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flingwing

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Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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Three years ago, I noticed how the gun puzzle started changing and not for the better. I brought it up then, but it only got worse. Sure, the boards sucked sometimes but that's part of the random nature of it. But then the dynamics of the puzzle started changing: the pieces started bouncing more and more, there's more circle traps, the top right and lower left guns seemed to be blocked every other board, the pointer didn't react the same and the penalty for washouts got a lot higher; along with other subtle changes. And worst of all, it started slowing down. With the starting speed penalty it just keeps getting worse. I used to be able to load four guns per turn on a decent board but not on the turd they have turned it into. Then there's the board hopping phenomenon: the puzzle slows down a bit every time you change boards. It's gotten to the point where I sometimes have to re-client in the middle of a battle just to get the pieces moving faster than Able speed.
As far as the speed slider goes, all it does is make the puzzle slower. It's been shoved all the way to the right since it was introduced.
I've been a legendary gunner for 5 years, ask anyone that I've ever loaded for. Oh wait, not for the last year. It seems that the navy has introduced a new celebrity: Show gunners. Those are the ones that only do the navy puzzle and never job for anyone. They use the easy boards and run their scores up thereby trashing the battle gunner ratings (since rankings are based on other players). Maybe it's time to split the rankings between the navy and those of us that actually do shipboard duty.
Speaking of: there's another penalty. If for any reason you need to change stations to help out, there's a heavy starting penalty for each station. Help out a little, stats go down a lot.
Stat whore? I don't think I am but it is a matter of pride to be able to do well. I can't remember the last EX that I got on bilge.

So screw it. I've been looking for another game to play for three years now but still haven't found one like this one. But this one has evolved beyond "fun" for me. I have told Three Ring over and over that FRUSTRATING IS NOT FUN! But no one seems to be listening. I moved to a dub ocean because I refuse to put any more money into this game. Now, I refuse to put any more time into something that makes me feel worse for playing. This is supposed to be fun...
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Katsuko, former Legendary gunner and now non-player.
Final resting place on Viridian
(former resident and SO of Cobalt-the now dead ocean)
(former resident of Midnight-the snob ocean, Captain of the Wall Street raiders)
[Mar 13, 2011 2:01:28 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Gunorder

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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What's your game design issue? Obviously everyone else can gun fine. Unless I didn't interpret your post correctly your problem is you need to get better at guns.
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Izawesome

Royal of -Tenacity-

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RWJ.
[Mar 13, 2011 2:26:19 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Aenor

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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A long time ago I figured out that I could either obsess over my stats, or I could be useful on pillages/SMH, but not both.* I don't understand people who choose the former. Let them have their fun all by themselves on the navy and keep their precious ultimates. Any good XO will know that Master/Renowned is plenty good enough to keep enough cannons filled for any situation. So just relax and remember that games are supposed to be fun.

*I'm aware and in awe of those who can do both.
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Mat on the Meridian Ocean

Thank you to everyone who loves Blacksmithing!
[Mar 13, 2011 3:26:29 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
DreadedChris



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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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The game design issues seems to be a) real environments are memory-consuming, memory-leaky (which is a bit of a trick in Java, but... if you leave a reference hanging around it happens!), CPU intensive, and perhaps for other reasons, laggy. If board hopping itself actually contributes to lag, this is the first I've heard of it, and it's something that should be fixed, but it's more of a bug than game design.

b) Real gunners start loading any board they are handed because the time to board-hop is time guns aren't being loaded, while navy gunners can board-hop until they get a perfect board. (I think the OP is imagining things to think starting boards are any different now than they ever have been, though. I don't think that formula has been changed since gunning was introduced, certainly not in the last few years.)

The answer to any game design points in a) would appear to be, get a faster machine. Lag has been complained about, the devs -do- squash memory leaks and wasted processing bugs from time to time to make things -less- laggy, but the new environments are inherently laggier than navy and pillaging. They have more special effects, more things moving on the board, etc, etc, and that's not likely to change as it provides a more exciting environment to play in even if it does seem odd to need to upgrade for a 2D game!

The answer to b) is more amenable to a game-design solution, although I think there's been discussion on this in the past. Boards could be sanity checked so any random board was not simply stupid to try to play. It wouldn't mean you wouldn't be able to board-hunt, it would just make it less worthwhile. I think the chances of the devs doing this are small, though I think it's not a bad idea.

Alternatively, or additionally, something could be done about board-hunting to make it less attractive. Remember which board a player got, perhaps, and don't give them any other board until they load at least one gun on it; or penalize board-abandonment instantly instead of giving a grace period as is currently done (which will also hurt some real-gunners... there -are- boards so bad you don't want to play them even when you're gunning for real, but, it would hurt navy stat-whores worse.)

Possibly there are other solutions too.
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~< The Dread Pirate Chris >~
[Mar 13, 2011 5:37:35 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
riku743

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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What i think would really help people's perception of gunning is to have the navy ships start out with the cannons dirty. This wouldn't prevent board hopping, but it would make it so that there isn't so much of a difference between navy gunning and pillage/SMH/blockade gunning.
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Nil used to play Mala.
Lurking on the forums.
[Mar 13, 2011 8:04:01 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
DreadedChris



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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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What i think would really help people's perception of gunning is to have the navy ships start out with the cannons dirty. This wouldn't prevent board hopping, but it would make it so that there isn't so much of a difference between navy gunning and pillage/SMH/blockade gunning.

That might change people's perceptions, or not, but it wouldn't affect the scoring curves at all. Scoring in the navy is artificially high because people can choose only good boards to play, and they can do that because they can hop through any number of boards to find a good one without taking any hit to their standing.

I might note at the moment though, that the viking raid mission cleverly dilutes the average score with a whole lot of 'non professional' gunning that really doesn't allow much time for board hopping, although I do poke through a few boards sometimes if the first ones are really terrible... but the total rate of fire has to be considered, not just the board I'm going to play but how long it'll take to get a better one.
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~< The Dread Pirate Chris >~
[Mar 13, 2011 8:12:52 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Rick9109

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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Honestly I don't see any reason to just not abandon until you find a board you want. I used to firmly believe that a good gunner used any board that came to them, but this was a lonely belief that caused my rate to drop so low that people wouldn't order me to gun, even though my average gun per turn rate hasn't changed, and even though it's usually better than most people several rates ahead of me. So now I just abandon boards I don't like even though that hurts my rate too because overall I put more guns into the chamber just going for good boards.

And forget finding people who are good at it, the number of people who are willing to gun is dropping fast. Experienced puzzlers are running away from the puzzle that it used to be you'd have 3-4 people aboard who want to do it.

I think we may need an alternate puzzle like rigging, that is perhaps less reflex/computer speed based.
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Rome
Pirates of the Damned, Crimson Tide.
Played more this week than many so-called active pirates have played in years.
[Mar 14, 2011 4:23:25 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    rick9109    cactusrome [Link]  Go to top 
xelto

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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I think we may need an alternate puzzle like rigging, that is perhaps less reflex/computer speed based.

I like this idea. Though after the alternate carp puzzle, please.
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Gurndigarn on Emerald Ocean
"Oh, come on. You jobbed onto a ship called the Cursed Isle Raider and you expected *refined*?"
[Mar 14, 2011 5:07:17 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
MarkieLyn

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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The only problem I've really had with gunning over the last few years is the darn speed slider. There's been plenty of times I've been gunning and I'll remark "Ugh its too slow!" which usually confuses people because "Omg its totally too fast what are you talking about?"

The guns used to be so fast during live pillies that they'd almost become a blur... and that's how I liked it! I might be odd.. but I have faster reflexes when it comes to super fast moving gunning pieces than when I have to wait a thousand years for the "fast" pieces to swing back around... bleh.

:( I wish so hard that they'd do away with the speed slider and go back to letting the guns pick up speed the longer the Bnav fighting goes on.


RE: Board Hopping
I am a massive board hopper.. I will hop till I find a perfect board or at least one that doesn't have too many annoying traps. When I do find my ideal board.. I will never leave it.. this is why I only gun on sloop pillies. I really hate having to load more than 4 guns because my urge to board hop is mad high. LOL

And hoppin' never really stopped me from still getting Exs by the time we grapple. I don't think I have ever noticed a "penalty" for it... :O But maybe that's why my Gun Stat is so low. hahaa (Not that I even know what it is most the time!)
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Do what you want cause a pirate is free!
YOU ARE A PIRATE!

~Markie~

Alizee on Viridian
(avatar art by me~)
[Mar 14, 2011 11:12:08 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://markielyn.com [Link]  Go to top 
abacadafa

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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:( I wish so hard that they'd do away with the speed slider and go back to letting the guns pick up speed the longer the Bnav fighting goes on.


Um, your wish is already granted. The slider only sets the minimum speed, not the maximum speed.

If you're doing well, the pieces WILL go faster than the slider setting (assuming that you haven't maxed out the slider). If you use the default setting of having the slider to the far left, the puzzle will determine the speed of the guns at all times.
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.
[Mar 15, 2011 6:31:45 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Rick9109

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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:( I wish so hard that they'd do away with the speed slider and go back to letting the guns pick up speed the longer the Bnav fighting goes on.


Um, your wish is already granted. The slider only sets the minimum speed, not the maximum speed.

If you're doing well, the pieces WILL go faster than the slider setting (assuming that you haven't maxed out the slider). If you use the default setting of having the slider to the far left, the puzzle will determine the speed of the guns at all times.


I think she means that the speed slider even at max is too slow on low levels and this is true. Gunning below master is a nightmare!
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Rome
Pirates of the Damned, Crimson Tide.
Played more this week than many so-called active pirates have played in years.
[Mar 15, 2011 7:12:26 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    rick9109    cactusrome [Link]  Go to top 
abacadafa

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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:( I wish so hard that they'd do away with the speed slider and go back to letting the guns pick up speed the longer the Bnav fighting goes on.


Um, your wish is already granted. The slider only sets the minimum speed, not the maximum speed.

If you're doing well, the pieces WILL go faster than the slider setting (assuming that you haven't maxed out the slider). If you use the default setting of having the slider to the far left, the puzzle will determine the speed of the guns at all times.


I think she means that the speed slider even at max is too slow on low levels and this is true. Gunning below master is a nightmare!


I don't understand your comments.
.
I just made a new pirate and cranked out the slider to the right side. The speed doesn't seem to be competely maxed out (not sure, only a Master level gunner myself) , but a cranked slider is definitely reasonably fast, even on a brand new account. It's not anywhere near nightmarishly slow when cranked.

(Low levels without the slider? Now that is a nightmare!)
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[Mar 15, 2011 11:55:55 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
dairy5223

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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I'm sorry to see you go Kat. You were one of the best battle gunners I knew. It's too bad, I know how much you liked playing...well you used to anyway. It used to be I couldn't wait to logon, now...meh.
She posted it here, gunorder because the OM said to after she petitioned him. And you said to "get better at guns", oh that's brilliant. What is the point of getting better at something if playing it sucks? The only reason I still play is the number of friends here and I'm not too far from quitting also. I fully agree with Katsuko about what's going with the game, I've seen it too. I just lost a KB to to a green cutter that fought a lot harder than green. And of course after winning the reattack, they didn't return the KB. That's the boat that waits around 1 LP from port on your way back from an expedition. I call it the Taxman and have seen it too many times for it to be a coincidence.

I've been complaining about the gun puzzle dynamics for years now too. And the navy "show gunners" as Kat called them (apt name btw) have totally polluted the scoring system. Like Kat I had been a legendary gunner for almost as long as I have been playing and we both had Ult trophies. It's still my favorite puzzle in the game. But that scale has slid down collectively with all the puzzles turning to crap.
Can anyone tell me what you are supposed to do with 14 of the same pieces in carp? In a row? I counted the damn things! I've come up with a new term too: puzzle...ah...fornicated. That's where you get the piece you need AFTER you need it, thereby breaking your chain of combos. Same as in sails where you get 26 (I counted them too) of not the color you need. That's not even a SET of colors, that's ONE color you need. I had a screen full of yellow and white stacked on the sides waiting for one blue to finish the bloody puzzle. Unless of course you happen to make a mistake, then you get it right after.
The starting penalty is where the yellow indicator on the slider bar shows actual puzzle speed. It starts about an inch from the right every time you start then moves as you load. And I too have yet to figure out a use for the slider except to slow the puzzle. Since I started playing (over five years ago) I have noticed: they have increased the bounce factor by quite a lot, the cursor movement changed, the guns can now change firing order (differing from loading order, I've seen that too many times now too), the "hole" in the gun is smaller, the speed has dropped to about a third (I guess to make up for all the induced suck) plus the top-right lower-left issue Kat mentioned. All of which combined to equal a frustrating piece of...work that has ceased to be fun.

Evolved past fun, I think covers it nicely. At what point does a game become a second job? And less fun?

Kind of funny isn't it that Kat and I are the only ones with a single digit number of posts?
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Kessog/Guzzler
Currently of Viridian Ocean
I come to bury Cobalt, not to praise it.
Five year Legendary gunner...oh wait...renowned now.
[Mar 20, 2011 7:26:44 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
abacadafa

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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The starting penalty is where the yellow indicator on the slider bar shows actual puzzle speed. It starts about an inch from the right every time you start then moves as you load. And I too have yet to figure out a use for the slider except to slow the puzzle.


The slider only exists to A) speed up the puzzle and B) tell you the current speed. You can't use the slider to slow down the puzzle.

There's two main parts for the slider.

There's the yellow line, which shows you your current speed. Then there's the draggable arrow (which kind of looks like a home plate from baseball), which you can use to set the minimum speed. The yellow line can't go to the left of this draggable arrow.

Take your mouse and point at the home plate arrow. Press the mouse button and hold it down, then drag the home plate arrow all the way to the right. You'll never have slow gunning pieces again.

(If you ever want slower pieces, drag the home plate arrow back to the left a bit--doing that allows the puzzle to slow down some when you're not doing as well.)
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[Mar 21, 2011 4:12:56 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
sprngweather

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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To the OP:

I 100% agree that standings being relative sucks, a lot. Years ago when there was stat protection for those that puzzled in Atlantis, Flotillas, and Blockades, people used that to crank up their gun ratings to such a high level, it was almost impossible to maintain above GM guns without doing the same, and, gun speeds were unbearably slow (this was before the speed slider). Also, before the speed slider, it was incredibly difficult for me to get above distinguished guns even though I am almost always GM-Legendary guns (without using the navy).

The speed slider fixed these problems a lot for guns; but, not completely. When I am high legendary-ultimate guns, they do move faster than the slider bar will go. In addition, when I go to other oceans, gun speeds at the maximum slider level are at completely different speeds (some much slower than Midnight). This shouldn't be the case, but, since it is, I recommend that if you want to gun and do not want to worry about your rating and how it will affect your gunning speed, try another ocean. It's obviously not ideal advice, but, if you enjoy the concept of this game, but just not your current experience, another ocean may be your salvation.

Edit to Note: On Midnight, I do not see many high level gunners exclusively gunning with the navy, and, I do not have difficulty maintaining GM with almost no navy puzzling (I might gun with the navy 5-10 minutes / month out of boredom). Regarding board searching, on a large ship, I will board hunt some, to find a board I can load 2 easily on, but, I do not search for perfection. I find that about half of boards you can easily load 2 on, maybe 10% you can easily load all 4 (assuming you are using the loop technique). These are just casually observed percentages, and are likely off some. However, when I look at the gunning video I made well before the speed slider was introduced, I had about as many terrible boards then as I do now (so, I don't think the RNG for boards changed over time).
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Sprngweather & Picory
Avatar by the talented Sancha
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by sprngweather at Mar 21, 2011 6:59:04 AM]
[Mar 21, 2011 6:54:27 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
starrarose

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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I find that about half of boards you can easily load 2 on

Just one thing on this statement. You can always, without fail load a minimum of 2 guns on every single board generated. Loop the pieces around the barrel inside the guns and direct them out instead of looping around the outside of the guns. Can always load the top left and bottom right this way - regardless of stupid box placements everywhere else. It's always been this way because the three lines in the middle of the screen are always empty.

Personally I had more issues with pillage gunning with the stat protection in multi ship environments on than I do now. At the stupid slow speeds of master/Renowned I'm STILL loading 3 guns every 35 second long turn in battle for other people.

There have always been "stat whores" there will always be them as long as there are stats.

 
(If you ever want slower pieces, drag the home plate arrow back to the left a bit--doing that allows the puzzle to slow down some when you're not doing as well.)


Faster and easier way to slow them down - toss some overboard. I've seen #1 Ult speeds slowed down to Able speeds doing that.
----------------------------------------
Phoenix - Black Plague to the core, Flag may change randomly.

Prometheus wrote: 
TheRack wrote: 

I think the OM's suck and are cheats.

no u

-Pro

[Mar 21, 2011 5:27:27 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
sprngweather

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Re: Later...but then, probably not. Reply to this Post
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Can always load the top left and bottom right this way - regardless of stupid box placements everywhere else.


Yes, I am aware of Boothook's technique. I specified that if you loop about 50% of boards you can load 2+ on. Boothook's technique has 4 major drawbacks, which is why I never bothered trying to master it:

1) Loading diagonally can mess up the cannons for other people who are looping.

2) If there are only 2 cannons left to load, the chances that they are those 2 cannons is small.

3) It cannot be easily adapted to load more than 2.

4) It cannot be used outside of the navy, since the barrel can be in any position.

Summary: I can load cannons faster on average with looping and a small amount of board hunting than loading 2 cannons repeatedly with Boothook's technique.

Edit to add: Note: Every board you can load all four canons if you have the reflexes for it and don't loop. So, mentioning that load 2 diagonally technique is irrelevant. It requires the placing of NINE arrows. Normally looping around 2 cannons requires placing of 4. Clearly, loading 2 with looping is "easier" by most people's definition of the word than Boothook's technique. The advantage of Boothook's technique, is you don't have to think at all, since every board can be treated the same (so, you replace the puzzle part of gunning with pure reflexes).

Edit 2: Added point #4.
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Sprngweather & Picory
Avatar by the talented Sancha
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[Edit 3 times, last edit by sprngweather at Mar 23, 2011 11:17:57 AM]
[Mar 21, 2011 6:13:09 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Sverdrup

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Katsuko:

We pillaged many times on many oceans for many years on many different pirates. At one point your gunning and carping helped me to become the #1 battle navigator on one of the many oceans that we fought together. And let it be known that as the person at the wheel, it makes no damn difference to the battle performance, if your current stat is legendary or respected. I have seen your gunning stat going from legendary to the master in one pillage. This does NOT make you a bad pirate or gunner, quiet the opposite.

As a battle navigator who shoots alot, I actually prefer to be with the respected to GM gunner to the legendary/ultimate gunner. The former always gives me guns when they are needed on a sloop. In contrast, the ultimate/legendary gunners are more often than not useless (there are very few exceptions, they know who they are), because, (a) they do not have a mouse, (b) they are on a laptop, (c) the boards are bad, (c) I am not shooting enough, (d) they lag, (e) they had to run, (f) crew is calling, (g) .... they make excuses on why they cannot to gun on a pillage, hence my harsh judgement of "useless." These are they Navy gunners or, I have seen this many times, too, the account-sharing-pseudo gunners. There also a large number of "gunning alts" who skew the distributions.

I do think Kat's report is a game-design-feedback issue as veteran players who pillage almost daily do report on the changes to puzzle, bot-behavior, and pillaging behaviors that they have observed over the years.

In the end, stats are a relative measure of somewhat limited utility near the top when social factors (as opposed to skill) is the metric that determine the difference between being in the top 1% (ultimate) or the top 20% (renowned). People who pillage and enjoy a small group-setting will always be "screwed" because the penalty on ALL puzzles for the station jumping that always occurs. One always does better on ALL puzzles if one ignores that other pirates exist and lives a soletary piratey existence.
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Sverdrup, CPTN of Schroedinger's Cat, Prince of Heisenberg's Uncertainty, Meridian
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by Sverdrup at Mar 22, 2011 4:45:01 AM]
[Mar 22, 2011 4:40:01 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
dairy5223

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Two years ago I told myself that when the game got so bad that I was getting 'good's in guns it was time to quit.
Well, now is the time. I was the only gunner on a war brig loading constantly for the whole battle and I got 'good'. This is not an isolated occurrence, it's been happening more and more. I can't even keep a bloody goddam GM rating anymore. How is it that after FIVE FREAKING YEARS of experience loading the guns my skills have degraded THAT BLOODY FAR? How is it that after getting three different pirates Ultimate trophies I am now a "good" gunner?
Screw that puzzle and screw this bloody game. I'm done. You have taken away my favorite puzzle and given nothing in return. No other puzzle was fun as guns in a full pitch battle, not even a distant second. So here's your "design issue": you have designed all the fun out of the puzzle and designed in a bastardized rating system that glorifies worthless achievement. Enjoy...
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Kessog/Guzzler
Currently of Viridian Ocean
I come to bury Cobalt, not to praise it.
Five year Legendary gunner...oh wait...renowned now.
[Mar 25, 2011 4:54:05 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
dairy5223

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Well, here it is almost a year to the day and I thought I would come back and see how things are.
Meh.
----------------------------------------
Kessog/Guzzler
Currently of Viridian Ocean
I come to bury Cobalt, not to praise it.
Five year Legendary gunner...oh wait...renowned now.
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