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Hairy Mary
 Sunday, January 24 2010 @ 03:21 AM UTC (Read 13421 times)  
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I think that this could be usefully discussed, so I'm starting a new thread. There's a lot of different aspects to this, but I'm going to start by reposting a couple of comments in this post. That will be quite enough for one post, so I'll give my own comments afterwards.

First a comment by Beeker that was tacked on the end of the 'Some feedback on invasions' post.

Quote by: Beeker

  • A few days ago some friends told me they were writing a scene, and I thought, oh, I'd like to go read that, but this outpost is under threat and I can't leave, it will fall.
  • Yesterday I came home from work, and I sat down at my computer. I thought, no, I am too tired to log into the Island and visit the outposts and do my part to reduce the monster population. I need to relax, I'll read a book instead.
  • This morning when I came home from the store I logged into the Island. The first outpost I visited was at a low threat level. I thought, I'd better check the others. The next was under a moderate threat level. I said, okay, I'll check the third one and then maybe come back here. The third one was breached. Beeker failed almost immediately. I brought him back. He failed immediately again.


This is a game. This is something I do to relax with friends. I should be enjoying myself. Instead it feels like a job.

The fighting aspects of the game do add something: they add a structure, something that our characters have in common, something they can discuss and remark upon. A game world isn't just a chat room: II has an imaginative setting that provides a wellspring of inspiration for the stories we create. Onslaught adds an extra dimension to that, which is why I said that I liked the idea in principle.

However, Onslaught overwhelms everything else I do in the game. True, it is less intense than it was when it began. I appreciate the tweaks that have been made since that time. But tweaks are, by definition, minor changes. And the minor changes mean that since the day it was implemented, Onslaught has changed, for me, from utterly unbearable to barely tolerable.

And that is an improvement. But barely tolerable is not tenable in the long run.

If outpost attacks were rare occurrences, and only came at one outpost at a time, so that everyone would go there to deal with it, then it would be something that people could still talk about and gather around. This could also incorporate the false alarms that some people have suggested. Then we wouldn't feel stretched so thin.

I realize that other people may be feeling happy now, and I'm not saying the game ought to be changed to suit me. But, if I don't say anything, nothing will happen: and, if nothing happens, I'm not going to enjoy the game. And I used to enjoy it so very much.



Now a comment from Josephine, together with some good advice from Skidge.

Quote by: Josephine

Has anybody else been in an Outpost that's being overrun, and you finally get an opportunity to fix the walls, luck would have it, you manage to do some substantial repairs before getting attacked again. Then, just a few minutes later, you go back to do some more repairs to find all your work in shambles. I for one feel a crushing feeling of inadequacy when this happens. Does this happen to you? How do you deal with this?

I deal by eating muffins and telling myself "It must be a little lag on my end. I'm sure the next time I come back my hard work won't be gone. Yes. I'm sure. It must be true. Yes."



Quote by: Skidge

Oh, dear. Josephine, Josephine! I went through the exact same thing perhaps a week ago. Yes, it is a game, but it is our game, isn't it! And to do so much only to have it wiped away...it goes beyond frustrating into the realm of sadness and, for me at least, despondency.

My suggestion to you is this; only do what you can. There is only so much stam you can wipe killing yourself over reinforcement, and I don't know about the rest of us **peers around** but I personally would not judge you for coming away from it for a bit and playing. After all, II is full of playful people, myself among them, and RPing is one of the unique aspects of Island life that makes it worth fighting for. Remind yourself of that! Come play golf or help build a gigantic overengineered barbecue device! I promise you, it will help you feel better!



 
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Hairy Mary
 Sunday, January 24 2010 @ 04:26 AM UTC  
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Right. Now my own comments. Note - I'm throwing out thoughts a bit here. Some of these might contradict each other. They're all based on one rather small view of what's going on. I'm sure I've missed a lot, and I've got a rather one-sided view of things.

First of all, I think that something similar to what Skidge said applies to Beeker. You don't have to go round checking every outpost evry time you're on the Island. I keep an eye on the outpost I'm in, and act accordingly. If a call comes in for help at another outpost, then I may go to help. But I might not. Don't feel that you have to. Certainly not if it's becoming stressful, that's really not the point of playing.

When the outpost invasion first started, it was way too much as we all remember, and it started stressing me. CMJ toned it down and it got better, but there was still that feeling. I did a rather silly (in the best sense of the word) piece of role play in Squathole (a bungled Midget/James Bond style attempt on AiB clan halls), and I felt a lot better. I finished that, I had a laugh, and I could feel the weight coming off my shoulders. So yes. Don't take it so seriously, don't feel you have to.

However. There are some players who feel that there character will be valiantly fighting whereever there is trouble and constantly looking round for it. There was a suggestion in the previous 'feedback' thread about being able to communicate between posts to let people know about an invasion. I argued against it at the time, saying that this was a good chance to all pull together and find a common solution. This hasn't happened. That is maybe one thing we could discuss in this thread, but I'm starting to think it might work better if the Comms tent stayed open until there was an actual breach, so people could communicate. Then other people wouldn't feel nervous about what might be happening elsewhere, knowing that if it is going pear shaped, then someone will let them know.

Another point raised by Beeker. What sort of frequency should invasions be happening with? Both Island wide, and per outpost? Each outpost about one attack per week? With maybe one attack per week (on the whole Island) actually leading to a breach? Is that about right? What do people think?

Having looked round a bit, I notice that some Outposts have walls in excess of 4 million HP. Now it's natural and proper that players want to make the outposts as impregnable as possible. It's also right and proper that they shouldn't be totally invulnerable, if they start getting too hard, then CMJ is going to have to raise the hardness of the invasions, to give a fair fight and a chance of a breach. This leads to a somewhat counterproductive situation, if we know that more reinforcing is just going to lead to more monsters. Here's a suggestion. What about outpost walls having a maximum number of HP? Say 2 million? This would mean that if an outpost didn't get hit for a while, then the walls couldn't have just kept getting thicker and thicker. It would also mean that once that maximum had been reached, then players wouldn't be constantly thinking that they should devote themselves to adding just that bit more, and would feel more free to go off and do other things.

Last point. Having looked round a bit, the outposts with the most HP seem to be Improbable Central, Kittiania and New Home, with Squat Hole and Pleasentville coming a close second, New Pittsburg and CC404 seem to be a lot lower, I haven't looked at Ace High. Maybe this is because I've just gone at the wrong times or something, maybe it's because people are desperate to preserve that famous Squathole cuisine. But maybe it's because people don't go to these places so much. I suspect the latter. If so, then it means that New Pitts is going to fall far more easily than say Squat Hole. Whether that's a bad thing or not is debatable, but I would suggest that New Pitts in particular needs a few more interesting things in it.

CMJ has given us Improbable Labs to play with, but the forums devoted to it are not overused. Let's start coming up with things. Role players go and give ideas for the sort of things you'd like to see in New Pitts. Game players go and take these ideas and put flesh on bones, give precise mechanics and numbers. Then, once it's been critiqued and approved by CMJ, programmers go and program them. I suspect that the reason hardly anybody goes there is because hardly anybody feels competant in all three areas. So let's apply a bit of the old Adam Smith division of labour. Just contribute what you feel happy contributing. Ideas people, notice that you're the first link in the chain. Start thinking.

I think that that's quite enough for one post. I'll stop now.


 
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Azhron
 Sunday, January 24 2010 @ 06:46 AM UTC  
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In response to your suggestion that the walls should be limited in their hitpoint count, I would say that, just two days ago, I went into CyberCity 404 and saw that its threat level was low and its hitpoints well into the millions. when I returned the next day, only a few (game) days later, it had fallen completely. Even with massive HP counts, the outposts are not invincible. I do not feel that limits are at all required.


 
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Yrk
 Sunday, January 24 2010 @ 10:14 PM UTC  
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I really only have two thought about invations, combined with suggestions.

1.
I never really cared about the whole thing. When i noticed it was in i went reinforcing cause i wanted to max out the skill and ofcourse i was a little curious of what would happen if an outpost fall. Still i was happy to see something happen, but now i just go about as usual.
The reason for this, and i think it's the reason a lot of people get sick of it, is that it's too consistent. When you walk in to an outpost and notice it is under attack you just go "ah damned... it's getting attacked again..". The reaction you want is "Holy shit! What the hell is happening!?".
To make the change attacks obviously have to happen less frequent and with some time to build up exitement. I read someone's ideas (i think it was Rosin, sorry if im wrong) in another tread. It was about making different kinds of attacks depending on where the outpost if located. So i thought, what if you could see the huge army of various monsters marching towards the outpost, say a day before the actual attack happen. And for some magical reason you cant attack the marching army(perhaps the forces are to great for any individual to even attempt to challenge). That way you will have a chance to prepare and gather at an outpost to defend, rather than just stumbling in and ending up getting cought in reinforcing/fighting.

2.
This kinda goes with number one. Different outposts should have different kinds of defenses. You'd think CC404 would have a massive steel wall covered in machine guns while kittania, being called an outpost inspite of barely having buildings, whould settle with a few pointy stick jammed in the ground, classic medieval cavalry defense-style.
Since the massive steel wall of CC404 would withstand a whole lot of beatings, the robots up there might not be very interested in you helping them out by beating up some wodden boards on it. They would be much happeir to see you helping them with the weapon/energy need.(blood donations style?)
It could also be nice to actually be able to improve the defences, aside from making the wall thicker. How about letting the players help out and shoot from the wall, or build more turrets.
Maybe an option to position your character on top of an outpost wall for the remainder of the game day, or just as long as you like. And it'll kill off a certain amounts of monsters per minute. Perhaps with a debuff of stamina the next day from staying up fighting all night. obviously this should give little to no exp and req to prevent from camping out at a wall level 1 to 15 doing nothing but logging on killing the drive.


There, long post, hope i didn't typo too much. More holy shit! to the onslaught!


 
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Binjali
 Tuesday, January 26 2010 @ 12:40 AM UTC  
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I haven't added my two cents to the Invasions threads floating around previously because I felt that my point of view had been better represented than I could probably have said it. However, I like to talk, so here you go.

It's been what, three weeks since the Onslaught module was turned on? I'm already deadened to the situation- the situation being constant, overwhelming threat. I've pretty much given up trying. I actually had the thought yesterday, in the most bored tone of voice, "Oh. Would you look at that. 404's breached again," instead of "OH NO BREACH I'D BETTER GET TO WORK." It's become a giant irritant instead of something that gets my adrenaline up and gets me to use all my chronospheres, which it was at first- maybe the first few days. That was fun. This is not. Why? Because even when giving it our all, we're still constantly losing. If you've ever played with a cat and never let it catch the string, after a little while it gets bored and starts ignoring you. Same concept at work here.

I don't necessarily want the attack rate so much lowered as changed. I'd like to see feints, first one place, then another, nothing completely unmanageable, maybe even those false alarms someone mentioned somewhere, and then about once a week, in one Outpost, an attack intended to breach the place. The contestants would rally together, etc. etc. I think it would be great from both from a role play standpoint and a game play standpoint. All of the war rp gathered in one place to play together for a while instead of being spread out across all outposts, all the time, and a feeling of slowly winning against a impressive foe instead of slowly (or quickly) losing against an implacable one. If that means, for game balance, that the monster attacks have to be stronger, well, no complaints from this corner.


 
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XaNe
 Tuesday, January 26 2010 @ 03:08 AM UTC  
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I agree intensely with what's been said so far. Personally, I was really into defending the outposts at first. I was organizing SUGAR, trying to get my friends motivated, letting people know where was being attacked, the whole shebang. However, it soon lost a bit of novelty for me, mostly because it's such a constant thing. I've started to stick to outposts that are more or less impenetrable, simply because I don't feel like dealing with the constant stress of staying anywhere else. I mean, the basic argument for saving New Pittsburgh that I've heard so far, is "Well...It kinda sucks to be a zombie, they're always getting attacked, so lets help them."

Now, my suggestion isn't that different than the others made so far, except I feel that if there was an attack, a major attack, every day/other day on ONE random outpost, it would be easy to organize help, it would be considerably less stressful, and it would feel much more serious since it was less common, and more intense.

Now, I understand the coding for this would be difficult, and I don't think it's a necessity but that's my two cents. 'Nuff Said.


Some people see the glass as half full, some people see it as half empty, I just spit in the cup until it isn't a problem anymore.
 
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Bakemaster
 Wednesday, January 27 2010 @ 02:44 AM UTC  
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Less frequent attacks.
More focused attacks.
More devastating attacks.
Greater consequences for failure.

Basically, I think everyone would like for the module to be active only some of the time. When it's calm, it should be calm. When all hell breaks loose... It really does.

NOW...

Personally, I'd also like to see a different structure to invasions; I would like to see small groups of monsters breaching the walls before the alert level maxes out, and while the walls are still up. Perhaps a small chance of discrete breach, inversely proportional to wall size, and proportional to alert level. That would make it more of a challenge to defend during an attack, less predictable, more exciting.

I'd like to see a different mechanism by which the attack is repelled. Just fighting as normal in the Jungle? Not only is that unexciting, people do it who have no intention of participating in Onslaught. Attacks are repelled through no direct effort, if a lot of people happen to be playing turns in a town on a given day. I'd rather see an option to go to the front line or the defenses, rather than to the Jungle, which only appears when a town is under active attack. I'd like for this to present a somewhat different experience from fighting in the Jungle. Not as hectic as a breach, where you could fight a monster of any level; perhaps only monsters up to level 9, but having bonus HP. It would be wonderful to see some monsters unique to this "siege defense" area, but that's probably far more effort than it's worth. The potential for expansion by adding modules to create player-operable siege weapons, such as pots of flaming pitch, would be icing on the cake.

This is probably stuff that only even potentially makes sense for a future season, as any of it would call for at the very least major changes in code, and the whole of it seems like it would demand building a new onslaught module from the ground up. But those are the kinds of things that I would find very exciting.


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Ada
 Wednesday, January 27 2010 @ 04:04 AM UTC  
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If the fights were not normal jungle fights, I think fewer people would bother! Then you can't hunt for your quest monster at the same time. I really like that I'm able to take down the warning level and fight for Dan at the same time.


 
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Anonymous: NotAgain
 Wednesday, January 27 2010 @ 11:51 AM UTC  


Quote by: Ada

If the fights were not normal jungle fights, I think fewer people would bother! Then you can't hunt for your quest monster at the same time. I really like that I'm able to take down the warning level and fight for Dan at the same time.



Agreed. I'm getting to the stage where I'm ignoring the invasions except when I have no real choice.

Things may improve slightly if the RNG for Dan's Quests were biased in favour of besieged towns. Perhaps increasing the bias as the level of siege increases.

This'd have the benefit of sending more Questers in support of outposts that need help, regardless of whether they intend to actually help the town or not. While also making the Quests more of a real quest (ie. an increased element of risk, the chance that you'll end up in a town being over-run) than just popping in & out of a safe haven in a key-mashing fest.



 
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Bakemaster
 Wednesday, January 27 2010 @ 08:10 PM UTC  
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Firstly, there are tons of players who would bother with separate Onslaught fighting, especially if the consequences of losing the city were dire. Are there players who will ignore Onslaught if given the opportunity? Of course there are. And they should be free to do that, to a certain extent. They're not really free to do that now, because they can't quest or level without interacting with Onslaught, whether the relation is apparent to them or not.

Secondly, difficulty levels and algorithm constants can be adjusted very easily. If fewer people participate in an Onslaught module that's separate from their jungle fights, then the Onslaught module can be adjusted for balance with the community. This is a requirement in any game, and with the module as it currently exists.

Thirdly, keep in mind that what I'm proposing would still give exp, and could be given bonus exp as an incentive if necessary—infrequent and unpredictable invasions, combined with the inability to fight in this mode when a town is calm, should mitigate exploitation more than adequately. Plus there are RP incentives, merchanting incentives, convenience incentives—if the town falls, you can't bank, for instance. And if the invasions are less frequent, less predictable, players will be less bored and exasperated by them, meaning even the more die-hard questers may be more willing to come to a village's aid when the enemy strikes.

Finally, there's no reason that the chance of encountering a quest monster or item can't be present in separate Onslaught fights as well. In fact, questing could be more heavily integrated with Onslaught—perhaps instead of slaying something or finding something, Dan might send you to "achieve a feat of heroism" for one of the quest legs, which could translate to killing a certain number of enemies invading a hapless village, reinforcing walls, or killing the MTM/Magpie.

My point here is that there's no reason to say "we can't do it" based merely on the need for simple balancing. And personally, I don't care that you like to be able to do two things at once—I actually feel you should be forced to choose! And I think the design of the game shares that philosophy, by having more once-a-day opportunities in more parts of the map than would allow a player to do everything in any given day. The more you can multitask, the more you get into a tired routine, the less you're playing the game, and the more you are simply wasting time performing a predetermined set of actions. I don't think a desire for that sort of game should be catered to by game mechanics; I've seen plenty of MMOGs fail by going that route. Without limitation, choices have no meaning.


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Hairy Mary
 Sunday, January 31 2010 @ 05:10 PM UTC  
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A suggestion. Take away invasions altogether for a couple or three weeks. When they first arrived, everyone was looking forward to them, and in a high state of excitement. Now everyone's rather jaded, so whatever changes may be made, you've got to fight against that first. If people do start paying more attention again, then they'll come back in dribs and drabs. If we have a complete break, then when Invasions come back again it will be a fresh start, and we can all go fighting them together again.


 
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Beeker
 Wednesday, February 10 2010 @ 06:40 PM UTC  
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Alas. Alack. O, woe.


 
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Hairy Mary
 Wednesday, February 10 2010 @ 07:52 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Beeker

Alas. Alack. O, woe.



Wise words there mate. Any particular reason for them?


 
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Rosin
 Sunday, February 21 2010 @ 05:08 AM UTC  
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Okay. AceHigh is down. And I was there when it fell. Hmn.

I was instantly failboated without an opportunity to run. Alrighty then.

I come back to the island two hours later to find THE WALLS OF ACEHIGH HAVE BEEN BREACHED. Another instant failboat, even with damned good attack and defense joker buffs.

I figure, okay, whatever, I've got some favor left, I'll just hop back up and try and run.

NO.

Three instant failboats later, I try a NewDay.

NO.

Apparently, I'm stuck bouncing between the Failboat and AceHigh, losing 10% of my XP every time with no chance to run.

Onslaught, as it is right now at this very moment, is going to drive me away if this keeps up. There is absolutely no point for me to log in if all I have to look forward to is getting killed by breached walls and then returning to the failboat.


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Beeker
 Sunday, February 21 2010 @ 05:17 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Hairy+Mary

Quote by: Beeker

Alas. Alack. O, woe.



Wise words there mate. Any particular reason for them?



Well. Yes. See the topic of this thread.

"Alas", "Alack", and "O, woe" are more polite than cussing like a sailor. Actually, I don't know how to cuss like a sailor and I'd sound pretty lame if I tried. Hence: O, woe.


 
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Azhron
 Sunday, February 21 2010 @ 06:20 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Rosin

Onslaught, as it is right now at this very moment, is going to drive me away if this keeps up. There is absolutely no point for me to log in if all I have to look forward to is getting killed by breached walls and then returning to the failboat.



Onslaught, as it is right now, is not entirely the fault of onslaught itself. Dwellings, as Sessine said in the house feedback thread, are keeping contestants out of the outpost jungles, and the hoards aren't getting thinned.
Buuuut since no-one seems to be willing to change the way things are going, I think the best solution at this point is probably to adjust Onslaught accordingly.


 
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Rosin
 Sunday, February 21 2010 @ 06:54 AM UTC  
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Azhron, you have a point there, yes. Dwellings are taking peoples' attentions away from outposts and thusly some people are getting trapped in the hellish prison that is AceHigh's Breach right now.

Maybe those guards could actually thin the numbers like they're supposed to? Constant decline slowly maybe?


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Hairy Mary
 Sunday, February 21 2010 @ 02:04 PM UTC  
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The dwellings effect will slowly subside as people get their basic dwellings. Give it another week or two, and at any point in time there will only be a smaller proportion of people working on dwellings instead of beating up beasties in the outpost jungles. There'll still be a smaller effect though.

Another point. Rosin, I'm guessing that you were fairly early on in in your DK weren't you?
The beasties that you meet once the walls are breached are entirely random, they can be any level. If you're on level 10 in a DK, that means that a suicidal fight is level 12. Monsters level 13 through 15 are harder than suicidal. That's one in five. Maybe you can just about handle that, with grenades and whatnot. But lower levels? At level 5 over half your encounters will be harder than suicidal. And you've likely got less req, to use on either grenades, or, for that matter, healing. (You don't get any req for killing breach invaders.)

This means that (I reckon) anyone under level 10 shouldn't even think of hanging around in a breach, you'll just be fruitlessly wasted blood and another shocking example of the futility of war.

Take the example of Rosin above. She cannot be said to be an inexperienced player. She's now in a situation where she doesn't want to get off the failboat solely because it won't be any fun if she does. And it's not as if she didn't try, she gave it her best shot four or five times. That's surely not a good situation to have.

Some possible suggestions.
Change things so that in a breach, there's an upper limit on who you can come up against. Maybe your level plus/minus three
Change things so that it's easier to run for it if you want/have to.
Change things so that when you come off the failboat you can choose which outpost you wind up in, possibly at the cost of some favour. (I don't actually like this one, I've got a sneaking suspicion that some gamers would find a way to use this in unexpected and possibly game unbalancing ways.)
Change things so that when you come off the failboat, you start on the map square underneath the outpost, rather than in the outpost itself. I've suggested this before, and no one seemed to want it, but I'll throw it out again. I like it because it's got minimal impact, in non-breach situations it's just the difference of a single key press.


On a different note. I'd got to the point where outpost invasions didn't mean that much. If I was in an outpost that was under threat then I'd be more likely to stay there longer, and go out in the jungle to thin the slavering hoards, but only at the cost of minor inconvenience. Some people don't even do that, (see for example Beeker in the 'Dwelling Feedback' thread.) Can I ask other players what their current attitude to Outpost Invasions is?


 
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Ada
 Sunday, February 21 2010 @ 02:30 PM UTC  
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Honestly, I love breaches. I get disappointed when I'm fighting in them and they end. Playing today was amazing. Everything is breached! Whoo! A great many people complain about level 1, quite rightly, because it is long, and only gets longer. Bring a plasma gun into a breach and level 1 is very, very short. Yay!

But I understand completely that wandering into breached outposts is Not For Everyone. So I wholeheartedly agree with your fourth suggestion. Do the failors honestly fight their way all the way through all those monsters, just to dump you in the middle of the breach?
Also, this was suggested earlier, and I really really think it ought to be implemented: you should be able to see whether or not an outpost is breached when you are travelling. You'd have to fight through all the monsters to getin - surely you'd get some warning before you walked into hocrapgonnadie.


Also. My love for breaches does not extend to a high threat level with a high wall. Everything shuts down, even if the wall has a kajillion hitpoints. Annoying! You'd think the merchants would be a bit bored of closing up at the first whiff of trouble by now.


 
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tehdave
 Sunday, February 21 2010 @ 05:06 PM UTC  
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I'm honestly with Beeker on this one...I've been done with Onslaught for quite some time now...sure sometimes it's fun to run to a breached outpost and OMGEXPOUTTHEASS, but it really interrupts the flow of the game when, for instance, I head up to AceHigh to quest, and drop in for cake only to realize I'm at mid-orange stam, level 2, and staring at a Mongol Hordette, and the last outpost I was in was Kittania, quite a hike. Maybe if there were a quick screen before you entered an outpost from the map:
"AceHigh is currently {At Highest Alert/Breached}, are you sure you want to enter the town?" when it's close to breach or breached...I know it's been suggested before, but it'd be really helpful.

Maybe when you get dumped from the Failboat, if the town is breached you get dropped in the square, otherwise dropped into town? would make it less likely to auto-fail like Rosin's issue. Anything to keep the game playable for Everyone.

Also. My love for breaches does not extend to a high threat level with a high wall. Everything shuts down, even if the wall has a kajillion hitpoints. Annoying! You'd think the merchants would be a bit bored of closing up at the first whiff of trouble by now.


Agreed. Sucks to be in an outpost at high threat but 12m walls, especially late night and everyone else online is either in another outpost, RPing in the commons, or out at dwellings... there's no way to get the bank back. And that's usually what I want to access in those cases (High chance of Failure)


Isn't sanity just a one-trick pony anyway? All you get is one trick: rational thinking. But when you're good and crazy, oooh, oooh, the sky's the limit.
 
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