abandon your build and play optimum overperforming build for which gear isn't as important. The build you probably don't like at all.

1 year 133 days ago
+1
ctiger

Probably, but we should keep providing as much feedback as possible so that the experience can be as finely tuned as possible!

1 year 133 days ago
+1
ctiger

I get the feeling based on the information I have (which may be erroneous/out of date) that the "seasons" and such will be set up in such a way that they'll be (at some level) accessible to both casual players and those of us putting in the grind; keeping a somewhat "open" world--though remember that in many cases, "open" does not mean "easily accessible to all".


Look at notables such as Just Cause, Grand Theft Auto, etc. While you may be able to get there, you're probably going to have problems with content difficulty when you do get there.. so it's important to keep that in mind while we discuss that aspect of the game.


Grim Dawn (again! I know!) has an open world, with very little in the way of loading screens... but there are parts that are locked to progress until you reach a certain threshold.


I think part of the issue with the term these days is that it's come to mean "go anywhere at whenever", when originally it referred to games with sprawling zones (often with progress-locks to prevent early entry to the next) rather than narrow linear corridors.


So we'll definitely need some clarification on that part, I think.

1 year 134 days ago

Looking over the roadmap again, I can't help but think that so much of what we think we know, is going to change come 3.0 in September. What we have seen & tested so far is just the tip of the iceberg, as you well know Hydra. Right now, without knowing exactly how the power level system will actually fit into the overall game, I find it difficult to comment on it now.

1 year 134 days ago
ctiger

Fair point to say that of some criticisms but i'm only asking what we could look forward to in place of power creep on gear. Just a little mental exercise to see what us players would like to see. No harm in bouncing ideas around during development.


Like you say - i'm sure there are things that Neocore have thought of to combat this and provide incentive - but there might be some benefit in seeing what players think of the system as a concept. As you say we are still missing a lot of features relating to it, but the power level system itself has been outlined fairly clearly. 


1 year 134 days ago
Posted by ctiger 1 year 134 days ago

I really wish there was a way to PM each other. Since I have your attention, I have some questions. I'm a few purple drops away from power lvl 2 on both my characters. I'm curious to know, currently, what happens when a character gets there ? Currently, what happens if you hit PL 2 on Attack, but are stiil 1 on Defense ? My assumption is that in both cases it only effects the challenge handicaps in the higher lvl star systems.

Not meaning to self promote but did you watch the video? :D


If you are only leveled in one of these then currently you can still only craft level 1 gear of both. Despite the tooltip stating otherwise. Tbh i'm not sure if the tooltip is the bug or the crafting but i've been led to believe its the tooltip. 


You are correct however in that the mission modifiers will not centralise around your new level. To the best of my knowledge it calculates the two separately So you will be dealing good damage to a P2 mission, but will be taking more!

You may now start collecting your P2 gear for attack as well! - However what you will notice is that it's the same as the P1 gear. 90-110 weapon damage etc.

Feel free to PM me on discord at any time. 

1 year 134 days ago
ctiger

The power levels are identical in sorts. Once you get to P2 the weapons that drop will have a naturally higher attack rating which will slowly push you towards the next power level and so on. 


Basically you have access to the new loot table now. Which is identical, but just so happens to have more attack power than the last one. Congrats, you now have to repeat what you just did to get to P3. Then another 10+ times! :D


If that sounds a little - demotivating, that's the purpose of this thread :D

1 year 134 days ago
ctiger

Pretty sure if you equip item A and it makes you rank to 2. Then un-equip it, then the loot table goes back down again accordingly. 

1 year 134 days ago
ctiger

Well a Tier is jsut anotehr set of subsectors but with a raised difficulty setting globally, new enemies and new mission types. Other than that it follows the same format presumably :)

1 year 133 days ago

After boosting an Assassin (with largely found gear) to PL2 in about seven or eight hours from level 1 yesterday, a lot of the felt weakness comes down to how gear isn't quite... right... yet.


Without beating a load of dead horses, I'm noticing that because a blade-assassin can be quite effective essentially regardless of what you throw on her (your damage mitigation being an active dodge with no cooldown), the drawbacks of throwing higher "power" gear are lower than a more gear-dependant build--and I'd like Neocore to take a long look at that, perhaps making sword+board gear more "powerful" in terms of the rating (not the stats, just please weight the stats properly guys). It took a lot of juggling to reach PL2 in Att and Def on my crusader, and in the end I had to minmax my ranged off-set loadout to do it because the best of the purple 1h and shields plus the best of literally everything else I could slot brought me two points shy. That's... odd, and a potential shortcoming of the system itself, at least as currently implemented.


Most of my assassin's gear is, outside of some minor survival tweaks in the form of +adrenaline and heal on hit, just there to make those numbers bigger--the largest amount of my damage is the second mouse DoT cleave, so I spend most of my time dodging actively, stacking dots on things, and then dropping the distortion field (far more effective for melee assassin than stealth suit for my playstyle) on the medium/elite enemies and pounding them with a combination of DoTs and death marks until I can kill them outright with the "finisher" combo (I forget what the ability is called, Death Cult blade 2 key attack that stacks damage per mark).


As a result, I've had to revise my views on power level and itemization a bit; I still feel that there are things that are clearly borked (seeing +deflect on assassin armor, when it should be +dodge--and deflect does not raise dodge so it's a wasted enchant) that need to be addressed, some QoL tweaks to make life suck less for a couple of the specializations.


Unrelated to the topic of the thread, Hydra... I've made it my goal to boost my DoT damage to the point where Nurgle Mark regen can't outheal it. In the Distortion field effect, it works, but even at +25% I'm still not quite there otherwise.

1 year 133 days ago
Aedwynn

Good points. Based on my reading of the roadmap, many of those "current" issues will be addressed in 3.0

1 year 133 days ago
Posted by Airsick Hydra 1 year 134 days ago

Well a Tier is jsut anotehr set of subsectors but with a raised difficulty setting globally, new enemies and new mission types. Other than that it follows the same format presumably :)

Ok first, and I hate to nitpick, but I think it is necessary for clarity....It is my understanding that each Tier is a different sub-sector(each sub containing several star systems). Then, if that is correct, my question would be: Does each sub-sector need to be unlocked or are they all available from the start ? If they need to be unlocked, how does that effect the open world ? Is it no longer truly an open world, but instead, just a series of "chapters" in a linear campaign ? How would a Sector wide, Grand Investigation fit into such a system ?


In summary, I know you have mentioned "end game" several times in the recent past. So, how would an open world game with "seasons" have an end game ? Is the game "over" once all the Tiers(Sub-sectors) are unlocked and completed ? Have the Devs given up on the open world concept for the game ?

This comment was edited 1 year 133 days ago by ctiger
1 year 133 days ago
ctiger

Each Tier has it's own "end game" of sorts where you are encouraged to grind out the things like relic weapons etc before you complete the hard stuff and continue. So in that sense it's end of chapter :D


To the best of my knowledge there will be a few Subsectors within each Tier. We currently have 1 of about 5. Which contains the first 4 power levels. If what i've heard is correct we will get another 3-4 sub sectors within this Tier which will bring us to the first piece of this endgame content.

Re unlocking sub-sectors it's a good question and I can't give you a response to that one. I would presume so but can't say with any confidence. Although I know you can't go skipping ahead outside of your current Tier because there will be criteria to meet. .  

1 year 133 days ago

I guess unlocking more Tiers through missions will simply increase the map where you can roam free. Although it's more sandbox like, open world doesn't fit multiplanet system we have. I guess you will be able to seamlessly go from one mission to another within planet. It will be "open-worldy" in that sense.

This comment was edited 1 year 133 days ago by Aedwynn
1 year 133 days ago
Aedwynn

It's a while back but I did a vid with my thoughts on the use of the term open world. It's a little misleading - non linear would have done the job better but hey. "non" linear doesn't sell stuff! 


Certainly hope once they have implemented the seamless loading feature that there will be an option to run through various tile sets like a (dare I say it) Rift from another well known ARPG. Missions are nice and all but it might be nice on occasion to just spam through endless enemies till you get bored.


Great bug reports you been doing by the way, keep up the good work. 

1 year 133 days ago
Airsick Hydra

Yeah, this sounds a lot more linear than I think we were led to believe at the beginning. I real wonder how Grand Investigation & Seasons are going to work in a system where many parts of the star map may be locked.

This comment was edited 1 year 133 days ago by ctiger
1 year 133 days ago

Just re-read the roadmap again. I just noticed that there is no longer any mention of Grand investigations & Seasons. Not a good sign I think for those of us who were expecting a true open world experience. Worried now this is going down the road that EC did.