Tobold's Blog
Monday, June 30, 2014
 
Relying on random strangers

I personally have opted out of Wildstar group content, because I consider it counterproductive to the true goal of playing a game: Having fun! But I keep reading about it, usually reporting bad design decisions. Apparently the best rewards of a dungeon could be had by gaining a gold medal, for which the requirement was doing the dungeon without a single death. And some people ran dungeons with pickup groups and then got extremely angry about not getting that perfect score, resulting in groups getting dissolved early or people getting kicked or other forms of toxicity.

But the good news is that even Carbine realised that this was an idiotic design. Azuriel reports that the system has been changed, now giving the best reward for the actual purpose of a dungeon run: Finishing it. But then of course the hardcore players started complaining about the "nerf", as finishing a dungeon is obviously much easier than a perfect run, so now the unwashed masses can get the good gear.

As Azuriel remarked, requiring a perfect score for a reward is incompatible with a LFD system that groups you with random strangers. By definition a random stranger on average is averagely skilled, and you can't do content with them that would require more than average skill. In particular you can never do content with a random pickup group which requires nobody ever to do a mistake. Even good players make mistakes.

So Carbine's only alternative would have been giving the highest level of rewards out only to guild group, and thus preventing PUGs to be able to go for that sort of reward. But I guess by now a sufficient number of players has cancelled their subscription to make Carbine realise that a casual-unfriendly game might have some drawbacks. Expect more of those "nerfs" in the coming months.

Comments:
It's not a diffculty nerf.

Carbine will show it's true colours when the pugs start failing to kill the bosses at all. Until then this is just a playground fight over magical hats.
 
I indeed expect further nerfs, that's why I didn't play Wildstar. I remember how Blizzard promised at Cataclysm start that they won't nerf ever again and today they give out LEGENDARY gear for being AFK.

If Wildstar - against all expectations - didn't get nerfed to the ground (meaning: there will be SOME content which is available only to those who aren't on /follow) I will start playing it.

But to your article: do you seriously consider kicking (= not playing with) someone who is useless "toxic behavior"?

Would you play real world Poker with someone who has no clue that 7-8-9-10-Ace is NOT a flush?
 
"Would you play real world Poker with someone who has no clue that 7-8-9-10-Ace is NOT a flush?"

YES! That is the perfect person to play against.
 
I seriously consider kicking somebody for dying ONCE "toxic behavior". You surely agree, because you surely died once in a dungeon, and you don't consider yourself to be "useless".

Lots of games these day have problems with totally okay players getting kicked just for fun, or for playing "the wrong class", or after having admitted they are new to the dungeon. Or even for having rolled high for loot. Kick features are being abused by toxic players.
 
Carbine's solution was what it should have been the norm from the start. It made grouping accesible without actually nerfing anything.

If you died in the first boss before, you'll still be dieing now. The only thing that's changed is that people will not ragequit/votekick the moment something goes wrong. I'm sure that due to this the overall skill of the playerbase will go up, since now you're allowed to make some learning mistakes without compromising other people's chances at loot.
 
Those who kick for fun (griefers) aren't affected by dungeon rewards. Gankers who kill lvl 20 hordies in Barrens with their lvl 90 aren't deterred by the fact that they get absolutely nothing. So toxic players will keep kicking people just for fun.

Who will stop kicking? Those who just want to play and cannot, because of the drooling idiots, AFK-ers, "brb lol" and such. My girlfriend just did some LFR in WoW. There were multiple damage dealers did less than 1/4!!! of the DPS of her BADLY GEARED ALT. They got enrage in the lowest difficulty raiding in WoW.

Do you think that kicking these players is bad behavior and the solution is nerfing the boss one more time?

Or more fundamentally: do you think it's FUN to play together with totally incompetent players?
 
@Gevlon Nobody was being kicked. The entire group would disbanded on the first player death because they believed (sometimes wrongly) they would not be able to score a Gold Medal.

This is a fix to a design flaw. In the end-game where Adventure loot was on par with crafted loot the ONLY upgrade possible was a Gold Medal. Dungeons weren't much better. It was Gold or disband.

Now any run can yield better loot, but better play still gives better rewards.
 
I would not want to play with a TOTALLY incompetent player, but I strongly suspect that our definitions of totally incompetent are very different. Just like our definitions of "idiot" are very different.

To me an idiot is somebody whose intelligence is over three standard deviations lower than average, that is his IQ is below 70. That is the legal definition. Thus I would define an incompetent player as somebody whose performance is three standard deviations lower than average. Statistics tell us that only 0.15% of people are over three standard deviations below average. Thus it is extremely unlikely to meet several incompetent players in a LFR group.
 
The problem is that properly big incompetence is undistinguishable from trolling/AFK. So while you are right that there is a small chance of having multiple players who CANNOT pull their weight, it's easy to find multiple players who doesn't WANT to pull their weight, but watch TV, bots, goes AFK.

If you make it impossible to kick incompetent ones, you make it impossible to kick purposeful leeches. So there is no real reason for anyone to NOT be a purposeful leech. At the end, we get Alterac Valley with half raid jumping inside the cave.
 
I certainly think Wildstar's rhetoric/design is incompatible with a AAA level of subscriptions. IMO it is inevitable that either the game or expectations will need to change.

---

There is also a difference between performance based metrics and group popularity. Whether you explicitly allow group members to kick or make disbanding being the most efficient outcome, that is not good. If the game computed some metric, that would feel a lot less toxic than the usual MMO group dynamics.

---

Another problem is that in 2016, a 50 percentile gamer on their sixth alt will probably preform better in early group content than a 70 percentile gamer on their first toon. The rest of the group expecting you to have also done something dozens of times can harm the group dynamics.

---

P.S.: of course you want to play poker with the most incompetent opponents.

---

The meta question as my marketing professor called it: Is MMO group content salvageable in today's AAA MMOs? (AAA because if you are willing to be small and especially tiny (e.g. ATID) then a lot of things are possible.) There is so much learned, toxic behaviour in MMOs today. My usual reaction to the "you should play MMOs in groups" is to peruse the other comments in the section and ask myself, why would I want to play with these people? 95% of moviegoers are fine folk but the other 5% are enough to make theatres decline and Netflix explode.


 
I think it was a both: a bad move and poor design. What I mean is that it was a fine idea to have special loot for completing difficult challenges and removing the challenge is poor design since Wildstar is a game that tries to cater the "hardcore" gamers. But the poor design doesn't ends there, it was from the start. These kind of rewards shouldn't be available to PUGs, since this kind of behaviour was quite predictable (and undesirable for any developer), however they are fixing a hole doing another hole (just like the WoW development team! they truly are from there haha).

The right solution in my view was to remove the loot rewards for "gold medal challenges" (or whatever is called) from PUGs and leave those rewards only available to preformed groups where social cohesion should help to avoid this toxic behaviour. In this way you should still be able to cater both kind of custumers, avoid undesirable behaviour and don't betray the selling point of the game. But doing things in the "WoW way" (nerfing a game to the ground so drolling idiots and AFKers have the same chance of completing content) is the wrong way of solving these kind of problems. These removes challenge from the game, and no one wants to play a game that offers no challenge at all, specially for people whom for time constraints can only do 5-man to play (yeah, I left WoW because the only kind of content I had time to play, 5-man parties, offered no challenge at all).

Sadly Wildstar seems to be to much WoW-like, so much that they can't think of different ways to solve the same problems.
 
@Gevlon (and others without any doubt):
I remember how Blizzard promised at Cataclysm start that they won't nerf ever again and today they give out LEGENDARY gear for being AFK.

The problem is that you keep considering "gear" as some kind indicator of superior status. It isn't, and it's YOUR error. The nerfs Cata was about are raid-wide nerfs and guess what? There's been precious little of them in MoP....

There were multiple damage dealers did less than 1/4!!! of the DPS of her BADLY GEARED ALT. They got enrage in the lowest difficulty raiding in WoW.

Again: if you are the kind of slacker who is too lazy to build your own group and you rely on an automated search to solve your problems then you're no better than any of those AFK-ers.

I find it completely ridiculous when supposedly "hardcore players", who consider it vital to get a gold medal, *clearly don't care enough* that they don't build their own group and rely on the LFG. Either you're in for the hard challenge or you aren't. If you LFG it's pretty clear that you aren't.

BTW it seems that Blizzard's solution for the challenge mode dungeons works well: you cannot LFG them, you have to build your group manually, so if you end up with incompetent idiots it's your fault (just like it's your fault when it happens with LFG, but at least you cannot blame someone else).
 
Worth pointing out that premade groups actually attempt to make the content easier by stacking the odds in their favour.

Cherry picking their teammates to create the optimum team of the best geared and skilled.

I often use the example from WoW cataclysm where as a pug healer I had to output more hps, output it for far longer and do it with a smaller mana pool (no raid gear) than the hardcore raiders running the same content. I had to demonstrate far superior skills.

No suprise then that last year I walked into proving grounds and snagged a gold in very short time where as many of the pro's that "face rolled" those hard cata dungeons got stuck on silver.

I believe the best rewards should be in the far harder random group system and not for premades - assuming the tuning is the same.

Random content is effectively harder (in terms of individual skill and improvising to cover others mistakes) and encouraging better players like myself to do it via the best rewards actually does the developer and their bank balance a favour by helping to maintain more subscribers.

@Helistar - describing those that don't have time to arrange premades as "slackers" invites the counter accusation of "no life virgin". I'd advise against using those stereo types as it just creates a tit for tat argument that has been going around in circles for years.

I'd argue that is not a person's "fault" if they wish to play a game to a level that the wider public would deem to be the more healthy.
 
describing those that don't have time to arrange premades as "slackers" invites...

It is just a response to the Gevlon-like attitude where if you are not good you're a moron & slacker, I simply translate it from the "skill" domain (whatever it means) to the "organization" domain.

This is because group content requires a group, so you should always factor in the time required to build the group (and the "skills" required to build the group). Nobody expects to jump on a football field with 10 other random people and win the world cup, why this line of reasoning does not translate into the MMO land is a mystery to me, as I find it trivially obvious.
 
Heh, Poker is a bad example - it's probably the only game which is positively enhanced by other players being bad!
 
"Thus I would define an incompetent player as somebody whose performance is three standard deviations lower than average."

So you're saying that when a very incompetent person subscribes, someone who was previously incompetent suddenly becomes competent?

Competent = good enough to do the current dungeon. If only 0.1% are that good, then 99.9% are not competent to do it.
 
@Helistar

Why is gear not an indicator of superior status if “hard” content gave out better gear? I don’t really understand that you are saying there.

 
Competent = good enough to do the current dungeon.

Wonderfully circular argument! According to your definition we can make more players competent by nerfing the dungeons! As we all want more competent players, nerfing solves all our problems, according to you.
 
Why is gear not an indicator of superior status if “hard” content gave out better gear? I don’t really understand that you are saying there.

Because not all the better gear comes from hard content and the definition of "hard content" changes with time. WoW's legendary cloak is the BiS for all classes, but it's not obtained from hard content.

BTW if you care about status in WoW PvE, you don't look at gear, you look at wowprogress.
 
My server dropped noticeably after the resub date. I'm on the RP one. It's amazing how many people left. I guess that 90% isn't going to stick around for long, eh Gev...er I mean Tobold? ;)
 
"I guess by now a sufficient number of players has cancelled their subscription to make Carbine realise"

Today is the first day that the free month ended. I'm not sure how they could have that data yet.
 
If you unsubscribe from a game, do you wait until the very last day to do it?

In any case, Wildstar is greeting me with a somewhat desperate sounding message of "look, we added more content, you really should subscribe to our game" message on the character screen, which I interpreted that way.
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool