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So, not something you'd be interested in seeing then?


Not personally, but experience should tell that I am not a great candidate for determining what the majority might like.
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So, not something you'd be interested in seeing then?
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On a different note, De-Legro, if you do the time swap in javascript, you can have it grab the user's timezone info from the local machine rather than have to figure it out server side. Nothing says we couldn't grab that through registration though, much how forums do these days. If there's an easy way to have it convert to local time before page generation, having a method for it wouldn't be bad as we'd not need to duplicate code elsewhere, though we could do that in Javascript through the twig implementation.



Yup I noted that advantage.


There are ways however of extracting the time offset from the client and sending that back to the server, for example this explains a way to do it using cookies


http://prideparrot.com/blog/archive/2011/9/how_to_display_dates_and_times_in_clients_timezone


If we had reasons/advantages to knowing this data at the server that would be ideal.




I should note that if we want to use real time ETA updates though, you would want to encapsulate at least some of that in javascript, as it makes no sense to tie up a websocket or a make frequent ajax request just to update a clock.


I've been looking for ways to encourage people to subscribe, and making it so subscribers can see the hours, or minutes even, remaining on these things might not be a bad idea. It doesn't restrict information from free players, but rewards subscribers.

This reminds me of the Travian/Tribal War style games and how they would unlock a much better interface with proper management pages if you paid a monthly fee. Don't know how other people feel about such things but it pissed me off enough that I never purchased anything from those style games.
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So, as it stands, every action that blocks travel, to include traveling, shows up on the character list now. That's a 266% increase over the number of things displayed there since I took over.

I've been looking for ways to encourage people to subscribe, and making it so subscribers can see the hours, or minutes even, remaining on these things might not be a bad idea. It doesn't restrict information from free players, but rewards subscribers.

On a different note, De-Legro, if you do the time swap in javascript, you can have it grab the user's timezone info from the local machine rather than have to figure it out server side. Nothing says we couldn't grab that through registration though, much how forums do these days. If there's an easy way to have it convert to local time before page generation, having a method for it wouldn't be bad as we'd not need to duplicate code elsewhere, though we could do that in Javascript through the twig implementation.

Alternatively, displaying in days/hours/minutes wouldn't be bad either. I'd have to look at how long the actions processing actually takes though and see if we can bring that down to once every few minutes rather than every 15 as it is now.
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I think it's enough burden already. Managing the characters is already a burden. Adding in the ETAs will make small player's time much more efficient since they tend to log in less often. Like I said, large players with lots of things going on won't actually benefit as much, in a proportional sense. It's not often that you have e.g. 20 character marching around doing stuff, you still need to log in to check town training and the like. And with 20+ characters all moving, just logging in per hour, and seeing who is no longer moving is efficient enough, since it's going to take time to order them to do new stuff anyway.


As someone that has played large amounts of characters, in excess of 100 in the past, I can tell you that such a change would have massively cut down the burden of those characters, probably increasing my efficiency by 50%. That would have allowed me to increase my character count by 50%, I don't think that is something we really want.
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I think it's enough burden already. Managing the characters is already a burden. Adding in the ETAs will make small player's time much more efficient since they tend to log in less often. Like I said, large players with lots of things going on won't actually benefit as much, in a proportional sense. It's not often that you have e.g. 20 character marching around doing stuff, you still need to log in to check town training and the like. And with 20+ characters all moving, just logging in per hour, and seeing who is no longer moving is efficient enough, since it's going to take time to order them to do new stuff anyway.
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It fails the "user pays" logic however, since it's more server burden if you need to open up many pages just to find out basic information. The game should ideally be designed to use the absolute minimum of resources then any restrictions be designed around that. Making it so it's costly in resources to the game if you have lots of characters, and that slows you down, is just a bad idea. It's slow to do things with 4 characters: the slowness just scales linearly, it isn't more costly per character for having more characters, so it fails the test.

In fact, with more characters I could quickly log into e.g. 15 characters, see what each is doing and find one that's idle to do some task with. Compare that to having just 4 characters, logging into all of them to check if any have arrived at their destinations. A guy with e.g. 20 characters moving can just log in every hour, see who stopped moving then do stuff with them. Those aren't the people benefiting so much from detailed ETAs, because they are more or less guaranteed to have some dude who stopped moving in any time period. It's people with smaller numbers of characters who would benefit most from knowing reliable ETAs for their characters, since they wouldn't have to log in as often, only to find out nobody is actually ready to do stuff.


The server burden of serving pages is minimal, bandwidth is not an issue. Memory and CPU utilisation on running turns is far greater. Yet it doesn't fail user pays, more characters = more pages served and you are charged more for the privilege. You can argue for "best practise" all you want. Best practice takes resources, initially in order to design and implement systems that achieve the stated design goals while maintaining best practice. And now resources to replace what exists and still implement other required systems. Those resources have and continue to be lacking.


So again while I agree that having ETA's on the character page would be handy, what are we implementing in order to retain character burden?
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It fails the "user pays" logic however, since it's more server burden if you need to open up many pages just to find out basic information. The user isn't in fact paying anything, they're just consuming more of the game's resources because the designers chose not to make it clear whether things are ready or not.

The game should ideally be designed to encourage players to efficiently use the game's resources then any restrictions be designed around that. Making it so it's costly in resources to the game if you have lots of characters, and that slows you down, is just a bad idea.

In fact, with more characters I could quickly log into the game, see who's stopped moving from the main screen, and find one that's idle to do some task with. With a large group of characters, individual ETAs don't actually matter so much, as you can just log in every hour or so, see who is free then get them doing stuff. Not knowing decent ETAs on e.g. travel, in fact disproportionately penalizes those with only a few active characters, since missing out on the exact ETA represents a bigger percentage of their total activity time. Efficiently queuing actions actually makes the most difference when you have very few characters, not more.
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Yeah, it's a good intention, however using "shitty interface" as the way to gate content leaves a lot to be desired, since making it hard to know when things are happening also hurts new players with only a few characters from getting precise information about when they can do stuff. If they did get just the ETA on actions on the main page, then it cuts through all the specialized knowledge you need to gain to work that out.

It also begs the question, if they're offering a 50-character mega account for more money, but the game actively conspires to make playing that suck as much as possible, from a user-interface point of view, why that option even exists.

Personally, I also think that smaller character limits would be a good thing. With less characters, people will be more invested in each character, and things like cross-account marriages will be more appealing. e.g. thinking about it, one system that could work for free accounts is - 12 town limit, no character limit, but you must have 3 free town slots to create a new character. Then, you can choose to either spawn one character, who can take up to 12 towns, or 4 characters with 3 towns each, or somewhere in the middle. This would avoid character-spam just to get your allocation of towns, but you'd still be free to do so if you really wanted.


Tom was quite clear on his logic regarding accounts. Originally I should note that the top tier had no character limit at all. Tom didn't want to restrict people if lots and lots of characters is what they wanted to do. Yet he recognized the potential power imbalance that creates and so run the concept of increasing the "burden" on a player if they decide to have large numbers of characters. The cost factor plays into that too, but mostly that was along the lines of user pays logic, you are consuming more of the game resources, so you pay more.


It may indeed be a shitty way, but it is effective and relatively cheap in terms of implementation time, ideal for a ambitious project that never had full time attention from its creator. To remove it would require the addition of other systems to achieve the same goal, and as we all know Tom rarely had much time to make such new systems, there was plenty that did and still does need fixing with existing systems.


So yes while it would be relatively simple to provide ETA's along with the event info on the character page, it needs to be done within the context of competing needs, assuming we still wish to follow Tom's idea of making more characters a larger burden on the player.
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Yeah, it's a good intention, however using "shitty interface" as the way to gate content leaves a lot to be desired, since making it hard to know when things are happening also hurts new players with only a few characters from getting precise information about when they can do stuff. If they did get just the ETA on actions on the main page, then it cuts through all the specialized knowledge you need to gain to work that out.

It also begs the question, if they're offering a 50-character mega account for more money, but the game actively conspires to make playing that suck as much as possible, from a user-interface point of view, why that option even exists.

Personally, I also think that smaller character limits would be a good thing. With less characters, people will be more invested in each character, and things like cross-account marriages will be more appealing.

thinking about it, one system that could work is to switch completely to town slots instead of character slots. e.g. 12 town slots for a free account. However, you need to allocate at least three town slots to each character you create (to avoid the potential problem of not being able to take a town with a new knight). This would mean a free account could make between 1-4 characters, with up to 12 towns between them. Sure, most people could continue to play as before, but you wouldn't be forced to create all 4 of your theoretical characters just to get your 12 towns. A possible extension of that would be to make it so each additional character costs one extra town slot than they can control. e.g. make it so a single-character free account gets 15 slots, but each additional character you make gets three town slots, but costs 4 slots. So you get some material benefit for making a few less characters. Then, the paid tiers can be based on this concept scaled up.
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