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 Post subject: Crew Leveling
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:39 pm 
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Please post here about your experiences.

In particular, we're interested in hearing about the time of leveling for crewmates in relation to one another.

One of the things we are pertinently aware of is the crushing grind for later level navigators. We hope to address that. Please post your overall impressions here.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:25 pm 

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I would imagine that the time to get to the very end of levelling a navigator would be perhaps just a small while longer than what it takes to finish getting a top tier craft fully modified. Finishing levelling your navi would be the very last thing to check off on the "to do" list.

I can't imagine my navigator would have EVER reached 10 in the last build.

Edit: in addition, I think that most of the crew seemed to level fairly well. Though perhaps traders were just a tiny touch fast. I think I had my lvl 10 trader for months, but only got to something like 1/4 to 9 with my navi.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:10 pm 

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I'd really like to see Diplomats gain their experience directly from mission completion. And yeah, Navi's were nigh impossible to top out.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:31 am 

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I would really like my mentor to mentor the others because he seemed to make no difference, though I asked to be reunited with him in the hopes that he would indeed mentor someday. Also my calculating navigator seemed unhappy when not payed which was contradictory to what I read in the skybrary (I know it's player maintained but all the non-crew related information seems to be good).

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:19 am 

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Some things that struck me as odd:

- Last round, diplomats got huge amounts of XP from trades. I'd rather have them gain nothing there and more from actually influencing missions.

- The supposed XP bonus you get from "free spirit" crewmates looks a bit broken to me. I don't think there should be an XP modifier to crewmembers outside letting them do their job.

- Navigator levelling was extremely painful. Eight months of near-continouus flying, and my navigator was stuck on level 8 most of the time. You should evaluate what a "final level" navigator is able to do in terms of game balance and then let him earn XP at such a rate that this final level is attainable after three or four months of optimized (i.e. 6-12 months casual) gameplay.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:15 am 
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Please avoid all comments about personality -> XP from this thread.

This thread is intended to only be about jobtype -> XP


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:26 am 

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initially, my navi and diplo leveled up quickly. the mech was fired for being a laggard.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:38 am 
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I felt that everything but the Mech leveled up from just plain old flying. Eventually my Navi passed my Mech.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:19 am 

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I hired a mechanic first, and she levelled relatively slowly, but I had nothing to compare her against. Then, almost 2 months later, I hired a navigator, and she levelled very quickly, eventually surpassing the trader. My third hire, two weeks after that, was a trader, and he also levelled pretty quickly. By the time of the reset, the trader was barely behind the mech. The mech, even though there seemed to be lots of opportunity, seemed to stop levelling up at points.

Personalities aside, it was a good crew. But, though I frequently wanted to lose the mech, it seemed that I had so much time invested in her that I hoped she'd 'just grow up a bit.'

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:24 am 
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Perhaps some clarifications are in order. Devs correct me if I am wrong, but this round I believe the different jobs gained xp with the following equation:
C*X
where X is points denominated in the activity relevant to that job class and C is some coefficient (could be 2, could be .01, etc)

Traders: X = Total Profit
Navigators: X = Flight Time
(or possibly distance - I would suggest flight time to even things out between fast and slow planes)
Mechanics: X = Combat levels won
Diplomats: It is my understanding that diplomats were allowed to gain from all of the above 3 activities last round because the devs hadn't decided yet how to handle them. As others have suggested, Diplomats should gain from influence earned (though it should be keyed to the base inf reward from the mission, unmodified by the Diplomat's own bonus or any potential bonus from skills). I have other thoughts about diplomats which appear below.

How to Balance The Classes
So the question put to us by the Devs is "what should the coefficients be in order to ensure that the different classes level up at reasonably equivalent speeds?" That assumes, of course, an equivalent amount of effort on the part of the player. No one is suggesting that someone who never fights should have his mechanic level up quickly. But how can we ensure that a full time Fighter's mechanic levels at about the same rate as a full time Trader's trader?

I think that the general agreement is that traders level fastest, navis slowest, and mechanics somewhere in the middle. Experience with diplomats isn't too relevant since they gained from all activities, so their level speed last round was dependent on what sort of player you were. As for the first 3 classes, some of the difference is clearly attributable to sort of function governing the gain of the underlying points. Viz. Profit follows (to a point) an exponential growth - the more money you have the faster you make profit. Combat is a linear upward curve. As you do higher level combats, your mechanic gains faster, until you hit the combat level ceiling, at which point, the rate of gain becomes constant. Flight time is linear AND flat. Time is time no matter how fast you fly or what your plane looks like. These factors are very hard to change directly. That is why the real question should be: "GIVEN that we know these points accrue in these manners, how do we need to adjust the coefficients to equalize the in-game rate of leveling between classes?"
Without access to the raw numbers from last round, it is hard to give more detailed suggestions (ie. what the actual numbers should be). But I think it is clear where the classes stand relative to each other.

Additional Thoughts about Diplomats
In addition, I would suggest working in XP from bribing or cargo hiding. The latter is something the diplomats do currently, although it has never made sense to me. More reasonable would be to have diplomats give a reduction to bribe costs (stacking with the Negotiation skill - which makes sense, since a diplomat's job is to negotiate). This input could have a separate coefficient since it needs to balanced in a different way from mission inf rewards. So my proposed equation for Navis would look like this:
(C1*X)+(C2*Y)
Where X = base inf earned and Y = bribe amounts paid and C1 and C2 are different coefficients balanced for the different orders of magnitude of X and Y.
The main problem I see with making bribes part of Diplomat experience is that diplomats are late game crew members (for now - although making bribes heftier, fleeing harder, and diplomat's adept at lowering bribe costs would make them handy to players earlier on). I can foresee people running hunts on Tortuga and simply buying their way to a fully leveled diplomat by bribing through every combat again and again.
If this proves to be degenerate, then I would go back to influence earned as the only variable. But I would still strongly suggest giving diplomats a bribe reduction ability.


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Last edited by Edmund C. Fex on Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:38 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:15 am 
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Excellent ideas and well said! Bravo!
Edmund C. Fex wrote:
Experience with navis isn't too relevant since they gained from all activities, so their level speed last round was dependent on what sort of player you were.
Just to clarify, Fex, did you mean to say "Diplomats" instead of "navis" above?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:35 am 
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My mistake! Yes, I meant diplomats. I will edit post haste.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:47 pm 
Legend

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First of all, Kane cracked the Crew xp formulae a while ago. It was a fun project that I and others helped him with, but he doesn't get nearly enough credit for the gargantuan amount of spadework he did running tests. The results are here.

For those too lazy to click, the upshot is that all Crew gain xp as a function of your FP, TP, and CP gain per 'event', where those events are uninterrupted flight legs, singular trades, and individual combats, respectively. Navi's are FP only, Traders are TP only, Mech's are FP and CP, Diplo's are all three.

Second, while I have no real experience with trying to level up a Trader, I found that my Mech and my Diplo were gaining experience at about the rates that I expected. My diplo felt a bit fast, actually, but she was a Free Spirit. But my Navi was a Free Spirit as well, and like most, I felt she was too slow. I was in near continuous flight for over eight months with her, and still was a few weeks off of level 9. I think Brulak has the timeframe right; 4-5 months for a hardcore player should be enough to max a crewmember. So I'd suggest about doubling the multiplier for Navis.

Third, I'd leave it at that in terms of changes. Having Crew benefit from missions, smuggling, bribing, and other events is interesting, but risks inserting some perverse incentives without adding any really satisfying gameplay choices. I would not like to be competing against players whose Diplos were boosted artificially by taking silly missions they would otherwise ignore and losing or bribing out of combats they would otherwise win.

Fourth, Brulak says that Diplo's gained too much from trades. I think that's just an artifact of the TP-based gains all coming at once, whereas the CP-based ones come one combat at a time. Currently, the multipliers that Diplo's enjoy from CP and TP are the same. That means a level 20+ combat gets a Diplo as much xp as a trade worth 15,000 G in profit. My experience is that a leg that gets me 10 high level combats and a trade that gets me 150,000 G are about equal in terms of time, energy, luck, etc. So I don't see a big problem. Although I should say that I'm uncommonly bad at trade, so maybe Brulak has a point.

Fifth, I am aware that Gil would like this thread to be restricted to xp gains by job, and not comment on personality. However, this is a silly request, and so I will be ignoring it. Presumably he's asking this question as a means to gather empirical data on how the multipliers for different Crew types should be tweaked. But one cannot evaluate that data in a vacuum, since we're all affected by the Free Spirit multiplier (and the potentially implemented Mentor one). So, that said, people should qualify their comments about their experiences with their Crew's xp gain by noting if they were Free Spirits or not. Also, the solution to this extra variable is to eliminate it as per Fex's earlier elegant solution.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:51 pm 
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Exp gains due to personality have been removed and will not be there for the Post-Reset game. Commenting on your own experience is fine and helpful, however I'd like to steer this conversation away from suggestions on changes to the personality -> exp characteristic of crew.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:01 pm 

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My anecdotal 2 cents on Skyrates2.3 crew:

Navigator: Linear experience gain, growth rate cannot be improved.
Levels slower than average time needed to triple kit a T6.

Mechanic: Linear experience gained via flight + capped nonlinear gain via combat, growth rate improved via increased combat encounters and difficulty, capped at 5 CP per encounter at 5 minutes interval.
Levels well in mid-early game, tapers off as all combats earn 5CP in late-game.

Trader: Nonlinear experience gain via trade. Theoretically uncapped? Actual rate of growth related to ckph + skills. (+trader level?! via greater profits?)
Levels according to trade volume and profitability. I think mine leveled the first three levels in one trade.

Diplomat: Combination of all above. Minimum rate of leveling is linear, improved by nearly all in-game actions.
Hire-and-forget. Levels well in nearly all situations.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:10 pm 
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That's a good wrap-up, Suino. I'd only add that I'm fine with Traders not being capped while Mechanics are, as the latter is useful for the inf endgame and the former isn't so much.

I will, however, say that the bug where Navi's and Diplo's have minor stacking bonuses does need to be fixed for precisely this reason - even a maxed Mech isn't worth the small bonus that a second Navi or Diplo gets you in terms of the inf game.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:15 pm 

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Bunch of numbers along the lines of relative leveling times, based on non-Eager crew:

Diplomat: cumulative total of 76,936 CP/FP/TP to cap.
Mechanic: 76,936 CP(15,388 L20+ combats) or 38,468 FP(801.42 days flying) or some combination of the two to cap.
Navigator: 25,644 FP(434.13 days flying) to cap.
Trader: 25,644 TP(76,932,000 trade profit) to cap.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:47 pm 
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I thought this might be fun to add to the discussion. We were running statistics for skill point accumulation over time. Namely, as people became more experienced in the game (via accumulation of skill points), we wanted to see what their overall ratio of points were in regards to their point total.

The rough rubric we used is looking at the average ratio for all players with a total skill point amount > x value. That's not perfect, but it gives us an idea. The sample size of the graph ranges from 8000 players around x = 1 and 500 players around x= 20000 and . The ratios are the y value. It enforces a lot of what we've thought about in regards to flight & trade.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:43 am 
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I'm really, really lazy, and don't feel like going to look up data to support my points. Which I'm not sure I ever checked on in the first place, so if someone can do the checking, I'd appreciate it. ^^;;

1) Event-based EXP gain - this seems kind of silly, as it specifically ends up hurting those who do things in small amounts. Specifically, this ends up hurting traders who try to be fast, small-hold traders (although that's already proven to not work for other reasons), and fast anything navis, as these are hurt more by sporadic loss of an almost-point.

2) Crew value at high levels - I totally don't have data for this, but I recall several spaders complaining about how they worked it out, and even with what was reported, in the end L10 crew (except for navigator and diplo) became a bigger drain on resources than they were a gain. This was especially true of the trader, but was hidden by the messed up logs (which reported much more savings from them than they were giving). I'm not entirely sure what can be done about that, except maybe to start with much higher taxes (so they can be decreased more). This isn't a completely unreasonable solution, gameplay-wise, although may seem weird RP-wise. Although given that you can talk your way out of it, "taxes" could perhaps be better described as "mark-up" XP.

3) Crew stacking - Several crew members stacked that shouldn't have. Obviously this should be fixed. Also, if I remember right, nothing is supposed to stack up to three, and someone said they got bonuses past two of certain crewmembers. Alternatively, the stacking of crew that were supposed to stack followed a, "treat it like your higher level of type X is one level higher" formula, which was actually not all that helpful, especially once the higher one was L10. Perhaps switch this to a system by which the lower level crew member gives a bonus to the higher one, some percentage increase dependent on level.

4) "Turn this crew member off" checkbox - Even if we can't give crew leave time, could we get this enabled? It will help tremendously for spaders, and although I don't remember why, there was some non-spading reason I wanted to turn of a crewmember at some point, without having to fire him/her.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:17 am 
Legend

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Kyra wrote:
... in the end L10 crew (except for navigator and diplo) became a bigger drain on resources than they were a gain. This was especially true of the trader ...

Because I am madly in love with Kyra, I will do her homework for her and hope she notices me.

According to the Skybrary, an L10 Trader is 10,000 G per day, and gives a 33% tax reduction on all goods save paper and steel. Using the formula derived here by Zee and Ezin, let's take oil at 20% tax, and assume the sale price (before tax reduction) is 150 G per unit. That means the true price is 150 / 80% or 187.50 G, and the tax amount is 37.50 G. The tax reduction from the trader alone would be 33% of that, or 12.375 G. That works out to a little over 808 crates sold at that tax reduction to make up one day's salary for the trader.

Now, there are other factors involved, like the greater tax reduction for paper and steel, the bonus to taxes when buying, and the fact that 150 G for oil is a fairly modest price. But at least in this example, you're pretty late in the day before your Trader is doing you any good.

Ultimately, Kyra, as usual, is right - taxes are way too low. Which is why, newer Reds will recall, I would advise against dumping any TP into tax reduction skills - the bonuses are minuscule, compared to what an extra point in Creative Storage or Salvage Ops can get you.

I would suggest making the higher end goods something like 100% tax instead of 30% max.


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