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Banned for disclosing NDA about CH on SOE (read me)

General site discussion area
velm
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2004 7:01 pm
Location: Bloodfin

Postby velm » Wed Mar 23, 2005 12:45 pm

Read the very first post. This is related to it. From what I, the person who was banned for 3 days for seeing that was leaked on the official site, saw, this looks very legit.

My guess is, this was leaked AGAIN. No idea who leaked it, or where it was leaked to. IF you did go to the 'official' site, odds are, you would not find it. Once it gets leaked, it does not take long for an official person to notice it somewhere and remove it and ban people.
MCH/Master Scout/ Rifleman 2/2/1/3/ Ranger 0/0/3/0

(actually, i dropped the ranger and became a master rifleman before the NGE)
ranja123
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:52 am

Postby ranja123 » Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:23 pm

I have no idea of the legitimacy of this, I snatched the text and saved it before it was deleted. I am still parsing and editing out the html code and most of the bad grammar and the like. Be patient, I am not a real editor :P

I should have most of this text up today.
ranja123
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:52 am

Postby ranja123 » Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:22 pm

Here we go all the rest of the document.

CORE SYSTEM CHANGES There are many core systems within the Star Wars Galaxies combat system. Many of these must be revised as part of our overall Combat Upgrade, and in this document we give details on some core system changes and our thinking behind these changes. In some cases we give an overview and the detail is covered in another document specific to that core system. As always, your constructive feedback on our design work is appreciated, please use the SWG forums to let us know what you think! WEAPON BALANCE Maintaining balance in an MMO is a constant effort. As the game evolves through new content and updates and as players learn new tactics and ways to interact with the game that were unexpected the balance slowly shifts away from what was intended. While the weapons in SWG were once fairly well balanced they are no longer maintaining quite the same balance.

The biggest issue with the weapons has to do with the power progression of the weapons in relation to the power progression of an advancing character. To lesser degrees there are issues with the relative balance of power between weapons from different professions and in the very rare instance there are weapons that are simply ridiculously unbalanced. The Weapon Balance pass is intended to bring relative power of weapons both within and between professions more in line with each other as well as address the power progression curves. This is not to say that they will all be the same, as different weapon types will still have various strengths and weaknesses, providing different situations in which they are ideally suited. Power progression will be addressed through minor adjustments to individual weapon stats as well as overall adjustments to the weapon certification levels. Care will need to be taken when adjusting the weapon certifications to make sure that weapon usability more closely matches the point where Weaponsmiths are able to craft the weapons. New weapon schematics and certification may need to be added to better smooth out the progression curve and give a sufficiently varied and interesting set of weapons to choose from. The biggest problem facing weapon balance is not directly related to the weapons or their stats but some of the fundamental formulas that the weapons rely on. The speed formula is the number one contributor to current imbalances with the weapons. In order for any weapon balance adjustments to be valid we need to correct this fundamental system.
ranja123
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:52 am

Postby ranja123 » Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:23 pm

Finally while not a major impact on balance, weapon ranges will be more strongly delineated to assist in the separation of player roles. Maximum combat range is currently set at 64m leaving not much space to differentiate the weapon range categories. We will be pushing that maximum range out as far as we can technically handle. This may amount to an increase only as far as 80 or 96 meters but we would like to see if we can push it out as far as 128 meters.

Speed Formula: Players are able to increase their attack speed as they progress in skill. The current formula is a basic linear progression, which is actually able to scale to infinity. A hard cap exists for the fastest a weapon can be used but due to the infinite scaling it is guaranteed that every weapon will eventually reach this cap. This causes a breakdown in weapon balance making weapons with the highest damage per shot the most effective. This invalidates entire lines of weapons that were originally balanced on their innately faster rates of fire. The new speed formula will need to progress in a non-linear fashion and cap at different levels for different weapon types. Inherently slow weapons will need to always remain slower than inherently fast weapons so that we maintain the functional variety and balance of all weapons.
Weapon Certifications: A major goal of the weapon balance pass is to provide players with a consistent and balanced power progression as they advance up their profession as well as providing interesting and varied weapon choices at all skill levels. In the current system there is a clear best weapon? Of each weapon class at each skill level giving little tactical reason to seek out other weapons and prohibiting variation in player identity due to differing weapon choices. Additionally a decision was made in late in the original Beta of SWG to pull many of the weapon certifications down in the skill tree in order to provide weapon variety sooner yet no balance changes were made to the power of those weapons. The result is that many powerful weapons are available much earlier than they were intended to be and has thrown off the overall balance of the game. Overpowered weapons being usable by lower level players have created a big disparity in player perception on the difficulty of the game. Knowledgeable players with the needed in game resources are able to acquire extremely powerful weapons, which makes the game trivial for them. They advance extremely quickly experiencing very little challenge and then complain that combat is easy and boring. Simultaneously casual players are left using underpowered weapons severely hampering their advancement rate and enjoyment of the game and complain that it is too hard. The new weapons and certifications should even the playing field and provide a more consistent and challenging play experience. Adding a variety of weapons at each power level of the game not only helps the combat players, but the Weaponsmiths as well. Currently Weaponsmiths don't get very many weapon schematics during their Artisan phase and have to wait until earning Novice Weaponsmith to start getting a variety of schematics. Conversely combatants have earned several weapon certifications before they have ever earned their Novice elite profession skill box and can only get those weapons from more advanced crafters. The new breakdown will allow the combatants and crafters to advance simultaneously and give a much larger potential market to the lower level weapon crafters.

Weapon Statistics: The stats of the weapons are going to need to be evaluated and adjusted from the ground up. The highest priority when setting the weapon stats will be to preserve the power progression that is defined by the order of certification grants. The next important issue will be to maintain the weapon class distinctions. High-powered, slow firing weapons will need to be guaranteed to remain high-power, slow firing weapons, while low-powe
ranja123
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:52 am

Postby ranja123 » Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:25 pm

The Armor System document contains much more information regarding this change. The removal of Armor Piercing as a classification will need to be taken into consideration when changing the weapon stats as many current weapons are balanced based on the presence of their Armor Piercing rating. Weapon Ranges With the increase of the maximum combat range we will be able to better delineate the differences between the weapon range categories. Additionally we will be changing minimum and maximum ranges of weapons to be hard set. Currently weapon minimum and maximum ranges are nearly all set to 0m and 64m respectively. Severe accuracy penalties are applied whenever the weapon is operating outside of its ideal range but this does not communicate very effectively. Players will often continue fighting with a weapon with these huge accuracy penalties in place and not understand why they are being ineffective. There are also certain methods in which highly capable and experienced players are able to nearly completely negate these penalties further causing confusion in game. To address these issues we will be setting hard minimum and maximum ranges where the weapon simply will not fire. These ranges will be set on a per weapon basis and be balanced according to the expected role that the weapon user will be fulfilling. When needed a variety of weapon will be available to allow a player to continue playing at a range that their profession is less than ideally suited for. For example, the Rifleman's best weapon the T21 will only be able to be used at long ranges (possibly 40m to max combat range) other rifles will be available to use by the Rifleman that can fire at shorter distances for those situations when it is needed but they will not have the same damage capacity as the T21 which is designed for the role that they are ideally suited for. Pistols will in general be designed to ideally work at point blank and short range (0m to 40m), Carbines will be designed to ideally work at medium ranges (20m to 60m) and Rifles will be designed to ideally work at long ranges (40m to maximum combat range.) Specific weapons may be designed to work outside of the general range categories but they will not be the ideal weapons to use in the category. It must be strongly emphasized that these range numbers are only guidelines. The exact range numbers will be dependant on how far out we can push the maximum combat range and what playtesting determines.

HAM REDESIGN: A very critical part of the overall Combat Upgrade is the change to the functionality of the HAM system. This change will allow a greater ease in balancing overall HAM costs for weapons and special moves. It will also allow Mind to be removed as a special damage type and place equal emphasis on Health, Action and Mind pools for both abilities and damage. Please see the HAM Revamp documentation for more details.
Drain & Regen: Because the HAM revamp redefines the way special abilities are used we will need to completely rebalance the meaning of pool drain and regeneration stats. The amount these stats affect the cost and regeneration of special abilities will need to be tuned so as to provide an interesting and dynamic tactical combat situation. Special Ability Drain & Regen The drain and regen stats need to be balanced such that the interaction of using a special ability and waiting the needed time for those points to regenerate is a fun and dynamic experience. The range for these stats needs to be large enough to provide a reason to choose higher stats and buff them while still keeping the maximum effect reasonable.
Damage Regen: The damage regeneration amount will be based on the regen stat and will be set to be a constant percentage of the special ability regeneration amount. For example, damage regeneration may be 1/10 the speed of ability regeneration (of course the true final ratio will need to be determined during playtesting.) Buffing the regeneration stat<
ranja123
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:52 am

Postby ranja123 » Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:26 pm

Weapon HAM Costs: Weapon HAM costs will need to be evaluated and adjusted as needed. The new HAM system will allow for a much higher general cost and should be reflected accordingly in the weapon stats. Because changes to these numbers will require mass changes existing weapons we will try to keep the changes as minimal as possible without sacrificing our combat balance goals. Special Attack HAM Costs The Special Ability HAM costs, the cost associated with using a specific combat ability, will need to be changed to a complete new balance scale to work correctly with the new HAM system. The general balance goal will be to have Special Abilities to have a much higher cost than they currently do with the regeneration rate of those points being much higher. New Special Abilities can be added to create interesting tactical choices. Counters to existing powerful moves will also be needed as well as new high power moves. Abilities of sufficient power could have their costs set so high as to require very high base pool amounts.
Non-Combat HAM Costs: In addition to the adjusting of HAM costs for all combat abilities we will need to adjust HAM cost for non-combat abilities. These costs will need to be balanced to properly regulate the rate at which PROFESSION BALANCE Once the underlying core systems for combat (weapons, damage & HAM) are balanced it will be possible to look at all combat professions and balance them to make sure that their relative power is in sync and that the various skills stack in a reasonable manner. It will also be important to emphasize each professions role in combat and to give purpose to each individual player as well as reasons for choosing various profession combinations in groups.
Skill Mod Balance: Every profession has a series of skill mods that are granted as each skill is learned. We will need to evaluate all of these skill mods and balance them so that the rate that they are earned throughout a specific profession is balance and reasonable (80% of a professions power should not be earned in the first 30% of skill boxes earned) as well as making sure that the numbers add up correctly and to a reasonable amount when various skills are taken from different professions.
Progression: The rate of advancement as a player proceeds up a skill tree needs to be balanced. For most professions these numbers are already fairly balanced, but some revisions will certainly be needed. Power increases need to be higher as a player increases up a skill tree to correctly reflect the amount of cumulative work needed to get each skill box. Power also needs to be balanced equally across the 4 skill trees. It should not be possible to get the bulk of a professions power by only getting one or two of the skill trees.
Finally a significant and meaningful power reward needs to be granted at the Master box as the cumulative skill requirement to get that box is significant. Players who choose to take a profession all the way to the Master level need to appropriately compensated. This is not to say that they should be more powerful in general than a player who chooses to diversify their skills but they should have a distinct advantage in their select specialization.
Stacking: Currently certain profession abilities stack in a very powerful manner causing extremely powerful combinations of skills while other skills don't stack at all. This will be addressed in the profession balance. Obviously certain skill sets will always complement each other better than others but no skill combination should ever be so powerful as to render all other skill choices useless. Not only will the granting of skill mods across each profession need to be balanced, but also the way in which they add up when choosing different skills from different professions will need to be addressed. We will be adding general-purpose skill mods for most combat related skills. The general combat mods will affect every combat profession and will pr
ranja123
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:52 am

Postby ranja123 » Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:28 pm

Special Ability Balance: Professions are defined by their abilities. Differing Skill mod values and weapon stats are important but without interesting and different special abilities all combat professions would be just slight variations of each other. Some, but not all combat professions currently have interesting and unique abilities that define them. The majority of professions just have duplicates of the same abilities severely blurring the line between the professions. Decisions must be made about which specific professions will be granted which abilities to ensure we have true combat role differentiation. Just as skill mod stacking will work in a more meaningful manner, ability stacking should also be more meaningful. To accomplish this we are going to separate, whenever possible, the hard connection between the profession and the ability. The ability will be earned and improved by learning the profession skills that correspond to it, but after that it will be able to be used with other profession weapons and abilities, as long as those skills are also known. For example, Head Shot is a Rifleman ability that previously could only be used when wielding a rifle. Under the new system if a Pistoleer has enough Rifleman skills to have earned the improved Head Shot ability then they would be able to perform powerful Head Shots with their pistols. Abilities will still have broad, reasonable limitations to the kinds of weapons that they can be used with, Sniper Shot would require a ranged weapon and could not be used with a melee weapon, Full Auto Area would require an automatic weapon and could not be used with a single shot weapon, Sweep attack would require a melee weapon and could not be performed with a gun, etc.
Tactical interaction is also highly controlled by the special abilities available to players. The ability to choose and time your offensive and defensive actions is essential to a challenging and fun combat experience. Most of the currently implemented abilities provide slightly different ways to do damage with a couple interesting tactically unique abilities thrown in. To simplify and clarify the purpose of each ability, we will be reducing each to its core function and remove any additional elements that blur its intent. For example, Stunning Blow will be an attack that stuns an opponent but will do little to no damage. Also abilities to counter existing abilities are missing completely. Abilities to recover from a knockdown or stunning attack add extra tactical options that make combat interesting. We will be adding as many of these counter or recovery abilities as we can in the time available, and even more of them over time. The most important part of a Special Ability balance pass will of course be to fix and enhance the existing abilities. Adding new abilities can be done easily at any time once the foundation for them is laid. With a little bit of forethought about what new abilities could be added a plan can be made to add them in at regular intervals.


Existing Specials: Most existing specials are just variations on amount of damage and locations hit. These specials need to be balanced so they are worthwhile at least some of the time and so that there is no best ability. Often times there are 2 or 3 versions of exact same ability. Every new ability would obsolese the previous ones. This causes clutter in the UI and confusion for players. To further simplify the profession abilities we will be reducing these to a single action command that is enhanced as further skills are learned. An important aspect of balancing existing specials within the new paradigm of single actions that are improved over time will be to make sure that these actions are only ever improved and never have increased negatives. For example if Head Shot was to be improved over time to have an increased damage capability and increased accuracy while simultaneously increasing the HAM cost a situation will be created whe
ranja123
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:52 am

Postby ranja123 » Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:29 pm

New Specials: New specials will be created as time permits. The types and amount of abilities will be prioritized so that we get the most impact from each additional ability. The highest priority ability type to add is abilities, which are counters to existing abilities. These abilities will add a dynamic element to combat where players need to decide if they want to spend abilities points up front for high burst damage or save some for possible counters. Certain abilities can be added that do significantly more damage if executed following certain other moves. These abilities will make combat much more interactive. The second priority abilities will be profession defining abilities; new support and utility abilities, which further differentiate the professions from each other. The only reason these abilities are lower priority than the counter is because they could be added later without jeopardizing the release of the combat balance. The final ability types that could be added would be utility and flavor abilities. These abilities, while not profession defining, would be fun and useful for certain situations. They can be added to various skill boxes of professions that need extra fleshing out to make them more interesting to play. These kinds of abilities would definitely not be critical and could be added at any future time when scheduling permits. Player Difficulty Once all the changes for the combat balance have been completed we will need to evaluate and adjust the combat difficulty calculations. Most players have noticed that at high skill levels they can generally take on Red conned creatures and NPCs with minimal to no difficulty. Part of this is due to imbalances in the current combat system. But part is also due to the fact that Master level players simply are higher in level than almost all creatures and NPCs within the game. We will need to increase the evaluated maximum player level in order to give the correct evaluation of difficulty when considering a target. It is also possible that after all the balance changes are completed players who have spent all of their skill point are actually more powerful than they were previous to the balance pass. The player difficulty would need to scale to correctly reflect this. Creature levels and experience points earned will not change and should not need to be adjusted except at the extreme range, where ultra high level opponents were added to compensate for the ultra high power level of players. The dungeons that were added with these extremely high level NPCs will need to be evaluated and adjusted. Mission terminal payouts will need to be scaled because in the current system higher-level ranked players would earn more money and there is not a need currently to increase the amount of money entering the economy.
ARMOR BALANCE: High-end armor in SWG is currently extremely overpowered. More players were able to make armor at the highest ranges of what is possible than what was expected. Multiple systems impacted the final power level of armor and combined to create final results that provided much higher protection than planned. Additionally the exponential power curve that armor currently follows means that tiny adjustments to the highest-level armor have huge balance impacts. High power armor really needs to be scaled back for combat to ever be balanced and fun for all players. Because of the scope of this change we feel that it will be better to create a new armor system, than to try and morph the existing armor system into something that is balanced and properly scalable. The full details of the armor change can be found in the Armor Overview document.

Slicing Balance: Armor and Weapon slicing has had a severe impact on the balance of SWG. The original slicing system was implemented fairly late in the SWG development cycle and had minimal forethought about how it would impact the existing systems. We need to adjust the slicing system so that is still usefu
ranja123
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:52 am

Postby ranja123 » Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:31 pm

HEALING BALANCE: Healing is not significantly unbalanced but there are still some areas where healing should be adjusted. The most significant problem with healing is the ability for Novice Medics to perform nearly all the healing duties possible in the game. Basic Medic level healing needs to be useful for lower level characters but not sufficient for higher-level characters. Higher-level characters should require Doctor or Combat Medic level healing to stay most efficient. To adjust the Medic level healing capability we will be slightly increasing the Medicine Use requirements for Stimpack Bs so that they are no longer usable by Novice Medics and will be removing the ability to use Advanced Medical components in Medic level medicines. Minor additional tweaks to all medicines may be needed depending on play testing results. The other major change that will need to be made to Medicines is to allow them to heal Mind damage again. This will allow Doctors and Combat Medics to keep all 3 HAM bars healed during combat.
BUFF BALANCE: Another system that has grown beyond original expectations is buffs. Currently players stats can be buffed so high that original character stats have no meaning, armor penalties are completely irrelevant and serious PvP combat cannot be considered without a full set of all available buffs. A balance pass will need to happen for every system that can buff a stat and how they all combine. In addition to balancing the stacking of buffs, the different buffing systems will need to be kept balanced relative to each other so that they all maintain their usefulness. Buffs will be changed to work on a percentage system similar to how entertainment buffs currently work. This will give us a baseline that is easier to balance and will maintain the relative advantages and distinctiveness of the different species.
DOT BALANCE: Medical DoTs have received several adjustments in the last several publishs. These changes should have taken care of the majority of the imbalances with those DoTs and only minor adjustments should be needed. While no specific additional Medical DoT changes are being planned we will be monitoring the power and usefulness of DoTs during the combat balance playtest sessions and will adjust the numbers, up or down, where needed. Combat DoTs (fires & bleeds) will be evaluated in conjunction with the weapon or ability that they are related to and will be balanced accordingly.
SUMMARY: The changes to the core combat systems are the basis for a fundamentally more balanced and fun combat system. There are details that are going in to this core systems portion of the Combat Upgrade which are not yet covered by this document, but hope you got a sense of the high level changes that are coming.
HAM REVAMP DETAILS: The current HAM system was designed to allow variety in the combat styles and tactics of the various professions. While it has a learning curve for the novice player it does provide a broad potential for tactical interactions. The current HAM system has two key issues that lower its contribution to interesting combat. The first problem has to do with the nature of special abilities doing damage to your character and the second is the unique nature of the Mind bar when it comes to damage and healing. The primary current HAM system problem is that it is no fun to kill yourself through doing required combat actions. To be most effective in combat special actions must be used. These special actions essentially do damage to your character in the current system and if overused will guarantee the death of your character. While most players can accept a certain amount of damage done in this manner the amount they are willing to accept is dramatically different per person. Finding a common ground that is acceptable to all players is virtually impossible and makes balancing the special action costs extremely difficult. The second current HAM system problem came about due to the evolution<
ranja123
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:52 am

Postby ranja123 » Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:32 pm

OVERVIEW: The basis of the HAM revamp is to add a Special Ability layer to each pool. Each Health, Action and Mind pool will then have a Wound, Damage and Special Ability layer. The maximum value of the pool is what is available as both damage and ability points when a player is completely undamaged. As the player takes wounds, the total amount of damage to be inflicted until incapacitation is reduced until they have those wounds healed. As the player takes damage the total amount of ability points available for special actions decreases. These special ability points will regenerate at a much faster rate than normal damage regenerates and will not healable in any manner. This change keeps the core interaction of combat the same. Damage done to a pool reduces the available tactical options used by that pool. The key differences will be that use of ability points in a pool no longer risks death and healing damage done to a pool will not immediately allow a player to take more special actions. Healing damage only increases the maximum potential ability points possibly giving access to more powerful special abilities. The only way to regain ability points to perform a special action will be to wait for them regenerate naturally.

ISSUES: Interface some way to display this new layer of the HAM bar will need to be implemented. This interface needs to be easy to comprehend and quick to digest during a frantic battle. Because the special ability layer will be draining and regenerating fairly quickly during combat it should not be necessary to display hard numbers. A graphical method incorporated into the existing HAM Bar UI should be sufficient. The following mockup was created for a how the new HAM system would look: ahref=\"http://starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com/images/features/HAM1.jpg\" target=\"_blank\">http://starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com/images/features/HAM1.jpg In the image above you can see the Health, Action and Mind bars in three separate states. The Health bar currently displays some damage with full available ability points. The Mind bar has received some damage and is still recovering ability points. Finally you can see that the Action bar has damage as well as wounds and is recovering ability points. Hopefully you can see in this mockup how the bottom portion of the Heath, Action and Mind bars will be depleting and filling back up during combat. Clearly the maximum amount of ability can never go higher than the current damage level. Damage a wounds readouts are virtually identical to the way they read in the game currently though effort has been taken to clean up the overall appearance to make it visually pleasing and easy to read. Regeneration & Drain Attributes With the change to the new HAM system the actual affects of the Drain and Regeneration Attributes should be evaluated. Since these attributes primarily influence the cost and reuse time for special abilities they will need adjustment to be correctly balanced within the system. The regen attribute for each pool will also directly influence natural healing rates but at an order of magnitude slower than ability point regeneration. Total natural healing time should be comparable to the current live game. A secondary problem with the Regeneration & Draing attributes that can potentially be addressed is the progression of affect, as the attribute gets larger and larger. Currently it is possible to get the drain and regeneration stats so high through various buffs that players have essentially no special ability costs. This should not be allowed in the new system. A non-linear progression method will have to be defined so the ever-increasing values provide smaller and smaller benefits. This causes an effective soft cap where high numbers are increasingly ineffective while still allowing players to push they numbers high if they desire and rewarding them at least minimally for doing so. However, these numbers will not be allowed to get to a stat

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