Open - Combat - Artisan - Data Transparency for Combat and Crafting Systems | Star Wars Galaxies Restoration

Open Combat Artisan Data Transparency for Combat and Crafting Systems

This idea/suggestion is Open. You can respond to ask questions or discuss the idea and either vote it up or down if you believe it should or should not be implemented, respectively. Popular suggestions and ideas will be considered by the development team to become reality in-game.
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Proposal
Through in-game tooltips, updated skill definitions and adding data values to crafting and combat skill windows (such as the combat log), crafting process windows, character sheet and other ui elements (combat logs, etc.), provide the user with a clear picture of the “numbers” that drive the game.

For example:

  1. Provide definitions and hard numbers behind things like “Ranged General” - how much damage does it add currently for my character? How much accuracy? Etc.
  2. Provide base or modified damage and action cost in the tooltip for each combat skill.
  3. Provide modified values and what abilities provide the modification in crafting windows (ex. What is the actual increase of to my resources given by my entertainer buff)
  4. Provide current global cooldown with equipped weapon on the character sheet
Justification
While Content and Profession development is king, I believe that a budgeted amount of dev time each month or release devoted to data transparency would have a great effect on the long term health of the game. It would provide far more concrete data for bug fixes and balance and would provide users coming from other games where data transparency is baked in a level of comfort with the game and promote long-term commitment.
Motivation
The game is (and always has been) a bit of a mystery behind the scenes. Users have expressed frustration with the confusing nature of combat and crafting systems and often ask in discord about what the effect of a “crafting suit” or weapon DPS have in game. This will provide the end user with a more accurate picture into the mechanics of the game and, in-turn, will provide the devs better feedback about bugs, combat balance and other aspects of gameplay that can be improved/fixed in the future.
Through in-game tooltips, updated skill definitions and adding data values to crafting and combat skill windows, crafting process windows, character sheet and other ui elements (combat logs, etc.), provide the user with a clear picture of the “numbers” that drive the game.

For example:

  1. Provide definitions and hard numbers behind things like “Ranged General” - how much damage does it add currently for my character? How much accuracy? Etc.
  2. Provide base or modified damage and action cost in the tooltip for each combat skill.
  3. Provide modified values and what abilities provide the modification in crafting windows (ex. What is the actual increase of to my resources given by my entertainer buff)
  4. Provide current global cooldown with equipped weapon on the character sheet
 
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I would certainly like to see more information in my system/combat feeds regarding the actions I take. Right now the information is slim and inconsistent.
 
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Some of this is already built into the system by SOE in the form of QA/testing tools. It would just take giving that to all players as an option.
 

Aconite

Executive Producer
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Thanks for your suggestion.

Foremost, I want to emphasize we're not closing this suggestion. I'm providing context for the discussion. However, I need the exact request to be concrete and particularized. That is, please use specificity as you did in some places (e.g., "please add action cost to the tooltip and description of abilities") as "be more transparent with data" is not something actionable we can review.

With that being said, I want to address a few items:

(ex. What is the actual increase of to my resources given by my entertainer buff)

This is a bug. Both because the buff doesn't work properly and the description is not correct. Both of those issues have been fixed and are currently staged for the March Game Update. In general, with only a few content-driven exceptions, a buff and its modifiers/effect should always be clear.

Provide definitions and hard numbers behind things like “Ranged General” - how much damage does it add currently for my character? How much accuracy? Etc.

We are aware that attributes and their effects are confusing. As part of our 1.0 update, we intend to ensure that the most base mechanics of the combat system have accurate tooltips and in-game information. Please note, however, that the tutorial will not be implemented until 1.1, and many of the basic and common "what does this mean/do" questions are planned to be answered through the tutorial. We've actually been keeping a running spreadsheet of the questions new players ask so we can ensure we address as many as feasible in the tutorial once we get to design it.

I also want to echo that I too share in this frustration. I'm not one of the developers that develop the combat systems and I didn't play during the CU so I often have no idea how some things work myself and have to ask or dig or refer to the Prima guide. So I quite literally am in the same boat when it comes to not understanding how things work and am conscious of the user experience approach we need to use to redress this.

Now I'd like to talk more generally about data. This isn't directed at any specific suggestion you've made, but rather to provide some insight on why we might resist sharing certain types of information. One or more of the undermentioned may apply at once depending on what data it is and how it can be attained.

The first is industry. Often, we look to other major titles and what they share/how they share it as well as what SOE did with SWG (not that anyone is perfect, look why we're here), but because there is generally a rationale behind those choices.

Next is resources and creep. A great example of this is the combat dummy on the fortitude vendor. You can use it to record your combat data as you fight and then generate a report. It would be easy for us to replicate this mechanic, but it would also be ridiculously expensive (in technical resources, not monetary ones, but eventually monetary ones too) to process and store the data. It's actually the very reason SOE never enabled this feature in this way as well according to an old post they made about it. However, they did later in the NGE add a duel recording device feature for PvP duels, which we'll probably do as well.

But the point is, something like the target dummy recording or aggregating data about every hit or miss, every roll or cost, suddenly multiplied by everything a player is doing in combat balloons very fast, so this creates a limitation on what we can provide. Additionally, we have to consider the long-term scope creep implication of a change like this by asking if we provide this data, does it set a precedent that players will also expect (some other) data in the future?

There's also the community and its "experts" to consider. We've spoken to this briefly before when addressing a direct dump of resource spawn data onto a third party website (or just publicly in general), but we consider the community needing to work together to find resources or other information and having to aggregate it or share it with one another—independent of our intervention—to be a critical component of our community framework. Giving things away proportionally diminishes that. And you can see it in Discord literally today, as community members were keeping spreadsheets of how crafting rolls were working.

The second component to this I included in quotations because it is a separate anecdote with regards to members of the community that will take whatever data we give them and become amateur statisticians to discover (misinterpret) insights (fallacies) about how the game is functioning because they reached an edge case in logic or didn't win a fight they mathematically should have, etc.* It runs the risk of creating false bug reports (more than we already have) and becoming very tiring very quickly to redress.

*Note: We have logging. 10GB (and growing) per day worth of logging generated from the server of virtually everything everyone does. Our problem in addressing most issues is simply time, scope, and priority; not because we aren't aware of what is and isn't broken.

Finally, just that it's a game. And games aren't fun when you have all the answers. We know they also aren't fun when things don't make sense or are buggy, and we're getting there. But we have to walk a careful, balanced line of player desires and long-term cost versus benefits to both the virtual world and physical resources of the project.


To reiterate, I'm not saying anything in this suggestion is/is not being considered. I just wanted to give you more context on the questions we'll be asking when we evaluate whether to implement them (and thus should inform your discussion) and that we need concrete specifics only and not just abstract ideas.