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How Character Persistence, Parties and the "Box" works.


StormbringerGT

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Gonna break this down a bit to make it easier to understand. If you are a pathfinder vet some things have changed.

First of all you don't create saves you create parties. While some people will just swap around characters in one parties other people may want multiple parties going at once.

Characters can be shared across parties. So in between games at the scenario select screen you can bench an Ezren who has some feats and cards under his belt. You can switch to another party or start a new one and place that Ezren in that party. If you decided you wanted an Ezren in each party you would have to start a fresh Ezren for the other party that doesn't have vet Ezren. This is why nicknaming characters will be useful and why we filter between New and Experienced characters.

This also means that unlocked difficulties should be shared across parties. This is currently not working in Beta 2 build but we know about it and are working on it. :)

And finally how the vault works. To create a character based persistence we need to figure out how the vault should work. We decided a dynamically created vault was the way to go.
This does mean with a lot of time, luck and manipulation, yes you can have a Valeros who struts around with 8 daggers. However certain powerful or unique cards will remain as such. The idea being that is you have more than X amount of copies of a "restricted" card when you start a scenario, the restricted card will be changed into another card. This really helps in online play where if 6 people all join in a game and each of their characters have Holy Candle the game isn't an auto win. 5 of those 6 holy candles will be changed into another item card during play (and will revert back after play, were not taking your card away from you.)

Once you get to the point in the game where you can cull cards the game will auto cull x amount (what percentage feels good here? 20%? 30%?) of those cards, basic or elite depending on where you are at in the game, before it makes the location decks for the scenarios. While this may seem like you have less control over what is in the box, with added difficulties and multiple parties it was necessary. Also we needed to make this work for online play. So the vault is dynamically created each time you play a scenario. If its time to cull basics it'll random cull some in the box for you, elites same thing.

The game will respect card counts when making a box. There will only be one Holy Candle in a box, 2 Acid Arrows etc. Does the party already have a Holy Candle in one of their decks? Then that party will not run across it again. However another party who doesn't have holy candle yet may come across it.

So questions, comments, ideas, feedback, knee jerk reactions?
 

 

One quick note: Elite and Basic card culling has no impact when it comes to filling your character deck with cards from the box in the card selection phase.

 

We do have sliding variable scale for doing this to mimic the effect of PACG. This culling method fits roughly between the standard PACG method (player chooses boons culled) and Organized Play method (auto-cull everything). We took a lot of care in this design decision heavily consulting with Paizo and Mike Selinker. If anything, they recommended going further away from the standard PACG method. We felt that maintaining the gradual draw-down of Basics and Elites was important to maintain and was something we could mimic in software quite easily.

 
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I'm going to go with Knee Jerk Reactions for 1000, Alex.

 

Honestly, I really despise my mental image of the auto-cull system that you have. The various parties I play with all REALLY enjoy that feature of the physical game. Like... probably top three features of the game. We even go out of our way to attempt culling specific cards. 

 

This probably just prevented me from spending money on the game. I'll still play, I AM having fun, but my excitement over the port just took a cliff dive. I don't expect you'll lose too much money over it from the few of us that may affect, and I do understand the development into a better system to match the physical game is probably not worth the investment involved. But, I was also afraid of something like this and was prepared for that choice. I respect the choice, I don't like the choice.

 

In the interest of being a dutiful tester, though, and providing further input... I would suggest a sliding scale, not a static value. You have culled MANY more cards by the start of AD6 than you have at the end of AD3. Thinking it over some, I'd say about 15% per adventure deck for basics feels about right, and it's be nicer still if it were granular... about 3% per scenario after the first one in AD3.  That puts you at 60% of Basics culled by the end of the game, which is extremely light for a party of 6 (we almost had them all each time), but probably generous for a party of 1 (i.e. just right).  I'd probably say 5% of Elite cards per scenario after the start of AD5; that's not that many, but there aren't many to being with and ending the game at 50% of Elite cards remaining is probably a good target.

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I'm going to go with Knee Jerk Reactions for 1000, Alex.

 

Honestly, I really despise my mental image of the auto-cull system that you have. The various parties I play with all REALLY enjoy that feature of the physical game. Like... probably top three features of the game. We even go out of our way to attempt culling specific cards. 

 

This probably just prevented me from spending money on the game. I'll still play, I AM having fun, but my excitement over the port just took a cliff dive. I don't expect you'll lose too much money over it from the few of us that may affect, and I do understand the development into a better system to match the physical game is probably not worth the investment involved. But, I was also afraid of something like this and was prepared for that choice. I respect the choice, I don't like the choice.

 

In the interest of being a dutiful tester, though, and providing further input... I would suggest a sliding scale, not a static value. You have culled MANY more cards by the start of AD6 than you have at the end of AD3. Thinking it over some, I'd say about 15% per adventure deck for basics feels about right, and it's be nicer still if it were granular... about 3% per scenario after the first one in AD3.  That puts you at 60% of Basics culled by the end of the game, which is extremely light for a party of 6 (we almost had them all each time), but probably generous for a party of 1 (i.e. just right).  I'd probably say 5% of Elite cards per scenario after the start of AD5; that's not that many, but there aren't many to being with and ending the game at 50% of Elite cards remaining is probably a good target.

You need to google knee jerk reaction because this was not.

 

-1 point.

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One quick note: Elite and Basic card culling has no impact when it comes to filling your character deck with cards from the box in the card selection phase.

 

We do have sliding variable scale for doing this to mimic the effect of PACG. This culling method fits roughly between the standard PACG method (player chooses boons culled) and Organized Play method (auto-cull everything). We took a lot of care in this design decision heavily consulting with Paizo and Mike Selinker. If anything, they recommended going further away from the standard PACG method. We felt that maintaining the gradual draw-down of Basics and Elites was important to maintain and was something we could mimic in software quite easily.

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Questions:

1) When/how can you see your party composition has changed cards because its trying to limit duplicates?

2) How can online multiplayer handle the same character/how does it prevent it?

3) Can we choose which character and which card to replace the limited card with?

 

Comments/Feedback/Ideas:

I'd be ok with a non-dynamic vault that behaves mostly like the physical game. If you have too many characters/parties such that there aren't enough cards, you can at that time decide to fill cards in by taking the set of non restricted cards that shoud be in the adventure (# - 2 floored at B right?) and randomly choosing from there. This way there's not a ton of "farming" that can be done, which I think is a good thing. This would also be a reason to buy chests (I can sense people being unhappy about that statement already). Also, you can always delete a character to free all those cards back into the vault, right?

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So, I'll speak up and say that I actually like this, and was moreso anticipating a PFSACG-style auto-cull-all sort of mentality.

 

Thanks for pulling away the curtain for us a little bit. :)

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I'm not a participant in the beta, but I just wanted to chime in and say that I think an auto-cull feature like this should work fine for the digital version of the game.  The main intention of the culling system (in the physical game) is to make sure that you don't run into a bunch of useless boons, or stupidly easy enemies when you play higher level adventures.  When we played RotR, we actually auto-culled 100% of everything (banes and boons) as soon as we began the appropriate AP, and it worked out just fine.

 

The only exception is that we kept the basic Cure cards available in the spell deck, because we felt they were always useful even though they are basic.  And maybe there were a handful of allies that we kept around as well (I can't remember exactly).

 

So one minor suggestion would be to have some kind of "don't cull these" checkbox or option inside the Vault for each player, device, and/or account (however the app is managing this).  Is there even a way in the app to "Browse your Vault" or equivalent?

 

I'm also not sure how I feel about cards magically turning into something else during online play, because too many players have a copy of them in their character's deck.  I realize this is a difficult problem to solve, especially with Loot items (which are supposed to be unique).  In an initial release, it should be fine to just randomly replace the duplicate cards, but in the future it would be nice if there was some kind of "party/deck reconciliation" phase that happens before you begin an online adventure with characters from different devices/accounts.

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While I am sad to lose Deekow, I think the auto-culling change is good for the game. Culling cards in the physical game is indeed quite satisfying, but I don't want to have to deal with that in the digital game. Having to stop and make a yes/no choice each time you banish a basic/elite boon would be so annoying!

 

Even in the physical game, the culling system has its downsides. Say Merisiel encounters a crappy Mace in AD3. She's low on health and would like pad her deck with an extra card, plus she can feed it to her hero power, so the Mace isn't really dead. However, if she passes on it, then the Mace is banished forever; otherwise it won't be. So now her player is sitting there, weighing the immediate value of the extra card versus the nebulous future of value of having one fewer basic weapon in the game for the rest of the campaign.

 

This. Is. Stupid.

 

It's a gamey, unthematic, and thoroughly unsatisfying decision to have to spend time and mental energy on, especially for something as banal as rolling a d8 for a useless item with a check of 4. Ideally, those kinds of decisions should be automatic. See boon, pick up die, roll. I'm really glad that the digital version of the game brings us closer to the ideal natural flow of the game.

 

That said, I would, as always, like to hear more specifics. :) How will players know which cards are "restricted" and which are not? Is it a simple formula, such as "restricted if and only if singleton," or can cards that exist in multiples be restricted too? What kinds of cards can the players swap in place of their restricted cards?

 

I'd also love to know more about how the vault is generated. When building my f2p Kyra and Merisiel, I noticed that the C deck isn't included in the free version of the game -- there's no Amulet of Might Fists, there's only 1 copy of Inflict, etc. How and when do those cards get added? Is it attached to the C deck characters in some way? If so, that should be in the game, so that players can see why the 4 C deck characters cost more than others.

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Even in the physical game, the culling system has its downsides. Say Merisiel encounters a crappy Mace in AD3. She's low on health and would like pad her deck with an extra card, plus she can feed it to her hero power, so the Mace isn't really dead. However, if she passes on it, then the Mace is banished forever; otherwise it won't be. So now her player is sitting there, weighing the immediate value of the extra card versus the nebulous future of value of having one fewer basic weapon in the game for the rest of the campaign.

 

This. Is. Stupid.

 

It's a gamey, unthematic, and thoroughly unsatisfying decision ...

 

This is exactly the kind of decision I LOVE about PACG. At some point, long before you get to culling, you HAVE to come to terms with this being a card game and not a role playing game. Simply drawing a card, rolling some dice, and so on is also quite gamey...  But, those of us that love the game, have accepted that and fit it into what brings us joy for the game.  I disagree about the mechanics being automatic... the tactical and strategic elements of the game are crucial for the groups I play with and I prefer them to feel less automatic; otherwise the game gets very passive and doesn't hold our attention as well.

 

You can disagree, but calling it stupid is a bit judgmental by proxy insults those that like the mechanic.

 

But, beyond all that, I'm not necessarily going anywhere, I'm just disappointed by the (understandable) design decision and don't feel it's as true a representation of the card game as I would have been willing (and excited) to pay for. I'll still play, but it's not anything I would buy... since I can still play, I'll do so, but in a more passive fashion. I do still feel the game is solid enough that I would demonstrate it to others that may actually be ok with decisions I disagree with and would certainly not dissuade them from buying if they love it. I know everyone in each of my game groups is itching to see it in action. I'm also more than curious what their thoughts about the culling mechanic in digital form might actually be now that we have a clearer picture of what that may be.

 

I'm also still somewhat confused about the box. I've gone over the threads that have mentioned it, and nothing has really become clear. 

 

And finally, I'm pretty curious about the fate of the C cards, as well.

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There's a bug keeping Deck C out of the store. That should be fixed in the next Beta build.

 

As to cards that allow only one per party, we'll be labeling these with the "Unique" trait. We will use this mechanic as little as possible. We are still evaluating Loot cards from higher decks, but the only card from Decks B through 4 to warrant it so far is the Emerald Codex. There's arguments to be made for others, but we are being conservative with the use of this trait right now.

 

We may eventually build a feature and interface that lets players adjudicate who gets the full version themselves. And it's clear that some on this thread would appreciate that. But right now, for anyone to run into that feature would take a lot of work on the part of the player, and no one in the beta test can make this happen yet.

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 Having to stop and make a yes/no choice each time you banish a basic/elite boon would be so annoying!

 

I agree whole heartedly with this statement!  One of the things I am enjoying a lot about the digital game is that scenarios can be played much faster.  Adding things like this will slow the game down considerably.  Have you thought about making culling an option?  Say, have three options: traditional (aka box rules), percentage culling, and Organized Play (cull everything).  You would still run into the problem of culling some of the cards you like (such as cure) with all but the traditional option but then again you also get to avoid the annoying "do you want to banish this card?" check.  

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I agree with Deekow. The decision to banish/not banish is an important decision and not stupid. Some basic cards are extremely desirable, depending on party make up, player style, and scenario. Since those conditions are so variable, I am concerned about losing some of the control to automation. Hopefully more advanced options can be added at some point.

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Well, first, I owe a sincere apology to anyone who was offended by my calling the original game mechanic stupid. I certainly do not think anyone is stupid for liking what I consider a stupid mechanic, just as I don't think I'm stupid for liking Taken, which I think is an incredibly stupid movie. :) Smart people can like stupid things, and I'm very glad that, whatever my personal opinions on the mechanic are, it brings joy to other players.

 

Now, here's why I think it's stupid. :)

 

Simply drawing a card, rolling some dice, and so on is also quite gamey.

 

With respect, this comparison doesn't hold up. It makes sense that the lithe elf is more likely to succeed at an activity involving dexterity than the armored cleric. It also makes sense that elf might still fail, or sometimes even do worse than the cleric, because life is unpredictable. Drawing cards makes sense too -- when going into unknown places, you never know exactly what you're going to find.

 

By contrast, there is no real world analogue to, "If I don't pick up this Mace, I'm never going to find a Mace again." Or its even more befuddling counterpart, "If I pick up this Mace, I might find another one later." The dice, cards, and feats in PACG are mechanics, yes, but they are organic. The box management mechanics that begin with AD3 are anything but. They are a kludge put in place to preserve balance.

 

Now I get that when you design a game, all your mechanics can't be organic. Sometimes you just have to jury-rig a thing or two in place with glue stick and duct tape. In the case of PACG, you need to do something to fix the fact that cards from the base set coming up in later adventures would diminish the impact of the game. And it's fine to have some kludges here and there, but in general, the more your players have to make decisions around kludges rather than around organic elements, the higher the risk you run of turning players off with a "gamey" feeling.

 

But again, I don't think anyone is stupid for liking those decisions, and I'm glad that others have found happiness in them. :) I'm even more glad, though, that they're going away in the digital version. ;)

Edited by Borissimo
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Borissimo, I don't think of the original culling mechanic as "If I don't pick up this Mace, I'm never going to pick up a Mace again." Rather, I think of it as additional text added to the Basic cards starting in Adventure 3: "If you are willing to forego this boon right now, you will improve the average power level of all boons of this type that you will encounter in future scenarios."

 

While I enjoy the sense of progression that gives me (Hey, that card was crap, but encountering it and banishing it means I am more likely to see the good stuff later), I appreciate the choice of simplicity for this app version as long there is a progression of boon power (and bane power) going on as we move through the scenarios and adventures.

Edited by Eldicor
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Borissimo, I don't think of the original culling mechanic as "If I don't pick up this Mace, I'm never going to pick up a Mace again." Rather, I think of it as additional text added to the Basic cards starting in Adventure 3: "If you are willing to forego this boon right now, you will improve the average power level of all boons of this type that you will encounter in future scenarios."

 

I don't know, man. You're not wrong, but it seems like splitting hairs to me. My point is that whether I pick up a pice of junk in Mokmurian's fortress is causally related to what I find eons later staring into the lip of the Runewell. That's a kludge no matter how you phrase it. :)

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Alright, so I've been playing the Beta now for a while and I still am not entirely sure on how character development is supposed to work.

 

I re-installed after the recent patch and built up my Kyra/Merisiel again. I played through all of B and 1 (which I had purchased with gold pre-patch) to get their feats and some new cards in their decks. After I had done this plus some higher difficulties, I had enough gold to unlock Seoni.

 

At this point, I brought her into the party and sent them all back to the first B scenario so she could get the same selection of feats/chance of cards that the others did. However, when I did this, both Kyra and Merisiel were completely reset. Their decks had none of the cards I had earned, none of the feats were present, and I'm not sure what the expected user experience should be.

 

On reading the initial post, I'm a bit confused. What is the point of "benching" characters? How are we supposed to switch between the various "instances" of characters? Also, when I went to a higher difficulty on some missions, it seemed like my cards were also being reset.

 

So, before I get into any opinion-based stuff, I just wanted as clear an answer as possible: what is the expected user experience when it comes to character management, progression, and more? The initial post helps a little, but I'm still a bit confused (especially considering my issues above).

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Alright, so I've been playing the Beta now for a while and I still am not entirely sure on how character development is supposed to work.
 
I re-installed after the recent patch and built up my Kyra/Merisiel again. I played through all of B and 1 (which I had purchased with gold pre-patch) to get their feats and some new cards in their decks. After I had done this plus some higher difficulties, I had enough gold to unlock Seoni.
 
At this point, I brought her into the party and sent them all back to the first B scenario so she could get the same selection of feats/chance of cards that the others did. However, when I did this, both Kyra and Merisiel were completely reset. Their decks had none of the cards I had earned, none of the feats were present, and I'm not sure what the expected user experience should be.
 
On reading the initial post, I'm a bit confused. What is the point of "benching" characters? How are we supposed to switch between the various "instances" of characters? Also, when I went to a higher difficulty on some missions, it seemed like my cards were also being reset.
 
So, before I get into any opinion-based stuff, I just wanted as clear an answer as possible: what is the expected user experience when it comes to character management, progression, and more? The initial post helps a little, but I'm still a bit confused (especially considering my issues above).

 

 

You ran into a known bug that we thought was fixed but is rearing it's ugly head again. Your characters and cards that character has should never reset. The only way to reset a character is to delete that instance of that character.

 

The idea behind user based progression is to allow you to try different builds and different characters without having to start from scratch every time.

If you create a character and level them up a bit and get some good equipment but you want to try another version of that character (go a different role path for example) you can.

 

What you are experiencing now are bugs that are hampering the system.

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Thanks for the response! That makes things sound a lot better then, I was worried that I would have to reset things any time the "party" changed. So once this bug is fixed then, presumably, I should (assuming I only have one instance of each character) never see their decks change/reset, along with feats, regardless of whether I add new party members, replay old scenarios, or try harder difficulties?

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Thanks for the response! That makes things sound a lot better then, I was worried that I would have to reset things any time the "party" changed. So once this bug is fixed then, presumably, I should (assuming I only have one instance of each character) never see their decks change/reset, along with feats, regardless of whether I add new party members, replay old scenarios, or try harder difficulties?

Yup!

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How difficulty level opening work. Is it "box" based, or character based or user based? I Expect that you have to open difficulty levels separately to each "box"?

 

Because I did allready open difficulty levels to one set of characters and then started a new Group and was forced to open those difficulty levels all ower again.

Edited by Hannibal_PJV
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How difficulty level opening work. Is it "box" based, or character based or user based? I Expect that you have to open difficulty levels separately to each "box"?

 

Because I did allready open difficulty levels to one set of characters and then started a new Group and was forced to open those difficulty levels all ower again.

 

This is a known bug, once you unlocked a difficulty it should remain open to all other parties to play through.

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What hapens, if you put a experienced character with good cards From b to 2 level in the croup. Trade all those good cards to Beginning characters and then you reject that experienced character From the croup?

It is cheating ofcourse, and thats why don't gona do it, but I just wonder what would happen in that situation?

Are level 2 cards gone? Or do low level character get them (it is impossible in physical game, but not sure what would happen in digital version.

 

Also interested in how different versions of the same character behave in the same box? Most propably you just can not have 4 Kyras Group? In physical game it is possible in pathfinder society games, but not in normal box games.

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What hapens, if you put a experienced character with good cards From b to 2 level in the croup. Trade all those good cards to Beginning characters and then you reject that experienced character From the croup?

It is cheating ofcourse, and thats why don't gona do it, but I just wonder what would happen in that situation?

Are level 2 cards gone? Or do low level character get them (it is impossible in physical game, but not sure what would happen in digital version.

 

Also interested in how different versions of the same character behave in the same box? Most propably you just can not have 4 Kyras Group? In physical game it is possible in pathfinder society games, but not in normal box games.

You can take better cards and give them to a lower level character if you wish. We don't stop you from doing this. In the case of spells the low level character might have a hard time recharging them though. 

 

Well on a per party basis you cannot have duplicate characters, but in your character pool to choose from you can. So while you can only have one Kyra per party you can have 9 parties with Kyra in each one.

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What hapens, if you put a experienced character with good cards From b to 2 level in the croup. Trade all those good cards to Beginning characters and then you reject that experienced character From the croup?

 

Allowing the player to swap characters across parties presents an interesting challenge. Either you make all the player's parties share the same box, or you let the player cheat. The first is really awful, so the devs chose the second. I was a bit weirded out at first, but, honestly, it seems fine. There's no competitive element to this game, so who cares if people cheat? For that matter, you could cheat in the physical game. If I wanna roll d20's for all my stats in my home game, who's A) gonna stop me, and B) care?

 

So, yeah, if someone really wanted to, they could have a Harsk with five Returning Throwing Axes +1. If it makes the game more fun for them, why not?

 

The only thing I think Obsidian needs to watch for is what happens when they implement multiplayer with strangers. If I'm logging into a multiplayer game, I don't want to join forces with a Seoni with four Father Zantuses. I'm guessing that Obsidian will implement a simple "character readiness" test that will disallow players from joining multiplayer games with any character whose deck could not be built with cards from a single box.

Edited by Borissimo
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Indeed!

But that would require a lot of those unique cards, and now They Are only few of them. But the card pool is more or less the same as in real game, so counting is possible... Not counting those treasure chest cards... I hope that there will be a limit to them.

Maybe you can have only one of each treasure chest cards in the box, like promo cards in the real game.

So max one per character in multiplayer games?

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