- scaling of abilities based on gear and stats
- rank distribution as absolute vs relative values and effects on PvP and reward system
- item budgets and manastone socket cost, variable stat costs
- implications for instanced PvP or PvE raiding, and any current design factors that hinder this
- exploration and story elements that do not involve PvP
Mostly due to lack of knowledge of the above mechanics, or the following changes making it difficult to predict the value of further iterations to a design.
Any change to Aion should be carefully considered. But there are certain factors that cause the game to feel like a grind with the only objective being to reach level 50, and this decreases the number of people willing to play. For players in the Western culture it is not enough to feel pretty or to be part of a Legion, it is also necessary to be able to express ourselves in a unique way and to be able to compete against other players in PvP regardless of whether we have reached the level cap. In addition, when the game is not enjoyable to play, a bad community forms and the social environment becomes hostile to those new to the game as more experienced players are too busy leveling to be helpful. It is vital that these issues be fixed before people lose faith and I ask NCSoft to consider the value of these suggestions and implement them.
1. Abyss Points and Rank
1.1 Losing Rank from Buying Contribution Rewards
1.2 Combat with Unequal Numbers of Combatants
1.3 Fighting an Opponent of Higher Level
2. Character Statistics and Equipment
2.1 Item Rarity and Crafting
2.2 Offensive and Defensive Stats
3. Other Issues with Leveling, Combat, and XP
3.1 Difficult NPCs that Drop Powerful Equipment
3.2 Social Emotes and Combat Animations
3.3 Soul Healing Costs and XP in Groups
3.4 Preventing Botting and RMT
Abyss Points and Rank
PvP at level 50 is very different from PvP at lower levels. But most people who might consider leaving Aion are doing so without reaching level 50, and many who might do so would make that decision because they are not enjoying lower level PvP. The experience must be improved for Aion to reach its full potential in these markets.
Losing Rank from Buying Contribution Rewards
Higher PvP ranks lose more Abyss Points on death. This is fair when they are fighting opponents of equal rank and equal quality of equipment. It is not fair when fighting opponents of inferior rank that have better equipment, or when outnumbered. To avoid losing Abyss Points, many players spend their points on items and are reduced to a low rank. This results in the situation where Abyss Rank often does not relate to the quality of equipment of the character.
To fix this, spending Abyss Points should not reduce the PvP rank. These spent points go into debt and are shown in the Abyss points display and continue to determine PvP rank. When the player earns Abyss Points, a portion of the earned points are used to pay off the debt. For example, if a player has 25,000 Abyss Points (Rank 5) and spends 15,000 of them on an item, their rank remains the same at Rank 5. If they kill an opposing player and earn 700 Abyss Points, 200 points are used to reduce the debt and the result is 25,500 Abyss points with 14,800 of that being debt. If they are then killed in turn, they will lose the Abyss Points that a Rank 5 soldier loses and award the appropriate amount of Abyss Points to their opponent.
Combat with Unequal Numbers of Combatants
When you are killed by many opponents, currently you lose the full amount of Abyss Points for your rank. See http://na.aiononline.com/forums/suggestion/view?articleID=3271 for data. To increase confidence in the skill of a player with a certain rank and to encourage players to reach the higher ranks and continue to PvP normally at those ranks without restricting themselves to PvPing only in groups, Abyss Points must take into account the size of the groups participating in a battle. If one player is solo and fighting many opponents, the amount of Abyss Points lost for a death must reflect that. This becomes especially important at higher ranks in solo PvP.
The easiest way I can think of without putting too much burden on the server is to use what is already done of tracking damage dealt by different sources, but adding an additional metric of how much attention was paid to the player when that damage was being dealt. With this method the calculations are done over the course of a PvP encounter, instead of being done at the end when a death occurs. The amount of attention involved in inflicting a certain amount of damage is determined by comparing the number and difficulty of opponents who are engaged in combat with the one who is inflicting damage to the number and difficulty of opponents who are engaged in combat with the one who is receiving it. At the moment of inflicting damage, this is simply by counting the number and difficulty of these opponents in the right way without regard to the effectiveness of these other simultaneous combat relationships.
To make the following example more clear, I will describe some of the details for implementation. Each character has several variables or lists:
List 1 (Opponents you are attacking): opponents that you have damaged recently, or that someone you buffed or healed has damaged recently. Each opponent in this list is receiving 'attention' from you according to their difficulty of level and rank, with a total of 100% before being modified by a comparison of their level and rank with yours.
List 2 (Opponents that attack you): opponents that have damaged you recently, or that have healed someone that damaged you recently. 'Recently' might mean the same length of time as other things that do not allow you to be in combat, such as being prevented from changing zone channels. If someone who damages you drops off this list, anyone who healed them also drops off the list and you drop off of their List 1 as described above. Each opponent in this list is giving you 'attention' according to the elements of their List 1 and their own difficulty of level and rank. The amount of attention you are receiving changes only when someone drops off this list because they are no longer attacking you or healing someone who is, or the size of List 1 changes for someone who is attacking you because they stopped attacking someone else.
List 3 (Record of damage dealt to you): Aion already tracks the list of the amount of damage done to you, but in addition this would track the level of danger this damage posed according to the amount of attention they were receiving (their List 2), the amount of attention you were receiving (your List 2), and the inherent difference in difficulty between you and your opponents according to your level and rank, and their level and rank. We do not know what the mechanics are for NPCs attacking a player during PvP, we only know that it decreases Abyss Points earned or lost. So this PvE damage might include its own level of danger according to the attention the NPC paid to you in List 2, or it might only factor into the level of danger that PvP opponents represent by increasing the size of your List 2 and decreasing the attention you are able to give to your PvP opponents when they damage you.
Player A – Asmodian (cleric)
Player B – Asmodian (gladiator)
Player C – Elyos (templar)
Player D – Asmodian (sorcerer)
Player E – Asmodian (chanter)
Player F – Elyos (spiritmaster)
Player G – Elyos (cleric)
In this example, the characters all have the same level and the same Abyss Rank to simplify the calculations. Sequence of events:
1) Player D casts a spell that damages Players C, F, G. Player D is now seen to be attacking these three players, with 33% of her attention on each of them until they stop taking damage from her. (Player D has 3 opponents on her List 1.)
2) Player E heals player D, and is now seen to be attacking Players C, F, G with 33% attention until she stops healing. (Player E has 3 opponents on her List 1.)
3) Player C attacks player B. For the damaging attack we can assume Player B is paying attention to Player C at the moment of attack (Player B is added to Player C's List 2 for the moment of the attack), and since Player B is not paying attention to anyone else (Player B's List 1 includes only Player C at the moment of attack) Player C is receiving (33% + 33% + 100%) = 166% of normal attention. The weighted amount of attention Player B is receiving for the purpose of calculating danger level for the damage of the attack is [(full attention of attacker according to their level and rank in comparison with target, usually around 100%)/(incoming attention of attacker according to List 2)] = (1/1.66) = 60% of normal attention for this attack. Player B is not paying attention to anyone else (Player B's List 2) so the end result, which calculates the total danger level according to the reciprocal amount of attention Player B is giving Player C at the time of attack, is [(weighted attention of attacker)/(attention of target towards attacker according to the total amount of attention they are receiving in List 2)] = (60% / 100%) = 60% modifier for attention recorded for the damage of this attack.
4) Player A heals Player B. However, since Player B has not yet attacked Player C, Player C is still only receiving (33% + 33%) = 66% of normal attention (Player C's List 2) before determining the calculation of a new attack.
5) Player B attacks Player C. At the moment of attack Player B is seen to be receiving 100% of offensive attention from Player C (Player C's List 1) as Player C has not inflicted damage on anyone else or healed someone who is inflicting damage, and Player C is seen to be receiving 166% of normal attention (Player C's List 2 as Player B has now been added on to this list and Player B has only a single opponent on her List 1), so the weighted amount of attention Player C is receiving for the purpose of calculating danger level for the damage of the attack is [(full attention of attacker according to their level and rank in comparison with target, usually around 100%)/(incoming attention of attacker according to List 2)] = (1/1) = 100% of normal attention for this attack, and the end result for the total danger level according to the reciprocal amount of attention Player B is giving Player C at the time of attack is [(weighted attention of attacker)/(attention of target towards attacker according to List 2)] = [100% / (1/1.66)] = 166% modifier for attention recorded for the damage of this attack.
A large amount of attention corresponds to a high danger level for the damage recorded on List 3 and means you were heavily outnumbered during an encounter, while a small amount of attention means you were taking damage from someone who was fighting multiple opponents. A large amount of attention should result in a decrease in the Abyss Points earned or lost, while a small amount of attention does not need to result in a change. Player level and Abyss Rank may be added during the damage calculations to change the amount of attention received, or it may be included at the time of death depending on the sources of damage on List 3 to decrease or increase Abyss Points earned or lost without influencing the attention received from other attacks.
Calculating the number of opponents you face in a PvP battle like this, compared to the number of your allies that they face, allows a fair assessment of solo PvP proficiency and allows more enjoyment of the game.
Fighting an Opponent of Higher Level
There is no additional damage penalty for physical attacks against opponents of higher level, beyond the reduction from Physical Defense. There is also no reduction in the amount of damage of a successful magical attack, the way we incur in PvE (see source thread for formulas for PvE: http://www.aionsource.com/forum/mechanic-analysis/42597-character-stats-xp-dp-origin-gerbator-team-july-2009-a.html). However, physical attacks will eventually be reduced to dealing 1 damage per attack against opponents of higher level, and spells will suffer a 99% resist rate against someone 10 levels higher even without Magic Resist. To compensate for this, higher level opponents will earn very low Abyss Points when killing you and you will lose very few Abyss Points on death.
It is imperative that these obstacles to PvP be removed. There is a wide spread of level of opponents in a zone such as Morheim and Eltnen, and currently very few of these opponents will give both of you a fair chance to win. The unfair barriers to PvP must be removed and the Abyss Point penalty decreased to compensate to allow more equal PvP at all levels. Higher level players will still have more health, more damage, more armor, more abilities, larger heals, higher defensive stats, and more magic resist, but will not benefit from extra spell resist based on level and damage mitigation mechanics which unbalance PvP.
- The extra resist based on level must be removed, and chance to resist based solely on comparing Magic Accuracy against Magic Resist and other resist attributes such as Stun Resist that certain classes get.
- Magic Resist must be capped at 400 above the opponent's Magic Accuracy, giving a maximum chance to resist of 40%.
- The reduction from physical defense must be capped for players at a certain proportion of damage of the incoming attack, such as 60-70% reduced damage. Attacks should never deal less damage than this amount. This applies to NPCs attack players and also PvP. The amount of reduction is greater than the allowed resist chance for spells, because a certain proportion of physical damage is already intended to be absorbed by physical defense. For example, at level 30 a player may have 200 Attack and be fighting opponents with 700 Physical Defense, so 35% of the attack is already being absorbed by physical defense.
Character Statistics and Equipment
Aion's stat system causes problems. Certain stats are too powerful, while other stats are not powerful enough and there are many situations where they are not useful at all. This causes damage to increase in PvP by a large amount, reduces the choices we have to create an effective build for our characters, and means that much of the advice experienced players have to give to new players is about what to avoid because it is broken, not about how to have more fun playing the game. Seeing options appear and then disappear is one of the things that makes people quit a game.
Item Rarity and Crafting
Manastones are very powerful, and higher quality items of the same level have both higher stats and more manastone sockets than lower quality items. Most Common-quality items have only one manasocket, with the occasional item having two. It is not uncommon for characters to have several Heroic-quality (blue) items by the time they are in their mid-20's, and with three manastone sockets it is difficult to justify upgrading to a Common-quality item with one socket even if the Common-quality item is many levels higher and has better base stats. With Abyss gear from level 30 onwards having between 4 and 6 sockets, Common (white) and Superior (green) items have even less use. However, PvE still provides many Common-quality items and many crafting recipes also produce a Common item, a Noble result of which is then used to craft the higher levels of gear. With the low demand for Common items, most of the usual results of crafting are sold to vendor or extracted for Enchantment stones. As a result, crafting becomes difficult and expensive to use unless selling the high-end results for large amounts that the average player cannot afford, which encourages third-party RMT, gold buying, gold advertisements, spamming, and botting.
To increase the usefulness of items that are not of Fabled quality (orange), the lower quality items should increase in the amount of manastone sockets they have as the level of the item increases. A Common item of level 5 would continue to have just 1 manastone socket. But a Common item of level 25 for example might usually have 2 sockets, and only rarely have one socket. At level 35, Common items might usually have 2 sockets and very rarely have 3 sockets, while Superior (green) items might usually have 3 sockets and very rarely 2 sockets, and Heroic (blue) items might usually have 4 and occasionally 3 sockets. By level 50, Common items would normally have 2 but often have 3 sockets, Superior items would normally have 3 but often have 4 sockets, and Heroic items would normally have 4 but often have 5 sockets.
Offensive and Defensive Stats
Magic Boost and Physical Critical Hit are the main stats most classes aim for because they are effective in all cases of doing damage. Defensive stats are only useful when the stat is higher than your opponent's accuracy. Accuracy is only useful when it is lower than your opponent's defensive stats. All defensive stats are also useful against only one damage type, physical attacks or magical spells. However, the base amounts of abilities that do not benefit from these mechanics are not increased at higher levels to compensate for the increase of these stats, such as the damage of spellbooks or orbs, the strength of healing spells, the amount absorbed by Stone Skin or Rage, or the damage of a Cleric's physical attacks and abilities. It becomes more difficult to use these abilities in PvE and PvP as the power of characters increases from getting better gear and acquiring more manastone sockets from gear quality.
If Aion is not going to increase the power of these other abilities by scaling, it is necessary to slow the rate of damage increase in PvP to reduce burst damage and sustained damage. The most effective way to do this is to transfer the optimal stats towards the ones that have counters: Magic Accuracy is countered by Magic Resist and Accuracy is countered by Evasion/Parry/Block. These stats are normally not used for three reasons. First, half of them are defensive stats and the objective of most classes in PvP and PvE is to deal damage without taking damage. Second, the amount of benefit from using in a manastone socket is usually less than the benefit from using Magic Boost or Physical Crit. Third, they are only useful when the relevant stat on the opponent is lower or higher than the stat on the attacker, and so they all have a lower cap and a higher cap. In the case of Evasion/Parry/Block this cap will often vary based on movement bonuses and buffs or debuffs, and in other situations vs a lower-level or higher-level opponent the cap is already reached without using manastones.
This is somewhat intentional to avoid increasing damage too much against lower-level opponents. However, it is possible to increase the effectiveness of the defensive stats and ensure they are appropriately capped at reasonable levels, while giving a non-damage benefit for exceeding the cap of the opposite stat.
All stats currently have a weight on items when used as a bonus stat, which is different from the relative amount on manastones. This weight should also be adjusted, but manastones are the primary means of directing the increase in power of a character and so I will use them to discuss examples.
- Change Parry and Block so that a difference of 6 parry or 6 block over the opponent's Accuracy results in 1% Parry or Block chance, while keeping the amount on manastones the same. This means that the effective cap is 240 Parry or 300 Block over the opponent's accuracy.
- Change Accuracy so that a level 50 Superior (green) manastone gives 20 Accuracy, down from 25.
- Change Evasion so that a level 50 Superior (green) manastone gives 20 Evasion, up from 15.
- Change Magic Resist so that a level 50 Superior (green) manastone gives 20 Magic Resist, up from 12. Change any lower-level manastones if they still exist to give higher amounts of resist, similar to low-level Block/Parry manastones. Change the cap on Magic Resist to 400 above the opponent's Magic Accuracy, as described in the section “Fighting an Opponent of Higher Level”, so that there is a maximum chance of 40% chance for a character to resist an attack. However an NPC can still get 99% resist chance to continue to discourage the hunting of higher level NPCs.
- Change Magic Accuracy so that a level 50 Superior (green) manastone gives 20 Magic Accuracy, up from 12. Change any lower-level manastones if they still exist to give higher amounts of Magic Accuracy, similar to low-level Accuracy manastones.
- Add additional effect to Magic Accuracy: when Magic Accuracy is greater than the opponent's Magic Resist, there is additional chance to interrupt the opponent's casts when spells do damage, regardless of the damage of the spell. This is a counter to Concentration however the base chance to interrupt based on damage, without the boost from Magic Accuracy, may need to be reduced slightly. Since high Magic Resist already gives more chance to resist interruption because spells are resisted, it might not be necessary to further decrease the chance of interruption when Magic Resist exceeds Magic Accuracy.
- Add an additional effect to Magic Accuracy: effects applied by magic which can be broken by damage have reduced chance to be broken when the Magic Accuracy of the character who applied the effect is higher. Effects which have a variable duration will have a longer duration when used by a character with higher Magic Accuracy than the opponent's Magic Resist. When Magic Resist is high compared to the Magic Accuracy of the opponent who applied a magic effect, damage will have increased chance to break the effect if it can be broken by damage, and if the effect has a variable duration it will have shorter duration.
- Add additional effect to Accuracy: after comparing Accuracy to the Parry, Evasion, and Block of the opponent, there may be additional chance to interrupt the opponent's casts when physical attacks that use Accuracy do damage, regardless of the damage of the attack. This is a counter to Concentration however the base chance to interrupt based on damage, without the boost from Accuracy, may need to be reduced slightly. An equipped shield should always decrease the chance for casts to be interrupted, regardless of how bad the shield is. However, if the shield is very bad (and Block is much lower than Accuracy) the decrease in chance to be interrupted should be small. If Accuracy is higher than some stats (such as Evasion and Block, or if there is no Block) but lower than another stat (such as Parry), whether the chance to interrupt casts is increased may depend on the formulas used. It may be possible to use Block in the formula, regardless of whether a shield is equipped, as everyone has block from their level. It may not be necessary to further decrease the chance of interruption when Accuracy is lower than all defensive stats, if a blocked or parried attack already decreases the chance of interruption.
- Add an additional effect to Accuracy: effects applied by a physical attack which can be broken by damage have reduced chance to be broken when the Accuracy of the character who applied the effect is higher. Effects which have a variable duration will have a longer duration when used by a character with higher Accuracy than the opponent's defensive stats (Evasion/Block/Parry). When the defensive stats are high compared to the Accuracy of the opponent who applied an effect using a physical attack, damage will have increased chance to break the effects if it can be broken by damage, and the effect has a variable duration it will have shorter duration.
It may be possible to increase the effectiveness of defensive manastones by less than described here, but the important points are capping magic resist to prevent it from reaching 80% or higher in PvP against equal level opponents and adding a non-damage benefit to Accuracy and Magic Accuracy to have them as a viable option to the damage stats of Magic Boost and Physical Critical Hit. Certain players will reach the Magic Resist cap whether it takes them 20 manastones or 28, but in every case the existence of a cap reduces the effectiveness of specially socketed gear and they are less effective against attacks their manastones do not protect against. No more Templars getting 1500+ Magic Resist in PvP, or Sorcerers with equally much Magic Boost without being experiencing resists.
Other Issues with Leveling, Combat, and XP
The leveling experience in Aion is mostly enjoyable, due to the wide variety of storytelling techniques used. However, new players will eventually encounter things that may detract from their enjoyment of the game.
Difficult NPCs that Drop Powerful Equipment
The relatively small apparent increase in the stats of items and the automatic increase in the power of abilities makes many who are new to Aion think that upgrading their equipment is less important than it is in other games. This is mostly true, until encountering higher gear qualities with more manastone sockets. However, in the elite areas in the second zone we encounter bosses whose only purpose is to be killed for the items they drop. They are not for any quest since it would be difficult to complete any quest with the competition for bosses, so currently they do not do much to progress the story. Many players will find themselves joining groups with the objective of killing these bosses for loot. To prevent new players from thinking they must do this to have fun, it is necessary to integrate these bosses into the overall story of the daeva's progression and the conflict between Elyos and Asmodian and Balaur, which is lost somewhat when killing these elites.
One way to do this might be to have an Asmodian or Elyos NPC in the main fortress, or at the forward camps, who will discuss the existence of these bosses and their background story. This way, the name “The Peltclaimer” will be known to Asmodians who encounter this Black Claw priestess when they venture to the area and she will integrate with the rest of the story the daeva has encountered. Otherwise, after completing the final Campaign quest which relates to the Balaur, it's too easy for a player to move on to farming bosses with no other objective. There are complaints that Aion feels too much like a grind around this level, and the lack of overall story connecting these bosses to the rest of the game is one reason why. It is also possible that the problems around this level are due to the lack of significant rewards from Campaign quests and disconnection between Campaign quests, especially in different zones. A storyline does not feel important if it is irrelevant to the other, important storylines, but fixing this would take significant development effort and might not be appropriate for Aion at this point.
Social Emotes and Combat Animations
It is frustrating not being able to communicate what you want to, whether it is to allies or enemies. In many cases movement and ability use is a form of expression and communication about what you are capable of, and the game should allow this expression as clearly as possible as long as it does not create imbalance. There are some cases where there is a reason for animations preventing certain actions, and other cases where actions are prevented but should not be prevented. For example, changing gear is not permitted while casting a spell or using an ability and this is how it should be. However, flying or gliding is a form of movement and should be treated as an extension of running or jumping, and in all cases where movement is allowed the start of gliding or flying should also be allowed. You should be able to use one instant ability, unfurl your wings immediately afterward, and then use the next ability in a chain without losing any time, or use an instant and then jump and immediately start gliding. To be realistic, the unfurling of wings animation could continue to prevent normal auto-attacking using the weapon.
There are several issues preventing use of Aion's emotes to express emotions to other players:
- Emotes cannot be used while moving, you will stop to perform the emote.
- There seems to be a bug where you will not use an emote if the server has recorded the wrong location for your position, but instead you will be moved slightly to the new position instead of using the emote. This also affects gathering and will cancel the gathering of a resource upon speaking.
- Emotes cannot be used while attacking, you must stop attacking to use the emote.
- Emotes cannot be used consecutively until the animation has finished.
- Emotes cannot be used while flying.
- Many emotes that we expect to use and attempt to use are not available in Aion.
These issues prevent us from expressing ourselves to other players and lower enjoyment of the game by causing frustration, especially when we are unable to complete an emotion in PvP or against a flying opponent due to circumstances and not being able to stand still.
Soul Healing Costs and XP in Groups
During solo questing it is common for many players not to die at all. When starting to join groups to fight elite NPCs and when beginning to PvP, death is more common but at the same time Soul Healing becomes more necessary to avoid holding up the group in PvE or to survive in PvP, even if PvP was not the source of XP loss that leads to a long duration for Soul Sickness. This is despite that when fighting elites in a group, often the reason for a death is a mistake by another player. It is imperative that we be allowed the choice in this situation to accept the death and pay the soul healer, or to accumulate a large amount of Soul Sickness and lose XP on every death without being required to pay the soul healer. PvP removes this choice when PvE mistakes by other players force you to spend money to avoid being penalized in PvP.
PvE deaths should not affect PvP in this way. Deaths in PvP should result in a small duration for Soul Sickness, no matter what the XP deficit is from prior deaths. It is also necessary to change the way XP reduction works in groups of characters of unequal level. Currently, the decrease in XP is based off the difference in level of the characters, without regard to the level of the NPCs they are fighting. (See same thread as before for XP formula: http://www.aionsource.com/forum/mechanic-analysis/42597-character-stats-xp-dp-origin-gerbator-team-july-2009-a.html) It must change to also take into account the level of the NPCs they are fighting, and whether it would be reasonable for the lower-level characters in the group to defeat these NPCs by themselves. For example, at level 27:
- I could kill a level 31 non-elite NPC by myself for 15,000 EXP.
- I could kill a level 25 elite in the Nashtana Training Camp by myself for 90,000 EXP.
- I could kill a level 26 elite in Taran's Cavern by myself for 40,000 EXP.
- I could join a group with lvl 28-29 players and kill lvl 30 elites in the Arkanis Sky Temple for 8,000 EXP.
- I could be in a group with just a lvl 35 Gladiator, a lvl 29 Ranger, and myself and kill the same lvl 30 elites for 1,700 EXP.
The existence of a player 8 levels higher than myself does not make the elites easy to kill. The XP reduction formula is balanced off the assumption of powerleveling and that the highest level player in the group is killing NPCs that award the most efficient XP, which is always roughly same-level or slightly higher level NPCs. In this case it would be lvl 35-37 NPCs which would probably give the same XP to a lvl 35 player as the lvl 30 elites, but would be much easier for a lvl 35 player to kill and would justify a lvl 27 player getting greatly reduced XP. But because there are often legitimate groups fighting NPCs that are lower level than the highest player in the group, the formula needs to be adjusted to be based off the level of the NPC that is defeated, not just off the level of the highest player.
Here is a quick, but very usable process that would result in fair XP for fighting NPCs that are lower level than the highest player in a group, copying the appropriate steps from the thread linked above:
Example chart copied from linked thread:
Level Difference Coefficient
12 and more 0
1. Determine level difference compared to highest-level member in group.
2. Each member gets a coefficient according to the table of coefficients for groups copied from the linked thread.
3. Determine level difference compared to the NPC that was defeated.
4. Each member gets an NPC-based coefficient according to the table of coefficients for groups in the linked thread. Members of the group higher than the NPC get a coefficient equal to a player of equal level to the NPC (coefficient of 2000 using example chart).
5. Determine level difference between the NPC that was defeated and the highest player in the group, and find the ratio of coefficients for the highest player in the group and the NPC, according to the table in the linked thread. Using those coefficients as an example, fighting an NPC 3 levels higher than the highest player in the group the ratio would be 2000/1429, fighting an NPC 4 levels lower than the highest player in the group the ratio would be 1145/2000.
6. Multiply the ratio in step 5 by the coefficients in step 4 to get a weighted comparison with the level of the NPC.
7. Add the weighted coefficients in step 6 to the coefficients for the same member in step 2.
8. Calculate % proportion each member has compared to sum of all coefficients.
9. Also calculate "XP as for solo" for each member (as described in linked thread for increasing XP against higher level NPCs or decreasing XP against NPCs more than 2 levels lower).
10. Multiply number from step 8 with number from step 9
11. The XP undergoes limiting as in the linked thread for not being able to fill more than 20% of XP bar.
Group of 27 Cleric, 29 Ranger, 35 Gladiator kills lvl 30 elite
Cleric coefficient of 107
Ranger coefficient of 430
Gladiator coefficient of 2000
Sum of coefficients is 2537, if Cleric is getting 1700 XP per kill with bonus from "XP as for solo" step (15% bonus) then normal XP for NPC is (2537/107 * 1700 / 1.15) = 35000 XP per kill according to the formula. After XP as for solo penalty of 50% for gladiator (described in linked thread), gladiator should be getting 15,500 XP per kill and ranger with 5% XP for solo bonus should be getting 6200 per kill. Data for XP on these 1-dot elites is confirmed by getting around 8000 XP per kill with a total of four players lvl 27-29 in the group.
Cleric coefficient of 107
Ranger coefficient of 430
Gladiator coefficient of 2000
Cleric coefficent of 1429
Ranger coefficient of 1860
Gladiator coefficient of 2000
Coefficient of highest player to NPC level: 859/2000 = 0.4295
Step 6, weighted coefficients compared to NPC:
Cleric, weighted of 613.8
Ranger, weighted of 798.9
Gladiator, weighted of 859
Step 7, total coefficients:
Cleric, total of 720.8
Ranger, total of 1228.9
Gladiator, total of 2859
Step 10, XP after calculating solo bonus or penalty:
lvl 27 Cleric gets 6034 EXP after 15% bonus from level
lvl 29 Ranger gets 9391 EXP after 5% bonus from level
lvl 35 Gladiator gets 10403 EXP after 50% penalty from level
This is a much more fair XP distribution. According to the described formula, powerleveling would still be impossible since the coefficient compared to the NPC is reduced when the highest level player is of higher level than the NPC, with this coefficient eventually being multiplied by 0 when the highest level player is more than 12 levels higher than the NPC.
Preventing Botting and RMT
Botting is much more of a problem on our servers because Game Guard is disabled, and this increases the supply for Real-Money Transactions or 'RMT'. However, the primary reason that people choose to become clients of RMT is that they feel there is a problem with the game or its community that will not allow them to enjoy playing without RMT. Therefore, the above solutions are all important to reducing botting and RMT as they increase the PvP and gear customization options available at all levels of the game, without having to resort to RMT or use a botting program to reach a high level. Once they are done, long-term solutions to botting can be implemented to restore balance to the economy.
Reducing botting should focus on attacking the network of bots, distributors, and clients of RMT, instead of trying to identify them with just their own actions. Similar to Google's link weight algorithms and real-world identification of networks, characters that are identified as being bots or gold sellers should also raise flags for the game accounts that they are associated with financially. Many actions could lead to being identified as high chance or high risk for botting or gold selling, but this should only be used as the first step in verifying this prohibited activity. Examples of high-risk behavior:
- associating with any high-risk character by guild, in-game mail, or direct trade of kinah or goods.
- a low-level character sending large amounts of money or trading large amounts of money, as gold sellers are likely to try to use temporary characters to decrease the risk of their main accounts being banned. There are reasons that a high-level player might send their friends money, such as if they are quitting the game, but there is almost no reason for this exchange to be done indirectly through an intermediate, low-level character.
- being the target of many Auto Hunting Reports.
- engaging in certain activities after being the target of Auto Hunting Reports, such as continuing to kill the same type of NPC for a long period of time, or gathering the same resource for a long period of time, or killing the same type of NPC when it's much lower level and gives very little experience.
- completing very few, or no quests. This is a very strong indication of botting, as is not having a standard title.
- broker purchases or private store purchases that are much higher or much lower than a normal range of prices for that item, as this is likely one technique used to transfer kinah between characters to prepare for RMT.
If word verification is added for gathering, it may be less annoying to normal players if word verification is only triggered by Auto Hunting Reports along with high-risk activities such as gathering the same resources or killing the same NPCs, and the chance to ask for word verification should be related to the number of Auto Hunting Reports and historical record of likely botting activity. One very easy, and likely very effective short-term way to reduce the effectiveness of bots operating on Aion's Western servers would be to prevent the '/select' command from being used to select resources. In the current client, you can type '/select Adamantium' and it will select the node as shown with a yellow circle, and then you can Gather or use the Attack hotkey and automatically move to and gather the node, or you can type '/select Big Vortex' while flying and use a hotkey to automatically fly to and gather from the node. The '/select' command has a range which is less than the limit of visibility but there is no reason to allow the automatic selection of a node at all.
I ask NCSoft to consider the issues in the Western market and the solutions described in this post. Allowing players of all levels to contribute to the PvP battles between the factions and giving more freedom of expression in itemization and social interactions is critical to the growth of the game.