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Jobs, the priority system, and what could be done


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Foreword:
Let me start out by saying this post was prompted by a conversation in the Discord server wherein we came to the conclusion that a handful of people, including myself, greatly preferred the priority system that was released at the start of the Occupational preview. However, dissent quickly arose around the system and it became very clear it needed to be explained, tweaked, and/or revisited.

I fear we are too close to the update's full release to do anything about it, but I want to at least spark conversation.

The Old:
The old system up to this point has been relatively straightforward. Each task is ranked 1 to 9, where 9 is the highest (and should be done first if possible) and 1 is the lowest. A Duplicant, after completing a task, will check all available tasks for anything to do, starting with 9s and working their way down until one is found (and resulting to idle if nothing can be done). The problem with this was that a duplicant would often drop what they're doing (say, mining a decent distance away from the base) because a toilet needed cleaning; in the time it takes this dupe to walk back to base, somebody made a mess and the toilet could have already been cleaned by someone else. Our miner just checked for a new job first.

The New:
The new system we saw at the start of the preview was a massively drastic change, which caused a lot of people to immediately toss their arms up in rage. On top of that, the system was very poorly documented and required quite a bit of work to understand exactly how it was intended to be used. It was a 1 to 5 label system with a mysterious "strict mode" button, which was confusing, to say the least.

In short, a Duplicant will check for any tasks that belong to their job, doing them in a 5 to 1 order. Once all of their job's tasks were complete, they would then go look for other tasks, again in 5 to 1 order, belonging to other jobs. For vital tasks, the strict mode button would cause the Duplicant to treat the task as if it was part of their job and queue it respectively. To cover for tasks that should be important, but aren't part of some Duplicant's job, a Duplicant with no job assigned should be used here, as they will behave as a Duplicant would in the old system.

This, in my opinion, was way better, since it caused Duplicants to actually do what we wanted them to.

The Compromise:
Complaint after complaint later, the system was restored to its 1 to 9 style, but with a small change: a Duplicant will prefer to do a task belonging to their job if two or more tasks of the same priority were present. A task of a higher priority was still preferred if present, which causes most (but not all) of the problems with the old system to come back.

And The Old Again:
So, after even more complaining from the user base, we're back to the first system. As much of a pain as it was, it did work once you used it right (and was much easier to understand), so I understand why some people wanted it.

However...

With this system, the jobs are practically worthless. What good is my miner if all they want to do is clean toilets and sweep algae all day?
At least they get a cool hat...

 

So, what does everyone else think?

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My preference is priority 1-9, just because other people don't use 1-3, doesn't mean I don't.
I mean, I can make 1-5 work but why settle for less?

Then, either have jobs have sub-jobs like delivering to their own building plans, etc..
OR (and I know some people hate this because "ONI needs to stay unique")
Have a manual priority list where I can choose what the specific dupe does if not doing his main job.
Kinda like this here system in Rimworld.

I mean, what if I want my Cook to do farming when he's not cooking, which system gives me that option?

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It look me longer than I would like to admit to understand the new system.  I agree that it was kind of poorly explained.  But once I got the hang of it, I was really starting to like it.  I just had to remember to set strict priority for the air and power - that one got me twice before I figured out that I needed to set the strict priority.  I kind of wish they hadn't rolled it back, but had instead put in some kind of explanation for how it worked.  It could even have been a pop up when a game loaded or one of the tips that happens when you start a new map.  Just something to explain how it all worked now.  

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3 minutes ago, Ichikai said:

I mean, what if I want my Cook to do farming when he's not cooking, which system gives me that option?

Priority 8 to cooking and 7 to plants with good door management and general base build so that they don't waist much time. only allow to cook, deliver and farm.

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Haven't we got like 3 or 4 threads for this now?!

Either way, 1-9 with dupes giving preference to tasks related to their assigned jobs is what I would prefer.

Currently jobs act like skill trees for dupes, which doesn't really make them pointless - just different from the initial implementation.

Klei were pretty clear about saying the reverting of the priority system was going to be revisited in a future update, so don't think that this is the final version of what we're going to have.

Also, a lot of people (not just on these forums) seems to forget that this is an early access game with a developer who is very good at community interaction.  They request feedback constantly and are active on the forums here and on Twitch with live feedback. 
Why is feedback that doesn't line up with your (general "your", not directed specifically at OP) own desires always labelled as complaining?  It is the feedback that the dev's want and ask for.  They are working with the active community to try to find a balance between what they see the game being and what the community is asking for.

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The main crux of the issue is that for jobs to be meaningful they must be truly essential and needed for core tasks to be performed. We have some of that now with some stations, but the game needs to expand on this. In a nutshell, jobs are too 'soft' of a system right now, that's why priorities are so linked to their value. The nature of ONI means you can't tighten the system too much, but I see no reason why every cooking station shouldn't need a cook, likewise for research stations. There may be other examples I'm not thinking of. The only jobs that need to be truly generalist are supply, digging (present restrictions excepted), cleaning, building (perhaps we need some restrictions here for complexity or materials used?) and (arguably) operating hamster wheels. That alone will help make the roles meaningful because we won't have as many issues with employed dupes getting sidelined from their intended task because the job scheduler has allowed another dupe to take their place. The system needs committing to as fully as possible, that's the first step.

It could mean more dupes are necessary (perhaps you'll even need the printer to spit out the first few quicker) but I'd readily accept that if it means jobs actually meant something.

EDITS: Because I don't think things through enough before I post.

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I keep seeing people say that the newer priority system gave a smaller range than the old one, but that is not true. Instead of 9 levels, the newer system gave you 10 levels per each job\job tree.

From Highest priority to lowest:
Anything set to 5 that was part of a dupes job and anything set to 5*
Anything set to 4 that was part of a dupes job and anything set to 4*
Anything set to 5 that was part of a dupes job and anything set to 5*
Anything set to 3 that was part of a dupes job and anything set to 3*
Anything set to 2 that was part of a dupes job and anything set to 2*
Anything set to 1 that was part of a dupes job and anything set to 1*
Anything set to 5 that was not part of a dupes job
Anything set to 4 that was not part of a dupes job
Anything set to 3 that was not part of a dupes job
Anything set to 2 that was not part of a dupes job
Anything set to 1 that was not part of a dupes job

Take note of the was/was not part of a dupes job, that means that it applies to each job tree individually.

As it stands, we get the drawbacks from the job system (minimum requirements) without any of the compensating advantages (Deeper and more efficient priority system). With the speed at which the system was reverted, it feels like there was a big knee-jerk reaction that Klei caved in to. Probably not the case, but it sure feels like it...

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First, maybe levels should be descriptive, not numbers, so it easier to understand, what is it what.

Second, I think that instead of simple priority, following levels would be useful:

  1. Totally low level
  2. Low level jobs, taken if no other job (default sweeping level)
  3. Specialist only job
  4. Non-specialist only job
  5. Non-specialist job, taken also by specialist having no own job (this is default level)
  6. Urgent job, taken by any Dupe finishing his task (default mopping level)
  7. Madafaka level - all other jobs interrupted (save drowning dupe that unconstructed ladder out)

Obviously, each level can be split on less and more important versions.

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perhaps what we need is just order specify dupe do specify job first,

just like a dupe, I can config which type of job he should do first in config panel , when I config he mine is first to do ,he should 
 

  1. query all dig job no matter what priority the mine job is , and order them by priority he dig level 9 first then 8 7 6 5 ....  and ignore any other type ,
  2. when he finish all dig job he query which job type is the second and order them by priority just like step one
  3. redo 1 and 2
  4. when he can`t find any job he become idle
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In my opinion it's not the priority system that's the problem but the job system. Klei basically split every task into it's own job and that creates problems when players expect certain job to perform multiple tasks.

All priorities you'd ever need are 'when you can', 'now' and 'omg NOW'. People are suggesting task ordering for each job, but that's just Rimworld style priorities which would make the jobs redundant.

Jobs need more definition. Have something like a builder who digs, delivers building materials and builds. Have machines operable only by specialists. With system like that you could potentially even remove priorities.

Just my 2 cents.

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33 minutes ago, Grimgaw said:

In my opinion it's not the priority system that's the problem but the job system. Klei basically split every task into it's own job and that creates problems when players expect certain job to perform multiple tasks.

All priorities you'd ever need are 'when you can', 'now' and 'omg NOW'. People are suggesting task ordering for each job, but that's just Rimworld style priorities which would make the jobs redundant.

Jobs need more definition. Have something like a builder who digs, delivers building materials and builds. Have machines operable only by specialists. With system like that you could potentially even remove priorities.

Just my 2 cents.

They did say that there are more jobs to come, right? Maybe that is/was part of the plan.

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