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Everything posted by blundertwink

  1. The fact that the character ID doesn't directly relate to a player is immaterial, it's still a unique ID that can be used to directly or indirectly identify a human being. There's ample writings describing unique IDs and natural persons according to GDPR's definitions...it isn't so simplistic. Let's pretend DU isn't a game, but an e-commerce website. It creates fictional avatars for everyone -- and tracks them by an avatar ID. Would any court accept the idea that you aren't tracking a real person, but a fictional character...? Obviously not. They wouldn't treat a game much differently. The reality is that GDPR (okay and laws in general) aren't straightforward and objective -- there's huge grey areas, like about what "reasonable" means in the context of indirect identification. That's my whole point about bringing up GDPR...it can be involved and complex, and there's a big difference between "we're 99% sure we're in compliance" and a real lawyer signing off. Well, agreed...wait, since when do we care about topics...? I thought every thread was an opportunity to talk about PvP?
  2. I'd like to remind people that even innocent-seeming data can be an issue with regulation. Laws like GDPR are very clear, and this was discussed a long, long way back...but even something very simple like logging a "Player ID" is absolutely an issue with GDPR. The law doesn't care if an ID is anonymous -- any ID that is unique per person is protected data. That's what the law plainly says. That's why your IP address is considered protected under GDPR -- it can't identify you as a person, but can still be used to track you as a person. With no way to opt out, NQ is/was absolutely not compliant with GDPR laws. So...in this one situation, give NQ a bit of a break. Giving players robust tools while also complying with legal requirements isn't as simple as it might seem. (Please do more than 5 minutes of research on GDPR if you believe player IDs aren't covered as an identifier -- there's ample plainly worded articles discussing what counts as an identifier)
  3. Two pages in, and no one can answer this...because there is no answer. Even if a wipe could magically fix the economy....so what? How would that actually improve DU in any meaningful way? You'd still be stuck calibrating miners or slow-boating missions. Most players would still avoid PvP. The game would still be years from anything close to 'feature complete', which is infinitely more of an issue than the economy being "broken". DU is a game that currently lacks depth -- resetting it doesn't fix that. If anything, it would set it back. For those that believe a wipe will actually improve the game, I invite you to answer the quoted question...what would a wipe actually achieve?
  4. There's a rule in game design about how it is rarely the player's fault when they fail. You can criticize someone for not knowing what "the pipe" is (assuming the OP flew the pipe, they didn't say) -- but it's the game's job to communicate knowledge and feedback. The idea that everyone that wants to play a game ought to first research it is odd and not how consumers or gamers work. The game should communicate everything you need to know to play within the game. A new player shouldn't automatically know about flying the pipe -- if/when they fail, the game should surface feedback to explain why they failed. That's basic game design fundamentals. If someone has to come here and research to understand what they did wrong, that's a rather large failure of game design...which, to be fair, NQ's game barely even has a design anymore.
  5. I'd say we're in that future -- I mean we're talking about a game that's spent like 8 years in alpha and is still re-working mining and territory ownership. A game that still seems years away from being feature-complete. The last 7-8 years of technical debt is likely a daily struggle for the devs, most of whom haven't worked at the company for even half that time. Old code plus new devs is a recipe for glacial progress, especially when the old code isn't that clean and you're working off an unusual engine like Unigen...
  6. This is a great example of "push" design -- you're being forced to do something boring and monotonous so that you can pay upkeep and not lose your stuff. It's all stick, no carrot. Don't pay taxes, lose your stuff. Don't calibrate, lose ore income, maybe to the point you can't pay taxes. There's no reward, just maintenance and punishment. They actually did something amazing in turning the mole simulator into something even more soul-crushing and shallow. With MUs, owning territory isn't optional, it's fundamental for anyone that wants ore income. Therefore, the heavy-handed maintenance loop is also fundamental. Taxes would be easier to deal with if there were ample options for paying them -- more than one extremely extremely boring mission type and daily calibration chores. It should feel like players actually have choices, not that they are playing the game according to a script NQ creates. If they don't fire the game design interns making choices like "weekly taxes" and "calibration mini-game" I don't see why they are even bothering trying to push to release...because as harsh as we alpha players can be, players will be more harsh come release. Only they won't waste time whining on a forum like me, they'll cancel their sub and never come back.
  7. This is an inevitable result of running an alpha game as a public release. On one hand, you have existing players to support. On the other, the game is still being prototyped (for some reason), so systems are very chaotic. At this point, a lot of players have left, overall -- so a change that breaks legacy designs is maybe not a big concern for them. This isn't an urgent exploit to fix IMO, even for the worst offenders. Most people don't even engage in combat, and afaik there's not a massive demand among those that do to fix this. Even with a fix, this won't make PvP more appealing or even more fair -- it could wait until there's a more precise solution that doesn't affect so many legacy designs. Despite an effort to communicate more, I kind of doubt NQ will see it like this. They'll likely see it as an easy decision: support a relatively few legacy players or build for the future.
  8. This probably belongs in off-topic, but the game with the biggest impact for me was probably Neverwinter Nights -- it helped set me on a career path of software engineering and is still arguably the best toolset I've seen in a game. In a lot of ways, it was ahead of its time: player-crafted content will only become more intricate and common in the years to come (for better and worse).
  9. The combination of weekly taxes with daily calibration is killer -- when people are spending more than 10% of their time on mini-games, something is wrong. What's scary to me is that NQ doesn't seem to understand the purpose of mini-games in game design. It isn't as a crutch to replace major gameplay elements lost when you removed digging ore out of the ground. Mini-games are meant to be fun diversions with little impact to the main game. You shouldn't be constantly required to play a damn mini-game. Arguably, you shouldn't be required to play a mini-game at all. In DU, the mini-game doesn't break up the monotony, it is the monotony. I know it's harsh, but sometimes I feel like DU was designed by a game design intern...there's just no way an experienced game designer would think this is a good idea.
  10. Per this announcement, taxes are now suspended for two weeks to give NQ time to "revisit the tax rate". I wonder what they will actually change...? Personally, I think they need to change the frequency of the tax, not just the amount. A weekly upkeep creates a psychological pressure that will make the game seem like a chore no matter what the tax amount is, but that's just my opinion as someone that can't play every day. If they simply halved the tax rate, would that be good enough...or do they need more fundamental changes with this system?
  11. Better than some past replies, but personally I hate preventing bugs via "rules" -- if this game ever gets to release, they'll need to fix exploits a lot more promptly.
  12. Like so many DU posts, this became about PvP and has nothing to do with the original topic...until we know if NQ is actually implementing territory war (and exactly how), there's little point even talking about safe zone dynamics. Based on their history, it's very unlikely that territory war will be implemented on land tiles in the next year -- they'll roll out an "initial version" for space and call it a day. "Vocal minority" implies that there is a majority...but I'm not so sure. PvP continues to be the most discussed thing...does DU really have a "typical" player...? Part of its issue is that it attracts a widely divergent player base. Their adverts say "do what you want" -- some people want to build, some want org politics, others spend time in LUA, while some do piracy...designing a cross-genre game is tough even for veteran game designers. For NQ, I'm not sure if it is possible.
  13. That's not actually true -- there are over 120 million active Minecraft players every month (as of 2021) and the average player is likely a 20+ year old male. If active Minecraft players were their own nation, they'd be the 12th most populated nation on the planet, just behind Japan. There are far more adults in the population than children (only about 22% of the population is children in the US), so with such a generally popular game, it would be difficult for kids to be the main demo. Minecraft is obviously very popular with kids, but they definitely aren't the majority.
  14. I'm not saying that customer feedback is always positive, but it is extremely valuable. That's not really a subjective stance...understanding feedback is a massive field and companies (across every industry) that care about customer engagement generally outperform their competitors. This is very well-researched. Direct feedback is a vital part of any comprehensive analytics pipeline. I'm not saying it should be their only data. It's even more important in gaming, because it's a difficult discipline where it's very easy to lose perspective; anyone that's worked on a game dev project knows that devs can't "play the game as if they are just players". You need outside feedback from real players -- not just anonymized analytics, but real feedback. Usability testing and processing feedback from real players is an industry best practice for a good reason. Beyond all that, it's about perception and customer service. Companies that are well-regarded by their customers do better -- that's also very well researched. If it looks like you don't care what your customers think...that's not helping NQ.
  15. I'd expect this mini-game mechanic from a game design intern or a really small indie game where resources are truly limited (not a 50+ person studio with millions in funding). This is what happens when you develop a game with no experience, but are too arrogant or immature to read player feedback. NQ has only ever whined about player feedback...maybe because it's always intense critically. It's intensely critical because the game needs a lot of improvements. Running an alpha / beta but rejecting feedback because it's hard to hear is beyond counterproductive. They whine about a lack of resources, but aren't using the resources they have in the community of testers. Instead of actually engaging with feedback, they've (more than once) told the community that they don't need the opinions of "self-appointed experts" and that we don't really understand "how hard it is". In other words, they are taking it personally instead of professionally -- rather than respond to feedback on its merits, they feel the need to lash out at their own customers and remind us how difficult their jobs are (as if that's even relevant). Every game dev that's ever worked on a project understands how easy it is to lose perspective. Player feedback is gold and it's baffling how readily NQ throws it in the trash. At this point, I'm looking forward to anything that can humble NQ. Maybe a catastrophic release. Maybe their sub numbers post-demeter. Whatever it is, it will be painful but critically needed. NQ can't move forward until they figure out why they are incapable of reading and processing feedback from their own testers in advance of vomiting features onto production.
  16. It's industry standard for MMO developers to create their own engines and stand their own servers. They don't do this for fun -- it's expensive and difficult. They do it because most game developers understand and obsess about performance and they know that it's cheaper long-term. NQ wasn't led by a game developer or even someone with gaming experience, so they decided to go the "faster" route and rent servers from AWS and use an existing engine. The result is predictable. Servers are too expensive, performance is crappy. For a game where PvP is supposed to be a critical thing, it'll never be scalable or performant enough. It's also standard for games to have NPCs and PvE and for games to use instanced servers to split load...it's great to be innovative, but you shouldn't try to reinvent the wheel if you don't understand how the wheel works to begin with. You end up with Fry's wonky oval wheel...
  17. The unbalanced economy is a symptom of larger issues with the game's design (or lack thereof) as it always has been. Personally, I don't think NQ has the design vision to ever fix it. Demeter was the final proof that NQ doesn't have a skilled game designer on staff. As I've said before, NQ still operates like DU is in early alpha. They throw things into production, say "it's just a first version", then adjust the entire game's design reactively...with infrequent patches and no communication in between. This would be frustrating even for a single player game, but as a paid subscription MMO? It's not sustainable. They will never have balance in the economy when they develop the game as they do. Crude, reactive design will only produce a balanced economy by accident, and even then it will be rapidly destabilized by the next change...if they are going to stick with business as usual, their velocity of patches needs to be much, much faster. IMO, before DU's economy can mature, NQ as an organization has to mature -- they need to have a real design plan instead of developing DU as if it is still a prototype.
  18. Hah! Harsh but fair. I think NQ has made really great progress....in shaping the product so it can be marketable with videos like these. Come "release" time, they'll push their misleading (but not illegal ) videos via paid advertising...and with Demeter lowering their costs, they just might turn this beast into something profitable. Not because it's a good game or because the product has improved so vastly...but hey it's almost 2022, no one cares about a quality product when you can have quality marketing instead. 🤷‍♂️
  19. To be fair, having zero players is a bold and novel way to improve server performance, reduce cost, and eliminate complaints.
  20. The U.S. also has "truth in advertising" laws that say that adverts can't be misleading and must be truthful. Even for a nation with strict advertising laws, you'd struggle to prove (to a legal standard) that anything in this video is false or misleading. Proving that something is misleading in court isn't so easy or clear. It's like if I'm advertising a club -- but it's always really dead, so I hire actors to make it look popular. Is that misleading? Colloquially maybe....legally no. Or you made a game, but the gameplay isn't very impressive so you only show CGI cutscenes in your adverts. Misleading? Not legally. Truth in advertising laws don't require you to actually tell the truth, so long as you don't make wildly fraudulent or dangerous claims you can get away with a lot of misleading shit. Even the idiots that have been hawking fake Covid protection products don't get more than a warning letter at first -- idk how i got down this rabbit hole but TLDR companies can advertise just about anything and not get in trouble.
  21. Whoever NQ hires to do these videos does a fantastic job...is it a fair representation of the game? Not really...but it sure makes it look like a blast if you've never played. The most striking thing to me is that they run out of big changes after about 45 seconds -- the rest of the video is about new VFX, wallets, emotes, jetpack....not exactly big stuff for a year's labor. Almost 20% of the run length is just their final splash screen. Do you think NQ has added a lot in this last year...? Has the game not improved, improved a little, improved a lot...? I guess "gone backwards" is also an option if you're feeling sassy. 🤷‍♂️
  22. The dark web is completely different...the dark web is just "internet" that can't be accessed except via a special anonymizing browser like Tor. The metaverse is a digital world where people "live". That means it (to some extent) has its own economy and is decentralized enough that it can grow and evolve, but centralized enough to enforce interoperability (can wear those $200 digital sneakers even if you jump into a third-party game). FB's ambition is to have people working, shopping, and playing in the metaverse...they literally want you to live in this digital world. Again, it's puzzling because the metaverse presented in science fiction isn't something to aspire to build...it's like people watching 101 Dalmatians and thinking "hey, a puppy coat is a great idea!". They read about evil corporate powers and want to be those powers. There's nothing especially good about the metaverse -- if you thought social media was dehumanizing trash, just wait! Even if NQ could build a metaverse (which...come on, DU is further from being a metaverse than Second Life)...IMO, they'd be arrogant and misguided for trying.
  23. On one hand, there's the life of an extraterrestrial being that could alter the fabric of society forever. On the other, a good health plan and insane retirement perks...of course I'm not going to save the alien. Not worth losing my juicy evil secret government laboratory job. As a reward for my loyalty, I'll probably get promoted...maybe in 40 years I'll feel some guilt for not saving that alien, but then I'll remember that I did it all for a pension and it's not a big deal. Besides...a free alien might contact its buddies and that might cause an intergalactic war humanity would certainly lose. We wouldn't want that, right?! TLDR let the evil government lab do its job so you can keep your insurance. It's really for the best.
  24. That's the thing about the metaverse, there's no precise definition. VR/AR isn't even a requirement, although it's strongly associated with that tech. It isn't about absorbing the data itself of course, it's about selling it via targeted ads...FB (or any company really) don't actually find value in your data unless there's a way to monetize it. Not all data is actually valuable. Monetizing data isn't getting easier over time -- for example, Apple's IDFA deprecation is fairly game-changing for FB. It's likely Google will follow and deprecate GAID eventually. Hence Meta's desire to sell people digital clothes -- they know how much of a status symbol a social profile can be and want to exploit it in a way that doesn't depend on data alone....because that business is only going to face more restrictions on a legal and hardware level. I'm sure Meta will still monetize data in a variety of ways, but the big attraction of a metaverse for FB is selling digital goods. This is one reason why the metaverse offers us nothing new or interesting -- it's just an extension of real life inequality and pressure manifested digitally. If Meta has its way, the young will feel just as insecure about their digital profile as their RL body and will spend lots of money to equip it with the best clothes and accessories. An instagram study essentially proves that social media is hugely impactful to young self-esteem in a negative way and FB wants to monetize the hell out of that. IMO, monetizing data is still going to be immensely profitable in the near future, but FB's push toward a metaverse is in part driven by them wanting to get out of that business to combat growing restrictions in that space.
  25. There will be no AvA until sometime "after release" -- realistically, it isn't likely to become part of the game overall. Keep in mind that AvA doesn't mean a first person shooter -- DU won't be able to support that sort of game. If AvA ever does come (again, that's unlikely), it'll be very basic. Energy management adds more depth and engagement to the building loop -- a lot more than taxation does. Energy management works very well for building games because it creates a layer of strategy, albeit a simple one, around how to "spend" your energy. If DU were a more robust game, they would have rolled out power management instead of schematics a long time ago... That's the key with game loops -- NQ has mad a series of short-sighted choices that don't create a deep foundation to build on top of. Their loops won't get more complex because they were designed to be closed systems. To scale to more territory, you must pay taxes...that's a closed loop that won't ever get more interesting or connect with the rest of the game. On the other hand, energy can have a lot of depth -- different types of power that require different types of fuel, solar/battery, wind...all of which could vary planet-to-planet. Turning energy into a commodity could add more economic depth and set the stage for more cooperation / city building. Geothermal or other renewable sources of energy might make a big different in TW (although I highly doubt territory war will include land-based hexes in its first iteration). Relative to the complexity, energy adds a lot of potential. NQ wants some level of "touch" to keep your factories active...instead of a truly horrible mining mini-game, power solves this in a more elegant and engaging way by requiring fuel. Well...now there can be missions to deliver fuel. People can buy and sell fuel. Different types of fuel can have different efficiency...it's a game loop with a lot of potential for expansion that solves the same problem without nerfing engagement. When you look at schematics, taxes, and "mining", I think it is clear that NQs core loops are becoming more shallow and less engaging over time -- they've designed themsleves into a corner where there's nothing to do because they made the end of every loop the same: "grind for more currency".
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