RTGRuss Posted February 27, 2005 Report Share Posted February 27, 2005 Well, it didn't take long for me to get reports of another lynch mob forming... Information on naval officers and their effect on fire control is posted giving players a resource that, although mentioned, was not previously available to them in detail. The information goes a long way towards countering the screen issue which, as a matter of fact, was another issue that had some folks looking to tar and feather us. The game, in our opinion, is better today than it was yesterday. The value of naval officers is clear and substantial making any naval officer in your possession more valuable. The information is presented in a public forum so that is available to all players (or at least the vast majority) at pretty much the same time. The first major email I get is not a 'Thanks for the info...gives me another factor to consider and really helps with the 'screen' issue...' one - it is a scathing one that warns of many angry players blasting us on other forums, dropped empires, reduced order counts and other dire predictions for RTG. It is nice, of course, to get a head's up on issues and we do appreciate that aspect of it greatly but it is also a kick in the teeth for Pete and I. Richly deserved - maybe - but to what point? The general situation that we at RTG deal with is something that I've posted on before. Pete and I are not magicians, we are not going to be magicians anytime soon and we do the best we can with the resources and time we have. That has been the situation for us for nearly 20 years now although the last several years, for reasons I've already commented on, have been particularly difficult for us due for personal reasons. We've tried to make folks aware of our situation - it isn't like we enjoy our present reality or that we are unaware of the problems it causes. If it were possible for us to clarify every rule by tomorrow, make every addition to the game that is either necessary or simply a good idea by tomorrow and/or come out with great games on the drop of a hat then we would do so. Heck...we'd probably be rich if we could do that and we certaintly have no reservations on that score. The fact is that we can NOT do those things so, again, we do the best we can. A hard fact of PBM gaming is that folks play PBM games for fun (they may like us personally but they probably aren't going to spend a lot of money at RTG simply because of that). If they are not getting any enjoyment out of a game - they are going to drop. If they do not feel they are getting adequate value for their entertainment dollar - they are doing to drop. If they like the game but can't afford it - they are going to drop. If they are not happy with the capabilities that Pete and I have (quality of game, turnaround time, customer service and the price we charge for them) - they are going to drop. If Pete and I have issues that affect that service then folks are either going to cut us some slack or they are going to drop. They may be long term issues (like the personal ones we've had) or they may be short term issues (like Pete getting a turn out later than usual because he was sick and had some technical troubles on top of it). When everything is factored in - players who are not enjoying the game are going to be lost. If we are incapable of keeping enough folks happy to keep us in business - we are going to go out of business at some point, nice guys or not. SuperNova, in particular, has suffered and continues to suffer from some long-term personal issues that have plagued Pete and I the last few years. Those issues are clearing up and our situation is improving but it doesn't undo the past. The rules are not as complete as we would like, the game does not have as many features as we would like, we've had to spend more time clarifying as opposed to adding, the speed at which accomplish things is slower than we would like, etc.. On any complaint based on those factors we are clearly guilty as charged. We've already paid a high business and personal price for them and I have no doubt that we'll continue to pay a price. What choice do we have other than to press on and continue giving it our best effort? We can't go back in time to undo personal events that took such a toll on us, we can't go back in time to undo design decisions or to make different ones, we can't go back in time to implement codework or rules clarifications that have been implemented recently. We can't guarantee that every clarified rule or new addition will make everyone happy. We aren't magicians - we can't wave a magic wand to make SuperNova a perfect game and RTG a perfect company. Today we brought out some new information on naval officers and their effect on fire control. Since the naval officers already had this benefit this was a rules clarification/expansion and not a new rule/feature. This information was not available to only a select group of folks previously - nobody had these details and everybody had pretty much the same information to go on when it came to planning for battles and fighting them. They knew the officers were beneficial and the early Naval Combat primer noted that they improved fire control but nobody knew to what extent. The playing field was fairly level. Now the detailed information is available to all (the vast majority anyway the rest as soon as we can) and folks can plan accordingly. Sure, if players had had detailed information 3 months ago they could have made different decisions but that information would have been available to all and everyone would have made different decisions (different research, different ship design, different strategic decisions, etc.). Going back in time, even if possible, is a tricky business. New details on existing rules, new rules, learning about critical tech, new tech added to the game, etc. all have their effects on the course of game history. Change one thing and you change the course of the game (sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot). The sum of player knowledge will change from turn to turn, the completeness of the game will change from turn to turn and the depth of the game will change from turn to turn. Change is not uncommon in open-ended games. Generally we are talking about the discovery of new tech (Trans Warp Drives for example that profoundly affected game mechanics as perceived) or the addition of a new rule/feature that, in our opinion, makes the game better. Generally these things are positive and well-received. There is always a certain amount of unhappiness though - every clarification of a rule, every addition to the game, every discovery usually has some downside. Strategies are ruined, some players benefit more than others, etc. If we've done our job right, most will be happy and only a few will be unhappy and the game will be better for it in the long run. The unhappiness that exists over the naval officer fire control bonus doesn't appear to be over the rule itself but rather that it wasn't something known about in detail months ago. The positive effects of the rule seem to be completely disregarded and overwhelmed by a feeling that RTG is somehow screwing me over, deliberately withholding information that I need, is responsible for that battle that I lost last month, etc. That aspect is one that we face whenever we put out new information on existing rules and I agree with it to an extent - it is frustrating for naval officers to be affecting fire control and not know the details. Granted, everybody else had the same amount of information on the fire control bonus but it can still be frustrating and that frustration can turn to anger and angry, frustrated people are not having fun. It is clearly better to have rules that are 100% complete and if it had been possible to provide that then we would have done so. If it were possible to provide every bit of detail that is currently lacking before next turn cycle - we would do so. We'd much rather concentrate on adding new features/tech to the game and taking the heat for that instead. Changes are going to occur in SuperNova - plans are going to be upset, strategies will have to change, new features and tech will change the way the game is played from time to time. We will bring out needed details on existing features as soon we can, improve the code as we can, complete work on documention as soon as we can and, in general, do everything we can to make the game better while still getting turns out the door on schedule. When we do bring out new information we'll do our best to see that everybody has access to it at the same time. When we make additions, we'll do our best to make them good ones so that the game is always a little better today than it was yesterday. It won't happen by magic, it won't happen overnight and I can't say that we won't make a mistake from time to time. That's the best we can do I'm afraid. Take care and good gaming, Russ P.S. And yes, most new features have their detractors and every discovery and/or new tech has the potential for making folks unhappy. We used to run a long running open-ended game that suffered from that problem to a great extent. Every proposal to make the game better, every bit of new technology, every new rule or rule change had the potential for creating a significant faction of angry players. Players wanted improvements and change but fought us tooth and nail more often than not. Either it was not happening fast enough or it was happening too fast. Either it benefited somebody else more or hurt them more. Finally we just gave up and let the game go to a competitor (this was just as our personal problems were really starting to steamroll and we just didn't have the ability to deal with it any longer). Don't read anything extra into this - we aren't going anywhere and neither is SuperNova. The conditions are vastly different today and our situation is improving not going down hill as it was then. It was just an example of life from the PBM moderator viewpoint. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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