The following Top 5 listing is based on a polling that closed with the release of Publish 7 and was responded to by 52 Medics. The only issue possibly affected by the publish might be the first issue, Experimentation Issues, which initially had listed some concerns over Crit Fail rates among the other issues therein. My personal feeling, however, is that the change to Crit Fail rates would not in itself be enough to knock the issue out of the Top 5.
I list relavent Dev responses to any of these issues in the past for historical record and so the Devs can know how they have responded to us previously (if they have done so, even if indirectly) all in one handy spot.
The primary changes between this Top 5 listing and the previous one Traigus sent is are some minor shuffling of location, notated on the issue and a few that were replaced. The Target Self and TEF issues did not make it into the Top 5 this time, being replaced with interest in gettign Faction Points and the old standby that keeps returning, the Money issue.
1. Experimentation Issues
Experimentation does not seem to work correctly or consistently. Even with experimentation risks being listed as 0% there are still a great many critical failures, failures and only some moderate and standard successes. Wholly inconsistent with the 0% failure rating stated by the crafting tool. Having highly experimented crafting tools and stations do seem to alleviate the problem a little, but not by very much. Amazing successes appear to not produce as nearly drastic improvements as critical failures produce in reductions, a better trade-off is sought here. Even experimenting by 1 point at a time seems to produce the same results (with less risk) as using as many points as possible, which is counterintuitive to what most folks expect, where they expect that taking the greater risk should provide some greater reward other than keeping the complexity low enough on an item that it doesn't take quite as long to manufacture.
Part of the problem might come where some preliminary experimentation with the crafting system would suggest that a crafting tool with a negative rating (up to -14.99) is superior to a tool with a positive rating (+15). Others have suggested the same issue with crafting stations (where a -44.99 station would perform better than a +45 station would.) Apparently the values seem to be flipped for experimentation calculations, we think. We really would like more consistency and a more reliable, documented, experimentation methodology.
Of particular note would be schematics where experimentation on a single line affects more than one attribute. Once the resource max for any particular attribute is reached each EP used only produces a 50% improvement over what it would normally have done if it were not being held back by the secondary trait.
Further Malleability ratings do affect the difficulty levels of crafting an item, but this is not otherwise annotated anywhere, not even in the Advanced Guide on Crafting on the main SWG website or the Holocron, although the Knowledgbase does now contain this tidbit of information.. Better documentation for experimentation needs to be made available.
(*Dev Response: In response to the Doctor Top 5 issues on 12/18/03 Zarlor reported the following response:
"The QA team is looking into the issues around experimentation to determine if there are any bugs in the code that need to be rectified. Outside of that we may also need to do a balance pass to ensure that experimentation is working to a proper degree."
In response to our Top 5 issues on 12/20/03 Traigus reported the following response: "The Devs and QA will be investigating the crafting system. All of these issues have been forwarded to internal QA, along with several more issues that have appeared since this Top5 was submitted."
Publish 7 Patch Notes:
"Crafting System Enhancements: One of the top concerns for crafters of all types was the issue of "critical fails". Critical fails are a risk that all crafters take when attempting to create an item. This basic dice roll function is the gamble crafters take as part of the risk of crafting, but as a resounding player concern, the developers looked at the system to see how the relationship of crafter and crafter-risk could be made to have a stronger relationship to the fictional act of crafting. Toward creating a stronger crafting experience, a new modified die roll model has been implemented to enhance the experience so that now, a crafter's raw ability will have an effect on how often critical fails occur. Crafting still works on the same risk/reward principle of a 5% critical fail chance, but is now modified with the player's assembly or experimentation skill. As crafters progress from Novice to Master they will have a reduced chance of a critical failure. " Ref: http://starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com/recent_test_updates.jsp?page=In%20Testing )
2. Medical Resource Requirements
Medics seem to feel the need to survey for their own resources and dislike the need to use skill points in Artisan in order to do so. Let's face it, anyone getting into the Doc level had to craft to get there, so the SWG version of a focused Doc is, in fact, a crafting profession and they want the abilities to self subsist in that capacity in either the same way as Artisans do or in the way that the other hybrid crafters do.
Several problems relate to this issue. One of them being idea put forth previously by the Dev team that Medics could always just buy their resource needs. However, Medics have many very specific resource needs (Dantooine Berries, Class 4 Liquid Petro Fuel, Lokian Wild Wheat, etc.) that very few, if any, other professions, other than Medical Professions, truly need. Considering the prevalence of the Money issue for Medics, the market for surveyors to cater to the medic market is simply too small to be successful in comparison to what a surveyor could make catering to one of the artisan professions, and this is especially true now with the Holocron craze driving up the price of resources to exorbitant levels. In this way it could also be argued that rarely would Medics be able to actually compete with Artisans on the resource market simply because their normal resource needs are not the needs of other professions. Worthwhile resources for any good medicines are just rarely found on the bazaar, unless that resource also overlaps with an artisan need, and then the price on such an item will be driven by the artisan ability to make far more profit on the item than the average medic pulls in.
In all it would seem that the schematics of Medics have requirements, complexities, resource costs and specificities that are only existent in the schematics of true Artisans. No other "hybrid crafter" has such complex and burdensome resource requirements as the Medical Professions do. This issue has simply forced any Medic "in the know" to not start characters as Medics, but to start them as Artisans. It has made the entire set of medical professions a lot less enjoyable than they could be.
Suggestions for fixing this imbalance include providing survey only or scout harvesting capabilities to increase with Organic Chemistry (the most common line for ALL of the Medical-based professions) or Pharmacology, much in the way it does for Artisan Surveying, but disallowing the sampling capability and perhaps with a smaller range. Others have noted that without some ability to sample (perhaps limiting Medics to only ever being able to sample 1 resource per sample tick, capping out resource samples so none are ever pulled up if there is more than our minimum, 8, or our maximum, I believe that's 36, of a resource in inventory, or even just letting the survey tool show the resource values that only a Medic would use from those resources), to test the qualities of a resource if nothing else, the simple ability to survey alone wouldn't be very useful. Suggestions have also included making the ability part of some kind of decayable survey tool made by artisans that let a Doc survey, ensuring a continued resource stream to artisans to compensate for those few Medics that try to make money as miners instead of as Medics. Or the use of a DE created resource seeker droid that might be able to locate a high concentration of a given resource within some given range and possibly provide either a single sample or at least some of the required stats for that resource, possibly even providing additional capabilities for those with the Artisan Survey skill. Further suggestions would include a greater reduction of the complexity of our schematics and the resource needs.
For reference the following threads may be of interest: http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?board.id=doctor&message.id=1540 http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?board.id=doctor&message.id=5233 http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?board.id=doctor&message.id=14251 http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?board.id=doctor&message.id=21399 http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?board.id=artisan&message.id=25038 http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?board.id=doctor&message.id=24681 http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?board.id=doctor&message.id=25532
(Please note that these often reference the /medicalForage skill which is a different issue for Medics altogether, however since it touches upon this issue indirectly those references are left in.)
Holo wrote in a thread on /medicalForage on 6/29/03:
"This here is a proposal to tackle JUST one aspect of that. It felt a bit like we got overwhelmed with the sheer number of ideas proposed for medics, so I want to present just two things (one of them based on suggestions from you guys during beta) so we can discuss them, before we move on to tackling other things.
OK, the first suggestion is this:
•Make medical foraging find small herbs/bacta globules/bugs/whatever (think: aloe and penicillin mold) that can be used to make medicines. Not resources, in other words. Because they are not resources, we do not need to worry about undercutting the surveyors and scouts. • Make the A level stims and wound packs use ONLY these. • Make higher level medicines use smaller amounts of these, so that profession interdependency increases as you go up.
This would make new medics trying to make medicines a lot better off, I think.
The second suggestion is based on beta tester ideas: • Make tending use a small device. This device lasts a long time but does eventually break, and is made by artisans. • Have it have charges. • Each item that you can medical forage up gives it a charge. • Take out the current wounding/battle fatigue effect of the /tend commands.
Refs: http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?board.id=medic&message.id=192&highlight=#M192 http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?board.id=doctor&message.id=17920
In response to the Doctor Top 5 issues on 12/18/03 Zarlor reported the following response: "We have reservations about implementing such a change. The Surveying skill is considered integral to the Artisan profession and skill point expenditure is a basic challenge in the game and all professions have to make such choices.
However we acknowledge that the Docs feel some kind of problem exists on a root issue for this matter. As such a continuing discussion will be ongoing to ensure proper determination of that root problem and to hopefully find a mutually beneficial solution to that issue."
In response to the Combat Medic Top 5 issues on 12/19/03 Pahdbacca repeated the Doc response listed above.
In response to our Top 5 issues on 12/20/03 Traigus reported the following response: "This* would lessen the value of skill points spent by other professions. Skill point costs are a major balance factor in the game... 'Skill point expenditure is a basic challenge in the game and all professions have to make such choices.' This holds true for medical advanced professions as well (See Doc and CM Top 5 lists). The Devs will continue to monitor this issue, across all medical professions."
[*Note that "This" in the first sentence above refers primarily to the suggestion of giving a form of the /survey skill to the medical professions, not necessarily the other solutions or the general situation outlined in the issue worded above.]
Thunderheart was asked in a thread about the "Droid Invasion" on 1/22/04: "So, other than combat, droids aren't actually becoming any more useful? No surveying droids? Task-specific chassis? Etc?"
To which Thunderheart responded: "We want to do that, but that's new development and it's going to take time. These are just the first two passes."
[Z's note: This may or may not be an indicator that some kind of surveying droid may be under consideration by the Dev team which might help to alleviate part of this issue.])
3. Faction Points
(New for this Top 5)
Medics are interested in seeing a share of Faction Points in the same way that we are getting Combat XP. It is considered inappropriate that a medic professional would be out in the field and, being unable to assist in taking out an opposing faction NPC or player (because they are healing those who are doing so), they will not gain FPs and so will progress much more slowly in faction gains, while providing at least as valuable a service as the person providing the offensive capabilities. Other considerations have included gaining FPs for healing Overt faction members, especially considering the dangers involved in gaining a TEF in this manner in a place that is known for finding unsuspecting TEFed characters (i.e. The Med Center, see TEF Issues).
(*Dev Response: In response to the Combat Medic Top 5 issues on 12/19/03 Pahdbacca reported the following: "This is an issue that will have to be done next cycle."
4. Combat Queue Heals (or removal of) &
(Previously #1, Partial and To be Fixed)
There should be a graphic display of heals in combat queue OR complete removal of heals from being affected by the queue at all, just like posture change actions are now. The fact that heals actually queue up in the combat queue already confuses a large number of Medics. If they must be queued it would be very nice to actually see at what position they are queued at. It has also been suggested that heals should always be considered a priority queue item that jumps immediately to the front of the queue to be the next action accomplished. It should be noted that the preferred method for healing actions would be to treat them like non-queued actions, such as posture changes, so that they take place without any delay.
(*Dev response: Holo wrote presumably as a response to our initial Top 5 issues on 8/22/03: "Healing tasks that aren't making it in this update, but are on the list as high priorities: •Look into making healing go into the combat queue 100%."
In response to the Combat Medic Top 5 issues on 12/19/03 Pahdbacca referenced the Medic Top 5 response (listed below).
In response to our Top 5 issues on 12/20/03 Traigus reported the following response: "We love this, but its very difficult (coding-wise). We don't know if this can happen, but we will investigate."