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Olmeca_Gold

Survivor Bias In DU's Development

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When making their plane design decisions during WW2, the US-army once concluded that the most-hit areas of planes should be the parts which must be improved by more armor. This seemingly common-sensical conclusion was proven to be false by the statistician Abraham Wald. The issue was that, the Army's conclusions were drawn from planes actually made home after sustaining damage. One would notice a way different damage distribution and draw very different conclusions, if one actually looked at planes that fell down in combat and didn't survive.

 

I suggest that a similar error might be beginning to haunt DU's developmental prioritization. NQ is beginning to take the feedback of the currently surviving DU community very deeply to decide which areas of the game they should improve immediately. While this might seem common sensical, it might also be creating a bias similar to the above example.

 

My (very anecdotal) experience of reading DU community gives me the impression that we have a lot of people here who enjoy making ships and constructs. I know this would be an oversimplication, but let's for the sake of argument categorize these players with othergames they might enjoy. Let's say current DU playerbase has a lot of Minecraft, Satisfactory, Factorio people. This would check out, because voxel building has been one of the most advanced and interesting aspects of DU since early alpha. So people who would enjoy this kind of gameplay came into DU and "survived". The game ended up being interesting to them at the current state.

 

Meanwhile people who would enjoy PvP, dogfights, exploration, empire building, creating huge organizational (managing real people, not factories) tycoons etc. either didn't come into the game yet, or didn't "survive". Eve, Star Citizen, No Man's Sky kind of players didn't fill DU's current playerbase. And I know many of them dropped out after the weak experience in their areas of interest after beta launch. Ofc, there is greater diversity in player mentality compared to alpha, but still insufficient.

 

I would argue in its full potential, DU should appeal to all these types for different reasons. But since the game is still in a very early stage, the population of DU is less diverse across these player mentalities and the effects of this bias are greater. Meanwhile, some developmental prioritization decisions are being made by the influence of the existing playerbase, rather than the playerbase DU should be appealing to. Here are some examples how this happens.

 

1) A feature upvote page was created with no regard to principles like "nobody reads the second page of search results". Then features were upvoted by mostly pre-beta players, cemented on top by the web page's design, and those began taking significant NQ attention. 

 

2) Due to surviving players, ideas like "voxel vertices editor" or "mining bots" are heavily upvoted. These are features which the Satisfactory and Minecraft kind of players would enjoy. They wouldn't enjoy mining so they'd seek ways to build without mining. But DU should be a game which should also appeal to people who like to mine. Bots would devalue their work. Instead of working on an improved mining experience, prioritizing bots is a clear example of survivor bias in development.

 

3) Similarly, voxel builders are already achieving greatness in DU. Instead of elevating their gameplay further, NQ's developmental prioritization should be getting other gameplays to that level of interestingness and fun.

 

4) The incoming PvP patch is grounded on solving shipbuilding problems. But meaningful choices in ship design isn't the only balance domain for a fun PvP experience. In a balanced single-shard sandbox sci-fi MMO there needs to be PvP commitment, non-consensual PvP, and a meaningful risk/reward spread. I would argue the lack of warp disruptors, warp bubbles, webs; the ability of PvP'ers to bail out of any fight even after engaging in it, are more important issues than borg cubes. I'm sure it'd be better for more people if NQ solved the core gameplay experience of looking for meaningful PvP for hours and not finding anything, or the ability to bail your ship out of engagements (thus economics, chance of death, consequences not mattering), rather than fixing the shape of my ship. 

 

Of course, in an ideal world, NQ should keep improving all aspects of the game. I am not arguing at all that the game does not need a vertices editor, nor that borg cubes aren't a big issue. I am just saying that NQ should be wary about de-prioritizing important developmental areas which also happen to have no voice in the community since people who would care about these issues aren't even playing yet.

 

The game is very early and I'm eager to see how things will develop. This post is meant to be more of an early warning to NQ and a conversation initiation. I hope they keep the great work up.

 

o7

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Very much in agreement.

 

Realize I am still new here, but my take is because of DU's current state, your average gamer would (and does) leave after a short time. But my overall take on DU (and yes, this may be incorrect) is that the endgame of the devs is to cater to as broad a playstyle as possible. By this I mean appeal to crafters, traders, miners, RPG, PVP, builders, explorers to basically create a micro universe of reality, if you will.

 

With all this in mind, MY personal endgame is to create a thriving, and very affordable, business (organization) that concentrates on the build and design of XS, S,and maybe a few M size ships. My reasoning is when these new players who want only PVP, exploration, or RPG come back (hopefully) I have a viable solution where they may simply buy a ship (cheaply), fly, and interact while making money/stealing loot/hauling goods without the tedium of mining and crafting. But without a robust PVP system, I will never have a customer base.

 

If it works out, the business expands, becomes 'fat juicy targets', the organization has to hire escorts, etc. etc. but to get there, I wholeheartedly agree development of PVP and player interaction (optimizations aside) should begin to take precedence for the next round of upgrades.

 

-My Two Bits

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2 hours ago, Olmeca_Gold said:

Let's say current DU playerbase has a lot of Minecraft...

Actualy, I think, on closer examination -- no. Most of my MC friends were relativly cold on DU upon investinging what game has to offer. I myself, being super-hardcore minecrafter, find DU building system quite... exausting. Thing is, in general, MC players like much faster, intuitive building, PvE content and overall easly-accessable interactivity of game world. DU has very little to offer on this points. This why we probably see almost zero invasion from millions of MC fans around the world.

 

Current 3d desert inviting to painstakingly make 3d objects for sake of making 3d objects is landmarkers version of paradise.

 

2 hours ago, Olmeca_Gold said:

This post is meant to be more of an early warning to NQ and a conversation initiation.

Well, to be honest, all kind of warnings (about community demographics trends so to say) were here long ago.

  • When game "opened" with lot of promise in 2016, most of future players activity in intent was about building nations and all kind of healthy, EVE-inspired activites, with lot of interesting ideas and energy to spend (obviously with mix of unrealistic fantasies).
  • Game was seriously delayed (2 years), so things started to rot from boredom. Some people left and lost interest.
  • With early builds arrival, another slice of players found themeselfs in dissapoinment, when reality met with their previous expectations. In practical terms it meant that game barely supported many "expected" activities/roles.
  • To add insult to injury, NQ butchered community page (last life line for many struggling entities to stay on at least some level of activity) under premise of updating it, but it still lies in ruins, even after promise to be fired up on Beta start.
  • Very little effort all this time was made by CM team in many regards (before joining of Naerais at least).
  • Questionable start of Beta, especialy how world was prepared for our arrival (that is separate topic, that partly under NDA)...

In this medothicly developing enviroment (quite "choking" for everyone else) landmark-type players had best chances for survival. Because their staple was only one relativly working from begining and less infuenced by... not so great disign choices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I agree that there are major conflicts of where content development needs to go.  

 

Either to the current builder player base (IE: aerospace expos), or to PvP content which is essentially in a near undeveloped state.   The devs do not have the throughput to develop content for both, and probably don’t even have enough throughput to provide enough content to keep one side happy even if they fully commit to one.  And from what we have seen with the level of babysitting that current content needs (bugs, exploits hard/soft, design errors, and tweaking), which ever side is chosen will be the side the devs are stuck with for a long while (to clean up messes left behind).

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2 hours ago, Olmeca_Gold said:

When making their plane design decisions during WW2, the US-army once concluded that the most-hit areas of planes should be the parts which must be improved by more armor. This seemingly common-sensical conclusion was proven to be false by the statistician Abraham Wald. The issue was that, the Army's conclusions were drawn from planes actually made home after sustaining damage. One would notice a way different damage distribution and draw very different conclusions, if one actually looked at planes that fell down in combat and didn't survive

I have always enjoyed this story and it does provide an interesting backdrop when you overlay the development of DU on it. I do wonder though if this is truly reality or just our perception of how NQ operates. Is this community aware of the inner workings of NQ and what their development processes like look? Is there a mechanism that creats a driving function that allows the community to insert their will and direction directly into the NQ machine? Some companies do have this mechanism where the "survivors" of a game heavily dictate the direction and prioritization of a game. The NQ upvote may just be a simple query into the player base that has not implications into their their long term vision for DU. Until NQ releases a formal structure and process (aka governance) into how these potential mechanics work, we really wont know. For now, I suggest to players to enjoy the parts of the game that are enjoyable and put off engaging in the broken areas until NQ has resources (i.e. time) to address them. There is plenty of fun to be had and I find myself wanting to play more if only I had more time to be in game. 

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1 hour ago, Avonthorn said:

I have always enjoyed this story and it does provide an interesting backdrop when you overlay the development of DU on it. I do wonder though if this is truly reality or just our perception of how NQ operates. Is this community aware of the inner workings of NQ and what their development processes like look? 

 

Clearly we can't look inside but what we see happen is very recognizable for a number of reasons. There are consistent and recognizable patterns in how NQ goes about certain things and IMO most of them can be traced back to both understaffing for the amount of work and lack of funding.

 

  • Working around symptoms while root cause stays in place (and reappears after a while)
  • Hunkering down when things get tough and stop communicating on the subject until you think you have a suitable solution and then overly optimistic start promoting that. Because yo did not pay attention to feedback in the time you went "off grid" you missed a lot of information and so generally parts of your "solution" overshoots or gets shot down by the community.
  • Use google translate because you are not Native English
  • Let devs write release notes 
  • implement complex mechanics which make sense to devs and nerds but are prone to cause trouble for new and casual players
  • Asking for discussion/feedback while you already are in a polishing state for new features/patches
  • Lowering the barrier to make things "more accessible" by compromising your product vision and quality (See.. there is no need to go mining.. We splattered candy crush rocks allover and everywhere)
  • Promote ideas without thinking them through (asking well advanced players to donate constructs to be used in a game feature after a reset > give players an instant massive push in progression by finding advanced tech)

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11 minutes ago, blazemonger said:

Clearly we can't look inside but what we see happen is very recognizable for a number of reasons. There are consistent and recognizable patterns in how NQ goes about certain things and IMO most of them can be traced back to both understaffing for the amount of work and lack of funding.

These are good points....sigh....

 it reminds me to stay "off" the forums. Despite all of the arguments on this and a number of other topics (mostly disparging NQ) recently in the forums, I have to remind myself it is only one side, our side of the discussion. The other side is not expressed in this medium and prolly will never be (e.g. NQ)

Since only side has a voice, and a strong one to be sure, the outcome is oddly self reinforcing as we talk about people leaving which encourages more people to feel disappointed and leave the game which, I believe, is the opposite effect we really want to have here.

 

Great reminder to play more in game, and leave the forums. I'll be first to take my advice, thanks. 

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1 hour ago, Avonthorn said:

These are good points....sigh....

 it reminds me to stay "off" the forums. Despite all of the arguments on this and a number of other topics (mostly disparging NQ) recently in the forums, I have to remind myself it is only one side, our side of the discussion. The other side is not expressed in this medium and prolly will never be (e.g. NQ)

Since only side has a voice, and a strong one to be sure, the outcome is oddly self reinforcing as we talk about people leaving which encourages more people to feel disappointed and leave the game which, I believe, is the opposite effect we really want to have here.

 

Great reminder to play more in game, and leave the forums. I'll be first to take my advice, thanks. 

NQ seems to be a lot more active in the forums and making their voice heard, which is a great thing. 

Whilst i have no doubt that a lot of the concepts outlined in this thread have some basis.  Many posters have a tendency to exaggerate the issues, too much speculation painted as fact.  When they actually have no more idea than the rest of us, just a good grasp of the know facts, which are then spun.

My experience with players (I have have played with about 60 people so far in the game) is that around 30% of them have stuck with it and are still logging in, and around 20% of them will never come back.  The ones that have stayed are the ones that have managed to find a career in the game that is currently viable and they enjoy (ship sellers, protectors, miners, manufacturers, traders) .  Those that have left are watching the game for keys things to be added.

I am currently pretty cool with the game, it has enough to keep me interested but not enough to really keep me hooked (I need much more jeopardy in my gameplay, which I hope is coming soon). NQ havent actually deviated much from the game / path I fell in love with, so all good. 

 

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Analytics have been industry standard in games for years now.

 

Even single player games are heavily invested in analytics -- beating a boss or clearing a level often sends an event; devs needs to know what percent of their players are making it past the first levels so they can make balance decisions based on objective data, not a select few twitch streamers or hardcore fanatics. 

 

Analytics cut through the rampant speculative "I know so many people..." sort of statements by surfacing actual data. The hundred or so people you know aren't at all statistically relevant compared the whole of the beta test population...

 

NQ should already have a keen sense of how and when players are dropping off -- but they've made numerous mistakes that are typical for first-time devs with no experience in the field...so I honestly don't expect them to have reliable analytics despite the relative ease of implementation (if they are going to use Xsolla for subs, they could use many of the robust analytics providers out there). 

 

Solid analytics are even more important in a subscription model -- especially when you are a new developer with very (very) limited game design experience -- seeing exactly how design changes impact the economy and player base is absolutely vital. 

 

 Of course, if NQ does have data like this...they'd never share it unless it makes them look good. As the OP points out, it seems like they lack even a basic analytics framework and have had to rely on streamers, reddit fanatics, and JC's sacred "intuition" to stay informed. 

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2 minutes ago, michaelk said:

Analytics have been industry standard in games for years now.

 

Even single player games are heavily invested in analytics -- beating a boss or clearing a level often sends an event; devs needs to know what percent of their players are making it past the first levels so they can make balance decisions based on objective data, not a select few twitch streamers or hardcore fanatics. 

 

Analytics cut through the rampant speculative "I know so many people..." sort of statements by surfacing actual data. The hundred or so people you know aren't at all statistically relevant compared the whole of the beta test population...

 

NQ should already have a keen sense of how and when players are dropping off -- but they've made numerous mistakes that are typical for first-time devs with no experience in the field...so I honestly don't expect them to have reliable analytics despite the relative ease of implementation (if they are going to use Xsolla for subs, they could use many of the robust analytics providers out there). 

 

Solid analytics are even more important in a subscription model -- especially when you are a new developer with very (very) limited game design experience -- seeing exactly how design changes impact the economy and player base is absolutely vital. 

 

 Of course, if NQ does have data like this...they'd never share it unless it makes them look good. As the OP points out, it seems like they lack even a basic analytics framework and have had to rely on streamers, reddit fanatics, and JC's sacred "intuition" to stay informed. 

I agree, I do statistical data analysis and data segmentation as part of my job.  I would be very surprised if NQ didnt have these stats, the fact they sent out the questionnaire suggest they should. 

I wouldnt be surprised if my 'sample' audience isnt far from the truth though.

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100% agree especially on the PVP part.

 

What does it matter if it's a cube or sausage or whatever when you don't have anything to PVP for other then just shooting on one another until someone decides it's getting dangerous and runs to the safe zone.

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Your post reminds me of the phrase "dress for the job you want, not the job you have". If I understood the gist of what you said @Olmeca_Gold, you're floating out an early warning signal to NQ suggesting we "develop for the players we want, not the players we have", in essence. It's an interesting bit of food for thought - you've certainly got my wheels turning! :D Excellent discussion topic.

I'll take a crack at weighing in:

The feedback that's being collected from the forums, Feature Upvote, Discord Servers x 3, Reddit x 3, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. captures a fairly diverse range of player wants & needs. We recently released a 2020 Player Survey as well, the data from which we'll use (in conjunction with feedback from the aforementioned sources) to help steer our development plans.
 

1 hour ago, Moosegun said:

I agree, I do statistical data analysis and data segmentation as part of my job.  I would be very surprised if NQ didnt have these stats, the fact they sent out the questionnaire suggest they should. 


@Moosegun is correct, and this ties in nicely to what I was typing above the quoted text - we've got solid data and a fab team of professionals who are very adept at data analysis. :) 

Don't forget that NQ also has a formal roadmap and development goals that we're always working on, too! We simultaneously attack both long-term roadmap development and player-requested quality of life fixes/lighter features in an effort to strike the right balance. Sometimes priorities get shifted around, absolutely, but we're always marching toward our planned goal.

I know it can feel like you're just sitting in an echo chamber of "vertex editor when" if you oscillate solely between the forums and Discord, but I can assure you there's a vast array of players who make their voices heard, and we see them.

 

6 hours ago, Olmeca_Gold said:

Meanwhile people who would enjoy PvP, dogfights, exploration, empire building, creating huge organizational (managing real people, not factories) tycoons etc. either didn't come into the game yet, or didn't "survive". Eve, Star Citizen, No Man's Sky kind of players didn't fill DU's current playerbase. And I know many of them dropped out after the weak experience in their areas of interest after beta launch. Ofc, there is greater diversity in player mentality compared to alpha, but still insufficient.


I'm currently working on a little side project with one of my team mates that will, hopefully, boost these playstyles in the eyes of the community. ❤️ 

 

6 hours ago, Olmeca_Gold said:

4) The incoming PvP patch is grounded on solving shipbuilding problems. But meaningful choices in ship design isn't the only balance domain for a fun PvP experience. In a balanced single-shard sandbox sci-fi MMO there needs to be PvP commitment, non-consensual PvP, and a meaningful risk/reward spread. I would argue the lack of warp disruptors, warp bubbles, webs; the ability of PvP'ers to bail out of any fight even after engaging in it, are more important issues than borg cubes. I'm sure it'd be better for more people if NQ solved the core gameplay experience of looking for meaningful PvP for hours and not finding anything, or the ability to bail your ship out of engagements (thus economics, chance of death, consequences not mattering), rather than fixing the shape of my ship. 

 

This is a fantastic point (one of many - everything you wrote has value), and something that was raised quite a bit in the PvP player round table that was held this past weekend. In order to participate fully in PvP, players need a reason. Hopefully we're able to provide that reason (or reasons) very, very soon. :) 

Let's keep this chat rolling! I think it's a really interesting topic.

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Good insight OP.

 

To play devil's advocate, DU does have a lot of Eve players as well as a lot of former Landmark players. I came in from SC and there seem to be quite a few SC players, although community toxicity keeps most of us quiet about it.

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Interesting.

 

Now, @NQ-Naunet for your "analytics" please DO CONSIDER my profile:

Here's me: I never play Minecraft. I had installed it once (at the very very beginning), played for about 10 minutes and never touched it again.

I have also never played EVE - because I am basically NOT an MMO Gamer (blasphemy!).
I have thousands of hours in No Man's Sky and am the first person to reach the last galaxy (256) in the original game (before they changed that) - I am also an avid CRITIC of NMS because the CORE feature of the game (exploration) was actually NEVER developed (you can watch my videos on that - yes, check my YouTube Channel *shameless self-advertising*)
I have never tried Star Citizen.

 

So, what on bloody earth brought me to DU then if I am not an MMO gamer?! For this I would really suggest you check my DU Review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS1OxjrgJmQ

 

 

 

But in essence:

 

I am a Ruby Founder - when I first heard about DU I immediately wanted to back it and see it SUCCEED. In my Video Review, I have some strong negative points about DU right now - but just as I emphasize it there - I really do not want to bash the game - on the contrary: my criticism is there because I want to see the game become a brilliant piece of software to be enjoyed for years.

 

To answer the question then why would I back Dual Universe although I am not an MMO Gamer:

 

The reasons are these:

 

1. I love Space Games. And by this I do not mean a Trading Simulator where you "slap" space onto it just so you can say it is a space game (Elite ...)
What I mean by that is I love games where I can EXPLORE the space. Where I can FLY to planets, moons and systems and DISCOVER strange new things, landmarks, ruins - basically anything which tickles the imagination of an Explorer.

 

2. I love RPG. It would seem most people today *forget* that DU is not just an "MMO" - the full acronym is actually MMORPG.
So, I love games where I can hone my skills into a dedicated DIRECTION - and not be Jack of All Trades and Master of All (which is now the case in DU ...)
Part of the "RPG" is also the building feature in DU - because the building mechanics allow me to build a home, to build a castle, a ship - which can be unique and define *me* and my ROLE in the ROLEplayingGame.
 

The fact that I am not alone in this game, and there are many other people, because it is an MMO after all, does not bother me at all. In fact due to each of us having specialized ROLES and not each of us being able to do and be everything, it is a bonus and it would necessarily bring out the "emergent gameplay" the game is supposed to have.

 

 

Oh, and BTW -- since people are talking about quitting etc. -- I will be painfully honest (or politically incorrect - which is the definition of my YouTube Channel): Right now the game, for me, is in such a state, that if I was not a Ruby Founder and had not a Lifetime Subscription I would really find it difficult to continue paying for a sub. The reasons I have laid out here and in more depth in my review.

 

So, those were my 0,05 quantas on the topic.

 

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1 hour ago, sHuRuLuNi said:

DO CONSIDER my profile

Done and done! :D 

 

1 hour ago, sHuRuLuNi said:

check my YouTube Channel *shameless self-advertising*

Aaaaaand subscribed!!

 

1 hour ago, sHuRuLuNi said:

2. I love RPG. It would seem most people today *forget* that DU is not just an "MMO" - the full acronym is actually MMORPG.
So, I love games where I can hone my skills into a dedicated DIRECTION - and not be Jack of All Trades and Master of All (which is now the case in DU ...)
Part of the "RPG" is also the building feature in DU - because the building mechanics allow me to build a home, to build a castle, a ship - which can be unique and define *me* and my ROLE in the ROLEplayingGame.

If this is something you haven't already covered in your videos, I'd absolutely love to hear about the direction you'd ideally want to head in as a DU player. If everything was ideal, what kind of role would you master? :) 

Also, how deep does your RP usually go? Are you someone who enjoys contributing to lore at all? You're clearly a creative sort given your video production abilities, so I'd love to hear about the ways in which that creativity factors into your style of gameplay!!

 

1 hour ago, sHuRuLuNi said:

Oh, and BTW -- since people are talking about quitting etc. -- I will be painfully honest (or politically incorrect - which is the definition of my YouTube Channel): Right now the game, for me, is in such a state, that if I was not a Ruby Founder and had not a Lifetime Subscription I would really find it difficult to continue paying for a sub. The reasons I have laid out here and in more depth in my review.

 

So, those were my 0,05 quantas on the topic.

Don't worry at all - we want to hear your honest thoughts about DU. Obviously we regret that gameplay feels less than optimal for you right now, but that doesn't mean we get to plug our ears and pretend we don't still have lots of work to do! We know we've got something awesome, here. The more we learn about the ways in which it's not working, the better we can fill in those blanks and make sure this game lives up to its full potential. ❤️ 

Oh, and here's your 0,05 q: 

tumblr_mit6o1qvif1rfjowdo1_500.gif

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@NQ-Naunet, to follow in @sHuRuLuNi footsteps, I can not include a list of games that I have played and enjoyed, or even many moons ago, coded myself. I have been Hacking the Matrix, to coin a phrase, since 1983 and the servers don't have that kind of space LOL 😂

 

I myself played Minecraft for a short time, only because the mods made it better, then gave it up.

I tend to HATE MMO games, played WOW with my wife trying to give it a chance.

I played Eve for a short times as well, and while I consider it "decent" it just didn't have staying power for me.

My go to game for the last 4 years is and has been Elite Dangerous. ED opened me up to giving the right MMO a chance, if I ever saw one that 'clicked'.

 

Why would I care to back this game?

 

I, too, LOVE space games. I have wanted to play a game that crosses as many real life professions as possible, so that it can become largely complex with something for everyone in it. This way if I get bored of building ships, maybe I can trade for awhile, explore, attack outposts, or just sit down at a virtual coffee shop and speak to other online players.

 

RPG, oh yea. I have played games like that when they were in hardback books. And in a vast universe, with many 'jobs' to do, you can really develop a character and watch it grow.

 

In my mind DU is right in line for a Beta. It seems to be as complete, and with the amount of bugs that is what is average for a full running beta. Sure, I have seen better, but I have also seen far, far worse. So to me the current play-ability and stability issues, as well as the content, or lack thereof, are not a big deal at all. I mean it was like what, two months ago the game just went Beta! (which is how I stumbled across it) I have full confidence these devs not only have some endgame image in mind that I will like, they also show one thing that I have not ever seen in a game of this size. They seem to care. Because they care it brings to mind the small groups and solo coders that make their own games and it's actually impressive. Every interaction with ANY of DU's team, example (webmaster? moderator? dev?) @NQ-Naunet has been very pleasant with them seeming to want to hear it all, bad as well as good. That will not happen on other large scale game forums.

 

They (DU devs) seem to realize their limitations and are very informative about those limitations. The voting section includes very good information on development time. They actually seem to listen. This is what I have seen first-hand. Again, never happens with other games. But because I DO know they (devs) have a bigger vision, I fully expect it to be a couple of years before the game starts to stabilize and open up in content to the point of the "average gamer". But then again, they surprised me with kind responses to my tickets, they may surprise me on how fast it improves. I just know I am here for the big profits when those gamers come in. It will fit my character very well. (Another reason to back the game)

 

My words are not to discourage players, just to give my point of view. Honesty with your player base is ALWAYS the way to go. A player will likely come back at a later time to "see what has changed" if he just quit out of boredom, or because his much wanted special paint brush is months away, versus if he is quitting out of frustration due to over expectations, or lack of dev communication or response to his concerns. If a player thinks something is what it isn't, maybe reads a letter in a forum and says that sounds kewl, he pays a sub, gets in and the playability issues hit him like they do all of us at the main ports. There's a real chance he will be very angry, and leave thinking not to return. Best to know ahead of time, and gain an ally down the road, than miss him completely.

 

Sorry for the horrible mess of a letter, I am sure its full of grammer and spelling errors... I am at work 🤣 time for me to bring it back to the mundane world. 😫 Hope my point got across.

 

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1 hour ago, NQ-Naunet said:

Also, how deep does your RP usually go? Are you someone who enjoys contributing to lore at all?

 

10   Let me just say this: "Nou ani Anquietas".
20   And derived from that: Whatever you introduce in the game to develop an overarching "story" if you will, do not just slap it into the game, like now with the ship wrecks ("Hey there are now ship wrecks to be found, yay -. -     .... Well, how? Why? What happened? How did they end up there? How come the shipwrecks are run-of-the-mill things made of elements which we produce ...) - rather create the lore behind it. This lore is made of increments, as parts of a larger arch, which (just an example) would lead to 30
30   Stargates!           Wait, what? How? Why? -> GOTO 10

 

 

 

Trust me: This "player made" game can only go so far, i.e. even when player quests come what should they be? What could a player offer me as a quest which 1) he cannot do himself and 2) is exhilarating and worth the while for me? "Fly to Symeon and bring me 10kt of Cobaltite"? Ahm ... why don't you buy it on the market?
This can work more or less ... for a while ... but sooner or later, if you want to span the lifetime and the appeal of the game over many years, you will need something lorewise / storywise / overarching.

 

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5 hours ago, sHuRuLuNi said:

 

Trust me: This "player made" game can only go so far, i.e. even when player quests come what should they be? What could a player offer me as a quest which 1) he cannot do himself and 2) is exhilarating and worth the while for me? "Fly to Symeon and bring me 10kt of Cobaltite"? Ahm ... why don't you buy it on the market?
This can work more or less ... for a while ... but sooner or later, if you want to span the lifetime and the appeal of the game over many years, you will need something lorewise / storywise / overarching.

 

This has been somewhat of a puzzle for me, actually. When it comes down to it, will player missions offer genuinely engaging experiences, or will it simply be glorified fetch quests and "kill XXX of YYY" type scenarios that we've seen a million times over? Even the rewards won't be something you can't get yourself, if you think about it. Traditional MMORPG rules are kind of out the window for content with sandbox games. There are no "uniques" or "nodrops" (Old AO player here), or phat lewt incentives like in MMOs of old, that you would get from PvE experiences. There's no fascinating story-driven narrative to get you at least minimally motivated. No XP to gain.

 

It's not at all traditional and incredibly ambitious; this could be either amazing, or as boring as you'd expect. I almost think it's a waste of time, and it should be saved for some kind of PvE incorporation, except with unique rewards like special element variants/blue prints/recipes, etc), so at least some genuine lore can be injected into the game, but I'm probably a minority there.

 

In a lot of ways, it seems destined to be mainly transactional, where you have to consider the cost benefit of what you're doing for another vs you just doing the same thing for yourself (or as you say, them doing it for themselves). In the end, that's just doing the frankly tedious things you already do - but with extra steps. I think the question is how do we as players create fun and interesting things for fellow players to do, and then, how does NQ implement it (hopefully more involved then drop down menus) into some kind of completion > reward type scenario? Is it even worth their time, if it's just going to be things we can request in chat or put a buy order in for?

 

But yes, Lore matters, and right now there really isn't much in that regard. I know they're probably counting on much of that to come from us, the players, and the story we unfold over time as a result of our collective experiences. Those "I was there" type moments you heard about in games like EvE. It makes you wonder if they really put any effort into a story at all, or if the intent is for us to write the whole thing ourselves. Still, for the RPG part of the pillar and the segment of DU players that value that type of  game experience, some sort of foundation to build upon is dearly missed.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Novidian Prime said:

But yes, Lore matters, and right now there really isn't much in that regard.

At some point of development (when technical viability and survival become priority) NQ visibly "ditched" most of bothering with lore.

 

Currently DU story is like this:

 

1) Some old dusty fluff texts about Ark ship mission (pretty boring ones, as for me).

2) Little bit of initialy sanctioned fanfic, that was as I understand retroactivly "cancelled" to serious degree. 

3) AI Aphelia, that... kinda leads all magical invisible bots around and owns stuff, beyond that and being "voice of tutorial" plays no role. Not developed.

4) There is some alien ruins/artefacts as ultra half-assed community "quest line", but its done so badly and obsure way, that most players not even have clue what its about.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Moosegun said:

My experience with players (I have have played with about 60 people so far in the game) is that around 30% of them have stuck with it and are still logging in, and around 20% of them will never come back.

Thanos nods tiredly.

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12 hours ago, NQ-Naunet said:

you're floating out an early warning signal to NQ suggesting we "develop for the players we want, not the players we have"

 

A game is an idea, a form of art. For every such idea, there is a potential level of development depth the game could reach once the company invests sufficiently in it. For every such idea, that level of depth changes. Imagine tetris as an idea. No matter what you do developing it, it'll be a fairly simple game. For DU as an idea, the potential I see is as huge as JC likes to advertise. "The possibilities are endless".

 

Moreover, for every such idea developed and published at some level, there is the real group of people who's interested in right now. And then there is an imaginable group of people who would be interested in it once it's developed near it's full potential.

 

For most other games, even in AAA ones, it's easier to think of the former group as a sample of the latter group. That's mostly true. For an FPS game, the kinds of experiences which it's potential players are looking for are typically not as diverse. So you can develop a beta, hire some FPS-lovers to test the game, and that'll be used to improve the game.

 

For single-shard sandbox MMOs it's not as straightforward. Because people become interested in them for very, very different reasons. Such a game can become a melting pot of people who enjoy fast action, building, character progression, meaningful social interaction, roleplay, command and conquer, and more. It can be a game with players whose next favorite game is Call of Duty, Farmville, Minecraft, Diablo 2, Second Life, Fallot New Vegas, or StarCraft. That potential is pretty powerful.

 

But if in your earlier development you focus on one or a few of these areas, and neglect some others; then the priorities and tastes of the group of people who like the game now will not be the same as those who could play it once it's full potential is realized. Treating the current group as a sample of the potential group would then be committing survivor bias in your decisionmaking,

 

I am not in game development business but I have seen into development of Eve behind an NDA veil (as a CSM), so I have some insight into single shard sandbox sci-fi MMOs. Here is the way I'd assess NQ's specific situation from a complete outsider perspective. Due to the game's dynamics, NQ had to develop the construct building aspect of the game first. Without constructs, there is nothing to fight with. So arguably until the end of alpha, there was a potential of building great things that was already a super-engaging gaming experience for some. And perhaps some exploration, some factory building, and some piloting existed. But there was no meaningful PvP, RP,  chracter progression, command and conquer, high level organization building opportunities. So years of alpha backers came into the game, but those who stuck with the game were mostly players who'd enjoy the more developed sides of the game.

 

Now, due to both financial reasons nobody can change, and also for tech reasons (there was no other way to truly test the technology), NQ had to "start the sandbox" by de-facto committing to no wipes and making people pay monthly subs. No matter how much NQ will say "beta", once you start the sandbox, that's the start of the game for many. For example, I really didn't start playing DU to beta test it and help you. I started, because I saw great potential and I wanted to come in in time to be one of the competitive players. But then, the way I'm reading new feature announcements, JC interviews and such is that, NQ began treating the feedback of the current group as a full representative of the potential group. I explained some specifics about how this happens in my OP. And here in this quote it's also present.

Quote

The feedback that's being collected from the forums, Feature Upvote, Discord Servers x 3, Reddit x 3, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. captures a fairly diverse range of player wants & needs. 

According to the above analysis, this is exactly what I'm suggest to be false. The kind of people who could play DU in it's greater forms aren't even in these platforms engaging with you yet. Given the current state of the game and it's players, NQ cannot just look at the feedback of existing players across a plethora of sources, then decide what should be a priority. What needs to be done is imagining the true potential of the game, and balancing developmental priority decisions between current player needs and the needs of a way more diverse potential playerbase (ofc all this would happen in the context of financial and organizational limitations - AKA DU could have been way better with NPCs but they are too costly for now).

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You are making the massive assumption that the player feedback is only coming from players who are still in the game.  If NQ have any sense at all, they will be segmenting out, and focusing heavily on, information from players who HAVE LEFT THE GAME.  

Also I am not sure there is anything NQ are developing, working on, focusing there times on which has not always been on the development schedule.  Can you be more specific about where the game has been taken off track?

Finally why do you think 'DU would be way better with NPC's' a little confusing too, sounds like a personal opinion dressed up as a fact, I would hate NPC's in DU........  are you also mistaking what you want in the game with what the game NEEDS?

 

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On 11/25/2020 at 3:00 AM, Moosegun said:

HAVE LEFT THE GAME.  

Their feedback will never be elaborate as ours. NQ needs to just better assert their own critical thinking when absorbing player feedback into their game development and not let survivors take full reins of development.

 

On 11/25/2020 at 3:00 AM, Moosegun said:

Also I am not sure there is anything NQ are developing, working on, focusing there times on which has not always been on the development schedule.  Can you be more specific about where the game has been taken off track?

My claim isn't that some existing development schedule is taken off track. It is that "surviving player feedback" takes more priority than it should. The schedule will say "more iteration on PvP". Details dictate how that develops. I already gave many examples in my OP.

 

1) PvP priorities have been focused on the construct building aspect. Borg cubes are a big issue, but truly they not the biggest issue with PvP. Lack of commitment mechanics is the biggest issue with PvP consensual PvP (PvP among PvP'ers). Lack o af risk/reward spread for non-consensual PvP (piracy etc) is the second biggest issue with it.

2) Many features in the feature upvote page are builder-grounded features. Mining units are favored by construct builders who don't want to mine. Focusing on that request instead of a better mining experience fits the survivor bias pattern. Similarly, voxel vertices editor is something they should work perhaps 2 years later, not now. Because shipbuilding is already super interesting without that, but PvP and other areas aren't.

3) I heard JC speaking significantly against API because surviving players prioritize "immersion". Organizations in single shard sandboxes lose 200% of depth without API. Without the API there is no security checks. Meaning we as organizations can't provide new players (or even players we've known for months) with organization assets to help them. It's free lunch for RDMS thieves. Without the API there is no in-depth market PvP.  We could do so much with it. RDMS management, organization membership management, organization role management. They could target doing all these tools ingame, but that's not a realistic target. API is a great way to outsource most needs of a single shard sandbox.

4) They just released the game at the current state into the beta believing "the basics are there". The basics to start the sandbox were there only for construct builders. Not for PvPers, explorers, RP'ers, empire builders. Even mining needs large revamps.

5) Just look at their social media. 80% of the posts are slick constructs, LUA, ship expos, ship promo videos. Those people and organizations get official promotion. People had big PvP battles. No promotion. We created an org with 30 paid careers just to get people interested. No promotion.

 

Anyways, I can think of more examples but I'm not claiming I can find 100 ways NQ submits into survivor bias. There are just enough samples to begin seeing a pattern. I'm not pessimistic about the game. Just wanted to provide a constructive early-warning.

 

On 11/25/2020 at 3:00 AM, Moosegun said:

Finally why do you think 'DU would be way better with NPC's

 

A conversation around this is  tangential. We can agree to disagree with this statement. We could debate it if NPCs were currently financially viable for NQ. In essence, the game would have been way deeper with missions, or NPCs to grind; instead of a superficial daily allowance. It would take nothing from your experience either.

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5 hours ago, Olmeca_Gold said:

Mining units are favored by construct builders who don't want to mine. Focusing on that request instead of a better mining experience fits the survivor bias pattern.

This. This is honestly my worst fear of lately about potential NQ "disign attrocities".

 

I greatly suspect them in desire to go easy way with auto-miners to "shut up" people with 0 effort afk ore (in place of much more difficult update path of manual mining and fixing economy overall). In worst case (if this road will be taken to fullest) we can see T1-T2 (even T3) solo operated autominers in SZ (with token energy balancing) under some pretense of JC vision "this is game not about mining, so here is your free ore everyday allowance".

 

Bit of joke, but DU is kinda drifting to some sort of space bloated state/social security/regulations "socialism" : ) Not world of free enterpraise with invisible hand and stuff. Milton Friedman not happy in heavens about this.

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