Sunday Musings - What the NUB should be (in General)
July 3 2005 11:36 AM EDT
There are a lot of opinions, emotions, and thoughts on the New User Bonus (NUB) these days. Some folks have problems with how long it lasts, how large the actual bonus is, and what the overall goal of the dang thing is.
I don't usually bicker about the "level" of something...I tend to argue about the ideas and implementation behind the whole. I figure that if the effect of a game element is simply too strong, Jonathan will eventually tweak it and level it out. So it is not the extent of the NUB reward that is an issue for me, but the way the entire thing is handled.
Right now the NUB is based on bigger rewards. HUGE rewards, in fact. Instead, I think rewards should be kept exactly the same, but the amount of BA available for use be increased, either with a larger BA cap, higher regeneration, or the ability to buy more (this option sits best with me).
Basically, instead of just jacking up rewards, make the new player "earn" their bonus by clicking more. The availability for quick growth and extent of that growth could be kept exactly the same as it is now, it is just that the new player would be fighting to get it. Here are the advantage as I see them:
- The new player gets to do exactly what they WANT to be doing -- FIGHTING! Remember that burn when you started CB, foaming at the mouth, seeing your fightlist in your head, just wanting to fight, fight, fight? Remember the disappointment after burning through that first set of BA and realizing you couldn't just keep going? Allowing more BA as a NUB would let new players strike while the passion is hot.
- With this type of NUB, the new player is LEARNING as they are receiving bonus. More fighting means learning more about strategy, fightlist dynamics, and what works/doesn't work.
- The new player can figure out rewards in a more sustainable fashion. Right now, while in the NUB a new player can hardly tell what works and what doesn't, because rewards are jacked up so much -- they can do no wrong. If the NUB is more BA instead of artificially enhanced rewards, the new player will be learning how score and PR yield rewards and get a better feel for the overall reward system that they can use post-NUB.
- New players would be more in control of being able to use the NUB to their advantage. Having a lot more BA to buy would let folks who cannot get their normal BA used still have a chance at huge growth. Fight more before school, fight more after work, fight more when YOU want to fight. It's more flexible.
- Less shock when the NUB stops. Having rewards plummet seems far more unnerving to me than just having BA capability lowered. In fact, having less BA available once the NUB is done might be like a relief, as in, "Phew, I can finally stop clicking...I'm not a n00b any more!!!!!"
As I stated, the additional BA would work best as having more available for purchase. The purchase price would have to be low so that the new player could be building net worth as well as MPR. Actually, that is a nice segue into the cons of this idea, which are substantial:
- Harder to balance MPR and NW. The current system makes balance easy, as it simply increases both cash and experience received in each battle. Since my idea would involve having more BA available for purchase, MPR would be increasing more rapidly than NW unless the BA purchase prices was very cheap, or even free. I think this could be worked out.
- Clans: giving more battles to the new players would throw clans out of whack. This is the largest problem with this idea. There is no elegant way to balance clan points because they are based on straight wins and losses. I am not sure how to handle this short of making players in the NUB have their clan scores scaled back if they use a substantial number of their "NUB BA store".
- Camping: a new player could just buy all their BA and go camp with it. Not sure how I feel about that. Campers would have to weigh in on that. Maybe a person in NUB could have store visits be much more expensive?
- Just more fighting: Would this be a problem? The "Battles Served" number would skyrocket, but is that a big deal? Would there be too many asterisks at lower levels?
There is no doubt that implementing the NUB with more available BA instead of larger rewards would be more work for Jonathan. However, the advantages of such a system (if it can be balanced) could be appreciable. I really like the thought of new players having to "earn" the bonus through fighting instead of just being handed fat rewards.
Any thoughts on this? More issues to add to the "cons" list? Have my Sunday Musings just become flat-out insane? *smile* Let's hear your thoughts!
July 3 2005 12:25 PM EDT
I also like the idea of having extra BA as the main contributor to the NUB. I'm not sold on the necessity for having to purchase it though as many new players may not go that route either through bad choice or ignorance. Perhaps a higher base BA to compensate rather than the need to purchase.
July 3 2005 12:27 PM EDT
Nice idea chet, but I've suggested the NUB apply to the the amount of buyable BA twice before. So obviously I think it's a great idea and I'm glad we think a like on this issue.
In regards to the MPR NW balance, that I thought was the one thing that would keep a new player from riasing to the top on NUB allone. But there would be lot's of ways to make NW, either by spending USD, or by selling off the high MPR characters to someone, or by camping and forging.
Clan fighting is the hardest issue to fix as both you and I noticed. We could either leave it as it is and figure that most newbs just get famed anyhow and don't use thier buyable BA as it is. However, it would only take one new player who maximizes the NUB to get everyone really upset. I can think of a number of solutions, but most of them have draw backs themselves. A cap on cp after 1800 fights is the best I can come up with. The pro is that it would make new players a central part of any clans strategy.
As far as the camping thing goes I never saw this as an issue since they would be camping with buyable BA, which for an unexperienced camper mean they would most likely lose more money then make it. And as I said before, if they do get good at it then it's a way to overcome the NW MPR difference. As it stands right now there is no bonus to camping, so it is discouraged that new player do it.
More asterisks at the bottom? That's not an issue. I remember fighting in the lower levels quite well and I never noticed that other people could comotose people on my fight list until almost 100k MPR. There are so many unused characters at the lower levels that their is deffinatly enough people to fight down there.
July 3 2005 2:10 PM EDT
I figured someone had come up with this thought before, I was just too lazy to read the 439 NUB threads that came before this one. *smile*
There would definitely need to be some education so that the new folks knew to take advantage of buying more BA. I would expect the language on the Manage Characters page to actually say in big red letters: "YOU ARE IN NEW PLAYER BONUS, BUY ALL YOU CAN AND YOU WILL STILL MAKE MONEY!". and once the bonus was over, explicitly state buying BA is MPR gainer but net worth breaker. I like the idea of the extra BA being a purchasable/choosable option rather than a change to cap or regeneration. Having it be the user's choice of when to access the additional allocation makes it more useful, flexible, and meaningful.
I want the NUB to make the cream rise to the top, not all of the milk automatically.
July 3 2005 2:49 PM EDT
It's okay chet, I was too lazy to make my own post about it, so I'm glad somebody did. : )
This isn't a bad idea, but I prefer the current system for a very specific reason.
First, let me point out that the expected difference in outcome is negligible, as far as the top's concerned. You're not going to get in the top 5 with the current NUB without some serious setting-your-alarm-at-night motivation. Sure, making the new guys click more would make the "I started first so I deserve to never be caught" crowd happier but they should have stayed with CB1.
Where the current system wins is by providing less die-hard players with increased incentive to stick around long enough to see CB's depth. Giving them a "bonus" that isn't intuitive until you're enough of a vet to understand how the BA system works (especially if further complicated by a purchasing system) just doesn't compete as a retention device.
What about these people who come in right now knowing exactly how BA works and buy it everyday and get 5 mil in 2 weeks and have the biggest NW stuff in less than 4 weeks...=/ Some people are catching up to me, and i barely miss any BA and i buy it at all during the day.
July 3 2005 5:34 PM EDT
Couple more points, but I am definitely not expecting a switch here... *smile*
The NUB could be made into a battle allocation that could get used whenever the new user wanted... Each user would get it, and it could be saved until later, like a wish from a genie.
So yeah, a new player would be smart to wait until they were established, making 10-15% in clan, etc., then let slip the dogs of war.
The reason I say to let it float is because your "discover the depths first" point is an excellent one, Jonathan. Problem is, with the current NUB, new players aren't seeing a depth that is true. They are playing in a NUB fantasy-land where rewards are so outlandish that they end up having no idea what items are worth, what rewards are truly "good", or how to manage BA at all. The NUB ends and all they are likely left thinking is, "this sucks."
I see your point about retention, but augmenting a new player in an artificial fashion only to pull out the rug later does not seem like a wise retention tool to me. Granted, it is very hard for me to even remember what it was like to be a new player, so I am still curious to hear other's thoughts on this.
July 3 2005 5:47 PM EDT
Well I remember what it was like to be a Noob in cb1. It was December 2004. It was very tough going. It took me over 2 weeks of saving to get enough money for a base claymore and then thought it was a hugh deal. Then I had it forged for 1 million and thought I was really moving. Getting a Bone or DB's or even a corn was, I though, well out of reach for months unless I wanted to go deeply in debt.
Now I see Noob's buying rares their first week and within a month they have multiple rares and ever start selling them.
I had always thought that one needed to play the game from the beginnings to get an appreciation of both how it gets played and the economy of CB.
Now with the NUB, there is no "suffering" in the beginning to get an appreciation of how hard things really were for the older players. The "trials" of the older players will never be known again as long as the NUB exists. Everyone starting from now on will just think, wow this is easy. Rares, what rares, I can get them easy now and have a few within a month.
As an example, check out what bcsaller has done with their main, Sola. In just 3 weeks!
An achievement to be congratulated not belittled.
But most definately noted...
Ranger, you're acting like CB is some frat that should haze newbies to keep them in their place.
CB isn't like that. We haze idiots, but idiots and newbies are not synonyms.
Chet, anyone who stays long enough for his NUB to wear out (4 months) is already staying for the community, not the bonus. I don't flatter myself that our web-based gameplay is THAT compelling absent the community spirit.
I don't think you are correct about the any-strategy-is-a-good-one-with-NUB, either. Yes, a bad strat + NUB will probably outdo a good strat alone, if both start from zero. But NUB doesn't last forever; a good strat isn't optional if you want to be top 5 or 10 when it wears off. (Obviously, neither is stamina, as I mentioned earlier.) I think newbies of the kind we want to attract are fully capable of looking at their peers and realizing that some strats do better than others. IOW, rewards being magnified across the board means the difference between a crap strat and a good one is also magnified.
I don't necessarily disagree with some kind of tapering-off effect, but simplicity is a virtue.
July 3 2005 7:08 PM EDT
I will strongly disagree with you. I have never said CB was like a frat with its hazing. I have been nothing but helpful to all new players. Its the NUB is disdain. I was saying that the "trials" I went through in the first few weeks of cb1 was a great learning experience and that I personally feel that players that get the NUB are missing out on that part of the game.
Sort of like if you ever played D&D. My first few games were with 8th and above level characters. Sure, it was fun, but skewed my vision of the game. It was only when I played a 1st level fighter with 9 hp did I learn a lot about the game.
you say you just want to help them
but you and sefton are the most vocal "i don't want anyone in the top 5 who hasn't been there since january" people
sorry, not buying it. nothing personal
July 3 2005 7:29 PM EDT
that is not his argument Jon. i think that it is unfair that if Ranger never misses a BA he could be caught by a new player in about 4 months. i know it is possible because i owned Death Spawn for awhile and beat him a few times. why not make the NUB end when you are 50% away from the highest MPR char. i think that would be fair to all parties.
July 3 2005 7:31 PM EDT
Lets step back a min.
Yes, i am very vocal about the NUB. I think it ruins the experience for the new players. Please ask the new players and see if I and Sefton do not help them out as often as anyone with strat advice, chat advice, item advice... I would hope some of the new players would in fact confirm that fact. I also have been helping one new player, who if he continues, may in fact become the top character, he is doing very well.
But, with respect to the top 5/10 issue you bring up. Yes, unless someone comes up with a new innovative strat/way to play, there is no reason they should be able to get into the top 5/10 in such a short time. But, its my personal opinion. IMO a shortcut to the top is not an earned spot there.
I think I've been over that. CB2 is about giving anyone who proves he can hang with the big dogs the chance to do just that.
Allowing newbies to catch up only halfway is just another way of saying "you newbies should know your place. leave the top 10 to us people who started in Jan 05."
July 3 2005 7:38 PM EDT
why is it that they need that much help? if that's the case why doesn't every new char receive that bonus. is it not the same thing we face? why punish those who started 5 days before the NUB started?
July 3 2005 7:48 PM EDT
Helping a new player is not the same as wishing them to be better then you. And if that is what you wish, I'm sure it would only please you if it was one of your new players that surpasses you and nobody elses.
Just because you tell someone not to equip weapons on a mage and hand out a few lesser tattoos, doesn't make your words mean more when you say that those same people should just stay in the mid ranks.
A lot of tyrants also pass out spare change out to the poor in order to further thier base support and to keep themselves on top in the people's opinions. I'm not equating you with a tyrant, but you should come up with better support for your arguements then "I help the newbs".
July 3 2005 8:00 PM EDT
You make my point exactly. A greedy person who believes its their right to be at the top only playing a bit.
You have no idea how much I help or don't help new players. Some of the best players help new players in ways others never find out about.
I would like you to ask other new players if I have not helped with their strat advice. Also ask in chat if I have helped other players when asked. And its far more than equip or not equip this item/weapon.
Im not tooting my own horn, but you called me out and Im responding.
July 3 2005 8:18 PM EDT
I'm just saying that you have other more convincing arguements.
"I help new players" doesn't do anything for me and rather reminds me of people who help only to take advantage of people. They make their advice and help sound like it's free, but it isn't because you are in fact playing a part in furthering them more then he/she has furthered you. I will never talk about the players I've helped in arguementation, because quite honestly it isn't a real reason for anything, just a distraction from the arguements that matter.
You and I can help new players with or without the NUB in place. The topic here is about how the NUB is to be implimented. Chet is just trying to find a way to make everyone happy by making effort a part of the NUB and yet by in no way deminishing it's effect for those that put in that effort.
July 3 2005 9:29 PM EDT
Jonathan, I am just going to strike while the iron is hot (i.e., you feeling garrulous. *smile*)
I have always stood on the shoulders of giants who tell me things like I already would have known them. I usually don't. *smile* But an astute observer (you know who you are, y) asked me about the NUB, and whether or not it is dynamic. As in, if it is meant to make a new player reach N% of a veteran's "power", then the timing of it should change (much like the 10/9/8/7 BA switches). You mention 4 months as if it is hard and fast...did you mean "four months...for now"?
Is this the case? In other words, I would love to know your goals for the NUB. Specifically. We have great veterans (those giants I mentioned earlier), and we can be helpful. Not that you need it, but sometimes our blatherings poop out a decent point here and there. *smile* What exactly do you want the NUB to achieve?
By the way, two of those giants are Sefton and Ranger, and being in their positions is a unique place. Sometimes the tone may seem righteous or entitled, but I assure you, it isn't. Balance is about everyone, even the top two dogs.
I also know you said it is nothing personal, and I believe that. Took me a loooong time to learn that one, but I know it to be true no matter how deep the rabbit hole goes. Ranger, I hope you know it too. Stay vocal, and please don't take any of this personally. I, for one, do not want CB to be without your thoughts, and I don't think Jonathan wants that either.
I HAVE A DREAM...... *laugh*
July 3 2005 10:03 PM EDT
What you just wrote meant more to me than anything you have ever said.
Im proud to call you friend.
I've already mentioned my two goals for the NUB:
- give motivated players a chance to get to the top if they're willing to work as hard as the players who are already there
- retain new players by showing them they have a chance to catch up
Since apparently a lot of people missed the explanation in what I call "the bartjan thread" even though someone else started it, the NUB works like this:
Rate * Duration ~ time CB2 has been open
Right now, Duration is capped at 4 months, so every day the rate a new player gets goes up a bit.
July 3 2005 10:53 PM EDT
And I, who for the moment has one of the top 5 characters (in Score, at least) would like to say that I would love to see more competition up here.
Ranger and Sefton have a right to their opinion. Here's mine in summation: Anyone who can fight day and night for 4 months and reach the top ranks is welcome. This game is all about persistence and dedication. If they pay their dues for 4 months (and they pretty much have to to reach the top) is welcome up here.
Any new guy who comes up here and people start talking down to them, let me know. I'm at the point where I wipe the floor with Sefton about 30% of the time and Ranger lost to me once (at least) today. Their days are numbered. A new, more tolerant regime will rise from the ashes of the old. A glorious new CB, where people won't be judged by the color of their NUB, but by their dedication and...
Oh, whatever. New guys: Welcome. Fight lots and join us at the top. Ignore the kibitzers. I plan on making a wiki about the best way to maximize your fight earnings. That'll be my contribution to helping out newbies. Maybe one day I'll be known as a newbie helper too.
Hey Jon, can I have a NUB?
You say, "CB2 is about giving anyone who proves he can hang with the big dogs the chance to do just that." I'm nowhere near the top, and nowhere near a newbie, but figure I am among this group of 'anyone' you mention. Sure, I was here at the start, but after switching teams 3 times I'm nowhere near the higher ranks and they still pull away no matter how I fight. Are you truly committed to letting anyone up there? How about a bonus for everyone not in the top 10?
July 3 2005 11:57 PM EDT
Jonathan, thank you for the information, and I apologize for not reading the other threads more closely.
Now, in the holiday spirit, let's concentrate on Shade's wonderful thread and talk about BURGERS and PIZZA! YUMMY!
/me ate too much...arg.
Vaynard: read the "Can the top ever be reached?" thread since it seems pointless to dup it here
you say you just want to help them
but you and sefton are the most vocal "i don't want anyone in the top 5 who hasn't been there since january" people
sorry, not buying it. nothing personal
--Jonathan, July 3 2005 7:22 PM EDT
Now you see, I wasn't going to post about this stuff. I had said my piece and thought I had made my position clear, but obviously I didn't. When someone I respect and often agree with has strong feelings about an issue, and I do not share those same strong feelings, I tend to just not post, if my feelings run counter to theirs.
From the beginning, one of the main reasons I pounded on the NW to PR link was because there HAS to be a mechanism for getting significantly greater rewards than your peers. If not, then the race is already over. I feel like I said that line too many times. If the NUB is that mechanism, yah I'm bummed I don't have access to it, but at least something is in place. That's not to say it cannot be tweaked, but before you jumped from the bottom to the top by adding NW, now you do it with the NUB. Personally I think you could do it faster with NW the old way than with the NUB this new way.
So I am not a "i don't want anyone in the top 5 who hasn't been there since january" person in the slightest. I like the mixing it up, I like having to think about where to but exp or NW. Bring it on, it's what makes fighting fun.
To that end I have not posted about the FB/DM thing either. Why? Because I like the competition, means I need more HP on my minions to get just one more guy standing past the first two Fireballs, so the extra minion difuse hits in round 2 on his one remaing blast. I love that stuff, so I'm not so bummed about this either.
I'm actually not #2 guy anymore. Several people can beat me, and I think its great. They can't beat me because NW is linked to PR or because they have or had not the NUB. They beat me because my strat has a weakness that has to be filled. And I am filling it, and its what makes the game fun for me. So believe me Im not a "i don't want anyone in the top 5 who hasn't been there since january", heck Gyaxx was single mage farm until early Febuary, its why his PR is so low compared to my peers. It's why they don't like that I can beat most of them who did start Jan 1. It's not from not playing CB as much :)
So yah, I didn't want to post, but I had to. Happy 4th of July :)
P.S. I love the armor PR link reduction. I think it has a lot to do with the increased competition.
It just seems retarded that my character would be bigger 4 months down the line had I started now rather than in January.
One thing I have to mention is the combination of NUB and buying an already large tattoo, surely this should alter the NUB in some way. Using an older character does, why not a tattoo?
What about buying large weapons and armour though?
July 4 2005 7:07 AM EDT
won't have nearly the same effect
Large weapons and armor are detrimental to rewards with a low MPR, also the important thing is the tattoo grows in line with exp earned therefore you can take an already large tattoo and grow it fast.
"also the important thing is the tattoo grows in line with exp earned therefore you can take an already large tattoo and grow it fast."
Very good point.
But couldn't the same be said for weapons and armour? The NUB gives more cash, so weapons can be upgraded faster than by people without the bonus?
July 4 2005 7:40 AM EDT
if i put a 30mill NW bow on a tank with 10k MPR he still loses. if i put a 30 mill NW FF on well.. you get the point
Put that 30 Mil into a ToE and get hit by a 250K damage doing ELB three times a round...
July 4 2005 11:18 AM EDT
Maybe I missed a changelog post, but tattoos still contribute to PR, correct? So NUB rewards WILL be reduced if the new player slaps on a huge tat unless it yields very big wins. Yes, rewards will still be greater than without the NUB, but tattoos are already worked into the equation... Just like weapons, right?
July 4 2005 11:21 AM EDT
Indeed Tattoos still gives full NW -> PR.
July 4 2005 11:39 AM EDT
Right, so new players still need to be careful if they want to maximize profits. That is why I brought up the BA idea instead of just increased rewards, because I think it is hard for new players to determine what works and what doesn't when the NUB is in there jacking up rewards across the board. But Jonathan's points are very valid, and the BA idea could very well be impossible to balance and make effective for new players anyway.
July 4 2005 5:18 PM EDT
Chet, if rewards are jacked up by a percentage, it would actually be easier.
Let's say a newb, before the NUB, is getting rewards of about 60/150 (rough numbers just for discussion).
Then he changes his strat, and rewards slip to 50/125. ~16.65% drop.
Now, he has a NUB, which is what, 120%?
60/150 becomes 132/330.
50/125 becomes 110/275. A 120% difference, as well. (duh.)
But as far as numbers, a much larger change, and more noticeable, not less.
July 4 2005 5:37 PM EDT
Yes, baby-eater, and if people were computers I would agree. But they aren't. So I don't. *smile*
Once rewards are over a certain point, newbie just says "yay" unless he/she is really paying attention. Since one of Jon's reasons for going the current route instead of BA is, "New players might not notice or take advantage," I think we are admitting a new player isn't the most observant subject, since they know not what they are observing.
Your math is correct. I just disagree with your understanding of how human's think.
July 4 2005 5:41 PM EDT
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