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Hydra Principles


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#1 Accuso

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:03 AM

Hi @ all

this is a translation (thx @ marc) from a blog I released today...
I am posting this without a hidden agenda whatsoever and would like you to comment on the blog and give me an insight in what you think about the problems mentioned in it...

thank you in advance!
original blogpost: http://www.mwo-mercs...setz-der-hydra/

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Cut off a Hydra’s head and you will see a pair of new heads growing back. This ancient wisdom fits MWO perfectly these days or at least if you take the time to summarize everything that happened during the last few weeks. This may sound harsh but it is clear by now that for each problem that PGI tries to fix, a couple new ones appear on the horizon. This happens more and more and it seems as if there is no end in sight. After weeks of utter frustration and several shitstorms a couple of new forum posts appeared in regards to the Roadmap which finally resulted in several people losing their calm on Teamspeak and on the official forum. This post is trying to put all problems into context in order to clear the general confusion and offers some explanation for what is happening at the moment.

Only taking my own expectations into consideration I realize that the biggest problem is not too little content or unfulfilled promises from PGI but rather bugs. Nobody expects the game to be perfect in its beta phase as this is unrealistic as many more complex games have shown in the past. It is a fact though that the problems which MWO’s community is facing day by day are persistent since closed beta and were announced to have been corrected several times already. The reality draws another picture though. Crashes to desktop (CTD) and the infamous Black Screen of Death (BSoD) were a rare problem before the latest patch but have become a certainty since its release. Nowadays the majority of matches begin with incomplete teams since many of us already crash during the drop loading sequence and the rest is harassed by CTDs in the middle of a firefight. There have been several attempts to remedy this situation but so far to no avail.

The lucky ones who make it into the match are plagued by sudden and unexplained frame drops (FPSDrops) not to mention severe graphic lag at times. Several optimization attempts by PGI made no difference so far and the latest patch escalated such problems into the complete experience of a match (previously fps drops only appeared while being involved in firefights). Such drops range from mild to up to 25 frames (more on that in our forums). Even players with top notch hardware are not exempt from this problem even though it was mentioned by PGI that their internal testing already includes builds supporting DX11. Several community attempts were able to offer a partial remedy but were unable to fix the core issue completely. Since then players had no other choice as to accept such flaws and keep hoping for a solution which is due for 3 months now.

The knock down mechanics (mechs being swept of their feet when colliding with other mechs) has been disabled for several weeks and is seriously affecting the balance in regards to mech gameplay. Since PGI decided to disable this mechanic it is very hard or rather impossible to defend oneself against a faster mech as piloting mistakes are not punished with a fall down of the colliding mech anymore which enabled the rest of one’s team to dish out severe damage until the enemy pilot got up on its feet again. Another reason for the miserable balance present is the disastrous netcode which is causing jittering, lag and the resulting lagshielding (Mech is hard or even impossible to hit). This is another area which is desperate for a fix and results in the Jenner (or any other incredibly fast light mech for that matter) being the most powerful mech on the field at the moment due to the fact that its lagshield protects it from enemy fire.
It has become a general habit to ignore light mechs until the end of the match to focus on bigger threats (unless your rear armor is severely damaged) just to spend minutes and minutes trying to slice through a Jenner’s legs at the end of the round. My own experience has painfully taught me that it is far from fun to keep busy with a Jenner’s leg longer than with the rest of the enemy team members alltogether.

Every patch adds to the bug-mess. The latest blunder involves the reload timer of the ultra ac/5 (UAC/5) which now has an insane firing rate of up to 4 rounds per second when used in dual composition. This results in ravaged assault mechs which are usually able to withstand a longer bombardment. As this is widespread knowledge the UAC/5 is a common sight in players’ builds as it makes all other choices look frail in comparison. Due to this fact PGI has to endure the question of why such bugs have to be identified by the community instead of PGI’s internal QA-workforce. This is especially worrisome and strange considering the fact that PGI has at least one or even several advanced build stages in testing already and that such bugs have a severe impact on gameplay. A weird appearance if one considers that PGI announced that there is a low tolerance for such kind of flaws with the start of open beta.

Until today it is still unclear how this QA-department is organised. PGI keeps a tight lid on all details even though there seems to be information available that suggests that it consists of external players (previously known as “Super Secret Squirrel Club”) which might lead to a conflict of interest if so. Needless to say that such players would enjoy a definite advantage over the rest of the community due to their “employment” at PGI and would therefore be interested to keep their assignments and as a logical conclusion their slates clean by finding only a minimum of bugs to appear to be in control of the situation.

On top of that the absolutely necessary second phase of the matchmaking is overdue for several weeks now even though PGI insisted on an earlier release (Ninja stealth-edited by now). Unfortunately it took a while before the community was informed about the delay. Many players are very frustrated already having been forced to PUG for 2 weeks now which is indicated by the dwindling numbers on the public TS servers. Those who want to try their luck to drop as a complete premade group are trying to group into 4 player teams with different mech classes to have a chance of being matched in the same round on the same side. It is a futile attempt at best to use it as an “exploit” as such a mixed drop is far from guaranteeing a matched 8 player game. Even though the reason behind this decision to change the matchmaking is questionable PGI refuses to comment and seems to have no problem with suffering the consequences such as a frustrated and shrinking community and a massive increase in PUG-stomping. PGI aims at the 4. December for phase 2 which might change though.

Communication in general has decreased to a new low since the start of open beta and the questions and concerns of the community stay unanswered even though PGI is well aware of them (Question 6). The institution of the “Command Chair” was supposed to bring clarity but it just seems to be a means for a much more strict enforcement policy for Mods (here and here) when it comes to uncomfortable questions within the official forums. The Roadmap was release only yesterday and shows a distorted picture of PGI’s vision of the future especially when it comes to 3rd person view. If one looks at the (by now) insufficient feature list from the closed beta forum, it becomes evident that there is a delay of 2 months for important balance and gameplay features already which were supposed to carry the game through open beta.
It got even stranger when Russ Bullock tried to provide an explanation for a developer’s “slip of the tounge” during the NoGutsNoGalaxy interview. Many believe that Russ tried his best to guide the conversation into a certain direction from the get go, just to be finally able to drop the bomb on the community. This resulted in a feedback thread shortly after but far earlier before the shitstorm got out of hand which indicates that PGI knew exactly what was coming……a wave of disgust. No surprise that the answer within the command chair was vague and evasive at best, and yet the development continues to steer towards their declared goals despite all the suggestions and their own promises from the past. Of course this “onion-shell disclosure tactic” doesn’t sit right with the community which has invested heavily into PGI in case of trust already and considering that all fears seem to manifest one after the other.

To make a long story short: It needs to be underlined again and again that there is an urgent need for changes. This is not only valid for the gameplay but also for the way information is communicated. The priorities need to be reestablished and the approach for fixing the biggest issue first has to be replaced by a structured and focused way of working on issues which needs to be transparent yet consequent. Many have done it before so why don’t you or we for that matter?

Thanks for your attention,

Accuso

A big "Thanks" goes to Shredhead for his help and his proofreading...

Edited by Accuso, 22 November 2012 - 10:04 AM.


#2 Attalward

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:01 AM

this a quite interesting read. I must say i mostly agree int eh description of the situation.

#3 Accuso

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:12 AM

View PostAttalward, on 22 November 2012 - 11:01 AM, said:

this a quite interesting read. I must say i mostly agree int eh description of the situation.


thank you :-D I was allready convinced my post would have gone missing in the flood ouf "server down"-threads :-D

Edited by Accuso, 22 November 2012 - 11:12 AM.


#4 Nuesse

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:50 PM

Hey Accuso,

its a really good read. Your Description of the current situation is nearly nailed down to the point.

Let's hope that we could prvoide more good mooded blogposts in the near future.





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