Active players will have noticed amidst the heap of daily updates a significant change to novicehood, lesson gain, sponsorship, and the curiosity shop over the last week. Changes are ongoing.
The three areas of novicehood, progress, and purchase are fundamental to the health of the realm and its future. They ensure a healthy and vibrant community, which we define by the following:
- novices are introduced to real gameplay
- progress is meaningful
- character histories are rich and express effort
- purchases are in line with what is achievable
- seniority is respected
On top of these basics, the meta games have always rested. Combat, warfare, politics, crafting, quests, and economics can have no meaning without these three pillars in place.
Known issues now being addressed
We are currently addressing some long-standing issues in these areas:
Novicehood & Sponsorship
- ancient novice system from 1992 failed to represent how to play Avalon
- inconsistent novice experience from login to apprenticeship
- excessive guidance and little interactivity in novicehood
- no transition between school to guild
- sponsorships not enforced
- sponsorships not renewed correctly
Progression & Chapters
- untuned chapter experiences
- lesson gain 5x to 10x too fast, since 2015-2016
- exploitable methods of gaining lessons
- chapter rewards chosen manually and frequently lost
- chapter rewards of inequal values and inflated benefits
- methods of lesson gain too heavy on questing & idling
- no lesson gain for combat or warfare
- experiences completed outside chapters left unrewarded
- daily gain merely supplanting idle gain
- unrestricted trinkets and ability exploits
- lack of low cost adornments
- lack of quality-of-play items
- services and micro purchases lacking proper documentation
- opaque / vague help files about purchases
- overcomplicated ways to purchase
- overwhelming lists in the shop without guidance or hints
- trinket lifespans not enforced
- unintuitive USD to CROWN rates
Novicehood, Autumn 2017
For over 25 years, the novicehood system has not changed fundamentally for fear of affecting the realm, but with the rise of traffic and introduction of sponsorship, it is too risky not to change it.
One of the Autumn 2017 major changes is the progressive evolution of novicehood to a modern, interactive model based on decades of design ideas. Some of those ideas have been creeping into the game in preparation for an overhaul and the core system is doable now. Work has already begun. We ask everyone to keep their eye on the novices and report directly any strange dropoffs or omissions which novices may be experiencing.
A chapter based tutorial
Chapters and experiences are a fundamental component and precursor for the future novice system. Since these are already in place, we are now introducing and tuning pre-requisite chapters that condense the academy and school into a series of preset chapters which novices will finish before all others.
The experiences which comprise each tutorial chapter will focus on interactivity with current players and exposure to the real skills of each profession.
To replace the sage and sit alongside chapter help, a new command, DO experience, is being introduced to help novices and veterans alike with their chapters. It will initiate a short sequence of command hints and context, akin to the old novice system, without revealing how to accomplish it. Tutorial experiences will naturally be more explicit than later ones and we encourage anyone who has already completed a large number of experiences to submit by email any hints they think should be public.
Badges, like schools, were another patch on an ailing system, but a good idea in themselves. They will also be largely assumed into the chapter system, with the exception of only a few such as History that are best taught through fellow players.
These changes are foreshadowing what is expected in Jasper's tutorial assistance and task manager which will assist in learning Avalon, interacting without typing, and avoiding command overload. They will closely track each other once both are operational.
Short note on Sponsorship
We are refining the sponsorship system to be more intuitive and automated, but if you encounter any issues where a no credit status places you in limbo, please contact an active deity to give you time to arrange a sponsorship through your city or guild.
Future fixes to globe power and economics will make these sponsorships more meaningful and an automated savings on dormant sponsorships will follow.
Guildmasters and barons for the time being should hand them out without concern and expect in the near future all novices requesting them, because obtaining a sponsorship or subscription will become a part of the above tutorial chapters as one of the final steps of matriculation and achieving full player status.
As fixes and improvements to chapters continue, the active progression system is receiving more attention to bring it in line with design intent.
The overcomplicated and inconsistent chapter rewards have been changed to an automatic 10 free crowns on completion and all other rewards removed. Free crowns are non-transferable but otherwise exactly the same as paid crowns. You may use PROCURE to convert them to lessons or use PURCHASE and it will take your free crowns first.
Two new methods of active lesson gain are appearing -- enemy kills and flagging locations -- to accommodate combat and warfare centric players. The rate of gain on enemy kills has many candidate algorithms and it will be subject to fine tuning.
Daily gain is changing to a daily bonus. As of writing, it is received by subscribers and lifetimers according to their tiers after a short period of being online each day, but there is a further change upcoming. Until now it had been awarded after a few minutes online and unprotected, but the upcoming proposal evolves to be a daily bonus applied to the first lessons actively gained that day. It remains undecided whether sponsored players will receive this bonus.
Going forward we intend to scale back excessive progress as painlessly as possible by offering new avenues of lesson gain that complement the active progression model. In future, we will devise active gain methods for economics and crafting too.
Why the changes in progress and lesson gain...
Progression as it stands is categorically not healthy; while it has been to each individual's benefit, it has been at the cost of Avalon as a whole and has undermined its model of gratifying life-long gameplay.
With the emergence of sponsorships in 2014 to allow open play of Avalon, idle gain increased rapidly. While we were implementing pieces of the future novice system (chapters, tasks, rewards), a number of excessive benefits emerged such as the skill boost from chapters and repeatable quests.
These side effects were exploited as commonplace and created an inflated sense of entitlement that skills were gained quickly. Changing professions, maxed skills, and other life events were devalued. Active progression was then introduced in response to idling and freemium expectations.
The difference in rate of progress compared to pre-2015 is easily bridged but for player expectations right now. Many players have lived through this transitional and untuned system rife with exploitation, excessive benefits, and disincentivisation to value seniority and progress. For instance, novices today of 100-200 hours (few months) have skills equal to someone in 2012 playing over 1000 hours (year or more). Veterans who grew up with pre-2015 rates should speak up to their juniors and help realign expectations.
Current and upcoming changes are part of polishing the systems introduced since 2015 and 2016. Lesson value and skill levels are largely in tune and unlikely to change, which means purchases will retain their value. However, further changes to general lesson gain are needed and the absolute rate of progress is still subject to refinement.
The system for purchases no longer requires divine assistance. You store details with Stripe by clicking one of the options on the Avalon Real-Time payment site. It will provide a customer ID that you enter in Avalon for each of your characters. Besides updating details (use the same email as before), you never need to enter details again.
SUBSCRIBE, PROCURE and PURCHASE have been simplified. Everything can be accomplished with PURCHASE, but SUBSCRIBE plan and PROCURE number exist as shortcuts. We highly recommend you read the new HELP PAYING and related files if you use these commands.
Micro purchases and services are back too and can be seen by typing SERVICES in the shop. Despite occasional concern expressed about services that compete with loremaster and other player driven activity, the reality is that very few people ever use SERVICES or MICRO -- those who do have no time to stand in a square for an hour charging items or loading up trueslays. The net effect has been beneficial and released these time-limited players to express their ambitions.
Issuing these above commands will use crowns immediately or, in the case of buying crowns or subscribing, charge your account without complex confirmations. Should you require a reversal of any mistakes made within 24 hours, please contact Cornelius or Genesis in realm or by support email.
Since everything is priced in crowns, we have made a minor adjustment to crown conversion rates and remapped platinum and gold to the equivalent value. These new rates follow a more linear progression that should be easy to calculate mentally. Type CURRENCY in Avalon to see the table.
A major change to items also has been in progress. All items in the shop now have been brought in line with their new or original lifespans as noted in their trinket info. These lifespans are in effect.
To assist searching and viewing the shop, help files continue to be updated with explicit descriptions of their powers and restrictions, and some of the less popular items will be removed or replaced by low-cost adornments. A number of new item classes are to appear separate from trinkets and bijou artifacts, but to keep these lists from being too overwhelming, we are also introducing a FEATURED classification and currently debating a rotating special offer on neglected items.
A long list of fixes can be found in UPDATES which I will omit this time. They cover skills, combat balancing, birds, commodities, and other systems small and large. It is strongly recommended to keep your eye on it for the coming months.
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