Items/Skill description - need for UX Improvements

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    • Items/Skill description - need for UX Improvements

      Hello everyone,

      This post is dedicated straight to the dev team, but I encourage everyone to share their personal feelings, they might be different than mines .

      So idea behind this, was born somewhen in July 2017, when I first started playing the game. When I had to learn what items have what skills it was not possible. There were no guides. It was totally opposite experience to League of Legends (and I started playing that on official release as well). I remember that back then when I asked my more experienced colleagues why the descriptions suck, they explained me - devs don't know themselves how this works. And since I am also in software business and I could see databases without descriptions, well It was satisfying explanation to me. But since we have a new UI/UX guy in the team and I have little bit more faith in the dev teams than 1.5 year ago, I decided to raise this topic.

      Let's take Knight helmet and Soulscythe descriptions to understand the problem.

      I am using This doc for this post's purpose, It doesn't really matter if it's up to date or not.

      Knight helmet:

      Displacement Immunity
      Increases Crowd Control Resistance by 76, and makes targets immune to any displacement effects like pulls, knockbacks or fears for 10s. The spell affects you and up to 5 allies in close proximity.


      Creates a tornado and shoots it in a chosen direction. Enemies hit by the tornado will receive 488 damage and pulled into the air for 2s (ignoring Crowd Control resistance and duration). When enemies are in proximity to the tornado, they will be slowed by 80%.

      So let me list why this description sucks, why new players have so hard time to understand how the weapon works and why the best way is just to test it in the game, which is IMO very poor UX.

      1. Descriptions in the game are not unified.

      Number of unique effects is too large for which reason it's not possible to provide accurate description within few words, in other words - good description.

      Example: pulled into the air for 2s, which in reality is just an unique 'Knockback' effect.
      Solution: unify descriptions, create comprehensive list of "nouns" and "adjectives" to describe all the effects in the game the very same way.
      Example after implementing solution: "and applies irresistible knockback for 2s".
      Comment: New players are not really interested how the skill look like, they just want pure facts which mechanic counters which.The same would go for knight helmet, we could distinct nouns like buff and add some prefixes/adjectives like self-, de-, AoE.

      2. Unique types of resistances/damage numbers are not clearly defined.

      Example: Enemies hit by the tornado will receive 488 damage.
      Solution: Apply a color to the resistance (MR/armor) and damages to respective type.
      Example after implementing solution: Enemies hit by the tornado will receive 488 damage.
      Comment: Red would mean physical damage which can be countered with armor(e.g. yellow color), and blue would be for magic dmg type and MR could be purple or whatever. Until today I have no idea which weapons and which skills deal which type of damage, it's not because I don't care, but because this information is not simple to obtain.

      3. Not enough math. Too much generalities.

      Example: The spell affects you and up to 5 allies in close proximity.
      Solution: Just replace close proximity with radius(could be cone/whatever shape but still respective to AD.1.) and X which would be integer of meters known from other descriptions (like knockbacks?)
      Example after implementing solution: The spell affects you and up to 5 allies in a radius of 5m.
      Comment: Guessing. Nobody knows, it's not that important but makes the UX very poor, especially for those build freaks or "math+" geeks.

      4. Mouse-over-text details.

      Example. displacement effects like pulls, knockbacks or fears for 10s
      Solution: when you aim your mouse over pull/knockback/fear - you will see what it is.
      Example: Knockback - Displacement effect during which spell-target can't control it's character.
      Comment: Yeah, this is bad explanation of knock back effect I know, but it's just the idea how to make new players learn the game much faster. I know that players who play since release don't understand mechanics until today. because they never bothered to test it themselves or haven't had anyone to explain them.

      5. Math+ descriptions.

      I have no idea how the damage scales up in Albion, but let's imagine we have flat ratios of Character stats into damage that spell does. This would be an optional improvement.

      Example: Soulscythe deals 488 damage. We don't know at which tier, with what stats. When I read it in my tree it's scaled up with the weapon IP (Tier 4 vs Tier 8 differs).
      Solution:If it's flat multiplier, just provide it in the bracket.
      Example after implementing solution: Soulscythe deals 488 damage (0.45*IP). So with 1k~ IP we have 488dmg. If you have 250 masteries bonus, it's simple 488+250*0.45=600dmg. Comment: This might be implemented as mouse-over text functionality. Which means this info would be only available in the skill tree and not in the inventory, eventually in the wiki. This way we could decide which tier to wear before we buy an item.

      So if I was creating the description final version would look like below:

      Creates a tornado and shoots it in a chosen direction. All enemies hit by the tornado will receive 488 damage(mouse over text dmg multiplier) and be applied with irresistible(mouse-over-text description) knockback(mouse-over-text description) for 2s. All enemies in 5m radius to the tornado, will be slowed(mouse-over-text description) by 80%.

      Please share your opinion what do you think, what else would you expect or share your own experience whether you like current descriptions or not.


      The post was edited 1 time, last by glokz ().

    • I believe you mean dynamic descriptions.

      Long story short, would that hurt performance or not? Does it save after-implementation work or not?

      For instance, we change the damage ratio from 0.45 to 0.4. We don't change any description beside one temp-table and everything else is dynamic.(Means calculated on access).
      This isn't complex calculation though and has nothing to do with combat, so maybe we could have it.

      That's something devs must consider themselves.

      We always need to remember that we have limited resources, we could have everything but then we can't have something else. Matter of priorities and compromises.
    • Unification and continuity is important, I agree.

      In theory it's pretty straight forward, you define what kinds of abilities the game has (stun/root/knockback etc.) and make a long list (which you also use as your terminology baseline for the other languages) and then you try to work with a fixed set of words to describe what spells and skills do.

      There is plenty of mmo vocabulary out there, but every game has to define what that means for them to declare how the rule set works.

      @Retroman should have this in his head for sure and probably written down as well ; since I'm assuming you have various code pieces that get executed when you knockback or when you stun etc.

      In my opinion there should be a clear functional element of the UI that is purely designed to convey information. You can always add flavour in other ways to build the immersion on top of that; but imo that's two separate processes.

      In reality the game has a big issue with dynamic description (changing values based on your character unlocks) that are probably just a lot of work to implement, so the devs just use text instead of %damageValue or something that pulls the actual number from somewhere.

      Skills always have some kind of baseline that math is applied to. For the user it is not really relevant in my opinion to display the formula; but that could be an interesting exercise of UI design anyhow.

      For your example you could even remove it further from the spell description and go into a purely functional means, like 'creates an area of damage' instead of 'tornado' ; but there is always a line.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Bogul ().

    • Thanks for your reply,

      Well, indeed it's already mouse over text, I missed that.

      Still the icons are currently not clickable, maybe we can leave plain text as mouse-over text with current layout, but once you click the skill you open a solid-pop up window to get all the features like colors, mouse-over text etc.?

      If not I think the most important thing is to make skill description unified. Visual effects would help, but are a nice bonus. We could also work on having such details in gamepedia, which technically would be much easier.

      The idea behind this post is to bring the point and example solution, I believe you guys know the limitations/requirements much better than I do, so things that I imagine are probably not the best way.

      Hope that helps
    • H4n1baL wrote:

      How do you envision the mouse-over texts to work (since the whole box describing the spell is already a mouse-over)?
      based on keywords in the description, it could expand the tooltip with additional information information.
      (So, if tooltip mentions knock-back, it would add another paragraph to the tooltip describing knock-back mechanic)
      for UX-purposes, maybe hide the details of the details behind a shift-key like the guy above proposed.
    • Hey @glokz!

      For a MMO developer, our team is indeed relatively small, one more UI/UX team member won't change that. Being the 'old one': I'm still here (at least for some time).
      We already talked about some things we'll try out with the tooltips to improve the situation. It's been on our backlog already but we'll go ahead and try out some "quick win" solutions. If they work out, we'll push these changes live of course, but we don't have an estimate at this point.
      Inconsistencies like "Free" vs. "0" and "close proximity" vs "2m" are considered bugs and will be fixed as soon as there's a report for them.

      - Lino
    • While we're updating some things, can we update some spell icons? Below is a look at my current skill bar in which my chest, helm, and boots have Mortal Agony, Bloodlust and the new Vengeful Sprint slotted but all the icons are the same:

      The only question here is which spell should I use...? The angry red dude one, the angry red dude one, or the angry... red... dude one?
    • Thanks everyone for your feedback,

      We know, we have to imrpove our tooltips and we have already been discussing how we best do this in the long run. However we are indeed a rather small team, and have been focusing our attention on other aspects of the game so far. We'll see how we can improve them for the next content update a bit and try to keep an eye on improving them in future updates.

      Meanwhile in the short term: If you encounter tool tips with missing information, like the area of effect radius size is missing (the knight helmet example): These are considered as a bug. If you post these in the bugs section or here, we can add the missing values to these tooltips in upcoming patches.

      Fun Fact:
      Most numbers in the tooltips are referenced values, which update if the spell values are changed. However this can lead to bugs, when the spell core logic has been adjusted and the referenced value is now somewhere else or if certain attributes (like the number of Celestial Sphere jumps) wasn't a referenced value but just a written number. :)

    • Yes whilst some tool tips are badly written and perhaps don't explain the whole effect, i think that's whats exciting about Albion how you can't just google something to learn everything , you actually need to play the game and gain experience and knowledge, there is alot of rock paper scissors happening and i dont think new players should be handed every single bit of info on a platter, however i will try find an example that is not very clear description as some tips like that do exist. E.g Arcane Frazzle Should say 40% that is quite an obvious one.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Asaroth ().