Jump to content
Black Chicken Studios Forums
hdghg

Opportunity costs

Recommended Posts

This isn't something I think can realistically be changed in Y1, but I'm hoping balance and opportunity costs will be considered in Y2.

 

Basically, an "opportunity cost" is when choosing to do something means you can't do something else.

Consider one of the negative actions, like bully. Bully has no stated costs or downsides, but it takes up a timeslot that could otherwise reliably mean a permanent 2 or 3 extra skill steps. Essentially I'm giving an NPC 3 points of stress for the cost of 2 or 3 permanent skill steps. This makes it extremely weak and a character that tries to use this sort of action frequently will find themselves with very low stats (and thus unable to complete anywhere near as many adventures etc) compared to a more optimal character.

 

I think that an awful lot of the actions, abilities and spells fail to meet their opportunity costs to such an extent that they are effectively useless.

 

Negative actions are the most obvious ones because the player typically sees little or no benefit. Others include a lot of the social actions and a lot of the spells and abilities that offer temporary benefits.

Temporary boosts that are targeted and substantial can be useful to overcome high rolls and pass adventures, but there are some real stinkers in there - I'm sure I've seen one that offers as temporary increase in 2 random skills.

Items are also pretty bad if they are unidentified. I've had plenty that need a time slot on identification and then turn out to give a pathetic +1SS or something. These are just begging for a reload and then to rot in the wardrobe forever.

 

I do like roleplaying my way through games and trying different playstyles, I understand that it's unrealistic to expect complete balance, but I don't like choosing a playstyle if I know it will massively nerf my character.

 

Archetypes like the social butterfly, unacademic athlete, prankster or bully that initially appear to have skillsets to allow them to be played turn out to be very weak indeed unless I "break roleplay" and end up doing pretty much the same thing (i.e. sitting in a library between adventures) with all of them. This cuts down on replayability because either there isn't much variety between characters or they're frustratingly underpowered and will struggle to make a mark on the adventures.

One solution might be to split up skills so practical skills (social, sports, crafting etc) can't be trained by book reading and the player actually has to use them in order to improve. That is, by adding appropriate expand skill effects to social/practical actions. This is also realistic - you don't get good social skills in real life without spending quite a bit of time talking to people, or become a master archer without firing off a lot of arrows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hdghg;

 

It's an interesting point, that was debated before release of Y1- there are some fairly underpowered options in the arsenal. Some of those are revisited in Y2, but you will still see some around. This is partly to give options to the AI, and partly for flavor.

 

It's pretty clear that from the standpoint of many player goals, though, you would not want to use certain Actions/Abilities.

 

Thanks for the feedback!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That also how it works in real life.

 

Sometimes people are wasting a lot of time having fun.

Tracking down your bully victim takes time unless you are using class time or snagging someone at random.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know everyone has their own playstyle and view on roleplaying but to me personally, RP really isn't about optimization and result(Yeah, I am anti-munchkin), it's more about the experience. Academagia is a game that doesn't really have an end game goal or an end boss to beat so your characters being not very good is fine(as long as you are fine with it). It's a game that you don't have to be "the hero" as the protagonist, you don't need to be the most glory-bound student in Academagia or anything like that. If you want to RP an ordinary B-level student that just chill and do stupid things, you can.

 

It's really boring if you can do whatever you want or be whatever archetype you would like to be and still end up being the most glory-bound student. The potential to not be the greatest, and even perhaps the weakest if you choose to, is one of the cool thing about this game. That and I agree with albert on the realism. Heck, I am pretty sure majority of (ordinary) people have wasted a portion of their life having fun, doing unbeneficial stuff and so on. The (unordinary) people spent tons of their life doing beneficial stuff, that's why they became world class athlete or something like that and that I guess it is kind of reflected in the game, which is good since it's supposed to be a simulation.

 

Optimization and realistic RPing are probably two side of a scales. To achieve both, they would probably make Academagia an "everyone-will-win" game, which to me isn't as fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys,

 

I'm not asking that every path be equal in terms of how powerful the character gets, just that the dramatically weaker routes get balanced out. I don't mind RPing a character that ends up being a bit weaker because of their RP, but if the difference is dramatic then I feel I'm locking myself out of a lot of the adventures and so on.

 

From a realism POV, I disagree with Albert - as you no doubt know as I mentioned realism at the end of my original post. Every time you do something you are learning. If you watch TV, you're at the very least learning about TV shows even if those shows teach you nothing at all. If you play computer games you're becoming better at gaming. Of course some skills are not very useful so some time is more productive than others.

In real life, a person who does lots of social actions will become very skilled socially without ever going to the library to train their beguile skill or whatever. A person who bullies lots of kids will become better at bullying, though this is not generally a useful skill in real life. A person who pulls lots of practical jokes will become good at pranking people. Presumably if spells were real then someone who cast lots of spells would be better at it that someone who just read about them.

Most practical skills in real life are learned by doing, and someone with lots of "book learning" but no practical experience will find themselves far less effective than someone who has been actually doing the skill in question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So something like adventures and events, I guess.

 

Every time a skill is checked, you get a step or something less?

 

As for the "Train" options, I always thought they are kind of like dedicated, focused training, instead of just reading books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That kind of thing. I agree train is fine conceptually and it makes sense to keep it for NPCs as well, but I mainly end up using library of longshade and the like for training early on. To pick out one ability I like, "Cast your arrows" really is great in terms of balance. You get improve your archery if it's poor, and if it's maxed out you can still do it for the other skill increases, money and relationships. Really makes the idea of playing a sporty archer character work.

 

Adventuring is really spot on in academagia. My latest playthrough over the last few days was mostly spent adventuring with very little library time. You get skill ups with stuff that you're actually using, and there's an interesting story and the prospect of special rewards like rare items or attribute increases. Also, you have to meet challenges to proceed which is interesting, and there's enough adventures that you can just switch over to another one if you run into a check that's way above you.

In fact, when I wrote my original post I had it in my head that a "gamey" playthrough would involve lots of time spent training in libraries, but this latest game has changed my mind on that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dont forget Favor as this social way is in my opinion the fastes way to get some Subskills to 11 because some ways to increase your relationship with your professors are much faster then research.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point, though I didn't do that much with favour in this last game. In fact, I ended up with relationship 9 with Orsi, and I missed out that adventure that you get after finishing a main quest one. According to the wiki it gives big bonuses to that relationship, but it seems to be on a timer and it just dropped off my list about a bit before the end :(

 

Actually, while I'm suggesting changes here are my thoughts on favour and research:

 

Research - I think this could be removed if you're looking to simplify the interface. Lores could moved into the relevant skills and skill-cap increases switched over to adventures. You could have a similar situation to current research with a 10-step adventure with repeated tests against Research, but using adventures would give the flexibility to have a variety of different tests instead of always checking research, and also to have easier/shorter adventures for skills where the benefits of increasing the cap are less... and maybe harder ones where increasing the skill cap has large benefits. Of course the downside is that writing more adventures is no doubt time-intensive so I'd certainly understand if this sort of change isn't realistic.

 

Favour: This is a strong incentive for save-scumming. The best favours come at relationship 10, but the loss of 10 relationship points is a very heavy cost if you just get a bit of merit or something.

 

How about letting the player choose which specific favour they want from the professor? I don't think this would give a big advantage to a powergamed character because a player can just reload if they get a bad result, and of course giving advantages to non-powergamed characters is hardly an issue. You'd probably also need to restrict each specific choice to being picked once in a year.

 

It also seems more realistic. At the moment I imagine the conversation goes like this:

Student: Hey professor. Remember when I saved the school from pirates and such. And then I aced your class. And I helped you defeat your evil family

Prof: Yes indeed. Thanks again. You're a model student

Student: Well... I hate to ask this of you, but I kind of need a favour

Prof: Oh, well you certainly have earned one. What do you need?

Student: Huh? Oh, um, surprise me.

Prof: Right.... well.... you can have ten points of merit I guess

Student: Oh...... <uses time-turner>

Student: Hey professor. Remember when I saved the school from pirates and such. And then I aced your class. And I helped you defeat your evil family

Prof: Yes indeed. Thanks again. You're a model student

Student: Well... I hate to ask this of you, but I kind of need a favour

Prof: Oh, well you certainly have earned one. What do you need

Student: Huh? Oh, um, surprise me.

Prof: Right.... well.... I can give you some tuition that will improve your skills beyond even the smartest of your classmates.

Student: <Puts time-turner away> Thanks sir!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hdghg;

 

Research is expanded in Y2, but is much easier to understand and access.

 

I know Favors were looked at, but I don't know how much of a revamp there is in Y2. It's not a bad idea to allow Player choice, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I quite like the ability to do something "unconstructive", to quote a Hagar the Horrible exchange: Wife: It is better to light a candle than to curse the dark", Hagar: But I like cursing the dark!"

 

Getting a skill-up to a relevant skill from bully, etc seems fair enough, I'd note though that a <lot> of abilities don't get permanent upgrades, spells are temporary, etc - yes there are the libraries and the spam-me-baby-sphinx which pump out skill-ups but they are a minority and in my view really for the dedicated class geek.

 

Besides, isn't grinding Philippe/Jo/Rikildis into powder with a bully/spell volley a reward in and of itself? :rolleyes:

 

And do you really want any of them whomping you with L10 skills on a regular basis from auto-training as they assault? :wacko:

Edited by Svinik

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point, though I didn't do that much with favour in this last game.

...

Favour: This is a strong incentive for save-scumming. The best favours come at relationship 10, but the loss of 10 relationship points is a very heavy cost if you just get a bit of merit or something

Just a vew hours back I spoted in the wiki a level 7? (not 100% sure) favor that gives a lasting bonus of +2 to all music instuments! So don't say the lvl 10 favor are the best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that this is a pretty big problem.

 

The biggest opportunity cost issue is with classes. Its been some time since I last played but from what I recall going to class has a 1 in 3 chance to give you +1 point to something. This is nothing. I can skip class to study and get a reliable +3 or more.

Academagia makes the distinction between studying to pass a test and studying to know the material. But even there it makes no sense to go to class because studying for the test on your own is also far far more efficient then ever going to class.

 

Adventures also only give permanent bonuses if you succeed. So you are mechanically encouraged to first get the stats from studying and only then go out adventuring.

 

PS. if you argue that this is a life simulator and you are just supposed to have fun, then why in the world would you even include such levelup mechanics in the first place? The mechanics could have easily been designed such that the focus was on discovery and adventure rather than raising stats. You would basically assign most of your proficiencies at the start, gain a single point per class you took, and then focus on friendships and rivalries instead. Or put a much greater focus on talents assigned at character creation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And if so, shouldn't there be some bonus for high attendance rates? Maybe at the beginning of the next year?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dream;

 

To a certain extent, yes. There's more to say on this particular topic, but we'll see how the original intent appears in Y2. Hopefully, it's more to your taste. ;)

 

Free;

 

As Schwarzbart notes, there is a bit of recognition for that. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spent basically the entire year on my latest playthrough skipping class to use 'Train your Company' so that my Clique would do well on their exams. If they don't get kicked out of school in Year 2 it is pretty much entirely because of my efforts. I think I've given them something like four times as many skill steps as they have gained from going to class.

 

Basically what I'm saying is that class is useless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See, I probably would say that class is useless in real life, also, so this makes perfect sense to me.

The only real benefit to the US education system is if you have a degree. You don't really learn anything useful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quelan;

 

There are certainly more optimal ways to do things. The same is true in RL, in fact. :)

There is no magic irl, and you don't go to magic school for a degree, you go there to actually learn stuff. If school is such a waste of your time, why even attend?

Also, the game doesn't clearly present this information to you, so its a trap option to make a political statement. I actually agree with the political statement... but this is not good game design

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taltamir;

 

Well, I'm not sure it was meant as a political statement- there are more faster ways to learn than to attend class. We simulate that aspect, to a certain degree. The value of a class will depend on your personal goals, throughout the game.

 

Interesting topic, though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Short answer: I didn't. I spent most of my time in college polishing up my gaming skillz. I was able to get a B average, and that's good enough. It's the degree that counts.

 

In Academagia and in IRL, just go often enough that you don't get kicked out, and you'll have the most fun/learning optimized.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...