Static spawns vs. scaling encounters, and XP

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emprod
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Static spawns vs. scaling encounters, and XP

Post by emprod » Sat Feb 19, 2005 10:04 pm

Member worlds may use any custom experience system that has been sufficiently playtested. However, the result of that system may not enable player characters to achieve 20th level in less than 6 months while playing 3 hours per day. For new PW's this is hard to ascertain.
Not sure the best way to say this. There really need to be some guidelines on encounters for builders to look at. Perhaps there are, but they're not being followed.

I don't think a PC should be able to walk into anyplace and mop up with overpowering/impossible CR monsters by the DOZEN. It's not really a matter of the strength of the monster, someone will beat it. It's only AI.

Why are areas being built where a level 15/20/25 can face and pound down CR 20/25/30 monsters by the dozen? I'm talking stuff that will give somewhere between 50-250 XP, and in swarms?

I remember when getting from LvL 19 -> 20 on Avlis meant killing a whole lotta shit that gave 1-4 xp, and took 3 months. Now it's a friday night.

Thoughts?

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Post by Orleron » Sat Feb 19, 2005 11:40 pm

Easy Answer: Epic Levels

In order to compensate for the fact that level 25 and 26 characters are mopping up huge numbers of stuff, areas get built for the purpose of giving them something to do. Lower level people then walk into these areas and use them as xp powerhouses.
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Post by Baron » Sun Feb 20, 2005 6:14 pm

Stop building Areas for Epics.....stop building to offest their presence...

make more areas for the low/mid level guys....

If you have to have an epic area, make sure respawns never reset until the server does.

Judging form Alex's thread about at least one player...there are enough places one can go as a 30+ level pc and get enough XP to level 1-2 times a week....

thats just plain wrong IMO
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Post by Nob » Sun Feb 20, 2005 6:38 pm

I think you're seriously overstating the influence of epic areas.

There are maybe half a dozen scattered throughout the 8 or so linked servers.

I'm pretty sure that throughout the highest CR you're going to see is going to be only 24-26 and those are for once/reset spawns.

The regular "epic" areas have a CR average of about 18-20, and that's only because these things are tough enough that they've been downgraded by about 10-12 challenge rating points, but are still set to a rather high total.

There is a problem that you can trigger these spawns at level 16-20, and that some of these creatures are of a type that are easily killed at that level(specifically Outsiders are EXTREMELY easy for a cleric to clean up using word of faith, undead are easy to kill with undeath to death, etc, and these tend to be the predominant spawn types for these kinds of areas, as they've got some innate advantages like mind/death/crit immunity.)

And I might point out that the more popular camping areas for epic powergamers to level in are actually designed for low-mid levels.

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Post by Mistcaller » Sun Feb 20, 2005 8:54 pm

I tend to agree with Nob.
The CR of the monsters is not the main issue.
The real problem derives from areas that have a LOT of spawns and with a high frequency (if the areas are vast, even 1 hour rate is high).
And there ARE many such places.

Lets take a general example... some caves with spiders. If it consists of 3 levels, and each level has about 10 encounters which spawn 8-10 creatures, this means that to complete the caves you kill approximately 300 creatures. With an average of 2.5 xp per kill, one stroll, that takes ~ 1 hour, offers about 750 xp. And of course if the respawn rate is set to 1 hour (3600 secs) you can start all over again.

Now if the area consists of 5 levels with 20 encounters per layer of 10-12 creatures each, the total number of XP increases dramatically to about 2500 xp. And you can do it again and again, since it takes quite long to complete the areas and the monsters respawn...

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Post by choraldances » Sun Feb 20, 2005 9:59 pm

Toning down the number of spawns area (with a cap somewhere, so it makes it boring for a certain level to go through) and spawn rate, will reduce the level advancement tremendously.
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Post by Baron » Mon Feb 21, 2005 11:35 am

I think you're seriously overstating the influence of epic areas.
Possibly... maybe even probably...but my solution is the same talked about in the posts that follow, its about respawn times...For example.. take Mistcallers example of spiders in Caves...

Look at the spider caves in Elysia...well its been a long time since ive been there, but if you go as far as the hatchery and certainly if you go to the bottom...you will be fighting your way abck out just as in.. making for that trip being a 2x XP getter....

Lengthen those spawns or reduce the quantity that spawn ...or both...it will still be a suitable place for mids to go.. and if the average epic PC wants to spend 1-2 hours there to get their 375 xp I say fine...

If you find a place that is constantly farmed by players...the FoM ond LRC on Avlis being prime examples of places that either used to be or are still farmed constantly...simply set those spawns to reset after a server reset...I can suspend disbelief as well as the next guy...but for an area to repopulate in a matter of an hour seems extreme, especially if the are is being abused.

anyway..just my .02 I by no means have been to every area on even one world let alone any copap worlds...
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Post by Khaelindra » Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:54 am

I think having areas with loads and loads of spawns is quite fun. The hundreds or thousands of xp is not fun however (well, it is, but you know what i mean).

My suggestion would be to adhere to the PnP-rules for xp: everything more than 8 CR away from your level was either too easy to really learn from (giving no xp) or too challenging so it must have been a bug or engine/AI-limitations-exploit to have been able to kill him (giving no xp). Saves both the problem of archers/mages killing uber-monsters from across a gorge for x-hundred xp or mid-level clerics wiping out elder elementals for hundreds of xps (just two examples), as well as blocking lvl 30 characters from wiping out CR 4 critters by the hundreds an hour for thousands of xp in a session.

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on-reset

Post by Apandapion » Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:36 pm

Baron wrote: If you find a place that is constantly farmed by players...the FoM ond LRC on Avlis being prime examples of places that either used to be or are still farmed constantly...simply set those spawns to reset after a server reset...I can suspend disbelief as well as the next guy...but for an area to repopulate in a matter of an hour seems extreme, especially if the are is being abused.
I don't like on-reset. It's very erattically timed, and encourages players to pay entirely too much attention to mechanics that they should ignore.

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xp

Post by Apandapion » Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:49 pm

Being able to have fights against large numbers of things (and not have it take 15 minutes/game round to resolve) is one of the few advantages that NWN has over tabletop. It's a bad idea to drop monster counts just because of the resulting XP.
Khaelindra wrote: My suggestion would be to adhere to the PnP-rules for xp: everything more than 8 CR away from your level was either too easy to really learn from (giving no xp) or too challenging so it must have been a bug or engine/AI-limitations-exploit to have been able to kill him (giving no xp). Saves both the problem of archers/mages killing uber-monsters from across a gorge for x-hundred xp or mid-level clerics wiping out elder elementals for hundreds of xps (just two examples), as well as blocking lvl 30 characters from wiping out CR 4 critters by the hundreds an hour for thousands of xp in a session.
The current system allows players who are very game mechanics oriented and players who develop solely from a roleplaying perspective to play together. It would be a shame to lose that and replace it with people blaming other people for not being able to carry thier weight.

Maybe a character should only be able to gain a certain amount of xp on a map. Inside the hooked xp function, track the amount of xp gained in an area, discarding xp over this amount. Reset the counter each time you cross an area transition (other than the one you entered on, perhaps). Or add max xp/hour functionality. (Actually, the max xp/hour function is sounding more appealing the more I think about it - it will fix a great many xp exploits that the team hasn't even thought of yet.)

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Post by Mistcaller » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:46 pm

Khaelindra wrote:My suggestion would be to adhere to the PnP-rules for xp: everything more than 8 CR away from your level was either too easy to really learn from (giving no xp) or too challenging so it must have been a bug or engine/AI-limitations-exploit to have been able to kill him (giving no xp). Saves both the problem of archers/mages killing uber-monsters from across a gorge for x-hundred xp or mid-level clerics wiping out elder elementals for hundreds of xps (just two examples), as well as blocking lvl 30 characters from wiping out CR 4 critters by the hundreds an hour for thousands of xp in a session.
If I am not mistaken, this has been already implemented as xp system in Avlis and, in fact, I think in all of the linked CoPaP servers.

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Post by Khaelindra » Fri Feb 25, 2005 5:02 am

Mistcaller wrote:
Khaelindra wrote:My suggestion would be to adhere to the PnP-rules for xp: everything more than 8 CR away from your level was either too easy to really learn from (giving no xp) or too challenging so it must have been a bug or engine/AI-limitations-exploit to have been able to kill him (giving no xp). Saves both the problem of archers/mages killing uber-monsters from across a gorge for x-hundred xp or mid-level clerics wiping out elder elementals for hundreds of xps (just two examples), as well as blocking lvl 30 characters from wiping out CR 4 critters by the hundreds an hour for thousands of xp in a session.
If I am not mistaken, this has been already implemented as xp system in Avlis and, in fact, I think in all of the linked CoPaP servers.
No, this is not how it works at the moment. On Avlis, even if you are 20 levels higher than the CR of the mosnter, you still get:

1 xp for each critter
1-4 bonus xp for each critter of CR 3 or higher (or higher than CR 3, not sure)

My suggestion means: lvl 30 character killing CR 5 monster gets 0 xp. On Avlis: lvl 30 character killing a CR 5 monster gets 2-5 xp.

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Post by kombinat » Fri Feb 25, 2005 5:41 am

As a mid-way point there... perhaps instead of 0xp it could be 1xp. Still take forever to PG up like that, but you don't HAVE to go to epic adventuring areas to get a slow advance, that way. I like being able to take an adventuring party out with Sand and get a small amount... 100-200xp for a few hours of adventuring with a bunch of low level chars, without needing to hunt high CR creatures to ever level.

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Post by Khaelindra » Fri Feb 25, 2005 7:21 am

kombinat wrote:As a mid-way point there... perhaps instead of 0xp it could be 1xp. Still take forever to PG up like that, but you don't HAVE to go to epic adventuring areas to get a slow advance, that way. I like being able to take an adventuring party out with Sand and get a small amount... 100-200xp for a few hours of adventuring with a bunch of low level chars, without needing to hunt high CR creatures to ever level.
What you mean is to remove the 1-4 bonus from the equation? That would stop high-level PG-ing quite well as well i guess. A drop from average 3.5 xp per critter to 1 xp per critter already makes a huge difference. :)

It would of course mean that high-levels with an xp-penalty would be the only ones receiving absolutely no critter-xp anymore from all standard critters... :? That rounding down is a big bugger when receiving 1/kill. :roll: Still i'd be in favour if it. It would serve just about everyone's purpose here in the thread.

* stop (high) epics from xp-farming
* have epics seek out epic quests instead of bothering with crypt/cave-running
* keep xp intact for low/midlevels
* increase the importance of DM-cookies for participation and RP, especially for epic characters
*make reaching true epic levels also a truely epic achievement only to be reached by IG-epic characters

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1 is the lonliest number

Post by Apandapion » Fri Feb 25, 2005 3:03 pm

kombinat wrote:As a mid-way point there... perhaps instead of 0xp it could be 1xp. Still take forever to PG up like that, but you don't HAVE to go to epic adventuring areas to get a slow advance, that way. I like being able to take an adventuring party out with Sand and get a small amount... 100-200xp for a few hours of adventuring with a bunch of low level chars, without needing to hunt high CR creatures to ever level.
1 is a bad number, it chomps anybody with a multiclass penalty, unless you hack a special system to keep track of fractions... actually, that sounds like an interesting project, making a fraction-sensitive xp awarding system. Something like this, except in NWscript (whatever that is like) instead of C, with the inner loop opimized away:

function awardxp(int xp,int penalty) // penalty is a fraction, such as .8
{
static int carry = 0;
int res = 0;

carry = carry + (xp * 32 * penalty)
while (carry > 32)
{
res = res + 1;
carry = carry - 32;
}

return res;
}

I'll be a copap developer yet, at this rate.


Anyway, I think it should be 0 for character levels significantly above the CR, but 8 levels is a bit tight of a range. Maybe 12-16? That's good enough to let, say, level 5s and level 12s adventure together, and still weed out some of the more twinkish "character 25 vs CR 5" situations.

Emprod_

Post by Emprod_ » Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:05 pm

Hrm? I have 2 high level triple-classed characters and never have seen a round-down to 0.

Is it because they're human?

Who actually gets this round-down thing? Triple-classed non-humans without taking favored class for their race? That should be tough.

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Post by kombinat » Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:45 pm

I don't mean 1 for those with no xp penalty and 0 for those with an xp penalty... I mean a blanket 1xp for everyone. If that means it has to be made 1.49xp or something so be it.. the end result is that if you kill a monster that is absolutely no threat to you (CR 10 or more lower or something), you only get 1xp.

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Post by Gairus » Sat Feb 26, 2005 4:34 pm

Why all this convoluted business. Try 2. Still slows stuff down, isn't negated for multiclassers, is not complicated. Hrm?

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Post by Khaelindra » Sat Feb 26, 2005 8:52 pm

Emprod_ wrote:Hrm? I have 2 high level triple-classed characters and never have seen a round-down to 0.

Is it because they're human?

Who actually gets this round-down thing? Triple-classed non-humans without taking favored class for their race? That should be tough.
Div is human...she gets the penalty. You only NOT get a penalty if one of those three is a PrC or if the two lowest are within 1 of each other. Div is 20/6/8, all three true classes, she gets 0 xp from everything in the top five layers of the spider caves.

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Post by MorphlingROR » Sun Feb 27, 2005 8:08 am

Emprod_ wrote:Hrm? I have 2 high level triple-classed characters and never have seen a round-down to 0.

Is it because they're human?

Who actually gets this round-down thing? Triple-classed non-humans without taking favored class for their race? That should be tough.
Both of your characters are humans and have one class as PrC. PrCs do not count towards determining if your character has an xp penalty and for humans the class which is highest level for your character doesn't count towards xp penalty. So no, they are not supposed to have a penalty.

A lot of non-human multi-class characters will face xp penalty problems though.
I don't mean 1 for those with no xp penalty and 0 for those with an xp penalty... I mean a blanket 1xp for everyone. If that means it has to be made 1.49xp or something so be it.. the end result is that if you kill a monster that is absolutely no threat to you (CR 10 or more lower or something), you only get 1xp.
I have to agree with kombinat. 0 xp would be bad. I can only see it discouraging partying. 1 xp to everyone for low CR monsters penalty or not would solve a lot of problems. On my own experience as a player the best xp gains for Aerill come from areas where she gains 2-5 xp / kill and there is a big amount of creatures spawning. Eliminating such areas would reduce fun, but lowering xp gain by 3.5 times in my opinion should be enough to solve the problem.

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Post by Mistcaller » Sun Feb 27, 2005 3:00 pm

I have said it before and I must bring it up again here I think.
Do not judge the xp system from a PGer angle or from people that spend 10 hours per day, every day on the servers.
This is NOT the average.

Players can advance fast IF they have sufficient game-time to do so. Even if the xp is reduced, the same people who would PG and become 20th level in 2 months, would do the same in 4 months.
But what about the rest? It would stall their advancement too at the same rate. Is that fair? Do we really gain anything?

Some food for thought.

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Post by teleri » Sun Feb 27, 2005 3:04 pm

I am in agreement with MistCaller on this do not peanalize the regular Players for the sake of a few powergamers.
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Post by Khaelindra » Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:27 am

teleri wrote:I am in agreement with MistCaller on this do not peanalize the regular Players for the sake of a few powergamers.
There's a nuance:

* regular players will often go to areas that are challenging, in which case the 1-4 bonus xp are not what make up most of their mosnter xp

* PG'ers will exploit (i'll call it that) the fact that they gain disproportionally much xp for dead-easy critters and thrive on the 1-4 bonus xp for their quick advancement.


For regular play, it would be like giving a 10% xp-penalty.
For powerlevelplay it would be like giving a 60% xp-penalty.

Doesn't sound so bad from where i'm looking at it. :) You could even up the xp-rewards 10% overall to compensate if you wish. Just stop the no-challenge-quick-xp exploit.

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