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Ensign_Cthulhu

Random Thoughts from Deep R'lyeh: Do Premium Time and massive XP Bonuses Breed Bad Players, and what can be done?

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We all know how important it is for new players to get experience in the game, to really learn the meta and how their ships perform before moving up to the next in line. 

We've all wondered how the ever-living heck some people ever manage to get to Tier 10 without learning some basics, and Jingles has made his Youtube career showcasing some of the stand-out failures.

But seriously... what else is to be expected when we throw camos and flags with hideous, massive XP bonuses at players, when we offer the opportunity for a permanent 50% (now 65%) XP boost (admittedly at a price), and when we enable the trek through the lower tiers to be fast-tracked at obscene speed? 

I had a middling-ish Random battle in the Kaiser last night. I wanted to get the grind done so I could move the captain up to the Konig while transfers were still free, so the grind could start counting for dailies and missions,  and to take advantage of 200% first-wins right now. So I slapped on a Type 59 camo and a bunch of XP-boosting flags and went for it (with Warships premium time active). And I came away from that fight with just over ten thousand ship XP. If I'd used a Mosaic camo and more XP boosters instead of some combat flags, I would have gotten much more - likely enough to grind through the ship in one battle.

Now I've been playing at Tier 5 or higher in various battleships for at least a year, so my suddenly jumping through the tiers at an obscene rate is not exactly going to put a complete BB noob into a meta he can't handle, but what about the new players? On the one hand, the tools we all have give them the potential to get in way over their heads far too quickly; on the other hand, it doesn't seem fair to deny some what others are able to use wisely, or for whom it's irrelevant because they're already at Tier 10 and they just want to farm free or captain XP for whatever use they see fit. 

It's an interesting dilemma, and it's not going to be solved unless the newcomers themselves have a sense of responsibility in not wanting to advance too far, too fast... but there is a flipside of the coin, and that is that the ongoing benefits of the game are only available to Tier 5 and up. Sure, there's Science of Victory... but that doesn't last forever, and you need a Tier 6 ship to finish it. I really do think we need some sort of continuing rewards for the lower tiers, including low-tier scenarios and other things which can be accomplished in co-op so they can get them done without having to fight against much better players who are either seal-clubbing or picking up and grinding an as-yet-unworked line.

And having low-tier PvE tasks including scenarios would be good for the more experienced players as well, because these lower-tier ships can be a lot of fun and it's not in WG's interests to discourage people from playing them. We already have Hermes, where we have to escort a high-tier French battleship to a goal. Why can't we have a low-tier version where we have to protect the Mikasa? Even the Katori can keep pace with that, and the owners of the faster low-tier ships can get out in front and help clear the way.

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It's all a matter of time. Some of us only have enough time for 1-2 missions a night. We don't want to be stuck grinding the Colorado for 3 years... So insert coin and out pops a North Carolina. ... As far as skill goes, anyone can have a bad day. When you only have 2 hours on a Wednesday to play, you take what you get as far as teams. And as for skill and temperament.. Hey.. It's just a game. This player might be a YOLO potato to you, but this is his only game tonight - after which he needs to run off to pick up the kids after soccer practice. .. . And as for your low tier Scenario mission, I'd recommend CAMPBELTOWN mission to blow up the dry-dock. Mission ends with a >bang<.

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6 minutes ago, AVR_Project said:

It's all a matter of time. Some of us only have enough time for 1-2 missions a night.

Oh, I know - been there, done that. That's why I said it's ultimately down to the newcomers to know their own limitations, because you cannot in fairness limit a higher-tier player's progression, especially when they've already got other ships at the same tier and they know how the tier- or tier-band-specific meta works.

It all depends on whether you want to savour the experience or just get to T10 as quickly as possible. I don't think the latter is a very good thing to do unless you're already well established there, or unless you're starting a new account on a different server and are merely trying to work your way up to what you already have elsewhere. I started in Black Swan with greedy eyes on Minotaur, but it cost me a free Duke of York because I didn't have the diverse toolset I needed to complete that campaign with the time and skills I had available (I could have farmed Dreadnoughts in my Leander and Fiji, but it would have required treading a very thin line between injury and destruction, and farming  High Caliber was simply beyond me; the battleship damage tasks, OTOH, would have been grindy but doable).

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It's not the game's fault. I've seen players with over a thousand games played in a single tier X and still maintain a sub 45% wr.

Some people just never bothers to learn how their ship works.

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The only experience flags I am running on my tier 6 CV's are Papa Papa +300% free experience, Zulu Hotel +50% captains experience, and Equal Speed Charlie London +50% experience. I also run a 100% experience camouflage but that is it as I don't want to get to tier 8 too quickly.

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3 minutes ago, BrushWolf said:

I don't want to get to tier 8 too quickly.

THIS is the point I'm trying to make. I'm not even running ESCL on most of my ships; I save that for more critical moments. But captain and free XP are always useful. (Will I get Alaska? I'm not specifically grinding FXP, but at current rates of acquisition, I could easily have a million before Christmas and no early-adopter blues to worry about.)

The only currently-released tech-tree line I don't have at or above T5 is Japanese carriers, which I unlocked just before the rework dropped. That, and British CVs when they come out, will be something I take very slowly.

I'm going to be away for the first part of 0.8.1, or playing at only a very slow rate, but I almost don't care if I don't get an early unlock because I already have enough XP on Wakeful for Hermes and it would serve me well to have to grind through to Furious. In fact, I ground honestly through the entire UK DD line up to Acasta even though I'd already won her as an unlock, because I wanted to get used to the peculiarities of a line that doesn't have speed boost and runs a very different kind of smoke.

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19 minutes ago, AbyssAngkor said:

It's not the game's fault.

Oh, I know it's not - that's why there's this terrible dichotomy between not wanting new players to advance faster than they're ready for vs. not wanting to hold players back who for various reasons are justified in rushing through a particular ship.

And yeah, some people are always going to be blissfully-unaware or don't-care perma-tatoes, while others will try their hardest but still fail despite their earnest best. I have respect and sympathy for that second group; the first, not so much.

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There's nothing to be done about it.  You have to face the fact that you can lose your way to tier 10.  Might take you longer to get there, but you'll get there.

No game developer can afford to be so picky with who gets to play as to keep out about half the possible playerbase.  That is suicide.

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12 minutes ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

THIS is the point I'm trying to make. I'm not even running ESCL on most of my ships; I save that for more critical moments. But captain and free XP are always useful. (Will I get Alaska? I'm not specifically grinding FXP, but at current rates of acquisition, I could easily have a million before Christmas and no early-adopter blues to worry about.)

The only currently-released tech-tree line I don't have at or above T5 is Japanese carriers, which I unlocked just before the rework dropped. That, and British CVs when they come out, will be something I take very slowly.

I'm going to be away for the first part of 0.8.1, or playing at only a very slow rate, but I almost don't care if I don't get an early unlock because I already have enough XP on Wakeful for Hermes and it would serve me well to have to grind through to Furious. In fact, I ground honestly through the entire UK DD line up to Acasta even though I'd already won her as an unlock, because I wanted to get used to the peculiarities of a line that doesn't have speed boost and runs a very different kind of smoke.

Even at 5k per match you need 30+ matches to get to tier 8 and I know I am not averaging that high so it will be awhile yet.

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Yes, and meh.  XP bonuses don't give anyone an unfair advantage in-match, so it's ok with me.  Some folks won't ever get better and they won't quit, so the high tiers will inevitably pick up taters as the game goes on.  It's fine with me as long as there's a random chance of having them on my team or the reds. 

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You can't not let people progress, or high tiers thin out as a natural consequence of the leveling mechanic.

The key is to find some effective way to help people learn to play the game less badly. Very few people actively don't want to learn to play better, so little things can add up over time.

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10 minutes ago, Eugenie_101 said:

XP bonuses don't give anyone an unfair advantage in-match, so it's ok with me. 

Oh, I know they don't. The question is whether WG has unwittingly set in place a system which enables earnest players to get themselves into hot water (T5 MM against T7) before they're ready, and hence set them up for disappointment and discouragement. Sometimes I feel there are too many incentives to get to T5 fast and no encouragement for those who like their low-tier ships and want to stay there. More lower-tier ships is a start (e.g. Charleston), as is the fact that anyone can get coal even by playing at Tier 1, but some sort of ongoing carrot to take one's time at lower tiers if one so wished would not, IMO, be a bad thing.

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5 minutes ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

Oh, I know they don't. The question is whether WG has unwittingly set in place a system which enables earnest players to get themselves into hot water (T5 MM against T7) before they're ready, and hence set them up for disappointment and discouragement. Sometimes I feel there are too many incentives to get to T5 fast and no encouragement for those who like their low-tier ships and want to stay there. More lower-tier ships is a start (e.g. Charleston), as is the fact that anyone can get coal even by playing at Tier 1, but some sort of ongoing carrot to take one's time at lower tiers if one so wished would not, IMO, be a bad thing.

The answer is more ops, ranked, tournaments etc at T4-5.  Treat it as an equally valid part of the game rather than a step on the way towards 'better' end game ships. 

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10 minutes ago, Edgecase said:

You can't not let people progress, or high tiers thin out as a natural consequence of the leveling mechanic.

The key is to find some effective way to help people learn to play the game less badly. Very few people actively don't want to learn to play better, so little things can add up over time.

It would be interesting to do a stats pull of entirely-FTP vs paying players and see what their win rates, WTR etc. were like.

Hypothesis: all else being equal, the person who has to grind their way to tier (whatever) without premium or bonuses will be more experienced and the superior player than the one who flew through with flags, camo and premium time. The problem comes with controlling for the "all else"; is there a large enough player base to do it, and can you even control for all the possible factors? Rhetorical question. I'm not sure an objective answer is possible. Ask God, when you meet him.

It's one of the reasons that I consider it a great pity that @AdmiralThunder will not play in Randoms. He's done his entire grind the slow way, in co-op, and a hundred or so of him would be a great control group. It would be fun and interesting to play against him at any tier and see whether slow and steady really does carry an advantage, allowing for differences in random and co-op meta (to which I think he would have no trouble adjusting).

@Eugenie_101 - agree completely. T4 ranked sprint would be fascinating.

Edited by Ensign_Cthulhu

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I've seen people with thousands of battles at t10 with only 40% win rate. For those kinds of people it doesn't matter how fast or slow they progressed up the tiers they will always be bad cause they don't care. For some people winning or losing is irrelevant to their enjoyment of the game. Slowing their progression won't change that.

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6 minutes ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

can you even control for all the possible factors?

Not without randomly assigning people to Premium vs. no-Premium conditions. Otherwise you'd be permanently confounded by the fact that people who choose to buy Premium may just be fundamentally different than people who choose not to.

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Many people simply don't care.  It's as simple as that.

They go into the game just to derp around, and just don't give af.

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13 minutes ago, Edgecase said:

Not without randomly assigning people to Premium vs. no-Premium conditions.

The population across all servers is probably big enough to do so, but it highlights the difficulty with randomized controlled trials that the more conditions you put on each arm, the smaller your eligible sample becomes, really damn fast.

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2 minutes ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

The population across all servers is probably big enough to do so, but it highlights the difficulty with randomized controlled trials that the more conditions you put on each arm, the smaller your eligible sample becomes, really damn fast.

Given that I paid (doubloons) for my Warships Premium, I'd be kinda pissed to get randomly assigned to the no-Premium condition.

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1 minute ago, Edgecase said:

Given that I paid (doubloons) for my Warships Premium, I'd be kinda pissed to get randomly assigned to the no-Premium condition.

In a prospective trial, yes. In a retrospective one, looking at existing data, you wouldn't have a problem. 

It's also why I have a problem with the gold standard being a prospective trial. It would involve shutting some people out of ever getting premium time in a supercontainer. This is the sort of thing for which the subjects have to be completely unaware that they are being studied, and the only way to do that is retrospective.

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29 minutes ago, Eugenie_101 said:

The answer is more ops, ranked, tournaments etc at T4-5.  Treat it as an equally valid part of the game rather than a step on the way towards 'better' end game ships. 

Except you can get some really good XP and credits doing ops and ranked.  Running those is a really fast way to progress.

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Just now, ClassicLib said:

Except you can get some really good XP and credits doing ops and ranked.  Running those is a really fast way to progress.

Ops and ranked don't just offer XP and credits.  You win flags, crates, premium time (potentially), captains, permacamo for appropriate-tier ships, etc.  There'd be plenty of reason to come back to T4 games even if you have TX ships in port. 

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5 minutes ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

In a prospective trial, yes. In a retrospective one, looking at existing data, you wouldn't have a problem. 

It's also why I have a problem with the gold standard being a prospective trial. It would involve shutting some people out of ever getting premium time in a supercontainer. This is the sort of thing for which the subjects have to be completely unaware that they are being studied, and the only way to do that is retrospective.

Retrospective and prospective are types of cohort studies, which are categorically less strong than RCTs in terms of evidentiary value. This is because RCTs guarantee exogenous assignment of the experimental variable, while cohort designs cannot. They can come close when designed well, but cohort designs are not the gold standard because they cannot ever fully remove the possibility of endogenous selection.

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3 minutes ago, Eugenie_101 said:

Ops and ranked don't just offer XP and credits.  You win flags, crates, premium time (potentially), captains, permacamo for appropriate-tier ships, etc.  There'd be plenty of reason to come back to T4 games even if you have TX ships in port. 

 

2 hours ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

We all know how important it is for new players to get experience in the game, to really learn the meta and how their ships perform before moving up to the next in line. 

I was responding in the context of the OP.  

You can play an Op or two with appropriate camo and signals and get to the next ship right away.  Without learning the current ship very well.

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2 hours ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

when we enable the trek through the lower tiers to be fast-tracked at obscene speed? 

The game is incredibly long grind fest (3yrs and only 1 unlocked, still un-purchased t10) as it is even with bonuses. Secondly, I think WG increased the earning of premium time, then nerfed the base credit and experience earnings per game. Net affect zero for premium players (pat on the back) and earnings decrease for free to play (slap in the face).  

yeah. when a spud ends up on my team and they show broadside, a bit of me cries. However, take a moment to realize you spent all game farming 100k dmg off red spuds. The mash up of skills/missions/tasks/chaos/ is what makes a this game dynamic with a limited number of game modes. 

**IF WG builds the mountain too tall, people will find something else to do**

besides... some players learn better after being deleted a few times. So, i say, let captains all get T10 at a reasonable pace.... then design solid end game content to keep us sailing. 

What worries me more is the growing gap between new player and veteran player with earned capabilities. For example. Tier V - podvoisky. A captain with their first T5, might mount flags, might mount consumables, might use camo.  They select two captains skills with their new 3 pt captain.  because transferring captains is too expensive. 

they hit play. they get spotted from the mood, get shot at, cant turn, too slow to get hidden, and the torps are only good for suicides. 

VS. A veteran player.

buys the ship with ease from 1000 battles of unspent credits. transfers 14pt captain with concealment and range extension or IFHE. mounts all flags, premium consumables, camo, and doesn't forget to mount the seal club. 

The Veteran has set up the Podvoisky at its full potential.  And can farm citadels with ease. 

Veteran Vs New player Pods are not equivalent. and the gap is growing in the meta. 

 

Edited by skillztowin

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