Forums » Harvesting

Harvesting "mini-game" is feature creep...

    • 38 posts
    February 5, 2021 9:09 AM PST

    Edit: Harvesting "mini-game" is feature creep...and here's why

    Q: "Will there be a 'mini-game' associated with crafting?"

    A: " In the broadest terms, Yes. Mini-game isn't the right way to describe it. There will be gameplay associated from crafting; there will be skills to improve, abilities to learn and choose from, and tools to equip"........"our goal for the gameplay is to make sure it's fun and engaging for the crafter and that it's not something that is or feels like a mindless grind. We want it to be challenging and fun at the same time...."  timestamped here Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Crafting & Gathering Introduction 

     

    I think the idea behind this is noble; to discourage over-saturation of the ecnonomy & to promote quality and diversity over quantity. But an engaging interaction / "mini-game" while harvesting a resource node is not a good solution and sounds alot like too much feature creep. Feature creep is a tendency for product or project requirements to increase during development beyond those originally forseen.

     

    Let me present a  scenario between a ore node and a player, to better explain,

    Not only do I need a harvesting skill, but I need to go out and explore the dangerous world of Terminus to find a random ore node, but I also need to have a pickaxe-equipped, while enemys are lurking by me, WHILE focusing on interacting the ore node "mini game" in an engaging way to harvest it. Oh wait, I am carrying too much ore now.

    I fear Pantheon could be stepping too far into the realm of a simulation if we go this route. Sounds like a whole lot of tedious & complex work rather than fun and engaging.

     

     

    Harvesting nodes have always been 'dull' process. But simple doesn't mean it's bad ; it's just a means to an end, as it always has been by its very nature.  I think the randomness of nodes and skill required is really enough to make it fun and challenging....The real fun lies in what you do with the materials :)

     Sometimes, I really enjoy taking a break from the cereberal complexities of a raid or the thrill of a dungeon, and just want to come home and relax with some music as I do something productive by 1-click harvesting nodes.

    Just my two cents. Great stream Neph.


    This post was edited by Jiub at February 5, 2021 9:42 AM PST
    • 106 posts
    February 5, 2021 9:26 AM PST

    I have Been thinking the same thing I really do not care for node havesting would prefer we have to kill for the drops for crafting. IMO 

    But the more stuff they release the more I am thinking survial sim not Fantasy MMO in the eq / dark age  play style. What i think when some one says old school mmo. 


    This post was edited by Vixx at February 5, 2021 9:27 AM PST
    • 2808 posts
    February 5, 2021 9:45 AM PST

    Gotta say, I disagree entirely. I've long found harvesting/gathering to be mindless and boring, I would much prefer interesting "mini-games" involved, preferably with some added risk/reward or push your luck mechanics. I also appreciate the notion that many things will be heavy so one can't just run loops for hours to return to town with stacks on stacks of materials for crafting or absolutely flooding the markets with.  

    • 38 posts
    February 5, 2021 9:57 AM PST

    Whats going to happen when you get attacked during the mini-game?

    • 14 posts
    February 5, 2021 10:19 AM PST

    I think I'm going to lean on the side of disagreement, as well.

    Reading between the lines here, I think Nephele, when asked about a mini-game, very tactfully redirected the conversation. He didn't confirm there would be a mini-game, in the sense I think you're imagining it, where you have some kind of additional interaction requirements with a node, that results in the harvesting itself becoming a "mini-game"— anyways, the way he phrased his answer leads me to believe he was positioning the entirety of the system as a "mini-game" as in, there would be more to it than a brainless click and semi-instant harvest with no consideration.

    As far as feature-creep goes, I imagine a harvesting system was always expected to be more than a no-frills, click-and-harvest with no depth. I mean, jeez, Brad's previous project, Vanguard, literally had a mini-game in a very real sense, originally. It was later removed in favor of just watching your character harvest for a few seconds, like most games. So, for these reasons, it's hard for me to see having an actual system around harvesting — one with economic balance and emphasizing player choice — being feature-creep. More just....feature completelion.

    I don't think we have anything to fear for harvesting becoming a spin-off survival game mechanic, as I'm pretty sure they've addressed that particular concern in the past, though I can't remember where (sorry).

    • 2808 posts
    February 5, 2021 11:10 AM PST

    Jiub said:

    Whats going to happen when you get attacked during the mini-game?

    Depends on what class I am. Assuming one was stuck with a pickaxe as their weapon, either try to flee or kill it depending on level (or swap weapons if possible). Otherwise die. If a mob is near and I didn't make sure the area was safe before trying to grab a node then shame on me. 

    • 783 posts
    February 5, 2021 11:58 AM PST

    Jiub said:...

    Let me present a  scenario between a ore node and a player, to better explain,

    Not only do I need a harvesting skill, but I need to go out and explore the dangerous world of Terminus to find a random ore node, but I also need to have a pickaxe-equipped, while enemys are lurking by me, WHILE focusing on interacting the ore node "mini game" in an engaging way to harvest it. Oh wait, I am carrying too much ore now.

    I fear Pantheon could be stepping too far into the realm of a simulation if we go this route. Sounds like a whole lot of tedious & complex work rather than fun and engaging....

    I've got a completely different view of your example. (this is just a personal view, no harm intended) There is a lot going on in your example. I feel like it needs some background there.

    1) Requiring a harvesting skill does not add any complexity to the minigame you're aiming at. 

    2) You don't need to go out. You decide to go out. This doesn't add anything to the complexity of the minigame.

    3) Finding a random node to harvest. Not sure how to respond to that...not feeling the seek-vibe? Stay in town and haggle with other adventurers.

    Recapping up to 3) we're still at the very basic of harvesting design in most mmo's to date. Personally, up until this point, I can't see form of complexity in this from a player experience point of view. 

    4) Having a pickaxe equipped. If equiping gear is a reason to fear complexity, some other games might not be your thing either. Nodes will not be omnipresent nor will they have fast respawn rates. So you won't need to swap between gear constantly. Sidenote: this is still up for redesign, not set in stone. Another thing to consider is, that this game will be slower paced that most current games. 

    5) Enemies lurking about. Not every node or harvest area will have enemies nearby. So you're actuallly talking about a more unique situation concerning a higher risk area..where you might get higher rewards and not your run around the block harvestingexperience. This is a choice to venture there, not an obligation. So it's not really making your player experience complexer or more tedious. This again does not make harvesting itself complex and it's doubtful that due to enemies being around harvesting a node becomes tedious. Rather on the contrary. It is highly likely that you'll be positively, inherently motivated to put yourself in that area.

    6) Second to last we get to the mini-game feature...making things overcomplex or tedious. It is insinuated that you might need to use abilities during the harvesting process. (not fully decided upon yet) On its own, using abilities is one of the most common things in games. Let's say you have 3 abilities to choose from. Would that blow you away? This game already has limited the use of # abilities you can use at one time down to 2 hotbars. If you interact with a node and your character is shown 2-3 abilities to click on. I'm certain you'ld have pressed more adventureclass abilities just to get to that node. Perhaps you don't need to click on them, but as a cost your yield might be suboptimal. 

    7) Lastly, weight factor of harvesting resources. Another thing that is still in full designmode. Similar to deciding what to loot from a corpse due to weight restrictions, you'd have that for harvesting. I think it will be a matter of finetuning this. You might not be overburdened after mining 1 node. Or even several. But if during your playsession you've managed to find and mine 10 ore nodes. This might affect your carrycapacity and movement restrictions of your character.  How long it would take to find those 10 nodes and what you've done in the meantime might impact your overall carryingcapacity and is a big unknown factor. It's a nice topic that deserves it's own thread for sure. Let's say for those 10 nodes you've been playing for 1 hour, 1,5 hours. You might have had the opportunity to pass by a crafter, or npc merchant or depot. That's not too far fetched, I dare say.

     


    This post was edited by Barin999 at February 5, 2021 12:04 PM PST
    • 783 posts
    February 5, 2021 12:11 PM PST

    Jiub said:

    Whats going to happen when you get attacked during the mini-game?

    There will be areas where you can solo play.

    But many other areas will require more than 1 character and thus a small group. It's unknown if you'd be able to harvest on 1 node with multiple players. But if you're in a dangerous area, it might not be the best call to decide to focus on groupharvesting one node. So in a realistic scenario, you'll have 1 player harvesting one node and others walking around and keeping watch or just chilling and having a chat while recovering hp/mana. 

    I believe it's within expectations that if while you are harvesting you/your group starts a combat situation, you can be interrupted or lose concentration and will be required to clear the combat situation in order to continue harvesting. If your groupmembers manage to stabilize the encounter by pinning them down, you might still be able to harvest. 

    And chiming in with Iksar ...if you're ending up in a situation where you've bitten off more than you can chew, well you've learned something in the game. And you might respond/decide differently in the same situation next time around. 


    This post was edited by Barin999 at February 5, 2021 12:13 PM PST
    • 38 posts
    February 5, 2021 12:40 PM PST

    I carefully thought up the scenario using the information inferred from Neph's stream. It's not exaggerated or overblown at all.

    1) Random node placement.

    2) Terminus has hostiles walking around within vicinity of random node placement.

    3) Equipping a pickaxe in hands in order to process said node.

    4) Required skill level in order to process said node.

    5) Focused interaction to process said node / risk and reward "mini-game".

    6) Weight limits alongside inventory space.

    There is alot going on here, just to process a node & don't get me wrong, they are not all bad ideas alone....The problem is, all of them working in parallel is overcomplicating harvesting and dangerously feature creeping into the territory of a survival game.

    The random node placement, pickaxe requirement, and skill requirement is going to be a huge beneft to curbing abuse of the economy and even botting.


    This post was edited by Jiub at February 5, 2021 12:49 PM PST
    • 38 posts
    February 5, 2021 12:55 PM PST

    Iksar said:

    Jiub said:

    Whats going to happen when you get attacked during the mini-game?

    Depends on what class I am. Assuming one was stuck with a pickaxe as their weapon, either try to flee or kill it depending on level (or swap weapons if possible). Otherwise die. If a mob is near and I didn't make sure the area was safe before trying to grab a node then shame on me. 

    That sounds great and all, but enemies walk around. If the node placement is randomized, enemy pathing is bound to intercept you during the "mini-game", and you must also quickly swap from mining axe to weapons.

    • 38 posts
    February 5, 2021 1:10 PM PST

    Barin999 said:

    Jiub said:

    Whats going to happen when you get attacked during the mini-game?

    And chiming in with Iksar ...if you're ending up in a situation where you've bitten off more than you can chew, well you've learned something in the game. And you might respond/decide differently in the same situation next time around. 

    Randomly placed nodes and enemy pathing collide with each other while your trapped concentrating on a 'mini-game', and not your surroundings. So in that case it doesn't matter if you consciounsously cleared the area beforehand. I also have to mention, having to be this careful prior to harvesting is forcing you into being capable in combat to some extent. 

    The 'mini-game' idea causes more problems than it's worth.

     

    • 1820 posts
    February 5, 2021 4:25 PM PST

    Love the thoughts and feedback on all sides, everyone.  Really looking forward to when we can put the first cut of gathering gameplay in front of you all as testers and get direct feedback.

    For now, here's what I can say.

    I dislike the words "mini game" because they can imply some sort of contrived activity that doesn't really mesh with the world around it.  I realize that's not always what people mean when they say those words, but the words themselves are very open to being misinterpreted as past conversations on these forums have shown.

    We have several goals for gameplay when it comes to gathering.

    1) Make the experience of gathering engaging and fun for players

    2) Prevent the experience of gathering from feeling trivial or tedious for players.

    3) Preserve a balance between risk and reward.

     

    Again, really looking forward to getting feedback from all of you when we have more details to share.  For now, hopefully understanding the goals helps at least a little.

    • 522 posts
    February 5, 2021 5:01 PM PST

    Curious to see what you come up with for harvesting.  I always liked the idea of a successful hit range (kind of like most older golf games had) where you have to click at the right time to score a perfect hit while the icon is flying up and down.  Maybe higher strength or dexterity slows the icon making it a little easier to land a perfect hit depending on the resource.  The closer you get to a perfect hit the more resources or higher quality resoures, also a chance for a rare.  Nothing too complicated but adds a little skill to harvesting. 

    Definitely agree with the stream idea of having a low chance for rare harvests, getting those arcanite crystals extremely rarely in WoW was always awesome.  EQ2 did that as well with rare harvests the entire way through the game, was great.  I just remember farming those like crazy because most of those rares could be used to create housing items.  Nephele, if you eventually get rolled into covering player housing as well, nobody has done it, or incorporated crafting professions into player housing, better than EQ2.  Get real familiar with that game.

    • 7 posts
    February 11, 2021 4:42 PM PST

    A lot of players do harvesting as downtime tasks. This often involves multitasking, and a interaction required minigame makes this near impossible. I know there is desire to prevent bottling, but im Not a fan of using mini games for this purpose. Using a mini game to get 3 instead of 2 result is fine, or extending the harvest cycle or shortening the timer. A semi afk player doesn't worry much about timers. Timed interaction mini games, giving a Few seconds to react to an event that Takes 10 times longer just isn't something I do very well. Even timed reactions in combat give me trouble, adding them to crafting and harvesting would drive me away eventually. It was 1 of the reasons I never got very far in EQ2. 

    So it boils down to what the mini game is. Press a key to continue, fine, spawn a mob, annoying but fine, twitch reactions, game over.


    This post was edited by Silvermink at February 11, 2021 4:44 PM PST
    • 38 posts
    February 12, 2021 6:06 PM PST

    Silvermink said:

    A lot of players do harvesting as downtime tasks.

    Right, and that downtime was the word I was trying to capture. "Dull/Simple" doesn't necesarilly mean it's a bad thing. Simple click -> anim harvesting provides a productive outlet to folks that are taking a break from cereberally engaging dopamine rushes, yet still trying to be productive with their time.

    And about the botting, the random node placement alone would be quite helpful in curbing botting.

    • 783 posts
    February 13, 2021 12:09 AM PST

    Silvermink said:

    1) A lot of players do harvesting as downtime tasks. This often involves multitasking, and a interaction required minigame makes this near impossible. 

    2) So it boils down to what the mini game is. Press a key to continue, fine, spawn a mob, annoying but fine, twitch reactions, game over.

    1) I would like to jump on this if I may. A downtime task where players decide to multitask.  So in a way this means: people are less engaged with what they are currently doing due to the content not being stimulating/fun/rewarding enough.  A reason why people multitask, is that they feel like they can do more than what's required to harvest in the game. So they go to chat or watch netflix or their phone.  To me, this really underlines the structural problem of the harvesting experience in that game.  The players indirectly are acting out how they want to feel. Namely wanting to be more engaged, more occupied (currently by multitasking).  It's in the benefit of the game that you can keep the players focused on the game (not restricting ingame chat obviously), so that the players do not become "distracted" by their other multitasks outside the game and to a degree detach themselves from the game by multitasking.

    2) A twitch reaction experience is not something that aligns with the style of Pantheon. Personally, I don't expect that to be the case for harvesting nor for crafting. Interaction yes, twitchy reactions down to a millisecond no. I believe VR is aiming to keep harvesters/crafters engaged for a longer period of time. At least longer than compared to current games. This could be by spacing out the moments you need to respond during that harvesting/crafting process. Or just the overall time it takes to complete a process. Or other..

    • 783 posts
    February 13, 2021 12:15 AM PST

    Jiub said:

    ... "Dull/Simple" doesn't necesarilly mean it's a bad thing. ...

    I agree on that part.

    It's one thing to say: take this broom and sweep the floor.  A simple task, requiring the person to move the broom around.

    It's another thing to say: hold this broom to the floor. And we'll do the sweeping for you.  That's making a simple task less meaningful. I for one would want to skip this second scenario entirely and just wait untill I can just enjoy the sweeped floor. But I don't want to be the one holding the broom and just standing there.

    That's a personal thing, so might differ on who you're talking to.


    This post was edited by Barin999 at February 13, 2021 12:26 AM PST
    • 38 posts
    February 14, 2021 10:40 PM PST

    @Barin999

    My initial knee-jerk reaction to "mini-game" was that they are aiming for twitch reactions.  I'm not going to throw a fit if it involves a simple additional interaction, but I still rest on the thought that VR would be adding unecessary layers of complexity into harvesting. I'd much rather see them devote resources to polishing the crafting 'mini-game' which I'm not against at all.

    Not only will it be a challenge in to find a node, in and of itself, but you'll need the right skills to harvest it, from my understanding.

    Thanks for the input!


    This post was edited by Jiub at February 14, 2021 11:04 PM PST
    • 2964 posts
    February 18, 2021 8:20 AM PST

    I am not at all in favor of making harvesting a node either lengthy or complicated. Not the actual harvesting process itself. Complexity in terms of harvesting tools and equipment as in Vanguard , group harvesting as in Vanguard. different items that can be gotten from a node depending on skill, gear and luck as in Vanguard - yes to all of these. But 5 minutes to harvest a single node when there aren't that many nodes and it takes a lot of nodes to get needed materials to craft with - all Gods spare me from such a system. Especially if a mob can interrupt the process or another player can ninja the node if I fail the "mini-game".

    Dinner in 4 minutes - come over at the risk of severe spousal aggro. Node that will take at least 5 minutes not the 5 seconds I am used to. No thanks. 

    Unless the "mini-game is for extras and I have the option to harvest quickly before being bashed along side the head by wandering mob or angry spouse.

    • 1317 posts
    February 21, 2021 11:35 AM PST

    dorotea said:

    I am not at all in favor of making harvesting a node either lengthy or complicated. Not the actual harvesting process itself. Complexity in terms of harvesting tools and equipment as in Vanguard , group harvesting as in Vanguard. different items that can be gotten from a node depending on skill, gear and luck as in Vanguard - yes to all of these. But 5 minutes to harvest a single node when there aren't that many nodes and it takes a lot of nodes to get needed materials to craft with - all Gods spare me from such a system. Especially if a mob can interrupt the process or another player can ninja the node if I fail the "mini-game".

    Dinner in 4 minutes - come over at the risk of severe spousal aggro. Node that will take at least 5 minutes not the 5 seconds I am used to. No thanks. 

    Unless the "mini-game is for extras and I have the option to harvest quickly before being bashed along side the head by wandering mob or angry spouse.

    The key point here is that rarer nodes that require non trivial player interaction to successfully harvest would go hand in hand with a crafting system that uses fewer nodes per crafting progression marker than any game similar to WoW. 

    This also allows for each item crafted to take a significantly longer amount of game time to complete but rewarding a relatively larger amount of experience per item than we are used to. 

    Using the Skyrim Iron Dagger example. 

    A Skyrim Iron dagger was made with 1 iron ingot which in turn came from one piece of iron ore and 1 leather strip that you got 4 for 1 from a piece of leather.  You would get say 10 smithing Experience for each dagger crafted.  Leveling smithing would then take an exponentially increasing amount of experience to level per level starting with 100 up to something much much higher. 

    It was fairly easy to just run around the world and collect up dozens of iron ore and run back to the smelter and grind through the smelting process then make dozens of daggers to grind up your smithing.  This would leave you with dozens of useless daggers and at best a 10 to 1 harvesting vs time crafting ratio. 

    The non-trivial harvesting and crafting system would have a different ratio.  Rather than needing dozens of iron ore you might need closer to 8 and that could from 2 or 3 nodes.  You would need to find fewer nodes than previously, maybe by as much as an order of magnitude.  This would free more time for the actual harvesting process rather than the “finding” portion of harvesting.  Again, more interactive game play rather than just running in circles. 

    Those 8 pieces of ore, rather than 40, would then be processed in multiple steps to go from ore to useable metal with the desired configuration.  Once you had the prepared bars you would then prepare the other subcomponents you would need for the item you intend to craft (possibly using some of the bars for sub combines or trading smithing made items for outfitter made items).  Finally, you get down to the actual process of assembling and finishing the single iron dagger you are attempting to make. 

    Due to the large increase in time to craft said dagger and the number of steps involved the single dagger can award 400 smithing experience (before diminishing returns for already mastering it).  You now only have a single dagger entering the economy either as a PC intended item or an NPC intended item rather than 40.  A larger portion of the Harvesting to Crafting time spent ratio is now focused on the crafting side and a larger portion of the searching vs collecting of harvesting is focused on the collecting portion. 

    This shift in time spent in game has drastic impact on the economics of crafting, progressing crafting, balanced value-added aspects of crafting and sensitivity to Bot farming.  The more time a player must focus on an activity the more that it can be rewarded both in progression and materials.  What you are doing is rewarding actual game time spent rather than game resources spent. 

    • 2964 posts
    February 22, 2021 8:32 AM PST

    ((The non-trivial harvesting and crafting system would have a different ratio.  Rather than needing dozens of iron ore you might need closer to 8 and that could from 2 or 3 nodes.  You would need to find fewer nodes than previously, maybe by as much as an order of magnitude.  This would free more time for the actual harvesting process rather than the “finding” portion of harvesting.  Again, more interactive game play rather than just running in circles. ))

     

    If the system in Pantheon is that far fewer nodes or planting operations or skinning operations are needed to generate enough material to skill-up crafting I have no objections. Though I probably would view it less positively than you for a very simple reason. I enjoy harvesting and can happily spend hours looking for and collecting resources. I find it relaxing. I know the current thinking is to have far fewer nodes. I had read that as a way to have a much slower crafting and harvesting progression than typical - akin to the philosophy for adventuring. In other words - more or less the usual amount of material would be required but it would take far longer to find and harvest it. No difference to me whether I spend 2 hours harvesting 100 copper to sell for a gold each or the same 2 hours to harvest 5 copper to sell for 20 gold each. Though my style is to harvest things to actually use them not to sell them.

    But I still prefer to spend my time looking for the nodes rather than interacting with them. I would find it enormously frustrating to finally get a choice node, start in on it, and after 4 minutes and 50 seconds be attacked by a mob. At best to have to start the 5 minute "minigame" all over. At worst to lose the node entirely.

    I am using 5 miuntes for a minigame and more-or-less 5 seconds for a traditional harvest process as placeholders - essentially random numbers just to demonstrate orders of magnitude.

    Now my preference for complexity and minigames in harvesting would be what you refer to as smelting or processing. Make that take far longer than traditional. Give more choices, and more chances for failure or critical success. Have the smelting, as in LOTRO, part of harvesting rather than crafting so that if "mining" and "metalcrafting" are separate disciplines the minigame is part of the mining process even though handled at the forge not in the wild. 

    Once we remove the chance for interruption by wandering mobs and stealing of nodes by rude players I am delighted to endorse a complex system of minigame driven harvesting. It reminds me of how Vanguard handled the actual manufacturing and I have no higher praise than a comparison to Vanguard in terms of crafting.

    • 1317 posts
    February 22, 2021 10:20 AM PST

    Similar to crafting writs I believe there is the intent to have gathering writs as well. That way there is still a reason to collect large amounts of raw materials even if crafters will not consume large amounts of materials. Due to itemization I think it is likely that most player desired items will be made with the rare finds otherwise they will not remotely be as powerful as items dropped by named.


    If you have say 20 or 100 to one rare secondary materials per primary harvestable you need something to do with those 19-99 that will not be combined with the rare secondary materials. Harvesting writs create an NPC demand for the excess materials that will not go into Player desired items. The exception to that may be that Crafting writs are made only with the common primary materials and return a better reward per unit than the harvesting writs in order to compensate for the extra time spent turning the raw materials into finished goods. A harvester and crafter could pair up and share the profits of crafting writs, both working non stop on their respective skills.


    As far as the mini game length goes I could see something like a 6-10 stage decision response tree per harvest attempt. Each stage taking 3-10 seconds depending on how fast you recognize the data and how long it takes you to click on your choice. You would be vulnerable during that time period and that danger may make you want to rush the mini game increasing the odds that you pick poorly and fail. Risk vs Reward and all that.


    Different gathering skills will likely have different yields per node. I could see mining and woodcutting possibly having 6-20 harvest attempts before a node is played out but many characters may be limited to 10 or fewer results before encumbered. Herbalism could be either single plant nodes or small beds of a specific plant, in the wild you often find groups of plants of the same type together. Skinning and butchering will be on a corpse by corpse basis. I could see skinning a rabbit taking far fewer stages than skinning a deer. I could also see needing to choose how large a piece of hide you are trying to skin off of the animal up to the maximum size it can produce, the larger the size the more steps and higher likelihood of failure. Conversely few things will require a single intact buffalo hide so why bother keeping it a single piece.


    One of the side benefits of a non trivial player interaction harvest, and crafting, mechanic is that it becomes increasingly difficult to automate the process with bot software. Obviously anyone determined enough likely can find a way but there is no reason to make it easy for them. Once you take bots and automation out of harvesting and crafting their economics can be much more time effective for real players.