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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:22 am 

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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
Is it the lack of being able to do more directed influence?


Yes. And as Sluor mentioned, coordinating with your faction can be hard when you log in only rarely.

Chesterfield Taft wrote:
Are they not able to find a generally agreeable set of missions upon landing?


Generally, yes. Last night I fully filled my Inger's hold to the brim for the first time ever, with mission cargo. I rarely find missions that fill my hold, give good inf rewards, and go in the same direction, all at the same time. For attentive players these problems are largely mitigated by the amount of missions they run.

Chesterfield Taft wrote:
In what ways do people feel the system may need to bend for them? ...is it the ranking board? Are people comparing themselves to that and feeling worthless?


That is absolutely a discouraging factor. It's nice to have high goals to which we can aspire, but looking at governorships and island faction totals is very daunting for new players (as has been mentioned elsewhere).

Chesterfield Taft wrote:
Just how sporadic do they as players want to be (as in, how often do they generally check the client)? Would it help if players could see the missions at the last skyland they were at? So they can always take some combats every few hours when they peek their head in?


Definitely. I check in once, maybe twice, a day. Being able to see a report on recent landings, and maybe choose missions and run patrols retroactively, would be amazing. On the other hand, I will admit there's a certain appeal to logging on to manually fight a horde of combats a few minutes before landing.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:26 am 
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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
I'd love to delve more into why sporadics feel like they can't compete in the field of influence.

Is it the lack of being able to do more directed influence? Are they not able to find a generally agreeable set of missions upon landing? In what ways do people feel the system may need to bend for them? ...is it the ranking board? Are people comparing themselves to that and feeling worthless?

Just how sporadic do they as players want to be (as in, how often do they generally check the client)? Would it help if players could see the missions at the last skyland they were at? So they can always take some combats every few hours when they peek their head in?

I think a lot of complaints have more to do with not being able to do much with the influence itself rather than not being able to compete. My day usually goes like this: I wake up for work, check skyrates at home or at work, check again before leaving work, and check again before I go to sleep. So three times throughout the day I need to be on to check, about an hour wiggle room on either side of them if I miss it. I probably reset a couple of times too. And I do pretty well for myself. If I have to run something in the middle I need to check more like 5 times a day, but if someone can't do that then they're either going to sit around a lot or they shouldn't be running those skylands. If people are that concerned about the leaderboards they should pick somewhere to run that accommodates their schedule. If they don't want to miss on faction goals because of it, then that's a decision they'll have to make.

Long story short, I'm third in overall influence and I've never done much more that check in before work, at the end of/after work, and before I go to sleep. When I was in the KF I checked in in the morning and around dinner.


As for the suggestions to pick up missions on queue, I think that'd be a great idea. Pretty sure it would require major retooling though, since otherwise you could try like 10 different approaches to a place to see which one had the best mission pickup ("Maybe if I bounced off fuel XIII first..."). I do kind of like Taft's idea to let you pick up missions from the last place you were, but for the people with their treaties and faction goals this probably wouldn't be optimal. For Indies (and those of us with a wild side :remywicked: ) it'd be pretty cool to have.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:33 am 
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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
Sluor wrote:
And as a sporadic player, I feel unable to participate in these. Often, I only learn about them after the initial need has passed, or when they would be very far out of my way. Even when I can, my govenorship competition ensures I have to be as singleminded as they are to not fall behind. I certainly do not have the capability to hit the leaderboards for inf while still playing as sporadically as I'd like.


Now as a random suggestion, what if the map had something on it telling you what the majority of your faction was doing?

This would invalidate whole divisions of spies while allowing lazy players to contribute. Yeah, sounds like a great idea to me.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:50 am 

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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
I'd love to delve more into why sporadics feel like they can't compete in the field of influence.

Is it the lack of being able to do more directed influence? Are they not able to find a generally agreeable set of missions upon landing? In what ways do people feel the system may need to bend for them? ...is it the ranking board? Are people comparing themselves to that and feeling worthless?

Just how sporadic do they as players want to be (as in, how often do they generally check the client)? Would it help if players could see the missions at the last skyland they were at? So they can always take some combats every few hours when they peek their head in?


I see the current influence game as two goals. First is a personal goal of being a Governor. I was trying to achieve that at Kadath, but gave up because Mahmoth and were just grinding against each other. Second is the factional goal of having the most governorships. I tried to help Red with this last round by keeping Lhasa in Red as best I could.

Both of these goals are grinding goals and make influence a discouraging game for sporadic players. Since so many players are in the influence game for either or both goals, the idea of helping out the faction or getting a governorship are difficult to achieve.

My suggestion (and this is not new) would be to make influence have multiple meanings, one of which could be the Governorship. Make influence some type of skyland specific currency that a player can use in a variety of ways. Maybe just as skill points are used to improve skills globally for a user, influence points could be used for skyland specific "skills".

This suggestion doesn't take away from the PvP aspect of the influence game, it just adds individual goals. A player could still dump all influence into taking or shoring up a governorship. Maybe make an Influence option in the "options" tab and make that the default, so the user could change it to something else as desired.

As I think about it, I like the idea of influence as some kind of skill currency, but that's just me.

EDIT: Even something as silly as skyland specific badges (like Stackoverflow, or http://armorgames.com/play/2893/achievement-unlocked)


Last edited by joedirt on Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:03 am 
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Dead Cloud wrote:
Flood the inf game with a wide selection of goals and achievements for sporadic players to pursue. Create more skyland posts for different levels of inf, have players follow clues to pursue intricate treasure hunts for specific rewards at a skyland, create inf missions that pay higher rewards the longer they take to complete.


I like these suggestions for a variety of reasons

1. Options. I was talking with Acero last night about what our progressions were going to be, and as we started working out how we were going to progress through the tiers, we realized that it would be very interesting to see who gets to the top or to that eventual upgraded plane first. Our paths were all over the place, with tons of ideas about when crew would come, whether or not we'd do anything with weapons, on up. This extends to influence. Acero is a machine. I'm a "check-in, run cargo missions, if I sleep in, it's not a huge deal" sort of player. I still feel I have a place in this game, but I like the idea of more options. At the moment, I feel like there are not enough high cargo options or I'd like to stop being spammed with low level options (I never need a 5 cargo mission, but it shows up. I'd really appreciate it if the same selective pressures that prevent people with cargo under a certain amount also got applied in reverse or that there was another cargo influence spot open.)

2. Character: We go to three different people in a tavern and ask for missions. Only two of them have cargo missions, but that's a different gripe. This tavern can't be the only place on the skyland that needs help, nor is it a constant. I want to help a guy open a shop or run a mail route. I want to have a courier slot open where I become the UPS guy and everywhere I go, I pick things up and drop them off. I want a mission where I fly into a storm and collect data or transport a group of businessmen to a meeting and transport them back, after having an hour to wait for them where I'd pick up a trade on the side. I want races and stunt competitions. This world has so much to offer, and I want more.

3. Customization: This is a long way off, but more options lead to the chance to really set up changes to a skyland, my plane, and my character. That guy I built the shop for? He gives me a special deal on his fine selection of flight jackets and scarves. The business dignitaries? They make a deal to produce more tools at better rates, dropping prices. That storm data I collect? It goes towards better route planning for me. The races attract visitors, creating the need for a better airport, leading to faster sevice times.

This rambled a bit, but that's the sort of thing I'd like to see the influence game affect. Now it's just about faction control. It could be so much more.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:27 am 

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Okay, just thought of something based on Kar's earlier suggestion of just filling up whatever cargo space is left with X and having that give influence when dropped off.

What if you could do that on a queue? One potential example for X would be you offer your plane up as a free bus service, netting you influence with the people (because you're so nice and all). This influence could either be all for the source skyland, split between the source and destination, or all for the destination (maybe even have this as an option when picking up/dropping off). This could give the skyrate something to do when you have a weekend vacation and just can't get to the computer.

In terms of influence given, I'd think it would have to have a smaller I/K/C than any of the other skill-related (anything requiring Trust or Prestige) cargo missions, otherwise, people would never bother to check in.

Another somewhat related idea: what if you could access the last skyland you passed while flying, as long as you do it BEFORE you do any combats. Certain things would be offlimits, such as buying upgrades or getting a new plane, but you could get missions, trade, etc. This would certainly allow for much more sporadic play, and would solve all those moments where you just missed your landing time, but you're too far away to divert back (without losing a lot of time).


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:36 am 
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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
Cassy wrote:
So I can't play the game when I have time and want to. Instead the game dictates my daily routine.
...what if you could pick up missions from the last skyland you were at, any time during the flight from it?
My experience mirrors Cassy's.
And, yes, this is a super idea.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:48 am 

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How would this work with cargo missions? Would you have to leave some room when queuing, or could you resell some cargo mid-flight?Anything that lets you retroactively load or sell cargo isn't at all realistic, but gameplay trumps realism.

The in-game explanation could be radioing back to the skyland: "Hey, about that offer . . . ". Perfectly logical, unless cargo is involved.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:52 am 
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Istatay wrote:
How would this work with cargo missions? Would you have to leave some room when queuing, or could you resell some cargo mid-flight?Anything that lets you retroactively load or sell cargo isn't at all realistic, but gameplay trumps realism.

The in-game explanation could be radioing back to the skyland: "Hey, about that offer . . . ". Perfectly logical, unless cargo is involved.


A good point. Part of me feels any sort of cargo juggling is going to be a painful procedure...but how painful? I wonder what the implications would be if all your actions of the last skyland exist in a hazy 'could have happened' space, until you commit to it via performing a combat or updating your queue.

Or is the major use case going to be more for people who want missions, who are already carrying other missions and want to juggle those around? Thoughts thoughts.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:06 am 

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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
I wonder what the implications would be if all your actions of the last skyland exist in a hazy 'could have happened' space, until you commit to it via performing a combat or updating your queue.

I would quite enjoy the juxtaposition. Propeller planes + anthropomorphic animals + floating islands + quantum physics!? Win.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:31 am 

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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
I wonder what the implications would be if all your actions of the last skyland exist in a hazy 'could have happened' space, until you commit to it via performing a combat or updating your queue.


Yeah, the "could have happened" is what I was going for, which is why stuff like buying a new plane or upgrades is out (since that would affect speed, range, etc), but trading, missions, and even patrols could have happened.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:34 am 

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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
A good point. Part of me feels any sort of cargo juggling is going to be a painful procedure...but how painful? I wonder what the implications would be if all your actions of the last skyland exist in a hazy 'could have happened' space, until you commit to it via performing a combat or updating your queue.

Or is the major use case going to be more for people who want missions, who are already carrying other missions and want to juggle those around? Thoughts thoughts.


How about a checkbox in "Options" where a player can choose to prioritize between mission cargo or trade cargo? Then if you select missions that exceed your current hold capacity you'll either be forced to ditch cargo or be unable to accept the mission.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:19 am 
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Another idea that may help the influence game. (I'm sort of throwing these out there, and I apologize for a lack of cohesion.)

We have radios to communicate with the skylands and one another. Why not make radios similar to fuel efficiency, where you can boost the range of your radio to talk with skylands further away. That way, you can only communicate with a skyland and take missions if your radio range is there, and you can only take missions after you have the frequency for the skyland (gotten upon visiting). In addition, getting to a capital or joining a wing on a skyland could be simulated in game by picking up a frequency and authentication call-sign.

Also, citizens can contact you in the air after you gain some renown on a skyland and ask you for side missions every so often. Your skyrate would keep a record of contacts which would only be good for so many flight hours (that way, it is limited without excluding sporadic players so there's a sense of tradeoff.) Citizens would notice if you ran mostly cargo or combat and would tailor their request accordingly. This could also benefit sporadic players who may not want to check in at the tavern on every leg of their trip or who wouldn't normally participate in the influence game but something cool pops up along their trade route, and they have a little extra cargo space so why not?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:30 am 

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Re: hazy 'could have happened' space

You get to choose what missions your skyrate already decided to take. He's not too smart, of course, so he has to ask you what he already took. Simple and easy. Devs might even title the dialog window, "what did I have in there again?"

I like this idea quite a bit. I could fly through whatever skyland I wanted missions at, and make sure I've got at least two hours of flight in the direction I want to take my missions in. I hope to see that feature go into the game.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:58 am 

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Quote:
"Picking up missions on preview?" I'm not sure I follow.


Let me give an example. Lets say I run targetted influence on Jordan. In the evening I arrive back in the core from delivering the missions I picked up in the morning. When I was a bit late in logging on in the morning because work or something else kept me away I often find myself in the situation that I want to go to bed in an hour but will land at Jordan in 2 hours. If I were able to see what missions the next target on my queue (Jordan) offers and tell my skyrate "take those 3" I could go to bed when I wish. When my skyrates lands at Jordan an hour after I went to bed he takes up the missions and can deliver them. To have a cost associated with it so players who are actually online are rewarded, the missions could give say 10% less influence. But I wouldn't lose out on half of my daily influence because I just wanted to go to bed.

Quote:
But do let's expand on that a bit. Again, is it more that you feel less power to directed influence, or is it the small window of time to pick up missions?


The problem I'm experiencing now started when I began to run targetted influence instead of just stuffing everything into my cargo hold that fit in. As I said before its mainly a map problem at the moment. I cannot afford to sit on a skyland doing nothing for 2 hours because I will still need about 12 hours to deliver the missions I pick up and it will be sleeping time when I come back. My core problem is that I'm bored to death when I have time to play because I can just sit there and watch chat (my knowledge of the english language isn't good enough to not be kicked out of the RP channel) while my queue is still running and I tend to be RL busy the moment when my ship lands.

Some more general thoughts on the faction part of the influence game:

I love to help my faction in a common goal. I find influence wars between factions (like with Red last round) exhilarating, as it provides a reason to run influence besides climbing up positions on a leaderboard. I had a lot more fun contributing a few 10k per day for my faction in the legacy event than I had in my non-sporadic days this round in an ingersoll with a top 5 spot in the dailies nearly every day. I find it sad that every factional attack now is accompanied by an OOC flaming thread on the forums. I do really wish for dev intervention when such topics get out of hand. Hell, I think I would actually like NPCs setting factional influence goals ("Admiral Fuseli has heard of a new weapon being researched on skyland xy, steal the plans by taking over the skyland") or the idea of pirates running influence on a random skyland. I think the influence game provides a huge span of endgame goals as long as everybody participating sees it what it is: a game.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:10 am 
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Cassy wrote:
If I were able to see what missions the next target on my queue (Jordan) offers and tell my skyrate "take those 3" I could go to bed when I wish. When my skyrates lands at Jordan an hour after I went to bed he takes up the missions and can deliver them. To have a cost associated with it so players who are actually online are rewarded, the missions could give say 10% less influence. But I wouldn't lose out on half of my daily influence because I just wanted to go to bed.


And if I don't like the missions there, can I fly someplace else?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:15 am 

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If I'm understanding correctly, the preview idea is essentially the "what did I do" idea in reverse. It might have to set any combats you haven't finished yet as "autoresolved" to keep the order of events somewhat linear.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:31 am 
Snuggler

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Acero wrote:
If I'm understanding correctly, the preview idea is essentially the "what did I do" idea in reverse. It might have to set any combats you haven't finished yet as "autoresolved" to keep the order of events somewhat linear.


Well, my question is can the future change?

If I don't like the missions being previewed, can I warp my future and try landing someplace else?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:32 am 

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Hmmm, maybe looking ahead could disable diverting for the rest of the flight.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:03 pm 

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I imagine it like calling the tavern via radio while I'm not that far away from the skyland "Do you have anything nice to do for me?". If they do I can "reserve" the missions but would only be able to take them when I land at that skyland (I just don't need to be online at that time anymore) - just like with trades.

Not sure about calling another skyland if I don't like the missions I see...that would have to be decided from a balance point of view. I really like Victor Grissoms "radio range" idea here.


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