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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Suggestions for easing New players into Factions

  1. #1
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    Suggestions for easing New players into Factions

    I know there have been many recent suggestions of having no-cost units etc, but I don't think it is a reasonable solution, since Stoic makes money off people that want to buy units for renown, and also because it would upset the balance of tournament play (veterans with p6 team facing off with a new player with p6 team, inflate tournament standings).

    Here are some other suggestions to consider:

    EDIT: AI Feature should be the priority #1 though. It provides regular games at p0-p3 which is usually non-existent, and with new players unable to get a game, it cuts the population off at its feet. Also avoids experienced players sandbagging (going to a lower level to face less experienced players) before newbies can understand the basics of the game.

    1. Free Unit rotation:

    Many other games employ this tactic. For each week, there are 3 random free units that everyone can try out throughout the week (one rank1, one rank2, one rank3 unit). It alternates every week. This allows new players to try out units that they won't otherwise be able to buy right away, but gives them an idea if they actually want to work towards earning that unit. It also eases the burden of reaching p6, where the majority of the games usually hovers.

    2. Selling r0 units back for 1:1 ratio:

    You should be able to sell r0 units back to the mead hall for full price. This allows them to try out different unit combinations without having to buy new units to do so. You want new players to be able to build their first real team without having to brunt the cost of expanding their barracks (60renown) which is much more than buying (10) and upgrading (20) units.

    3. Renown boost for first 2 days:

    Many games also employ this tactic. It helps beginners get over the initial grinding hump. Also gives players a taste of premium items, and if they want to continue to obtain renown boost after the trial period, they'll buy renown boost.

    4. New purchasable feature: Full unlock for Custom games

    This has been an idea previously suggested, all units and unit types should be accessible in custom games. This allows friends to play each other without any impediments. However, you can see how a full unlock would also not make sense for Stoic as a game studio business. Therefore, this feature should be purchasable, $5 should be well worth the convenience of trying out any team combination you want in customs. Also, new players should get a trial of this feature for the first 2 days, so they can play with friends that may have introduced them to Factions and learn the basics first before playing with real people (one of the most common complaints of beginners is no AI, because they want to practice with something to learn the game and not get owned by long-time players)
    Last edited by roder; 12-05-2013 at 12:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    1. Free Unit rotation: This is interesting and adds to this "flavor of the week" that seems to have gone stale, lately. I'd propose a modified version of your idea: These "free units" could have some unique bonus to them, e.g. an extra 2WP (like the increases Morale in the Saga), thus making them more desirable for your builds, even if you do have a unit of that type/rank. Also, their kills could give extra renown.

    2. Selling r0 units back for 1:1 ratio: I don't see the usefulness of selling r0. I'd ask for down/side-grading first. Then, there's also the talk of removing r0 from factions altogether. Finally, I don't like the idea of having a character dismissed/sold. It kinda breaks the role-player/bonding background that this game is supposed to have.

    3. Renown boost for first 2 days: That's very cool. They could even give Rally-Boosts, randomly, everyday. It just another reason to login and check things out.

    4. New purchasable feature: Full unlock for Custom games: I like this idea too. Apart from real-money and friendly-games only, this could be renown-purchasable on a daily-plan. Something like renting units from the mead-hall, instead of buying them. You could have different renown-prices wrt the number of classes & ranks of the units you'd rent, as well as the time you're gonna be needing them. For instance, renting a full [3TH 2WM BM] power-Y team for X matches could cost like Y*X Renown, e.g. a p12 team for three matches would be 36 Renown.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    Hmmm.. I actually think r0 units are quite important and give more options. I don't think it would break rp-ing, units that are bought should be just as easily sold, they're like mercenaries. I think it'd be different if a unit came up to you and pledged their allegiance, then you shouldn't be able to just dismiss them. I think events like that should be an occurence in-game, like earning units through other means than buying. r0 units are very cheap, so it would make sense for them to be suitable rewards for achievements. Like winning your first ranked match, reaching p18, winning your first tournament, all of these events should gain high renown and thus make free recruits want to join your band. If you don't have enough room in barracks, they just show up in the next row greyed out, and you have to unlock a new barracks row to be able to use them.

    I actually think side/down-grading break rp-ing, because how can a warrior, once learned their upgraded skills, forget them.

    Some other ideas:

    5. Mentor Bonus

    To dissuade high level players from picking on newbies, once you reach p12, you shouldn't be able to gain "normal" renown earnings from p0-p4 matches. However, there should be a mentor bonus for those willing to help new players with the ropes. So there should be a limit of (5) low-level games per day, where you gain a mentor bonus (+10 renown each game). After that, you don't gain renown at all from p0-p4 matches. This promotes vets to teach some new players with some games everyday, but makes it so you're not doing it as a regular option.

    6. Ability to add friends in-game

    Need to increase the social aspect of the game. One of the best reasons to return to a game day after day is if you have friends playing it or you meet new people in it. It can either have its own friends list or add to steam friends list.
    Last edited by roder; 12-02-2013 at 12:37 PM.

  4. #4
    Backer Slimsy Platypus's Avatar
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    I definitely agree that there are flaws in the existing Faction's model that detract from the new player experience. I think the primary fixes need to (A) de-incentivize playing at a lower rank than the units you have (i.e. farming noobs) and secondly (B) incentivize further playing once you have the capability to build a team a max rank.

    Originally it was intended for higher rank units to provide more renown, which I think is a great idea as it works well to fulfill (A). The current problem is that renown gain seems too slow at first and then you reach a threshold where it begins to feel more and more useless as your team becomes developed. For (A) to really work though we need something interesting to spend renown on; right now acquiring new units when you have an already developed team isn't a super fun "end-game".

    Simply having something cool to spend your renown on will help out with (B). The combat is sooooo fun and I love it so much, I just wish the game felt a bit more complete then sort of a chess sandbox. I wish we could delve a little deeper into the Strand backstory and have a more developed feeling of progression rather than acquiring additional units that we will only use some of the time. The good news is that we know we have changes coming

  5. #5
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodereve View Post
    ... if a unit came up to you and pledged their allegiance...it would make sense for them [r0 units] to be suitable rewards for achievements...
    Interesting idea. Provided, of course, that rank-0 units are viable in high-power teams. Here's where the discussion goes to allow r0 restatting, boost passives for r0 only, blah blah blah

    Quote Originally Posted by rodereve View Post
    I actually think side/down-grading break rp-ing, because how can a warrior, once learned their upgraded skills, forget them.
    True. I offered that as a balancing option, in the case where renown is something really precious, and not to be spent around like... money! As for side-grading, here's the answer -- https://stoicstudio.com/forum/showthread.php?1804

    Quote Originally Posted by rodereve View Post
    5. Mentor Bonus
    Interesting. But, needs some care as to how it will be implemented. Because, (a) some low-power players might actually best a mentor of supposedly higher skill, (b) some noobs do not wanna be mentored. So, how/when do we activate this special "mode"?

    Quote Originally Posted by rodereve View Post
    6. Ability to add friends in-game
    Uhm, that's already in, isn't it? You want something more UI-friendly, better integrated in the game etc?


    Quote Originally Posted by Slimsy Platypus View Post
    (A) de-incentivize playing at a lower rank than the units you have (i.e. farming noobs)
    (B) incentivize further playing once you have the capability to build a team a max rank.
    Aye. That's what we gotta focus on. For balancing the reward system (renown) and giving motives to both casual and hardcore players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slimsy Platypus View Post
    Originally it was intended for higher rank units to provide more renown, which I think is a great idea as it works well to fulfill (A)
    I am very fond of that idea. Why was that dropped? I've even proposed somewhere that the renown gain per kill takes into account the ranks of both killer (RK) and victim (RV). Example, if RK>=RV (greater-or-equal) you get just one point but, if RK<RV, you get RK-RV points. So, if a r0 kills a r3 that's worth 3 points. This would also help bringing in lower-ranked units in high-power builds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slimsy Platypus View Post
    For (A) to really work though we need something interesting to spend renown on; right now acquiring new units when you have an already developed team isn't a super fun "end-game". Simply having something cool to spend your renown on will help out with (B).
    Renown sinks. We want more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Slimsy Platypus View Post
    I wish we could delve a little deeper into the Strand backstory and have a more developed feeling of progression...
    The clans/guilds/factions thing could work perfectly here, along with some vs-AI (campaign) features.
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  6.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #6
    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    Good discussion and good suggestions rodreve. I do like ideas like the unit rotation and starting bonus.

    Friends can only be added outside the game right now, via Steam. You can't just add the friend from inside the game (like right click name, add as friend). There's a slew of quality of life enhancements that Factions could use, including chat, community moderation, and replays.

    The reason why the renown rewards proportional to the unit defeated wasn't implemented was because of the lack of renown sinks. Even currently, it would just boost the renown earning so much when playing at p12 (for example) that you'd probably end up with as much renown as stoicmom. This is going to be a big priority for Stoic.

    Yea the idea originally was to have a prologue in Factions to feed into the Saga, which was single player. Obviously because of resources and time constraints, they couldn't push through with this before the Saga was released. We'll see what can happen after the release . Of course it'll take time for things to come in, and it won't be everything we could all dream of, but there will be big changes to Factions.

    I think it's quite important that the community prioritize what they think can make Factions a fuller experience, so Stoic can get an idea what could be given attention to first .

    And of course, let's hope, pray and spread the word! Saga has to be a success before we can even think of Factions being worked on...but then again, I think we're all in agreement both games feel so damn good it just HAS to sell Sell SELL!
    Last edited by raven2134; 12-03-2013 at 07:22 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    Not sure what features to prioritize first, maybe someone should make a poll or new thread to vote on a priority list of features.

    But I do think one of the main features should address retaining new players, and another should be addressing progression, what Slimsy was eluding to and which is sort of why I burnt out on playing the game

    "have a more developed feeling of progression rather than acquiring additional units that we will only use some of the time." "renown gain seems too slow at first and then you reach a threshold where it begins to feel more and more useless as your team becomes developed"

  8.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #8
    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    Yea that's an issue from the lack of an overall design for renown sinks. It's a main priority for sure

  9. #9
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    well I think AI is absolutely the most important feature to get this game on its own feet. You need there to always be a game available to play, whether vs AI or human. as long as there's an odd number of players online, someone will always be waiting in queue. add to that the very low chance there's other p0 players installed and starting the game at the same time, its very hard for beginners to start the game. first impressions is everything

    and im sure renown sinks will come eventually.

  10. #10
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roder View Post
    I think AI is absolutely the most important feature to get this game on its own feet.
    I agree. It's the #1 priority. Even if its not an AI for "full" 6-vs-6 battles, even something simpler (e.g. vs-Dredge) or some mini-puzzles would be very very well received.
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  11. #11
    Backer Slimsy Platypus's Avatar
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    I think AI is important for the future of factions, although I'd be worried if you would gain the same rewards for 6v6 while fighting AI rather than a human. Specifically with queue times for those that still want to compete against other players. If it's easier to defeat AI and you get the same rewards, that will certainly detract from the PvP experience.

    I think co-op vs AI and possibly AI training to get unit kills but not renown (or less renown) are viable options.

    Regardless, it will be interesting to see what gets brought to the table!

  12. #12
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    Definitely. There's infinite possibilities with AI battles, puzzles or horde mode, especially with p12 or p18, it wont be 6v6 but probably 6 vs a lot of dredge

    but yeah, focus should be for AI giving games to introduce beginners into factions.

    to avoid grinding easy AI for renown, after you surpass p4, I don't think that first AI "level" should provide you anymore renown. certainly, there would be higher AI diffculties available, just not the intro one.

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    Backer Slimsy Platypus's Avatar
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    Horde mode! I like the sounds of that! I would imagine a co-op horde mode could be really fun! How many dredge can you and your friend dispose of before getting overrun? ! How does this number compare to others? After every group gets destroyed a larger appears! Exciting prospect!

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slimsy Platypus View Post
    Horde mode!
    Indeed.

    [SPOILER Alert!] Don't forget that the Dredge have some special ability that summons/spawns more of their kind. That's what the "Starving Dredge" was doing here (LetsPlay PAX Demo Vid#1). So, this ties well with this Horde mode, i.e. they keep coming until you kill their shaman/leader whatever. [End of Spoilers]
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    Member Tatski's Avatar
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    In my experience one of the painful part when I was starting out was spending that precious renoun on promoting a unit and it did not turned out as well as I imagned (one of the first units I upgraded to was the Warleader, I thought "wow this guy would make an excellent breaker") Picking a unit not ideal for beginers or a unit with non-straitforward skill can be discouraging. This will mostlikely change once the Banner Saga is out. I feel that that's how they intended it to be, enjoy the campaign, get familiar with the mechanics, unit skills and etc., then if you feel the need to duke it out with a friend or another players you play TBSF. Pretty sure progression will be a lot easier when you spent a good amount of time playing the campaign before faction. Not sure how I feel about the AI though, part of me thinks that it would fit better as a singlplayer feature because for me the point of Factions is to battle real people but on the other hand I think vs AI would be a good tool for taking newly promoted units for a spin, experiment with builds, but having a vs AI available on factions might result in less PVP matches. I dunno. I think the best way to make factions easier to new players is to make them play the campaign.
    Last edited by Tatski; 12-06-2013 at 11:51 AM.

  16. #16
    Superbacker StandSure's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tatski View Post
    In my experience one of the painful part when I was starting out was spending that precious renoun on promoting a unit and it did not turned out as well as I imagned
    Tatski makes a great point. For the beginner or casual player, Renown is a very precious resource, and it's daunting to spend it on upgrades when so much is at stake. I myself only upgraded to a p12 team last month, and had to buy renown to pull it off. After a very cautious approach, I very quickly realized I had made some mistakes that required me to hire and promote multiple other units. Let's face it, to promote one unit to p3, you are probably playing 2 dozen games to earn the renown. That's fine if you're hooked on TBS, or have extra lunch money, but if you invest that kind of time only to find that you'd much rather have a p3 BM instead of a SS...that sucks.

    Hopefully experience in the Saga will inform people enough to make good unit choices, but I've been pretty plugged in and still goofed. What if part of the Factions AI experience was a "sandbox mode" where you could roster any team of any power, and run them against the AI to test out how units play? Maybe those games don't earn Renown (or very little) to discourage people spending a ton of time there, but it could be a nice way to introduce advanced units to players on a budget. It would probably have to its own self-contained Proving Grounds...maybe the AI stuff could be in a different city that has similar features to Strand, but you can't bring your free AI team back to Strand.
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  17. #17
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    On a slightly different track -- What if the AI-module could be used to provide Hints for good moves during the normal PvP combat?

    During the battle, clicking on a special UI-button would show the calculated "good move" and prompt you to confirm/execute it or abort. Those hints could be limited to X=3 per battle and/or Y=30 per day. This hint-module would disappear once you complete your Z=10'th battle. It could also be "bought" in some sense using renown; for instance, it subtracts 1R from your total renowned earned during the battle, for each Hint.
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    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tatski View Post
    In my experience one of the painful part when I was starting out was spending that precious renoun on promoting a unit and it did not turned out as well as I imagned
    I like "Free unit rotation" suggestion mentioned earlier, it will definitely help fight this issue, cause this way anyone will be able to use some ranked unit for free and will get a thought on how to use him, THEN will have the same one in barracks or not.
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  19. #19
    Backer Rymdkejsaren's Avatar
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    Hallo.

    In anticipation of the launch of Banner Saga I have started playing Factions a bit again, and I am even running a mini-tournament with my clan. The issues with newbie unfriendliness have become clear to me as well and I am glad that it is being discussed. I have only had a few games but all the time while playing, people in global are complaining about not being able to find power 1 games. It seems to me like any solution that lets new players play with power 6 teams would be a good one. That would remove the need for finding games against low power teams, which are naturally scarce since you only really play them early on.

    I imagine everything at Stoic is mad busy before the launch, and after it is released I imagine there will be a burst in numbers in Factions, mitigating some of this problem for a while. I hope you have time to put in some sort of system before the rush ends so that new players will be more inclined to stick around!

    Of course I cannot express how much I look forwards to playing the single-player! It is getting a lot of good press and I hope you do as well as you deserve for all the hard work! Skål!
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  20. #20
    Junior Member Slimpy's Avatar
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    The problem with pwr 1 games is slightly deeper than not being able to find them. An experienced player who puts together a pwr 1 team will more than likely destroy the new player. If this happens too often the new player will be put off and never play again. A "free" pwr 6 team resolves the lack of games, but will only make the "noob" factor worse.

    To mitigate this I'm sure there will be tactical learning in the single player which can be applied to the multiplayer, so players experienced with the single player might benefit greatly from the free power 6 team idea.

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