=- Karthik Arumugham wrote on Mon  2.Apr'07 at 17:24:56 -0400 -=

> {...} at the expense of removing key elements of skill AND
> strategy. Many people forget that what seems like simple skill
> in fact leads into strategic play.

Reading your whole post I assure you, _I_ don't want to take away
those key elements, and I'm against doing this by providing more
info available to the team/ player than already is there/ allowed.
_BUT_ this is not what _I_ (and others) were/ are after.
I want only info and functionality, which is already there, to be
easier accessible.

Maybe we should record down on wiki different ideas.
I'll try to edit some pages over the (remaining) holidays.

What some people (you? I don't know) forget is that all that skill
and love for the game requires some patience with the state the
game is in now (or was before some newbie-help ideas have popped
up and even been implemented recently).

In the old days that was no problem, people had fewer or no
choices. Now they have, and they have less patience therefore.
So the game must be enjoyable faster.
(again, I don't mean by changing the key game elements, which we
would have to define once to be sure not to break them)

> On Mar 31, 2007, at 9:55 AM, Rado S wrote:
> No. I don't feel "better" than newbies because I can cripple a
> ship properly rather than kill it. I do feel more accomplished,
> but when I was learning the skill I *enoyed* learning it.

We're talking about 2 different things here.
I don't want to (nor even could I) remove this: whatever help we
might give newbies, they'll still have to spend _their_ time to get
the basics and begin to love it.

> And it's strategically important to hide how much damage your
> base has from the other team. So it does imbalance the game.
> I've brought this skill up in particular because showing enemy
> damage has been tossed around; an idea that I absolutely abhor.

I'm against this, too.
But there are changes that do not affect the game play with regard
to the enemy.

> I would think that the type of people to play an arcane game
> like Netrek would enjoy learning such skills.

It's just the interface that is arcane, the game mechanic itself
is everlasting.

It's obvious we need to figure out what kind of skills are desired/
required to be learned the hard way (learning by doing) and which
can be lifted to reduce the threshold for people to stay.

Interpolating/ judging/ guessing info which is _not_ available is
one to preserve.
Getting faster access (by better interface) to already granted
info is something that won't break the game, or am I mistaken?

I know, some individuals have said _any_ change will divert from
the "currently achieved ideal". This means even access to info
that is given to the team should stay
complicated, requiring for example ...
- to press extra keys for generally available info (galactic army count)
- team-talk to convey own army carriers or teammate's ship status.

We must draw a line here. Even if currently netrek were perfect
(which I don't agree with), for attraction reasons we have to step
down from those ideals, for a while at least, to get more in and
many of those to stay long enough to once enjoy this "ideal" game.

> There are plenty of harder ones to learn.

People have said this before: others might be harder to master and
fall in love for life-time, but they are easier to get hooked up.
With netrek it's the other way around: hard to get into, easy to
stay addicted after the initial phase has passed.

> Should we have all picks called ++ automatically so that the
> game doesn't require SC bombers to learn how to call picks?

No. Besides, when there are to carriers, it would be hard to tell. ;)

> Should we light up a cloaker for a quarter-second when hit by
> torps to make a plock easier? That'll make it easier to learn
> how to plock cloakers with torps!
> There is much skill-assistance that I am not against.

I can imagine this on a tutorial server, not for real play.
Generally, on 1 side we need the real deal, and on the other the
tutorial with almost everything allowed that is not for a real
game, so people understand where the desired skills lie.

> Phaser max-distance circles if someone wants to add them? Fine by
> me. We already report phaser damage when you hit a ship. Why not
> change the phaser color based on how far away the enemy was, and
> thus how much damage you inflicted? That wouldn't be so bad, and
> it illustrates the point that phasers do more damage closer in
> These things I list about are skill-assistance. They do not
> remove learned higher-level skill, nor important strategy, from
> the game. They simply help a new player learn faster without
> significantly changing game play.

Heheh, that's ok with _you_, but I can imagine some idealists that
wouldn't want to see that either in real play.
Significance is subjective as long as we don't have a clear definition.

> The key is to help them part of the way, such that they know
> what they're trying to learn, rather than being thrust into a
> confusing game with no real goals.

At least we agree on this abstract direction. :)

> The problem is that the game is very complex, and simple things
> like figuring out how to send messages are far more daunting
> than they should be. Why don't we concentrate efforts on that
> instead of trying to fix what's really not broken by removing
> elements of strategy and skill?

... I'll let you know when I've done something to show you.

© Rado S. -- You must provide YOUR effort for your goal!
EVERY effort counts: at least to show your attitude.
You're responsible for ALL you do: you get what you give.