Join Date: Mar 2009
na na la la la hey hey doot do
A New Beginner Postgame [help why did i write so much]
(skip to post 2 for the interesting stuff, ie game and player analysis)
I'd like to tell you guys why I made this game.
Beginner games have a long history of not going very well. Ever since the tiering system of games was introduced, the Beginner tier has largely failed to accomplish its goal. Beginner games were supposed to be launchpads, where new users could play to see whether they liked Smogon mafia and from there move on to play other more complicated games. This has not happened for a number of reasons. But first, why bother? What is the downside to having a Beginner tier that works in a slightly different way? I’ll start from the top.
A tiering system was added a while ago. The best addition of the new system was the (necessary) addition of Expert games, which allowed games to be played by the best players without the risk of a new or poor user making the game less fun for all of those involved. This created a ton of great games, and has worked. Unfortunately, it completely decimated Standard.
This happened for a number of reasons. Firstly, good hosts almost exclusively made Expert games. Secondly, players who had made names for themselves in the community could now count on getting into these Expert games, and as a result stopped playing in Standard games. As a result, the only players who were playing in Standard games were beginners. The quality of play in Standard games became consistently poor, and the playerlists for them were similarly poor. This caused a vicious cycle in which quality players started to avoid the games more, and the games started to get worse, etc.
While this is a problem, it’s not one that we can fix, and it’s not one that we should try to fix, at least not from this angle. You can’t force players to play in games they don’t want to play. That would be stupid.
What we can fix is the underlying problem that I have ignored up to this point. What is probably the biggest reason why Standard was so terrible was that Beginner was not producing very many good new users. Beginner certainly was not producing new users as fast as more experienced users left. This effect could even be seen in Expert games, with hosts often being unable to pick enough users they actually wanted to play in their games. Additionally, the Smofia playerbase dwindled dramatically, dropping to frighteningly low numbers.
But what was wrong with Beginner games?
Alright, on to the actual reason why I’m even posting this. Beginner games were obviously going to be subject to the lowest quality play of all of the three tiers (or so is thought), and as a result very few experienced users wanted to make their games Beginner. As such, the only Beginner games that there were were hosted by beginners themselves. Since there were no rules outlining what was reasonable for a Beginner game, these games were almost always over-complicated and required too many users to play. There was not nearly enough demand for these games, as they required as many as 25 players to play, and as such other players, often NOT beginners (*cough* UncleSam *cough*), would have to play in order for the games to continue. This ruined the Beginner mafia experience for everyone.
There was another more worrying problem with Beginner as well. There was a group of users who started to play only in Beginner games. They thought of themselves as “beginners” even if they had been in the community for a while, simply because that was the tier they played in. So the system produced no new users, since any new users who enjoyed mafia and still wanted to play got stuck in this mindset and played a bunch of Beginner and left Standard games for the users they had been told were more experienced. This, in addition to making Standard worse, was also elitist and wrong. Beginner status shouldn’t be determined by your “skill-level” or anything subjective of the sort. Personally, I think it should be determined by how many games you’ve played.
These were the three big problems with Beginner: the games were too complicated, the games were too big, and there was no mechanism to get users out.
After discussions with billymills, we realized we needed to reverse this trend. We needed Beginner games to be simple, using common roles. We needed them to be small, so there would be enough true beginners to play them. We needed some way to force users OUT of Beginner, so they could actually move up the tiering system. So I made this game in order to fit those three criteria, as an experiment of sorts, to see if we could fix Beginner.
SO, then I actually had to make the game.
I wanted the game to be fairly formulaic. Perhaps I made it too much so, as users like penguin344 were able to draw from this fact later in the game and use it as evidence against the claims of Solace and Draycos7, and it made false-claiming much harder. I gave the village a ton of power roles, and to offset that I made the balance fairly anti-town. If the mafias and the wolf worked together, they could win the lynch after Night 1 if they killed the mayor since they had persuader and silencer roles. Obviously, I didn’t expect this to happen and it didn’t, but Jimera0 realized this at one point (the LME were, unfortunately for them, uncooperative). I did expect for some crossfire, which is why I made the mafias numbers slightly favorable. As it turns out, crossfire was the biggest factor in this village’s win, so I feel the balance was pretty good.
I didn’t give the mafias bodyguards, which resulted in more crossfire than there might have been if I had given them some. While this made the game more interesting, it made it so that the mafias had much less of a chance to win than they would have otherwise.
The wolf role, I decided, had to be fairly powerful. Winning as wolf is always a challenge, no matter which powers you have, but I decided against mole roles for this game as those are annoying at any level. So I gave him an inspect so he would know who he’s hitting, and a BPV (bulletproof vest) so he could survive a bit longer. It turns out that this BPV wound up being useless in the end, as Draycos7 was unable to overcome the advantage the village had gotten from all of the mafia crossfire.
I had been unable to come up with a good theme (I was thinking maybe Cowboys? you could have cowboys vs indians vs aliens but I dont know enough cowboys to turn into roles for the village). Eventually I settled upon the hilarity of the 2012 Republican nomination candidates. To clear things up, I am both a fiscal and a social liberal, so I took this as an opportunity to make fun of people I disagree with.
two antennae get married on top of a roof
the ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent
Last edited by askaninjask; Jul 3rd, 2012 at 12:17:37 AM.