Making Golden Goods less frustrating

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  dornbeast 6 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #14531

    Tempus

    Hello, so here I am. I’ve been playing games normally and consistently since the update, aiming for high star rewards. Recently, the drop rate for golden goods shot up. This allowed me to finally get some recipes to level 4. Once a few common recipes I used reached level four, I had a problem – I needed to assemble quite a few other goods to make them upgrade. These included things such as fast trains, Ice, Stew Barrels, Stout Barrels, necklaces, whiskey, hopping trains, elbow cranes, and catapults. Bring it on, I said.

    Very soon though, my inventory was overful of golden goods I couldn’t use – they were stuck at level 4. I wanted to keep them, I wanted to use many of these goods. So I decided to start some grinding. After three four hour five star runthroughs of Sad Uncle, I managed to get a hopping train and some whiskey. Excellent, one thing down. I had to discard a few things along the way to squeeze out my inventory, but at least I got somewhere. Next up, I wanted to try to get Prayer Stones up, and also see about upgrading stew barrels to level 15 so that it’s possible for me to beat Mr.Jones. So I grinded the stew barrel. I set up a game with Garmichael, and we’ve been grinding stew barrels for one day, sixteen hours.

    And I haven’t gotten any.

    This is incredibly frustrating. I am incredibly frustrated at it. I feel like the game is cheating me out of everything – at no point in a game I play do I want to specifically avoid what I enjoy doing (beating levels with five star ratings) in order to grind (by name something boring) for hours and hours and yet not achieve even the bare beginnings of my goal, never mind the level 15 stew barrel I calculate I’ll need to beat the food deprived Mr.Jones map (six flamingoes, 300 food – stew barrel decreases it by 60, I counted 248 on that map last time I attempted it, so it’s just BARELY enough, and probably realistically not enough).

    It’s absurd.

    So I propose a simple system for earning Golden Chests that doesn’t want to make me tear my hair out. Each item has a visible counter, displayed beside it’s name on the castle income mouseover. Let’s call it 100 for example’s sake. Delivering items to a castle (either direct goods or shared goods) decreases it’s visible counter. When the counter reaches 0, you get the golden good. As the item in question goes up in level, the counter gets larger. Lower tier items have naturally higher counters than items like busts or flamingers.

    This system has a number of results:

    • Chests are no longer random – you can work towards earning a chest in a meaningful and visible way, and you know that delivering an item will earn you a chest, sooner or later (about every 4 hours seems like a nice rate).
    • You no longer get chests for components of items, only final products which are delivered. This is a downside, in that it lowers the chest rate, but an upside, in that your inventory doesn’t get clogged as much. Though the latter issue is less of an issue with the new multi-factory for upgrade paths system.
    • Shared items become even more valuable – not only do they increase your income, but they increase the rate at which golden chests drop.
    • It becomes significantly less frustrating to aim for specific goals, with less grinding involved. No longer would I have to wonder when/if I’ll ever get enough stew barrels to be able to beat Mr.Jones, I will KNOW that as long as I keep producing stew barrels, they will arrive at a reasonable and consistent rate. Moreover – converting my entire setup to make multiple stew barrels would make things faster. While stew barrels are absolutely horrible for earning money, and rather difficult to make for something so low value, making more stew barrels would be meaningful. Currently, making ten of an item or one of an item is the same in terms of golden chest rate.

    For all these reasons, such a system would be vastly beneficial. The bottom line is: get what you deserve, make what you want to get, visible progress towards goals for encouragement, and reasonable rates of return.

    On a last note, I also suggest getting ‘bonus’ golden chests at the end of level. The above system would allow something like the following: For five stars, one chest for each of your five most delivered items in the current game. For four stars, four, etc. This scales naturally – games it is easy to five star don’t allow you enough time to afford to deliver large chains of high tier items for extended periods – I could never setup a bust in Sad Uncle before the 4h29 runs out. Longer games would have more high tier items as rewards, since the time period is longer. This system also rewards for skill, and encourages skillful play.

    #14556

    qonen

    Long-term it feels okay to have maps that cannot be beaten without upgraded recipes. Otherwise once veteran players have months or years of skill ups, even expert maps will be too easy. However, if maps are impossible with low-level heirs then either the required level on the map should be raised, or the map should be changed. This feels like a simpler solution than requiring grinding of a particular good. L15 should be difficult or impossible to achieve by this point if we expect L30 to be interesting a year from now.

    Although I am a heavy optimizer, I like the randomness in golden goods. It is fun to click on a golden good and see it is something you are hoping for. Trying to get one of something for an unrelated major upgrade is rather unpredictable, but I’ve countered this by making note of what goods I will need soon to start working on them before I need them. For getting many of a good, random feels the same as scheduled due to the law of large numbers. Otherwise, I like that a single good produced has the same golden good chance as many goods (I think). That encourages diversity and makes it not quite so painful to work on recipes with low multipliers (because you can craft just one instead of many).

    I was thinking about awarding golden goods at the end of a game too. My concern was getting golden goods for difficult items that are crafted only at the moment of victory. However, on a recent map I received two golden goods of the last item to be completed even though I closed the game after a few minutes of chat, so there already seems to be a reasonable path to such items.

    #14559

    Tempus

    <This ended up as a rant, so…

    tl:dr; I want to be rewarded for skill and time spent in a reasonable fashion, and the current system and drop rate simply do not do so.>

    I currently grinded 36 hours with Garmichael to get stew barrels. We need 27 stew barrels to get to level 15 – where one of us needs to be for Mr.Jones to even have a CHANCE of being beatable. I don’t mind maps that require levelling (though it’s nice to learn that before you sink five days into em’ grumble grumble), but… in those 36 hours, between the two of us, we got only one barrel – for Garmichael.

    So, if the drop rate for a “final good” which is supposed to be high, is currently at one per 72 hours or so, and we need about 27 for a single person (plus odds and ends for major upgrades), then it will take 81 days of consecutive grinding to get to the point where we just barely have the ability to beat that map.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to spend 81 consecutive days grinding stew barrels. I’d like to be able to play the game, enjoy it, AND progress at a reasonable rate. If I’m doing dedicated grinding, I would think that I should be able to reach a simple goal like level fifteen after two or three weeks of play. Not 3 months plus of doing nothing but joining games, setting up stew barrels as quickly as possible, and abandoning when it drops below three stars to keep the drop rate high. In the past, drop rate for final goods was higher – that was great, one game that was three days long I got three stone busts in and a nice assortment of other final goods and some middle and early tier stuff as well. At some point, they decided it was too high, possibly because so many chests filled up everyone’s artificially limited inventory (which makes them money if you buy vault space, yeah?).

    All I want, is to be able to work towards a goal, and have some respectable guarantee of progress within a reasonable time frame. Grinding for months is not fun, and is not a good game. Being frustrated at not being able to beat a level that simply doesn’t have enough food because the designers have put in random drops at too low a rate is REALLY frustrating. Exactly enough food in a level to win? I will find a way to make it work, even if I have to fill every spot with dummy accounts so that no one monopolizes a bush. Tests of skill are one thing, but I HATE, absolutely despise with the core of a soul filled with the darkness of a thousand black holes, being shafted for no reason.

    So above is a system, which, if you properly implement the rates to not be utter bullshit, has a number of fantastic advantages over the current system – feedback, goal setting and fulfillment, transparency, reward and incentive for skilled play as well as adaptability for unskilled play, and transparency to the player.

    I just want to enjoy the game and the progression, without pouring hours into it only to face anger and frustration. If that’s how it’s going to be, I’d rather they eliminate all golden goods altogether and just made every map clearable with nothing but roads. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and I have no idea why they’re making it like that.

    On that note, same with crowns. If you could beat Sad Uncle on five star in 3 hours, and sold every single item, you’d have enough crowns for a duplex in only, oh, 400 days. Why even bother giving crowns out then? I just want to play a variety of interesting maps, with interesting conditions and challenges, setting up interesting chains (preferably without having to have four other skilled players around to finally get some darn gems to their borders in the next three days) and basically having fun. If there’s some chest progression in that, fantastic! But for god’s sake please make it reasonable.

    #14566

    Silverthorn

    So, say you get your accountable goldens.

    You enter every game with your friend, as you do now, to beat the shit out of every game, as you do now, no matter what the rest of the group does, because everyone profits from your five stars and so you’re doing little more than public service while doing what you find is fun, right.

    You upgrade your stew barrels in what, a few days’ worth, then you go and beat the Jones in what, a day’s worth or two.

    What are you going to be doing in a month from now? Making posts here demanding tougher maps, for example? And everyone would profit from more maps, right, so it’s not like you want this game tailored to your very personal specific needs only, right?

    There are people in this game that have a different idea of how to enjoy it, which might even specifically exclude barrelling (pun not intended) through every map as fast as possible and being enabled by the system to do so.
    There are even players at the complete opposite end of the range that have a real love for the game, but already feel that they are – more or less – being systematically shut out of a great part of it, since they can neither afford the $ to buy trains nor the time to tune their setups for a few hours every day and/or to quickly play the same easy map within a few hours a few days in a row to farm trains. If you look at them, the priority balance issues lie somewhere else completely, for example.

    The random element in the game, from randomly generated resources placement to what palace you get seated in to your co-players on a map (which is already seriously undermined by invites anyway – try to do an Uncle in four and a half hours x times in a row without inviting someone you know will build a massive starter income with you right the minute you join) to, well, a certain random element in the goldens and the inaccountability that comes with it, is an integral part of the entire thing to me that I wouldn’t want to miss.

    Why – it probably comes down to what I believe (or want to believe) this game and its spirit to be, and I do not believe this to be a game that is best approached with a supercompetitive mindset like yours, if at all, and I do not believe this to be the purist strategy game you seem to push for, and I all but hope it won’t be going there.

    While agreeing that the golden goods system still needs tweaking, and that there are definite upgrade humps that are hard and frustrating to pass, I also believe that the random goldens do not force a grind as much as a counter would. If there was a counter, noone could reasonably reject going for the grind.
    As it is, I feel at least a little bit of justification in the desire to tell you to stop trying to get the game geared towards your own flow. Neither does any player deserve everything, nor do they deserve it instantaneously.
    It says nothing about the game and everything about you that you feel it is cheating you and that you’d like to play this game without having to cooperate with four other players.

    At the same time, that’s where the debate veers off into ideology, and so that’s probably where I should stop talking.
    Maybe them devs are looking to cater to the entire range of player attitudes, from supercompetitive to supercasual, and maybe with a larger userbase, these attitudes wouldn’t collide as they do now.

    #14584

    Daniel
    Member

    The analysis on both sides of the issue is quite helpful. Right now, the system is setup to encourage is a slow and steady evolution of the recipes over a long period of time. In many ways, it is intentionally set up so that explicit grinding for golden is difficult and not very rewarding. I’d much rather you play the game for the joy of the game and get golden goods as a happy reward.

    Having said that, I know that there’s a valid play style which involves focusing effort for a short term goal and knocking them down as fast a possible. As a designer, I get to put out a set of game rules, but you choose how to play it. :-) We’ll keep adjusting to find the balance.

    Silverthorn does make a good point about the size of the community. We are working on getting some new players to come on board (though it might be a while) It will be fascinating to see how a large set of newbies interact with the current game. That’s always a bit of turmoil (argh, the Irish are taking our jobs!) but I think with some solid mentoring and helping people learn, the new blood might be a huge boon. More maps available, more experienced players eventually, more conversation.

    Question: Are the more frequent drops of plans helping at all with overcome the major upgrade requirements?

    #14587

    Tempus

    I dispute more maps available – I never see more than one map of each difficulty. I often coordinate with Garmichael, who has a second prince, to fill up games and generate new ones for us to start from scratch and aim for five stars on. If all four games are several hours in, it’s hard to reach your goal. I think that game selection remains an issue – why can’t we create or join the games we want, and not rely on whatever four picks of the day the system has kicking around?

    As far as the plan upgrades, I do like the more frequent drops. I’m still having trouble with the major upgrades – many recipes take high level things, catapults and fast trains. Fast trains are really difficult to get, catapults a little easier. The main problem is vault space – we only have room for twenty items, and because chests and items are really random (and lately I specifically have been having lots of issues with chests), you need to store things in your vault for games and games, hoping to get the thing you need. So far, I’ve managed fired bricks and rings. I have several other things waiting on major upgrades, but especially with the current inability to complete Mr.Jones (and me never getting anything but Mr.Jones in my game list), fast trains and many expert rewards are really just impossible, so I’m hanging on to many rare items like busts in the hopes of eventually getting one, because I know how hard it is to get those rare items.

    I think the above system I forwarded fixes a lot of issues – my biggest issue is that grinding something for me doesn’t guarantee that I’ll get it at all. If I was guaranteed to get something, I wouldn’t even need to grind, I would just make it in game. Anyway, I do like the larger plan drops, it makes me use them more often, since I have limited inventory space and might as well use rather than sell for a pittance, and it means that certain things I know I can get without too much trouble.

    One thing I’ve noted though, is that Sad Uncle seems to have a better drop rate than anything else. Sad Uncle five starred gives five rewards or so. Other maps four or five starred seem to give two or three. Seems to me like it should be the reverse. I haven’t played any expert maps in a while, since Mr.Jones is camping the spot, but I’m really worried that beating it even with a number of stars will net me only an item or two.

    Generally, more items is better. I like getting a tangible reward for what I like to do anyway, which is play with skill and aim for good stars. I dislike how golden goods are currently working, especially with Mr.Jones hanging over my head with his too little food. It’s just too darned random – I just hate feeling like I’m wasting my time, and having my gameplay stalled because I’m desperately hoping to roll lucky sevens and get some decent things. I also feel that many of the recent changes (chests from previous games, the lower drop rate compared to previous push, the lower rate for completed items compared to previous push) of the current update are not intuitive (Why am I getting chests for things I’m not making? Why am I only getting crappy chests and not the stuff I’m actually selling?) and of course to Daniel’s dismay, I keep complaining about my broken game (see my bug thread and the recent 13 consecutive barrel incident).

    With the risk of being annoyingly vocal (moreso than I already am, sigh), I’d love to engage with Daniel, cakey, and the other devs more about what their model is for golden chests, why they’ve chosen the current rates, what the current rates are, and put some of my bitching and whining energy to good use with some proper mathematical models and pretty graphs.

    #14591

    Silverthorn

    Yes, the more frequent plan drops are definitely helping, gotten a few level 5s thanks to that. :)
    The biggest humps are the more difficult items as mentioned, fast trains and catapults. My rings have been sitting at l4 forever because of the catapult. I hear I best play a Disco Queen for it, but I think I’ve seen that one pop up in my games window exactly once since the big update, and definitely not within the last week.

    I seem to remember the game selection window would, when closed and re-opened, display a different pick of currently available games each time. It’s definitely not doing that anymore, so most of us really are seeing the same four games all the time, every time, one of which is usually the currently still impossible Jones or Lorde, and one of which is always the Uncle.

    I like the slow and steady (do want a challenge a few months down the road still, after all) and no grind reward or guaranteed reward, but it’s all been heard now hopefully.

    #14599

    Tempus

    I would also like a challenge further on down the line, but I think rather than forcing me to play for literally consecutive years of grinding to reach a goal, that can as easily be provided by things like unique map challenges, or yet more recipes that are even more complex. Imagine, for example, a recipe that takes four busts – A bustier maybe ^_^. And then that item could further be used for something, etc, etc. More recipes is a relatively easy thing to add on to the end, and complex recipes are both exciting challenges and something to work towards. As long as you don’t need level fifteen of everything to do it (or you raise the drops to a reasonable rate) >.>

    On that note, a potentially easy fix might be a new item. Call it the ‘midas tree’ or something like that. Costs 100k, +100k for each one. Doubles the drop rate of any factory it’s next to, or if it’s next to the castle, increases the global chest drop rate by 20%. Seems like an easy enough thing to add in, since Emblem of Scarcity should already have code for determining objects next to it that can be adapted. Offer it in medium and hard maps for four or five star rewards, or expert maps as a guaranteed or two-three star reward. This would make it easier to get certain specific rewards, and wouldn’t be as hard to implement as my original system above or some other rehash. Of course, I’d say not as many benefits either ^_^.

    I’m sort of with silverthorn, but I think we’re taking a different approach – neither of us want to grind. Both of us want to play maps. I, however, feel like I NEED to grind to be able to beat some of those impossible maps, and am frustrated that my efforts aren’t rewarded. I know I could clear the map no matter how complex the factory as long as it’s possible at all, but as it isn’t possible, I’m frustrated that my skill is being limited by the developers. Silverthorn seems to be happy to know that eventually in 12-36 months he may be able to tackle one of those maps, and that whatever comes comes. I guess he’s just more mellow about it than I!

    #14600

    Daniel
    Member

    We do have a task to look at map gen to make sure maps aren’t impossible. With previous recipes, it wasn’t an issue that came up much, but with the new recipes it has become a much bigger factor. Ideally all maps are feasible and then better / more advanced players beat those maps faster.

    #14601

    Silverthorn

    Come to think of it, maybe the easiest fix for now would be to move the visibility/accessibility of the Jones and Lorde up a number of levels, so that once you can see them, you’re more likely to be able to do something about them.
    (Also, 12-36 months, lol.)

    /Edit: Ninja’d by dev, rah.

    #14604

    Tempus

    Not entirely kidding about 12-36 months. In a previous game, myself and Garmichael had setup a shared Stew Barrel. We were attempting to grind them so that we could get to level 15 and clear Mr.Jones. After 36 hours of having the factories up, Garmichael received a single golden good, and I had gotten 0. If the drop rate is 1 per 72 hours, as the anecdote suggests, And you need 27 stew barrel golden goods, 3 death powder golden goods, and two carousel cranes as the xml for recipes says, then it would take as minimum of three months of nothing but grinding stew barrels.

    BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. Afterwards, we played another game, in which neither of us got any stew barrels. Since recipes carry over, and the game lasted about 11 hours, we can extend that by 22 hours – possibly as many as 118 days. Of nothing but grinding. To get to level 15.

    BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. In order to setup a stew barrel, many game hours are lost – for myself, it takes at least 4 hours a game to get that setup. So now we’re at 122 days to get to level 15.

    To get to level 30, for a single recipe, we can extend that: 45 more golden chests, 3 more death powders, another carousel crane. 318 days of consecutive grinding on just that one single item, and nothing else. The numbers are, of course, not exact – I don’t have the precise drop rate, and I’ve got limited data to draw from. The current public build, 130822, seems to have a number of things which are broken for me in terms of golden goods. Or maybe just inscrutable. Either way, for the MrJones I faced with a 52 food deficit, you’re gonna be waiting around of a year of dedicated play currently, or possibly a couple years of dedicated play. I’m certain this will be tweaked eventually to not be so.

    #14605

    qonen

    I’m just going to throw this out there…

    It feels like the drop rate of golden goods is too generous. Soon I’ll be doing multiple L15 upgrades. I have several recipes at L10+ now. In 122 days I could be knocking at the L30 door for some of the recipes I care most about. Or…that could be a great time to patch in L50!

    #14621

    Tempus

    I don’t know how you managed that, qonen. I’ve been struggling to even get recipes to level 5 – I’ve only managed to get two there so far. Rings and Fired Bricks. Rings I make pretty much every game, often at the very beginning, and were the first thing I upgraded. Despite this, they’re still only at level 7. As you know, I play at a high level (you are Prince qubits, if I recall), and I’ve certainly had an eye towards producing golden goods.

    Do you have multiple princes which you use all on one prince? If you had two princes, that would theoretically double your golden good acquisition, and three princes triple it. Or do you have some other secret?

    It’s also just possible my prince in specific is broken – one game, when I started, I received 13 barrels immediately (which I was forced to sell on next load). After that, I received no golden chests for 24 hours. I hadn’t even made a barrel factory.I’m honestly quite frustrated at the system, and the moderators and devs don’t seem to believe my reports on what I’m getting or why it’s bad, despite photo evidence, which only adds to my frustration.

    So I’d love to hear about your drop rate, how many princes you have, what recipes are at what levels, etc.

    #14623

    qonen

    It is true that I have three heirs. I found 33 golden rings which I chose to use as 13-4-5. Spices I have as 12-0-1. Cat statues are 0-10-4. Bricks are 4-12-4. Curry is 0-0-11. So, while I do tend to favor one heir over another, I don’t do so exclusively.

    All I can say is I don’t try to just make one thing. I make whatever would be useful for anyone in my family, and then I exchange golden goods among them.

    #14631

    joeblowglitch

    Out of cuiosity, how many people who have more than one item past level 5 have NOT paid for crowns (or spent free crowns) for unlimited items or vault space?

    In my current game, I have 27 gold items that I can’t spend/use due to a missing item preventing upgrading to level 5 (only have 3/4 of a gold item, or am missing a carousel crane or catapult). On top of that, I have 10 physical items like elbow/tracks/trains/etc.

    I have 3 shadow crowns in inventory, yet I am unable to upgrade to level 5 as I do not have a carousel crane. So, unless my current game drops a carousel as loot upon completion, I have some awful decisions to make as to how to clear out my vault for space when I start my next game.

    Will I choose to destroy my 11 gold rings? They’re useless until I get a catapult.
    Maybe I’ll destroy my 6 earrings, you say? Nope. I need a catapult there too.

    Fact is, I will likely have to destroy them all (and then some) and save my 3 shadow crowns, as they are more difficult to make.

    Am I missing something incredibly obvious here wrt to leveling here? At this point, whether the chest drop rate yields me 1 gold ring in a game, or 1000000…what difference does it make when vault space seems to be the true limitation?

    I would almost prefer getting zero gold chests rather than having to decide which 20 or so I want to destroy at the beginning of each game. It just seems a bit cruel to say: “Here are 25 gold items! You can destroy all of them, or pay $9.99 for a catapult! Then, you only will have to destroy 20 of them!”

    Meh.

    I thought that small/large factories were done away with as people were finding them too difficult to understand?

    How do golden goods make the barrier to entry in to this wonderful game…for those very same people who failed to understand factories…LESS confusing???

    Meh.

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