Redefining and Reviewing

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Wraith said:
JP, I think it's different for you because you're blessed (as the Midwest is, mostly) with a lack of the massive high/low level divide that exists out East thanks to the nigh-immortality of longterm characters. APL 10 would rock my socks off. :D

That said, I would rather tell a brand new player to stay home than throw them as an NPC into a EC-style fight like the ones at the National with just the Newbie briefing and a rough grasp of the rules. They'd have more fun and be more likely to come back.
I'm not picking on Wraith here. But, this train of thought comes up ALL the time.

Is there anything more than anecdotal evidence that showing that player retention rates are higher in places other than CT, NH, HQ, NJ and Catskills? I hear talk of the INSANE EC fights scaring away new players, but I don't ever see data backing it up. In fact, my own personal experience contradicts the idea completely.

I'm sort of new on the National scale here... if there is data I am missing I would love to have it.

With all that said, a simpler rules system that is more easily grasped by new players would be amazing and it sounds like there is a fair amount of support for it. The question then becomes HOW do we simplify the rules.

Adding numerical values to incants was one suggestion.

Any others rules suggestions specifically designed to SIMPLIFY the rules set?
 

jpariury

Duke
I don't know that this one would necessarily matter, since it's really just something for logistics to deal with, but the xp-to-build conversion is wacky. You could replace it with a simpler format.

Ditch radius traps and make the volume-based. It seems that traps as a combat thing is less what is intended and more a function of how they've evolved. Instead of having to call a hold and figure out who is in a trap radius, just get rid of it and make it "everyone in the room", with a base volume of, I dunno, 10'x10'x10' and increasing either the trap cost or the setting time based on room size (the latter would work better since part of that time could be spent measuring the room.

Make the disarm, shatter and destroy effects affect the thing it hits rather than a thing called out, including the weapon skill. This would make it more intuitive ("Hey my shield got struck with that, I guess my shield is gone") and somewhat easier to use as a combat skill, though less easy when used against non-weapon/armor/clothing (necklaces, crowns, etc.) (short form - it couldn't be used that way).
 

MKing

Scout
Wraith said:
JP, I think it's different for you because you're blessed (as the Midwest is, mostly) with a lack of the massive high/low level divide that exists out East thanks to the nigh-immortality of longterm characters. APL 10 would rock my socks off. :D

That said, I would rather tell a brand new player to stay home than throw them as an NPC into a EC-style fight like the ones at the National with just the Newbie briefing and a rough grasp of the rules. They'd have more fun and be more likely to come back.
:unsure: I have never had anyone I brought to an event..run away from the scary fighting..all the players that I have brought into the game have been playing for 5+ years...most of them have NPC'ed...again none have a problem... Maybe you need to train your new players better...we run a New Player Training before every game...that goes for New Players and NPC's...

Im getting a little tired of your EC-bashing or just your negitive posts...try post something that might help...with out bashing something..
:thumbsup:
thanks,
 

Wraith

Newbie
I can only base my opinion on my experiences. I've played all over the midwest, I've played Seattle, and at none of those chapters in half a decade of play did I encounter the problems I run into whenever the concentration of players from out east is higher. Correlation isn't causation, I'm aware, but at the same time with the number of people who defend that style of play, I can only assume it's the norm out there, yes? I will happily support the point that brand-new players are not going to be likely to have a fun experience getting beaten down faster than they can track calls at their first live game.

I don't have anything against the east coast chapters and the players who enjoy them. I'm not likely to ever travel east of Chicago for game again, because my enjoyment of the style of play that they demonstrate isn't enough to make travel costs worthwhile, but they're welcome to it. One of the reasons I would -love- to have the rules clarified and more sharply defined is to finally iron out the way that core mechanics like combat are massively different in interpretation between chapters.
 

elliotbay

Knight
Oregon Staff
Marshal
Wraith said:
That said, I would rather tell a brand new player to stay home than throw them as an NPC into a EC-style fight like the ones at the National with just the Newbie briefing and a rough grasp of the rules. They'd have more fun and be more likely to come back.
Emphasis mine.

My new player experience is now two years ago, but I think I can safely say I wouldn't have had fun if I had been made to feel useless. One of the reasons I came back is that I was completely welcomed into the group despite having never previously met anyone there.

jpariury said:
I don't know that this one would necessarily matter, since it's really just something for logistics to deal with, but the xp-to-build conversion is wacky. You could replace it with a simpler format.
I disagree that it's "just something for logistics to deal with", because the way in which their character advances should be understandable. There's absolutely no reason to have two opposing trends ("the more XP you will earn per event but at the same time the more XP it will take for you to earn one BP"). I like to think I'm a smart guy but it took me 3 tries to get my experience spreadsheet to match the logistics database. We can change this without actually changing how fast a character progresses, although there's no particular reason we shouldn't change that too.

Currently, if you do nothing but make the current stepwise system continuous, the number of build you get per logistics period is (200B)/(B^2+160B-1100), where B is the amount of build you currently have. We know that gets to be less than 1 at the higher levels, so we can multiply it by, say, 100, and say that 100 XP = 1 BP. At 15 build, that's 197 XP, 200 BP gives you 56 XP, and 414 BP (the max on the table) gives you 35 XP. It's an improvement in terms of being more straightforward, but I think we can do better, because you still feel like you need to know how strong you are to know how much experience you got.

We could instead simply track character progress by number of logistics periods, creating a simple conversion from logistics periods played to build. Unfortunately, the equation is L = ((B-15)*(B+335)+2200*log(15/B))/400, where B is build and L is number of logistics periods played. That is, much easier to figure out time played from build than vice versa (although still possible given that build is always >= 15). So, if we wanted to do that, we'd have to change how quickly you get experience over time, and I don't yet have a good answer for that


jpariury said:
Make the disarm, shatter and destroy effects affect the thing it hits rather than a thing called out, including the weapon skill. This would make it more intuitive ("Hey my shield got struck with that, I guess my shield is gone") and somewhat easier to use as a combat skill, though less easy when used against non-weapon/armor/clothing (necklaces, crowns, etc.) (short form - it couldn't be used that way).
This would make it next to impossible to disarm someone's sword with a spell. Not necessarily bad, but something to consider.
 

Talen

Adept
RiddickDale said:
Wraith said:
JP, I think it's different for you because you're blessed (as the Midwest is, mostly) with a lack of the massive high/low level divide that exists out East thanks to the nigh-immortality of longterm characters. APL 10 would rock my socks off. :D

That said, I would rather tell a brand new player to stay home than throw them as an NPC into a EC-style fight like the ones at the National with just the Newbie briefing and a rough grasp of the rules. They'd have more fun and be more likely to come back.
I'm not picking on Wraith here. But, this train of thought comes up ALL the time.

Is there anything more than anecdotal evidence that showing that player retention rates are higher in places other than CT, NH, HQ, NJ and Catskills? I hear talk of the INSANE EC fights scaring away new players, but I don't ever see data backing it up. In fact, my own personal experience contradicts the idea completely.
It's tougher to notice when players are "blips on the map", but if it's anything it's the drive to boost power levels seems- again, you'd have to look at logistical data to prove it - higher in older chapters. I think that reflects in part on the higher APLs overall in those chapters, which tends to give you that desire to "keep up" (if only because you can participate in more with an appropriately leveled character). That it takes more effort (and hence fewer people manage it) to do that might be inferred from that data, but unless someone's willing to put that data out to look at, speculation is all you have.

For that matter, you could also point at larger amounts of competition along the East Coast- NERO and a bazillion single-site games of various sizes, plenty of which are of the same size as local Alliance games, some which surpass them.

I'm sort of new on the National scale here... if there is data I am missing I would love to have it.
More along the lines of I can't remember seeing anyone actually seriously going over logistics data to see any patterns of player population and retention.

With all that said, a simpler rules system that is more easily grasped by new players would be amazing and it sounds like there is a fair amount of support for it. The question then becomes HOW do we simplify the rules.

Adding numerical values to incants was one suggestion.

Any others rules suggestions specifically designed to SIMPLIFY the rules set?
You'd have to literally tear the current rules system apart to seriously simplify it. It's had so much piled on top of the original system over the past 20 years or so willy-nilly that I'm actually kinda scared to see what all of the the rules printed out in a "rulebook" would resemble at this point. Heck, I'd be willing to say the size of the "rulebook" outside the actual document exceeds the size of the one handed to the average player at this point. :)
 
Wraith said:
I can only base my opinion on my experiences. I've played all over the midwest, I've played Seattle, and at none of those chapters in half a decade of play did I encounter the problems I run into whenever the concentration of players from out east is higher. Correlation isn't causation, I'm aware, but at the same time with the number of people who defend that style of play, I can only assume it's the norm out there, yes? I will happily support the point that brand-new players are not going to be likely to have a fun experience getting beaten down faster than they can track calls at their first live game.
So, I may have mentioned, I'm a newer player to the NE alliance. I played my first year at the old CT site. I played my first game as first level fighter with one longsword (because that was the only weapon that passed) I wasn't very effective. I did not, however, get rolled faster than I could count.
I came back the next month with a passable polearm, and then did polearm style for the next year and a half before picking up another weapon skill.

I fight on the front lines. I hear "no effect" from the BBG and his LT's frequently. Then I go pound on his minions instead. I don't get slaughtered by huge calls or giant slays every day (though it can happen if I square off against something big unknowingly....and it should. Neither the monster or I know each other's cards), but getting your butt handed to you occasionally is part of being a new player.

So, I spent the first year and a half playing this game with the hardest to use weapon style I have experienced, and I STILL have yet to run into this phenomenon you speak of, aside from a few energetic new NPC's garbling their calls. (which is a new person problem, not a call speed issue)

So, as a brand new player, I had a blast. and came back, and had a blast again and again.

Of course, this could also boil down to a difference in average WPM spoken and understood regionally. I believe the northeast on average talks faster than most of the rest of the US. There was a study done on communication and speech speed, I think, but I haven't been able to locate it.

If it's simply a matter of calls in the northeast being faster because we SPEAK faster...well, that would explain why we are oblivious to it, and unable to "fix" it. It sounds perfectly normal to us. :)
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Alright then.

So I'm not missing any data. This is all anecdotal data that we're discussing?

That's fine. I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't some study done a few years ago that I missed.

For reference, our printed rulebook isn't The Stand by any stretch of the imagination. A good portion of its volume is taken up by non rules based suppliments and the table top rules.

Also, I dont think a full overhaul is out of the question if it achieved the end result of a simpler rules system.. The journey of a thousand miles sometimes begins with a single step... or in this case... proposal.
 

Talen

Adept
elliotbay said:
I disagree that it's "just something for logistics to deal with", because the way in which their character advances should be understandable. There's absolutely no reason to have two opposing trends ("the more XP you will earn per event but at the same time the more XP it will take for you to earn one BP"). I like to think I'm a smart guy but it took me 3 tries to get my experience spreadsheet to match the logistics database. We can change this without actually changing how fast a character progresses, although there's no particular reason we shouldn't change that too.
To be honest, the whole xp/build thing is a relic of when you beat up monsters, they handed you exp chips (yes, literally handed you exp) and you traded those in at the end of the event for build.

Build is what matters. How much build do you get per event? The higher your level, the lower your build per event. Just write it out like that and eliminate exp entirely.
 

Talen

Adept
RiddickDale said:
Alright then.

So I'm not missing any data. This is all anecdotal data that we're discussing?

That's fine. I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't some study done a few years ago that I missed.
Right. In fact, I don't think there's even the possibility of -access- to that kind of data, even if someone wanted to study it.

I'd love to be able to look at the "lifespan" of players and their characters, event sizes, APL's, and so on. It'd probably amaze some players, especially in newer chapters how different things appear from one part of Alliance to the next. Headquarters does some stuff that's relevant, at least with the last few years worth of events.
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Talen said:
RiddickDale said:
Alright then.

So I'm not missing any data. This is all anecdotal data that we're discussing?

That's fine. I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't some study done a few years ago that I missed.
Right. In fact, I don't think there's even the possibility of -access- to that kind of data, even if someone wanted to study it.

I'd love to be able to look at the "lifespan" of players and their characters, event sizes, APL's, and so on. It'd probably amaze some players, especially in newer chapters how different things appear from one part of Alliance to the next. Headquarters does some stuff that's relevant, at least with the last few years worth of events.
Like what? You've got me interested here.

I'm a huge advocate of data. At its heart, we're a game development company that is managing a game that is as complex (if not more) than any massively multiplayer game out there.

Blizzard, for example, has data on their side. They can see the effects that their changes have on the players. If they tweek a talent... and players immediately change specs en masse to the point where it causes imbalance.... they can fix it.

These are similar scenarios. You can't develop a game based on anecdotal data. I'll admit that what I'm looking to find out is HARD, but just about every part of our game si run based on excel docs and access databases. Those programs are designed for data analysis.
 

Inaryn

Knight
RiddickDale said:
Like what? You've got me interested here.

I'm a huge advocate of data. At its heart, we're a game development company that is managing a game that is as complex (if not more) than any massively multiplayer game out there.

Blizzard, for example, has data on their side. They can see the effects that their changes have on the players. If they tweek a talent... and players immediately change specs en masse to the point where it causes imbalance.... they can fix it.

These are similar scenarios. You can't develop a game based on anecdotal data. I'll admit that what I'm looking to find out is HARD, but just about every part of our game si run based on excel docs and access databases. Those programs are designed for data analysis.
If you were going to do this, I'd recommend, in regards to APL, not just the APL, but a distribution of the levels at the event. I know SF has an interesting double peaked distribution that isn't reflected well in just the APL.
 

Talen

Adept
RiddickDale said:
Like what? You've got me interested here.

I'm a huge advocate of data. At its heart, we're a game development company that is managing a game that is as complex (if not more) than any massively multiplayer game out there.

Blizzard, for example, has data on their side. They can see the effects that their changes have on the players. If they tweek a talent... and players immediately change specs en masse to the point where it causes imbalance.... they can fix it.

These are similar scenarios. You can't develop a game based on anecdotal data. I'll admit that what I'm looking to find out is HARD, but just about every part of our game si run based on excel docs and access databases. Those programs are designed for data analysis.
Inaryn said:
If you were going to do this, I'd recommend, in regards to APL, not just the APL, but a distribution of the levels at the event. I know SF has an interesting double peaked distribution that isn't reflected well in just the APL.
Right, right, and right here. As far as I know, there has been about zero actual study of the "life cycle" of the average PC, much less the overall population of a chapter (which is much more difficult since PC's often are played in multiple games).

One important thing to look at it to me would be how many "failure to thrive" cases you end up with in any given chapter. In a given year, how many players come once and never show up again? Are they even tracked? How many of them are still part of the population after two years? Three? Four?

Do older games inevitably turn towards both a higher average in time played as well as power level, indicating stabilization (if not ossification) of the playerbase?

What is the rate of de-population, and how much of it is as a function of game play vs. people simply leaving/retiring?
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
I would want to know everything. If this were to happen I would honestly want to be able to run reports based on any piece of data that was available.

This would give the developers more data so they could make rules decisions with hard facts as opposed to their gut feelings and opinions. Now these facts might not change their minds, but I can;t imagine that it would HURT the process.

We can talk about the Fighter with read magic issue. It has been talked about before that nerfing read magic would effect a lot of players. How many? No idea really. But if we had some sort of data to mine we could find out. That has been a significant roadblock to some of the balancing efforts for Celestial... what if the stats show that we'd be looking at effecting like 45 players across the country to buff an entire class? I'd want to know that math.

We could also use it to identify best practices.

What if the research shows that San Fran or New Hampshire have higher than average new player retention rates? We could then look into their processes and make recommendations to other chapters.
 

Hammerfist

Artisan
Inaryn said:
If you were going to do this, I'd recommend, in regards to APL, not just the APL, but a distribution of the levels at the event. I know SF has an interesting double peaked distribution that isn't reflected well in just the APL.
Very interesting point. Perhaps part of this simplification is changing how an event is scaled internally. Is APL really relevant anymore due to the potential large disparity between the top and bottom end of the spectrum. I am willing to speculate that in many of our chapters that the none of them have a standard distribution of player level at a majority of there events and may end up closer the "double peaked" distribution Sarah mentioned, thus making the average all but moot. Now how to change how we scale..... I have not idea, just some food for thought.
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Talen said:
What is the rate of de-population, and how much of it is as a function of game play vs. people simply leaving/retiring?

Very good question. And one I would be wicked interested to see some data on.

Are there any logistics guys/owners lurking here that might have input on whether or not this sort of datamining is even POSSIBLE given our current setup? And if it is not.. what we would need to do to get there?

Stephen
 

Inaryn

Knight
You know, I know the database already does some report running features. Really, it's a matter of knowing the right coding for Access to see if it can be pulled.

Maybe you should get with Matt and task the ALC to do this? I mean, they do yearly audits on DBs, so in theory they should be able to pull everything into a centralized location for statistical analysis.

Most of the analysis I've done on SF's game has been via manually pulling the info and throwing it into Excel... which reminds me of some analyses that I should run in the next few months.
 

Shandar

Artisan
The DB currently tracks who played in each event, and who they played. It tracks PCs and NPCs. It calculates the APL for each event, but not the distribution of levels, races, or classes. All of the information needed to calculate those three is present, however; it just takes some manual work, as Sarah noted.

Given all that information for each event, one could easily draw out a map of all the information you could want about character frequency, longevity and turnover, player frequency, longevity and turnover, class distribution over time, race distribution over time, level distribution over time, and a whole host of other calculated metrics.
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Inaryn said:
Maybe you should get with Matt and task the ALC to do this? I mean, they do yearly audits on DBs, so in theory they should be able to pull everything into a centralized location for statistical analysis.

That is a bit outside of my paygrade lol.

At the end of the day, I'm a PR guy. I write things. I make recommendations. I facilitate discussions.

I'm happy to know that the National Database has all the information that we would need. That eliminates the biggest barrier to any sort of datamining.

Anyways. back to the discussion at hand. I threw the topic off the rails for a bit...

Ideas for simplifying the rules?

Nothing is really off limits here... we can feel free to make whatever suggestions we like so long as they facilitate simplification of the rules.
 

Talen

Adept
Hammerfist said:
Inaryn said:
If you were going to do this, I'd recommend, in regards to APL, not just the APL, but a distribution of the levels at the event. I know SF has an interesting double peaked distribution that isn't reflected well in just the APL.
Very interesting point. Perhaps part of this simplification is changing how an event is scaled internally. Is APL really relevant anymore due to the potential large disparity between the top and bottom end of the spectrum. I am willing to speculate that in many of our chapters that the none of them have a standard distribution of player level at a majority of there events and may end up closer the "double peaked" distribution Sarah mentioned, thus making the average all but moot. Now how to change how we scale..... I have not idea, just some food for thought.
Yep. APL is at it's most effective assuming that the majority of the players are at or around the APL. Of course, if you have a huge clump at the bottom and an equally large clump at the top of the range resulting in an APL where very few players actually are...meaning it's perhaps easy on half the players and rough on the other half. :sweat:
 
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