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Conference of Monarchs:Midnight (February 2007)

From YPPedia

Notes compiled by Sweetiepiepi

Contents

Here are my notes from the conference. Apologies for the length, it was a 90 minute discussion.

Thank you very much for providing this opportunity for discussion, Hypnos and Three Rings!

Conference of Monarchs (and Captains) – Midnight Ocean – February 19, 2007

Attendees: Missed this bit! Sorry. Some were Hypnos, Whedonella, Rome, Blackfletch, Brighteyez, Sweetiepiepi. Not sure on the rest. Blackfletch reports,
But I can give you a list of who was in the house.
Blarnybill, Ramrod, Blackrune, Phin I heard, Brighteyez, Jamesdoom, Whedonella, me, Neonmoon, Jainasolo, Kahless, you I heard, Feylind, Jollyamelia.
Puppit was here and disconnected early.
Never saw Vova, Daedalus, Wildmanjack, Ooriki, or Chaboogie. Yreeka in place of Wildmanjack
Feylind says, "oh! I want a masthead in my music room"
Hypnos says, "Oh goodness, I've been conditioned by Y!PP to read that as "cockhead"."
Sent at 18:42 on Monday


Maneuvers in blockades – how are they working out?

  • lack of familiarity – jobbers don’t know what the special pieces are
  • still too new to say – some concern that it’s an unfair advantage to not go down – takes about 20 mins. to start generating the specials, which means an added advantage for flag in the lead. (Generally slowly work towards all specials at same rate, get the first around 20 minutes in, then regularly about every five minutes after that.)
  • one person got no specials in four rounds of nav – don’t know if it was due to sinking
  • in general ships were moving fairly well – sometimes only after telling jobbers to ignore the specials
  • #1 response – they are distracting.
  • Request for option to turn off specials clientside, like for the holiday effects, and still have them being generated in background
  • Some say it is still a grind but a different grind, other players loved the specials
  • Query whether could be possible for nav to turn off specials for the ship
  • Request for specials to occur all the time – Hypnos advised they were intended as special bonus for event and regular blockades
  • Agreement that it was a very good thing that puzzlers only get special tokens in the puzzles when your indicator is doing reasonably well.

Dnav, Brigand King Blockades and Titans/catastrophic events – thoughts?

  • Dnav – some concern that it’s turned into the next Adventure Islands – the promised solution to many game problems that will never be implemented.
  • Many players are tired of the duty puzzles and want added gameplay that doesn’t require the same puzzles just packaged for a different goal
  • Hypnos says sea monsters and adventure islands will have a longer timeframe for development but will not be based on the existing 80k lines of code, i.e. not based on the existing duty puzzles.
  • Sea monsters – concern – are they going to crawl up and destroy the islands, actual buildings? Difficulties on maintaining incentives to colonize once islands are built up versus creating very, very angry people. Thought that there needs to be a reason to take islands that isn’t related to buildings at all that will overcome that.
  • Broad feeling that stalls being protected creates unfairness – that stalls should be subject to similar risks for balance, particularly as stalls already have advantages that shops don’t, and aren’t tied to particular islands.
  • Discussion regarding possible mechanisms for destruction, as well as for repairing as opposed to complete destruction where deed would still be held, but business stop until repairs done. And how to return contents back.
  • Similar colonization problem on not being able to move housing and bazaars around, or dusting forts – lessens incentive to blockade, since can’t fix or customize the island.
  • Felt it would be necessary for stalls to also be at risk to encourage stallkeepers to defend the island – to make it responsibility of shopkeeps to defend island – an incentive to encourage that would be good.
  • Seeing game items as not permanent changes how you look at the game – more willing to accept change and loss. Hypnos noted the storm that had arisen around clothing decay and sword decay when first implemented. <pause to reminisce about mass clothing dusting on end of Azure>
  • Noted that paying startup fee all over again would be a high burden. Shops just barely make it as it is and it would be very difficult to cover from profits.
  • Noted on behalf of the Republican contingent that requiring repairs before functioning sounds like another tax.

Items arising from previous conference – OM interventions

  • Hypnos made that an effort has been made to scale back on OM interventions, particularly in blockades, and asked for general feeling. It was agreed that the change has been noticeable and definitely on the right path. One attendee noted he had no difficulty with the interventions to begin.
  • Discussion continued with issues surrounding island transfers and blockades.

Blockades, island transfers and event blockades

  • Desire requirement for blockades for island transfers; was acknowledged that requiring people to come to flagsit if nobody else shows up was pointless; agreement that the one week notice period prior to transfer was a very good policy.
  • Several improvements to blockade notices and jobbing were requested.
  • The unusability of blockade notice interface with the large number of blockades was noted. Has been used by some flags as a tactic to mask the existence of blockades. Request for visible difference between completed, current and future blockades.
  • Improvements to hiring – blockade jobbing notices should be oceanwide and not limited to the island that is being blockaded. Person who posted the job offer currently gets bombarded with tells, to the point of unplayability. Need for individual ships to be able to post job offers, both in response to their flag’s job offer, and also to just be able to load up a ship and take it in to play. Need for people other than royals to be able to post jobbing offers – if no royal is online, then it’s impossible to job, and can’t be worked around.
  • Starting blockades – would like to see more people in a flag be able to begin it. Changing governors is not a good workaround since it requires a royal vote and pulls back all government deeds.
  • Request to be able to start an event blockade in less than an hour’s time.
  • Ideal would be: Any governor or royal, or even titled member, may start an event blockade. Any officer may post a jobbing offer and post a pay offer for at least its own ship.
  • Each event blockade notice should have a section for explanation of what the event is about. It was noted that several event blockades have been ‘crashed’ by people who didn’t understand the event and just came to play.
  • Desire to be able to set event to not require as many people – a board game at the Inn like had been originally considered – to assist in allowing flags to blockade without heavy spending on resources. Request to be able to set ships to not require 30 puzzlers to participate in the nav puzzle.
  • Noted that most events do not have enough participation to make a good event. It was felt that it is not because event blockades are new but due to the need to have something to fight over to draw people out to play at the same time. Artemis’s event blockades with prizes are a very positive step, drawing enough people out to make it worthwhile even though prizes are less than cost of participation.
  • Request to be able to limit who enters events, possibly local only as an option on the blockade/Inn puzzle, limit to allies etc, so you can run the event you planned to run. Inn table may allow for booting people from the table, like in other puzzles, and controlling who enters.

Fame – is it too high/problematic?

  • Concern that active flags are not able to blockade
  • Has reduced more than one friend to tears due to loss of fame at critical moment; has forced flags preparing to blockade to focus on duty puzzling prior to the blockade instead of blockade preparations to the detriment of fun.
  • Has led to manipulations through joining and leaving flags and crews to earn fame; concern that need for fame has reduced commitment of individuals to flag and reduced the meaning of alliances.
  • One attendee felt the problem was that fame couldn’t be purchased; that the ability to pay for fame was an alternate measure of activity that was equally valid.
  • One attendee felt that fame was right as is and shouldn’t be changed.
  • One attendee noted a flag of active carousers who is unable to blockade because they base their activities on land, earning less fame.
  • The decline of pillages was noted.
  • Three attendees had counted the number of flags with fame to take a large island compared to number of large islands. 20-23 flags qualified while there were 27 large colonized islands according to the wiki.
  • It was agreed that the concentration of islands into the hands of fewer flags was a negative side effect partly attributable to the fact that Celebrated flags could not take many of Midnight’s islands (over the past year has gone from Avalon holding a handful of islands, to Avalon, Crimson Tide, Silver Dawn, Dies Irae, Don’t Panic, Tyr’s Own all holding multiple islands, three or more in several cases).
  • Some concern that it was important that flags who do take islands, be active enough to govern them actively.
  • Hypnos noted that the fame requirements for blockading were going to be equalized, with the result that Cobalt and Midnight fame requirements would all come down one level.
  • It was noted that one of Midnight’s problems is that some of the islands are misclassified – for example Lagniappe and Byrne are medium islands with the wrong classification.
  • It was questioned whether there are in fact Celebrated flags out there that do want an island, given that Midsummer is open but uncolonized. It was noted that Midsummer is probably not a very good example due to real life problems interfering with the initial island opening, the existence of a flag protecting the island, and emotional ties to the island that came to light after the island was selected for opening.
  • Issues of geography were noted – for example, the need for a 50 hour float to blockade Orca. The result being that only some islands are desirable blockade targets due to geography.
  • Solutions – strong agreement that a wraparound map would be an enormous help, wrapping both side to side and top to bottom, to assist with the development and accessibility of the more remote arches. It was noted that another arch had been expected to be added and tied into Coral (?) but no longer appeared to be coming. This would help a lot.

Implementation of new features

  • One flag felt strongly that they didn’t want to hear about new features until they happen.
  • The discrepancy between the features to be introduced in 2006 and the actual calendar date was noted.
  • Desire to have features introduced cold to much fanfare and excitement, rather than having people wondering why they aren’t here yet.
  • Hypnos noted the planned features were announced in part due to the high level of unhappiness with the release of pets and concern over where the game was going.
  • Unhappiness was noted with the loss of old features, such as being able to mem dead points, being lost, without the introduction of the new features that they were removed to make way for.
  • Concern was noted about the loss of hot pirate on pirate action – not being able to get poe from the pockets of other players, etc.
  • Strong desire for the implementation of more piracy features.
  • Request for map chest on a ship – to help out new officers – since officers can’t remove charts from ships that are not their own. Maybe the old crew hideaway idea as a place to keep maps?
  • Suggestion to be able to order maps from pirates who have memmed routes – a type of cartography puzzle? Then could also remove deedtrading while at sea, since no need to deedtrade in order to chart. On the deedtrading Hypnos noted she has spoken to Cephalopod/Arcturus and there is a technical issue caused by ships being held in limbo of ownership – the trade needs to take effect so that the ship belongs to someone in the database.

Declining population of active players – is there one? Is it a concern?

  • It was noted that a concern was expressed about the number of players actively logged on in Midnight.
  • Some were concerned, some felt it was a natural flow.
  • Noted that the features seem to draw in underage kids. It was noted the extremely terrible quality of pillages available on notice boards on Hunter, in particular, one three ship pillage that resulted in zero pay due to zeroing, etc.
  • A general interest on doubloon oceans in trying out subscription oceans was noted and it was suggested to allow for a subscription equivalent of the Starrrter pack to give them a chance to hop over.
  • It was noted that many greenies are now coming from doubloon oceans, since they’re not giving doubloons on subscription.
  • A broad experience was that there are a lot of ex-pirates logging on to say hi and waiting in the wings to see if new features have been implemented that relate to piracy. It was felt that the implementation of new piracy features will draw these community members back to active play.
  • There was some discussion of the streaming of new people – Hypnos noted some streaming was in effect now, for instance, Miniclippers are directed away from Midnight as a result of a promise Cleaver made, and Sage has an older playerbase directed to it than Viridian and Hunter on the doubloon side. There was a concern about loss of the good player sources.
  • There was concern expressed about never-subscribing pirates and underagers pillaging just long enough for poker. One attendee noted the beneficial effect the need to save to acquire goods has had on his son’s real life money management skill.

Drinking puzzle problems

  • One attendee that the drinking puzzle is broken and unbalanced, but there does not seem to be attention to fixing it.
  • For example, the free mug is better than many mugs to be purchased and facial changes are not synchronized with drunkenness.
  • Discussion ensued between two attendees about fries drinking eating something else I couldn’t follow and whether or not it was broken. Sorry you’ll have to ask Rome to explain since I didn’t understand it.
  • Hypnos noted that the priority is understandably on new features now.

Payouts – are they really bad?

  • It was noted that it has become impossible to casually pillage and make any poe. The game was supposed to be a casual game, but favours taking a long pillage.
  • General feeling that pay at the lowest ends of pillaging and for the battles at the very beginning of a pillage needs to be increased. It was noted that three hour pillages earn more in the third hour than in the first two hours combined.
  • The pay problems associated with different payout ramps were noted, so that with Barbarian frequency, Barbs feel like they are not worth the effort in the middle of a brigand pillage. The big payout drop for Barbarians should be ended.
  • Hypnos noted that with the dnav improvements, you will be able to select either brigands or barbs, or 50:50. The ramp for 50:50 would still be an issue.
  • It was questioned whether there was any need for separate ramps at all – people seem to have similar sf and rumbling skills. It was felt there was no reason to retain separate ramps. A need was noted for a basic rumble weapon, like a stick.
  • Even though Barbs are beatable now, they are still avoided on many pillages because they kill the payout.

Merchants are broken

  • Merchants are too hard to beat and pay far too little to be worthwhile.
  • Good commodities should be won; fruit is not considered by players to be valuable.

Separate BK hunts from pillages

  • Brigand king hunts and pillaging do not combine well due to issues of might.
  • Players generally will head out with the specific purpose of hunting BKs.
  • Request for increased BK spawn rate because the two activities do not combine well.

Fixed market prices, taxes

  • It was noted that costs cannot be passed on to customers except on Alpha.
  • Wide agreement that taxes on ringer controlled islands should be increased in order to increase the range of taxes available to player-controlled islands without destroying the economy.
  • Attendees with shops on Alpha and Epsilon noted that they would be happy to see taxes on those islands raised. They hate seeing profits on those islands but not being able to make profits on their home player-controlled islands.
  • All agreed that higher taxes would be good. It was agreed that the lack of need to defend anything was a benefit that partly offset higher taxes as well.

Sense of world

  • The loss of regional identity was mourned with no need to go from island to island to pillage and the introduction of whisk potions.
  • Suggested solutions: make whisk potions more expensive and tied to distance travel (exploit of use of alts noted), make commodity spawns more regional rather than roughly equal in each arch, greater governor controls, a reason to attend each arch possibly trinkets.

Racks for other shops

  • Desired a chest for ship deeds in particular, accessible to managers.
  • Hypnos noted database problems with ships being in limbo at reboot – may be able to have deeds placeable on market interface like when pirate deleted.

Current development focus

  • Focus for last while has been on blockade changes.
  • Hypnos noted current development focus is on piracy for now.

Customization of chat channels

  • Problems with scrolling chat boxes during blockades were noted.
  • Difference of player preference for /fo as chat channel and functional only noted.
  • Request for ability to mute channels according to personal preference using a command similar to /duty to opt out of /greeter chat.
  • Request for ability to create custom channels. Hypnos noted something is in the works akin to Jabber.

Appreciation

  • A hearty thanks to Triple Rings for creating the lovely world we reside in.

Post-discussion

Some of us chatted afterwards and thought it would be very good to have somewhere where players could weigh in on their highest priorities - Blackfletch suggested some kind of website where players could visit and rank what changes would be most important to them.

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