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I have only played a couple of games on this site, but I have to confess that I've been put off from joining any more because of the frequency of NMRs. Both of the games I've played have been badly disfigured by early NMRs and that seems to be the accepted norm, except for games among the most experienced. I fear that this will just put off those new to the game (I'm new to webdiplomacy but not to diplomacy). It’s also, I think, the major issue that stops the site being the best place to play the game online.
So, here's my 5 point plan to tackling NMRs. None of these ideas are original: they’ve all been done in one or more online implementations of the game somewhere. I recognise that some of these are material code changes, but would significantly improve the game experience.
1. Show how reliable players are. Ideally, add a reliability score to each players stats. The score would go up by a small amount when orders are submitted on time, go down significantly whenever a player NMRs and go down dramatically if he abandons a game. For non-newbie games a minimum reliability score could then be set for players joining most games. Failing that, simply showing the percentage of turns submitted on time in a player stats might help a bit.
2. Require players to confirm that they are ready before the game begins. To stop the problem of players signing up then disappearing. I find it particularly dispiriting to engage in spring 01 diplomacy when there’s a player who hasn’t checked in and we all know is going to NMR.
3. Add the option of a "grace period" after the deadline so a late player can still submit. Ideally with some sort of opprobrium for the late player (see #1 above).
4. Make it easier for replacement players to join games at a points discount or for free.
5. In combination with #4, add an option to pause the game until a replacement is found, so that the game isn’t horribly biased in favour of those who stand to gain most from one of the neighbours abandoning the game.
I recognise that this site's been around for a while, so maybe these have been discussed in the past. Is there anything afoot to tackle the problem, or am I the only one who thinks this is a major problem?
1. Reliability rating exists on one of the forks (vdip) so the code has already been done.
I'm not sure what the plan is regarding integration.
2. Standard practice *should* be to cancel a game with a '01 nmr (they're not counted for Ghost-rating, and i believe games can auto-cancel, but i'm not sure if this happens on vdip) - though i would also put forward the opposite point of view.
3. this has not been tried.
4. it is easy to find games which have countries in Civil Disorder (on the games listing), but since they are often weakened by two consecutive turns of no movement they are often lost causes... Or they are weak 1/2-center powers whose players have given up. I thought there was a points discount for taking over, but i'm not sure.
5. Auto-pausing would be nice.
As a catch all solution, i'd prefer to see a games-master added to each game (ie the creator) who doesn't have to play, but has the power to pause, or kick players (basically all the mod powers currently coded, but limited to that game) This would allow cancellations, pauses, and solve more problems than it causes.
However the basic issue remain, if you don't know your game-master and he does something you think is shite then you'll be unhappy.
Similarly to resolve the CD issue, i think playing people whom you know to be reliable (from getting to know them in tournaments, or on the forums - judging by their Ghost-rating etc.)
CDing is here a much smaller problem than i suspect is is on the facebook version of this site... but i'm not sure that's saying much.
Lastly, my *rant - in the case of a '01 CD, you are forced to re-evaluate your position, suddenly some players have a huge advantage and you can use diplomacy to counter this. It is an unbalanced game, but diplomacy is by it's very nature. This does not have to ruin a game, but can be seen as a challenge.
I put this view forward only as an alternative, i think we all prefer to play the game we signed up for rather than the one we are left with.
the Best solution i can think of is restricting your play to private games where you have talked before hand to the players and pm'd them the password. (even a password on a public thread is useful as it means the person read the thread...) I never play unpassworded games (who knows who might join?)
Worm there's a very strong community here with some great players. Like Orthaic says play password protected games with quality players and you'll have a great time. It will get easier finding those players once you become better known yourself. It doesn't take long if your play is solid and reliable. Long phase games too tend to be more consistent than the live games.
I'm not sure if you've been playing live or non-live games but, especially it you have diplomacy experience, it shouldn't be too difficult to recruit 6 other ppl on this site to show you a fun reliable game here. Unless you're trying to play a live game, I think many people here try avoid playing with ransoms for precisely the reason you're describing.
This is how we fight NMRs on vDip: 1. If there is a NMR in the first turn the country is send in CD and the phase is extended so another player can take the country and complete the turn without any harm done. During gamecreate you can set how many turns trigger a CD (and how many times the phase should extend). 2. We have a reliability-rating. The rating is dependent on 2 important factors. How many phases you missed to enter orders in comparison to your total phases played, and how many games you left before the end, because you didn't check the game page for 2 turns in a row. Example: If a user misses 5% of their games, rating would be 90, 15% would be 70, etc. From this rating we subtract 10% for each game you left before the end. During gamecreate you can set a minimum-phases played and a minimum rating for your game.
3. If you need a short break you can vote to "Extend" the phase by 4 days. This require only 2/3 of all active players to take effect. 4. If you need to leave the site for an extended period you can switch your games to different players so they can play the games for you.
Thanks for those helpful comments. My preference is for press games with 48 (ish) hour deadlines. I'd be a bit more sympathetic to NMRs in live games.
FWIW I agree with orathaic's suggestion of a named GM for every game and nearly added it as a sixth point to the plan. I didn't because (a) I was in danger of complaining about everything here and (b) I think the bigger benefits would be in spotting multis more quickly and organising fully anonymous games.
I'm much less keen on the suggestion that we solve this by recruiting players for games from the forum for two reasons.
Firstly, I think that you get a generally better game experience from anonymous games and it's pretty much impossible to preserve anonymity in a press game when most people know the identities of the seven who signed up.
Secondly, I think that it's a way to create cliques of players who know and play each other. From occasionally reading this forum I suspect that's what happens to some extent: a smaller group of reliable players are playing each other and it's off-putting to newer or more occasional players.
It may look like that but I'm not sure if it's the case. Granted I don't have thaaaat many games under my belt but I don't think I've played against many people more than once. The GB clique may be more real though.
@worm - I actually think you approached htis far better than most new players to the site. You have solid ideas and potential aids to reduce the problem and I applaud you.
I, personally, think this *is* the best place to play the game primarily because many of the other sites use this one's code as their core but secondarily because I know we, as a community, have voluntarily financially contributed with the purpose (and result) of having dedicated servers and bandwidth, yet the site still remains free (as I said, it's voluntary). But, if VDip were to have the hardware and bandwidth we have here, it would quickly become the "bets place to play" and mostly because they have many of the features you recommend. I hope Kestas gets aroudn to implementing several of them here from Oli's (sleepcap on here) code.
And finally, worm, welcome! I think you will find invites to private games coming your way quickly. You have a positive attitude, great ideas, and a willingness ot share in a positive manner.
Oh, and besides gunboat and maybe live, I would say there are few if any cliques. Those naturally form because fewer players want to play them, but with general games, there is a huge base of regulars and few of us limit ourselves to only playing certain players. Most of us are willing to play with anyone who demonstrates a love for the game and respect for their fellow players - respect in not NMRing or CDing. We can still be rude and crass and such and still find those we were rude and crass to willing to play us.
Oh, and anon can be done such that one person collects the names and players and sets up the game. That one person acts as gate keeper to keep out chronic NMR/CD players and that one person is the only one knows the other six players identity. But they could aslo then bow out after a couple join and then give the password to the last 2 or 3 players to join up.
But this gives me an idea for another draugnar.com function... I'll have to discuss it with Kestas, but a game organizer app that vets the players based on their Left/Resigned stat and maybe total games played (not perfect, but the closest we have without VDips reliability rating).
Of course, if we had the VDip options, joining games can be limited to experience level and reliability rating making the game queue webapp unnecessary.
I hope it's not too complex... does need some database queries, to have a list of games which a player can moderate. But other than that it is mostly about enabling the mod options which are already available.... i think it may be useful to force a game-master to contribute points for creating a game (which don't go into the pot, but are returned to them when the game ends... even if it is a standard 5-10 )
I don't know what to say about cliques, i'm playing over on stabberfou at the moment, and i get the impression that they are far more cliquey... our player base is more varied. Of course the forums here can be intimidating, but that's mostly the trolls and haters, and once you're online for a while you learn to ignore them...
One issue with standard cancels: I have often, in live games where a cancel/draw is the expected outcome of an immediate NMR, seen players abandon games where they draw countries they don't like [Austria and Italy CD in 1901 a lot more than, say, France]. I think one of the penalties should be changing the weighting for your next game or two; if you abandon a country often before making a move, perhaps part of your punishment should be that you keep getting that country.
@orathaic: I think to make that reasonable, there are two changes that should be made to player stats. The first is that there should be a list of "resigned and was later replaced or defeated", since those currently don't list as resigned. And, the second is that there should be information about "resigned in cancelled games".
If that information is lost every time there's a cancel, I don't know how the moderators will ever find out that it's a problem.
"I'm much less keen on the suggestion that we solve this by recruiting players for games from the forum for two reasons."
@ worm, The reason I suggested that is too help you with your immediate problem. Sure the site could always do with some improvements and these do come with time, but this won't help with your finding good games in the short term.
"Secondly, I think that it's a way to create cliques of players who know and play each other. "
This doesn't really happen. There is a lot of good players here. Also many of the games are anonymous. Most players prefer variety rather than playing the same players over and over again.
back to the topic of reducing NMRs, i think a good solution would be a way to let a country choose to CD. hear me out a second. Imagine this scenario, A dedicated webdip player has an emergency needing attending to in RL. in any other situation, he would be forced to quit the game and CD after 2 turns. However, if you just had an auto-CD button available, the power could CD, and the other players would be aware of it before the power even missed a turn. The other players could then advertise on the forum for a needed player, and one could join, so the game would run smoothly without any power even missing one turn, which would be an advantage over a 1-turn NMR auto-CD limit. Obviously, this wouldnt solve all NMRs, but it would save some games. On the flipside, this might encourage bad-off powers to just auto-CD without having any remorse about it.
"On the flipside, this might encourage bad-off powers to just auto-CD without having any remorse about it. "
This would be an issue. You'll get some crap players who will think "I hate playing Italy. I am out of here".
However if combined with a fine for leaving games and some kind of reliability rating I think an option to quit games, with the game then being paused to give time for a replacement to be found could possibly work.
Ok, ive been here about 10 minutes, so take my oinion as you will....Ive joined just one game that has been "left" and I'd be much much more cautious next time. It's a disaster. The other end if this spectrum is the multi- getting booted and leaving a very strong country. Sure the cheater gets kicked, but that un-lawfully strong country gets picked up by someone else. The neighbors still get screwed.
No body wants to be in a game where people go CD in the early phases. This does happen, especially to newbs who are joining games with other newbs who have just joined, some of whom start playing and decide that Diplomacy isn't for them.
It disappoints me that new players who join this site, who are solid, and experience crap games, think that this is what it is like on this site, but it is really is a great site for people who have been here a little while. The key is not to join a game with total newbies. Play with decent players. There are lots of decent players.
They Improve Their Appetite When They Exercise (Just As Long As No Skinny People Snicker)
http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/gym-bans-skinny-people-173000110.html Banning skinny people from a gym...because it "brings down morale"... Isn't that sort of like getting rid of all the smart kids in class because it makes the schmucks who think "The Day After Tomorrow" is scientifically accurate feel badly when they fail? WHEN did the West develop this "fear of failure" self-esteem issue?
Attention participants of ***Egos Aside*** GUNBOAT
we have made the roster available to everyone so that there is no advantage of any sort to anyone.... two of you are not identified, check this thread out to add your user name please, or just add it here...... thanks
Obviously, I know that its like one of the most popular religion out there but coming from a very anti-christian background, I dont really know what they actually believe. I know the basics like that Jesus is God but like how do you get into heaven and stuff? This is NOT a debating forum.
http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=82023#gamePanel A bit embarrassing that it ends in a 2-way if it is called a 'class', but I'm interested in other's thoughts. There are some frustrations I had with the game, but I'm not bitter because I lost. Feel free to share your feelings, especially to the 8 (we had a sub) that played.
The original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1cxP2nCBdU The remix: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlnS6KfskbU I hate rap music, but given that it's made by a few goons from my hometown, I gave it a chance. Debate.
How can you deal with obtuse 'morons' who will never give credit to opposing arguments?
Serious question. When you're debating, discussing, or arguing with people and they simply won't accept other points of view, even after reams of evidence, how can you respond? Is it best just to walk away or should we strive to educate?
How would you deal with someone utterly convinced that the Earth was flat, for example?