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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:36 pm 
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This is prompted by a comment from the KoL podcast, where Jick discussed the possibility of KoL adding notes to explain what many of their in-game effects do. I hadn't really thought about it much before, but Jick noted that he finds it frustrating not knowing what any effects do without checking the wiki, and this brought my attention to the fact that I actually feel the same way -- it drives me crazy guessing what things do, and for the most part if I can't remember an item's benefit, I just don't use the item.

So it's got me wondering: does anybody really enjoy the process of trying to spade the results of effects? Is hiding them providing any enjoyment to the game? And does that enjoyment justify the frustration that I know many people feel just guessing what stuff might do?

In particular, it seems that there isn't much difference between effects and benefits from any other item in the game. If I can tell you that the bowler gives +3 intellect, is there any reason for me to not tell you Ant's Strength gives you +X strength? Or that Air Shield improves your defensive rating (as opposed to, possibly, increasing damage absorption, which some people might guess.)

I'm feeling inclined to change this to the more revealing option, but I figured I'd check and see if there's anyone at all who really relishes those mysteries. Or if there's a strong voice for some middle ground, say, where I mention what the effect affects, but not the numeric value. (I don't think that'd be particularly popular, but I guess it's an option.)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:40 pm 
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I personally am for this, but I know there's those that enjoy figuring these things out.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:45 pm 
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It might be too early to tell whether we have solid spaders right now, but Muhandes and Satan seem to be doing fairly well so far. But I think we need a boatload more spaders to seriously take on what they're doing.

I also take the same stance as Olaf on the issue. That really is the crux of the problem. Do you really want spaders spending their time spading for the effects?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:08 pm 
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Personally, I think the effect itself should in most cases be known. Like, if it gives +X% items, then it should hint that it helps you find items, like some of the skills do. But the extent (when applicable) should stay hidden. Like, let me know that it increases item drops, but don't tell me by how much. That's kind of a middle ground that'd make most everyone happy, I think. Maybe. And I'm sure there are some things that should be secret, if they're meant to be like that... Or some things that just can't be easily described in the space you have in the descriptions.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:13 pm 
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I'm not sure about that Satan. Your example seems to fall into the same category as "Item drop = x%". If I knew Item drop base, but not what it increased it by, that'd be sort of annoying.

I mean, power isn't hidden at all.

Actually, ooh, criticals are sort of hidden, but they give an idea of scaling. That might be the kind of model to go for. Then again, that doesn't really apply to items. Hm.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:05 pm 
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I'm including a message from a player who doesn't have forums access yet. It's intriguing in its complexity, though it's also complex enough I'm not sure I could do it:

Quote:
I am of the mind that clear effects are far superior, not only for the level of accessibility it provides your game to those that aren't computer literate enough to go seeking out a wiki, but also for the reassurance it provides, in a time-limited game such as this, that you aren't losing time in mistaken assumptions about potential effects, or losing even further time trying to figure out the effects more exactly.

My recommendation, however, is less to be 'clear' or a 'unclear'. By this I mean that I think it would add not only clarity, but also another layer of gameplay, if effects should be researched in the computer lab. Let's say you cast psionic reversion on yourself, you just got the power and you don't know what it does. You can then choose to load the a computer program (perhaps necessitating special computer lab equipment) that studies the effect for so many turns.

Say the intended effect of psionic reversion is to make PP act like HP and vice versa. Before the effect is studied, there is an unclear description, and you lose more PP than you would have HP when you get struck in combat. After the effect is fully studied, you get the most from it and suffer 1 for 1 loss.

Buffs, I think, should be dependent on the caster, and not the recipient. Items should be dependent on the user/wearer, so if someone else deciphers that an ostentatious cape adds the ability to fly but you always lose first strike because your enemies see you coming from 1.3 miles away, each user would have to study that as they receive the item, if someone researches the items powers and sells it, the new person should have to research the item anew (though ideally the old person should know the powers if they ever get the same item again).

This, of course, leads to a larger problem, what if the effects of an item or power do not have effects that can be scaled or set to probability? I suggest for that, a more simple solution, if someone wields that example cape without understanding it, they lose a certain percentage of some stat. Barring that, perhaps specialized 'not-knowledgable' penalties, for example if you don't know how to use the cape, there is a chance at the end of every adventure to get sucked into a jet engine while flying away from the scene, losing hit points.


Edited to add: specifically, using the computer as a sort of "identify item" feature is kind of neat. Both a good use of the computer mechanic, and also a way for people to engage in a spading process of sorts without having to do actual statistics stuff themselves.

The difficulty of the idea as proposed comes from inserting lots of variability into the results of effects, which is considerably more complex than the mostly fixed nature they have now. There's also having to track each player's discoveries/knowledge individually--that would be a huge mess of a challenge.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:46 pm 
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I'm not sure. On the one hand, it's a neat idea. It's something for a diamond like me to do. On the other, I don't get to do any neat logical work to figure it out. It's just given to me. There's no real sense of accomplishment for figuring it out, since the computer did it for you. Well. It's not even that. Everything's provided for you at the start, the computer's just making it better. So there's no figuring anything out... I don't know, I want to have /something/ left to spade :/


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:51 pm 
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There is plenty of other stuff to spade. All you're doing is just raw adventuring right now.

There are plenty of formulas and game mechanics still undiscovered, as well as combat rates and whatnot.

Those are very important too.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:02 pm 
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Clearing up skills makes sense. Leaving bonuses for other effects also makes sense. No need to say exactly what the Monkey does, as long as it's clear that it's +items.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:40 pm 
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I decided to go ahead and push these out. I made an exception for chips and items, since they're actively being looked into; didn't want to spoil that fun. A few others are intentionally vague, and the scaling effects just say they scale, and not the equation.

Depending on how current spading goes, I may leave many future effects vague until I think they're adequately spaded and then reveal them. Unless that ends up being too much work, in which case I'll scrap the idea.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:34 am 
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Seems like a nice middle ground.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to edit all the effects in the wiki (again!) [will postpone my "edit all combats in the wiki" project, hmmm, I need a life].


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:16 am 
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Voice wrote:
The whole idea of having something that searches out (maybe via computer) full effect descriptions is kinda neat too, but at the same time I wonder how useful it would really be.
Honestly, it strikes me as something only completionists would be horribly interested in. Spades tend to prefer to figure out for themselves, and everyone else would just check the wiki for the effect. I mean, I'd probably do it, but I've got nothing better to do with my turns.

If having the computer crank out the info improved effectiveness, then it seems like it'd be more of an irritant than anything. A nifty mechanic, certainly, but of limited use and interest.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:12 pm 
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Quote:
February 16
The pop-up descriptions of effects now tell you the details of what the effect does.

Copycats


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:27 pm 
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How about getting these indicators bold'd or something? Just so it stands out a bit more instead of just being another paragraph of narrative.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:32 pm 
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They are. Sorta. Kind of a grayish bold.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:38 am 
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They are very bold on my screen.


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