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FB Ice

In defense of fidelity to official servers

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Introduction

Let me start with a little about myself. I grew up on this game. I played it for years and had several characters maxed with thousands and thousands of hours in the game. After the decline of the game, suddenly I had a large appointment of free time (🙃) and so I earned a degree in Psychology. Specifically, I studied the field of psychology known as industrial/organizational psychology in which psychologists interact with and counsel organizations in order to address issues which may arise from the human condition within these institutions both in a commercial and non-commercial manner. I've since switched gears a bit and am studying therapy, but that's boring and irrelevant to the topic at hand. I bring this up, because I'm going to try and keep opinions to a minimum. If you're new to the world of research papers, it should be known that to say this read is going to be dry is an understatement I try to use as much prose as possible and to specifically avoid writing in an overly wordy fashion, however when dealing with topics that are fairly in depth, additional reading is required to follow. Hopefully the citations provided will allow some insight into the field and where I am coming from. There may be some points you disagree within them, but I'm providing the strongest evidence the scientific community has to offer: Peer reviewed and published works of research. I've been educated on the topic, as well, and hopefully this article will explain why I take the stances I take. What I'm going to say isn't fun. It's not ideal. It's the real world and sometimes that just kinda sucks for all parties involved. 

 

The Clementine staff has thus far done a fairly decent job at balancing both the worlds of the purists and experimentalists here, but they are programmers and not trained in administration (I assume). I've been deeply involved with several *cough* websites which I won’t discuss here as an administrator, and it's extremely painful to watch them wither and die due to a lack of knowledge on the topic. I advised against changes and promoted others specifically to prevent known issues from arising only to be completely ignored by the site owners. I'm going to ask for a little faith on this, and if it really becomes that much of an issue where you guys think I'm just BSing you, I'll privately confirm with one of the admins of the site or forum moderators. It's just not the type of thing I can discuss publicly, especially since I use identifying information on this website. That being said, it was NOT a video game and the issues I dealt with there were more issues of power struggles and the organization of users (for instance, failing to incorporate a design that protects against the Peter Principle). I still believe my experience on the subject is relevant and will allow all readers to understand the impact that dramatic shifts in gameplay can have.

 

Also, know that what I’m saying here comes from a place of love for the game and its community. It comes from a place of willingness to compromise and not from a firm stance or ultimatums. With that out of the way, let's get started.

 

User retention and growth.

 

Whether you like it or not, this game needs other players. We saw in the past how much the development of the server can drain the administration. Patreon was implemented and many of us began showing support, but without financial motivation we all know this project would never be finished, and currently that incentive comes from players donating. Additionally, just because the server may be one day be complete and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel doesn't mean that we'll be playing this game for years to come. As it stands right now this is the only shot at success we have, which means a slow and cautious approach is ideal. I honestly believe the administration already understands this, as every change the community suggest that is implemented. That being said, this server is not open source, and it is not an easy task to develop a working one. It’s taken this long to get this far. If we fail now, we will all lose this game for good.

 

Every single change implemented to this server will upset people and at a statistically significant rate drive them away. As Don Anderson says in The Dark Side of MMOGs: Why People Quit Playing 

Quote

It is obviously far easier to retain an existing customer than to recruit a new one

This would imply that a focus should be on retention rather than exciting new changes, especially considering the traditionalist atmosphere often accompanied by older games. Within this same paper, Anderson also cites a lack of clearly defined goals as a primary reason players leave. By constantly adapting the game, shifting the meta, and discouraging the use of playstyles that were just encouraged prior to a patch, users will be driven away as they feel punished for investing time in now outdated methods of play.

 

Moreover, as pure speculation, I firmly believe that everybody who was previously involved in Phantasy Star Universe official wants some degree of accuracy. We already have a playable highly updated entry in the Phantasy Star Online series. As an extreme case for an example (a fallacy I know!) If this game becomes nothing more than a fanboy’s wet dream with crazy ideas everywhere and their every last desire implemented, it would turn off every other player in the game with the exception of its appeal as a mod to players enjoy whack modified content.

 

The forum is not an ideal place to get ideas, and the forum users are not an ideal source of them.

 

This is not to say some ideas aren't good, but on the whole, users simply aren’t going to put the time or energy actually fleshing out these ideas. Even if they do, how many competent game developers have you seen completely botch their design after months of effort? The creator of MegaMan, Keiji Inafune, released Might No. 9 to mixed reception. This is coming from a developer who is inarguably competent with game design, having created a series which now has over 130 titles. Despite this, even he was not immune. PSU  is a tried and true game with which many players, I’m guessing all of us, have fallen in love to some degree. That’s not to say opinions shouldn’t be voiced, but taking them too seriously into developis a pratfall that should be avoided. If this server were a company, would you listen to the many demands of your customers, or would you listen to the educated opinion of your financial advisors? Customers would want everything cheaper, in higher quality, and in larger quantities that can effectively be achieved while maintaining a profit. It’s harsh to say, but in every scenario end goals, in this case longevity, should be counseled for by those with the most experience to achieve them and whose values are most aligned with them

 

In light of this, in case you haven’t noticed, Clementine has already changed. Assuming users leave during periods of change (which will be established later), this means that their opinions are unfortunately no longer heard here on Clementine. Assuming a system in which a game is developed based on the majority consensus, this would mean that the forums are already biased against players who preferred the game in a prior state.

 

Moreover, this forum is a downright sounding board. People downvote everything they don't like, and in a sense that's what the button is there for, but it's psychologically discouraging contrary opinions and prevents movements from gaining traction. Combined with the previous topic of users leaving, this could create a dangerous feedback cycle. I’m positive some of you have noticed certain games when you join as a new player, people are very discouraging. This objectively lowers user retention and silences discussion. In this case, silence is deadly.

 

In Destructive Role of Employee Silence in Organizational Success, Beheshtifar, Borhani, and Moghadam of the University of Iran discuss 8 key factors in the silencing of employees and outline the destructive force this silence can have within an organization. Due to fear, embarrassment, narrow conceptions of ethical behavior, loyalty to unethical friends, a lack of voice, and poor organizational skills can all lead to fatal flaws within a corporate structure. PSU may be a hobby for us, but it’s one many of us spend as much time on as a profession, if not more. Heed the warnings of the authors and avoid reinforcing negative structures which are non-conducive to success. In order to avoid this, as much of a voice should be given to the silent as possible. RuneScape which recently launched a throw-back version called 2007Scape or Old School RuneScape. Within their structure for success, and in order to preserve the community, Old School RuneScape performs surveys not on the forums, but directly in game at postings available at all commonly frequented areas. Any barrier added to this, be it posting on forums or only listening to active users will only serve to bias the outcome in the direction the game is currently moving. An argument may be made that there’s a vocal minority of RuneScape players who would like more change, but I contest that there are new versions of the game with much change (an analog of PSO2) and a much better system in place for listening to user voice than currently implemented in Clementine.

 

The irony here is, even though the players who are accepting with the game in its current or state, those seeking to alter it are likely to be habitually pessimistic in this regard. According to Yu in Habitual Domains:

Quote

It has been recognized that each person has habitual ways of responding to stimuli. … Some are habitually positive and optimistic, while others are negative and pessimistic.

By giving into mentality that aspects of the game are not in an enjoyable state, you are directly reinforcing those who will be less likely to be satisfied anyways, meanwhile the silent, positive players slowly come across unwanted changes and fade away. The game already existed in a format people played. Even given SEGA’s awful handling of updates, the game lasted for years on end. Chasing an unattainable ideal of beauty only leaves one without realistic ideals or tangible beauty. Yu also states that solutions to problems influenced only by a narrow view, in this case only accepting change for what you don’t like, are poor solutions, as they fail to consider the viability of opposing options. In order to defeat this issue, any suggestion posts would have to offer alternatives to the problem, including accepting it, rather than simply stating the problem and demanding change. 

 

A final bias present on the forums is that there is rarely data posted on this forum in any fashion. People just get gut feelings and post them. It’s human nature, and we simply don’t all have the time to invest into the research needed, or in some cases even, the ability to gain the knowledge to interpret research in the first place. Humans are absolutely terrible at perceiving the world around them, however, and gut feelings and opinions should be avoided in lieu of concrete evidence. For many of the users here, however this will be their first interaction with a scientifically written paper. How should a user without such a background even begin to voice a well founded opinion that would be beneficial for a server? It can be done, but for much more energy than most are willing to apply. Without the proper research to support ideas, this methodology is nothing more than theorycrafting and should be treated as such.

 

No offense to staff, but SEGA also tried to polish this game.

 

In a syllogistic argument, working on video games is experience, and they worked on video games, therefore they are experienced in video game design. You may feel whatever you may think about the outcome, but it’s downright ignorant to pretend they didn’t try. Regardless, we know that didn't turn out well, or I wouldn’t be here defending a halt to needless changes. I can also guarantee they were, contrary to popular belief, experienced in what they were doing. Regardless it seems to be the opinion of the community here that balance was never achieved and for good reason. MMOs bear so much resemblance to real life in its complexity that they’ve even been used to study the outbreak of diseases. The systems they create are as complex as the users who input into them. The economy, game balance, and similar facets of the game are as fragile as they are complex, and, as seen in the past, easily damaged. Continued tinkering can result in such damage to the balance as power creep and inflation. Referring back to the points on pessimism, I believe it’s ok to accept the game in an imbalanced state, especially if it means protecting against further imbalance, inflation, and power creep.

 

Power creep as a mechanism is deadly for video games. It reduces the skill required to achieve success, but it does not increase balance. A quick glance at time of writing on the suggestions forum show the first 10 posts contain 7 posts whose ideas involve increasing the strength of the player character in one way or another and 3 posts which are either quality of life or system improvements. If this is any indication to what players want, (and I can say within a certainty of 95% that this is true), players would lead to extreme power creep as they prefer buffs to nerfs. Nerfs are as necessary to balance as buffing, and yet this change is even more discouraging than power creep as it punishes certain users who are simply playing how they enjoy. If following the advice of forum users, then the game would rapidly become even easier than it already is, falling outside of our our zones of proximal development - halting growth and losing interest.

 

Making people happy is a bad metric for game design. 

 

We’ve all played games that had mechanics we didn’t like. That’s a normal part of gaming. That shouldn’t stop you from falling into a pessimistic cycle, and just because a game isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it’s not the best it can be. Breath of the Wild had weapons, arguably the only valuable loot in the game, break fairly easily and it was considered a commercial success. The mechanic may not be loved, but it contributed to loot being interesting, which contributed to exploration, which contributed to the overall game design. Without it chests would quickly become not worth opening and seeking them out would have become pointless. Could a better system have been implemented? You bet, but in the real world redesign takes a lot of time, effort, and money. Just because mechanics are hated does not mean that their removal contributes to a positive atmosphere for the game. Think about all the GT hipsters who would quit playing their class if it were meta! Poor Hipster GT liked the class before it was cool 😎

 

Compounded by people never being happy and the cycle of pessimism - At some point you're going to have to accept that there will be a meta way to play which is widely agreed upon to be. This doesn’t mean balance shouldn’t be a goal, however. It’s simply an extremely finicky topic and everybody here is going to have to be ok with the degree of finesse required.

 

Discussion

 

I'm biased. My research is biased. I may have an eye for scientific accuracy, but I've played this since I was 17, and I'm a human being with emotions. This also isn't my server, either. If the team wants to develop 19 stars and add a class to the game that uses all weapons at S rank, who are we to say no? There's nothing unethical about running this however they want. It may not be what's best for us, but it's theirs and that's respectable.

 

If the game were fully developed first, it would provide a more accurate metric by which to gauge balance and other gameplay changes on. I know there are some issues here that are glaringly obvious, but as mentioned earlier - a cautious approach will have less risk, be lower impact on development, and allow more time for accurate understanding of the game to be developed.

 

Also, I believe in the long run some change is necessary. This game had highly questionable mechanics that everybody knew even on official. Jabroga was the most powerful PA AND it didn't ever miss. Official also patched many things as the game was moving along. I'm just asking for restraint rather than changing literally every single mechanic in the game to suit what some players want. That being said, rapid change will absolutely kill this server. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Change, as established earlier, is correlated with user dropout at least to a degree, so a steady pace with plenty of time to adjust between changes is ideal so as to not shock the user base. 

 

Solutions

 

Ideally there would be two servers: One vanilla, and one new. The vanilla would still need quality of life improvements and implementation of official content like Guardian's Cash rewards that are ideally faithful to the original as possible. This has obvious logistical drawbacks. It would take time and money. It would split the community. It would, however, also provide immunity from unwanted change and a safe place for those who only wish to experience what they did in the past. It would also allow for a more experimental server without retention concerns, as any user who changed their mind could simply switch to vanilla if they get fed up. More, as this option satisfies the most varying viewpoints, it would also likely mean the most overall income for the server. That being said,whether or not this would be worth the time or money would require analysis. In the meantime I would heavily encourage minimum changes and then once the server is running, a Patreon/crowdsourcing option specifically for an experimental or classic server would give the insight needed to make a truly accurate decision.

 

A second option would be fairly true to vanilla server with minor balance tweaks. This would be a no-nonsense method of securing as large of a player base as possible with minimum effort and investment. In a way this is unavoidable anyways, as many of the options official had were either tied to story mode, real money trading, or even simply the mechanic of charging monthly for a service.

 

A continually evolving server which *starts out* vanilla and gradually changed could also be implemented. It should be obvious by now I’m not a fan of this, however, I cannot deny Ephinea has found some degree of success with it. I personally left the server due to changes that occurred in a manner I could not keep up with, but I would gladly sacrifice having my way for the betterment of the server. I still do not believe this is the most effective method of running the server, however, and I would strongly discourage making changes prior to launch.

 

A parting word: You guys are not toxic, or at least I haven't run into too much of that, but that doesn't mean the effects of toxicity can't be felt. Every time any change in either direction -  towards official or towards new horizons - is implemented everybody complains. That's their right, but it doesn't exactly leave us who want to avoid drama with anywhere to voice ourselves.. I believe we can compromise and reach an ideal middle ground, but not with the current organization implemented. It’s biased heavily towards negativity and generally being not ok with the way the game is played. 
 

I appreciate that you've taken the time to read this in its entirety. I hope the effort I put into the paper shows, and I hope, if nothing else, you learn something new from it.

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This is a whole load of waffling and jargon, who even are you?

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41 minutes ago, FB Ice said:

Introduction

Let me start with a little about myself. I grew up on this game. I played it for years and had several characters maxed with thousands and thousands of hours in the game. After the decline of the game, suddenly I had a large appointment of free time (🙃) and so I earned a degree in Psychology. Specifically, I studied the field of psychology known as industrial/organizational psychology in which psychologists interact with and counsel organizations in order to address issues which may arise from the human condition within these institutions both in a commercial and non-commercial manner. I've since switched gears a bit and am studying therapy, but that's boring and irrelevant to the topic at hand. I bring this up, because I'm going to try and keep opinions to a minimum. If you're new to the world of research papers, it should be known that to say this read is going to be dry is an understatement I try to use as much prose as possible and to specifically avoid writing in an overly wordy fashion, however when dealing with topics that are fairly in depth, additional reading is required to follow. Hopefully the citations provided will allow some insight into the field and where I am coming from. There may be some points you disagree within them, but I'm providing the strongest evidence the scientific community has to offer: Peer reviewed and published works of research. I've been educated on the topic, as well, and hopefully this article will explain why I take the stances I take. What I'm going to say isn't fun. It's not ideal. It's the real world and sometimes that just kinda sucks for all parties involved. 

 

The Clementine staff has thus far done a fairly decent job at balancing both the worlds of the purists and experimentalists here, but they are programmers and not trained in administration (I assume). I've been deeply involved with several *cough* websites which I won’t discuss here as an administrator, and it's extremely painful to watch them wither and die due to a lack of knowledge on the topic. I advised against changes and promoted others specifically to prevent known issues from arising only to be completely ignored by the site owners. I'm going to ask for a little faith on this, and if it really becomes that much of an issue where you guys think I'm just BSing you, I'll privately confirm with one of the admins of the site or forum moderators. It's just not the type of thing I can discuss publicly, especially since I use identifying information on this website. That being said, it was NOT a video game and the issues I dealt with there were more issues of power struggles and the organization of users (for instance, failing to incorporate a design that protects against the Peter Principle). I still believe my experience on the subject is relevant and will allow all readers to understand the impact that dramatic shifts in gameplay can have.

 

Also, know that what I’m saying here comes from a place of love for the game and its community. It comes from a place of willingness to compromise and not from a firm stance or ultimatums. With that out of the way, let's get started.

 

User retention and growth.

 

Whether you like it or not, this game needs other players. We saw in the past how much the development of the server can drain the administration. Patreon was implemented and many of us began showing support, but without financial motivation we all know this project would never be finished, and currently that incentive comes from players donating. Additionally, just because the server may be one day be complete and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel doesn't mean that we'll be playing this game for years to come. As it stands right now this is the only shot at success we have, which means a slow and cautious approach is ideal. I honestly believe the administration already understands this, as every change the community suggest that is implemented. That being said, this server is not open source, and it is not an easy task to develop a working one. It’s taken this long to get this far. If we fail now, we will all lose this game for good.

 

Every single change implemented to this server will upset people and at a statistically significant rate drive them away. As Don Anderson says in The Dark Side of MMOGs: Why People Quit Playing 

This would imply that a focus should be on retention rather than exciting new changes, especially considering the traditionalist atmosphere often accompanied by older games. Within this same paper, Anderson also cites a lack of clearly defined goals as a primary reason players leave. By constantly adapting the game, shifting the meta, and discouraging the use of playstyles that were just encouraged prior to a patch, users will be driven away as they feel punished for investing time in now outdated methods of play.

 

Moreover, as pure speculation, I firmly believe that everybody who was previously involved in Phantasy Star Universe official wants some degree of accuracy. We already have a playable highly updated entry in the Phantasy Star Online series. As an extreme case for an example (a fallacy I know!) If this game becomes nothing more than a fanboy’s wet dream with crazy ideas everywhere and their every last desire implemented, it would turn off every other player in the game with the exception of its appeal as a mod to players enjoy whack modified content.

 

The forum is not an ideal place to get ideas, and the forum users are not an ideal source of them.

 

This is not to say some ideas aren't good, but on the whole, users simply aren’t going to put the time or energy actually fleshing out these ideas. Even if they do, how many competent game developers have you seen completely botch their design after months of effort? The creator of MegaMan, Keiji Inafune, released Might No. 9 to mixed reception. This is coming from a developer who is inarguably competent with game design, having created a series which now has over 130 titles. Despite this, even he was not immune. PSU  is a tried and true game with which many players, I’m guessing all of us, have fallen in love to some degree. That’s not to say opinions shouldn’t be voiced, but taking them too seriously into developis a pratfall that should be avoided. If this server were a company, would you listen to the many demands of your customers, or would you listen to the educated opinion of your financial advisors? Customers would want everything cheaper, in higher quality, and in larger quantities that can effectively be achieved while maintaining a profit. It’s harsh to say, but in every scenario end goals, in this case longevity, should be counseled for by those with the most experience to achieve them and whose values are most aligned with them

 

In light of this, in case you haven’t noticed, Clementine has already changed. Assuming users leave during periods of change (which will be established later), this means that their opinions are unfortunately no longer heard here on Clementine. Assuming a system in which a game is developed based on the majority consensus, this would mean that the forums are already biased against players who preferred the game in a prior state.

 

Moreover, this forum is a downright sounding board. People downvote everything they don't like, and in a sense that's what the button is there for, but it's psychologically discouraging contrary opinions and prevents movements from gaining traction. Combined with the previous topic of users leaving, this could create a dangerous feedback cycle. I’m positive some of you have noticed certain games when you join as a new player, people are very discouraging. This objectively lowers user retention and silences discussion. In this case, silence is deadly.

 

In Destructive Role of Employee Silence in Organizational Success, Beheshtifar, Borhani, and Moghadam of the University of Iran discuss 8 key factors in the silencing of employees and outline the destructive force this silence can have within an organization. Due to fear, embarrassment, narrow conceptions of ethical behavior, loyalty to unethical friends, a lack of voice, and poor organizational skills can all lead to fatal flaws within a corporate structure. PSU may be a hobby for us, but it’s one many of us spend as much time on as a profession, if not more. Heed the warnings of the authors and avoid reinforcing negative structures which are non-conducive to success. In order to avoid this, as much of a voice should be given to the silent as possible. RuneScape which recently launched a throw-back version called 2007Scape or Old School RuneScape. Within their structure for success, and in order to preserve the community, Old School RuneScape performs surveys not on the forums, but directly in game at postings available at all commonly frequented areas. Any barrier added to this, be it posting on forums or only listening to active users will only serve to bias the outcome in the direction the game is currently moving. An argument may be made that there’s a vocal minority of RuneScape players who would like more change, but I contest that there are new versions of the game with much change (an analog of PSO2) and a much better system in place for listening to user voice than currently implemented in Clementine.

 

The irony here is, even though the players who are accepting with the game in its current or state, those seeking to alter it are likely to be habitually pessimistic in this regard. According to Yu in Habitual Domains:

By giving into mentality that aspects of the game are not in an enjoyable state, you are directly reinforcing those who will be less likely to be satisfied anyways, meanwhile the silent, positive players slowly come across unwanted changes and fade away. The game already existed in a format people played. Even given SEGA’s awful handling of updates, the game lasted for years on end. Chasing an unattainable ideal of beauty only leaves one without realistic ideals or tangible beauty. Yu also states that solutions to problems influenced only by a narrow view, in this case only accepting change for what you don’t like, are poor solutions, as they fail to consider the viability of opposing options. In order to defeat this issue, any suggestion posts would have to offer alternatives to the problem, including accepting it, rather than simply stating the problem and demanding change. 

 

A final bias present on the forums is that there is rarely data posted on this forum in any fashion. People just get gut feelings and post them. It’s human nature, and we simply don’t all have the time to invest into the research needed, or in some cases even, the ability to gain the knowledge to interpret research in the first place. Humans are absolutely terrible at perceiving the world around them, however, and gut feelings and opinions should be avoided in lieu of concrete evidence. For many of the users here, however this will be their first interaction with a scientifically written paper. How should a user without such a background even begin to voice a well founded opinion that would be beneficial for a server? It can be done, but for much more energy than most are willing to apply. Without the proper research to support ideas, this methodology is nothing more than theorycrafting and should be treated as such.

 

No offense to staff, but SEGA also tried to polish this game.

 

In a syllogistic argument, working on video games is experience, and they worked on video games, therefore they are experienced in video game design. You may feel whatever you may think about the outcome, but it’s downright ignorant to pretend they didn’t try. Regardless, we know that didn't turn out well, or I wouldn’t be here defending a halt to needless changes. I can also guarantee they were, contrary to popular belief, experienced in what they were doing. Regardless it seems to be the opinion of the community here that balance was never achieved and for good reason. MMOs bear so much resemblance to real life in its complexity that they’ve even been used to study the outbreak of diseases. The systems they create are as complex as the users who input into them. The economy, game balance, and similar facets of the game are as fragile as they are complex, and, as seen in the past, easily damaged. Continued tinkering can result in such damage to the balance as power creep and inflation. Referring back to the points on pessimism, I believe it’s ok to accept the game in an imbalanced state, especially if it means protecting against further imbalance, inflation, and power creep.

 

Power creep as a mechanism is deadly for video games. It reduces the skill required to achieve success, but it does not increase balance. A quick glance at time of writing on the suggestions forum show the first 10 posts contain 7 posts whose ideas involve increasing the strength of the player character in one way or another and 3 posts which are either quality of life or system improvements. If this is any indication to what players want, (and I can say within a certainty of 95% that this is true), players would lead to extreme power creep as they prefer buffs to nerfs. Nerfs are as necessary to balance as buffing, and yet this change is even more discouraging than power creep as it punishes certain users who are simply playing how they enjoy. If following the advice of forum users, then the game would rapidly become even easier than it already is, falling outside of our our zones of proximal development - halting growth and losing interest.

 

Making people happy is a bad metric for game design. 

 

We’ve all played games that had mechanics we didn’t like. That’s a normal part of gaming. That shouldn’t stop you from falling into a pessimistic cycle, and just because a game isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it’s not the best it can be. Breath of the Wild had weapons, arguably the only valuable loot in the game, break fairly easily and it was considered a commercial success. The mechanic may not be loved, but it contributed to loot being interesting, which contributed to exploration, which contributed to the overall game design. Without it chests would quickly become not worth opening and seeking them out would have become pointless. Could a better system have been implemented? You bet, but in the real world redesign takes a lot of time, effort, and money. Just because mechanics are hated does not mean that their removal contributes to a positive atmosphere for the game. Think about all the GT hipsters who would quit playing their class if it were meta! Poor Hipster GT liked the class before it was cool 😎

 

Compounded by people never being happy and the cycle of pessimism - At some point you're going to have to accept that there will be a meta way to play which is widely agreed upon to be. This doesn’t mean balance shouldn’t be a goal, however. It’s simply an extremely finicky topic and everybody here is going to have to be ok with the degree of finesse required.

 

Discussion

 

I'm biased. My research is biased. I may have an eye for scientific accuracy, but I've played this since I was 17, and I'm a human being with emotions. This also isn't my server, either. If the team wants to develop 19 stars and add a class to the game that uses all weapons at S rank, who are we to say no? There's nothing unethical about running this however they want. It may not be what's best for us, but it's theirs and that's respectable.

 

If the game were fully developed first, it would provide a more accurate metric by which to gauge balance and other gameplay changes on. I know there are some issues here that are glaringly obvious, but as mentioned earlier - a cautious approach will have less risk, be lower impact on development, and allow more time for accurate understanding of the game to be developed.

 

Also, I believe in the long run some change is necessary. This game had highly questionable mechanics that everybody knew even on official. Jabroga was the most powerful PA AND it didn't ever miss. Official also patched many things as the game was moving along. I'm just asking for restraint rather than changing literally every single mechanic in the game to suit what some players want. That being said, rapid change will absolutely kill this server. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Change, as established earlier, is correlated with user dropout at least to a degree, so a steady pace with plenty of time to adjust between changes is ideal so as to not shock the user base. 

 

Solutions

 

Ideally there would be two servers: One vanilla, and one new. The vanilla would still need quality of life improvements and implementation of official content like Guardian's Cash rewards that are ideally faithful to the original as possible. This has obvious logistical drawbacks. It would take time and money. It would split the community. It would, however, also provide immunity from unwanted change and a safe place for those who only wish to experience what they did in the past. It would also allow for a more experimental server without retention concerns, as any user who changed their mind could simply switch to vanilla if they get fed up. More, as this option satisfies the most varying viewpoints, it would also likely mean the most overall income for the server. That being said,whether or not this would be worth the time or money would require analysis. In the meantime I would heavily encourage minimum changes and then once the server is running, a Patreon/crowdsourcing option specifically for an experimental or classic server would give the insight needed to make a truly accurate decision.

 

A second option would be fairly true to vanilla server with minor balance tweaks. This would be a no-nonsense method of securing as large of a player base as possible with minimum effort and investment. In a way this is unavoidable anyways, as many of the options official had were either tied to story mode, real money trading, or even simply the mechanic of charging monthly for a service.

 

A continually evolving server which *starts out* vanilla and gradually changed could also be implemented. It should be obvious by now I’m not a fan of this, however, I cannot deny Ephinea has found some degree of success with it. I personally left the server due to changes that occurred in a manner I could not keep up with, but I would gladly sacrifice having my way for the betterment of the server. I still do not believe this is the most effective method of running the server, however, and I would strongly discourage making changes prior to launch.

 

A parting word: You guys are not toxic, or at least I haven't run into too much of that, but that doesn't mean the effects of toxicity can't be felt. Every time any change in either direction -  towards official or towards new horizons - is implemented everybody complains. That's their right, but it doesn't exactly leave us who want to avoid drama with anywhere to voice ourselves.. I believe we can compromise and reach an ideal middle ground, but not with the current organization implemented. It’s biased heavily towards negativity and generally being not ok with the way the game is played. 
 

I appreciate that you've taken the time to read this in its entirety. I hope the effort I put into the paper shows, and I hope, if nothing else, you learn something new from it.

no u

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"The forum is not an ideal place to get ideas, and the forum users are not an ideal source of them."
what are you doing here then?

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Posted (edited)

There is a simple idea: with passion for video games (spent my time on them), gamedesign AND discernment and (a little) intelligence, you can always have (good) ideas. I not claim to have the best ideas here, but I think I've done a good job, and I've never seen anyone say "if this it's set up, I'm leaving". My answer for the  :

Quote

The forum is not an ideal place to get ideas, and the forum users are not an ideal source of them.

And to make a game like this better (based on farming, essentially), the Path of Exile developers have made an excellent video :

 

 

That said, no offense, maybe I don't understanded all in your post (not english) but I think that the argument of "we must not change everything, otherwise people leave" has absolutely no basis, no validity, and is partially false. Look just recently, about WoW classic : there is already thread on reddit of WoW "veteran" saying that some old mechanics are finally obsolete.

Finally, I think you should put still at least 100 hours to really realize everything that is better than OG, but also everything that deserves to be changed. Because yesterday you were level 23. Even a veteran like you seem to have a lot to relearn.

 

Edited by Aelphasy

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1 hour ago, Aelphasy said:

There is a simple idea: with passion for video games (spent my time on them), gamedesign AND discernment and (a little) intelligence, you can always have (good) ideas. 

...

I've never seen anyone say "if this it's set up, I'm leaving".

...

Finally, I think you should still at least 100 hours to really realize everything that is better than OG

Point one: It's naive to say that passion and intelligence create success. I cited the creator of MegaMan failing at his job and I can assure you he must be a passionate, intelligent man.  The fact that when we see successful people and see they are passionate and intelligent and assume with these traits will provide a successful outcome is known as the survivor bias, and it exactly that - a logical bias that skews our perception of reality.

Point two: I cited a first hand account of exactly this. It's not that an ultimatum is issued like "if you don't make x change, I'll quit!" It's simply that if we become dissatisfied with the overall experience investing time elsewhere is a natural outcome.

Point three: appeal to authority is the logical bias that only people of a certain priveledge should have their stance taken seriously and it is a common logical fallacy. If a sentiment is correct, the speaker is irrelevant, and any claim to the contary is more an attack on them than their point (not that I think you're attacking me). That being said, I don't doubt this version will end up even better than original even with changes I don't like (I'm even against the gender stat squash.). I'm just advising caution. 

Finally your video, I can't watch it at the moment, but once again I suspect it will fall under the survivor bias. I never claimed that listening to the player base can't in some circumstances generate success. I only conjecture that it can also generate failure while maintaining a status quo is tried and true. I'll watch it later and get back to you. I'm interested to here what points they make. I just have witnessed first hand in the fighting game community public consensus can be very, very wrong.

 

That being said, in not saying literally no change is good. There are cases of extreme imbalance within this game and as mentioned there are mechanics which for various reasons most be implemented differently than from official. For a fact story mode (to my understanding) and cash rewards can not be implemented as intended. As a matter of opinion, this game is very top heavy in content with a huge issue with things like drop distribution being heavily weighted in end of life content making much of the content pointless not only late game, but too dead to grind early game meaning fewer missions are viable and burnout. I would love to see both of these remedied. 

 

That being said, I would still personally love a vanilla version, jank and all, but if I advocated solely for that I wouldn't be following my own advice on compromise. It's sad that expressing this was met with outright hostility on some fronts rather than discussion.

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5 hours ago, Skinny Peen said:

What does a psychology degree have to do with Phantasy Star Universe?

Psychology is the field of study of human behavior, and every post on the forum, action in game, and decision you make here falls into this field. It has been used to describe and treat gaming addictions. It's also been used to describe the human behavioral link to video games including understanding why we play them, why we quit, and why they are so effective at holding our attention.

Guys: I know my opinion here is unpopular and that's ok. I don't want to change much of anything other than supply a comprehensive viewpoint for what I feel (and cited evidence for) is an underrepresented view here - that less change is better

 

I also have received constructive feedback here and elsewhere that some users feel that the format isn't ideal, that it's wordy, hard to follow, and loaded with jargon. I tried to limit jargon, and, when used, I tried to provide ample definitions within my line but this topic isn't something I feel can be breeched without at least cursory knowledge of topics such as psychological conditioning. As far as being wordy, I agree but I don't think I can effectively condense it. I'm not doing very hot physically right now and am getting hit on all sides by illnesses. 

I also want to make something else clear: the server or very enjoyable right now. I'm not trying to move the Earth just yet. I just wanted you guys to know that in many ways I think parity with vanilla is ideal, and I think a certain type of person is attracted to the forum than others, and, if pso-world is any indication, without a firm pro-civility stance this place can become even more off-putting defeating the concept of a free exchange of ideas. 

 

Aelphasy thanks for the constructive discussion. I can't deny PoE's continued success. I can question how well some of their concepts would apply to psu, but others are certainly words of wisdom. If levels become full on randomly generated though I may be sick 😬 I've always disliked rogue lites and pso2's random level design, but I like Diablo 2 and torchlight. It's hit or miss. 

11 hours ago, MemeDreem said:

1468634759629.jpg

Yes.

Thanks everybody for powering through my cringefest. I just wanted to be heard before I stop voicing my opinion here.

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