Author Topic: A few questions regarding the Player Counsel and community interaction  (Read 2471 times)

Offline Kira Wa Nai

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With creation of the player counsel the community has gotten a great opportunity to improve the game.
It is, however, pretty chaotic, disorganized and, most importantly, doesn't have a slightest clue of what they are trying to build.
This results in inefficient testing, hurt feelings (my latest attempt to organize an internal test was met with "nobody cares mate so im not wasting my time on this") and general disillusionment in the whole thing.

Hence, I want the following questions answered by the developers:
  • How do you see Alliance and Skirmish? Are they separate games that can(and should) provide separate experiences? Can the numbers and mechanics differ between the two? Will you try to unify them or keep them separate?
  • How do you see the competitive play? Is it something rudimentary or is it the central pillar of the community?
  • Related to the previous question, which audience is the game balanced for? New players? Competitive players? Casuals?
  • Are new game mechanics planned? Is proposing a new mechanic valid feedback or will it be scraped as being too low ROI?
  • What is the general balance strategy? The current devapp tests are not enough for thoroughly testing things, so it's either greatly increasing the quality and quantity of those, or just stuffing things onto the live server and doing the balance later. This could be pretty important for the competitive community.

Right now everyone in the player counsel has their own opinion regarding any and every of these questions, so it would be nice to get a coherent vision that we all could follow.

Offline SirNotlag

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Wait what player council? do they wear silly hats?

on a serious note i actually haven't heard of any player council and am curious as to what they do wand where they talk.

Offline Piemanlives

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Wait what player council? do they wear silly hats?

on a serious note i actually haven't heard of any player council and am curious as to what they do wand where they talk.
The player council meets on the semi official discord here: https://discord.gg/qZ2pwkD

They test arrange balance tests on the dev app. If you're interested drop a message.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 12:23:10 am by Piemanlives »

Offline Kira Wa Nai

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Player counsel is a community initiative to create a team of people that actually play the game and are willing to help the developers balance it. It proposes changes to the game and conducts playtests of those on the DevApp. You can find us in the official GoIO discord.

Offline Naoura

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Here's the thing I see about it;

GOIO, Skirmish has been the staple for years. It's what was first released, and it's worked almost perfectly so far. Almost. Not quite, but we'll get there in a second.

Alliance is, of course, new, and as it is new, there's a lot of uncertainty. And a shit-ton of balance that needs doing, especially when fighting massed amounts of enemies rather than the tried and true of fighting only a few. The difference in the combat and how you're supposed to play is drastic between Skirmish and Alliance.

As such, I'm of the opinion that they need to be seperate, partly for balance issues, partly for play issues. The Tempest being nerfed all to hell in order to be allowable into Skirmish means that you have to use more than one in Alliance to get much done. Same with the Aten, though that's in a more extreme manner. Once a very powerful and very viable weapon, now I'm only finding use for it on the Mob. Why? Because it needs to be balanced for Skirmish.

As long as Alliance is balanced downward to match, I can agree to the argument that they can be brought into Skirmish. I'm not sure I like it, but it's easier for the team this way. My issue is how hard they are trying to balance for Skirmish is affecting the whole of both games. If you release a new weapon balanced for PvP, and it's never used because when used in PvE it was garbage against the AI, have you made a viable weapon? Same thing the other way around, if you release a weapon into PvE, and then start balancing it for PvP, can you keep it powerful enough for both? Likely not, and therein lies the issue. Either the weapons need seperating, or the AI needs rebalancing to make it semi-Skirmish so as to make all weapons balanced between both.

As for Casual/Novice/Comp, you need all three. You really do. Comp play is always in the bones of any PvP game, whether or not there are huge prizes for it. In one school of thought, Comp play attracts newer players, because they want to be on the top of the pile like them, to be near professionals at the game like them. In that school of thought, Comp play is the backbone of a game. In another school of thought, Comp play is a necessary tool to seperate very high level and highly skilled players from newer players so that newer players aren't fully and completely destroyed and uninstall because of anger.

I really, really like Muse's choice to have everything open for everyone. That means that no matter how skilled someone is, they have access to the exact same tools as any novice, meaning that the novice simply has one directive; Learn. Not grind, or complete some quest, nor just work the achievements until he unlocks the tool, he just has to learn the ship, learn the weapons, and learn the tools. That's it. Simple, easy, efective. You can pick up the game and effectively learn the overall mechanics of engineering in two or three hours, if you actually pay attention and read the stats. Gunning is more difficult to learn, as it requires you to keep the physics in mind, and captaining more difficult still, as you have to be a command-type role.

That being said, very little is properly explained for newer players, and often they are left in the dark about oerall mechanics and overall skills that they need to develop. The tutorials are complete shite, and it makes for a very difficult learning curve when brought into regular play.

As such, I would certainly say it is balanced heavily for more casual play rather than comp or novice play.

Offline BlackenedPies

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With creation of the player counsel the community has gotten a great opportunity to improve the game.
It is, however, pretty chaotic, disorganized and, most importantly, doesn't have a slightest clue of what they are trying to build.
This results in inefficient testing, hurt feelings (my latest attempt to organize an internal test was met with "nobody cares mate so im not wasting my time on this") and general disillusionment in the whole thing.

That was my impression and the reason I stopped being involved. Say what you want but with Atruejedi it was very organized and worked towards specific goals, and I'd even go as far to say that 90% of actual progress was because of Jedi. Now it's constantly off topic and the most vocal member / de facto leader stated he's not interested in balancing the game. Management is key

Offline Kira Wa Nai

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That was my impression and the reason I stopped being involved. Say what you want but with Atruejedi it was very organized and worked towards specific goals, and I'd even go as far to say that 90% of actual progress was because of Jedi. Now it's constantly off topic and the most vocal member / de facto leader stated he's not interested in balancing the game. Management is key

Jedi had a vision. We, apparently, don't.

Offline The Mann

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See, I respect the whole testing community however, their methods of testing are somewhat limited.
For example, when I see the word testing; I expect to see someone testing anything and everything they see that could or should be tested. When the Cavitatiion and Grenade Launcher came out, everyone was testing them in their free time which was great to see, a load of practice lobbies filled with galleons firing mines at unsuspecting dummies.

See, in regards to the limitation I mentioned, first of all, not everyone is available at the specific time they test. Second of all, people have varied opinions, some may want to test this, some may test that but in the sessions they do; everyone has to test one thing. The gun testings for example, the harpoon - great fun, lots of people showed up for a good time but nothing happened from it. Some people felt it was a waste of testing, others say it will be considered in the long run but I'll leave that for the future to behold. Back to timing, the limited time means not all people can test together thus creating low populations. On Friday for example, I have no idea what happened on fridays but for some reason, my clan of drunks has been told we have to test fridays... that doesn't work and never will in my opinion... RIP my beautiful Iron Fork...


Overall, in my opinion, if one wants to effectively manage testing you need two things in my opinion, more timing - heck, I feel more and more people would test if anyone could test at any time - everything is available to you except for one thing - if theirs two of you, you cannot force start a game for a 1v1 - Stupid proposal but I feel they should give people a force start button if theirs only one populated ship either side. that'll solve any low audience issues for a little time before some discord spam brings in more players. That is another point. No one knows of the damn testing. They mention it all the time in the discord and in the dev streams but! no one actively expresses it enough in game, there's limited publicity and that's not effective in the grand scheme of getting as many people as possible to test.

Of course these are just opinions though. I barely ever test but I can clearly see with all the announcements in discord, the lack of publicity affects the testing massively...

now that I think about... I don't think this post was relevant to the thread...

Offline Naoura

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No, I think it's entirely relevant, Mann. Community needs to be able to interact and weigh in on what is being done, and testing is thebest way to do it.

I know I've had times where I've wanted to test something, but couldn't because it was scheduled exactly when I had work or class. It got to the point that I could guess next weeks testing schedule by my work schedule.

Increasing the audience for it is definitely a necessity, and limiting the sessions does turn people off. However, it is difficult for such a small team to try and have more sessions than they do. They are small, and if they could ever make enough to bloody well grow larger, it would be fantastic and I'm certain we would see much more change and advancement. I know, rehashing an old argument, Muse is indie and small, blah blah blah, but... Partially I can see why they're so few.

The Testing community is, effectively, the PC and a dedicated branch of the community. They're as important if not more to address.

As for the argument with Jedi... begrudgingly, I will state he had some measure of vision, and was enough of an ass to force his vision down everyone's throat. Crude and blunt, but it did work. I hate to admit it, but he did make some progress with things.

Now... we just need to have an actual Council. An actual, solidified, honest to god Council that can agree on a path to take. Said De Facto leader not wanting to deal with balancing is the issue, but that's why you have multiple leaders, who can reach a consensus on a decision. Shouting each other down helps no one.

I'll admit, I left the Discord over a rather petty dispute with one of the members there, he gets absolutely infuriating at the best of times, but the discussion needs to be constructive towards the future of the game. How it is constructive is in question, but that comes with refinement.

Offline Kira Wa Nai

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now that I think about... I don't think this post was relevant to the thread...
Oh, trust me, it is more than relevant.

PC is in a bit of a crisis, so healthy discussion is very much needed. This thread is one of the ways to make it permanent and available to everyone.

The counsel, in its current state, has no vision of the game - neither their own or forced onto them by developers.
The feedback feels ignored. The Seraph was added into the game despite being able to disable galleon in three shots. It was told many times that it was overpowered, but it made it into the game.
The competitive community is mostly uninvolved in the testing. This might be mismanagement, this might be the comp guys slacking, whatever. I have yet to see a full crew from a competitive clan on the test.
Organization is a bit of an issue. Internal Polaris testing used 1v1 practice lobby, checklist of things to test, player signup form and a feedback form.
The counsel and the testing feature a very heterogeneous pool of players. This reduces our ability to properly separate feedback and balance concerns.

The testing we conduct is not nearly enough in quantity and lacking in quality due to the problems I listed. We test many things at the same time, do two hour-long testing sessions, where a third of the time is spend herding people to actually pick the right thing, then just stuff feedback into the game chat or discord. This can and has to be improved.

Offline Ayetach

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Re: A few questions regarding the Player Counsel and community interaction
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2017, 08:28:46 am »
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for having a constructive and frank conversation while respecting each other's opinions I can appreciate a good read on feedback and observations from players when there's level-headed discussions about the topic at hand, of which there are several here. So let me take a moment to address some of them with you all.

  • How do you see Alliance and Skirmish? Are they separate games that can(and should) provide separate experiences

Essentially yes they are designed as two separate experiences. The main goal was to provide an easy means for players to hop between the two modes for different and varied game experiences. Although there are several mechanics that link the two together and would be interpreted as a single game in this way the design has generally been predicated on creating two separate experiences. The convenience of hopping between the two is a strength in the game we wanted to draw on.

  • Can the numbers and mechanics differ between the two? Will you try to unify them or keep them separate?

Ideally we want to keep content for both game modes as synchronous as possible since it'll make the back end work a bit easier, its rather complicated setting up two separate parameters for each mode since there are many aspects of the game and information that link themselves to one another. There are of course some exceptions that we can make but we try to minimise it as much as possible since the unified method works in a much more streamlined fashion.

  • How do you see the competitive play? Is it something rudimentary or is it the central pillar of the community?

Some of you have known me to have been pretty heavily involved with this area for some time prior to joining Muse so I have a vested interest in cultivating it. Its also important to remember that a vast majority of players are not competitive and for all the various features we have in the game we wanted to accommodate for all kinds of player demographics. Naturally I feel events and competitions are a healthy part of this whole process and I want to do whatever we can to build on this. I've been listening very carefully to various players and following threads on features and formats that can for example, improve the lobby and in-game process of hosting an event match. Several of these features are definitely on the to-do list when we can prioritise those, it goes without saying that the feeling 'they're not listening to us' seems to take shape in some people's minds but as a player, and now a dev team member, I can say that this is far from the truth. There's just a lot of big milestones for us to cover but I anticipate seeing these features come to fruition in time.

So to answer your question the competitive scene is more than a rudimentary function since they play an integral part for their own bit in how our balances play out in high-level play but also in community participation and events. Its also fair to say that as much as this aspect of the community holds a fair bit of importance in matters pertaining to the game it is also not a central pillar since as a whole there are other demographics and categories that together are central to the community.

  • Related to the previous question, which audience is the game balanced for? New players? Competitive players? Casuals?

Everyone really. There's no group that takes greater precedence over the others but we so keep in mind changes and track and observe how it affects each demographic so we can tweak any changes for improvements to the game; In that way it can accommodate for many demographics.

As an example demographic from the previous question, I would generally model competitive players as the most flexible since they tend to be the quickest adapters to metas and trends. Despite any impassioned beliefs about any one build, ship, gun, etc. in any which way these players feel is right or wrong the fact is, this group can identify key strengths and weaknesses in the game and contribute just as much data for us as the brand new players learning the interface and the basics of gameplay.

  • Are new game mechanics planned? Is proposing a new mechanic valid feedback or will it be scraped as being too low ROI?

Yes and absolutely send your ideas in! We didn't introduce game mechanics like VIP Death-match without a lot of references to events hosted and player feedback to make it happen.

  • What is the general balance strategy? The current devapp tests are not enough for thoroughly testing things, so it's either greatly increasing the quality and quantity of those, or just stuffing things onto the live server and doing the balance later. This could be pretty important for the competitive community.

We carry out some internal testing of content but we also host public testing each week for players to voluntarily participate in (although I definitely encourage more of you to join in on it if you want to help us craft the features a bit) from there we go through every single feedback email and report we document from these sessions. Sometimes we'll get feedback from players who do it in their own time which is totally acceptable data to look at. We'll have meetings and discussions over this kind of material so you can bet it's being looked at.

Now with that said it is harder to really gauge how a gun or ship tweak, new map or entirely new feature will do when we do add it to the retail version of the game, when thousands more players tinker with them. Especially since small testing groups (our team and players who voluntarily test this material in Dev App each week) can only sample so much data and by introducing it to the game we can, at times, suddenly find ourselves looking at unique circumstances that were not so easily discovered in the testing regiment, of which we take more feedback and examine changes and adjustments that need to be made.

I really can't stress how important it is for us to get player feedback when we look at all this data, even if you feel like your opinion wasn't heard it was certainly observed and examined in the broader determination of crafting the feature so your thoughts carry an influence on the design one way or another. Let me also stress how useful it is to get more of that feedback from more players, like the more the better. Emails from 50 people is nice but from 200 or 400 man, that's some expanded data we can draw on and it really helps in sampling more of it for the sake of improve the game to thresholds that feel good and solid.

-

Hopefully that has provided you some insights on the questions you had. I am also aware that some of you feel frustrated by discussions you have in the player council. Remember you can always email those ideas to us too no matter how radical they may be. I want to make sure all of your thoughts reach our team members so they can see what you guys have come up with.

Also let me add that if testing times need to be adjusted to accommodate more people this is totally doable. Just provide us an idea on what you guys feel works well with your schedules. This current time frame we host is mean to accommodate both American and European players (we try to cover the other time zones but it can be pretty challenging with our time resources).

Our team is watching and reading so keep us informed, and again you can always reach out to any of us if you have something you want to share more directly. Thanks for taking the time in reading all this I look forward to seeing what improvements we can make with this understanding.

Offline Lianxiang Ban

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Re: A few questions regarding the Player Counsel and community interaction
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2017, 09:41:52 am »
If it's complicated codewise to have different stats for the same item in PvP vs. PvE, what about introducing not quite the same item to PvP? For instance, instead of having the Seraph Tempest Missile Launcher, maybe PvP only gets the Prototype Missile Launcher (lore justification: all the really nice weapons were requisitioned by the armies and/or are too expensive for normal captains to afford without military subsidy).

Offline Psi Crow

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Re: A few questions regarding the Player Counsel and community interaction
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2017, 09:54:50 am »
If it's complicated codewise to have different stats for the same item in PvP vs. PvE, what about introducing not quite the same item to PvP? For instance, instead of having the Seraph Tempest Missile Launcher, maybe PvP only gets the Prototype Missile Launcher (lore justification: all the really nice weapons were requisitioned by the armies and/or are too expensive for normal captains to afford without military subsidy).
I think it said somewhere (GAZETTE maybe, dunno) that the Seraph Tempest Missile Launcher (Mk S) will join PvP. I guess "S" stands for Skirmish and is basically what you said

Offline Lianxiang Ban

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Re: A few questions regarding the Player Counsel and community interaction
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2017, 10:06:08 am »
If that's the case, then why the concern about the Alliance version being overnerfed?

Offline Nikola Brackman

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Re: A few questions regarding the Player Counsel and community interaction
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2017, 12:30:34 pm »
One thing I'd like to address: the idea that the Alliance weapons are being nerfed, or should be nerfed, to fit in to PvP.

Now, I can't really say for sure if it actually is the reason for the nerfs because I don't know what Muse's angle is there.  But I can address whether they *should* be.  The answer, in my opinion, is no.

Why?  Because we already have a basis for comparing the two modes in the PvP weapons that were brought into Alliance.  With the exception of some utility/disable weapons (flare, harpoon, flamethrower)  all of the PvP weapons have proven to be quite viable or even strong in Alliance.  Gat-Flak/Gat-Mortar is a dominant meta in Alliance.  Some weapons, particularly the Mercury and the Banshee, are actually stronger in PvE than they are in PvP because the lower enemy health pushes them past a critical threshold where they can do their job in one magazine.

So, if a gun brought from PvP performs just as well or better in PvE, then what is the expected outcome if a gun is made weak in PvE and then brought to PvP?  Well, it'll probably be underpowered in PvP too.  We can conclude this from observation.

I think what's making the Aten difficult to balance is a different factor: its damage type combined with its firing profile.  As we all know, Muse doesn't like us boating a single gun.  They have gone out of their way to nerf one-gun boats into the ground before.  Unfortunately, the Aten is pretty much only viable as a boating weapon in its current form.

It's a long-range hitscan weapon that does fire/fire, a jack-of-all-trades damage type that damages all components just about equally, and doesn't pair particularly well with any other damage type.  Its range bracket also doesn't pair particularly well with other weapons, since it significantly out-ranges even the Mercury.  The only weapon the Aten synergizes with is itself.

So in its current form, it's a weapon that is pretty much entirely designed for a playstyle that runs counter to Muse's design philosophy.  The Aten pretty much cannot be allowed to be viable with that design, whether PvE or PvP.  Because this game purposefully discourages boating, and the Aten is a pure boating weapon.

I think a good way to correct that situation would be to change the Aten to fire/explosive.  This would focus its role a little bit more on breaking hull, allowing it to pair with the Mercury (and when it's released, the cavitation gun).  The lower overall armor/balloon multiplier would allow the Aten to have a higher base damage so that it can at least be good at one thing.

Although if the Aten was going to be designed to pair with the Mercury, they'd probably have to buff/un-nerf its firing arc.  Otherwise, most ships may not be able to put an Aten and a Mercury on the same target.

Of course, technically just accepting that the Aten is a boating weapon and letting it be good at that is an option too, but based on this game's history it doesn't seem to be an option that Muse is likely to take.