Changes to Normal Games

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Post Post #0  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 8:43 pm

Hello!

There are going to be some changes to normal setups, the normal review process, and the normal queue itself. These changes are effective immediately. These changes are designed to address a few key issues with the current process: reviews often take far, far longer than is reasonable, and demand more than is reasonable from both prospective mods and reviewers. This leads to frustration on both sides of the review process. With that in mind, most of the changes here are designed to either streamline reviews themselves, or simplify normal games to the point where reviews are easier.

Changes to the review processIn the previous system, three reviewers from the NRG were giving simultaneous feedback on a setup design. This led to a back-and-forth with many iterations and unclear expectations. The new system will see each review with two reviewers: a primary reviewer and a secondary reviewer. The primary reviewer will have all of the responsibility to actually conduct the review, while the secondary reviewer will provide non-binding feedback and be present to take over if the primary reviewer goes MIA. At every step of the process, the primary reviewer will be obligated to provide feedback that is actionable to the point that the reviewer would be willing to approve the setup.

We understand that this may lead to a reduction in thoroughness of reviews; however, we are confident that the gains in reducing latency and reducing the sheer stress of going through the review process are worth it.



Simplifications and standardization
  1. We will be removing the greylist rule, which previously allowed one non-whitelisted role in mini games and two in large games. The whitelist will be expanded to compensate. To begin, the following roles are immediately considered whitelisted:
    1. Vengeful (normal for town only): if lynched, you may kill a player as you die.
    2. Babysitter: target a player to protect them from kills. If you are killed that night, they will also die.
    3. Fruit Vendor: target a player to give them a piece of fruit. They will be informed that they received it.
    4. Psychologist: target a player to investigate them and determine if they are capable of killing anyone. If they have already killed someone or attempted to kill someone, this will return a negative result. Resolves after kills.
    5. Detective: target a player to investigate them and determine if they have attempted to kill someone, successful or not. Resolves after kills.
    6. Visitor: at night, you may target a player; this has no effect beyond targeting them.
    The following modifiers are also immediately considered whitelisted:
    1. Disloyal: if you target a player who shares your alignment, your action will fail.
    2. Loud: if you target another player, they will be informed that you targeted them, but not what you did.
    3. Ninja: your action cannot be detected by trackers, watchers, motion detectors, followers, or voyeurs. (Previously a mafia-only role, now whitelisted for all alignments as a modifier applying to any action that the ninja takes.)
    4. Multitasking: you may use multiple abilities, including factional abilities, in the same night.
  2. Role PMs will be standardized. Moderators will no longer provide their own role PMs; instead, they can grab the standard PM from the wiki. This is a work in progress, so for now, you'll still need to write PMs, though the wiki has sample PMs already for most roles.
  3. Serial killers and multiball are no longer allowed in mini normal games; they are still allowed in large normal games. These consistently bogged down reviews, because it's difficult to agree on what constitutes a balanced game with a third party, and the possibility of cross-kills increases swing in a way that is very difficult to create an effective setup around at the size of minis.
  4. Mafia, by default, may no longer kill and use an ability in the same night. Previously, the mod would have to specify this. The multitasking modifier has been added to keep this option open, without adding an extra often-meaningless step of forcing mods to specify whether or not mafia may kill and act in the same night.
  5. There will be a standard ruleset that all normal games must use. Moderators may add some additional rules, particularly with flexibility on:
    • Day/night length and prod timers, if they want to change them from whatever the default is (probably 2 week days/2 day nights/2 day prod timers; rules are work in progress)
    • Whether or not mafia have daytalk enabled by default
    • Mod text color, if they want to have a rule for this, since it's somewhat standard to
    • Any other additional rules they want to impose (to allow for things like geriatric games and other experiments that don't drastically change the game, but that we wouldn't expect to typically be used).
    The standard rule list will have a heading for "game-specific rules" that will include all this information, but will otherwise be identical across games. This will prevent mods from having to draft their own rulesets, and prevent reviewers from having to laboriously review them. This standard ruleset is also a work in progress, so for now mods must still provide rules.



Pre-designed setupsThe NRG will now have a second responsibility in addition to reviewing games: to design and review setups for prospective mods to use.

When a moderator /ins to mod, they will have an option to either /in to mod a setup that they will design, or to expedite the process by choosing /in to mod a pre-designed setup. Moderators who choose this will, when their game goes into signups, be sent a normal setup designed by NRG members. This provides an alternative for moderators who wish to mod without having to design a setup, but would rather mod something closed.

These setups will be placed into a queue once designed, with some setups waiting to be used at any given time.

First-time moderators will not be required to use a pre-designed setup; however, they are strongly encouraged to do so, especially if they are unfamiliar with setup meta on mafiascum, as these setups will be designed by players who are very familiar with that meta.


(EDIT May 8 2018: hider, any-nights-specific, informed, and activated are all whitelisted. See this post for details.)
(EDIT May 28 2018: traffic analyst, alien, indecisive, and compulsive are all whitelisted. See for details.)
(EDIT July 30 2018: Hybrid roles are normal. See for details.)
(EDIT November 6 2018: PT Cop is whitelisted. See for details.)
(EDIT March 24 2019: mailman, simple, complex, combined, and announcing are all whitelisted. See for details.)

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Post Post #1  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 8:52 pm

:(

I mean, some of these changes are for the better, but I dislike the standardized role pms and standardized rulesets changes although I kinda understand the latter.
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Post Post #2  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 9:08 pm

In post 1, Ircher wrote::(

I mean, some of these changes are for the better, but I dislike the standardized role pms and standardized rulesets changes although I kinda understand the latter.

I agree with this.

Was requiring standardized role PMs and rules a change that really needed to be made? I mean, should votecounts also be completely standardized?

I always saw it as a way to introduce just a little bit of your own personal touch as a mod into a normal game.

Complete removal of graylist is also really, really, really disappointing. (Hider and novice not even whitelisted?)
Last edited by northsidegal on Mon May 07, 2018 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Post #3  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 9:08 pm

This seems fair

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Post Post #4  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 9:17 pm

In post 2, northsidegal wrote:
In post 1, Ircher wrote::(

I mean, some of these changes are for the better, but I dislike the standardized role pms and standardized rulesets changes although I kinda understand the latter.

I agree with this.

Was requiring standardized role PMs and rules a change that really needed to be made? I mean, should votecounts also be completely standardized?

I always saw it as a way to introduce just a little bit of your own personal touch as a mod into a normal game.

Complete removal of graylist is also really, really, really disappointing. (Hider and novice not even whitelisted?)


What personal touches could you introduce in role pms? Is it possible that those can still be introduced? (I don't know how the new formatting will be, but if you just quoted the standardized version for instance, you could presumably still include more text?)

Its my understanding that the whitelisted roles are always evolving, so those not being white listed now is likely not an unfixable issue, in hiders case though, I think lack of standard behaviour is likely the issue? (I don't even know what a novice is)
Last edited by chamber on Mon May 07, 2018 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Post #5  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 9:17 pm

rip no hider
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Post Post #6  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 9:28 pm

In post 4, chamber wrote:What personal touches could you introduce in role pms? Is it possible that those can still be introduced? (I don't know how the new formatting will be, but if you just quoted the standardized version for instance, you could presumably still include more text?)

I mean it's not like there's a huge amount of personalization that could go into them (at least not on the level of, say, a theme game), but i still think it's a way to make things unique for your game specifically.

Basically I don't see the need for standardization in the first place, so even if it's only a minor loss of personal touch, it's still a loss that doesn't seem to have much reason behind it, to me.

Its my understanding that the whitelisted roles are always evolving, so those not being white listed now is likely not an unfixable issue, in hiders case though, I think lack of standard behaviour is likely the issue? (I don't even know what a novice is)

It's not an unfixable issue but it's still an issue that's being created (and one that, looking at historical trends, seems unlikely to be fixed in any sort of expedient manner).

It's not even just "these roles aren't whitelisted that I want to be whitelisted" (although that is still an issue) - I think the removal of the graylist is another step against having any sort of interesting or unique aspect to normal games.



Like, I don't understand why these changes are being made. Even if you argue that the losses aren't so bad, they're still losses that I don't understand the reason behind.

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Post Post #7  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 9:33 pm

I personally don't see them as losses. normal games shouldn't be unique. The experience can be unique because of the players, the setup should be somewhat standard.

And they said why they were making the changes, to streamline the review process.
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Post Post #8  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 9:36 pm

In post 2, northsidegal wrote:Was requiring standardized role PMs and rules a change that really needed to be made?


Image

(Hider and novice not even whitelisted?)


they were supposed to change how hider works and probably didn't agree in time to whitelist it. i agree, let's riot

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Post Post #9  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 9:44 pm

In post 7, chamber wrote:I personally don't see them as losses. normal games shouldn't be unique. The experience can be unique because of the players, the setup should be somewhat standard.

And they said why they were making the changes, to streamline the review process.

You and I seem to have very different philosophies.

I think all games should be unique or put something interesting forward in some way. Having a "standard" setup doesn't mean that it can't be unique, or that it has to be uninteresting or anything. Most graylist roles are some sort of combination of existing whitelisted roles anyways - I can think of very few examples of a game deviating in any serious fashion from entirely basically normal.

Like, in the strict sense of the word it is a loss.



Did non-standard role PMs and rulesets really add a significant amount of time to the review process? If so, I guess I'll stop talking on that point, but it doesn't seem likely to me.

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Post Post #10  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 9:47 pm

In post 9, northsidegal wrote:Did non-standard role PMs and rulesets really add a significant amount of time to the review process?


I can't confirm, but I suspect its a case of a few people causing a lot of time spent.
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Post Post #11  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 9:54 pm

I approve of the vast majority of these changes (though I also think Hider should get another look.)

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Post Post #12  (ISO)  » Mon May 07, 2018 10:01 pm

In post 9, northsidegal wrote:
In post 7, chamber wrote:I personally don't see them as losses. normal games shouldn't be unique. The experience can be unique because of the players, the setup should be somewhat standard.

And they said why they were making the changes, to streamline the review process.

You and I seem to have very different philosophies.

I think all games should be unique or put something interesting forward in some way. Having a "standard" setup doesn't mean that it can't be unique, or that it has to be uninteresting or anything. Most graylist roles are some sort of combination of existing whitelisted roles anyways - I can think of very few examples of a game deviating in any serious fashion from entirely basically normal.

Like, in the strict sense of the word it is a loss.



Did non-standard role PMs and rulesets really add a significant amount of time to the review process? If so, I guess I'll stop talking on that point, but it doesn't seem likely to me.


Im on your side NSG.


I don't think Greylist roles caused an unbearable amount of time. My option its that having to get a pass from 3 people makes it take more time.
you have 2 that are happy and 1 who isn't. When you change something to make the one happy someone else becomes un happy.
i don't think its fair to blame it on grey list roles but thats just my experience.
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Post Post #13  (ISO)  » Tue May 08, 2018 4:24 am

I suppose my word may not mean as much given that I don't publicly play Normals (mostly due to playerlists). That said, this doesn't make playing/modding Normals any more attractive at all to me.

I think this was in large part a mistake that was packaged with only a couple very necessary improvements (namely, the extra whitelisteds).

Changes to Review Process: Reducing the number of reviewers for games is likely to exacerbate balance issues. I review best when I can bounce ideas off other people. While I understand the issue of not enough reviewers, the idea of joining the NRG is barely advertised onsite (as is how to join the NRG).
And I applied over 3 weeks ago and got no response. If my and other applicants' qualifications/abilities are in question, then there should be more publicised guides on how to balance games. Otherwise, where does one get the experience necessary to join the NRG without being in the NRG?

Simplifications/Standardization:
1. Removal of the greylist rule is incredibly unfortunate from a design point of view. A huge portion of what made some of the most popular normal setups interesting was those few non-standard additions that create interesting role interactions.

2. Complete standardization of role PMs disallows a lot of potential tweaking, for balance purposes or for role interaction purposes. I can understand having a standard as a baseline for mods, but enforcing a mandatory standard is just restrictive. I've often found that slight deviations from the standard are necessary.

3. I don't think the solution to "it's hard to come up with an answer for SK/multiball setups" is "never ask the question". I've seen or played a bunch of multiball normals that were fine in the realm of balance/swing. This was, of course, when there were more reviewers to go around.
My understanding is the consensus needs to be on a town:scum1:scum2 EV ratio of 33:33:33 or 50:25:25. It's possible to balance toward either.

4. A Multitasking modifier is questionable and there isn't really precedence for that. Almost every theme game or open game has a definite answer to "can mafia kill and act in the same night?" Open setups require that this be answered. I'm not particularly interested in going back through all the open setup pages to add a Multitasking modifier to mafia PRs. I don't see why it's an obstacle to force mods to specify this beforehand. It takes less than a dozen words.

5. As with the above, having a standard ruleset is fantastic, and has been something I've repeatedly suggested for the Open Queue (which seems to be where more new mods go). But enforcing a mandatory standard ruleset is harsh as hell.

TL;DRAs far as I can see, almost all of these changes (made by the NRG) are made for the benefit of the NRG, to the detriment of the mods and the players.

Changes that are fueled by the comfort of the administration rather than by the needs/wants of the community set an incredibly dangerous precedent.

I don't expect that this will help in expanding/retaining the current playerbase and modbase.
Last edited by Mathdino on Tue May 08, 2018 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Post #14  (ISO)  » Tue May 08, 2018 5:01 am

Has anyone been added to the NRG within the past year? Have any of those reviewers stuck around? And is there a process/guide in place for training new NRG members?

The problems stated are so much simpler than "we need to simplify/standardize everything to give reviewers less work".

If the issue is not enough reviewers, then the solution is getting more reviewers.

Sure, that's easier said than done. But had there been a stickied thread in the MD for joining the NRG, or active recruitment of players with a mind for balance/setup, or a response to applications at all, I'd have more faith that you guys are trying to solve the root of the issue.

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Post Post #15  (ISO)  » Tue May 08, 2018 7:19 am

Ego. Coming back to this later.
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Post Post #16  (ISO)  » Tue May 08, 2018 7:38 am

In post 13, Mathdino wrote:3. I don't think the solution to "it's hard to come up with an answer for SK/multiball setups" is "never ask the question". I've seen or played a bunch of multiball normals that were fine in the realm of balance/swing. This was, of course, when there were more reviewers to go around.
My understanding is the consensus needs to be on a town:scum1:scum2 EV ratio of 33:33:33 or 50:25:25. It's possible to balance toward either.
SK and Multiball in large normals still exist.
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Post Post #17  (ISO)  » Tue May 08, 2018 7:47 am

I understand that. I still find that too restrictive.

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Post Post #18  (ISO)  » Tue May 08, 2018 7:52 am

Multiball minis are fucking terrible dude imo.
SKs ok sure fine but Multiball shouldn't ever be a thing especially in 13 player games.
No one was even running Multiball normal minis to begin with so like, there's 0 problem there.
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Post Post #19  (ISO)  » Tue May 08, 2018 7:54 am

Stop encouraging bad game design imo.
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Post Post #20  (ISO)  » Tue May 08, 2018 7:55 am

I played a well-designed multiball normal years ago when there were lots of reviewers to go around. We've had this spat in the open setups threads before. You not liking multiball/SKs doesn't mean we should stop others from playing/modding them.

And yeah I know the obvious response is a sarcastic
">well designed
>multiball"
it's whatever. I personally don't play multiball games, but it's entirely possible to balance them if you just decide on the EV ratios.

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Post Post #21  (ISO)  » Tue May 08, 2018 7:56 am

Ehhh, 9:2:2 works for me. Give all sides modest power and go.

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Post Post #22  (ISO)  » Tue May 08, 2018 8:02 am

except the open thread had millions of multiball games.
More multiball mini opens have been ran for awhile then multiball minis.

"stop encouraging bad game design" is kinda joke except it isn't because in the normal queue its expected that the game design be "good" (and the fact that normals have good design is a joke but thats a different story for a different time)
In the open queue, ok fine.
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Post Post #23  (ISO)  » Tue May 08, 2018 8:09 am

everything's subjective

a lot of people would argue that opens are bad game design

but when you design an open, you design/balance it within the confines of the medium. you don't judge opens the way you judge closeds, just like you don't critique anime the same way you critique short stories.

when you design an alisae game, you design/balance it within the confines of lolbalance alisae games.
when you design a crazy 30+ player theme game, you design/balance it within the confines of a crazy-ass meme game.

and when you design multiball games, you design/balance it within the confines of multiball.

by nature it's gonna have swing. and it's kind of a different game from mafia. you can argue that it's not reallllly mafia, sure. but there are still good multiball games and bad multiball games. it's possible to do it well. within the confines of "we're playing a multiball game".

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Post Post #24  (ISO)  » Tue May 08, 2018 9:19 am

I’m actually finding myself agreeing with math.

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