This rule change is horrible

Are you willing to provide actual constructive insight into your concerns with 2.0?
I’ve previously given a lot of feedback

The rule system of 1.3 is too complicated. The original goal was to fix that problem.

The rules system of 2.0 is equally if not more complex and robust.

There are things I like about 2.0, the magic item fixes for example, and at the same time I feel obligated to point out the original problem of complexity was not addressed.

If that’s taken as overly negative, sorry, but I don’t see the point in providing feedback if we’re just ignoring a bleeding issue with this outcome in that this process didn’t do what it was originally supposed to do.

I still hope that we address the fundamental issue of there being too much complexity in the rules system.
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
You've stated your case well enough Deadlands, and it's a valid criticism and position. Having played in larps with less complexity I understand where you're coming from. I appreciate that you acknowledge both strengths and weaknesses as you see them. The direction 2.0 ended up taking didn't have enough streamlining and reduction of complexity for your tastes. I can appreciate giving that criticism. While 2.0 isn't what you wanted, it is the result of listening to the active playtest community. Feedback was given and changes were made on that feedback. I wish you had gotten more playtest opportunities as you have articulated your distaste in a genuine, respectful, and thorough manner.

Droth has not done so, and it's frustrating.

Droth, I hope you can give a detailed set of reasons why you don't like 2.0, but without that, all I can guess is that you just want things to stay the way they were. The hard truth is, that isn't happening. Change is coming, and we'd love to hear your feedback on what shape that change is taking, but digging in heels won't stop it.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
If that’s taken as overly negative, sorry, but I don’t see the point in providing feedback if we’re just ignoring a bleeding issue with this outcome in that this process didn’t do what it was originally supposed to do.
The “I’m looking forward to 3.0” comment was rude. ARC has poured insane amounts of hours into developing a system that had evolving targets based on feedback over the entire Alliance. Sure, the initial goal of a simpler system doesn’t feel met (there are more mechanics and more mechanics that combine with each other, causing complexity), but you know what?

People love the frickin’ system. -Especially new players.- And I think that last part matters the most. Power creep makes our game less and less accessible to new people, and 2.0 is -far and away- more appealing to the generation who is going to have to carry on our game.

So, fine, 2.0 isn’t your cup of tea (I don’t even know if you’ve played with the current iteration yet). I’ll even say that I pretty much disliked every iteration pre .11. But dude, at least show some respect towards the group that volunteered so much time and effort into making the system, -even if you end up not liking the end product.-

Edit: Also. I was asking for Droth’s comment, who literally hasn’t ever posted on the forums except to make the remarks he did without anything constructive.
 

Feldor

Scholar
Marshal
So the Alliance rules set has a very distinct feel to it when played. A simpler rules set would feel very different. I also play in a larp that is descended from a larp that is descended from a larp that is descend from Alliance, with each iteration resulting in simpler mechanics system. It has resulted in something very different mechanically than Alliance, but that has a bunch similarities in how it plays. But it is different, and moving to that from the current rules set would upset a lot of people. Those sort of major changes are better done when people are not expecting continuity with previous characters, because not being able to play a character as they've been played can be upsetting for a significant part of the player base.

And even with as gentle as 2.0 is being in its changes, I know of at least 1 rogue who is deeply unhappy with the changes to waylay. A large portion of what they loved was playing the waylay game, where you could sneak around and get someone. This is much of what they did for years as a low level rogue. They spent years working up to the point where they could waylay a howlbear, and were feeling very accomplished about this. They hate that waylay is now resistable and defenses work against it. Personally I like the waylay change, because it is very much in-line with the 'be all you can't be' motto, whereas the old waylay was really an out-of-game skill check for an infinite use takedown -- which was clearly over powered, and hence why so many creatures had to be made immune to it (if half your monsters must be made immune to one skill to make your game work, there is something wrong with that skill).
 

EC-JP

Scholar
Alliance Rules
I’m actually going to take a second to discuss complexity, as 2.0 includes a number of elements that could be considered more complex than 1.3 that ultimately are not.

2.0 removed multiple calls and effects while adding multiple alternate ways to access existing effects. What this means is that the list of things another player can do to you (ie- things everyone must know to play the game) has decreased. The additional complexities were added on the “do-er” side of the equation, which no one is required to use unless they are comfortable with that level of complexity. A common refrain during the development process was that play should be simple, but logistics and character build (the “behind the curtain” can be complex. For example- you are struck by a packet for “10 elemental flame”, you need to know how that impacts you. You do NOT need to know what combination of skills, abilities, items, etc allowed that person to throw the packet.

Ultimately, 2.0 was designed to allow levels of complexity in character design based on how complex a player is or is not comfortable with. In certain aspects, it is even simpler than 1.3 (you want to play a healer but have issues with incants and keeping track of spells? Channeling might be perfect for you!).

When considering complexity, you must ask yourself if you are making it complex for yourself (in which case, no one is forcing you to go outside your comfort level) or making it complex for others.

This is not to say that 2.0 does not have complex effects (Wither, Corrupt), but in the aggregate, a lot of the 1.3 complexities (entangle is a Web, but..., Enflame, etc) were removed and the vast majority of the new complexity in the system is on the user. Options, player choices, and customization were strongly desired, and added in s way that doesn’t require every player to learn a complex set of of rules. If you don’t want to play a ritualistic, there are pages of rules you can ignore, same with the production system, martial skills for players that want to just throw packets, etc. How the effect is achieved is irrelevant, and that is where so much of the complexity was added.

TL;DR- complex options for yourself =! Complexities that you force on others.
 
The “I’m looking forward to 3.0” comment was rude. ARC has poured insane amounts of hours into developing a system that had evolving targets based on feedback over the entire Alliance. Sure, the initial goal of a simpler system doesn’t feel met (there are more mechanics and more mechanics that combine with each other, causing complexity), but you know what?

People love the frickin’ system. -Especially new players.- And I think that last part matters the most. Power creep makes our game less and less accessible to new people, and 2.0 is -far and away- more appealing to the generation who is going to have to carry on our game.

So, fine, 2.0 isn’t your cup of tea (I don’t even know if you’ve played with the current iteration yet). I’ll even say that I pretty much disliked every iteration pre .11. But dude, at least show some respect towards the group that volunteered so much time and effort into making the system, -even if you end up not liking the end product.-

Edit: Also. I was asking for Droth’s comment, who literally hasn’t ever posted on the forums except to make the remarks he did without anything constructive.
Ok, apologies. My intention was to shorthand this message:

I like many things about 2.0. The work that has been done to clean up the sloppiest aspects of 1.3 is admriable. Particularly around effects, language, static damage and magic items.

I also really appreciate the work that’s been done recently to try to correct the initial issues with casters becoming too powerful in earlier iterations of the new system.

The remaining challenge I see is this, when I was an owner the ARC was tasked with the aforementioned - to simplify our rules system.

This was an intentionally narrow scope.

We wanted the rules to be simpler because of a well known complaint among new players was that our rules system was far too big and difficult to learn. This is evident in that I know intelligent folks who have been playing this game for two decades and still don’t know a large chunk of the rules.

The metaphor that comes to mind is I bring my car in to have the transmission replaced and end up with a new engine and a fresh coat of paint.

It’s not that the new engine isn’t appreciated. I know how many hours it takes. I did engine work myself for years. I’m glad that people like the new engine.

The transmission still needs to be repaired.

I am authentically looking forward to the next iteration of the rules because I believe at this point the current owners are fairly set on this rules set, and I tend to think in terms of long term, incremental improvements.


P.S. For what it’s worth, I have played the new system, and plan to continue. I have remained an active player during this entire process. Please don’t make this discussion personal.
 

Paladin of Earth

Newbie
Moderator
Everyone just remember none of this is personal and passion for the game is good even when the opinions disagree with you.

Good job staying largely civil in this thread let us keep it that way. Just remember to take a deep breath when you post and remember tone is often lost online.
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
The remaining challenge I see is this, when I was an owner the ARC was tasked with the aforementioned - to simplify our rules system.

This was an intentionally narrow scope.

We wanted the rules to be simpler because of a well known complaint among new players was that our rules system was far too big and difficult to learn. This is evident in that I know intelligent folks who have been playing this game for two decades and still don’t know a large chunk of the rules.
Hiya Gary!

I do want to address this comment, as it's come up from a couple of different folks (PirateFox and Thorgrim, for example). You are absolutely correct that the original mandate was to simplify and streamline *only*.

The first internal playtest packet we came out with a few years ago was basically just that - lots of streamlining and simplifying, without adding anything new or more complex. And players -hated- it. The majority of Owners hated it, too. ARC tried again a couple of times and we got lots of negative feedback, in most cases precisely because of the streamlining and simplifying. The simple truth is that that is not what the players or, in most cases, the Owners really wanted, despite the fact that simplification was the original mandate.

ARC serves at the pleasure of the Owners and works at their requests. After the first few iterations, we went back to the Owners (I think this was at Symposium '14 or '16, don't remember which off the top of my head) and said "Look, this approach is not liked by either you guys or the players. We think we can add a number of features that - while keeping the system simpler for the players learning it - will add the richness that players and many Owners are looking for out of Alliance. The biggest issue for new players isn't just simplification, it's the wildly different power levels between new and older players." The Owners approved this direction (through a variety of votes; the Magic Item system revamp was the biggest one) and that ended up as the 2.0 you see today.

So, to use your analogy, the original request was for a transmission replacement. ARC gave a couple of different transmission options and they were disliked by everyone. When we expanded the scope to the entire engine, it was directly because of feedback from both players and Owners. The new direction was approved by the Owners and has ended up with a pretty darn good system.

Bottom line: As much as people say they want a simplified, streamlined system, that is not in fact what players and Owners have decided they want. The original mandate of 2.0 is still there under the covers - JP gave a great explanation of how it's been preserved - but I'd recommend discarding expectations of "it was only supposed to streamline! Why did stuff get added?" because things got added at the express request of Playtesters and Owners.

-Bryan Gregory
ARC
 

Inaryn

Knight
I just want to say, one of the new things that got added was Weapon Strikes... and I'm honestly loving the functionality that they provide. They're clear, simple, and easy to understand defensively.
 
Hiya Gary!

I do want to address this comment, as it's come up from a couple of different folks (PirateFox and Thorgrim, for example). You are absolutely correct that the original mandate was to simplify and streamline *only*.

The first internal playtest packet we came out with a few years ago was basically just that - lots of streamlining and simplifying, without adding anything new or more complex. And players -hated- it. The majority of Owners hated it, too. ARC tried again a couple of times and we got lots of negative feedback, in most cases precisely because of the streamlining and simplifying. The simple truth is that that is not what the players or, in most cases, the Owners really wanted, despite the fact that simplification was the original mandate.

ARC serves at the pleasure of the Owners and works at their requests. After the first few iterations, we went back to the Owners (I think this was at Symposium '14 or '16, don't remember which off the top of my head) and said "Look, this approach is not liked by either you guys or the players. We think we can add a number of features that - while keeping the system simpler for the players learning it - will add the richness that players and many Owners are looking for out of Alliance. The biggest issue for new players isn't just simplification, it's the wildly different power levels between new and older players." The Owners approved this direction (through a variety of votes; the Magic Item system revamp was the biggest one) and that ended up as the 2.0 you see today.

So, to use your analogy, the original request was for a transmission replacement. ARC gave a couple of different transmission options and they were disliked by everyone. When we expanded the scope to the entire engine, it was directly because of feedback from both players and Owners. The new direction was approved by the Owners and has ended up with a pretty darn good system.

Bottom line: As much as people say they want a simplified, streamlined system, that is not in fact what players and Owners have decided they want. The original mandate of 2.0 is still there under the covers - JP gave a great explanation of how it's been preserved - but I'd recommend discarding expectations of "it was only supposed to streamline! Why did stuff get added?" because things got added at the express request of Playtesters and Owners.

-Bryan Gregory
ARC
Hey Bryan, I appreciate the background information on the directions things have gone since I stepped out of the Owner chair.

You guys have done an immense amount of work managing the ever changing directions you’ve received.

That’s unfortunate to hear. I’ve brought a number of players to the game over the years who told me that they didn’t come back due to the power disparity you mentioned and because it was just too many rules to absorb, especially for casual players.

You’ve done a lot to address the first issue. I hope the owners decide to give the ARC support around addressing the latter someday. It’s probably going to require less turnover among the Owner, or some significant change to the Bylaws to better support a long term vision for growing the game and attracting/retaining players.

I’m still optimistic that we’ll get there someday.
 

Avaran

Baron
My biggest concern with 2.0 is that -- much like 1.3 and previous version of the game -- it puts a massive amount of the determination of success on Plot Teams.

One of the big things I keep getting told is that 2.0 has "more tools" for plot teams!

I humbly disagree that there are "more" tools, and you can pretty much do most of what 2.0 changed with some creative monster cards and a handful of changes here and there.

When I was head of Plot in OR, one of the best things that happened was a sit-down chat I had with Ali (the Alliance Chair at the time) where we talked about this general topic, and she challenged me to just find creative ways to use the tools I was already given, because - as she put it - 1.3 has TONS of plot tools. And she is absolutely correct.

The problem is that they don't get used or taken advantage of by plot teams; there's too much "let's make something new" and not enough "let's find creative ways to use what we already have".


Please read through this next bit carefully and completely before commenting. I did was on a plot team for 5 years, and was a head of plot for 3 years. These are thoughts, concerns, and criticisms are all things that I applied to myself and my teams and I have done many of these things; it's a collective problem that needs collective problem-solving.

Here are the challenges that face plot teams:
  • Time. This is the big one. This is the one that really affects everything after it. Running plot, writing plot, planning plot, scaling plot -- these all take time. Lots and lots of time. Time that Plot members often are unable or unwilling to spend until the Last Minute.
  • Combat inexperience -- Combat is hard. It's hard to plan, it's hard to scale for, it's hard to implement and execute. Lots of plot people aren't super experienced with combat, as a result, over-scaling tends to happen more often than not.
  • Rules Ignorance -- Plot team members aren't always super familiar with the rules; this means they tend to not know what tools are available, what creative things they can do with those tools, and while this can sometimes lead to some pretty creative combat solutions, more often than not it leads to weird/wild/over-scaled monster cards. And more often than not, very few members of Plot are even Rules Marshals in my experience.
  • High turnover and Burn Out -- A sad fact of the matter is that lots of chapters and plot teams have high turn over rates and really high burn out rates. This leads to those people leaving, and the game loses out on those experiences being passed on to future teams/players.
  • Lack of organizational support - when I joined Plot in OR, it took over a year to get my request to join the national plot board approved. When I became Head of Plot, I received no communication from National; no getting started guide, no "here's the databases you'll need!" and basically crickets in the aforementioned national Plot board. No rules on Treasure Policy were sent to me, that had to be given by word-of-mouth; no by-laws that I needed to be aware of (there were plenty), no "Things to do! Things to Avoid doing!" or anything like that. I was basically on my own with nothing but my 10 years of experience as a player, and my wits. Thanks, Obama!
  • High Chapter Ownership Turn-over - Lack of direction at the highest levels of the game is detrimental; it leads to things like the organization not giving proper support, tips, or even training to Plot members. Add to that the fact that changing owners frequently can throw the necessary chapter stability to the wind. Having a new owner every 2 years is detrimental to the health of the game, chapter, plot, and players.
Until these core issues are addressed and at least acknowledged and worked on, you can have any rule-set you want, it's still going to end up in the same spot it's in now because fundamentally, the people running the show, haven't changed their habits, haven't changed their way of thinking, and haven't been given the motivation to do so.

My biggest fear is that the lack of rules experience across all plot teams will fundamentally make things even worse than they are now in terms of scaling, challenge, and overall fun.
 

Muir

Fighter
Avaran, I think most of the issues you call out are very difficult to address for this sort of game. Bluntly, this isn't an enterprise that pulls in enough money to have the full-time paid positions necessary to run the top-down bureaucracy required.

We are, at the end of the day, an organization run by mostly volunteers. That means a lot of the weight has to be on the local Owners and their plot teams, and of those only the owners are actually potentially getting paid... and I have yet to meet any of them who will actually admit to running at a profit. ;) The support you're looking for as HoP needs to be coming from your chapter owner, the person who actually holds the franchise and should be communicating the bylaws and policies to you as a member of their staff responsible for running events.

Props are expensive. Costuming for an NPC camp is expensive. Renting campsites is waaay too damn expensive, in part because we are poor stewards of them all too often. Writing cards, mods, and events is a skill, and one that takes a -lot- of time and effort to develop... and failure is punished by players quitting and taking the game's source of income with them. It is no surprise that chapter ownership turns over when the game is expensive to run and an enormous time sink.

Getting a higher level of support at the national level is only practical if the playerbase is willing to pay more to attend games, and likely a yearly fee to the Alliance as an organization to pay for that level of support.
 

Avaran

Baron
Avaran, I think most of the issues you call out are very difficult to address for this sort of game. Bluntly, this isn't an enterprise that pulls in enough money to have the full-time paid positions necessary to run the top-down bureaucracy required.

We are, at the end of the day, an organization run by mostly volunteers. That means a lot of the weight has to be on the local Owners and their plot teams, and of those only the owners are actually potentially getting paid... and I have yet to meet any of them who will actually admit to running at a profit. ;) The support you're looking for as HoP needs to be coming from your chapter owner, the person who actually holds the franchise and should be communicating the bylaws and policies to you as a member of their staff responsible for running events.

Props are expensive. Costuming for an NPC camp is expensive. Renting campsites is waaay too damn expensive, in part because we are poor stewards of them all too often. Writing cards, mods, and events is a skill, and one that takes a -lot- of time and effort to develop... and failure is punished by players quitting and taking the game's source of income with them. It is no surprise that chapter ownership turns over when the game is expensive to run and an enormous time sink.

Getting a higher level of support at the national level is only practical if the playerbase is willing to pay more to attend games, and likely a yearly fee to the Alliance as an organization to pay for that level of support.
Thanks for your comments. :)

I think that is rather my point: until these things can be solved, a massive rules change isn't going to fix the problems that it's attempting to fix because it's only treating symptoms, not the actual problem.

Also, I think it is absolutely reasonable to expect a baseline packet/support from a chapter owner; including scaling. If a plot team isn't scaling well (or example), the chapter owner needs to step in and teach the Plot Team some Best Practices/Guidance and those, in turn, should probably be agreed upon by the owners as a whole to help keep the experience across the game at least in the same ballpark.

And don't get wrong, I really liked my owner and the way he handled things! This is more of a comment on trends I've seen across chapters over the course of the time I've been playing this game.
 

Muir

Fighter
I think it's definitely worth suggesting to the Owners that they chat about standardizing scaling practices. I don't know how doable it is, as the APL is all over the place chapter to chapter, but worth a shot.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
I think it's definitely worth suggesting to the Owners that they chat about standardizing scaling practices. I don't know how doable it is, as the APL is all over the place chapter to chapter, but worth a shot.
This would be hard to do without taking sovereignty from Plot, I suspect.
 

Avaran

Baron
This would be hard to do without taking sovereignty from Plot, I suspect.
I envision it as more of a "guidance" or "best practices" rather than a full-on take-over.

Some owners run plot in their chapters, some don't. Just depends on what the owner wants to do, but I think having the above would be a huge step in the right direction.

I know the Monster DB exists, and that is kind of a starting point which is bloody awesome, but it doesn't really convey the pure art form that goes into scaling well. Inevitably, chapters and characters are going to out-grow the monster DB (as happened with the original).


Maybe the solution is updating the Monster DB more frequently? As far as I know, there hasn't been a content update to the Monster DB since the very first one.

The more I think about it, the more I like that idea, actually. A Monster DB committee that releases updates each year could be really amazing, even if it's just adjusting numbers; it doesn't even have to have new monsters/concepts (but can if cool stuff gets created).
 

Ruki

Scholar
I think even having just a general pool for insta-mods/lairs/fishbowls/etc and such to share between chapters would be huge. Would save plot teams some writing, maybe just some tweaking. Maybe a plot discord channel for people to bounce ideas around? Doesn't need to be anything super formal.
 
Top