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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:07 pm 
Snuggler

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Ah, I understand the point now. Sorry for the confusion.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:15 pm 
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Chesterfield Taft wrote:

Let's say that to be a maximum apprentice, you need 500 influence a day.

We have a high level mission runner who pulls in about 5000 influence a day.

Let's say the max multiplier is +25%

So if I'm a high level with apprentices who are just good enough...

Each day I'm pulling in 6250.
The apprentices are each pulling in 500.
(my faction is getting an extra +1250 than it would otherwise)

Now let's say I have one superstar apprentice, who starts to pull in a lot more influence. Let's say, double.
I'm still pulling in 6250.
The four lower apprentices are 500.
One apprentice at 1000.
(my faction is getting an extra +1250 than it would otherwise)

Were my apprentice to go off and start mentoring (himself getting a gaggle of apprentices):
I found and leveled up a new apprentice. I'm still getting 6250.
My apprentice who is now a mentor is now getting 1200.
(my faction is getting an extra +1450 than it would otherwise)

Then for your faction, the best method is to have your highest level mission runners receiving that mission boost, and apprenticing players who are earning a good amount of steady influence, but not so much influence as to make it better (for the faction) were they a mentor.


So recruiting new members to a faction becomes even more important.


Am I right to estimate that this could put smaller factions at an even greater disadvantage?

I understand if this is the desired effect, just want to make sure I have the implications down clearly.

***edited to exclude some bad math****

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:44 pm 
Snuggler

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Turbo Lance wrote:
So recruiting new members to a faction becomes even more important.

Am I right to estimate that this could put smaller factions at an even greater disadvantage?

I understand if this is the desired effect, just want to make sure I have the implications down clearly.

***edited to exclude some bad math****


It's a good thing to bring up. Disproportionate factions sizes is something we will need to address no matter what. We have some ideas here.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:46 pm 
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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
I don't foresee the negative effects being so debilitating as to warrant such constant vigilance. Their goal is to be an annoyance, not a hamstring.


I continue to be utterly confused as to why the team is expending such effort to create a system that is intended to be "an annoyance."

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:09 pm 

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Sunrunner wrote:
I continue to be utterly confused as to why the team is expending such effort to create a system that is intended to be "an annoyance."

Because it gives the game depth?

As a programmer, I can tell you working on BLEEP BLEEP FIX THIS NAO bugs all the time ain't fun.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:41 pm 

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My prediction about whining was not meant to imply that the whining was justified. Just something I thought was likely. In general, I'm in favor of more risk, and more valid, interesting choices.

-

Yes, some of my numbers were 'cooked' to obviate my conclusion. But I don't think that it's unwarranted. My point was that, at the extreme, the influence of an M/A system like this is profoundly negative, and that even if the influence is decreased, it's still somewhat negative.

For my part, I feel that the numbers that Taft provided do not provide the whole story, even if those numbers are accurate. I'm assuming they're simply hypothetical for the moment.

Quote:
I really have no problem with the influence system involving veteran and more newbie players working together.


1. That's not what the M/A system has been at all. Currently, a veteran mentor gains minimal reward from a newbie apprentice. If you want to contribute more influence, overall, you want to be an apprentice. Thus, factions want their best runners to be apprentices, as things stand now. (This will change, see below)

2. The real SR newbies aren't running missions, anyway.

3. I kind of do have a problem with that, actually. That's the whole point. Even if you can get this M/A system to the point where it functions 'as intended,' where it encourages active inf. runners to pick up 5 newbie players, each... I feel the effects of requiring it for competition are going to be negative.

I'm not looking forward to more recruitment. Taft glosses over this ("I found and leveled up a new apprentice"). But what this really means is a bunch of people in chat, asking all the newbies in 'help' if they've signed up, yet. And it means that if you want to compete, you need to be signing people up, and I see this as bad. It is, like I said before, the 'facebook app' model of gaming.

Recruitment will be exacerbated by the fact that, with the numbers Taft gave, factions now want their best runners to be mentors. Factions want as many top runners to be mentors as possible. And what that means is that when you start earning a certain amount of inf., the best move is to switch out and become a new mentor. That doesn't just mean one mentor who has to find a new apprentice - that means one old mentor who has to find one new apprentice, and one new mentor who wants to find five. Overall, I predict more churn in M/A relationships, and that means more recruiting. At best, it will be contained to a few forum threads. At worst, it could be a constant annoyance in all forms of communication.

Quote:
A slight point. Your latter case is simply a return to the extreme example you previously dismissed, without dealing with the subtlety that exists.


No, it is not. You have two extremes - one where your own actions are the only basis for your own success or failure, and one where other's actions are the only basis for success. And this is clearly a move from one extreme into a nearby, slightly mushier area. I feel that some areas of competition should be individual, and this is one of those areas. This feeling is based on several reasons, one of which is that the interaction between players being described is very shallow. This cannot, in my opinion, be described as a 'team sport,' because the only cooperation needed is to get people to sign up their friends/complete strangers before going about their own business.

Quote:
We do not want to necessarily reward you for just signing up your friends. Nor do we necessarily want it to be the case that 'the group with the most people = better.' However, we realize that part of the most compelling and interesting parts of our game is the slight multiplayer component.


That sounds suspiciously like, "so we're going to do it anyway" to the cynically-inclined.

Actually, in the course of writing this, and going over what C. Taft wrote, I feel I've come to a slightly different understanding of things. I personally don't think of the influence game as being suitable, in its current state, for real competition. And I've always felt that somehow, that was the aspiration for it. These changes are going to make it, in my eyes, even less suitable for competition.

But in a sense, that's nothing lost - I wasn't going to try to compete, anyway. And if it becomes a useful tool for encouraging players, then maybe that's the best thing we can hope for, really.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:23 pm 
Smashing Pumpkins

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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
Disproportionate factions sizes is something we will need to address no matter what. We have some ideas here.


Could you please do that first before any mentor/apprentice bonuses? And could you please turn off the "NPC factions delete all your influence if they flip one of your skylands, and they're deliberately targeting your capital" until faction sizes are balanced better?

The current system not only keeps all the advantages big factions have always enjoyed, it also punishes small factions for being small, and now you want to turn it into even more of a popularity contest? Why would anyone want to join a faction that has to spend all its efforts just defending its capital?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:47 am 
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As a quick note, I think it's okay to have reduced cargo as a penalty for condition loss. Last I heard Marquis did put in a "buy as much as possible" option, so any queued trades would still go through, just with less cargo. Even sporadic pilots need to take care of their planes.

Now for the mentor/apprentice system. I like the concept of mentor/apprentice relationships, but I'm really not seeing a point to them right now. The mentor is supposed to be a more experienced player who can guide the young newbies through combat, trade, missions, etc. Last I checked that was called Help Chat. I have yet to see someone ask a question and just be ignored unless there's no one on. There's occasional silliness, but the questions still get answered. Also, it comes free with every new CR-4P, so even the freshest Flight Schooler can use it.

The only information that mentors could not share with their apprentices publicly would be faction-specific information, and there's a faction chat for that. For everything else everyone is pretty giving with the information, and I'd rather not change that (let me mentor you and I'll tell you the secrets of the best upgrades for plane X).

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:30 am 
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Sure, I think the specific concern was about paid for cargo leaking away.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:21 am 
Snuggler

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Sunrunner wrote:
I continue to be utterly confused as to why the team is expending such effort to create a system that is intended to be "an annoyance."


Remember servicing? Or recall a game that involves armor degradation and repair over time.

For the most part, it's a fairly boring system, but necessary for the economy. You need drains for money. The old servicing system involved virtually no decision making whatsoever. We are trying (and we admit it's an experiment) to add a little bit of decision making to the process.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:37 am 
Snuggler

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Grant wrote:
Yes, some of my numbers were 'cooked' to obviate my conclusion. But I don't think that it's unwarranted. My point was that, at the extreme, the influence of an M/A system like this is profoundly negative, and that even if the influence is decreased, it's still somewhat negative.


We are happy to listen to that opinion and analyze what degree of negativity you feel, and how that may be mitigated.

Quote:
For my part, I feel that the numbers that Taft provided do not provide the whole story, even if those numbers are accurate. I'm assuming they're simply hypothetical for the moment.


Oh absolutely hypothetical. I picked numbers that made the math clear and easy.

Quote:
Quote:
I really have no problem with the influence system involving veteran and more newbie players working together.


1. That's not what the M/A system has been at all. Currently, a veteran mentor gains minimal reward from a newbie apprentice. If you want to contribute more influence, overall, you want to be an apprentice. Thus, factions want their best runners to be apprentices, as things stand now. (This will change, see below)

2. The real SR newbies aren't running missions, anyway.


The existing system is not working/meeting the goals. I agree.

Quote:
I'm not looking forward to more recruitment. Taft glosses over this ("I found and leveled up a new apprentice"). But what this really means is a bunch of people in chat, asking all the newbies in 'help' if they've signed up, yet. And it means that if you want to compete, you need to be signing people up, and I see this as bad. It is, like I said before, the 'facebook app' model of gaming.

At best, it will be contained to a few forum threads. At worst, it could be a constant annoyance in all forms of communication.


I think what we get into is figuring out at what level that recruitment will exist. Certainly, it would be annoying to have people spamming every 5 seconds:

"Mentor looking for Apprentice"
"Mentor looking for Apprentice"
"Mentor looking for Apprentice"
"Mentor looking for Apprentice"
"Mentor looking for Apprentice"
"Mentor looking for Apprentice"

I don't think recruitment is a bad thing (and I would go so far as to say I don't think that you believe it's that bad a thing either), what it comes to is the form that the recruitment takes. Spamming is bad, harranguing is bad.

Other games get around this via localized chat and the fact that players would need to be in the same physical space. We have the benefit/detriment that you can't even see the players who are on chat. If constant spamming looking for Apprentices is disallowed, or at the least is relegated to a specific 'Recruitment' channel, then the recruiting would occur there, or players would send their offers only when a newbie appeared in the world.

And I must admit, I do like the idea of a new person entering the world, and then being given requests for mentorship.

Quote:
I feel that some areas of competition should be individual, and this is one of those areas.


While I agree some areas should be individual, I don't think Influence should be.

Quote:
This feeling is based on several reasons, one of which is that the interaction between players being described is very shallow. This cannot, in my opinion, be described as a 'team sport,' because the only cooperation needed is to get people to sign up their friends/complete strangers before going about their own business.


Sign up people, and then ensure that they do missions, and maintain relations with them such that they don't seek mentorship elsewhere.

Quote:
We do not want to necessarily reward you for just signing up your friends. Nor do we necessarily want it to be the case that 'the group with the most people = better.' However, we realize that part of the most compelling and interesting parts of our game is the slight multiplayer component.


That sounds suspiciously like, "so we're going to do it anyway" to the cynically-inclined.[/quote]

If I were completely of that mind, would we have created this thread and would we bother responding to anyone?

Individuals have questions and concerns about the rational and motives behind the proposed changes. We have attempted to address and rationalize them. If you feel I am dismissing you, I do apologize.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:38 am 
Snuggler

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Kalin wrote:
Could you please do that first before any mentor/apprentice bonuses? And could you please turn off the "NPC factions delete all your influence if they flip one of your skylands, and they're deliberately targeting your capital" until faction sizes are balanced better?

The current system not only keeps all the advantages big factions have always enjoyed, it also punishes small factions for being small, and now you want to turn it into even more of a popularity contest? Why would anyone want to join a faction that has to spend all its efforts just defending its capital?


We are working on both in parallel.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:40 am 
Snuggler

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KarHallarn wrote:
Now for the mentor/apprentice system. I like the concept of mentor/apprentice relationships, but I'm really not seeing a point to them right now. The mentor is supposed to be a more experienced player who can guide the young newbies through combat, trade, missions, etc. Last I checked that was called Help Chat. I have yet to see someone ask a question and just be ignored unless there's no one on. There's occasional silliness, but the questions still get answered. Also, it comes free with every new CR-4P, so even the freshest Flight Schooler can use it.


Help chat, while helpful, is a less personal relationship. If a person asks there, it is because that is their last resort.

However, if they have a specific helper/mentor, then they have formed a relationship with another player, and they may feel freer to ask any possible niggling question they have.

Think of it a bit like asking your entire assembled school, versus a single trusted teacher.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:32 am 
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I really think if you want a money sink and not just a time sink, having upgrades be one time ala 2.3 would be better. Also having their price scale with plane price. Perhaps say you can mix and match for a given plane, but they all go poof when you buy a new plane.

And no, I'm not advocating kits per se, just an actual money sink.

Servicing and degrading armor were things you dealt with as you played. The first was, admittedly, an annoyance, but a small one. Degrading armor was a challenge, not an annoyance. Extended, forced downtime, such as this new system, is annoying and more. It forces people away from the game, increasing the chance they will lose interest entirely.

If you want a system that gives interesting options, I would suggest the current one but only with bonuses. Meaningful, large bonuses, that might make me say "Hm, do I want to spend the next four hours on the ground to have a dice roll's chance of getting a speed boost that will last for <a significant amount of time>? On the other hand, I might just get an inf bonus and I don't need that."

If the system goes live as proposed, the only questions for me will be a) what is the optimal servicing point (which we will learn quickly, I expect) and b) how does rate of condition decay in different planes and the accompanying servicing affect my ckph (which is just math)? And then there will be no decision to make.

OK, I wrote that as I thought of it. Here is a concrete proposal:

-Servicing ought to be 100% optional, and ought to trade potential flight time for temporary stat bonuses.
-Bonuses should be significant.
-Bonuses should be random. They might be completely random, or the game might give you a short list to choose from when servicing is complete, so you can exert some control over it, but you should not get to pick your bonus up front.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:37 am 
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OK, upon reflection my proposal appears functionally identical to the dev proposal.

Except that my impression is that as negatives pile up the game will become unplayable. Even it if doesn't, people who stop to repair will always do better at everything.

Or will they?

What happens when you hit zero? Do negatives keep piling up? If not, I can imagine a situation where I eventually am carrying 10 modifiers that all reduce my influence or combat profits, and at that point I can stop caring about them.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:17 am 
Helpful

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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
And I must admit, I do like the idea of a new person entering the world, and then being given requests for mentorship.

aaaaaaaaaaa!

I suppose this could depend on the form the request takes, but I feel like the folks you haven't yet sold on your game are exactly the ones you want to convince that radio is friendly and helpful and totally not full of people spamming you with requests.

Sunrunner wrote:
What happens when you hit zero? Do negatives keep piling up? If not, I can imagine a situation where I eventually am carrying 10 modifiers that all reduce my influence or combat profits, and at that point I can stop caring about them.


At least in the past, the devs have said that at zero you will receive condition effects at approximately twice the usual rate, to guard against exactly the situation you describe.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:25 am 
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Eskay wrote:
At least in the past, the devs have said that at zero you will receive condition effects at approximately twice the usual rate, to guard against exactly the situation you describe.


In that case repair is definitely a required part of the game. I think it's bad design, and potentially suicidal.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:12 am 
Incarnation of Rock

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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
Help chat, while helpful, is a less personal relationship. If a person asks there, it is because that is their last resort.

However, if they have a specific helper/mentor, then they have formed a relationship with another player, and they may feel freer to ask any possible niggling question they have.

Think of it a bit like asking your entire assembled school, versus a single trusted teacher.

Hmmm, then you're going about this wildly wrong. If you want people to establish a helping relationship then the last thing you want to do is offer major strategic benefits to helping. To use your example, you ask your teacher about something and they say "Okay, but you have to tell the school board who helped you so I'll have a better chance at a raise".

Making the problem worse is that the bonus for the mentors is dependent upon how well the apprentices perform, which leads to a situation where mentors who want the most advantage should be shopping around for the best apprentices, when it should be apprentices shopping around for the mentor who helps them the best.

I would much rather have mentors get a bonus for the number of apprentices rather than the quality of the apprentices, though this again leads to the "spam as many people as possible to get the biggest advantage" situation. Actually, my ideal situation would be that whatever benefit mentors get has absolutely no relation to gameplay at all (extra ratings because they're so wise, for instance) so they'd only be helping people to help them. Additionally, apprentices (at least the newbies) don't need a speed boost, they need an "undo last mistake" button. Giving the mentors the ability to transfer a couple thousand G-squigs to the apprentice would probably help with that, but the frequency and amount of transfer would have to be limited to prevent abuse.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:25 am 

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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
And I must admit, I do like the idea of a new person entering the world, and then being given requests for mentorship.


I can only really see this leading to a situation where new players are dogpiled by requests when they speak up for the first time, which I would think is more likely to chase them off than help them get into the game.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:30 am 
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New players already get tone of great advice if they ask.

That's one of the things I really like about this community.

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