Idea for retrain/arena/sandbox (in General)


QBsutekh137 April 3 2007 12:10 PM EDT

The new server coming online gave me an idea last night about free retraining and all that...

The big allure of retraining is simply to see "what would happen if..." Also, something that would make it even MORE appealing would be if one could play with various tattoos, weapons, money as well.

But having free retrains seems "cheap" to a lot of people.

What if, instead of a free retrain period, we simply had a "sandbox" period. A six-hour time stretch where a database dump was taken beforehand, and was restored later?

Advantages:
-- Sandbox time is limited, so people need to be on the ball, prepared, and have to devote the time to it instead of having a whole week to play around. There would probably have to be two periods within a week, to give the whole world time to access it (kind of like wacky exp/money times).
-- People can play with more than MPR-based issues: swap gear, re-ink tattoos, even try new forge recipes with impunity. This method is a pure time-machine idea.
-- System could even REALLY make it wide-open by allowing free upgrades to weapons, or by giving everyone 100 million dollars at the start of the wacky time to play with.

Disadvantages:
-- This idea is about the worst in terms of ongoing work for Jonathan. I don't think data dumps and restores can be automated, and if anything were to go wrong during that time, restore would have to come from an even older period. This means pure fun for us, pure donkey-work for Jonathan.
-- Still doesn't really fix issues like the desire for partial retrain. Once the sandbox was put away, people would still have to take the retrain experience hit if they decided to go ahead with it.
-- Any others? (not that the first disadvantage isn't already large enough...)

The extra work for Jonathan would be slightly offset by him not having to code anything new (if he was even going to) to implement retrains some other way, and by silencing all these side discussions on how free retrain should work. A "sandbox" time would almost become like a festival atmosphere -- something that people would have to make time for and could get excited about. And since even money, weapon, and tattoo characteristics would roll back, people could REALLY go crazy on testing out new strategies and scenarios.

Anyway, just thought I would throw it out there.

th00p April 3 2007 12:20 PM EDT

I love it! That's a perfect idea, except for the 'force Jon into slave labor' kinda deal. Solves my hatred of having free untraining and sitll allows people to fool around a little bit.

*th00p cracks the whip

AdminLamuness April 3 2007 12:24 PM EDT

I was amongst the people that thought free retrain was a bad idea. However, your post has given me a different idea.

Let's take the idea of an arena and stretch it a little bit. Make it a place such that when you enter the arena you get a dummy character with access to all possible CB equipment. With this dummy character you also add minions (at no cost), but guessing with a limit of 1 million xp each (can be adjusted). You'll fight against a pre-made dummy character(s) of the average sort. I assume the trade-off would be, the fights you do here will cost you BA. Once you leave the arena, of course, your dummy character does not come back with you and all equipments left behind.

So you get to "play" all you want (with limit to BA) in the arena, and if you were to make actual changes to your main character, you still take penalty for it.

As you said Sut, this is a lot of work for Jon.

QBsutekh137 April 3 2007 12:30 PM EDT

The arena idea is good, but fighting an arena-made character is not the same as fighting a real fightlist. It can help, yes, but would be a fair amount of programming to accomplish, and still wouldn't be a "real-world" scenario.

I did think of one other thing that would make the dump/rollback idea a good one -- consider it disaster recovery testing. *smile* Then again, I think server issues, etc. have been more than enough real-world disaster recover for Jonathan over the years...

AdminLamuness April 3 2007 1:13 PM EDT

K, we can modify the arena idea a bit more. If you wanted a "real-world" scenario, then I suppose you could use the real fightlist instead. I was thinking of fighting against pre-made set of dummy characters because, if you were to make a "great" strat that could knock down the top characters, I wouldn't be too happy about my winning streak being stopped by a dummy character. But that's just me.

Thinking about that brings another point. You have access to all possible equipment, but what would their stats be? I'm guessing they should all start out at base. But would you get free upgrades? I say you would still need to pay for it, but the cost would be a lot lower.

QBsutekh137 April 3 2007 1:18 PM EDT

If there is a sandbox, it should be a full sandbox...I would say free access to everything.

Talion April 3 2007 1:26 PM EDT

I like the arena idea.

Here are my suggestion...

(1) Allow the user to build a character AND its opponent.

(2) Sell arena users BA bundles. For example, loads of 10 BA at 5x or 10x the price of their normal BA.

(3) Do not allow a user to modify the arena character and its opponent until all accumulated arena BA has been spent.

Rules 2 and 3 would serve to discourage users from using the arena to over-evaluate opponents in their favorite list (especially in the top 50) before retraining their real character. It would also prevent users from stocking up on too much arena BA before actually using it.

AdminG Beee April 3 2007 1:43 PM EDT

There was a thread recently where someone made the point that we need "something new" because a lot of the unknowns had been removed from the game as a result of various testing and numerous strat posts etc.
Free retraining has played no small part in this.

I'm not a supporter of the free retraining approach unless in extreme circumstances such as a game altering changelog.

Too much free retraining and a sandbox will remove a lot of the "suck it and see" approach to strategy and turn CB into a simple clickfest.

I vote "No" to your proposal sut.

I'd rather see Jon devote time to bringing back tourneys.

[T]Vestax April 3 2007 1:55 PM EDT

I myself would either like tourneys or a revamped clan system. Wouldn't you sutekh?

QBJohnnywas April 3 2007 2:02 PM EDT

I think for a lot of people the NCB is enough of a sandbox anyhow; I've used it to run strat ideas I've had - four months is long enough to find out if it works; and I'm happy enough with retrain as it stands. I'll take the hit if I want to change things. It's the price we've always paid. All that free retrain has spoiled us!!! ;)

QBsutekh137 April 3 2007 2:17 PM EDT

My idea still forces someone to "suck it up and see". The free period allows you to change things, but you would still have to eat the retrain cost once normal timing was restored.

As far as putting this against other functionality, well, I didn't know it was an either-or. If so, then yeah, I would still put this idea above tourneys, and I would entirely do away with clans. That's my opinion. I didn't know we had to choose, but if we did, you will find my stance 100% consistent. *smile*

When I want to test a new tattoo, it doesn't just cost me 400K. Odds are it costs me 800K -- to switch and then switch back. Having a dump/restore sandbox would let me see how another tattoo works, and if it does so to my satisfaction, I would still need to spend 400K for the switch. That's what puts this idea between the two extremes:

-- full free retrain, meaning no cost whatsoever, even if you just switch back to what you had to start with ("sacrifice x 0")
-- full penalties for all changes, meaning a return to original state involves a double cost. ("sacrifice x 2")

This idea involves "sacrifice x 1", plus the dedication to be around for the sandbox time to try things out. One can peek into the future, but still needs to take the hit once time is restored.

Adminedyit April 3 2007 2:57 PM EDT

I'm against it. You want to experiment with tats and strat set ups then you should have to pay the retrain and tattoo artist fees to do so. It makes people think there strategies through a little more thoroughly

QBsutekh137 April 3 2007 3:03 PM EDT

Fine. Then we need to get serious about getting USD out of the game.

I can play great, have a great strategy, and think I'm all that, then an opponent comes along with a "strategy" of simply spending a boatload of cash. To try to adapt (without using USD) I am, here, asking for a compromise on the sacrifice involved, and I get told "tough, should have thought of that to start with." But people using an external force (USD) to change their strategy at any point is OK?

Yet another advantage of basing strategy on net worth, I guess...

Godpanda April 3 2007 3:11 PM EDT

Yeah Sutekh, it bites. But, eh, if you're playing to be the best then just stop. Because there will always be some new NUB with a fat checking account who will get ahead of you. Play for fun and for the respect players give you.

I have never spent USD, never will, and hate the benefits it gives people who have it. But, eh, it's a game. I play because it's fun. So even as the seekers bash me, and I do 10k damage because they have 50 million in armor on just one minion, I'm fine with it. Because it's a game and I love the game.

So yes, I wish the players who spend USD would realize it's soooo heavily weighted towards them and that they should realize there needs to be stuff to give non-USD throwing players a chance... but... it's a game :)

[T]Vestax April 3 2007 3:22 PM EDT

Should he really have to suck it up and deal with the fact that a person can never be the best without real cash infusion? Would you design a game where this was the case? I certainly wouldn't.

No offense Jon, but If I ever made a game where spending anything more then the minimum, which is free in the case of this game, was required for being the best, I would call it a failure. Maybe that sort of gameplay has its place, but it shouldn't rule every aspect of a game.

Tezmac April 3 2007 3:23 PM EDT

Titan, what you state is why I agreed with the suggestion someone made awhile back that the game be divided into two leagues; those that use USD and those that don't. But I divulge from the conversation at hand. I've been a proponent of the sandbox idea for awhile now and would love it see it. But only if it keeps the penalty for unlearning :O)

AdminG Beee April 3 2007 3:40 PM EDT

Sut,
Some people play better in the sandbox than others :)

For the record, I'm all for putting controls in place to inhibit the user from gaining too much of an advantage solely as a result of NW.

[T]Vestax April 3 2007 3:46 PM EDT

We need a corner of CB that isn't ruled by cash money, but by brains and determination. We need a place where it doesn't matter if you joined January 1st 2005 or last week. Above all, we want to still be playing CB.</speech>

QBsutekh137 April 3 2007 3:50 PM EDT

Hm, maybe I _am_ asking for tournaments, then...they are sort of mini games where USD isn't involved. *smile* But then I was a doofus who offered to help code and then quickly found myself too busy. *smile*

Titan, you have a good point. And about the only time I whine about wanting new things or a perceived imbalance, it is because I have trouble beating people who have a lower total PR than me. Even when that total PR is not specifically designed as a foil to my strategy. If the PR simply accurately displayed the true "power" of a team, I wouldn't feel so bad about losing (I don't really feel that bad anyway -- I just enjoy hyperbole).

The fact that USD can be injected AND such an injection does not even display in total PR (yes, I am ranting about the weapon allowance again) is a double-whammy in my book. I know net worth/PR adjustments at other points in the game are probably necessary. But in the higher ranks, it is hard to look at a character like Oxcha, with a smaller PR than me, and understand how I can't even beat him in 2 attempts. Like I said, it is not as if his strategy is particularly a magic foil, and my strategy IS a defensive enchantment foil. I know in my head when I see his net worth that his power really is greater than mine, but on paper the losses are a downright embarrassment.

As with many of my posts, it once again comes down to simply wanting to see the real "power" of an opponent. Heck, since challenge bonus exemption is now driven by MPR, can we just turn off weapon allowance for the 6/10 BA folks? I'd love to see how truly "powerful" some of these teams are... *smile*
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