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Forumacc1



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Puzzling could be a lot more pleasant Reply to this Post
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Hello, I'd like to make a topic about something that has not been looked into for a long time, many years.

This game is (or was meant to be at the start?) centered on puzzles, but the puzzling experience could be a hundred times better.

To begin with, the way puzzles score is based on sessions, and eeeeeverytime you start a new session (pretty much everytime you hop on a ship), you start from scratch with a booched score, and you keep that booch for many seconds or even a few minutes. Of course, that booched score counts towards your rank, even if you would never booch yourself by playing.

Starting from scratch when you could not to is so annoying that even "timing" citadels or TH is a popular practice in SMH. Even if it's risky, you have to do that because the way the puzzles score is super impractical. I wonder, why can't your "session" last forever? Across all ships. [If you played a puzzle once, your indicator will start however you left it, no matter if it was an hour ago or a year ago. Why not? I can't see any downside with this implementation.

Of course, I don't know the technical details and if there's something that makes that very hard to code (or if it'd be heavy data for the database). In that case, there could be a "indicator purge" if you don't play the puzzle for X time, I guess it'd be better than nothing) But I'm pretty sure every person who ever puzzled would love a feature like that.

The "indicator" should be attached to your pirate instead of to certain ship. Right now, if you puzzle on a ship, hop off, and go on another, you'd have 2 different active indicators. If you go back to the other ship fastly enough, it'll still be there.

A workaround, if for some reason the infinite indicator is too heavy for the database or whatever, would be giving you the starting indicator according to your rank. Basically, start the puzzle with the same "secret" score you're in that puzzle. What do I mean? There's a number behind your rank. Let's say you're Respected and your score is 1,240 (there's no way to know that number). A higher Respected would be 1,270, but someone whose score is 1,400 might already be Master. A Legendary would be 2,100, etc. When you play a puzzle, there's also a "secret" numerical score behind your indicator (that controls it). So, instead of unfairly starting with 0 points when you usually score ~2,000 and your rank is ~2,000, start with 2,000 (or whatever it is).

The forever lasting indicator or the indicator according to your rank would tone hyperranking down a lot. People who puzzle on the navy, on Cursed Isles, on blockades, or those who do those graveyard runs that always break your damn indicator, will find their stats "magically" go up.

But this would just be fixing a part of the issue. Another thing I don't really find pleasant is that long sessions and short sessions give you the same boost. You can puzzle non-stop for an hour, but it'll just get your rank up/down as much as a 30 seconds session (if you didn't start from scratch, of course). This could be "fixed" by adding more stat recalculations, even during puzzling or after a specific amount of time (short if possible, the game doesn't really have to tell you your rank is moving all the time, really).

Apart from that, most of the puzzles have bugs, some occur more frequently, some not that often, some just very rarely. Some aren't critical or really troublesome, but it'd be nicer if they weren't there. Some, though, affect your score critically and have been around for years. I'm not going to list the bugs and repeat yet again what was said a thousand times. But I'm just pointing out that the term "Puzzle" is right in the game name, but most of them are broken in a way or another.

Many of the puzzles have scoring exploits too. Gunning, foraging, bnav, all the 1v1 ones (and some people even try to get #1/ult in card games, really). And while there aren't specific scoring exploits for some, the way puzzling affects your rank is with the actual "sessions" system is, in my opinion, terrible.

Now that I've mentioned how the game handles the scoring, I'm going to move into the way most puzzles, independently from the scoring system, do. As far as I know, in all of the puzzles except Sailing (or maybe there's another one I don't know of), you can't score very highly with the initial boards. In some of the puzzles, you just score terribly, no matter how good you are. It makes sense for 1-2 stars boards when you're supposedly learning the puzzle, but some puzzles are extreme (I've heard Dnav is the worst). In my opinion, at least when you get about 3-4 stars, the boards should be able to score a Incredible or as high as a 9 stars one.
Otherwise, you get in a loop: You can't get the good boards because you don't score high enough, but you can't score high enough because you don't get the good boards.

While I don't play all the puzzles or most of them, I can comment on a few:

- People tanking their Sailing rank to Distinguished-Master in order to score more, since the boards are easier without the blockers and seem to score alike.
- Patching: Even at 8 stars, high legendary or even low ultimate (depends of the curve), you don't score as well as with 9 stars.
- Alchemistry: I kept getting 1 color bottles until I got mid-high Legendary. And I was wondering why my fills seemed "weak". I think it's ridiculous to set the bar that high.

Tokens could also give you a small score boost. *shrugs*

Alternatively, it'd be interesting if people could select the difficulty by themselves. Just as in the Gunning puzzle.

Now that I've mentioned many flaws about the scoring itself, let's move to experience:

There's clearly an inconsistency in the experience you earn for playing certain puzzles when compared to the rest.
Duty and crafting puzzles are based on time, and 1v1 puzzles + Battle navigation are based on matches/battles fought. I won't really enter into detail about card games, but them seem to be alright and move accordingly to the time-based puzzles, and many people could get a high experience on them.

The thing is, a SF match clearly doesn't last as much as a Drinking match or a Bnav battle.
For this reason, after 14 years (or 12-11 for the doubloon oceans), no one has ever got Exalted Battle navigation, Exalted Treasure Drop, or Exalted Drinking. Just 1-3 people could get Revered in these 3 puzzles. Rumble isn't much better, just 3 people could get Exalted and no one ever got Transcendent.
At the same time, it's really easy to get a high experience on the duty/crafting puzzles.

The easiest suggestion would be, logically, making all the puzzles time-based (or turns-based for Battle Navigation, not that it'd be any different), probably with a cap to avoid intentional experience tankings (for example: if you spend more than 5 minutes in a SF/Rumble match, more than 10 on TD and more than 20 on Drinking, it doesn't count any further.)
This would make experience earnings consistent across all puzzles, because the current variations aren't even small: you could be Solid in Drinking and Paragon in Swordfighting although you spent more time playing Drinking.

You could've spent as many hours fighting in Bnav as required for Transcendent in a duty/crafting puzzle and just be Paragon or Illustrious, not even 1/10 of the requirement. (Bnav, a "core" puzzle no one even got Exalted in, let alone Transcendent)

Another workaround, though less practical because the puzzle duration varies depending on the settings, would be either having different number of matches required for different puzzles, or having different "experience boosts" for each match-based puzzle, like:

- 1x Swordfighting
- 1,7x Rumble
- 2x TD
- 4x Drinking
- 4x Battle Navigation

As I've said, this second alternative isn't practical, but if the devs really wanted to keep the matches-based system, it'd be a workaround.

On a little side note, it'd be nice if the default option when creating a tournament was "Seeded by rating" instead of "Randomly seeded". Seeding by rating means a more organized tournament, while seeding by rating is just a bit lame and random.

I really wish something would be done about all that. I guess, people would be happier when it's puzzle time. I certainly would!


Colors have been edited in this post to aid readability. - Faulkston
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[Edit 3 times, last edit by Faulkston at Sep 22, 2017 10:44:20 PM]
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Scarpath

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Re: Puzzling could be a lot more pleasant Reply to this Post
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why can't your "session" last forever? Across all ships. If you played a puzzle once, your indicator will start however you left it, no matter if it was an hour ago or a year ago. Why not? I can't see any downside with this implementation.



One word for you;

Competitions.

Players would take an alt, grind it up on each of the duty puzzles until it is up to perfect sparkly on each station, and leave it there. Then, once a competition starts, simply start up the alt, draw out the session, and reap the rewards.

It's an interesting idea, but far too east to exploit.
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Scarpath on Emerald, Cerulean, and Meridian!

Also Scarpath on Obsidian, Defiant to the core.

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[Sep 22, 2017 8:05:01 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
patgangster

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Re: Puzzling could be a lot more pleasant Reply to this Post
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Why are there so many random colors in this post?

either way:

Stuff about getting on-station with an indicator already there
"forever-session": Potentially a good idea. Would very heavily reduce frustrations with shorter puzzling and activities that reset your indicator a lot (expeditions, brigand king compasses, graveyards, etc).
You're already considered Dormant on a puzzle (and don't affect the rankings and such) if you don't play for 10 days, i think that'd be a fair time for an "indicator purge" as you called it.


Indicator starting based on rank
Not a big fan of this idea. Starting with a sparkly just because you're ultimate would be amazing for the puzzler, but very abusable and probably not the best solution.
(What's stopping me from getting legendary/ult sailing, carpentry, and bilging, getting on an SMH, sitting on sails for 3 mins until starting indicator dies, then doing the same on carp, then bilge, then have the break reset it and do it all again?) Could do it for up to 15 minutes anywhere if we add rigging and patching too.)

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Bugs
Yes, please fix if you can. Having so many of my foraging clears straight up not count because of a bug feels awful. Playing very well, maybe I'll get an inc on this board... oh no, that's a good or a fine because half of my clears scored 0.
(That's just one of the worst bugs, there's many more)

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Scoring itself
While some puzzles take it to the extreme (hi dnav), I don't see a problem with not being able to score to the highest reports on earlier boards. Adjustments to make life on the easier boards (6 colors bilge, earlier dnav, maybe earlier carp/rigging/crafting puzzles?) a bit nicer would be welcome, but I don't think you should be able to perform as well as you could on 9 stars.

As for being able to pick your difficulty - I would be in favor of this. Make a requirement of having reached that difficulty at least once (so people don't get too far ahead of themselves) and let me pick where I start.

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Experience
I don't mind there being a difference between puzzles in how long it takes to gain experience, but I wouldn't mind toning down some outliners.

Assuming your numbers are the actual differences, I'd suggest:
Rumble 1.3x
TD 1.5x
Drinking 2-3x
Bnav 2-3x

Also consider that these puzzles are played less often than the others which adds to the fact not too many people have huge experience in it.

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Edit since Scarpath posted in the few hours I took to write this:
It could reset your indicator if you join a competition and you're not on a station. I think you already get locked out for a few minutes/some time if you already are on a station so joining just before the comp wouldn't be an issue then. One hit once in a while is not a big deal.
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TriplePat, Emerald.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by patgangster at Sep 22, 2017 10:39:15 AM]
[Sep 22, 2017 10:31:35 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
GreatBob

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Re: Puzzling could be a lot more pleasant Reply to this Post
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Not sure if I've posted it before or not, but I had the idea of "benefit of the doubt" puzzling to help stop short sessions from impacting your rank. Essentially, you'd start with the indicator your rank requires, which would matter for the purpose of scoring but not ship impact. The idea was to enable people to station hop without losing their rank, assuming they can get that sparkle within the window (~3 minutes most likely). The main reason for doing it this way, instead of having it applied immediately to the ship, was for fairness in PvP. Any situation where all stations aren't full (most of the time) would be changed considerably if station hoppers provided an immediate incred.

I do think that there needs to be a change somewhere, especially regarding expeditions. It's frustrating to choose between TH or keeping an indicator, but having the option is at least better than foraging (which throws you to the little island automatically).


Making league points not stop a session is the most obvious fix, however there are times when it can indeed be useful to reset your indicator, which LPs allow players to do without having to wait a long time, limiting the impact their lack of puzzling has on the ship. Giving the power to the player mightn't be a bad idea, possibly options on the radial menu to resume a puzzle with the previous session's scores or starting a new session. Resuming would still have to adhere to rules in order to eliminate the aforementioned issues with it.



Can't say I'm too fussed about the experience, everyone is on equal footing there. I wouldn't be opposed to changes there, but I feel like it's a much smaller issue.
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[Sep 22, 2017 12:22:10 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Forumacc1



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Re: Puzzling could be a lot more pleasant Reply to this Post
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@Scarpath:
 
Players would take an alt, grind it up on each of the duty puzzles until it is up to perfect sparkly on each station, and leave it there. Then, once a competition starts, simply start up the alt, draw out the session, and reap the rewards.

That sounds like something that could be solved by different means, and not a barrier for this implementation.

- When you try to join a tournament (1v1 puzzles) with more than one pirate, it already says something like "Yer face looks familiar" and it doesn't let you. Doing the same for competitions would be easy, I guess.

- People already alt for competitions. Especially the ones who usually win them frequently, they end up having many pirates on the top spots.


@patgangster:
 
Why are there so many random colors in this post?

I agree that after posting it, I noticed it looks kind of lame and ugly, but I thought it'd serve as kind of a TL;DR?
 
(What's stopping me from getting legendary/ult sailing, carpentry, and bilging, getting on an SMH, sitting on sails for 3 mins until starting indicator dies, then doing the same on carp, then bilge, then have the break reset it and do it all again?) Could do it for up to 15 minutes anywhere if we add rigging and patching too.)

It's true, and something I didn't really think about. I think if you do that, your rank will eventually go down, but it might take a few sessions, or many if you're close to #1. Everytime a piece is dropped or X seconds pass on the puzzles, you get a score reduction. That score reduction will reflect on your rank and the next time you open the puzzle, the score will be lower and lower. And you'll have to "time" your puzzle sitting as well, that exploit wouldn't really work in a SMH or pillage since you'd have to start puzzling intentionally just before the break, the grapple or whatever?
 
Assuming your numbers are the actual differences, I'd suggest:
Rumble 1.3x
TD 1.5x
Drinking 2-3x
Bnav 2-3x

As someone who's usually playing all the 1v1 puzzles all day (except Bnav), all these numbers seem really low tbh. But I guess numbers aren't up to any of us anyway.
 
Also consider that these puzzles are played less often than the others which adds to the fact not too many people have huge experience in it.

I don't really think that's the main reason, though. It's more like a "new problem". Even if you checked the leaderboards in 2007, 2008 or whatever year, when a lot of people played all the puzzles (even Drinking or TD had a lot more ults than SF does these days), it always looked the same way.
 
It could reset your indicator if you join a competition and you're not on a station. I think you already get locked out for a few minutes/some time if you already are on a station so joining just before the comp wouldn't be an issue then. One hit once in a while is not a big deal.

I think it's just simpler to not let you join with many pirates as I said above, but +1 too.
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[Edit 5 times, last edit by Forumacc1 at Sep 22, 2017 5:57:33 PM]
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Faulkston

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Re: Puzzling could be a lot more pleasant Reply to this Post
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Forumacc1 wrote: 
patgangster wrote: 
Why are there so many random colors in this post?

I agree that after posting it, I noticed it looks kind of lame and ugly, but I thought it'd serve as kind of a TL;DR?

Colors have been edited in that post to aid readability. - Faulkston
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bahaakbu

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Re: Puzzling could be a lot more pleasant Reply to this Post
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One word for you;

Competitions.

Players would take an alt, grind it up on each of the duty puzzles until it is up to perfect sparkly on each station, and leave it there. Then, once a competition starts, simply start up the alt, draw out the session, and reap the rewards. It's an interesting idea, but far too east to exploit.



Even putting aside the number of people that enter the competitions is not as high as the people playing, I'm guessing it wouldn't be that hard to implement an indicator reset system if the individual signed up in a competition.

I would love the option to change my station when required and not worry about my reputation dropping when we hit the duty report. Especially when those pesky low star boards are what welcomes me when I start up the puzzle.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by bahaakbu at Sep 30, 2017 4:09:59 AM]
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BehindCurtai

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On the idea of "You start a puzzle with an indicator corresponding to your rank": Abso-fragging-lootly.

On the idea of "Your initial indicator also affects your ability to affect the ship": Yes, it must. See below.

On the idea of competitions: Last time I checked, competitions started with everyone in the same room, and the participants were supposed to check each person to make sure that they were beginning alts. Has that changed?

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I would love to see "Your puzzle board stays with you and does not reset when you rejoin the game". That would solve so many problems with alts (I had to rechart. I have not lost my dnav progress; I was forced into rumble/SF/treasure drop; I'm now back with an intact combo; etc). And I'd love to think that it's as simple as changing from "Ok client, here's the RNG state, generate the same board I generate to check you", to "OK client, here's the board AND the RNG state, generate the same board I generate to check you".

If this cannot be done (and note that the duty nav puzzle is just the biggest and smallest issue), then at the least make the indicator start at your skill level, with the ship effect on.

Consider sails. Lets say you are a Shuranthae-level player. (... did I spell her name right after all these years?). You can clear a 10x combo in sails on your first try. But it takes a long time to set up that combo, and then you have to sit in the puzzle for a long time to earn the counters.

What's the alternative? Set up a few small combos to get your sparklies quickly. But you then still have to sit in the puzzle for the things to be earned.

In other words, a high-end player, in the puzzle for a long time, might be bringing in lots of high-point scores, and lots of tokens (or damage reduction, or bilge removal, etc). But that same player, doing startup, first has to spend time doing nothing, and then earn points / tokens / effect, and then sit around in the puzzle to earn more points (don't want to start scoring zero's) while those tokens/effects come in.

That means, realistically, that you have to be in your game for two rounds of combos, to maintain your score, and to have been in the game long enough to effect the ship.

How bad is that?

*** YOU START WITH SAIL TOKENS BEFORE YOUR SAILORS HAVE MADE ANYTHING !!!! ***

That's how bad it is. The game designers realized this was a problem, and gave you starting move tokens because your sailors can't do a thing at the beginning of the battle.

The very fact that the game gives you sail tokens, to give ships a chance to put people on sails to start generating tokens, is an indication of how much it is broken.

Change this to "Your sailors start producing at their stat level, as if they had just cleared a combo appropriate for their skill", and now you are not only making an effect on the ship from time 0, you only have to be in the puzzle long enough for one set of combos -- very useful if you have to station hop.

And that's a *minimum*. Keeping the board is useful if you ever have the problem of "I just spent all that time, scoring zero, I've got a great combo, and we just boarded the ship into fighting before I could score it".

Abusable? Sure. Go into the navy. Set up a big combo. Get ready, and then stop. Solution?

Well, how about if you log off/log back on?
How about "ending a trip on the navy clears your board history"?
How about "jobbing for a crew resets your board history" (NB: you still go into the trip with your indicator, but not your saved combo. Note that if you do this, and your jobbing ends, you can go into the navy long enough to score your combo and keep your points/rank).
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Sagacious

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Re: Puzzling could be a lot more pleasant Reply to this Post
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On the idea of competitions: Last time I checked, competitions started with everyone in the same room, and the participants were supposed to check each person to make sure that they were beginning alts. Has that changed?

Competitions are not done like this. There's an ocean wide Ahoy tab announcement and anyone can join it from there, and the game tracks everything like in a tournament.
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