AA/Spell group redesign

Discussion in 'The Veterans' Lounge' started by Fian, May 19, 2020.

  1. Fian Augur

    For those that are max AA, this doesn't mean as much, but it is becoming a big deal for starting players and those for non-boxers without alts.

    AA and some items are limited either by level or spell name. Let's take an example of items first. If you get the latest and greatest TBL raid robe, chances are it became worthless when TOV (a level expansion) came out. The reason is the robe lists which spells it modifies, and it doesn't modify spells that didn't exist when the robe was created. So instead of an enchanter getting a 9% bonus to their biggest nuke during TBL, they get no bonus to their TOV nuke. As a result, the better strategy for an enchanter is to ditch the raid robe, and get the TOV group robe with the 7% mod instead. Raid items are supposed to be better than group items for at least a couple of expansions, but this has been a problem I have seen since at least ROS for every level expansion.

    The AA side is even worse. Many of your spells either have level caps, or the new spell in a series is not even listed until you buy the next rank of the AA where the spell becomes available. In some cases, having a level cap makes sense. Gift of Mana (I am saying this from memory right now, so hopefully I have it right), when it procs, makes your next spell cost 1 mana. The different ranks of Gift of Mana are the same, except they affect higher level spells. It makes sense to tie that to levels, so there is a reason to buy the new rank. But many others give you an increased bonus, AND unlock the effect on higher level spells. For those, there is no reason to put a level limiter in the first place. You could allow them to use the old bonus on new spells, and when they buy the next rank, they get the better bonus.

    The worst situation is the spell focus/synergy AA. They list the spells that it affects and only the highest ranks affect the level 115 spells. I think the original goal of the focus AA were to be for only individual spells, and max rank would be something like a 10% bonus. So if you were trying to catch up, you might skip the AA for the older spells, and just head to max level and work on the max level AA first, and then maybe go back to the older spells when you had time. However, with AA consolidation, 2 things happened. One, you have to buy the early spell ranks before you could unlock the current spells, and the small bonus has become much more significant, over 20% of the spells effect.

    This has resulted in many negative consequences. Focus AA are not awarded for old expansions during auto-grant. The point of auto-grant was to help returning players get caught up, and at least be in the right ballpark when playing with max'd players. So as the bonus for Focus AA increases, the difference between a new level 115 and a max AA level 115 is increasing. Another negative consequence is that a player does not see any benefit on spending AA on a focus until they buy the final rank. The best example of this is synergy. A new level 115 won't see any benefit from buying synergy ranks until they buy the final rank - which costs a total of 1400 AA. The spell focus also makes it undesirable even for a max player to adopt the use of new spells when the expansion comes out. To take an example for a druid. Their level 112 heal spell, Viravida is not enhanced until you buy the 7th rank of the focus AA. You can't even buy that rank until you ding level 113. Until then, you are better off using the old spell. Making it better for players to not use their new spells and abilities until levels later is a poor game design.

    So, what is my solution? Remove most level restrictions on AA. Only put a level restriction if the absence of the restriction would make future ranks worthless (like Gift of Mana described above). For items that list spells in a certain category, update at least the last expansion items to include the higher level spells when you add it. For focus AA, enable auto-grant and cause all ranks to modify all versions of the spell.

    One thing that would probably make maintenance easier for devs, but would probably be a fair bit of extra work, would be to add a new field to all spells that contains the spell category. Once spells have a spell category, you can just tag the items/aa to that category, and you won't have to go back and update older AA/items each time you add a new spell to that category. Maybe spend some of your time allocated to nerfs to instead work on adding spell category instead.
    Jumbur likes this.
  2. Yendar Augur

    In regards to the focus/synergy AA’s, it makes sense what you’re saying BUT.. that means that they aren’t losing any focus ability. If they 0 focus AA’s Since EoK, yes they need to hit the last rank (or 2nd of last rank) to gain anything from the AA, but that’s because they’ve skipped doing them for their earlier level spells. So they should still use their new spells because those old spells aren’t getting any focus either. You have to use your old spells when you have purchased the focus for them and not for your new ones yet.. but that means you are only a rank or two away (one lesson burn away)
    Now If they want to skip AA’s & rush to 115 with no focus AA’s, thats fine too because at 115 it’s a lot easier/faster to get AA’s than it was at lower levels because the mobs give a lot more exp.

    You can’t just look at the #’s of AA’s without paying attention to how much faster they are to accumulate. Is it really taking people that much longer to catch up? seems like people are catching up faster than ever if anything.
  3. Fian Augur

    There were 2 groups that I was describing. New characters that leveled to 115, and max AA players entering TOV for the first time (just dinged 111, etc). For the returning players, the number of AA required to get any benefit out of a focus or synergy is daunting. 1400AA before you see any benefit. But, you are right they can use the new spells right away, they don't have any focus to worry about anyway.

    For the vet player leveling to 111+, they get an immediate downgrade of about 20% (varies by AA) when they take a new spell. Synergy just stops working entirely if they start using the new ability once they obtain the level. In some cases, even if they have the AA saved to buy the next rank, they aren't allowed to buy it, cause it is locked behind level 113, even though the spell may be level 111 or 112. Eventually the player earns the AA and unlocks the higher tier/levels and gets past the problem, but it really shouldn't be that way in the first place. Getting a new level/spell should always be an upgrade. Telling players (if they even realize) that they should keep using their old spells/abilities until they ding 115 and earn 1000+ AA to unlock the next tier of the focus AA is bad design.
  4. Cragzop Cranky Wizard

    You're trying to make two arguments here … commentary on the focus/synergy aa system and the gap for folks coming back from prior to EoK till now.

    On the later, if you haven't played in 4+ years and/or starting a new toon, especially a casting one, there's a curve to become raid ready. We run into this all the time when folks return or are main changing to a class where they don't have a toon ready to go. Motivated raid folks can get a toon up to marginal abilities within a week or two (lots of burn groups, mission runs, and hero aa content runs).

    Someone walking into the game new or without a solid base of friends … yeah, it's rough to go from not much to raid ready. I'm not sure there's a way around that.

    For the former, you have discovered the current problem with the EoK Spell Focus/Synergy AAs, which have been discussed several times on the forums. We're at the biggest possible spread from Autogrant (i.e. ya get nothing atm) to current due to the 4 year prior expansion rule.

    Next expansion, the EoK AAs get Autogrant and this becomes less of a problem on catch up (especially with synergy).

    It's always a straight up math problem from when a raid caster switches from old spells to new on a level increase expansion. You don't have to use the latest spell on raids if your focus/synergy AAs and/or bp doesn't cover it. Eventually you get enough aa/gear to make the upgrade worth it and never look back.

    The other thing is that most spell lines increase 20 percent or more on a new level upgrade. So while it maybe less mana-efficient to run the new spells, the damage may turn out to be the same or even a little greater. You have to do the math.

    You didn't mention them, but the "other" spell lines listed on the Focus tab (the ones without Focus: XXX)...the original focuses...are actually set up the way you are talking about. Those spell lines increase power/reduce cooldowns/etc. generally across all the spell line. And as new spells come into the game, the lines are retrofitted with the new spells from the start.

    So the devs understand how to do what you are suggesting, but they deliberately chose not to do this for spells/discs with Focus:. They're kinda in a corner now since the focus lines are now getting to be higher than the normal spell bumps so there will be a real reduction in caster power without aas on the next level bump. Maybe once the EoK aas go autogrant, they'll start retrofitting new spells with older versions of the Focus aas. But they will need to do something.
  5. Yendar Augur

    Your synergy and your new spells focus won’t work until you train another rank in them from
    ToV. This cost 100 AA for each spell and 200 for synergy. While it may be kinda strange, it’s not that big of a deal with how easy it is to get AA’s. You do a lesson burn and you have a new focus on your new spell for the year. its just not that big of a deal. Sometimes we use items or equipment from old expansions because they have better focus. Using a spell is the same thing. You get the AA for the new xpac, you get the benefit.

    Earning AAs is faster and easier than its ever been. More and more people are reaching max exp faster. Just because the # of AA’s has increased doesn’t mean much if the time to exp to get them is quicker.
  6. Tuco Elder

    The level restrictions around everything are obnoxious and don't present the player with any real decisions or gameplay. It's just a nuisance.

    I'd be happy if we didn't have a level increase for the next 5 expansions.
    Dre. and Yendar like this.
  7. Yendar Augur

    I agree, don’t think there’s been a level increase that’s been good for the game.
  8. Fian Augur

    I am always amazed at how many posters automatically defend the status quo. I couldn't even say what exactly causes such closed thinking.

    To boil things into a nutshell, the proposal was that when you buy the first rank of a spell focus (synergy), the ability will work on all levels of spell, but the first rank is only something like a 2% gain. To get the full 20%+ bonus, you would still need to buy the extra ranks. The same would be true with synergy. First, you only proc 10% of the time (the lesser proc), and it works its way up to 100% of the lesser proc, and then you get the greater procs when you buy the additional ranks past 10.

    The main argument seems to be that it isn't that hard to earn thousands of AA with no benefit until the end. If you have access to your full group PL team, more power to you, but for others that is a huge barrier. I was working on a cleric alt to replace my druid (who does have synergy maxed), and as I thought about having to max synergy on the alt, I came to the conclusion that it just isn't worth it.

    Also, I don't think focus abilities are auto-granted. I guess we will find out about synergy, but I know I have a lot of other focus abilities at rank 0.

    One final comment, for the max aa crowd, my proposed change would help them on a new level expansion being able to use new spells right away, but other than that, they would still need to earn the same number of AA - so it doesn't hurt them in the slightest. For the new char, it would level the playing field to more of what the game was like before focus abilities. They will have a ton of AA to earn to keep them busy even if they don't have to buy every single rank of focus abilities. That was the point of auto-grant in the first place.
    Pawtato likes this.
  9. Cragzop Cranky Wizard

    To be snarky, I'm always amazed at the number of people who think their idea is brand new and not been discussed to death on the forums before their post. There are very few new ideas on these forums.

    No one in this thread has defended the way the current system works (claiming the aas aren't hard to get is not defending the system). But the other posters (including myself) seem know more about the current system and spells than you do. You don't even seem to understand how autogrant works. All aas on the focus tab that are from TBM or prior ARE autogranted currently. You seem to be confused by the fact that all the Focus: lines were added in EoK … an expansion not yet autogranted (but next on the list). You also don't even seem to be clear about the boost that spells/discs get each upgrade.

    Go on Test or Live when the servers come back up. Look at a cleric's focus tab for Improved Intervention (among others). You'll see that the aa line is pretty much what you are suggesting in your original post. Every intervention spell is listed as being affected by every rank of the aa.


    The developers have chosen not to do this for pretty much all the focus lines that got added for EoK. Why? No idea. I have a few suggestions … most of which involve throwing aa barriers to caster to slow down power bumps in EoK … and also to raise the aa totals of pure casters artificially (26 focus spell lines for wizards … what? we only have 13 spell gems?). But the important takeaway is that they (a) know how do what you suggest since they already do it for some lines and (b) they don't care the others are the way they are.

    Synergy is an odd duck. The costs on introduction in EoK were ridiculous (1k aas for 100 percent effectiveness on a new line) and not very well balanced between classes. Since EoK, it's pretty much acted just like GoM line does … pay the one time cost for the level bump and get it to work for the new levels. Once EoK autogrant hits, it will pretty much be exactly like GoM moving forward.

    Making the power climb more gradual, less step-like, is a great thought. There's not many that are against a gradual climb (there's always someone). But there's nothing new that you presented here. The developers do this for some spell lines already. Convince them to change for all spell lines. But the first step is to clearly understand what is currently going on in the game and go from that point.

    As the folks who tried to change the tradeskill status of Oil of the Frog found out, sometimes the devs just gotta be devs …
    Archery likes this.
  10. Wulfhere Augur

  11. Fian Augur

    I assume the reason why it isn't done, is because it is more work for devs. They would have to update a lot of AA to list new spells each time they created new spells.
  12. Yendar Augur

    I don’t see how it’s any more work. The new spelll comes out... the old focus is upgraded.. we have 2 new ranks this expansion. They COULD make the old ranks work on the new spell also (if they wanted) they already have to add the new spell to the 2 new ranks.. adding it to the old ones shouldn’t be that much more work.. they just don’t want the focus working on the old spells.

    You dont need a PL team to get 100 AA’s in a lesson burn.. normal players have been doing this since EoK. Fast forward 4 years and it’s become even faster to gain AA’s.

    The sheer # of AA’s may have increased but the gap to catch up isnt a lot longer because we are able to earn them faster.
  13. Fian Augur

    Instead of adding 2 new rows, they also must update 6 old rows, to take a focus that has 8 ranks. They were rushing to get things done for TOV expansion (initial beta didn't even have new AA at all), so quadrupling their work was probably not on their radar.

    As for AA, they changed AA code, so it is no faster to earn AA now than EOK expansion. 100 AA on a lesson burn is pretty challenging to get these days now that GMM mission has been nerfed (not to mention who wants to hunt in GMM these days). Hardest part for players is actually finding a group, and those are normally not perfect groups with raid char that can burn through content fast.
  14. Soulbanshee Augur

    I had the impression the focus AAs were originally created to give players a damage increase only during non-level increase expansions, which creating a new set of spells for the same level range would create design issues. It probably shouldn't have persisted for level increase expansions, but I cannot remember the details now with the discussion between players and devs to balance out the discrepancy that had created between level increases and non-level increases. The focus AAs now are different than what was originally implemented or intended.

    To sidestep to another conversation, part of this thread seems to be going down "I'm max level but not max power". There is meant to be a portion of the game where the player is intended to have to spend time developing their character. This is most currently reflected in ToV where group buffs were simplified to the Rk3 benefit, but you still have to gain Rk1-3 for your personal stuff. Another part of the design, devs have stated that melee is intended to have a faster ramp-up of their abilities because they need to have survivability when new expansions are released. Casters are intended to have a slower ramp up of their power, thus why AAs are gated as such by levels. You also have to consider keeping the design balanced for characters below max level. A level 110 or below cannot have the same power as a level 115 and roflstomp mobs that are meant to be challenging.

    The code and data is the same between live and TLP. Any retroactive changes would break the experience for old content while at that level, and would likely have to be re-balanced for the intended toughness. That would be too big of a scope to handle. If there is a sensible recommendation that would balance between player wants and the intended scope of design by developers, they may consider it going forward. There have been a couple discussions where devs have stated there can be functional changes going forward, just not for existing items.
  15. Fian Augur

    As far as I know, original design was for a set of focus AA to have a small increase on effectiveness of a spell, and they would then retire. New spells would have new AA, and a min AA player that is max level would just skip the old spell, and start buying ranks in the AA for the spells they are using. But then came AA consolidation, and 2 things happened. One, you were forced to buy ranks of AA for spells that you were not using before you could buy ranks of AA for spells that you were, and two, they kept adding increases to the bonus. So what went from a minor 10% bonus is now more than 20% in many cases, and that will only keep growing as we get more and more expansions.

    The proposal is to allow configure all ranks to apply to all levels of a spell from 95-115, or whatever the range is. Players will still need to buy them, but instead of a level 115 player getting no benefit for the first ranks of a spell and then a huge increase when they max the AA, they will instead get smaller benefits at first, that increase to the maximum benefit. Basically, the rule of thumb should be that players will ALWAYS see a benefit from buying an AA now. There should not be any cases where a player has to buy useless AA to get to a point where they can get AA that are useful.

    I don't see how references to future spells will break TLP, but I don't know how they coded things. My assumption has always been that TLP servers are using the same client/server that everyone else uses, just certain expansions are locked and levels/future abilities are not available. Regardless, this is a major problem for player advancement, and dev team needs to come up with a solution.

    One last comment is on difference between a minimal level 115 player and a max AA level 115 player. Auto-grant was put in to keep the difference between the 2 groups to a manageable level, or it becomes impossible to create a game that both can play satisfactorily. I don't believe that focus AA are included in auto-grant, others are saying that they are. Regardless, can we all agree that focus AA SHOULD be included? Focus AA are starting to have a huge increase on a player's dps and we don't want to leave players too far behind.
  16. Silu Journeyman

    I as returning level 105 player, I can confirm that neither the Focus nor the Synergy AA are autogranted, which is what you would expect, since they are EoK+ AAs.
  17. Yendar Augur

    You want people to just skip AA’s entirely. Does this only work on focus lines? What about a line like Gift of Mana. Can we just purchase the level 115 rank and skip the level 110 rank or should we have to grind up the EoK+ AA’s on those too?
    If we have the level 110 rank it doesn’t work on our current spells, so all those prior EoK+ AA’s are wasted until we get to the last rank. I don’t know which class you play but there are other AA lines like this where you get zero benefit on your current content/spells until you get the current rank for the newest expansion.

    Should I be able to just buy the ToV rank of AE mez (bean og slumber)Or do I need to grind EoK+ first in order to use that on mobs above my level... what about Heart of flames for my level 115 mage fire spells.. can I just purchase the ToV rank, or do I need to buy all the prior ranks first. Auto grant catches you up to EoK.. after that people have to grind some AA’s for the benefits.. that’s how it works.

    It’s not limited to focus AA’s..many lines are like this if they effect a certain level of enemy or certain level of spell.

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