Let Us Discuss...The GRIND

Hi there @Frillen. You know I can see that you have once again written a comprehensive and analytical reply to one of my posts. And I also know that the last time you did in the Maproom debate thread, to my shame I did not manage to get back to you before it closed. Therefore, I was determined to reciprocate and get a fitting reply to you this time around!

Agree. And I am not going to be kid myself here, I had begun to suspect that this may be part of my problem this time around. Perhaps it was just from going through the throes again. Although I suspect that it is because the new economy visibly inflated the grind.

On official, how…!? This is a question of genuine curiosity. Because to the best of my knowledge the old linings can no longer be crafted. On my Singleplayer game I cant even locate them in the Admin Panel. And to be honest, I would have loved to have put a full set of each armor type away as keepsakes, but alas I forgot to do so before downloading the update.

You know I unequivocally agree with you here. And this was somerhing which I touched upon in my earlier reply to Wolfrider. While I love the dungeons and their design, and the sense of adventure, intrigue and inquisitive feelings they generate, the RNG can impact upon this negatively. Because there does, for me at least, come a point when after running the same area over, and over, and over and over, and over again, hundreds of times, often for months on end, it really kills the joy and mystique which that area and content once inspired, and leaves those feelings of annoyance, tedium and chore which you astutely pointed out in their place. For example, I spent over 5 months trying to land a Sword of Crom, 7 months trying to get a Lifeblood Spear and the less said about the Final Breath of the Red Mother the better! In fact for a considerable period of time, I simply became very burnt out from the Unnamed City as a whole, despite the fact that it is still one of the best content updates to date.

And I hear you about Siptah. In the EL the sample of RNG recipes is a much smaller percentage of population of recipes by comparison to that of IoS. I am not implying that Siptah is a bad map, or there is no fun to be had, but this particular aspect of the game feels like the Library of Esoteric Artifacts on steroids.

If it is relevant to the thread then by all means. Curious. As I had known you as being a PvP player all this time.

I am like that on the Exiled Lands at the moment, but I am actually still not bored. My only real source of discontent there springs (well primarily anyway) from the RNG aspects, such as the Red Mother, Library of Esoteric Artifacts, Legendary Chests, etc.

You know while I had something of a relateable experience, this sounds like more of a challenge issue than a grind issue. I have read your points and am in the same circumstance boat myself, at least in the Exiled Lands. But here is am important factor which many people tend to overlook. We are responsible for governing our own level of challenge in Terms of PvE content. Some examples? Sure.

*Finding bases to hard for, Puges to destroy? Build T2 structures in T3 Purge areas.
*Your Thrall is equipped with Godbreaker armor, a Sword of Crom, is OP and kills thing too quickly? Try giving them standard light armor and a hardened steel sword. And/or take a T1 thrall instead.
*Going to a lower level biome, camp or capital? Wear basic light armor and take an iron weapon and forego buffs.

That is the beauty of PvE; self-governance. You have the agency to increase or decrease challenge for yourself.

Sorry. But it was when you hit these points that you lost me.

Again. You have the freedom to completely swap out your home pieces anytime you want as a PvE player. Start with a Black Ice base one week, then the next switch the entire base to Stormglass, the following week, move to Frontier building pieces, an so on. There is plenty of upkeep, and reason to keep gathering for you, and you have the freedom to start at anytime! Solved. However on the other hand it is neither fair nor reasonable to demand that other people should be forced into this model of play.

Hard NO from me on this one. I have several reasons which I shall provide to support my argument here. And sadly I cannot not give you a like this day owing to your following couple of points. For the first, I shall restate something I said earlier in the post:

“…I spent over 5 months trying to land a Sword of Crom, 7 months trying to get a Lifeblood Spear and the less said about the Final Breath of the Red Mother the better!”

In other words, because of the high levels of grind and time investment needed to farm them, and also because they cannot be readily mass produced. And furthermore, I sure as heck dont fancy doing all that again each time they wear out. In a time when Legendary Weapons are becoming increasing weak, trivialised and inconsequential, the last thing we need to do is make them more unattractive. For PvP players, many of the craftable weapons are now stronger than Legendarys, and they require significantly less effort to obtain them. So no dice. For PvE, it is as we discussed earlier, you already have the power to do this now! It is as simple as abstaining from using legendary repair kits on your legendary weapons and armor. And when they break, then refarm them. But once again, it is not acceptable nor reasonable that other players should be forced to play this way.

Again, unfortunately I am going to have to decline your generous offer. For online play, keeping 50 Thralls rearmed and requipped around the clock may be a somewhat trivial task for large clans and groups of players, but for online solo players it is MUCH more work, disadvantageous, and frankly, just unecessary busy work. And you again already have the ability to do this now. Roleplay. Just switch them over, broken or not, say…every couple of weeks already. Discard or recycle the old, and reconstruct the new.

No, unfortunately I am going to have to decline your generous offer. PvE and Singleplayer are good thanks. But PvP may like it…? :man_shrugging:

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Hi there @DoriM, nice to make your aquaintance. Survival games do have rather steep learning curves for beginners. And Conan Exiles was actually my first Survival game, which is starkly different to my usual genre of Survival Horror. Once you pick up some key fundamentals and get yourself set up, which will snowball wuicker than you think, you will be able to devote more play time to fun and adventuring and incur less frustration.

But we have a really great community here, who are all like one big happy (dysfunctional) family. If you are still struggling to find your feet, then I strongly encourage you to start a thread in the Players Helping Players section asking for help, and we can all help you out with some tips and advice! Seriously, we love to help each other out around here. You will never be mocked or ridiculed, and you will find players tripping over each other to help you out. Myself included. Most members who ask for help will easy rack up half a dozen + replies in a day. And I know I would certainly be happy to lend you some help.

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If I may say something here about rng, risking to speak about mambo jumbo here, is that I noticed that my rng in every different server is different too. What I mean, one example is Spinas. On 3728 I found Spinas from day one and if I’ll search the chat I will find the photo I send on @Zeb almost 2 years ago. In this server I found so many Spinas that I didn’t find in all the other servers together, and we speak for more than hundred (the other servers). Actually I was so amazed that I found a Spinas from day one (I couldn’t get him, I was on my obelisk run low level :rofl::rofl::rofl:) and this was the reason I send photo to her. Since then I had seen only twice Spinas on private pvp (easy) servers. However, no matter how much I grinded the Den in this server, I never get any of the drops of the werewolf, since now actually. In other servers however I took a lot of drops from the werewolf, even from my first visit, but no matter the grind I couldn’t find other things that I easily find in other servers .
MAMBO JUMBO TIME :rofl::rofl::rofl:.
I believe that every new character in a server, including single player, generates or spawn with different rng stats which are hidden ofcurce. A random algorithm that decides how easy or how hard you will get some rng spawns, drops you name it. If this is true then it’s bad, I really hope I am wrong, but my experience, or not, has given me this impression. Ahh, probably I am wrong… Or not?

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I definitely know what you mean - some thralls, or legendaries, you search for all game and never find, while others seem easy. My current game I have several Aja’s Bane, but the previous one I searched for ages and never found one. Another game I searched over and over for Musashi’s Black Blade (to ‘complete’ a particular thrall), never found it then, but the next game I had three pretty early on (and no use for them :wink: ). As for Spinas - I’ve had all the other Volcano fighters, but I don’t think I’ve ever managed to capture him (to the point I remember them as Erie, Kisthis, Daicas and ‘the other one’ - didn’t even remeber his name till you mentioned it :laughing:).

My theory (without any knowledge) has always been that it comes down to the fact that computers cannot truly generate random numbers - the best they can do is a complex system that gives the appearance of randomness. It’s always seemed to me that one of the simplest starting points for this would be to take several changeable variables - like say the character’s height, multiplied by the time of day in seconds, divided by the total weight they are carrying, and then plug that number into whatever algorithm/equation after that point. By creating a relatively ‘random’ starting point for the equation, the results would be more random at the end. But, if any part of this theory is true, then it could also mean that some results just never come out in a particular game, because the start point somehow precludes it.

Obviously - this is pretty much as much mumbo-jumb as your suggestion - but it makes sense to my brain :wink: (And at least either of our explanations would provide a seemingly logical explanation for what we see - though, of course, the most likely explanation is just that human brains also aren’t that great at perceiving true randomness, so it may just be that computers are successfully being more random than we realise :slight_smile: )

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First of all I am happy to have another player that participated in more than one server as a sick grinder :rofl::rofl::rofl:. I would love to see the observations of @CodeMage too about this “crazy” theory. Yet in my mind is like, if I find this then finding something else will be more difficult. I remember in one server finding love taps all the time, or in another one finding predatories all the time, in another that I stayed for 4 days I found 6 Croms, but to the servers I participate mainly I didn’t yet find all the items. So what @Croms_Faithful said about making months to find something is first of all tottaly true and tottaly sad at the same time. It shouldn’t be that grindy, it just shouldn’t, it’s not rewarding it’s more or less sick and frustrating. I wish I am wrong.

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Well, singleplayer - so multiple games rather than multiple servers - but the sick grinding part seems true :laughing: Yeah, getting some thoughts from our more knowledgeable friends would definitely be good - they might actually understand things instead of just making it up like we do :grin:

Yeah, I know what you mean. I’ve still never had the Sword of Crom or the Final Breath of the Red Mother in all the time I’ve played. Maybe I haven’t fought the Red Mother enough times, but I’ve definitely been through the four skeleton bosses over and over. Like you (I think) I don’t mind the resource grind so much - I mined out whole cavern systems in 7days to die with a hand pick - and I usually seem to have systems in the way I play that make that feel less grindy, but the RNG grind can still feel tough.

That said, it’s also difficult to come up with a truly great replacement - the RNG grind artificially pushes replaying the same encounters, as a way to lengthen the game. But when I think of some of the non-RNG encounters, such as the Witch Queen which you only really need to do once per playthrough, there winds up being little reason to go back (unless you happen to just feel like doing it again…).

One idea that could be cool would be if there was something more to do with some of these endgame items. Fragments of Power have some uses, though of course mostly as tokens for the Dark Slotmachine (sorry ‘Library’). But it might be cool if the keystone artifacts (or the keystone itself), or skeleton keys could have some other fun uses. But then, of course, the downside of this idea is that it risks simply turning these into additional grind… (Though I suppose these artifacts/excess skeleton keys could potentially provide a possible way to set up counters to the influx of Siptah items that is worrying various people right now - a bit off topic here, but just occurred to me as I’m writing this.)

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I cannot agree with you enough! Unnamed City used to be my favorite place in the whole Exiled Lands. I find its ambience unsurpassed by anything else in the game. And yet, I came to almost loathe it, thanks to the RNG-induced grind.

The problem on official servers is that this upkeep you mention is completely decoupled from your ownership of the land.

In a game where everything respawns and is renewable, the only limited resource is the land. And that’s precisely the resource that you can deplete without any limits and keep it depleted without any effort.

That’s how you end up with official PVE(-C) servers that are absolutely choked by unlimited building. That’s how you end up with one clan covering half of the map with their endless pyramids and other theme parks. That’s how you end up logging into a server where there’s no decent space to build and the server FPS tanks down into the red every couple of minutes.

In short, that’s how you get new players to form a really bad first impression of the game.

I agree with you, but with a qualification. @Frillen’s suggestion, as-is, would only increase the frustration and grind. However, if they made legendary items not repairable, but also not hard to get (i.e. not subject to slot-machine “pray to RNGeezus for a drop” mechanics) and also really worth it, then it would be great!

Yeah, hard pass on that, too. Especially given the fact that your thralls can be engaged in battle even when you’re offline. Nope, no thanks :slight_smile:

I mean, I don’t have access to the source code, so I can’t be 100% sure that’s not the case, but I’m convinced it isn’t.

Let’s start with the most obvious problem with it: the devs would have to go out of their way to implement things this way, because that’s not how it’s normally done.

Second, there’s evidence that points to this not being the case: the loot tables are freely accessible, you just need to download the DevKit, run it, and look at the data.

Third, there is no benefit from doing that, which is why it’s not how it’s normally done. There’s no good reason to do this.

To sum it up, someone would have to come up with an insane idea of generating a specific RNG seed for each character and then have the game logic somehow modify the rolls it would make on the loot tables that we can all see, based on this hidden RNG seed. Then someone else would have to approve this insane idea. Then many others would have to waste their time implementing a more complicated solution instead of a simpler one.

All in all, this is almost certainly not the case.

In future, what might help you reason correctly about how the game works is to keep in mind that a lot of the game logic doesn’t run on the client, i.e. on your device, but rather on the server. The main responsibilities of your computer/console are:

  • Display what you should see, based on what the server says.
  • Play what you should hear, based on what the server says.
  • Tell the server what you’re doing or trying to do, so the server can decide how it worked out.

In a multiplayer game, it’s recommended for the server to be the single source of truth, otherwise you can cheat easily by modifying the game on your client to make decisions that are favorable to you.

Anything else that your device does on top of the responsibilities I described is basically just an optimization. For example, the game on your client tries to predict what the server will tell it, so that you don’t have to wait for the server to send the data, because that would result in a boatload of other problems.

That’s why you’ll sometimes see scorpions ascending gently into the sky: the server told your client that the scorpion is climbing a dune and your client keeps it moving in that direction, waiting for the server to tell it that the scorpion changed the direction. When the server doesn’t send it (or that bit of info gets “lost” due to a packet drop), you get Infinitely Levitating Scorpions :wink:

At any rate, sorry for the digression, but I hope this explains why it’s unlikely to have the RNG seed for each character: that seed would have to live on the server, because that’s where the loot drop must be calculated (unless you’re okay with people hacking their game to get a Yog’s Touch every time they kill a T1 exile cook), and there’s absolutely no reason for the server to keep an RNG seed per character.

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very interesting topic

As an individual we all have more distant interests, but I would be hypocritical if I said that I not seeing the level grind go down
You are referring to a realistic view, I made exactly the same comparison and that made me laugh. The current inflation and the shortage of raw materials that we can experience in our daily life looked to me a great wink.

I really liked the questions you raised.

Funcom is a company and as all organization, it seeks are a delicate balance, well I hope so
Because even if we can have different points of view, keeping in balance remains our first and hard common learning
Even if we keep that little memory, see not.

Now if I have to express myself on my ideals and my feelings, I will start with frustration.
it’s recurrent on this forum but not that. it seems to me that it’s generalized.

Our recent technological advances have profoundly changed our temporal reference, the instantaneous has become the norm, the time of the present. We have to go faster always faster with ever more optimization, with constant solicitation.

The questions you raise are therefore very insightful to me.

These are highly phylosophical questions which currently fascinate me enormously, such as for example “thinking about speed” which for me is found in the thought of Paul Virilio.
The video game isn’t for me a simple tool of distraction, it allows me, but also a simulation tool.
I don’t know the real motivation and interest of the developer and others involved in the design and operation of this game but it seems to me that certain ideology emerges.

Finding, testing, crafting, and mining doesn’t always happen instantly.
we would all like a magic stick? right? Why?
Because we are all aware of many issues that aren’t always easy to apprehend.
No need to name them but the reality can be brutal

The second point which seems important to me is the culture of individualism which today strikes our societies with full force.
And it seems to me that this is a choice of the developers, I hope…
To promote the cooperative action and give again the possibility of uniting in hostile environment, the union is strength, you can largely realize it on this game.
So, yes, some piece of craft is exorbitantly expensive and not always balanced but that helps to realize this harsh reality, I really like this idea.

And, yesterday a player could not keep his city, he offered me a lot of ressource
My first feeling was sadness for him but now he will be present in each of my craft no matter what he was as that human and player.
I don’t know if this will bring him comfort or discomfort, I would tell him that at least his work will serve and will not fall into the void.

That’s life

Now, I express myself in a language which is not mine in a real difficult context

But yes I think that as a player see the level grind to reduce.
Is this the right balance ?, I don’t know, we’ll see.
But for the moment it’s ok for me
Funcom will respond to it according on its interests
But I really like the debates that it generates, the question to raise
Personally, I didn’t like the change of NPCs artisant and purge.

But for the moment I like to play, there are bug , lag , problem whith players but it’s a life, maybe one day it’snt the case and conan exile will be difinitely in my past. Maybe…
As maybe is marketing plan , playing only on psychological and neurological aspects in order to create an addiction, Maybe hahaha
or maybe they adapt, play time to better position themselves on the platforms

Now there is a lot of possibility to play and a lot of different server, and Funcom seems to progres

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Mumbo jumbo :rofl::rofl::rofl:. Unfortunately on consoles we don’t have the opportunity to read and understand the mechanics of the game, even if we did, I would not be able to understand again :rofl::rofl::rofl:, so it is very good that this forum has brilliant minds that can understand how mechanics work and comfort us from our demons. Playing so many hours alone, creating demons is the most normal thing, I guess :man_shrugging:. A lot of times I felt like Tom Hanks yelling, Wilsoooon :rofl::rofl::rofl:. Yet some times I see things that I just have to mention, no matter how silly they are and believe me I never regret it, never. There is always someone who will give me a reasonable explanation and help me understand more and more the game. So, once again thank you @CodeMage, you just toss another demon of mine :wink:

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If we’re going to talk about philosophy in game design and balance. Let’s look at this from another angle.

I maintain the best philosophy is that if a mechanic or feature isn’t fun it shouldn’t be present or should be redesigned to be fun. The issue of course with this is how do we define ‘fun’? Some of you don’t like wacking rocks for a few hours. Some of you do.

But how many of you would do it if you got nothing for it? Now we’re getting closer to a general agreement on what fun is. Sort of.

A great example is Super Mario Bros. 3. Everyone knows about the warp whistles to take you from World 1 to 8. But those of you who have played the game extensively will have played through worlds 2-7 at some point.

Even having access and knowledge (and lets be honest, the knowledge was there before the game released thanks to a movie) of the skip to World 8, we still wanted to play the previous worlds.

Why? Because they were fun. But why were they fun?

Hitting that first Goomba in 1-1 is fun, for the first few times you do it. But hitting a few dozen goombas gets boring if the stage is just a flat terrain. If you can get one, you can do five, or ten, or a hundred.

But that’s why the stages are varied, and the Goombas are lined up in creative ways.

Same thing with whacking rocks for stone in Conan you can find different ways to do it. And of course we get the tools to help with that. But like the skip to World 8, sometimes you need to change that up a bit and make things more efficient. Unfortunately we don’t have Wizard to show us how to do that. We have to kinda figure it out. And being a more complex game, its going to require more digging into for our individual playstyles.

One thing that is hardly ever fun however is RNG. When you hit the Unnamed City for equipment, the first time is fun. The next time is fun. But when you’re running it dozens of times a week. It does get old. Imagine if World 8 had a stage (the tank stage, so you can’t lakitu cloud past it) before Bowser’s Castle that would only complete like 5% of the time. That means on average you’d need to run it about 10-20 times to get passed it.

Sure you can warp whistle to it. But you’re always going to have to run this stage a dozen times to progress. Is that fun? The first time is. The second time kinda is. The third time… and then after your next few play throughs of the game it does get a bit old, you dread that grind.

But there is a way around this. What if there was a few optional stages in the various worlds where it would let you skip the RNG? You’ve got 7 stages, one in each world that if you complete each one. The RNG is skipped? You can’t really skip to the end without a grind, but you have a fun and varied trip that also takes more time or the same time as the RNG.

Now you have something the players can work for.

Another example of this was World of Warcrafts first two expansions. In Burning Crusade, there was a grind of faction to do specific heroic dungeons. You literally did the same repeatable quests for days to get in. Next you did the dungeons over and over to get the gear you wanted. Grind on top of grind. Oh and you needed to do this several times for different sets of dungeons. Bad design.

In Wrath of the Lich King, the faction was still needed (at first) but you got it as a matter of fact through normal leveling questing. Assuming you didn’t get a PL, you had the faction you needed, or just needed to do a simple questline to get it. When you ran the dungeon, the RNG of gear was still there. But you also had the option of getting tokens that dropped to purchase gear for slots the RNG wasn’t filling. And you could get those tokens from any other dungeon.

So instead of grinding the same spot over and over, you simply ran your favorite dungeons. You’re doing them anyway as a matter of course as you want to play the game. This is better design, and one that Final Fantasy XIV currently uses.

And I should mention that it is currently being used in Conan Exiles. Many private servers have veteran tokens from mods that drop from boss creatures that can be used to simply purchase gear that RNG doesn’t seem to want to drop.

So instead of farming the red mother over and over. Waiting for it to spawn. Players are encouraged to kill a variety of creatures in a series of their choosing to maximize the rewards. Killing the same boss over and over gets boring, it loses its fun. But killing different bosses in different areas helps keep things fresh.

Probably something that needs to be considered for the base game.

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Thank you so much! Appreciate it.

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RNG is RNG, but our brains are wired to look for patterns and we often find ones that don’t actually exist

Now for an extra annoying thought, that last breath of the red mother or sword of Crom, or whatever your particular personal white whale is, some other player got that literally the first time it could drop.

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Thanks, i think it’s good

Your first sentence is putting the cherry on the cake, but I just don’t want this to be done again, I like the conversations in this topic, the mood so allow me to explain why we create things in our minds…
If I remember correctly at 2004, after a 3 or 4 years break in gaming, since I had no time for hobbies back then I decided to play final fantasy 10. This game was back then a pve single player aspect, that was giving you 2 choises. Either finish the story without much grinding or kill the extra highest boss but grind for months to do it. You could go and finish the game with more or less 8.000 hp and 9.999 hit from every character, if I remember correctly you had 7 characters. But to kill the extra highest boss you needed to have 99.999 hp and 99.999 hit to every player. Yet I manage to kill it with no less than 25.000 hp and damage and my best man and friend just couldn’t believe it. There was a way to do it, that I accidentally find out, since I always liked to play not so safe and I was putting my team in challenges way higher than their strength.
What I am trying to say here is that in my youth I was really enjoying the game breaking thing and I can give you more and more examples for other games but this is ego and I don’t quite funcy it. Devs of all the games the past years always left some windows for game breaking, always. Or to put it in another way maybe they didn’t think that this could happen.
Let’s go back to our game now.
Once I read I comment of one Dev saying that our players are very skilled manage to use the undermase, very polite position from him I would say.
About me in this game, all that I manage to break in this game, no matter how much I burn it is 0. Why?
First of all I am not a skilled player and second I do not need it. The balance is great, the game is great and the updates in a way are always game breaking and challenging enough, but not in the bad way. Except the rng grind that must be checked a bit again, for all the others the game is perfect(pve) , NUMBER 1.

Ps. This is just one mans opinion and as we say in Greece do not expect a bird to bring the Spring :wink:.

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Sorry for being off-topic, I’ll keep it short: we have an almost identical saying in Serbia. I’m always happy when I see a similarity like that :slight_smile:

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I love that, you guys, and this place.

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Thanks! I will do it soon!

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My dear @linhotl I am so sorry but I didn’t understand either of your 2 posts :rofl:. First of all welcome to the forum :+1:t6:. If you want to reply to a post at the end of it on the bottom it has an arrow, press on it and you can type your reaction to this post. If however you need to speak to more persons you can press@ and then the name of the one you want to address your thoughts, so he(she) will be noticed and answer. If however you knew all these, it’s a happiness to have you here and welcome again :+1:t6:

Ah like in Canada, “what’s that honk sound? Crap it’s spring, the hissing cobras are back run!!!” (Canadian geese) :wink:

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@Achillesroar , Isn’t the world a small place after all?
@Croms_Faithful, sorry we went a bit of topic here, thanks m8 :+1:t6:

Ps. Achilles is the name of my father and my Son, in Greece it is pronunced Ahilleas.