This deals with the way experience orbs could be used to improve combat or labour effectiveness. I feel it is important to distinguish between 2 different conversion 'purposes'. Players should be able to use experience (orbs) to improve 1) character traits and 2) magic infused / smithing of special gear and even for crafting high level products on faction crafting tables.
Note that the system as explained here can be preceded by the simplified 'Vigour' system as proposed in this thread. The systems are compatible.
The vanilla MC mechanism to collect experience orbs is fit for the above purposes. I see no need to adjust this basic mechanism for acquiring experience (= gathering orbs) and I assume this will not be disabled or significantly altered.
Alternative experience system
Note that instead of the experience orb system, and alternative system (like that for SkillAPI, Heroes, MCMMO and whatnot) may also be considered. Advantage of this may be that it may be better configurable and might offer better options to discourage grinding. Disadvantage is the extra coding effort. For the features as proposed here this doesn't really matter a lot I guess.
Main distinctive aspect of my suggestion is to create a dual system for conversion of experience into either character traits or improved gear. My objective is to provide a system for meaningfull conversion of experience (orbs), that both supports characters/factions that are known to use enchantment magic, and characters/factions that are 'less magically developed/oriented'. In fact, it may turn out that there will be very few truly 'magical' enchants left to use experience for, once the lore mould has been used to strip the vanilla enchanting system down to one that fits this mod. This follows the actual discussion and speculations on the announced 'new enchantment system' (see Mevans' blog). I hope this suggestion adds to the ongoing discussions/thoughts and maybe even opens up new perspectives.
The scope of this suggestion post may appear rather broad as it touches concepts that influence many related aspects of gameplay. However, the main issue addressed here is whether or not to use the existing experience orb system for multiple purposes and not just enchanting. Discussions about possible traits, gear enhancements, magical enchants and detailed balanceing issues are to be avoided. Information given in this post on such details are for illustrative purposes.
1) Experience => Character Traits : experience gain to be expressed as improved character traits / capabilities. This is a generic rpg feature and should be predominantly player dependent afaic, while minimizing grinding / exploit possibilities. This should affect character traits with their connected capabilities. Examples: 'Constitution' (health and resilience) and 'Athletism' (agility and stamina). Each capability may be connected to one or more attributes, like attack damage and movement speed modifiers.
In line with the excellent plugin 'Character_Stats' (which uses the KISS 'Keep It Simple, Stupid!' principle nicely), I would like to see Mevans implement a system that enables the player to convert experience orbs to skill points that can be used by the player to improve character traits. This could also affect traits like 'Strength', which affects weapon wielding player attributes like 'cooldown time'. Any character traits affected should obviously not conflict/interfere with the aspects mentioned under 2). In case some dependency between movement speed and armor weight may be implemented, the dependency variable may also be used as a player attribute affected by the trait 'Athletism', which will improve the capability 'Endurance', effectively reducing the effect of the drag of heavy armor.
Status effects could also be used to temporarily boost one or more character traits, see Direranger50's suggestion.
Experience conversion to character traits should be expensive. Thirty experience levels should be able to get you an improvement of just 1 level (corresponding to 4-25 % of maximum achievable improvement) on any of the defined capabilities. The maximum effects should be capped to ensure players do not become overpowered. In my view, maximum effects should therefore be limited to an order of magnitude of 20-40%, also taking into account the possible cumulative effects of enchanted / advanced gear. If possible, alignment dependency of maximum attribute improvement may also be implemented.
In addition to the original notions as presented here, I later introduced the simplified trait system called 'Vigour', as presented in this thread. As it is completely compatible with the trait system explained here, I assume 'Vigour' can also be included in this. Vigour essentially represents the base capability of a player to absorb incoming melee and environmental damage. The players vigour level is equal to the players experience orb level. As soon as a player gets knocked out or converts his vigour into a permanent trait boost, his vigour level drops. In order to ensure full compatibility of both systems, the two main parameters of the vigour system should be tuned to fit the more complex system as presented here. The trait 'Hardiness' resembles the combined trait 'vigour' most (see below). A maximum vigour of 100 should not give more that a maxed out hardiness level: 20 % of damage reduction. Hence, the two vigour parameters should be 0.2 % per level and 100 as maximum level. With the inclusion of vigour in this system, the immersive effect of getting knocked out and losing the buffs of ones vigour will be introduced.
Traits list (indicative!)
A concrete, indicative, proposal that encompasses all of the above is given in the collapsable list below.
- Each skillpoint (SP) costs 1628 experience orbs (configurable), equal to the amount needed to achieve level 30.
- The maximum cap values are increased with 50 or 100% when players reach +1000 alignment (on average, configurable) with all Good or Evil factions (‘aligns with Good/Evil’).
- The list is set up to include 2 new mechanisms: armour weight dependent movement speed and fatigue at low health level. Armour weight dependent movement speed assumes base speed to be 10% faster than vanilla with no armour and 10% slower with max weight armour (full steel types) : drag from max weight armour = 20%. Fatigue assumes a 10% chance every 20 ticks to get weakness effect during 10 seconds at a health level of 8 hp or lower: weakness is likely to be active for most of the time at this low health level. If these would not be implemented the Endurance and Perseverance would have to be changed or deleted and some other caps should be adjusted in favour of Evil.
- The effects and caps are set up under the assumption that the enchantments will be modified according to the included indicative list.
- All parameters are supposed to be made configurable, although changing them will have to be advised against. It will take some good thinking to adequately balance all settings. The values below should be considered indicative.
- The total amount of convertible skillpoints will be capped at 50. Players who will not reach high alignment with either Good or Evil will be able to convert all skillpoints. High alignment will simply allow for more specialization.
- The format for the rest of this list: 'Trait - Capability: description; alignment cap effect; Improvement per SP; cap'.
- Constitution - Health: increased base health level; aligns with Good + 50%; +1 hp/SP; cap set at 12 hp (12 SP) – 18 hp (18 SP) for Good
- Constitution - Resilience: increased healing rate and food saturation effect; aligns with Good + 50%; +5%/SP; cap at 20% (4 SP) – 30% (6 SP) for Good
- Strength - Force: increased nett attack damage; aligns with Evil + 100%; +4 %/SP; cap at 20% (5 SP) – 40% (10 SP) for Evil
- Strength - Hardiness: reduced nett impact damage; aligns with Evil + 100%; -4 %/SP; cap at 20% (5 SP) – 40% (10 SP) for Evil
- Athletism - Agility: reduced fall damage; aligns with Good + 50 %; -5 %/SP; cap at 20% (4 SP) – 30% (6 SP) for Good
- Athletism - Stamina: increased base speed; aligns with Good + 50 %; +2 %/SP; cap at 8% (4 SP) – 12% (6 SP) for Good
- Athletism - Endurance: capacity to overcome resistance, the drag effect of armour on movement speed (proposed @ -0.25%/kg); aligns with Evil + 100 %; +0.01%/kg/SP; cap at +0.05%/kg (5 SP) – +0.10% (10 SP) for Evil
- Intelligence - Anticipation: increase chance to dodge attacks, negating incoming attack damage; aligns with Good + 50 %; +1 %/SP; cap at 16% (16 SP) – 24% (24 SP) for Good
- Intelligence - Accuracy: increase average ranged attack damage (increase base arrow speed at minimum draw time from 60% up); aligns with Good + 50 %; +2 %/SP; cap at 16% (8 SP) – 24% (12 SP) for Good
- Intelligence - Perseverance: Reduced chance of getting weakness at low health; aligns with Evil + 100 %; -1% /SP; cap at 4% (4 SP) – 8% (8 SP) for Evil
Edit 20170412: The existing plugin 'Character_Stats' has been customised for use on a LOTRmod server in combination with the ArmorWeight plugin. The plugin supports the development of 5 traits, in a similar manner as described in the indicative list above: Constitution, Hardiness, Strength, Accuracy and Athletism. An explanation on how it is implemented on the Age of Adament server, is provided on this page.
If implemented this system may also be used to strengthen hired units, to a very limited extent: their experience (# kills) may be converted into improved (race-dependent) traits. Examples: hired elves could improve their dodge chance and hired orcs will enhance their hardiness (grow a trollskin hide) and reduce impact damage.
Enchanting, Smithing and Crafting
2) Experience => Magic infusion / Smithing of special Gear : experience gain converted through infusion of weaponry, tools and armor with magical energy, advanced smithing (intelligent) techniques (non-magical) and advanced crafting. This should be lore-friendly and faction and alignment dependent.
The considerations that come with this purpose are already broadly discussed in this suggestion thread. I agree with most posters there: enchantment tables and possible enchants can be faction dependent and the ability to get enchants should be dependent on the players alignment.
I also favour the idea of having to use smith/shaman npcs for enchanting 'crafting' certain types of highly effective, non-'magical' gear, like reinforced armor (protection), high-density armor (projectile protection) and hardened steel blades (sharpness). Hence the term 'intelligent' gear to distinguish from 'magic infused' gear, that may only be acquired from a limited number of factions. A fine example of additional weapon 'enchants' (or rather 'enhancements') are 'armour piercing' and 'critical hit' designs, as suggested by Ithilion.
I consider 'fire aspect', 'smite', 'bane of anthropods', 'respiration' and 'feather falling' as typically magical enchants. Whether or not to include these vanilla enchants at all, especially if the lore doesn't support them is debatable.
As Madman points out below, more requirements and dependencies may be added later on as well. Examples: requirement of specific materials in inventory for enchantments; material dependent enchants for tools, armor and weapons. This could also be expanded to crafting on a crafting table, where experience orbs are charged for crafting any higher level recipe. Whether that be from crafting faction specific weapons and armor, or only for even more advanced gear (like galvorn and mithril), is to be decided. It could even become a default 'outlet' for experience if one would, for instance, charge 1 experience level for crafting of a dagger, 2 for a sword, and so on. A recent addition to the 'inspiring suggestions' that relate to this is StormMancer's suggestion, which mentions faction specific arrows. As arrows cannot get special effects (FAQ), this suggestion by Faenor adds the notion of having faction specific bows made from special wood types, which could get special enchants and require experience orbs and faction specific crafting tables and wood stick types.
A major concern is that converting experience to trait improvement, magical infusion and/or advanced smithing/crafting should not be too easy / cheap and grinding/exploits should be prevented/discouraged as much as possible. Also, the total effect of improvements on both traits and gear should not be excessive. Players shouldn't get typical vanilla 'God-gear' effects from combined maximized traits and gear infusion, not even nearly. Therefore I suggest to: a) increase enchantment costs, b) not enable storage of experience in skillpoints or enchantment bottles unless NPC AI is improved to make NPCs avoid grinding traps (see this suggestion to improve the NPC AI), c) reduce the maximum enchantment levels (no level III, possibly not even II) and disband a few very strong ones (like Infinity, which may be replaced by a chance of arrow retrieval) and d) limits the number of enchants to 2 per item (weapon, tool or piece of armor). I'd propose to increase enchantment costs to only allow for level I magical or smithing 'enchantments' on any enchantment table or faction anvil, at the cost of 1628 experience orbs (configurable). Any higher enchantment level should only be obtainable from combining lower level enchanted equipment. Yes, this raises the bar quite a lot! - grins -
Note that 'vigour' (introduced later and described above) also has an effect on a players tendency to grind. See the thread on vigour on the anticipated mechanism.
Enchants list (indicative!)
For indicative purposes, here's a full list of vanilla enchants and their possible use in the system as suggested above:
- Protection: max lvl II; smithing of 'hardened steel'; iron or higher tier metals only.
- Fire Protection: max lvl II; magic infusion (smithing option for Dwarves); Dwarves, Angmar, Mordor and possibly near Harad only.
- Feather Falling: max lvl I; magic infusion ('sole shock absorption'); Wood-elves, Galadhrim and Tauredain (Shaman) only.
- Blast Protection: max lvl II; smithing; iron or higher tier metals only; Dwarven smithing only.
- Projectile Protection: max lvl II; smithing of 'high density steel'; steel only; Noldor, Gondor and Dol-Amroth only.
- Respiration: max lvl I; magic infusion; ... idk, makes no sense really ... some buddies with Ulmo? Hobbits maybe ... considering Smeagol's exceptional abilities when he found the ring?
- Aqua Affinity: max lvl I; smithing of 'hardened lean steel'; steel only, Dwarven smithing only (think of the many subterranean ponds dwarven miners encounter: they developed specialized tools heads with lower weight and hardened points).
- Thorns: max lvl II; smithing of specialized armor; all Orc factions and Near Harad only.
- Depth Strider: n.a. ... just not, really.
- Frost Walker: n.a. ... just not, really.
- Sharpness: max lvl I; smithing; bronze and higher tier materials only.
- Sharpness: lvl II; magic infusion; steel and higher tier materials only; Elven factions only.
- Smite: max lvl II; magic infusion; bronze and higher tier materials only; Elven and Human factions only.
- Bane of Anthropods: max lvl II; magic infusion; steel and higher tier materials only; Wood-elves, Galadhrim and Tauredain (Shaman) only.
- Knockback: max lvl II: smithing 'shock-proof' steel; steel only; Dwarven and Human factions only.
- Fire Aspect: max lvl II: magic infusion; steel only; Dwarven and Orc factions only.
- Looting: n.a. ... just not, really.
- Efficiency: max lvl II; smithing of hardened tool heads.
- Silk Touch: lvl I; smithing of exceptional precision tool heads; High Elves and Dwarven factions only.
- Unbreaking: max lvl II; smithing of toughened metal gear.
- Fortune: max lvl II; smithing of precision tool heads.
- Power: max lvl I; 'smithing' stronger bows and bow strings.
- Power: lvl II; magic infusion of bows; Elven factions only.
- Punch: lvl II; smithing of heavier arrow heads befitting the bows carrying them; Human and Evil factions only, except Half-Trolls, Moredain and Tauredain.
- Flame: lvl I; magic infusion of arrow heads; Uruk-hai, Mordor and Near Harad only.
- Infinity: n.a. ... just not, really. Instead, I propose to add an 'enchantment' that increases the chance of retrieving arrows: smithing of 'enforced shafts'.
- Luck of the sea: max lvl II; 'smithing' smaller hooks; Hobbits and Human factions only, except Near Harad and Moredain.
- Lure: max lvl II; 'smithing' better fish wire; Hobbits and Human factions only, except Near Harad and Moredain.
- Mending: Already covered in the mod with the repair ability. Note that the mods repair ability on anvils is ridiculously expensive, both in terms of material consumption and experience orb cost, when compared to the Vanilla mechanism of combining worn out weapons.
In addition to the above vanilla 'enchants' ('enhancements' would be a better wording) I'd like to propose the following extra's:
- Serrated: max lvl II; smithing of serrated blades that cause bleeding of hit targets; steel or higher tier materials only; Human and Evil factions only, except Half-Trolls, Moredain and Tauredain.
- Sensitive: magic infusion of blades that causes them to produce a faint blue glow when held and orcish sentients are near; Elven factions only.
- Special bows and/or arrows, faction specific: An idea derived from this thread and this one. Possible effects (assuming these may be attributed to either bows or arrows): Armour Piercing, Fire, Ice (slowness), Stun, Punch, Long Range ... nothing too OP though, and they'll have to be expensive (and maybe at the cost of lowered bow durability).
- Armour piercing: Adds a small (typically 10-20%) chance of negating armour defense modifier upon a hit. Effect may be obtained through advanced smithing on steel swords, daggers and long reach melee weapons. Think specially designed cutting edges with specific geometry. Elven and Human factions only.
- Critical hit: Adds a small (typically 5%) chance of doubling the attack damage. Effect may be obtained through advanced smiting on steel hammers and axes. Think specially designed impact face geometry to maximize the force per impact surface area. Dwarven and Orcish factions only.
Instead of the effects and costs indicated above, which are based of the known 'Vanilla reference', I'd rather have effects of enhancements be more subtle. Instead of an effect of 20 % on some player or item attribute, effects should be 5 % for each level of enhancement. So, only a quarter of the effect. Costs should be lower as well, but as mentioned above, the overall costs of enhancements should remain significantly higher than Vanilla, and the maxed out effects should remain significantly lower, like: double costs and halve maxed effects as nett result. Nice aspect of lowering the base single level effect is that it will provide a stronger feeling of getting rewarded after the hard work of acquiring experience orbs from animals that fight back, and smarter NPCs. When combined with more challengeing nourishment conditions ... I'll die a happy middle-earth ogre. :)
Ideally, many aspects will become configurable for server owners/admins to enable them to tune the system to their servers needs.
I may edit this post as my insights may improve. Don't hesitate to post any feedback to help me improve this.