Planned Changes: Newbie Game Deadlines

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Post Post #175  (ISO)  » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:58 am

In post 173, mastina wrote:
Each and every setup run needs to be about the same level of balanced.
Most setups if not all of them should be variable semi-opens. Which take time to design, and even longer to verify the balance of. (Especially when you have a divided community on what constitutes balanced.)
Endless number of setups have been made, but run in only small quantities; we lack the amount of hard data on them to make conclusions on whether they're firmly balanced.
Every past newbie setup has stopped being used due to HAVING the hard data...telling us the setup was imbalanced.
Even if we get to the point where we have the data necessary to call it balanced...some setups which may be balanced outside of the newbie queue may be imbalanced inside of it for whatever reason.

This isn't even nearly a complete list of the obstacles we'd face in implementing variety in setups.

So, the idea is one I'd love to have be reality, I just don't actually know how we'd manage the feat.


Well, you have said the answer yourself. There's no mafia setup in the world that is objectively balanced. Isn't some degree of balance enough?

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Post Post #176  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:26 am

I support this idea! Change that comes from playerside issues/suggestions is almost always great in my book.

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Post Post #177  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:31 am

In post 167, Espeonage wrote:Yeah I play 4 times a week and love ICing. This will make me unlikely to be able to keep doing this.

I'll be more likely to be able to IC I think, in part because it's not as much of a long-term commitment. I generally know how free I'll be for the next couple weeks. I siteflaked last month (sorry D:) on games I committed to before I knew how free I'd be though.

I have a feeling this will encourage better play on the part of the players too tbh. Interested to see what happens.

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Post Post #178  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:05 am

I do like the idea of saying "Replacing PlayerName", and if PlayerName posts within 36 or 48 hours, then the replacement does not happen.
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Post Post #179  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:31 pm

In post 175, Pulsaris wrote:Well, you have said the answer yourself. There's no mafia setup in the world that is objectively balanced. Isn't some degree of balance enough?
Actually, what I said is that we have a divided community on what is balanced.
It's not that we don't have an objective standard of balance.

The problem is, we have two objective standards of balance.
While the two are not necessarily INHERENTLY mutually exclusive (if a setup fails balance by both metrics, it needs to be tossed out/redesigned; if a setup is close to or at balanced by both metrics, then it is automatically one of the best setups we have designed), they tend to have a very large conflict between the two.

And this divide is a divide between balancing between what the theoretical practice for roles is, and what the actual reality of those roles is. (The latter has a tendency to create setups which by the former are townsided; the former has a tendency to create setups which by the latter are scumsided.)

A go-to example is miller. In theory, miller is a negative utility role, serving as a false guilty to a cop and being a player who can never be cleared as town. (Unless you have a rolecop, but that's a different matter altogether.) In practice, miller serves as an automatically-claimed role that is usually treated as a Named Townie: a player slightly more likely to be town, but not proven to be town, and is thus a fluff/filler role that doesn't really add or detract to the setup in a significant way.

Another aspect of this is how the mafia nightkill is handled. Theoretical practice for the nightkill is usually just to use random numbers to determine the chances of roles that die. In practice, the mafia nightkill is a tool MUCH stronger than random chance would indicate, so by theory the mafia nightkill tends to be underestimated; by practice, it tends to be evaluated as holding a much greater weight (and if anything, may be overestimated as a result).

Now magnify those differences in balance standards across every single role and how they interact, and you can see the trouble.

That having been said, you're correct.
"Some measure of balance" being 'good enough' is exactly the sort of metric we should be aiming for.
Normals have a 60% cutoff rate. That is, a town can have a 60% chance of winning, versus scum having a 40% winning, at maximum;
The scum can have a 60% chance of winning, versus town having a 40% chance of winning, at maximum.

So, we have a balance metric which you can state is, 50%, give or take 10%.

That seems like a fairly good number to use.

A setup which has a 60% town winrate might not be ideal, but it'd be close enough that I wouldn't disqualify it.
Similarly so for a setup with a 60% mafia winrate. (Though this has a tendency to be...quite brutal for newbies, so it certainly wouldn't be the best.)
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Post Post #180  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:36 pm

I really don't think I was actually suggesting that the newbie queue should be run with more setup variety, just saying I personally would queue up for it more often.

It's almost certainly true that it would draw in more experienced players, but I see no reason it would draw in more newbies (who have almost certainly never played 2d3 before and won't be bored with it after one game). And in my experience SEs are the one group the queue is never lacking, so I'm not sure this solves a problem anyone actually has. The Newbie Queue is for newbies, we're just visiting.

It would also make ICing a slightly greater responsibility, in that the IC would have to guide players through navigating an unknown or at least unfamiliar setup, which would probably cause a few people on the margin to decide not to IC.
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Post Post #181  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:50 pm

In post 179, mastina wrote:That having been said, you're correct.
"Some measure of balance" being 'good enough' is exactly the sort of metric we should be aiming for.
Normals have a 60% cutoff rate. That is, a town can have a 60% chance of winning, versus scum having a 40% winning, at maximum;
The scum can have a 60% chance of winning, versus town having a 40% chance of winning, at maximum.

So, we have a balance metric which you can state is, 50%, give or take 10%.

That seems like a fairly good number to use.

A setup which has a 60% town winrate might not be ideal, but it'd be close enough that I wouldn't disqualify it.
Similarly so for a setup with a 60% mafia winrate. (Though this has a tendency to be...quite brutal for newbies, so it certainly wouldn't be the best.)


Scum win rate in mini normals > 60% tho last i checked
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Post Post #182  (ISO)  » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:21 am

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Post Post #183  (ISO)  » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:32 am

This has probably been posted already but just because we have 2 week deadlines really doesn't mean you have to use them. Deadlines should be there to avoid the game getting drawn out. Not as an arbitrary limit. Making it a week doesn't give an accurate representation of the site. By changing the deadline criteria what you are doing is setting a different pace to the game and making it a slightly different game from the rest of the site. Deadlines become a mechanic rather than a tool, so from that perspective I would argue its probably not a good idea.
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Post Post #184  (ISO)  » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:57 am

Ok so, to avoid being that person who complains for the sake of it but doesnt actually play anything (and now having read most of the thread) I stand by what I said. Im going to post my brain farts...

- Newbies should be an indication of the site, if you change that too much, you have lost the point of newbie games. Whilst mechanics are an important thing to learn, it's not the only purpose newbies serve.
- Deadlines are a problem for this site overall. Dynamic deadlines make more sense to me than fixed ones. Having this discussion means that people, particularly newbies in this instance are using all the time available to them rather than try and find a lynch before the time is up. That's a bigger problem, as that isn't playing the game effectively.
- Players and mods need more discussion in the background of newbie games. If a player isn't posting you need to PM them why. Mod interference in this regard I don't think is a problem. Rooting out the cause of a lack of posting or "I'll get back to this later" posting and then dealing with that effectively - whether that be leaving it or replacing etc. - is more useful than deadline changes. Remember you are trying to show newbies what the site is like, if a newbie is feeling overwhelmed or its taking too long, it's good to know that.
- I don't think long day phases are why we aren't getting more traffic to the site. I also don't think that's why we aren't retaining most of our site traffic.
- When people start to think about using different rules for IC's/SE's etc then it becomes too complex. The idea is to keep it simple (he says having suggested dynamic deadlines)

I'd be interested to see how many newbie games go to deadline, because if we have a significant proportion taking the full 7/10/14 days, then something has gone wrong with the teaching aspect and that needs to be addressed before you start thinking about deadline changes. Otherwise you are always going to have an issue.

EDIT: To explain dynamic deadlines, having an upper limit, like 14 days, and then having the mod be able to reduce that, if people start to wain, if prods start to increase, if it becomes obvious people are trying to extend the day etc.
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Post Post #185  (ISO)  » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:39 pm

I remember most of my games dragging to deadline. Days that ended quickly were the exception rather than the rule.

As it is with 7 day deadlines you are getting prodded within a day of inactivity. When the site reaches the point where it expects you to post not only every day but multiple times every day it's reached the point where I can't possibly commit to playing another game ever again.

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Post Post #186  (ISO)  » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:48 pm

In post 156, Papa Zito wrote:
In post 153, Toomai wrote:The first newbie game with deadline/prod changes has been assigned.
In post 2, PenguinPower wrote:Deadlines have been updated to 10 days for Day 1, and 7 days for all further Day phases. Prodding now occurs after 30 hours of inactivity. (7/2/2018)

I will be watching winrate and replacement stats comparing old and new systems.

This looks solid to me. I've signed up to IC a game and give the new system a whirl.

My first game just finished and I'm here to report my findings.

1. The deadlines proved to be largely irrelevant because of replacements. The faster deadlines also didn't seem to spur additional activity in the game, things still tended to drag right until the the last second.
2. The prod timer turned out to be really obnoxious and lead me to being replaced. I'm not usually around on weekends and I had a busy Monday so I didn't get to the game in time to post. I expect many of our older (geriatric) players will have similar experiences.


With that being said, I have some suggestions.

1. Given that we now that we have daytalk for the scumteam, and given that the number of power roles is small and the interactions between them are well documented, I don't see the point of 48 hour nights at all. I think those can be completely eliminated in favor of instant nights. This will help speed up games and keep people engaged.
2. Replacements really are killer. Not only are games getting dragged out because of deadline extensions to let replacements catch up but we're also draining players from filling new games. That second bit is a huge problem I think because newbies don't want to sit around waiting for games to fill, they signed up because they want to play now. I see newbies pop into sitechat every once in a while asking when a game is going to start. I think we'll continue to lose players and have start-of-game flakers if we don't fix this. I have 2 possible solutions.
a. Follow a BaM-like system. No prods, no replacements. If a slot doesn't post in a game day, modkill it.
b. Have a replacement queue just like we already have for ICs, SEs and newbies. The replacement queue have players ready to step into any slot at any time. Don't worry about trying to match experience levels with the player replacing in.
3. We need to stop being so deadline obsessive. We drag out day phases far too much. This is a site-wide cultural issue and not something to solve here but I thought I'd throw it in as an observation.

All in all, in my giant sample size of 1, I didn't feel there was really any change at all except for the prod timer, which was profoundly negative in my case.
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Post Post #187  (ISO)  » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:54 pm

I've moderated a couple games under this new format, was the backup mod for Zito's game and, am modding a few games that are currently ongoing.

The 30 hours prod timer does feel obnoxious at times. I get a lot of "wow I didn't realize it had been that long" responses to the prods I send out. I think the pattern of a player posting in the morning and then not making it onsite until the evening the following day happens quite often - and by then its already been more than 30 hours. I'm at the point were I feel pretty strongly that 36 hours is a better fit than 30.

I do think keeping the pace of the game quick is important, and agree with Zito's opinion that replacements and night phases significantly hurt the pace of the game. I've been experimenting with a policy where I'll end the night phase early if all players PM me. I've found that as long as there's more than 4 players in the game someone's either forgetting to PM me or doesn't want night to end early. Zito's 2b is similar to an idea I posted about in the Newbie Discussion Group at one point but it never went any further. I think its a decent idea that's probably worth hashing out in more detail. Becoming less deadline obsessive is a site meta shift that I'd like to see too, but that's something that's pretty hard to just set in motion.
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Post Post #188  (ISO)  » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:10 am

I modded a non-newbie game where I used 7 days and 36 hour prods (with two strikes -> force replace). I also had the experimental policy of ignoring inactivity until another player asked in the thread for a prod. Several players were technically due for a prod but evaded it and posted later that same day, which I think was a good outcome in context. The prods that were given also seemed warranted to me.

My reasons for handling prods like this were:
1. If the players don't think someone needs to post, they probably don't need to post, the two strikes policy is pretty severe, and force-replacing someone who shouldn't be getting force-replaced is bad. Giving players more control over whether they think someone else is playing the game in good faith should lead to games that the players enjoy more.
2. There could otherwise be moderator bias in the form of whether or not I personally think someone is proddable (which is inherently biased by my knowledge of their role), prompting me to check the activity list, and then prodding them, but not noticing for other players.

I think it worked well

I've been experimenting with a policy where I'll end the night phase early if all players PM me.


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Post Post #189  (ISO)  » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:38 am

It's probably with noting that everything seems to be dragging around here from game activity to the amount of time it takes for some games to fill compared to others.

I don't think that having a BaM Ruleset with no prods and no replacements will turn out to be a good thing for the game. Rather, I would suggest a punishment - maybe a temporary ban from signing up for another game - but then I remember that it's been mentioned that those types of players really could care less about the punishment if they're going to flake. Honestly the BaM rule of mod killing an hollow spot just punishes the rest of the players - consider the situation where it's a town PR - and the time that that role/slot could go without posting is too long. The players might just lynch it if that slot can get away with not posting for that absurd amount of time.

So, I'm in favor of not having a BaM rule or rule set being implemented as the whole way it could operate has the potential to ruin the game for the players. Keep the prods and the replacements and I do like the suggestion of having a replacement queue.
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Post Post #190  (ISO)  » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:53 am

Turning the Night into an instant one would be an interesting change to implement, but I'm skeptical whether or not it'll have a postitive change on the rate of posting. Night play is separate from day play, so it might not be as clear a cut of a cause and effect reaction like we're thinking might happen.

If newbies want games that instantly start could it be possible that we offer them marathon games? Or something like it? If the goal is to only have them stick around, then this could be a possible solution (maybe not the best, now that I think about it though).

The deadline obsession has less to do with deadlines and seems more like a hammer trying to fix the wrench shaped activity problem. In other words, it sort of works but it's not really getting to the root of the problem (lack of activity). Prods and replacements help solve the root problem, but I don't think they're quite as effective as they should be sometimes.

Right now posting activity seems to be extremes - pages are either be churned out or the thread is dead silent, there is no happy medium anymore. I think that if we gain back that balance, it could lead to an improvement. Where? That I'm not sure.
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Post Post #191  (ISO)  » Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:55 am

In post 186, Papa Zito wrote:1. Given that we now that we have daytalk for the scumteam, and given that the number of power roles is small and the interactions between them are well documented, I don't see the point of 48 hour nights at all. I think those can be completely eliminated in favor of instant nights. This will help speed up games and keep people engaged.
Disagree. Nights provide a flow to the game, a mental reset for town and a "I can stop being two people at once" relief for scum. It would also make inactivity far more likely to null night actions.

Instant night on global request on the other hand is perfectly fine, since it involves unanimous agreement.
In post 186, Papa Zito wrote:2. Replacements really are killer.
This is the reality of newbie games - there will be more replacements than other games, guaranteed, because it's the group of players who haven't yet realized they can't keep interest in the game.

Additional note: So far, while the sample size isn't the best, the 2d3 newbie games have basically the same replacement rate as the Matrix6 ones. It's too early to tell if the deadline/prod changes have done anything.
In post 186, Papa Zito wrote:a. Follow a BaM-like system. No prods, no replacements. If a slot doesn't post in a game day, modkill it.
I presume this is merely included for completeness because this a really bad idea - especially given the threat of a blindhammer/lolhammer from a newbie is higher than in other games.
In post 186, Papa Zito wrote:Don't worry about trying to match experience levels with the player replacing in.
I assume with this you mean "don't give newbies a temporary priority over replacing into newbie slots". Which is fair enough if your prime goal is to get the slot filled as quickly as possible, but on the other hand you don't really want it to be easy for a game to turn into SEs only.
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Post Post #192  (ISO)  » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:26 am

I'd say we experiment those prod timer or deadline thingies and see what's better
Would you?

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Post Post #193  (ISO)  » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:59 am

So hey is this having any (positive) impact on the replacement rates or newbie satisfaction with games on this site? Based on what I'm seeing newbies are still replacing out at quite a high rate, and replacements out of a 1 week deadline game are going to be pretty devastating to the health of a game.

Also I see we're not quite at 24 hour deadlines, but pretty damn close. Give it time and we'll get there. Pretty soon you'll be able to hold your breath and the game will end before you have time to exhale.

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Post Post #194  (ISO)  » Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:34 pm

Biannual reminder that people will play games they want to play and having one setup for a queue is a bad idea.
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Post Post #195  (ISO)  » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:09 pm

In post 192, RedFlavor wrote:I'd say we experiment those prod timer or deadline thingies and see what's better


Newbie queue isn't the place to experiment new site mechanics

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Post Post #196  (ISO)  » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:47 pm

In post 193, Zachrulez wrote:So hey is this having any (positive) impact on the replacement rates or newbie satisfaction with games on this site? Based on what I'm seeing newbies are still replacing out at quite a high rate, and replacements out of a 1 week deadline game are going to be pretty devastating to the health of a game.
It'll be a while before we have enough stats to determine any change in replacement rate (currently only 3 completed games with new system).
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Post Post #197  (ISO)  » Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:29 am

In post 195, Dunnstral wrote:
In post 192, RedFlavor wrote:I'd say we experiment those prod timer or deadline thingies and see what's better


Newbie queue isn't the place to experiment new site mechanics

Yeah but if you dont, how are you going to know whats best for newbie queue
Would you?

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Post Post #198  (ISO)  » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:29 pm

Papa Zizi posted about instant night and I think that’s a reasonable consideration on it’s own but I have two qualms. First, that’s not site precedent, which means we’re setting an incorrect standard. We shouldn’t be lying to try and get more people, that would probably lose even more than before. The second is the night phase gives Mafia a chance to strategize, and people who are behind a chance to catch up.
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Post Post #199  (ISO)  » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:39 pm

In post 197, RedFlavor wrote:
In post 195, Dunnstral wrote:
In post 192, RedFlavor wrote:I'd say we experiment those prod timer or deadline thingies and see what's better


Newbie queue isn't the place to experiment new site mechanics

Yeah but if you dont, how are you going to know whats best for newbie queue


I mean don't test things that haven't been used in other places on site in the newbie queue, it's not the place for it. You can start by implementing it in theme games, normal games, open games, etc. If nobody wants it then it doesn't belong in the newbie queue either

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