contact
September 20, 2019, 10:05:26 AM

Author Topic: New NPCs discussion  (Read 18198 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Morat

  • Guest
New NPCs discussion
« on: August 28, 2012, 11:13:05 PM »
This is for all Unis, so if you post espionage reports be sure to say what Uni it's from.


This appeared right next to me in Uni2, I hit it and got all the DF and all the available plunder (attack + 3 waves) -

URCATH - Encounter Large Enemy Fleet ‎ [xx:xx:xx]

RESOURCES:
* ore: 89,582,372
* crystal: 59,241,290
* hydrogen: 20,530,962

Toggle plunder data

URCATH'S SHIPS ( DSP: 176,724 - Ships: 11,316 ):
* Artemis Class Fighter: 5,151
* Atlas Class Cargo: 2,136
* Apollo Class Fighter: 1,194
* Hercules Class Cargo: 840
* Dionysus Class Recycler: 780
* Poseidon Class Cruiser: 363
* Athena Class Battleship: 297
* Ares Class Bomber: 120
* Hades Class Battleship: 246
* Prometheus Class Destroyer: 186
* Zeus Class: 3

DEFENSES:

TECHS:
* Armor Tech: 18
* Weapons Tech: 18
* Shield Tech: 18


Total take including DF was

111,200,939 ore, 76,287,892   crystal 19,247,776 hydro

Losses were

3,675,000 ore, 2,815,000 crystal, 795,000 hydro

Fuel cost 1.7m hydro (same system attack)

Total profit -

107,525,939 ore, 73,472,892 crystal, 16,752,776 hydro

or converted to ore -

263,867,217 ore


To put that into perspective, I'm #24 overall and #6 for RSP in Uni2, and most of my RSP is in mines. That one single NPC profited me well over 2.5 times my daily mine production.

"So what?" I hear you say. "You're a lucky bastard and now you're posting here whining and crying about it?"

Nope. But think about it a bit. There's going to be two reactions to something like this. There's the players that'll go

Quote from: Mr. Self-interest
"W00T! Loadsa goodies for me, ME, ME!"

and then there's the players that will say

Quote from: Ms. Rational
"That's nice and all, but what's this going to do to the game?"

So let's look at what it does to the game (I'm not interested in the players that are looking out for themselves, by definition they're covering their own interests).

First up,

Runaway inflation.

I'm a miner in Uni2. I've spent nearly 2 years building some of the highest mines there, currently at 39/33/34 and building ore 40's. My daily converted production is about 105m ore. With the old NPCs, I'd make the equivalent of daily production in maybe a month. Admittedly, I've never sought out NPCs, so I only hit whatever I happen to come across while looking for inactives. So that one NPC above was worth (to me) about 2.5 months of old-style NPC raiding.

Or, to put it another way, roughly the same as 4 weeks of the Geologist (did that grab your attention, BFG?)

Given the caps that were on old-style NPCs, you could make a pretty good income from raiding them, but there were caps on them so there was a limit to how much you could make per attack. So, what effect does removing caps have?

Screw the little guy

It's nice that there's now NPCs tailored for everyone whatever rank you are, but just how many rank #1,500 equivalent NPCs would it take for a #1,500 player to make the same profit as I did on the one above? Don't get political, but it's like an across-the-board tax cut. It's perfectly equitable, but the end result is that those who earn the most will receive far more than those that earn the least. In the case of SFC, that means the top players grow in leaps and bounds while the lowest ranked players are not only left in the dust, but have an impossibly steep hill to climb to even hope to compete.

So where does this lead us?

As it stands, there's really only one conclusion to draw. In the Unis with new NPCs, BFG are quite deliberately dramatically accelerating the aging of the Uni. The gap between the biggest players and the smallest will grow exponentially, which means there'll be absolutely no point in starting up in an existing Uni. With no new players, all existing Unis will shrink much faster. This also fits in perfectly with the new time-limited 'tournament' Uni.

"But you haven't said anything about DSP?"

No, quite deliberately.

While I was typing the above, I was hitting another NPC -

URCATH - Encounter Floating Colony ‎ [xx:xx:xx]

RESOURCES:
* ore: 320,041,382
* crystal: 192,749,681
* hydrogen: 68,670,251

Toggle plunder data

URCATH'S SHIPS ( DSP: 402,597 - Ships: 24,150 ):
* Artemis Class Fighter: 8,554
* Atlas Class Cargo: 6,532
* Apollo Class Fighter: 1,810
* Hercules Class Cargo: 2,383
* Dionysus Class Recycler: 1,267
* Poseidon Class Cruiser: 1,019
* Athena Class Battleship: 1,165
* Ares Class Bomber: 139
* Hades Class Battleship: 903
* Prometheus Class Destroyer: 374
* Zeus Class: 4

DEFENSES:
* Missile Battery: 66,519
* Laser Cannon: 19,478
* Pulse Cannon: 2,337
* Particle Cannon: 1,371
* Decoy: 1
* Gauss Cannon: 1,653
* Large Decoy: 1
* Plasma Cannon: 426

TECHS:
* Armor Tech: 10
* Weapons Tech: 10
* Shield Tech: 10


Now, I've only get a tiny fleet for my rank in Uni2. I'm #24 overall, but only around #180 for fleet. That's coz I stopped building combat ships and stopped attacking active players months ago. Despite that, I made 196K DSP from the first NPC above, and 383K from the second one. That boosted my total DSP by almost 23%.

Think about it. Almost 2 years of playing, and in 2 attacks on NPCs I've increased my DSP by nearly a quarter in a couple of hours. What does that make my previous 2 years of DSP worth? If that isn't runaway DSP inflation I don't know what is. It isn't as if the NPCs even *do* anything, they just sit there and wait to be blown up. Just like the artificial inactives they really are.

And again, that pushes the bar for new players in existing Unis even higher. If the OCH payouts aren't bad enough, when a newbie looks at how fast the higher ranked players are gaining on him in overall score he's going to see there's just no point in playing.


"So, oh great one, what do you recommend?"

Piss off, ya sarky bugger.

Simples - NPCs based on real players are a Uni-killer for all the reasons stated above. If that's BFGs intention then there's no point in complaining about it. If you want to make a point, don't sell your account, just walk away from the game. If it isn't their intention, then I suggest suspending NPC spawning while we discuss it here, WITH input from BFG. Preferably starting with a statement of what they're trying to achieve.

Offline lazoputz

  • Member
  • Posts: 2199
  • we shall never surrender. Winston Churchill
    • Skype - lazoputz1
    • View Profile
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2012, 11:17:19 PM »
Ya Morat. The game will devolve into determining who is the best npc hunter, and that will in its most simple form be the one who can spend all day every day, strolling up and down the uni.

Offline lazoputz

  • Member
  • Posts: 2199
  • we shall never surrender. Winston Churchill
    • Skype - lazoputz1
    • View Profile
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2012, 11:20:07 PM »
As a further thought, I project (using your figures and roughly transposing them to SFCO) that it will take no more than 2 weeks, perhaps 3, for some such avid npc hunter to negate all the effort I have put in to 2.5 years of playing.

Morat

  • Guest
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2012, 11:23:18 PM »
Yup. I expect BFGs argument will be that it's a case of scaling the new NPCs correctly, and there's some truth in that. The problem that would still remain is that scaled NPCs are inherently unbalancing in favour of bigger players and always will be.

Offline Matt H

  • Blue Frog Gaming
  • Member
  • Posts: 4388
  • Community Manager
    • Facebook - matt.hirschfelt
    • LinkedIn - matthirschfelt
    • Skype - MattH_BFG
    • Twitter - MattHirschfelt
    • View Profile
    • Blue Frog Gaming
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2012, 11:24:07 PM »
We appreciate the feedback.

Our goal with NPCs is to make them dynamic and more interesting for each Universe there. Static NPCs did not fill that role for us. If you saw X NPC, you knew that you could end Y combination of ships without even probing it and you'd win with decent plunder. We want NPCs to have more thought than that and be more appropriate for the size of each Universe.

Are the sizes perfect at this point? Probably not. But we stopped receiving constructive feedback from Nova (primarily because the newbie protection rules there make NPCs function somewhat differently than Universe 2 and Extreme Universe 2). So we moved forward with releasing them to Universe 2 and Extreme Universe 2.

Are we done making changes to the NPCs? Far from it. But your post here will help us to continue to make changes to the NPCs so that they fit appropriately into each Universe. For example, NPCs that spawn tomorrow are likely to another reduction/factoring of the resources available on the NPC.
Connect with BFG:
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Official Website
  |
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
Connect with me:
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
LinkedIn
Skype

Offline angelblue

  • Member
  • Posts: 295
    • View Profile
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2012, 11:26:39 PM »
I can see NPCs as a way to help new players move up the ranks and get started. I can sort of see them as a way to catch on to the basics of the game.
This game has always been PvP, which is what makes it interesting. It's always required a certain amount of skill, or at least paying attention to your FRS.
But having them available for well established players does not improve the game in any way.

@Morat: Do you believe BFG has an interest in speeding up the aging of the unis? Do you believe they are trying to end them? Are they simply planning another uni or game, and want to get us all out of the old unis? I'm not generally interested in conspiracy theories but you may be onto something.

Offline Matt H

  • Blue Frog Gaming
  • Member
  • Posts: 4388
  • Community Manager
    • Facebook - matt.hirschfelt
    • LinkedIn - matthirschfelt
    • Skype - MattH_BFG
    • Twitter - MattHirschfelt
    • View Profile
    • Blue Frog Gaming
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2012, 11:30:07 PM »
'Accelerating the death of a Universe' is not in the best interest of anyone. Our goal is to create more things to do in each Universe where players are continually telling us that they feel like they are running out of things to do. We're trying to evolve the game, rather than letting the games die.

Arguing the NPCs are unbalancing in favor of large players is not surprising to us. The old Universes are inherently unblanced towards larger players in general. It's why Stardrift, Nova, and the Tournament do not have unlimited attack ranges.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2012, 11:32:27 PM by Matt H »
Connect with BFG:
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Official Website
  |
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
Connect with me:
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
LinkedIn
Skype

Morat

  • Guest
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2012, 11:38:47 PM »
@Matt I appreciate that NPCs in Uni2 and Uni2x are still being tweaked. My basic point is that scaled NPCs, unless they're capped, will *always* benefit larger players far more than newbies. Then it doesn't matter if you've got 100% player retention for the first 4 weeks, every single one of those players will eventually quit when they realise that they're growing at a tiny fraction of the rate of everyone else above them.

You have a point about Stardrift, Nova and the Tournament, my OP is more relevant to the four older Unis than the three newer ones. How does BFG see the progression there? The same growth curve with uncapped NPCs is going to apply as in the older Unis, so is the intention to have a tiered game within Unis?

@angelblue I don't know. I've a tendency to paranoia so I try to discount it when it pops up, but unless I make the assumption BFG don't know what they're doing (which is a common idea but isn't likely as they're an established business) then I have to assume that the end result is intentional.

I agree, NPCs were a good way of helping players into the game and allowing them to catch up, at least to some extent, but established players absolutely don't need the same kind of help. Especially when it's scaled up to their level.

Offline The Admiral

  • Member
  • Posts: 474
    • View Profile
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2012, 11:41:14 PM »
Arguing the NPCs are unbalancing in favor of large players is not surprising to us. The old Universes are inherently unblanced towards larger players in general. It's why Stardrift, Nova, and the Tournament do not have unlimited attack ranges.
I thought you lifted the attack range in Nova, making the NPC's attackable by the players who were passed the RSP limit.
That is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your incoherent, rambling response, did you come close to making what could be considered a rational thought. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Offline angelblue

  • Member
  • Posts: 295
    • View Profile
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2012, 11:47:49 PM »
We're trying to evolve the game, rather than letting the games die.
As you have zero credibility on these issues, matt h, and nearly zero credibility in terms of your understanding of the game, you'll have to forgive my  ???  >:(  and (rofl)

My family will be delighted I'm quitting at least.

Someone suggested making the NPCs oracle-able. I don't know, have to think about if that would help.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2012, 11:50:15 PM by angelblue »

Offline Audacious

  • Member
  • Posts: 406
    • View Profile
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2012, 11:59:52 PM »
I thought you lifted the attack range in Nova, making the NPC's attackable by the players who were passed the RSP limit.

They are still there, but the rsp range for npc's is now based on what player they imitate rather than having a flat rsp range. The problem with this is that you can merely hoard resources on a heph. I saw a player yesterday with 13.5 billion resources on his heph in nova.

Offline The Admiral

  • Member
  • Posts: 474
    • View Profile
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2012, 12:12:05 AM »
They are still there, but the rsp range for npc's is now based on what player they imitate rather than having a flat rsp range. The problem with this is that you can merely hoard resources on a heph. I saw a player yesterday with 13.5 billion resources on his heph in nova.
Originally the NPC's had a hard-line RSP attack limit in Nova (12 mil RSP), which was why there was hoarding.  They changed that after people pointed it out, and made the limit scale-able...now NPC's that were once out of my RSP range are attackable again.  So basically there is no limit now...since everyone's RSP should be going up, the NPC's will just grow along with everyone else.  Unless there is something that Matt hasn't told us, I don't see a limit in Nova.
That is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your incoherent, rambling response, did you come close to making what could be considered a rational thought. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Offline Matt H

  • Blue Frog Gaming
  • Member
  • Posts: 4388
  • Community Manager
    • Facebook - matt.hirschfelt
    • LinkedIn - matthirschfelt
    • Skype - MattH_BFG
    • Twitter - MattHirschfelt
    • View Profile
    • Blue Frog Gaming
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2012, 12:55:14 AM »
The 'limit' is the newbie protection rule. You can only attack NPCs from 1/10th to 10 times your size (at the top of the RSP leader board in Nova, Tournament, Stardrift).
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 01:00:45 AM by Matt H »
Connect with BFG:
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Official Website
  |
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
Connect with me:
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
LinkedIn
Skype

Offline Jacq

  • Member
  • Posts: 2070
    • View Profile
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2012, 12:58:42 AM »
I'll be honest right now I feel like a kid in a candy store.    ;D    One of the reasons I'm still playing SFC after almost 3 years is that it's a fun game blowing up ships and stealing resources.     Whether they are active targets, inactives, or NPC it doesn't really matter.   These NPC are huge and I'm enjoying trying to find the best ones that I can hit.     I appreciate that we are getting a chance to have a bunch of big targets to attack.     Re-tuning or fine tuning is fine as long as there are ships to blow up.     

My recommendation is to just have fun people and stop analysing each and every action or consequence.      Real life is serious enough we don't need it in a game.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 01:01:07 AM by Jacq »
aka Babe Ruthless

Offline eljer

  • Member
  • Posts: 251
    • View Profile
Re: New NPCs discussion
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2012, 01:16:51 AM »
In nova, I have fairly high mines. Certainly not the highest, but I'm sure I'm near the top:
22,480,998 ore per day
11,818,387 crystal per day
8,769,159 hydrogen per day
Total: 64,101,602 converted resources per day

Now, I've been logging my NPC attacks since august 15th in a spreadsheet. I've logged plunder, losses, and DFs, and am able to see my individual profit for each hit as well as per day, etc. Using this information, here is my average daily income from NPCs:
89,627,306 ore per day
63,397,756 crystal per day
15,451,672 hydrogen per day
Total: 233,919,412 converted resources per day

I think NPC income is a good thing and should definitely be around to supplement mining income for those that are motivated to do so. I don't think it should replace mining income. My time is limited and I rarely give the game my full attention, so im sure my NPC income could be far greater. As it stands, it is 365% of my mining income.

Nova, in theory, was meant to show more accurate hunting prowess. It didn't reward large sums of DSP, nor did it let anyone probe ride, but instead required the players to make many hits at a smaller amount to add up into a large DSP count. Yes, you often get lesser DSPs than your target, but you're also alive to make another hit quickly. DSP ranking in nova was supposed to show who the best active hunters are.

This massive influx of res via the NPCs has turned it into a crazier universe than x2. X2 was all about excess, and nova has exceeded that. And now that these monsters have permeated the older universes, it has definitely changed the game entirely, and irrevocably. If these larger and well established unis now have NPCs generating huge fleets that can be taken down quickly and easily using predictable fleet ratios, all previous hunting and mining will mean nothing since the rules of the game are now very different. We're left to either adapt to a very different game, or abandon it.

Sadly, I think more and more are choosing abandonment.