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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:49 pm 
Snuggler

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Navvy wrote:
I understand the idea a bit differently, and I like it. Basically, what I interpret would work like this. In flight you'd rack up your combat icons. When you landed, those combats wouldn't go away -- but you wouldn't really land, either. As a player you'd return to the game and the skyland, you'd see those yellow icons, plus you'd see another button to autoresolve all those combats and actually land. You couldn't repair or sell or interact with the skyland in any way until either the combats are cleared or the new button's been pressed.


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If the player doesn't have a queue, it could sit like that indefinitely. If the player does have a queue, then those combats go away as soon as the first part of the queue expires. Say there's a trade then a service queued, once that trade is about to take place (at the end of its block of time, 7 to 2 minutes depending on skills) then all those combats get AR'd and the trade is completed. This way all your cargo, ammo, and armor are lost just before your skyrate visits the trade and service shops.


So realistically, this only changes the last element of the queue, correct? Otherwise, we still run into the problem of needing to be back at a certain time to resolve them all on a skyland in the middle of a queue.

Quote:
And a really, really important thing would be to make the AR work exactly like the player. It should count kills toward missions, it should win and lose the same level combats, it should get the same cash reward instead of 1/3rd. If non-sporadic players get an influence/money advantage in manual combat, then make auto combat just as rewarding. Let us pick up a Craze or Crusade, queue two hunts for an hour and a half each, and return a few hours later with the missions completed and our guy ready to go again.


This is where we come to a matter that I disagree with. I do not feel that manual combats and auto resolved combats should be treated equally. If they are, there really is no reason to do it aside from training the auto-resolver, a fact that I find quite boring. Sure it's fun, but if it's not that meaningful, why do it? Moreover, if I got my auto-resolver pretty darn smart, then my optimal strategy would be to never fight a combat manually again for fear of losing it. Yes, in this world the sporadic player would do better, but manually performing the combats could become just as meaningless.

If you handle a combat manually, and you absolutely rock it, you should be rewarded for that.

Frankly, I'd rather get rid of auto-resolving combats all together then make the line between auto-resolved/manual meaningless. As I think about it more, I truly feel that what needs to happen is that sporadic and attentive players need to be rewarded in different ways. Attempting to normalize to the same scale ultimately can hurt and mediocritize both players experiences.

Both playstyles have their place, and need to feel awesome.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:33 pm 
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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
So realistically, this only changes the last element of the queue, correct? Otherwise, we still run into the problem of needing to be back at a certain time to resolve them all on a skyland in the middle of a queue.

Correct. The omnipresent player will still have more legs of combat to fight, but the sometimes-away player can still come back to some combats, no matter how long his Skyrate's been sitting.

(I think this was part of the idea behind patrols, but they seem to have drifted.)

Taft also wrote:
This is where we come to a matter that I disagree with. I do not feel that manual combats and auto resolved combats should be treated equally.

Yeah, there definitely needs to be some incentive for manual combat. (But it's super important that if the autoresolver can't win missions for you, it can't lose them for you either.)

Taft also also wrote:
Frankly, I'd rather get rid of auto-resolving combats all together then make the line between auto-resolved/manual meaningless. As I think about it more, I truly feel that what needs to happen is that sporadic and attentive players need to be rewarded in different ways. Attempting to normalize to the same scale ultimately can hurt and mediocritize both players experiences.

Both playstyles have their place, and need to feel awesome.

The ahwbvious answer here is to make the attentive player awesome at combat, and the sporadic player awesome at trading. But that has some clear challenges, chief among them that the sporad can't watch the lux market shifts like the attent can.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:58 pm 
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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
And would you need to be at the Skyland to continue the story? One thing to always be very careful of is when events resolve (especially considering some things happen when the player isn't there).


My thinking is - yes - but the storyline continuation would just hang around on the skyland until the player came back for it, so the player could continue anytime he/she felt like it. There could be a note in the player's log that says 'Took X to skyland Y, wonder how he's doing with his gizmo'.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:09 pm 
Snuggler

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Eskay wrote:
Yeah, there definitely needs to be some incentive for manual combat. (But it's super important that if the autoresolver can't win missions for you, it can't lose them for you either.)


I was under the impression that missions being lost due to the auto-resolver no longer occurred.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:20 pm 

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Well. I think that a player should have the ability to make a combat skyrate and do just as well as a player with a trader skyrate. That assumes both are putting in the same amount of time, regardless of how much time that might be. If that's not the developer philosophy, that's cool, it kind of limits my options but it doesn't hurt the game. I'd still suggest you try and close up the gap, though. A hunting AR makes less than half of what money a hunting player does, I think that's a pretty large gulf. Further, combat missions have zero appeal to someone like me, which cuts down on the influence I can make compared to the players who clear out the combat missions then take up cargo and run across the map. If the devs want to give that bonus to the people who can sit here and grind the game, it's a valid choice, it doesn't ruin anything for me.

And thanks, Taft, for looking over the queue suggestion. It'd fit my schedule but I can see it'd have problems for other players.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:46 pm 

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Taft wrote:
I was under the impression that missions being lost due to the auto-resolver no longer occurred.


Yes, AR no longer loses missions for you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:20 pm 
Snuggler

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Navvy wrote:
Well. I think that a player should have the ability to make a combat skyrate and do just as well as a player with a trader skyrate.


"Just as well" is a most murky area indeed. Not impossible, but murky.

Quote:
That assumes both are putting in the same amount of time, regardless of how much time that might be. If that's not the developer philosophy, that's cool, it kind of limits my options but it doesn't hurt the game. I'd still suggest you try and close up the gap, though.


It really isn't the trader/combat gap that is the big issue, so much as the sporadic/attentive gap. Certainly trade and combat need to also be addressed, but the biggest issues are related to the different attention amounts that people pay to the game. Balancing both on the same axis has always been a trial (anything a sporadic guy can do, the attentive can do better), which leads me to believe that the sporadic should be potentially rewarded in a different way.

Quote:
A hunting AR makes less than half of what money a hunting player does, I think that's a pretty large gulf. Further, combat missions have zero appeal to someone like me, which cuts down on the influence I can make compared to the players who clear out the combat missions then take up cargo and run across the map. If the devs want to give that bonus to the people who can sit here and grind the game, it's a valid choice, it doesn't ruin anything for me.


We exist in a strange area, where players have the ability to either play the game sporadically or attentively. We absolutely could move it to one of those extremes, where the game celebrates attentiveness or it completely remains in the realm of the sporadic. Perhaps this is a foolhardy measure, but I find it's one of the things that is unique and good about the game.

To that end, I've never really found a workable solution where sporadic play's profitability is increased to equal or better attentive play, just because anything that involves activity will tend to mean the attentive player is better, unless we actually put a hard limit on their actions (like how other games use action points to limit daily interaction). Maybe something like that is the answer, and we just dampen both sides interactivity to meet some place in the middle, but I don't think that's very interesting.

We have two paths in the game, and they both should have the opportunity to feel good and feel that they're accomplishing something in the world. If we reward players for playing the game...is the answer to reward the players for not playing the game? Some games have a concept of rested XP, such that if you don't play the game for a while, when you come back you progress a little bit faster. Might something like that work? What if we took it even further than that?

Thoughts, thoughts.


Last edited by Chesterfield Taft on Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:39 pm 

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I hate when the forum moves faster than chat.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:57 pm 
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Would it be possible to earn some trade points with cargo missions? With combat missions, there is a bonus to combat points earned as the levels are higher, but with cargo missions, there is a fundamental sacrifice to trade points earned, as there is less cargo space to fill. A TP bonus upon successful delivery would be awesome.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:02 pm 

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I also proposed that

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:23 pm 
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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
I was under the impression that missions being lost due to the auto-resolver no longer occurred.

And that's a really good thing, and should be a guideline for the sorts of ways the autoresolver can deviate from manual combat.

Okay sporadic play.
For the moment I'll only discuss it in trading. The way Skyrates originally accomplished sporadic play was by inserting these flight times everywhere.

One way to bring the attents closer to the level of the sporads is to limit how frequently you can update your queue. This is back to action points ew.

Another way would be to increase flight times across the board. But this means each landing is a bigger deal, and it's a bigger deal if you have to miss one.

So let's ditch the notion that we're bringing attents down to where the sporads are. Instead, let's make it so that effort invested above what it takes to play sporadically earns you different rewards: alternate paint jobs, what have you. The influence game already tries implementing this: as it stands, the influence game barely even pretends to accommodate sporads, but the rewards it gives to attents aren't the same kinds of rewards available from the two other games. But then we have a problem: the sporads hit a barrier to progress after "beating" the trading game at Tier 9, while the attents can go on playing influence all round.

And that's not something we're likely to beat soon. The inf game is the endgame for a reason: the only challenge that'll scale with the players is more players. But competing against other players means competing against players more attentive than you.

What if we eliminate that restriction? Somehow we arrange matters so that you're only competing against players who are investing a similar level of time, like weight classes in wrestling but constantly shifting.

Or maybe we divide your results by your keyboard time invested to achieve them. Then it becomes a challenge to do as well as possible in as little keyboard time as possible, and the attents have an incentive to go play outside.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:09 pm 
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WARNING: Extreme blue-sky thinking that may or may not make sense follows. This will require a huge revamp of skyrates to work!

The problem with rewarding sporadic and attentive players differently
currently is that there is one progression mechanic in Skyrates, money. What if that weren't so?

What if there were completely separate progressions for the two playstyles, money and skill? Flavour it however you want (I'm thinking the attentive manager of his corporate empire vs. the guy who lives in his cockpit: you can't buy the skill and experience that comes out of months of sitting in the cockpit of a plane, but neither can you get yourself higher in the world of business without actually getting out of the cockpit and being willing to file TPS reports.)

The attentive player's approach to a problem is to throw more money at it (planes bought at high discounts, fleets, heavy crew management, high monetary stability -- the "tools for the job" philosophy - but limited upgradability of planes, significant caps to plane stats and skills, and mutinies), while the sporadic player's approach is self-improvement (significant upgrade possibilities, no stat or skill caps, a plane-attuning bonus (all stats increase by x% for every y weeks in that plane), -- the "she is my bird" philosophy - but paying full price for new planes, no fleets, just the single set of crew, and low monetary stability.)

(I should explain the monetary stability thing - pirates, banks, etc. are far more willing to steal from a dude than a business. It basically acts as a quasicap on money for the skill-focused sporadic player.)

The idea is that, even though the moneydude needs skillpoints to a certain extent, and even though skilldude needs money to a certain extent, the other needs their namesake progression mechanic so strongly that in comparison the other's need is a pittance. There could even be things that blur the line - crewmembers who won't sign up unless you prove your worth in the cockpit, not being able to really upgrade your plane effectively without understanding its manufacturing line, etc.

For even further into the future, this could be gradated - where buying your first fleet plane, say, significantly reduces the skillpoints you get and skill levels assume a certain amount of practice time, reducing the time you can use to manage your corporation, and so on, to let each player find their particular balance.

(Hm. Maybe the attentive player should be the skill-focused one and vice versa, actually. Anyway.)

I think separate progressions are really the only way you're going to be able to have both attentive and sporadic players with neither of them feeling gypped.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:11 pm 
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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?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:19 pm 
Min-Maxer

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Oh, right, actual topic.

I play the influence game very sporadically and enjoy it, (logging in about once a day), but I have a warped sense of priorities foir it. I use a Kingfisher, and all of my inf goes to Uurwerk, the skyland roughly the furthest away from the others.

I don't support my faction with big pushes or defense elsewhere, and even though I could take return missions from wherever I land, that would necessitate logging in more than once a day.

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.

I'm not sure what all of this implies for the future of the inf game, but there it is.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:26 pm 

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I have been playing the sporadic way of the influence game for a few months now and my days tend to look like this:

1. get up in the morning
2. wait for my queue to end and pick up missions
3. queue up to deliver my missions and fly back to my targeted skyland (this usually takes about 12 hours RL time)
4. be online when my Skyrate lands 12 hous later
5. pick up new missions and set a queue for the night

The problem I have with this aproach (besides it being very repetitive) is that while I log in only twice a day, playing the game still isn't really sporadic. To be able to pick up my 2nd set of missions in the evening I absolutely have to be online when my skyrate lands in the morning. Being an hour too late there means I will be already in bed when it is landing time in the evening and so lose one set of missions.

So I can't play the game when I have time and want to. Instead the game dictates my daily routine. While this is mainly a map problem this round its roots lie also in the basic concept of the game (that I need a certain amount of RL time to deliver my missions). I know that can't be changed but the idea of picking up missions on preview, maybe with reduced influence output would at least reduce (if not solve) the "I must be online at that time" problem for me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:13 pm 
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Most players, I think, are unlikely to play one of the three subgames unless they see something to be accomplished there. Unless you're looking for more trade points, you'll probably stop trading so much once you've got your Tier 9 and don't see anything else to buy. Likewise, you're not going to fly much influence unless you think you can get somewhere.

But the large influence numbers moving around the governorship boards mean that's a pretty intimidating goal, and the dailies here are as closed as in the other two games, which means the only way a novice influence runner is likely to make an impact is factional influence. But in factional influence it's difficult to see what you personally are doing, and it doesn't necessarily feel like a personal accomplishment, and you certainly can't do it on your own schedule - got to go where your faction is going.


Edit: SLJ points out to me that if you're creating separate games for the sporads and the attents, you should check whether the attention axis correlates at all with heart/spade/club/diamond. If (say) no Clubs are Sporads, then you might confine player-vs-player to the Attents' game.


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 Post subject: I was casually involved.
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:06 am 

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... but never fully part of the inf wars. Once I hit the top tier, my game was pretty much over. However if I was given objectives to complete. E.g, 'Blues want more power over Eltsina.' and was then given a mission to help that task then I'd definately carry on tooling around the skies. Especially if I could see the result of our collective hard work in bonuses, be they rare upgrades or lowered prices or whatever you can come up with.

From a gamer with a bit of A.D.D.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:55 am 

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Instead of trying to balance the influence game between sporadic and attentive players, how about broadening the game for all players. 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.

At the same time have a rolling series of events for the attentive players. My all-time favorite skyrates activity was the Legacy event. That really lit up the forums and created greater faction cohesion. I enjoy playing on a team that’s working together to pursue a common goal. I’d like to see an ongoing series of events during the round that follows a specific storyline that requires each faction to achieve specific influence goals. The hurdle there would be balancing the disparity of inf runners between factions. Maybe rewards could be adjusted by faction based on the total number of members in the faction.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:14 am 
Snuggler

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Cassy wrote:
The problem I have with this aproach (besides it being very repetitive) is that while I log in only twice a day, playing the game still isn't really sporadic. To be able to pick up my 2nd set of missions in the evening I absolutely have to be online when my skyrate lands in the morning. Being an hour too late there means I will be already in bed when it is landing time in the evening and so lose one set of missions.

So I can't play the game when I have time and want to. Instead the game dictates my daily routine. While this is mainly a map problem this round its roots lie also in the basic concept of the game (that I need a certain amount of RL time to deliver my missions). I know that can't be changed but the idea of picking up missions on preview, maybe with reduced influence output would at least reduce (if not solve) the "I must be online at that time" problem for me.


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

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? I.e., what if you could pick up missions from the last skyland you were at, any time during the flight from it?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:19 am 
Snuggler

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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?


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