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United Mining Exploration Commission: A group of friends playing JumpGate-- "a MMORPG that launched smoothly, breaks from fantasy character setting, emphasizes PvP, and is the first persistent world space simulator that nobody talks about." ~Scorch
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A new look at an old flame war with GM_Archon

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2002 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    Lemmie start this by commenting i'm pretty darned cynical: i believe a positive review of ANYTHING that's 85+% gushy is a load of hooie.
PJG news article

most of the below was first posted at PJG 2 months ago because i wasn't interested in flaming Themis on a public (nonJG) forum like USENET.
    course, i don't think that little irony was appreciated by Themis...Anyways, i didn't exactly explain the format i was using then, but i will now:
  1. post quote from original poster;
  2. post my reply before reading Archon's reply - since i knew from the PJG article that he HAD replied;
  3. post a critique of Archon's reply;
  4. my current (may 13th views)
How long am I gonna have to do cargo runs? Boooriing!
~Jim Hoffman (aka. mr.ihatedereksmart)
Muffy's Call: I usually ween my students off exclusively doing transport runs after 6-12 trips (depending on faction)
critique of Archon's advice: level6??? jeezuz. that's counterproductive, themis
May13's hindsight: Level 6? must be because Archon was attempting to highlight the newbie cargo ships and the greater options they give.

How can I get my rumblepad gamepad to work? Jump Gate ignores the slider/throttle control and tries to use the right-hand joystick for throttle instead. So i'm reverting back to using the mouse :sad:
~Jim Hoffman (aka. mr.ihatedereksmart)
Muffy's Call: a rumblepad gamepad, eh? with throttle slider? sweet! (i know alot of PS2 addicts out there who won't touch an electronic device without one...course those type aren't the kind to touch a MMOG with a ten foot dildo)
critique of Archon's advice: Themis dude totally dropped the ball on that one...strike two (shoulda left Transit to deal with him. at least Transit wasn't biased for or against)
May13's hindsight: Well, looks like an unsubtle hint to go buy a joystick (who uses a gamepad on a PC?)

I had high hopes for this game, but it's nothing special so far.
~Jim Hoffman (aka. mr.ihatedereksmart)
Muffy's Call: High hopes for the gameplay/content isn't related to G1MM3 D4 PH4T L3WT. (medals/missions)...It's called a story. an epic one that highlights the reasons why the game is subtitled as "the reconstruction initiative" (the why and not the omg d00d! n00 m1sh0nz w00t!)
critique of Archon's advice: lemmie look at Themis group reply...oh dear. so a MMOG doesn't resemble the SP's need for a storyarc that shows the why? it's just a chaotic mess? gee, that's REALLY gonna change people's minds. not.
May13's hindsight: yup... same things pop into mind: talk about how the NEW artifact medals would be available at lvl6 and how one can feel immersion by joining squads and stuff like merchanting/pirating/militia that are "large scale" (scale? omg...that's a catchphrase best used sparingly by n00bs, especially n00b GMs, and especially right before one chats about the "deep game mechanics")
    i don't mean to be rude here, i appreciate the dynamic and persistent effects suggested by Themis and coded by NetDevil in attempting to reflect player driven storyline/roleplay

    and i realize Archon had basically just started his job and HAD to respond to Transit's cynical critique.
It's just most sane normal people out there who like games aren't too into being told to spontaneously flow with PLAYER SP/RE** against a backdrop of seemingly random official events that really don't show that there's something special going on
I had high hopes for this game, but it's nothing special so far
transport missions? what do they do?'s like collecting DSS artifacts. (there's so much mystery built into the descriptions, one feels rather lonely knowing *OOC* that there's shit all dynamic/persistent about it)

POST-ANALYSIS; The Transit/Archon flame war
Original form as of 2 months ago; except to fix the glaring typo of name mismatch
And as far as things to do at higher levels, there's everything from opposing alliances trying to control swathes of sectors, to pirate groups preying on merchants, to squadrons of heavy tow pilots who'll carry any cargo anywhere for a price.
Well, Transit just slayed him...serves Archon right. lol. oh about messy.

*muffy grabs mob and bucket and tries vainly to clean up the blood and gore...and watches in mute horror as a clone of Archon walks into the room and spouts off again*

hmmmm...Archon should have mentioned that we already have ingame bulletin board type popups (log on popup) that will eventually resemble what Transit, and ALOT of us want:
A simple bulletin board on each station where people could put "help wanted" ads would drastically improve this. Etc.
...instead Archon rambles on about how n00bs should listen to his suggestions on playstyle (ya? like WHERE? certainly don't see it ingame...excuse me, but how many forum pollsters voted for autodock compared to the overwhelming majority of n00bs who ask for them ingame? notice the wee difference there?)
So I stand by my position: Jumpgate *is* a lot more dynamic and persistent than most MMOGs. It is a relative measurement. Probably most other MMOGs would leave you even less impressed
Well, to put it rather mildly, everything is Relative, and comparing apples to oranges get us nowhere (i personally prefer hawaiian pizza myself)'s sad. Archon totally dropped the ball. He should have talked about how ND are coding in a long awaited economy model that will put demand into the supply model we have currently (ie. getting rid of the artificial market exploits is a BIG deal to both the folk who exploit it and those that hate the economy because of it); He should have talked about how ND are coding in Player Owned Stations as a priority on their very long to-do list. (something Transit probably doesn't know since he left JG...which transit stated earlier in that peice)

omg...why bother continuing? I may be a troll, but at least i don't get paid for it. (why didn't Archon concentrate on the new items transit couldn't have known about instead of nitpicking?)
    Transit wasn't being "harsh" and calling Archon "untruthful"...far from it. Transit actually makes a good case for trying out JumpGate just. to. see. whether. it's. improved.

    Archon should have mentioned MarketFix, NixFix, and P.O.S. and suggested Transit check the game out in a month or two and see if he's changed his mind*

May13's hindsight on the POST-ANALYSIS?
Especially after this: (declassified - statute of limitations; 2months)
From: Arch0n
Received: 2002/03/15 09:47
MajorFreak - Just a private response to your flame on PJG regarding the USENT. First off, I don't understand why you wouldn't post on USENET to defend the game, rather than waste time flaming me... Just seems odd. You are in general a good arguer and a prolific writer, and we could use you on our side in promoting the game much more than flaming us for not posting your thoughts for you. Second, I think you flamed me without too much regard to what I actually wrote. No offense, but this wasn't up to your usual attention to detail. For example, you wrote:
"He should have talked about how ND are coding in Player Owned Stations as a priority on their very long to-do list."
I did, very first paragraph in my response to Transit. Clear as day I say that ND is working on POS. How did you miss this? Second, you go on about
"how n00bs should listen to his suggestions on playstyle (ya? like WHERE? certainly don't see it ingame..."
If you read the thread, you see my suggestions on playstyle where in the first message I posted on the USENET, and it was in fact those suggestions which Transit was attacking. The whole post you are flaming was a defense of my first post; you can't understand what I am writing unless you understand that. Did you bother to read the whole thread? And, of course, you somehow thought it was Savant even though it clearly was me. Add these three together and this tells me you didn't read my post too closely and didn't read the thread at all... In sum, while I definitely deserved to be flamed for my equipment factual errors, but I think the rest of your attacks are pretty undeserved and based on a superficial reading of my argument. I'm not going to get into this with you on PJG because its counter-productive, but I didn't want you to feel ignored. Best regards,
~GM Archon
Okay, i'm going to be pretty upfront here. Archon's comments at the time were from a n00b standpoint...Now, any one of you reading this thread knows i'm not one to say "stfu n00b" or "rtfm n00b"...I was pretty mean to Archon then for just doing his job. What did the n00b context blind him to? For one, it looks like Archon missed the emphasis on a number of sentences. Let's look at the two quotes of mine he questions: the POS priority, and ingame playstyle suggestions. (as a n00b he's missed the two operative words; "priority" and "ingame", respectively)

Next, there's a false assumption of a more abstract nature...of how much the squad system dominates this game (lots of non-n00b independents out there who like it that way); Then we have a positively naive comment about one official poll ND/TG posted about the new stuff they were planning. (PJG Survey page)...forums and polls are always useless in conveying the vast majority of folk who hardly bother reading the forums cause they'd rather spend what little time they do have to spare playing the game. The ones that need the suggestions Transit laid forth. Actually, if ND chucked the forums altogether it would make little difference to anyone's playstyle, because hardly anyone depends on *OOC* stuff to determine their playstyle. What does affect playstyle? ships/economy/missions/pvp.

Then there's an unspoken blindspot that's unique to GMs: They hardly ask themselves what "The Reconstruction Initiative" stands for...I wonder what Archon (and if) hears /says about that common n00b question? Transit clearly states that GM weakness. (that old n00b question, "WTF am i doing this for? what's x do for "TRI"? Are my missions all random?")
    We explain to them that, yes, if you do Faction/TRI missions you further the reconstruction...stuff like that's brainless, and n00bs usually figure that one out for themselves...What is really difficult is explaining what the other missions do that's dynamic and persistent. We could wax eloquent about it, but it comes down to one thing: the n00bs never want to know cutesy *IC* justifications when can't get the *OOC* justification as well
Explaining to n00bs that the process of a MMOG is never done falls on deaf ears once they figure out the four critical areas they always seem to talk about (ships,missions,economy,pvp) are still in their betatest jury-rigged state, and so obviously imbalanced it's silly.

FYI, The nix fix and economy/mission/pvp imbalances are so important, to n00bs and veterans alike, as to rival and even eclipse issues such as THE NEXT NEW THING...which would be obvious if one pays attention in game over the course of months (it's tough to get a handle on things - but the best advice is simply to chat with n00bs, ingame, and get their opinions)

Archon's n00b context prevented him realizing his statements practically guaranteed idiots posting:
Jumpgate is only for people without a life.
~usenet troll
and it just gets nutty when some fanboi veteran elite comes in and starts gobbing off about the "how-tos" and "do it yourself (over here, there, etc)" which just proves the troll's point...

bleh. Well anyways, the conclusion is that the discussion veered quite sharply away from JumpGate 101 into unnecessary "veteran-like" technical debates with typos galore...Transit will always be a fan of the game and continue to give the honest goods to n00bs in the n00b language. period.
I had high hopes for this game, but it's nothing special so far.
~Jim Hoffman (aka. mr.ihatedereksmart)
Pretty much.
The new player experience is definitely rather dull. The developers are working on improving that with more medals and new mission types, but for now the game doesn't become mildly entertaining until around level 6.
It'll never be more than mildly entertaining, however, if you treat it like a single player game. You should get involved in a squadron and begin to participate in the large-scale political, economic, and military actions of the game. The game mechanics are very deep, with a lot more dynamic and persistent elements than most MMOGs. And as far as things to do at higher levels, there's everything from opposing alliances trying to control swathes of sectors, to pirate groups preying on merchants, to squadrons of heavy tow pilots who'll carry any cargo anywhere for a price.
This is a fundamental flaw in the attitude of the people running this game. DO NOT tell your players they're playing the game wrong. That never, ever, ever works. See how the players play the game, and adapt the game in response. If people are trying to play it as a massively single-player game, it's probably because the game mechanics aren't set up to encourage mutiplayer interaction properly.
Why is there NO squad info or interaction within the game itself? How is a new player supposed to find out about them? Why is there no facility within the game for letting players know they've got a job that needs doing? A simple bulletin board on each station where people could put "help wanted" ads would drastically improve this. Etc. The game is simply designed badly; don't blame your players for that.
I entirely agree with you that a lot more can be done to faciliate multiplayer interaction. Specifically, for example, an improved chat interface, player/squadron-owned stations, and multiplayer capital ships - but all of these things are under development. NetDevil and Themis polled the playerbase to get their exact priorities on the critical areas to focus on, and that's exactly what is being given priority. Check out for discussion.
But that sort of a solution is the long-term one. What to do in the short term? I think that different games have different play styles which are more rewarding; and where that play style isn't obvious to a new player, I think its good practice to tell them about it. I certainly wouldn't call a player 'wrong' for playing another way, but he might have more fun if he tried it the way I suggested. As you point out, its not obvious how to get started with a squad - its my job as a Gamemaster to make what's unclear clear.
[ This Message was edited by: MajorFreak on 2002-05-14 02:37 ]

EDIT: added the disclaimer at the top
[ This Message was edited by: MajorFreak on 2002-05-14 10:19 ]

EDIT: replaced nasty "grandstanding" flames with a more rational "hindsight" comments. (ie. snipped my flames and did some real thinking about Archon's context)

[ This Message was edited by: MajorFreak on 2002-05-15 01:35 ]
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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2002 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grandstanding? Blah. If I ever want to grandstand I won't do it by bragging about being a GM. And I certainly won't do it on the USENET.

The very thing that upset me about Transit's post is he started with the assumption that I was just being a spin doctor. You're doing the same thing again here.

Try to move beyond cynicism and accept that I was just trying to rebut what I saw as an unfairly negative critique. Did I make newbie mistakes? Sure. Does that mean I wasn't being honest and above-board? No.

GM Archon
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2002 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, in all honesty, you did have to throw yourself in the way of Transit's bullet. That much was obvious from the cynical tone Transit used. (regardless of my personal opinion of the merits of both your critiques)
    I wasn't laughing at your corpse, merely using forensic analysis to critique your noble sacrifice
As for the "spindoctor" label? mmmmmm...Lemmie go emphasize the "n00b" factor and the honest mistakes n00bs make. (gonna take me a bit; it's harder to convey the context of a n00b as opposed to using the cliche, "spindoctor")

It would be wise to understand the context i use while being *OOC* about JG: ships/missions/pvp/economy (don't forget issues of scale, a sense of humour, and a lack of sucking up)

[ This Message was edited by: MajorFreak on 2002-05-15 02:15 ]
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2002 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wasn't laughing at your corpse, merely using forensic analysis to critique your noble sacrifice

Well, that's ok then. :grin: I'm fine with being a tragic hero.

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