Jump to content

Winter Thorne

ADHD game design and doodads

Recommended Posts

There's a lot of player frustration with the game being expressed as an issue with claims, a problem with taming, a problem with vitamins, dislike of the FOY,  skill trees, etc.    I think there's an underlying issue in that there are some core systems in the game that were only given a basic start.  They weren't fully implemented and/or weren't fully thought out, and now, when they are addressed at all, it's by throwing a "thing" at them and seeing if it sticks.  And rather than going back now, after the bumpy start and taking a deeper dive at some of these, what we're getting instead are doodads - things the devs are throwing out like mardi gras beads from a float, trying to regenerate some of the excitement people had for the game at the beginning.

 

Figureheads, submarines,  giant crabs, clothing skins...that stuff is exciting in a game that's already working well, but when the basic systems are broken it makes it seem like the developers are floundering and don't really understand their own game.  There's a lack of understanding of how one system affects another leading to a lot of surprise over unintended consequences.  Take aging and the FOY for example.  Supposedly, the more you die, the faster you age, yet until now, dying has been a legitimate game mechanic.  No good way to really balance out food/vitamins?  Die and come back.  Overrun by alpha wolves or lions?  Die and come back.  Stuck on someone's boat?  Punch the air till you die and come back.  My char dies at least twice/day now, but in the beginning it was more like 20.  Penalties for dying seem appropriate, but only when you have good ways to prevent it, especially at lower levels, and the systems that support staying alive aren't broken or incomplete.

I'd like to see a lot fewer doodads in the upcoming patch notes and a lot more finishing of the basic systems, as well as the addition of new systems that would give the game more depth.  People who have managed to get land, build get ships and set up farms and pens are already starting to be bored and wondering what to do next.

Systems that need to be finished and fixed:

Claims, claims claims - especially on PvE , including the general direction you are taking with them.  Why applaud landgrabbers on pve and put up a "winners map" for who grabbed the most land?    Seems a bizarre goal.  Are you planning to stick with it?

Survival - food, water, vitamins, cooking, farming - anything that can't be grown needs to be able to be preserved better.  Taking a long trip around the globe to find ingredients is actually a good thing, but only if the stuff doesn't disappear by the time you get it back.  Recipes need to balance the vitamins so they're worth something.

PvE combat vs. wildlife - wildlife spawns just need to be more sensible.  I've been cheesing the wildlife by standing on my roof and shooting them.  It feels pretty cheesy, but the only alternative is dying or running away.

Taming - I don't do taming, but the people who do seem to have a lot of issues with it.  Jat has said Atlas really isn't meant to have a focus on taming like Ark.  If not, take it out, or make it plainer to people what the purpose is.  Adding new tameables doesn't seem to agree with that.

Armor/weapons -  don't seem terribly coherent at the moment.  Other people can probably provide better details on that.

Incoming systems:

Player shops -  this is something people will be looking forward to, if it's done right.  If it's another laggy massive land grab, it'll only be disappointing to most.

Towns and Cities -  what's the plan?  Is there an underlying mechanism to it or is this something the players are supposed to organize on their own?  If done right, this could provide players with further goals that would last a long time to keep them in the game.

 

TL;DR -  fix the existing systems and add any new core game systems before throwing doodad updates like armor skins and giant crabs at the game.  Resist game design after 5pm and 4 beers on Friday, which leads to FOY seeming a good idea.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Food lasts a really long time in a presevation bag with preserving salt or a bit less in the food larder. Water isn't that complicated nor is food in general kill fish or milk a cow for Vitamin D, Vitamin B from red meat, A and C  from fruits/veggies that exist on every island. I agree the vitamins are a bit meh and would like to see some work done on that portion though, if you aren't busy actually gathering etc and are just building or sitting around the vitamins can easily deplete before your hunger does leaving you unable to eat much to get vitamins up and the only way to reset it is either burn stamina down to get hunger or kill yourself and reset it.

I agree with the claim system needing some more thought put into it.

I think the only thing with PVE combat on wildlife that needs work is damage done to alphas with normal arrows and guns. It shouldn't be dropped down to so low because of their resistances. I don't know if the long term plan is to remove them or make them not take so many shots to kill but something should be done there. As far as killing from your house I don't see an issue with that, I personally usually kill stuff on the move. The pig could use some work it slingshots around me and causes graphical lag every time I kill one it's a bit like the croc swim speed before they fixed it but even more annoying. The only thing I know can climb up so far is the Cobra.

I definitely notice the armor when taming stuff or taking damage from wild animals for the plate armor. It helps a LOT. However the bonuses to temperature for heat/cold seem to do nothing as do all the perk skills that are supposedly supposed to make you less susceptible.

Player shops are going to be a mess if it's not thought out. Doing it in just free ports is a bad idea... It's going to be a terrible experience for any new players to load into the free ports during the hype of that.

Towns and Cities are a lovely idea... Not sure how that will go in the pvp server though.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Thor Ragnarock said:

Food lasts a really long time in a presevation bag with preserving salt or a bit less in the food larder. Water isn't that complicated nor is food in general kill fish or milk a cow for Vitamin D, Vitamin B from red meat, A and C  from fruits/veggies that exist on every island.

I'm on an island with no yellow anything on it.  My understanding is that many others are too.  People say there are no seeds for herbs, or anything yellow, and I can't find them either,  so I'm guessing it's true.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I'd love to take long trips finding stuff other players need and then sell it in a shop.  But you can't preserve it long enough.  I've had a preserving bag with salt and tested cooked meat in it..it lasted overnight (Realtime), which was an improvement but not good enough, really.  At some point, I'll try finding some more herbs to see if actual recipe food lasts longer.  Would be good if they turned off spoilage in shops so you could sell the stuff to people who don't want to mess with cooking, but it's so exploitable it'll never happen.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Winter Thorne said:

I'm on an island with no yellow anything on it.  My understanding is that many others are too.  People say there are no seeds for herbs, or anything yellow, and I can't find them either,  so I'm guessing it's true.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I'd love to take long trips finding stuff other players need and then sell it in a shop.  But you can't preserve it long enough.  I've had a preserving bag with salt and tested cooked meat in it..it lasted overnight (Realtime), which was an improvement but not good enough, really.  At some point, I'll try finding some more herbs to see if actual recipe food lasts longer.  Would be good if they turned off spoilage in shops so you could sell the stuff to people who don't want to mess with cooking, but it's so exploitable it'll never happen.

Quick pro tip, because I found yellow vitamin extremely frustrating at first til I learned this: digging with a shovel in non sand or rock areas will yield potatoes, which are yellow vitamin food.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Winter Thorne said:

There's a lot of player frustration with the game being expressed as an issue with claims, a problem with taming, a problem with vitamins, dislike of the FOY,  skill trees, etc.    I think there's an underlying issue in that there are some core systems in the game that were only given a basic start.  They weren't fully implemented and/or weren't fully thought out, and now, when they are addressed at all, it's by throwing a "thing" at them and seeing if it sticks.  And rather than going back now, after the bumpy start and taking a deeper dive at some of these, what we're getting instead are doodads - things the devs are throwing out like mardi gras beads from a float, trying to regenerate some of the excitement people had for the game at the beginning.

 

Figureheads, submarines,  giant crabs, clothing skins...that stuff is exciting in a game that's already working well, but when the basic systems are broken it makes it seem like the developers are floundering and don't really understand their own game.  There's a lack of understanding of how one system affects another leading to a lot of surprise over unintended consequences.  Take aging and the FOY for example.  Supposedly, the more you die, the faster you age, yet until now, dying has been a legitimate game mechanic.  No good way to really balance out food/vitamins?  Die and come back.  Overrun by alpha wolves or lions?  Die and come back.  Stuck on someone's boat?  Punch the air till you die and come back.  My char dies at least twice/day now, but in the beginning it was more like 20.  Penalties for dying seem appropriate, but only when you have good ways to prevent it, especially at lower levels, and the systems that support staying alive aren't broken or incomplete.

I'd like to see a lot fewer doodads in the upcoming patch notes and a lot more finishing of the basic systems, as well as the addition of new systems that would give the game more depth.  People who have managed to get land, build get ships and set up farms and pens are already starting to be bored and wondering what to do next.

 

I sympathize with your frustration about core game systems because I share it. Most of this game's core systems were released in a state that not only isn't optimized, but the initial design choice leaves one wondering what the devs were thinking. Case in point, how do you not see weight or crew limits causing sinking even in pve leading inevitably to player griefing? You don't need ANY experience designing games to see that coming from a mile away and not do it,  you just need practical play experience.

However, regarding doodads, one of the things we have to keep in mind is that development teams are not borg hive collectives, with x number of developers all with interchangeable and fungible skills. The people who design the doodads are a seperate team from the people who work on say coding of game mechanics. Not putting in doodads doesn't speed up addressing game mechanic flaws, it just means your doodad team sits around twiddling their thumbs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Thor Ragnarock said:

Player shops are going to be a mess if it's not thought out. Doing it in just free ports is a bad idea... It's going to be a terrible experience for any new players to load into the free ports during the hype of that.

I second this opinion.  While the idea of dragging older players back to starting zones to interact with new players is a great idea, right now, I see another lagfest coming.  Add into that the decay rate of ships in a freeport and you have a mess.  Furthermore, imagine this:  A company of players intent on griefing all respawn at the same freeport and begin sinking player's ships, or more easily done, they all make RSloops and block players in till their ship does sink.

1 hour ago, Winter Thorne said:

TL;DR -  fix the existing systems and add any new core game systems before throwing doodad updates like armor skins and giant crabs at the game. 

While I've been patiently waiting for trading to come to this game, I'm inclined to agree with the OP.  I'd rather keep tossing shit on the ground as a method of trading than have a shop to play with and the core of the game busted.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, boomervoncannon said:

However, regarding doodads, one of the things we have to keep in mind is that development teams are not borg hive collectives, with x number of developers all with interchangeable and fungible skills. The people who design the doodads are a seperate team from the people who work on say coding of game mechanics. Not putting in doodads doesn't speed up addressing game mechanic flaws, it just means your doodad team sits around twiddling their thumbs.

I realize that.  It may be helpful to have the art guys do some skins or something unless it keeps them from working on art needed for some of the core functions.  In most cases it wouldn't, so I probably could have left that kind of thing off the list.  It needed inclusion , though, to make the point that these kinds of things aren't going to appease anyone frustrated with the inadequate buggy core systems.

In the sense that's it's not fixing a core system, submarines and underwater trenches are a doodad, the FOY is a doodad, even player shops (which I'm looking forward to if done right) are a doodad at this point, and they all require programming.  If they all get implemented without recognition of how they must tie into the core systems and endure the same bugs, it won't be anything to be happy about.  Griefers finding a way to wreck subs, buggy taming on the new mobs, limited trenches producing "server full" and rubberbanding,  land rush for player shops making the "haves vs. have nots" issue worse.  None of that would be a good thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, boomervoncannon said:

Not putting in doodads doesn't speed up addressing game mechanic flaws, it just means your doodad team sits around twiddling their thumbs.

While this is an oversimplification, when the shit hits the fan it's time for everyone to grab a shovel. You take these doodad makers and you tell them, "guys, we're up shit creek and we need your help. Until further notice, you are no longer doodad makers, you are QA testers.  Fire up the game and hop on the test server."  I'm pretty sure that even an art major can be taught how to play Atlas in a relatively brief time. 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Jean Lafitte said:

While this is an oversimplification, when the shit hits the fan it's time for everyone to grab a shovel. You take these doodad makers and you tell them, "guys, we're up shit creek and we need your help. Until further notice, you are no longer doodad makers, you are QA testers.  Fire up the game and hop on the test server."  I'm pretty sure that even an art major can be taught how to play Atlas in a relatively brief time. 

I can't agree with this except in the most extreme circumstances. What Atlas lacks is not enough people playing it to have QA. Much as I might take issue with Percivels assertion that WE are the QA team and this is as it should be in EA (the part I take issue with is the "as it should be" part), it is hard to argue based on the available information against the notion that we are effectively the QA. Given our numbers, having the art team quit doing art to pitch in with us wouldn't make much sense.

Beyond that specific example what I'm saying is that the kind of coding required to do the work that would fix games systems is the kind of coding the art major has no background in and would have to be taught from the ground up. Right about the time Atlas is ready for release two years down the road, the art major MIGHT be ready to do some game mechanic coding. I say this not because I have any background in coding, but because I have been told pretty much this thing by people who do repeatedly in the past when airing my own similar complaints on prior game forums.

The analogy that best helped me wrap my mind around it was presented to me this way by a long time veteran coder:

The pilot and the stewardess and the airplane mechanic all work on airplanes. But if you need the plane flown and the pilot isn't available, having the stewardess fly instead just because she works on a plane is not a good idea. Likewise the pilot could in theory help the mechanic fix things, but his help is gonna be limited to handing the mechanic the requested tool and maybe holding the light in the right spot, and if you're paying a pilot to do this, you're not going to be in business as an airline very long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Winter Thorne said:

I'm on an island with no yellow anything on it.  My understanding is that many others are too.  People say there are no seeds for herbs, or anything yellow, and I can't find them either,  so I'm guessing it's true.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I'd love to take long trips finding stuff other players need and then sell it in a shop.  But you can't preserve it long enough.  I've had a preserving bag with salt and tested cooked meat in it..it lasted overnight (Realtime), which was an improvement but not good enough, really.  At some point, I'll try finding some more herbs to see if actual recipe food lasts longer.  Would be good if they turned off spoilage in shops so you could sell the stuff to people who don't want to mess with cooking, but it's so exploitable it'll never happen.

Have you thrown raw meat and fish into the preserving bag with salt? This makes salted meat. I have lost a few per day on a stack but am able to maintain large quantities no problem. It does consume a preserving salt to make the salted meat but seems to last a reasonably long time to me. You will need to drink a bit water more often due to the salt but it rains here tons and we have lots of water barrels/cisterns for farming with pipes. If you are going on a long journey a chest packed with water pouches, since 5 pouches weigh 1.5 lbs and hold 100 water ea but 1 water barrel with 500 water weighs 525 lbs or something <-- this confuses me.

Edited by Thor Ragnarock
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really good post and a jewel in this forum

 , not much likely you found these days here.

Mostly i agree and like follow post suggestions i humble add some ideas perhaps. Looking forward...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the best things about private servers like DarksideRP is they limit the number of claims. People are walling of whole sections of islands and there is little reason to allow other to build in your claims on the pvp server as it just weakens your defenses. The faster claims on large companies isn't super useful as it basically insures they will NEVER allow someone else to build on their claims and they will crush any company that takes a claim anywhere on one of their islands.

 

Spoilage timers are just imbalanced on anything other than meat or fish. It is always easy to get those. Fruits need to be interchangeable in cooking and have a MUCH longer spoilage timer and drop in lesser amounts. It isn't fun dealing with massive stacks of fruit on islands that have it. It also isn't fun to have to sail to another island for fruit and have a ton of it spoil before you use it. Vegetables and spices should be separated. Vegetables should be interchangeable while cooking and have a slow spoil timer. Spices should not interchange while cooking, but have no timer and the foods should made with them should have great benefits so spice trading becomes a thing.

 

Wildlife should be much easier to kill. Man would never have survived the stone age if animals acted like they do in Atlas. Wolves and snakes should avoid humans unless attacked. Tigers find humans tasty and will hunt them with little fear. Lions should have a low agro range on humans, but will pounce you if you get too close. Large predators should be a fairly rare spawn and not every animal type needs an alpha version. Also the islands should be broken into zones for the predators. Small islands would only have one zone while large island have multiple zones. While a large predator is active in a zone no more large predators spawn and the predator patrols the zone. Wolves don't need alphas, just always spawn them in packs of 3-5. Big snakes should be solo. Snake alphas should be rare and only the large snakes go alpha. Lions should spawn in groups of 1-3 with the solo spawns being males. The solo lions should have a small chance to be an Alpha. Tigers should always be an alpha. Crocs should also only be an alpha. Normal snakes, scorpions, spiders, and bees are not part of the zone system and continue to spawn normally. Small predators should be hunted by the large predators just like prey animals. The prey animals that get alphas should be limited to large ones like bears, rhinos, elephants, and giraffes.

 

Taming shouldn't require tons of bolas. After an animal is downed with a bola we should be able to chain it to a post and that locks them into the taming process. We then feed them and protect them until the tame finishes.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, boomervoncannon said:

The pilot and the stewardess and the airplane mechanic all work on airplanes. But if you need the plane flown and the pilot isn't available, having the stewardess fly instead just because she works on a plane is not a good idea. Likewise the pilot could in theory help the mechanic fix things, but his help is gonna be limited to handing the mechanic the requested tool and maybe holding the light in the right spot, and if you're paying a pilot to do this, you're not going to be in business as an airline very long.

If everything is otherwise working smoothly, I could agree with this. You won't want to hand out pilot pay to a mechanic's assistant.  However, everything is not working smoothly in this game.  As a matter of fact, using the aircraft analogy, it appears to be ready to plow into the ground like a yard dart.  In which case, it's time to put people where you need them and not necessarily where they are skilled.  You are not going to teach C# to an art major in a few days. But you can have them play the game and test fixes before you release them to the public.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lol, look if your argument is that the game needs better QA, you’re preaching to the choir. All I’m saying is that people who know have told me multiple times that the best way to do it is pretty much never to pull the art major from their job and make them QA. This was something I had to be told repeatedly from multiple sources online and then ultimately double checked with a cousin with a CS degree from Duke and his gf who sits on some kind of worldwide technology standards committee.  It was an idea I really wanted to resist, but ultimately had to accept.

Also the video is funny.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, boomervoncannon said:

It was an idea I really wanted to resist, but ultimately had to accept.

Well bud, I've read many of your posts and agree with just about everything you say.  But in this case, I think  you may have been brainwashed by eggheads. I'm gonna stick to my position. If the ship is sinking I don't give a damn if you are a pastry chef, grab that bucket and start baling water.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, boomervoncannon said:

Lol, look if your argument is that the game needs better QA, you’re preaching to the choir. All I’m saying is that people who know have told me multiple times that the best way to do it is pretty much never to pull the art major from their job and make them QA. This was something I had to be told repeatedly from multiple sources online and then ultimately double checked with a cousin with a CS degree from Duke and his gf who sits on some kind of worldwide technology standards committee.  It was an idea I really wanted to resist, but ultimately had to accept.

Also the video is funny.

That video WAS funny.

Re. Q&A -  If the idea is that the players do it, that's a terrible idea.  Many of them have less experience than your average art employee at a gaming company, but the biggest reason is that the first requirement for Q&A is that you tell the testing team how something is supposed to work.  Their job is to try it and see if it works the way it's supposed to.  If not, they need to write up a report saying exactly what they did and what the result was.  This is a job that any literate, fairly logical person can do if they are given the right input.  Coding is different.  You can't give someone a short cheat sheet and expect them to code.    

We don't know how anything is supposed to work.  There's no way for us to "test" it.  All we can do is say whether we like it or not.

A good example is the salted meat comment from Thor.  On the day I tried it, salted meat lasted less time than cooked meat.  But I only tried it on one day.  It could have worked entirely differently when Thor tried it, and who knows how it's really supposed to work?  Could be broken...might be getting stealth tweaks....who knows?  All I can say is that I don't really like the way food works.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Winter Thorne said:

A good example is the salted meat comment from Thor.  On the day I tried it, salted meat lasted less time than cooked meat.  But I only tried it on one day.  It could have worked entirely differently when Thor tried it, and who knows how it's really supposed to work?  Could be broken...might be getting stealth tweaks....who knows?  All I can say is that I don't really like the way food works.

To digress and discuss the preserving bags:  My issue with those wasn't about the preservation times though I admit I didn't study them much.  My concern became focused around the bags themselves. It was the fact that meat consumed large quantities of salt, something my home island doesn't have.  Furthermore, the bags degraded so fast that I had to empty them out.  If I'm not mistaken they require either sap or paste to repair which is another commodity my island doesn't have.  Once I emptied the bag out, it stopped degrading, and I stopped using valuable resources.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Jean Lafitte said:

Well bud, I've read many of your posts and agree with just about everything you say.  But in this case, I think  you may have been brainwashed by eggheads. I'm gonna stick to my position. If the ship is sinking I don't give a damn if you are a pastry chef, grab that bucket and start baling water.

Just to be clear, my background is in business so my normal way of thinking is “hell yeah the accounting dept can take customer service phone calls in a pinch.” I just was repeatedly told otherwise by people who, if they didn’t work directly in game development, at least are knowledgeable about coding, something I couldn’t do if my life depended on it.

Anyway I think the obvious bottom line here is there is a ton of stuff that needs fixing, and while we’re all aware this is EA (just in case somebody hasn’t mentioned it in the last 30 seconds), to me it seems that part of the reason the plane is doing a yard dart impression is that someone put the wings on backwards and it’s unclear how they might have thought that was ever a good idea in the first place.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Winter Thorne said:

That video WAS funny.

Re. Q&A -  If the idea is that the players do it, that's a terrible idea.  Many of them have less experience than your average art employee at a gaming company, but the biggest reason is that the first requirement for Q&A is that you tell the testing team how something is supposed to work.  Their job is to try it and see if it works the way it's supposed to.  If not, they need to write up a report saying exactly what they did and what the result was.  This is a job that any literate, fairly logical person can do if they are given the right input.  Coding is different.  You can't give someone a short cheat sheet and expect them to code.    

We don't know how anything is supposed to work.  There's no way for us to "test" it.  All we can do is say whether we like it or not.

A good example is the salted meat comment from Thor.  On the day I tried it, salted meat lasted less time than cooked meat.  But I only tried it on one day.  It could have worked entirely differently when Thor tried it, and who knows how it's really supposed to work?  Could be broken...might be getting stealth tweaks....who knows?  All I can say is that I don't really like the way food works.

Couldnt agree with this more. This is the thing that it feels like GrapeCard either doesn’t do at all, or does so badly you can’t tell it’s being done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see any thing wrong with so called doodads or whatever. If they want to come out with cosmetics let them, even if stuff is broke. Each company has roles for every employee. So the employee that does armor skins has to wait till the game is fixed to show his/her work is unfair and has no effect on problem (A)  Problem (A) will be fixed by the person that is assigned to it. Can't send home your staff because certain thing are not running proper then ask them to come back when it's fixed, don't make sense. So again cosmetics don't take away time from fixing the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the issue here is this is EA (Alpha release years from release) and people are looking at it as a polished game.  They expect it to run smooth, play balanced and go overboard when it isn't. 

Like it or not we are the QA.  I'm sure they do some in-house, but the time it takes to do this properly can be quite time consuming and it slows the release of new patches, content, etc.  From what I can tell the company working on this game does not have a large team and a limited budget.  This is not a AAA title.  This is not run by Chris Roberts and a huge kick starter budget.  It is what it is and I like it.

I love the fact we are getting updates fast and furious.  We get to see the inner workings of a game under development.  All the tweaks, balances, screw ups, and fixes.  I've always thought this is how it was done (most keep it in house because consumers SUCK) prior to game releases or public betas, but never was apart of it until now.  Yeah it can be frustrating at times, but when it is I just remind myself where this game is at in its life cycle.  The game we see now will most likely be quite different a few years from now. 

Keep making suggestions to balance issues.  Bug reports.  Exploits.  Going on tirades about broken gameplay elements at this stage just appears childish to me.

 

Edited by DocHolliday

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, DocHolliday said:

I think the issue here is this is EA (Alpha release years from release) and people are looking at it as a polished game.  They expect it to run smooth, play balanced and go overboard when it isn't. 

Like it or not we are the QA.  I'm sure they do some in-house, but the time it takes to do this properly can be quite time consuming and it slows the release of new patches, content, etc.  From what I can tell the company working on this game does not have a large team and a limited budget.  This is not a AAA title.  This is not run by Chris Roberts and a huge kick starter budget.  It is what it is and I like it.

I love the fact we are getting updates fast and furious.  We get to see the inner workings of a game under development.  All the tweaks, balances, screw ups, and fixes.  I've always thought this is how it was done (most keep it in house because consumers SUCK) prior to game releases or public betas, but never was apart of it until now.  Yeah it can be frustrating at times, but when it is I just remind myself where this game is at in its life cycle.  The game we see now will most likely be quite different a few years from now. 

Keep making suggestions to balance issues.  Bug reports.  Exploits.  Going on tirades about broken gameplay elements at this stage just appears childish to me.

 

So here’s where we disagree. I fully understand this is EA and that means the is unpolished. I’m fully prepared to accept that. What I’m not prepared to accept is the notion that the players are the only QA for 2 reasons:

1. As previously outlined by another poster, this is an extremely poor approach to QA that inadequately fulfills the QA role.

2. The material difference between prior open beta approaches and EA is that we are in fact paying for something. Paying for something gives you a right to a higher expectation than not paying anything. Accepting that the game is unfinished is not the same as accepting that design choices to this point seem baffling and indefensible in the face of common sense. Explain how not forseeing that ship crew limits and weight limits cause sinking combined with allowing outside parties to affect these things isn’t foolish regardless of what stage of design.

Some things they shouldn’t need playtesting to figure out. As a customer I’m less than thrilled to pay for a game only to discover basic initial design choices that demonstrate less than a competent approach to game design.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the flip side people need to understand they are paying to do something that people usually get paid for.  From a business standpoint its a brilliant flip.  Why pay someone to test when they are willing to pay you.

The developers cannot account for every angle.  Games like this are highly complex and it would take time to uncover all the exploits.  How big of a team would be needed to find them all and help close the gaps compared to the thousands of people playing this game?  We cover more ground, report more bugs and exploit more game mechanics than any QA team could and we do it while paying them.

I'd really like to know how big of a team this developer has.  From all the complaints I have seen I feel people are expecting way to much from an alpha.  Many game mechanics have not been added yet.  As time goes on new ones will be added and people will exploit those as well.  Expect more complaints in the forums and attacks on the developers.  

After seeing this game for a month and I was interfacing with the public I would not want to do an EA.  Why?  I wouldn't want to deal with all the asshats in here.  Keep it behind closed doors and there is less stress to deal with.   

Edited by DocHolliday

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, DocHolliday said:

From a business standpoint its a brilliant flip.

ONLY if you have a well working product in the first place.  Had the core of this game been well thought out and working but just unpolished, it THEN would have been brilliant.  Instead, it has turned into a fiasco of negative reviews and news stories emphasizing the recent hacks.  So yea, they're getting a QA team that's paying them.  The question is, how deep of a hole have they dug themselves in order offset the expense of hiring a real QA team?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, DocHolliday said:

 

Like it or not we are the QA.  I'm sure they do some in-house, but the time it takes to do this properly can be quite time consuming and it slows the release of new patches, content, etc.  From what I can tell the company working on this game does not have a large team and a limited budget.  This is not a AAA title.  This is not run by Chris Roberts and a huge kick starter budget.  It is what it is and I like it.

 

We can't be the QA because we haven't been given the design spec.  All we can do is give them multiple confusing incomplete reports about something we thought was wrong, which, as you say, burns up their time and slows everything down.  If they wanted us to do QA, they should be providing enough info with the patch notes -  X type of food should expire in Y time raw, in Y*2 when cooked and Y*4 cooked in a preserving bag, for example.  Or when they change the claim flags, they should state how they're supposed to work in different situations so we can test that.

With the right kind of information given to the players, they could get bug reports with a repeatable scenario that could actually be used to fix something.

When I do A, then B, then C, I get Z, and I'm supposed to be getting D, and this is repeatable.   (A good bug report)

With the wrong kind, they have two choices - ignore them or chase their tails trying to figure them out.

Of course they don't have a large team, or an unlimited budget.  This makes it even more important that they don't run around doing 10% of a food system, then 8% of a claiming system, then jump to creating submarines, and then go work on armor and weapon skill trees for a day, then back to vitamins.    They are designing and coding by the seat of their pants and according to some wacky chaos theory scheduling.  The result is an incoherent, broken, incomplete mess.  Most of all it's the most inefficient way to go about doing anything with limited resources.  It's not as fun, not as edgy to firm up a design spec for the core systems, set a schedule and go like gangbusters to get those done.  Much more fun to toss a whale or SOTD or a submarine at the players like some kind of glitterbomb.  But it's a bit juvie.

 

They need to attack these unfinished and broken systems with the same energy that they are going after network and performance issues, which they have done surprisingly well.

49 minutes ago, DocHolliday said:

I love the fact we are getting updates fast and furious.  We get to see the inner workings of a game under development.  All the tweaks, balances, screw ups, and fixes.  I've always thought this is how it was done (most keep it in house because consumers SUCK) prior to game releases or public betas, but never was apart of it until now.  Going on tirades about broken gameplay elements at this stage just appears childish to me.

 

Gee, welcome to online gaming.  Glad you're enjoying your first EA experience.  Some of us have seen LOTS of the inner workings of a game in development.  I guarantee you it won't be as entertaining when you're doing it 15 years from now and wondering why nobody ever figures some of this stuff out, as you plunk down your 50 bucks in 2034 and think "Surely they wouldn't have done THAT"....and yet there it is.

Sorry that you feel it's childish to ask for focus on the broken and unfinished elements of core systems while you're enjoying the chaotic explosion of glittery doodads.  People who want something other than what you want should always be defined that way, so that your own arguments can seem bigger and make the desire for shiny broken things more grown up.  It's a great approach.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×