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Author Topic: Promi design discussion  (Read 157 times)

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Uiblis

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Promi design discussion
« on: April 10, 2021, 05:41:16 PM »

All opinions welcome!

Would like to hear the reasons everyone is still playing this game, especially what aspects of it trump what newer games have to offer, as well as it's pros and cons

Pros:
Strategy aspect of promis are rewarding. Learning and implementing basic strategies are extremely effective and seeing that translate to in game resources, troops, and other successes feels good to a player

Slower pace means you can play for < 5 minutes a day and be done with a run and put it aside

Forced interaction with other players (land) is supposed to result in unpredictable, always changing landscapes

Diplomacy/coordinate aspects extremely rewarding. A turn is a turn, how you use it, especially in conjunction with others, results in interesting and diversified gameplay

Cons:
Now optimized strategies doesn't lead to emergent gameplay. Leaders are broken, solo indy is impossible, and those are really the only two strats.

Gameplay is repetitive and honestly boring when nothing is happening. Hard to hop into and immediately feel like part of the playerbase without heavy investment. Can be somewhat alleviated with better designed UI/tutorials

Honestly I feel like the emergent gameplay bit is probably the worst part. In my experience 95% of rounds is just stacking resources and then the last week or so is the only interesting part. But that's just a result of the round ending, which provides incentive for interaction. The game doesn't incentivize interaction outside of that, which leads to stagnation.

Game doesn't give you much of an identity. Your only "personal attribute" is your race and that just provides passive stats. There isn't much in the way of you feeling like you can insert yourself into the game anywhere.

Please contribute thoughts!

« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 06:05:49 PM by Uiblis »
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JesterAverageJoe

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Re: Promi design discussion
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2021, 11:31:26 PM »

Well put; I believe your assessment really hits the nail on the head, so there's not much I feel I can add or counter to these points.
But in reply to your first point: I believe alot of what kept me coming back to some variant of Promisance or other, is due to some nostalgia. Nostalgia in the aesthetic of a text-based game,  nostalgia in the memory of those exhilarating early rounds on the unfettered internet; succeeding through diplomacy, & making some unforgettable friends.

Considering now that for a long while, the game here had persisted with it's community otherwise in tact, I was impressed & bewildered, given that so many others (countless, truly) would disolve or disappear for one reason or another.  I feel confident though, that the community played a significant role, perhaps the saving grace that indeed prevented the complete absence of an active Prom round online. In fact (& I hope I'm not beating the dead horse too much on this point), due to this very proactive community, the game herein has incorporated a number of very creative & suprisingly novel mechanics which (please correct me if I'm wrong) I've never seen executed anywhere else. The Public Market's Supply Rate Fluctuation, the unique "Racial Abilities" outside of the stock bonuses & penalties, & finally worth noting, the tragically rare Themed rounds which seem to completely shift the meta to favor more cooperative play or otherwise.
These aspects of this particular variant are very much the Pros.
Cons would probably be that sort of stagnance that most players that persist seem to be reluctantly familiar with. That elusive emergent gameplay... I'd like to believe that the Critter-Prom gimmick provides for a more immersive, shared universe than the default, non-descript High Fantasy fluff, at least for those of us who like to use flowery language, painting portraits in verse, both menacing & benign, then clicking "Send Message". Writers block does come all-too-frequently however, so perhaps without more writers & artsy types with taxable inspiration, trying to extrapolate story & fluff out of a game where math is the primary skill might be unrealistic.

Now I'm gonna throw some ideas, to the wall... A Spoiler wall because I know how verbose my diatribes can be; this is a courtesy :P
Spoiler
Weather that cycles through a set, favors different troop types while nullifying others intermittently:
Calm = no de/buff
High Winds = Skiff Debuff/Null?
Rain = increased risk of failure % for all offenses
Snow = Rat & Skiff Debuff/Null? Weasel & Stoat Buff
Flood = Skiff Buff vs. debuffed Rats/Weasels/Stoats
Drought = Weasel/Stoat/Skiff debuff? Someone help me justify a Rat Buff :P

Message Reply Incentive? Perhaps Headquarters refreshes & a small ration becomes available (might help me when I push a loan too far :P) when players reply to each others messages -not her holiness, the Land Farm, for we cannot sully her for meager offerings. or heck, some free loyalty, as abstract as that is~

More racial abilities? Perhaps a "daily" that provides some function not connected to a leader ability or ratio. I could see a Casher having some influence on the Public Market, driving up or dropping some prices to favor their motives to the chagrin of a prospective buyer or seller. Rats & Stoats must have extended family amongst their ranks, so maybe a platoon of their comrade kin arrive (negligible to marginally "helpful" in number), bolstering their ranks.
How about an Indy or a Fox who has a counterattack vs. a leader offense? ends up capturing a number of leaders, which increases their own ratio & slightly dropping the offending Warlords (not that a determined leaderer would be completely dissuaded).

I do hope this is helpful & that there's some magically progressive features that may yet breathe new life into this game that's sucked the will to go outside out of countless teenagers once upon a time~
« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 11:51:49 PM by JesterAverageJoe »
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Ryu

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Re: Promi design discussion
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2021, 12:45:07 AM »

1st began playing promisance back at Valhall during my break/lunch in 2009. Graphical games were all blocked but text based games weren't. I was running turns building a sloppy rainbow empire.  Saw an empire online (asterisk) and attacked them. That empire was Sevz. He was super hostile but also willing to teach me basic strats like indy and farmer.  Of course I continued to rainbow for a few more months. Seeing players jump to 2 billion or 3 billion networth blew my mind. Obviously my 300 million networth finish was pitiful. 

Competition pushed me to learn and study the game. Ended up playing Redwall and QMT but was admittedly terrible. Life pulled me away but came back in 2011 at QMT.  Many good friends still played the game so it was fun. But one particular player had the analytical mindset that I admired very greatly. Shoot knew the code and formulas, how much each building produced and in general played optimally, min-maxing as it is called. But he rarely played seriously. Instead he played to troll and have fun like land dropping without exploring a single turn or making 200b unicode clans.

I adopted this approach not just for promisance but for life in general. Calculate the formulas and dissect the code. This methodical playstyle is successful albeit repetitive and boring. Running Mage for a buyout or indy to F5 spam. Netting was fairly static and more of a chore than playing a game to have fun.

But the clan wars is what is memorable. Coordinating takedowns or assembling kill runs. Protecting your leader/mage while breaking the enemies leader/mage. The trades of networth destruction turn by turn indy vs Indy. The diplomacy and the tyranny. Solo play is simply unremarkable in comparison. But as the game participation dwindled so did the clan wars. 

So what keeps me here? Nostalgia really. Something to do during my breaks. It is rare to see new players emerge and even rarer to see them grow and master the game. Gier in particular stands out in this regard.

Regarding gameplay: looking at EarthEmpires they have a very active market. They have an added layer of playstyle called Technology.  Tech Research are stat boosters essentially. Boosts to food production or cash or industry. This leads to Tech dedicated empires as well as other strategies buying those tech as cheaply as possible.  Promisance market in comparison is practically dead or used as a glorified storage house for food and troops.  I suggested this before but bots would help in this regard. Something like 1 bot per 5 empires signed up. They aren't very smart so they post goods cheaply and they buy goods at whatever price is available.  Other suggestions would be x2 or even x2.5 wildcat pressgang production, and greater PCI value for casher.
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windhound

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Re: Promi design discussion
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2021, 08:23:10 AM »

The game doesn't incentivize interaction outside of that, which leads to stagnation.

Game doesn't give you much of an identity. Your only "personal attribute" is your race and that just provides passive stats. There isn't much in the way of you feeling like you can insert yourself into the game anywhere.

10 year younger Uiblis felt differently :)
Personally I feel diplomacy is a very important part of the game. Like Kilk said, it's not all just "fun and games." It's also important if you want to remain neutral or be aggressive, and justify your actions so that others will understand what you do and why.
You can lock out the game much more effectively through good diplomacy than through "face smashing".
Lol, I was trying to find a way to say this well.
(...I didn't go searching for that, a 'guest' (bot) was 'reading' it so I clicked, it just happened to be topical)

To be fair, at that time diplomacy was absolutely more important than face smashing.  Combination of more active servers and a slightly less refined game 'meta'.

It's not really prevalent anymore, but just the message system allowed for a ton of interaction.  In the past we had people doing full RP sessions over ingame messages / clan boards.   Though I strongly suspect this was mostly an RWL thing, not Promis in general.     
I remember QMT's old boards being a bit.. angsty. 

Considering now that for a long while, the game here had persisted with it's community otherwise in tact, I was impressed & bewildered, given that so many others (countless, truly) would disolve or disappear for one reason or another.  I feel confident though, that the community played a significant role, perhaps the saving grace that indeed prevented the complete absence of an active Prom round online. In fact (& I hope I'm not beating the dead horse too much on this point), due to this very proactive community, the game herein has incorporated a number of very creative & suprisingly novel mechanics which (please correct me if I'm wrong) I've never seen executed anywhere else. The Public Market's Supply Rate Fluctuation, the unique "Racial Abilities" outside of the stock bonuses & penalties, & finally worth noting, the tragically rare Themed rounds which seem to completely shift the meta to favor more cooperative play or otherwise.
These aspects of this particular variant are very much the Pros.
Cons would probably be that sort of stagnance that most players that persist seem to be reluctantly familiar with. That elusive emergent gameplay... I'd like to believe that the Critter-Prom gimmick provides for a more immersive, shared universe than the default, non-descript High Fantasy fluff

Critter prom was different mostly due to it's players, which the theme strongly influenced. 

I'd argue the game was second to the community, we've had a number of people hang around the forums long after they stopped playing the game.   
We also had a set of players who were fine being absolute trash at the game, but were down in the lower ranks happily RP'ing away. 
It's why you'll find a bunch of player protections coded in that you would never find in a more competitive prom.  There was absolutely a competitive streak, but 'fairness' was seen as more important. 

Helping West out with his QM setup, I forgot how vanilla the default game is. 
For most of it's existence RWL was in a constant state of being modified, with additional units / spells / turbo round themes..  plus a lot of admin stuff on the back end yall can't see. 
Quality of the code wasn't necessarily the ~best~, but it is largely functional.  Mostly.  And it kept the game new and fun.

I think things like the Turbo round themes did help keep the game fresh, and if you didn't like a theme it'd be something different in a few weeks. 
Unfortunately a lot of the themes just don't work very well with server populations under 20 or so.

Quote
Now I'm gonna throw some ideas, to the wall... A Spoiler wall because I know how verbose my diatribes can be; this is a courtesy :P

Weather that cycles through a set, favors different troop types while nullifying others intermittently [...]
Message Reply Incentive? [...]
More racial abilities? [...]
capturing a number of leaders, which increases their own ratio & slightly dropping the offending Warlords.
I like the weather idea, but not sure how well it works with our turn-based system. 

Message incentive is just asking for spam, but I appreciate the thought behind it.

And we actually have 'Capture' as an attack modifier that does just that. 

I suggested this before but bots would help in this regard. Something like 1 bot per 5 empires signed up. They aren't very smart so they post goods cheaply and they buy goods at whatever price is available.  Other suggestions would be x2 or even x2.5 wildcat pressgang production, and greater PCI value for casher.
We actually have functional bots..  for RWL3
Been meaning to go through the code and clean it up for Reg.  They're actually pretty smart, and play basically as a player would without (much) cheating.   
RWL3 was significantly more complex, a Reg mage run is dead simple. 

I'm always open to tweaking race values, esp for races that aren't currently used. 
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JesterAverageJoe

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Re: Promi design discussion
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2021, 11:43:45 AM »

Weather that cycles through a set, favors different troop types while nullifying others intermittently [...]
Message Reply Incentive? [...]
More racial abilities? [...]
capturing a number of leaders, which increases their own ratio & slightly dropping the offending Warlords.
I like the weather idea, but not sure how well it works with our turn-based system. 
Obviously players would need to be aware of the weather in play, so I feel like a systemic weather that affects all between 2 & maybe 6 hours before randomly cycling to the next makes sense.
Individualized weather would probably be harder to implement & risks being unpopular among players since they wouldn't be able to delay a run & wait out a storm, as it were in that scenario~
Message incentive is just asking for spam, but I appreciate the thought behind it.
With user interaction as it is, I think I might welcome some spam :P
Also I completely forgot that Message Credits were a thing elsewhere, so perhaps that's one countermeasure~
And we actually have 'Capture' as an attack modifier that does just that.
It's a great feature (especially for whoever plays Stoats) but what I meant was for an immediate "reaction" that could be "triggered" by some prerequisite being met. An action or a turn spent that a player could enable once per day until the mechanic triggers or perhaps expires~
We actually have functional bots..  for RWL3
Been meaning to go through the code and clean it up for Reg.  They're actually pretty smart, and play basically as a player would without (much) cheating.   
RWL3 was significantly more complex, a Reg mage run is dead simple. 
I wonder what the main complaints were for RWL3? Having never played it myself, it's a shame the amount of real hours spent in its development for it to not really take off... Any chance it could do well as a Turbo server?
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Uiblis

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Re: Promi design discussion
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2021, 02:17:38 PM »

I really like the weather idea. Been playing around with the idea of skill trees for different races

Wonder how adding a few additional civ style elements would translate to promisance? Like a world map? might/probably would feel like a different game entirely. Though again I think the pure numbers based aspect of promis is  a weakness rather than a strength

10 year younger Uiblis felt differently :)

I'm so old
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Durza

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Re: Promi design discussion
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2021, 01:15:20 AM »

1st began playing promisance back at Valhall during my break/lunch in 2009.
Was a similar thing for me as well.

The UX updates which occurred 3.0 felt like a step in the right direction for adding something to the Promi feel, without stepping into a different game feel.
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  • Uiblis: you just kind of fritter away turns until someone teaches you some basic strategies, but I want that to lead to more interactive, emergent gameplay
    March 31, 2021, 06:06:47 PM
  • JesterAverageJoe: I know this has been something a number of very intelligent, & exceedingly perceptive developers have been trying to figure out for years. Makes me wish there wasn't so much bad blood between the different communities & circles, so that maybe a mature discussion could be shared~
    March 31, 2021, 06:21:29 PM
  • windhound: One of the coolest thing about RWL in the beginning was there was no meta.
    March 31, 2021, 06:24:12 PM
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    March 31, 2021, 06:24:18 PM
  • windhound: Now it's basically like joining a CS or Halo server that's been up for years, those left playing have super optimized strats and it's tougher to just jump in. 
    March 31, 2021, 06:25:35 PM
  • JesterAverageJoe: in a way, I feel like one of the only ways to marry the Prom functions w/ mobile interfaces would be to have some 3rd party/intermediary java program... Certainly not ideal where entry is concerned~
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