New draft Realm Difficulty Specifications

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  • Farious wrote:
    SpiteAndMalice wrote:Why not?


    The Realm Editor used by Moderators is set to Read Only.



    Sorry Farious - I think we've got on cross wires a bit with this.

    Yes, certainly I can see that you can't set the level for a realm because you don't write privileges (and I think that is what Aka was suggesting)

    But, could you not suggest a change of difficulty level to the realm designer(s) rather than suggesting a change of realm design to match with the difficulty level criteria? (And then the designer has an option to make that change).

    For example:

    Say a designer decides that they want to have a realm with lots of encounters, a tight time limit, multiple options to disconnect etc etc, and then they set it at level 1. I would have thought that it's a lot less work on both thier and your part to simple suggest that the difficult level is too low, and that they might want to consider changing it to the lets say 9-12 range, ratther than saying that they need to remove x, y and z from their design.

    A level change takes 2 mins, a redesign potentially takes house (and runs the risk that that realm just never gets resubmitted as a result)
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  • The other thing that I would put to you is that the criteria list is too prescriptive - You're reducing the potential creativity in the design process, and if realms come in that only fit to the criteria that you're steering the realm experience toward one where the player succumbs to ennui. ''Why would I play another of those level x realms, when they're all the same as each other?'''

    If you're going to go down the criteria driven route, then I'd suggest that you make it very clear that your criteria are just a guide or suggestion only and/or that you widen them significantly.

    As it stands there's a number of things that a designer can do which lead to a situation where difficulty is still an appropriate match to level, but where realm design would fall outside of your criteria. For example, looking at the level 1 criteria:


    Human Difficulty Name: Training / Apprentice (excludes the Tutorial Realm)
    Realm Level: 1
    Max number of Citadels: 1 - Location, wizard lord type, reinforcement type, and reinforcement rate are factors that work in combination with this.

    Max number of ManaFluxes: 1 - Location is a factor, wizard lord type is a factor

    Max number of Ruins: 3 - Location can be a factor, wizard lord placement and type is a factor, beyond that I don't feel this relates to difficulty.

    Max number of Towns: 3 - I don't see any relation to difficulty increasing with more towns being present, if anything more towns leads to more options to recruit mercs and purchase gear.

    Max number of Villages: 18 - Location is a factor, village type is a factor, gold is a factor, number and type of wizard lords is a factor, realm length is a factor

    Banish Spell Progress: 0%-50% full upon reaching the Palace with a near perfect run. - The ease or difficulty in achieving that perfect run is also a factor. A perfect run in 10% time where you must win 6 battles is more difficult than a perfect run in 60% time where you must only win 3 battles.

    Encounter Outcomes Prohibited: Banish Spell, Disconnect, ReleaseNextMarauder & Time. - The ease or difficulty in avoiding or triggering those encounter outcomes is a major factor.

    Reinforcement Rates: High Casting Chance Spells: 0-20. Low Casting Chance Spells: 0-1 Spider: 0-1 Undead: 0-1 - This is subjective, what one player finds hard to counter, another can find easy. Other factors that come into play are, reinforcement rates of other creatures, village location, town location, perfect run completion time.

    Reinforcements Prohibited: Giant, Hellhound, Hydra, Vampire, Sapphire Dragon, Zombie - As above.

    Reinforcements per average Wizard Lord: 0-1 - I don't see how the number of reinforcement types relates to difficulty at all, it's just theme. Facing a combination of Goblin and Dwarf reinforcements is no more difficult than facing either Goblins or Dwarves on their own.

    Taboos Prohibited : All. - Again, I think whether and how a taboo affects difficulty or not is subject to the map type, the player and the player build.

    Special Qualifying Conditions:
    All battles must be able to be fought with the aid of a Village. - This should be a designer decision - You can make easy realm battles without the need to have village assistance.

    Citadels, ManaFluxes, & Palace must be included in at least 1 Town's Rumours. - This should also be a designer decision. In a linear map design for instance the player will always discover these, there's therefore no prerequisite for rumours. There should also be some option to reward players who explore regardless of realm level. You can also lead players towards these factors via the encounter system.

    Citadels, ManaFluxes, & Palace must not be on a disconnected island - The Palace yes, that should always be the case. The ManaFlux being disconnected affect difficulty in different ways dependent upon the number of other ManaFluxes that are reachable. The Citadel being disconnected affects difficulty in different ways based on reinforcement rates and the time it takes the player to compete a realm.

    Player must not be forced to abandon the Realm. - Surely this shouldn't happen at any level?

    Undead Reinforcements must be countered by the player being granted easily accessible counter Undead or Undead Slayer Mercs for no gold fee. - The difficulty of this is again subjective, there's other ways to counter undead, and there's other opportunities for a realm designer to show a player how to do so beyond mercs
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  • I think a better way to approach this would be to say:

    These are factors that can make a realm easier for the player:
    A
    B
    C

    These are factors that can make a realm harder for the player:
    D
    E
    F

    These are factors that can make a realm easier for some players, and harder for others:
    G
    H
    I

    These things should never be a part of design:
    The citidel is unreachable.
    Foul language.
    J
    K
    L

    And then just have a statement along the lines of:

    Overall, when designing a low level realm, make sure that the player is easily able to complete your realm, for higher level realms look to increase the challenge. When giving moderator feedback I/We will advise on the appropriateness of your realm difficulty level and in some cases suggest a change which will help you maximise the player's experience and as a result increase your realm feedback ratings. However it ultimately rests upon you as a designer to pitch your realm difficulty at the level that you feel is appropriate.

    Then, A) You've moderated and given appropriate feedback, B) I dare say you'll be able to do that a hell of a lot quicker than in the time frame that you're currently having to work to C) The designer can make any realm that they wish without a heavy handed list of criteria, D) There's a lot less likelihood of designers not resubmitting realms after moderation, and E) The success of that realm will ultimately rest upon the realm ratings given.
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  • SpiteAndMalice wrote:The other thing that I would put to you is that the criteria list is too prescriptive


    It's not too prescriptive and Designers can mitigate certain requirements by having others either easier or harder; the Realm Difficulty Specifications have been implemented for awhile and no active Designer to this point has had any issue with either them or the process and the fact that a variety of different types of Realm have been produced without any Player noticing the Realm Difficulty Specifications until I published the updated version is testimony to this.

    Farious
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  • Farious wrote:
    SpiteAndMalice wrote:The other thing that I would put to you is that the criteria list is too prescriptive


    It's not too prescriptive and Designers can mitigate certain requirements by having others either easier or harder;


    Please can you clarify what you mean by that statement, are you saying that designers can make their own realm design that falls outside of your criteria, or that they can make their own designs, but only if they fall within your criteria?

    Going back to the first question that I posted, is this list of criteria for guidance only, or are you saying that designers must follow it?

    Please respond to this question, as the answer to it is the key one as to whether your criteria act as a help or a hindrance imho


    Farious wrote:the Realm Difficulty Specifications have been implemented for awhile and no active Designer to this point has had any issue with either them or the process
    Farious


    Actually, that's not quite true. I did notice your specifications when you posted them in February, I raised it via PM with Jim at the time.

    At that point in time you were putting those specifications labelled as guidance only, and you weren't asking for feedback. Your text at the time was

    Designers, please attempt to roughly adhere to the following guidance when constructing Realms in relation to difficulty & the Level setting under Realm Data. This is just a guide and the Moderator will judge whether or not if in totality a Realm is at a certain level of difficulty.


    That to me made it very clear that I didn't have to follow your guidance and could still produce a realm according to my own wishes as a designer.

    In this thread it's ambiguous whether those specifications are still only guidance, or whether they must be followed, you're presenting the thread as a draft, and you are now asking for feedback via this discussion forum.

    Farious wrote: and the fact that a variety of different types of Realm have been produced without any Player noticing the Realm Difficulty Specifications until I published the updated version is testimony to this.


    That only means that some realm designers are happy to work within those criteria, others may well be either be:
    - unaware the the guidance exists (in which case why have it in the first place?),
    - felt as I did that those specifications were only guidance previously,
    - or they may have noticed them and decided that they don't wish to design realms whilst if doing so means having to follow that guidance.

    It's like that old customer service mistake where a cafe owner says 'Yes, I have reduced my menu options and put the prices up, but some customers are still coming in, so they all must be happy with that.'
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  • Farious wrote:
    It's not too prescriptive and Designers can mitigate certain requirements by having others either easier or harder; the Realm Difficulty Specifications have been implemented for awhile and no active Designer to this point has had any issue with either them or the process and the fact that a variety of different types of Realm have been produced without any Player noticing the Realm Difficulty Specifications until I published the updated version is testimony to this.

    Farious


    Spite and I are both active players and we have both designed realms, putting us in a pool of maybe 5 or so other players at the moment, and yes, we are telling you that it is too prescriptive. This conversation could be about the best, most productive way forward for the gaming community in terms of creative and dynamic realm creation, but you appear to be resistant.
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  • Gentle now chaps.

    Farious is the sole Moderator for Realms at the moment and I for one have found his guidelines useful.

    Given the limited guidelines supplied by Snapshot he has defined a criteria for consistent Realm moderation. Feel free to suggest alternatives but please respect the fact that he has published this for visibility of the process.

    Regards,

    Jim
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  • SlipperyJim wrote:Gentle now chaps.

    Farious is the sole Moderator for Realms at the moment and I for one have found his guidelines useful.

    Given the limited guidelines supplied by Snapshot he has defined a criteria for consistent Realm moderation. Feel free to suggest alternatives but please respect the fact that he has published this for visibility of the process.

    Regards,

    Jim



    Sorry Jim - I know that written communication can be interpreted in different ways, but I don't see where I've been less than polite within this thread.

    I don't think this system of moderating realm difficulty is a good one, I don't see a need for it full stop, and I think it will put a number of what could otherwise be good realm designers off designing realms as we'll perceive it as too controlling of how we can/can't create realms rather than being part of what should be the moderation process.

    This is why I'm asking for clarification; are these guidelines only, or must they be followed by designers?

    The answer to that question is fundamental.

    Snapshot have just announced an opening up of what is and isn't possible to create within realms, it's a shame that the number of encounters has been increased as that was the most limiting part of it imho. In presenting us with an open system, I see that snapshot are wanting us to do more and different things with realm design, this has been long waited for, and is very welcome, but having snapshot present us with an open system does no good if moderation then locks it all down again.

    The big picture is that the number and quality of realms being produced affects all of us, but as a realm designer I simply won't engage with a system where I don't have the freedom to design as I feel is appropriate.

    Rejecting a realm because it contains foul or offensive language is moderation, providing feedback on spelling and grammar is both welcome and helpful, but rejecting for criteria such as it has the wrong type or quantity of taboo is subjective and nitpicking.
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  • I have repeatedly stated the purpose of the specifications and they can be mitigated by balancing measures. They have been used since October 2016 without complaint. This is not changing.

    Farious
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  • SpiteAndMalice wrote:
    Sorry Jim - I know that written communication can be interpreted in different ways, but I don't see where I've been less than polite within this thread.


    My post was intended for all concerned as I see the potential for this to go south.

    We may not agree but we can discuss things without getting the hump right?

    Regards,

    Jim
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