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Skill Tree Status Update


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#1 InnerSphereNews

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:21 PM

Greetings MechWarriors,
The Skill Tree PTS has come to a close to ensure sufficient time for some internal testing of the upcoming Incursion Game Mode prior to an expected phase of open testing on the Public Test Servers.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone again for participating in the PTS and providing your feedback.
While this post won’t cover all the details you may be hoping for at this stage, this post will run through details regarding the delay of the Skill Tree feature, (more than) a few words covering the Skill Tree economy and the transition between the two Skill systems, and some information regarding the Skill Tree UI/UX. More updates regarding the status and direction of the Skill Tree will be provided in future posts as we continue work behind the scenes.
Skill Tree Release Date
Based on results and feedback from the recent rounds of public testing we have decided to delay the release of the new Skill Tree until a future patch. While the date of its release is yet to be determined, we’d like to stress that the Skill Tree will be undergoing continued development and iteration in preparation for future rounds of public testing prior to release in a future patch. We strongly believe in the merits of a deeper Skill Tree system and fully intend to release the new Skill Tree when the feature is in a more refined state.
Regarding Skill Tree Economy, Currency and Skill Refunds, and the Concept of Lost Progress
The intent behind the full refund of content affected by the release of the Skill Tree was always geared toward ensuring players would not lose the progress they had earned and the points they had spent. To that end the system we devised accounted for refunds or transfers of all C-Bills spent to purchase Modules, all GXP used to unlock them, and all XP used to unlock ‘Mech Skills.
Once the system was put into practice with the release of the Skill Tree PTS it started to become clear that the metrics used for determining refund and transfer values were inadequate, and only provided a partial picture.
The main point of contention we saw regarding the proposed system for transitioning player accounts into the new Skill Tree came down to the concept of Mastery, and existing Skill progress. More specifically, a fundamental disconnect between the various Skill statuses of ‘Mechs under the existing system, the amount of C-Bills and experience to be received in refunds and transfers arriving with the new system, and the subsequent ability (or inability) for players to match their previous Skill statuses under the new Skill Tree.
The direct C-Bill refund of all owned Modules weighed too heavily in our minds when evaluating the feasibility of players being able to re-Master their existing ‘Mechs under the new system. Players slated to receive a large refund of C-Bills for their relatively large number of owned Modules were skewing our perspective; we had failed to provide adequate weight toward players who owned fewer Modules, swapping them from ‘Mech-to-‘Mech as needed and as facilitated by-design.
Additionally, the concept of Mastery under the new Skill Tree wasn’t seen by us as equivalent to the concept of Mastery under the existing system. The return of all invested currencies previously used to unlock Skills was seen as a sufficient solution for transitioning to the new system. These were distinct Skill systems, with distinct requirements, benefits, and upper-limits.
However, achieving Skill status under the original system represented more than just using experience points to unlock associated Skills; it represented time and commitment. The proper transition to a new Skill Tree needs to account for more than just raw currency.
With all that in mind, the redefinition of Mastery brought with it a valid sense of lost progress. Hours spent working toward Skill statuses under the original system had been devalued by the context and requirements of the new Skill Tree. Players with fewer Modules were hit particularly hard by this, with a greater burden of subsequent costs to re-gain their Skill statuses.
It was never our intention to devalue the effort and playing time you’ve put toward your ‘Mechs, and while full details will need to wait until we can complete some of the preliminary investigation and work to ensure the system is solid and technically feasible, our continued work on the Skill Tree will be to address all of the above shortcomings and issues.
While the full details of this change will require additional time to iron out, the eventual transition to the new Skill Tree will result in no loss of existing Skill/Mastery level progress.
Whether you own a hundred Modules or none, there will be no lost progress in the relative Skill statuses of your ‘Mechs. The work you’ve already put in to achieve Mastery, or any other degree of Skill status under the current system, will carry over into an equal capacity for acquiring any desired Skills under the new Skill Tree.
UI/UX
While the Skill Tree interface has already undergone changes to improve readability since the last build seen on the Skill Tree PTS, it’s clear that further attention now needs to be paid toward the UX (user experience) of the Skill Tree interface. Reducing the number of clicks required for using the Skill Tree is a piece of feedback we’ve seen consistently since the PTS first went live, and is just one of a few issues related to UI and UX we will be working hard to address.
We look forward to the Skill Tree returning to Public Test in the future, and we hope you’ll be as committed to providing your feedback once again. Thank you for reading, MechWarriors, and thank you for your feedback.


#2 Alexander Garden

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:25 PM

Jumping onto the tail of this post to thank everyone again for the feedback, and for reading the update above.
Apologies for the length of the above post, but we wanted to express some of our thoughts on the missteps regarding the original proposal for transitioning from the old system to the new, leading into a brief insight into the direction going forward.

As mentioned in the post we're going to continue work on the Skill Tree in preparation for another phase of PTS testing in the future. We'll keep everyone updated once we complete some key work and further solidify some changes.

#3 Ruar

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:25 PM

Thank you for listening. I look forward to seeing the changes on the next PTS.


Also, please, please go linear instead of intertwined. Just think how much easier it is going to be to balance nodes if they are in a straight line and not tied to anything else. Just adjust the cost of nodes to balance out the relative power of the skills. More powerful skills, higher cost nodes.

#4 Rhialto

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:29 PM

Nice! I'm glad it's delayed for even more testing... I quit reading as soon as I read this and had to post this right away.

WIll now go back to read...

#5 CK16

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:32 PM

Sad to see it pushed back :/

Edited by CK16, 13 March 2017 - 06:54 PM.


#6 OldOrgandonor

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:33 PM

I'm not. Now they might actually FIX it.

#7 Deathlike

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:34 PM

Insanity delayed for now.

#8 Wintersdark

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:35 PM

Good news!

#9 Sereglach

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:38 PM

Thank you, PGI, for agreeing that this needs more work and iteration. I think this is an incredibly wise decision . . . even if it took an utter firestorm on the forums, reddit, and twitter to make this happen . . . even after the damage control podcast that was put out.

While So1ahma's tree isn't perfect, I agree it's probably the absolute best suggestion I've seen out there. I sincerely hope that it's taken into sincere consideration for future iteration on the skill tree. It really is one of the best compromise solutions out there, even if it could use tweaking.

A perfect dream-world plan (personal perspective) would be to implement a tree like So1ahma's plan and just have the number of spendable nodes per tree specific to each mech. A few XML lines per chassis/variant stating exactly how many points a mech can spend per tree doesn't seem impossible . . . it's little more than another "quirk" or property of the mech. I understand that Russ stated that we can't have a unique tree for every variant out there, but this would be the next best thing.

Not only would that help control balance and be easier to tweak and tune in the long run, but it'd also help reinforce the roles of certain mechs (Example: Wolfhound gets 15 points for Survival but only 5 for Sensors, while a Raven gets only 5 for Survival but 15 for Sensors). Oh, and for the love of all that's holy every node should be worth considering taking, if something is considered "useless" then obviously it needs to be buffed to be made usable! Fewer nodes with greater impact would also be greatly appreciated in this manner.

EDIT: As another note of feedback building on other ideas and the desire that "NO PROGRESS WILL BE LOST" maybe consider setting the limit of the skill tree in XP spent, instead of number of nodes, and have nodes have distinct costs. Do you want a lot of passive stuff like armor, structure, and turn rate for lower costs, or do you want fewer bigger nodes like Radar Dep. and Seismic for a bigger cost? Just saying that the thought has some merit for consideration.

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Regardless, thank you for postponing this and deciding to refine it. I'm sure it wasn't easy to look at something that was obviously a "baby" for Russ and/or Chris and go "we screwed up, and more work needs to be done" but it's really for the best. This makes me actually look forward to future PTS runs on the skill tree system.

Edited by Sereglach, 13 March 2017 - 06:41 PM.


#10 Dracol

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:39 PM

Glad they are listening to feedback. Though tis a shame bout the delay.

#11 Champion of Khorne Lord of Blood

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:39 PM

Really sad its being delayed for a second time. I was looking forward to the 21st. Now we don't even have a static date, I guess I'll just take a break from the game for a few months until they get it.

#12 TKSax

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:39 PM

Cool Thanks for listen and reconsidering the march 21st launch date.

#13 Mcgral18

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:40 PM

Can we get some official opinions on Solahma's Firepower side of the tree?

That method seems best to inspire diverse loadouts, while not punishing boating either.

#14 Wugamlo

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:40 PM

Thank you for listening, PGI. While I think that the skill tree fundamentally is a great idea, I appreciate that you took note of the concerns of the community and are willing to work on improving it before implementing it!

Looking forward to your new proposal in the future and in the meantime I am enjoying all the new modules I have bought in the last few weeks :-)

Cheers!

#15 banana peel

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:42 PM

Bless you for postponing the release. The Skill Tree needs more testing. Reevaluating the economy was the only right choice, and I very much hope that the right choice will be made regarding other Skill Tree items that need to be polished or reviewed.

Please remember, that the most devoted feedback providers dont want "things their way". They want to make this game better for every player. They are here to help you.

#16 Tsula

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:46 PM

whine and cheese win again. Tried of supporting the comp crowd min max. Why bother anymore another push back on a system that was worth it. probably not in the majority in this thinking. hell I play for fun not twitch alpha one shot kills. That's all this game is becoming anymore. Or Back to ERPPC and gauss snipe or ERLL snipe poke.. whatever... I still adapt to the crap and move on not whine like we have not. Again money talks I guess.

#17 Morggo

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:46 PM

But bummed it's delayed, but I guess it's for the best to try and quell all the "I'm uninstalling" crowd.

Here's hoping it doesn't get squashed into a quiet never-shows-up-ness like the previous attempts at bringing something new to the game.

#18 DRlFTER

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:46 PM

A wise move, stemming from good intentions. Regardless of the outcome, I do appreciate the lengths PGI has gone to in an effort to find the best path forward. They certainly are listening, and have made big changes after reflecting on our feedback. The sad truth is, that is more then we should expect from game developers if you study the past, but not more then what we should hope for. Good luck on this next iteration. Thanks for not quitting on it, and us, and for going the extra mile. I hope we end up with something that improves the game and gets folks excited about it.

#19 process

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:49 PM

Wow, that's a big step. I was hoping for some improvements to ease the transition to the skill tree, like Mech XP consolidation, but offering to maintain the equivalent mastery level was beyond my expectations. I'm looking forward to the rest of the changes!

Edited by process, 13 March 2017 - 06:49 PM.


#20 chucklesMuch

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:51 PM

Thank you taking the feedback on board. Looking forward to testing the new iteration.





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