|Opened on:||Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 21:06|
|Last modified:||Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 21:14|
So we have a sizeable update – for which I thank the Devs.
Rebuild much improved, crashes not so often, speed now closer to pre NC.
I want to ‘take stock’ - so please humour me whilst I make some observations.
Building/rebuilding a helix is sometimes awful – though it can be worked around. But this requires some ingenuity and patience, not to mention a certain level of experience and grim determination. To make things worse this problem appears to be inconsistent – with limited testing here it appears that filters may aggravate the problem (those without seem to be acceptable). I see absolutely no advantage in wasting so much time on this when effort can be much more profitably spent in creative areas of the game. If the rebuild tool cannot be modified to quickly create a basic structure then perhaps we should have a new ‘create helix’ tool? I do not believe this would denigrate the game in any way.
The new wiggles, as they are referred to, suggest some form of smooth transition from Low >Medium>High. Those who have read up know that this isn’t the case. They are, in fact, quite different from each other. Even experienced players are having difficulty getting to grips with the consequent behaviour. I have formed a pro tem strategy but, not being a coder, cannot say that said behaviour is clear to me….it certainly is not intuitive. As far as I’m concerned MPW is a very nasty tool indeed.
Obviously, changes in basic tools will affect the working of a solution. And I can understand that those players like me, who have spent a couple of years watching the score move as operations are carried out (bit sad to admit to lol), have got used to certain score movements – rhythms shall we say. However, if there is any rhythm in the new scoring mechanism, it is completely evading me. OK – give it more time I tell myself, but I’ve spent the last 3 days watching and have to say I remain just as uncomfortable with it. For me it’s not gelled yet.
But back to the positive. The game is now playable although it remains to be seen just how much additional ‘advantage’ will be gained by those with more powerful machines. Quite a lot I fear. As for the Evo game? That, I believe, will require more time and effort. I’m not dismissing this – just concerned that the levels now required may prove to be beyond that which some Evo’ers may be prepared to accept.
Perhaps my main concerns are better demonstrated if I approach this from a different and (in my view) most important angle…. I’ve tried to imagine Newchapter as it might be experienced by a noob. Here I mean a noob who is not an IT specialist or scientist with a big machine……just yr average guy who is interested in science and puzzles (and has average patience)
This approach is, quite frankly, scaring the socks off me! The complexity of the game play – even compared to a few years ago – makes Newchapter almost unrecognisable. The first conclusion appears to be that a noob will have little choice but to consider joining a group asap. Gleaning the basics of strategy is now awkward, frustrating and time consuming by any other method. I simply cannot see any noob retention rate that foldit may have had being sustained ‘as is’. Indeed, it is already clear that numbers/online time are lower – particularly among vets. Here I use the new meaning of vets (>150 point players) – yet another daft definition with little continuity across the game. I wish I were able to compile statistics showing user/retention/ progress rates/time playing – I fear they would make for unpleasant reading.
In short, it seems to me that whilst it is now possible to play (tho possibly slowly or with less clients for some) the level of ability/game knowledge required across the many tools now available (eg tracks) has escalated. In fact I wonder if it might not have escalated to such an extent that the time needed for the average noob to start to experience achievement/satisfaction is now simply too long. If this is the case it matters not whether existing ‘old timers’ stay or leave – they simply will not be replaced in a timely fashion. And time is one thing we do not have – CASP is acoming and we are probably already approaching a general cut off time for noobs to start if they are to have a fair chance of mastering enough skills in time.
This comment is too long so I’ll close with this…
As grateful as I am for this update (and I truly am), and regardless of how hard the Devs may have worked to achieve it, one decent update in 5/6 weeks is hardly pushing it. There is still much more (critical) work to be done before the game has a new stable foundation. Only then can we hope to retain current players, keep and nurture noobs and, of course, give our fantastic scripters something solid to work with.