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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 71
12-15-2011, 01:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BorticusCryptic
That's not what I said. Gathering feedback, and posting on these forums, is not part of the job description and duties of the "in-the-trenches" Devs like myself, Geko, Heretic, Gozer, Goatshark, Kestrel or 99% of the others you see post here. In fact, I'm fairly sure that the only ones that are supposed to have an ongoing presence are the Community Reps like Branflakes. If you see any others posting here, we're doing so on our own time, above and beyond our core duties as developers.

So it's not PvP feedback that is a "free hours" activity. It's all feedback. We've got jobs to do, and can't always take the time to read our forums as much as we'd like to.

That said, t's something we love doing. But sometimes we need to go where our limited time will be best served, and that means checking in on the forums that contain the highest ratio of constructive feedback. That has, lately, not been the PvP community.

I'm hoping that a more vocal and obvious presence will turn that around some. Posts like those that BigRedJedi used to put up are a bajillionty times more useful than a simple complaint that some power or tactic or console is OP. The more numbers or details about something we can get, as well as numbers or analysis to back up any opinions you may have, the more likely we are to track down any sources of discontent, and address them in a timely manner.
Jeremy the "free time" comment was what another dev said he was doing since he was so busy during normal office hours the only way he could keep up was to look at PvP in his "free time". While we appreciate that it also infuriates us because it gives off the perception that PvP is far down the list we only can have someone "casua;lly" address it. We do not think that is the case with you but the PvP community is a little cynical when a dev comes here and carries on dialogues with us and than "POOF" 3 weeks later we never see you again except in the PvE section or the costume section. As much as you love BRJ the sad fact is he got tired of "talking" to the wall and left the game which is a tragic loss for everyone. I know if I had the time I would try and pick up his mantle but sadly I do not. But on a more critical note we as a player base should not be running to devs with in-depth mechanics issues. Its one thing to discuss bugs and exploits because we all know they happen but QA is not our jobs.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 72
12-15-2011, 01:25 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Data
Its one thing to discuss bugs and exploits because we all know they happen but QA is not our jobs.
To be fair, QA is often not a developer's job, either.

When we have regression testing or QA testing to be done prior to an install or upgrade, we draw on key users and superusers from within the corporate community. Executive management stands behind us, and will get involved if any divisions or sections are recalcitrant or won't provide capable end-users to functionally test and stress-test new code. We've actually gotten authorization to let project timelines slip when enough test resources couldn't be found. We've also had executives *override* mid- and lower-level management and *make them* provide us testers.

Quite frankly, in my experience, you get *better* and more comprehensive results when your QA testers are NOT members of the development team. The QA testers will *try* to break the programs (and that's *exactly* what we tell them to do).
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 73
12-15-2011, 01:34 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BorticusCryptic
We're trying to help, and we all want to see STO get better. I don't want to see this community make it harder on themselves by continuing to focus on so much negativity. The more constructive and informative your feedback can be here, the better we'll all be in the end.
So what you're saying is that the bug reporting system, forums, community tickets, and all that jazz that we've been reporting PVP stuff with for over a year now doesn't work in the slightest?


Because that's what I'm reading out of this statement.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 74
12-15-2011, 02:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerrus View Post
So what you're saying is that the bug reporting system, forums, community tickets, and all that jazz that we've been reporting PVP stuff with for over a year now doesn't work in the slightest?


Because that's what I'm reading out of this statement.
I don't think I'm the only one who gets what you are saying. Whether they want to acknowledge their responsibility for this negativity or not, can we just try to put the past behind us (again) and give them (another) chance? Maybe they are actually seriously interested this time.

I'd really like to think positive this time...
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 75
12-15-2011, 03:50 PM
That ship has sailed. SWTOR is the game to play now.

If it isn't PvE content, p2w consoles and grab bags they don't care.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 76
12-15-2011, 04:32 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BorticusCryptic
That's not what I said. Gathering feedback, and posting on these forums, is not part of the job description and duties of the "in-the-trenches" Devs like myself, Geko, Heretic, Gozer, Goatshark, Kestrel or 99% of the others you see post here. In fact, I'm fairly sure that the only ones that are supposed to have an ongoing presence are the Community Reps like Branflakes. If you see any others posting here, we're doing so on our own time, above and beyond our core duties as developers.

So it's not PvP feedback that is a "free hours" activity. It's all feedback. We've got jobs to do, and can't always take the time to read our forums as much as we'd like to.
I understand that, and I appreciate and respect that you go the extra mile. The point I was trying to make is that keeping up with the state of game balance is a task important enough to be part of *someone's* job description. It should be something you guys are able to do in your normal work hours, not something that only gets done if you are sacrificing your own free time on it. (I guess this is directed more towards management than towards you or other designers.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BorticusCryptic
I'm hoping that a more vocal and obvious presence will turn that around some. Posts like those that BigRedJedi used to put up are a bajillionty times more useful than a simple complaint that some power or tactic or console is OP. The more numbers or details about something we can get, as well as numbers or analysis to back up any opinions you may have, the more likely we are to track down any sources of discontent, and address them in a timely manner.
Absolutely. Now that we know you're paying attention, I'm sure you're going to see more numbers and and analysis around here. We prefer things that way as well, believe me. We just need to know that our efforts don't go to waste (as they have in the past).

I'm really optimistic about this.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 77
12-15-2011, 11:43 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BorticusCryptic
I'm hoping that a more vocal and obvious presence will turn that around some. Posts like those that BigRedJedi used to put up are a bajillionty times more useful than a simple complaint that some power or tactic or console is OP. The more numbers or details about something we can get, as well as numbers or analysis to back up any opinions you may have, the more likely we are to track down any sources of discontent, and address them in a timely manner.
BigRedJedi is sorely missed.

There is another problem. The Voldemort exploit(s) - we are, according to the forum rules, not allowed to speak about the details. But this seems to make posting useful feedback impossible, and experience indicates that writing bug reports doesn't lead to the problem being addressed. The first incident led to a lot of bans, and nobody wants that again.

Maybe the community team can be a little more lenient on this.

I wonder:
If we describe what the effect of an exploit is and post a bug ticket ID (the one the bug ticket system has given us), can you, the devs, check out this bug ticket directly? So far, I always have the impression that the bug tickets just don't reach you.
Maybe it is because there is normally a QA step behind, that we'd circumvent here. What would be a more effective procedure?
As how annoying do the Devs consider PMs about such issues?


Another issue is:
Unbalances in the game can not always be shown with some simple statistics. At some point, the complexity of a problem is too big that even a force-sensitive large red individual cannot make up simple test scenarios. PvP is a team game and that creates too many variables.

If a single power on its own is imbalanced, this can probably be shown via comparisons and statistics.
If multiple powers combined are unbalanced, it is harder to show with statistics.


The imbalance of consoles and BO powers often comes from how they interact.
Let's take those energy drain issues as example: The more powers you add that can drain energy, the more total energy drain can be stacked. If there is no stacking penalty/limitation for _different_ sources of energy drain, it becomes very easy to overcome any defenses - and even 4 team mates cannot keep you alive when all your energy levels are reduced to 0.


This is a direct stacking issues - other problems can occur if you combine different powers for unexpected effects. (Sometimes, this is just another type of stacking effect - if there are 4 effects that Science Team can cure in the game, and a single ship can have all 4 thanks to a liberal use of consoles and BOs, the counter can become useless).

And of course, some bugs can't be given more precise than:
Anti-Matter Spread can make you unable to use Evasive Maneuvers (mis-fire) and unable to heal allies, even though you targeted them.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 78
12-16-2011, 08:34 AM
First off, I don't want to downplay the importance of bug reports. They are still the primary means by which feedback on specific mechanics is received, so they can be fixed and/or retooled.

The trouble is that many bug reports contain information that simply does not assist QA in tracking down and repeating a specific bug or exploit. As an example, the vast majority of prior reports on the Shield Stacking exploit contained nothing more than accusing other players of "equipping multiple shields" or "rapidly swapping shields during combat" -- both of which are not possible at this time, and could not be reproduced internally. The true culprit was a much more difficult target to snipe, and having steps to reproduce the error instead of accusations and assumptions would have helped the problem get solved faster.

Now, since forum policy forbids you all from discussing issues like this in public, the best thing you can do is file the Bug report. If QA is able to reliably reproduce the exploit, they will forward us the steps used to do so, and we can quickly squash whatever issue is at hand. If the issue is massive enough that you feel immediate attention is absolutely warranted, or you are worried that the bug report was incomplete, you can always start a thread to try and get our attention directly, but that can be an iffy prospect.

As for the numbers thing... well, that's just a language quirk of mine showing thru. I don't always mean "numbers and calculations" when I say it as such. I mean MATH. Which is sometimes just TACTICS wrapped up in theory.

For example: The energy drain issue you mention. If you can send in a Bug Report containing an exact scenario to reproduce, it helps us track down what could need to be done to tune it. In this case, how many players are involved, and what noteworthy equipment and abilities are they using? Is it limited to only certain ships, due to boff availability? Is it only certain console powers? The more specific the info, the better. (But put this into a BUG REPORT, not as a response to this thread.)
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 79
12-16-2011, 09:37 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BorticusCryptic
The trouble is that many bug reports contain information that simply does not assist QA in tracking down and repeating a specific bug or exploit. As an example, the vast majority of prior reports on the Shield Stacking exploit contained nothing more than accusing other players of "equipping multiple shields" or "rapidly swapping shields during combat" -- both of which are not possible at this time, and could not be reproduced internally. The true culprit was a much more difficult target to snipe, and having steps to reproduce the error instead of accusations and assumptions would have helped the problem get solved faster.
This is true for just about any sort of IT remediation work. One of the hardest things to explain to end users is that 'what you're seeing may not be what's wrong.' What the end user is seeing is probably the *manifestation* -- from their POV -- of what is *actually* wrong.

Completely agree about getting details that help replicate the error. You can't fix what you can't see.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 80
12-16-2011, 10:00 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BorticusCryptic
Now, since forum policy forbids you all from discussing issues like this in public, the best thing you can do is file the Bug report. If QA is able to reliably reproduce the exploit, they will forward us the steps used to do so, and we can quickly squash whatever issue is at hand. If the issue is massive enough that you feel immediate attention is absolutely warranted, or you are worried that the bug report was incomplete, you can always start a thread to try and get our attention directly, but that can be an iffy prospect.
I think some bugs really require coordinated efforts to track.

The QA team has so much on their plate that they need reproduction steps; they can't just sit around trying to repro each bug until they do it.

Meanwhile,I think recreating exploits requires intelligent efforts because exploits require intelligence plus bugs to pull off. Having people go off site to test them risks creating an MMOwned style exploit community or at least not being easily compiled for Cryptic.

If Cryptic really wants to quash bugs and exploits, I think they should designate one of the test servers as being a place to do it and have player testers trying for exploits there, maybe with a bounty on them of some kind and a private forum flagged for people who agree to an exploit NDA and have been selected to test.

I will say, right now, that I can think of a lot of potential exploits for this game that I never tested in beta or tribble tests for one reason: I have a lifetime account. Some of the stuff I would try, even on a test server, might auto-flag my account for a ban if Cryptic is being smart; but I have no way of knowing how smart they're being with their systems architecture.

I'd report it even if I did it and wouldn't use it in PvP but I'm not gonna risk losing my account to collect data.

There are tricks with file and client manipulation out there. Big tricks, some of which nobody has ever reported on. I have setup side accounts on other games to test these and I have yet to find a foolproof warden-style program or foolproof client/server architecture. A lot of this grew out of my fascination with a very cool bug that hit me in City of Heroes.

I have played with BIG stuff like changing your class in ********, unlocking unplayable races, etc.

I'm not going to try that in STO outside of a sanctioned test.

But no client/server architecture is foolproof. Everyone says there are no gaps and that their anti-cheating provisions or software protect against blah, blah, blah. Sometimes.... Sometimes clever tricking of the anti-cheating provisions in a game are what allow someone to cheat.
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