Author Topic: Considering Leaving  (Read 3704 times)

Arx

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Considering Leaving
« on: March 07, 2016, 07:14:36 PM »
Over the last little while, I've been seriously wondering about continuing to play the game. There are a handful of reasons for this:

1. The majority of systems in the game are incomplete or do not work. I understand Tom has time limitations and all, and that's fine. It's just that what's currently there is not a complete game, or even close1. Like I said, that's okay5. It's just increasingly I'm no longer happy with working around them, waiting for fixes, and so on. Which is a me problem, not a Tom problem.

2. Things that seem to me to have been greatly touted are distinctly not living up to expectations. For instance, I have seen people raving about how fantastic and detailed the combat system is, but after reading most of what Tom's said about it it seems that it actually amounts to an RNG weighted by relatively few quantities. Similarly, settlement management strikes me as being a little like the 'spreadsheet simulator' genre of games (things like Aurora, and so on), but with only a handful of rows and columns.

'Just because you can build something, doesn't mean you should' is a sentiment I've seen expressed quite a bit, but actually it loks to me like that's not really true in the way it seems to be. It looks to me like there are three categories of buildings:

  • a) Those which yes, just because you can build them, you should. Like the Mill, the Market, and probably the Fairground. Also, those that you will build. Yeah, even if you don't want to. Tavern, inn, and so on.
  • b) Those which you should not build, except in certain unusual occasions2, because they amount to a net detriment. This includes, as far as I've seen, the temple, paved streets, and the armory3.
  • c) Those which are actually legitimately circumstantial, all of them military, and actually mainly the stable. By and large, there's not actually very much detriment to having as strong a military production ability in a settlement as your population can manage. The exception to this is the stable, which offers no non-military benefit, is auto-built, and consumes a large amount of food, and so could almost fit into the 'net detriment' column.


3. From a game design perspective, there's nothing to be said about the game's balance. It's not that it's imbalanced; it could be excellently balanced. I have no idea. Most of what happens is almost completely opaque. And maybe that's part of Tom's vision, and that's fine, but I guess it's just not my cup of tea. I want to be able to know that training archers is a pretty good choice. I want to actually be able to have some knowledge of things that whould be obvious to my characters - like how much good a shield actually does a footman in a melee. This knowledge is currently pretty much restricted to Hawks, which is cool and all, but not really something I'm a fan of.

4. This game has one of the worst communities I've ever played with. There are a few gems of players, but the recta tend to pass wind more loudly and so they get drowned out. The vitriolic accusations of trolling, mechanics abuse, and so on are starting to wear me down. I kind of hoped that after the circle of hell that was the Imperial Civil War we'd get people calming down and playing the damn game, but that hasn't happened. I've also seen flat-out insults fired behind people's backs, and stuff like that, which is something I'm not really inclined to put up with for the sake of playing a game I'm not sure I'm enjoying anyway.

5. The bounds on the sandbox are starting to get me down as well. I get that it's part of the design, but it feels like sometimes someone will be digging a trench in one direction and Tom will arbitrarily say that no, the sandbox actually ends there. But at the same time, I'm sometimes really struggling to tell where the sandbox ends and we're actually getting onto the roundabout.

The most significant example of this I've seen recently is realm claims on independent settlements. How does that actually work, anyway? I have no idea how to explain it IC, because it relies on the map and on some definitely very meta concepts like events.

6. The format of the game is a very, very hard one to get right. It requires activity to be fun, but because it's no fun without activity people tend to be inactive. I know I'm guilty of this, and the Black Road was until very recently4 my escape from this - I'd be active, dammit, even if the activity didn't necessarily make sense. That ended with Oclire dead, which admittedly is an acceptable outcome and probably makes the game great fun for Constantine (which is awesome, don't get me wrong), but kind of saps my motivation to keep playing. I could kind of try to back-seat drive the realm, but it's pretty hard to deal with being half the driving motivation of a realm and the only one that understands the backstory on a free account. Spawning in a 'successor' to replace Oclire wouldn't sit right with me.

I think that's everything. A lot of these are quite possibly just my vision of what I was hoping for the game to be conflicting with Tom's vision of what he's making, in which case more fool me and I should either suck it up or move on. I do think a lot of them are valid otherwise, though.



1 It seems to me that it is much easier to enumerate the number of complete systems than the incomplete ones.

2 If you are the ruler of a major realm, and control the realm capital, these can be useful to build the very high-level buildings.

3 The Armory is buildable at 1000 population. It does nothing good for you until you reach 4000 population.

4 Like, a matter of hours.

5 I went back to add this footnote because I thought it was important. I'm not blaming Tom at all for the slow speed of updates, especially not recently, because I know how it's been lately and I know how badly that can drain your motivation, and I know he's had to hotfix a ton of bugs.

Ratharing

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2016, 07:51:38 PM »
I'm also going to quit the game rather in the near future, so it may be useful to list the reasons (though I don't feel like raging).


I started playing the game with too much free time in my hands and seeing a lot of potential (I saw an ongoing multiplayer version of Crusader Kings, with the RP of BattleMaster and better mechanics). Now I don't have so much free time and it has become clear that that means you are unable to take part of the military module. The amount of characters (most of which have no description or personality) and inactivity of the player base make RP the exception, not the norm, and the resource distribution is highly imbalanced in a way that does not promote trade nor changes, but rather stagnation (at least it seems so to me).


What rests is a game of painfully slow settlement-building and troop-training; and very fast wars (when those happen), coated with some sprinkled and localized RPs. It seems to me enjoyable for players who like to build/hoard and those who enjoy the high-activity military game (which is rather easy on a community in which most players are on the low-activity spectrum).


In the end this game was not what I sought. On the incomplete mechanics and whatnot, I have no complaints. I am sure many derive a lot of fun out of it, and I had my share too. Just that it's no longer the case, so I will try to pass the torch forward on the realms I control.


If anyone is interested in their own plot of land, let me know, and we can see to the transition happening if no IC alternatives spring up.

WVH

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2016, 08:09:38 PM »
I have found that when I feel like things are boring or not living up to my level of fun... I need to loosen up my own control a bit.

This is something I learned in Battlemaster in the Colonies.  Had the whole place wrapped up... plots within plots within plots... everyone on a string like a puppet master.  There was very little that happened that I did not have knowledge of through a group of spies, which the majority of them were the rulers of the realms, put or kept in place by my action or threat of it.

It became boring.  I began causing things to happen to create chaos which livened things up for other people but because I started it I also knew the outcome.  I knew the limits of those involved and how to stop them if they got out of hand.

Boring.

So I stopped paying attention so that chaos could creep in without my seeing it.  But I had built so many loyal ties that THEY would act on my behalf without my even trying.

Boring.

So I took the Kingdom of Lukon, broke it into pieces, handed those pieces off to others to rule.  Some of those rulers still come to me for advice on what to do years later.

Point being, if the game is not living up to your expectations of entertainment, pull down your sand castle and try building something new.  *shrug* at least it will be fun bringing down the house.

Go do something crazy... go slap Hawks or something.  Go all in.  Demand Rathgar surrender to you.  Cause some chaos for the world






Constantine

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2016, 08:23:03 PM »
Since my name was mentioned I would like to chime in.

Arx, I would hate to be the one who ruined the fun for you. Even though you guys ganked me a while ago and stole all those lands from me, I have no intention to turn this campaign into some sort of Reconquista. It is a purely RP endeavour where the last survivor of the line seeks vengeance upon those who murdered her entire family. She is after three specific men as I've announced on multiple occasions. Two are already down and when the third is killed (or she is) my intent was to pull out.
Yes, you've lost a character. It came as a surprise to me for you seemed to have a stronger army but decided to split it for some reason. Well, bad decisions on your part, what do the game mechanics have to do with it? And you've already got a heir. Pretty sure I saw more Roarins around. I'm not going after them.


I'm actually enjoying this a lot. And not because I won a battle, I was fully prepared to lose it. For me it is mostly a storytelling game where any outcome, even the unfortunate one, adds to the fun.
I was really under an impression that like myself you would find this conflict quite exciting. I mean, seriously, was nibbling on poor Polaris more fun?


But if it's more about game mechanics than in-game events, there's not much I can do. To reiterate, M&F is more like a basic framework for epic storytelling. It's almost like a very well run PbP game. If you were looking for a game similar to Aurora, then yeah, M&F is direly lacking in detail and transparency of mechanics.

Arx

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2016, 08:34:11 PM »
Oh, no, don't worry, you're not ruining the fun, and I've really been enjoying the whole feud thing. It's kind of a combination of factors, a lot of which amount to 'M&F isn't the game I wish it was', some of which are unrelated community cruft, and some of which are because I have a bit less time than I have had previously.

@WVH

I've tried a few variants on that. If I can think of a reasonable way of insinuating myself back into the Black Road, I might well, since it's the most successful. Oclire was a bit of a foray into a pretty-close-to played straight villain, which is actually a huge amount of fun and I recommend everyone try it at least once.



I should probably point out that I'm not hugely angry, this just didn't feel like a calm zone kind of a thread.

Weaver

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2016, 10:22:36 PM »
M&F is not an entry-level game. No matter how you look at it, that is the truth of the matter. A newcomer has two barriers to overcome:

1) Low interactivity because M&F is not a real-time game.
2) Mechanics.

Sure, you can log in for the first time, and then spend 6 months building up your army and making all sorts of buildings and roads, make those nice sandtowers on your sandcastle. Then you take your army to the slaughter at the hands of a more experienced players, who decides to then urinate all over your sandcastle.

That's just the way it is. Everyone except De-Legro has lost major characters. Calinus lost his, I lost mine, the Imperial Civil War claimed every Duke except Martyn Lann, even a former Emperor.

The difference between De-Legro and everyone else? He actively spends time, and commits resources, to finding out how the mechanics work. I do the same, and between my knowledge, and Hawks', we know the mechanics pretty much inside and out. So you can take everything I said about that new player leading armies to the slaughter as fact, not speculation.

M&F is the only one of it's kind, and it too falls under the exact same design flaws as every other game, except the very specific few that don't: Not Enough.

"We want Sheep!" "We want more metal!" "We want more equipment!" "I want stables to stop auto-building cause they are a pi**** ** **** *** * **** ** ** ****!!!11!!"

I won't even go into details like Tom not having time or motivation to implement everything, because there exists another barrier to all this: Impossible.

DF has been in development for more than a decade and it's feature list keeps expanding. Aurora is the same way. And like in both games, they might seem deceptively simple on the surface, and they are, the things going on there, all the variables to track, are nigh infinite.

M&F requires dedication. If you want to be 'Good' at it. And being 'Good' at it is a requirement for enjoying it. There is no way around it. You want politics? You have forum games for that. But if you want to play a feudal lord, you better get ready to get your boots dirty, or as WVH put it: Have someone clean your boots for you.

M&F is a sandbox, not just in name, but in psychology as well. It's hands off from the developer, and the only law of the land is the one who got the troops and the military know-how to take advantage of them. That is the simplest fact. And they have all the power to decide whether or not your list of things you don't like will increase or not.

And this is the part where I will level with you, Arx (And you Ratharing). If you are leaving because of defeats, long building times, inevitable troop dismantling, OOC crap-- then you should not be a ruler. Not only because of competence (Not saying you aren't) but because a ruler who can step aside from all that and make level decisions is a necessity for every player in your Realm to enjoy the game, until war wrecks them.

But I believe in the two of you, and I know if you decide to stay, that you can do the role justice.

Now, those paragraphs, take with a grain of salt, because I too, am leaving the game, soon, because of life-plans that will prevent me from accessing the internet.. so there's that. But I had my Realm destroyed (Destroyed it myself pretty much (And had a blast doing it)), I lost my characters on several occassions, was harassed OOCly(also did a bit of that myself, not proud of it), had plans and saw them ruined- the list goes on and on, and every time, at the end of the day, when I think about those, I just giggle madly.

Arx

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2016, 08:14:53 AM »
Yeah, of the long list of things that have been bothering me about the game and

If you are leaving because of defeats, long building times, inevitable troop dismantling, OOC crap.

the only intersection is the OOC. And even so, my issue with the OOC is that I'm actually uncomfortable interacting with some players given how they've acted towards others (none of them are involved in this discussion, before anyone starts worrying). I haven't taken any flak myself, but that's not what bothers me.

I actually thought about comparing DF to M&F, and there are important distinctions: Tarn is open about what he's doing, open about the fact that DF is nowhere close to finished, and engages closely with the community about what exactly he's doing. Updates are expected to be incompatible, are rolled out infrequently, and are very rarely reverted. It's like an architect and construction company that actually let their clients know what they're doing, and take feedback on everything before implementing it.

M&F, on the other hand, has gamechanging hotfixes rolled out (militia/supply updates), entire underlying systems in jeopardy (messaging), and sometimes the changes feel kinda slapdash - the militia economic security thing that was rolled out, met with massive backlash, and reverted. It's like a furnishing company working for a group of blind people, who sometimes only discover how the room is furnished when they realise there's a couch in front of the door.

Like, I know it's difficult being a single game dev trying to balance normal life, development, and other projects, but these are unfortunately the facts. Tarn gets around it by not really having a normal life or other projects. Which is kind of what it takes to be a really good dev of a free game loke this, and it's unreasonable to expect Tom to commit like that.

Most of the rest of your post seems to boil down to 'git gud, scrub', to which my response is: it's no longer worth the effort to me, really. There are much more polished games out there that I can invest time into getting good at playing, where I don't have to worry that all of my practice can be rendered moot in the course of a week of buffs/nerfs. The reasons I'm not too happy right now are laid out in pretty comprehensive detail in my opening post.

I really want to see M&F succeed. I think Tom's vision sounds fantastic. I think he's doing a pretty good job in the circumstances. I'm just seeing too much stuff wrong right now.

Weaver

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2016, 12:29:02 PM »
I understand, I thought there may have been more to it than there was, and said what I thought universally applies to everyone. The 'git gud, scrub' part, I wouldn't go as far as to call it exactly that. You can enjoy the game without wasting hours of your life, as if you are preparing for an MLG tournament. You just need experience under your belt, is all.

On the other hand, DF only became popular once it reached 'critical mass' so to speak. Few people knew of DF when it was still a little game, that was very simple, unoptimized and slow, and ugly to look at.

Dorian

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2016, 01:10:20 PM »
Critical mass is something that M&F never managed to achieve but would made it a much better game. I think that the game doesn't support infinite number of players, but is rather limited on how much players/characters it can have. If changes were made so that simple knights have something to do this would change.

Insanegame27

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2016, 01:11:43 PM »
Back when ... and ugly to look at.
Has that changed? It's still ASCII, unless you go with tilesets.
Now I have a mental image of horses lined up in a goods factory, building things on an assembly line.

Tom

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2016, 02:29:54 PM »
I agree with most that has been said. The game has not lived up to expectations, largely because it didn't reach critical mass.

For me critical mass is a point where I can devote considerable amounts of time to development without looking at my bank account every week and counting down the days until it will be empty.

A lot follows from that. The unfinished parts, the underexplained parts, the inability to moderate the community properly.


The one point I disagree is the buildings. Yes there are more dependencies than I wanted originally and the tree offers less freedom than I wished for and I would like to rework it a bit. However, it DOES have quite a few optional points. For example, the whole archer branch is something that I often ignore. Fortifications take so much effort to build that I often leave villages only with Palisades, even though they could build a wood wall or more. Some of the economic buildings are a case-by-case decision, mostly dependent on population.
Yes, some buildings are no brainers. You want a Mill, period. That is intentional. There might be a few exceptional mountain villages where the Mill isn't very useful, but in general, you want one and that's not an accident.

Weaver

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2016, 03:23:39 PM »
Has that changed? It's still ASCII, unless you go with tilesets.

It has, it used to have less colors, less flashing, and more chaos- before the switch to SDL it was also slow. You can still see this mostly if you get the legacy versions, especially the slowdowns. But that's DF, it had decades of dev time.

And indeed, as Tom put it, once it reached 'critical mass' donations were so frequent, that Tarn can live off of them. Tarn also has the help of his brother, who works with Tarn in the design department. He throws wacky ideas at Tarn, and Tarn distills them into a AGILE sort of way of components and features. On the other hand, Tom has a community that screams at every change. What's the point of bringing up changes to supply and morale, if you don't understand how they work? You may think they affect you, but they really don't.

The change you said that was reverted? It was a bug, and it was unreverted (I think). All of these things come to just one factor that is common among all the 'issues' that Tom and everyone has with the game.

Not Enough: Players.

So between the two subsets of 'Not Enough', we have 'Not Enough: Features' and 'Not Enough: Players'. And the only way to solve one of those two, is to solve the other. With more features, more players. With more players, more features. You can go into Quantum Physics all you like, but in the macro-cosmos that we know and live in, one cannot be the other, and one cannot come before the other without sacrifices. Either Tom has to sacrifice his time and put faith in the game, that has already betrayed his faith. Or people have to put faith in Tom, which with Tom's declaration of losing motivation would be a risky investment.

Either way, one of the two has to happen, and as players, we can only affect how M&F is marketed and spread and around, unless Tom makes the game open-source, and we can put the features in ourselves. I'll tell you right now, I won't be doing code on M&F. I can market, and I can spread the word, and I can work on the IC and OOC of the game. But personally I am drawing the line there. Not because I dislike the game, or something, but for the same reasons I'll quit eventually: Not Enough: Time.

I know this might seem like a pointless post, but sooner or later someone will look back on it and nod their head in agreement. Either when M&F shuts down, or starts trending.

Tom: If you want more players, I suggest looking into making one final push of coding to make the game more mobile friendly, and then try cutting into the Android and Iphone market. Those guys crave games like Clash of Clans and stuff like that, which M&F is superior to. Something as simple as a front-end android app, for logging you into the character you want to play via the android's browser could do the trick.

Sorry for going off-topic, but here is me coming full circle back on topic. Instead of leaving, you could try spreading the word around to your friends. I assure you that playing M&F with friends is a lot more fun than it is playing by yourself, using the non-realtime methods of communications. If we could integrate the IRC into the M&F mainsite, I think a lot more people would be comfortable playing the game.

Ratharing

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2016, 08:10:00 PM »
And this is the part where I will level with you, Arx (And you Ratharing). If you are leaving because of defeats, long building times, inevitable troop dismantling, OOC crap-- then you should not be a ruler. Not only because of competence (Not saying you aren't) but because a ruler who can step aside from all that and make level decisions is a necessity for every player in your Realm to enjoy the game, until war wrecks them.

To be fair I have yet to experience any big defeats myself, but I guess I should not be a ruler indeed. Or a player. This game demands what I can no longer give and offers not what I now want.

I believe I have enjoyed from it what it could provide me, but now I feel it has run dry. I would rather more IC RP and less OOC and game-mechanic shenanigans, and lesser drain on my RL time.

All in all I rate this game very well, unlike others in the forum. It is just no longer what I am seeking. I am staying until the war with Ascalon is over and I find successors for my realms in respect for the community and to provide you some fun (I know you enjoy the military module more than I).

In fact, if anyone wants to rule some rather good realms, shoot me a message up in-forum. I just ask that they respect the RP and lore bases in relation to their neighbors/fellow players.

Weaver

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2016, 08:50:17 PM »
I urge you reconsider, Ratharing, from what I know of you, you are a very responsible Ruler, exactly the kind the game needs.

See my post on the other thread, where I mention that we need more players. Without that, the density of IC is just too low, which affects RP. I get the feeling that for some reason, right now, a lot of Realms are becoming more RP centric, with lots of events happening all over.

WVH

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Re: Considering Leaving
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2016, 05:09:11 PM »
Here is a question for those who are not finding the game enjoyable.

Is it the game... or is it the way you want to play.

I honestly mean no offense and have been guilty of the "i want to win always" attitude.  But if you stop trying to win and instead focus on interactions... the game changes perspective.

Instead of trying to have the best army, try having a unique army.  Instead of being honorable be dastardly.  Instead of trying to win a war, try to pit two enemies against each other.

That is where the fun was in battlemaster and that is where the fun COULD be here.  But it takes the top players having a change of attitude.

I know I know, I am sure the majority of top players would say they DO these things... um except they dont or they only do it until war starts then its squish them all!

Instead of a destroy the world in war, try rescuing a captive from a noble or try capturing an artifact from a realm.  Talk to the realm first and make sure they understand the limits of the war so that no boarders change hands, just a great RP war not about land or food or wealth but about fun things.

You would not play DnD to rule the world, you would play it to finish a cool quest.  Do that.