Hey all! Just wanted to take a moment to discuss the direction of Beastmastery and offer some suggestions.
As I’m sure most of us realize, probably the most important factor in a game like this is staying power. It must have depth and feel continuously rewarding to play or else eventually people will burn out and leave. To shore-up these elements of the game I believe it will be critically important to focus on fleshing out each individual Skill Tree with variety, careful thought, and a level of nuance that rewards dedicated effort over simple dabbling. In light of that, I’d like to present some ideas for the ongoing Development of the Beastmastery Skill Tree and particularly looking towards Phase 4 of the roadmap when it will be overhauled most extensively.
No question, what we currently have certainly covers all the initial bases, it creates (mostly) sensible progression tiers, it provides some extra perks in particular areas, and its Skill Point costs are pretty well balanced. I like to think the return is (perhaps over) adequate for the investment. That said, there is much room for growth and improvement. Here are my thoughts on how to make Beastmastery rewarding and fun for long-term players who are willing to invest the time and effort.
I. When considering balance with non-Beast Tamers, I believe that having them sit around the effectiveness of Masterwork Tools and being surpassed only by Legendary and Mythical and perhaps specialized structures that can be manned by Crew Members like a Sawmill or Mineshaft seems reasonable to me. If the intent is to balance the game such that no one path is the ONLY optimal path, then tames shouldn’t be nerfed into the ground, but should compete with hand tools into the late game.
II. Multiple capture and restraining aids to help with the domestication of various types of animals. Lassos, Muzzles, Corrals, Bird Cages, Cage Carts, and On-Ship and Off-Ship holding pens for transporting wilds would all help to make the process more interesting and improve our range of capabilities, which in turn makes the role of Beastmaster more robust and worthwhile.
III. Rare colors for each of the creatures to add cosmetic value to certain entities spawned through the RNG system.
IV. Creature Variants that only appear in certain biomes or under certain conditions (such as when the RNG system rolls a max-level for example). These variants could essentially be “copies” of the original, but with a different visual appearance, some stats tweaks, and maybe some new mechanics if you’re feeling generous. An example might be a Polar Variant of the Lion: Snow Leopard, which has a sneak mode that massively reduces enemy aggro radius and adds a pounce attack, or a Max Lvl Variant of the Chicken: Duck, which lays Eggs that provide a different Vitamin type, etc…
V. Creature Variants and Traits that can only be acquired through multi-generational breeding. My suggestion would be an A, B, C, D, E, allele system tied to each creature. The RNG system will roll a random letter for each creature it spawns, and you can breed those with certain letters in certain positions to bring out new traits, possibly sub-species, rare cosmetic patterns or colors, or a stat boost. Basically, you would want to line-up five matching letters to bring out a hidden trait in that species, five A’s might bring out a hidden color, five C’s might bring out a new texture pattern, five E’s might bring out an entirely new sub-species, the only way to find out is to do it. And the best part is that Grapeshot can dynamically add new alleles to isolated populations or to the species globally as the game continues to develop. You could also add a Skill Tree that allows you to see what alleles are present up to a point, for example, Tier 1 lets you see one letter, Tier 2 lets you see three, and Tier 3 let’s you see five. If you really wanted to make in interesting, you could even add a sixth invisible allele that can never be seen, but if matched with the other five brings out the rarest and most powerful traits of that creature. Like a horse being born as a Unicorn or something… Basically this system would make Breeding a more fascinating undertaking that requires careful planning, time investment, and deduction to take to its ultimate limit. Being able to breed wolves into Wolf Hounds, or horses into Clydesdales, each with different statistics and abilities would add so much interest and staying power to this aspect of the game.
VI. Cross-Breeding between compatible Max Lvl specimens. Example Max Lvl Tiger/Lion to produce a Liger. This would be an extremely high Tier Beastmastery skill that would produce superior off-spring that are more difficult to raise to maturity.
VII. Various expensive perks that reward you for heavily investing in Beastmastery such as Primogeniture: the ability for offspring to rarely inherent a leveled stat rather than a base stat (but in exchange the stat is locked), or Thoroughbreds, which allows you to raise offspring with a certain number of level-ups immediately available rather than having to be gained through experience, or perhaps Dominion, which allows you to temporarily tame a wild creature instantly, Wild Whisper, which causes predators to ignore you unless you provoke them, etc… There are a hundred things you could do.
VIII. Special Skill Trees, simple, 5-6, node skill trees exclusive to Crossbreeds, Variants, or Sub-Species, which become can be purchased with points obtained by reaching certain levelling milestones, maybe 45, 65, 85, etc…
IX. Adjust Shieldhorn and Razortooth abilities to provide them with a reasonable means of surviving and sustaining populations next to the incredibly dangerous Golden Age Magifauna. It makes no sense for them to live there as it is, as they have no adaptations to counteract these vicious creatures and constructs. Perhaps some form of magic/projectile nullification barrier for Shieldhorns, and maybe a Silence effect for Razortooth roars plus a Magifauna Dmg Buff?
X. Special Events: Migrations, Mating Seasons, Hibernation (for bears), Red Tide (for seahorses), etc… Special events that affect the behavior of animals, their spawn levels, their spawn locations, perhaps produce wild babies or having a special effect of some other kind, like hibernating bears actually levelling up without being tamed, or seahorses becoming tamable when they come to the surface for Red Tide… Things like that that make the wildlife feel more alive would be fantastic!
XI. Breeding Overhaul: I think everyone will agree that considering all that’s happened over the development of both Ark and Atlas and all the feedback you’ve gotten from us players it’s time for some serious adjustments here. It’s simply not right to have a system in place within a video game that requires well-meaning people to dedicate unhealthy amounts of time or make changes to their real-life schedules to accommodate it. It’s supposed to fun, we shouldn’t be losing sleep over it, or losing jobs, or getting divorces just because we care enough about your game to actually dedicate the time you’re asking of us. Wildcard and Grapeshot bear part of the responsibility for every negative outcome that has resulted from this system, and I think it deserves some serious consideration. My suggestions are sweeping, but simple; allow mother animals to nurse their young and provide for all of their needs without exception for the duration of their maturation time. In exchange, the mother receives a debuff that weakens it and prevents it from being ridden until the baby is matured or until it is manually brought out of “nursing mode” via radial menu (which also returns the baby into player care). There is a cooldown to enter nursing mode, and to leave it also requires a short wind-up. Imprinting takes place over the first two hours of the baby’s life, maximum. There is no reason to ask any player to dedicate more time than that. These changes would make breeding accessible to everyone, and it would completely eliminate any requirements for unhealthy dedication of time.
Those are my main thoughts on Breeding and Taming for now, I may come back with more later. Let me know what you all think, and if you have any ideas for potential Variants, colors, patterns, or Sub-Species, please share!
Edited Thursday at 10:32 PM by CyanicEmber