We Need A Simulator / Practice Mode

Eric Rawlins
Eric Rawlins
Potential Threat
Joined Oct 2016 Posts: 80
This isn't a new problem but the difficulty of events and the repair time of ships has clearly reached, and exceeded, the reasonable point where players could complete numerous fights, gradually improve their skills, and ultimately be successful before all the content is changed and learned tactics are invalidated.

I believe many players would love to have access to a public test server or even the preview server. I'm envious of the few content creators who can experiment before a release with infinite coins to learn tactics or try different fleet configurations. Even if the content changes when it goes live they still had the opportunity to practice a fight as many times as they wanted. They have to adapt to a change rather than develop tactics and skills from scratch. There are a few people that post YouTube videos showing they can take out a deceiver fleet with instant-rep with perfect flying but that takes practice and experimentation and at 2-3 fights a day (due to repairs) over 3 days of an event it simply isn't possible for most players.

I think a practice mode would address many of the problems people have been expressing lately. A flight simulator also fits in perfectly fine with being a pilot. Select a fleet in your fleet bay and add a 'Simulate' button in addition to 'Launch', where you can pick any target from a lowly cargo 7 up to Deceiver 100' then start the battle as if the fleet had been attacked. Award zero resources, zero intel, zero boxes, and zero damage to your fleet. Repeat as often as you want until you feel ready to farm the targets for real. This simple change would be a massive improvement to the game and negate many of the complaints players are currently making. No more lost fleets due to a stealth nerf, or a 24-hour repair from trying a new target on day one without knowing any tactics, etc. 

Ideally you would also be able to practice co-op fights and simulate fleets you don't have to learn what you should invest your months of builds/refits into but that would be significant new development. Spawning a battle with an existing fleet is how the game already works, so doing it without launching the fleet or giving any rewards/damage would be a much smaller project and a good starting point.


@CM Chris please pass this along since it should be relatively simple to implement and provide massive player appreciation. 
  • Gary Pollock
    Gary Pollock
    Skilled Warrior
    Joined Oct 2016 Posts: 425

    Won't happen but would be nice

  • GDIAX
    GDIAX
    Unicorn Overlord
    Joined Mar 2013 Posts: 2,818

    The preview server is not for us to test out **** those fleets. If anything, drastic changes are made to the fleets frequently so we are as in the dark as you are.

    Preview server is for us to test out the new tech, and show you guys the adv/disadv of it, and not for us to develop strategies for the fleets.

    Rebel Admiral, Head Intelligence Officer and Coordinator of Rebel forces.
    "Band together and prepare for war. This is Zero Hour!"




  • SkyNet_600
    SkyNet_600
    Strike-force Captain
    Joined Apr 2013 Posts: 621
    Sorry this breaks the need to coin so its not possible .you want to test builds and fleets COIN them .
  • Seardluin
    Seardluin
    Minor Nuisance
    Joined Dec 2014 Posts: 213
    GDIAX said:

    The preview server is not for us to test out **** those fleets. If anything, drastic changes are made to the fleets frequently so we are as in the dark as you are.

    Preview server is for us to test out the new tech, and show you guys the adv/disadv of it, and not for us to develop strategies for the fleets.


    Exactly, because having a working strategy that minimizes your fleet damage is, you know, breaking the game. lol
    Sarcasm is implied where you think it is implied.


  • Andrea Nard1
    Andrea Nard1
    Master Tactician
    Joined Nov 2015 Posts: 2,276

    Did you ever play the games where you had to insert a cojn to play?
    I do not recall to have an option to be trained. I used to pay for each game and improve my skills...paying

    image
  • Cyrus Leung
    Cyrus Leung
    VC Mod
    Joined Jan 2013 Posts: 2,459
    1. Servers cost money to operate. Our preview server is only on for a couple of days a month for this very reason. Now imagine a mirror of the live server with infinite coins. It would definitely cost a lot.
    2. You have the strategy, so what? KIXEYE judges difficulty based on damage taken. If everyone knows how to defeat the fleets, the overall damage taken will decrease, resulting in a buff. This is why adaptive skills are so important in the game. If you adapt quickly, you can achieve low damage before everyone else does and the fleets get buffed. Same goes for strategy formulation skills.
    Alien Target Infographs: http://tinyurl.com/y8mjea5h
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  • Drekmed
    Drekmed
    Greenhorn
    Joined Nov 2013 Posts: 19

    Did you ever play the games where you had to insert a cojn to play?
    I do not recall to have an option to be trained. I used to pay for each game and improve my skills...paying

    yes, but when you paid that money, the AI didn't change abilities, weapons, armor, damage and speed to counter what you had already learned. If your reflexes were good enough, you could eventually master the game. With this current model, during the events you might pay money only to have the fleet changed immediately thereafter. This invalidates any experience that you gained in the previous encounter and made your payment worth less than a crap that I took 2 years ago and don't even remember.
  • Andrea Nard1
    Andrea Nard1
    Master Tactician
    Joined Nov 2015 Posts: 2,276
    Drekmed said

    Did you ever play the games where you had to insert a cojn to play?
    I do not recall to have an option to be trained. I used to pay for each game and improve my skills...paying

    yes, but when you paid that money, the AI didn't change abilities, weapons, armor, damage and speed to counter what you had already learned. If your reflexes were good enough, you could eventually master the game. With this current model, during the events you might pay money only to have the fleet changed immediately thereafter. This invalidates any experience that you gained in the previous encounter and made your payment worth less than a crap that I took 2 years ago and don't even remember.
    Good point... but that is reason why those games are not around anymore... 
    image
  • Eric Rawlins
    Eric Rawlins
    Potential Threat
    Joined Oct 2016 Posts: 80
    @GDIAX and @Cyrus Leung I didn't mention either of you by name in my original post and I'm sorry that your responses were defensive. I've watched your videos and learned from them; most of the strategies I try, at least initially, derive from those videos.

    I agree that being able to adapt to changes quickly differentiates pilots however my argument is that without practice it is impossible to build up the core piloting skills necessary in order to be able to adapt. Just like the jump from T4/5 to obtaining T6/6.5 tech is difficult for new players, the jump from fighting VEGA fleets to Alien/Deceiver fleets is equally difficult. When farming for blueprints in the 20-45 difficulty range I did thousands of engagements and was able to try many fleets and strategies. I enjoyed gradually getting better with practice. When building a fleet took only a few days and repairs were instant or, at most an hour or two, the game itself was sufficient to learn. The same can't be said for alien/deceiver content. It simply isn't possible to build up the core skills given the limited number of fights per event the average player can participate in. I liked when I could play for an hour or two at a time. I get frustrated when I can only play for five minutes then log off to repair overnight. Would repair time decrease if I got better, yes, of course. Instead of taking 6 hours of damage per fight maybe, if I got really good, I would only take 1 hour of damage. I would still need to do hundreds of fights to farm enough patterns to upgrade a fleet. If I could practice for 2-3 hours then play for an hour it wouldn't increase my spending but it would let me play for fun again instead of barely hanging onto an addiction in hope the gameplay I liked will return before my patience is fully exhausted and I give up. 

    You must admit that other players would like to have access to a similar environment as the preview server. Indeed I've read many comments in other threads from players who wish they had that opportunity. 'How can I get on the preview server?' is a common question in any event discussion thread. Realizing that servers cost money to operate, and that fleets combat changes very quickly, even multiple times during an event, my suggestion was specifically to be able to simulate and practice combat on the live server which, already running and simulating battles with consequences should have no problem simulating battles without consequences. 

    I'll give a specific example of something that @Cyrus Leung was able to do that I wasn't. I'll fully concede that Cyrus, you are a much better pilot than I am. My respect for your piloting skills, and inability to match them without sufficient practice, is the entire point of my argument. You had posted a video on your YouTube channel showing how to semi-auto level 80 outposts. This was before they were ancient and that strategy no longer works but it did work when the video was released. It was more than just coining the exact fleet and clicking auto however; there were dozens of assignments of specific ships to specific targets and frequent re-positioning. You broke the video up into sections and had diagrams, it was an excellent contribution to the community and I watched it multiple times. Unfortunately, there is no pause button during an engagement to check a diagram and mistakes cause repair time so I was never able to get the pattern down in the few attempts I could make during each event. I continue to practice the outposts and have become better but it is still extremely frustrating. When fighting the current ancient outposts the positioning between having your exterminators just close enough to volley a plasma turret then recharge shields versus be in range of 5 turrets and lose shields altogether is practically muscle memory. It is frustrating to watch your newest video doing the co-op 100 with an hour of repair time while my alliance member and I have a combined 35 hours of repair time and fail to win the fight. Once again, yes, you are a better pilot but how do we improve if we can only make 2-3 tries per event? Even assuming access to the preview server grants absolutely zero ability to become better able to face new enemies, which I do not believe, it most definitely at least has the opportunity to repeatedly practice and fine tune basic piloting skills against older content. The tactics will change but the skill gained will persist. I used the preview server as an example but again think the easiest, and best solution is to have practice mode on the live server. There will always be a gap between good players and average players but a good game should allow a path for the average player to become good. In ever game I've ever played this is done by practicing until you get better but this game artificially limits the ability to do so. It absolutely makes sense and is the Kixeye business model to use damage, coins, and upgrade boxes to limit the progression to higher level ships and there is nothing wrong with this. Limiting practice without rewards is entirely different. Zero intel, zero resources, zero mark upgrade boxes, zero damage. 

    I appreciate the value the content creators give the community and the efforts CM Chris took to getting them that access. Very good indeed. I do not believe these players are cheating or doing anything at all unethical. I do however believe that the only players posting videos are those who are able to play extremely well and Kixeye, in some part, balances event difficulty with the expectation that that level of skill is perhaps more common than it is. Having the desire to do a few practice runs (for absolutely zero reward) before taking on new content is hardly an unreasonable request, regardless of however unlikely it is Kixeye would ever implement it, neither is it unreasonable to express a preference for such a feature in a general discussion forum.
  • GDIAX
    GDIAX
    Unicorn Overlord
    Joined Mar 2013 Posts: 2,818

    @Eric Rawlins said:
    --snip--

    Our attempts at practicing on the preview server are practically null because the evemt fleets on the preview server are totally different from the live server, we try to make strategy videos where we can, but we are in the same boat as everyone else when drastic changes to the event fleets happen.

    Not to mention our hard work in creating those videos is wasted when such a huge change happens.

    My point is we are not any more privilegedthan the other players out there, and we struggle to adapt as hard as everyone else does.

    You can make an exception for cyrus though. No one can replicate his micro skills. XD

    Rebel Admiral, Head Intelligence Officer and Coordinator of Rebel forces.
    "Band together and prepare for war. This is Zero Hour!"




  • RaptureAkaDino
    RaptureAkaDino
    Strike-force Captain
    Joined Sep 2014 Posts: 802
    dont need to practice on a server test or otherwise. what we need iis a combat ground, where we fit a ship to outr liking and then use it to take out targets have a timer counting up, have a pause button and exit button then have targets that are staggered or moving, or even ones that shoot back with setings we choose. a battle simulator within the game would ruin kixeye profits, we are not allowed to use 1 strategy unless it invovles lots of coins kix dont care
  • Venyto Camela
    Venyto Camela
    Potential Threat
    Joined Sep 2016 Posts: 89
    edited 12 Nov 2017, 8:10AM
    1. Servers cost money to operate. Our preview server is only on for a couple of days a month for this very reason. Now imagine a mirror of the live server with infinite coins. It would definitely cost a lot.
    2. You have the strategy, so what? KIXEYE judges difficulty based on damage taken. If everyone knows how to defeat the fleets, the overall damage taken will decrease, resulting in a buff. This is why adaptive skills are so important in the game. If you adapt quickly, you can achieve low damage before everyone else does and the fleets get buffed. Same goes for strategy formulation skills.
    I understand that the test servers are only available for a short period of time, I also understand that they are only available for a small group of people ... Having said that, I have four unique questions.

    - If the "test" servers are going to "test" the fleets of the events (and the event as a whole), Why I feel like I'm in a game constantly in alpha, since there's been enough time to test the events, and these almost always come with errors?

    - It has been said, and has been assured multiple times, that the difficulty of the fleets of the events are "adjusted" to be a challenge, and this has a learning curve ... where is the line of learning, if the fleets change their composition / damage / armor / speed every 15 minutes? Knowing that a battle, currently, leaves at least 2-5 hours of repair, what kind of "learning curve" can a player have to "develop a strategy" in that short period of time?

    - Knowing that kixeye does a "data collection" of the event, to track the progress of the event, what kind of "solid" data can be collected in the short time period of 1 hour of the event?

    - Taking the above points into account, and knowing that many players expose their complaints in the forum, are they taken into account? I mean, if an event becomes completely "unplayable", kixeye takes into account the complaints of the players ... or do they do what they want?

    * You have mentioned "adaptive skills" ... what is the point of having pilot skills, if the fleets that we have to face, have x2 speed, x2 shields, x2 weapons, x2 range and make any strategy not worth and the damage is 100% insured?
    image
  • Cyrus Leung
    Cyrus Leung
    VC Mod
    Joined Jan 2013 Posts: 2,459
    1. Servers cost money to operate. Our preview server is only on for a couple of days a month for this very reason. Now imagine a mirror of the live server with infinite coins. It would definitely cost a lot.
    2. You have the strategy, so what? KIXEYE judges difficulty based on damage taken. If everyone knows how to defeat the fleets, the overall damage taken will decrease, resulting in a buff. This is why adaptive skills are so important in the game. If you adapt quickly, you can achieve low damage before everyone else does and the fleets get buffed. Same goes for strategy formulation skills.
    I understand that the test servers are only available for a short period of time, I also understand that they are only available for a small group of people ... Having said that, I have four unique questions.

    - If the "test" servers are going to "test" the fleets of the events (and the event as a whole), Why I feel like I'm in a game constantly in alpha, since there's been enough time to test the events, and these almost always come with errors?

    - It has been said, and has been assured multiple times, that the difficulty of the fleets of the events are "adjusted" to be a challenge, and this has a learning curve ... where is the line of learning, if the fleets change their composition / damage / armor / speed every 15 minutes? Knowing that a battle, currently, leaves at least 2-5 hours of repair, what kind of "learning curve" can a player have to "develop a strategy" in that short period of time?

    - Knowing that kixeye does a "data collection" of the event, to track the progress of the event, what kind of "solid" data can be collected in the short time period of 1 hour of the event?

    - Taking the above points into account, and knowing that many players expose their complaints in the forum, are they taken into account? I mean, if an event becomes completely "unplayable", kixeye takes into account the complaints of the players ... or do they do what they want?

    * You have mentioned "adaptive skills" ... what is the point of having pilot skills, if the fleets that we have to face, have x2 speed, x2 shields, x2 weapons, x2 range and make any strategy not worth and the damage is 100% insured?
    1&2. Notice how I used the word "preview" instead of "test" to describe this private server? Because its purpose is to "preview" upcoming events and new tech, not to "test" it. Therefore we cannot be held accountable for not balancing every single fleet and tech. That would be the design team's job, not ours. The most we can do is provide suggestions.
    3. Participation tends to be at its peak during the first hours of the event. After that, it drops off due to people completing the event or getting their first round of repairs.
    4&5. The event is far from unplayable. A mk3 axis fleet (achievable by non-coiners) can take out an 80 for 2 hr repair. As for the complaints, they mostly come from the ones who don't have the right fleets. Between the last event and this one, KIXEYE has reduced the range of the Guardians but increased the speed, suggesting a combat style similar to the Reapers'.
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    Show of Mod Powers: http://gph.is/2ucUEogimage
  • TheDude84
    TheDude84
    Minor Nuisance
    Joined Feb 2016 Posts: 128

    It would be cool to have a practice mode but it will never happen. Your best bet is if you are not sure how to approach a new target, simply be patient and watch other guys fight them till you find someone with an effective strategy. Then just do what they do. That or just keep plugging quarters into the machine until you figure it out ;)

    The problem with this game is the power curves. Just look at the graphs I made. Said no vega conflict player ever
  • V e s p o
    V e s p o
    Force to be Reckoned With
    Joined Jun 2015 Posts: 1,788
    TheDude84 said:

    It would be cool to have a practice mode but it will never happen. Your best bet is if you are not sure how to approach a new target, simply be patient and watch other guys fight them till you find someone with an effective strategy. Then just do what they do. That or just keep plugging quarters into the machine until you figure it out ;)

    A practice mode would be great. Problem is that everyone would basically abandon the main game and just play the practice mode. (which while great fun for us, would be an economic disaster for pixonic).

    Actually, after my experiences with the vega grind and the money for time dynamic, I'd prefer a subscription game over dealing with the exploitative and inequitable nature of the monetization model- this however, precludes the ability to prey on the whales and weak minded, which is the basis for all monetization in the pay 2 win industry)
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