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#1 2013-08-06 19:16:54

AGO
Member
Registered: 2013-08-06
Posts: 10

Not enough players

There are not enough players to make this game even playable. With such low starting money it is impossible to make a house that someone can't simply brute there way into. This game is not new player friendly in any way. I spent $8 and I am sort of regretting it.

I got the basics down on how to start a house but if I leave it for more then a few hours is is simply ransacked and my wife is raped. $2000 is not enough to do crap with.

At most I have around 5-8 houses to try and rob. With most of them being impossible to rob. There is a few houses which have no possible way for the family to escape.

Seems this game is to easy to exploit which is shutting out the new players and is going to just make this game go belly up. The novelty has already worn off with being able to get past a starting house.

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#2 2013-08-07 01:08:59

Noshire
Member
Registered: 2013-07-23
Posts: 13

Re: Not enough players

One of the main problems I see in the actual system is that you need the same resource both to build and to break strong defenses. When facing 5 people with 20k+, the only way to get their money is to have a comparable amount of money. People with so much money, however, tend to not break in, instead just saving up and strengthening their defenses. This leads to 5 untouchable, passive strongholds at the top, and 3-4 "lesser" houses at the bottom, constantly destroying each other's life.

This would, of course, be way less obvious if we had a large playerbase, but I think this "economical problem" would still persist.

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#3 2013-08-07 03:12:54

bey bey
Member
Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Not enough players

AGO wrote:

There are not enough players to make this game even playable. With such low starting money it is impossible to make a house that someone can't simply brute there way into. This game is not new player friendly in any way. I spent $8 and I am sort of regretting it.

I got the basics down on how to start a house but if I leave it for more then a few hours is is simply ransacked and my wife is raped. $2000 is not enough to do crap with.

At most I have around 5-8 houses to try and rob. With most of them being impossible to rob. There is a few houses which have no possible way for the family to escape.

Seems this game is to easy to exploit which is shutting out the new players and is going to just make this game go belly up. The novelty has already worn off with being able to get past a starting house.

That's a shame you feel you wasted your money. To be fair, this game is in Alpha and it has had its ups and downs since it is that. At the moment, it is more viable than it had been for a while before v15. Yet you are right, right now there are almost only magic dance houses and few else, a limited ecosystem as such. Usually, after a certain point, things should diversify again but at current balancing pits/dance/trapdoors are the strongest defensive option hence the monoculture.

You can get there from starting cash alone, but if you don't want to nobody can blame you. It takes a good plan from the start, and a bit of persistence. Or just persistence. I have one of the higher up houses that started as one single element (a chasing trap) and has grown to about 60k worth of defense.

You basically have two strategies for beginning: Either you build something (like the starting layout Dalleck suggested in another thread) and then look after it for a bit, putting the incoming cash into thicker walls etc. every hour or so. OR (which is better), you try and crack a house with over 5k in it by robbing lots of houses lots of times over until you find a handle on one. That gives you enough cash to start with something relatively safe.


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#4 2013-08-07 03:17:55

bey bey
Member
Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Not enough players

The starting cash v robbing cash issue has been discussed a lot.

I think it is still there the way it is because it creates a sense of urgency and vulnerability / the option to vulnerate others. Say you are frustrated because your best efforts have been destroyed by somebody with the 2k starting cash for no reason. So you put those 2k into tools yourself and try to pass on the destruction onto some others, who cares if they're innocent or not?! Just go for them!!

These kinds of psychology are MEANT to occur in the game. And it is a game about violation, after all, in a very real sense.

You can go for safety, but there is no "safe early building phase" as in AOE. It's always Shark Week in the Castle Doctrine.


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#5 2013-08-07 07:41:51

AGO
Member
Registered: 2013-08-06
Posts: 10

Re: Not enough players

This is a pyramid scheme in a sense. The guys at the top are untouchable. All it takes to crack a starting house is a small stack of meat.... Which can be accomplished just by a starting players $2000. This is a huge flaw. Why isint the starting amount like $5000 that cant be spent on tools or stolen. This alleviates all the problems of people pumping and is enough cash to actually make a decent build that people will have to work to crack. I also think tools are too cheap and should not be stackable but you should be able to keep them if you leave.


Also noticed a huge flaw in the fact that I cracked a house and made it to the vault but it had already been cracked. I coudn't leave without dying. Totally resetting myself....

This game is designed to reward the top players and leave us starters to reset over and over. $2000 is just not enough to build anything viable that you don't have to attend to every hour. $5000 would at least give you enough experimental room to try things out. Do the top players feel good about cracking a house built on $2000?

The game just throws the new players to the wolves and will go nowhere if this problem is not addressed. The game designer may want it that way, but rest assured if it is not new player friendly then you wont have new players. I wouldn't recommend this game to a friend in the state that it is in.

I am building the most viable house I can on the $2000. Within a few hours the house is ravanged causing me to restart. There is no saving the house due to the fact the Wife is dead the money is all gone and I have to replace 3 pitbulls to make the vault not reachable.

Below are my ideas for making the game a little more new player friendly.

1. Explanation of what the stuff does or simple tutorial. (Took me to damn long to figure out how to make a simple trap.)
2. More starting cash that is only usable for building. (this prevents pumping and people making a new house just to troll newbs)
3. Items not stackable. (thought the game was about puzzle solving and not who has the most resources?)
4. Tools should be more expensive but keepable upon leaving. (loading up your bag and entering a house to find it already destroyed is lame)

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#6 2013-08-07 08:01:09

bey bey
Member
Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Not enough players

The whole tutorial issue etc. is true - you are thrown into the deep end with this game. (This is also partly by design, but it's a tough time in the game to get started since there are mostly experienced players active right now.) Then again, as I said, it is in Alpha state so lots of things change (sometimes dramatically) as the things that players do evolve.

Different versions of all the issues you describe have been around at some point during the time I played the game and most changes happened to prevent serious exploits etc. If you feel like lots of reading, it's all been discussed in the forums. Or you can just check the release notes / news section here, I think they have explanations why changes were made. (When I started the game, animals behaved completely differently, you could only carry 8 tools max that were a tenth of the current price, there was no "bust safe", lots of other stuff wasn't around.) So there has been a lot of history behind many changes.

As a general note: This game is not necessarily meant to be a "standard" have-fun-type game. It aims to give more weight to what people do and emphasise this, so the balance between defence and offence is a more delicate one. The main point is that, essentially, all people are vulnerable in this game, and random aggression occurring is frustrating but somehow part of this whole concept. So even the current top dog will be haunted by the knowledge that people are aiming to get him. A broke restarting player might figure out his wirings and take all. Another rich player might devastate his house by cutting straight through it. It can all end quickly, and every house gets broken in the end, often irreparably. This is why people are bricking themselves in, anxiously checking and fortifying to guard against the inevitable. The game forces you to come to terms with the ultimate futility of and threat to all you do in it and if you can embrace that, it's also more fun as a game again, more in terms of how far you can go. If you die and start over or get crushed during the early beginnings, if you fall during midgame or if you reach the "end-game" with a heavily guarded house and start going after other big time players in pre-emptive self-defense.

This is not for everybody, but it can be quite something.


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#7 2013-08-07 08:29:16

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: Not enough players

I have only been playing the game for only a couple of weeks but find the game quite playable and have been able to get myself into the set of 'top houses' in that time. Most of what are current the top houses are owned by in-game people who only spawned in the last few days. It is indeed viable in the way it is currently set up to start from nothing and build up to the point where you can brute force through expensive houses in a few days, without using exploits.

My suggestion for starting a new house:
- protect your wife - 2 pit bulls along a corridor is generally enough to deter people. But keep adding pitbulls and wall layers as more money comes in.
- make the entrance intimidating - many top houses simply start by building the entrance hall making the house look expensive, but to start with it is just a façade.
- don't leave a $2000 house for too long. This game requires you to log in more than once a day to start up. If you leave a cheaply built house to earn an income for a day it will inevitably get broken into. If you spend it on securing defences your house will eventually get to the stage where you can safely let yourself earn a few thousand dollars.
- don't worry too much about people getting to your vault - as long as you protect your wife you should be able to rebuild. Have you noticed all of the houses with a vault two steps from the welcome mat? They are taking this fact to its ridiculous conclusion.

A couple of days ago starting from scratch I built a house which started very simple (it just had a dog maze to get to the vault). From this over time I built up my defences, had a few successful robberies and ended up getting extremely close to the vault of one (very wealthy) top house. If I hadn't made one bad decision I would have gotten there. This was seriously in just a couple of days of playing, so it is indeed possible. (I ended up dying in another house simply because I held a button for slightly too long and it ran me into a pit sad ).

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#8 2013-08-08 12:05:41

Cent
Member
Registered: 2013-07-25
Posts: 41

Re: Not enough players

>_>. I'll have you know that I had a ridiculous stronghold house a week ago, that was at the top, till a game bug reset my character. That was depressing. I started back up 2 days ago, and I'm already halfway to that state again, but the house pretty much is uncrackable with at least 15-20k in tools. And I didn't resort to doing the safe-at-the-front-door method either.

So, no, it's not impossible to start on 2k.

As for your experiences, you cannot crack a properly build starting house with JUST meat, if he has some sort of puzzle system or magic dance pattern, and tightly built hallways. You will need to figure out the puzzle at some point, or use some measure of bruteforcing. Also, if you enter a house that has been robbed recently, the safe may be emptied, so the remaining value you saw on  the house was the value on the wife. Go find her. Tread carefully in a robbed house and don't lock yourself in.

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#9 2013-08-08 12:44:51

colorfusion
Member
Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: Not enough players

Cent wrote:

>_>. I'll have you know that I had a ridiculous stronghold house a week ago, that was at the top, till a game bug reset my character. That was depressing. I started back up 2 days ago, and I'm already halfway to that state again, but the house pretty much is uncrackable with at least 15-20k in tools. And I didn't resort to doing the safe-at-the-front-door method either.

So, no, it's not impossible to start on 2k.

As for your experiences, you cannot crack a properly build starting house with JUST meat, if he has some sort of puzzle system or magic dance pattern, and tightly built hallways. You will need to figure out the puzzle at some point, or use some measure of bruteforcing. Also, if you enter a house that has been robbed recently, the safe may be emptied, so the remaining value you saw on  the house was the value on the wife. Go find her. Tread carefully in a robbed house and don't lock yourself in.

You should report the bug to Jason and it'll probably get fixed.

But yeah, it's possible to build something good and slowly build it up, although a bit tough for some people new to the game.

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#10 2013-08-08 13:24:41

Cent
Member
Registered: 2013-07-25
Posts: 41

Re: Not enough players

I did report it. He found the problem and is gonna fix it. Even still, that doesn't mean I don't have to start over through no fault of my own =P

Last edited by Cent (2013-08-08 13:25:01)

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#11 2013-08-09 08:45:36

Blip
Member
Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 505

Re: Not enough players

Well...
I don't know if the neighborhood has gotten even harsher while I've been away (on vacation in Paris with no laptop), but I will say that the game has only gotten harsher over time. I started in early v5, and back then, it was easier, as we all were new to the game. Over time, effective strategies and meta-strategies developed, and, while current players learned these as they came about, they represent a steep learning curve for the newer players. While previously, new players only had to understand the basic mechanics to be successful, now knowledge of more complex parts of the game are required: mainly magic dances and electronics. Once I get back home, I'll try and make an in-depth tutorial video, dealing mainly with the electronics side of things, as I know my house will have surely fallen within two weeks away and I'll have a clean slate house to record with.


Current life: Not dead, but I have no clue who I am
The Life and Times of Christopher Alvin Harris
Record: 149 Paintings!

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#12 2013-08-09 23:07:02

largestherb
Member
From: england
Registered: 2013-05-27
Posts: 381

Re: Not enough players

oh i just had a moment of inspiration reading the word 'electronics' and thinking back to blue prints..

1991.. hackers! well okay hackers was apparently 1995, but there were still lots of prevalent hackers in 1991! how about a very expensive tool ($2000?) that you can use on some/any electronic tiles that gives you an electronic diagram of the house..

sat here for a bit after typing that thinking of ways to make it not so powerful, like limiting the view distance.. reducing the price and needing to place 5 or 6 of them around the map to get the whole picture.. but getting to more than one electronic piece in a different part of a house you might as well just classically brute-force it ._.


i don't think this would turn the game into a blueprint puzzle-game again, but it would perhaps encourage people not to have their entire house on just one electric circuit, which then would allow people to solve parts of houses at a time with this expensive tool yikes

even more, it might encourage people away from super-electronics and bring back a few dog-maze things smile

Last edited by largestherb (2013-08-09 23:08:42)

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#13 2013-08-12 11:47:12

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Not enough players

AGO, I'm sorry that you're having trouble as a new player.

It is a tough, harsh game, that's for sure.

Many of your suggestions (limited backpack slots that you don't lose in each robbery, etc.) were in place in previous versions of the game but changed for very good reasons.

The one suggestion that hasn't been tried is giving you starting money that's earmarked for building only.  I think this would just make even more houses that are even harder, right?  People having more money means that they will be able to build harder stuff.

On the one hand, you're saying, "Help me make my house harder to rob!"

On the other hand, you're saying, "Help me so that the other houses are easier to rob!"

But, we're all in that same boat.  It's impossible to simultaneously make houses both easier to protect and easier to rob.  We can only make home owners stronger by weakening robbers, and vice versa.

That balance can currently be tweaked by adjusting the ratio between tool prices and house tile prices.  More expensive tools make robbery harder and houses more safe.  Less expensive tools make robbery easier and houses less safe.

I probably will raise tool prices in the future at some point... to raise the threshold where brute-forcing a low-valued house (by cutting through walls) becomes worth it.  But I haven't dug too deeply into that yet, because I'm busy fixing other issues.

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#14 2013-08-12 12:11:22

gyuri
Member
Registered: 2013-07-09
Posts: 231

Re: Not enough players

Just a quick idea. How about not raising tool prices but having different backpacks with more or less space and corresponding prices? So you don't only pay for your tools but also for carrying around a lot of them.

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#15 2013-08-12 13:38:08

Cent
Member
Registered: 2013-07-25
Posts: 41

Re: Not enough players

Maybe have it so that buying a single tool is more expensive than buying a bulk number of the same type of tool, such that it wont drastically increase the price to brute force a high lvl house, but only for low level houses?

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#16 2013-08-13 07:00:04

AGO
Member
Registered: 2013-08-06
Posts: 10

Re: Not enough players

jasonrohrer wrote:

AGO, I'm sorry that you're having trouble as a new player.

It is a tough, harsh game, that's for sure.

Many of your suggestions (limited backpack slots that you don't lose in each robbery, etc.) were in place in previous versions of the game but changed for very good reasons.

The one suggestion that hasn't been tried is giving you starting money that's earmarked for building only.  I think this would just make even more houses that are even harder, right?  People having more money means that they will be able to build harder stuff.

On the one hand, you're saying, "Help me make my house harder to rob!"

On the other hand, you're saying, "Help me so that the other houses are easier to rob!"

But, we're all in that same boat.  It's impossible to simultaneously make houses both easier to protect and easier to rob.  We can only make home owners stronger by weakening robbers, and vice versa.

That balance can currently be tweaked by adjusting the ratio between tool prices and house tile prices.  More expensive tools make robbery harder and houses more safe.  Less expensive tools make robbery easier and houses less safe.

I probably will raise tool prices in the future at some point... to raise the threshold where brute-forcing a low-valued house (by cutting through walls) becomes worth it.  But I haven't dug too deeply into that yet, because I'm busy fixing other issues.


I think you misunderstood what I meant. You can't keep a player base with how the game is currently being played. I can't sit by my comp and log in every hour to spend the money. In just a few hours it is worth the money to just brute force your way through a $2000 starter house. It has to be more starter friendly or new players will just write the game off as crap and move on. I could care less about getting into other people homes at them moment. I know I can just brute force my way in once I get a house established.

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#17 2013-08-13 07:47:44

pottage
Member
Registered: 2013-07-01
Posts: 37

Re: Not enough players

AGO wrote:

I think you misunderstood what I meant. You can't keep a player base with how the game is currently being played.

I don't know about that, myself and plenty of other people on this forum seem to have stuck to this game with the rules as they are.

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#18 2013-08-13 07:53:36

colorfusion
Member
Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: Not enough players

Currently I feel it's hard to get started, but really easy once you do.

I think nerfing magic dances and other cheap strategies a bit more could fix this, then perhaps upping starting cash a bit.

Increasing the price on tools would worsen the problem from what I see. When people are starting out, spending $200 on two crowbars is a pretty big purchase as it means $200 less to defend your vault and family with. However once you've got a pretty much fully protected magic dance you are usually better off spending money on expensive tools if there isn't much more you can do to defend your home.

Last edited by colorfusion (2013-08-13 08:00:42)

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#19 2013-08-13 08:33:19

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Not enough players

Agreed, AGO, this game is going nowhere fast if it turns off new players.

I'm working on fixing that, for sure.  I was just pointing out that it's more complicated than it seems, and solutions are not readily at hand.

If you look at the game Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, which is based on a similar core idea, you can see that they keep players by making everything "not real".  You don't really get robbed and lose everything.  Your castle isn't ever really hurt by other players.  You can't really die while trying to get through security in another castle.  Finally, security in castles isn't real or even up to you to design (you just select from pre-built blocks to string together).

My job would be much easier if I took that route.

But I'm trying too keep the game real and deep while also making it interesting to play over the long run.  I want you to be able to build whatever you want, and to have a real, permanent impact on the creations of other players.  I want to make a game where what you do actually matters.  But games like that, where players have so much real power, are much harder to balance.

We've been through 15 revisions so far, and we're clearly not quite at the end of the tunnel yet.

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#20 2013-08-13 08:48:08

AGO
Member
Registered: 2013-08-06
Posts: 10

Re: Not enough players

pottage wrote:
AGO wrote:

I think you misunderstood what I meant. You can't keep a player base with how the game is currently being played.

I don't know about that, myself and plenty of other people on this forum seem to have stuck to this game with the rules as they are.

There is only like 9 people who are keeping up with the game. As they grow in experience they can enter a newbs house and say hey this will be easy. Come back with a hand full of tools and newb stomp them out of the game. You are thrown to the sharks from the beginning. Which is really bad for making and keeping new players. The lack of an in depth tutorial is a major factor. You are trying to balance a game with less then 10 players. Most of which have a lot of experience.

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#21 2013-08-13 09:04:02

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Not enough players

Yes, tutorials are needed.  These will come in the form of videos outside the game, I think.

I'm wondering if the rate at which money flows into the game is a problem.

Maybe the flow should increase slowly over time, as the value of your house increases.... like "interest" on the money in your house.  That way, if you're a new player with a low level house, your house won't rise in value so quickly, so it won't become worth robbing so quickly.

Right now, EVERYONE earns $1680/hour.  Obviously, that has a major impact on low-end players (almost doubling their money in the first hour), and almost no impact on high-end players.

Could be capped at 10% of your house's value, per hour?  So, if you have $500 left in your house, you earn $50 that hour.  If you have $5000, you earn $500.  Maybe 10% is too low.

Also, just a note about the history:  the salaries really were added to attract burglars to a house over time, not to help the home owner build better stuff with more money.  Before salaries, house owners would build with most of the money, and then the house would have $200 left, and it would just sit there, because it wasn't worth robbing, ever.  Plus, no one had money to buy tools to rob it.  There was a major money shortage!

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#22 2013-08-13 09:30:30

ukuko
Member
Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 333

Re: Not enough players

jasonrohrer wrote:

Maybe the flow should increase slowly over time, as the value of your house increases.... like "interest" on the money in your house.  That way, if you're a new player with a low level house, your house won't rise in value so quickly, so it won't become worth robbing so quickly.

Having salary based off house value is a neat idea. Have a low base salary that everybody earns, plus interest gained on your cash balance. It would certainly help keep fresh houses off the radar for a little while!

I dare say there might need to be some kind of mansion tax, as at 10% a $45,000 house will be worth $443,238 the next day and $4,365,776 the day after that. I think that kind of arms race might lead to some unpleasant despotism.

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#23 2013-08-13 09:52:14

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Not enough players

Well, maybe it should be a percentage or a cap, whichever is smaller.  So, the max you could earn would be $1680/hr (the same as now), but low-end houses would earn much less than that per hour.

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#24 2013-08-13 18:48:06

Ludicrosity
Member
From: US
Registered: 2013-06-22
Posts: 144

Re: Not enough players

I also think making salary a function of home value is an interesting idea, but you would definitely need to cap it with an upper bound. Otherwise, one person at the very top can build an uber-expensive house, vastly out-earn everyone else, accumulate an insane amount of money, and effortlessly tunnel through every other rich person's house without putting a dent in his/her pot of cash.

AGO, you raise fair points, but I think the issue here is that nobody really knows how to solve the problems you are pointing out. You haven't really suggested anything yourself that hasn't already been tried.

My own opinion on this matter is that this game simply requires a greater degree of commitment and thoughtfulness than the average Joe gamer is willing to put up with. It ends up attracting and keeping the sort of people who are good at building and figuring out tricky houses, while discouraging everyone else. I have definitely noticed that those of us who have really gotten into the game and post here regularly are a highly self selected niche - by no means a fair sampling. Most of the people here seem to have backgrounds in computer science, engineering, physics or are pursuing graduate degrees of some sort. I have a PhD in physics myself, and I remember seeing another person post here that he is working on a PhD in physics. When you're playing a game with complex wiring and interactions and you're having to compete with someone who is, e.g. an electrical engineer in real life, it's not that surprising that it's going to be tough.

Perhaps a possible solution to this would be to establish several different servers occupied by players at different skill levels. If there was a "beginner's" server, then newcomers would have a less harsh place to learn the basics and develop strategies.

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#25 2013-08-13 20:11:45

Blip
Member
Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 505

Re: Not enough players

Having several servers, at this point in time, wouldn't really work, when there are only 15 houses in total. I think that the problem is the inability of newcomers to even see what's killing them - it's hard to figure out what the magic dance even is when the actual wiring of all magic dance houses is inaccessible. This is made even harder by the fact that, even when wiring can be accessed, it often can't be easily deciphered by a newbie. Having a background in electrical engineering and firmware has given me a big advantage, and because this game is so difficult, I try to capitalize on it by making my house's wiring undecipherable to anybody but an expert. The problem is that making houses that are difficult to newer players is harmful to the game, but advantageous to the players doing it. It's similar to reasons why the recession hit America - banks were harming the financial system, but had no incentive to stop because they were making boatloads of cash.

An ideal system would result in a supply of novel, yet solvable houses, where the incentive is to making houses that are interesting.


Current life: Not dead, but I have no clue who I am
The Life and Times of Christopher Alvin Harris
Record: 149 Paintings!

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