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CatPeeler

Negative Play Experience (NPE) a sign of the need for a new/revised edition?

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As an X-wing player since wave 2 or so, I've had occasional player burnout.  Partly due to tournament-exhaustion (most game stores I'm aware of experience a lull following the tournament season), but also due to occasional frustration with the meta.

 

With the explosive growth in pilot/upgrade combinations, I'm starting to wonder if the game is starting to see an increase in the number of lists that actively reduce the amount of 'fun' in the game.

 

To be clear, I'm not referring to players in any way--I've found X-wing players to overwhelmingly be the most pleasant group of miniature wargamers I've ever encountered. What I'm referring to are lists and builds that are simply not fun to fly against, or to a lesser extent, even to use.  

 

In earlier days, it could be fairly frustrating to see a tournament dominated by a particular build.  In those cases, it was mostly a matter of it being boring to face the same Fat Han list 3-4 times in a row, or pre-nerf Whisper/Echo, or quad-TLT's, or whatever.  More recently, however, it feels like there are more builds that completely eliminate your opponent's agency.

 

What I'm specifically referring to are builds which prevent your opponent from even participating in the game.

 

Zuckuss is the most obvious example, but a Ghost/Phantom with Autoblaster turrets and Accuracy Correctors that dishes 4 unavoidable damage or a Sabine/clustermine list would also fall under that category.  Ketsu's ability to automatically throw a small ship within range 4+boost onto a rock is debatable, but I also think that tractor beams are wildly underappreciated.

 

None of these lists are unbeatable, by any means, but it's troubling to see the rise of unavoidable damage.  Unbreakable defense thankfully hasn't shown up yet, though Palpatine came awfully close.  

 

Speaking for myself, I ran a variety of Zuckuss/4-lom/YV-666 combinations for about a month or so... until I noticed that very few of my matchups were the ideal "good game."  Maneuvering was largely irrelevant, with only mirror matches being a real threat.  Even then, the game was essentially reduced to Yahtzee. 

 

Again, no list is unbeatable.  I really enjoy the challenge of flying against an expertly flown Imperial Aces list, for example.  On the other hand, the last local tournament I played in was roughly 75% Ghost lists.  My question for the board is whether it's just me, or are any of you finding an increasing number of lists that just aren't as enjoyable to face?

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I don't see any of these as NPE. Autoblaster turrets have range 1, so they are easy to avoid. Zuckuss only works in a couple of lists, which though good are not in anyway unbeatable. Ketsu's ability allows some repositioning, but even that isn't really a NPE.

 

It is arguable that a Stress/Ion build can lock down the opponent heavily. And that I would say is the closest to a non-play experience.

 

However what really is a NPE is nothing changing, not being able to experience with new things, and getting trashed by the same opponent over and over... And this is a Social Contract thing, it's nothing to do with the game having weird or interesting effects. It's looking at your games and going is the opponent enjoying solving the puzzle of my weird control list, or is he just getting frustrated, should I run something different or more traditional.

 

-----

 

I used to play a lot of Malifaux. In 1st Edition Pandora was seen to be pretty much a non-play experience by a lot of players. I personally loved the challenge of going against her. People are not all the same and NPE happen when the players don't discuss what they want from the game.

 

EG. I have a friend who feels turrets distract from the dogfighting game. He has said this, so I don't load up all my ships with turrets, though I do like support so I may put a HWK in with one. But I definitely would not run a 4xTLT against him.

 

Another friend was having issues with me taking a different list everytime in Malifaux, because the is a huge inclination for gotchas in that game if you are playing against something new. So I decided which Master I was going to play with him and only occasionally swapped in different minions for missions, until he got the hang of things.

Edited by Rodent Mastermind

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Just keep in mind that the emphasis on increased damage and unavoidable damage (and many other effects, such as deployment distances) is very intentional.  It shortens games, which is almost certainly something Organized Play asked for.

 

So a lot of what you mention is not something that would be fixed in a new edition.

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None of these are nearly that NPE as things we used to have to deal with.  And by and large, easily play-aroundable.  

 

Also, did not know Organized Play actually asked for that.  Is that confirmable or just a rumor? 

 

It would be nice, though it seems like most Xwing games fairly need 75 minutes.  Although many are done within 60 probably. 

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Just keep in mind that the emphasis on increased damage and unavoidable damage (and many other effects, such as deployment distances) is very intentional.  It shortens games, which is almost certainly something Organized Play asked for.

 

So a lot of what you mention is not something that would be fixed in a new edition.

It also reduces randomness which is a draw for most competetive players (hence why palp aces are so popular). Generally competetive players in tournament games seek to remove randomness at all costs, which is why magic decks usually have 4 copies of cards they want the most, etc.

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I think VCX with ABT makes for a great opponent. I am doing tricks and trying weird maneuvers to keep out of range while still damaging the behemoth. It was a bit of fresh air from the Palp-whatever lists. Same with Dengaroo. You really need to time your approach and angle and send another ship as flanker if you don't have the speed to catch Manaroo. They are interesting battles.

 

The only list that has really annoyed me is quad TLTs. That **** is boring.

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I do feel a second edition might be called for, with specific upgrade packs so you would not need to buy the models again of course.

 

There's a bunch of things that did not exist when they designed the ground rules at first which they could streamline.

 

Not necessarily because of an experienced NPE.

Edited by Dagonet

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While I doubt it is just you, I'm equally sure your personal preferences are influencing what you consider a NPE. Personally, I don't consider the lists you mentioned to be NPE, but I do consider swarms to be a NPE. However, from time to time I still see threads trying to promote the return of swarms so obviously someone likes them. I believe we could find support for or against any list being a NPE.

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Ok. 

 

The phrasing seemed to require a little guessing lol.  

 

Well, I twigged to the increased offensive trend a looong time ago.  (I've been harping on it to the Bay Area crowd for a lot longer than they would like to remember.  They, for good reason, really hate it when I'm right.)  Hopefully, by now, the trend is so obvious there aren't any serious questions as to if it's real.

 

So the question, for me, became why it's being done.  My queries on that didn't get traction, but once Organized Play started controlling -- with, IMO, very poor judgment in many cases -- the development of the game, by shaping the tournament environment, that theory took prominence.  I can't figure out why, in a vacuum, the design team would want a bloodier, shorter game, but it's quite easy to see why OP would.

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Problem is "negative" is too subjective

If we wanna get into what "negative play" could actually mean, though, itd be easier to define

"Play" is what the players do

"Negative play" would thereby be the removal of player involvement from the game

Counterspells in MTG are a **** good example

In xwing, the only time your contribution is at all marginalized is when the dice are being f**kers or pwts are being unavoidable

Amd well, the games more modded than ever and even dengar cares about his arc (it literally doubles his attack output)

zuckuss is NOT npe. He deals with dice which are simply outside the players' control

position dependent or range dependent abilities or w.e that can be reasonably arc dodged are NOT NPE because the player can actively avoid them

so this meta has offered the least NPE possible

Now "unfun"...well we're never going to get a concrete concession on that so who knows

Edited by ficklegreendice

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Ok. 

 

The phrasing seemed to require a little guessing lol.

 

Well, I twigged to the increased offensive trend a looong time ago.  (I've been harping on it to the Bay Area crowd for a lot longer than they would like to remember.  They, for good reason, really hate it when I'm right.)  Hopefully, by now, the trend is so obvious there aren't any serious questions as to if it's real.

 

So the question, for me, became why it's being done.  My queries on that didn't get traction, but once Organized Play started controlling -- with, IMO, very poor judgment in many cases -- the development of the game, by shaping the tournament environment, that theory took prominence.  I can't figure out why, in a vacuum, the design team would want a bloodier, shorter game, but it's quite easy to see why OP would.

I think you're right about a trend, but wrong about _why_. I don't think Organized Play said "design cards that make games shorter." That seems a bit far fetched. Instead, I think it was more like:

Waves 1, 2, and 3: wow! Nothing beats the TIE Swarm with any consistency!

Wave 4: TIE Phantom, Predator. These were both cards that were supposed to deal with low PS Swarms by making offense really good.

Wave 5: Big fat turrets! Phantom Nerf! Because oops.

Wave 6: Autothrusters! Fragile ships are now less fragile. Also: the age of token stacking is born! Defense reins.

Waves 7 & 8: action efficient token stacking is the only way to punch past defense!

Wave 9: turrets suck.

So it's less that offense has creeped upward- that's only half the story. Defense has also creeped upward. If your ship can't push past 4 green dice, Autothrusters, and an evade token, don't bother.

That's the story I see. It's a problem, but not the one you describe.

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you are complaining about 75% ghosts? that's kind of funny people in my area find ghosts a joke generally speaking they show up every once and a while but they have not won a tournament.

 

Now when ghosts were new i was convinced auto blaster accuracy corrector was the worst thing to happen to the game, now i can't remember the last time i even saw a list with it as its really not that strong.

 

Also, manoeuvring is insanely critical with a yv666 and against one, i don't know your meta but your complaints have confused me. Personally i find the YV666 very hard to fly, it does not have a ton of options but your decisions on where to go have ramifications for the rest of the game. In fact almost all your complaints are against ships that maneuvering is key to deal with... an auto blaster accuracy corrector ghost is really bad outside of range one. All the unavoidable damage you listed can be avoided with good flying.

 

To say that ships like the YV666 take no maneuvering skill and then to complain against builds that require you to maneuver well against, perhaps your issue is more your flying skill then those particular lists being NPE. 

 

Anyways i believe none of what you said was NPE it is your personal NPE and everyone is going to have things they hate to fly against.

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Ok. 

 

The phrasing seemed to require a little guessing lol.  

 

Well, I twigged to the increased offensive trend a looong time ago.  (I've been harping on it to the Bay Area crowd for a lot longer than they would like to remember.  They, for good reason, really hate it when I'm right.)  Hopefully, by now, the trend is so obvious there aren't any serious questions as to if it's real.

 

So the question, for me, became why it's being done.  My queries on that didn't get traction, but once Organized Play started controlling -- with, IMO, very poor judgment in many cases -- the development of the game, by shaping the tournament environment, that theory took prominence.  I can't figure out why, in a vacuum, the design team would want a bloodier, shorter game, but it's quite easy to see why OP would.

 

 

This makes absolutely no sense to me. I mean, there is clear evidence that OP isn't looking at a single game in a lot of their decisions. I mean, how many times have there been clear copy/paste errors or reference to stuff that isn't applicable to this game in the Tournament Rules? I mean, if you look at the new Regional stuff, they are encouraging longer tournaments now, with additional prize support options. 

 

About the only thing that may seem like it is the removal of untimed finals. Which, quite frankly, is more down to retailer complaints than Horvath wanting a faster game. 

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I don't know fully about the NPE phenomenon, but I would agree that it is much easier today to find a near autolose scenario if you happen to play the wrong list. There are too many hard counters and it's too hard to make generalists thrive. Perhaps that's the way it's always been, it just seems more prevalent now, especially in the light of some very unfun lists (4x TLTs, the Scouts fiasco, the Party Bus, x7s, etc., depending on taste). Frankly, I just don't think the game can be balanced as is, and that it is somewhat buried under the weight of so many upgrades and combos, that I am inclined to agree that a new edition would help smooth the edges a lot.

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I love this game! I think there are so many possibilities, and I dont really consider any lists NPE. Is this game perfect? No, but I think FGG are doing a good job introducing new mechanics almost each wave, while keeping power-creep to a minimum, or at least adding new upgrades that also boosts "old" ships.

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Dear OP.

The near unavoidable Defense brought with it the need for such

Ok. 

 

The phrasing seemed to require a little guessing lol.

 

Well, I twigged to the increased offensive trend a looong time ago.  (I've been harping on it to the Bay Area crowd for a lot longer than they would like to remember.  They, for good reason, really hate it when I'm right.)  Hopefully, by now, the trend is so obvious there aren't any serious questions as to if it's real.

 

So the question, for me, became why it's being done.  My queries on that didn't get traction, but once Organized Play started controlling -- with, IMO, very poor judgment in many cases -- the development of the game, by shaping the tournament environment, that theory took prominence.  I can't figure out why, in a vacuum, the design team would want a bloodier, shorter game, but it's quite easy to see why OP would.

Is that in your opinion, why Defenders became so popular? Interceptors could nit any longer keep up with all the sources of "direct" damage, and such we now prefer a middle ground between not getting hit and high HP ships? So to say damage mitigation instead if avoidance?

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For those wondering what I'm talking about, I'll elaborate.

 

Hera w/ABT/AC/Phantom and an Engine is hardly an unstoppable killing machine.  However, if you're within range 4 + a boost, and below 7 PS (or I have init), you're taking 4 damage, minimum.  If you're low AG, it can be as high as 7 damage. Hardly unbeatable, but one that destroys a large number of ships without any effort.  Double ghost with a stresshog is another tedious variant.

 

A full zuckuss party boat with a couple of TLT escorts is trivially easy to park indefinitely.  4-5 unavoidable damage from the boat, followed by two TLT's will erase a lot of ships.  You can't get behind it unless I want you to.  Not many ships can survive 6-8 damage/turn for more than a round, while also dealing damage at a matching rate.

 

Again, the point is not that these are unbeatable lists.  The point is that X-wing has evolved to include combinations where your opponent may not even be able to roll dice, or even have the opportunity to activate before being destroyed.  Attacks which require careful maneuvering/timing to pull off are fantastic.  Attacks and effects which are unavoidable remove your opponents ability to participate.

 

My idea of a perfect victory is one where I outmaneuvered/outplayed my opponent, and we both had a great time.  Removing your opponents ability to contribute to the outcome of the game in any meaningful way... ruins it for both players.

 

I'm not looking to quit the game, or even stop playing competitively.  I'm just noticing a trend where an increasing number of lists are simply not enjoyable for everyone involved, and wonder if the game has reached the point where an overhaul of the basic rules would be better than simply nerfing a few cards.

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Ok. 

 

The phrasing seemed to require a little guessing lol.  

 

Well, I twigged to the increased offensive trend a looong time ago.  (I've been harping on it to the Bay Area crowd for a lot longer than they would like to remember.  They, for good reason, really hate it when I'm right.)  Hopefully, by now, the trend is so obvious there aren't any serious questions as to if it's real.

 

So the question, for me, became why it's being done.  My queries on that didn't get traction, but once Organized Play started controlling -- with, IMO, very poor judgment in many cases -- the development of the game, by shaping the tournament environment, that theory took prominence.  I can't figure out why, in a vacuum, the design team would want a bloodier, shorter game, but it's quite easy to see why OP would.

 

 

I'm also going to say that I don't think you mean to offend, but your tone in talking to me twice now has been bloviative/bloviating.  Can you please try and consider how you say things?  I get the feeling I don't want to engage in conversation with that style of speech.  

Maybe people who know you better take that type of talk in good banter, but honestly, no one wants to hear boasting about how you have insider information (ooh so important!) and that you're always right (look, I'm always right).  

 

Also, have you perhaps considered its all just a random coincidence with having a lot more cards int he game?  A small minority of which increase min maxing of offensive capability.  

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