torteela

2017 Fundraiser Feedback

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This year's fundraiser has come to a close, and we'd like to hear your feedback on it. What did you like? What did you not like? How was this compared to the traditional CTF? How can we improve things for next year? (You don't have to just answer these questions, you can give any feedback you want.)

Thank you in advance for all of your feedback, and thanks for a great fundraiser!

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All in all, I enjoyed this event way more than any of the previous CTF fundraisers we've had in the past. I'd say it was very fun.

With that said, one thing that could be improved in the future is more advance playtesting and map balancing. Totemo in particular did a great job of adjusting settings on the fly during the event to tweak lag and balance issues, but the event was nearly unplayable for the first day not solely because of the initial lag (somewhat expected, although I'd suggest starting with a lower mob count and working up rather than the other way around, especially since the highest traffic is going to be at event start), but also because the mob/plugin settings weren't set in a way to make it playable. Early on, obsidian was difficult to come by in larger than 5 block increments and that meant that building any kind of fortification was nearly impossible since most other blocks were destroyed nearly instantly, even things you'd expect to be more durable like bricks. Clearer ground rules as to material durability would have gone a long way; as it was, most people just ran around and then stuck close to spawn because they anticipated dying a lot and didn't settle down anywhere until Saturday.

On a similar note, I think that a smaller map size combined with a little more personalized touches on buildings would have also gone a long way. I personally scavenged a few chests from buildings but quickly gave up on that since most floors felt extremely empty; there was little incentive to explore multiple levels of a building if you saw nothing good on the ground floor, since many of the floors were just carbon copies of each other. Don't get me wrong, the city itself was really cool, but honestly I never saw more than maybe a quarter of it (and this is from someone #2 in villager rescues and #3 in distance traveled with villagers, so I covered some ground).

Regarding the initial mob settings - most people, when they join the event, are going to take a little time to acclimate, explore, find their friends, etc. The mob levels don't need to be maxed out, definitely not for the first hour or two. I'd suggest starting it low and raising it as the event goes on. This has multiple advantages. One, it reduces the lag at the beginning, which is when you draw the most people in. Two, it lets people learn the concept, experiment with some blocks and new items (guns, for example), and group up without being constantly murdered over and over. Three, it lets people start to spread out and group up, which reduces the massive cluster at spawn at event start. Four, it ramps up the challenge as people get better at the game and keeps things interesting throughout the event - turning up the aggressiveness on Sunday really helped keep things interesting despite starting to have relatively solid fortifications. From a user experience perspective, it's significantly more important for players to have a stable experience than one filled with mobs right away. It might even add to the immersion if players were given, say, ten minutes at event start to begin exploring the city before the zombies were unleashed.

Please take all of the above as it is intended -- suggestions and constructive criticism, not complaints. Like I said at the beginning, I thought this event was a lot more fun than any of the older CTF events; I just think there are a few changes that could be made to make it even better in the future. Thanks in advance!

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I really loved this event.  I don’t really care for PvP, so this event was very enjoyable to me.  The slightly late start and lag was annoying to begin with, but that seems to happen with anything new online.  I think it was fixed pretty quickly to be made playable.

I would have liked an announcement or two over on P.  When the even was supposed to be starting, it was up and no one was answering questions, so at first I thought it was not going to happen.  Then Wozdaka went on to the voice chat and found out it was just delayed.

The city was amazing, and I loved exploring it and looting it.  I would have done more given more time.  Any chance we could get this to replace S/PvP for a bit?  I think I could spend a lot more hours playing this world.

The new AI on the Zombie was a great change.  Seeing them leaf up or destroy blocks was unique and scary and gave us reasons to think outside the box.  And I was so happy not to have any creepers sneaking up on me.

Thank you for putting the guns on the loot table.  They were very high in price compared to how long it took to get tickets without hogging the games.  Then I lost my tickets and started over.  So I went without a gun the first night, and stone sworded them down best I could.

It was a lot of fun to mass kill zombie and collect their loot - never knew how much I would actually love seeing poisoned potatoes or records drop!!

While P is nice having mobs to fight, there is not much of a danger factor.  PvP for me is just too much danger factor.  This increased the danger, and kept it cooperative.

Summing up, there was so much I loved about this event, job very well done.  Seemed like any big complaints at the start were taken care of quickly or on the fly.  Biggest complaint, is that I could not spend even more hours playing.

Oh, and so sorry you all missed seeing the awesome fort Wozdaka and I built, we figured it would have been in the vote since it was protected, so should been on some list somewhere :P.  Thank you Zaliek for helping me fend off the zombie horde one night, and getting me some iron gear.

—Halinah of Ironstar

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There are some things that I miss about the old CTF style of fundraiser.  Enemies are unpredictable, making strategizing and maneuvering important.  There was a clearer quantification of victory.  Tech progression was more deterministic and familiar, and smoother.  Barrier to entry (of the game type) was not (conceptually) very high, though performance was dependent on opponent preparation as well as their own preparation.  The zombie apocalypse gametype replaced some of these gameplay features with its own versions: instead of smart enemies, they are now significantly more numerous.  Victory is a more nebulous concept.  Tech progression is different.  Psychologically the barrier to entry was higher, but performance was more heavily dependent on player preparation and thus almost entirely within player control.

One thing I feel hasn't changed is the thrill of playing with and cooperating with others, and in that sense the new game delivers quite well.  As well as the delivery of a new challenge in which to surmount.  Looking at all the different base designs in the other thread, it was fun to see what other solutions players came up with when faced with the same survival threats.  The challenge was mostly what kept me trying again even after stepping out for a break partway through - and in that sense I wish the event went a bit longer so I could flesh out a more effective defense.

The carnival is something else - all throughout the fundraiser it felt like the life of the party.  Lots happened there, with various events and minigames and things to do, and often times generated a lot of conversation in general chat.  It served as a very fun respite to the city world and kept my interest in the fundraiser even when running into difficulty in the city.  The world itself was very well built, and really evokes the light-heartedness and liveliness of a real carnival or theme park, (intentionally or not) in stark contrast with the bleak city world.  It was a lot of fun just standing in the heart of the carnival with other players and conversation happening all around.

I'd probably still prefer CTF, but overall this fundraiser was well put together and I found it to be enjoyable.

There are some things about the carnival that I feel could have been better, some of which I'm listing here:

  • Weapon balancing in general.  In the early game, even a stone/iron unenchanted sword didn't feel like a great weapon to use.  The offensive advantage afforded by guns (pistol/huntsman in particular, OHKO for most zombies with headshot) felt like a huge jump compared to commonly available melee weapons (which took 4-5-ish hits with a stone sword - not too bad in a 1v1, but results in always giving up ground vs. a horde) - the progression of tech didn't feel too smooth.  I felt also that rifle bullets were vastly easier to find compared to shotguns and pistols - an over-reliance on guns early on meant that (at least for me) shotgun and pistol bullets were the first to be depleted, and it's hard to put out a lot of damage with a huntsman.  (Maybe game progression is meant to be narrower and less like a sandbox?)  One thing I do appreciate about swords is that even with guns, they weren't completely useless - I worked out that failing to kill zombies with multiple huntsman headshots meant that using a sword would more expediently dispatch them (probably because of Projectile Protection?).  It's nice to have that variety in the zombies.
  • General balancing.  In particular, it felt difficult to get a start as a solo player, though this could also be because of higher mob counts and more fragile blocks at the start.  (The game is always going to be easier in a team, but I don't feel it should be nearly impossible for solo play unless the goal of gameplay is to force players together.)  It also felt odd to have riding on donkeys feel more advantageous compared to being on foot - not only do they eliminate loss of hunger due to movement, they also allow the player to stay mobile even when scoped in with a huntsman rifle, which is not possible on foot, and they are never attacked by zombies - in a sense, donkeys felt somewhat OP compared to being on foot.  (Again, this falls more under the shaping of game progression - makes sense if it is meant to be narrowly and clearly defined; not so much for a sandbox.)
  • Mid-game balancing.  I think the changes really made the city map more easily survivable (especially the 15-minute break times which opened up more possibilities for good base design), and I think it was a good decision to make.  There were a few reasons I disagreed on principle with it, one of which (as ttsci mentioned earlier) is that the game should feel more stable rather than too dynamic.  As a player, I'm not too comfortable with the realization that game conditions are always changing, especially unpredictably - it becomes more difficult to establish an optimal defense or a solution to a challenge.  It also adds to the claim that the game should have been better set up before the event started, though I figure there are some issues that can't really be identified until there are 60+ players on the server all trying to play the game, so I'm sure some tweaking was unavoidable.
  • The role of the carnival in relation to the main game.  In particular, the smite 5 sword afforded by ten completed mazes felt like a pretty huge leg up in terms of melee weapons, since two hits would typically be enough to kill a zombie - which, along with guns, is far easier to manage a horde with than a stone sword.  But this requires solving ten mazes in the carnival for an advantageous weapon.  (This could also be because I had a donkey and a passable base defense set up by the time I acquired one, and I had a Mending book stored away earlier.)

Overall, the combination of the new challenges in the city world and the things to do in the carnival made this fundraiser a fun event to play through.  (I would probably still take CTF any day though :P)

 

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I have more to say (and I'll edit this same post later), but for right now I just want to echo everyone else: I wish the event went longer. I would really, really like to see what I (and others) could do with even just an extra week.

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On 8/8/2017 at 4:55 PM, bermudalocket said:

I have more to say (and I'll edit this same post later), but for right now I just want to echo everyone else: I wish the event went longer. I would really, really like to see what I (and others) could do with even just an extra week.

If the extra week saw the reopening of the main servers alongside the event server I'd be fine with this, but having P and C closed for a week and a half would be detrimental.

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I wasn't even here for it...

wait..

why am I even posting?

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21 hours ago, Herr_Fawkes said:

If the extra week saw the reopening of the main servers alongside the event server I'd be fine with this, but having P and C closed for a week and a half would be detrimental.

Yep, definitely wasn't implying that.

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