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ruby_spoon

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Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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The way that lots of puzzles get more challenging but more rewarding as your rank increases is brilliant, and is particularly well executed in shipwrightery and alchemistry. But as far as I can tell it is completely absent, or not sufficiently implemented, in distilling.

There's also the problem that at the highest level there's no subtlety in working out what you want to achieve. In shipwrightery you need to think carefully about how far to extend a combo. In alchemistry you need to balance trying for x different colours where you get many of one colour, or x+1 different colours with one of each, or x-1 different colours using more secondaries. In distilling you just push alll the whites to the left to get CC^x where x is as big as possible.

This leads to the problem of an upper bound on the score - you can't do better than CC^12 (barring random spice appearances), and many people achieve this. I also fear that at the top level people abandon any games that don't net them a CC^12.

Here's my suggestions to fix all of the above:

1) Have the furnace speed adjust with rating. The current speed might be about right for Grand-Master, but beyond that it should definitely move faster. At Ultimate speed, it should be so fast that a CC^12 is barely possible, if at all.

2) More spice for higher ratings. This might need to go along with some coding to prevent pieces being trapped by spice, which is tricky.

3) More kinds of spice for higher ratings. I'd like to see spice made more valuable (and give a bigger penalty on wasting), but even better would be spices of varying intensity, going up to uberspice which would seriously damage your rating if you wasted it.

Taken together I'm hoping these changes would make the game much more about strategically choosing which spice rows to send up rather than just going for as big a CC^x as possible and completely ignoring the spice.

The main reason I came up with this was that after getting to a consistent CC^11/12 level, I then played on a very old PC in which the way it rendered piece movement made it feel like the furnace was going a lot faster (and it may actually have been a bit faster, too - 15 seconds, whereas on all the distilling videos it seems to be more like 16 seconds, although I realise framerates are hard to rely on in those). I was only able to get a CC^8 and CC^4, playing with the efficiency that usually nets a CC^11 - and it was a lot more fun and exiting than usual!
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meow123_456

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I heartily endorse this product and/or service.
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[Sep 9, 2005 5:21:30 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=209719 [Link]  Go to top 
rixation

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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I think #3 is the best...and the only one I heartily endorse. ;)
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TheRack

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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I used to be of the opinion that distilling was booched but now I am leaning towards seeing the challenge at the top end being how consistant you can hit those CC^11 & CC^12's. Still leaves the issue of luck of getting a crappy board I guess.

Also, I figure that anyone quiting a puzzle should get it ranked as booched.
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fanta

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I don't care much for this, but then again i haven't gotten further then grand-master. I think it's hard enough to get any better as it is, so it would have to apply to those much better then me.

 
Also, I figure that anyone quiting a puzzle should get it ranked as booched.


Now that would suck. Like just earlier today i was distilling when the phone rang. I was back in time, but what if i hadn't been? I've also quit labor puzzles because my crew suddenly needed me urgently, it would suck to get punished for being a responsible captain.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by fanta at Sep 9, 2005 8:34:54 AM]
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Crashtest

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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1) Have the furnace speed adjust with rating.

I occassionally speed distil, right click after very two drags. You don't get a high score but you can finish quickly if you want to get through a lot of orders.
 
2) More spice for higher ratings

Spice can both help and hinder distilling. Ok you might get pieces stuck. Most of the time spice means less pieces to fill in a column.
 
3) More kinds of spice for higher ratings.

I Like this idea, would the other types of spice do anything?
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[Sep 9, 2005 7:20:18 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
ruby_spoon

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fanta wrote: 
I don't care much for this, but then again i haven't gotten further then grand-master. I think it's hard enough to get any better as it is, so it won't have to apply to those much better then me.

Actually I think these changes would be good for anyone that has played the game for some time and hit a kind of ceiling of ranking. By making other things more important than just purely stacking whites, it means there are more ways to improve. I think this would make the Able-Ultimate curve less steep, but longer (not sure what axes I'm using here but I hope you get the idea), which is the more rewarding way for it to be.

Crashtest wrote: 
Spice can both help and hinder distilling. Ok you might get pieces stuck. Most of the time spice means less pieces to fill in a column.

Yes. In fact it's almost exactly like the gold pieces in shipwrightery. It takes more skill to use them, but when you do the reward is greater. Just the kind of thing you want to see at a higher level.
Crashtest wrote: 
Ruby_spoon wrote: 
3) More kinds of spice for higher ratings.
I Like this idea, would the other types of spice do anything?

I was only thinking that they would be like ordinary spice but with varying degrees of strength - for example:
Yellow spice - hardly any bonus for using or penalty for wasting
Orange spice - same bonus and penalty as current spice
Red spice - bigger bonus and penalty than current spice
Deadly psychadelic rainbow chromatic uberspice of doom - huge bonus for using, huge penalty for wasting

You could have some for which the penalty is disproportionate to the reward (e.g. ones that aren't worth much but would really damage the rating to lose), but I don't think this kind of complexity is really necessary - it's best to keep to simple things that add a lot of strategy, than add lots of things that only add a little to strategy.

As for 'doing anything'... I suppose you could have strange kinds of magic spice, that make the furnace go slower if you burn them, or can swap up and down but nowhere else, but again I'm not sure if these would add enough to the strategy to be worth implementing.
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Fathom

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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This puzzle is pure evil!

I heartily endorse a rum ban and the introduction of non-distilled kool-aid to the game!
[Sep 9, 2005 8:02:44 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
fanta

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fanta wrote: 
I don't care much for this, but then again i haven't gotten further then grand-master. I think it's hard enough to get any better as it is, so it won't have to apply to those much better then me.

Actually I think these changes would be good for anyone that has played the game for some time and hit a kind of ceiling of ranking. By making other things more important than just purely stacking whites, it means there are more ways to improve. I think this would make the Able-Ultimate curve less steep, but longer (not sure what axes I'm using here but I hope you get the idea), which is the more rewarding way for it to be.


Well not for me. I can just manage this speed. I'm often fighting to get the pieces to do what i want. I click them and they won't move and things like that.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by fanta at Sep 9, 2005 8:34:13 AM]
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Faulkston

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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There was a tiny amount of discussion of tying distilling speed to rank in this post and the one following it:
http://forums.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/viewthread?p=403963#403963

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sweetnessc

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I would love to see a higher-end game added to distilling. Once you get to ultimate, you have very little control and influence over your performance, except for those boards that happen to have enough spice on them to make moving the bits around interesting. I like the idea of wacky spices - it would introduce some strategy that is definitely lacking right now.
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[Sep 9, 2005 9:41:47 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Faulkston

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I would not trust rum with wacky spices in it.

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Alright, who spiked the rum with hemp oil again?
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Nemo
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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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I agree that Distilling needs more high-end differentiation. I don't think spice is the way to go about it. It's mostly random. More spice wouldn't be more fun, it would just be more annoying, and spice of varying qualities would just be a point slider on the random.

The long long ago original thought for a high-level Distilling addition was linking pieces. Bonus pieces that are worth nothing or negatives alone (up or down), and more as you link them vertically with other pieces (if they are ever vertically adjacent, they become linked). Linked pieces either couldn't move, or moved simultaneously (requiring legal paths for all linked pieces). I'm not sure this reduces the random as much as we want, but it was the original thought.

The increased speed is interesting, but I think the other way around might be better. Don't increase the speed unliterally for a rank, but just factor speed into the score. So, you can still puzzle at the maximum speed that suits you personally, but that speed affects your rank.
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Flak_88

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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Realism alert: It seems more intuitive that CC's allow making greater alcohol content, so that experts would do more of them. Therefore I'm not really into speed having a say, but I like the added pieces and stuff.
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Nemo
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Realism alert: It seems more intuitive that CC's allow making greater alcohol content, so that experts would do more of them. Therefore I'm not really into speed having a say...


Realism shmealism. What if it were only used in scores of perfect CCs?
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sweetnessc

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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Time is one possible factor. There are a couple of potential downsides - one is for people with slower computers, the other one is the clicking-not-grabbing-pieces problem that's been mentioned before. I would rather see more strategy like the linked pieces added than a speed trial. CCC12?
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AquaDrake

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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First, I'd like to see the number of columns raised to 15. CC12 is possibe; CC15 is probably not.

Second, being on a slower computer, I'd like to see the speed lowered.

Third, I'd like to see "click-swap" completely removed from the code. It messes me up consistently:

Repeat by:
1. Click on a piece. Release, you start to think.
2. Ok, you really do want to move it. Click-drag.
3. Opps! That click-drag was a deselect click, and an ignored drag.

That kills me. Consistently.

Or:
1. Click a piece. Release, you clicked the wrong one.
2. Click the piece you really want to move. Start to drag.
3. Oh dear, the drag was ignored, that second click was a click-swap.

Click-swap is too slow to be usable. Remove it. It hurts.

Oh, you want to make it harder? I'm not good enough for that :-)
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Fathom

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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After reading this, I'm gonna assume my non-distilled kool-aid idea didn't go over as planned.

Pfft. Back to the drawing board.
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AquaDrake

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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I agree that Distilling needs more high-end differentiation.

Idea: At low skill levels, you get 80% white, 10% black, 10% grey.

At high skill levels, you get 20% white, 40% black, 40% grey
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Vurogj

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I agree that Distilling needs more high-end differentiation.

Idea: At low skill levels, you get 80% white, 10% black, 10% grey.

At high skill levels, you get 20% white, 40% black, 40% grey


Wouldn't that lead to less differentiation? Helpin' the lower skilled and nerfin' the higher will jes' push everyone towards the middle. Fer more high-end differentiation (Shur will bite me if I don't say it was his idea, so IT WAS SHUR'S IDEA) the number of columns goin' up needs to be high enough that a perfect game isn't possible. 15 or 16 to go up maybe.
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Markoman

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I like distilling as it is. It's the only puzzle where, after a long session practicing, I feel like I've still improved my ability to play the puzzle.

That said:

Idea:

What makes a row of whites more difficult to make then a row of blacks? What makes a specific row of brown and white more difficult then a row of whites? Absolutely nothing whatsoever. It's all colors. So....

A distill "order" is displayed on the side. It's got some browns/whites, and there is now a move timer for when the furnace goes off. For beginners, it's one row. For moderate players, it's two, for experts it's three, and for piplicius, it's four.

Now, the goal is to actually make the order. Doing so fills up the score meter. You've only got a limited amount of moves to make the order. Once those moves are up, the whole board is sent up in one swoop.

Bonuses! Make extra combos of said order. So, it'd be Yumm! Yumm!^2 Yumm!^3, etc.

If ye booch? Yucky black stuff get's sent up (or, if you made it part-way for higher combos, you'd get brown stuff)

I'd actually suggest making this into an ironmonger puzzle, now that I think about it.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by Markoman at Sep 9, 2005 8:45:32 PM]
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ruby_spoon

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Nemo wrote: 
I agree that Distilling needs more high-end differentiation. I don't think spice is the way to go about it. It's mostly random. More spice wouldn't be more fun, it would just be more annoying, and spice of varying qualities would just be a point slider on the random.

I'm very glad you agree on the premise, I guess that means I can look forward to some high-end differentiation in distilling at some point in the future!

I can see how you need to strike a balance between randomness, challengingness and annoyingness. What I forgot in my shipwrightery-gold analogy is that you can control the population of gold in your board very directly, whereas in distilling you have no ability to move or eliminate the spice at all. Similarly in sailing, I find the high population of square blocks in higher level sailing annoying, but they are again more controllable than spice. So I guess I see the problem, although spice can still be (and perhaps already is) rarer at lower levels of distilling.

My biggest grumble, I guess, is the paucity of strategy when spice is ignored in the great race to push all whites to the left, rather than any lack of high-end differentiation. If the value and penalty of existing spice could be cranked up a notch, to the point where expert distillers will need to think twice before pushing all the white past a group of three spices, then I'd be a lot happier.

Nemo wrote: 
The long long ago original thought for a high-level Distilling addition was linking pieces.

Heh, I did remember some cryptic comment about something being added for higher level distilling long ago - I guess that was what was being alluded too. That's also something I considered when making my suggestions (well, I was thinking of a gigantic spice that takes up four circles of space), but I discounted it as being too code-intensive for the reward.

Nemo wrote: 
The increased speed is interesting, but I think the other way around might be better. Don't increase the speed unliterally for a rank, but just factor speed into the score. So, you can still puzzle at the maximum speed that suits you personally, but that speed affects your rank.

That sounds perfect! If anything, the furnace speed could then be turned down a notch to make the game less frustrating in the early stages of learning.


With regard to the click-swap problem, I also have the problem in that my right mouse button is extremely sensitive. Often this means when I'm getting particularly frantic to drag a white into a slot to extend the CC combo, I accidentally hit it and the column goes straight up - argh! So some mouse customisation possibilities would be very nice (specifically, the ability to switch off right-click sends (and using X instead) and the ability to disable click-switch and use drag only).


Extending the number of columns required to send up seems like a very reasonable short-term fix to the CC^12 ceiling problem. Distilling takes me about 10 minutes, shipwrightery 7 minutes, and one fill of alchemistry 7 minutes (er, and about four fills to do all the bottles so a total time of about half an hour), so I don't see any problem making the puzzle take a bit longer to add some much needed high-level differentiation.


Markoman, I like your idea, but it seems to me to be too much of a change from current distilling. My hope is to fix any problems with the smallest of changes!


Finally, something I meant to address in my earlier post:
TheRack wrote: 
Also, I figure that anyone quiting a puzzle should get it ranked as booched.

I gave a good deal of thought to this some time ago. My reasoning was something like:

-There has to be some leeway for people that get called away by in-game or more importantly real life issues (as pointed out by Fanta).
-Also, the rules have to be as harsh for disconnects as abandonings, otherwise people will just disconnect instead.
-Because some people suffer from a high rate of disconnects, penalising these would be extremely annoying for them.
=> The only way to solve the problem would seem to be having the puzzle save its state, so that it is exactly as you left it when you come back. This would be very nice indeed, but my instinct says it would involve horribly huge intense code-architecture rewrites, particularly if it's to remember the state over a disconnect. :(


Waffle ends.
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Piplicus_BNO

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I would endorse making the fills needed to be either 14, 15, or 16. Nothing higher.
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sweetnessc

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I was thinking about this extension of the number of CCs. I'm not convinced that it would add differentiation for skill as opposed to luck for the number of whites that generated in the incoming rows. Once you're only working with the one row of darks, you can only walk the darks over and pull the whites down, skills that the CC11ers and CC12ers have to have. Leaving it up to luck as to how many whites come in.
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BehindCurtai

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Hmm.

In that case, if eliminating luck is the key desired feature, then limiting the count to 9 is probably more accurate; I can't tell.

Those of you who can get CC12's and 13's if you get lucky: What is the amount that you are guaranteed to get unless the spice is working against you?
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TheRack

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Just a thought on this... I tend to find that there are 3 stages to the game... The work everything over to the left, the middle of weaving all the brown/black as it is generated over to the white, and then the end game of getting the extra 3-4^CC.

What I have been thinking would be better than adding more spice at the start (I personally hate the idea because it introduces more luck to the puzzle) Would be to double spice at the start. What this would do is make the frantic rush at the start of the game to get all the white over to the side that much more dificult. It would also open he way up to more preasure on the player who is running short of time getting the white over... Do I wear a CC^1 followed by a CC^11, do I risk burning a piece or 2 and dealing with it or do I hammer on through and risk sending up a poor quality line?
(Has this been sugested before by the way I wonder?)

 
Those of you who can get CC12's and 13's if you get lucky: What is the amount that you are guaranteed to get unless the spice is working against you?


Assuming an absolutly perfect board set up (ie a full screen of white) followed by no white at all will guarantee you a CC^10

More realisticly, I tend to work on the fact that once you send the first spice up, you can add on to your score about another CC^3.75 (Yes I know its a rather exact figure, but my guesswork and experience would sugest that its between CC^3 and CC^4 but closer to CC^4)

What this means in reality is that if you can get yourself to an initial CC^8 (2 rows of brown/black left) you should hit CC^12 the majority of the time.

For the record, on a 2 brown/black rows left, a VERY unlucky run will leave you with a CC^10, but the majority of the time no less than a CC^11, and I have never failed to get CC^12 from 1.5 rows of brown/black remaining.

On the other end of the scale, I have got CC^12 with 3 brown/black rows (and I once hit it with 4 brown/black rows, although I must admit that the board just after I sent the first row up was filled with spice and I have never seen so many whites pop out)

Also, on the spice, whilst spice can be a giant pain in the booty to work with, I strongly recomend to all players trying to get upto legendary to learn how to play the spice. Also, spice, unless it leaves the board extreamly dificult to play is great because a) It is one less white piece you need to randomly hope for & b) Whilst the bonus is not huge it is there. Finally, any spice that get spat out just after you send up your first line are gold, again because you dont need to hope for a white piece. Me personally, I hate spiceless boards.
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Cephalopod, on poker, wrote: 
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: it isn't rigged.

Period. End of story.

[Sep 12, 2005 1:42:15 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
sweetnessc

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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Hmm.

In that case, if eliminating luck is the key desired feature, then limiting the count to 9 is probably more accurate; I can't tell.

Those of you who can get CC12's and 13's if you get lucky: What is the amount that you are guaranteed to get unless the spice is working against you?


Guaranteed CC11 unless I don't notice one of the crap columns doesn't have a black in it.
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[Sep 17, 2005 12:55:53 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Rick9109

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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Maybe just a new crafting puzzle for distilleries all-together? This does appear to be the least popular puzzle. If drinking was cut for similar reasons, perhaps it's time to say bye to classic distilling?

Personally, I find it addicting, but frustraiting. It's difficult to learn and it hasn't been from lack of trying. I have a collection of solid able characters at this puzzle (although I think on Rome I might be weighty distinguished) and this thing still hasn't clicked. It isn't like bilging, either, where I wasn't always good at it, but I was able to do enough to keep the ship going. I can 't do enough to make anything but hemp oil in distilling.
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Rome
Pirates of the Damned, Crimson Tide.
I don't care what it did to them, the game's been good to me.
[Sep 27, 2005 2:08:33 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    rick9109    cactusrome [Link]  Go to top 
Vurogj

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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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Rome, I don't know ye.
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[Sep 27, 2005 3:17:08 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    vurogj    vurojg [Link]  Go to top 
Tamutnefret



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Re: Harder, faster, better distilling for higher ranks Reply to this Post
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Rick9109 wrote:
Personally, I find it addicting, but frustraiting. It's difficult to learn and it hasn't been from lack of trying. I have a collection of solid able characters at this puzzle (although I think on Rome I might be weighty distinguished) and this thing still hasn't clicked.
Distilling definitely is one of those puzzles where something has to 'click'. I was at Distinguished for ages, but then shot up to Ultimate very quickly once something in my mind moved into place and I started to see the various colours as forming constructible "pathways" instead of trying to reason through individual pairs. I think having a point where the whole thing becomes crystal clear makes it a great puzzle.

However, it really isn't good if you're stuck in the 'unclicked' state. I remember seeing it as just a hopelessly jumbled mess of arbitrarily swappable pieces, with just a few local patterns I learned not to get stuck in.

It's also not that good at the high end as it stands. I stopped working on increasing my CC^12 count by a few more percentage points months ago. There may be tricks left to learn, but most of the remaining difference between my CC^12's and CC^11+1's seem to be luck in getting whites while sending CC's up, and not outstripping the UI's ability to keep up too often.

[Edit: fixed tag]
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by Tamutnefret at Sep 27, 2005 6:14:09 PM]
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