Fixing Fleet saving.

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adam3196
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Fixing Fleet saving.

Postby adam3196 » Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:21 pm

At the current time this game is designed so players have to try FS to stay in the game. It makes playing far less fun as it could be. Players find it hard to find resources, and are having to do strange FS strategy any time they are going offline. There is an easy fix to all this.. I am a major gamer. Having played hundreds of games, I would suggest following some of the others designs. All it would take is for developers to build in more level restraints to doing battle. As is the fights can be so unfair. So we hide and not fight. Other games I have played the fights are much more fair and less damage is therefore done. The Win, Lose or Draw feature of battles would also need to change a little. Maybe a kill point system per each type of ship and defense. person with highest point kill would win and walk away with resources with out having to destroy entire fleets. Draw would only be if kill point were equal. This would make fighting so much more fun, fair and Fs would become non cost effective. This would really change the game and would keep a lot of player from quitting. I don't know if developers want to make these changes but I think It would be to their advantage too, making game more popular, means more money in their pockets. And player spend more if they feel their money isn't wasted by unfair warfare.
Last edited by adam3196 on Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

LakeSolon
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FIXING Fleet Saving

Postby LakeSolon » Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:33 pm

I agree that "Fleet Saving" (deploying one's fleet and assets for extended periods, so they can't be attacked) is "bad game play". That's not an indictment of the players that use it, one can only expect the players to use the mechanics available to their best advantage. But it's not intuitive (particularly for new players as it's not something presented by the otherwise very good tutorial). It clearly isn't an intended mechanic, and while I don't pretend to know all of the nuances nor the minds of the developers it does seem to be having negative unintended consequences for gameplay.

However I don't think the answer is a significant overhaul to any other system. I think the answer lies in embracing what the player base has developed and making it an actual feature. This opens up options for balancing the feature as well.

Warning: Random pet idea follows.

My first inclination would be two simple additions:
* A "park in deep space" deployment target. Timing, costs, etc would be open to balance tweaking.
* Fleet attrition. Apply this to every fleet while it's not at a planet, including the new deep space parking. The specific mechanism for attrition (res consumption, ship loss, "fleet repair", some other much better ideas, etc), the attrition rate, what is subject to attrition and perhaps some ramping of the rate would all be open to balance tweaking.

Those two combined would let players continue to play similarly to how they do today. But it would allow the developers to directly balance things, and present the concepts to new players in an approachable way.

And just to be explicit so nobody knee-jerks too hard: I'm not suggesting massive rates of fleet attrition, something commensurate with the fuel usage already required for Fleet Saving, and such that Sphinx still gets to sell their Vacation cards.

Edit: Changed post Subject as noted in my later reply.
Last edited by LakeSolon on Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

lawsie
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Re: Doing away with Fleet saving.

Postby lawsie » Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:14 pm

It is the ONLY major flaw in this otherwise decent game. Players cannot always safeguard their res or their fleets and logging in and out of the game becomes routine to check for any early warnings etc.

Now herein lies the problem, even for those who spend money on DM (like i do occasionaly) no game should expect you to constantly have to check on your status. It has started taking over my daily life lol. I know it sounds sad but if you lose your fleet because you had to do something normal like oh i dunno, go out for the night or whatever and when you come back and find your fleet in ruins and all that time and money is wasted simply because you were not able to constantly keep an eye on the game.

You quite litteraly have people who seem to be online constantly, no matter the time of day or night, as soon as you attack they are gone. It is not healthy for a game to expect you to do this if you want to be a big player.

Something needs to change or people will just quit as they are now. Seen 4 people quit over this pvp event because they cant always be expected to safe guard their fleets with FS all the time. It takes too much time and effort.

Suggestions could be some sort of hanger (similar to stationed fleet) where you lose resources maintining them at a constant rate, not just gas but all res. Of course measures would have to be put into effect to stop people doing it constantly, so make the cost high. And for a maximum of 8 hours or so (for a sound sleep)

Talizorah
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Re: Doing away with Fleet saving.

Postby Talizorah » Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:56 pm

Hmm... you do have some interesting points, but if it were not for FS, myself, my alliance, and probably all free play players would have quit by now. GaW is a game about two things: PvP and Alliances. First and foremost this is a combat game, so fleet killing is the sole purpose of gameplay. Alliances are meant to help you play and grow, so you can kill more fleets, as well as have someone watching your back.

For me, if I couldn't fleetsave, there would have been no way to pay for high level buildings without leaving it all out for any player to come a long and take. FS is the way to balance the game when up against those who pay, and bubble when they walk away from the game.

FS was a player created strategy, one designed to protect assets long-term, without spending money. I can guarantee you that no free play player has ever researched Hyperspace Drive 12 without the use of FS to make it possible. That much res would be found and taken, well before they would even have a chance.

The problem I can see with wanting to eliminate FS, is how does this become achieved? FS is simply attacking Pirates, or another player, in a very far off galaxy. In some servers situations, that could be as far as 120 galaxies away. The core of this game is attacking other players, FS is exactly that.

Alt FS was developed by players to save gas and not spend more resources than absolutely necessary. It is cheaper, and easier to do than regular FS, because if done properly, in even a 20 galaxy server, you can get upwards of 30 hours of worry free play. This gives you an entire day, free to work, go out with friends, or study for that exam tomorrow. Joint Attacks are part of that alliance mechanic, where teamwork is an essential part of surviving in this combat based game.

Top players on servers use tens if not hundreds of millions of gas just to get their fleet off the ground to another planet, or pirates, in their same system. Even the intermediate players require hundreds of thousands of gas to move fleet around in system. Gas is a huge issue we players are attempting to get fixed, and right now, FS is the answer.

Lack of targets due to FS are indeed an issue, but so is a player simply putting up a bubble for 2, 4, 12 hours, or 7 days. A player who FS's doesn't have to spend money to protect their assets and are free to spend on other cards, like res boost, and relocation cards. For free play players, FS means we can build fleets on par with those who do bubble up every night, and can save up our DM earned though collecting the Daily Gifts for relocation cards and res boosts.

I do agree that embracing FS as a true mechanic of the game would be very ideal, but I would have to disagree with imposing a res tax on it. The prime advantage of FS is your assets do not decrease while your fleet is in the air, and it allows for your planets to continue to produce resource for collection later. With fleet gas consumption such a large issue, and the number of galaxies in most servers being very ridiculously high (10-20 is ideal for an active server) players with large fleets cannot do very much with the game.

I would personally like to see more emphasis put on Alliance play, and see more develop with the space station. Introducing means of safely protecting assets, alliance based research, and ways to organize players more efficiently would greatly improve play, help with increasing player activity, and help players stay with the game longer.

lawsie
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Re: Doing away with Fleet saving.

Postby lawsie » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:51 am

the crux of the problem is gas, it costs way too much gas to be able to fs for any length of time with a decent size feet, it becomes impossible therefore unless you buy DM to maintain your gas levels.

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boardwalk
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Re: Doing away with Fleet saving.

Postby boardwalk » Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:31 am

I also agree that fleetsaving needs to go, and not just by preventing it as a tactic, but rather avoiding the need for it in the first place. It is boring, stress-inducing, and anti-competitive. Imagine if at the end of every workday, you had to pack up everything in your offices, store rooms, cafeteria, and cabinets into boxes, then mail them to yourself so other businesses couldn't steal anything (including the boxes themselves). Then every morning, you need to make sure you get to work before the mail does, or else suffer the anxiety that control freaks regularly feel until you arrive. Should you be late, not only do you have the misfortune of whatever delayed you, chances are good that you will be missing boxes of your stuff. And that's not to mention the time and money wasted on shipping and receiving every day, when you could instead be enjoying productive work hours. Or maybe not enjoying, since you can never take days off for any reason if you hope to keep what's yours. Furthermore, if you needed to work after hours or on the weekend, you won't be able to do much, because all your stuff is in boxes on the road.

As was said, fleetsaving is an unintended yet unfortunately integral part of this game. Before every time you leave the game for an extended period, you must send all your ships, from all your planets, with as much resources as they can carry, on a dummy mission at a calculated snail's pace to await your return. If you don't, you will have a very difficult time saving up a sizeable pool of resources overall, or ever building a fleet big enough to compete at high level. Your planets and fleets will suffer significant losses from repeated attacks (that you get no notification about), or otherwise be pillaged entirely. You will never be a long term player without proper fleetsaving routines.

For the first 3 days of playing, GaW is very friendly to new players. Once that noob protection expires, though, if you haven't learned what you can only learn from other players, you're in for very unpleasant surprises. I've been wiped out twice so far; once because I didn't fleetsave, once because I couldn't log on when my fleet was back on planet. And yet, as important as FS is to gameplay, it is not part of the tutorial nor explained on any info page. It is a meta-game that you must either be lucky enough to catch something about in chat, or be the kind of player that looks for game forums. Imagine if after 3 days of enjoying a new game, you get home from work to find that everything you had was destroyed or taken, forcing you to start over. The game is then no longer a fun space battle game, but merely a waiting and hoping game, watching your mines produce while you pray no one attacks you before you get to play again.

Would you want to play a game that was presented to you this way? It gets even worse. Consider that this is a mobile game. I'm not sitting down on a vacant afternoon with mouse and keyboard or controller to delve into hours of gameplay. I'm tapping the screen of a small pocket device for 10 to 20 minutes a few times a day. However, regardless of my playstyle or habits, unless I know exactly when I'll be on next, I might not even get to play at all since my fleets are either in flight or destroyed. If I'm able to be on when my fleets are available, I can hopefully send out some attacks that are timed for my next session. I can't play very much, though, because I'll have nothing to do, however I can't risk being away for long lest I suffer the consequences. GaW is certainly not the only game of it's kind, but it's the only one I've seen with more micromanaging of your time and schedule than gameplay. I want strategic space battles, which I thought I would get when I started playing. Instead, I have a game of babysitting clocks, else a coin flipping game of potentially losing all I gained after hours and days of waiting. If I potentially have to start over every time I come back to an otherwise persistent world, why would I? I certainly wouldn't put any money into that.

So, enough whining from me. I have a few suggestions as well. Short version: adjust fleet functionality, add a ship hanger, and make defenders' armistice work better.

There are only two concerns for player protection: resources and ships. Resources are easier to fix, as there are already protection systems in place. The only real problem I see is that a player can be attacked over and over until there is nothing left. The armistice mechanic seems rather faulty; I've had planets get entirely wiped out and gotten no armistice, and other times gotten a few hours from minor losses. What I've seen work well elsewhere is simply different parameters of what we already have: protection from attacks after being attacked and a maximum percentage of resources stealable. The protection should simply be more liberal: if you lose more than a certain amount of resources or value of ships within a certain amount of time, then you get a non-variable duration of protection, on a per planet basis. Fleets sent to attack before the protection was granted still finish their attacks, but with lessened returns. The amount stealable should be balanced such that being active means you are making sustainable progress (without the need to abuse meta).

As for ships: in general, there should be a way of protecting at least some ships while they are not in flight, such as a hangar like lawsie suggests. This could be a space on each planet which could hold a number of "undeployed" units. A maximum would avoid the need for upkeep costs. When you build units, they go into the hangar until deployed. If full, newly built units are sent to the surface. Units on the surface could be sent to the hangar, as well. Only surface units are susceptible to loss from attacks.

Finally, make some sensible changes to fleets. Remove the option to bring resources on attacks, remove the option to lower flight speeds, and add different ways to mitigate fuel costs.

I'm not sure what specific numbers make sense for all these ideas, but the goal should be to prevent active players from being sent back to day one overnight. Fleetsaving should not become an official game mechanic; wasting time on ridiculous metagaming is, above all else, not fun. When I get up in the morning, I'd like to be able to jump into my space battle game, fix my defenses, run some attacks, and maybe start a few builds, regardless of what time that is. I find this very reasonable.

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boardwalk
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Re: Doing away with Fleet saving.

Postby boardwalk » Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:52 pm

Browsing the wiki, it occurred to me to go read about OGame, which is mentioned on the battle page. I am significantly more enlightened now: GaW is naught but a simplified clone of OGame, which has been around for over a decade. Fleetsaving is an essential mechanic there just as it is here, and I should probably doubt that would ever change in either game. Given how much copy/paste there is from there to here, I would guess Sphinx either pays for rights usage (if that's even necessary), or is somehow related to Gameforge.

I think what threw me so much about GaW was my expectations for a mobile game. Today's mobile gamers want what today's mobile gamers want, not what yesterday's niche gamers wanted, which is probably why it was so difficult for me to find GaW. I could see this game quite easily implementing many of the mechanics that are popular in what mobile gaming considers "strategy" games. I suppose that is wishful thinking, though. I have faith that someday I'll find the mobile space battle game I want. So far, it seems like it just doesn't exist yet.

I certainly don't dislike this game (I plan to try out OGame, as well); I like it a lot. I just understand it better now from the perspective of its development. GaW is likely in or close to its final state, with most effort placed on bug fixes and events. Now that I better understand that GaW/OGame/etc. is deliberately a clock watching game of hurry-up-and-wait, I can try to appreciate it as such.

Well, maybe. I've become undecided whether clock watching is a genre I'd like to keep in my gaming rotation. Time will tell, as it were. :P

LakeSolon
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Re: FIXING Fleet Saving.

Postby LakeSolon » Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:29 pm

I'm delighted to check back and see such thorough and carefully reasoned discussion. This is unavoidably a contentious issue where any changes will be disliked by some. And as in countless other cases for any other game it's always difficult to discern between "Player Consensus" and "Vocal Minority". Fortunately the posts so far are not simply shouting "for" or "against", but instead adding valuable insight and feedback that's furthering the discussion and perhaps the process.

In light of the tone and focus of discussion I'd like to propose we retitle the thread "Fixing Fleet Saving". Or something to that effect as I feel the current title colors the discussion negatively. I've changed the "Subject:" of my post above, and this one, and you can change your Subject when you post as well.

Excerpts from Talizorah's post, emphasis mine:
Talizorah wrote:...
For me, if I couldn't fleetsave, there would have been no way to pay for high level buildings without leaving it all out for any player to come a long and take. FS is the way to balance the game when up against those who pay, and bubble when they walk away from the game.

FS was a player created strategy, one designed to protect assets long-term, without spending money. I can guarantee you that no free play player has ever researched Hyperspace Drive 12 without the use of FS to make it possible. That much res would be found and taken, well before they would even have a chance.
...
I do agree that embracing FS as a true mechanic of the game would be very ideal, but I would have to disagree with imposing a res tax on it. The prime advantage of FS is your assets do not decrease while your fleet is in the air, and it allows for your planets to continue to produce resource for collection later. With fleet gas consumption such a large issue, and the number of galaxies in most servers being very ridiculously high (10-20 is ideal for an active server) players with large fleets cannot do very much with the game.
...


Two key elements of FTP games are that "free" players can compete and that people do spend money to make their gameplay more enjoyable. Without the former there's no player base, and without the latter there's no developer support. The vacation cards (and other duration Armistice Agreements) are presumably a key source of income for the developer which they likely feel they must protect.

Consequently simply allowing unlimited cost-free and convenient Fleet Saving is almost certainly not a viable option. Some balance must be struck.

I agree with your statement that "FS is the way to balance the game...", and I actually think that likely quite by accident FS does provide a haphazard balance. It requires player time and effort in much the same way as other mechanics, costs resources (gas) to maintain, and encourages real-money purchases in exchange for convenience but not necessarily competitiveness.

However I think there are two primary issues with it.

1. It's not intuitive. Particularly for new players. It's something which must be explained to new players because it is, in a game design sense, not a feature but an exploit. Which means it's not part of the tutorial, official documentation, and so on. This hurts player retention. Protecting the value of premium purchases is important, but player retention trumps that every time, and in this case I believe the value can be retained.

2. It's not practical to 'tune' the balance. Once it's a "real feature" the tradeoffs can easily be set by the developer, and adjusted over time without major disruption to gameplay. With tuning the player frustration already expressed in this thread (which, again, hurts player retention) can be minimized. There have been a variety of good suggestions (I like mine personally, but I'm biased) any one of which may be viable and some may very well suit the direction the developer is already headed (but don't let that dissuade you from suggesting your own idea).

I look forward to a day going by without having to explain Fleet Saving to a new player.

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boardwalk
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Re: Doing away with Fleet saving.

Postby boardwalk » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:06 am


LakeSolon
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Re: Doing away with Fleet saving.

Postby LakeSolon » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:36 am

boardwalk wrote:lmao @ timely facebook post about FS


And the comment replies are the Facebook equivalent of this thread, with a healthy dose of "What's fleet saving?" and bad half-explanations of Fleet Saving.

And speaking of timely: Since my previous post I overslept, fleet save returned, and got wiped out by someone about 4x my score. I'll shrug it off and move on as my gaming history makes this but a trifle. However I've seen players rage-quit the game entirely for something similar in the past few days alone. It's too much of a razor's edge of risk:reward that's far outside the expectations set by the rest of the game.

As you mentioned in your previous post, this is just not acceptable if the developers want to expand in the market they're targeting. For further evidence: Go read some of the iTunes reviews. It littered with bitter ex-players who have been wiped out and quit the game, giving a *---- review.


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