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Unread 4 Aug 2005, 21:23   #1
Monroe
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Question How to keep bashed/small/new players interested?

I think one of the fundimental problems with planetarion, and one the game has been trying to address since it's inception is how to keep small players from getting crushed by big players. In addition I think one of the main failings of the game is the inability to keep the game interesting for most players unless they are competing for the top spot. We've seen it happen time after time that as the round progresses things tend to stagnate and a lot of players get demorilized and quit, or just don't really play anymore.

I feel that one of the things this game really needs is more interesting things for smaller players to compete for. Ways that they can still feel that they are involved with important aspects of the game, and that they can have an impact, and a chance to be a "winner." One small step in this direction has been taking in the form of Covert Ops. Now some people hate them, some people love them, and boths those for and against them have reasonable arguements. The one great thing I feel that Covert Ops provide is a way for small players to still "hit back" at big players and have an impact on them. The small player can feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in having taking on that big nasty enemy and won.

So the challenge I have for those who read the forums is this: What kind of things can be done to add meaning to the game for those who arn't in contention for a top spot (either as an ally or a individual)?

I think the golden astroids from havoc were one interesting attempt at bringing new meaning to the game, maybe have some golden covert op roids that can only be stolen through covert ops (and therefor gives the little guys a chance). Anyway I leave the floor open for discussion.
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Last edited by Monroe; 5 Aug 2005 at 00:21. Reason: need to clarify that this is a question and not a suggestion
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Unread 4 Aug 2005, 21:34   #2
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Re: How to keep bashed/small/new players interested

hm i don't think that cov op roid would work but the direction is clear and i think you are right with the idea something must be done to keep the small/beaten players interested. however, at the same time it should not destroy the "top" players' game, which is probably the reason why many are complaining about cov ops.

maybe we need a ranking of relative achievements, like highest relative roid/score gain (in a battle/ a day/a week) over the entire round. that would be a listing that is independent of the absolute planet rankings, yet every player has the chance to get to a top spot there and have his name displayed to the universe with a well done attack or something..please see this also just as a proposal and a base for discussion.
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Unread 4 Aug 2005, 23:01   #3
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Re: How to keep bashed/small/new players interested

I totally agree with you!!! I dont have a suggestion yet. Probably more equal gals would be a great step in the right direction.
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Unread 5 Aug 2005, 00:04   #4
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Re: How to keep bashed/small/new players interested

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agerus
I totally agree with you!!! I dont have a suggestion yet. Probably more equal gals would be a great step in the right direction.
I was going to deal with main post but i'll do this one first. As i've said elsewhere making galaxies more equal isnt the way forward. For starters making galaxies actually even will never happen as someone will always lose BUT more than that even trying to get that isnt 'natural' as its not how things work. Theres a hierachy thats in place, a hierachy which is very much like a food chain and like a food chain the balance is vital to everyone prospering. The game simply needs lots of smaller less experianced galaxies and a handful of tougher galaxies because such a system encourages the transfer of roids. You get anywhere close to making equal galaxies and you have upset this balance and are doing harm to the game. After all you now gave galaxies full of active players supporting some less active players, the increased activity makes these galaxies harder to attack, galaxies that are harder to attack become somewhat off limits to smaller planets and smaller alliances and these people end up jst defending their incoming which 9/10 is a demoralising affair. They miss out on the attacking side of the game which is an area that produces alot of the games fun, after all it is a war game. An almost exclusive defending round stagnates it for you and loses your intrest,

The key isnt to start imposing more kinds of limits and stuff to try and shoehorn people into doing things or change the balance of the game but its rather about Education, Education, Education

The First Education is of the less experiance players. They need better help learning this game which on the whole the game and community fails to give them. They need shown how to play the game and how to interact with the community. Put basicallly they need to be made to feel welcome by the game not left on the edge like outsiders

The Second Education is of the alliances. The alliances hold a players outlook on the game in their hands and if the alliance keep failing their members like they do by driving into them outdated views and tactics then the outlooks not good. No matter what some alliances may try and tell you the important factor at the end of the day is your score not your avg score. Your avg score doesnt decide your ranking and is hence worthless as all people will remember is where your total score left you ranked. As such player should be being encouraged to go for attacks that maxjmise your score gains which is something that isnt happening when an alliance sending 3+ waves from planets twice the targets value with the sole intent of trying to destroy someones round

And the Final education is of the community as a whole. The lesson the community needs to learn is to have fun. You get a bit of the fun element playing out on AD where theres a bit of roleplaying going on as people take these alter egos to battle it out as if they were nations and it was a matter of life and death and also theres no doubt that fun element inside most alliances but this is where it stops. Theres very few occasions where the fun then spills out into the greater community, players dont get together in the same way to mix with other alliance members and the galaxies are often too focused on individual gain and alliance grudges. At times now PA is very much a chore for people rather than entertainment and thats wrong, we all need to at times be more welcoming, have more fun and intergrate with each other better especially at galaxy level


Its in our hands to sort and we shouldnt be looking at PAteam to bail us out with more limits that just make things worse and often encourage anti social behaviour in the game (Try challeneging most players whom bash on their tragets, they will state the planets are in range so are valid and roiding them silly is fine)
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Unread 5 Aug 2005, 00:16   #5
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Re: How to keep bashed/small/new players interested

I agree with wakey's general assesment, and I don't think adding limits to the game solves anything. The game is a hierachy with a few hard core galaxies being fed by the masses. This was not a big deal when you literally had thousands of galaxys and tens of thousands of players because particular galaxies rarely got picked on, and the little guys mostly played among themselves and so had plenty to play for. Because the game has shrunken so much little guys now get picked on and not helped by big players/allies and as wakey says the solution is not better balance, but a commitment to education and in a fundimental shift in how people play.

Since I generally have a pesimistic opinion about players changing there attitudes, what I am suggesting is that part of what can help the game move forward is another parallel "game" for smaller players. This may be something that has nothing to do with PATeam and is totally between the players. Or if someone has a great suggestion (my first one was pretty lousy, but hey ya gotta start somewhere) the PATeam will choose to integrate it and thereby bring more meaning to smaller players. This is something us players must come up with, so I am challenging US the players to find a way to bring meaning to the smaller players, be it a new edition to the game (like covert ops) or a scoring system as suggested by Envy, or something else entirely. Think about it.
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Unread 5 Aug 2005, 04:47   #6
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Re: How to keep bashed/small/new players interested

Quote:
Originally Posted by wakey

The Second Education is of the alliances. The alliances hold a players outlook on the game in their hands and if the alliance keep failing their members like they do by driving into them outdated views and tactics then the outlooks not good. No matter what some alliances may try and tell you the important factor at the end of the day is your score not your avg score. Your avg score doesnt decide your ranking and is hence worthless as all people will remember is where your total score left you ranked. As such player should be being encouraged to go for attacks that maxjmise your score gains which is something that isnt happening when an alliance sending 3+ waves from planets twice the targets value with the sole intent of trying to destroy someones round
I disagree. About R12 + R13 rankings i merely remember the winner alliance and i could name the block that won, i have not the slightest idea about top 6-10 alliances. I remember, however, that Angels had a really good average in both rounds and ToT too in R13, despite not having much impact on total rankings. So i remember both alliances as outstanding in terms of result (let us not talk here of the means they used to achieve that) for their average score mainly, not total score.

I also don't see why you distinguish between aiming at average or total score in attack tactics. Attacks are made to increase individual player score, which will inevitable affect the total as well as the average score of the alliance. Total vs. avergage surely is an issue in the recruiting policy, but i really can't see how you can do attacks tailored rather to total than average score, given a fixed group of people attacking.

Last edited by Envious; 5 Aug 2005 at 06:09.
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Unread 5 Aug 2005, 05:59   #7
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Re: How to keep bashed/small/new players interested

how about tell them this:

its a game - its supposed to be challenging.
lrean how to play and defend urself
find an ally
get over it
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Unread 5 Aug 2005, 06:13   #8
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Re: How to keep bashed/small/new players interested

Quote:
Originally Posted by exblade
how about tell them this:

its a game - its supposed to be challenging.
lrean how to play and defend urself
find an ally
get over it
thx for showing a good example of the community attitude wakey was talking about.

what you are forgetting is that noone is forced to play PA, in fact there's enough of competition. if they don't like it, they will just leave instead of "getting over it".
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Unread 5 Aug 2005, 13:29   #9
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Re: How to keep bashed/small/new players interested

New players that join have various levels of motivation. While those that are highly motivated (and get in fair galaxies) do learn the game well, those who are less motivated or get stuck in the more inactive galaxies just don't bother to login to their account. Also, many don't have the time to play "properly", and so suffer. Part of the problem is getting the information to new players.
I'm working on a manual for new people (which I might actually put on the PA wikipedia site so that others can add to it and modify it). This could then be linked to when people sign up, and from the portal. It'd aim at the things that the new players first come into contact with, what to do and a brief reasoning of why, while letting the game manual cover everything more generally.

The other major thing is keeping those not going for the top spots all the way through the round interested. There have been previous suggestions to make the game more multi dimensional, and this is probably the best (and only?) way to let people get more from the game. One suggestion was to have more golden roids, and to let alliances collect them, and so on, but perhaps something that anyone can do no matter (within reason) how much or little time they have to play the game? Planet based, I guess it'd have to be sort of "advanced quest"-like
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Unread 5 Aug 2005, 13:55   #10
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Re: How to keep bashed/small/new players interested

Quote:
Originally Posted by Appocomaster
I'm working on a manual for new people
/me wants in.

i'll read the rest of your post now, though, and maybe make a proper reply .
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Unread 5 Aug 2005, 14:19   #11
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Re: How to keep bashed/small/new players interested

Quote:
Originally Posted by Appocomaster
Planet based, I guess it'd have to be sort of "advanced quest"-like
Well, it depends on how far you want to go. I might suggest something as far as splitting the game into a "domestic" and "universal" aspect of gameplay.

Whilst i dont want to copy other people's ideas, domestically PA could be changed to looks a bit like NationStates (another Jolt game) - insofar a (large) number of issues are raised, with between 2 and 5 possible solutions for each one. The prrferences and choices players made, used to lead to all sorts of amusing comments on the overview, such as:

(i've bolded bits that i find amusing)
Quote:
Originally Posted by My Nationstate's "Planet"
The Commonwealth of Dark Aurora is a huge, environmentally stunning nation, remarkable for its compulsory military service. Its hard-nosed, cynical population of 678 million have some civil rights, but not too many, enjoy the freedom to spend their money however they like, to a point, and take part in free and open elections, although not too often.

It is difficult to tell where the omnipresent government stops and the rest of society begins, but it is effectively ruled by the Department of Law & Order, with areas such as Religion & Spirituality and Social Welfare receiving almost no funds by comparison. Citizens pay a flat income tax of 43%. A powerhouse of a private sector is led by the Uranium Mining, Information Technology, and Furniture Restoration industries.

The government has cut its subsidies for all special interest groups, citizens are frequently searched for illegal weapons, Auroran Drop Bears are frequently shot for looking at people 'in a funny way', and citizens are regularly arrested in queues for 'loitering'. Crime -- especially youth-related -- is well under control, thanks to the all-pervasive police force and progressive social policies in education and welfare. Dark Aurora's national animal is the Auroran Drop Bear, which frolics freely in the nation's many lush forests, and its currency is the Auroran Credit.

Dark Aurora is ranked 94th in the region and 81,663rd in the world for Nudest.

And so on.


Now, what Nationstates lacks, in my opinion, is an overall purpose to these choices. The idea is to make a nation react to events how you should see fit. But with PA, there is an obvious effect - these domestic choices have universal implications. Ie, a Police state (such as mine is) would be untouchable by Covert Ops, it might be highly efficient at production (build these ships else you'll be shot), and the high level of economic efficiency hints at efficient mining practices, thus an additional bonus and so on.


That is, obviously, a major change from what PA is now. But imo there is plenty of scope to manuver - indeed, by making the domestic politics fun you can capture the new player's attention and interest, and thus having more time for people to be able to train these players 'proper pa' - or indeed the "quests" themselves can indirectly train players how to play.


Or, on another note that may or may not be linked to the above, is that you could create a domestic "enemy" which, computer driven, could be defeated by the new player - thus making it fun. Ie, if you cant defeat the universe, then dominate your planet. For example, on my planet there could be an Anarchist Revolution which objects to the whole social structure of my nation and believes in letting fate decide everything etc etc. now, i as a new player would be tasked to quell this uprising. Personally, i would play to my strengths by using my oppressive police forces and ninja trained Dropbears to defeat a rebellion which by definition is not organised. thus, even if a universal enemy comes and takes my roids, i will still have the feeling of victory over those nutcases on my planet.


It could be linked universally, via now declaring that there is greater political stability on my planet thus improving (or restoring) various levels of efficiency - ie mining, production, waves etc.


tbh, i am just running with this idea as i go, so i havent put much thought into it - but imo it would seem to be the obvious course of action to help new players become involved in the PA experience by:
1) reducing the importance of universal affairs on the new player, whilst not removing the significance of the bottom tier of targets for 'experienced' players
2) grabbing the new player's attention for a longer period of time as there is always something interesting (and funny) to do in game, and thus giving a greater chance of said player to discover the joys of IRC, these forums, and universal politics in general
3) Using these 'advanced quests' as learning tools, to help players form cricial skills at the domestic level that are required at the universal level to play pa 'properly'
4) add some humour to the game (for both new and old players)
5) potentially make it a balancing factor - ie, the top players destabilise politically at a domestic level, thus making them slightly more vulnerable to universal enemies. I dont know how popular that would be but it should be considered nonetheless.


I've prolly forgotten something, but what do you think?
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Unread 6 Aug 2005, 00:15   #12
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Re: How to keep bashed/small/new players interested

I've advocated greater micro-management options for quite a long time, and so I totally agree. Also, "ninja-trained dropbears" made the people in this room look at me funny. I think it was the insane giggling that did it.
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