Author Topic: Lousy Update  (Read 5763 times)

Offline aleksa6

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Lousy Update
« on: July 08, 2012, 05:37:14 PM »
I log in to AVWW today after getting all my work done and I find myself quite unpleasantly surprised with the arguable downgrade to this game, which is shared co-op progress. One of the reasons I loved this game for its online was the fact that all progress between players was shared. Skill gems that were unlocked were available for everybody, and not just one player who was advanced in the game. Today, I log into a server and can't join in on the fun because all the other players are far more advanced in the game on said server than I am. Why had this change taken place?

Please let AVWW revert to the days when one could share progress with other players. Thank you.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 05:27:21 PM by aleksa6 »

Offline tigersfan

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2012, 06:14:24 PM »
There are a couple ways that you can get back up to speed.

If you are present at the completion of a mission you get a new spell. So, you could try tagging along on a mission or two.

Also, players in the server can give you spells outright. Maybe ask if players have a few spells they don't want and they can give them to you instead of incinerating them?

Offline x4000

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2012, 06:27:18 PM »
Well -- we had much this same argument from one other player, but he never was able to particularly suggest anything to help his enjoyment of it (or did not care to).  If you have suggestions, we're certainly open to them.

Here's the situation as I see it:

Old Situation
1. All players get a copy of every ingredient as soon as anyone picks it up, anywhere in the world.
a. This has the advantage of being really good for when someone is offline but still wants to pop by every so often.
b. Also great when you're joining a server blind.
c. Downside of being really unclear, and in fact even leading a few reviewers and players to think that "ninja loot stealing" was possible.
d. Also has the massive downside of encouraging players to journey separately from one another but on the same server, since if two players are separate they gain 2x the resources they would when together.

2. The multiplier of enemy health was 1x the number of players who had been in the chunk.
a. Advantage of being numerically balanced.
b. Disadvantage of players almost unanimously perceiving it as unbalanced when it is not.

Encouraged behaviors:
A. Logging onto random servers and adventuring around a bit, mostly without anyone, but with being on the same server.
B. Serial-play games where one player plays for a while, then another player plays some, then maybe both play some, etc.

Discouraged behaviors:
C. A group of friends actually journeying together and having fun in the same areas with one another.  Which was kind of the original point in the first place.

New Situation
1. Any time there's a resource dropped, all the players on the screen have the opportunity to pick it up.  Or all players in a mission get the reward, as the case may be.
a. The advantage is that it neither penalizes nor rewards playing separately or together.  If you play with other people, you get the same rewards as them.  If you play apart, you get the rewards you get.
b. The disadvantage is that for a player who drops in and out while others are playing consistently, that player will fall behind.
c. On the plus side, as spellgems are physical object now, other players are now easily able to give that player a spellgem if they wish, whereas before they could not do so.

2. Additionally, any player joining a server completely fresh gets both catch-up enchants AND spellgems of an appropriate level.
a. This has the advantage of not making a new player on a strange server be beholden to the kindness of strangers.
b. This has the disadvantage of not helping people who hop in and out of servers.

3. Finally, the multiplier when players are together has been made sub-linear, so that if there are players playing together in one chunk it is demonstrably better than being apart even to casual math/logic.
a. This has the disadvantage of being technically less balanced, but not by too much.
b. However, it has the massive advantage of seeming more balanced to the many people who thought the other system was unbalanced.

Conclusion
In my view, the new system offers vastly more flexibility except in one case: the case where one player only plays some of the time while the majority of players play the whole time through.  I'm not yet sure what to do about that case, and nobody affected by that case has yet put forth any comments or arguments one way or the other about it.  If people have suggestions, we'd love to hear them, but this simply isn't how we play the game and so we're not likely to think of a solution to it.

In general, the premise of this game isn't lots of strangers running around completely unaware of one another in a world.  If it were, we wouldn't have or need all the anti-griefing controls.  And all the business with citybuilding and guardian power scrolls and so forth wouldn't really fly in that sort of environment, because it would be far too easy for someone to grief unless they were locked out of it completely.  Which they certainly can be, if that sort of "strangers running around completely unaware of one another in a world" gameplay mode is attractive to someone.

But more often than not, the people we've heard from have been those playing with friends or family.  The new system lets them split off when they want to intentionally diverge themselves (let me get this fire spell while you get that earth spell, then we'll meet up), while at the same time encouraging them to actively stay together and overcome challenges... cooperatively.

Next Steps If You Disagree
Please don't get mad; I'm really not interested in an impassioned argument about this, and there's no need for it.  If you have a "use case" that I'm not familiar with or are overlooking, please explain to me what it is.  If you have ideas to how the new system could be tweaked to better serve your use case, or server options or similar that might better serve that use case, then by all means please tell us about it.  We'll listen, discuss, and see what we can do.  And by "see what we can do" I don't mean "brush you off indefinitely because we actually don't care." 

We do care, but we can't design something effectively that we don't actually play.  And that's what it boils down to: from almost every angle I can think of, the new system is demonstrably better.  And yet you and one other player so far have come forward saying that it's making your play experience worse, but without specifics enough for it to be actionable yet.  To me that says that, despite it being AVWW in both cases, we're really playing different games.  And before we can do anything about fixing yours, we need to understand what it even is.

I hope that makes sense and/or helps!
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Offline LayZboy

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2012, 06:41:17 PM »
Discouraged behaviors:
C. A group of friends actually journeying together and having fun in the same areas with one another.  Which was kind of the original point in the first place.

We still travel apart after the update, mostly because we aren't getting the same spells as each other. So this one still stands with me.

The easiest solution I can see is giving the option to have shared resources, like you did with the enchants containers which is default off.

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2. Additionally, any player joining a server completely fresh gets both catch-up enchants AND spellgems of an appropriate level.

You don't get the starter enchants (if this is what you mean or has been fixed, if not then ignore) if the server doesn't have the "shared enchant" thing on.

Offline x4000

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2012, 07:47:44 PM »
Discouraged behaviors:
C. A group of friends actually journeying together and having fun in the same areas with one another.  Which was kind of the original point in the first place.

We still travel apart after the update, mostly because we aren't getting the same spells as each other. So this one still stands with me.

The easiest solution I can see is giving the option to have shared resources, like you did with the enchants containers which is default off.

Forgive me, but I don't follow this line of reasoning -- there seems to be some key data point that I am missing, and I'm trying to figure out what it is. 

You're stating that presently you journey separately because you aren't getting the same spells as each other.  Do you mean that you're intentionally striking out in different directions because you want different resources to fill out your loot goals to get different spells?  If that's so, how would sharing of resources help?  You already have the option to share resources by traveling together, if you wanted identical resources, but you choose not to.

Assuming that we made an option to share resources, and you were to travel together, all that would do is give you double of whatever you're already picking up.  Or if you travel apart as now, you'd each get copies of whatever you apparently didn't need, so that you'd always have an excess of useless materials.  Or at least that's the situation as I understand it -- again, I am presuming I'm overlooking something.

In the past, did you actually journey together?  If so, was that made possible more by the fact that you were getting larger caches of more-randomized materials that made it possible for (say) one of you to be fire and the other of you to be earth, while still taking in the same resources?  Or have the crafting costs changed in such a way that this is actually the core of the problem for the "we want to be individual, but we want to travel together" argument? 

If that's what the argument is -- if I'm understanding correctly -- then I can definitely see the problem with the current system, but not how the prior system was any better or how shared resources would help.  Rather, it would instead seem that we have an entirely different and much deeper problem that we'd need to address in some fashion.  Such as an option for randomized rewards from missions when you collect them.  Or maybe some form of head-slot enchant that makes it so that when a non-earth-related reward is given, you instead get an earth-related reward (etc). 

That way it normally works as now, but individual players -- not server operators -- would have the option to control if they preferred a randomized reward in the element of their choice as opposed to the known reward in the wrong element.  That could work for missions and for arcane ingredients, potentially.

But that's why I'm trying to understand the use case -- because I'm not 100% convinced it has anything to do with shared resources in your case in particular (and you were the other dissatisfied player I was alluding to, of course), and I'd like to better understand the root of the problem and implement a real fix rather than just reverting because the old system seemed better than the new in some ways.

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2. Additionally, any player joining a server completely fresh gets both catch-up enchants AND spellgems of an appropriate level.

You don't get the starter enchants (if this is what you mean or has been fixed, if not then ignore) if the server doesn't have the "shared enchant" thing on.

That sounds like a bug, or at least I'm not aware of that if that is a thing.  Do you mind posting the specifics to mantis?  That's something Keith would have to look into in the morning, but maybe it's a problem with old worlds or something.  I really am not sure, but my intent was never that the catchup enchants be limited based on that server option.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2012, 07:51:31 PM »
That sounds like a bug, or at least I'm not aware of that if that is a thing.  Do you mind posting the specifics to mantis?  That's something Keith would have to look into in the morning, but maybe it's a problem with old worlds or something.  I really am not sure, but my intent was never that the catchup enchants be limited based on that server option.
The flag set by that option isn't involved in the catchup logic; I suspect something else is going on.
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Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2012, 08:13:09 PM »
@x4000

he means that because everyone has different spells everyone went in different directions because they needed different materials to get new spells. With a shared stash this was a rewarding behavior, because you had trickle down effects of their loot which offset the HP increases. With the removal of this you essentially removed the reason to even play together in MP to begin with. Because now unless both need the same resources playing in MP punishes you with harder enemies but less payback (because you only get "localized" gains it is essentially the same to SP, but with harder enemies)

Or to put differently, you removed one the reason d'etre of co-op with this change. Before despite higher difficulty you still got shared spell resources and thus, had the chance to get new or better spells even when not directly going for them.

But as for how to do it better, I have no idea ;P
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Offline zebramatt

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2012, 02:48:22 AM »
eRe4s3r, I think that sums up the difference in the games previously being played here: Chris's idea of "playing together" involves being in the same area, using your tactical advantage to work together to achieve the same goal; this other idea of "playing together" involves co-existing in the same universe, working as often disparate cells in the same militia - that is, using your strategic advantage to accumulate resources.

Both strike me as perfectly legitimate varieties of co-op - the former more adventure game orientated; the latter more in line with strategy game mentality - but the previous system actually encouraged the later to (in Chris's opinion, at least) the detriment of the former. And what's more, in a game with dozens of players, the old system could definitely get way out of hand.

A server option certainly would seem to be the order of the day - although I can see how down the line that might introduce serious balance problems for people using the option, as the design diverges further.

Alternatively then, perhaps a new inventory item could be introduced which has some inherent balancing negatives.

It could take some resources and skills to craft, which might make it an attractive goal in the first place - although it would detract from its up-front usefulness and might actually encourage everyone to go after it.

Maybe it's something which is relatively trivial to acquire, then, but everyone who wants to share resources needs one and, when carrying it, it gives some debuff. Like, enemies are 2x as powerful.

Anyway, just some musings!

Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2012, 05:13:27 AM »
I honestly do not see the problem here. Both ways Zebramatt mentioned are perfectly fine ways of playing. If you don't want to play together in the same chunk...don't?
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Offline Ulrox

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2012, 05:39:26 AM »
I play together with my little brother. When we arent playing together it's often because the map is hard to navigate and follow one another, but as you play the game it becomes easier as you figure out how the maps work.

Offline omegajasam

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2012, 08:01:29 AM »
I'm on the side of disliking the current mechanics.

I'm able to play with my friends probably 1/2 the time they're playing. That means every time I go on, I'm behind, and thus either people need to go farm for me, or I have to tag along being a burden (more monster hp) untill my gears up to scratch.

This scenario is /increadably/ unfun. And can be very regular if you play even just 70-80% of the time the average person does. And it's even worse when your playing with people unwilling to go out of their way to aid powering you back up.

Starting each session with catchup isn't fun.

I think you're overestimating the 'ability to give spells' as a way of handling this issue. It reminds me of the ninja-loot problem. People want their loot. And their rewards for their time. People are going to want to drop the guy who only pops on for half the time, as so much of it would be gearing them up.

Also, this is emphasized further by the old system, which was much liked for solving this issue with the shared crafting. (Which was great if people were very drop in and out).

As someone who enjoyed playing together in the 'working together towards strategic goals' aspect, I think I cna safely say that the system could use some improvements.

Either some kind of constant catchup mechanism needs to be in play, or the whole system be looked over again. It's fine for those who always play at the same time, in the same square, but anyone who plays a bit more casually, or enjoyed the strategic side to crafting is going to find this update less fun overall.

I also agree with eRe4s3r, that the MP feels a bit more like singleplayer with other people, now that more things are localised rather then global.

I'm almost wondering if perhaps there should be a combination of both systems, in such a way that multiplayer you do get that emergent stratigic game play while adding more reasons to explore locally.  Between 4 people we had a lot of fun organising ourselves so one person was hunting building materials while others hunted down the gems and missions needed for the spells we collectively wanted. And if someone joined part way through? No Problem, they would just have a larger array of spells to choose from from all the gathered materials.

Offline Ulrox

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2012, 09:41:43 AM »
Also often times we dont play together because we feel differently about how we want to overthrow the overlord. I feel this is a strenght more than a weakness though.

Offline MouldyK

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2012, 11:12:34 AM »
By the sound of things, people are unfortunately asking for a system which is not possible in the game to me.

For Example: Sharing Resources makes you get more things, but promotes working together alone as you can get more if you split up.



People's playstyles are different ad catering to them all ois clearly impossible as one tweakl can throw the whole game out of loop for someone else.



Before and After the update, I always saw me and LayZboy as sort of like Spiderman (me as i'm cool) and The Hulk (him as he plays as a Draconite), two heroes who work alone for our own goals, but combine forces when it calls for it, such as an Overlord or something.

...actually, now that I think about it, reducing the importance of missions made the game less co-opy as help is needed less when exploring than it is with some missions. So really, the only way to combat it is to aybe try to FORCE people to act together more.

Quick suggestions which are probably terrible:

- Make Missions scale to the difficulty of the amount of people in the server no matter what: This will make missions twice as hard when alone (except JtP missions as they would be unaffected) so while they are still possible to do alone, it will make it easier with more people.

- Scale the ENTIRE continent to the difficulty of the amount of players in the server: Will make everything much harder, but promote team-work, except if you want different resources, then it will be a pain.

Scaling things to make it harder for players overall even when working alone is really the only thing I can think of for now.

Offline LayZboy

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2012, 11:45:00 AM »
You're stating that presently you journey separately because you aren't getting the same spells as each other.


Yes our play-styles are very different, I think the only common resource we have is magma.

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Do you mean that you're intentionally striking out in different directions because you want different resources to fill out your loot goals to get different spells?

Not intentionally, but because of how we play the game with what spells we use to kill the overlord.

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If that's so, how would sharing of resources help?  You already have the option to share resources by traveling together, if you wanted identical resources, but you choose not to.

It helped because we could get EACHOTHERS needs, like I would often go get lots of coral for his Flash of Light, despite it not being very useful to a Draconite. He would often do missions he liked (umbra vortex i think?) that gave Welkin gel, simply because I needed it. The new system took this form of helping away, since what is the point of me going to the ocean and making the monsters more dangerous for him? The answer? there isn't any.

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In the past, did you actually journey together?

No we were pretty much indepent entities, helping each-other when we desired(see above).

Offline TechSY730

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Re: Lousy Update
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2012, 11:58:25 AM »
This may be a case where you can't please everyone, or even close to everyone. It may be that people who like the old system (almost everything shared) vs people who like the new system (things mostly aren't shared, but people can pick up copies if they are nearby) is near a 50:50 ratio. If that is the case, I think a server option to switch how resources are shared among people will be needed, as much as a pain as it would be to balance and support two multiplayer non-settlement inventory models.
Or it may be that a decision will have to be made, possibly make some compromises and "blend" the two systems, and from then on just tell people that this is how multiplayer works, and possibly alienating a large number of potential MP players.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2012, 12:00:00 PM by TechSY730 »