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-- Main.NecAnthrope - 02 Feb 2005

This is a list of feedback points written by Seraph and Chem. Please read it and post any replies to here and to *prog. Thanks!

  * Downloadable:
     * HellMOOList.doc
     * HellMOOList.rtf

1. Luck plays WAY too much of a factor in combat. If a character can defeat something, with a decent margin, he should be able to do it reliably. Perhaps this is the exact problem. The margin is far too large. For example, my character, Seraph, has, numerous times, gone through the basement of the Bradbury, and killed all of the zombies in it, excluding the larger four-armed one. Then, on my way out, I waited for them to respawn and slew them a second time, essentially emptying the place out without stopping to heal. Either the zombies gained a great deal of power since then, or luck played far too much a factor recently. I didnít even get down the stairs to the second level of the basement. I have gone alone into fights with five or six zombies and prevailed with barely a scratch, and at other times been forced to flee from two or three, sometimes failing to do so. A creature or characterís strength should come from their stats, not from dumb luck. Some luck is obviously needed, but the amount by which it affects the outcome of a battle is at times ridiculous.

  * I absolutely agree with their point 1, but it's totally specific to the zombies.  It never made sense to me that sometimes the zombies are easy, and sometimes hard, and you can never predict it.  I mean I know WHY it happens, but it makes no gameplay sense.  You planning to change that?  :) - GilMore
  * Gilmore means the second stage of zombie rot.  As a zombie grows older, it gets weaker and weaker.  When you enter the basement, depending on time, determines how strong they are.  I do notice that the document states you can sill slaughter them on a fresh respwan, when they are strongest, but this still seems a likely culprit.  I'm removing all penalties from second stage zombie rot, lets see how tough they get. - NecAnthrope

2. NPC skill teachers should have higher caps on the levels they will teach. Some cap off at reasonable levels, like the monk who will teach blades up to level seven. Those are fine. Itís the ones that stop at three or five that ought to be raised. Skills like craft, appraise, repair, and medic. Many of these skills must be learned by IP after raw level three is bought, and unless you have stats geared for these skills, they are often still too low to use them, hence no IP.

  * re: point 2, I upped the max skill of several of the teachers. - GilMore

3. If you donít want to increase the teaching level of NPCs, skill masters could be implemented. These guys would probably be fairly hard to find, and would teach higher levels in skills than the shopkeeper types, and could also perform the services of the skill. A medic master could cure you of diseases and fix broken legs in addition to teaching the skill. A craft master could craft items, provided you bring him the correct parts. A skill master should have a minimum required level to teach the skill, like raw three or four, or perhaps even higher. They are meant more for more powerful characters to learn from, and less powerful ones to use to mimic skills they donít have.

4. It shouldnít cost money to earn IP. Skills like craft, Pistols, and Rifles require the purchasing of perishable items to practice. Craft requires that you either use spray cans or attempt to build or modify weapons or items. Spray cans have about three charges each, and it is possible to go through a can without gaining a single IP, and weapon mods require both a weapon to modify and a part to add to it. Failure usually ruins the part. If there are other ways to raise craft, I donít know them. Gun skills are mind-numbingly expensive and difficult to improve. While I understand the intent to make guns rare, there ought to be dirt cheap versions of pistols and rifles, like toy versions or some kind of arcade where one could train, and really cheap ammo. Squirt guns might work, too. The ammo, water, would be free, and theyíd do no damage, but you could use them to build up IP. Places to train might be a good idea, too. The testing areas in the back of the monastery could be altered to instead of giving you a score, be used to gain IP.

5. There ought to actually BE something in western Gangland. Setting up NPC crime syndicates would add a new dynamic. There could be places to live outside of the SP and Bradbury, and there could be employers there. There could be a factional split between Freedom City ìlegalsî and Gangland ìcriminalsî. It would be a feat to join a gang in Gangland, and there should be 2 or 3 NPC run ones and set ways to establish PC run ones. The gangs should battle one another, but not to the point where one could destroy another without major PC support.

6. There should be some kind of clue outside of the monastery pointing towards being respectful. In my experience (this could be a fluke) the monks generally donít attack you if you bow to them. It was a flash of insight that made me think of this, and there ought to be some kind of clue.

7. More ways to make money are needed. The economy of the game is nearly nonexistent. Gilmore mentioned to me the possibility of either Fat Ratzo or The Punisher handing out assassination jobs of people in Gangland. The shops could also give out missions to find specific merchandise. Chud skins might be worth something, and it should be more obvious who to sell those things to. While I personally have never been Corpside, there should be job opportunities there, too. There could be raiding jobs given out in Gangland.

  * and i'd like to provide more job-giving stuff for making money. - GilMore

8. The main shops should replenish their stocks, and do so frequently, and should have larger stocks to begin with. Remember those spray cans I mentioned? I bought the tool shop out of them (both of the ones they had) and donít see any signs of seeing more in the shop. At one point I spoke to an admin about the lack of grenades for sale, and there was a shipment of them, but havenít been any since. Gangland would be a good place to sell contraband like explosives and ammunition, such as shotgun shells or bullets for the ever-present hammerhead 12mms. Shotgun shells, for example, arenít available for purchase ANYWHERE, and this really ought to be remedied. Places hidden away in the Sewers, and Corp shops in Corpside would be good, too. For those of you who wonder where those grenades went, I was eaten by the bug queen later that dayÖ

9. Speaking of the bug queen, there needs to be a supply of medium strength monsters. The zombies go down fairly easily (except when they get lucky and rip me apart), the sewer creatures donít even give me XP anymore, I donít really know how I stack up against the monks (Iíll get into that in my next point), and mutant sharks are no match for me. The only other enemies that I know of, besides the shadowy figures in Gangland, are creatures on the level of the huge zombie, the bug queen, and the Shoggoth. All three of those beasts have ripped me to pieces. Iíve killed the big zombie twice, but only with explosives. Those same bombs, by the way, took the bug queen down by 8%. Iíve been told of some kind of ìtruckasaursî or something like that, but I donít know where to find them, and Iíve developed a rather cautious approach, which Iíll get into later. My point is that the only things I know of that I could fight that wouldnít be either far too easy or far too hard are those shadowy figures, and I donít really know. Iíll elaborate on this point in the next two.

10. Updating clones costs too damned much. With the limited funds available in this game, a character at my level cannot update too often. It costs almost a thousand credits to update my clone, yet I can still be killed by a few lucky zombies. This does not inspire me to take risks and hunt for difficult prey. In addition, getting oneís supplies back after death is quite a pain, and with the rarity of decent armor and weapons, having backups is nearly impossible. In short, death is too expensive. Recovering from death takes so much work and costs so much money that no amount of gain is worth the risk at this point.

  * I've also reduced the cost of clone updating by about 70%. - GilMore

11. There is a huge plateau in power, and Iím in the middle of it. This continues the problems in the last two points. I bought raw dodge three, and raw blades seven, and built the rest up with IP. (Iím currently Blades 10/ Dodge 7.) It is incredibly slow going, and my building up has mostly consisted of extended fights with molegulls. Earning any IP requires several minutes of continuous combat, and only with creatures like molegulls is this possible. Everything else either kills me in three rounds or goes down in two. In addition, because it costs so much to die, I am not inclined to go looking for any other means to increase my power. Iím too strong to go around killing orphans, dogs, or cultists, and too weak to really explore the world. I have been stagnant like this for at least a month, and itís really getting boring. This is due not only to the lack of moderate baddies that are a challenge to me (but not requiring several lives to defeat), but also to the incredible slowness of IP garnering, and the huge cost of updating clones and dying. Even the gear isnít helping. Anyone can get a Nanoweave Zoot Suit and at least a basic Katana, but getting a step above those is almost impossible. If such things are there, but simply too far out for me to have found, it still doesnít help, as I canít venture out and expect to come back alive.

  * i'm addressing the mid-range-monster thing right now, somewhat. :) - GilMore

12. There should be some kind of system for PCs to teach each other skills. A PC should be able to teach a skill that they have some raw ranks in, and could teach up to one or two less than their raw level. The XP shouldnít be transferred straight to the teacher, however. That would be very unbalancing. The XP could simply go away, and a small gift of IP, either a set number like three or five, or some portion or the level taught. Teaching level seven medic could give the teacher seven IP, or perhaps half that. This could keep the PCs interacting, and give older and newer players reasons to communicate, other than being nice and showing them around.

13. Freedom City is too damned small. There should be hangouts, more shops, places that PCs could purchase and set up businesses of their own, and leisure places. There is no real social place to gather in Freedom City, and when all of these new characters start to gain power and reputation, there will need to be neutral grounds other than the middle of the street. From what Iíve heard of Corpside, it is also ridiculously small. This works on the assumption that a large portion of the game is meant to be played in the city. If you want more players to go out into the other regions, add housing and civilization, even in small pockets, to these areas, and make them a bit less lethal. Even if you want people to leave the city, itís too small. Should players develop grudges, there are few places where they can act upon them. Not that Iím suggesting anarchy, but a few places without such tight camera surveillance might be a good idea.

14. The Cro-mags should have a purpose beyond being annoying. (Cro-mags are yutzes with the numbers in their names. Thatís what they were called in Cybersphere, and since I havenít heard a name for them in HellMOO, I still call ëem Cro-mags.)

15. There should be some means of raising oneís stats. I get the feeling from the theme of the game that itís not meant to be TOO high-tech, so cybernetic implants are probably out, especially with how easy it is to die. Perhaps there could be special quests, like the Shoggoth caves, or whatever the 557 unique XP are given for, that reward you with stat increases. On that same topic, the unique XP awards are piddling. Theyíre not really worth the effort. They ought to be far larger, or totally removed. There can still be quests, and rewards for them, but tiny little XP bonuses are rather silly.

  * I've multiplied all the existing quest XP awards by 10. - GilMore

16. The help files could REALLY help at times, and it would be nice if most of them existed. Iíve had to whine to several admins about how to use the mail system, and thatís really because the help file doesnít exist. I donít think thereís anything on it on the site, but I could be wrong.

17. There should be ways to queue locks to more than one person. Every time Chem and I move or get new locks, Necanthrope has to rig our locks so we can both use them.

18. On that same topic, exhaustion shouldnít be able to cause a person to attack if theyíre logged out. It seems silly that a person would attack someone in their sleep. The only reason a person defends their home is that they wake up, right? So being tiredÖ and asleepÖ attacking people? Doesnít quite make sense.

  * I fixed #18 - you won't attack in your sleep from stress anymore. - GilMore

19. The appraisal of people should be a little narrower. The range of ìworthy matchî should be narrower. There could be designations between ìworthy matchî and ìnot give too much troubleî and between ìworthyî and whatever is above it, be it ìtake you apart in a fightî or something else.

20. As far as I know, the only place in the northern oceans is some kind of sealab, which is reported to be empty. There should be something there. That would be a good place for moderate-level monsters, or mixtures of moderates and easy ones, and for some player bases. There could be freaky mutants there, and the means for a player to take control of the place. The mutants should be kept from leaving the lab, but a player could be able to a) create and design them, and b) designate people to be their friends and enemies. There should be a cap on the number of mutants a player can make, but there should also be a remote way to kill them, other than combat. Hereís a thought. If thereís no controlling player, the mutants are reset to their most basic forms, and they are generally hostile. But when a player takes control, they become friendly to him and anyone designated as their ìfriendsî. They wouldnít always attack neutral people, and would always attack people designated as ìenemiesî. In order to balance this, however, there should be a danger. Whenever a player creates a mutant with power over a certain limit, there should be a chance that the mutant becomes aware and rebels. The aware mutant and the other mutants would immediately seek the playerís destruction. However, should the aware mutant die, they revert to the playerís control. If the player dies, howeverÖ After a short time (2 or 3 days, perhaps) the aware mutant takes the other created ones away somewhere, possibly to a location even further out to sea, which would make a good quest. The aware mutant could be made to battle the current leading aware mutant, and the loser and his followers would be wiped out. A starting aware mutant and followers should be put in place on this second island. This would, in general, make a good quest. In the event that a player kills the aware mutant, the followers would get some kind of stat reduction until another aware mutant arrived and killed them. This is only a rough idea, and somewhat sketchy and cluttered, but I think it has merit. Even if you donít do my whole mutant factory idea, there should still be something there. OH! It could lead to some kind of underwater thing, like with submarines or something like that. That would work also. Maybe an underwater mazeÖ The sky, or rather, the sea, is the limit.

21. There should be some reward for killing the big zombie. Perhaps unique XP or a stat boost for the first time, or some kind of treasure, or something. Perhaps a zombie control thing, run more by magic than technology, similar to the one I described above for the sealab. Not to say that both should exist. One or the other, I think, or else neither one would be special. Also, the flooded crevasse in the basement of the Bradbury should be larger. Perhaps it could be two or three screens deep and have some kind of treasure in it for players brave enough to dive that deep.

  * I've already expanded the reward on the zombie boss.  He's worth 26 more xp and generates $1000-3000 in treasure. - NecAnthrope

22. Once the playerbase is rebuilt, and some of the new players have some power, there should be fairly regular admin plots. In case you donít know the term, itís something happening that isnít controlled by a player. There could be a few days or weeks of some kind of odd gloom, and a power increase in the zombies, at the culmination of which, the zombies could escape the Bradbury and invade Freedom City, making zombies out of people that they kill. For stuff like that, there should be both warnings so that less powerful characters can stay out of it if they choose, and a fallback in case the players lose. These kinds of events inspire the players to act together towards a common problem, and keep the game feeling alive and vibrant.

23. In addition to the admin plots, there should be regular channels and means for players to put together and run their own plot ideas. A plot would often require admin backing, either in the form of special items, suspension of some rules, or creation of placesÖ the skyís the limit. This gets the players thinking about stuff that could happen, and might pit some players against each other, and create some conflicts in the game.

  * also someone needs to build 6212 Wharf Avenue.. o/~ it's for the shorties o/~ - MonkEy

One more point that I forgot to put on the list. As far as I can tell, there are three ways to gain XP. 1) Killing stuff. 2) 1 XP per IP gained. 3) Quest rewards. Most of the XP comes from killing stuff. This makes it very hard to play a non combat character. There aren't likely to be any deckers or doctors or any characters that aren't mostly geared towards combat. I'm not quite sure how to resolve this without some kind of designation for "non-coms" where they gain more XP from doing their main trade, be it medicine, tech stuff, or whatever. This extra XP would have to be kept from anyone who isn't designated as "non-com", but it would, in effect, create a class system, and I don't know if you really want classes. Either way, it'll need to be addressed before anyone can really play a non-com. -- Seraph, 2 Feb