So I've been mentioning early game features of Rhialto's in the chatbox lately and I thought some of you might find this interesting. It's an email written by Rhialto in 1999 to the Crossfire people on balance. Much of what he said here also ended up applying to Wyvern in his discussions with players/wizards.
The idea of his that artifacts should be literally unique (meaning, you can only ever get one of them at a time, so once one player finds a hofud it will never appear on an artifact spawn list again until the game reboots or the player gets rid of it) is something that he wanted to code for Wyvern.
The first bolded portion is funny to me (and no doubt will be to Teshuvah as well) because he increased the max level twice during his inactive period when Teshuvah emailed him to ask something in light of a players being 30 and then Betty reaching 33. We were none to happy about that and wanted to set the cap back to 30 after doing a stat wipe in stage 2 of my development plans.
The second bolded portion shows you the origin of the ideology that we utilized when balancing high level monsters. It's something he told us time and time again, which is why we did not want you guys to be able to run through monsters like nothing while spamming your heal aliases.
Also interesting is that he referenced Wyvern at the end and mentioned that he would not be implementing any of his discussed changes himself, which implies that he had in the past. As you know Crossfire is open source. I knew that he played the game and, of course, it went without saying that he looked at the source code. However, this is the first indication that I've had that he ever made any changes himself (then again he might not have and just said that because it was common for people to tell those making suggestions to add it themselves *shrugs*).
Look, Christian: artifacts are supposed to be precious, rare, and
priceless. You're not supposed to be able to carry around your ten
(or 50) favorites. The fact that you can suggests that Crossfire
has a *serious* play-balance problem that will prevent it from ever
being a successful mass-market game unless it gets fixed.
As much as I'd like this mail to end with ranting flames about how
this game has degenerated from the "pure" RPG that Frank wrote,
I'll instead close with some contructive suggestions that have been
painfully obvious to me for the past 3 years of playing Crossfire:
- limit the max player level to 30. Period. Anything beyond
that is unbalanced, silly, and embarrassing.
- fix it so that the maximum experience you can receive from
ANY monster is 15,000 experience, or whatever is needed to
take you to the next level, whichever is less at the time
you kill the monster.
- get rid of the One Ring, the Ring of Elrond, and all the
other seriously unbalancing artifacts.
- implement a working "unique-artifact" system, so that you
can *never* see two of the same unique artifact together
on the same system. Make sure it checks saved player files,
or better, prevent people from saving with artifacts in
- make more of the artifacts (strange ring, ring of life,
bonecrusher and so on) unique.
- don't allow artifacts to be enchanted, EVER.
- don't allow items to be enchanted beyond +3 without an
increasing chance of exploding.
- lose the "trade 50 scales for this shield"-type artifacts.
- get rid of (or weaken) the two over-powerful religions.
I could list more, but the point is that Crossfire is currently
a very silly game, largely due to the efforts of a small minority
of players who think it's cool to have +150 swords. Speaking
directly to Mark, Scott and Brian, all of whom I trust: *please*
address this before 1.0 is released. Our goals should be:
* the progression up to 30th level should take a very
experienced player at least 2 months of round-the-clock play.
For inexperienced players it should seem to be an almost
* you shouldn't be able to walk through dragons, cyclopes or
any other strong monsters as if they're not even there,
no matter how well-equipped you are.
* the experience of finding ONE artifact should be so
exhilarating that it actually breathes life back into the
And, no, I'm not going to fix these things myself, since it would
make me extremely unpopular with the kind of player who opens his
Christmas presents and says "aw, I GOT one of these already! <toss>"
Besides, as I've mentioned before, I'm hard at work on a completely
new game that you'll all be invited to play in a few months.