Author Topic: New Player Experience  (Read 1083 times)

Anaris

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #30: August 04, 2017, 04:37:50 PM »
So it boils down to this: can you think of a mechanic that doesn't harm people in a way to dissuade them from waging war, doesn't overpower the strongest in a way that would dissuade others from war, and is not easily bypassable by gimmicky false wars and the like, and does not penalize people during a normal peace cycle after (or before) an important war?

I think I can, though it's not simple, and there is, of course, still no guarantee that it won't suffer from some of the same problems as the others. Note that all of this, while I have written (at least parts of) it down before, is still highly speculative and if it were to happen, it wouldn't be in the immediate future.

It involves making some changes to recruitment centers that I've wanted to do for a while, to combat the homogenization that's occurred over the past several years. Essentially, I would add the possibility of values above 100% for equipment and training, but in different ways.

Equipment above 100% would be something centers could rarely generate with, and in a similar manner to the current RC-selection system, you wouldn't be able to create more than a small number of them in your realm at a given time. (You could, however, capture them from other realms—adding a potential drive for war.) This would be "Expert Equipment", and would normally be unusable to the soldiers, because its use is too complex.

But that's where the extra training comes in. RCs could not generate with extra training, but as units engage in battle, they would have the ability to gain training above the usual 100% (just training the unit would not be able to surpass that limit: battle would be required for it). Their total training level would be a limiting factor on their ability to use their equipment, much like adventuring/combat gear level is a limiting factor on an adventurer's ability to use their skills.

But as yet, none of this is particularly a reason to go to war. This extra training should give two reasons:

1) The training developed from fighting decays after a while. The game would keep track of when the unit had been in battles, and after it's been a while since it's been fighting regularly (not just a single battle every few months), its skills would start to get rusty. Slowly at first, then with increasing speed over time. It would only lose the training from battles: the training it was hired with and the training from training sessions would stay.

2) Though RCs would not generate with the ability to hire troops with expert training, there would be a way to allow them to have it: You can retire a unit to the RC as expert trainers, which adds a portion of their expert training to any unit hired from there. It would have to be a unit of the same type as the RC, each RC could have only one set of expert trainers, and, as I said, it would only be a portion of the expert training the unit retired with. Furthermore, and most importantly for this, after a period of time, they would get old, and begin to die off or retire.

This would be something the game would warn you about well in advance, and even when it was coming very close, you could still hire expert-trained units from the RC that could help you in fighting your next war, so even letting it go past the "deadline" would not cripple your fighting ability. But it would leave you with less, and should be a pretty clear incentive to engage in warfare telegraphed RL months before you would actually need to worry about any reduction in capability.

(I have some ideas lying around, too, about adding a "war fatigue" mechanic that incentivizes breaks in wars that have dragged on for a long time; that one would involve region stats starting to fall if you ignored it too long, but since its purpose is to get you to find a way to declare peace, hurting your regions is actually in line with that goal, and shouldn't be as counterproductive. The basic reasoning behind this is twofold: 1) Players get bored when all they're doing is marching to the front, fighting one or two battles, then marching home for weeks or months on end; and 2) Giving both sides an incentive to come to some sort of agreement is likely to increase the frequency, and thus the normalcy, of peace terms that involve a small number of regions or large sums of gold changing hands, rather than abject surrender.)
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Eduardo Almighty

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #31: August 04, 2017, 05:02:28 PM »
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No one's characters are going to be forced into mortality against their will.

I know, but I will keep my opinion about the subject.

I love the realm, but it's dead. I had more activity in Vix and I believe the "new" southern realms are enjoying more activity in general. Even war is not solving the problem. Sirion have endless wars, against direct enemies or to help allies. However, the realm is empty of any activity beside orders. When even war cannot solve it, people will just seek another realms waging war where they can feel they can help to improve something. In a small scale, I noticed it in  other realms as well, so it's not just a Sirionite problem. If they just begin in Sirion, well, they will not come back.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 05:21:10 PM by Eduardo Almighty »

Chenier

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #32: August 04, 2017, 07:01:43 PM »
As noted above, the thing with the most "obvious" solution is that most of them have already been experimented with, and if we don't have them today, it's because they didn't work as intended.

First of all, do you really think that killing off the ruling oligarchy will in any way prevent it from creating new characters to replace the dead one, re-instating the old status quo? There's absolutely no benefit with forcing players to replace King Bob Johnson with King Bob II Johnson. Heck, we gain nothing, while we lost a bit of history and culture, as that character is in itself somewhat remarkable for its persistence alone. I much rather dealing with an original character than trying to roleplay with what is a new character but what I mentally fully know is a perfect clone of the old character. Makes roleplay awkward and uninviting.

Secondly, the worst thing of mortality is its impacts on the lower strata of the player base. The established elites you mentioned will reinstate themselves no problem. But those players that don't belong to the cliques and somehow manage to grind their way up, with a lot of time, patience, and hard work, they aren't guaranteed to have it back. Might even lose what they got to a member of the establishment. Mortality doesn't diffuse power, it just makes it easier to concentrate it. From my experience, a lot of players who lose their favorite character will simply leave the game. They might make a new one at first, but often will give up, or will engage with much lowered activity. Take Enweil, for example, it used to be a super power on Beluaterra. At the end, it was a disgraceful hollow shell. What happened? In my opinion, the largest contributor to Enweil's demise was the temporary mortality that was brought during that invasion (though the blighting of key economic regions, Enweilieos and Ete in particular, comes close second). Enweil got hit, really hard (mortality rates were decreased afterwards, and then completely removed). It lost like, what, 16 nobles? I'd have to look back at archives for that. But I had played there since a long time, and continued there till its end, and I can tell you, it never recovered. Because of all the low to mid tier nobles that died there, barely any ever came back. And a few of them had only had characters there. And from then on, the player count just decayed into a spiral of death, until barely anyone was left.

Players don't typically like to lose their characters. If they did, they already have the option to become heroes. Forcing people to retire their characters, either by killing them or with age penalties, has been shown to be a false good idea. It doesn't help. It just makes things worse.

Chenier

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #33: August 04, 2017, 07:11:35 PM »
I think I can, though it's not simple, and there is, of course, still no guarantee that it won't suffer from some of the same problems as the others. Note that all of this, while I have written (at least parts of) it down before, is still highly speculative and if it were to happen, it wouldn't be in the immediate future.

Seems complicated, I'm not sure I grasp it correctly. I'd have to re-read later.

Not sure how I feel about war fatigue. Sounds weaponizable. "We won't actually fight them, but we'll use this war fatigue as attrition to help our other allies, closer to them, do the actual fighting against the penalized realm, while we'll focus on courtier work back home".

I seem to recall having had an idea relating to recruitment centers as well, back when it was decided to just scrap it all. I don't recall what it was. Maybe if recruitment centers got less costly, or gave better results, when built by realms that have lots of battles (victories or defeats, regardless)? That way even the losing realms get the boon. And realms that are often at war can gradually invest to have better centers overall than their more peaceful neighbors.

You'd have to factor in realm size in the bonus, though. Some realms can easily have lots of small battles without really being at war. At least, against rogues. Maybe just not consider battles with 3500 CS or less of rogues. Feels to me like huge battles with the rogues ought to count, but not the regular every day skirmishes with random little rogue units.

Perhaps give a higher bonus when the battle happens in your own realm's regions. Or based on distance from the capital. Just to make sure the mechanic doesn't make lopsided battles moreso.

Does feel to me like more militaristic realms should have better soldiers, but it often isn't the case, because the more militaristic realms must spend more on their mobile armies and thus have less funds to invest in better RCs, thus they just take whatever they first get.

Koitalike Family

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #34: August 04, 2017, 08:37:29 PM »
I do not believe Anaris' idea is that great. That just feels like it is adding something way too complex. Maybe foraging the field should also increase weapon/armour values instead of just fixing equip dmg only.

I wouldn't mind seeing all RCs with low training. Maybe to 10~30% range and make people build up overtime.

At the moment, war fatigue affects players physically. Long dragged out wars tire people out which leads to equally long peace periods. Maybe shortening wars in different ways might be better. short wars happening often would be better than long wars followed by long peace.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 09:49:41 PM by Koitalike Family »

Eduardo Almighty

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #35: August 04, 2017, 09:00:31 PM »
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First of all, do you really think that killing off the ruling oligarchy will in any way prevent it from creating new characters to replace the dead one, re-instating the old status quo?

I know... hell, I used it myself. No one likes to admit it, but when I lost Erik, my second character immediately became him... and I always considered myself a good roleplayer. Just referencing the Serpentis and people will immediately hate or love, although this I find useful in a more legitimate way: this was a legacy I built. However, it's easy to go right to the top because more than the characters, the players know me and know I can solve problems like, unh, take care of a region or a city or a great duchy, etc, so I don't need to work hard to get a position like years ago when no one knew me. My problem is not the elite in power... is the SILENT elite in power. They don't need to roleplay. They don't need to talk to the realm. They just need to give the orders and see the army working. How to keep new people around with this kind of mentality?

Koitalike Family

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #36: August 04, 2017, 09:50:37 PM »
Killing off an oligarchy will just make a room for another one.

Eduardo Almighty

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #37: August 05, 2017, 12:08:31 AM »
I'm not against the oligarchies. Times ago it was funny to try to enter in one, stay in one, challenge one. I'm not against the character and players in places of power, I'm just frustraded withe the silence and "I don't need a campaign, I will won". It's not for me, an old player that experienced every option and position, but for new players it's terrible.

If I had to join the game for the first time theses days, I would leave in no time. I don't think we can solve this with game mechanics. Mortality is funnier when you decide it by yourself........ like the song said: "Let it go..."

Koitalike Family

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #38: August 05, 2017, 12:49:33 AM »
BM is a game you get what you put into. If you put more time into it and play it well, you will garner supports of other players in no time. Probably it is easier than ever with only 400 accounts around. People appreciate active characters and as long as you are loyal, you will eventually climb up to be a duke.

But yeah I agree with new players not wanting to stay. It is way too slow for most people. You need to build some form of bonds with people but it isn't something that happens overnight. People just aren't willing to stick around.

Chenier

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #39: August 05, 2017, 04:00:52 AM »
I know... hell, I used it myself. No one likes to admit it, but when I lost Erik, my second character immediately became him... and I always considered myself a good roleplayer. Just referencing the Serpentis and people will immediately hate or love, although this I find useful in a more legitimate way: this was a legacy I built. However, it's easy to go right to the top because more than the characters, the players know me and know I can solve problems like, unh, take care of a region or a city or a great duchy, etc, so I don't need to work hard to get a position like years ago when no one knew me. My problem is not the elite in power... is the SILENT elite in power. They don't need to roleplay. They don't need to talk to the realm. They just need to give the orders and see the army working. How to keep new people around with this kind of mentality?

Well, there's really no way to make the game distinguish "good oligarchies" from "bad oligarchies". Players overthrowing the bad ones, or flocking to the good ones, are the only real driving force that has any chance to fight them. The dev team can only hold people's hands so much; if a realm allows itself to be ruled by a silent oligarchy, that's largely on them.

Killing off an oligarchy will just make a room for another one.

If it was real life, maybe. But that's not the case. We can all just make new characters to replace the dead ones the moment they die. And since the odds of the whole oligarchy dying at once are pretty close to zero, they'll just shuffle positions around between each other until the existing mechanical restrictions (minimum h/p for example) are overcome. Strong cliques are barely hindered at all by character mortality, those whom it harms the most are the unaffiliated who rise by merit and who live by roleplay.

I'm not against the oligarchies. Times ago it was funny to try to enter in one, stay in one, challenge one. I'm not against the character and players in places of power, I'm just frustraded withe the silence and "I don't need a campaign, I will won". It's not for me, an old player that experienced every option and position, but for new players it's terrible.

If I had to join the game for the first time theses days, I would leave in no time. I don't think we can solve this with game mechanics. Mortality is funnier when you decide it by yourself........ like the song said: "Let it go..."

As stated above. Though I would add that I find this less disturbing than I used to. As it is now, with the decreased player base, elections often end up with a single candidate running. And since you need to actively add yourself to the list for people to vote for you, that person knows there's no one else running. There's really little incentive to invest yourself in a long speech when it's your 50th election, nothing really changed since the last one, and no one's bothering to run against you. I do prefer the new referendum mechanic, but back then, people could silently campaign, and you'd occasionally see people win despite zero public campaigning. Sometimes to their own surprise! But in the end, the voters decide. If no one else cares to run... that's on the realm.

BM is a game you get what you put into. If you put more time into it and play it well, you will garner supports of other players in no time. Probably it is easier than ever with only 400 accounts around. People appreciate active characters and as long as you are loyal, you will eventually climb up to be a duke.

But yeah I agree with new players not wanting to stay. It is way too slow for most people. You need to build some form of bonds with people but it isn't something that happens overnight. People just aren't willing to stick around.

I think duke is a poor example, given how most realms have a mostly stable spread and that cities are only infrequently exchanged, but overall, yes, it takes much less to progress than it used to. Just sending letters irregularly has gotten somewhat impressive nowadays... which is kind of sad, to be honest.

Wimpie

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #40: August 05, 2017, 01:42:17 PM »
I've been trying to gather new players by inviting everyone to post on communities, vote on websites,..

I've also been trying to get a good and more accessible Tutorial, based on the needs of new players.

So again, I invite everyone here to join me in this goal to attract and retain more players.
Jeames (Vix Tiramora, EC), Osgar (Thalmarkin, BT), Nasgar (Westfold, DWI), Jari (Outer Tilog, COL)

Purrcious

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #41: August 06, 2017, 04:01:16 AM »
Purrcious have a question which is relatively related in the context of this thread. Is it possible for a realm to march 5 days worth of destination as a target for a war? Purrcious looks at Dwilight and all Purrcious can think is that's a really huge map that can't attack each other because of inconvenience and heavily favoured defensive mechanics in the game.
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Vita

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #42: August 06, 2017, 04:08:11 AM »
Well, its somewhat dependent upon the continent. Dwilight would be the most difficult of continents with which to do that. South Island perhaps the easiest (can you even keep marching for five days in one destination on SI?). Which is why its all the more important for humans to bundle together on Dwilight. There have been plenty of successful offensive wars on Dwilight over the years, so the defensive advantage isn't impossible to overcome.

Chenier

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #43: August 06, 2017, 01:30:54 PM »
Dwilight has a lot of sea regions, which can make travel quicker. But it also makes it a hellavalot more expensive. And riskier. But yea, otherwise, for the most part, it's terrible for this. Not to mention the sea zone through city chokepoints, the large deserts, and the many mountain ranges that make long distances ridiculously longer.

The problem with marching too far is not only the time spent doing so, but that farther we go the more morale penalties our units get. Mercenary settings can be used, making the unit much more expensive to maintain, but imo it doesn't reduce the penalty enough. Those distance issues used to be a good thing, to prevent the superpowers of old from enforcing their hegemony everywhere, but I find that benefit to no longer be very relevant.

Koitalike Family

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #44: August 06, 2017, 09:19:38 PM »
Wish sea travel wasn't so expensive :o