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  1. #1

    Post State of the Game and Necessary Reworks.

    G r e e t o n g s, it's your local Ostrich dealer, FedoraWearingScrublord.

    I've been lurking on the forums for a while now, and I think it's finally time for me to put my two cents into this whole debacle.

    I'll get straight to the point.

    With the way things are going right now, Robocraft will be devoid of players in 2-3 years, and unplayable far before that.

    This is due to the following factors:

    I: Lack of Direction in Game Development

    II: Lack of Adequate Building Methods

    III: A Degrading and Disappearing Playerbase

    IV: Lack of Developer-Player interactions

    V: Introduction of AI Players

    All of these points will be addressed in the following thread.

    I. Lack of Direction in Game Development
    Since its inception in 2013, Robocraft has gone though countless changes and makeovers. During these times, there were correct decisions enacted, and missteps made. However, at least until 2015, the game remained, for all intents in purposes, in a mostly solid state. However, starting with the Maximum Loadout update, Robocraft became something else entirely, any only now, after 3 years of what can only really be described as The Age of Strife, is the game returning to a recognizable state. Even then, there are too many new feautures for it to really be an homage to the "Classic" Robocraft. But I am not here to revel in nostalgia. Since the Maximum Loadout update in 2015, the direction Freejam has been taking with Robocraft is comparable to a Chicken running around with its head cut off. First the tier system, which had been around undisturbed two years, was done away with, quickly followed by the Tech Tree. Then, RP and GC were done away with circa. the Epic Lot update. Finally, Freejam decided, with the Infinity Update, to bring back both the Tier System, albeit reduced, and, as well, oversaw the return of Pre-Epic Loot economics, with Robits and CC filling in for RP and GC. In essence, the path of development followed the path of a loop, and circa February 2019, very little forward progress has been made since 2015, with the exception of unlimited cubes and a downsizing of tiers to accommodate a smaller playerbase.

    It is the opinion of this community that the decisions and updates made over the last few years, collectively, are completely directionless. Veterans from Robocraft's more competitive years are upset over weapon stats and weapons themselves that are designed to suite more casual players. Builders from Robocraft's early, "Pilot Seat" years, are less compelled to play, now that most advanced building techniques are obsolete in favor of more simple physics (Though this is soon to be fixed, if not to a limited extent). It is my personal opinion, and to a larger extent most of the Community (at the very least most of the veteran community), the the Developers and Freejam create a cohesive future for the future of the game, and set goals that can and well be met in full. Furthermore, the community at large should be given a voice in the direction of the game that they play.

    II. Lack of Adequate Building Methods

    While this problem has been, and is currently being addressed, it is still a noteworthy one to talk about. Historically, in the game, and even today, though to a lesser extent, there have been building methods to increase the durability and practicality of a user's bot. However, in most cases, these skills are of obsolescence. Triforcing, a method of damage redistrubution, has been, in most cases, rendered obsolete due to the fact that some weapons, a notable example being rails, simply deal damage in layers, removing most reason for that mechanic. The only real mechanic that is of considerable use, at least to my knowledge, is Rodforcing, but even the implementation of that is the exception, rather than the norm.

    An indirect but large result of the lack of proper building techniques is that newer, less experienced players do not have the slightest knowledge on how to build a bot. I am sure that everyone has seen this issue, it's even present in AI bots, but I shall provide links to examples. All usernames have been censored to provide privacy.
    https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachmen...34123/bot1.jpg
    https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachmen...02987/bot2.jpg
    https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachmen...69918/bot3.jpg

    These types of bots are common in nearly every single game, and, unfortunately in every single tier as well. This, coupled with a large, competitive veteran core, leads to a great deal of unsatisfactory play for both newer and older players; newer ones, understandably, because they don't appreciate being absolutely slaughtered by the supposed "elites," and older because the constant grinding of bots with little to no structural integrity becomes a process bordering on monotony. Luckily though, there are solutions.

    a. F=MA
    This incoming update is a humongous step in the right direction. Once implemented, it will give Veterans back some of the lost building value they so desire, and will overall improve gameplay by making things more realistic.

    b. Minor Damage Rework
    A rework of weapon damage, specifically the removal of layered damage in exchange for more damage output would do wonders to revive such techniques as triforcing, and likely bring them back fully as viable building stratagems. This, in turn, could help to bring back some of the bot builders, or at the very least slow the rate at which they leave considerably.

    c. Comprehensive Building Tutorials for New Players
    This topic has already been talked about in some detail, but I wanted to endorse this. A series of tutorials on how to build effectively, demonstrating techniques such as triforcing, rodforcing, and strutforcing, even in basic forms, will help to increase the quality of builds of new players. In accordance with this, it should also be noted that current starter bots should be refitted with these techniques, and display gun mounts, and perhaps other connection points from which a new player can expand their bot. Likewise, the same aspects must be done with the Modular Building System.

    d. CRF Rework
    The current state of the Community Robot Factory is one awash with low-quality, 5-minute projects by players that have no concept of building. By removing the "Suggested" filter on the shop, and adding an option to test a robot before purchase, as well as some sort of user review section, we could potentially see a decrease in the monstrosities that are piles of spammed cubes with gibberish descriptions.

    III. A Degrading and Disappearing Playerbase
    According to Steamcharts.com, the Robocraft playerbase circa. January 2019 was 929.5 players. This is down from its all-time height of 26,598 players. This represents a 97% decease in the size of the Robocraft Community, over a span of 4 years. This can be attributed to the aforementioned topics, but it's also in part due to the playerbase itself, most notably the Veteran Community of Robocraft. As the playerbase continued to shrink, most of the casual players left the game in search of greener pastures. This has left behind a competitve core of ~300-400 players, perhaps less. However, in loo of the current size of the game's playerbase, the Veteran core is unreasonably large compared to the size of the total community. For every new player, there's at least one veteran, and this has caused major problems. With the newer playerbase and the older roughly the same size, it's a guarantee that most, if not nearly all matches will have a mix of newer and more competitive players. It's also not too uncommon for a group of new players to go up against a 5-man competitive platoon. This is leading to the disappearance of many players, and stumping any potential growth the game could have. Newer players will leave because there's too many unfair advantages going to more experienced players, and veterans will leave because they will rarely face a challenge, save for facing other veterans. The essence of this problem is that the Veteran playerbase, in comparison with the rest of the community, is too competitive, and the newer players, rightfully, aren't. If we want to bring Robocraft up to its former glory, it won't just be on the developers, it's also going to be on us. We can't grow our community if we keep on pushing potential community members away by stomping on them, like a boot stomps an ant. We, as the Veteran community, need to commit ourselves to being more passive, and letting the newer players win battles. We can't afford this self-destructive behavior. I would say that a solution to this would be the reinstatement of the Robot Ranking System, but there are too few players to make such an option open to any viable use, lest we wait 20 minutes to fight against 5 bots. Therefore, it needs to be a community effort to bring in new players and see them become integrated members of the community.
    Last edited by FedoranEmpire; 02-10-2019 at 02:19 AM.

  2. #2
    (Cont.)
    IV. Lack of Developer-Player Interactions
    This issue has been one of the largest and most pronounced in the community, and only now is it beginning to improve. Despite this, there is still a crippling disconnect between the Developers at Freejam and the Robocraft Community. This has gone on to create controversy over a great deal of decisions over the course of the game. When the Aerofoil Rework was implemented, for example, Freejam metaphorically "Put their hands over their ears," and ignored the resulting community outcry, driving off a great deal of Plane users in the process. Another instance, though a less recent one, was during the Epic Loot update, where Freejam ignored the community outcry to the Loot Box system. For a company the prides itself on listening to its community, which, by extension, was one of the pillars that Robocraft has been built on, we have seen the devs take very little player feedback, save for some patches, started bots, the New Trailer, and an update or two. This, of course, can be at least partially reasoned with. The Developers have thousands of hours of experience in game design, while the community has comparatively little, though it should be noted that we deserve a voice, and that it is unacceptable to ignore us. The following will display the most pronounced player wants and needs, as well as my personal opinions for a balanced game, and solutions to a more solid link between Developer and Player.

    Player Wants/Needs
    a. Old Maps Back in the Map Rotation + New Maps
    This has been a community request for some time. Many in the community do not see why the older maps, such as Hellion Crater and Gliese Lake, were removed from the rotation. Officially, it's because of their design, if I remember correctly, but Asymmetry promotes a greater sense of strategic thinking. The Re-introduction of older maps, even if downsized to fit with the current trend, but preferably kept the same, would not only appease the veteran community, but also the newer players, for whom these would be, in essence, new maps. As for real new maps, the setting and design of it could be put to a poll, or, alternatively, the rumored Map Competition from about a year ago could be revived, and put to some use.

    b. Comprehensive Weapon Rework
    Right now, there is a massive disparity between the quality weapons. There should be no reason whatsoever that a T5 Laser shoots faster and consumes less power than T0 and T1 Lasers. Furthermore, though it is my personal opinion, there should be heavy nerfs to PSK damage, and power consumption. Designed for new players, it is being hijacked by Veterans who simply don't feel like manually aiming. Therefore, it should have stats relagated to a weapon for new players, until they gain a sufficient enough aiming skill to effectively use Lasers and Plasma. Aeroflak should also be buffed in speed, stacking damage, and power consumption as a temporary fix to the "Drone Question."

    b. Reduced Platoon Size
    A major problem with gameplay right now is 5 player platoons stomping everything in their sight. Reducing the Platoon limit to 3 players, while causing come grumbles from more competitive users, will help balance team play. If we want to go further, we could have a default limit of two, with Premium users able to host platoons of three or four. As stated before, this will help to create more balanced matches, and it could also lower queue times.

    c. 8v8 Games
    The use of 8 versus 8 in Alpha is still a system that older players wish to return to. 8v8 combat, combined with the point above, ensures that there is enough people per match that no one team has an overwhelming advantage. Despite the longer queue times that would result from this, it would result in overall more balanced battles. It would also allow for more entertaining and more strategic play overall.

    d. Return of Elimination
    Elimination was a gamemode that many, including myself, were, and still are fond of. Adding it back into the game would bring back players that played the gamemode as a main, and would give back to the game a larger sense of strategic play than what we currently have.

    e. Rotating Platforms/Stationary Weapons
    These are probably the next most lobbied items with the Mortar, which is now in the game. The Community knows that it would take a very, very long time to implement it, but, in addition to making tanks viable again, it would show that Freejam is willing to further take on community requests, and would strengthen ties between the Developers and the Community. See the video below for more details.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyEyppnE9c4

    Return of Classic Wings
    The Aerofoil rework had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of making players want to become plane users, the overall usage of planes decreased, mostly due to the massive loss of agility. The Community has voiced its support for a setting with which wings could be set to a "Classic Mode," and fly as they would before the Aerofoil Rework.

    Solutions to Developer-Player Communications
    There are two solutions that can resolve the problem of a lack of communications. The first, and more labor intensive one for Freejam would be to have multiple Community Managers. More minds are better than one, and having different community managers that focus on the Subreddit, Forums, Twitter, and Discord on a daily basis would greatly improve communications between both parties. The second, less labor intensive method would be simply to use polls to determine what the community wants, though this is less reliable and direct with the community.

    V. Introduction of AI Players
    The introduction of bots into regular matches has been hailed by some as the "Beginning of the End." While the playerbase right now is extremely now, this should not facilitate the introduction of AI into normal modes. Even if it means longer queue times, all players fighting against each other should be human. If bots are to remain in the game, they need a.) a marker designating them as a bot, so players will have a better understanding of their team compositions, b.) better AI, akin to that seen in Diamond or Protonium in campaign mode, though AI difficulty should change depending on tier (i.e, T1 AIs will be of lower quality than T5 AIs), and c.) better bots. Right now, the bots utilized by AI players are bordering on useless, and it's almost universal to see an AI score last on a team. Via the solutions just mentioned, if AI bots still remain, they will at least be useful.

    I believe, that if all, or most of these ideas are implemented, Robocraft might just not live longer, but recover in full.

    T h a n c c,
    FedoraWearingScrublord

    o/

  3. #3
    Lack of Direction in Game Development
    That's the one thing i don't seem to agree with, if u r considering its current development direction.
    They do have a plan.
    1st they will bring out F=MA.
    Then they will make a major rework on LMHC cubes. Heavy cubes wud have more health, medium cubes wud be less health, light cubes might remain the same, Compact cubes may be entirely moved to TM.
    3rd, they will change the energy system, by making a Energy generator cube-set. Light-weight generators wud be used on aircraft, while super-powerful and ultra heavy ones wud be used on only the heaviest Tanks and Mechs. Tanks wud be far more useful as they wud be able to finally make tremendous use of the 'Cannon'(plasma cannon)<---They wud be able to almost continuously fire with very short reload delay.

  4. #4
    I'm referring to overall direction over the last few years. In that time, RC has gone from Tier-Based, to being flattened, to being a grinding mess, and then back to being Tier-based again. Though it's good to see them finally putting out goals for themselves, if in a limited quantity.

  5. #5
    Ai players are a necessary evil... I do think some changes should be made... Like having equal ai bots on each side would make sense...

    Also I have over 100 screenshots of people that don't know how to build anything remotely functional... A large percentage of the player base are kids lol...

    And if you come in with a 700 CPU bot, God help you not get spawn camped...

    Ive spawn killed one guy 11 times in a match to teach him not to bring small CPU bots and another guy 5 times in BA.... If you die INSIDE your base shield you NEED to learn to bring better bots...
    Last edited by TheReD40; 02-10-2019 at 02:09 PM.

  6. #6
    Praise the Ostrich lord

    Quite honestly though your part about the community not having a clear message is what I have been saying for a long time. We have the hard core pros who want tons of grind and to sit a top a throne surrounded by the broken bots of their enemy's . Then we have the casuals who are online online like 4 - 3 days a week or something who just want to relax after a hard day at work/school. We have the Vets who want old features back and new players who just don'y know how to play the game. I think maybe something like a RC council discord server would be good to balance all the differing opinions on the game into one clear statement that FJ can act on.

  7. #7
    Oops I was being stupid nothing to see here xD

  8. #8
    With regards to the tier system and building, whilst LMH cubes still have RR building is fundamentally broken. I mean this in a literal sense that the 1x1 cubes are the fundamental building blocks nessesary to create any bot (excluding a small number of exceptions with rod skeletons but they are not ever viable). If one wishes to use a heavier cube that will slow them down but provide sturctual stability in T1-3 forget it! You just aren't allowed to. I could elaborate on this topic further but I think the point has been made. This is a problem with LMH on the tech tree and not a fault of the tier system.
    -
    With that said weapons mechanics being reverted/reworked so that triforcing can become usefully again sounds like a good plan.
    -
    The problem with something like a RC council is that it's hard to know how many players that a representative is worth. If we represent the competitive community and the casual community both with 5 members and then treat both groups with equal leverage regardless of the actual sizes of each community then the council would be a failure.
    -
    I am a somewhat casual and competitive veteran that can have fun in both environments but prefers to have no burst meta but instead achieve balance similar to how the early game felt. I see a problem with Mega weapons as T5 and them providing such a low TTK. This feels horrible and doesn't even provide proper time to see how your bot is getting ripped apart...
    -
    Here's the thing, if FJ did all that you said then I might CONSIDER re-installing the game. This is because they have essentially ruined what once made robocraft unique and fun. Now it feels overly simplistic and dumbed down whilst providing no real incentives to actually build anything. The problem lies with FJ treating the game mostly as a shooter rather than an engineering builder sim type thing. If they focused less on changing fighting and just improved what we had without the massive reworks we would never have gotten to this point in the first place.
    Last edited by Chocolaboy; 02-11-2019 at 10:57 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by FedoranEmpire View Post
    The essence of this problem is that the Veteran playerbase, in comparison with the rest of the community, is too competitive, and the newer players, rightfully, aren't. If we want to bring Robocraft up to its former glory, it won't just be on the developers, it's also going to be on us. We can't grow our community if we keep on pushing potential community members away by stomping on them, like a boot stomps an ant. We, as the Veteran community, need to commit ourselves to being more passive, and letting the newer players win battles. We can't afford this self-destructive behavior. I would say that a solution to this would be the reinstatement of the Robot Ranking System, but there are too few players to make such an option open to any viable use, lest we wait 20 minutes to fight against 5 bots. Therefore, it needs to be a community effort to bring in new players and see them become integrated members of the community.
    This is totally backwards logic, it's a game not a reception desk! I'm not FreeJam's receptionist welcoming new customers, i don't get paid by FreeJam, i pay them for the GAME! I think people pick up games to play them as you expect to play a game, not have to not play the game properly in favour of being a parent pretending to lose to their children to make them feel good. What you're saying makes no sense!

    It's the devs that need to do something, they are the ones making the game, they are the ones getting paid for it! Communities shouldn't have to do shit except enjoy what's been created! Developers reap that reward in real money!

    The community shouldn't have to change the way they play because the devs can't put a working structure together. It's the devs fault a fair and balanced PvP structure doesn't and hasn't ever existed.
    Last edited by mikelaw; 02-11-2019 at 02:46 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by fedoranempire View Post
    a decrease in the monstrosities that are piles of spammed cubes with gibberish descriptions.
    Honestly we need this
    Last edited by bioniclefan414; 02-11-2019 at 11:07 PM. Reason: poor choice of wording