Author Topic: Casual Play  (Read 3697 times)

azuriolinist

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Casual Play
« on: June 25, 2018, 12:49:26 AM »
I know this topic has been addressed many times over the years. But I think it's worth revisiting.  I think we all know how difficult it is to get involved in and keep up with events, relationships, and plots in Armageddon when play times are limited. The goal I'd like to strike here is to find a way to make casual play more viable, but to always encourage in-game interaction and play unless unavoidable.

So I'm wondering if you all have any ideas how we can possibly address this. The popular suggestion in the threads I managed to skim (there are a lot) is to play a flavor concept suitable for casual play, limit relationships, roll a character that you can solo RP with, or special app a character with raised skills. These are likely the best ways to take on a casual role with the way Armageddon currently works.

Besides those, there were some great suggestions, IMO, that I've come across throughout a number of threads that I could see being implemented in order to make casual play more feasible and more likely to generate interaction. I'll list a few that I recall, with some of my own suggestions thrown in:

  • A messenger NPC stationed in specific locations in a city, outpost, etc. who can receive and pass on messages in a whisper -- both for a substantial price. This way, hiring PCs would still be preferable, as the NPC poses its own risks and drawbacks.
  • A random chance for passive skill growth for every day a player is offline -- but only for a selected skill (that the player can choose and change at any time). This could perhaps be affected by wisdom so that when your PC is high in wisdom, they're more likely to gain skill points over time. There's a huge drawback to this in that, especially for those who prefer not to grind, being offline is almost encouraged. I'm thinking a cap could be placed at journeyman -- even apprentice -- for any selected skill.
  • Increase the amount that wisdom affects skill gain. That way, perhaps wisdom might matter more than it does, now (besides for magickers).

Edit: I just wanted to add that Miradus's idea of giving skill boosts based on age is wonderful, and could perhaps play into casual gameplay.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 12:52:33 AM by azuriolinist »

roughneck

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2018, 09:47:37 AM »
I think the new classes will solve a lot of this. When you start with higher caps, have cross-factoring of skills to affect successes on things like ride, and you begin play with more of your key skills rather than having to grind out to branch them - casual play should be realized (as much as casual play is a thing in Armageddon). New classes, yay!

najdorf

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2018, 10:48:15 AM »
this fits to my current situation. due to RL reasons playing a role with high dependency to other characters or plots can be stressing to me, and unfair to the world. I think it doesnt have much to do with guilds though.

azuriolinist

  • Posts: 419
Re: Casual Play
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2018, 08:28:47 PM »
I think the new classes will solve a lot of this. When you start with higher caps, have cross-factoring of skills to affect successes on things like ride, and you begin play with more of your key skills rather than having to grind out to branch them - casual play should be realized (as much as casual play is a thing in Armageddon). New classes, yay!

I'm excited for the new classes, and the higher start on skill levels is a big part of that. You're right, and I hadn't thought about that. They could definitely fit into casual game play.

this fits to my current situation. due to RL reasons playing a role with high dependency to other characters or plots can be stressing to me, and unfair to the world. I think it doesnt have much to do with guilds though.

That's a really fair point.

I suppose the people I'd like to target are those (new players and old) who do want to be involved somehow, even with the restriction of casual play times on their end. There's this urge to clock in 4-6 hours a day on Armageddon if you hope to be embroiled in plots. I think if this was eased, we could retain more new players -- and the old -- who have responsibilities IRL that make it difficult to keep up anything other than casual play times.

Riev

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2018, 09:41:54 AM »
I think a staggering issue is that you can play 2 hours a day in Arm and, if they are consistent hours, you will eventually find people and plots to hook into.

But depending on your playtimes, it may be the same people time after time. Which for some can get very disenchanting, very quickly.

The problem really comes with the code. Playing 2 hours a day can still mean you get a "decent" character in a couple RL weeks, but only if you're 'blessed' with the knowledge and ability to take advantage of it. Not everyone understands how to skill up, or how to do it efficiently, or are in a position to utilize it. New guilds can solve that, to a point. But nothing can solve the idea that "He is around 4 hours a day, so he's probably more skilled than the guy I see once a week".
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Harmless

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2018, 10:17:41 AM »
I am not worried about skill training but I have learned tricks on how to gain them over the years that newer players may not have. High wisdom is a boon as is. The min maxing game of how to get the required failures needed for gaining skills should be detailed by the staff and code further though just to get us all on the same page. For instance, I think we all know once thought we could hamper our character's success rate by being burdened in combat; however, being burdened doesn't seem to affect crafting success at all, the code changed at some point so that this no longer was a functioning mechanic. There does seem to be a higher chance of failing a craft skill if you do it repeatedly, which has been referred to as a "crafting timer" before on previous discussions. Being drunk probably increases the chance of failure but it always felt dubious to me that people would learn their skills better while drunk (doesn't being drunk worsen memory retention?), but you often had that salty Byn sarge who came to sparring piss drunk because there was no other way they could fail and get a skill point somewhere. I do admit this mechanic is a time tested one and actually makes booze codedly advantageous and creates funny situations, though.

The real point is that if I just helped some player out there have an "ah-ha" moment by typing that sloppy paragraph above, then maybe we should just make a helpfile with a "guide to training your character's skills" that goes into more detail for advanced training and skill branching.

I also want to give a big kudos to staff for more transparency on skill branching order in the new guilds in development. This is already the direction I agree we should be going in, to demystify. The higher starting skills is fine also, I have asked for that in the past to help encourage people to roleplay as antagonists or be willing to take risks without so much fear of losing all the hard work they did to skill up their PC.


More important drawbacks to casual playtimes are definitely communication related. I have been a proponent of Waying offline, messenger NPCs, more in game message boards, etc, for a while. Just joining a clan is a big help currently but not everyone can deal with the isolation that may entail. A playtimes command that allows you to see when someone is usually around... being able to be pinged with an email once a day by someone who logged in just reached out for your character offline over the Way, if you gave them permission to notify you that way maybe. Plenty of options, all of which would improve means of characters finding each other.

Some folks seem against such ideas, seem to think that current means are good enough.. using other people to relay messages, clan boards, etc. I dunno how true that is for all roles. Some people play in tents in the desert. So... I do hope some of the previously discussed ideas get accepted some day.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 10:33:57 AM by Harmless »
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Delirium

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2018, 10:23:00 AM »
Being overly encumbered actually lowers the chances of skilling up. You can probably thank the people who would spar while holding full water barrels, or bags full of rocks while fighting stilt lizards, for that.
"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends." - Schmendrick

Harmless

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2018, 10:32:13 AM »
well, I'll be. I will say this -- having unnecessary mystery behind the code to skill up is what creates those kinds of ridiculous, non-IC/Metagaming strategies. See above :)
« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 10:57:16 AM by Harmless »
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puella

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2018, 10:45:35 AM »
While not true of every player, some players want to be involved in plots and stories when they log into the game with their characters.  One of the best ways to facilitate this would be a kind of culture shift: avoid viewing the characters as a bundle of skills in a game, e.g., "that character isn't good enough at ride yet to go fight the gith", and instead view them as potential characters in a story.  In more concrete terms to demonstrate the cultural shift:

1. Grab that 0 day character fresh out of chargen and take them out on an adventure.
2. Send your 0 day character fresh out of chargen on an adventure.


azuriolinist

  • Posts: 419
Re: Casual Play
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2018, 10:47:23 AM »
I think a staggering issue is that you can play 2 hours a day in Arm and, if they are consistent hours, you will eventually find people and plots to hook into.

But depending on your playtimes, it may be the same people time after time. Which for some can get very disenchanting, very quickly.

I agree. Consistent play times help a ton when it comes to being involved and making meaningful IC relationships. I still believe that plot involvement and finding RP remain an obstacle for casual players -- particularly newer players.

A while back, I remember someone on the GDB suggesting some sort of world-wide (Known-wide?) newsletter on the main website. I think the idea was that public events (maybe taken from the rumor boards) would be put up there. This might provide an easier way for a new player to know where things currently stand in the game world, and how they could shape their character to fit into ongoing plots. I loved the idea.

Quote
The problem really comes with the code. Playing 2 hours a day can still mean you get a "decent" character in a couple RL weeks, but only if you're 'blessed' with the knowledge and ability to take advantage of it. Not everyone understands how to skill up, or how to do it efficiently, or are in a position to utilize it. New guilds can solve that, to a point. But nothing can solve the idea that "He is around 4 hours a day, so he's probably more skilled than the guy I see once a week".

Yes. Nothing may ever completely solve that idea. But I think there are ways to -- at the very least -- ease the grind for casual players. Just so that they have some possibility in being considered ICly 'useful' (and therefore involved) in IG situations and plots where coded skills are required.


I also want to give a big kudos to staff for more transparency on skill branching order in the new guilds in development. This is already the direction I agree we should be going in, to demystify. The higher starting skills is fine also, I have asked for that in the past to help encourage people to roleplay as antagonists or be willing to take risks without so much fear of losing all the hard work they did to skill up their PC.

I wholeheartedly agree. The entire way the new classes were handled, from play testing to including the entire skill sets in helpfiles, is well done.

Quote
More important drawbacks to casual playtimes are definitely communication related. I have been a proponent of Waying offline, messenger NPCs, more in game message boards, etc, for a while. Just joining a clan is a big help currently but not everyone can deal with the isolation that may entail. A playtimes command that allows you to see when someone is usually around... being able to be pinged with an email once a day by someone who logged in just reached out for your character offline over the Way, if you gave them permission to notify you that way maybe. Plenty of options, all of which would improve means of characters finding each other.

These are, IMO, great ideas. I've always wondered about including the number of players in certain public and generally VNPC-populated locations (taverns, most likely) in the WHO list. Limited to the PC's current area, of course. I know it's a step from Armageddon's total lack of OOC, but since these places tend to be crowded with VNPCs, I don't see the harm if it makes it easier for people to get together and roleplay.

azuriolinist

  • Posts: 419
Re: Casual Play
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2018, 10:52:22 AM »
While not true of every player, some players want to be involved in plots and stories when they log into the game with their characters.  One of the best ways to facilitate this would be a kind of culture shift: avoid viewing the characters as a bundle of skills in a game, e.g., "that character isn't good enough at ride yet to go fight the gith", and instead view them as potential characters in a story.  In more concrete terms to demonstrate the cultural shift:

1. Grab that 0 day character fresh out of chargen and take them out on an adventure.
2. Send your 0 day character fresh out of chargen on an adventure.

Apologies for the double-post, but agreed. The new classes seem to make this way more plausible than the past guilds, as well.

Delirium

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2018, 12:08:31 PM »
While not true of every player, some players want to be involved in plots and stories when they log into the game with their characters.  One of the best ways to facilitate this would be a kind of culture shift: avoid viewing the characters as a bundle of skills in a game, e.g., "that character isn't good enough at ride yet to go fight the gith", and instead view them as potential characters in a story.  In more concrete terms to demonstrate the cultural shift:

1. Grab that 0 day character fresh out of chargen and take them out on an adventure.
2. Send your 0 day character fresh out of chargen on an adventure.

This. INCLUDE EVERYONE. Even that clueless noob. Take risks. Do shit. Go out on adventures. Give people things to do. If they pick it up and run with it, great. If they don't, who cares? Someone else will come along. Survival is not the end goal of the game. The end goal is having fun telling stories.

Casual play is a lot easier when you aren't reliant on other PCs to keep things moving. For better or worse, the best characters for casual play seem to be wanderers, outcasts, hunters, and flavor roles. You likely aren't going to get deep into the meat of plots, but you can be a fringe part of them.

Unless you create your own plots. Then, if you're patient, you can make things happen.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 12:10:14 PM by Delirium »
"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends." - Schmendrick

Feco

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2018, 12:27:40 PM »
I also think there's a bit of a culture problem, and not a real code problem (although I'm not against an ingame, offline messaging system).

We have a really inflated sense of what's normal play, because I think we all play way too much.  Remember we talk in days played talking about characters.  That's insane compared to other games.

I have my bouts of high-hour playtime, but as a now casual, maybeee an hour a day player, its can be a bit frustrating getting back in game.  Oftentimes it's met with "WHERE WERE YOU?!," and sometimes an attempt to treat a PC as unreliable IC, because I'm unreliable OOC.

From an IC perspective, that's a perfectly valid question/accusation.  From an OOC perspective it's like... dam fam, you know where I was.  I was in real-life wishing I was playing.  Or maybe I was spending that day playing another game, or doing some other fun activity with my fun time.

I agree with what's already been said about taking risks, including people, and not taking a skill-based outlook.  I'd also add... ease up.  Just be stoked when you see people you like, and maybe just ignore that your character hasn't seen them for weeks.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 12:29:16 PM by Feco »
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sleepyhead

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2018, 12:33:35 PM »
I agree that we should ease up, Feco. Although sometimes people quit or store so we do worry about the absent!

Delirium

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2018, 12:46:57 PM »
Yeah, the difficulty is in not knowing whether the player is absent, or the character is dead/stored.

If there was a way to check if an absence is IC or OOC, that would probably make things a lot easier - but it would have to be carefully handled so that characters who want to absent themselves from the Way through various IC means so as to appear dead or missing, would still be able to do so.

Being able to rely on the OOC/IC uncertainty to get away with killing people and not having the death reported for some time is probably not something that should be happening, anyway.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 12:48:48 PM by Delirium »
"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends." - Schmendrick

Miradus

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2018, 03:52:55 PM »

Being able to rely on the OOC/IC uncertainty to get away with killing people and not having the death reported for some time is probably not something that should be happening, anyway.

Relying on that uncertainty is exactly what should be happening when people are PLAYING FAIR.

But plenty of times, 5 minutes after you PK someone, everyone knows who did it, where it went down, and your complete description. This happened several times when there was no legitimate way of anyone knowing.

My hat is off to those who play fair, but the reality we're stepping around here is that plenty of people don't. And it's really hard to explain to Lord Templar that, "They couldn't possibly have identified me, my Lord, because I was wearing a facewrap and a completely different set of clothing."




Delirium

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2018, 03:59:18 PM »
I think my meaning was not clear. The sort of uncertainty you are referring to is good and desirable. The sort of uncertainty I refer to is the "gee, I can't find Amos' mind. Is he dead or just logged off?"
"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends." - Schmendrick

Miradus

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2018, 04:14:38 PM »
I think my meaning was not clear. The sort of uncertainty you are referring to is good and desirable. The sort of uncertainty I refer to is the "gee, I can't find Amos' mind. Is he dead or just logged off?"

Oh, gotcha.

Yeah, makes me wonder what kind of life Amos is living if people start suspecting he's dead if they can't find him. :)

Is Friday

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2018, 08:20:41 PM »
I have my bouts of high-hour playtime, but as a now casual, maybeee an hour a day player, its can be a bit frustrating getting back in game.  Oftentimes it's met with "WHERE WERE YOU?!," and sometimes an attempt to treat a PC as unreliable IC, because I'm unreliable OOC.

From an IC perspective, that's a perfectly valid question/accusation.  From an OOC perspective it's like... dam fam, you know where I was.  I was in real-life wishing I was playing.  Or maybe I was spending that day playing another game, or doing some other fun activity with my fun time.

Yeah, I go right ahead and stop playing around people who give me that line. Or I store to play somewhere else. Turns out that being heckled IC for OOC shit is triggering after playing this game for 11 years. No, I don't want to play an exorbant amount for any reason--to include facilitating your power fantasy.
And then I sat there going "really? that was it? that's so stupid."

I still think the best closure you get in Armageddon is just moving on to the next character.

Cowboy

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2018, 09:55:42 PM »
I always wonder how each of us defines "casual" play.  I'm pretty sure some sort of vote would give a wide range of answers.  An hour or two a week isn't going to get you involved in much of anything.  A hour or two a day? Possible to do.  I have had periods where this was my situation and I tend to play atmosphere characters.  A working man; butcher, wagon loader, street cleaner.  Some role where I'm just a face in the crowd with stories to tell or questions to ask.  Hunter is possible even Byn but you need to try be consistent with your hour a day.  Stick to the schedule.  Interact around the barracks or the Gaj.  Leadership roles are a burden and do take time.  Forget that or you will get the questions Feco talked about.  My advice is don't take leadership roles if time is short.  The other question I have regarding this discussion is what plotlines are you trying to get into or create?  Sometimes, players with small amounts of time, need to lower their expectations. There is still plenty of fun to be had regardless of goals or the time you have to spend IC.
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mansa

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2018, 10:03:25 PM »
Perhaps we should publish all "single player" activities that are possible in each area of the game, in order to help make known what is possible to do if you only have 30 minutes to play.
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Harmless

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2018, 11:30:04 PM »
sharing a save room with someone is a great way to communicate offline.

If you share an apartment, you can do any number of things; add a flower to a vase each day (if there's flowers around) or add a different stone to a stone arrangement. Change the ldesc on an item in the room.

When I had a child vNPC with a fellow player who I shared an apartment with, we would change the baby's item's long description with the arrange command after an emote of interaction with the child to show that we had done something that day.

That way if we didn't run into each other's playtimes for several days, we could at least log on and learn that the other person was around.

There are a few save rooms scattered about that aren't behind a locked door (though the number of publicly available save rooms is actually declining of late, notably all those save rooms that were broken-into homes in Allanak which have all been fixed up and turned into locked-door homes).
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Akaramu

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2018, 10:02:03 AM »
I also think there's a bit of a culture problem, and not a real code problem (although I'm not against an ingame, offline messaging system).

This. This would help so much, even offpeakers who aren't casual (just offpeak).

Tekky

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2018, 10:28:04 AM »
My only problem is if I start something with someone who has consistent times at X hour, then don't log in for four-five days and doesn't give me a comment on when to find them again.. Well, it makes it hard to plan and include them in anything.

The OOC stigma of being like "ooc hey, I play weekends at 7-9 PM" is also a bit weird.

Riev

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Re: Casual Play
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2018, 11:54:06 AM »
My only problem is if I start something with someone who has consistent times at X hour, then don't log in for four-five days and doesn't give me a comment on when to find them again.. Well, it makes it hard to plan and include them in anything.

The OOC stigma of being like "ooc hey, I play weekends at 7-9 PM" is also a bit weird.

I have tried to intimate, many times, about whether I'd be around or not. On the rare occasion I play during Peak (after work) times, I try to say that I'm "not usually around this time" or "I wouldn't expect to see me so late in the week", so that people know.

I always cry out consistency. If I know you play from 4pm to 5pm most days, but that's it? That's fine, I know not to expect you around until them. But if your playtimes change to 6pm+, I'm going to get frustrated because now we'll never see each other.
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