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Author Topic: Etiquette question, and learning options  (Read 3053 times)

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SwitchedFromStarcraft

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Etiquette question, and learning options
« on: November 04, 2011, 11:50:14 am »
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Hi all.  I've been playing for about 6 weeks on Isotropic (unregistered, mostly 2p) and reading this site for about 5.  I'm impressed with the quality of content, civility of discourse, and sense of community.  As a newbie, I'm would appreciate input on the following:

1) On Isotropic, how much time can I reasonably take in evaluating a board without seeming rude, particularly when playing first?  I'm not talking about having to read the cards, as I am now beyond that stage (except for Hinterlands). Sometimes I want to take a full 60 seconds and devise an approach, theorize potential combos, evaluate attack cards, etc.  Is a full minute an inconsiderate amount of time?

2)  I'd like to hear from high rated players on how they decide whether to accept a proposed game. The few times I've proposed games with players rated higher than 30, they've not accepted.  I seem to remember reading that playing against unregistered players means the game won't count towards your rating.  Perhaps that is the problem, but I'd like to play against the 20's and 30's of the world at some point, because I improve by playing with and against people better than me (although that may be everybody at the moment, so the point may be moot).  Which leads me to...

3) How can I make Isotropic's solitaire mode most effective as a learning/practice tool?  I can see using it for practice at building and tuning of engines, and for evaluating combos (as sort of a mini-simulator), but I sense that there is potential there that I've not yet grasped.

4) In what ways can I help support this forum/site?  As you can tell from my logon, I've been bitten pretty hard by this bug, and I'd like to give back in some way.  I'm aware that Isotropic has a finite lifetime, given RGG's plans for an online version, and I hope that this site (and CR.com) will survive and prosper.
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DStu

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Re: Etiquette question, and learning options
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2011, 11:58:35 am »
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1) On Isotropic, how much time can I reasonably take in evaluating a board without seeming rude, particularly when playing first?  I'm not talking about having to read the cards, as I am now beyond that stage (except for Hinterlands). Sometimes I want to take a full 60 seconds and devise an approach, theorize potential combos, evaluate attack cards, etc.  Is a full minute an inconsiderate amount of time?
I think most people here are fine with 1 minute of looking on the deck. Probably you should say something like "hi" in the beginning to show you're alive, and something like "interesting board" after a llttle more time.

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2)  I'd like to hear from high rated players on how they decide whether to accept a proposed game. The few times I've proposed games with players rated higher than 30, they've not accepted.  I seem to remember reading that playing against unregistered players means the game won't count towards your rating.  Perhaps that is the problem, but I'd like to play against the 20's and 30's of the world at some point, because I improve by playing with and against people better than me (although that may be everybody at the moment, so the point may be moot).  Which leads me to...
Automatch I'm playing +-10 level. Before automatch, I used to propose at about +-10 level and accepted about this range or everybody registered, depending on my mood.  I think now I will accept most (registered) proposals if they are truely random, because most of the time you anyway get autoplayed.
If the problem is that you are not registered, Google and Yahoo are free and you can get as many accounts as you like there...

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3) How can I make Isotropic's solitaire mode most effective as a learning/practice tool?  I can see using it for practice at building and tuning of engines, and for evaluating combos (as sort of a mini-simulator), but I sense that there is potential there that I've not yet grasped.
don't know.

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4) In what ways can I help support this forum/site?  As you can tell from my logon, I've been bitten pretty hard by this bug, and I'd like to give back in some way.  I'm aware that Isotropic has a finite lifetime, given RGG's plans for an online version, and I hope that this site (and CR.com) will survive and prosper.
For this forum: Post?
Otherwise, if you have some programming skills, I think rrenaud and rspeer are always looking for some code...
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theory

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Re: Etiquette question, and learning options
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2011, 12:00:36 pm »
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I, too, switched from Starcraft!  Though I switched from Starcraft 1 and Brood War, so ...

1) It might be, but I think if you announce it ahead of time then most people will be OK with it.  As you get better, you won't need as much time since you can quickly figure out which cards matter and which don't via mental shortcuts.

2) People like getting ranking points, and don't like playing unregistered players because they are playing games without gaining points.  I highly recommend you just register, because then it will be a lot easier to get games.  You're really just "registering" with Google or Yahoo, and honestly, who doesn't have a Google account?  ;)

3) I think solitaire mode offers minimal benefits for a new player to improve.  It can help you test particular strategies and such (e.g., Native Village/Bridge), but if you want to be better all-around it's better just to keep playing.

4) Participation is all we ask!  Either by posting here, or by contributing code to the CouncilRoom project.  We don't need any financial support, since the sites cost very little to run and both rrenaud and I are overpaid at work anyway.  Incidentally, we are actually unaffiliated with Isotropic and have no plans to go the way of Isotropic (should it ever meet its end), so long as logged online Dominion exists in some form.
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ChaosRed

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Re: Etiquette question, and learning options
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2011, 12:04:46 pm »
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I can't answer as a good player only as a noob, who had similar questions just a month or so ago. This is all "advice", so its not scientific, just what I've come across.

1. To me, take as much time as you need to assess the board. I suppose at some point, the delay is intrusive, but its probably much further than your gut is telling you to "get going". Take a few minutes at least, tell the opponent this is what you are doing if you must. DON'T let people pressure you too much, I get this a lot on iso and the more pressure I feel, the worse I play. Don't fall for it. Don't be obtrusive with your delay, but taking a few minutes is understandable, just let your opponent know this is what you are doing.

As an aside, discuss moves with players. You'll find most opponents don't give a rat and will largely ignore you. (ASIDE: A lot of players on iso want lots of games fast, in particular there are some low-rated players who play really well, but also really fast. My theory is these are advanced players, who have created a new account to get their rating up, with a nice clean record along the way). The players who DO stop and discuss though are INVALUABLE. You won't find those players though, without at least trying to discuss a move or two.

Also discuss the games here from time to time, especially if you thought you played a good strategy and lost, but are unsure why. Use CouncilRoom to post the results of the game and then ask how and why the game went the way it did. You'll learn a lot.

2. I can't answer for high-rated players, but I can guess. I THINK the rating system can really punish your ratings if you lose to a low-rated player, and certainly playing with an unregistered player, isn't the kind of thing a high-rated player is looking for. But I can't really answer, I get CRUSHED regularly by players just in their low 20's. CRUSHED. So, my perspective isn't only noobish, its also from someone who really can't play very well at all.

3. Solitaire is useful, others here taught me to test strategies out to 4 or 5 provinces, seeing how many turns it takes, then attempting to beat that with the same board. However, solitaire is also misleading. Part of the reason I went on a massive losing streak lately, is because of solitaire with Hinterlands. It isn't the best way to learn new cards, because it's not really battle-tested. You never have an opponent trying to stop you, or competing for cards, so it can produce skewed results. Use solitaire to assess a board and get a general sense of what works, but remember your opponent has a HUGE impact on how the results eventually wind up. The times I played solitaire most, were ironically the time I started to get smashed in the ratings, dropping from 18-13, where previously I was climbing steadily. Solitaire IS useful, but I was taking the results to heart, rather than just actually playing real people and learning the right way.

4. I can't answer this last one, except that the creator of CouncilRoom stated that one way to help him is to spot bugs and report them to him. The other is to petition the new pay-Dominion site that is coming, to release logs similar to the ones that isotropic posts. So in other words, a little pressure from the fans, can help, when the time comes.

My isotropic name is ChaosRed, if you want to run a few games (practice or real) let me know. I look for people willing to discuss the game, as much as play it. I am not very good at Dominion, so I compensate by accenting the meta-game more, making it a more social thing. The real players on this forum are way out of my league.

And good luck out there!
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SwitchedFromStarcraft

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Re: Etiquette question, and learning options
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2011, 12:22:40 pm »
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Theory - I have Yahoo account, and will be registering today under SwitchedFromStarcraft.  (Interesting that you've moved on from SC. I bought SCII, but Brood War was also my fav.)  I haven't written any code since 1973, so I can't offer you coding support, but I can tell you that dealing with paper tape was a huge pain!  Punchcards seemed like an unimaginable improvement).

Dstu - How did you settle upon +/- 10 of your rating?

ChaosRed - I too value the chat, it has helped a lot.  I played several games on my very first day against a player whose status was something like "open to post-game discussion".  I don't remember his name, but the discussion was both encouraging and helpful.  Several other players have helped me through chat.  I'll look for you, and warn you that I also am not very good.  My girlfriend moved quickly from a 1 to a 3, and beats me about 70% of the time.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 12:29:03 pm by SwitchedFromStarcraft »
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DStu

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Re: Etiquette question, and learning options
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2011, 12:28:33 pm »
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Dstu - How did you settle upon +/- 10 of your rating?
As the option was introduced, I thought "+-10 sounds good", and that was it. Before automatch was widely used, I also tried to propose at about that range.
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ackack

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Re: Etiquette question, and learning options
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2011, 01:32:57 pm »
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1) While I prefer speed, if you say "sorry, still pretty new, give me a minute to look at this board" generally I'm fine.

2) As others have said, registering will go pretty far. I usually automatch with the counter on and veto off and will play against anybody, unless they have rejected an automatch, in which case I don't play them that time around. Others prefer to play higher ranked players. Guessing, I'd say this is typically 80% interest (the games tend to be more competitive) and 20% ratings defense (I probably beat level 20 players about as often as level 1, so playing very low rated players feels like it's giving something up)

3) Solitaire can be useful for getting a feel about how certain cards interact in an attack-free setting. Generally, I'd agree that in terms of actually getting better your time is better spent playing. I think you have to get pretty far before fine-tuning build orders and exact engine compositions becomes a bottleneck.
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guided

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Re: Etiquette question, and learning options
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2011, 01:36:31 pm »
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More opinions:

First, yes, just register. It's not hard and doesn't really cost you anything and you will find it much easier to get opponents.

1. A minute is probably the absolute high end of the reasonable range, and there are people who will get impatient with you, but I do not think taking a minute to assess the board is out of line. I would try to keep it well under a minute most of the time if you can, and if you're taking a particularly long time you probably want to say something in the chat about how you're contemplating what to do with the board.

2. If somebody proposes a game with you directly, it's OK to decline it for pretty much any reason. Please press the decline button promptly though rather than timing out ;) If you propose a game, it is never OK to decline it. My view is that it is also never OK to decline any automatch game, unless you get matched with a specific player that has been abusive to you in the past. There are great dropdown options for automatch (and even greater options for directly proposed games), so use them.

3. Eh, I use the solitaire mode for bug testing and light playtesting of combos that I think might possibly be interesting (to see whether they're plausibly viable), and not much else. It could be helpful for learning the mechanics of new cards too. Really the best way to get better is to play lots of games against higher-ranked opponents.


You have an awesome attitude, by the way. Welcome to the forum :)
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Big Cheesesteak

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Re: Etiquette question, and learning options
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2011, 02:05:14 pm »
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1. I'm happy to wait for people to assess the board. I get a little rushed and sloppy myself sometimes, so I could probably stand to do this more. Over time you'll develop a mental checklist of things to look for: Ambassador, Masq/Envoy + BM, curse givers, trashing, draw chains, peddler, gardens, duke/duchy rush, vineyard rush, Goons engine, Minions, hand size reducers, etc. etc. etc. I start to have a bigger problem with people who take an inexplicable, agonizing amount of time after each decision - e.g. between each and every Hamlet discard, before and after each buy, on each reaction. I sometimes wonder if certain people intentionally slow-play to try to rattle their opponents. I usually avoid rematches with such players, though I never say anything to them about it.

2. I play automatch +-20 without Veto mode and just about never refuse a game anymore unless I have a problem with that particular player. I don't play with unranked people because the odds of getting an un-fun match for me are just too high. I don't like to sit there while someone who still doesn't know the cards fumbles about, and I take no satisfaction in winning games against people who have never seen the common combinations in action. I think people in that portion of the curve are better off learning from each other for a while.

3. I think you've grasped about the extent of solitaire mode's usefulness.

4. I think other people have addressed better than I can.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Etiquette question, and learning options
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2011, 03:22:03 pm »
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1. I'm happy to wait for people to assess the board. I get a little rushed and sloppy myself sometimes, so I could probably stand to do this more.

At least twice I've made my opening buys after a quick look at the board; having seen 2 cards that I like as an opener; and not even noticing that Chapel was available!
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olneyce

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Re: Etiquette question, and learning options
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2011, 04:52:45 pm »
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2)  I'd like to hear from high rated players on how they decide whether to accept a proposed game. The few times I've proposed games with players rated higher than 30, they've not accepted.  I seem to remember reading that playing against unregistered players means the game won't count towards your rating.  Perhaps that is the problem, but I'd like to play against the 20's and 30's of the world at some point, because I improve by playing with and against people better than me (although that may be everybody at the moment, so the point may be moot).  Which leads me to...
I never play with unrated people.  It's not even really anything to do with the game counting toward the rating directly.  It's simply that unrated folks, as a class, have less invested.  So you're more likely to get people who are screwing around or not taking the game seriously.  I prefer to play with people with something at stake. 

Obviously, that criticism is general and doesn't seem to apply to you.  But registering is so easy that it just makes sense to do it.  It seems like you've already made that decision, so welcome to the world of registered games!
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Etiquette question, and learning options
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2011, 04:01:04 am »
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Welcome! Good to see people from SC around. I know there are quite a few I run into on iso, and the demographic is similar enough that there should be a lot :). Despite being on the surface very different, SC and dominion have a lot in common, being strategy games. I tend to think of things a lot in the same way as with SC, the kinds of things day9 talks about. (e.g. plan a strategy around a mid-game composition you want, and think of an opening to get you there, etc...)

Directly responding to your questions:

1. As in SC, you are going to run into different kinds of people. I think most people won't complain if you take a minute or even a bit more at the start. Some will be annoyed, but I think it's not that big of a deal. Just let them know you're there and you care that you're taking their time. I think it's much more annoying if you disappear in the middle of game for some reason than if you take a little longer at the start. The start is the most important time in the game, and taking time doesn't mess up any kind of flow, or screw with people trying to remember counts of stuff (like what's left in their draw pile).

2. I personally just accept pretty-much everything. If I'm on, I'm on to play, and I don't care that much with whom I'm playing. I just feel rude declining people.

3. I don't find solitaire much use for anything other than testing out strategies recommended by people on the forum. You can also open two different browsers (not two windows of the same browser) and play 1v1 vs yourself to test it out. But you'll improve most from playing real people.

4. I'd say just post. Ask questions. Odds are a lot of people have similar questions but just aren't asking them. They will benefit from the answers people give to you.
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