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Author Topic: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul  (Read 16661 times)

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Brane

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Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« on: October 25, 2012, 06:17:05 am »
+8

Well I got sorta hooked on the Adventure Mode Goko Dominion. So hooked I quickly shelled out $20, even though this thing is still in Beta.

Then I realized a few more things and got unhooked so quickly my butt hit the floor.

I was enjoying the adventure mode even though it introduced cards kinda slow and the bots' intelligence were slightly higher than a pile of bricks'. But a few levels in I realized what the "adventure" aspect was all about and... what a fail. Ginormous, horrible fail.

So you get to play against stacked decks. Stupidly imbalanced stacked decks. And you can pay to tilt the imbalance in your favor, and how much you want to do that is completely up to you. Ummm...frankly, I don't see the point. This is not a challenge. This is pay-to-win or don't-pay-and-lose. The imbalance gets so high so quickly if you decide not to cheat winning comes down to just a combination of dumb luck and dumb opponent and in some levels even that is probably not enough. I mean, later acts are akin of throwing a die and seeing who gets more dots, only you get one die and your opponent gets five of them. So ultimately you can have as much skill as you want your only chance of winning is either paying to get more dice, hoping you'll beat the incredibly silly odds OR hoping your opponent is daft enough he will eat some of his dice.

So frankly, as I said... I don't see the point. There is nothing challenging in the levels, they are not rewarding in any shape or form, and - the worst thing of all - this is not Dominion. I understand microtransactions need to be shoved in there somehow, and I guess paying to win is beginning to be a generally accepted thing with the casual crowd, but this is not the way to do it. I mean the options should be a) play normally or b) pay to win. Not a) have little to no chance of winning or b) decide the extent of your cheating using a scale from slightly to Lance Armstrong.

The another, less significant but still important thing is stars. The game somehow thinks you are a better player if you score more points, and the only way to score more points is either to prolong the game indefinitely or to cheat via the entire pay-to-win metagame. Again, this is not Dominion. The point of Dominion never was to rack up as many points as you can, it was to have more points than your opponent. In fact, I would wager that a game which ends in high point values is a sign of players not really knowing how to play. It is so desperately obvious that the designers of this implementation are not fans of the game... in fact don't even understand it that well. So sad.

So in any case - Goko, your interface is very nice, your prices are generally ok, but you really show basic misunderstanding what the game is about and the adventure mode just plain sucks. It's sad to see that much effort put into something that is (in it current form) so pointless, unrewarding and almost completely disconnected from the actual game of Dominion. Please consider a rehaul of it, as major as resources can allow.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 06:22:35 am by Brane »
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Donald X.

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 07:10:43 am »
+4

So you get to play against stacked decks. Stupidly imbalanced stacked decks. And you can pay to tilt the imbalance in your favor, and how much you want to do that is completely up to you. Ummm...frankly, I don't see the point. This is not a challenge. This is pay-to-win or don't-pay-and-lose. The imbalance gets so high so quickly if you decide not to cheat winning comes down to just a combination of dumb luck and dumb opponent and in some levels even that is probably not enough. I mean, later acts are akin of throwing a die and seeing who gets more dots, only you get one die and your opponent gets five of them. So ultimately you can have as much skill as you want your only chance of winning is either paying to get more dice, hoping you'll beat the incredibly silly odds OR hoping your opponent is daft enough he will eat some of his dice.
Adventure mode will in fact be overhauled, as I have previously talked about here.

The way I expect it to work in the end is: act 1 gives you two zaps per level but you don't need them; act 2 gives you two zaps per level and you need them but there they are, just use them on what you feel helps the most; act 3 still gives you two zaps per level, and you need more, but act 3 also gives you a game-changing rule of some sort that completely compensates.

In addition a few levels here and there put some kingdom cards into starting decks. And then the base set adventures will sprinkle in cards from Intrigue/Seaside/Prosperity, to show off the expansions a little and to have more variety.

Currently Dark Ages Act 2 has the intended final difficulty level, although it's missing the modified starting decks (but that's taken into account). It's also a special case in that the usual acts 1-2 are spread out over acts 1-3 since the set is bigger. But uh there it is as the best example I can give you, and I am betting you will not find it to be unfair.

I don't know when these changes will happen. I recommend holding off on playing the adventures until then.

Currently I don't expect the star system to change. If you have any good ideas there, cough 'em up. I don't imagine they want to take out the stars, but the algorithm could change. If they don't change, just try not to care about them, that's my advice.

And if you want to play real Dominion against bots, there is an endless amount of that outside of the adventures; just start a game.
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Brane

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 08:50:23 am »
+1

Thanks, Donald! That's some good news there. :)

As for star rewards well.. how about checking out relative point difference instead of the absolute (unless it already works this way, in which case the thresholds are way too high)? Or perhaps a ratio between relative difference points and turns taken, so more points and fewer turns both contribute to the star value? Or (which would be my favorite) - each level gets its own set of three arbitrary yet amusing goals, each worth a star, for example:
    - "win match"  (might be the default one for each level)
    - "win by depleting three piles"
    - "win in X turns or less"
    - "win with having at least/not more than X cards in your deck"
    - "win without buying any Provinces"
    - "win with at least 5 Curses in your deck"
    - "attack five or more times"
    - "trash five or more cards"
    -  etc. etc.

With expansion cards these could probably get quite creative. In fact, I wouldn't mind if the entire adventure mode actually revolved around stuff like this instead of playing regular games again and again but with increasingly sillier handicaps... however even small changes for the better would be great.  :)
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aaron0013

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 08:53:46 am »
0

Welcome to the forum Brane. You have had the unparalleled honor of having your first post replied to directly by Donald X. Do you feel honored? :D

Here is a good lengthy thread that covers zaps from their first appearance and also talks about adventure mode. Enjoy!
http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=4154.msg89849#msg89849
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Brane

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 09:03:16 am »
0

Welcome to the forum Brane. You have had the unparalleled honor of having your first post replied to directly by Donald X. Do you feel honored? :D

Well I've already had the honor od chatting with Donald in various threads on BGG, back in the earliest days of Dominion. It was great to see he is active on these forums too, it's definitely rare to see an author of something you are a fan of be so directly involved with the community.  :)
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aaron0013

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 09:12:16 am »
0

Yeah, I agree. He has been a huge help in understanding what is happening at goko...since they're not so good at keeping contact themselves!

Thanks for all you have done Donald X!

Reply: "I'm there for you guys..."
 ;D
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teasel

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 09:32:45 am »
0

uh i've been wondering this for a while but if you spend a zap do you spend the zap for the stage or for that single game?
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TWoos

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 09:56:29 am »
0

uh i've been wondering this for a while but if you spend a zap do you spend the zap for the stage or for that single game?

If you add an extra zap (or two or more), you will always have that extra zap on that stage.   So, if the basic two aren't enough, you can add one and try again.  Then add one more and try again.  You never lose the zaps.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 10:53:33 am »
0

uh i've been wondering this for a while but if you spend a zap do you spend the zap for the stage or for that single game?

If you add an extra zap (or two or more), you will always have that extra zap on that stage.   So, if the basic two aren't enough, you can add one and try again.  Then add one more and try again.  You never lose the zaps.

I did not know that. I won't say that this adventure mode was the right direction to go, but I would say that regenerating zaps is.

Here I was hoarding my zaps like they would vanish.
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Insomniac

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2012, 10:58:09 am »
0

uh i've been wondering this for a while but if you spend a zap do you spend the zap for the stage or for that single game?

If you add an extra zap (or two or more), you will always have that extra zap on that stage.   So, if the basic two aren't enough, you can add one and try again.  Then add one more and try again.  You never lose the zaps.

I did not know that. I won't say that this adventure mode was the right direction to go, but I would say that regenerating zaps is.

Here I was hoarding my zaps like they would vanish.

They do vanish. IF my account has 10 and I add one to a stage I have 9 remaining, but anytime I play that specific level I will have 3 zaps. (assuming it started out giving me 2)
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Kuildeous

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2012, 11:13:46 am »
0

They do vanish. IF my account has 10 and I add one to a stage I have 9 remaining, but anytime I play that specific level I will have 3 zaps. (assuming it started out giving me 2)

Ah, okay, I see. So if a level has been kicking your ass the past 20 times, you can add a couple of zaps and not worry about losing them when you lose that level for the 21st time.

Well, not as cool as I had thought, but at least you're not paying for a zap that goes away when you lose. That could get very frustrating.
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ftl

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2012, 12:14:59 pm »
0

By the way, I'm pretty sure you don't need to pay real money for zaps. You pay for zaps with the coins that you get for just playing the game.
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Brane

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2012, 02:35:59 pm »
0

Well yes, you can buy zaps with coins from the game, and you can buy coins with gokoins, and you can buy gokoins with real money. So ultimately it's pay-to-win, although removed a few steps.  :)

But my point is that each level should be a stand-alone challenge. Reward comes from overcoming that challenge. If the challenge is set up in such a way it is insurmountable without what is effectively cheating, and the magnitude of cheating is left completely to the discretion of the user, then the feeling of enjoyment is watered down to oblivion. Especially taking into account that the game actually provides incentive to cheat as much as you can.

I understand zaps are there to make money for Goko. But they result in bad game design and they ruin the game. Without them adventure mode would be bland and kinda boring, but still enjoyable. Zaps introduce this dull, unrewardng yet horribly intrusive metagame. It's not Dominion anymore, it's a game of fiddling with pre-game handicaps until you happen to stumble into just the right amount to make the actual game playable. And I'm not sure anyone asked for that particular thing.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 02:37:26 pm by Brane »
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michaeljb

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2012, 02:37:22 pm »
0

Well yes, you can buy zaps with coins from the game, and you can buy coins with gokoin, and you can buy gokoins with real money. So ultimately it's pay-to-win, although removed a few steps.

Or you can just earn the coins in the game without spending the real money. It doesn't have to be pay-to-win.
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Brane

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2012, 05:27:00 am »
+1

Well yes, you can buy zaps with coins from the game, and you can buy coins with gokoin, and you can buy gokoins with real money. So ultimately it's pay-to-win, although removed a few steps.

Or you can just earn the coins in the game without spending the real money. It doesn't have to be pay-to-win.

But again.. not the point. The level should be a challenge which can be overcome with skill, and making the level easier should be optional, and should have repercussions, meaning that the easier you make it the reward you get should be poorer. Right now it's completely bass-ackwards - levels are borderline unplayable without you making them easier, and the easier you make them the reward you get is shinier.

Many games today provide microtransaction-fueled options which either do cosmetic changes or allow you to skip to latter content without having to unlock it through gameplay first. And this is ok, since the microtransaction-based content is optional and unitrusive. In Adventure Mode of Goko Dominion this "additional" slapped-on content is so interfering it essentially becomes more important than the actual game, which is my biggest beef with it. Afer all, Dominion is all about building your deck through gameplay, if I wanted a game almost completely focused on preconstructing decks before the game I would be playing Magic instead.

The saddest fact is that Dominion in itself can be an excellent platform for various challenges, puzzles, whatnot. With some creativity one can make Adventure mode really engaging, and a great game in itself. Potential is there for someone to make something out of it. So again, I'm just flabbergasted that the best Goko came up with is - enforced fiddling with handicaps in the game setup phase.

Edit: Wow... just wow. I am just playing an expansion level where I get a 6 Copper deck against an opponent who buys a Province on his very first turn. And I am barely starting Act 2. Truly, it's an adventure!  :o
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 06:13:51 am by Brane »
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Donald X.

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2012, 07:19:06 am »
+3

But again.. not the point. The level should be a challenge which can be overcome with skill, and making the level easier should be optional, and should have repercussions, meaning that the easier you make it the reward you get should be poorer.
Again, this is all going to be fixed, I have put in the work there, and I recommend not playing the adventures until this happens. There is no-one to convince about anything here.
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TWoos

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2012, 01:02:15 pm »
+1

While I'm very glad to hear that adventure mode is getting an overhaul, I've just been spending however many zaps are needed to turn it back into an even game.  I play enough games against live opponents that I've got the coins to spend on zaps.

However, I have learned one very very important lesson from adventure mode.  The strength of silver instead of copper is huge.  Having a curse instead of an estate?  Hardly anything at all.  Just two victory points, and if I play well, I can easily make that up.

This has taught me the right way to play handicap Dominion...  adjust the starting victory cards.  Messing with the starting coins is too large a handicap.
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Brane

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2012, 01:15:45 pm »
0

But again.. not the point. The level should be a challenge which can be overcome with skill, and making the level easier should be optional, and should have repercussions, meaning that the easier you make it the reward you get should be poorer.
Again, this is all going to be fixed, I have put in the work there, and I recommend not playing the adventures until this happens. There is no-one to convince about anything here.

Thanks for the answer. I didn't want to press the issue, but was just trying to clarify to the poster above me that the problem I pointed at wasn't tied to the money aspect, but to level design itself (i.e. even if the zaps were completely free and unlimited the issue would still be there IMO).
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2012, 08:57:09 pm »
0

While I'm very glad to hear that adventure mode is getting an overhaul, I've just been spending however many zaps are needed to turn it back into an even game.  I play enough games against live opponents that I've got the coins to spend on zaps.

However, I have learned one very very important lesson from adventure mode.  The strength of silver instead of copper is huge.  Having a curse instead of an estate?  Hardly anything at all.  Just two victory points, and if I play well, I can easily make that up.

This has taught me the right way to play handicap Dominion...  adjust the starting victory cards.  Messing with the starting coins is too large a handicap.

I think it is good though that they give you the option. Many unskilled Dominion players go for changing the points and not the coins. So, it is a good learning tool
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TWoos

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2012, 10:05:41 pm »
0

This has taught me the right way to play handicap Dominion...  adjust the starting victory cards.  Messing with the starting coins is too large a handicap.

I think it is good though that they give you the option. Many unskilled Dominion players go for changing the points and not the coins. So, it is a good learning tool

Yes, I think so too.  Along that vein, if I can't win the game with a even board, I know that adjusting my coins is a better payout.
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Brane

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2012, 09:32:39 am »
+1

While I'm very glad to hear that adventure mode is getting an overhaul, I've just been spending however many zaps are needed to turn it back into an even game.  I play enough games against live opponents that I've got the coins to spend on zaps.

However, I have learned one very very important lesson from adventure mode.  The strength of silver instead of copper is huge.  Having a curse instead of an estate?  Hardly anything at all.  Just two victory points, and if I play well, I can easily make that up.

This has taught me the right way to play handicap Dominion...  adjust the starting victory cards.  Messing with the starting coins is too large a handicap.

I think it is good though that they give you the option. Many unskilled Dominion players go for changing the points and not the coins. So, it is a good learning tool

Yes, it teaches you that if you want to cheat, you're better off with shoving silvers in your deck instead of duchies.  :)

Joking aside, I think it's terrible even as a learning tool. You have several thresholds when learning how to play Dominion on a decent level. First is basically just figuring out the entire "recycling" aspect. Second one is figuring out that putting too much emphasis on Actions, while fun, will probably make you lose horribly.  Third one is that buying only treasure is usually a great thing to do, but sprinkling action cards while buying treasure is probably what you should be aiming for. Now handicapping initial decks maybe teaches you the importance of treasure, but way to soon and in a decidedly awkward way. Like if you thought someone Chess and gave them an option to rearrange their pieces and castle their king before the game starts - sure you are teaching him that castling is good, but you are not teaching him a way it is done by the actual rules and definitely not in a way that will benefit his chess skills.
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heron

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2012, 02:09:50 pm »
+1

I'm confused about why the bots need stacked starting decks to be competitive; how hard would it be to make an individual bot for each level?
Since the bots would always play the same kingdom, it would be easy to make a competitive strategy for them without making them cheat.
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Donald X.

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2012, 02:19:37 pm »
+1

I'm confused about why the bots need stacked starting decks to be competitive; how hard would it be to make an individual bot for each level?
It isn't like that. My understanding, though you will have to ask them for a definitive answer, is that they did the starting decks thing: 1) to have a progression, a campaign that got harder as you went along; and 2) for variety beyond what you get from changing the starting 10.

I do not need the progression and think there's plenty of variety already in a random 10 cards. I can see wanting the progression and wanting to tweak the game other ways in the campaigns though.

For my revamp you'll one day see, the progression is more illusory.
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ftl

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2012, 02:57:53 pm »
0

I'm confused about why the bots need stacked starting decks to be competitive; how hard would it be to make an individual bot for each level?
Since the bots would always play the same kingdom, it would be easy to make a competitive strategy for them without making them cheat.

Well, giving the bots strategies for each kingdom is probably a lot of work - equivalent to writing a new bot for each kingdom. As it is, the bots play the campaign kingdoms the same way they'd play any kingdom which happened to be those sets of cards, they didn't write new bots for the campaign I think they said.
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Adventure mode in desperate need of rehaul
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2012, 04:42:57 pm »
0

I'm confused about why the bots need stacked starting decks to be competitive; how hard would it be to make an individual bot for each level?
Since the bots would always play the same kingdom, it would be easy to make a competitive strategy for them without making them cheat.

Well, giving the bots strategies for each kingdom is probably a lot of work - equivalent to writing a new bot for each kingdom. As it is, the bots play the campaign kingdoms the same way they'd play any kingdom which happened to be those sets of cards, they didn't write new bots for the campaign I think they said.

Exactly. Let's have them program all the sets first before we start talking about programming bots for each level.
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