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    • Shark

      Donations and Recognition!   12/22/2016

      Hello everyone! We are becoming a huge community and that doesn't come cheap. All staff here are volunteers and do this because they love the site. Right now, everything is paid out of pocket, by Erroneous. We would love for you to donate in order to help out with the site costs (i.e. Forum License, Domain Name, Hosting) so that we can keep Security and Forum Software up to date and possibly add some new features. If you do decide to donate, we have some fun, snazzy gifts of appreciation for you ;) Please message me (Shark) so we can get you the gifts of appreciation! We thank you for your support! Please use this link for more info   _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ How To Donate Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click the donate button.
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      NOTABLE DONORS LIST Here is where we honor the donors who go above and beyond the call of Aincrad! Top Tier Donors! Percival Row  Teayre Nezumi Zandra Alice Arc Atzo Baldur Claim Corvo Dominion Genji Ignavus_veneficus Jomei Kaya Lee Lessa Mack Macradon Nocturn Persephone Piera Ruus Sarial Hawke Shi Unyeilding Vale To express our gratitude, here is a picture of the iconic duo for all you wonderful supporters!
    • Shark

      The SAO Staff Team!   02/21/2017

      Hello members of SAO-RPG!

      I'm sure most of you (if not some) have noticed or heard changes were made to the staff team. If you are applying to staff, you may have noticed that the application process has recently changed. This has all happened because of a reformation of the staff team and the way it operates. The staff now has separate teams for development. These teams are: Floor Creation Team [Floors, Quests/Events, Bosses], Systems & Clarifications Team, and Player Support Team.

      "Who is on these teams?" Well the answer to that lies below! Floor Team Systems & Clarifications Team Player Support Team * - Denotes Team Lead

      We also have a team to work on and develop the current systems but that team will search for its members and is not allowed to be applied to.

      Now you may be asking, "Shark, how does one apply to the Staff Team?" And I have but 1 simple answer!
      Go read this thread and it may answer all your questions!

      If you have any more questions, send me a PM and I will answer your questions about staff. (Only the format of teams and/or the application process)
    • Cardinal

      [Live] 2.5.0 Patch Notes   10/02/2017

      <<2.5.0 Patch Notes>> Main Guide: The main rules/tutorial section has been rewritten. Resources: A Resources section has been added. This contains reference material such as the SP/Level chart, Skills list, Enhancement list, individual profession stats, and a new FAQ. General Rule Changes: Word count requirement in Merchants & Shops section has been reduced to 100 from 150. Col logs are no longer required to include in journals. The Banker system will be used to track currency/materials going forward. New characters and Rebirth characters may choose a Starter Package containing a variety of basic equipment, col, materials, and/or potions. NK/KE tags have been removed. The table for SP gain based on the number of players in a thread has been removed. SP gain is now issued at 1 SP per 3 posts, up to the number of completed pages. (e.g. 3 SP for three pages, requires at least 9 posts) A Skill Refunding System has been added. Players may now pay a col cost to remove known skills and receive a refund of the invested SP. Rules on vanity items have been clarified. Health regeneration outside of combat has been adjusted to (10 * Tier) per post. Stealth and Stealth Detection no longer have a base rating for players. Both now use a LD roll plus a Stealth Rating/Stealth Detection modifier. NPCs and monsters still utilize a base rating (10 as a baseline for player-created mobs). 'Using cover' no longer adds to Stealth Rating. Low light or darkness conditions grant a +1 to Stealth Rating, down from +2. Switch has been added as a game mechanic (no longer a skill). Players may call for a Switch when landing a successful attack. If the Switching player also lands an attack, a Switch is performed and the two players may immediately swap hate values. Players are required to post their level, stats, equipment, skills, etc., in their first post in a thread. This should be a snapshot of your character and should not be changed after the initial post. Players are still allowed to declare their characters at a lower level or with fewer items than what they currently have, but may not claim items that have not been approved or were obtained in an unlocked thread. Turn order rules have been modified slightly to reflect the leniency of Boss Raid combat. Players may post in any order so long as each player and the enemy has gotten one action in a single round. Outside of Boss Raids, parties may have a maximum of 4 players. Combat with more than 4 players should follow a Group order similar to boss raids. When fighting multiple enemies, players must now make individual rolls for each mob. This applies to both making attacks against multiple enemies and multiple enemies making attacks. One roll no longer applies to/for all targets. The Running Away mechanic has been updated. Running away from combat now uses a LD roll with a set of situational modifiers. The col/material values and frequency in the loot table have been adjusted. Labyrinth searching rules have been adjusted. The map fragment system has been removed. Bonus rewards for scouting and defeating the field boss have been adjusted. Housing and Guild Halls have been completely revamped. PvP rules have been adjusted. Players must make an initiative roll when engaging in combat with other players. The extended Player Killing rules/restrictions have been removed. Rules on player cursor colors have been expanded. There is now a strike system for criminal infractions that would cause a player's cursor to turn orange. Killing a green player outside of a duel now results in a permanent orange cursor. An NPC Guard mechanic has been added. Orange players may now enter safe zones, but must stealth/run from guards in certain safe zones. NPC guards have a Stealth Detection rating equal to (Floor / 3), rounded down. Added more detail to character death rules. The RGQ system has been removed. Crafting Changes: Fishing as a profession has been removed. It is now a skill. The CD result chart has been adjusted across all professions (except Merchant). Good and Bad quality items have been removed from the CD result chart. Salvage chances have been adjusted. Alchemists now have a chance to salvage one or both materials when attempting to craft crystals. Crafting Die tools no longer have an effect. Consumables, familiars, housing, and some items still provide EXP and Crafting Attempt bonuses. The process of crafting Feasts has changed slightly. Cooks may now take 3 identical food items and spend two materials to combine them into a Feast. A Feast can be used in a thread to provide that enhancement to up to six players. Artisan craftable item types have been modified (Trinkets, Jewelry, Sculptures). The buffs they can provide are largely unchanged. Alchemist craftable item types have been modified (Salves, Potions, Crystals). The buffs they can provide are largely unchanged. Skill Changes: Extended Weight Limit Removed Ranks - 15 SP cost Now adds +3 Battle Ready Inventory slots Adjusted Mod: Large Pockets Now has 3 Ranks Cost set to 5/3/2 SP (10 total for Rank 3) Now increases single Battle Ready Inventory slots to 7/10/15 Removed 'Larger Pockets' and 'Largest Pockets' mods New Skill: Fishing Cost: 10 SP Effect: Use a dice roll to fish something up based on a natural CD result: Gatherer Now has a chance to yield 1-3 bonus materials based on a natural CD result Sneak & Hide Renamed to 'Hiding' Now grants +1 Stealth Rating per rank New Rank 3 Mod: Untraceable Cost: 9 SP Effect: Negates the effect of the Tracking skill against the user. New Rank 3 Mod: Blindside Cost: 9 SP Effect: Gain +2 Stealth Rating. Natural BD rolls of 9-10 reduce the target's accuracy by 1 for one turn when attacking from stealth. New Rank 5 Mod: Vanish Cost: 12 SP Cooldown: 5 Turns Effect: Allows the use of a post action to re-enter stealth while in combat. Getting a killing blow on an enemy allows Vanish to activate without using a post action. Search & Detect Renamed to 'Searching' Now also grants +1 Stealth Detection per rank Mod: Night Vision Now requires Rank 1, down from Rank 3 Cost reduced to 5 SP, from 9 Mod: Reveal Now also grants +2 LD when searching for Labyrinths and allows Labyrinth searches at 15 posts. Mod: Tracking Now requires Rank 3, down from Rank 5 Cost reduced to 12 SP, from 15 Tracking requirements for monsters, players, and NPCs have been clarified. Mod: Detect Cost reduced to 9 SP, from 15 No longer uses or affects Tracking. Now Grants +2 Stealth Detection. Grants +1 LD when searching for sub-dungeons and labyrinths Battle Healing Now recovers 1% of max HP per rank, instead of (Rank * 5 * Tier) Mod: Emergency Recovery Cost reduced to 10 SP, from 15 Now recovers 10% of max HP, down from 25% Block MIT gained is now set per rank: 5/8/12/18/25, down from 1 MIT per SP invested. New Rank 3 Mod: Shield Bash Cost: 10 SP Cooldown: 2 Turns Energy Cost: 10 Energy Effect: Make an attack with an equipped shield. On a hit, deals (Base * 10) damage, stuns the enemy for one turn, and applies paralyze/thorns/flame thorns enhancements present on the shield. Note: When calculating Base Damage for Shield Bash, Weapon Skills do not apply. Mod: Safe Guard Reworked into 'Rampart' Added a 5 turn cooldown Added energy cost of 8 Now uses a post action to reduce final damage that would be dealt to you by 25% (rounded down). Effect lasts until the beginning of your next turn. Energist Removed Ranks - 12 SP cost Now adds (5 * Tier) to total energy, instead of (Rank * 2) Howl Added energy cost of 10 Mod: Focused Howl Added energy cost of 8 Parry Increased SP cost to 12, up from 10 Added a 1 turn cooldown Energy cost has been fixed at 5, instead of (2 * enemies parried) 50% damage reduction has been specified to apply to the final damage (after mitigation). Effect applies to the next attack against the user, and cannot reduce damage from multiple enemies at once. Mod: Vengeful Riposte Increased SP cost to 12, up from 10 Added a 3 turn cooldown Damage reflected is now 50% of raw damage, up from 25% of damage taken. This damage can still be mitigated. Switch Skill has been removed. Two-Handed Weapons The +2 DMG bonus for 2H weapons has been clarified in the first rank of 2H weapon skills. All Weapons The Ferocity and Finesse mods have been condensed into a single description. You must still specify the weapon type when acquiring the mod(s). Mod: Ferocity Rank requirement set to 3, instead of ranging from 1-5 Now increases base damage of all sword arts for the chosen weapon by 1. Mod: Finesse Rank requirement set to 3, instead of ranging from 1-5 Now has 3 Ranks Cost adjusted to 5/3/2 SP (10 total for Rank 3), down from 15 at Rank 5 Now reduces energy cost of all sword arts for the chosen weapon by an amount equal to its rank. Mod: Quick Change Cooldown reduced to 3 turns, down from 5 Now allows the user to swap, equip, or unequip a weapon in their Battle Ready Inventory. Mod: Stamina Now reduces the energy cost of all attacks by 1. Heavy Armor Increased the amount of MIT gained to 8>12>18>25>35, up from 3>7>12>20>30 Mod: Athletics Bonus health increased to (15 * Tier), up from 15 Mod: Stonewall Bonus health has been adjusted to (15 * Tier), instead of equal to mitigation from other skills. Now also grants 10 MIT when wearing heavy armor Now also reduces damage taken from damage over time effects by 25% (rounded down) when wearing heavy armor. Light Armor Adjusted the amount of MIT gained to 5>8>12>18>25, down from 3>7>12>20>30 Mod: Athletics Bonus health adjusted to (10 * Tier), from 15 Familiar Mastery 'Accurate' now has 3 ranks. 'Assistant' now provides bonus EXP (crafting attempts at max profession rank) instead of CD. Meditation Removed Ranks - 8 SP cost Added a 5 turn cooldown Now recovers (3 * Tier) energy. Getting hit by an attack before the beginning of your next turn reduces the energy recovered to (2 * Tier). Survival Added 3 SP cost Increases out of combat health regeneration to (15 * Tier), instead of 20. Enhancement Changes: Life Steal has been renamed to Vampiric. The Crafting Die enhancement has been removed. Alchemist and Artisan item types for enhancements have been modified. Sword Art Changes: Multipliers have been simplified to a single number (x6) from the two-part formula (2x3). Several descriptions have been updated. Quest Changes: The 'Redemption' quest has been revamped. The level and repeatable restrictions have been adjusted to affect only the bonus SP rewards: The First Few Lessons Are Free The Second Lesson is Also Free The Third Lesson is Just As Free The Fourth Lesson is Actually Free The Venemous Warg Repeating the 'Earning a Living' quest now allows a player to change their profession. Changing professions will reset experience to 0. Repeat completions of the Earning a Living quest will only award bonus materials if the quest-taker is changing their profession. The following quests have been removed: «Witch of the West and the Three Treasures: T.M.H & S.B.» «Witch of the West and the Three Treasures: T.L.C.» «Witch of the West and the Three Treasures «The Falling of Tagas» Housing Changes: The cost and size of Player Housing is now determined by a 'plot size'. The plot size dictates how many room slots, yard slots, and stories a house can have as well as the initial cost when purchasing. Purchasing a PK-accessible home (outside of a safe zone) has an additional cost. Buffs from Guild Halls/Player Housing now comes from the type of room, rather than furniture. Certain rooms for Player Housing have upgrades. Player Housing buffs must be assigned to a player. Home owners may use the Housing Evaluation topic to re-assign a room's player(s) once every 30 days. New/Rebirth Character Changes: Players who have submitted a new or rebirth character journal for approval in the past 30 days are eligible to add one of the starting bundles. <<2.5 Update Survival Guide>> Skills: If you spent more than 15 SP on the Extended Weight Limit skill, refund any SP over 15. If you have spent less than 15 SP, the skill is inactive until a total of 15 is invested. If you spent more than 12 SP on the Energist skill, refund any SP over 12. If you have spent less than 12 SP, the skill is inactive until a total of 12 is invested. If you spent more than 8 SP on the Meditation skill, refund any SP over 8. If you have spent less than 8 SP, the skill is inactive until a total of 8 is invested. If you have the Parry skill, you must spend 2 SP to continue using it. Otherwise, it is inactive until a total of 15 is invested. If you have the Survival skill, you must spend 3 SP to continue using it. Otherwise, it is inactive until a total of 3 is invested. If you had the Switch skill, remove it and refund 10 SP. Mods: If you have the Detect mod, keep it and refund 6 SP. If you have the Tracking mod, keep it and refund 3 SP. If you have the Emergency Recovery mod, keep it and refund 5 SP. If you had Rank 1 or 2 of the Ferocity mod, lose it and receive a refund of the SP spent. If you had Rank 3 or 4 of the Ferocity mod, you must spend 6 or 3 SP to continue using it. Otherwise, it is inactive until a total of 15 is invested. If you spent more than 10 SP on the Finesse mod, refund any SP over 10. If you have the Large Pockets mod, you must spend 1 SP to continue using it. Otherwise, it is inactive until a total of 10 is invested. If you had the Larger Pockets mod, it becomes the new Large Pockets mod and you receive a refund of 2 SP. If you had the Largest Pockets mod, it becomes the new Large Pockets mod and you receive a refund of 5 SP. If you have the Night Vision mod, keep it and refund 4 SP. If you have the Vengeful Riposte mod, you must spend 2 SP to continue using it. Otherwise, it is inactive until a total of 12 is invested. Professions: If you had the Fishing profession, all EXP may be transferred to any other profession. If you had a Tool with the 'Crafting Die' enhancement, you may post it for re-evaluation with the Ambition or Crafting Attempt enhancement (item name/description may not change). If you retake the Earning a Living quest in order to change professions, your EXP resets to 0 for the new profession. Edit your existing shop thread with your new profession information. Housing: Existing Guild Halls and Player Housing have been removed. They may be repurchased through the Housing Evaluation template. Players who previously bought a home or hall have been reimbursed for the total col cost in their original housing application. If a guild had shared col lost due to the removal of a guild hall, PM the details to @Teion for review/reimbursement.
    • Teion

      State of the Site Discussion   10/03/2017

      Please provide your thoughts and opinions! This discussion will affect the future of the site, so it's important that we get as much feedback as possible.
    • Aereth

      2.5 PK Rules / Thread Tags Discussion   10/16/2017

      Hello Players,
      Once again your feedback is needed, so head over to the thread and tell us what you think. LINK
Teion

State of the Site Discussion

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone! I'm here with a topic that's been discussed and debated here and there for quite some time now that we would like to sit down and fully address.

There are three major issues that we feel have really been hurting the site:

  • The level gap between veterans and new players
  • Overleveling past floor content
  • Slow progression

Lately, it feels as though veteran players are losing motivation to keep playing, and new players are scared off by the disparity between themselves and those veterans. There have been huge gaps in the time between floor boss raids, which seems to come from multiple sources (tedious floor searching process, boss monster imbalance, a lack of new players in the frontlines, etc). And in part to those large gaps, players have little else to do besides grind levels which pushes them above and beyond the standard floor content.

While there have been many, many proposals and angles brought up on all sides, here are the most popular that we've seen. Keep in mind that these are general concepts and any solution that is decided on would need to be further discussed and developed before implementing:

1. Level caps, leveling rates, and new player stats.
    This can come in so many shapes and forms, but the core idea remains the same. This kind of option generally involves setting a hard level cap, increasing the leveling rate of low-leveled players, increasing the starting level of new players, or any combination of the three. Since this has been the most well-received option thus far, I'll throw out some more detail on one potential solution in this realm:
        Pulling overleveled players back to a cap.
        In this scenario, we would establish a level cap relative to the current unlocked floor. Players above that level would be brought down to that number. However, with the current SP = Level system, this is hardly a viable option. Taking progress away from players who have put a lot of time into this site is not what we're out to do. But as some of you know, 3.0 is slated to use an EXP leveling system. Utilizing this, along with segregating EXP and SP gain, would allow the strongest players to remain the strongest while we can pull back stats to a manageable place. Ultimately, this will give us the ability to balance bosses and events around the level cap rather than the outliers.

2. Floor jump and/or timeskip
    This has been up for debate before, and the result was pretty split. Most likely in combination with some form of option 1 so that new and low-level players aren't left in the dust and we don't run into the same overleveling issues, this option would involve bumping up the current unlocked floor. The new 'current' floor would most likely be somewhere around or just below where a lot of the current frontliners are in level.

3. Reset
    The most controversial and the least popular option, I won't get much into this. Whether it's a setting change that preserves the story, or a complete wipe, this option generally results in everyone starting over. In order to prevent the same issues from resurfacing, we would likely tie in pieces from the first concept along with many system overhauls.

4. Do nothing
    If you're happy with how things are right now, let us know that's what you think. We want to hear your opinion, whether you want any of these kinds of huge changes or not.

We'd like to bring the conversation to you, the community, to hear your voices and see where you land on the matter. There are many different proposals that have been brought up, discussed, and debated in order to solve these issues, but in the end we can't use every option, and as much as I wish we could, we can't make everyone happy. We really care about the future of this site and keeping it fun and engaging for everyone to enjoy. Let us know what you think, and how we can make SAO-RPG a better place.

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In my opinion, a wipe with the release of a new, better system,  might be best. It fixes most problems with the site, mechanics and otherwise, although it's more than a bit unfair to all the people who invested so much time into building their characters. 

Edited by Pinball

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In my opinion, it'd be against the long-term interests of the site to roll out a hard reset. Since a hard reset has never been implemented in this community, it's a little ambiguous with exactly how things would play out, but we can draw from how the community tends react to the sort of things that we might expect from some sort of reset or wipe.

First of all, a hard reset is essentially a more extreme version of a time-skip, at least balance-wise. The last time the question of a time-skip was raised, the number one reason that some people were averse to it was that they felt it was messing too much with their control over their character's narrative and development. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that resetting everybody's characters outright might be upsetting to this group of people.

The other reason why I think a hard reset would hurt is that it reminds me a little too much of the trend of veteran players getting bored and killing off their characters for a fresh start, then regretting it after figuring out that they hadn't actually addressed the actual reasons for their boredom with either the site or their character. 

I have a strong feeling that a hard reset actually would boost activity for a while because of the novelty factor, but that activity would also start tapering off at some point after that. Just think of all the players who essentially reset their RP experiences by either dying or by re-birthing their characters. There's precedent for people being enthusiastic about fresh starts, but there's also precedent for the novelty of fresh characters wearing off at some point. The problem is that once it wears off, there's now less tying you to the site than there was before, because you've already thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

Edited by Azide

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Let's summarize a bit:

1.) Leveling Abuse - Some people are too powerful for the floors that we are on.  Either we boost the newer players, or f*ck over the older ones.
(Let it be known, that most of the older players that are at this point are either gone now, or busy with life.)

2.) Plot Skip? - Autopilot, like that one Adam Saddler move, into the future by a few floors.  Did we gain levels?  Hell, if I know...
(Some people dislike this option because it is a cop out of a good story.  To be fair, yes it is.  However, we're all roleplayers, so we can make up a good story to have happened in the mean time.)

3.) Total Recall - Heathcliff reveals himself to be not Kayaba, but it is instead Calrex and we f*ck up the timeline to the point where we have to go back, back to the past, Samurai Bal~...
(From the previous opinions, this is looking like the favorite option.  Not gonna lie, I don't like it at all.  It is much worse than the cop out time skip.  We're losing a lot of things that make up our characters stories.  We're looking at the disaster that was the Pvp incidents, but on a site wide level.  Everyone will lose their progress for a "fresh start".  We haven't even seen the full extent of 3.0, and that's what you'll bank on.  A chance at something a little better.  I'm not buying it.)

4.) Nothing - We keep everything the way it is...
(Honestly, I will say that this isn't the best option either.  With how most of the progression has been through the current front lines, I've noticed that most of us are usually not available to do anything.  Not as much as we did a few months ago.  Maybe even one year ago.  I can say myself that I can barely make a post a week, if anything.  Now, I'm not going to let myself die out, or leave the site for that reason.  I'm still here to help us get a better experience.)

Personally, I prefer the second option, over everything else.  It's bad, but not as bad as resetting everything.

This has been your friendly neighborhood hunter,

Make
Aincrad
Great
Again

Hirru

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As a veteran player, ex-GM, abuser of loophole builds, teller of stories, and slayer of Zelrius, I offer my take on this subject. (Pfft, that title was unnecessarily long but for the newer folk reading, hopefully it shows I'm not just talking out of my back side)

Like Hirru and Azide mentioned, a hard reset is just not good for business. Despite the resounding yes the newer players echo, they truly fail to realize that some of us have dedicated the better half of 3 years into this site and just wiping all that away would not only kill off what remains of most of the veterans, but also shorten the writer-base as a whole; at least in my opinion.

That being said, I feel that a more reasonable response would be a culmination of Option 1 and Option 2. While a time-skip can be seen as a "cop-out" think about how many threads are actually being written to drive a story and not to drive numbers and stats. If we were a more story based forum with less focus on the numbers, we wouldn't be where we are now. (I'm partially to blame for this.) Some of you reading/responding may not know but there was a time where sword arts weren't a thing and numbers were simple. There wasn't an energy system and narrative encounters were abundant between the community whether it was guilds beefing with one another, romantic involvements, or side stories intertwining with multiple people across all levels and skill, the site used to be so much more; until we added more and reduced the site to its current state.

Winded version aside, the point I'm trying to make is that, the site could do with a wipe, but not in terms of progress, but rather mechanics and direction.

So I offer this:

Timeskip- Yes: Timeskip up x floors and scale players accordingly. Example, jump to floor 50, all players auto scale to level 60. Players above level 60 retain their gap, but this catches new players up, and closes the major gap between the current players and veteran players seeing as how I believe Calrex is the only player above 70. But something along these lines.

Level Cap- Yes: Now once you figured out your time skip and new base level, cap levels by floor tiers. Every 10th floor unlocks the next tier of levels and once you hit max level in that tier, you cease leveling, or an option would be they gain exp/sp at a reduced rate and when the next tier unlocks they are awarded the accumulated exp/sp. (Sorry Cal you are too strong)

New Player Stats- Yes. Correlates with the mention in time skip. Scale up according to level what ever those stats maybe.

As far as mechanics, like i said, i'd like to see the site return to its more primitive form with so much less DnD elements and more of a story driven atmosphere. Last year, proved to me as a player and staff member that once we emphasized the importance of numbers over narratives, the site not only divided in terms of storytellers vs number-getters, but threads became less engrossing and more grinding. I dont know about you all here, but i came here to write a story, not play a crudely calculated text-based DnD game based on the setting of SAO.

P.s. I'm not saying to hell with numbers, but their impact is far stronger than it should be for a text based roleplay.

Edited by Oikawa

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Figured I'd add in as well, since apparently my name has been tossed around a couple of times :P

It is true that I am currently the highest player in the game at the moment, and leading this is just a personal feeling on m part in terms of should a hard reset happen. If that were to be the base, I honestly don't think I would have the drive to actually try and start from scratch on this character, which would essentially result in me retiring from SAO-RPG in general. 2.5-3 years have been invested in Calrex already, and a lot of that was in the first year, when I actually had a lot of time to do so. With my current situation, I doubt I would be able to reach even a quarter of that posting frequency. I didn't reach level 82 to try and be relevant, all of the topics I've made and posted in I aimed to RP to the best of my ability at the time, and never simply to just try and reach a level of SP number (even though I do joke about that in Discord). Players around me that provided quality RP content that ot my own creative mind going was what propelled me forward, not numbers.

I do have to agree that a hard reset on the current situation is a very bad idea in my opinion, as many of the others that have made lengthy replies have already said. While it may be something to help solve the current issue, it doesn't actually solve anything in the long run. Yes there would no longer be a level disparity now, but that would also be making the assumption that no new players will be entering in the future. If that does happen, we can't keep on resetting the level every time there's a large enough new player base, because it would essentially kill the point of doing anything because a lot of people will potentially just wait for the free reset/ride when enough new people come (also I do apologize if I sound a bit cynical in saying this). A new server is a viable option, but personally I would want to avoid splitting up the community base, with the veterans set on playing in the old board and the new players in the new one.

So far the other options I have no real opinions on, as they are all sound attempts. I would like to put up one that has had some back and forth made about it, and see what you all think about it as well. @Teion and I have discussed this a bit, and hopefully it is sound.

The idea I propose (I do credit Azide with it as well for initially conceiving it), is that we make a split system in terms of experience, detaching skills from level:

Spoiler

 

- A hard cap would be set on level by making experience to level up only obtainable by completing quests, with only the first time being when you can get experience. Repeat topics will only yield quest item rewards. This way the maximum level you can gain is set by the floor in relation to how many quests are available.

In terms of math, the maximum level one could potentially gain would be Floor+20, so in relation to now that would mean the maximum would be 44. Anything over that for existing players over the cap would be reduced to that cap.

- A soft cap would be applied to Skill Points, with any points past the cap being banked until the cap is increased, at which point it will be immediately available. For currently over leveled players, this would mean that the SP they currently have over the soft cap would be banked until the cap is raised.

 

This potential solution would be so that skills would be more of a marker of hard work then your level, as what comes with higher levels is HP, Energy, and Tier availability. These three factors drive A LOT of the survivability for higher levels, or at least from what I know. It allows lower level players the ability to catch up in the more important factor to their survivability, while at the same time allowing people that have investing a lot of time into their characters to have some way of showing that rather than just big numbers.

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Honestly that was the reason my group and I stopped playing after only a couple posts... We saw how long it took all the veterans to reach their current levels... and we realized that even if we grind our asses off and managed to make it to that level in said time, the veterans will still be leagues ahead of us... 

Though we really don't have much experience on this site, we all agree that things are unbalanced.

All of us agree that Calrex's idea is a pretty neat one. It gives us new players a chance to catch up to the veterans and feel more like equals.

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I don't have time (exams gdi) to write a full post, maybe later, but not right now.
This discussion had been in the Doner's section, so I'll insert some snippets of my opinion on the matter.

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So from what I can see from this, the thing that would make most sense for me is Level-cap and Time Skip.

I can see how appealing a hard reset would be for newer players, but for someone who dedicated 3, nearly 4 years, I will not be able to rest easy and just go with the flow, I'm pretty sure my muse for the site would be eradicated for eternity, like many other Veteran players have come to. I can see how it will be able to fix a lot of the problems, but it would just create a new problem for those who have dedicated a lot of time an effort, I just don't think it's fair.

The level-cap and time skip ideas are what sounds more reasonable, because for right now, the activity on the frontlines is somewhat stagnant. While it's stagnant, what the users (who post order isn't there or isn't supposed to post anyways) do is just do some other threads to make the time they have worth something while waiting. What happens here is as described, overleveling, this is qutie often what happens and that throw the players up through the roof level wise.

Now, just putting up a level cap ain't gonna fix anything, the progress of the floor clearing isn't gonna go faster than this. Atm. I think the way you find the boss dungeon and stuff is pretty good, it's better than the old Roll after 20 posts to find it, albeit slower, it feels more immersive.

Now, do we need a Level cap even if we do a Time Skip? Probably, yes. It relaly depends on how far we skip on forward. If we push it to floor 90 or something, I don't think a level cap is needed, but if we only bump it up to floor .. 50-60? The level cap might be needed.

I could agree to the newer players to be bumped up in levels, something like the lowest level for the current tier.

My 0.02 dollars

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A lot of stuff to unpack here. Okay.

First off, I'm with most of the veterans. I've had to grind my ass off to get where I am, and although there would be advantages to a level wipe, I would be pretty much done motivation-wise. To newer players, it actually is possible to catch up to the vets, and even if it wasn't, you don't need to be level 50+ to be relevant. There are going to be some occasional boss fights that you should avoid until you're there, but the community is pretty open to new players and carrying people to bump up their level. I mean, I got a carry through a quest+dungeon and skipped straight to level like... 7.

I think the options here don't address the real issue of the site, which is that we're in the middle of a lot of transitions, none of which are done. I think a few quick fixes would be great, but those solutions need to be simple and quick to implement so the staff can get 3.0 out quicker. It's been the better part of a year since I joined, and they were saying it would be out in a month then. I know we've had a lot of staff retire and it's basically Teion's project now, but it's one that needs to be implemented so we don't have the piecemeal system we have right now.

My quick fix solution would be what some of the others have suggested:  Basically, whatever the highest tier is, no player is more than 1 tier below that. That means new players coming in get boosted to level 25 out of the gate. It gets people onto the front lines faster, and it makes new players feel more relevant.

To the older players who might feel this is unfair:

Sorry. Doesn't matter whether it's fair or not. The site is dying, and none of us want that. We need to keep new players engaged or we're going to be stuck with too few people to make things work. Also, keep in mind the unfair advantages you're playing with. Most of you came from an era where the system was very exploitable and have some experience or some items that would have never happened in the current state of things. You also have to keep in mind that in reality, everyone is on the same time-line, and constantly having players pop into the game who are level 1 makes 0 sense. They may not have been front liners since the beginning, but we've all been here since day 1. We need a system that reflects that.

Edited by Shield

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I have been reading the posts on this thread, and I have some things that I agree upon/feel the need to share. While new players indeed feel like a hard reset is a good Idea, there's nothing good about it. Heck, I grinded just to get to level 10. I couldn't possibly imagine what the veterans would think of this. After all, it would just be all that posting for naught, should that have been the case. Bringing players closer to the veterans sounds good in the sense that the newer players won't get scared off by level difference, and honestly, I have actually had a few problems with that situation... To be on par with the veterans, rather than pushing everyone back, is the solution I'm leaning towards. I'm with the current popular thought.

That's my opinion in this matter.

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Zelrius here on another account. (Zelrius account is banned, am allowed to use others)

As a player who is bordering 4 years on the site, I've seen it grow and die, much like a wildfire. To touch on what @Oikawa has said here before; The switch to numbers is, in my opinion, what did it in for most. Myself included. Near the end of my character's life, My activity cut down significantly; It was no longer about role playing the implications of my character and his situation, Instead, @Vale and I would spend hours pouring over numbers and stats, trying to exploit and gain even more of an edge than we had. That became boring to me very quickly, and while a good number of the exploits have been cleared up, As @Shield has just mentioned here, those who used such exploits (Intentionally or not so) are now leagues ahead, making the new comers feel the ever increasing pressure to disregard Character and Story, and focus on Gear, Stats and SP in order to remain completely relevant. This, like Oikawa, in my opinion, is what is draining the site of its activity.

In solution, I have a few ideas. One of my top arguments, especially during the Tristan and Zero era, was this; Stop scaling Bosses to be a challenge to the players just because. Let the stronger players clear up to their level, they will hit a wall one way or another. To better word it; Of course our Level 60s are going to shitstomp Floor 20 bosses, or atleast they should be. I can see how that can be completely unappealing to staff, which leads to my next proposal; The Timeskip. I am personally not of the school that it is a Cop out. This idea can go great with the minimum level cap that Shield had mentioned above. Give newer players a Kick to a Higher level when they start, Change nothing about current higher levelled players, since they already have the inheirt advantage, and it allows staff to make actually decently strong bosses without extremely slowing down progress. I say, Timeskip with the Low-Level Advantage, Along with instituting a plethora of overhauled systems and Level caps. That combination, atleast way I see it, will boost New-Comer activity, taking pressure off their need to feel relevant and focusing on their character development, Solve the age-old Roleplay problem that new comers have where they basically have to say they've sat around on the first floor for 4 years, and will give the Veterans something to do, while the level cap makes it so that the new comers have a chance to catch up.

To finalize, I am in agreeance with Shield on the matters presented above. Boost lower levels, Change nothing for higher levels, Add in Level Caps and Overhaul some systems, such as; Scouting of Bosses, Boss fights themselves, Adding more quests and doing more events. On that last note, I think having more events that allow for any and every player to go at their own pace and still get high-end rewards is an extremely good idea for boosting activity. So; focus on lower levels, and keep higher levels occupied while limiting their progress to allow others to play catch-up and focus on more story-based RP.

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I am more along the lines of the soft cap Calrex has described. With absolutely zero clue on how the experience system will work, I'm just going to make some small assumptions. Let's assume the experience system will be based off of threads (if this totally excluded non-combative threads, character development and actual role-play may be more sparse) with quests being more rewarded. This means that people with tons of threads will still have a massive amount of experience as compared to the rest, obviously. Thus, we'd still need a soft cap that Calrex described, even for experience.

The soft cap for both experience and SP may be necessary. It means that people MAY be motivated to help clear floors to pass their current plateau, albeit also coming with the possibility of decreasing player activity because of having to wait for players to gain their levels effectively serving as a possible double-edged sword.

I have been looking at some posts and I'm also wondering if Shield's advice will be helpful. It makes sense, ultimately, to give new players a starting jump but it'd still need to be paired with the soft cap (else they're still be a gap). However, and this may not be a bad thing, it may just make people purposely join in or make "alternates" once the new tier is unlocked for a sudden jump in power. So it may be required to make there to be a hard "minimum" but that makes it so someone just waits for a floor to be cleared, resulting in a lack of activity. So... Everything is complicated. 

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The idea of the minimum would be for it to be a universal minimum. Everyone's minimum gets bumped up at a new tier, not just the newbies.

I really want to stress the importance of keeping whatever we do simple. The more things we mess with on the front end, the more strain it puts on an already under-manned staff and the more balancing it will require in the long haul.

I also feel like having a level cap is unnecessary in the short-term since we already have tier capping. You can continue to gain levels and skill points, but the benefits of those after a while are minimal. The REAL advantage is to up your tier, since many of your primary stats and the effects of your gear are a factor of your tier. I can go into that more if necessary.

Keep it simple. A level cap is going to be messy to balance, and the payout would be long-term when what we need is a short-term workaround until the full update is implemented. There will also be a period of reworking after 3.0 is released, so there will be plenty of time to tinker then. Just know that equipment is the biggest part of balance (or lack there of), and the equipment system is being completely gutted and reworked for 3.0, so the sooner we get that out, the sooner we can have figure this out.

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Hey everyone, Endilix here for my regular, I don't post anymore but really wish I had the time/motivation nostalgia trip. So, it looks like I'm going to be the first, and maybe only veteran to go on record as saying that I think a hard reset is a good idea. But let me explain why.

I've made it no secret that despite the numbers game, my motivation is always the story. But from all my experience playing MMOs and actual video games, which SAO aims to emulate, and SAO-RPG further emulates, there is one key element missing for any and all new players. And I say this as someone who missed it myself. It's the chance to experience the story fresh.

Think about it. For you gamers out there who enjoy a good story, you boot up a game and you have this fresh, wide eyed wonder as you experience a world, fight all the bosses, and blaze your own trail. To bring people together, they have multiplayer, both co-op and competitive. If you beat the game but loved it, you can play it again. If you're playing an MMO, you get on the treadmill and keep running content for gear or stats, even if it's only once a week.

in short, your game is repeatable. And you can find new and creative ways to keep that childlike wonder in your heart because things aren't locked away behind the nostalgia of veterans saying, "Oh we did that."

I want to know what it's like to fight the first boss on floor one, when our characters had no clue what it was like. I want to feel like a veteran by floor 10, taking on the next level of harder bosses. I want the possibility of dying at any turn to feel real, and not something I can just avoid by not being in actual danger.

But I can hear you saying, "Well what if we do a hard reset and then you miss it again?" To which I say, get out of my head. But also, you're right, that is a real possibility. There's a few ways to fix that one. They're something that would take a bit of work either way, but seem better than allowing it to fester into nonsense again.

Option 1: Make a new "server" for the reset. Let everyone keep the ability to play their 2.X characters and ignore the new 3.0 server, separate of 3.0, allowing for the choice of a clean slate or veteran status with the old system. Realistically, I think 3.0 should be all new, regardless of it leading us to the promised lands, simply because staff needs a clear and defined way to know 100% that nothing exploited or broken is in the game.

Option 2: Make bosses and other "one time only" content fully repeatable. I already know your outcry on this one: "They didn't do that in the anime/manga, that's wrong!" And my main point is, let's be real here. The rules have already had to be pretty flexible and loose in order to get it working as a pen and paper type RPG, so what makes it impossible here? All of the end game content in MMOs is dungeons and raids. So let us do them again, and maybe the newbies will be more interested. I know I'd love that. Let me find a group to take down boss 1 and I'm a happy camper. It feels more real for people who want to be frontliners. Let's them build that story on the "front lines" without having to make up stuff.

Anyway, this is getting rambly and I'm sleepy. I hope I've gotten the gears turning at least. I think with a little more grease, a hard reset or fully repeatable content makes things easier on is a players. Now I won't lie and say it makes it easy on staff, but that's why we love you guys. See you on my next nostalgia trip everyone.

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