Lil Bit o Tough Love for the Devs

By on May 19, 2009 6:57:31 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Ke5trel

Join Date 02/2008
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There's enough negativity on these forums and I'm sure you guys are pretty burnt out on reading posts by entitled 12 yr old punks, but hopefully you can use the following toward future updates or future games. 

Demigod right now is a fairly polished, nicely-cut jewel which has been set in a hastily-produced, silver-plated ring that doesn't quite fit and turns your finger green if you wear it for too long.  

First - It really is a testament to GPG's team that Demigod is as good as it is.  You tapped into an emerging genre and made it your own.  Character balance is pretty good on the main game mode, map balance isn't terrible, and item balance will hopefully get better - more importantly, the gestalt experience is quite refined.  (To whatever extent Stardock and GPG coordinated on this aspect congratulations to Stardock)

If the user experience stopped at core gameplay then you would be sitting on a pile of unicorns and rainbows. 

But it doesn't stop there, particularly when you are looking at a game which has slim single-player experience to speak of. 

Multiplayer games are about other people, and a majority of the experience relies on how easily you can connect to those other people.  I don't just mean "connect" as in netcode, though that's a big part of it.  I mean form social and competitive connections, form a community, form bonds of friendship and emnity.  Frankly you need these things in a game like this because teamplay is vitally important - I don't care how strong a player you are you can still be crippled by a poor ally.  
   
The simplest of all possible games (something like MyBrute) will be wildly successful if it makes connection accessible.  Something engaging and complex like Demigod will falter if it makes connection hard. 

What I'm a bit confused about are the design choices made *around* the game that actually keep me as a player from making connections. 

Some examples:

A. We have a startgame lobby you can get into when you join a game.  You see the other player's names and choice of DGs.  You see their pings.  You don't see their records, experience, rank, location, sim speed, or karma.  You have no way to whisper to your team before the game starts.  After a game is over you are popped back out into the game selection screen. 

Where is the postgame lobby?  Oh right, I guess we can use the ingame IRC, if we are all on it and have the same nicknames and feel like parsing the conversation out of the hundreds of people in the general IRC or manually creating a new channel which we all know to join. 

How do I friend the people I just played with?  Oh right, I have to retype their name in the friendslist interface.  Heaven forbid I mis-spell it, because there's no search function.  You need to get the nick in all it's l33t glory correct if you want to be friends with xXTaMbouRin3Xx.   

B.  Where is the replay system?  We know it existed in Beta.  We know it works on the Supreme Commander Engine.  Why would you strip something so useful out of the game?  Why are you dragging your heels on putting it back in?

C.  We have a friendslist - I can use it to see who is online and chat with them.  I can't autojoin their games using the list.  I can't use it to see their ingame profile (even something as simple as win/loss).  I can't use it to make auto-invitations.  I haven't had the inclination, but if I wanted to I couldn't deny a friend request.  I can't even see the name of the game they are playing. 

Generally all I'm using it for right now is figuring out which of us was dc'd.  It's the beginning of a good feature, but it's incomplete.

DPantheon/Skirmish will let me join a game against "comparable" players.  It won't let me filter maps or gametypes.  It won't let me pick allies (unless I boot teammates or opponents til I get the ones I want - c'mon).  It won't show me map or type settings until I'm in the game.  I don't play Pantheon/Skirmish right now because

1.  The Demigods are mostly balanced - for Conquest.  I'm not going to play Rook if the gametype is Slaughter and I don't know my allies.  I will lose to any other well-played DG except maybe a 1v1 Sedna or QoT.  Conversely a Tower Rook is going to own any map with bottlenecks (Exile, Crucible).  Certain DGs are going to have advantages on a given map or in any gametype other than Conquest and maybe Domination.  Why allow us to even pick our DGs?  It's not like that choice does anything but frustrate us if we pick "wrong."  Until you balance the DGs for each mode (which could take years - I imagine the reason you didn't bring CTF into release is because the disparities were just too great) you should stop forcing us into random modes we didn't pick for. 

2.  I can't pick teams.  Right now there are maybe 50 players (I know by name) who I can pick up a game with and be confident that win or lose it's a Good Game, no nubcake feeding, etc.  Of those maybe 15 are in the top 100 of your ELO ratings (which we'll get to).  I will never get a game with them.  Why not?  Because you would rather put me up against 2 newbies.  Which brings me to a pet peeve. 

3.  Please abandon the idea that 2v1 will ever be fair.  If the 2 have played more than two games they will win.  A good team of two players can beat any number of lesser players.  It doesn't scale down from there.  Please stop trying to make it work.  Show me twenty games of Domination where one player beats two and I'll

4.  Skirmish and Pantheon are currently the only game modes that are ranked.  I'm not going to exploitkick, and I'm not going to gamble that the map and gametype and allies DG and skill and opponents DG and skill all line up to give me a chance of winning or at least playing a good game *when it counts for something* 

Stripping out options and filters makes sense for casual players who just want a quick game.  Tying casual mechanics to ranked play (without another option for ranked play that allows team, demigod, mode, and map choice) really, really doesn't.  Don't make us gamble if we want to play competitively. 

5.  The ELO system you are using might be great, but I can't tell because the netcode is so glitchy.  Someone is always getting disconnected by the system.  I get losses when the other player DCs.  I get losses when I DC.  I get losses when no one DCs but I won the game.  I get losses for games I never played, that I might have tried to join but didn't even make it into the lobby on.  I get wins I never earned too.  Some games just disappear like they were never played.  And that is what you are basing who you match me up with?

On top of that, your allies are really important on a deeper level than just rank.  There are some players who you click with and some who you just don't, and it doesn't always come down to skill.  I've lost games with incredibly strong allies that I know I would have won with a team I was in synch with.  Pairing me with someone who wins consistently but has a tragically difficult playstyle for me to adapt to is an exercise in frustration for both of us.   

Pantheon, again could be a good feature down the road, but it's incomplete. 

Conclusion:

I could go on without ever touching the netcode issues, but I think you get the point - I'm looking at multiple mechanics and implementations that were either never polished at the design level or simply left incomplete.  The capabilities that do exist are seperated from the core game by one or two clunky mechanics (Alt-Tab to website?  It's a beautiful website, Bara, but why do I need to *leave* the game to balance the teams I'm trying to make *in* the game?) 

On top of that I'm seeing the wheel that has been so carefully invented from scratch by these same companies on other games thrown out the window.  Let's not even talk about other developers - why in the world would you abandon many of the lessons you learned with Sins and Supcom? 

I know both companies have committed to ongoing updates, some of which will address these issues.  I appreciate that, and I certainly know you have put your blood, sweat, and tears into this game.  I've been playing as often as possible for nine months now and I'm not going to stop any time soon. 

But I think it's also clear that at some point money/time began running out and compromises were made in areas around the core game.  At the time these areas might have seemed non-essential, but just like when you set a diamond in a shoddily manufactured ring - they really aren't.

Thanks for reading,
Kestrel



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May 19, 2009 7:24:59 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

TL;DR.

 

Im thinking aboot requesting a refund for this shit game. 3wks to fix NAT problems that shouldn't exist in a gold game is 3wks too long.

Anyone else share my sentiment?

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May 19, 2009 7:35:05 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Chaosnaska,
TL;DR.

 

Im thinking aboot requesting a refund for this shit game. 3wks to fix NAT problems that shouldn't exist in a gold game is 3wks too long.

Anyone else share my sentiment?

not really considering how the launch went i personally have just been waiting patiently without flaming the forums every 2 days complaining about the MP issues cause itll get fixed and when it does those who kept the game will see the benefits of doing so

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May 19, 2009 7:37:54 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

ATTN entitlement whiners:

 

The OP is an example of how to make a reasoned point expressing disappointment with elements of his gaming experience while NOT being an ass.  You would do well to emulate it, and perhaps be a bit more persuasive in the bargain.

CN - take the refund.  I say again, you are a cancer.

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May 19, 2009 7:38:20 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Nearly everything were good points.

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May 19, 2009 7:41:59 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Chaosnaska,
TL;DR.

 

Im thinking aboot requesting a refund for this shit game. 3wks to fix NAT problems that shouldn't exist in a gold game is 3wks too long.

Anyone else share my sentiment?

please do so. then you hopefully will stop trolling

 

as for kestrels list, a lot of good points. as for the pantheon and skirmish, i hope to see some change in what matches we are put into. i dont do pantheon or skirmish anymore because of it

 

i wouldnt call the lack of a replay system dragging their heels. they had a lot to do and with the patches for connection issues slowing down, soon they can get to it. i wish i knew what gpg was doing, im pretty sure they have to do some network stuff, but it's a shame we don't hear more from them because i believe this is their issue

 

can't you deny friend invites from impulse? maybe if they invited from impulse

 

overall, you are complaining about a lot of things that should be added, but don't ruin gameplay. as mp system and impulse get better, i think this stuff will get added(lobby options, better friends list, etc)

 

almost all of your complaints deal with mp and impulse in a way, and you have to remember impulse is new. i think this will get a lot better quickly

I understand they chose to start impulse, but i think it is good they have it and are making it stronger, and  im willing to wait a bit for there to be more options. my only con is them saying clan stuff by the end of summer. the game could be dead unless they release major patch like an expansion

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May 19, 2009 7:43:02 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Couldn't have put it better myself.

Alot of the issues can be a fixed by looking at how other games do things. L4d for examples of how to work skirmish (it has quick match option for it to work how it currently does but also has arranged games pssobility.

Warcraft 3 stat system for when someone joins a game so you can see their stats.

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May 19, 2009 7:50:41 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Yeah that was a good read ke5trel.  Especially the friend and replay stuff.

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May 19, 2009 7:55:34 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

We have a startgame lobby you can get into when you join a game.  You see the other player's names and choice of DGs.  You see their pings.  You don't see their records, experience, rank, location, sim speed, or karma.  You have no way to whisper to your team before the game starts.  After a game is over you are popped back out into the game selection screen.  

You can do this, actually. Click on the player's name and the drop down list will show "Private Message" to be one of the actions you can do. Selecting it will present you with a dialog for you to type in your PM. You'll see it appear in the main lobby chat as "To <nick you PM to>: <Your message>".

It's tedious to use this but it's better than nothing for now.

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May 19, 2009 8:05:40 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I have to say I agree with

Thanks for such a nice write up my friend!

It's why I've voicing my displeasure for the concept of scheduled games, because to me it looks like they're trying to reinvent the wheel and come up with some new match making abilities when we don't have what other modern RTS (DoW2, etc) already have.

It comes down to:

  1. Either GPG/Stardock did not have the time/money to impliment many of features a modern RTS should have -- matching/team forming lobbies, exit lobbies, friends list intigration to game invites, etc.
  2. -or- they're not familar with what other modern multiplayer games are currently providing.

If it's #1 fine, tell us so and then please please use the extra development fund that is left to get those systems in place.

If it's #2, then please please go and play other games like DoW2 and other xbox live games and do some multiplayer lobby/friends interface research so that you're not having to reinvent the wheel.  Then please please... add those features in!

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Parts that I disagree with?  I sort of enjoy that the game types are random type (Conquest/Slaughter, etc) but I've played far fewer than others and while I'd like to believe demigods are balanced for all game modes I suspect there is some variation where for example the Rook is weaker in non-conquest games

If it came to match making taking 10+ mins due to lack of people or starting up a 1v1 with us each getting a bot to decrease the time it takes get a game going, I'm all for it.  I think the biggest key to having bots fill up player slots is to improve the AI so that it is much much much better.  Once it's been improved I think it might be less of an issue setting up 2v1. 

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I love this game and really really want to see it succeed and grow and gain a robust player base.  I think it will, but due to the vast number of little details that need to be tweaked/added I'm worried that it is either not going to happen or take too long and the player base will move on.  Heck in many ways I already have, as I'm playing plants Vs Zombies and other games waiting for things to be fixed, waiting for team match making so that I can finally start grouping up and playing with people. 

I keep testing and trying to get games going but often I end up getting errors or due to lack of feed back or my match making results throwing errors I just give up and do something else (I do plan to start sending error logs and other info soon).

The moment things are really really fixed I'll be back playing.

 

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May 19, 2009 9:13:04 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

i think that impulse is going to have to step up and complement their games better.  The relationship between steam and valve games is amazing, i could not have wished for anything more.   In the near future, I honestly would be dissatisfied with impulse if it lacked any of the features steam has.  Also, impulse is going to want to 1up steam if they want to get competitive and my only comment is that steam lacks VOD(as in spectating games) and impulse could capitize on that.

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May 19, 2009 9:59:11 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Reading this post made me reflect a little.

Demigod is predominantly a multiplayer game - and yet the multiplayer aspects of Demigod (the ability to connect and the issues the OP highlighted) seemed to have been overlooked or seriously underestimated.

I hope this doesn't have the makings of a "Hellgate : London" fiasco (which didn't even have these "I can't connect to the online game" issues).

 

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May 19, 2009 10:46:38 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Well said... hopefully SD reads this and makes some changes.

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May 19, 2009 11:02:30 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Just a quick point I made in another thread...  Impulse is NEW.  Steam was released in 2003, Impulse was released June of last year.  That's 1 year vs 6.  Now, Steam was really the first of its kind, and had to invent the wheel, so to speak, but Steam has a huge head start on this.  I'm not saying Impulse shouldn't/can't get to that level, but coding takes a lot of time to do well, so it might take a while.

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May 19, 2009 11:14:50 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Im thinking aboot requesting a refund for this shit game. 3wks to fix NAT problems that shouldn't exist in a gold game is 3wks too long.

Anyone else share my sentiment?

Chaos, you have over 1200 minutes of on-line time.  I think you're well beyond the "refund" limit here.  The refund is for people who can't get the game to work - as in can't connect or game doesn't launch.  It's not there for people who have played online for (literally) 20 hours and decide they don't like it.

That said, I'd be happy to make an exception in your case.

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May 19, 2009 11:18:51 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Some architecturual designs that are questionable, that you pointed out, and I totally agree with, is no post-game lobby.  Why do players constantly get kicked back to the main screen?  That just seems pointless.

Also, two things that kinda kick me in the balls are

                  1) No VOIP.  Small 2v2/3v3 games benefit from VOIP in a total sense.  The lack of VOIP in a 2009 release game is very questionable.  Come on, guiz, get with the times!

                  2) No clan/arranged match support for ranked games.  Now, I am not suggesting that 2 members of the SUPRLEETGRP clan go up against 2 random PuGs.  However, 2 of those said members should go up against two who queued up specifically in the "arranged match" queue ought to happen.

A subpoint for (2) would be a clan only chat room, which just damn makes sense.  Seems like, to me at least, Warcraft 3 had more support for competitive play than this game-- a step BACK.  Just one question, why?

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May 19, 2009 11:19:59 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

Im thinking aboot requesting a refund for this shit game. 3wks to fix NAT problems that shouldn't exist in a gold game is 3wks too long.
Anyone else share my sentiment?

Chaos, you have over 1200 minutes of on-line time.  I think you're well beyond the "refund" limit here.  The refund is for people who can't get the game to work - as in can't connect or game doesn't launch.  It's not there for people who have played online for (literally) 20 hours and decide they don't like it.

That said, I'd be happy to make an exception in your case.

 

Check your Private Messages.  I sent you the question marked "Question on a refund", and you can rule if I qualify or not. 

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May 19, 2009 11:22:10 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

When you play Warcraft 3, are you playing on Vivendi Online?  When you play Left 4 Dead is the multiplayer provided by EA (its publisher)?  Is Dawn of War 2 played on THQ Online?

As much as I want to, Stardock, as the publisher does not have unlimited powers on games it does not develop.

We have managed to inject an overlay into Demigod to provide some features like chat and more notifications and a basic friends list. 

I agree with the comments on the friends list but then again, as someone else pointed out, Valve only relatively recently released those features in Steam.  We've had them for 4 weeks and only to help Demigod.

As we gear up for Elemental (which we are developing and publishing) we will certainly be providing any new functionality back for Demigod users in terms of overlay features.

I will certainly make sure GPG reads your comments and in the areas we can help on I certainly agree with your post.

 

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May 19, 2009 11:24:47 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Check your Private Messages.  I sent you the question marked "Question on a refund", and you can rule if I qualify or not

No, you really don't qualify for it but like I said, for you, I'll make an exception as long as you never buy anything from us again.

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May 19, 2009 11:30:14 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

rotflmao

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May 19, 2009 11:33:28 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

looool he got that comming

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May 19, 2009 11:34:11 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

The one thing I really want is a mute button. I got into a match with a very annoying person who called me a "faggot" everytime I killed the AI on his team and constantly called his teammate a retard. I really don't want to hear that. I know there are bigger things that need to be done, but when the main problems are fixed I think this should be referenced.

On a positive note, I have to congratulate Stardock on publishing a very addictive game. My 360 hasn't seen any action for a month.

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May 19, 2009 11:49:30 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

On a positive note, I have to congratulate Stardock on publishing a very addictive game. My 360 hasn't seen any action for a month.

Wouldn't it be marvellous if your 360 could also play Demigod ?

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May 19, 2009 11:57:03 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

Check your Private Messages.  I sent you the question marked "Question on a refund", and you can rule if I qualify or not


No, you really don't qualify for it but like I said, for you, I'll make an exception as long as you never buy anything from us again.

 

It's not everyday one gets told off by the CEO.  Though his little troll brain probably thinks it a mark of distinction.

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May 20, 2009 12:02:40 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

It's not everyday one gets told off by the CEO. Though his little troll brain probably thinks it a mark of distinction.
In a sense it is... but not a good distinction.

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May 20, 2009 12:49:17 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I will certainly make sure GPG reads your comments and in the areas we can help on I certainly agree with your post.

You can do this, actually. Click on the player's name and the drop down list will show "Private Message" to be one of the actions you can do. Selecting it will present you with a dialog for you to type in your PM. You'll see it appear in the main lobby chat as "To : ".

It's tedious to use this but it's better than nothing for now.

This works in a 2v2.  What if I have multiple teammates?  I'm thinking about stuff like figuring out favor and builds before you get into the game, since I at least am looking at selecting all of that in the first 3 seconds or so of play. I'm usually capping a flag ten seconds into a game and engaging the opponent at 15-20.  Doesn't give alot of time for strategizing.

can't you deny friend invites from impulse? maybe if they invited from impulse

You can if they come through Impulse.  If it's through the ingame client then you will simply see new friends.  Actually it's better this way because unless both are in IRC or the same game lobby the only way you can whisper to someone is if you friend them,  Until we can get universal whispers I guess the system should stay. 

I'd like to believe demigods are balanced for all game modes I suspect there is some variation where for example the Rook is weaker in non-conquest games. Is it weak enough you'd never pick him? If that's the case then there might be an issue otherwise... I don't think it's as bad as Ke5trel makes it out to be.

It might not be.  Alot of it comes down to playstyles.  If I want to be good at surviving and pushing lanes and structures then I take Rook or QoT.  If I want to kill somebody then I take somebody like Regulus or UB.  That's just how I play them, not to say Rook can't kill or Regulus can't push.  I'm just not very good at killing with Rook compared to Regulus - so when I roll the dice and it comes up Slaughter then I'm at an immediate disadvantage if my opponent has any clue.  

almost all of your complaints deal with mp and impulse in a way, and you have to remember impulse is new. i think this will get a lot better quickly

I absolutely do remember that - it's why I'm having this conversation with you.  Hopefully the lessons from Demigod release can be applied not only to future games but also to future updates of this one.  I think we all understand that it will get there eventually, but it's important that we stay a part of the process.

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