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 Getting past Onslaught to the Scrapyard
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Buddleia
 Sunday, March 11 2012 @ 07:31 PM UTC (Read 37703 times)  
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Sorry to threadjack*, but I really think it's worth mentioning - at the moment, we can't get to the Scrapyard to get and try out these new things. Cyber City is breached yet again.

And so are Ace High and New Pittsburgh, as they have been for nearly all the time, every single time I've logged in, for the last several months. Even with some dedicated players who practically live in the northern cities, constantly trying to lower the alert levels.

I hate to distract you from writing these awesome and inspiring new things, CMJ, but please could you at some point think about rebalancing the Onslaught module?

With a hundred-odd contestants all hanging around in just two cities (and a few Places), gradually driving up the Island-wide spawn rate just by being there, that doesn't seem fair on all the players who don't want to just spend all their time either in those two safe cities or in a breach.

The GitHub suggests at least four places the Onslaught code could be modified - $outpostrate, $spawnrate, $difficulty for starters. (Maybe the Titans could also use a tweak or three, so they don't smashing the walls down to nothing quite so often.) Is it possible to change $numplayers to a local, current-pop-per-city multiplier? Would that work? Does anyone think that might help the whole constant-breaches situation, and let us reasonably-reliably (instead of once in a blue moon after several hours of "work") get to the Scrapyard to try out some of these lovely new things?


* Please someone move this to a new thread if they think it's a good idea.

Moved - Sessine.


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Count Sessine
 Sunday, March 11 2012 @ 08:31 PM UTC  
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Let me just say that I very strongly agree with Buddleia on this. Having three out of eight outposts in near-perpetual breach is a major problem for playability.

Moreover, the situation is getting worse, not better. When they do the Museum quest, the lesson most new players take away from the experience is that there is no reason to go back to those far-off places. They're forever shut down anyway, so why bother? Result: even more players hanging out in KT and NH, with occasional (sometimes involuntary!) trips to IC.

At this point, I believe putting better food in the other outposts wouldn't even work any more. We have too many players who have settled into a routine and formed social bonds; they're not going anywhere. Maybe making $numplayers a per-outpost value would indeed do the trick.


 
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Matthew
 Sunday, March 11 2012 @ 11:31 PM UTC  
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Alternatively, we could just get rid of Onslaught, because it's clearly lost all value as entertainment and the annoyances and difficulty of rebalancing just isn't worth a fundamentally broken game mechanic. The only posts I ever see on the Enquirer having anything to do with Onslaught are to the tune of "this shit is terrible, I can't do anything in this outpost, fuck it".

Maybe make it so that if a Titan reaches the outpost, it is inaccessible until it's taken down? That would be a lot more forgiving.


 
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Count Sessine
 Monday, March 12 2012 @ 12:13 AM UTC  
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If we lose Onslaught, we may well lose Titans too, the two are so integrated -- and I think there are quite a few who would mourn that. Titans are actually fun to fight.

I wouldn't want to see even Onslaught gone altogether. It's not that it's bad, it's just that it's happening all the bloody time in the more isolated places (and never at all in the heavily populated ones). For the reasons Buddleia has outlined, the spawn rate is being pushed up way too high -- the current value is 141% of normal.

A quick fix, if there's no time for rebalancing between outposts, would be to move the difficulty slider. A lot. Making breaches acceptably infrequent in AH, CC, and NP with the slider, of course, would mean there'd be no threat at all anywhere else.

Maybe that's good enough.


 
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fledermaus
 Monday, March 12 2012 @ 01:17 AM UTC  
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I second this emotion. It's much too hard to keep the outlying settlements clear... and even when we do manage to clear AH or cc404, the monster level just pops right back up and they re-breach. And that's if those of us who do hang out in the north just dive into the jungles and spam easy/till-someone-drops... which while effective, doesn't leave
any time to appreciate the descriptions or the writing.

I think making the spawn rate scale with the number of contestants in or around each specific outpost, rather than the island wide population, would be helpful... or, as
suggested, just cranking down the spawn rate of the northern outposts...


 
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Omega
 Monday, March 12 2012 @ 03:08 AM UTC  
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On the plus side,* I find frequent breaches in the same place a very good way to constantly get quick drivekills while helping others. If I needed to go to the ScrapYard or any place that's active in the highest danger level, I'll just Enter the breach, run from an enemy, build the walls a little, (Too little to help, even!) then go do what I want and leave. Constant breaches are only a minor inconvenience here!
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Maniak
 Monday, March 12 2012 @ 05:03 PM UTC  
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Onslaught isn't fun. Frankly, it's the exact opposite. It's an endless battle and it wearies me. It's not fun, so it doesn't belong in the game.

I second the motion to scrap it while expressing the hope that, if possible, Titans stay.


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Trowa
 Monday, March 12 2012 @ 05:39 PM UTC  
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I still don't really know the purpose of Onslaught. Was it to encourage people to work together? I mean, I see that sometimes, but usually only two or three folks who really acknowledge each other. The rest of the time, whenever someone pops over a loudspeaker in Story and asks for help in a breach, they're largely ignored. Like Titans, breaches have become a single-player sport almost. I can't honestly say one way or the other if that's a good thing or not, but I find Titans entertaining, while I do not find breaches as entertaining. I admit, it was a kinda fun mowing down monsters with a cat launcher and a force generator; it's not like there's any monster descriptions to read!

The only benefit I actually see from breaches is, like Omega said, quick leveling for more experienced accounts. "Experienced" in the sense that the player has access to good buffs, weapons, armor, and stamina. Otherwise a breach eats rookies, from what I've seen, and that leads directly to what Sessine pointed out.

I sort of like Matthew's suggestion with the outpost being inaccessible if there's a Titan standing over it. Someone else made this crack to me, though, that they just got this image in their head of a Titan pulling out a giant lawn chair and relaxing on top of the outpost with a giant glass of lemonade, chatting with the regulars until someone killed it. So, in that sense, I do have to wonder what would be the point of Titans if Onslaught disappeared. There'd be no sense of impending doom! (Although, maybe there would in that same way you get that feeling of dread whenever your least favorite inlaws come to visit...)


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Crysbo
 Monday, March 12 2012 @ 07:01 PM UTC  
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As Omega mentioned, having the breaches as a very nice way to speed through a DK as you get more experienced is pretty spiffy. Having perma-breaches isn't cool, though. There's been times where I've had a grand Joker day and laid into 300+ enemies only to see the monster metric remain unchanged. Sure, I know it's supposed to be a community effort, but as others have stated before me, it's largely ignored.

Occassionally, I see a clan set out with intent to clean the outpost, only for it to fall again within a game day. Those of us who DO brave the Northern reaches (although I'm guilty of not having been in the West in a very long time) tend to be so infrequent or unorganized that even though one or two of us put a dent in the population (or if it's a long-timer, just blow all the monsters up), enough time passes before the next person shows up that the metric just increases again.

While getting rid of the idea entirely isn't exactly what I'd want to see, something to make the monsters "attracted" to populated outposts in an "ah, fresh meat!" fashion would be more preferable than the current "nobody's there, so that outpost's fux0r3d".

Another idea would be to make it so that the monsters get tired of attacking after awhile. "Nobody's here, this is boring, I'm out," with a despawn metric if enough time without (significant) activity passes. That way, if there's nobody actively fighting there, the town eventually downgrades its threat, maybe even gets a nominal wall when the metric is low enough (50-100k?) and the cycle begins anew. That would create a feeling of "Well, I can help out here now, or just leave it to the inhabitants to fix in time."

As it stands, it really feels like all the NPC contestants are just cannon fodder, doing nothing to stem the tide of enemies or rebuild the walls. Maybe even turning into monsters themselves in a Romero-esque infection.


 
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Maniak
 Monday, March 12 2012 @ 09:07 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Crysbo

As it stands, it really feels like all the NPC contestants are just cannon fodder, doing nothing to stem the tide of enemies or rebuild the walls. Maybe even turning into monsters themselves in a Romero-esque infection.


It feels like that because, well, they are. The flavour text of turrets scanning the horizon or the lone robot coming back covered in blood is just that -- flavour text. Nothing at all is happening behind the scenes. There is no mechanism that'll dial back the monsters> Add to that the increased player retention that was introduced lately. It means a larger pool of players (the game doesn't care when they've last been online) who are expected to fight monsters - but don't. You can imagine this only increases the problem.

As for turning NPCs into monsters.. well, a zombie Sheila could be an interesting monster encounter. Breach-only monsters (whose descriptions you can read!) would provide relief and a great incentive to jump into a breach. For 2 whole days, then everyone would go back to business as usual.

We've had dozens of threads dealing with it and some brought forth some very interesting suggestions and proposed improvements. But I think that any time spend on improving it is wasted. Considering CMJ is just one man and as time is a limited resource, I concur that Onslaught can be scrapped.


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Cousjava
 Monday, March 12 2012 @ 09:26 PM UTC  
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I like onslaught. But fortunately, its ended up that some outposts are perma-breached and others are unaffected. I have a solution to this which doesn't require much work at all, as it is already part of the module. Simply go to city prefs and alter the spwanrate for each outpost Maybe set the 404 spwanrate to 80%, and to make it a bit more interesting at other outposts, say alter Kittania's to 110%, and maybe the same to Pleasantville as well, which is also not affected by onslaught much. I don't know what the exact values should be, but fiddling around with them could make it more interesting by making it more likely for any outpost to be breached.


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CavemanJoe
 Monday, March 12 2012 @ 09:37 PM UTC  
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I'll be back to deal with this in more detail later, but for now...

the game doesn't care when they've last been online

A player has to have been online within the last week, and have more than one DK, to be counted in the algorithm that spawns monsters. The Onslaught module in Github is waaay old.


 
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Full Metal Lion
 Monday, March 12 2012 @ 11:02 PM UTC  
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I hear some of you want to do away with the onslaught mechanic altogether. I must respond with a shrug-okay-I-guess, which is totally an actual movement that denotes I don't know whether or not that would be a good idea. What I do know is that Onslaught can be fun, under the correct circumstances. Or, at least to three people.

With that in mind, if you do get rid of breaches, or make it so they rarely ever happen, could an "Outpost of Absolutely No Importance" be created? This Outpost would have nothing in it. No food, no banking, no Eboy's, nothing. Except the monsters, of course, as the Outpost would be constantly breached. BreachFighters would go there to get their happyfuntimes, and other people could just steer clear. Everyone's happy!

Of course, the Town of Absolutely No Importance would be a great place to hide secrets...


 
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fledermaus
 Monday, March 12 2012 @ 11:45 PM UTC  
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For your "outpost of no importance" - how about the deserted lab complex where the drive was created? The _real_ Improbable Central. The Heart of Go… Darkness.

On the question of breaches:

• Monsters seeking out the populated outposts - gets my vote.

• Cranking down the spawn rate in the far outposts - could work,
but feels, I don't know, unsatisfying somehow… still, if it works…

• It would be nice if you could actually tell if you were making
a dent in numbers... the bands are currently 500 wide which means
you can basically fight all day and see no visible improvement.

• How about a way to port people in? If you slay enough monsters,
you can make it to the outpost's emergency teleport beacon, which
opens up a temporary portal, one way, that lets people port into
the breach from unbreached outposts, for a while anyway, as long
as you can keep it defended. Maybe a "Defend the Beacon" option
from the "Take Stock etc" menu.

• Maybe eboy could set up a camp at or near (outside) breached outposts,
selling supplies (at vastly inflated prices, of course).
Ditto Sheila.



 
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Count Sessine
 Tuesday, March 13 2012 @ 12:35 AM UTC  
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Quote by: fledermaus


• It would be nice if you could actually tell if you were making
a dent in numbers... the bands are currently 500 wide which means
you can basically fight all day and see no visible improvement.

Seconded. If the bands were whittled down to 100 wide, that would let fighters feel they were making some progress.

Also, why is it that the Council reports don't display when an outpost is breached? Technical reasons, perhaps? People have taken to posting comments on the map square, but that information, while true enough at the time posted, is rarely up to date.


 
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Makiwa
 Tuesday, March 13 2012 @ 08:34 AM UTC  
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Quote by: fledermaus

• Monsters seeking out the populated outposts - gets my vote.

• Cranking down the spawn rate in the far outposts - could work,
but feels, I don't know, unsatisfying somehow… still, if it works…

• It would be nice if you could actually tell if you were making
a dent in numbers... the bands are currently 500 wide which means
you can basically fight all day and see no visible improvement.

• How about a way to port people in? If you slay enough monsters,
you can make it to the outpost's emergency teleport beacon, which
opens up a temporary portal, one way, that lets people port into
the breach from unbreached outposts, for a while anyway, as long
as you can keep it defended. Maybe a "Defend the Beacon" option
from the "Take Stock etc" menu.



All this sounds great to me. I love the emergency teleport idea but I guess it would be a major headache to implement.

I've got to say I disagree with scrapping onslaught and/or Titans. It's just part of island life y'know. Monsters keep on spawning whatever we do and if they're not kept in check they'll overrun the place.

This has been discussed ad nauseum but the fundamental issue seems to be that not enough contestants hang around in the unloved outposts long enough to thin the hordes. Getting people to hang around those outposts seems to have nothing to do with food, drink, interesting shops/places to explore. Folks arrive drink, eat, visit the scrapyard and leave. Even Dan quests aren't enough and that actually involves fighting and thinning the monster ranks. So why not have an easier way to for a rapid response team / flying squad to pitch up and help an ailing outpost?

Otherwise, or also, this:

Quote by: Cousjava I like onslaught. But fortunately, its ended up that some outposts are perma-breached and others are unaffected. I have a solution to this which doesn't require much work at all, as it is already part of the module. Simply go to city prefs and alter the spwanrate for each outpost Maybe set the 404 spwanrate to 80%, and to make it a bit more interesting at other outposts, say alter Kittania's to 110%, and maybe the same to Pleasantville as well, which is also not affected by onslaught much. I don't know what the exact values should be, but fiddling around with them could make it more interesting by making it more likely for any outpost to be breached.


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Wiki
 Tuesday, March 13 2012 @ 05:19 PM UTC  
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For some reason, I can't quote because it says I'm not logged in despite obviously being logged in. Go figure?

Makiwa said: "This has been discussed ad nauseum but the fundamental issue seems to be that not enough contestants hang around in the unloved outposts long enough to thin the hordes. Getting people to hang around those outposts seems to have nothing to do with food, drink, interesting shops/places to explore. Folks arrive drink, eat, visit the scrapyard and leave. Even Dan quests aren't enough and that actually involves fighting and thinning the monster ranks. So why not have an easier way to for a rapid response team / flying squad to pitch up and help an ailing outpost?
"

We did, and they were called Trains. The trains were useful like that. While they let you effortlessly hunt the Drive when you wanted, they also let you pop over to outposts for basically free in order to drop alert levels.

The fundamental problem with Onslaught is, we all agree, that the spawn rate is based on the players (Though if CMJ could link us to the current algorithms we could suggest fixes more accurately) population.

The player population is basically focused in the southern outposts: Kitt, IC, and NH. Much of this is for Story reasons: A lot of players come for the RP factor, and clean out monsters second.

So the fixes I can see are thus:

Option 1) Muck with the spawn rate. This is the quickest, most likely to do something outside of straight up cutting Onslaught altogether. This seems more like a bandaid since it might keep the North from being perma-breached, It might also do nothing to stop the number of breaches: Just slow them down. Instead of every day, it'd be more like the alert level is steadily increasing over a week until CC404 breaches every Friday, not every single day.

Option 2) Make Onslaughts more fun, somehow: Readable descriptions for Breach Only monsters? A Breach-specific Lion would be interesting to read, especially if it's on an outpost per outpost basis. Seems to be a bit more work than plausible.

Option 3) Maybe make Titans not insta-gib the walls. Perhaps they'll simply do a ridiculous amount of damage, (Maybe a million HP per unit time). This'll keep the outpost walls from being ripped to nothing by a Titan spawning two tiles away and moving in during lunch. Problem is that they represent a really real threat to high HP outposts: The idea that one sneaky Titan can drop the 85 Million HP at IC instantly is cool. The problem is that Titans almost never ever get to IC: They're a real threat to the towns sitting right on the coasts. So maybe change where Titans are attracted to, and maybe make them do more character level/stat dependent damage. If Titans moved towards populated, high HP-wall outposts at a faster clip than their current, it could a) increase Titan Hunters, b) legitimately but fairly threaten the highly defended unbreachable posts.

Option 4) Monsters seeking populated outposts. This keeps the spawn rate, but instead puts them places where people actually are. Though if this could result in instantaneous Interesting Times for Kitt and NewHome as their spawn rate goes up to ludicrous levels based on the population stationed there. Will require very careful math to determine spawn rates. Maybe work with brackets. -The problem with this is that it removes the incentive for people to actually leave their outposts and explore the map. When the problem just comes over to wherever people congregate, what's the point of the other outposts? I'm not sure there's a surefire way to avoid this problem, other than to put key functions (Scrapyard, etc) in every outpost.


 
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Count Sessine
 Tuesday, March 13 2012 @ 06:07 PM UTC  
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There's a Titan within rumble-distance of its IC goal right this minute. Mind you, it's still quite a few hours away, and sure, someone is likely to kill it before it gets there. Maybe I will. But IC's threat level is also currently Critical, which means the bank, the council office, and the PSK are all closed. Maybe I'd do better to whittle the monster numbers down so I can turn in my Dan quest item. Or maybe I'll just wait and let someone else do it...

The monster spawn rate is currently quite low because very few people are logged in right now... but that doesn't deal with the monsters that were spawned last night. CC404, NP, SH, and AH are all at Interesting Times. The walls still hold in AH and SH, but they're zero in the other two.

If CC404 only came close to breaching every Friday, that would give the players who care some chance to keep it in check... which might encourage more people to take part. People get tired of playing unwinnable games.


 
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Wiki
 Tuesday, March 13 2012 @ 06:15 PM UTC  
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Oh, is there one now? Hm. Neato.

And we come back to the fundamental issue: Onslaughts are essentially unwinnable. Fixing a breach has no reward other than XP.

And the ability to use the outpost again...


 
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Full Metal Lion
 Tuesday, March 13 2012 @ 11:29 PM UTC  
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Hmm... speaking of this "using the outpost" thing, why do things stop working when the outpost is almost breached? And by "almost breached" I mean "has a large amount of monsters outside". To get people to fight more monsters? By making sure they can't bank their money?


 
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